11 Things to Know About Pot and Your Health

Author ArticleAs more states legalize marijuana, it’s important to know the pros and cons of pot—and what exactly it might do for your health.

Health looked at recent research and spoke with several experts about who might want to try it, who should avoid it, and what any marijuana user should know.

It may help with anxiety and PTSD
The relaxing effects of marijuana are well known, so it’s not surprising that a 2016 paper in the journal Clinical Psychology Review concluded that it may have benefits for people with depression, social anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. A study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence also found that a very low dose of THC, one of the main compounds in marijuana, helped people feel less nervous about a public-speaking task.

But it may not be that simple: That dose was equivalent to only a few puffs on a marijuana cigarette, say the study authors. They also found that slightly higher amounts of TCH—anything that would produce even a mild high—actually made anxiety worse. Other research has also suggested that marijuana may be more harmful than helpful for people with certain mental health conditions, like psychosis or bipolar disorder.

The research “indicates cannabinoids could be helpful for people with anxiety,” lead author Emma Childs, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, tells Health. But more research is needed, she says, to determine appropriate dosages and delivery methods, and to prevent the opposite effects from happening.

It can relieve chronic pain and nausea
Pain relief is a common use for medical marijuana, and the National Academies of Sciences concluded there is indeed good evidence to support this practice. Marijuana products also appear to be effective at calming muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis and easing nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, the report stated.

The National Academies also determined that there is moderate evidence that cannabis or cannabis-derived products may help people who have trouble sleeping due to sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, or chronic pain.

RELATED: 13 Surprising Reasons You’re Nauseous

People with epilepsy may benefit—even kids
In a New England Journal of Medicine study, cannabidiol oil—a derivative of marijuana—reduced seizures by 39% in children with Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. That was big news for parents who have been using medical marijuana for years, often illegally, to help their kids suffering from this debilitating condition.

The cannabidiol oil used in the study—approved by the FDA in 2018 and marketed as Epidiolex—won’t make people high, because it doesn’t contain THC. Experts say that results may be riskier and more unpredictable with other marijuana products.

It may be a safer alternative to opioids
Despite beliefs that marijuana is a “gateway drug,” research suggests that the use of medical marijuana may actually reduce dependence on dangerous prescription painkillers like those fueling the nation’s opioid epidemic.

In a 2016 study in the journal Health Affairs, researchers found that there were 1,826 fewer daily doses of painkillers prescribed per year, on average, in states where medical marijuana was legal compared to states it’s not. And in a review article published in Trends in Neuroscience, researchers wrote that cannabinoids may help people recover from opioid addiction. Human trials have been limited because of marijuana’s classification as a Schedule 1 drug—but the authors argue that more studies are urgently needed.

RELATED: 19 Things You Didn’t Know About the Opioid Epidemic

It may have anti-cancer effects, but research is limited
Olivia Newton John uses cannabiodiol oil (along with conventional medicine) to fight her metastatic breast cancer, the actress’s daughter recently revealed. Studies have shown that the oil may inhibit the growth of cancer cells outside of the human body, but there haven’t been any real-life trials to back up these findings.

Gregory Gerdeman, PhD, assistant professor of biology at Eckerd College, told Time that there have also been anecdotal patient reports and “increasing numbers of legitimate clinical case studies … that all indicate tumor-fighting activities of cannabinoids.” It’s still unknown, however, whether traditional forms of marijuana would be an effective cancer therapy, or what cancer types it might actually work against.

Parents (and expectant parents) should know the risks
As pot use becomes more prevalent, more pregnant women are getting high, according to a 2016 JAMA study—either for recreational use or, sometimes, to treat morning sickness. But evidence suggests that prenatal exposure to marijuana is associated with developmental and health problems in children, including low birth weight, anemia, and impaired impulse control, memory, and attention, the authors wrote. Until more is known for sure, they say women who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant should be “advised to avoid using marijuana or other cannabinoids.”

Current parents should also use marijuana with caution, University of Washington researchers suggest. Their study in Prevention Science found that people tend to cut back on marijuana use once they have kids, but they don’t always quit. That’s concerning, says lead author and research scientist Marina Epstien, PhD, because parental marijuana use is strongly related to children’s use—and children’s use is associated with higher rates of health problems.

“Children watch what their parents do,” Epstein tells Health. “I would encourage parents to be talking to their kids and be clear about expectations for their kids about using or not using marijuana and the amount, especially with their teenagers.”

RELATED: Marijuana Use Linked to Higher Sperm Count, Suggests Surprising New Study

Heart problems could make it extra risky
In 2014, a study in Forensic Science International documented what German researchers claimed to be the first known deaths directly attributed by intoxication from marijuana. The authors pointed out that, during autopsies, it was discovered that one of the two young men had a serious but undetected heart problem, and that the other had a history of drug and alcohol use.

The researchers concluded that the absolute risk of cannabis-related cardiovascular effects is low, especially for healthy people. But they say that people who are at high risk for heart-related complications should avoid the use of cannabis, since it can have temporary effects on the cardiovascular system.

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It’s not safe to use marijuana and drive
A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that insurance claim rates for motor vehicle accidents from 2012 to 2016 were about 3% higher in states with legalized marijuana than in states without. But other studies have found no such increase in fatal car crashes in states with legalized marijuana, compared to similar states without.

Experts say it’s possible that driving under the influence of marijuana may increase the risk of minor fender benders—but may also reduce rates of alcohol consumption and therefore help prevent more serious, deadly crashes. The bottom line? Driving while stoned may be less dangerous than driving drunk, but it’s still riskier than driving sober.

Weed smoke is still smoke—and still has health risks
The Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse published a set of “lower-risk cannabis use guidelines,” aimed at helping people who use marijuana make responsible decisions about their health. (The drug was legalized for recreational use in Canada in 2018.) Among other advice, the guidelines urge people to “avoid smoking burnt cannabis,” which can harm the lungs and respiratory system—especially when combined with tobacco.

They recommend choosing vaporizers or edibles instead, but caution that these methods also come with some risks. And if you do smoke cannabis, the guidelines say, “avoid ‘deep inhalation’ or ‘breath-holding,’” which increase the amount of toxic materials absorbed by the body.

It’s not just lung-health that frequent weed smokers should worry about, either. A study in the Journal of Periodontology found that frequent marijuana users were twice as likely as people who didn’t use frequently to have gum disease, even after controlling for other factors such as cigarette smoke. The research didn’t distinguish between methods of marijuana use, but they do point out that smoking is the most common form of recreational use.

RELATED: Can Smoking Pot Cause Lung Cancer?

For recreational users, less is safer
Canada’s low-risk guidelines may sum it up best with this statement: “To avoid all risks, do not use cannabis. If you decide to use, you could experience immediate, as well as long-term risks to your health and well-being.” The guidelines also recommend avoiding marijuana use during adolescence, because the later in life people start using the drug, the less likely they are to experience these problems.

Finally, the guidelines recommend adults choose natural cannabis over dangerous synthetic versions, and limit themselves to “occasional use, such as on weekends or one day a week at most.”

Some marijuana users develop a condition called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome
Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) causes some marijuana users to experience severe nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that, among study participants, 18.4% of people who inhaled cannabis and ended up in the emergency room of a Colorado hospital and 8.4% of those who ate edible cannabis and ended up in the emergency room had CHS symptoms.

CHS hasn’t been studied extensively, says Joseph Habboushe, MD, who specializes in emergency medicine at NYU Langone. While it’s possible to use marijuana for years without experiencing symptoms of CHS, once a person does experience CHS symptoms, the symptoms tend to stick around as long as the person continues using marijuana. Stopping marijuana use is the only known way to permanently alleviate CHS symptoms, but it takes time. “We know that if you stop smoking you get better, but it takes days to weeks,” Dr. Habboushe says.

This post was originally published on June 29, 2017 and has been updated for accuracy.

How Does Cannabis Actually Affect Sex?

Author Article

Amanda K. Behrens

Cannabis (marijuana) has a bit of a mixed reputation when it comes to sex. You may have heard that it’s a traditional herbal aphrodisiac with nearly mythical libido-boosting powers. Or maybe you heard that it can reduce sperm count or contribute to erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. In reality? It’s probably far more complicated than any of those assumptions, which is why we’ve compiled everything we know and don’t know about how cannabis affects sex.

There is one huge caveat, though: Thanks to the system of prohibition that’s dominated drug policy in the U.S. for the past few decades—a system that has had and continues to have a disproportionately large impact on communities of color—there’s simply not a whole lot of research to go on.

Another pretty big caveat: Sexual arousal and functioning is incredibly complicated, so analyzing the sexual effects of any substance is inevitably going to be multilayered. “A lot of the understanding that needs to go into a discussion around cannabis and sexuality has less to do with cannabis and more to do with sexuality,” Jordan Tishler, M.D., medical cannabis expert at InhaleMD in Boston, tells SELF.

When researchers examine sexual enjoyment, they may take different aspects of it into account, including biological, social, and psychological factors that may play a role in attraction, arousal, orgasm, and overall satisfaction, Dr. Tishler says. But even if all of those things are accounted for, good sex means different things to different people—and even different things to the same person, depending on the day. So it’s inherently a little challenging to study, which is a good thing to keep in mind when interpreting these results.

Amanda K. Behrens

Here’s what the limited research tells us about cannabis and sex.

Most of what we know about cannabis and sex comes from self-reported surveys. Knowing that cannabis is purported to help with anxiety and pain, it makes sense that the plant may also enhance sex indirectly for some by affecting those other issues. But research directly linking cannabis to sexual enjoyment is somewhat lacking.

Because cannabis is a schedule I drug in the U.S. (meaning the federal government decided it has a high potential for abuse and low potential for medical benefit), it’s difficult to study in a controlled environment. You can’t exactly give participants weed and measure how their sex habits change, for example. (Or at least most U.S.-based researchers can’t do that because it requires a specific type of drug license to use the actual compounds, which has historically been incredibly difficult to acquire.)

So, instead, researchers have often used self-reported surveys—in which participants are asked about their drug use and their sexual experiences—to get an idea of what’s going on. But a study like this comes with a few drawbacks.

For one thing, it requires relying on people to accurately (and honestly) remember how much and how often they’ve used particular substances, as well as what effect those substances had on their sex lives. Researchers also have no way of corroborating what survey respondents say. Scientists can’t test the drug people have been using to see what it actually is (does it have a high THC content? Is it a concentrate or an edible?) and they have to trust that they and their study subjects share a common frame of reference for and definition of subjective words to describe a highly personal experience, like “enjoyment.”

Surveys also only show us a correlation between two things, like cannabis use and the enjoyment of sex. They can’t assess the mechanism behind that correlation or even necessarily tell us why it exists. There can be all sorts of reasons why these answers were correlated the way they were, from something inherent in a person’s personality to the self-selecting nature of the survey respondents. It could be that people who are eager to take a survey about cannabis use are more likely to have had a positive experience with cannabis, and so they’re disproportionately less likely to report having issues with it.

Plus, many of these studies have historically focused mostly or entirely on the experience of men. For instance, in a study published in 1979 in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, researchers asked a group of 84 grad students (78 percent of whom were male) what they thought the relationship between cannabis and sex would be. Those who had firsthand experience with the topic (39 percent) were asked to answer from that perspective. Although the groups agreed that cannabis increases overall sexual pleasure, only those who were “experienced smokers” also strongly believed that it increased the intensity of an orgasm and that it should be considered an aphrodisiac.

But this study included a small number of participants (and an even smaller number of people who actually had firsthand experience using cannabis for sex), the majority of whom were young and male. So it’s not clear how well their results would translate to the experience of people outside those groups.

In another study, published in 1984 in the Journal of Sex Research, the researchers actually interviewed their (all white, 62 percent male) college student participants rather than handing them a questionnaire. The study found similar results: Most participants reported that cannabis improved some aspect of sex—but they added a few interesting details.

For instance, although 58 percent of men in that study reported that it increased the quality of their orgasms, only 32 percent of women said the same. But men and women agreed in about the same amount that cannabis increased their desire for a familiar partner (50 percent of men and 60 percent of women), increased sexual pleasure and satisfaction (70 percent of men and 76 percent of women), and improved the sensation of touching (59 percent of men and 57 percent of women). Additionally, only 34 percent of men said cannabis increased snuggling, but 56 percent of women said it did.

Again, this study had a small number of participants, most of whom were not women and all of whom were white. That makes it difficult to know how accurately the responses from women here reflect the feelings of women in general.

A more recent study (that received plenty of headlines), published in 2017 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, used data from the large nationally representative National Survey of Family Growth. Rather than asking people anything about how their sex lives interact with their drug use, the researchers here simply correlated participants’ self-reported frequency of cannabis use with the frequency that they reported having sex.

They found that people who reported using cannabis monthly, weekly, or daily also reported slightly more frequent sex than those who never smoked. (Women who used cannabis daily had an average of 7.1 sexual encounters in the previous four weeks compared to 6 for those who never used it.) But these results can’t answer any questions about whether or not cannabis use is correlated with the enjoyment or satisfaction of those sexual experiences.

Although this study did include a large number of participants, the researchers had to work with data that had already been collected, meaning that the original survey wasn’t necessarily designed to answer the questions the researchers here asked. Another study of the same size using questions specifically designed to examine the relationship between cannabis use and sex would, theoretically, give more accurate results, but it still wouldn’t tell us why people answered the way they did.

Not satisfied with the data from previous studies, Becky Lynn, M.D., director of the Center for Sexual Health and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Saint Louis University, tells SELF that she set out to conduct her own survey. “I wanted to know what women really thought,” she says. “Did they think that marijuana was improving their sex life?”

To find out, she worked with other people in her practice to offer a survey asking about cannabis usage with regards to sex—whether or not it had any effect on sex drive, orgasm, lubrication, pain, and the overall sexual experience—to everyone who came through their doors. Some of the more than 30 experts at that center are ob/gyns like Dr. Lynn, but there are also obstetricians, urogynecologists, gynecological oncologists, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialists. Every patient who saw any doctor there was offered the survey, so “it wasn’t only people coming in with sexual problems” who were offered it, Dr. Lynn says.

Ultimately, over 300 women filled it out and the results became the basis of two studies recently presented at the World Meeting on Sexual Medicine and the annual meeting of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health—and just published in Sexual Medicine.

Of 373 respondents, 176 reported ever using cannabis, with about half of them reporting frequent use (anywhere from once a week to several times a day) and half of them reporting infrequent use (anywhere from once a year to a few times a year). And 127 of the 176 cannabis users reported ever using cannabis before sex.

There were a few major findings, like that people who reported ever using cannabis prior to sex were more likely to report having satisfying orgasms than those who did not use cannabis before sex (and this was a statistically significant difference). And those who reported frequent cannabis use (not necessarily before sex) were also significantly more likely to report having satisfying orgasms than people who reported infrequent cannabis use. People who reported using cannabis before sex were also more likely to say that they use cannabis specifically to decrease pain (though this wasn’t a statistically significant difference).

This study does have many of the same limitations as those that came before it (such as a small sample size and a possible self-selection bias), but it’s unique in that it primarily focuses on the experience of women. However, like many of the other studies on this topic, the participants were primarily white and heterosexual.

Amanda K. Behrens

This is how cannabis could theoretically impact sex.

In case you didn’t know, your body makes its own natural version of cannabinoids (endocannabinoids), and there is a significant amount of receptors for those compounds “in areas of the brain that deal with sexual function,” Dr. Lynn says, such as the amygdala and hypothalamus. Recent research suggests that 2-AG, an endocannabinoid, is released in humans after orgasm, suggesting that these compounds may be involved in normal sexual processes.

But what happens when you add cannabis to the mix? We do have some answers: Cannabis is a vasodilator (meaning it opens blood vessels and increases blood flow), Dr. Tishler explains. It has direct effects on the cannabinoid receptors in the skin and nerve pathways that are involved in perceiving pain. It can also affect some higher order functions, including memory and feelings of fear and anxiety.

And it’s easy to see how all of those effects could contribute to better sex for some people, but we still don’t have a full, conclusive understanding of what cannabis is doing physiologically in the context of sex. “There are just theories on why this works,” Dr. Lynn says. “There’s really no definitive answer.”

Indeed, there are some studies in humans using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) that show those sex-related areas are activated even more with the addition of cannabis, Dr. Tishler says. But, again, these studies have their drawbacks—they’re not measuring arousal or libido directly.

What we know about cannabis in this context comes entirely from animal studies, she explains, which can be done by altering the way endocannabinoids and their receptors work (something that can’t easily be done in humans). “Animal research suggests that stimulating the CB1 receptor delays ejaculation, so reports about the time of the act in humans could be true (and not just a result of impaired time perception),” Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University at Albany, SUNY, tells SELF, which may contribute to the increased level of enjoyment the human participants reported in the surveys we mentioned previously.

In some cases though, delayed ejaculation may become problematic. For example, in a 2010 survey of 8,656 Australian adults published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, men who used cannabis daily were more likely to report reaching orgasm too slowly or not at all compared to those who never used. But that study also found that cannabis use was associated with premature ejaculation. As a reminder, this is a self-reported study, so these findings are based on men assessing their own sexual performance, not some sort of objective measure of what happened.

There is also some evidence in humans to suggest that frequent use of cannabis can cause undesirable effects. For instance, among chronic, heavy cannabis users, the drug can negatively affect sperm production, Dr. Earleywine says. In a studypublished in 2015 in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers looked at the semen quality of about 1,200 Danish men between the ages of 18 and 28. Nearly half of that sample (45 percent) reported using cannabis within the previous three months. Their results showed that those who used cannabis frequently—more than once a week—had a 28 percent reduction in sperm concentration and a 29 percent lower sperm count compared to those who used once a week or less.

Interestingly, a study published this month in Human Reproduction did not find the same results. Instead, in a longitudinal survey of 662 men who provided semen samples between 2000 and 2017, those who reported ever using cannabis had significantly higher sperm count than those who had never smoked. The researchers suspect that there may be some reproductive benefits to moderate cannabis use but that “this relation reverses at higher doses, resulting in adverse effects,” which could explain their contradictory findings.

Ultimately, though, there’s nothing definitively proving that cannabis enhances sex or that it could contribute to or be used to treat specific sexual dysfunctions (such as premature ejaculation). But, if you’re in a position to try it, our experts do have some words of wisdom.

Amanda K. Behrens

Here’s what to know before you mix cannabis and sex.

Cannabis is a psychoactive drug and different people react differently to it. So, especially if this is your first time using the substance, it’s important to start low, go slow, and take some precautions to make sure you have the most enjoyable and safe experience possible.

As a reminder, cannabis is legal for medical use in 33 states plus the District of Columbia, and it’s legal for adult (recreational) use in 10 states plus D.C. But it remains illegal at the federal level, so there are some obvious legal risks inherent in using cannabis for any reason in the U.S. It’s also important to remember the age restrictions within those states.

Dr. Tishler suggests trying cannabis on your own before incorporating a partner. “What I tell everybody is that the first time you want to think about using cannabis for sex, that should be a masturbation event,” he says. That way, you’ll know how you react to cannabis and how it affects your level of arousal and your orgasm before bringing in a partner and all of their variables.

But Dr. Lynn says there may be some benefits to trying it the first time with a trusted partner “in case you freak out,” she says. (Although some people find that cannabis can sometimes relieve anxiety, in other cases it can increase anxiety and feelings of paranoia. So, if that happens or you’re nervous about it happening, having a buddy could be helpful to calm you down.) Either way, know that you can say no to sex at any time—whether or not you’re using cannabis with another person specifically to enhance sex. The same rules of consent apply.

Speaking of consent, when you are ready to use cannabis to enhance a sexual experience with someone else, make your boundaries known and seek affirmative consent for anything you do. Our understanding of giving consent while using cannabis is still developing, Dr. Tishler says, but it’s crucial that you and your partner have a discussion ahead of time—before you get stoned—about what is and is not OK for you. Of course, consent is important whether or not you’re using cannabis, Dr. Lynn says, but this adds yet another layer to the conversation, and everyone needs to be on the same page.

It’s also important to differentiate between whether you want to use cannabis to enhance your sexual experience or to help manage a diagnosable sexual dysfunction, a factor that research hasn’t been able to tease out yet. If you are experiencing symptoms of sexual dysfunction or pain during sex, check in with your doctor or a sex therapist to talk about that.

And know that, as with all drugs, there is a potential for some unpleasant side effects with cannabis. We know that cannabis (especially when smoked) can affect the lungs and exacerbate conditions like asthma. It can also increase the heart rate and cause anxiety in some cases.

Amanda K. Behrens

Despite the lack of research, there are a ton of sex-related cannabis products.

In case you’re curious. As we’ve discussed, the research surrounding cannabis and sex leaves a lot to be desired. So your mileage will undoubtedly vary with any product claiming to help you with a sexual issue or to enhance the experience of sex. And the good ol’ placebo effect may dictate a good amount of what happens.

Dr. Tishler says he recommends going with vaping cannabis over using an edible or topical product, because it’s easier to get the dose you want at the time you actually want it when it’s inhaled. (And we’ve already covered the benefits of vaping over smoking cannabis here.)

Below are a just a few of the cannabis products out there purported to enhance sex. We chose them because they all incorporate both THC and CBD (there really isn’t any research looking at CBD-only products for sex, Dr. Tishler says), because they come highly rated, and because they simply look like fun.

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

1

Dosist Arouse Pen

Dosist pens have gained a reputation for delivering consistent doses of cannabinoid and terpene blends. This one, Arouse, has a 10:1 ratio of THC to CBD and is marketed to help stimulate feelings of arousal but also relaxation, which could be perfect to get you in the mood. Another formula, Passion, comes with slightly more THC than the Arouse blend and is marketed to stimulate euphoria and your overall feelings of sensuality, which may be more useful during sex rather than before.

Buy it: Find it at a dispensary here.

2

Foria Pleasure

Often referred to as “weed lube,” this product from Foria contains coconut oil and THC and is designed to be used topically to “enhance tactile sensations while decreasing tension, discomfort and dryness.” Based on tons of testimonials, Foria says that Pleasure users report more intense orgasms with the product. One important note: This product is not compatible with latex, so if you normally use latex condoms, you’ll need to grab a different variety.

Buy it: Find it at a dispensary here.

3

Papa & Barkley Body Releaf Oil

The company may be better known for its pain-relieving balms, but this topical cannabis-infused coconut oil claims to soothe and relax you all over, meaning it could be the perfect ingredient in a sensual massage. According to the company, it’s best to massage it into the skin for about 20 to 30 seconds to feel the effects. It should begin working within 15 minutes and last for up to three hours.

Buy it: Find it at a dispensary here.

4

Canndescent Connect

Canndescent cannabis is available in five different varieties, each claiming to deliver a specific effect. The company says you’ll want to reach for Connect when you want to “laugh, go out with friends, or get intimate.” Connect is available as flower, in a prerolled joint, and now in a vape cartridge.

But it: Find it at a dispensary here.

5

1906 High Love Chocolate

Although it can be difficult to predict how and when edibles will take effect, these relatively low-dose ones—infused with Blue Dream cannabis—come with great reviews and undeniably Instagram-friendly packaging.

Buy it: Find it at a dispensary here.

CBD 101: How Does It Work?

Author Article

As many of you might already know, CBD oil is a miracle, anti-inflammatory drug that is, according to user reports, able to cure or at least alleviate certain symptoms and conditions, such as muscle and joint pain, as well as anxiety. Nevertheless, it seems that we still don’t know which exact medical issues it can cure.

So how can we then know if it works or not? Well, even though CBD is still quite mysterious, science has determined how it can affect the brain. What’s more, scientists believe in its positive effects. Thus, we can use that knowledge to determine how it can be used for medical purposes.

How CBD affects the human body

CBD, just like all other cannabinoids, actually attaches itself to the brain’s endocannabinoid system. The two important types of receptors we should remember here are CB1 and CB2.

THC usually binds to both of these receptors, which affect various bodily functions that medical marijuana may treat. In fact, the “high” feeling we get after using psychoactive marijuana products is due to the neurotransmitters that the CB1 receptors release.

Meanwhile, CBD also attaches itself to those same receptors, but its MO is a bit different. It can reduce inflammation, pain and even manage our body temperature. Once it finds itself in the brain, it stimulates other receptors, including:

  • Serotonin receptors — these alleviate depression symptoms and regulate our mood
  • Adenosine receptor — does wonders for our heart and bone health
  • Capsaicin receptor — the same receptor that’s at play when we eat spicy food.

Now, we know what everyone’s thinking: can we get high from CBD? The answer is — no. In fact, once our bodies start breaking it down, it becomes a FAAH inhibitor, short for fatty acid amide hydrolase.

Since CBD can inhibit the activity of the said enzyme and block it, it will essentially disrupt CB1 receptors, which may bring about various health benefits. As a result, the non-psychoactive CBD can squash the “high” most of us feel when we ingest THC.

So will it help us cure our health problems or not?

No one is 100% sure whether CBD has real health benefits, but we do have some user reports and studies. These suggest it can alleviate or possibly even cure certain conditions.

For example, people with epilepsy can use CBD to keep their seizures under control, and the same goes for those who have arthritis. Arthritis patients could benefit from a CBD tincture or a topical product, although results are still inconclusive.

In addition, one study even said that this compound could help addicts, especially those who are addicted to nicotine. If a cigarette addict turns to a CBD inhaler, it will smoke 40% fewer cigarettes, all because of the effect CBD has on CB1 receptors. The study also suggests it can even help animals get over addictive behavior, especially in the case of drugs such as methamphetamine, which are harder to shake off.

Mental health

We’ve seen that CBD may cure physical conditions, but when it comes to mental health, we still don’t understand its effects fully. However, some users say it has helped them with their focus, depression and even anxiety, lowering the overall pressure they usually feel and the risk of experiencing side effects that come with prescription pills.

Nevertheless, not all doctors are convinced in CBD’s superpowers. Some say that patients should try it and see if it works for them. Others, however, are wary and need more proof of its success. Yet, what’s certain is that, if one wants to try it, they have to get it from a reputable manufacturer. Otherwise, even the effects we are aware of might not happen, and we might even endanger our health.

Cannabis Cafes are Popping Up Across the Country

Author Article

On April 10, 2018, Eric Cahan and his friends started the art café Mamacha in East Village, Manhattan. Ten days later Mamacha decided to include cannabidiol (CBD) in their drinks to celebrate 420, a unique and famous holiday to celebrate marijuana and the culture around it.

The marijuana theme started to attract customers to the café, and a lot of people are waiting outside of the door in a line. Mamacha’s business was booming during that day.

Cahan and his business partners realized that it could be an opportunity to keep their business successful. They tried to learn all that they can about cannabidiol. Soon, the Mamacha café incorporated CBD into its drinks. It also sells tinctures, curated oils, and other products to its customers.

Mamacha owes half of its total sales to its CBD products and beverages. The other half of the sales come from coffee and matcha drinks. The art café is making a move to introduce “functional elixirs” that will have positive effects on a person’s sleeping problems, inability to focus, and pain.

A phytocannabinoids found in cannabis plants contains the benefits of marijuana like inducing tranquility and sleepiness without registering the high feeling THC can give. Many companies are starting to get into the CBD-mania by adding the compound to just about everything. The trend will grow at an increasing rate as interests grow and rules on CBD use start to ease.

CBD BECOMES LEGAL
President Trump’s decision to sign the farm bill makes CBD legal. Companies are adding the compound to drinks, supplements, and food despite knowing that it is still awaiting approval. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is starting to make plans to enforce the ban while trying to find a new way for the products with CBD to arrive on the market.

Research company Brightfield Group predicts that the CBD market will reach about $22 billion after three years. A lot of CBD users shares that the compound helps ease pain or lessen anxiety. Some people believe that it makes it easier for them to sleep. The list of CBD users is starting to include pets and mothers.

While a majority of users stand by the benefits of CBD, it has yet to be proven scientifically. CBD products have yet to receive regulation, which means that the quality of products varies.

John Hopkins professor Ryan Vandrey is studying cannabis’ behavioral pharmacology. Vandrey believes that the interest that CBD is garnering is making people push the product forcefully while concluding its benefits without proper studies.

LACK OF EVIDENCE
Psychological and Brain Sciences professor Ken Mackie of Indiana University shares that the precise effect of how CBD interacts with the body and the brain remains uncertain. Mackie also adds that researches are leaning towards CBD having the ability to lessen abnormal signaling in a person’s brain. The finding can help explain how CBD is giving people the idea that it mitigates suffering from sleep problems, depression, anxiety, and epilepsy.

Compounds like ketamine, nicotine, and opioids turn systems in the body on and off. Cannabis compounds like CBD tweak the systems, which Mackie believes is a process that is comparable to lower their volume.

Studying cannabis remains a problematic field because federal law still maintains that it is illegal. There are not a lot of clinical studies about the safety of using CBD as well as its effects. Researchers struggle to conduct proper research for CBD without breaking any law, which makes it harder for them to prove anecdotal evidence that the compound is helping people with pain, sleep, and anxiety.

The Epidiolex, a formulation of CBD, is taking strides in the medical market after the FDA approved its use on patients suffering from Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Dravet syndrome is an uncommon genetic condition that shows up mostly among infants. Symptoms of Dravet syndrome include fever and different types of severe seizures. Dravet syndrome patients experience poor development in motor skills and language. Lennox-Gastaut syndrome patients have intellectual disability starting at ages three to five.

Epidiolex helps treat or lessen epilepsy, returning children suffering from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome back to normal function. According to studies, Epidiolex will provide an essential improvement to the approach of therapy and treatment for people with the said conditions. The substance is already legal in 29 US States as well as Guam and Puerto Rico. GW Pharma studied the effects of Epidiolex in clinical trials, which provides proper evidence of its benefits for the FDA to proceed with its approval.

Cannabis and Pain

Author Article

This could be the delicious anti-inflammatory treat you’ve been looking for.

Cannabis and Pain

For more than 20 percent of Americans, chronic pain is part of daily life. Many aren’t getting the relief they need.

Pain treatments have been typically limited to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioid medications, which carry the risk of addiction. Both have risks of side effects. With opioids frequently in the headlines, many people with chronic pain can’t get access to the medication they depend on to get through the day without intense pain.

As a possible alternative to long-term opioid use for chronic pain, many people are turning to cannabis. Cannabis has a long history of medical use and is especially effective in the treatment of pain.

Cannabidiol (CBD) has gained mainstream attention for its effectiveness in treating a number of conditions including pain, both acute and chronic.

Combining CBD and THC

In states where medical marijuana is legal, a combination of CBD and THC can be used for pain to great effect, and is more potent than when CBD is used alone. The complementary nature of the compounds is known as the entourage effect.

Best 3 Recommended CBD Oils

If medical marijuana isn’t available legally in your state, you might still be able to find relief from chronic or acute pain by using hemp-derived CBD.

CBD extracts are available in multiple forms, but the most popular is an oil base. CBD oils can be mixed into many different recipes for ingestion or added to lotions, massage oils, or balms at different concentrations to match your need.

Below are CBD oils recommended by Green Flower Media and CannaInsider:

CBD Mango Smoothie Recipe for Pain Relief

Author and cannabis advocate Sandra Hinchcliffe shares a favorite smoothie recipe from her forthcoming book “CBD Every Day.”

CBD oil is mixed with mango and orange juice for a refreshing drink to ease your aches and pains.

Research has shown that mango can heighten the effects of cannabinoids because they share a compound called myrcene which is a terpene found in both cannabis and mango.

The result? A more effective, longer-lasting experience.

Citrus fruits also contain a large quantity of antioxidants, giving them anti-inflammatory properties. That makes this smoothie the perfect vehicle for your pain-relieving CBD oil dose.

Sandra’s Mango Canna-Booster Smoothie

Serves: 2 smoothies (8 oz each)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed blood orange juice, room temperature (you can substitute any fresh-squeezed orange juice)
  • ⅓ cup fresh coconut milk
  • Preferred or specific dose of CBD oil
  • 2 large or 3 medium mangoes, sliced and partially frozen
  • ½ cup ice

Directions

  1. To a blender, add the orange juice, coconut milk, and CBD oil. Blend until creamy.
  2. Add the frozen mango and ice into the blender. Blend until icy and creamy.
  3. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Even if marijuana is legal in your state, it continues to be illegal under federal law. While there are some claims that CBD derived from hemp (rather than a cannabis plant) is legal in all 50 states, other reports point out legality isn’t so straightforward. We suggest checking your state’s laws regarding CBD oil.

Kristi is a freelance writer and mother who spends most of her time caring for people other than herself. She’s frequently exhausted and compensates with an intense caffeine addiction. Find her on Twitter.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.

26 Gifts For Your Pothead Friend

Buzzfeed Article

1. A tiny, beloved Harry Pothead stash, because it’s their go-to movie, so why can’t it house the ganja?

Get it from Crafty Cassondra on Etsy for $12.

Amazon

Get it from Crafty Cassondra on Etsy for $12.

2. A set of marijuana leaf cookie cutters so they can make weed-themed brownies with or without the THC.

Promising review: "Awesome cookie cutter! My fiancé and I used it to make cake pops." —Amazon CustomerGet a set of three from Amazon for $5.89.

Amazon

Promising review: “Awesome cookie cutter! My fiancé and I used it to make cake pops.” —Amazon Customer

Get a set of three from Amazon for $5.89.

3. “puff puff pass” ashtray, because they understand sharing is caring when it comes to marijuana usage.

Promising review: "This ashtray is absolutely perfect in every way. The design is beautiful, it has a sturdy weight to it, and it's big enough to hold a lot of ash." —Olivialav1234Get it from Urban Outfitters for $10 (originally $12).

Urban Outfitters

Promising review: “This ashtray is absolutely perfect in every way. The design is beautiful, it has a sturdy weight to it, and it’s big enough to hold a lot of ash.” —Olivialav1234

Get it from Urban Outfitters for $10 (originally $12).

4. vape pen with three different temperature settings to inhale their daily dose of relaxation on the go.

Includes one vape, one pen tool, one charging cable, and one cleaning brush.  Promising review: "This is a great pen. Just the right size, it holds a good amount and has three temperature settings." —John M. Get it from G Pen for $89.95.

G Pen

Includes one vape, one pen tool, one charging cable, and one cleaning brush.

Promising review: “This is a great pen. Just the right size, it holds a good amount and has three temperature settings.” —John M.

Get it from G Pen for $89.95.

5. A special leaf candle so they can smell the sweet aroma of marijuana without ever having to inhale.

Get it from Around The Home Decor on Etsy for $15.60+ (available in three scents.

Etsy

Get it from Around The Home Decor on Etsy for $15.60+ (available in three scents.

6. An airtight stash jar to keep all your uncrushed herb in one place until it’s time to blaze up.

Promising review: "Keeps my herbs fresh and that's what I got it for. It works great, so no complaints." —Ariel WhiteGet it from Amazon for $15.95 (available in four colors).

Amazon

Promising review: “Keeps my herbs fresh and that’s what I got it for. It works great, so no complaints.” —Ariel White

Get it from Amazon for $15.95 (available in four colors).

7. personal air filter, because they love to blaze in their apartment knowing damn well they live in a smoke-free building.

Promising review: "It's like magic, the smoke and smell just disappear. I smoke in my room and my family has never mentioned any smell whatsoever!" —Amazon CustomerGet it from Amazon for $14.99+.

@mr_smokebuddy / Via instagram.com

Promising review: “It’s like magic, the smoke and smell just disappear. I smoke in my room and my family has never mentioned any smell whatsoever!” —Amazon Customer

Get it from Amazon for $14.99+.

8. cone loader so all of their joints can be packed to the rim with that reefer with little to no effort. Their depth perception is gonna be a little off, anyway.

Includes a card and poking tool. Promising review: "I love the plastic loader, bamboo stick and card. It comes in really handy to load the pre-rolled Raw cones. I love joints and blunts so this just makes my life easier." —KinziGet it from Amazon for $7.58.

Amazon

Includes a card and poking tool.

Promising review: “I love the plastic loader, bamboo stick and card. It comes in really handy to load the pre-rolled Raw cones. I love joints and blunts so this just makes my life easier.” —Kinzi

Get it from Amazon for $7.58.

9. pokéball grinder to crush that bud easy-peasy. “I choose you, indica!” —Your friend, probably.

Promising review: "Is this cute or what? Perfect little grinder. It is very easy to use and has a magnet to hold the top and bottom together. I love to cook with dried herbs and this is perfect for that. Easy to empty and clean. Perfect addition to my gadget drawer." —jmbilletGet it from Amazon for $12.99.

Amazon

Promising review: “Is this cute or what? Perfect little grinder. It is very easy to use and has a magnet to hold the top and bottom together. I love to cook with dried herbs and this is perfect for that. Easy to empty and clean. Perfect addition to my gadget drawer.” —jmbillet

Get it from Amazon for $12.99.

10. A pack of 24K (magic) gold rolling papers, because your stoner friend is nothing but decadent.

Promising review: "Nice slow burn to them, and sexy gold coloring." —Amazon CustyGet them from Amazon for $13.97.

Shine Papers

Promising review: “Nice slow burn to them, and sexy gold coloring.” —Amazon Custy

Get them from Amazon for $13.97.

11. A pack of smell-proof bags to keep all of their crushed bud in when they’re on the way to that party.

Promising review: "Did the trick; definitely smell-proof from a human nose." —FrostyGet a 25-pack from Amazon for $9.97.

Amazon

Promising review: “Did the trick; definitely smell-proof from a human nose.” —Frosty

Get a 25-pack from Amazon for $9.97.

12. microfiber blanket they can get all cozy with after they eat a whole pack of Oreos. Those munchies, man.

Promising review: "Holy cow! This blanket is amazing. I bought it as a gift and was really sad I couldn't keep it. It may be the softest blanket I've felt in a long, long time." —AJMGet it from Amazon for $15.99.

Amazon

Promising review: “Holy cow! This blanket is amazing. I bought it as a gift and was really sad I couldn’t keep it. It may be the softest blanket I’ve felt in a long, long time.” —AJM

Get it from Amazon for $15.99.

13. bread loaf pillow to cuddle while they have the best weed-induced nap of their life.

Promising review: "Adorable plush! I bought it for a friend and she loved it!. It has a little band across the bottom of the plush. It can be used to hold small things. Can also be used as a bracelet, if you're into that kind of stuff." —Quillian H.Get it from Amazon for $19.12.

Amazon

Promising review: “Adorable plush! I bought it for a friend and she loved it!. It has a little band across the bottom of the plush. It can be used to hold small things. Can also be used as a bracelet, if you’re into that kind of stuff.” —Quillian H.

Get it from Amazon for $19.12.

14. A pair of polarized sunnies, because their eyes are always soooo bloodshot.

Promising review: "These glasses are great! Very sturdy frames. I bought these for my husband and also bought myself a pair. I will definitely be buying another pair or two! And the company is awesome about customer satisfaction!" —Pam SGet them from Amazon for $22.01 (available in two colors).

Amazon

Promising review: “These glasses are great! Very sturdy frames. I bought these for my husband and also bought myself a pair. I will definitely be buying another pair or two! And the company is awesome about customer satisfaction!” —Pam S

Get them from Amazon for $22.01 (available in two colors).

15. champagne bong so they can get high all through the new year.

Daily High Club

Get it from Daily High Club for $19.99.

16. magical unicorn ashtray that’ll probably be the source of all their weird ganja conspiracy theories.

Promising review: "Such a cool ashtray!" —Lizzie1Get it from Amazon for $16.81.

Amazon

Promising review: “Such a cool ashtray!” —Lizzie1

Get it from Amazon for $16.81.

17. lava lamp they can stare at for minutes at a time while they’re puff-puff-passing.

Promising review: "It is perfection. I am going to purchase a second so I will have a matching set of silver glitter lamps. I like the fact it is by the original lava lamp makers, and the shape is classic. These are so beautiful and relaxing. I am a very pleased customer." —kdGet it from Amazon for $37.99 (available in two colors and two sizes).

Amazon

Promising review: “It is perfection. I am going to purchase a second so I will have a matching set of silver glitter lamps. I like the fact it is by the original lava lamp makers, and the shape is classic. These are so beautiful and relaxing. I am a very pleased customer.” —kd

Get it from Amazon for $37.99 (available in two colors and two sizes).

18. debowler ashtray to clean their messy-ass bowl out, because it’s been weeks and hits are supposed to be smooth, damnit!

Promising review: "This thing is a lifesaver. Awesome product that really helps to keep things clean." —L&CGet it from Amazon for $7.99 (available in 10 colors).

Amazon

Promising review: “This thing is a lifesaver. Awesome product that really helps to keep things clean.” —L&C

Get it from Amazon for $7.99 (available in 10 colors).

19. A good ol’ snuggie so their arms are free to hit the blunt while staying nice and comfy.

Promising review: "Pockets! It's got pockets! And it's warm and snuggle. Tank, the little dog immediately fell in love with it too." —Amazon Customer Get it from Amazon for $24.99.

Amazon

Promising review: “Pockets! It’s got pockets! And it’s warm and snuggle. Tank, the little dog immediately fell in love with it too.” —Amazon Customer

Get it from Amazon for $24.99.

20. An ankle bracelet pipe because they’re absolutely gonna love sneaking weed into places they really shouldn’t.

Get it from Daily High Club for $8.99 (available in three colors).

Daily High Club

Get it from Daily High Club for $8.99 (available in three colors).

21. A bottle of ~hemp~ seed oil lotion to keep their dry hands moisturized after rolling the doobie.

Promising review: "I have been buying Hempz for years and absolutely love it. My skin can be dry since I have gotten older, so I use lotion every day. My feet and hands used to crack, but when I use Hempz I don't have any dry skin problems." —Frostie SueGet it from Amazon for $12.30.

Amazon

Promising review: “I have been buying Hempz for years and absolutely love it. My skin can be dry since I have gotten older, so I use lotion every day. My feet and hands used to crack, but when I use Hempz I don’t have any dry skin problems.” —Frostie Sue

Get it from Amazon for $12.30.

22. A pair of leafy socks so their feet can be warm while smoking a blunt.

Promising review: "These are perfect. I wore a pair in the Seattle airport and got compliments all through TSA lol. Easy to see pattern, comfy, fits well, decent quality. Very happy with this purchase." —Chelsea TaylorGet a five-pack from Amazon for $13.56.

Amazon

Promising review: “These are perfect. I wore a pair in the Seattle airport and got compliments all through TSA lol. Easy to see pattern, comfy, fits well, decent quality. Very happy with this purchase.” —Chelsea Taylor

Get a five-pack from Amazon for $13.56.

23. rolling tray bundle to perfect their joints, because you’ve been teaching them how to roll for a while but they never learn.

Includes a rolling tray, an eco-plastic roller, and king-sized rolling papers.Promising review: "It comes to no surprise that Raw has created the perfect beginner setup for rolling papers. It's appropriately sized, is made of quality material, and has an authentic look to it. Simply said, this is great for the newbies and veterans alike." —ZavageGet it from Amazon for $11.27.

Amazon

Includes a rolling tray, an eco-plastic roller, and king-sized rolling papers.

Promising review: “It comes to no surprise that Raw has created the perfect beginner setup for rolling papers. It’s appropriately sized, is made of quality material, and has an authentic look to it. Simply said, this is great for the newbies and veterans alike.” —Zavage

Get it from Amazon for $11.27.

24. A sterling silver Mary Jane necklace so they can elegantly proclaim their adoration for their favorite substance. People probably won’t even notice it’s in the shape of a leaf, anyway.

Get it from Urban Outfitters for $45.

Urban Outfitters

Get it from Urban Outfitters for $45.

25. A set of “best buds” keychains to show them that you are going to best friends forever like Cheech and Chong or Harold and Kumar.

Promising review: "It's super cute and durable. I can't wait to give the other half to my bff." —Chealsea SmithGet them from Amazon for $13.95 (available in two colors)

Amazon

Promising review: “It’s super cute and durable. I can’t wait to give the other half to my bff.” —Chealsea Smith

Get them from Amazon for $13.95 (available in two colors)

26. And a box of gourmet cupcakes, because that’s the only thing that’ll satisfy their stoner appetite.

They'll receive a package of a dozen cupcakes with flavors like apple crumb, fudgy white rosette, chocolate crumb, cookie dough, peanut butter cup, red velvet, carrot, confetti, coconut cream, vanilla cream, strawberry cream, and chocolate cream.Get it from Bake Me A Wish for $39.95 a box.

Bake Me A Wish

They’ll receive a package of a dozen cupcakes with flavors like apple crumb, fudgy white rosette, chocolate crumb, cookie dough, peanut butter cup, red velvet, carrot, confetti, coconut cream, vanilla cream, strawberry cream, and chocolate cream.

Get it from Bake Me A Wish for $39.95 a box.

“I’m gonna get you high today ’cause…”

Priority Films / Cube Vision Productions

Reviews here have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Valentine’s Day Cards for Cannabis Lovers

See Author Article Here
By Brandon Hicks

Valentine’s Day is upon us again. While cannabis culture has made great strides in recent years, it’s still difficult to find Valentine cards for the cannabis enthusiast in your life. So we decided to fill that gap in the market with some Valentines of our own. Feel free to print them off, share them and spread the love.

You can make the V-day experience complete by pairing them with decadent dulce de leche “love bars” or some of these romance-friendly marijuana strains.

cheech chong valentine

sticky icky valentine

willie valentine

grind valentine

edible valentine

8 Best Marijuana Strains For Medical Purposes

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By

8 Best Marijuana Strains for Medical Purposes

While many people use marijuana for fun or recreational purposes, there are many people who are interested in cannabis purely for medical purposes. They want to use it as an alternative to more dangerous prescription medications. And there’s definitely plenty of options for them to accomplish that goal.

Here are the eight best marijuana strains for medical purposes:

1. Charlotte’s Web

Charlotte’s Web is probably one of the most known marijuana strains for medical purposes. It’s received tons of media attention since many people use the strain to help treat epilepsy and other seizure disorders. But it an also help treat chronic pain and other conditions as well.

2. Ringo’s Gift

Named after CBD pioneer Lawrence Ringo, not The Beatles’ drummer, Ringo’s Gift is one of the best strains out there for relieving pain. Since it’s also high in CBD and lower in THC, it’s also good for dealing with stress and anxiety as well.

3. Remedy

Talk about an appropriate name. Remedy is a marijuana strain that can be used for just about anything. It’s known to help treat seizures, pain, anxiety and there are some people who say it helps people with autism as well.

4. Sour Tsunami

Sour Tsunami is well-known for being very high in CBD, but less so in THC. It’s particularly good for treating pain and inflammation, so if you’re someone dealing with the aches and pains of exercise, this may be a great strain for you.

5. Hawaiian Dream

Like other strains on this list, Hawaiian Dream can treat stress, pain and inflammation, but it’s also known for helping with muscle spasms as well. This can be particularly important for people dealing with chronic conditions that cause spasms frequently. It also has a really nice tropical taste to it.

6. Dance World

Dance World is one of the best strains for people dealing with nausea, such as people going through chemotherapy. It’s also an effective strain for dealing with headaches, which makes this strain a little more specialized than others on this list.

7. Nordle

Nordle can treat pain and anxiety like others on this list, but it’s particularly effective for people dealing with insomnia. If you’re struggling to sleep, Nordle could be your solution.

8. Harlequin

Harlequin is one of the most talked about high-CBD strains out there that can help tackle any condition you can think of. It’s also widely available, particularly since it’s so effective.

Marijuana Access Is Associated With Decreased Use Of Alcohol, Tobacco And Other Prescription Drugs

See Author Article Here
By Paul Armentano

A significant amount of data has been generated in recent years showing that cannabis access is associated with reduced levels of opioid use and abuse. But emerging data also indicates that many patients similarly substitute marijuana for a variety of other substances, including alcohol, tobacco and benzodiazepines.

Last month, a team of researchers from Canada and the United States surveyed over 2,000 federally registered medical cannabis patients with regard to their use of cannabis and other substances. (Medical cannabis access has been legal across Canada for nearly two decades).

Investigators reported that nearly 70 percent of respondents said that they substituted cannabis for prescription medications, primarily opioids. Forty-five percent of those surveyed acknowledged substituting cannabis for alcohol and 31 percent of respondents said that they used marijuana in place of tobacco.

Among those who reported replacing alcohol with cannabis, 31 percent said they stopped using booze altogether, while 37 percent reported reducing their intake by at least 75 percent. Fifty-one percent of those who reported substituting cannabis for tobacco said that they eventually ceased their tobacco use completely.

 

This documentation of cannabis substitution is not unique. A 2017 study of medical cannabis patients similarly reported that 25 percent of the cohort reported substituting cannabis for alcohol, while 12 percent substituted it for tobacco. A 2015 paper published in the journal, “Drug and Alcohol Review” also reported that over half of patients surveyed substituted marijuana in lieu of alcohol. A placebo-controlled clinical trialperformed by researchers at London’s University College reported that the inhalation of CBD — a primary component in cannabis — is associated with a 40 percent reduction in cigarette consumption.

Numerous studies also indicate that legal cannabis access is associated with reductions in overall prescription drug spending. While much of this reduction is the result of the reduced use of opioids, studies also report decreases in patients’ consumption of other prescription drugs, such as sleep aids, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. A 2019 study by a team of Canadian researchers reported that the use of marijuana is associated with the discontinuation of benzodiazepines. (The popular anti-anxiety medication was responsible for over 11,500 overdose deathsin the United States in 2017, according to the US Centers for Disease Control). In their study of 146 subjects, the initiation of medical cannabis resulted in significant and sustained reductions in patients’ use of the drug.

By the trial’s conclusion, 45 percent of participants had ceased their use of benzodiazepines. In a separate study, also published this year, of over 1,300 US medical cannabis patients suffering from chronic pain conditions, 22 percent reported substituting marijuana for benzodiazepines.

These scientific findings run contrary to the so-called “gateway theory” – the long-alleged notion that marijuana exposure primes users to ultimately engage in the use of far more intoxicating and addictive substances. By contrast, for many people cannabis appears to act as an “exit drug” away from potentially deadly pharmaceuticals, booze, cigarettes and even other illicit substances such as cocaine.

As more jurisdictions move away from cannabis prohibition and toward a system of regulated access it will important to monitor the degree to which these trends continue and to assess their long-term impacts on public health and safety.

Paul Armentano is the deputy director of NORML — the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He is the co-author of the book, Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? and the author of the book, The Citizen’s Guide to State-By-State Marijuana.  Laws.

Here’s What We Actually Know About CBD Oil And Anxiety

See Author Article Here
By  TAMIM ALNUWEIRI

Over the last few years, cannabis has (slowly) started going through a transformation as it becomes destigmatized and increasingly legalized around the country. There’s more information, research, and interest in it than ever before, and one of the buzziest aspects of the booming cannabis industry is a compound it contains called cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD. The phytocannabinoid, which was discovered in 1940, can be found in many plants but is most commonly extracted these days from cannabis and hemp.

We’re still in the early stages of understanding the full potential, side effects, and benefits of CBD. Or, as J. H. Atkinson, MD, of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California, San Diegotold us earlier this year: “There is very little data from rigorous scientific research on the therapeutic effects of CBD.” That said, Dr. Atkinson did go on to say that some of the early research does show that CBD could be beneficial in treating anxiety.

Still, finding out what’s real and what’s false about CBD oil and anxiety can be difficult. To clear up some of the confusion, I spoke to Brooke Alpert, RD, a holistic cannabis practitioner, and Cayla Rosenblum, a healthcare informatics specialist at PotBotics, on the topic to see what experts know (and don’t) about the cannabidiol and mental health.

The first thing they both tell me is that should you have anxiety, you should always speak to a qualified medical and mental health professional before incorporating new supplements or products into your routine. There aren’t any known downsides to taking CBD if you have anxiety, at this point, but “the dangers of CBD as a treatment plan comes from patients who take this treatment plan upon themselves” Rosenblum says. So proper oversight is a must.

Beyond that, “since the oversight of CBD products is not as strict as many other pharmaceuticals on the market, it is imperative that patients are well informed about the product they are using and the exact cannabinoids within the products” Rosenblum says adding that things may become more clear and regulated now that CBD products have been legalized.

Here is everything the pros know about CBD oil and anxiety so far.

cbd oil and anxietyPIN IT
Photo: Stocksy/Marti Sans

1. WE’RE IN THE VERY EARLY STAGES OF RESEARCH

Because of the red tape surrounding cannabis, the research currently available on all aspects and compounds is somewhat limited. Most of the clinical trials and studies that have been executed so far have been done on mice and rats or small sample sizes of human subjects.

To prove “a relationship between CBD use and positive benefits on anxiety treatment, the medical community still needs more large scale randomized clinical trials using CBD. However, with new legislation legalizing hemp and CBD products, it is to be expected that these much-needed, large-scale trials will be conducted soon, providing even more clinically based evidence” Rosenblum says.

2. RESEARCH SHOWS A CONNECTION BETWEEN CBD AND SEROTONIN

A study published in 2016 found that CBD has a noticeable impact on serotonin levels. Alpert explains that the study demonstrates that CBD could work “similar to how SSRIs work by preventing serotonin from being reabsorbed in the brain, allowing for more of that feel good hormone to be present.”

The study, however, does have a major caveat, which is that it was conducted on mice and not humans. Additional studies using human trials have been inconclusive. A study published in 2018 found that CBD can, in fact, behave somewhat like an anti-depressant but only when there are certain levels of serotonin found in the central nervous system.

3. CBD COULD EXPAND THE HIPPOCAMPUS

Another study with promising results (though conducted on mice) found an interesting and beneficial relationship between CBD and the hippocampus. The research published in 2013 showed that “CBD can stimulate neurogenesis, or the generation of new neurons, in the area of the brain associated with anxiety. More neurons mean a bigger hippocampus, which is associated with better moods,” Alpert explains.

4. IT COULD BE ESPECIALLY EFFECTIVE FOR SOCIAL ANXIETY

In 2011 a small study was conducted on two groups of people, patients with a generalized social anxiety disorder (SAD) who had never undergone treatment before, and those without a social anxiety disorder. The study examined how CBD affected their social anxiety with promising positive results. “In both the social anxiety disorder and healthy subject groups, when tested with the CBD treatment, a large positive difference in the reduction of stress measures were seen in both groups. It was indicated that even in the healthy control group, the stress measurement levels were almost abolished in the CBD treatment group,” Rosenblum says.