Does Cannabis Keep You Young?

Does Cannabis Keep You Young?

Original Post: Cannabis Now: Does Cannabis Keep You Young?

[Canniseur: Can cannabis keep our skin young? The answer to this is elusive and hasn’t studied much yet. In believe it helps keep my brain young because it helps me think more clearly and sometimes (depending on strain) more critically. However, this article is about skin care. I’ve watched my skin age over the years and have wondered if there’s anything I can do about it. Maybe the answer is in cannabis.]

Old people look old because their skin stops producing collagen — or, possibly, because they are full of spiteful regret for a life poorly lived, an existence misspent in the pursuit of frivolous things. Younger people look old because their skin was ravaged by something. It’s the sun, mostly, but also stress, overeating, boozing, or — cue the New Age health solutions music!— an onslaught of rampaging free radicals.

If you want good skin that looks young(ish), the best technique is to stay out of the sun. That isn’t good enough, and so we have a beauty and cosmetic industry that promises to either delay one of the above inevitable outcomes, or to fool other peoples’ eyes into thinking it hasn’t already happened.

There is some science at work here. Most skincare products marketed as “anti-aging” are generally just delivery mechanisms for antioxidants. Antioxidants are anything that inhibits oxidation. Common antioxidants in living organisms include vitamin C or A, which your body should have enough of already if you maintain a healthy diet.

But an Australian company working on a “CBD-rich anti-aging cream” believe it’s found evidence that super-cannabinoid CBD is an antioxidant — and that thus, CBD is the secret ingredient in cosmetic and healthcare products that will keep you (looking) young in defiance of your years and bad lifestyle choices. But is it legit?

This is CBD we’re talking about, so the honest answers are “I don’t know” and “maybe,” with an additional “other stuff that is already well known and widely available may work just as well, if not better.” But since neither skepticism nor caution can compete for pageviews with a potential fountain of youth, here are the details.

Business Insider’s Australia edition was first to the news that a three-year research project by the University of Technology Sydney and Bod Australia has turned up a new “family of proteins in human cells that acting as anti-ageing [sic] agents.”

Having made this discovery, “BOD and UTS are [now] exploring the combination of those proteins with CBD in topical anti-ageing creams,” the BI item posted last week reported. Adele Hosseini, Bod’s chief scientific officer, also went one step further. In an interview with BI, she made the additional claim that “CBD by itself does have some antioxidant properties as well.”

Unfortunately for Bod, they’re a bit late to the punch. There are already numerous anti-aging skin creams with CBD in them available on the market, in drugstores as well as through Amazon or other online retailers.

And though most CBD users appear to be attempting to solve pain, anxiety, depression and insomnia before having the time and space to worry about their youthful appearance, cannabis’s value as a general anti-oxidant is already relatively well-known.

“Cannabis is filled with antioxidants, like vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E, all of which will be helpful in preventing damage and premature crepe-iness under your eyes,” Boston-area dermatologist Joyce Imahiyerobo-Ip told Marie Claire in a 2017 interview. (The author of that piece went on a “CBD-only” beauty-care product “diet” for a month — and absolutely loved it, for what that’s worth.)

This means that all cannabis, not just a concoction that includes a hemp-derived CBD extract, might help preserve the skin. This also means that you could get antioxidants from cannabis, or a product that contains cannabis or a cannabis extract, like CBD, or you could get antioxidants from somewhere else entirely.

This also means that the value of CBD-rich anti-aging products might be debatable — not because they don’t work (they might!) but because other products that are cheaper or more widely available may work just as well as the $89.99 “Defynt CBD Skin Serum” sold by Kush Queen, or the CBD anti-aging cream “with apple stem cells” sold by Kushly.

Maybe the best fact to keep in mind here is the finding that 80% of all “extrinsic skin damage” is caused by exposure to the sun, with alcohol intake, bad diet, stress, and damage from free-radicals making up the rest. If shopping for CBD skin creams keeps you mellow — and keeps you inside, and away from the sun — you just may find that it benefits, if not in the way you (or the product you’re buying) anticipate.

Does Cannabis Keep You Young? was posted on Cannabis Now.

Dangerous Synthetic Cannabinoids Found in Liquid Claiming to be CBD

Dangerous Synthetic Cannabinoids Found in Liquid Claiming to be CBD

Original Post: Cannabis Now: Dangerous Synthetic Cannabinoids Found in Liquid Claiming to be CBD

[Canniseur: This is precisely why I consume flower for both CBD and THC. Cannabis flowers are easy to recognize. If you buy your cannabis through a shop, provisioning center or reputable dealer, you can see the flowers. Doesn’t matter whether the oil you purchases claims to be full of THC or CBD. It’s kind of silly to ‘doctor’ flowers by spraying some sort of synthetic CBD on them. It’s too easy to grow with plenty of real CBD in them! I consume flower because I know what I’m getting. CBD is now legal and there are some regulations, but apparently not enough.]

Along with bold and unsubstantiated promises of health and wellness, most marketing materials for products containing CBD claim that CBD, a compound found in cannabis that alters mental processes and behaviors, is non-psychoactive.

That’s not true. If CBD does in fact reduce anxiety, or fight depression, those are by definition psychoactive effects. But one effect CBD products are absolutely not supposed to have is a “heart-pounding” hallucinogenic experience, like the one a Virginia Commonwealth University graduate student suffered last year.

As The New York Times recently reported, the unidentified student contacted the school’s forensic toxicologists after vaping some liquids made by a company called Diamond CBD and having a very bad time. His experience mirrored that of more than 100 U.S. service members, some of whom were hospitalized with hallucinations after vaping products said to be CBD oil — experiences that track more closely with ingesting spice than CBD, which studies have found to be mostly benign even at high doses.

When VCU toxicologist Michelle Peace tested Diamond CBD products, in four of nine samples examined, she found a compound called 5F-ADB — which is a synthetic cannabinoid that has no therapeutic potential, according to the World Health Organization, but can trigger acute psychosis and, in extreme cases, convulsions and death.

Fake cannabinoids, keep in mind, are subject to a blanket ban by regulators in the United States and have been linked to numerous very bad health outcomes, including the notorious “zombie” incident in Brooklyn.

But since “synthetic marijuana” is a blanket term referring to one of any number of chemical compounds whose effects attempt to “mimic” THC, they are very hard to suss out. And also, apparently, easy to mix into “CBD” products in order to… well, produce a high? Produce negative headlines? Trick the user?

Among its products marketed to humans, which the very troubled in human consumed, Diamond CBD also sells products marketed to pets.

In a statement to the Times, Diamond CBD’s parent company, a holdings company called PotNetwork Holdings that also markets CBD products under comedic legend Tommy Chong’s brand Chong’s Choice, rejected the findings and said their own tests did not find “any unnatural or improper derivative,” and said it would test more products and issue a recall if necessary.

But the experience of the soldiers last year — who also claimed to have vaped CBD oil before turning up in emergency rooms with symptoms consistent with exposure to synthetic cannabinoids — suggests that the one man’s issue with Diamond CBD products may not be an isolated incident.

The Times’s analysis of the incident was a critique of the CBD market’s lack of regulation. This is a real thing and it is problematic. Swearing that your CBD product can work all kinds of wonders, as many CBD product marketers have done, is neither honest nor legal. But adulterating CBD oil with synthetic cannabinoids, as VCU’s Peace alleges that Diamond CBD may have done, is a huge leap beyond hucksterism and lands instead in the realm of reckless or malicious disregard.

What to do? That’s an excellent question. The speed at which CBD products’ popularity and availability have outpaced any kind of CBD knowledge and awareness — let alone product regulation, safety, and testing — has been stunning. The vape oil is out of the bottle and in your lungs and brain; what’s in it? You just can’t be certain, and until you can, there is apparently a risk of being very dangerously fooled by unscrupulous CBD companies. Will it happen to you? It could, and that’s bad enough.

TELL US, are you concerned about the safety of CBD products?

The post Dangerous Synthetic Cannabinoids Found in Liquid Claiming to be CBD appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Dangerous Synthetic Cannabinoids Found in Liquid Claiming to be CBD was posted on Cannabis Now.

Texas Lawmaker Lies about Pot & Veteran Suicides to Block Medical Access

Texas Lawmaker Lies about Pot & Veteran Suicides to Block Medical Access

Original Post: Cannabis Now: Texas Lawmaker Lies about Pot & Veteran Suicides to Block Medical Access

[Canniseur: A politician telling a lie??? Gasp. This particular politician has a lot of gall to prevent vets access to medical cannabis. She feels she has to lie, outright lie, to get what she wants. It’s not what vets with PTSD need, it’s what Donna Campbell wants. Her egregious deception of the facts around cannabis and her disdain for the truth in the legislative process is beyond telling.]

Donna Campbell is a licensed and practicing physician who represents a suburb of San Antonio in the Texas Senate. A Republican, Campbell has also been involved in Texas’s long, slow, and often onerous and arduous journey towards legalizing cannabis for medical purposes.

Campbell’s resume on the cannabis question is, in a word, diverse. It includes turns as both a reluctant and unreliable advocate — and now, according to recent reports, as a disingenuous adversary who saw fit to lie about veteran suicides in order to block expanded access for sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Earlier this spring, Texas lawmakers voted to expand access to the state’s extremely limited medical cannabis oil program. Previously available only to sufferers of intractable epilepsy — for whom access was no small feat even then — medical cannabis with little to no THC is now also available for sufferers of terminal cancer, autism and multiple sclerosis.

PTSD, a malady common among the millions of people who have become military veterans over the past 20 years of combating terrorism, might have been included in the bill.

At least that was the plan, before Campbell made a very bold claim during a debate on the matter — that 70% of the military veterans who have taken their own lives had THC in their systems.

Suicide by current and former members of the military is a very big deal. According to one regularly cited statistic, one pulled from Veterans Administration data, as many as 20 military veterans commit suicide every day. In normal countries, this would an epidemic, a public health crisis. In ours, it’s an excuse to not legalize medical cannabis.

“A study was done, a post-mortem, so a retrospective study done, looking at autopsies and drug levels, what drugs were in the blood of veterans that committed suicide, and 70% had THC,” the senator and doctor said, according to PolitFact.com.

A bold claim — and utterly baseless, as outlets including the Austin American Statesman pointed out. Campbell did not indicate the source for her claim because there is none. She made it up, out of whole cloth. Sen. Donna Campbell, M.D., lied outright in the Texas Senate, on record, in order to limit access to medical cannabis in Texas.

Why did she do this? Politifact tried to contact the senator several times before publishing an item rating her testimony as “not accurate” and making “a ridiculous claim,” its still-euphemistic terminology for an outright lie, a Texas-sized whopper, a dump-truck full of bullsh*t. So we can’t know, but we do know that Campbell appears to have it out for military veterans.

During a 2016 committee hearing on this exact same matter — allowing veterans with PTSD to access cannabis, a drug that many military veterans say is what brings them relief — Campbell stopped a military veteran mid-sentence.

“We already legalized medical cannabis,” said the senator, offering the beatific, “you are an idiot, sir” smile reserved for someone asking directions in a Walmart.

“Yeah… but it doesn’t help veterans,” the veteran responded, according to the Houston Press. “It helps intractable epileptic patients only. So…“

“Well,” Campbell interrupted again, “that is a subject for another day.”

Indeed, and a subject that Campbell, a fabulist, has no compunction about compromising her reputation in order to thwart.

Military veterans as well as secular humanists have descended on Campbell’s Facebook page to call her out because in addition to being a dishonest doctor, Campbell is also apparently a very proud Christian, who frequently posts this or that biblical reference. We seem to recall something in the Ten Commandments about this sort of thing. Then again, maybe Campbell has her own version of the Bible, too.

Texas Lawmaker Lies about Pot & Veteran Suicides to Block Medical Access was posted on Cannabis Now.

Got Terps? Cannabis Extracts Lack the Same Compounds as Flower

Got Terps? Cannabis Extracts Lack the Same Compounds as Flower

Original Post: Cannabis Now: Got Terps? Cannabis Extracts Lack the Same Compounds as Flower

[Canniseur: VINDICATED!!!! At least that’s the way I feel. I’ve been a proponent of whole flower for years. Extracts and concentrates fine in their way, but they are not flower and don’t have all the chemistry of whole flower. If you take a holistic approach to cannabis, you’ll know that even a vaporizer that uses whole flower like a Volcano just isn’t the same as putting the whole flower (ground up, of course) in a bowl or a joint or a bong. The effect from the Volcano is just…different. Not bad different, but different.]

It can be easy to convince yourself that concentrated cannabis is cannabis, just more of it. You can argue that concentrates have more of the good stuff and less carbon-based plant material: More terpenes, more THC, more bounce to the ounce (or bam to the gram, whatever). Just taste that surge of limonene and feel the impact on your brain and body as that wave of 80% THC crashes over your consciousness and try to say otherwise!

But contrary to what your senses might tell you about concentrate superiority, science has spoken. And science says the extraction process, as sophisticated as it may be, removes significant active ingredients from the plant-based source material — including the material that, for most consumers, determines what strain is their favorite.

More to the point: If a Jack Herer CO2 cartridge has a different terpene and cannabinoid profile from Jack Herer flower, can the dispensary or brand selling the cartridge say honestly that it’s Jack Herer?

This is a question that’s been mulled over by researchers in and out of the cannabis industry. It was the subject of a white paper published by California-based Steep Hill Labs, one of the industry’s older and more established testing labs. It was also the focus of a research article published in the journal Planta Medica in 2018, written by a team of industry researchers affiliated with the Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy, a Seattle-based cannabis-centered think tank.

A common answer to the extremely common question “What strain should I use?” is to let the nose decide: to smell a flower’s terpene profile and gauge by the potential user’s reaction whether they might enjoy smoking it. The reason why this works is obvious by now — it’s the flower’s terpene profile the user is judging.

About 60% of cannabis users say they apply the smell-test method when selecting their strain, according to the 2018 study in Planta Medica. That simply cannot be done with concentrates, for two reasons: You can’t crack open a CO2 cartridge to sniff the oil, and even if the dispensary let you destroy product in order to buy it, what’s inside has some differences.

For the Planta Medica article, a research team led by Michelle Sexton analyzed supercritical cannabis oil from six different chemovars. They used liquid chromatography to see how seven different cannabinoids and 42 different terpenes fared during the extraction process. And as they observed, “[t]he relative potencies of terpenoids and cannabinoids in flower versus concentrate were significantly different.”

Most pronounced was the loss of monoterpenes. This makes sense, as terpenes are “typically volatile molecules that evaporate easily,” as Steep Hill wrote in their white paper critiquing the Sexton study. But it also means that there was a significant difference in the end-consumer experience — the recreational experience, but also perhaps the medical effects, depending on the end user’s goal.

“The results identified a potential disconnect in the experience for whole-flower cannabis consumers and concentrate cannabis consumers,” Steep Hill wrote. That is, there may be a need for cannabis-product producers to explain to users that the Jack Herer concentrate is not just the Jack Herer they like in an easier-to-consumer form — it is a different product altogether.

“These results highlight the need for more complete characterization of cannabis and associated products, beyond cannabinoid content, in order to further understand health-related consequences of inhaling or ingesting concentrated forms,” as Sexton put it.

The study was published last fall, and it doesn’t appear that producers or dispensaries have adjusted — if they have acknowledged the study at all. There are some vape-oil cartridge product lines that advertise a more “true-to-the-flower” terpene profile, claims based on post-extraction add-backs of terpenes. At the same time, it’s not clear how close to the original profile the oil products are —  or if they can hope to be the same thing at all.

Let’s try for an analogy. “One might liken the differentiation to ordering a regular soda and being given a diet soda — while it may look and taste similar, it’s not quite the same and isn’t what you thought you’d ordered,” as Steep Hill put it.

While Sexton’s study focused on supercritical CO2 oil, this is a universal problem among extracts, albeit to different degrees. “No extraction method has been proven to fully preserve the terpene profiles of cannabis in its flower form,” as Steep Hill wrote.

Extracts have slowly eaten away at flower’s market share for a few years now, a trend that does not appear to be slowing or reversing. This means more and more new and existing users’ cannabis experience will be with extracts — and it also means that their experience is something different from what the flower heads are getting. There’s no denying this, yet it’s not something the industry is widely acknowledging, in product packaging or product marketing.

Got Terps? Cannabis Extracts Lack the Same Compounds as Flower was posted on Cannabis Now.

The Big Problem With the Latest Opiates & Marijuana Study

The Big Problem With the Latest Opiates & Marijuana Study

Original Post: Cannabis Now: The Big Problem With the Latest Opiates & Marijuana Study

[Canniseur: The author here is doing a bit of a mea culpa. He originally jumped on the “cannabis equals lower opiate deaths” bandwagon from one study. Many other authors did the same. They were attempting to make a correlation between medical cannabis use and a lower reported deaths from opiate overdose. Correlation and causation are two different things. While the deaths might have gone down (they did not) there is no evidence one way or another that medical cannabis use equals lower deaths from opiate overdose.]

America’s worst-ever drug problem, the ongoing opiate-fueled overdose apocalypse, is by now a chronic condition and one for which both easy and simple solutions as well a single easily identifiable cause have been elusive.

Continuing a steady upward trend, overdoses killed 70,000 people in 2017, the most-recent year for which data is available. Opiates — and mostly synthetic opiates — were identified as the mortis causa in 47,600 of those deaths, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some of the states with the worst increases year-over-year were the same states that have been on this same trend for years: Ohio, Pennsylvania. Michigan, Florida. One thing all of those states have in common: They all went for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. And they have all have passed laws expanding access to cannabis, either medical or recreational, since 2010.

Is there a connection? Nobody can say for certain, and that includes the authors of the study published June 10 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the U.S’s premier scientific journals, who found that a previously identified link between liberalized cannabis laws and a decrease in opiate overdoses reversed itself.

Researchers, including some of the country’s top drug policy experts, followed up on a prior study, published in the also-prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), that identified a dip in overdose deaths in states that had legalized cannabis access in some way through 2010.

That study has since been much touted in drug-policy reform circles and accepted by public-health officials as a potential balm for the overdose crisis. Several states, including Illinois, which legalized recreational marijuana via the legislature last month, have expanded medical-cannabis access specifically to patients prescribed opiates. And there were more than a few legalization zealots who abandoned caution and nuance and pushed the line that cannabis access directly led to fewer overdose deaths. (Among those who tread incautiously? This author, I’m unhappy to admit.)

Seeking some clarity, researchers at Stanford University used the same methodology as the earlier study to looked at what had happened between 2010 and 2017. They found that despite increased cannabis access, many states, including Ohio, still experienced significant increases in opiate-overdose related deaths. But still, there’s a problem.

What does this mean? Maybe nothing, as the study’s authors themselves admitted. Or maybe something else.

It could be that the “correlation” was mere coincidence. That the states with bad opiate problems also approved medical or recreational legalization measures because it followed a nationwide trend, and drug-overdose deaths continued along the same trend, independent of one another.

It could also be that the drug-overdose crisis would have been worse without cannabis. Nobody can say, since the study cannot say. What they are sure is that there’s no causal link so far.

“If there is a relationship between medical cannabis use and opioid overdose on an individual level, this kind of study can’t reveal it,” as Chelsea L. Shover, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Stanford University School of Medicine and a lead author of the second study, told The New York Times.

At the same time, the study falls into another trap. It was the states with the worst pre-existing opiate overdose crises that happened to legalize cannabis between 2010 and 2017 — Ohio and Pennsylvania among them. That’s a complicating factor that the study simply could not control for, which means that while cannabis cannot be called a solution, it also cannot be ruled out as a change agent of some kind.

Problems this big, this bad, and this persistent have no single cause nor one single, simple solution. In Dayton, a struggling city in Ohio, which has consistently had one of the worst year-over-year increases in opiate deaths, officials managed to cut the overdose death rate by 50% in one year. And as they told the New York Times, they still aren’t exactly sure why.

Maybe expanded access to treatment, maybe expanded access to overdose-reversal drugs like Naxolone, maybe all of the above. One factor the article did not consider: the nine medical-marijuana dispensaries within a three-hour drive of the city, a thin concentration compared to states like California but significant in the Rust Belt. What did that do? Nobody can say for certain, but the answer is likely “not nothing.”

 

The Big Problem With the Latest Opiates & Marijuana Study was posted on Cannabis Now.

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