An Actually-Helpful Guide to Using Cannabis

An Actually-Helpful Guide to Using Cannabis

Original Post: Cannabis Now: An Actually-Helpful Guide to Using Cannabis

[Canniseur: There are loads of books about cannabis in the market these days. But there are too few books that actually present accurate information to people who might want to try cannabis for their health other than being high…although that’s not a bad thing either! Check this book out. It’s pretty good. I read it, but this is a better review than I could write.]

If you’ve been looking for a book on the basics of cannabis and CBD, there are almost too many options to choose from. It can be overwhelming to sort through the volumes of books, blogs and websites dedicated to educating consumers about this important topic.

Still, not all cannabis educational material is helpful, or even accurate. As a cannabis consultant who helps new patients, I’m always curious to check out these books and see for myself whether they are worth recommending to my clients. It’s sad to see how much of the material out there just isn’t worth the read.

Book Cover-Essential Guide

So, I was pleasantly surprised reading through the new natural medicine guide “Cannabis & CBD for Health & Wellness” by Aliza Sherman and Dr. Junella Chin. While similar in kind to many of the 101 guides on cannabis, their approach blends the scientific and practical aspects of cannabis use into a book that is both approachable and grounded in objective data.

The 167-page book begins like many others, with a brief explanation of cannabis’s history, science and medical potential, before launching into the practical details of using cannabis. The descriptions are written for the everyday reader and the book guides consumers through many essential pieces of information that are important to know when using cannabis.

On top of that, there are also a few places where this guide sets itself apart from the crowd.

For one thing, this guide has medical bona fides that many others don’t — it was co-written by a doctor who actually specializes in cannabis.

“Writing the book with a doctor was a no-brainer, since I’m a journalist and author, but not a medical professional,” co-author Aliza Sherman explained. “I had already spent two years researching cannabis as real medicine and having a doctor as my co-author meant that I could finally understand all of the research I was finding.”

To Sherman’s point, a lot of the information found online lacks the insight of a trained medical professional, and misinterpretations of scientific data can lead to a lot of misconceptions about how to use cannabis effectively.

Another place where this guide differs from most is in the section that deals with the treatment of specific medical conditions with cannabis. While most guides discuss a given condition, go over the science behind it and offer recommendations, the authors of this book instead use a real patient’s story for each ailment or symptom they discuss. The book describes a patient’s situation, treatment plan and what actually worked before making broader suggestions based on the data. This provides information that I haven’t seen in many other beginner cannabis guides which could really help patients understand how to most effectively treat their conditions.

Throughout the book, I found clear and easy-to-follow writing coupled with interesting medical insights. It is clear why a seasoned reporter/researcher and a respected doctor make such a dynamic duo of cannabis writers.

While informative and well-researched, this book is far from a scientific textbook on cannabis. Though it does have a large bibliography at the end, there are few references within the text to the scientific literature, and no footnotes or direct citations to support the claims being made. This could be a positive or negative, depending on what you are looking for. If you are one of those patients (like me) who likes to track down the research being referenced as you go, this book could be a little bit frustrating. But if you are just looking for an accessible, thorough and readable guide to using cannabis, “Cannabis & CBD for Health & Wellness” is a great pick.

The post An Actually-Helpful Guide to Using Cannabis appeared first on Cannabis Now.

An Actually-Helpful Guide to Using Cannabis was posted on Cannabis Now.

How To Spot a Fake Vape Cartridge

[Please only purchase your vape cartridges from a licensed dispensary. The legal industry is trying to get to the bottom of this health crisis, with many dispensaries now testing for vitamin E. If your State doesn’t have legalized cannabis, use flower products.]

This year’s alarming wave of vaping-associated pulmonary injury has already made up to 530 people sick and killed as many as six people. If you use disposable vaporizer cartridges, how can you make sure that the one you’re puffing on is safe?

While there are no foolproof methods (even well-regulated markets sometimes have recalls), there are many ways to reduce the risk of consuming a contaminated product. Read on to learn how you can spot a fake or contaminated vape cartridge.

When it comes to avoiding dangerous vape carts, the number one piece of advice we heard from the experts was to avoid the illicit market.

“My honest opinion is to make sure to purchase vape carts from a licensed dispensary,” says Neil Dellacava, buyer at California cannabis brand Gold Seal. “I would just completely avoid buying cartridges from anyone that isn’t licensed.”

Licensed Products Are Much Safer, but Not Completely Safe

From cannabis industry professionals, to testing lab experts, to California’s consumer affairs and public health agencies, everyone we spoke to reiterated the point that cannabis from the legal market is likely to be safer given factors like increased accountability and the rigorous testing required by state law.

Read the rest of this story at Leafly:

Original Post: Leafly: How To Spot a Fake Vape Cartridge

Got Anxiety? Study Finds Cannabis Strains to Try, or Avoid

Got Anxiety? Study Finds Cannabis Strains to Try, or Avoid

[Editor’s Note: Cannabis works for anxiety but everyone is unique. Everyone needs a different strain to relieve anxiety. There’s interesting information in this article.]

Using cannabis for anxiety? A new study aims to figure out which types of cannabis are best suited to the task.

Anxiety is one of the most common conditions that people treat with cannabis, but how cannabis affects anxiety has always been a complicated picture. Research suggests that cannabis is effective at relieving anxiety, but paradoxically, cannabis can also worsen anxiety. This may be partly due to the fact that cannabis’ main and secondary active ingredients — THC and CBD — help with anxiety at low doses, but worsen it with higher doses.

“This study demonstrated patients’ choices for strains was not random …”

Daniel Lantela, co-founder, drug development director, Whistler Therapeutics

To add to the confusion, different varieties of cannabis are diverse in both their chemical composition and their effects, so some may increase anxiety while others reduce it.

Unfortunately, most of the current research has studied cannabis without mentioning the chemical composition of the strains used, or have simply looked at the effects of an isolated cannabinoid like THC or CBD.

But researchers from Whistler Therapeutics in BC, Canada aim to change that, by searching for the chemical fingerprint of cannabis which is well-suited to relieving anxiety. While their study, released in October, was small and had considerable limitations, it points the way for future research to begin tackling the complicated question of which strains work best for which conditions.

Searching For Anti-Anxiety Strains

Hoping to find a blend of cannabinoids and terpenes (called a “chemotype”) that can effectively treat anxiety, researchers on this study first looked at whether particular strains were associated with reduced anxiety.

“Patients report having distinct preferences for certain strains over others and little research has been done on what, if anything is different between strains they like or dislike for a condition” explained Daniel Lantela, co-founder and drug development director at Whistler Therapeutics.

“By asking patients which strains they liked or disliked, we could correlate their choices to the chemotype.”

To gather this information, researchers worked exclusively through one dispensary, surveying 442 of their patients about the specific strains sold there and reviewing two sets of independent lab tests on the strains’ chemical composition.

Respondents were asked to rate the most and least effective strains (from a list of the dispensary’s 25 most commonly sold options), and used a one to ten scale to rate how effective those strains were at reducing their anxiety.

Whistler Therapeutics’ four highest-rated strains for relieving anxiety were:

  1. Bubba Kush
  2. Skywalker OG Kush
  3. Blueberry Lambsbread
  4. and Kosher Kush

Whistler Therapeutics’ four worst-rated strains for relieving anxiety were:

  1. Chocolope
  2. Blueberry Lambsbread
  3. CBD Shark
  4. Tangerine Dream

The Chemical Fingerprints of Chill

Next, researchers turned to analyzing the lab results for patterns amongst the most and least effective strains.

The analysis revealed a pattern of high THC and the terpene trans-nerolidol in the most effective strains. Three of the four were Kush varieties which all share a similar chemotype with high levels of trans-nerolidol, b-Caryophyllene, and D-limonene, and contain genetics from landrace strains found in the Kush mountain range in Central Asia.

Trans-nerolidol is found in many strong aromatics like jasmine, tea tree, and lemongrass. It delivers a subdued and nuanced floral aroma with notes of fruity citrus, apples, and rose, and is believed to produce sedating effects

Respondents rated Chocolope as the least effective strain. The terpene terpinolene dominates Chocolope, therefore researchers suspect terpinolene may account for some of the strains’ failure to relieve anxiety. Other sativas like Jack Herer can be rich in terpinolene as well.

Guaiol was the only ‘perfect’ correlation, found in three of the four least effective strains, and none of the most effective. Still it was found in such small amounts, that the authors say it may just be a marker attached to ineffective chemotypes, or it may have significant anxiety causing effects. Other terpenes like eucalyptol, g-terpinene, a-phellandrene, 3-carene, and sabinene hydrate were significantly correlated with decreased anti-anxiety effect, but were also present in such small amounts that it’s not clear how any one of them affects anxiety.

Study Limitations and Conclusions

Self-Reporting, and Placebo Effect

While this study produced some interesting results, the authors caution they should be taken with a grain of salt. Surveys on medical treatments are notoriously unreliable because they don’t control for the placebo effect or similar factors. For example, patients may think a strain is more anxiety relieving if they have heard others say that it is, which could affect the final survey results.

“Eventually researchers should start to look deeper into the terpene profiles in controlled studies” Lantela explains. “Having blinded studies on cannabis products with varying cannabinoids and terpene levels is much needed.”

Still, self-report surveys are a good starting point, because it’s very hard to test thousands of individual strains in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials.

“The vast range of chemotypes makes narrowing down a few for a controlled study difficult,” he said.

His hope is that this model of survey-based research may help find good candidates for controlled studies. Kush-type strains containing high trans-nerolidol could be a good starting point. Still, this survey used a small group of participants, and covered a limited set of strains, so it is possible a broader survey would reveal other more or less effective strains with different chemical profiles.

Lack of Generalizability

There’s also no way to confirm that the Bubba Kush strain sold in Whistler has the same chemotype as Bubba Kush sold worldwide. Counterfeits abound in cannabis. Different markets have varying levels of strain name accuracy — for example, the Los Angeles is notorious for its counterfeit strains.

Still, Terps Always Matter

While more research is needed to find an anti-anxiety chemotype, Lantela argues that the study still had some important takeaways.

“This study demonstrated that patients’ choices for strains was not random, and the choices were correlated to specific terpene content,” he says, adding that the study also suggests that patients respond differently to different strains depending on their biochemistry.

His advice to patients looking for an anti-anxiety strain?

“Everyone is different, so keep trying different strains until you find one that works best for you.”

Original Post: Leafly: Got Anxiety? Study Finds Cannabis Strains to Try, or Avoid

How Smokers Use Certain Strains to Boost Their Focus

How Smokers Use Certain Strains to Boost Their Focus

Original Post: Cannabis Now: How Smokers Use Certain Strains to Boost Their Focus

[Editor’s Note: Use of marijuana to increase focus could be a big game changer. Learn which strains work best for focus, but experiment for your own unique genetic makeup. ]

Preliminary research and anecdotal evidence suggests there’s a more complicated truth beneath the ‘lazy stoner’ stereotype.

Cannabis has a bad reputation when it comes to mental focus. There’s a common perception that cannabis kills concentration, leaving smokers spacey and unmotivated. And let’s face it, there’s validity to the stigma, because it’s true that indulging in too much or smoking the wrong strain of marijuana can leave consumers in a confused place.

Still, cannabis has a wide range of effects, so the story about cannabis and focus isn’t as simple as it seems. This powerful plant can also have the opposite effect and actually improve mental functionality. Many cannabis users report that cannabis helps them stay more engaged and clear-minded.

“I find my focus with cannabis,” says Betsy Kabaker, a 24-year-old marketing consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“It just allows me to tap into that space where I’m only focused on
that one activity that I’m doing,” Kabaker says.

Growing up, Kabaker’s doctors prescribed her a long line of different ADHD medications, including Dexedrine, Ritalin and Adderall. All of the pills, however, came with brutal side effects, such as daily vomiting, agitation, sleepless nights and a racing heart.

“It washed away my personality,” Kabaker says, “and I think that personality is such an important thing to be able to express.”

When she tried using cannabis to treat her ADHD, she found it only came with positive side effects. “Cannabis affects my mood positively,” she says. “Adderall affects my mood negatively and makes me antisocial. Cannabis makes me social.”

But what does scientific research say about cannabis’s ability to help with focus?

The answer is complicated. When scientists at Florida International University designed a study to see if cannabis negatively impacts focus — or “motivation” — in adolescents, the results were not what they had expected. The researchers reported in December 2017 that they found no association between cannabis use and motivation. However, this may be because cannabis seems to affect focus both positively and negatively, and the results were therefore influenced by respondents reporting that cannabis both improved and impeded their motivation.

On the other hand, a 2011 study published in the European Journal of Neuroscience found that misfirings of the endocannabinoid system (the system of receptors in the body that interacts with cannabis’s active ingredients) have actually been linked to ADHD in mice.

While more research needs to be done, cannabis may also help with other conditions that affect focus. For example, a recent Alzheimer’s study showed that a chronic low dose of THC restored cognitive function in older mice.

But until the science can develop, those who suffer from conditions that diminish focus may find relief by activating the endocannabinoid system with cannabis.

For example, Nelson Ricardo, a 30-year-old product development supervisor in San Jose, California, says that when he smokes cannabis, he is more productive. “I get super concentrated and not distracted by anything, and because of that I’m able to produce and get things done faster,” Ricardo says.

Choosing the strain can be crucial when it comes to using cannabis for focus. Some strains help while others may make things worse. Both Ricardo and Kabaker say they focus best with uplifting sativas, naming strains like Jack Herer or Lemon Haze. For those who find sativas to be anxiety producing, indica-dominant hybrids like Afgoo or Girl Scout Cookies may be a better fit.

Cannabis might cause a lack of focus for some, but for Betsy, Nelson and so many others, cannabis provides exactly what is needed — motivation, energy and focus. It is time to throw out the old stereotype and see the complex picture.

How Smokers Use Certain Strains to Boost Their Focus was posted on Cannabis Now.

Why is CBD Illegal if it’s Non-Intoxicating?

Why is CBD Illegal if it’s Non-Intoxicating?

Ed. Note: Why is CBD still illegal? Because our gummint doesn’t believe in sensibility even if the time to get sensible has long past. We need to get cannabis off Schedule 1 and it’s getting ridiculous.

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been getting a lot of press lately for being safe, non-intoxicating and helpful for treating a variety of medical issues. So why is it illegal and classified as a “Schedule 1” drug? Experts say the answer is simple: marijuana prohibition continues to create huge barriers to researching and producing this valuable cannabinoid.

What is CBD and How Did It Become Illegal?

CBD is one of the most plentiful cannabinoids in marijuana, second only to THC — the main, active ingredient in cannabis. Like THC, CBD has a wide range of medical benefits, helping with issues like epilepsy, depression, anxiety, pain, inflammation and addiction. Unlike THC, CBD has no intoxicating effects. CBD doesn’t get users ‘high’.

As CBD’s popularity has grown, so has the CBD market. Everyone from cannabis producers to hemp farmers are creating products to meet the demand. From tinctures like Charlotte’s Web, to high-end products like Dirty Lemon’s infused drinks, many hemp-based CBD products can be found online and in stores throughout the US.

RELATED STORY

Which Cannabis Strains Are High in CBD?

But technically, many of these hemp-based CBD products are illegal, and bringing any of them across state lines still raises complicated legal questions. The government is cracking down on those bypassing these laws, in some cases, raiding stores and seizing products. Recent raids include Green Gorilla vape shop in Texas, and Peace of Mind stores in Missouri. Scott Micke, Peace of Mind co-owner, says the hemp-based CBD products seized from his store are carried by Wal-Mart and Target and he thought they were legal. “The laws are so worded and presented in ways that business owners like myself and even the lawmakers don’t know what is legal and not legal,” explains Micke.

Indeed, some lawyers say hemp-CBD’s legality is open to interpretation, and future court cases — or a DEA scheduling change — will add clarity.

The California Department of Public Health is certainly trying to make things clear. They recently put out a statement clarifying that industrial hemp is not allowed in California food products. Period.

So how did this beneficial and non-intoxicating medicine become illegal? “It’s kind of simple,” says Martin Lee of Project CBD “It’s marijuana prohibition — that’s why it’s illegal…and it’s built on a mountain of lies.”

Marijuana prohibition, started in the 1930’s and ramped up during the Nixon presidency, was pushed through by politicians to make it easier to arrest people of color and anti-war activists. These politicians told all kinds of lies about cannabis to make their case. John Ehrlichman, a top advisor to Nixon even admitted that criminalizing marijuana was a way of disrupting these communities, saying “Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

Misinformation from these anti-marijuana smear campaigns have lead to deep-seated fears and misunderstandings that continue to confuse the issue — both for cannabis in general and for CBD.

Mounting Evidence CBD Should Be Legal

CBD is Schedule 1, a classification for drugs with no medical use and high risk for abuse. Still, the evidence that CBD should be descheduled has been piling up. The World Health Organization’s recent report on CBD found it to be safe and without potential for abuse. And recently Epidiolex, GW pharmaceuticals’ CBD-based medicine for epilepsy, became FDA-approved.

FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb praised Epidiolex’s success in a press statement , saying that the FDA’s drug approval process was “the most appropriate way to bring these treatments to patients” and that “it’s a path that’s available to other product developers who want to bring forth marijuana-derived products.”

RELATED STORY

Which Cannabis Strains Are Highest in CBD, According to Lab Data?

Passing these rigorous trials gives evidence that CBD has medical potential, and since the CBD medicine will soon be available to patients throughout the country, there is pressure on the DEA to reschedule CBD within the next 90 days.  “We don’t have a choice on that,” commented DEA public affairs officer Barbara Carreno. “It absolutely has to become Schedule 2 or 3.”

Even NIDA has taken a pro-CBD stance, with Director Dr. Nora Volkow pledging that “NIDA will do what we can to … expedite the study of this potentially valuable compound, as well as other components of the marijuana plant.”

Reason Why People Think CBD Has Stayed Illegal

(OlegMalyshev/iStock)

With all this evidence and support behind CBD, why has it stayed illegal for so long?

“Ultimately it’s a matter of misconceptions still held by a lot of decision makers at the federal level,” explains Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project. “There’s a question of its source and whether it’s coming from plants that could be also producing other cannabinoids.”

Being sourced from cannabis is not an easy problem to overcome. The Controlled Substances Act has tight regulations on anything coming from cannabis, and while Epidiolex has made it through FDA testing, that isn’t an easy road. “It’s very, very expensive,” Martin Lee explains “and GW has been a pioneer in this regard…To get those two things to fit together — an herbal medicine and FDA approved clinical trials — it’s not an easy thing to do.”

RELATED STORY

How to Find the Best CBD Cannabis Product for You

In addition to the cost, regulatory barriers make it difficult for researchers to study the plant. Shawn Hauser, an attorney specializing in hemp and cannabis laws, says one big obstacle is regulations that only allow cannabis from one facility to be used in cannabis research. “The Obama administration attempted to address this issue by expanding the number of federally authorized cultivation facilities,” explains Hauser. “But Attorney General Sessions has continued to block the program and has not acted on any of the 26 applications received in the last few years.”

Still there is reason to hope. Hauser says there are substantial constitutional grounds for challenging theControlled Substances Act based on medical necessity. Between the pressure being put on the DEA to reschedule, and the cases being heard at the supreme court, we may see CBD descheduled in the near future.

Original Post: Leafly: Why is CBD Illegal if it’s Non-Intoxicating?

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