Every year more and more people are able to see, and willing to admit, that cannabis has helped people suffering from any number of medical conditions. They’re just not sure how. Does cannabis really help relieve that many symptoms? Some still think that slapping the word medical in front of the word marijuana is just a savvy way of getting legalization and is somehow scamming the system. Thankfully the number of holdouts who feel cannabis is a dangerous drug that will somehow destroy the fabric of our society, is continuing to dwindle as the years go by.
Eventually people realize that the sky isn’t going to fall just because the state they live in adopted a medical or rec program. The rational part of me wonders if they can honestly be blamed. Their fear is largely based on generations of bad propaganda pushed by people in positions of power who had agendas.
Truth is, almost nothing of what the ‘Reefer Madness’ propaganda said was based in fact or science. Truth is, the number of deaths caused by cannabis is now equal to the same number of people gored by unicorns ( yeah I went there). Not only does cannabis NOT cause people to become crazed maniacs, but it actually helps your body to protect and heal itself. But how? How can a single plant help relieve so many symptoms? Well, it all has to do with your Endocannabinoid System, which wasn’t even know about until about 30 years ago.
What is the Endocannabinoid System and what does it do??
The Endocannabinoid System, or ECS, consists of cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors. This system is responsible for regulating and balancing many processes in the body, including immune response, communication between cells, appetite and metabolism, memory, and more. It’s the system that makes sure all your other systems are working properly. When something isn’t right, your Endocannabinoid System is what tells your body that it needs to heal itself.
These cannabinoid receptors and cannabinoids mimic a lock and key mechanism. Much like you insert a key into a lock, cannabinoids bind to your receptors and unlock them to cause a change in how your cells function. This results in a certain effect in your body. When you have issues with your endocannabinoids, it can lead to physical difficulties and other problems caused by an imbalance in your body.
To understand the human Endocannabinoid System, it’s helpful to know a little about one of the most fundamental concepts in biology: Homeostasis. The easiest way to explain homeostasis is to take a page out of the children’s story, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The story is about the idea that the best outcome is often times somewhere in the middle. We don’t want things too hot or too cold, but just right!
Homeostasis is the concept that your body functions are actively regulated in order to maintain a balance and operate within a certain range. Our bodies aren’t able to operate at it’s peak when our temperature is too hot or too cold, or when our blood sugars are too high or too low, etc. For example, if an outside force, such as pain from an injury or a fever, throws off your body’s homeostasis, your ECS kicks in to help your body return to its ideal operation. This is why cannabis has been shown to help so many different symptoms or conditions.
In 1902 Thomas Edison said, “There were never so many able, active minds at work on the problems of disease as now, and all their discoveries are tending toward the simple truth that you can’t improve on nature.”
Many doctors are uncomfortable recommending an herbal medicine and even more doctors absolutely hate the idea of smoking a medicine. Our medical system is setup in a way that prefers to isolate a single substance, put that in pill form, and push it out to the masses. This way of thinking severely limits the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids.
Unlike pills, you consume hundreds of cannabinoids when you consume cannabis and these compounds work synergistically with each other to create a more medically therapeutic effect. This is often referred to as the “Entourage Effect”. The term was popularized by Dr. Ethan Russo—a neurology physician who has spent his career conducting medical research on cannabis—and his 2011 paper, “Taming THC.”
Whole Plant Medicine
The main benefit to using whole plant medicine versus isolated THC or CBD is for the synergetic effect that we briefly discussed above. The easiest way to demonstrate this is the fact that CBD can help balance out the psychoactive side effects of THC but there are plenty of other benefits to using whole plant medicine. However, the biggest reason is that the plant extracts can target more parts of the body than simply THC alone. This is especially helpful to patients that are suffering from more than one symptom.
Research has also suggested that certain terpenes, which create the smell of cannabis, have the ability to increase the sedative effects of THC. It is believed this happens because myrcene helps to improve the absorption of active ingredients. This further illustrates that the different combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes, activating different systems in your body, is what gives each strain of cannabis its own unique gift to each patient.
For patients, finding the right strain of cannabis is more about finding the right combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes, in a specific ratio to create a desired effect. This is why I strongly suggest our patients understand how to read the testing certificates of analysis that are required by the state of Missouri for all cannabis products sold in dispensaries. For more information ask your favorite budtender what terpene and cannabinoid profiles might be worth trying to help improve your quality of life.
Cannabis has been used for pain relief for a really long time. As more and more studies come out scientists are able to figure out some of the reasons why cannabis is so effective for treating pain and inflammation. A study from 2014 showed that beta-caryophyllene directly interacted with CB2 receptors and was shown to help reduce inflammatory and neuropathic pain. This is really interesting because beta-caryophyllene is unlike any other terpene due to the fact that it is the only one that has the ability to directly activate a cannabinoid receptor, especially CB2 receptors.
Beta-caryophyllene or BCP, can be found in aromatic oils like rosemary and clove oil, and in nature it’s most commonly found in hops, cloves, black pepper, oregano, cinnamon, and basil. Strains that are high in BCP usually have a spicy and musky smell, and some are also known to have a funky profile. Many may carry a strong diesel or fuel smell that makes you nose tingle, similar to taking a whiff of pepper.
Some strains that routinely test high in beta-caryophyllene are:
GSC ACDC Sour Diesel Gelato The White Master Kush Original Glue
For more information, we recommend the following links…
Since the onset of expanded legalization, cannabis research has exploded. More and more government and scientific entities have access to our favorite plant and it is changing the way we look at our highs. CBD has taken the world by storm, loved by medical patients and housewives alike. And with it, we have learned about even more minor cannabinoids like CBG (cannabigerol) and CBN (cannabinol), the more uplifting and sedating cousins to CBD, respectively. But what about the O.G. cannabinoid, THC? What have we learned about Tetrahydrocannabinol in recent years? As it turns out researchers have learned a lot; there are a number of different versions of THC and each one affects you a bit differently. As such, if you’re more interested in the recreational side of cannabis, it can be beneficial to know just what iteration of THC you’re about to interact with.
THC, from A to V
At the core of getting high in the conventional sense is Tetrahyrodcannabinol, or THC. This is the cannabinoid that stoners have been familiar with for decades. It is what gives you the “psychoactive” high of cannabis, what makes electronic music tolerable and fast food some of the most gourmet stuff you’ve ever tasted. When it is not being used for hilarity and recreational fun, THC is consumed by millions for therapeutic and medical reasons. THC is the reason we all found pot and why we are interested in learning more about it. And it’s only the beginning.
On the analytics label of your cannabis, you will often see a different type of THC, Tetrahydrocannabolic acid, or THC-A. THC-A is the precursor to THC and is found in abundance in freshly harvested weed. While THC-A slowly converts to THC while being dried, it still exists in raw bud that is purchased. So to help it along, THC-A is heated up to just over 200 degrees with a lighter or in your oven, causing it to decarboxylate and become its more fun cousin. THC-A when consumed unaltered is non-psychoactive and in a lot of ways, has effects more similar to CBD than actual THC. It is most often utilized for its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties.
At the other end of the spectrum is THC-V (tetrahydrocannabivarin). Derived from primarily African landrace strains, THC-V is still being researched even though we have known about it for decades. As such, there is still a lot of debate about this cannabinoid. Many believe that THC-V is highly psychoactive while other studies suggest that it is only about a quarter as potent as THC. The current prevailing theory is that THC-V’s psychoactivity is exponentially compounding depending on how much is consumed. One thing that all the research tends to agree on is that THC-V is an appetite suppressant. So, if you are someone who is prone to the munchies, seeking out strains high in THC-V may be beneficial for you. Additionally, medical patients may seek out THC-V to help find relief to anxiety, Alzheimers and diabetes.
THC by the Numbers
Most of the time, the only numbers we have to deal with when it comes to cannabis are the percentages on the back and the price tags. But there are a whole slew of “numbered” THC types as well. The primary of which is Delta-9 THC (Δ-9). This is the “conventional” THC that you consume. The Delta in these names refers simply to the structure of these particular THC molecules, so don’t be too concerned that Δ-9 sounds like a government issued pesticide.
The second most common THC structure is Δ-8. It is a partially degraded form of THC that has become more prominent around the cannabis marketplace in recent years. You can most easily think of Delta-8 THC as the “light beer” of THC. Δ-8 has about 20% of the psychoactive potency of Δ-9 THC. As a consequence, it produces highs that are more gentle and manageable than some of the more intense psychoactivity of high Δ-9. Since Delta-8 THC still has the same therapeutic properties that are associated with Δ-9 THC, Δ-8 functions as a good option for users who are looking for the medicinal aspects of cannabis, without the impairment.
While Delta 8 and 9 are the most common molecular structures of THC, Δ-10 has recently emerged as another isomer worth noting. Delta-10 is a by-product of the concentrate and extraction process of cannabis. A crystallized version of THC, Δ-10 occurs during distillation. Not much is known about this compound, as for many years, extractors misidentified the compound as CBC or CBL. While there is still a lot of research to be done on the effects of Delta-10, most current anecdotal evidence suggests that Δ-10 produces high energy in its consumers.
The final THC compound worth noting is 11-Hydroxy-THC. This is the metabolic byproduct of consuming cannabis orally. Whereas most cannabis we enjoy is processed through the lungs into the bloodstream, edibles pass through the GI tract and the liver to be broken down. This process and subsequent conversion into 11-Hydroxy-THC is what causes edibles to last longer and feel more potent than your average joint. It is essential to be aware of this compound transformation as it allows us to better articulate why exactly eating cannabis is so much more intense than just smoking it.
Through understanding all of the different incarnations of THC, we are learning how to better dictate our highs. We can provide both ourselves and other users with the right experience for them to best appreciate cannabis and what it can do for your life. For a while after legalization, it seemed that pot had just become too strong at the behest of the general public’s preferences. But as we learn more and more about it, we are understanding that not only is there a strain for everyone, there is a specific cannabinoid for everyone as well. Highs are much more controllable than you think. You just need to do a bit of research.
This week was an important week for over 60,000 Missouri patients and counting. It has literally been almost 2 years since voters approved an amendment to our state’s constitution to allow patients with chronic debilitating conditions to be able to possess, consume, grow, and purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries. Well… it’s finally here. Cannabis is finally legally available for sale in Missouri. And somehow I have a late start on today of all days. I doubt many other patients had that same problem. I knew they didn’t hit their snooze button 3 too many times. I imagine some patients waking up looking at the clock every 15 minutes starting around 730am, wondering if it’s time yet.
Or at least not the ones I knew who were already waiting, lined up around the block, at the first dispensary to open up in the KC area.
St Louis had their moment a few days before. But this was our time. Today was the day it finally became real. Sure, I have a piece of paper from an office I’ve never been to, saying that someone official says it’s ok for me to grow a couple plants in my basement.
But this is different…
There is now a place that you can go to to purchase medical marijuana. It’s been hard to ignore all the excitement coming from everyone I’ve talked to recently. No more wondering why the weed guy isn’t hitting you back after you messaged them 10 times. Maybe you should call again, I’m sure they’ll pick up this time.
Reality is always less glamorous though. Most have built this day up so much that it is going to be tough for anyone to live up to these expectations, realistic or otherwise. Selection is limited, THC % isn’t what most were hoping for, and not to mention its $60 for an eighth and you can only get an eighth without hopping back in line. I would argue most already knew this was going to be the case though. Most knew we were going to have a rough start, but that it’s going to be ok because things are guaranteed to get better.
So, let’s just mark this date on the calendar as a historic day for Missouri cannabis patients and reminisce, reflect, and nerd out for a little. Let’s take it back….like waaaaaaaaaay back.
Most cannabis history buffs agree that cannabis has been used for thousands of years to treat certain ailments. But it was a simple drink in India made from almonds, milk, honey, and cannabis, that led to the first studies of the medicinal properties of marijuana documented in Western Medicine. All of this was started by a drink called Bhang.
Medical marijuana has roots that date back to the mid 1800’s when a young Edinburgh graduate who had gained recognition as a clever chemist named William O’Shaughnessy traveled to India where he took a position at the Medical College Hospital in Calcutta. O’Shaughnessy, who sought to learn everything possible about the colony, and eventually turned his attention to studying a unique aspect of India’s cannabis culture. He was surprised at how many people were openly drinking the cannabis drink known as Bhang.
In India, cannabis has been used to treat certain ailments by adding it to food and drinks for hundreds of years and is a feature of Hindu religious practices, rituals, and festivals — including the popular spring festival of Holi. Bhang is probably one of the oldest nutritional foods, and drinks in the world still regularly used today.
Even though it was tolerated in India, cannabis use was still very illegal and uncommon back in England. British colonials looked at the drug with suspicion and feared that cannabis could cause murderous madness and become a threat to colonial power after reading about “lunatic asylums filled with ganja smokers” in the local papers.
While studying the health benefits and cultural significance of Bhang, O’Shaughnessy wrote “To forbid or even seriously restrict the use of so holy and gracious an herb as the hemp would cause widespread suffering and annoyance,” the report said. “It would rob people of solace in discomfort, of a cure in sickness, of a guardian whose gracious protection saves them from attacks of evil influences.”
In his report, O’Shaughnessy does refer to the consumption of cannabis as a “vice,” however he also notes that the effect of Bhang intoxication is “of the most cheerful kind, causing the person to sing and dance, to eat food with great relish, and to seek aphrodisiac enjoyments.”
So naturally O’Shaughnessy decided to participate in these experiments to understand the effects of cannabis first-hand. While at Medical College Hospital, O’Shaughnessy also recruited patients to be part of what some would call the first clinical marijuana experiments of modern Western medicine. These experiments validated folk uses of cannabis in India, discovered new applications, and ultimately recommended cannabis for a great variety of therapeutic purposes. In articles published between 1839 and 1843, he details the results of his research into the potential of cannabis to treat seizures, rheumatism, and cholera. O’Shaughnessy established his reputation by successfully relieving the pain of rheumatism and stilling the convulsions of an infant with cannabis.
By the 1894 publication of the British government’s Report of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission, the notion that cannabis caused murderous madness had been mostly put to rest. Until you fast forward a couple decades to when Harry Anslinger rekindled the war on cannabis…but that’s another story, for another time.
While we wait for dispensaries, who will eventually be filling their menus with exotic strains and carrying something better than what I can grow in my basement, we can look back and reflect on how we got here. It kinda started with a drink. A drink that may not be available at most dispensaries. So if you want to try something new or if you just need something to hold you over, give this recipe I found at Leafly.com a try.
If you’d like to try bhang yourself, here is a common bhang recipe:
2 cups water
Up to 1/2 ounce of fresh cannabis leaves and flowers
3 cups warm milk
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground fennel
1/2 tsp ground anise
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp rosewater
1/2 cup honey or sugar
Rose petals, mint leaves, chopped almonds or pistachios to garnish
Heat water to a rapid boil, then remove from heat and add the cannabis plant material. Steep for about seven minutes.
Strain cannabis leaves and flower from water using a muslin cloth. Squeeze the plant matter until all liquid has been removed. Collect the water and set it aside.
Put the leaves and flowers into a mortar and pestle with 2 teaspoons of warm milk. Slowly but firmly grind the leaves and milk together, then squeeze the flowers to extract the milk. Continue this process until you have used about ½ cup of milk. Save the extracted milk.
Add chopped almonds, pistachios, rose petals, mint leaves or any other garnishes to your mortar and pestle, along with more warm milk. Grind until a fine paste is formed. Collect the extract and discard any additional nut fibers or residue.
Combine all the liquids together, and add garam masala, ginger, fennel, anise, cardamom, and rosewater. Add honey (or sugar) and the remaining warm milk.
Mix well, chill, serve, and enjoy.
Disclaimer – The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician and qualified professional regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives for cannabis’s medical/recreational use.
Somehow I am amazed when I run into someone who is still trying to tell me that cannabis is illegal in Missouri. The otherwise seemingly nice lady even continued to argue with me as I showed her my patient card (that I laminated myself), and a brochure about how she could become a patient. “You’re out of your mind!”
Granted…the brochure I had looked more legit than the “cards” we get from DHSS, especially when you’re talking to someone that doesn’t believe the program even exists in the first place. So I have to be a little understanding when a boomer goes off on the bearded and tattooed 30-something trying to tell her that the plant that she has been told for decades that is just as dangerous as crack or heroin, is now legal for people to consume. What has this world come to?!
I live out in the country, so honestly these types of run-ins are not all that uncommon for me. Not just with cannabis, but on a number of subjects that I’m just not going to go into here. I am regularly reminded that outside the major metros, Missouri is still very rural and some of my neighbors may not always be up on current events.
At this point in my life, I’ve lived downtown, in the suburbs, and way out in the country. I will say living in the country, away from the busy day to day grind of the city, is peaceful and a great place to raise a family. It is also not without its inconveniences. Getting anywhere, including groceries or gas, becomes a commute. Cellular signal is shotty in some places so you tend to pick your carrier based on who has the best coverage where you live. Not to mention the limited selection of restaurants or bars to choose from. But that’s easy for most of us to get used to.
It is particularly rough on patients with mobility or transportation issues. In most cases, a specialist may not be anywhere close to where they live. Its for these reasons Missouri made some fairly progressive changes to their healthcare system in the hopes of helping patients living in rural Missouri.
In 2016 Missouri signed SB579 into law establishing new telemedicine practice standards, including explicitly allowing a valid physician-patient relationship to be established via telemedicine. Long before that Missouri passed a law that allowed nurse practitioners to operate their own practice under the supervision of a licensed physician. Both with the intent of making sure all of Missouri residents have access to proper healthcare services no matter where they live. Sounds like a great cause, right? That’s why I was surprised when earlier this year there was an effort to take away telemedicine, specifically for Missouri patients seeking access to medical marijuana.
Luckily, that amendment died a swift death.
So what is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is a service that makes it possible for doctors to meet with patients on any smart device with video capability and good signal by means of real-time, live-video technology. According to a survey by Software Advice, 75% of the respondents were interested in trying telemedicine. Another study conducted by the Affiliated Workers Association showed that more than 60% of doctor visits are now handled over the phone. Throw a pandemic into the equation and it’s not surprising that most patients are preferring real-time telemedicine over conventional face-to-face doctor evaluations. Missouri doctors are, now more than ever, taking advantage of this technology to be able to see patients looking to become certified for the medical mariajuana program.
Kind Remedy, a patient certification clinic based out of Independence Mo, offers medical marijuana telemedicine services to patients as a way of improving patient access, by bringing medical marijuana health care services to previously under-served, rural and urban communities all across Missouri. Patients with qualifying conditions are able to be evaluated and certified for Missouri’s medical marijuana program from the safety and comfort of their own home.
With so much already going on in one’s life, sometimes it becomes impossible to fit in a trip to the doctor’s office, and will often get put off in hopes that things will improve on their own or just go away. (guilty!) As I mentioned before, getting the proper healthcare can become an issue for patients when they have to travel greater distances to get access to medical facilities or specialists. With telemedicine, patients can easily overcome these barriers.
Telemedicine makes it possible to see a doctor while sitting in traffic, while you’re waiting for your kids soccer practice to let out, or even while you’re cooking dinner (not really recommended). Regardless, the idea is to increase access by using a simple technology many of us already use regularly or have had to rely on recently during the pandemic. With a video call, patients can get evaluated from the medical marijuana doctors or other specialists without affecting other priorities.
How does it work?
With telemedicine, the process of getting certified for cannabis use couldn’t be easier. Patients are able to schedule their appointment on Kind Remedy’s website by filling out a short patient questionnaire, uploading any necessary medical records, and picking a time and date that works best for them. If patients are unsure about how to get a copy of your medical records, or need application assistance, they have a team that will happily assist you.
Once patients have completed and submitted your patient intake form, they receive a videochat link via email and/or text message that can be accessed through your computer, tablet, or smartphone. On the day of your appointment, you simply click the link to enter a virtual waiting room where you will wait to meet with the doctor. When it comes time for your appointment, you will be connected to one of their physicians through a video conference where they will review your medical records, discuss medical marijuana treatment, and write your certification. With that certification, you will then have everything you need to register as a Missouri medical marijuana patient!
Anyone who is considering adding medical marijuana as part of their current treatment plan is encouraged to call or text Kind Remedy at 816-379-6557 and learn how they can help or simply press the Get Started button at the top of their website.
The question I see more often than anything else online from Missouri medical marijuana patients is “When are dispensaries going to be open?!” Unfortunately, license winners are at the mercy of the predetermined time line outlined in the amendment. There isn’t a lot for most of us to do except maybe fire up the grow tent to hold us over and dream about the day when we can finally enter a dispensary and see walls of well light display cases lined with elegant little glass jars filled with all the different varieties of beautiful buds or concentrates for our eyes to feast on.
Whether you prefer fruity or diesel terpenes, edibles or flower, topicals or tinctures, or concentrates. Oh yes, the concentrates; solventless, CO2 extraction, rosin, wax, shatter, butter crumble, sugar, or diamonds and sauce. If you happen to find yourself behind me in line at the dispensary, just know that I will be taking my time and trying to look at every product on the shelf until the helpful budtender behind the counter starts to get annoyed…then just let me see that Sour Diesel one last time while I end up settling on the first thing I looked at. (more on this later)
Until that day, what can we do? Well for many Missouri patients, it will be their first time stepping foot inside a legal dispensary. The number of selections and options may be dizzying for some to take in all at once. What’s the etiquette inside a dispensary? What can I expect when I get there? I know that’s what I was thinking my first time I visited a dispensary. I got quite a few looks and chuckles from the more experienced locals who could tell I was new to this. If there are such things as dispensary faux pas, I might have done them all. After a fleeting, mildly embarrassing moment, they were nice enough to explain the ins and outs of what is considered the norm when visiting a dispensary. Allow me to share a few things I learned the hard way so you don’t have to go through the same thing I did.
Don’t think you know everything.
Ask questions…and lots of them! Cannabis is a new thing for a lot of Missouri patients, and it might feel intimidating the first time you walk into a dispensary. Someone with out a lengthy history of cannabis use might feel silly or embarrassed to ask ‘stupid questions’, but don’t be. Don’t worry, you are not the only one by far. Budtenders are there to help you not challenge you. Budtenders, like most cannabis enthusiasts, enjoy talking about their favorite subject…Cannabis! Ultimately, with their help, you are trying to find the right strain, with the right terpene and cannabinoid profile, and the right delivery method, that works best for you and your condition. It may take a couple trips to find the right combination but that’s what budtenders are for. To help you navigate the different options until you find what works best for you.
Put away your phone!
Most dispensaries have a strict “No Phones’” policy so it’s best to keep your phone tucked away while you are inside a dispensary. Casually using your cellphone is discouraged because you could easily snap a pic at any time. It’s also very rude to be on your phone while someone is trying to give you excellent service. Trust me, scrolling until you find the bottom of whatever social media platform you’re on can wait a few minutes while a budtender focuses their time on you.
Visiting a dispensary can be exciting and while it may be tempting to try and make the experience last as long as possible, please keep in mind there may be other patients waiting for you to finish looking at every strain twice only to finally settle on the first thing you looked at. (…wow deja uv, this sounds familiar) Once you have completed your purchase, most dispensaries would prefer you be on your way and not hang around for longer then necessary. If you are wondering why the security guard is staring at you, it may be time for you to politely exit stage left.
Don’t talk about illicit activities
This is a big no-no. You will most likely be asked to leave if you break this rule. We all know recreational cannabis is inevitable eventually. But not now, and its probably a few years off in Missouri at least. Missouri passed a medical marijuana law, key word being medical, so saying the wrong thing like sharing with non-patients, driving while smoking, needing party favors, or taking cannabis across state lines, is all frowned upon and should be discouraged by all responsible medical marijuana patients. Your right to consume cannabis should NOT be taken lightly. Many people fought really hard for a long time for us to be able to enjoy the healing powers of cannabis. Rights are hard to earn, and easily taken away. You don’t want to be the person that ruins it for everyone else. (I will hunt you down!)
The price is the price. There is a reason some cannabis is more expensive than others. There is a reason some growers charge more for their best stuff. A lot of love and hard work went into growing that cannabis. Some strains are really hard to get and highly sought after. All the usual rules of commerce apply the same in the cannabis industry. And just like some of your favorite spirits and liquors….the goods ones are normally more expensive, but you also get what you pay for. I hate comparing the two, but facts are facts. And don’t even complain about the tax rate. The budtender selling you your eighth can do absolutely nothing about that tax rate, and they didnt decide what it should be. Trust me when I say that Uncle Sam is collecting his due from not just the patient, but also every cultivator, dispensary, and processor. Render unto Caesar and all that….oh, and businesses can’t deduct expenses. But thats a whole other bag of worms.
Don’t draw attention to the dispensary
Most dispensaries operate on a fragile truce with their surrounding neighborhood. A lot of dispensaries exist without any issues or complaints. However, there will always be that one neighbor just waiting for someone to do the wrong thing and try and get the place shut down. As tempting as it may be, leave your meds in its packaging until you get home and for heaven’s sake, don’t even think about sparking up in the parking lot.
OK, I think that covers most of our bases on what not to do. Now, what TO DO….
Bring your ID
Medical marijuana dispensaries are governed by some of the most stringent regulations out there. They are not going to let you in without an ID. Even if you were to go to your favorite dispensary everyday, at the same time of day, wearing the same clothes, they are not going to let you in. It’s not that they don’t know you, or that they don’t want to help you, it’s that any slight misstep could mean they will lose the license they fought so hard to get. Before you can leave the waiting room and enter the sales floor, you are going to have to show the front desk your ID and Patient ID Card
I know I shared this already, but I think it bears repeating. Don’t make the mistake by thinking that you know everything. The science is always changing. A lot of things we took as facts 10 years ago are being debunked as “Bro Science” , or things you might have heard from your ‘bros’ that you take as fact. Good dispensaries are going to have an ongoing training program for their staff. Asking a few questions can tell you a lot about what a budtender does or doesn’t know, and by that, if a dispensary is worth visiting again.
Check out the menu online
If there is something specific you would like to try, it’s smart to call ahead and make sure their online menu is current. This can help you avoid a disappointing trip when your favorite strain is also a popular one and the dispensary runs out before you can get there. Some dispensaries may even be able to pull your order and have it ready for pickup when you get there!
Tipping your budtender is common…
Some people are surprised to learn that tipping a budtender is more common than you think. $1 or $2 for small buys, $5 for bigger buys. Some might consider a dispensary as a retail business. I will argue the fact that a great dispensary is judged not only by their product, but also by the service they provide their patients. Sometimes more so the latter. Budtenders, like a barista or bartender, provide a service for patients. Budtenders help patients with all kinds of things like finding the right dosage, mode of delivery, or finding the right product with the right terpene profile that best suits their needs. Budtenders often develop long-term relationships with the patients they help as they craft the individual patient therapy plan for that specific patient.
I share the same excitement that I’m sure most of you feel when I think about when dispensaries will finally be open for business here in Missouri. Bottom line, the thing to remember is to have fun and enjoy your trip to the dispensary. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, the budtenders are there to share their vast knowledge and passion they have for cannabis with you and help make your visit an enjoyable one. Could really use a pic of the KC Cannabis coming soon banner….
Brewing actively aerated microbial teas can be the single best activity a cannabis cultivator can participate in. Every stage of plant growth, perhaps aside from the end of bloom, can benefit from a microbial tea, assuming the tea has the correct ingredients to promote the specific stage of growth it is in. This first part of the tea brewing series will detail what the benefits of a microbe tea are, how to make a tea brewer, and what goes in a tea.
The benefits of teas are wide ranging. When applied to living soil, it replenishes the nutrients the plant consumes, keeping it fertile for weeks on end, as well as aiding in the digestion of the organic inputs already present. When added to a hydroponic reservoir a day or two before it is time to change the nutrient solution completely, it can prevent pythium from rotting the roots by digesting the pathogen and mitigating some of the salts of the synthetic nutrients. Cannabis foliage flourishes when sprayed with a living tea, growing more resistant to pests and pathogens as microbes cover the outer surface of the leaves as well as inside the plant tissue.
To brew a tea, first the apparatus must be constructed. The simplest tea brewer to assemble is a 5 gallon bucket, an air pump, air tubing, an air stone, and some pantyhose. Purified water is aerated in the bucket using the air pump/tubing/stone device. Purified water must be used so no chemicals kill the microbes. The pantyhose is used to hold the dry organic ingredients, much like a tea bag holds tea leaves. As the solution is aerated with the pump, the solution is oxygenated and the dry organic ingredients dissolve and separate in the solution.
Another brewing apparatus that is becoming more popular is the vortex tea brewer. Vortex brewers don’t use air stones, but rather they rapidly circulate the solution moving it from the bottom of the brewer down a series of PVC tubes and then back to the top. The benefit of a vortex tea brewer is that particulates are never able to settle at the bottom of the brewer, potentially creating an anaerobic pocket.
Many organic and even some inorganic inputs make great tea ingredients, however all teas have three (3) essential components: a ‘base’, a sugar source, and an inoculant. Which ones are appropriate to use depends on which stage of growth the plant is in.
The ‘base’ of a tea is the dry organic foundation inputs that are placed in the tea bag. This foundation is digested by the enzymes the microbes create, and give them surface area to work off of. Common base ingredients include bat/bird guano, kelp, fish/fish bone meal, worm castings, compost, mineral supplements, humic acid, and alfalfa meal, although many other ingredients work wonderfully. It is best to use a variety of ingredients, with about one cup of total base per 5 gallons of tea. Use guano and kelp sparingly as they are very high in salt, which can accumulate, killing microbes and blocking nutrient uptake.
The sugar source of a tea feeds the microbes, allowing them to multiply at a ferocious pace. Dry molasses is a preferred source, since it is a large and complex sugar which takes the microbes a fair amount of time to consume. Also worth consideration are plants that are high in sugar, such as sugar beets and sweet potatoes. Simple sugars are expensive and consumed too quickly in an actively aerated tea.
Inoculants are microbe sources that are used to establish the initial microbe colonies in a tea. Many sources and products can be used to inoculate a tea, including homemade compost. Well-matured compost is filled with all types of microbes that can thrive in a tea, multiplying exponentially if the environment is favorable. However, if compost is unavailable, numerous products from your local hydroponics store work perfectly, including Great White® and Voodoo Juice®. Some may argue that these products are expensive, but only a little is needed to brew a tea, and tea brewing effectively multiplies the product well beyond its original volume/concentration.
A wide variety of microbes are beneficial to cannabis plants, both at the root zone (rhizosphere) and on the foliage. Bacteria, protozoa and fungi can all be made by brewing teas. Which microbes are made in a tea depends on a number of factors, which will be detailed in the second part of the tea brewing series. Stay tuned!
Cannabis is arguably the most confusing plant on Earth. The nature of this plant isn’t what mystifies me though, it’s the drastic and polarizing views from both ends of the spectrum whenever cannabis comes up in conversation. As an avid and open cannabis user who has made a living out of loving this plant, I have spent many awkward conversations with extended family members or high school classmates trying to deflect the ludicrous ideas or thoughts revolving around cannabis. If you talk to someone about their favorite flower, they might not even have an answer for you, but if you talk to them about cannabis, well they have a PHD in Hypothetical Fact Calculation with an emphasis in Cannabis Pseudoscience. My point is that everyone has an opinion on this plant and no one has it 100% right, but everyone is starting to agree, we shouldn’t be caging, fining, or legally harassing other people for using cannabis. So here are 7 talking points that you can use the next time you find yourself in an awkward legal debate.
Cannabis is legal, in one way or another, in 33 states. That is 33 states whose governing bodies have collectively decided that cannabis is far less harmful than Reefer Madness once taught us. If you include the 9 other states that have at least taken steps toward lessening the punishment for cannabis possession, that leaves only 8 states that remain fully illegal with no medical use allowed.
2. Cannabis is still a Schedule I drug meaning that the federal government considers it to have no medical benefit. States having medical cannabis programs directly contradicts this claim. Minimum cannabis criminal justice reform in the way of rescheduling would at least allow easier and further research into cannabis.
3. This is one of my favorites; cannabis, which is 100 percent illegal on a federal level making it much harder for our country and economy to benefit from it’s legal use and sale, is also deemed essential during even the peaks of the pandemic. I’m sure you see the irony.
4. It is morally reprehensible to allow humans to sit in cages for nonviolent cannabis offenses while other humans in the same country, often times even in the same state, are making millions for selling vastly more cannabis day in and day out.
5. We have the largest prison population on Earth at 2.2 million. With 250 million adults, that’s almost 3 percent of our adult population behind bars. The next largest prison population is in China with 1.5 million and a population of 1.39 billion putting their percentage of imprisonment at 1.07 percent. The difference is staggering and the War on Drugs has a lot to do with it.
6. Despite nearly identical usage rates, black Americans are 4 times as likely as white Americans to be arrested on cannabis related charges. Not only is there a drastic racial difference in the rate of arrest and incarceration for cannabis offenses, but on the other side of the market, only 4 percent of legal cannabis businesses are owned by black Americans. With the War on Drugs disproportionately affecting our communities of color, we would expect legalization to at least allow equal chance and opportunity for those same communities.
7. My last reason is one of the most widely known facts of cannabis; cannabis use alone has never been the cause of a single death. With a fact like that, what is prohibition protecting us from?
One day, our global society will look back on cannabis prohibition and laugh at our manufactured fear and propaganda. We will be utilizing cannabis as medicine, fuel, in textile production, and many other aspects of our daily lives and we will wonder why we were so afraid. The first step is talking about it and changing minds through dialogue and open conversation. Hopefully these 7 facts will help you have a solid argument the next time you step up to the plate against an anti-cannabis rant.
The foundation of human health begins in the digestive & elimination organs. The ability to break-down food, absorb nutrition, then eliminate waste is absolutely essential for all other body processes. If stress & inflammation are chronic in the gut tissue, recognizable patterns of degeneration will occur. Many folks live & endure stress which creates dis-eases of the gut, including esophageal erosion, stomach upset, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, diverticulitis and more. The worst pathology leads to the bloody degeneration known as Crohn’s disease. This is when folks are pooping hot\runny feces 20x\day. They are getting several feet of intestines cut-out of their body. A feces bag is glued or strapped to their stomach that catches poop waste as it exits out a hole on the front of the body that is permanently created by the medics. This is an awful fate for anyone who ends-up this way. It doesn’t have to be like this.
Many health care providers say these gut issues are “genetic”. What that is supposed to mean is, “It’s not your fault.” and “There is nothing you can do about it.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Anyone can change their minds, learn about their body and begin making healthy choices that reverse severe dis-health. The moment you stop doing things that are making you sick and start doing things that make you well, you can change your mind, your body, your health, and your life. What it takes is “doing the many things” that build health. Healthy routines create better health. What we do over & over builds health with time on our side.
The purpose of this paper is to describe the function and many of the disorders involving the esophagus, stomach, small & large intestine. We will discuss what Western medicine has done for these conditions. We will also discuss home self-health routines for body maintenance, treatment and prevention of gut issues. We can also discuss how Cannabis medicine can potentially help these inflammatory and degenerative conditions of gut tissue.
The esophagus is the muscular tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. The brain\nervous system controls & coordinates the smooth muscular contractions that move food from chewing & the mouth, down the esophagus, to empty in the stomach. Between the esophagus & stomach is a valve that is supposed to open only momentarily to allow food into the stomach, but not the other way. This valve is called the “cardiac valve” (because of the location close to the heart) Instead, many doctors call this the “esophageal\stomach valve”, because it makes more sense and it is easier to understand the anatomy & function.
If nerve & muscle tone & control are lost in this tissue, the esophageal\stomach (cardiac) valve becomes weak. The esophageal\stomach valve will not remain closed. This problem lets stomach digestive contents & juices back-flow into the distal esophagus. The digestive acid from the stomach will aggravate & break-down the tissue of the distal esophagus, causing pain & degeneration. The esophagus does not have the mucus-producing glands that protect against acid erosion, like the stomach. Western medical doctors call this condition “gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD)”, or “heartburn”, even though this suffering has nothing to do with the heart. Many drugs are sold on television that attempt to neutralize stomach acids, for temporary relief. The problem with this method of treatment is that the stomach & brain recognize the acid level is low in the stomach when the drugs are taken and the body goes about making more acid to return to normal. The problem keeps coming-back and more drugs are sold. Stronger anti-acid drugs are prescribed by the doctors, continuing the cycle. These drugs do not cure the degenerative condition in the distal esophagus. They only relieve symptoms temporarily.
When the “heartburn” condition persists chronically, further degeneration of the distal esophageal tissue occurs. Now the inflammation and degeneration is called “esophagitis” (inflammation of the esophagus) or worse, esophageal “cancer”. Note that the final stages of tissue degeneration is called “cancer”. At this point, the breakdown of tissue will require surgical removal of the affected area. Surgeons cut-out the rotten, acid-destroyed esophagus tissue and sew it back-up to the stomach. The problem often returns, because the cause for stomach valve weakness has not yet been addressed. Often, patients that develop this problem do little to take care of themselves, resulting in further degeneration and eventual loss of life, due to this esophageal “cancer”. Indeed, distal esophageal erosion is a serious health problem.
In natural health care studies, we teach the patient the “cardiac valve” is actually a stomach\esophagus valve and that “heartburn” has nothing to do with the heart. We educate the patient to increase their water intake. This “softens” the acid in the stomach, but does not change the pH, thus avoiding triggering the stomach to make more acid. We teach that acid neutralizers and acid blocker drugs create only temporary relief, and later cause a worsening of symptoms as the acid levels rebound in the stomach.
Next, it is time to learn about two great natural herbal medicines that are well-known to reduce inflammation in the esophagus and stomach. Aloe Vera juice, taken internally, by the mouth, down the throat, “coats & soothes” this sensitive endothelial tissue. We teach folks they can buy organic Aloe Vera juice by the gallon and store it in their refrigerator. A person drinks half a coffee cup of Aloe Juice twice a day, morning and evening. It’s that simple. Aloe Vera juice tastes neutral, slightly citrus. It is not unpleasant. A person can immediately feel the relief when they consume Aloe Vera juice and the juice truly heals the gut and skin. Aloe Vera is inexpensive and can be used with no contraindications. It is just food. Aloe positively affects all levels of the gut and heals all tissues it comes into contact with.
Another great herbal medicine is Peppermint. In the plant kingdom, Peppermint is a top-ten herbal remedy. Peppermint chemistry is anti-inflammatory. When consumed hot or cold as tisane (tea), Peppermint reduces inflammation in all the tissues it comes into contact with. A person can immediately feel the relief in their esophagus & gut when they consume Peppermint tisane (tea). This tisane is very pleasant, easy to drink and has no contraindications. Kids easily consume Peppermint tisane when it is cold and slightly sweetened. A person can drink as much Peppermint tisane as they want with all positive effects.
Chiropractors teach the lesson to patients about nervous system tone & control. The brain & nerves control the esophagus & stomach, as well as all tissues in the body. It has been proven time & again that dysfunction in the spine, @ the level of the nervous system that goes to the distal esophagus and stomach, will often cause failure to maintain tone of the muscles that control movement of food and the opening\closing of the esophageal valve. Furthermore, the nervous system, when compromised, fails to maintain and heal damaged tissue from acid erosion. If the body cannot heal itself, degeneration will occur. Chiros teach specific spinal adjusting, directed @ the level of the spine that affects these body functions, positively affects restoration of health and improvement in tone & control. The stomach\esophageal valve is strong enough to stay closed when it receives full nervous control. Maintenance chiropractic adjusting, not for back pain, instead for internal body organ control, is a successful tool.
the stomach: The stomach’s role in digestion is the physical & chemical breakdown of foods. Many compounds are secreted into the stomach, including enzymes & acids, that will reduce chewed foods. The stomach stores foods & fluids until they are ready to be moved into the small intestine.
Disorders of the stomach include “gastroparesis”, when the muscles fail to move food out of the stomach and “cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS)”, where the stomach routinely pukes back-up the contents. This is an especially dangerous condition, because stomach acid repeatedly contacts the esophagus, causing acid-degeneration and esophagitis. Many patients have pain or discomfort that is felt in the center of the abdomen above the belly button, called “functional dyspepsia”. Some examples of discomfort that are less painful are:
Early satiety (feeling full soon after starting to eat)
There is no single motility disorder that explains all these symptoms, but about a third of patients with these symptoms have delayed gastric emptying (usually not so severe that it causes frequent vomiting), and about a third show a failure of the relaxation of the upper stomach following swallowing (abnormal gastric accommodation reflex). Half of the patients with these symptoms also have a sensitive\irritable stomach, which causes discomfort when the stomach is filled with even small volumes. These are all variations of dyspepsia or upset stomach.
Western medicine uses many drugs, in an attempt to chemically alter stomach function. These drugs reduce stomach acid and alter normal gut flora. The drugs are designed to be taken forever and potentially relieve symptoms.
A surgical procedure that cuts-out part of the stomach is currently a fad in Western nations. Also, Western doctors sometimes use a constriction band around the stomach, to reduce the size, in hopes of getting the patient to eat less and reduce weight. These surgical procedures are experimental and hazardous @ their worst. Many people have died from complications of stomach constriction or removal surgeries. These elective surgeries are not recommended by many doctors, despite their popularity.
To reduce stomach upset, pain, bloating & inflammation the first step is drink more water. Soda, coffee & beer are no substitute for water. The stomach and body need water to digest foods and balance acid. Indeed, many health problems with the gut & intestines heal simply by drinking more water like it was the medicine you truly needed. Water aids in digestion, absorption & elimination of foods. Chronically dehydrated people often lack the sense of thirst, compounding their lack of water. Water must be intentionally added to your diet every day.
The conditions of inflammation & dyspepsia improve with the use of Aloe Vera juice and Peppermint tisane (tea). Both fluids are safe to consume, reduce swelling & inflammation and have no contraindications for use. A half a coffee cup twice daily of Aloe Vera juice, night & day, has been shown to work on the sunburn inside your throat & stomach (inflammation). Peppermint medicine is a top-ten herbal remedy for reducing inflammation. You can drink it hot or cold. A child can be encouraged to drink Peppermint tisane if you chill it and add a bit of sweet leaf (Stevia).
The culinary spice known as Turmeric (aka Curcumin) is a medicinal herbal medicine. Turmeric has many health claims, it’s primary potential as an anti-inflammation compound is research proven and well known. People with systemic inflammatory disorders can consume Turmeric with no contraindications. A tablespoon or more of ground Turmeric powder can be worked into foods or drinks daily. There are many known health benefits from regularly consuming Turmeric as active & preventive medicine. This herb is often sold in capsules, but you can purchase bulk Turmeric powder @ considerable cost-saving and dose yourself with the ground powder. Turmeric is used in many Thai & Viet foods.
Cannabis as medicine: Cannabis has been studied for anti-inflammatory use. The primary chemistry of cannabis, tetrahydrocannibinol, exerts biological actions upon the gastro-intestinal tract. Cannabis is anti-inflammatory and reduces nausea & vomiting. Sick people who have a hard time keeping food down do well and increase their appetite when they use cannabis as medicine.
the endocannabanoid system: The endocannabinoid system are neurotransmitters & receptors that exist throughout the central & peripheral nervous system. They combine with neuroreceptors in all parts of the body, muscles & organs. These neurotransmitters influence and alter function and structure in all parts of the body. Potential functions that are influenced include brain function & memory, appetite, energy balance, metabolism and thermoregulation (thyroid function), mood, emotion, stress, the immune system, inflammation reduction, autonomic nervous system balance, pain relief, sleep and much more. It is present everywhere in the body that scientists have looked, including the digestive system. Disrupted endocannabinoid signaling has been associated with many disorders, including diabetes, hypertension, infertility, liver disease, and more. It has been known for some time that the brain can modulate the gut. The gut can also modulate the brain. Endocannabinoid biosynthesis and inactivation have been identified in the gastrointestinal system. Activation of CB1 receptors by endocannabinoids produces relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter and inhibition of gastric acid secretion, intestinal motility, and fluid stimulated secretion. The endocannabinoid system in the small intestine and colon becomes over-stimulated during inflammation in both animal and human inflammatory disorders.
the small intestine: The small intestine is a section of the digestive system that receives & absorbs the broken-down food from the stomach. The stomach, pancreas & liver produce digestive fluids\chemicals that dump into the small intestine and further aid in digestion. The small intestine absorbs the food nutrition from the gut. There exists an extensive network of blood vessels, the mesentery, that surrounds the small intestine and draws food nutrition from the small intestine for use throughout the body. Much of that nutrition-rich blood is sent directly to the liver to be studied and altered by liver secretory chemistry. Many poisons we eat, like petrochemicals in our foods, are neutralized or stored in the liver. The small intestine is uniquely connected to these digestive organs and function perfectly under normal health. When conditions of inflammation are present, indigestion & bloating occur.
Disorders of the small intestine include inflammation, ulcers degeneration with bleeding, bacteria or yeast infection, irritable bowel disorder and advanced Crohn’s degeneration. Western medicine uses various drugs to treat these disorders and also cutting-out specific parts of the small intestine when they are severely damaged.
The small intestine is particularly sensitive to the chronic foods we eat. Junk in, junk out. If you have a poor diet, your body is prone to sickness, especially the gut. One particular disorder of the small intestine is Celiac Sprue. Many doctors report this is a small intestine hyper-inflammatory reaction to gluten, a component of wheat. Other doctors are critical of this theory, saying humans had the ability to eat breads & gluten for centuries and that gluten-sensitivity is a modern disease that arose around the same time that toxic pesticides & plant killers were sprayed on wheat & other products we ingest. The public is becoming aware of the poisons sprayed or added to foods. Whatever the cause, when the small intestine is chronically sick, it is a good practice to eliminate wheat and chemically-sprayed products from the diet.
the large intestine: The three primary roles of the large intestine include absorption of nutrition from the food inside the gut-tube, absorption of water from the intestine and formation of poop, ready for elimination.
The large intestine can suffer from several disorders. Inflammation in the large intestine is variously called “colitis”, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, Crohn’s degeneration or colon cancer. Often, these disorders are the same degeneration, just @ different places along the timeline of a persons’ life\health. The longer a body endures gut\intestine disorders, the worse they get. Sometimes, a human is so out-of-communication with their own body, they have no idea there is something wrong with them. They ignore their body for many reasons. Some folks do nothing for themselves until crisis sets-in.
The worst is Crohn’s disease. The small & large intestine is so swollen, bleeding and inflamed, the patient cannot tolerate food in the gut. Food is rushed through the body, with little digestion & absorption. These folks have “20 hot\bloody bowel movements\day”. :-/ They poop runny feces and blood.
When Western medicine is used for this disorder, the patient is prescribed strong steroid drugs. They are taught a restricted diet of easy foods. Often these diets are not sustainable in nutrition. They lack the quality of foods that heal the body. Many Crohn’s patients have large segments of their rotten digestive tract cut-out. The worse fate is hanging the poop-bag on the abdomen. A pint-sized plastic bag is temporarily glued to the front of the body. The large intestine is cut and routed out the front of the body. Poop and fluids dribble into this bag. The patient must remove, clear and reattach this device back onto their abdomen frequently. This is no way to live. Patients are programmed to “live with <my> colostomy bag”. Maintenance and prevention of gut issues can prevent this awful fate. Many doctors are convinced Crohn’s disease is acquired, not genetic. Much can be done to prevent this disorder. Balancing gut function is essential.
The first, most important thing to do is teach the person they can be well. Often, folks do not know they can heal their own body. Education is key. Next, reduce inflammation. Crohn’s disorder has components of chronic irritation, inflammation, often infection, white blood cell response, tissue damage, bleeding and intense pain. When the inflammatory response is reduced, the patient can have relief. Water. Water. Water, like it was medicine. Water puts the fire out. Next, Aloe Vera juice, both ingested through the mouth and in this circumstance, used as an enema. Aloe puts the fire out inside the rectum & large intestine. A properly trained enema tech (your grandma) knows how to tip you upside down and fill the arse with Aloe Vera. Aloe soothes the pain immediately and provides mucus and chemical properties that heal large intestine tissue.
the cannabinoids & terpenoids:Cannabis is not new as an herbal medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine has used Cannabis for millinia as one of their time-tested medicinal herbs for patients. The inhibitory effects of cannabinoids on intestinal inflammation, as well as on intestinal motility & diarrhea, increase the potential for their use in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disorders. Based on previous research, a clinical study with Cannabis in patients with chronic Crohn’s disease has been started at the University Hospital of Munich. Regarding the endocannabinoids, although the exact mechanisms of their anti‐inflammatory effects remain unknown, it is thought they might be effective in relieving a number of symptoms experienced by patients with IBD (irritable bowel disease), including nausea, anorexia, cramps, diarrhea, pain and inflammation. It appears that endocannabinoids might regulate the intestinal response to inflammation at three levels: (1) reducing the release of neurotransmitters that affect intestinal motility and secretion; (2) directly suppressing the production of proinflammatory mediators. (3) promoting epithelial wound healing. The use of Cannabis as medicine has been prohibited in the United States for decades. This herbal medicine has been researched and used by other countries, including China, Russia, Israel, Sweden, Germany, Mexico and others.
Many of us grew up with the D.A.R.E. program being a mandatory requirement as we prepared to go into high school. For those of you who are not familiar with the D.A.R.E. program, it was a drug education class that was normally a part of a Health class. For most of us, it was our first introduction to drugs. Nancy Reagan coined the phrase that became the D.A.R.E. program’s slogan. Just Say No. They focused on the harm that drug abuse among teens could have on our lives. They also told us cannabis was a gateway drug, leading to the use of harder drugs. I argue that cannabis is a gateway drug…a gateway to recovery.
It’s probably no surprise to you that cannabis is used by many trying to get clean from harder drugs. Most indoctrinated with the D.A.R.E. program’s teachings might dismiss this as an addict trading one drug for another and not treating the underlying physical or psychological addiction. But like most things, the truth isn’t quite so cut and dry.
It’s also common knowledge that cannabis is used everyday as a natural treatment most commonly for nausea, insomnia, muscle cramps, and pain. All symptoms any person going through detox will experience. If a person is trying to get clean, it is hard enough to battle the voice inside your head asking for more, let alone the physical agony your body goes through getting rid of the toxins built up in your system. Cannabis has helped many patients in relieving these extreme body aches and pains when breaking the strong physical dependence that stems from drug abuse.
Not only does cannabis make a person a little more comfortable, but it also makes it so the body can recover easier and faster. CBD (cannabidiol), also commonly found in cannabis, acts as a neuroprotectant of your very important brain cells, and can help protect them from cell death as a person detoxes.
Do No Harm
“But you’re still just trading one drug for another…” True, but there are a few really good arguments as to why this is not an issue when discussing cannabis.
First off, doctors give heroin addicts Methadone as a way of getting off heroin all day every day. That seems just fine to the larger medical industry. Why not something that is way safer? Why not something that is known to help treat patients? Why not cannabis?
Only 11% of people who try cannabis become somewhat dependent. Less addictive than coffee, let alone alcohol, cigarettes, or harder street drugs. The majority of people who use cannabis to quit other drugs would not become addicted.
Alcohol, cigarettes, and harder drugs, all take a heavy toll on your body. Someone who becomes addicted to any of these is almost guaranteed to take off a large chunk of their life expectancy. In contrast, Cannabis helps regulate the body and promotes homeostasis, keeping your body in balance.
When you look at the harm cannabis has on communities, compared to other drugs, it’s like comparing…well, it really isn’t much to compare. On average, 10,000 people die every year from drunk drivers. Cigarette smoking is responsible for 480,000 deaths per year. Many people who use harder drugs such as cocaine and heroin often commit crimes to support those habits because they are so addictive. Not the case with cannabis. There have been zero deaths attributed to cannabis. Not one. Peanuts cause more deaths than cannabis. And I have yet to meet the person who had to rob a liquor store to support their cannabis habit. It’s just not that serious.
Bottom line, if someone has made the mental commitment to get clean, they should be given all the help they can get. If it makes it a little bit easier to kick a bad habit, by all means, smoke some cannabis. Pass that joint. It just might save someone’s life.