Gateway to Recovery

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.

Cannabis Sex

Male, female, hermaphrodite; cannabis sex is complicated.  Unlike animals, plants are capable of sexing one direction, the other, or both, almost on a whim.  However, cannabis sex can be predicted based on the sex of the seed’s parents and the environment the seed endures during the germination stage.  With a little know how, cannabis sex can nearly be chosen from a seed at will.

Cannabis seeds are sold by strain (genetic lineage), and also by sex.  The sex listed may be either of the following:

-‘Regular’ which means the sexes are segregating; male or female plants can come from a seed. 

-‘Feminized’ which means no segregating; each seed results in a   female plant.

But this is not the end of the story.  Both sexes can turn hermaphroditic, with flowers of the opposite sex growing from the plant even after its sex has already been determined, i.e. male flowers growing on a female plant, or (less commonly) female flowers growing on a male plant.  In some instances, both sexes are represented equally, with an equal number of male and female flowers coming from each flowering site.  A hermaphrodite in a bloom room will create a plethora of immature seeds, ruining the taste and potency of a flower.

Hermaphrodites can come from both ‘regular’ and ‘feminized’ seeds and are typically the result of environmental stress during the bloom phase.  That being said, a hermaphrodite is in fact more likely to come from a ‘feminized’ seed.  ‘Feminized’ seeds are created by pollinating a female plant with the pollen from a hermaphrodite’s male flower.  This is because the pollen from a hermaphrodite’s male flowers only carry the genetic information for female or hermaphroditic traits.  Basically, since the father of a ‘feminized’ seed is a hermaphrodite, it is more likely to become a hermaphrodite itself than a ‘regular’ seed with ‘regular’ parents.

Since ‘feminized’ seeds come with a higher probability of hermaphrodites, other methods of achieving higher numbers of females are worth looking into.  Many growers claim to achieve upwards of 90% females with ‘regular’ seeds by germinating them in ideal conditions.  A stable environment with high humidity, blue heavy light, high nitrogen/low potassium in the media, and a shorter photoperiod are said to increase the likelihood of germinating a female (1).  This is called ‘epigenetics’, which means gene expression changes depending on the environment.  If environmental conditions are favorable, it is more beneficial for the species for the seed to become female since females can make seeds themselves.  Females take more energy to mature than males, but has a high probability of success in a favorable environment.  In addition to that, a single male can pollinate many females so fewer males are necessary.

(1)“How to Get More Female Plant’s From Regular Seeds.” CANNA connection, 18th of June  2018, https://www.cannaconnection.com/blog/18582-how-to-get-more-female-plants-from-regular-seeds.

Industry Highlight: Canna Events by Leo

The people of Missouri voted to legalize medical cannabis almost two years ago. With that vote came the expectation of 338 businesses licensed to grow, extract and distribute THC products to medical patients. An exciting part of any budding cannabis industry that is oftentimes overlooked, are all of the ancillary businesses that start up. Home grow consultants, green doctors, bong cleaners, and event coordinators are among the many businesses that Missouri can expect. I got to catch up with Destiny Simon from Canna Events by Leo to hear about what we can expect out of them in the coming months and years.

Canna Events by Leo is based in Kansas City but plans on taking their events and classes statewide as soon as the industry is running with a more constant pace. When asked what they would consider their specialties, Destiny said education through their condition courses and inclusivity, especially for womxn, are their two main focuses. When asked about her vision, Destiny said, “We are all about womxn. If you talk to a womxn, 99% of the time she has made the choice to put herself second, whether it’s for her partner, her family; it’s usually the womxn taking the back seat.” She went on to say, “We have the opportunity to build an industry without sexism or racism.” 

Which opportunities she was most excited about bringing to patients in Missouri? “We know right now, the only options we have to help current patients are if we help build up the caregivers that offer alternative ways for us to get our meds right now…. We actually finalized our September patient caregiver event. We are building from the ground level, finding the low income patients, finding the people who don’t know where to go, and connecting them to caregivers.”

What can we look forward to about your Patient Caregiver Fair on September 19th? “Yeah! We only have 4 more spots for sponsors left available only because we are allowing only a limited capacity and because, through relationships we already have in the industry, we have filled most of the others. We are letting sponsors sell nonTHC merchandise so that they can recoup the cost of the sponsorship. We are having a capacity of 50 people at the Courthouse Exchange in Independence. We have the whole downstairs to ourselves and an outdoor consumption area sitting out in the back alley. We are going to have an app where people can order food or beverages and they will bring it to you wherever you are in the restaurant and it is contactless… We will have guest speakers, (Marne Madison from Fleur Verte Academy, LaVaughn Hamilton of Dabbing Daddies, and Vernon McClanahan the KC Grow Coach) We will have ‘Speed Weed Dating’, where our patients and our caregivers can talk and see if they’re a good match. Our tickets we have on sale from $0 to $25. If you can afford the $25, that’s your VIP ticket. You’re going to get a swag bag of goodies from us, from some of our sponsors and you’ll get 5% off any purchases. We are really excited about it and just getting to connect people.”

Which other organizations are you a member of or that you associate with? “I am the chapter leader for Kansas City Tokeativity, Women in Weed, which is kind of at a halt for now… KSCBA, the Kansas Cannabis Business Association, helping share resources so that Kansas may get off on a better foot than Missouri did. Also Minorities 4 Medical Marijuana, working with them to help build up their organization so that we can actually see the color change in Missouri. And of course Canna Matriarchs.”

If you could tell the patients of Missouri one thing, what would it be? “Research your endocannabinoid system. It’s an entire system inside of our bodies that we were never taught about. If you could learn anything that could change your life, learn about your endocannabinoid system and you can learn all about it in our Cannacian Certification Program.”

The Cannacian Certification Program, that Canna Events by Leo is offering, is a 3 step education and certification program that was created by Dr. Regina Nelson that will be taught in house. The program is three levels and each level claims to take a deeper dive into cannabis knowledge covering topics like the endocannabinoid system and pediatric cannabis use. Customers have the option to pay for the courses one-by-one or as a bundle and there are also payment plans. Below is a graphic that gives a brief overview of what each level of the course offers.

Sinus & Pharynx Anatomy, Physiology & Body Maintenance

In order to fully appreciate high quality cannabis flower, the organ senses of taste & smell must be in good health & function.  Quite often, there is a condition of chronic inflammation in the sinus cavities, causing the sense of smell to be diminished or even absent.  The sense of taste is strongly dependent upon the sense of smell.  If the sense of smell is injured, the ability to taste will be adversely affected.  As white market production of high quality cannabis becomes available to a discerning public, patients\clients who can appreciate these products will benefit from the knowledge of good oral\sinus\throat healthcare and maintenance. 

The paranasal sinuses are air cavities that help circulate & warm the air that is breathed in and out of the respiratory system. They are mostly symmetrical, bilateral and situated around the nasal cavity and above the eyes.

The tissue cells that perceive the sense of smell are called afferent or sensory nerves.  The tissue cells that come from the brain, pass through the spinal cord and into the sinus tissue that controls function are called efferent or motor neurons.  All these cells & tissues contribute to olfactory (smelling) sense and most importantly, immune system function.  Indeed, a body’s first line of defense involves the immune system in the sinus & mouth cavities.  This is where we first stop colds & flus.  A properly functioning immune system can resist all diseases.

Often, there is a condition of chronic sinusitis in the body.  This long-term inflammation of the sinus mucosa can potentially injure sinus tissue, adversely affecting the sense of smell & taste.  Chronic inflammation can block proper drainage and flow in the sinus tissue & eustachian tubes from the ears.  Immune response is compromised in chronic sinusitis. 

CAUSES OF INFLAMMATION IN SINUS TISSUE:

The inflammatory response in the sinus tissue is initially a healthy function by the immune system.  When the sinus cavity tissue cells detect bacteria, viruses, mold, pollen, airborne irritants and more, the sinus tissue will properly swell-up to physically block these compounds from entering the body.  The immune system will respond with white blood cells of many types to attack & remove foreign compounds, physical irritants & diseases.

If the body is chronically or routinely exposed to adverse irritants or diseases, a condition of chronic sinusitis can result.  People who work around business, home or industrial irritants in the air are most affected.  Examples include pollen in a greenhouse or outside, sawdust, aluminum dust, dry cleaning compounds, chlorine, and any place that emits high concentrations of adverse compounds into the air.  Home examples include chronic mold, paint fumes, cosmetics, fertilizer, house cleaners, chlorine, cat\dog hair, dander and feces.  Even laundry soap can cause chronic sinus inflammation.

A dietary intake of grain-based foods contributes to inflammation.   Grains & grain-based foods contain compounds that are known to irritate the body.  Pesticides that were sprayed on grain that is consumed in foods, meats or milk are known to contribute to inflammation throughout the body.

There are times when a person incurs an injury to their mandible (jaw), temporomandibular (TMJ) joints, skull, face and facial bones.  These injuries can be caused by trauma, like car wrecks and fights.  These traumas to the facial bones can cause profound dysfunctional injuries to the sense of smell and taste, because they physically affect the sensitive sensory nervous system. 

There are known injury, when a person attempts to blow their nose forcefully, due to sinus congestion, that causes damage to the sense of smell & taste.  The over-pressure of the sinuses, by forced blowing of the nose, can injure the frontal facial bones and adversely affect the sensory nervous system.  Chronic sinus infections, sinusitis and excessive use of nasal decongestant drugs can also lead to loss of sense of smell and taste.

TREATMENTS FOR INFLAMED SINUS TISSUE:

By far the most effective action a person can do to reduce inflammation is eliminate the external irritants from your environment and\or get away from these things.  Sometimes the mold in a house cannot be overcome and you must move.  If the sawdust @ the cabinet shop is getting to you, you may need to find another job.  My father worked as a petroleum chemist.  My mother worked in and around dry cleaning chemistry all day.  Both parents suffered from chronic sinusitis and did not change their workplace.  Physically removing yourself from a harmful place is the first step in sinus & immune system health.

Sinus passage rinsing is a workable maintenance routine in the shower.  A person can use a fine-mist spray bottle, add 4 ounces of water & 1 tablespoon of salt, shake & mix.  While in the shower, you spray the fine-mist up each sinus passage while inhaling through the nose.  The salt water will pass over your sinus tissue and drain into the back of your throat.  Next, spit out the salt water into the shower.  Repeat this process until you are certain you have rinsed the sinus mucosa thoroughly.  This routine will help flush physical irritants from the sinus mucosa.  Salt water flush will also reduce sinus congestion & inflammation.

Reducing & eliminating dietary intake of grain-based foods quickly nets positive results for inflammation reduction in all parts of the body.  Additionally, replacing grains with greens is known to reduce inflammation.  Consumption of more clean leafy greens and greenfood drinks is known to reduce inflammation in the body.

The culinary & medicinal herb Turmeric is known for anti inflammatory properties.  Consumption of Turmeric in powder or capsule form is a common practice.  People remember Turmeric is “just food”.  You cannot harm yourself using this wonderful herb for taste and health.  Learn to add Turmeric herb in your cooking.  Consult your healthcare provider for more information on this plant.

SURGICAL OPTIONS-
Functional endoscopic surgery (aka “roto-rooter the sinuses”) is a medical\surgical procedure used to remove the excess tissue that builds-up inside the sinuses from years of inflammation.  Doctors use a surgical rotary tool that cuts the chronic solidified tissue out of the sinuses.  They also can enlarge the drainage holes in-between the sinus cavities to improve drainage and prevent stagnant tissue buildup.

Expansion of the frontal spheroid & ethmoid sinuses by use of an expanding bilateral balloon has proven to be a workable practice for patients who have incurred trauma to the front of their face.  Often, the facial bones become impacted and jammed against the boney sutures.  This injury interferes with the subtle, yet normal expansion of bone & joint with each breath and heartbeat.  The use of balloons, inserted up the nose, then inflated until the frontal facial bones “pop” open, relieving stuckness of function and often immediately releasing the nervous system, allowing sensory & motor control to return to normal.

CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT-

Specific chiropractic adjusting, by hand only, to the cervical & upper thoracic spine directly affects the function & structure of the nervous system that emits from the spine.  Dysfunction in the spine adversely affects normal nervous function & maintenance of the frontal sinuses and the sense of smell and taste.  Muscles under nervous system stress remain contracted in the face, throat & sinuses.  Spinal adjusting releases that stress and relaxes the sinuses, decreases inflammation and generally improves function.

Facial bones & muscle maintenance and nose & sinus routine health maintenance routines generally improve function & structure in the head & neck.  This permits improvement in the sense of taste & smell.  A patient can become more aware of their environment.  They can relieve the chronic sinus pressure and stuffiness.  They can improve their immune response in the nose & mouth.  It takes education & awareness of one’s own body functions to make improvements in function & relieve sinus inflammation and improve the sense of taste & smell.

A History Fueled by Cannabis

It has long been known and talked about that hemp has played a role in human history. Archeologists have found traces of hemp products in tombs dating back 8,000 years and have continued to find products made from hemp scattered throughout the world from many different time periods. Hemp was used for rope as early as 200 BC, clothes by 570 when the Queen of France was buried in hemp linens, and hemp paper was used by the Arabs by the year 900. In fact, hemp became so important that by 1533, King Henry VIII fined any farmer who did not raise hemp. Throughout the long history of hemp use, debatably the most important use of hemp was the many ways that hemp fueled the independence of our nation. 

In 1607, when the first colonists started their voyage to the Americas, they sailed using hemp made ropes and sails. The hemp aspect was vitally important because it was the best suited material to survive the salty air and water. By 1616, hemp was being raised in the Americas. This crop would be harvested and made into more nautical equipment and clothing. Just 4 years later, the pilgrims would make the same trip using hemp made equipment.

The first industrial cannabis operation in North America was started by Benjamin Franklin when he opened up a hemp paper mill in 1765. The most important thing to come from this mill was Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. This pamphlet was published in January of 1776 and was crucial in convincing the common people of the colonies to separate from the monarchy of England and establish a democratic republic. By April of 1776, there were over 100,000 copies in circulation, all on Franklin’s American made hemp paper. Thomas Paine’s other political works The Rights of Man and The Age of Reason were also published on hemp paper.

Contrary to popular belief, the final and official Declaration of Independence that was signed by the founders was actually written on cured animal skin; but the first several drafts were written on hemp paper, including the draft that immortalized the Fourth of July in American history. In fact, until 1883 almost all American literature was printed on hemp paper including the works of Mark Twain, Frederick Douglas, and Edgar Allan Poe.

Fast forward to 1937 and the Marijuana Tax Act was passed placing a tax on all cannabis sales (including hemp). Many people think that this put a halt to our governments use of Industrial hemp, but by 1942 the USDA started the “Hemp for Victory” program to have farmers help with the war effort by raising 150,000 acres of hemp. That same year, Henry Ford created a car made from hemp fiber. Unfortunately, after World War II was over, the hemp industry continued to decline at the hands of corporate entities and lobbyists. By 1970, all cannabis was included in the ever controversial Controlled Substance Act classified as a Schedule I drug being labeled as dangerous as heroin. In 1996 California became the first state to side with the patients and legalize medical cannabis. Washington, Oregon, and Alaska followed suit with their own medical programs only 2 years later. Now in 2020 there are 11 states with legal adult use and 33 states with their own medical cannabis programs. 

From the very moment our country declared independence and immortalized July 4th as Independence Day, cannabis has been here every step of the way. Cannabis sturdied our sails, fueled our military, and now helps us heal. The cannabis industry has created nearly 250,000 full time jobs and has beaten out every financial prediction made; even surviving financial crises. Cannabis has and will continue to fuel the history of the United States (and the world). Happy Independence Day.

Clones (or Seeds I Guess)

Which is better, starting from a seed or a clone? This question has divided the cannabis growing community for years with most growers having a hard stance on the topic. Some growers will argue in favor of growing from a seed because of the natural taproot formed, better anchoring the plant in place, while other growers will argue in favor of cloning because you can replicate the same medicinal effects of a mother plant. No matter what side of the debate you’re on, one thing is for certain, dispensaries having the ability to sell clones to legal and compliant patient growers only enhances patient access and their ability to properly medicate themselves.

Dispensaries should be able to sell clones. It’s the safest, fastest, and most effective way to guarantee the effects that your medicine will have on you. Clones taken from a mother plant are genetically identical to the mother plant itself and therefore will cause similar, if not the same effects. Now before you quote me, let me clarify; growing skill and methods, light exposure, soil (or soiless concoction) quality, and a plethora of other factors will go into whether or not your cannabis is “good”. BUT! If you have a solid growing method that you are comfortable with and you successfully propagate a clone and grow it with generally the same elements and amount of skill, you will have a harvest that offers very similar  physiological and psychoactive effects. You get it. Without further ado, here’s three reasons why Missouri dispensaries should be able to sell clones.

First: I feel like this may be overstated by now, but did I mention that a clone offers identical genetics as its mother plant. The reason this is so important in a medical state is because consistency is vitally important when it comes to proper dosing of any compound(s). Consistent genetics leads to consistent results for the patient’s symptom relief. For further clarification, call your local pharmacy and ask them why xanax and oxycontin aren’t used for the same conditions or symptoms. 

Second: Growing from a clone is more cost effective than buying ounces of finished and ready to use products. So let’s talk about patient access. Patient access is defined as the ability for patients to obtain symptom relief by taking charge of their own health care. Nothing would open up access to high quality and affordable cannabis medicine better than selling clones directly to the patient themselves and allowing the patient to “take charge of their own healthcare” by sourcing, growing, and preparing their own medicine at a fraction of the cost. A single clone can cost as much as an ⅛ and yield as much finished product as an ounce or more! If you have purchased cannabis before, you know that is a difference of a couple hundred dollars.

Third: A clone takes less time to grow. A clone that is bought from a dispensary is rooted and about a month further along in its growth cycle than a plant that pops from a seed at the same time. This speeds up the process of acquiring homegrown, consistent and cost effective cannabis medicine when compared to seeds.

Bonus: Seeds are not guaranteed to be female or produce well (if at all). When you buy a pack of regular seeds you can expect about a 50% male to female ratio. You can also expect that some seeds won’t produce at all. This is normal and expected, but a clone doesn’t have these shortcomings.

Dr. Randall Williams, the director of the Missouri DHSS, when talking about his department once said “Our North Star is to help people. That has to be the basis for action. We’re not acting just to act. We’re acting to help people,” The sale of clones directly to a legal and compliant Missouri patient cultivator or caregiver from licensed and compliant dispensaries would be the peak of patient access. Clone sales allow access to affordable, consistent, and efficient cannabis medicine to further and more completely “help people” in Missouri. We aren’t asking to grow 100 plants in our garages; we are asking for maximum patient access and maximum control over our own symptom relief.

Inflammation

There are many health disorders of the human body. Underlying most of these
health challenges is the condition of inflammation. The inflammatory reaction by
the body is a healthy response, giving-rise to tissue repair body healing. Yet
inflammation can become a harmful condition if allowed to persist in the body and
become chronic. Many health problems can be made better if inflammation is
recognized and treated.


Inflammation is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful
stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, irritants, and is a protective response
involving immune cells, blood vessels and molecular mediators. The function of
inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear-out injured or
dead cells and activate tissue repair. The five classical signs of inflammation are
heat, pain, redness, swelling and loss of function. Inflammation is a generic
response. It is considered a mechanism of innate (automatic) immunity, as
compared to adaptive immunity, which is specific for each pathogen. Too little
inflammation could lead to progressive tissue destruction by the harmful stimulus
and compromise the survival of the organism. In contrast, chronic inflammation is
associated with many various diseases, such as hay fever, periodontal disease,
atherosclerosis and osteoarthritis.


Inflammation can be classified as either acute or chronic. At the cellular level,
acute inflammation is the initial response by the body to harmful stimuli and is
achieved by the increased movement of plasma (body fluids) and leukocytes (white
blood cells) from the blood vessels into the injured tissues. A series of biochemical
events propagates and progresses the inflammatory response, involving the local
vascular system, the immune system and various cells within the injured tissue.

At the whole-body level, inflammation may also be associated with flu-like
symptoms, including fever, chills, fatigue, headache, loss of appetite and muscle
stiffness. Prolonged inflammation, known as chronic inflammation, leads to a
progressive shift in the type of cells present at the site of inflammation and is
characterized by simultaneous destruction and healing with fibrosis in body tissue
from the inflammatory process.

Inflammation can affect many organs & structures in the human body. When these
various tissues are affected by inflammation, medical science has distinct
diagnostic names for each variation of inflammatory disease. Inflammation in the
body has even been shown to affect the brain\mind, causing specific forms of
depression. The body affects the mind, an example of a psychoneuroimmunity
reaction (mind\nervous\immune). A 5-year research study involving over 14,000
patients with depression noted that patients with depression had upwards of 46%
more C-reactive protein in their blood, a marker for inflammation. Efforts to
reduce inflammation in the body reduced the incidence of depression.

inflammation & age:
A common inflammatory process of babies & children is otitis externa & otitis
media. These are forms of both acute & chronic inflammation. Inflammation
swells the internal\external tissues of the ear & the eustachain tubes that drain the
inner-ear. Blockage & swelling get worse. The body’s internal ear fluids
accumulate. If the normal drainage for the ear does not function, the body will
burst the tympanic membrane (ear drum), releasing blood & pus onto the pillow.
A more common chronic inflammatory degenerative process of adults includes the
small & large intestine. Many names are given to gut problems, including irritable
bowel disease, colitis, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, crohn’s disease,
ulcerative colitis and others. The common symptoms include indigestion,
imbalance in bowel habits (too few\too many), bloody stools, painful gut, inability
to eat certain foods, bleeding from the bum and more.

Auto-immune means the body attacks itself. Many organs and tissues can be
affected by personal attack: skin, muscles, bones, the nervous system, blood, the
gut, thyroid and the brain. Moreover, all tissues, organs and structures can be
adversely affected by the body’s immune system attacking its own body.
Auto-inflammatory diseases refer to problems within the immune system, which
usually fights off viruses, bacteria and infection. The problem causes your immune
cells to attack your own body by mistake. This can cause swelling that produces
fever, rash, joint swelling or serious buildup of a blood protein in your organs.
Possible triggers for autoimmune reactions include pre-existing adverse health.
ex’s: diabetes and obesity, fatigue, stress, food intake, hormone imbalance,
pesticides, toxins exposure & ingestion, heavy metals poisoning. External adverse
environmental influences can cause body damage. Unhealthy psyche levels,
including worry, fear & anger, contribute to immune weakness and autoimmune
reactivity.


Autoimmune diseases outnumber heart disease & cancer in the U.S. Chronic
inflammation is the main consequence of an autoimmune reaction and occurs when
the anti-inflammatory system of the body is impaired. It becomes important to
reduce the number of things triggering the body into the inflammatory response. It
is equally important to practice the many safe\best practices that reduce, eliminate
and prevent inflammation. These practices should be made routine throughout a
person’s life, not just in time of dis-health.

Western medical practices use pharmaceutical drugs to combat inflammation.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs include aspirin, ibuprofen & naproxen.
Steroid-type drugs include prednisone and many steroid-type variations. The
anti-malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine is in the news and a common option for
medics to use when reducing inflammation.

If water is the #1 anti-inflammatory compound, then chronic dehydration may be
one the more common underlying causes for inflammation. Second in
effectiveness, juicing fresh greenfoods (algae, alfalfa, dulce, seaweed, kale, celery)
yields potent anti-inflammatory nutrition.

Foods that are reported to reduce inflammation include colorful fruits, broccoli,
healthy fats, green tea, turmeric, bell peppers, pineapple, leafy green vegetables
and dark chocolate.


It has been said, “Stop doing what makes you sick. Start doing things that make
you healthy.” The more healthy things you do, the better you get.
In humans on a Western diet, the omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid
arachidonic acid (ARA) makes a significant contribution to the fatty acids
present in the membrane phospholipids of cells involved in inflammation.
We are what we eat. Fried foods contain large amounts of omega-6
polyunsaturated fatty acids. When a person reduces intake of fried foods,
chronic inflammation reduces in the body.

Cannabis is emerging from decades of illegality in our world. Research is ongoing
involving the use of cannabis for anti-inflammation use. Cannabis contains over
450 different substances, only three of which are responsible for its intoxicating
effect. Cannabis activates the endocannabinoid systems, specifically two receptors
in the body, CB1 and CB2. While the CB1 receptor in the central nervous system
influences perception, the CB2 receptor in all tissues plays a crucial role in
inhibiting inflammation. If the receptor is activated, the cell releases fewer
pro-inflammatory signal substances, or cytokines. Scientists have now discovered
that the substance, beta-carophyllene, which composes between 12 and 35 percent
of the cannabis plant’s essential oil, activates the CB2 receptor selectively.
note: This blog on inflammation is meant for information purpose only. It is not
meant to diagnose or treat disease. If you are experiencing symptoms of
inflammation, you should communicate this with your healthcare provider.

references:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inflammation
  2. https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/about-inflammation
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/autoimmune-disorders
  4. https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/autoinflammatory-diseases
  5. https://outsmartdisease.com/chronic-inflammation-and-autoimmune-disease
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0952327818300747
  6. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/urban-survival/201701/new-rese
    arch-shows-depression-linked-inflammation
  7. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080720222549.htm

Anxiety and How Cannabis Helps

I’ve written, and rewritten this blog three times now, each time changing the subject and each time finding some reason to scrap it and start over. It’s a cycle that I have become familiar with; the need to perfect whatever task I have put my attention on in order to deliver, not what someone else expects of me, but what I expect of myself. A standard that I sometimes put so high that it becomes impossible to reach. It causes my heart to race and my thoughts to speed through my head faster than my words can keep up with. Then, by trying to catch just pieces of those thoughts, I start to feel the familiar swell start in the back of my head. My foot will start to tap and my jaw will tighten. If I don’t slow down by this point my hands will start to shake and I’ll get tunnel vision. After that, I have a panic attack. Simply put, I have anxiety, but cannabis helps.

Before I dive in, I wanted to acknowledge that cannabis isn’t for everyone. I understand that not everyone enjoys the effects or finds them therapeutic. At one point in my life cannabis sometimes gave me terrible anxiety, but after spending some time exploring what cannabis could do, I found what worked for me. If you are considering giving cannabis a first time try (or another try) for anxiety relief, here are some tips from someone who has done the “field testing” for you. What works for me may not work for you and I wouldn’t recommend cannabis to anyone who wasn’t comfortable with the idea of using it in the first place but I hope some of you find benefit from these tips.

Tip Number 1. It’s not all about the THC. I started out by chasing the highest THC percentage that I could find. A high THC percentage tends to speed up my heart rate and that is absolutely not how my anxiety goes away. These days I find myself preferring around 18 percent THC.

Tip Number 2. It’s very easy to use more but impossible to use less. Start with a small dose and work your way up in small increments. If you’re smoking, take a drag and wait a couple minutes before taking another. If you would prefer to try an edible, take ½ or even a ⅓ of what’s recommended. It is important not to speed through finding the proper dose for yourself.

Tip Number 3. If it smells good, it will feel good. It sounds cheesy but it works for me most of the time. When I smell dried cannabis, I can feel my body relax a little when I find a terpene profile that will suit me best when smoked.

Tip Number 4. Learn where your tipping point is. This is less about cannabis and more about knowing yourself. If your anxiety is working up and you don’t feel comfortable or at ease with the thought of medicating or medicating more, then don’t.

Tip Number 5. Always remember, you won’t die from using cannabis. There has been exactly zero(0) deaths from cannabis overdose. Keeping that fact in mind will oftentimes help alleviate the anxiety caused from using cannabis… for anxiety.

As I said before, don’t use cannabis to medicate until you are comfortable with the idea of it in the first place. By no means is this the only path to take when using cannabis to help prevent or calm anxiety. If you ever have any questions don’t ever hesitate to ask your bud tender. Trust me, they like talking about cannabis and will love to talk to you about it. Now when dispensaries open up, hopefully these five tips can speed up the process of finding your effective dose range.

Demystifying Cannabis Genetics

Sourcing high quality cannabis genetics was once a dangerous and difficult proposition, but times have changed. Today, an unprecedented variety of cannabis genetics from across the globe are available to home growers.  Regular seeds, feminized seeds, and auto-flowering seeds adorned with endlessly creative and unique names are sold by entities reputable and otherwise, both domestically and abroad.  All were created by selectively breeding the three cannabis species: Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis. What follows is a description of their respective qualities to help the home grower choose what is most appropriate for their needs.

Unmodified (traditional) cannabis seeds are produced by pollinating a female flower (bud) with the pollen from a male plant, and typically have a 50/50 chance of becoming female or male. Some cultivators claim that when germinated under preferable conditions, a greater ratio of females to males can be achieved.  Most specimens are easy to keep as mother plants, and don’t often suffer hermaphroditic tendencies under normal stress loads.

Feminized cannabis seeds are produced by pollinating a female flower with the pollen of a hermaphrodite. A hermaphrodite has male flowers originating from a female flower, created by stressing a female plant during bloom. This is usually achieved by over-ripening, or by interrupting the plants dark cycle with a light leak.  Feminized seeds eliminate the need to identify and remove male plants from your garden to prevent seed formation in your flowers. It should be noted that it is quite common for hermaphroditism to become a genetic trait, with the offspring producing both flower sexes without the application of stress.

Auto-flowering seeds are hybrids between the sativas, indicas and hybrids known to North America, and ruderalis, a variety originating from Russia and Siberia. In this region, the growing season is very short and the day period during this time is 24 hours/day for about four months.  This means ruderalis must bloom when the day length is well over 12 hours/day, and must do so quickly.  When these traits are bred into sativas/indicas and their hybrids, a plant is created that many find more practical to grow since they finish fast and short, without requiring a timer for lighting.  It should be noted that due to a lack of selective breeding and the difficulty in separating desirable traits, ruderalis varieties are typically of a lower cannabinoid concentration.  To complicate this further, the addition of a third species of cannabis produces wildly unpredictable results regarding flowering times.  Some may have a vegetative stage of varying length, and others will immediately bloom with lower ending yields.  Compounding all these problems are breeders that create auto-flowering seeds that are also feminized.  With this additional genetic caveat, plants become completely unpredictable.  If such a specimen happens to be truly breathtaking, clones cannot be kept as mother plants to reproduce the same results. This forces the grower to either breed their own seeds, or continually purchase them.

Incredible cannabis genetics can come from any of the aforementioned origins, but it is important to choose what is practical for your growing environment and skill level.  Keeping mother plants or breeding for seed production isn’t practical for most, and the type of seeds you purchase will determine what can you can do with them. Endless hours can and should be spent researching online forums and gaining insights through trial and error. However, In the end, it may be best to purchase proven genetics in the form of clones from your local medical dispensary professionals.

PRO TIP: Be certain there are no hitchhiking pests, molds, or viruses on genetics that you acquire by keeping a small quarantine area under observation for a week or so before introducing to your permanent garden. Thank me later.

Cannabis Therapy and Pain Management

By: Aspen Jewel

Over the past decade, cannabis has regained popularity as a therapeutic treatment for those experiencing pain. Many people find that prescribed drugs do not work after time; it has a lot to do with the buildup of these drugs in your body. The discovery of the endocannabinoid system has resulted in over 16,000 studies in the U.S. alone. A systematic review of clinical trials over the past 40 years has proven that cannabis can be incredibly effective at managing pain associated with debilitating illnesses such as chronic pain, neuropathy, arthritis, and cancer.

Chronic Pain

A large portion of patients I meet are experiencing chronic pain on many levels. Studies show that only three in every ten chronic pain sufferers find relief in prescribed pharmaceutical options (Hauser, 2019). Chronic pain is the most studied ailment in the cannabis research community. Overall, cannabinoids have been found to block the transmission of pain. Combined with opiates, cannabis increases efficacy of drugs used for chronic pain by up to one thousand percent. It is important that someone interested in trying cannabis knows that the process to find your perfect “blend” can take a few months. Like any medication regimen, cannabis therapy will include trial and error. For example, the strain White Widow might help inflammation and pain, but the tired & groggy feeling wouldn’t be suitable for daytime use. Professional bud tenders will be able to discuss the reported effects associated with any medical cannabis products.

Neuropathic Pain

Damage to the nervous system can result in chronic pain, otherwise known as neuropathy. This disease typically causes weakness or numbness in the area affected. Clinical trials over the past decade have proven cannabis to be highly useful in the treatment of pain. Steroids that are often given to help combat inflammation in the nerves can lower the efficacy of the immune system over time. The nervous system and endocannabinoid system work closely in the body; both are involved in homeostasis. This feedback loop creates balance in the body when it comes to temperature and maintaining a stable internal environment. In addition to neuropathy, cannabis has been proven to help with neuropathic pain linked to trauma, vascular disease, multiple sclerosis and more.

Arthritis

Cannabis is famously used for this common movement disorder. Arthritis causes inflammation in the joints, which results in pain when moved. Cannabis relieves pain by working closely with the nervous system while reducing inflammation simultaneously. Juvenile arthritis is often treated with a high-CBD strain to reduce euphoric side effects. One-to-one ratios of THC to CBD in cannabis have been proven to help children’s arthritic symptoms. It is recommended to “microdose” this ratio throughout the day (about every 2 hours). I would suggest doing 2.5mg CBD with 2.5mg THC (1 to 1) for first timers. Those with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis will often use a good inflammation-targeting strain in conjunction with a cannabis lotion. Essential oils such as camphor and lavender can help with absorption of the cannabis, which is why a lotion is often preferred over using a tincture topically. There are many inflammation-targeting strains, from the relaxed Grand Daddy Purp to the uplifting MediHaze. In an animal trial, researchers found that cannabis blocked progression of arthritis if used regularly “without evident side effects,” (Hammell, 2015).

Cancer

Research has proven that cannabis can stop certain types of abnormal cell growth. Along with helping to stop the growth of cancerous tumors, cannabis helps with the side-effects of traditional cancer therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation. The nausea and other aching systems that individuals undergoing pharmaceutical treatments experience can be drastically reduced with a regular cannabis regimen. Cannabis is known to increase appetite and reduce hyperemesis (vomiting). Relaxing, broad-leaf cannabis strains for nausea and lack-of-appetite include Northern Lights and Blueberry Diesel. Uplifting, narrow-leaf anti-nausea strains include Super Lemon Haze and White Fire OG. Many who experience insomnia due to cancer treatment will use a broad leaf cannabis strain to combat the irregular sleep/wake cycles without known side-effects. 

Cannabis can work with the nervous system and endocannabinoid system to reduce pain and inflammation. When used regularly, cannabinoids can build up in your body and provide a greater therapeutic use. Research has shown that cannabis has an array of uses ranging from anti-inflammatory to appetite stimulating. The side effects of pharmaceutical drugs are often combatted by cannabis use. Be sure to talk to your doctor when using cannabis in conjunction with any other medications. Ask your local bud tender about the right cannabis regimen for your conditions and day-to-day lifestyle.

Aspen Jewel
General Manager, Health & Wellness
Kansas City Cannabis Company
[email protected]

Häuser, W., Welsch, P., Klose, P., Radbruch, L., & Fitzcharles, M.-A. (2019). Efficacy, tolerability and safety of cannabis-based medicines for cancer pain. Der Schmerz, 33(5), 424–436. doi: 10.1007/s00482-019-0373-3

Hammell, D., Zhang, L., Ma, F., Abshire, S., Mcilwrath, S., Stinchcomb, A., & Westlund, K. (2015). Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. European Journal of Pain, 20(6), 936–948. doi: 10.1002/ejp.818