Treating Pneumonia Symptoms And Side Effects With Medical Marijuana

Have you ever felt healthy and on track, and then you get hit with a common cold, virus, or infection? This has likely happened to almost all of us, and at that point, we wish we could feel like our healthy selves again. One common infection that can creep up after having a cold or the flu is pneumonia. Although there are more than 30 causes of pneumonia, in most instances, pneumonia occurs as a result of having the flu or another sickness. When this infection sets in, there are different traditional treatment methods available. However, several traditional methods don’t relieve all pneumonia-causing symptoms that can negatively impact one’s quality of life. What if there was another treatment method that could help naturally alleviate the severity and painfulness of pneumonia? Fortunately for us, one natural method for relieving pneumonia-causing symptoms is medical cannabis and its many cannabinoids. 

What to Know About Pneumonia

Pneumonia is known as a lung infection that can be caused by a virus, fungi, or bacteria. This infection can affect one or both lungs, and in most cases, pneumonia is spread from one person to another via coughing, sneezing, breathing, and/or touching. How does pneumonia affect one’s body though? It starts when germs and bacteria seep into the lungs, and once the germs that cause pneumonia get into the lungs, inflammation occurs within the lungs’ air sacs. At this point, fluid fills up in the lungs, which can lead to breathing difficulties, coughs, fevers, and the chills.

In addition, thousands of people die from pneumonia every year, and even more are hospitalized due to this infection. How can pneumonia diagnoses result in deaths though? According to the American Lung Association, deaths from pneumonia occur after oxygen has a tough time reaching the blood. When the blood doesn’t have enough oxygen, the body’s cells struggle to function properly. From here, the risk of pneumonia spreading increases, which could then lead to death. Although pneumonia can be life-threatening, in most cases, it’s just temporarily life-altering.

The Growing Prevalence of Pneumonia

Despite increasing medical advancements in the U.S. and in other countries, pneumonia diagnoses are quite common. However, since 1999, the mortality rates due to pneumonia have gone down by close to 4 percent. Despite this decrease, pneumonia is still prevalent to this day. In particular, according to the American Thoracic Society, a whopping one million American adults are hospitalized for pneumonia yearly. Out of this number, roughly 50,000 of these affected individuals die from pneumonia.

Even though anyone can develop pneumonia, certain people are more at risk than others. These people include infants, young children, and adults aged 65 and older. When it comes to children though, those younger than five years old fit into the category of 120 million yearly pneumonia cases. Unfortunately, more than ten percent of these cases become severe. Also, individuals who have chronic diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are more likely to develop pneumonia.

Common Pneumonia-Causing Symptoms and Side Effects

Moreover, the symptoms of pneumonia vary, but they can be anywhere from mild to extremely severe. Generally, the infection’s symptoms can be draining and overwhelming, especially for those who haven’t had pneumonia before, have weak immune systems, and/or struggle with other medical issues. It’s important to know that there are four types of pneumonia that can develop, which include viral, bacterial, fungal, and mycoplasma pneumonia. These four types fit into a classification based on the infection’s cause, where the infection was transmitted, and how pneumonia was developed.

It’s possible to develop community-acquired pneumonia, which means that the infection was acquired from somewhere outside of a medical setting. However, hospital-acquired pneumonia can develop too, which is a bacterial form that can be acquired while staying at a hospital. Normally, pneumonia’s symptoms are similar to those of colds or the flu. However, pneumonia’s symptoms last for much longer than that of a traditional cold. The most common signs of pneumonia include the following:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Diarrhea, nausea, and/or vomiting
  • Coughing up phlegm regularly
  • Fever, body shakes, sweating, and the chills
  • Chest pain when breathing and/or when coughing
  • Mental awareness changes or confusion (more common in adults aged 65 or older)
  • An abnormally low body temperature

Although most pneumonia-causing symptoms go away after a few weeks, in some cases, they can last for a month or more. On top of this, individuals who have pneumonia are close to twice as likely to develop depression or another mental health issue

Traditional and Non-Traditional Pneumonia Treatment Options

The cause of pneumonia, the severity of its symptoms, one’s age, and one’s current state of health all dictate which treatment method will be most suitable. The primary intention of treating pneumonia is to cure it and prevent additional complications from occurring. Severe pneumonia cases often require hospitalization, whereas, other cases require taking antibiotics and resting until the infection is killed. The most common treatment methods for curing pneumonia include antibiotics and other medications that relieve fevers, reduce pain, and suppress coughs.

Aside from these treatment options, medical cannabis and CBD are alternative forms of medicine that can help relieve many of pneumonia’s symptoms and side effects. In most instances, medical cannabis can help relieve many symptoms caused by pneumonia including the following: anxiety, depression, fatigue, inflammation, nausea, vomiting, and chest pain due to coughing. Thus far, various studies, clinical trials, and anecdotal evidence support cannabis’s ability to help treat the unwanted health issues listed above while having pneumonia.

Additionally, it has been found that cannabidiol (CBD) contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties. One main symptom of pneumonia is inflammation, which occurs within the small air sacs in our lungs. Therefore, since cannabis and CBD are anti-inflammatory agents, this medical benefit could be of much use to those with pneumonia. Also, cannabis and CBD are known to be effective analgesic, anti-nausea, and anti-emetic agents, which can significantly help pneumonia patients. On top of this, different studies have been released regarding cannabis’s anti-anxiety and anti-depressant properties. Although cannabis cannot cure pneumonia, it can certainly help relieve and reduce many of the infection’s symptoms.

Best Marijuana Practices & Strains for Relieving Pneumonia-Causing Symptoms

Lastly, since smoking cannabis can irritate our lungs and cause inflammation, it’s strongly recommended to stay away from smoking if you have pneumonia. If you experience any lung related issues at all, it’s advised to stay away from smoking entirely. Fortunately, vaping is a much healthier option that doesn’t play havoc on our lungs. The other cannabis consumption methods to utilize while having pneumonia include the following: oral ingestion via infused edibles, sublingual administration via sprays, suppositories, and/or topical products depending on where relief is needed.

Several cannabis strains that can be consumed for treating pneumonia’s symptoms include ACDC, Cannatonic, Harlequin, Charlotte’s Web, and Sour Tsunami. It’s suggested to consume high CBD strains to reap the cannabinoid’s many medicinal and therapeutic benefits, especially when one has pneumonia and their immune system is weaker than usual.

Overall, even though pneumonia is a treatable infection, it can still be life-threatening, and people can die if pneumonia is left undiagnosed or untreated for too long. If you have any reason to believe that you have pneumonia, get checked by a doctor right away. In the meantime, consider consuming different cannabis-based products to help relieve many of pneumonia’s symptoms while improving your quality of life during this difficult time.

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Does CBD Really Warrant All The Fanfare?

Even though CBD’s legal status is yet unclear, it’s been launched into the mainstream in recent years. CBD vape pens and gummies can be found at almost any smoke shop worth its incense and big corporations, like Coca Cola, are even thinking of getting in the game. So should we all be downing and applying CBD with abandon?

Many people use CBD as an alternative to THC laden cannabis because it lacks a psychoactive effect and will supposedly not show up on a drug screen. There are companies out there that isolate CBD so that there is 0 percent THC to be screened, but most CBD is made from the hemp plant and is required to have less than 0.3 percent THC. That’s not much THC at all, but it could still potentially have you out of a job if tested.

Recently, a woman in Georgia who was using CBD for pain and anxiety for just two weeks before she was drug tested, failed. While most CBD labels claim to have no THC whatsoever, some have a disclaimer that trace amounts of THC may be found. The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, also wished that she’d known the risk. She did not get the job.

Dr. Oz is calling this market explosion the “CBD oil boom.” On a recent show Dr. Oz and Dr. Sanjay Gupta sat down and talked CBD, it’s differences from THC, it’s milligrams and price per dose. They tested 9 products, which came back with results ranging from 2mg doses to 22mg doses.

“If you need hundreds of milligrams for it to do anything, two milligrams isn’t going to do anything and people are paying a lot of money for it,” extrapolated Dr. Gupta.

Unlike the CBD the woman used in Georgia, the doctors found no THC in any of the 9 products. They also encouragingly didn’t find heavy metals. Dr. Oz pontificated that if a product seems confusing, it’s meant to seem that way, while Dr. Gupta pointed out that as regulations are put into place, proper labeling, milligrams and dosages will become par for the course with time.

CBD is used in the treatment of inflammation, pain, seizure disorder and has myriad forms and applications. From topicals that everything from acne to arthritis to infused products that claim to quell anxiety and lower inflammation, until we figure out what a proper dosage is and if full spectrum CBD is the real ticket, it’s all a sort of wellness crapshoot, with CBD manufacturers coming out on top for now.

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Can Medical Marijuana Cure My Fear Of Public Speaking?

Toking out in the green room might not make you better at speaking in public, but it will make you a more courageous one.

That’s the result of a 2011 study published in Neuralpsychopharmacology (my favorite nonosyllabic word). In an experiment sublime in both its simplicity and cruelty, a team of researchers from the University of Sao Paulo tested two sets of nervous speakers by dosing one with CBD, one of the active ingredients in marijuana, and giving the other a placebo. They then instructed the subjects to compose a four minute speech (on the scintillating topic of public transportation), which would be videotaped. Both were compared against a group of un-nervous speakers, a so-called healthy cohort.

The researchers were genuinely undecided going into the experiment, noting in the report that “the relationship of cannabis with anxiety is paradoxical.” On one hand, many cannabis users smoke specifically to manage their anxiety. But on the other hand, intense panic attacks are some of the most common of marijuana’s undesirable side effects.

The results, however, were unambiguous: The phobic speakers who had taken CBD felt less anxious and uncomfortable than their un-dosed peers. Their thinking was less impaired and they also felt less dread anticipating their performance. In fact, there was no appreciable difference between them and the healthy control group.

On the downside, the CBD cohort all delivered variations of the same talk, exhorting listeners to examine their hands—really examine their hands.

OK, that was a cheap joke. And an incorrect one too, because it’s not CBD, but the intoxicating THC that’s the cannabinoid responsible for stoney logic. But there was at least one nonfictional cause for possible concern in the trial: CBD “almost abolished” negative self-evaluation.

While it’s true that negative feelings perpetuate anxiety, it’s also true that negative self-evaluations are what drive us to improve. What’s missing from the study is whether the speakers’ self-satisfaction was warranted. In this age of TED-talk proliferation, the last thing we need is another influx of supremely confident speakers who actually have nothing to say.

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Marijuana And CBD: Naturally Effective Treatment Method For Restless Leg Syndrome

What would you do if you felt consistent tingling, itching, and/or crawling sensation within your legs every day? How would you feel if you had to make various lifestyle changes because of constant body and leg restlessness? Individuals with restless leg syndrome (RLS) not only make lifestyle adjustments because of many uncomfortable symptoms they experience, but many must endure chronic symptoms that can take a toll on their quality of life. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Strokes, it has been estimated that roughly 7-10 percent of the U.S. population is impacted by RLS. Even though there’s currently no cure for this syndrome, there are natural treatment methods available like cannabis and Cannabidiol that can help alleviate many RLS symptoms.

Background of Restless Leg Syndrome & Its Significant Impact on One’s Life

Restless leg syndrome is classified as a neurological disorder that can impact anyone of any age. However, this syndrome gets more severe and painful as one gets older even though it’s not life-threatening. Sometimes, RLS is referred to as Willis-Ekbom Disease or Wittmaack-Ekbom’s Syndrome. These names come from one of the first doctors who discovered and identified RLS, which was Dr. Karl-Axel Ekbom in 1943.

Generally, restless leg syndrome causes different symptoms with many of them occurring and worsening in the evening. Thus, sleeping difficulties often occur because this syndrome frequently wakes people up or it’s so uncomfortable that they cannot fall asleep. As a result, numerous RLS patients have a poor quality of life and a decline in their overall well-being.

In addition, according to the National Sleep Foundation, some individuals describe RLS as the following, “…the sensation of ants crawling through their legs or carbonation running through their veins.” Normally, when an individual is relaxing, sitting, or lying down, their symptoms get progressively worse. The severity of this disorder differs per person though. Most people experience relief after moving around a lot. Whereas, others don’t find relief from movements at all.

Currently, the precise cause of RLS is unidentified. But, there are different conditions that are closely linked to it. Some people can even develop RLS from medication-causing side effects. Unfortunately, since the exact cause of RLS is yet to be identified, it’s difficult to prevent it.

Common RLS Side Effects and Painful Symptoms

Although RLS affects every individual differently, there are multiple side effects and symptoms that are felt by most RLS patients. The following symptoms are felt by most affected individuals:

-Sleeping difficulties and interruptions

-Daytime fatigue and sleepiness

-Restlessness, which can manifest into repetitive movements like tossing and turning in bed or pacing back and forth

-Tingling, itching, and/or crawling sensations within the legs

-A strong force to move and shake the legs to alleviate uncomfortable sensations

-Unintentional movements or leg jolting during one’s sleep cycle, while resting, or even while wide-awake

Additionally, physical side effects include sleep loss, daytime sleepiness, overall discomfort, itchiness, and leg restlessness. Because this disorder can cause discomfort at any time of the day or night, some individuals opt out of social gatherings and events because of the pain they experience when sitting or standing for lengthy periods of time. Therefore, various emotional symptoms occur like loneliness, anxiety, depression, and isolation. On the plus side though, different treatment methods are available to help those with RLS live the best life they can. One rapidly-growing natural treatment method that can help is cannabis and CBD.

Traditional and Non-Traditional RLS Treatment Methods: What’s Right for You?

In recent years, RLS has gained more attention. However, this disorder has been documented and examined for centuries. There are both traditional and non-traditional treatment methods available, and it’s up to the individual to decide what’s best for them. Several traditional RLS treatment methods include vein treatments, foot wrap treatments, pharmaceutical medications, and specific exercises on a regular basis. There are also non-traditional, natural methods available too. Some of these include calf massages, warm and cold compresses, ice packs, warm baths, and cannabis and CBD products.

How Cannabis and Cannabidiol Usage Can Help Alleviate RLS Symptoms

Moreover, one 2017 study discovered that inhaled medicinal cannabis lessened RLS symptoms. Five out of the six subjects experienced full symptom remission after consuming cannabis, and CBD played a large role in symptom alleviation. After the cannabis treatment ended, all participants experienced sleep improvements. Another study found that Sativex (a sublingual cannabis-based spray that contains CBD and THC) helped 40-50 percent of the RLS patients with their sleeping issues. Fortunately, cannabis and CBD can help treat insomnia, but especially CBD, which often delivers sedative and mellow effects to users.

So far though, there’s a lack of clinical trials and studies on the topic of medicinal cannabis helping treat RLS. However, there are numerous anecdotal success stories that RLS patients continue to share. Due to cannabis and CBD’s analgesic properties, RLS patients who experience regular pain can find relief from consuming different cannabinoids. Also, because of the relief that’s delivered from cannabis, individuals can relax more easily, which results in better bedtime preparation to combat insomnia.

Also, due to the sleeping difficulties most RLS patients experience, other problems could arise like anxiety, depression, lessened mental functioning, and wear and tear to the body’s immune system. Fortunately, though, CBD contains natural anti-anxiety and anti-depressant properties. This cannabinoid can also provide the body with antioxidants, which can help improve one’s immune system.

Optimal Cannabis Strains to Alleviate RLS Symptoms

On another note, there are various cannabis strains that can be consumed to help alleviate RLS symptoms. The strains individuals use should be appropriate to the symptoms they want treated though. If RLS patients want to use cannabis to help with insomnia, high THC or high CBD strains are recommended. A few examples of these include granddaddy purple (indica), purple kush (indica), ACDC (hybrid and high CBD), and Charlotte’s Web (high CBD). All these strains can help alleviate pain, anxiety, and insomnia while also delivering physically and mentally relaxing effects.

Then, for nearly immediate relief, the best consumption methods include inhalation, sublingual administration, and topical usage. All in all, it’s essential to find the right cannabis strain and consumption method that’ll fit one’s exact needs and wants.

Although restless leg syndrome impacts twice as many females as males, it can still be detrimental to one’s quality of life regardless of their gender. If traditional treatment methods are ineffective or do more damage than good, it may be a sign to try something more natural like cannabis and/or Cannabidiol. If you could naturally improve your well-being and alleviate many painful chronic symptoms, would you?

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Study: Pain Tolerance Goes Up With Cannabis Use

Unlike many studies that have come before focusing on marijuana’s ability to treat chronic pain, this study aimed to see what happened when “experimental” pain was introduced. The researchers at Syracuse University “conducted a systematic review of 18 placebo-controlled studies.” It involved around 450 participants using various cannabis products, including cannabis itself, and also included two synthetic weed-based drugs: dronabinol and nabilone.

In what may seem like a contradictory conclusion, the researchers found that rather than dialing down the intensity of the pain, cannabis products made it “feel less unpleasant and more tolerable.” That might feel like splitting hairs, but there is a real differentiation to be made. The pain itself may still be present and at the same level, but your experience of it changes. Instead of clenching and perhaps moaning, you’re at more of a peace with what’s happening in your body.

Unsurprisingly, the study found that whole-plant marijuana worked better than the synthetic drugs. They also found that those who did not receive the placebos felt high, but again, that’s to be expected with full plant cannabis.

“If you think of pain as a noxious sound coming from a radio, the volume is the intensity of that pain,” author Martin De Vita told MedPage Today. “After using cannabinoid drugs, it may not decrease the volume of the noxious noise, but it may tune it to a station that’s a little less unpleasant. It won’t be the most beautiful music you’ve ever heard—it will still be pain—but it will be a little less unpleasant.”

He went on to point out that more research is needed across the board.

“This is a first step in doing that,” he said, “starting from the fundamentals of how cannabinoids affect basic pain processes, and now we need to determine some of these follow-up questions.”

Those follow-up questions could lead to breakthroughs that come very close to eliminating pain, or at least our perception of it. Wherever they lead, they’re necessary to give doctors and patients the ammunition they need to fight the soreness, aches, pains and outright cringe-worthy suffering. Cannabis does much to improve quality of life, and especially if it’s a loosening of the grip pain has over the body, it’s relief and that’s important.

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What The Heck Is Trichotillomania And Can Cannabis Help?

Trichotillomania is an irresistible urge to to pull out one’s hair, usually from the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes. It is an impulse control disorder related to obsessive compulsive disease that can leave patients with patchy bald spots — which can be a source of embarrassment that, of course, leads to even more compulsive pulling.

Some people pull their hair with great focus and determination, often as a means of controlling or dissipating anxiety, while others simply pluck in a desultory, unselfconscious way. People with trichotillomania may also be inclined to skin picking (excoriation) or nail biting (onychophagy).

Like most psychological conditions, trichotillomania arises from a complex combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Like most psychological conditions, trichotillomania arises from a complex combination of genetic and environmental factors. It’s possible that cannabis can help at both ends.

To the degree that marijuana can ease anxiety, it can give relief to sufferers of trichotillomania. But it’s not an absolute good: Anecdotally, casual hair pullers can lose track of time while high and end up on hours’ long plucking jags. On the other hand, as we know (just guessing!), weed can also temporarily induce paranoia, and that can also intensify hair pulling.

When it comes to neurochemistry, there is some evidence suggesting that trichotillomania is linked with the overproduction of the neurotransmitter glutamate—and THC can have a moderating affect there. A study from 2011 found that THC “demonstrated statistically significant reductions in trichotillomania symptoms, in the absence of negative cognitive effects.”

If you want to know more about trichtillomania, this review of the medical literature is a good place to start.

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How Cannabis And CBD Can Help Treat Serious Spinal Cord Injuries

What would you do if, one day, you couldn’t feel your arms or legs anymore? What if you couldn’t perform your regular work and life activities and instead, you had to rely on others to make it through each day? Although one may be able to imagine themselves in this situation, it’s nothing compared to living it.

According to BrainandSpinalCord.org, each year, as many as 5 million Americans are impacted by a spinal cord injury (SCI). At this moment though, around 300,000 people are living with a SCI in the U.S. On average, spinal cord injuries are often debilitating, and they take a toll on an individual’s quality of life. On the bright side, cannabis and cannabinoids like THC and CBD can positively impact one’s well-being by delivering various medicinal benefits and relieving many painful side effects caused by this injury. Read on to learn more about spinal cord injuries, their prevalence, how cannabis can help treat their side effects, and how cannabinoids can improve one’s quality of life.

The Purpose of Spinal Cords & The Causes and Prevalence of Spinal Cord Injuries

There are various causes of spinal cord injuries including sports, violent events/trauma, falls, and motor vehicle accidents. It turns out that around 42 percent of all SCI are due to motor vehicle accidents. SCI can affect anyone of any age, but the majority of SCI affect people from ages 16-30, and about 80 percent of those cases are men. As mentioned above, annually, 4-5 million Americans are diagnosed with SCI. Overall, once the spine is impacted by trauma, one experiences a loss of many functions including a loss of sensory motor function.

In addition, the spinal cord is a vital part of the central nervous system. The purpose of the spinal cord is to control, coordinate, and synchronize various activities within our bodies. Also, our spinal cord has different jobs with one of them being the communication of messages between the brain and the body. As a result, this gives us the opportunity to move about and feel different sensations. When it comes to SCI, the severity depends on the cause, and based on where the injury is exactly and its height, the severity of it will differ. Generally, SCI affect one’s sensory motor function in addition to delivering painful side effects.

Debilitating Side Effects Caused by SCI

Aside from different forms of paralysis, those with SCI often experience negative complications and side effects including chronic pain, sleeping difficulties, and muscle spasms. Out of all side effects caused by SCI, the majority of SCI patients experience chronic pain regularly. Those with SCI can experience pain in regions where sensations are in addition to areas where there aren’t any sensations. The different types of pain that are felt by SCI patients include neuropathic, musculoskeletal, and visceral pain. As a result, many of these individuals suffer from a decline in their quality of life and overall well-being.

Cannabis as a Natural Treatment Method for SCI: How It Can Help

Fortunately, though, different research findings have shown that cannabis, CBD, and THC can help deliver relief to SCI patients. Not only can the cannabis plant help reduce the side effects and complications caused by SCI, it’s also believed that the plant can help the body fix itself. For centuries, cannabis has been used as a pain-reliever, and to this day, cannabis and CBD are used as natural analgesics. It has been discovered from one study that cannabis works to regulate pain perception amongst those suffering from different levels of pain. Another study found that when cannabis is combined with massages, the most pain-relief was experienced by SCI sufferers.

Although the cannabis plant is an effective pain-reliever, it can also deliver many other medicinal and therapeutic benefits. For example, from one study, numerous researchers suggest that cannabis can arouse a neuroprotective response. The following was stated in conclusion of the study, “Our results suggest that the endocannabinoids acting through CB1 and CB2 receptors are part of an early neuroprotective response triggered after SCI that is involved in the spontaneous recovery after an incomplete lesion.” Thus far, since cannabinoid usage delivers analgesic properties and a neuroprotective response, there’s hope for SCI patients.

Research Findings about Cannabis Helping Treat Muscle Spasms: A Common SCI Side Effect

Furthermore, besides cannabis’s analgesic properties, the plant also works as a muscle relaxant by relieving muscle spasms. When one experiences paralysis, they often feel spasticity as a common side effect. Surprisingly, in the late 1890s, Dr. J Reynolds discovered cannabis’s efficacy in the treatment of muscle spasms. In general, cannabis works as a natural anti-spasm substance, and one study found that the combination of CBD and THC in the form of Sativex (a sublingual spray) helped reduce muscle spasms.

Although the study’s participants were MS patients, these results are noteworthy, and they represent potential for the treatment of muscle spasticity due to SCI. Additionally, researchers concluded the following about another study related to muscle spasticity and pain: “…Cannabis extracts have shown effectiveness to relieve some symptoms of the patients with Multiple Sclerosis mainly for pain and spasticity.” Also, there’s a significant amount of anecdotal evidence and stories regarding cannabis’s ability to help SCI patients.

Cannabis’s Ability to Help Treat Sleep Disorders Due to SCI

Besides pain and muscle spasticity, those with SCI often experience problems with sleeping. Specifically, the majority of SCI sufferers experience sleep disorders like sleep apnea. Unfortunately, a lack of sleep can weaken and damage the body’s immune system. However, one study revealed that cannabis can help improve one’s quality of sleep and the length of it. Then, another study found that the combination of CBD and THC can help those struggling with various sleep issues.

Improved Mobility Due to Cannabidiol Usage

Usually, a SCI is permanent, and it significantly impacts one’s daily mobility. However, one study discovered that CBD improved mobility in rats that had spinal cord injuries. The study’s researchers concluded by stating the following about these findings: “Cannabidiol improved locomotor functional recovery and reduced injury extent suggesting that it could be useful in the treatment of spinal cord lesions.”

Although this study hasn’t been conducted on humans yet, these findings represent the positive impact CBD can have on sensory motor and functioning in SCI patients. It’s also possible that different cannabinoids can help restore functioning, which can dramatically improve the quality of life of SCI patients.

Overall, despite various traditional treatment methods available for SCI like physical therapy, therapeutic massages, acupuncture, cognitive restructuring, and psychotherapy, they aren’t effective for everyone. Oftentimes, certain medications are prescribed for pain management, but many SCI patients have turned away from them due to their slew of side effects and addictive profile. Besides cannabis being a natural treatment method, it can also relieve numerous painful side effects due to SCI while also improving one’s quality of life and ability to be themselves again. Further research should be conducted on the link between cannabis, CBD, THC, and spinal cord injuries, but the research findings that have been released so far are both significant and hopeful.

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Is It Okay That I Smoke To Mellow Out Before Social Events?

“Shyness is nice, and
Shyness can stop you
From doing all the things in life
You’d like to.”

Right again, Morrissey. Millions of us suffer from debilitating shyness. The medical term is general social anxiety disorder, or SAD, and, by some reckoning, it’s the third most common psychological ailment, affecting about 7 percent of people globally. It’s also extremely well represented among cannabis users. Anywhere from almost a third to almost half of people who ever use marijuana also meet the criteria for SAD at some point.

SAD is essentially our fight-or-flight response run amok, until the act of mingling with strangers over cocktails and snacks feels as existentially threatening as facing down a ravenous sabertooth cat on an empty savannah.

Medication can lessen the symptoms, but the preferred treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy, which focuses on training the mind to react differently to stressful situations. It may even include desensitization exercises, in which patients deliberately seek out stressful situations to confront.

This is obviously as scary as hell. It’s also a slow and potentially expensive process. That’s why many sufferers of SAD prefer to bolster themselves with a dose of “Dutch courage,” taking the edge off their anxiety with a nip of alcohol or a toke of marijuana.

Dr. Julia D. Buckner of Luisiana State University has made a career out of studying the links between extreme social anxiety and self-medication with cannabis. In the last decade or so she has coauthored at least half a dozen papers on the subject. It might seem much ado to prove something we all intuit is true, but she’s managed to put a number to it: Socially anxious people are 6.5 times more likely to be dependent on cannabis than their socially confident peers. They are also 4.5 more likely to use alcohol the same way. What’s particularly interesting, though, is that they are no more likely to abuse either drug than the general public does. In other words, anxious people find the dosage that works for them and they maintain it.

Brain scans show that cannabis is active in regions that process fear and anxiety, but our understanding is still rudimentary. In fact, in its 2015 review of medical cannabis studies, JAMA found only one specifically addressing SAD that met its criteria. The results were favorable, although the study itself was determined to have a “high risk of bias.”

Whether or not cannabis is a medically sound treatment, many thousands of socially anxious individuals currently look to it for relief.

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Bad Childhood: Can Marijuana Help Me Cope With Traumatic Memories?

Frank Sinatra: Why do you drink so much?
Dean Martin: I drink to forget.
Sinatra: Forget what?
Martin: I don’t know. I forgot that a long time ago.

The quest for an elixir that can relieve us of the burden of memory from a bad childhood and more is a longstanding one. Delivered at the swinging-60s crest of the Rat Pack era, when high-functioning alcoholism was regarded more as an aspirational lifestyle than a debilitating disease, Frankie and Dino’s exchange suggested one possible answer. But the promise of booze as a soothing balm of forgetfulness is mostly a delusion. Alcohol works with what you give it: If you are fixated and depressed when you start drinking, odds are you’ll just end up a fixated, depressed drunk.

Of course, it’s true that if you drink enough, you’ll black out. But that’s not forgetting, more like targeted oblivion.

Marijuana, on the other hand, has been shown to play a role in producing, sustaining, and—most important here—dulling traumatic memories. The science is still in its infancy, but it offers great promise for helping people anxiety disorders, like post traumatic stress.

Anecdotally, there’s been plenty of evidence that cannabis helps ease the symptoms of PTSD. But it wasn’t quantified until 2014. That’s when a study conducted in New Mexico on PTSD sufferers reported that cannabis use reduced symptoms by an average of 75 percent. The study itself acknowledges that this figure might be exaggerated, but, even accounting for bias, it’s an impressive result.

Another study from 2014 may provide a neurological explanation for this mitigation. [Trigger warning: contains scenes of rat-directed sadism.]

Researchers at the University of Haifa attempted to induce PTSD in lab rats, first by shocking their tiny, pink feet and then by following up on ensuring days with “trauma reminders”—which are probably not something that makes a pleasant ping! as it flashes a text box across your smartphone screen. Predictably, the distressed rodents began to exhibit classic PTSD symptoms, including jumpiness, avoidance, “impaired plasticity” in the brain’s reward center, and a tendency to hang out by the methadone clinic with a dude named Rico.

Here’s the interesting point: Similarly traumatized rats that were injected with synthetic cannabinoids did not present these symptoms. In fact, these rats responded even better than a control group that was given  Zoloft, an antidepressant often prescribed for PTSD. And it wasn’t just because they were too high to care. Something in the cannabinoids actually prevented their brains from altering in response the repeated stress. In other words, the rats remembered the trauma; it just didn’t fuck them up.

Recently, researchers from the University of Colorado have cleared the last regulatory hurdle for what will be to date the most comprehensive—and, at $2 million, the most well-funded—clinical trial of cannabis on PTSD.  There’s every reason for optimism. But we’ll have to curb our enthusiasm: The results are not expected until 2019.

The post Bad Childhood: Can Marijuana Help Me Cope With Traumatic Memories? appeared first on The Fresh Toast.

Canadian Regulatory Authorities Struggling To Define Rules

Now that Canada finally has a date for the recreational market start, the federal government, provinces and other regulatory authorities are beginning to issue guidelines and rules that are going to define the early days of the recreational industry.

These include regulations on retail trade, medical sales and use. However this is precisely where the confusion is growing.

The Government Will Continue To Run The Medical Cannabis System

In a move to protect patients, Health Canada has announced that it will continue to run the medical part of the market for at least the next five years. In good news for medical users, this announcement was made against calls from the Canadian Medical Association for the medical infrastructure developed on Canada’s path to recreational reform to be phased out. The reason, according to the CMA? Many doctors feel uncomfortable prescribing the drug because of a lack of research and a general lack of understanding about dosing.

Both patients and advocates have expressed support for continuing the medical system. This includes organizations like the Canadian Nurses Association who fear that if a focus is taken off of medical use, producers will ignore this part of the market to focus only on recreational sales.

In the future, after legalization, Health Canada will also continue to support more research and trials.

Provinces Are Setting Their Own Rules For Recreational Sales

Despite early statements, the recreational market is still in the throes of market creation and regulation. The laws are also changing in progress, a situation one regulator has described as building an airplane as it hurtles down the runway for take-off.

Athletes in Canada are still banned from using any kind of cannabis.For example, Ontario, the largest provincial market, is also delaying private sector sales in retail shops until next year. It is also moving away from a government-run dispensary model. Government sales will begin in October, but private dispensaries will have to wait until next April to open their doors (and existing operations will have to close their doors while they apply for licenses). This is also a reversal of the regional government’s position that it would only allow government-controlled shops to sell recreational cannabis.

But perhaps the largest unknown in both national and provincial policy outside of retail brick and mortars is in the area of online sales. A major fight is now brewing in many places where the established industry is now siding with the government about unregistered dispensaries (see Ontario) and established if not registered producers are competing directly with the government not only on main street but online as well.recreational users are beginning to sound alarms that they do not want the government to have so much personal information about them

Retailers with a web presence operating in a grey space will continue to pose a significant challenge to the online system now being implemented by the government for two reasons. Product availability (which will be far more limited on the government-run sites) and privacy.

Beyond the lack of diverse products and strains to be initially offered via the online government portals, recreational users are beginning to sound alarms that they do not want the government to have so much personal information about them – and point specifically to the differences in the regulated alcohol industry vs. the new regulations for the recreational cannabis market.

Beyond Market Rules, There Are Other Guidelines Coming

The Canadian military has now issued guidelines for active duty personnel and cannabis. It cannot ban it from soldiers entirely of course, and as it stands, the situation will be ripe for misunderstandings. For example, soldiers are prohibited from consuming cannabis 8 hours before any kind of duty, 24 hours before the operation of any kind of vehicle or weapon and 28 days before parachuting or serving on a military aircraft.

The only problem, of course, is being able to enforce the same. Cannabinoids, notably THC, can stay in the body for up to 30 days for casual users long after the high is over.

Athletes in Canada are still banned from using any kind of cannabis. The reason? They are subject to the Canadian Anti-Doping Program (CADP) under which the use of cannabis will still be prohibited.

That said, the Canadian Hockey League is reportedly now examining how to revise how it addresses the issue of medical use.

The post Canadian Regulatory Authorities Struggling To Define Rules appeared first on Cannabis Industry Journal.