Medical Marijuana and our Furry Friends

As medical marijuana receives more attention, pet owners are starting to consider if it can help their furry friends too.


Dr. Katherine Kramer, a veterinarian with B.C.’s Vancouver Animal Wellness Hospital, says the topic is becoming “more and more popular.” Just two years ago, pet owners would ask about marijuana just once a year. These days, she gets asked at least once a week. 

In Canada and the U.S., cannabis is not considered a veterinary medicine according to official guidelines. Dr. Robin Downing, a top animal pain specialist in the U.S., tells The Denver Post “there’s more we don’t know about this therapy than we do know.” 

But even though veterinarians can’t officially prescribe marijuana, Dr. Kramer says she can, and sometimes will, recommend it in her practice. 

Indeed, acceptance of marijuana as a medicine seems to be just beginning for pets and people. The main barrier – for both – is a lack of research. 

But there’s enough science to explain how it works, and it turns out pets and people share something in common.
The main pathways for marijuana’s effect are cannabinoid receptors, Dr. Kramer explains. “Dogs and cats have that like people, which is why we’re starting to use it medicinally for them.”


Risks For Pets

Marijuana may hold promise as a medicine, but there is also an increasing amount of research suggesting accidental pet poisonings are on the rise. Dr. Kramer says she’s aware of the research as well as the risks it can pose for pets.
For example, Dr. Kramer explains that sudden incontinence in dogs is considered “pathognomonic” for marijuana toxicity. That means “if you have a dog that’s acting stoned and they’re incontinent, chances are 100:1 that it’s going to be marijuana ingestion.”

While rarely fatal, pets can easily be overwhelmed by marijuana’s effects due to their size. Dogs are also allergic to chocolate, which makes marijuana brownies a double threat.

Read More: Leaf Science

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MMJ Research Suggests Marijuana Works as an Anti-Depressant

A new study shows a decline in suicide rates in states that have legalized medical marijuana.

Published last week in the American Journal of Public Health, a group of economics researchers found that medical marijuana laws led to a sharp drop in suicide rates among young men. 

The results seem to support the belief that marijuana can be used to cope with stressful life events, says study co-author Daniel Rees, PhD, professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver. 

Rees notes that some research suggests marijuana works as an anti-depressant, but the evidence isn’t conclusive. On the other hand, medical marijuana laws have also been linked to less alcohol consumption – particularly among young men. 

Less alcohol consumption following medical marijuana legalization could also explain the drop in suicide rates, he says. 

But the study was the first time researchers have looked at medical marijuana laws and suicide rates. Rees believes more research needs to be done to be sure.

Read More: Leaf Science

MMJ Cannabis, PTSD and Sleep

Experts believe cannabis may help patients with PTSD manage their sleep problems.


As a substance abuse specialist at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Marcel Bonn-Miller, Ph.D has spent years studying cannabis use among patients in California.  


In his work, he’s noticed that a significant portion of patients who visit marijuana dispensaries suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And these patients seem to find marijuana useful for a variety of symptoms.


“But there hasn’t been a whole lot of documentation of it,” he told us. “This was one of the first studies to really document that people with PTSD appear to be using (cannabis) to cope, and it seems like they are primarily using to cope with sleep problems.”


In a study published last month in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Dr. Bonn-Miller and his colleagues administered surveys to PTSD patients from a local dispensary to find out what exactly they were using cannabis for. Sleep, it seemed, was the primary reason.


Dr. Bonn-Miller explains that sleep problems are a big component of PTSD. Patients might have problems falling asleep or have trouble staying asleep throughout the night. Nightmares are also common.


His latest findings support sleep as the primary motivation of PTSD patients who self-medicate with cannabis. An important point is that patients with worse sleep tend to use cannabis more frequently.  


But Dr. Bonn-Miller says while cannabis seems to help in the short-term, other studies suggest that it’s effectiveness may diminish in the long run. Using cannabis for sleep can also lead to dependency, he adds.


Dr. Bonn-Miller admits he’s not aware of any studies that have compared cannabis to other sleep aids, something that he believes needs to be done. Marijuana’s potential to help other symptoms of PTSD, such as overcoming painful memories, has also never been studied in a clinical setting.  

Read More: Leaf Science

MMJ STUDY Medical Marijuana and the Spread of Prostate Cancer

At this point, it is no secret that the medical cannabis has been used to effectively treat a variety of cancers. Anecdotal success stories are popping up with increased prevalence. In turn, consideration for cannabis concentrates (RSO, BHO, Solventless Wax, etc.) as a viable treatment for cancer is on the rise.

In 2009, a team of researchers from the University of Alcalá in Spain published a study in the British Journal of Cancer that adds merit to the thought. It suggests that cannabinoid treatments could inhibit prostate cancer cell growth through activation of the CB2 receptors.

The PC-3 cell line is often used to represent the development of human prostate cancer. According to the Spanish research team, the cell line has been found to express high levels of CB1 and CB2 receptors.

In the past, the same research team has shown that cannabinoids can inhibit growth and even trigger apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the PC-3 cell line. This study in particular was intended to investigate the role of the CB2 receptor specifically.

All in all, the study involved three human prostate cancer cell lines – PC-3, DU-145, and LNCaP. Researchers investigated the proliferation of prostate cancer cells in a cell culture environment while the CB2 receptors were inhibited. Prostate tumors were induced in mice as a model also,

According to the results published in the British Journal of Cancer, the University of Alcalá research team found that a chemical similar to anandamide (the body’s natural version of THC) inhibited PC-3 cell growth. They experienced the same results with JWH-015, a synthetic CB2 receptor agonist.

With that said, cannabinoid-induced benefits were seemingly reversed by inhibiting activation of the CB2 receptors. Cannabinoid treatments did not fight cancer cell proliferation with the same vigor once the CB2 receptors were down-regulated.

Accordingly, the Spanish study concludes that activation of the CB2 receptors could play a major role in the inhibition of prostate cancer growth. It reads CB2 agonists have potential therapeutic interest and deserve to be explored in the management of prostate cancer.”

Read More: Medical Jane

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MMJ STUDY Hemp Seeds and Hypertension

New research suggests adding hemp seeds to one’s diet may help in both preventing and treating high blood pressure.


Researchers at the University of Manitoba believe hemp seeds could offer a safer alternative to drugs traditionally prescribed for hypertension. Previous studies, they note, suggest that proteins found in hemp seed possess a variety of cardiovascular benefits.


In a new study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, the team found that an 8-week diet of hydrolyzed hemp protein could slow the development of hypertension in genetically-prone rats.  


What’s more, the diet was also effective at reducing signs of hypertension – plasma ACE and renin levels – in rats with already established conditions. 


While a number of foods have been found to help control blood pressure, the researchers suggest that the protein content of hemp seeds, as well as being easy to digest, make it an ideal choice.  


Read More: Leaf Science

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MMJ Cannabidiol, Schizophrenia and Psychotic Disorders


Scientists say a chemical in marijuana could be more effective than leading medications for psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.


Marijuana’s active ingredient is a chemical called THC, which is thought to trigger psychosis in certain individuals. However, research shows that another compound in marijuana called CBD (cannabidiol) may counteract THC’s effect, and could even have antipsychotic properties of its own.

In the latest study, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, Dutch and British researchers reviewed more than 66 past studies on CBD and psychosis, and concluded that the compound offers a number of advantages over current drugs. 

The authors point out that CBD, unlike a vast majority of medicines, appears to have no noticeable side effects and no lethal dose. Several lines of evidence, including animal and human studies, also support its effectiveness as an antipsychotic medicine. 

One of the most promising studies was published in 2012. The study involved 39 people with schizophrenia, 20 who were given CBD and 19 who were given the antipsychotic drug amisulpride. 

At the end of the four-week trial, those who received CBD showed the same levels of improvement as those who received amisulpride. But more importantly, CBD did not cause the hormonal and weight imbalances that amisulpride did. 

“The results were amazing,” said Daniel Piomelli, Ph.D., a professor of pharmacology at the University of California-Irvine who co-authored the study. 

Unfortunately, despite raising excitement among others in the field, Dr. Piomelli’s findings have yet to be followed up. According to PsychCentral, barriers include CBD’s relationship to marijuana and the fact that it is a naturally-occurring compound, which makes it harder to patent as a new drug.  

Read More: Leaf Science

GROW TIP Get rid of Fungus Gnats in Your Marijuana Garden

Adult fungus gnats are grey with longs legs and very tiny.  Females lay eggs at the rate of approximately two hundred per week at the base of the cannabis.  These little buggers attack in both the adult and larval (maggot) stage.  Fungus gnat maggots are microscopic, sporting black heads and transparent bodies.  Fungus gnats are found at the soil level and initially feed on fungus.  Once they run out of soil ick, they attack the root systems, damaging larger roots and eating the smaller root hairs.  This retards the plants’ growth, discolors leaves and causes malformation of the stems and branches. As their name denotes, they render the marijuana plant susceptible to various fungal diseases.

Fungus gnats are particularly damaging to cannabis due to affecting the drainage properties of the soil by their droppings.  Marijuana needs well drained soil so as to keep the root system from becoming too wet and inviting pests who thrive in wet conditions. Taking care to not over water your crop is good preventative measure against infestation; they are drawn to moist conditions.

There are a couple of simple ways to detect whether or not you have a gnat problem.  One is to purchase yellow sticky cards from your garden center and place them in the soil around your plants.  After a few days, remove the cards and see what has stuck to them.  If you see more than a few gnats, uh oh!

To check for fungus gnat larvae, place a half inch thick piece of potato on the ground. After four to eight hours, check for maggots.  If there are several dinner guests on the potato, it’s time to send them on their way.

Placing yellow sticky cards or yellow sticky tape (gnats love the color yellow!) throughout the garden will trap the adult gnats.  Fungus gnat larvae are a different matter.  Begin by letting the top few layers of the soil dry completely.  This means delaying the watering schedule for a few days.  Once the soil is dry mix one part pure 3% hydrogen peroxide with four parts water.  Water the top layer of soil thoroughly.  This will kill the larvae.  Peroxide will not hurt your plants.  It will break down into oxygen and water molecules which actually benefits the soil.  Going through this exercise periodically will ensure the gnats go away and stay away and is actually a healthy treat for the soil.

More From: I Love Growing Marijuana 

STUDY: ADHD makes you more likely to use Marijuana

The latest study, published in the journal Substance Use & Misuse, suggests that some adults may be using marijuana to help manage hyperactive and impulsive behaviors.

While the study was the first to show this in humans, Mallory Loflin, a Ph.D student from the University at Albany’s Department of Psychology and co-author of the study, says research in animals also lends support to the findings. 
Although it’s common for ADHD sufferers to report using marijuana to relieve their symptoms, scientists have been skeptical up until now.

According to Loflin, that’s because most people think of problems with attention when they think of ADHD, forgetting about the other symptoms. But ADHD consists of three different subtypes, two of which include symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity.

And while researchers have yet to link cannabis use with improvements in attention, there is support for a role in impulse control.

Based on this hypothesis, Loflin and her colleagues looked at self-reports from 2,800 adult marijuana users and divided them into groups based on ADHD-related symptoms and how often they used cannabis.

What they found was that people who used cannabis on a daily basis – a pattern scientists refer to as self-medicating – were more likely to match the criteria for hyperactive subtypes.

Symptoms were assessed according to the adult ADHD self-report scale (ASRS) – an 18-item criteria often used in epidemiological studies as an indicator of the disorder. Participants were asked to complete the ASRS based on symptoms that occurred only when they weren’t using cannabis.

Because of this, Loflin believes the study provides support for a role of marijuana in helping those who suffer from hyperactive forms of ADHD.

Read More: Leaf Science

STUDY Marijuana-Based CBD Oil Reduces Colon Cancer Cell Growth

The report, in the International Journal of Phototherapy and Psychopharmacology,  shows high-CBD cannabis extracts can help prevent cancerous growth from spreading.

The researchers used a high-CBD oil on actual patients and then studied the various lesions, polyps and tumors. They found that CBD stopped cancerous cells from spreading but did nothing to health, normal cells – meaning the healthy cells could regenerate. From the study’s abstract:

“CBD BDS and CBD reduced cell proliferation in tumoral, but not in healthy, cells. The effect of CBD BDS was counteracted by selective CB1 and CB2 receptor antagonists. Pure CBD reduced cell proliferation in a CB1-sensitive antagonist manner only. In binding assays, CBD BDS showed greater affinity than pure CBD for both CB1 and CB2 receptors, with pure CBD having very little affinity. In vivo, CBD BDS reduced AOM-induced preneoplastic lesions and polyps as well as tumor growth in the xenograft model of colon cancer.”

The study concluded that CBD reduced colon cancer and prevented it from spreading – though the researchers don’t sound to excited by it in their conclusion:

“The results may have some clinical relevance for the use of Cannabis-based medicines in cancer patients.”

The Stoned Society

GROW TIP Avoid Airy and Loose Marijuana Buds

What is more annoying then ending up with marijuana buds that are airy, loose and fluffy? These inferior buds are usually caused by not enough light, high temperatures, or overall lack of nutrient value. Read these next tips to make sure you harvest huge, hard and THC rich buds.

For indoor marijuana growing, high temperatures in the garden area or just proximity to the light cause the buds to grow airy and flaccid. To avoid this, simply move the buds farther away from the light source so that they stay in an environment below 80*F (27*C) In fact, it’s a good rule of thumb to keep the growing area can canopy under at least 80*.

For outdoor marijuana growing, high temperatures during flowering can produce loose buds. For the most part, you won’t have a problem with this because the plants generally flower in autumn when the temperature is cooler. But, if they happen to flower early (either because they are bred to flower early or because of forced light deprivation), there might be an issue. 

To avoid loose buds, growers could use a micro-sprayer system that cools the plants even in the hot sun. These sprayers use powerful pumps or just high water pressure to generate a thin, misty spray full of tiny droplets that are usually less than five microns. These droplets will evaporate effectively decreasing the temperature of the air in the surround vicinity. These sprayers are often used to cool outdoor living areas, but you’ll also find them in greenhouses as well. They don’t use a lot of water and are relatively simple to install.

Read More: I Luv Growing Marijuana

STUDY Why Marijuana Users Never Fatally Overdose

Scientists have discovered a molecule in the brain that may limit the effects of too much cannabis. 


Marijuana has never been linked to an overdose death, and new findings may explain why. 

Published in the journal Science, French researchers have identified a natural hormone that reverses marijuana intoxication in rats. 

In an interview with WebMD, study author Dr. Pier Vincenzo Piazza explained that rats exposed to THC showed a dramatic rise in a brain hormone called pregnenolone. The hormone also seemed to prevent marijuana’s intoxicating effects. 

“When the brain is stimulated by high doses of THC, it produces pregnenolone – a 3,000 percent increase – that inhibits the effects of THC.”

But the study, originally meant for developing a treatment for cannabis addiction, has been met with different interpretations. 

While the authors say that an addiction treatment based on pregnenolone could soon be tested in humans, others believe the study explains how the brain protects itself from a marijuana overdose. 

By binding to cannabinoid receptors, THC triggers the release of pregnenolone, which in turn weakens THC’s action on the receptors – a negative feedback loop that could prevent marijuana users from getting too high. 

Considering the low rates of cannabis addiction, Mitch Earleywine, a professor of psychology at the University at Albany, SUNY, adds that a drug for cannabis abuse may not even be necessary. 

READ MORE: Leaf Science

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