MMJ Could Eventually Replace Anxiety Meds.

Research into the potential medical uses of marijuana compounds continues apace. Among the most recent, a study delved into why marijuana is an effective stress reducer. While not conclusive on their own, the results contribute to a longer-term possibility – that marijuana compounds may turn out to be more effective and safer in alleviating anxiety than prescription anxiety meds.

The recent study focused on marijuana’s potency in reducing the stress response in regular users. Stress was measured by tracking cortisol amounts in study participants’ saliva. Cortisol, the “stress hormone,” is a reliable indicator of stress; higher or lower amounts correlate closely with a person’s response to stressful situations.

The study compared the stress responses of a group of daily marijuana users to a group of non-users. The results were consistent: regular users had a “blunted” response to acute stress. In effect, their internal stress engines had been turned down by regular exposure to marijuana.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the effects of acute stress on salivary cortisol levels in chronic cannabis users compared to non-users,” said Carrie Cuttler, study co-author and clinical assistant professor of psychology. “While we are not at a point where we are comfortable saying whether this muted stress response is a good thing or a bad thing, our work is an important first step in investigating potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis at a time when its use is spreading faster than ever before.”

The comment that this result is too preliminary to be called “a good or a bad thing” is well-taken (turning down the stress response too much is likely to have both negatives and positives), but it does point to the potential for harnessing a modified version of this effect down the road.

These results pair well with findings from research showing that marijuana compounds have a distinct effect on levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, which plays a key role in the anxiety response. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that acts as a brake on anxiety, counterbalancing the effects of excitatory brain chemicals like glutamate. Early research suggests that compounds in marijuana, particularly cannabidiol (CBD), enhance GABA’s effects with moderate downsides. (CBD has an impressive research profile in several areas, anxiety among them.)

Benzodiazepines, the most commonly used prescription anxiety meds, also affect GABA levels. The meds are effective at quickly delivering what users are seeking – an anxiety extinguishing calmness

But that benefit comes at a cost. Tolerance to benzodiazepines, including Xanax and Klonopin, builds rapidly, requiring a user to take more and more of the meds to get the same effect. It doesn’t take long to develop a dependency that may not end. Instead of going through the well-documented hell of getting off the meds, many users choose to stay on them indefinitely. In addition, benzo side effects—fatigue, disorientation and mental fogginess, among others—are notoriously difficult to manage while trying to make it through the day. Overdose potential for benzos is also high, accounting for thousands of deaths in the U.S. every year.

While preliminary, the latest research suggests that the compounds in marijuana could eventually be harnessed to deliver anxiety relief with decreased dependency, fewer side effects and less overdose potential.

via: Forbes

What makes Boveda the only Precision Humidity Control?

Two-way Humidity Control means the same thing to us today as it did when we patented the packaged version 20 years ago: The ability to add and/or remove moisture and still maintain a specific Relative Humidity (RH). It means acting on the environment instead of being at the mercy of it. It means specificity, reliability and predictability. 

But recently the term 2-way humidity “control” (or regulate) has been dumbed down to include the crude releasing or absorbing of moisture, whether the contents of your container needs it or not.

Think of your remote control. Would you be happy to punch in “62” and the TV goes to 80? No, you’d chuck the remote out a window with no concern whether it was open. If you set your thermostat to 68 in the summer but the furnace fires up, you’d make a thermostat-sized hole in your wall. Both those examples are analogs to what you get from non-Boveda 2-way humidity “control”. “Good enough” is satisfactory for some people. But not for us. And not for your valuable cigars, guitars or cannabis. 

What’s the not-so-secret ingredient only Boveda has patented to provide precision humidity control?

Salt. Science has known for 100’s of years that a saturated salt solution is the only way to provide the capacity to add and/or remove moisture and still maintain the specific intended RH. Boveda patented the packaged version of that science. Without salt, any humidity “control” only has a starting RH that changes wildly as soon as it gives up or absorbs water. That’s not specific, reliable or predictable. 

Boveda’s natural, food-grade salts are the brains that know when to absorb and when to release purified water vapor. It’s why you’ll only find Boveda in the cigar boxes of leading cigar makers and the packaging of the biggest cannabis brands. Boveda means precision.


Learn More about Precision Humidity Control

REVIEW The Utillian 420 Dry Herb Vaporizer by TVape

With so many vaporizers on the market, it can be difficult to pick the right one for you. If you are looking for simplicity, durability, high-end features and economy, the Utillian 420 might be worth taking a look at.

The Utillian 420 has the simplicity of two parts, one button and a digital temperature indicator. There is the all glass path mouthpiece and the vaporizer itself. The vaporizer has a .5” wide and 1.25” deep ceramic convection vaporizing chamber and a .5” wide and 2” deep storage compartment with one button for control.

The one button control is five clicks on and one click to toggle between the four temperature settings. On the unit, the temperature settings are: 190C, 200C, 210C and 220C. Which translates into: 375F, 390F, 410F and 425F for us non-metrics. 

After about a month or so of use, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the vaporizer. The battery life that seemed a little better than promised gets to temperature quickly and the fact that even after dropping it a couple of times, it still works just fine. I also like the onboard storage. The storage chamber is large enough to store at least a couple sessions with your favorite herb.

In summary, the Utillian 420 has the compact size and the desired features of much higher priced dry herb vaporizers with the added feature of on-board storage. Once you brush up on the metric system, there is no reason why you would be disappointed by this vaporizer or have any hesitation in giving this as a gift for your favorite stoner.

Check out the Utillian 420

Terpenes the Flavors of Cannabis

There’s something about the aroma of cannabis that soothes the mind and body. Whether it’s the sweet fruity taste of Pineapple Trainwreck or that skunky smell that bursts from a cracked bud of Sour Diesel, we know there’s something going on under their complex and flavorful bouquets.

Terpenes are what you smell, and knowing what they are will deepen your appreciation of cannabis whether you’re a medical patient or recreational consumer.

Secreted in the same glands that produce cannabinoids like THC and CBD, terpenes are the pungent oils that color cannabis varieties with distinctive flavors like citrus, berry, mint and pine.

Not unlike other strong-smelling plants and flowers, the development of terpenes in cannabis began for adaptive purposes: to repel predators and lure pollinators. There are many factors that influence a plant’s development of terpenes, including climate, weather, age and maturation, fertilizers, soil type, and even the time of day.

Over 100 different terpenes have been identified in the cannabis plant, and every strain tends toward a unique terpene type and composition. In other words, a strain like Cheese and its descendants will likely have a discernible cheese-like smell and Blueberry offspring often inherit the smell of berries.

The diverse palate of cannabis flavors is impressive enough, but arguably the most fascinating characteristic of terpenes is their ability to interact synergistically with other compounds in the plant, like cannabinoids. In the past few decades, most cannabis varieties have been bred to contain high levels of THC, and as a result, other cannabinoids like CBD have fallen to just trace amounts. This has led many to believe that terpenes may play a key role in differentiating the effects of various cannabis strains.

THC binds to cannabinoid receptors concentrated heavily in the brain where psychoactive effects are produced. Some terpenes also bind to these receptor sites and affect their chemical output. Others can modify how much THC passes through the blood-brain barrier. Their hand of influence even reaches to neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin by altering their rate of production and destruction, their movement, and availability of receptors.

The effects these mechanisms produce vary from terpene to terpene; some are especially successful in relieving stress, while others promote focus and acuity. Myrcene, for example, induces sleep whereas limonene elevates mood. There are also effects that are imperceptible, like the gastroprotective properties of caryophyllene.

More: Leafly

Marijuana has Same Health Benefit Foods with Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Numerous studies have shown the medical benefits of marijuana. Everything from nausea to migraines to Alzheimer’s can be treated with various forms of cannabis. But new research suggests that marijuana has medical benefits in an area that can affect a whole host of conditions: Inflammation. 

Excessive inflammation is a major contributor to a number of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, dementia and depression. Studies have shown that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are produced by fish, eggs and nuts, can combat inflammation. The body converts omega-3 fatty acids into endocannabinoids which trigger an anti-inflammatory response.

Well, now you can add cannabis to that the diet. A new study found that one of the main cannabinoids in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, is also a powerful anti-inflammatory. Researchers found that the human body uses THC the same way it uses the endocannabinoids produced from omega-3 fatty acids.

Aditi Das, a professor of comparative biosciences and biochemistry at the University of Illinois and the lead author of this study, explained how this works. 

“Our team discovered an enzymatic pathway that converts omega-3 derived endocannabinoids into more potent anti-inflammatory molecules that predominantly bind to the receptors found in the immune system,” Das told Forbes. “This finding demonstrates how omega-3 fatty acids can produce some of the same medicinal qualities as marijuana.”

Basically that’s a fancy way of saying that eating eggs, fish or nuts and ingesting THC produce similar anti-inflammatory effects that can stave off chronic diseases.

So now you’ll have a reason to perfect that edible weed sushi recipe you’ve been working on.

via: Civilized

MMJ for the Relief of Painful Arthritis

Here’s some good news: Medical marijuana is helping people with arthritis improve their quality of life.

Most of us know someone — an aunt, uncle or grandmother — suffering from arthritis. It is one of the most common health ailments in the world, with more than 50 million people affected in the U.S. alone.

The term “arthritis” is actually a category that includes over 100 conditions and diseases affecting joints and surrounding tissue. Symptoms of pain, stiffness and swelling aching joints are common. Arthritis can seem inescapable and changes people’s quality of life. There is no known cure.

Despite anecdotal evidence of the efficacy of marijuana for arthritis, physicians simply don’t know enough about it to engage their patients about it as a treatment option. In one study, 70 percent of physicians said they would not know how to discuss possible interactions with other meds or suggest dose.

That is a great shame since cannabis has a better safety profile than the NSAIDs, steroids and opiates that are often employed to reduce arthritis discomfort but come with increased risk of heart attack, stroke, weakening of bones and addiction. Even if patients were able to use cannabis as a complementary therapy, they could very potentially cut back on the use of harder, more dangerous meds.

It’s no surprise that cannabis could offer arthritis sufferers relief. After all, cannabis is known to be as much as 20 times more effective than asprin at reducing inflammation and can be an effective sleep aid. Some research certainly supports those decisions.

An Israeli study found that 90 percent of medical marijuana patients stayed on their medicine regimen and most reported reduced pain and function. Researchers at the University of Nottingham noted that targeting cannabinoid receptors with medical marijuana products may help bring pain relief to knee joint pain associated with osteoarthritis. 

Medical Marijuana as Treatment for Parkinson's Disease

Much about Parkinson’s Disease remains unclear. Nobody knows the true cause of the disease and scientists are still searching for a cure. What we do know is that Parkinson’s is a degenerative condition that depletes dopamine centers within the brain. Recent research has shown positive results when utilizing cannabis for Parkinson’s Disease treatment.

What Are Parkinson’s Effect On The Human Body?

The loss of dopamine causes these common symptoms: body tremors, muscle spasms, loss of balance, insomnia, memory loss and dementia. What is most frightening about Parkinson’s Disease is the fact that it is progressive. What may start out as the occasional finger twitch can lead to the inability to freely move certain muscles. These symptoms of Parkinson’s makes it extremely difficult to accomplish daily tasks.

The root causes of Parkinson’s Disease are unknown and current medications only dull its symptoms.Over time, many patients build up a tolerance to these treatments, which cause their symptoms to eventually return. Some Parkinson’s patients are now finding relief through medical cannabis treatments.

Science Behind Using Cannabis For Parkinson’s Disease

Recent scientific research into how Parkinson’s affects our neurological structure has uncovered how the disease attacks the dopamine centers within the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia helps control muscle mobility and is one of the key regions in the brain that Parkinson’s attacks. The basal ganglia has a surprisingly high amount of endocannabinoid receptors that consist mostly of CB1 receptors; the receptors where endogenous THC is activated when it reaches the brain.

Cannabis’ ability to be a neuro protector has been discussed and researched for decades. A study conducted nearly twenty years ago researched whether or not cannabis had neuroprotective qualities. Researchers injected rats with a neurotoxic chemical that typically severely decays the brain. When given cannabis extracts, the rat’s brains were protected from the chemical. The groundbreaking study proved that cannabis has inherent neuroprotective qualities.

Cannabis Is A Reliable Neuroprotectant

A reliable neuroprotectant that could treat Parkinson’s would be very welcome. While the research proving cannabis is a reliable neuroprotectant is promising, it is scarce. There is not enough cannabis research to prove definitively that cannabis can effectively treat Parkinson’s disease, but the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming.

According to multiple firsthand accounts, patients can find relief by using medical cannabis. In states where medical marijuana is legal, those with Parkinson’s have began exploring alternate treatments with medical cannabis. As more states continue to legalize marijuana use, more patients will have the ability to discover the medicinal qualities of cannabis for Parkinson’s disease.

MMJ Football and the CTE Crisis

Persistent vomiting, three-day bouts of confusion, unprovoked rage, self-harm, suicidal impulses -- those are just some of the horrifying symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that afflicts up to 99 percent of retired NFL players thanks to the severe concussions that have become everyday injuries in pro football.

CTE is jeopardizing the lives of players as well as the reputation of the NFL, but medical marijuana could restore both to good health. 

A recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed the prevalence of CTE among retired NFL players. After analyzing 111 brains of deceased players whose bodies were donated for research, scientists found that 110 of the 111 specimens (99 percent) had developed CTE.

Researchers noted their results might be somewhat skewed since the families of those donors suspected that their loved ones had developed CTE. But there's no denying that CTE is a real and prevalent threat to the lives of NFL players. But the disease often begins to take root in their teens.

According to the study, approximately 3 in 14 high school players (20 percent) develop CTE, which can begin showing symptoms in their mid 20s. The rates rise to 48 out of 53 college players (90 percent) and climb steadily among long-tenured NFL players. That means every game increases the risk of developing the lethal condition, which can't be detected until after it claims the player's life. 

CTE can only be diagnosed after death. So there is no way to identify and cure the illness before it takes hold, but there might be a way to mitigate and perhaps reverse its symptoms. 

Medical Marijuana Could Help NFL Players
There's no cure for CTE, but cannabis could protect the brain from the damage caused by repeated concussion. The neuroprotective properties of cannabis could make players more CTE-resistant, according to Lester Grinspoon -- a Harvard professor of psychiatry. And tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) -- the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana -- also stimulates parts of the brain involved in healing after a traumatic brain injury.

So marijuana might not only reduce but perhaps reverse the effects of CTE. 

That's why retired players like Eugene Monroe and Kyle Turley are calling on the NFL to repeal the league’s ban on cannabis and support medical marijuana research that could lead to a CTE breakthrough. 

"I suffer from traumatic brain injury from playing this sport. I've seen this firsthand in multiple scans of my brain," Turley told Freedom Leaf last year.

Turley added that allowing athletes to use medical marijuana could save the lives of players like him as well as the sport itself. "If we want to save football, then we've got to start looking at solutions, not just count concussions. Cannabis is that potential savior."

Read More at: Civilized

MMJ Drug Could Extend the Lives of Brain Cancer Patients

UK drug maker GW Pharmaceuticals announced it has achieved positive results in the second phase of a clinical study on Glioma, a cannabinoid-based therapy aimed at treating an aggressive form of brain cancer.

The study looked at 21 patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiform, or GBM, and found that participants who were given the drug—a combination of THC and CBD—lived significantly longer than those who took a placebo.

“These promising results are of particular interest as the pharmacology of the THC:CBD product appears to be distinct from existing oncology medications and may offer a unique and possibly synergistic option for future glioma treatment,” the study’s principal investigator Susan Short, an oncology professor at the Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology at St. James University Hospital, said in a statement.

Study participants who received Glioma showed an 83 percent one-year survival rate, GW reported, compared to a 52 percent rate among those who took a placebo. The median survival rate was 550 days among those who took the drug and 369 days among those who did not.
While the company says the treatment was “generally well tolerated”  by patients, there were some observed side effects.  Most common were vomiting, dizziness, nausea, headache, and constipation.

GBM, one of the most common types of brain tumor, is an aggressive cancer that arises in the brain or spinal cord. It carries a poor prognosis, with only 28.4 percent of patients surviving longer than a year after diagnosis. Only 3.4 percent of patients survive to year five.

CEO Justin Gover said in a statement that the latest results continue to validate the importance of researching cannabis as a treatment for cancer and other diseases.

“These data are a catalyst for the acceleration of GW’s oncology research interests,” he said, “and over the coming months, we expect to consult with external experts and regulatory agencies on a pivotal clinical development program for THC:CBD in GBM and to expand our research interests in other forms of cancer.”

Read More At: Leafly

REVIEW The Fumo Pipe

The Fumo Pipe is a new twist on the old steamroller. Made from a solid billet of aluminum, stainless steel bowl-piece a stainless steel push-button carb and a polycarbonate smoke chamber, the Fumo Pipe is near indestructible.

Strong and sturdy is always good but how does it smoke? Well, to be brief, pretty darn good. The design and engineering take advantage of heat-syncing of the aluminum providing some cooling but the trick is storing the Fumo Pipe in the freezer. Either way, chilled or right out of the box, the Fumo Pipe delivers a cooled hit.

I have certainly given my Fumo Pipe a workout and everyone I have shared it with agree that the pipe is worth having it in any collection. Even with all of the testing and sharing, my pipe hasn’t clogged yet. The pipe cleaned up quickly and easily with a little alcohol, a couple of cotton swabs and a paper towel.

Overall, I give the Fumo Pipe an “A”. Unique and clever design, good smooth smoke and easy to maintain. I couldn’t ask for more.

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5 Facts about the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act

The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was drafted by infamous anti-cannabis prohibitionist Harry Anslinger, and signed into law on August 2, 1937. Up until this law was passed, cannabis products were legal to sell in pharmacies and drug stores, so long as they were properly labeled and regulated, but it was during the 1930s that the mainstream attitudes towards cannabis began to sway greatly towards negative opinion.

1. The Origins of ‘Marihuana’
This was one of the first acknowledgments by the US government of the new and notorious drug known as “marihuana.” The name itself, marihuana, was derived from Mexican Spanish, although the linguistic origins have been widely debated. From the Aztec language Nahuatl to the Chinese word ma ren hua, meaning “hemp seed flower,” marijuana truly has many roots, but the word was popularized by Harry Anslinger as part of his campaign to instill fear of the drug. Before this, it was commonly referred to as "hemp" or “cannabis sativa,” and was considered “a fashionable narcotic,” often found in over-the-counter pharmaceutical products like cough syrups.

2. The Opposition of the AMA
The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was originally passed to levy taxes on hemp products and on the commercial sales of cannabis products. Farmers could acquire tax stamps for the cultivation of fiber hemp, physicians would be charged a tax for prescribing cannabis, and pharmacists would be required to pay a tax for selling cannabis. The American Medical Association was strongly opposed to the act, arguing against the measure in court and proposing instead that cannabis be added to the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act.

3. Reefer Madness Is Born
The law was enacted a year after the production of the notorious anti-cannabis film, Reefer Madness, originally titled Tell Your Children, but also known as The Burning Question, Doped Youth, and Love Madness. Reefer Madness was financed by a church group before being widely released as an exploitation film to warn the public about the dangers of cannabis use. It was just one in a long line of education-exploitation films of the era, including Marihuana (1936), Assassin of Youth (1937), and Devil’s Harvest (1942).

4. The Power of the Paper Industry
Over the years, many have speculated that the reason for the campaign against cannabis boiled down to demonizing the hemp industry because it was a low-cost substitute for paper pulp. The paper industry, and more specifically, the newspaper industry, led the charge against cannabis with Anslinger. William Randolph Hearst, Andrew Mellon, and the DuPont family all had major investments in the timber and newspaper industries, and a rise of hemp would have seemingly undercut their profits. Curiously, years later, manufacturing paper with hemp as the raw material proved that hemp lacks the qualities needed to become a major competitor of the traditional paper industry, as it does not contain a high enough concentration of cellulose to be an effective substitute.

5. The First Victim of the Drug War
The first person to be arrested under the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was precisely the person Anslinger and his cohorts sought to target with their cannabis crusade: a young, Mexican-American named Moses Baca, who had a quarter-ounce of cannabis tucked into his drawer in his third-floor rooming house in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood. Judge John Foster Symes sentenced Baca and made his disgust for cannabis well-known: “I consider marijuana the worst of all narcotics, far worse than the use of morphine or cocaine. Under its influence, men become beasts. Marijuana destroys life itself. I have no sympathy with those who sell this weed.”

via: Leafly

Nearly Half of people who use CBD products Stop taking Traditional Medicines

The largest survey on cannabidiol or CBD usage to date found that women were more likely than men to use CBD and once they started using it, were likely to drop their traditional medicine. A new survey from Brightfield Group and HelloMD covered 2,400 of HelloMD’s community of 150,000 members and did a deep dive into the usage of CBD products and their effectiveness. HelloMD is an online community that brings together doctors and cannabis patients.

Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive cannabis compound that doesn’t give users the feeling that they are high or stoned. Instead, it is known to have medicinal qualities. Contrary to the image of men being the predominant consumers of cannabis, this survey found that 55% of the CBD users were women, while men preferred the THC-dominant products. Brightfield Group, which helped conduct the survey, studies consumption patterns and demand trends and is committed to providing accurate data in the cannabis industry which seems to be rife with unsupported claims.

The most common reasons people used CBD were to treat insomnia, depression, anxiety and joint pain, according to Dr. Perry Solomon, the Chief Medical Officer of HelloMD. Forty-two percent of the CBD users said they had stopped using traditional medications like Tylenol pain relievers or prescription drugs like Vicodin and had switched to using cannabis instead. Eighty percent said that they found the products to be “very or extremely effective.” Only 3% or less found the product to be either ineffectual or only slightly effective.

One of the areas that the CBD producers will have to work on is educating the consumer about CBD products. There are more than 850 brands of marijuana-derived CBD products on the market and 150 hemp-derived products. (Marijuana and hemp are the two variations of the cannabis plant.) Eight percent of the consumers surveyed admitted they didn’t know which CBD product they had used.

Adding to the confusion is the murky legal status of CBD. Technically, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) labels all CBD products as illegal. However, hemp-derived CBD is available in just about every state and even online through Amazon. Marijuana-derived CBD tends to only be found in states with legal medicinal marijuana.

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