Utah Lawmaker Files Bill To Explore Therapeutic Use of Psychedelics

A Utah lawmaker has introduced a bill to explore the potential of psychedelic drugs to treat serious mental health conditions including depression, anxiety and PTSD. The legislation, House Bill 167, was introduced on Tuesday by Utah state Representative Brady Brammer, who noted that the measure “doesn’t legalize anything.”

“It asks our Huntsman Mental Health Institute and other experts in the field to review the science that’s out there, the research that’s out there, and make any recommendations that they have if they feel psychedelics can be safely administered through a prescription basis and under what circumstances,” Brammer said in a television news interview.

If passed, HB 167 would direct the state’s Health and Human Services Department to create a Mental Illness Psychotherapy Drug Task Force. The group would “study and make recommendations on drugs that may assist in treating mental illness,” according to the text of the legislation. The legislation specifies the makeup of the task force, which would include mental health professionals, researchers and patients.

Although the bill does not specifically mention psychedelics or any particular drug, the task force would be authorized to “provide evidence-based recommendations on any psychotherapy drug that the task force determines may enhance psychotherapy when treating a mental illness.” The legislation would empower the task force to study the research into psychedelic drugs, which has shown the potential to treat serious mental health conditions.

“We need effective tools to treat mental illness,” Brammer said in a statement to local media. “If psychedelics can be helpful and safely administered, we need them in our toolbox.”

Cannabis Activists Support Utah Psychedelics Bill

Brammer’s bill is supported by groups that campaigned for Proposition 2, the 2018 ballot initiative that legalized medical marijuana in Utah. Kylee Shumway, the medical director for the Utah Patients Coalition, said that psychedelics may be able to help residents of the state who are struggling with mental illness.

“We have higher rates of depression and anxiety than a lot of other states and even for people that are looking for help, there’s not enough psychiatrists; there’s not enough mental health professionals to help them,” said Shumway. “And a lot of the medications aren’t working.”

Research into psychedelics including psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine has shown that the drugs have potential therapeutic benefits, particularly for serious mental health conditions such as depression, addiction and anxiety. Research published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry in 2020 found that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy was an effective and quick-acting treatment for a group of 24 participants with major depressive disorder. A separate study published in 2016 determined that psilocybin treatment produced substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer.

“It’s very promising,” Shumway exclaimed. “There are some huge studies that have just been finished recently on psilocybin that put it head to head against SSRIs which are antidepressants and psilocybin performed better across the board.”

“Utah has some of the finest researchers in the areas of psychiatry and neurosciences at Huntsman Mental Health Institute,” said Brammer. “This bill seeks to leverage that expertise, along with other experts grappling with mental illness, to review the research results, and if appropriate, make recommendations on how to safely administer these therapeutics under the care of qualified physicians.”

Steve Urquhart, a former Republican Utah state senator, also supports Brammer’s bill to explore the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs.

“Psychedelics changed my life,” he told local media. “It changed the way I see myself, the way I regard myself, and that allows me to see others and love others a lot more.”

Urquhart is the founder of The Divine Assembly, a Utah church that promotes religious and responsible use of psilocybin. 

“I’ve always been a bit of an activist at heart, and I decided I wanted to form a church where people can have these freedoms to worship with psychedelics,” Urquhart said. “I tell people, don’t get too lost on psychedelics; The Divine Assembly is about connection, and psychedelics can help with that.”

Urquhart believes that state lawmakers are likely to appreciate the cautious approach HB 167 takes to explore the benefits of psychedelics and may eventually support the legislation.

“Remember, this is Utah. Of course, we’re likely to take a slower approach to something like this,” he noted. “But on things like this, when the process runs, when it works, Utah can kind of come up with some magic. I’m optimistic about this.”

Brammer introduced HB 167 in the Utah House of Representatives on January 18. The bill has been referred to the House Rules Committee for consideration.

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How Mom’s Are Breaking Stigma Around Cannabis

While research and social stigma around cannabis are changing rapidly, a surprising force behind the shift is women and moms. Social media is full of the “wine mom” trope and memes about “wine o’clock” and such, but the reality is many are swapping wine for a joint or gummy to wind down and get some […]

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Weed Plus: The Healing Mystique of Magic Mushrooms

The winter sun was beating down through the open windows of my older sister’s Porsche as we cruised down Pico Boulevard toward the beach, bumper to bumper with other cars in the westward traffic of a warm Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles.

“That smells good,” she hollered to the guys in the next car over, pot smoke filling the space between lanes. They motioned to pass a joint through the open windows, my two best pals and I giggling in the back seat. I was 18 and by this point familiar with the terrain of a cannabis high, but I wanted to keep my head clear for later — for what my sister described as “weed plus.”

I’d spent my first semester of college smoking weed out of a hookah with friends, my nights ablaze, as one does in Berkeley. In the daytime, I’d burrow into a pile of books about psychedelic counterculture for an upcoming research paper. I had become obsessed with Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception, and as if I’d read the guidebook to Paris before a trip, I decided that all my academic probing into psychedelics better culminate in lived experience. So, I bought a half ounce of shrooms and headed to Venice Beach with a few friends for our first time “tripping.” My older sister — a dedicated stoner and a cannabis attorney 14 years my senior — along with a family friend, who was a medical marijuana doctor and a seasoned psychonaut, were there to guide us in case things got too weird.

Unlike acid (which I still hadn’t tried at that point), mushrooms felt like the next level up from cannabis — that is, “weed plus” in the words of my sister. The psychedelic experience, or “trip,” would be longer than a regular weed high, but shorter than 12 hours of LSD. After that first time tripping, I soon learned that, for me, mushrooms and cannabis bring on similar visuals of swirling floral patterns and paisleys in a pink Technicolor palette.

My first time taking mushrooms was easily one of the best, most significant days of my life: playful, exploratory, spiritual. I felt like I was reborn, discovering the world and its wonders for the first time. The shrooms had turned down the volume on the anxiety that defined my day-to-day and turned up the volume on my appreciation for life. For the first time, the phrase “be here now” meant something to me on an embodied level — but like Ram Dass, who ventured to India after coming up and down on countless psychedelic trips during his tenure as a psychiatry professor at Harvard in the 1960s, I too wondered why it seemed I needed mushrooms to feel the way I did. I asked myself, “Would I be able to get there on my own one day?”

Psych 101

It’s a common adage that one can accomplish the same degree of healing in a single psychedelic trip that might otherwise require years of therapy. By the same token, in the psychedelic community it’s often said that “the journey is the medicine.” In other words, such as in the case of mushrooms, it’s not just the psilocybin, the main psychoactive compound, that spurs a neurological reset — it’s the experience of the trip itself. This can come with insights, challenges and joys that consequently foster lessons and memories that nourish the soul and last a lifetime. Science can only attempt to describe this alternative headspace.

Many well-known research institutions such as Johns Hopkins and UCLA are exploring how psilocybin is being used for mental health treatments and can occasion a “mystical experience,” defined by “scale scores” of seven criteria. What scientists are finding is that the degree to which a patient undergoes a mystical experience often correlates to the degree of healing they experience for whatever condition they are treating, be it anxiety, depression, or something else.

“When you optimally screen, facilitate and integrate these [psychedelic] experiences, you can almost reliably facilitate a mystical level kind of encounter, which may be predictive of positive therapeutic outcomes,” said Dr. Charles Grob, psychedelic researcher and UCLA professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

To put it bluntly, the promise of psychedelic therapy is forcing researchers to grapple with notions of God or mysticism that have otherwise been absent from Western science and medicine. Indigenous cultures, on the other hand, are well-known for structured spiritual-medicinal approaches and traditions that incorporate psychedelic plant medicine, such as ayahuasca, magic mushrooms or peyote.

Grob notes that clinicians have much to learn from indigenous practices, which “were entirely dependent on a harmonious relationship with the world of nature for shelter, for food, for continuity, and for societal groups.”

He goes on to say that the psychedelic experience may be symbolic of a death and rebirth ritual. That could be thanks to the experience of “ego death” — a psychedelic-induced dampening of the brain’s default mode network (DMN), where the ego resides. Ego death, or “ego dissolution,” can act as a reset for the DMN, helping to rewire thought patterns that were otherwise constrained by the ego, and facilitating an increase in personality traits like openness or empathy.

In breaking out of old thought patterns, a person who experiences ego death may also obtain a degree of healing from habits that previously kept them in a loop, particularly in addiction. Turning down the volume on the ego can also help engender a sense of oneness with the surrounding world, people or nature.

“The ego is looking after us,” Grob says. “There’s good reason to be compassionate toward the ego: It’s trying to do its best, but it’s not useful, and it overshoots in what it does and disconnects us. What psychedelics do is turn down the defenses.”

The ego’s defenses can manifest in addictions, such as eating disorders, compulsions and obsessions. “They’re all a maladaptive defense response to adversity,” says Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, Head of the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London.

Through psychedelic therapy, Grob says, we can engineer a context in which it’s safe to let the ego go off duty and allow us to be vulnerable in a caring, nurturing environment. “It’s about going backwards to go forward,” he said. “Being vulnerable to be stronger, more flexible, more capacious.”

Safe Travels

Finding the right setting for a psychedelic experience is up to the beholder; it could be in a therapist’s office, a spiritual ceremony, with friends at a music concert, or decidedly alone in the woods. Once that ideal setting is found, one can relax and focus his or her mindset on whatever kind of healing or intention they set out to explore with the help of psychedelic medicine.

Even back in the ’60s, Grob says, pioneer researchers “found that those who had a mystical level experience had improved quality of life.” 

With psilocybin in particular, he said, “the replicability and degree to which the trip might happen, and the depth is more apparent”— than perhaps with other psychedelics such as LSD — because the six to eight-hour trip is “easier to control” than something that could otherwise be twice as long.

Despite the growing amount of research, psychedelic scientists have yet to fully comprehend how substances such as psilocybin work in the brain. Psilocybin definitely stimulates the serotonin 2A receptor in the brain and can occasion ego death by dampening the default mode network. Even so, the compound remains a mystery.

That said, there’s mounting evidence that psilocybin — much like cannabis — can facilitate healing from a variety of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, addiction, and eating disorders, among others. It can also increase the personality trait of openness, allowing the afflicted to become more amenable to new patterns and solutions, and enhancing general well-being for those who are otherwise already well.

While people who use cannabis medicinally can get a great deal of relief from chronic pain or mood disturbance, Grob says it’s more of a lifestyle drug. “The effects of cannabis are dwarfed in comparison with the potential that psilocybin or LSD might have in evoking a powerful altered state of consciousness that allows individuals to see themselves and the world around them and their lives in a novel manner,” he said.

In other words, psilocybin offers more bang for your buck if you compare it to regular cannabis use.

#TBT

Around the peak of that Venice Beach mushroom trip so long ago, my friends and I decided to venture out of our apartment and head to the ocean. As the sun set and temps started to cool, the winds picked up. 

“I’m shivering, but it’s not me,” I said through chattering teeth. I looked down at my hand with curiosity, flipping my palm over and under, upside and down, as if it was someone else’s hand.

I plopped down on the shore, near the sunset drum circle that takes place every Sunday. It smelled like weed, but I wondered how many others were also on shrooms. I remembered what my sister had said about psilocybin feeling like “weed plus,” but this was so much better. So. Much. Better.

“There’s no competition,” Grob said, when comparing psilocybin and cannabis. “The psilocybin experience has the potential of facilitating a life-changing kind of event.” Precisely how I felt about one of the best, most significant days of my life.

A huge smile crept across my face, and I was feeling more in touch with my essence than ever before. “Ohh, be here now,” I giggled, referencing the phrase and title of Ram Dass’ famous book which my parents had introduced me to as a child. “I get it,” I thought.

It was the first time I felt that sacred sense of time and space, of being in the moment — in my body — without feeling an attachment to the chronological series of events that took me here. I just was, feeling a sense of “is-ness.” I was simply being, and my nervous system, with all its anxieties and temporal attachments, was for once at rest.

My memory of that mind-bending Venice Beach experience remains vivid. The spiritual nourishment and sense of mystique from that day are still with me, infusing my life with the magic of those mushrooms. “These are like waking dreams,” Grob said. “Sometimes it’s important to just sit back and look objectively at the scene playing in front of you, and how that relates to your life.”

The post Weed Plus: The Healing Mystique of Magic Mushrooms appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Everything you should know about CBD and how it can help you

Having questions, whether you’re an old or new cannabis user, is completely normal. It’s confusing when we talk about hemp, cannabidiol, CBD, cannabis and THC, and how they can all have different effects — especially when they are all linked back to cannabis. Here, we’ll go over everything you should know about CBD, and how […]

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Study Shows Psychedelics Users Had Less Stress During Pandemic Lockdowns

A study on the COVID-19 outbreak’s impact on mental health has found that users of psychedelics experienced less stress during the pandemic than those who had not used the drugs. 

Before the pandemic, approximately 8.5 percent of U.S. adults reported being depressed. But as the nation experienced the fear, lockdowns, and isolation associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, the figure spiked to 27.8 percent, according to data published last year. Prof. Sandro Galea, a dean at Boston University School of Public Health, said that the impact on mental health caused by the pandemic is unprecedented.

“Depression in the general population after prior large-scale traumatic events has been observed to, at most, double,” he said after publishing research on mental health aspects of the pandemic last year.

Anxiety levels also increased during the pandemic, with researchers reporting a 14 percent rise in anxiety among residents of the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia.

Psychedelics and Depression

Other research has shown that psychedelic drugs including psilocybin have potential as treatments for mental health conditions including depression, anxiety and addiction. To learn if the use of psychedelic drugs affected the impact that the coronavirus pandemic had on mental health, researchers affiliated with organizations in the Netherlands, Spain and Brazil conducted a study of how previous psychedelic use affected mental health. The study was performed from April through July of last year, when much of the world was under lockdown to help stem the spread of the virus.

The researchers conducted an online survey of 2,974 people, with most respondents living in Spain, Brazil and the United States. Among the participants, 497 said they regularly used psychedelic drugs, 606 were occasional users and 1,968 said they had never used psychedelics. During the study period, most of the United States and Spain were under lockdown, although that was not the case in Brazil.

The survey asked participants about their use of psychedelic drugs including psilocybin, peyote, MDMA, ayahuasca, LSD, San Pedro, and 5-MeO-DMT, both before and after the outbreak began, as well as information about the settings in which the drugs were used. Study subjects also completed a series of questionnaires on psychological distress, perceived social support, post-traumatic stress symptoms, psychological status and measures of personality.

“Psychedelic drug users, especially regular ones, reported less psychological distress, less peritraumatic stress, and more social support,” the authors of the study wrote.

Half of the participants who had used psychedelics said that their previous use of the drugs had a significant positive impact on their ability to cope with the stress associated with the lockdowns. About a third (35 percent) said their past use of psychedelic drugs did not impact their ability to cope, and 16 percent said their experience with the compounds had a small beneficial impact.

Psychedelic drug users also reported having more access to outdoor spaces and spending more time outside. Regular users of psychedelics also reported more engagement with activities including music, meditation, yoga and Pilates, while those who do not use psychedelics said they spent more time doing aerobic exercise, playing video games and watching television, movies and news coverage related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Regular users were also less likely to follow suggested public health measures such as wearing face masks and gloves. In personality tests, people who reported using psychedelics scored higher on scales for novelty seeking and self-transcendence, and lower for cooperativeness.

Correlation or Causation?

The study also revealed other consequences of the pandemic that could have an impact on mental health. Nearly a fifth of participants reported losing their job, while almost half said their income had declined during the outbreak.

The researchers wrote that although psychedelics users reported experiencing less stress during the pandemic, it is unclear if the drugs are responsible for the difference. They called for continued research, noting that other factors including more access to outdoor space, spending more time outside, healthier eating habits, and spending less time viewing or listening to news coverage about the pandemic could also have an impact on mental health.

“Our findings showed that regular users of psychedelic drugs had less psychological stress and some personality differences when compared to occasional users and non-users,” the study’s authors concluded. “This suggests that either the use of psychedelics might be a protective factor itself or people with certain previous traits are more prone to frequently using psychedelic drugs.”

An article on the research, “Cross-Sectional Associations Between Lifetime Use of Psychedelic Drugs and Psychometric Measures During the COVID-19 Confinement: A Transcultural Study,” was published online by the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Psychiatry.

The post Study Shows Psychedelics Users Had Less Stress During Pandemic Lockdowns appeared first on High Times.

CBD (Cannabidiol) Explained – The Real Benefits of this Trendy Cannabinoid

While a fringe, alternative treatment option only a decade ago, today, CBD is everywhere you look – in wellness supplements, beauty and hygiene products, FDA-approved prescription medications, food and beverages, dental products, and even pillows, mattresses, and other random household goods.

As far as cannabinoids go, CBD, or cannabidiol) is the most widely accepted. Not only is there a growing body of clinical research to support its benefits, but it is non-intoxicating which makes it much more likely for laws to be passed in its favor – as is evidenced by the fact that CBD is federally legal in the US and many other countries, while THC still is not. But when it comes to CBD, what are some actual legitimate uses for this compound, and which ones are just marketing gimmicks? Let’s take a look at some of the real, science-backed benefits of CBD.

CBD is amazing, and so incredibly versatile. To learn more about this compound, and for exclusive deals on CBD flowers, as well as on Delta 8Delta 10 THCTHCVTHC-OTHCPHHC and even on legal Delta-9 THC! , make sure to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter, your hub for all things CBD-related.


What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is the most prominent, non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis plants. When most people think of cannabis, they’re thinking about marijuana, which is the type so cannabis that is high in THC and associated with feelings of being “stoned”. Some types of cannabis, hemp for example, are high in CBD and contain only trace amounts of THC, meaning these plants can be considered non-intoxicating, by all accounts.

CBD is gaining popularity as a safe, non-toxic, non-addictive, natural treatment option for many different chronic and debilitating ailments; both mental and physical. Not only is CBD itself non-psychoactive, but when taken in combination with compounds that are, like tetrahydrocannabinol for instance, CBD can minimize the likelihood of negative side effects such as paranoia and anxiety that are occasionally associated with THC use.

The reason CBD (or any cannabinoid for that matter) works in the human body at all is because of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) – a complex signaling system made up of numerous receptors, as well as some naturally produced endocannabinoids, that exists in the bodies of nearly all animals (except insects). Researchers have discovered two different endocannabinoids so far, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and anandamide (AEA), plus the two most studied receptors, CB1 and CB2. This quad makes up the majority of existing cannabis research.

As a whole, the ECS regulates numerous different functions and processes in our bodies and maintains internal balance and homeostasis. Many cannabinoids engage directly with the ECS receptors. Others, like CBD, have indirect connections by activating other receptors that will then interact with the endocannabinoid system. Specifically, CBD activates the TRVP1 receptors, which in turn activate receptors in the ECS and also function as ion channels.

CBD as an Anti-Inflammatory

One of the most common uses for CBD is to treat inflammation, which is the body’s process of fighting against pathogens and other hazards, such as infections, injuries, and toxins. When something damages your cells, your body releases chemicals that trigger a response from your immune system, thus causing inflammation.

The phrase “too much of a good thing” really applies in the case of inflammation. When this inflammatory response lingers after your body is done fighting the infection or whatever it is trying to overcome, this leaves your body in a constant state of stress and unrest. Chronic inflammation can have devastating effects on the tissues and organs and research indicates that it’s the root cause of many ailments including arthritis, contact dermatitis, acne, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes, asthma, and cancer.

Cannabidiol is becoming a very popular alternative for standard NSAID (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) drugs like Aspirin. Long-term use of NSAIDs can lead to various health problems such as heartburn, stomach pain, ulcers, headaches, dizziness, and even damage to the liver and kidneys.

CBD to Manage Anxiety

Anxiety is another condition that’s been researched extensively to determine how well it responds to cannabis therapies. Cannabidiol targets cell receptors in the body and brain that regulate your mood. Many mood disorders, including anxiety and depression, have a few things in common, including a lack of naturally produced endocannabinoids.

Treating mood disorders with CBD is becoming more widespread is among the top-rated treatment options for young adults ages 25-40. According to a study conducted a couple of years ago, thirty-four percent of millennials prefer to manage their mental health with natural and holistic remedies, and 50 percent of millennials believe CBD oil is the best way to do this; and this number continues to grow.

The main reason cited was a fear of being prescribed a medication that is too potent for their level of symptoms. Because CBD doesn’t have the mind-numbing and other unwanted side effects of prescription drugs, nor is it psychoactive like THC, it can be used all day like any other medication or supplement.

CBD for Controlling Seizures

One of the first, medically-accepted, modern-day uses for CBD was to treat epilepsy. There are many studies out there researching its effectiveness. As a matter of fact, there is even an FDA-approved, cannabidiol-based medication, Epidiolex, that’s used to treat two rare and severe forms of childhood epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) and Dravet Syndrome (DS).

Epidiolex is currently being prescribed in the United States, many countries in Europe, and Japan. Epilepsy medications can have some very serious side effects, and that’s why more natural alternatives are becoming the go-to ­­way to treat children and younger adult patients who suffer from epilepsy.

CBD for Pain Management

Although not common, many patients turn to a CAM, or complementary alternative medicine approach, to manage chronic pain. CBD is at the top of the list for those looking for natural, yet effective, alternative remedies. Because inflammation is the root cause of so many conditions that cause chronic pain, it makes sense how CBD eliminates pain.

Numerous different studies have found that cannabinoids like CBD can help with chronic pain from multiple sclerosis, cancer, and neuropathy. CBD and CBD topicals help with pain — if you suffer from chronic pain, CBD oil may help, as well. Chronic pain can be the main source of a diminished quality of life — CBD may give you hope for getting pain-free, or at the very least, reduced pain, and anything is worth a try.

CBD for Skin Conditions

Studies have shown that CBD can provide relief for the symptoms of various skin disorders, such as eczema and allergic reactions. Reverting back to ​inflammation, we know that cannabidiol can be used internally inflammatory conditions, and now we also know that it does the same when applied topically.

Topical creams containing CBD have been shown to ​or greatly reduce and sometimes even completely eliminate itching and dryness​ ​in sufferers of eczema. The chemical ‘histamine’, which is largely responsible for the irritating itches we experience, has been shown to react well to topical cannabinoid therapy. One study​ ​found that in almost 59% of its participants, their dry and scaly skin significantly reduced with the regular use of a cannabinoid cream, which reduced itching and as a result lead to less sleep loss.

Final Thoughts on Cannabidiol Benefits

Simply put, cannabidiol is an incredible compound. It’s non-psychoactive, non-toxic, and non-addictive; and it can be used to treat dozens of different health conditions. The ones covered in this list are the most common uses for CBD, but it can be utilized for many other ailments as well. Do you use CBD? And if so, what do you use it for? Drop us a line in the comment section below!

Thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, your hub for all things cannabis-related. To learn more about weed, and for exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, topicals, and other products, make sure to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter.

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How to Deal With Cannabis-Induced Panic Attacks

Although cannabis is often associated with relaxing, mellow effects full of smiles and laughter, in certain situations, depending on the intensity of the strain and the tolerance of the user, the herb can bring on some unwanted vibes in the form of a full-blown panic attack.

It is the kind of scenario that typically plays out in a social setting, where a group of bright-eyed cannabis enthusiasts brimming with curiosity have been experimenting with the current powers of pot. Everyone in the room is smoking popular, high-THC strains, like Blue Dream and GG #4, eating cannabis edibles without regard to the recommended dosage and maybe even sipping on cannabis cocktail — a real gang of go-getters.

It doesn’t take long before all of the life in the room is stoned to the bone. It feels good to be alive in a world where weed is legal. But then, all of sudden, one of the newbies in the group cries out in horror from over in the corner, behind the plastic fern, screaming, “Guys, I can’t breathe…I can’t $*%#%*& breathe,” followed by some incessant babble about how they are going to swallow their tongue if someone doesn’t get in the kitchen find them some Benadryl.

In a matter of seconds, the individual, driven by dread, goes frantically searching for a trapdoor to the outside world in an attempt to either grab some fresh air or hurl themselves into the arms of the sadistic gods that allowed them to get this high in the first place. They might even scrawl a makeshift Last Will and Testament on their forearm, as they have likely become more than convinced that the end is near. This type of outburst is straight out of the first chapter in the unwritten playbook of pot. It is what’s referred to as a canna-panic (cannabis induced panic attack), a frightening, non-life threatening side effect brought on by overzealous cannabis consumption.

What Are Cannabis-Induced Panic Attacks?

Cannabis-induced panic attacks are real, but they really only affect inexperienced users. But when the hammer comes down, it comes down big time, leading the distressed down a rabbit hole of fear, regret and countless negotiations with a higher power in exchange for never, ever smoking weed again. These attacks are often accompanied with a variety of symptoms, including rapid heartbeat, extreme paranoia and tunnel vision. Someone on this wild ride might grip their chest and proclaim, through a cornucopia of obscenity, an inability to breathe or even see straight. But they are not having a heart attack or suffering any other fatal bodily malfunction. All this amped-up anxiety really means is that the user got too high for their own good.

Although these panic attacks are uncomfortable, and in many cases even scary, there is absolutely no way that an individual will be dragged to the Gates of Hell from all of the horrific highness they might experience. We’re not going to lie and say that it isn’t possible for those folks plagued with a severe case of canna-panic to perceive the world as a very dark place, where they and they alone have been left to battle it out through several hours of mind-bending intensity and sheer hopelessness. But they will live to get high another day.

What Can I Do If This Happens To Me?

While it might be easier said than done, the best course of action in this situation is to just try and relax. Finding a quiet spot to chill out for a while, perhaps welcoming in the comfort of a friend is really about the best a person can do to deter focus from the gripping nightmare. If sleep is possible, they should do that for sure. Consuming CBD-only products is also a good move. But whatever no matter what don’t call 911. This will only complicate matters.

Calling in the cavalry is a common overreaction when an individual experiences a full-blown freak out from weed. But there is really nothing that the cops, EMT’s or hospital staff can do other than maybe dole out a knockout dose of a prescription sedative. What’s worse is if this panic attack erupts in a state where marijuana is still prohibited by law, that 911 call could end up getting someone arrested. It is better to deal with the unfortunate circumstances and do everything possible to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

How Can I Prevent A Cannabis-Induced Panic Attack?

Moderating cannabis consumption is a solid start, especially if the individual is prone to anxiety attacks. For someone like this, a low-THC strain is probably the best option. Perhaps staying away from edibles is also for the best. The effects from these sneaky little devils can come on slow and get pretty intense. The microdosing of cannabis products is also advised.

In the end, it is always wise to exercise a little common sense when experimenting with marijuana. There is absolutely no shame in starting out with a conservative dose and finding out what works best. After all, you don’t want to learn that you are susceptible to panic attacks after going all Bob Marley in the middle of a 420 event.

TELL US, have you ever had a canna-panic?

The post How to Deal With Cannabis-Induced Panic Attacks appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Marijuana Is Good For Insomnia, Bad For Dreams

Sleep. It is the act of putting one’s mind out of its misery for a few hours each night so they can face the day ahead with hopefully fewer glimpses of darkness and despair than the day before. This is always the goal. But sadly, while catching 40 winks is one of the most natural aspects of existing on this planet as a living, breathing organism, it is not always as easy to achieve for some of the more restless of the breed.

Statistics from the American Sleep Association show that in upwards of 70 million adults in the United States alone suffer from some form of sleep disorder. The group goes on to say that 30 percent of the population is doomed to endure a vicious case of insomnia at some point before, ironically, drifting into the great unknown — the eternal sleep — death.

Sure, we will all sleep when we’re dead. But we are exhausted right now, and how many hours of Netflix can we possible binge watch — none of it is worth a d*mn anyway — and, sweet Jesus, what dog known to man is capable of barking all night long and, dear god, there’s only an hour left before its time to get up for work and there isn’t enough coffee in the world that can resurrect our half-dead shells in a way to make us as productive as the boss is counting on us to be. Have mercy on the poor souls that dare greet us with “good morning,” following a frustrating night like that.

So it is essential for humans to get substantial sack time. Cannabis is said to be the ticket to such slumber. But there are a lot of conflicting reports regarding this phenomenon. Some researchers claim that weed is good for sleep, while others say it is more likely to disrupt sleep patterns and contribute to further exhaustion. So, for the sake of this article, we are going to disregard 90 percent of the studies published on this topic.

We are, however, going to shine some light on a massive collective study conducted last year by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine — a group consisting of the leading scientific minds in the country. This research shows there is enough evidence to conclude that marijuana is an effective remedy for insomnia. Still, it is important to point out that the results are not absolute, as everyone is different.

The real science behind cannabis and sleep lies in the type of pot a person consumes and the dosage.

As a rule, indicas are recommended for people with insomnia, since these strains are designed to provide the user with a more relaxed, sleepy state than sativas, which are known to produce an uplifting, introspective buzz that can help solve all of the world’s problems. There is even some evidence that suggests older cannabis brings on sleepier effects than raw marijuana. This is because it has a higher level of cannabinol (CBN).

It is also recommended that insomniacs avoid high-THC strains before bed. These breeds have a tendency to invoke more anxiety, which can make it more difficult for the user to settle into the sack. But don’t avoid THC altogether, just find a delicate balance between the THC and CBD compounds. Not matter which strain ultimately becomes the go-to, maintaining a proper dose is critical. Too much weed before bed can lead to a bit of a hangover in the morning — an almost worse side effect than sleeplessness.

But for those dream warriors out there, those who relish in delusions and nightmares that come to them in their unconscious state, cannabis consumption may not be the best method for inducing sleep. Cannabis has been shown to disrupt the final stage of the sleep cycle known as REM (rapid eye movement). Incidentally, this is where dreams happen. This is the reason people suffering from PTSD often gravitate toward cannabis — fewer flashbacks and nightly haunts. But the good news is, cannabis users can always get their dreams back on track. The only caveat is that they must take a break for getting high.

“People who use marijuana, they tend to suppress REM sleep, they have less REM sleep,” Dr. Samoon Ahmad, a practicing psychopharmacologist and psychiatrist, told Business Insider. “And when they have less REM sleep you’re going to have fewer dreams because dreams only happen during REM sleep. So, for a long time people didn’t recognize this, but once people stop smoking, suddenly there’s a rebound phenomenon where people can have quite vivid dreams.”

So, while cannabis can literally crush your dreams, it is beneficial in helping insomniacs to rise above this dreadful condition. And don’t worry about missing those mental vagaries of the night. There is always plenty of time for fantasizing while you’re sitting in your cubicle, driving around on a fork truck or whatever it is you do for a living. Otherwise, you might find yourself stuck in a situation for which there is no escape. And we’re sorry to report, no amount of marijuana is going to help pull you out of mediocrity.

TELL US, do you use cannabis as a sleep aid?

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