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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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.”

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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.

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Cannabis & Depression: Studies Suggest Marijuana Can Help

There’s no denying that life, with its unpredictable twists and turns, can be a bit overwhelming a lot of the time. Though many people don’t like to talk about it, depression has become a common ailment among both teens and adults, with more than 300 million people affected by it worldwide. Some people have found ways to cope and manage depression through exercise, diet, self-care, therapy, prescription pills or other alternatives that seem to lighten the load. But for others, these methods might be helpful but they still struggle with consistent and intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, chronic fatigue, loss of interest and low self-esteem.

Some studies have shown that cannabis can effectively reduce some of the symptoms of depression. One study recently published in the Journal of Affective Disorders suggests that smoking cannabis can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. It also suggests that high-CBD/low-THC strains were most effective among their participants. The study specifically looked at the effects of smoked cannabis.

Researchers found that after just two puffs, participants began to feel relief from symptoms of depression and after 10 puffs, they could feel their stress levels drop.

If smoking is not an option for you due to health reasons, your living situation or otherwise, you can still utilize cannabis in other ways, such as through edibles or tinctures, if you find it helps with your depression. Because depression can vary from moderate to severe, each approach will be different but should consider your tolerance, lifestyle and how you want to feel before you start using cannabis as a remedy. As the study suggests, strains that are high in CBD and low in THC may provide relief, but you may consider looking into the terpene profile of particular strains when you are deciding what will be best for you. Strains that are high in linalool or myrcene may help you feel calmed and relaxed, while strains with limonene can help boost your mood and increase energy.

The study suggests that low amounts of cannabis can be helpful with depression, so microdosing appears as if it could also be an option if you are interested in experiencing some relief without any strong intoxicating side-effects. Microdosing — or utilizing small amounts of THC, usually around 2.5 mg of THC or lower — has been shown to provide benefits that can be helpful in relieving some of the root problems that can lead to depression, such as stress, anxiety, insomnia and isolation. Because it is hard to tell how much THC you’re inhaling when smoking, microdosing with tinctures, oils and edibles is best. Medical marijuana doctors usually recommend starting with one dose per day and then gauging how you feel after a few days. If needed, increase to taking microdoses twice a day. Continue to monitor how you feel and adjust as necessary.

If you experience body aches or tension related to depression, you can also try using an infused topical. There are creams, lotions, salves and even bath salts that you can use to relieve the discomfort. You can feel free to use them daily without any psychoactive effects whatsoever.

It’s important to note that the study also suggests that cannabis may be best as a short-term treatment, so it may be a good idea to employ other strategies as a part of your long-term treatment. Depression is a serious condition that may require medical treatment and supervision, and relying on self-medication isn’t always effective. Cannabis is just one resource of many for treating depression. It can be useful, but don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you are not experiencing relief from your symptoms or find that they are getting worse.

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Study Suggests Cannabis Can Induce Experiences Akin to Psychedelics

A recently published study suggests that high doses of cannabis can induce oceanic boundlessness, an altered state of consciousness commonly associated with psychedelic drugs. The mystical-like experience of oceanic boundlessness, which is characterized by a feeling of oneness with the universe, is the subject of ongoing research and could be connected to the potential therapeutic benefits of drugs including psilocybin and LSD.

Previous studies have shown that oceanic boundlessness experiences induced by psilocybin are associated with improvements in treatment-resistant depression.

Mitch Earleywine, a professor of psychology at the University at Albany in New York and lead author of the newly published research, told PsyPost that the study’s findings indicate cannabis could have similar “subjective effects that seem to underlie psilocybin’s antidepressant effects.”

The report, titled “Cannabis-induced oceanic boundlessness,” was originally released online earlier this year before its July publication in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Explaining Oceanic Boundlessness

In his book “The Psychedelic Renaissance,” U.K. researcher and psychiatrist Ben Sessa explains that oceanic boundlessness is a feeling of being at one with the universe, writing that “psychedelics can induce the experience of expansion beyond the traditional boundaries of personhood. One no longer defines oneself as simply a doctor, a father or mother, a husband or wife, a friend, neighbour or citizen; rather one is a leaf on a tree, a drop of water in a lake, a breath on the wind. One can feel part of a plethora of vibrating energy moving like electricity though all things, stretching back in time to the very origin of the universe.”

Research into oceanic boundlessness induced by psilocybin, a psychoactive compound found in magic mushrooms, has shown that the phenomenon may be linked to the mental health benefits of psychedelic drugs. Earleywine said those studies inspired the hypothesis that high doses of cannabis might induce a similar response.

“Once the psilocybin labs started emphasizing that oceanic boundlessness seemed to be the mechanism underlying the molecule’s antidepressant effects, nearly every cannabis fan couldn’t help but ask, ‘Hey! Doesn’t marijuana have comparable effects?’” said Earleywine.

“My students had already shown that ‘challenging experiences’ were common when folks ate more edibles than they intended to,” he added. “Asking folks if they thought cannabis also produced these oceanic boundlessness effects seemed an obvious next step.”

To conduct the study, researchers recruited a group of 852 cannabis users and asked them to complete a survey about the subjective effect of their most intense THC experience. The survey included items from the oceanic boundlessness subscale of the Altered States of Consciousness Scale, a questionnaire frequently used in psychedelic research. Subjects also provided demographic information and answered questions about their cannabis use.

Earleywine’s research revealed that almost 20% of the study subjects scored higher than 60% of the maximum value on the oceanic boundlessness subscale, the level at which respondents are considered to have had a “complete” or “breakthrough” oceanic boundlessness experience. Previous studies with psychedelic drugs have indicated that complete oceanic boundlessness events are more closely associated with decreases in depression than “non-complete” experiences.

More Study Needed

The rate at which cannabis induced a complete oceanic boundlessness experience was “significantly smaller than estimates from formal psilocybin trials.” However, the investigators noted that a controlled study into the ability of cannabis to induce the state could produce a higher rate of achieving oceanic boundlessness and called for further research into the issue.

“Formal protocols that borrow from psilocybin research, including the use of stated intentions, psychological support, music, and an eye mask, might enhance the rates of THC-induced breakthrough, potentially leading to therapeutic effects,” the researchers wrote in the study. “In addition, since THC’s initial pharmacological impact varies from psilocybin’s, comparing the two in randomized clinical trials might answer important questions related to the role of subjective experiences in psychoactive-assisted psychotherapy.”

The study offers preliminary data on the potential for cannabis to generate mystical-like experiences including oceanic boundlessness. But more research including clinical trials will be needed to determine if THC-induced oceanic boundlessness can have beneficial therapeutic effects on mental health, Earleywine says, particularly in light of potential negative effects that have been associated with cannabis use and depression.

“We need to bring folks into the lab to see if these effects are real, then get approval for a clinical trial,” he said. “I don’t recommend the home game. Cannabis can make depression worse for some people, or so it seems.”

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How does depression affect the endocannabinoid system

Doctors are far too liberal with anti-depressants that target serotonin when so few of them understand cannabis and especially the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Serotonin and the ECS are tied tightly together. In fact, serotonin deficient depression can cause a host of effects on the mind and immune system by disengaging the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Connected […]

The post How does depression affect the endocannabinoid system appeared first on Latest Cannabis News Today – Headlines, Videos & Stocks.

Friday, April 16, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, April 16, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Alabama Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill That Already Passed The Senate Heads To House Floor (Marijuana Moment)

// Idaho Republicans tried to block any future marijuana legalization. How’d it turn out? (Idaho Statesman)

// 69 Percent Of Americans Now Support Legalizing Marijuana- An All-Time High Quinnipiac Poll Finds (Marijuana Moment)


These headlines are brought to you by Cova Software, the number one dispensary point-of-sale system in North America! Swing over today to see why two thirds of all Canadian cannabis stores run on Cova software, which is also the fastest growing dispensary software in the U.S., with more than a hundred new client dispensaries open for business in January alone!


// Dispensary Owner Says Fred Meyer Refused to Accept Her Electric Bill Payment (Willamette Week)

// D.C. Dispensaries Welcome Looser Restrictions On Cannabis Classes (Outlaw Report)

// TILT Holdings Q4 Revenue Expands 8% Sequentially to $42.3 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// New Study Suggests More Testing For Psilocybin Depression Treatments (Green Market Report)

// New York could establish weed-supply advantage over New Jersey (Crain’s New York)

// Limited Tennessee Medical Marijuana Bill Heads To Senate Floor (Marijuana Moment)

// The Cannabis Industry Remembers Steve Fox (Forbes)

Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Breaking the stigma: Psychedelic Drugs

There are a lot of negative stigma surrounding psychedelic drugs. A large portion of the population and the government condemn these substances to be dangerous, addictive, and illegal. Although, that may be true when it comes to opiates or stimulants (such as heroin or cocaine). As they are, indeed, physiologically toxic and addictive. Psychedelics, on […]

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7 Diseases That Can Be Treated with Medical Marijuana

Over the past four decades, treating diseases with medical marijuana has been on the rise. The credibility of cannabis has grown in the medical community as a possible solution to treat chronic conditions and diseases. While marijuana hasn’t demonstrated that it is the ultimate solution or cure to end a disease in general, it can help soothe the effects of chronic diseases, inhibit diseases from developing at a rapid pace and possibly become a replacement for opioids to handle emotional and physical pain.

This is how marijuana positively contributes to the following seven diseases:

1. Depression

A study from the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions tested how marijuana affected chronic stress in rats and used this information to coincide with equivalent human responses. In this experiment, researchers found that when the rats were bound by rodent restraints for long periods of time — a source of chronic stress —  the production of their brain’s endocannabinoids rapidly decreased. In regards to human beings in long-term stressful situations, these receptors influence how well a person can process thoughts, gauge emotions and behave, and they even can impact a person’s cognitive ability to handle pain and anxiety. When there is a lack of endocannabinoid production in the brain, an individual is at risk of developing depression. Marijuana can play a role in restoring cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol in the endocannabinoid system, and helping ease the depressing.

2. Anxiety

Like depression, anxiety reduces the endocannabinoid production in the brain and inhibits an individual’s ability to cope with pain and stress. However, the use of marijuana to treat anxiety can go either way: It can either deplete anxiety or increase it. While marijuana is meant to bring a person into a tranquil state, some individuals possess a brain chemistry that simply does not react well with the plant’s chemicals. In other cases, marijuana has been able to prevent unwanted anxiety attacks, stimulate a calmer “fight-or-flight response” to stress and all-together provide the user with a “high” that releases any tension in the body.

3. Epilepsy

Given that epilepsy is a cause of seizures (also known as “electrical storms”), medical scientists have created a specific CBD formula that is proven safe for individuals to use because it possessed little to no effect on the sensitive psychoactivity of epilepsy patients. Some of the first tests with marijuana, such as a 2015 test at the NYU Langone Medical Center, actually demonstrated that it had the ability to suppress seizures. Because of this, researchers and developers have been able to manipulate marijuana compounds to tailor to an individual’s epileptic condition, keeping in mind that this disease affects multiple people differently.

4. Alzheimer’s

Marijuana diminishes the intensity of hallucinations, improves poor sleeping habits and stops aggressive outbursts suffered by individuals with Alzheimer’s. The main source of Alzheimer’s is its rapid production of beta-amyloid proteins, which cause plaques to develop in the brain and dangerously reduce the necessary peptides in amino acids that enable one to properly function. Most importantly, marijuana can slow this build-up of proteins to prevent existing Alzheimer’s from deteriorating an individual’s brain.

5. HIV/AIDS

 The HIV virus weakens the immune system, but marijuana softens the impact of disorienting and uncomfortable symptoms of a weak immune system, such as nausea, muscle and joint pain, loss of appetite, severe headaches and fevers. Furthermore, in this particular study from Spain in 2008, marijuana was proven to prevent chemical reactions in the body that create HIV compounds.

6. Cancer

While marijuana does not fundamentally cure cancer or diminish its symptoms, it is able to reduce the discomfort in certain treatments that many cancer patients undergo. Cancer patients who use medical marijuana endure a lessened amount of inevitable nausea and vomiting caused by their chemotherapy treatments. Furthermore, cannabinoids improve appetite and can ease the neuropathic pain that is a result of severe nerve damage caused by chemotherapy.

7. Drug Addiction

Though it seems counter-intuitive, recovering addicts can use medical marijuana to reverse the effects of opioid addiction, decrease unwanted drug cravings and even diminish the emotional and physical symptoms of addiction. This is due to the chemical compounds of cannabidiol, which binds to brain receptors that induce a safer “high” and counteract impairments and mental damage caused by long-term drug abuse. Lastly, marijuana can even replace addictive painkillers since it targets the same nerve receptors as opioids without putting the user at risk for chronic addiction.

TELL US, what diseases do you treat with cannabis?

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