How Can Psychology Improve the Effects of Cannabis?

We are in the age of self-help, the era of improvement and being the best you can be and it can get a little tiring. It’s hard not to sometimes shrug at the suggestion that psychology can help improve our experiences and the way we interact with the world, but we’re here to hopefully change that view.

Psychology has a reach so far that all aspects of our lives have been dissected and studied by men in white lab coats holding clipboards. A surprising amount of research has also been done into how to improve day to day experiences, such as eating, drinking and relaxing to get the most out of them. Of course the experience that I’m going to investigate in this article is cannabis and psychology. Could it be possible that Psychology and the findings from the science could be used to improve the effects of cannabis on the brain and in general?

In this article, I’ll be looking at how we can use our senses (Sound, taste, sight), sociality and context to get the most out of the drug we love, both recreationally and medically. Our brain, and its ability to be influenced by its surroundings, is fascinating and we will be looking at how we can affect it through internal and external changes.

Both psychology and cannabis are hot topics of discussion lately, because both are holistic approaches to ailments that affect millions of people across the globe. It only makes sense at this point that we combine the two for ultimate healing results. Make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other legal products.


Cannabis and the Brain

Before we look at how to improve the effects of cannabis, we must first discuss how it affects the brain. Cannabis works on the brain and body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is an intricate system of neurons in the brain that seems to control the release of multiple neurotransmitters. It was discovered in the 1990s and seems to be linked to many processes in the brain and body, including appetite, learning and memory and sleep.

Both CBD and THC, two cannabinoids found in Cannabis, activate the ECS and seem to produce the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is linked to reward and pleasure in the brain. This is the neurotransmitter that creates the euphoric high associated with Cannabis. If we can find ways to increase the production of this neurotransmitter Dopamine or find ways to affect the interaction of cannabinoids on the ECS, then perhaps this will have a wholly positive effect on the experience of getting high.

Get the Snacks Out: Food and the ECS

It has long been known that food tastes better after smoking cannabis, in fact studies on rats have shown that cannabinoids increase the senses of smell and taste, but there is also new emergent research suggesting that some foods can actually increase the effect of these same cannabinoids. According to a fascinating list created by NMJ Health, Mangoes, Chocolate and black Tea all have properties that increase the effect of Cannabis for recreational and medical purposes. Mangoes contain natural chemicals that actively help cannabinoids interact with the body’s ECS mentioned above.

By eating Mangoes before inhaling or injecting marijuana products you increase the levels of these chemicals (terpenes) that allow for this interaction. This means that the effects of the cannabis will set in a lot quicker, that they’ll be stronger and that the effects will last longer.  With Chocolate, it appears that the cannabinoids in cannabis that produce the euphoric effects are naturally occurring. Studies have even shown that a chemical in chocolate called

Anandamide binds to cannabinoid receptors mimicking and heightening the effect of Cannabis. Not only is this research incredible as it shows that chocolate can increase the overall effects of cannabis, but the practical applications for the use of medical marijuana and dosing cannot be overstated. Black tea and broccoli also seem to improve the experience of Cannabis. Black tea by producing longer and more sustained feelings of peace and relaxation. It is clear to see from this rather eclectic set of foods and the research behind them that we can change the effects of Cannabis through changing what we eat. 

Set the Mood: Music and Dopamine

Another avenue for increasing the experience that cannabis can offer through psychology and psychological research is to look at the effect sound and music has on a high. Music has long been associated with feelings of pleasure and relaxation, but recent research has shown that listening to music that gives you chills actually produces the neurotransmitter dopamine (a neurotransmitter linked to cannabis and the ECS. It seems then that listening to music you enjoy and instrumental music (the study found) leads to an increased amount of dopamine. This combined with the high levels of dopamine released when using cannabis can only result in a more pleasurable experience, again highlighting another way that psychology and the environment around you can influence your experience of cannabis.

Watch Those Lights: Sight, Colour, Taste and Experience 

This next paragraph may come as the most surprising to readers. Vision may be one of the most powerful senses when it comes to changing our experiences of the world. Being in a room with a certain colour scheme or using particular lights can influence our mental states and how we feel. To create a more calm and relaxed experience while using cannabis, a recent study has shown that blue lighting is best. The same study also showed that red light and yellow light increases heart rate, so perhaps should be avoided unless you want to induce a potential panic attack.

 There are ways that we can use our vision to influence our experiences of things like taste and smell too. Studies by Charles Spence, an Oxford researcher have shown that the colour of crockery used when eating actually changes the subjective experience of flavour. Red dishes increased perceptions of sweetness in some popcorn and blue seemed to increase perceptions of saltiness. What this means is that a particular coloured skin or vape could actually alter the taste of the cannabis inhaled. If you prefer a sweeter experience, perhaps using a red vape might do this for you. Again, this research highlights how we can use psychology to generally increase our cannabis experience. 

Changing up Your Environment 

One of the biggest factors that can reduce the enjoyment of cannabis is tolerance. A tolerance to a certain chemical just means that it takes more to achieve the same effect. From a neuro-chemical point of view, it just takes a greater amount of cannabinoids to activate the ECS. Tolerance arises due to frequent use of the drug. Can psychology be used to help us with tolerance? An incredible study actually seems to suggest it can, and the way one can overcome a tolerance seems to be through altering context.

Context just means the environments around you. It has long been studied in psychology as animals and humans seem to have powerful associations between context and memory. If you revise in a certain context (classroom) your results in a test done in that same context will be higher than if you alter it. Here’s where tolerance comes in: If you smoke cannabis in the same environment, your body associates that context with cannabis and will actually build up a tolerance that is context specific. In a fascinating review by Siegel et al the preparation and expectation of taking a drug can lead to the body preparing itself and therefore reducing the effects. When dogs were conditioned into taking adrenaline in a specific context, just placing the dog in that room was enough for their bodies to prepare to counter the high blood pressure, even without injecting anything.

The core study by Siegel was conducted on heroin users and it was found that the opposite is true as well. If a user of heroin takes the drug in a context they are not used to they are more likely to require medical treatment as it seems their tolerance is not there. The body was not prepared because it was not in the context associated with the drug. The very same principle of association and context can be applied to cannabis use. If you use the drug in the same context over and over again, the tolerance will be associated with that specific location, so to increase the effect, change up where you light up.

Being Around Others: Socialising and Dopamine 

A final way that cannabis can be improved is through being around others. It seems obvious to say, but being around others is good for the brain. It increases feelings of happiness and can relax us as well if we are around people we love, but it may be surprising to learn that socialising also increases dopamine levels, giving us a little high. This increase in dopamine is theorised to be a reward for being around others and evolutionary psychologists have argued that socialising and bonding with others is heavily linked to the reward areas of our brain and dopamine production. So perhaps combining socialising and cannabis will create a huge boost of dopamine and increase the euphoria of cannabis experiences.

Conclusion – Combining Cannabis and Psychology

I hope that from the list above you find even one thing to use to make your experiences of cannabis even better. I hope it’s also clear that any method can be useful but they are only suggestions and sometimes just sticking to what you know and enjoy is more than enough to have a great time. Cannabis is a fascinating drug and the mechanisms underlying it are still intriguing to psychologists. It affects so many areas of the brain that it isn’t surprising that the changes listed above can affect how it works. But what do you think?

Thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, your hub for all things cannabis-related. Remember to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other legal products. For the best Delta 8Delta 10THC-PTHC-OTHCVHHC and even Delta 9 products subscribe to the Delta 8 Weekly newsletter.

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Magic Mushrooms Levitee Labs Entered Canadian Securities Exchange

If you haven’t gotten the memo yet, medical psychedelics are the next big thing, and there are great reasons why, that mare made clear through medical testing every day. To give an idea of just how quickly this is now happening, the magic mushrooms company Levitee Labs has just entered the Canadian Securities Exchange. What does this mean?

It’s not hard to tell medical psychedelics are on their way, with the inclusion of a magic mushrooms company in the Canadian Securities Exchange. It’s a story we know well from the current situation of fighting for legalization of cannabis, and all included products like delta-8 THC, THCV, and THCA. More legalizations means more products, and this is great for you. We can’t wait until we can offer you psychedelics, but for now, take a look at our delta 10, THC-O, THCV & delta-8 THC deals, and the rest of the compounds we have on offer, to find something that works well for you.

Medical psychedelics have been on the rise for several years, with esketamine legalized in 2019 in the US for use with treatment resistant depression and suicidal thoughts (updated 2020), and research on the way to legalize MDMA and psilocybin from magic mushrooms, complete with ‘breakthrough therapy’ status from the US’s FDA. This makes it not that shocking that a country that already legalized recreational cannabis, would be one of the first to allow a psychedelics company into a securities exchange, and that’s exactly what happened.

What magic mushrooms company just entered the Canadian Securities Exchange?

On July 19th, 2021, it was announced that integrative medicine company Levitee Labs, Inc., a producer of magic mushrooms and associated products, would enter the Canadian Securities Exchange on July 21st 2021, which it did, with a starting share price of $.50. This makes it the very first company geared toward the growth and sale of magic mushrooms to enter any global exchange. Which is obviously big news if you follow the expanding world of medical psychedelics, as this now makes it an acceptable route.

Levitee is now traded under ‘LVT’, after it announced that it received final approval from the CSE (Canadian Securities Exchange). Levitee operates under two names: Sporeo Supply, which offers premium cultivation feedstock for mushrooms, based out of a facility in British Columbia, and Monk-E Nutraceuticals, which focuses on a line of nutraceutical supplements based on mushrooms, as well as supplies for cultivating mushrooms. It currently works with non-psychedelic mushrooms, but is looking to include the psychedelic counterpart. The company has a main focus on mushroom extracts, and has already raised over $12 million CAD through private offerings.

mushrooms Canadian Securities Exchange

In order to get this clearance, Levitee needed to accomplish a few things, which were all done. First, it agreed on the acquisition of all of the operational assets of ACT Medical Centres, Inc. This is made up of five clinics for addiction and pain management across the state of Alberta – which came to a total of $350,000, all paid. These clinics have serviced over 35,000 patients in the last year.

Second, it also made a share purchase agreement (when a seller agrees with a buyer for a specific amount of shares at a specific price) to acquire three pharmacies in Alberta by taking over issued and outstanding shares. These pharmacies focus on medications for substance abuse, mental health issues, and chronic pain. The cost of acquisition was $3,685,262.

Lastly, the company made a share purchase agreement for BlockMD LTD, a telemedicine platform geared toward patients with addiction issues who are seeking to get prescriptions and find doctors in Alberta, Canada. This cost Levitee $1,475,000. This was paid with Levitee’s common shares upon closing. In the last year, this platform has hosted over 20,000 doctor visits remotely.

When Levitee completed these steps, it fulfilled the transaction, which made the previous owner, Alex Wylie the principal business operator and a consultant, and Carrie Wylie the General Manager of operations in Alberta. Company CEO, Pouya Farmand, made this statement about the agreement:

“The Agreements we have entered today are integral to our growth strategy and goal of building a platform that will set a new standard for substance abuse and mental health treatment in Canada. Through these acquisitions, we expect Levitee will become the largest non-government provider of addiction treatment services in Alberta.”

What is Levitee Labs?

‘Integrative medicine’ has become a popular term of late, which is almost funny, in that its essentially the same as ‘holistic medicine’ which was badly demonized by pharmaceutical companies not looking to have patients focus on their entire selves when establishing and treating problems. Both holistic and integrative medicine use alternate approaches, or combined approaches, that take into account the full spectrum of a patient, including other health issues, lifestyle, diet, and habits.

integrative medicine

Levitee Labs operates in this space as an integrative wellness company that specializes in providing a central point to complementary wellness services for patients. The company provides products for addiction, pain, and mental health treatments using psychedelic medicine and associated therapies. This includes alternative medicines through evidence-based research, and newly emerging psychedelic therapies like esketamine.

Levitee’s recent acquisition agreement, which allowed it’s shares to become publicly traded assets, is basically a starting platform from which the company intends to administer esketamine therapy, along with other psychedelic treatments, for mental health-related issues, pain issues, and addiction problems. The company is pushing to implement treatments using both psilocybin and ibogaine, once these treatments become legal, or exemptions are made. As the company is based around mushroom treatments, this is one of the major avenues it intends to go down.

How did Levitee make it happen?

The company is using 2021 to increase revenue and grow further, starting with its acquisitions as a base to do so. It plans to continue strategic acquisitions to further integrate into the Canadian market, and further develop itself and its platforms and brands. The company was able to make the moves it made thus far, partially based off of a non-brokered private deal which grossed the company $10,570,000 CAD, the majority of the $12+ million raised privately so far.

Levitee was able to bring in this money because of incredible interest in the company and its efforts, so incredible that the demand exceeded the company’s initial offering by 3.5X. The initial offering was $8 million CAD, with the increase made by issuing 21,140,000 subscription receipts at $.50 CAD/receipt, which came to $10,570,000 CAD. A subscription receipt is a receipt issued by a company before an offering, which is worth one common share of the company to whomever holds it.

This massive interest led Levitee to hire investors to finance special warrants (dividends where the holder has the ability to sell or buy a security before it expires, at a specific price), with each special warrant going for $.50 CAD. This brought in an additional working capital of $1,230,000. All of this, and being the first psychedelics company to enter an exchange, makes Levitee one of the premiere companies in the psychedelics space. In April, the company stated that it expected its 2021 revenue to top $26 million CAD.

Legalization issues and looking ahead

It’s a pretty big deal that a company in the psychedelics space, and which specifically pushes magic mushrooms and associated products, was just added to the Canadian Securities Exchange. In order to do it, Levitee has leveraged some pretty good deals for itself by acquiring already existent companies that have lines into different sectors, like BlockMD LTD which gives a base for a telemedicine network. Levitee has some interesting possible future moves up its sleeve already.

magic mushrooms

The company is also eying direct-to-consumer online supplements and health food wholesale company Earth Circle Organics Inc, which operates mainly in the US. This could help it expand into the US market. It’s also looking at a mushroom based tea company, called BODIE Phytoceuticals Ltd. Lastly, the company is looking toward receiving a license from Health Canada to be a Controlled Drugs and Substances Dealer. It was a late-stage applicant for this license, which is necessary for suppliers of controlled substance treatments in accordance with the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA).

As far as magic mushrooms in Canada, though the mushrooms themselves are still illegal, spores, grow kits, and mycelium are all legal, and sold outright. Psilocybin and psilocin, the two main active psychedelic components in mushrooms, are Schedule III under Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Possession, sale, and transport of these substances is therefore illegal, as well as obtaining and producing them without licensing, or a specific exemption for them.

This does not stop online retailers from already selling psilocybin in micro doses, which could be a reason the country began to allow medical use for end-of-life patients in 2020. That same year, 19 health officials obtained the right to administer psilocybin to themselves in order to help in the creation of medicine in the future. Last month, legal actions were threatened by advocates because Health Canada stymied its approvals for psilocybin therapy, with a growing resistance and disapproval to such lagging behavior. Exemptions to use psilocybin therapy are obtained through section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. This legal article better defines the current status of mushrooms, how an industry is likely to get started in the same way as cannabis, and what can be realistically expected in the near future.

Conclusion

In the same way that it becomes clear through the FDA’s designation of a ‘breakthrough therapy’, that MDMA and psilocybin are on their way toward legalization in the States, it says the same thing that Health Canada is already making allowances for psilocybin therapy in Canada. Added to this that Levitee, a company in the magic mushrooms space, was just added to the Canadian Securities Exchange, and the idea that magic mushrooms will be illegal forever goes out the window.

The question with Canada, much like the US, is not ‘will magic mushrooms be legalized for medical use’, but ‘when will magic mushrooms be legalized for medical use.’

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy, and How It Works

When you think of a therapy session, you probably think of someone sitting on a couch talking about their life, while a professional looking person listens, and aids in the process. But what if one other component could be added to the scenario. Like 100 micrograms of LSD, or 20 mg of psilocybin? Psychedelic-assisted therapy is coming back in style, and there’s a really good reason why.

The world of cannabis is ever-changing and ever-improving. Take THC, for example. It used to be that there was only one way to experience it. Now, with medical science, there is also delta-8 THC, a version of THC with less psychoactive effect, and related anxiety. You can check out some great Delta-8 THC deals here and test it out for yourself.

What is a psychedelic drug?

Psychedelic drugs are a subset of hallucinogenic drugs, which are a subset of psychoactive drugs. Psychedelics are specifically associated with altering a person’s perception, mood, cognition, general sense of time and space, and emotions. As hallucinogens, they can also cause a person to see, hear, feel, taste, and smell things that are not actually there, or to experience things in a distorted way. Psychedelics can be found in nature, or made in laboratories. Examples of psychedelic drugs include LSD, magic mushrooms, DMT, MDMA, ayahuasca, peyote, and many, many more.

Psychedelics tend to promote empathy and feelings of connection between people, self-introspection, and mystical experiences, which vary by the drug taken, and in what amount. They encourage feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and overall wellbeing. They can also have some negative effects, especially when too much is taken. These can involve a fast or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, confusion, sweating and chills, vomiting, and numbness. As with any substance on earth being used as a medicine, it is important to understand dosing.

Psychedelic drugs have different modes of action, but many are serotonergic, like LSD and psilocybin, which means they interact with serotonin receptors in the brain, generally causing a rush of the neurotransmitter, and then blocking reuptake to promote absorption, essentially saturating the brain with serotonin. Serotonin (aka 5-HT) is a neurotransmitter associated with many functions including mood regulation, involuntary muscle control, and sending signals throughout the brain.

Along with promoting a lot of good feelings, and being investigated more and more for medical benefits, some psychedelics also come with the possibility of a bad trip. A bad trip is everything that a good trip is not. Negative and scary hallucinations, and feelings of anxiety and panic. This is often associated with simply taking too much of a drug, and can be mitigated by understanding dosing.

Psychedelic therapy

What is psychedelic-assisted therapy?

Psychedelic-assisted therapy is the combination of talk therapy with the administration of a psychedelic drug during the session. Examples of drugs that can be used for psychedelic therapy include, but are not limited to, LSD, psilocybin (the main psychedelic component of magic mushrooms), MDMA, ayahuasca, and DMT. Psychedelic drugs are tested in high doses, as well as micro-doses. The basic model for the psychedelic-assisted therapy process goes as follows:

1 – The preparation phase involves initial sessions held prior to any drug ingestion. This often involves talk therapy sessions, in which a clear picture can be made of the person’s issues, and the therapist can prepare the patient for the psychedelic experience. Preparation is done by helping with basic guidance, like encouraging the patient to go through a door if they see one in their experience, or to approach scary characters and ask questions rather than running away, so as to promote a person dealing with challenging situations. It is important in this phase that the patient and therapist create a good relationship, as that has an impact on how comfortable and positive the patient feels when entering the next phase.

2 – The next phase is the psychedelic session phase. The two big aspects to consider when going into a session of this nature, are the mindset of the patient as they go into it, and the physical setting around them, which should promote general comfort. In testing, the space is generally set up to be like a living room. A typical session can last as long as eight hours, or as long as the effects of the drug that was taken. Generally, sessions involving drugs will have two therapists in attendance, which I assume is partially a security measure since the patient is put into an altered state.

The patient can sit or lie down, can wear sunglasses if it helps them, and is sometimes given music to listen to. For a psychedelic session, the compound is generally administered in the form of a pill at a micro-dose level – though this is not a rule and many programs will seek larger doses. Models vary when it comes to how many drug-assisted sessions a patient undergoes, and the dosage taken. Therapists will guide patients through the experience, but perform limited, if any, analysis at this time.

3 – The final phase is the integration phase. This happens soon after the psychedelic-assisted therapy session, and can be done as one session, or multiple sessions. In this phase, facilitated by the therapist, the patient can process their psychedelic session, and work to make sense of their experience, and to gain some sort of positive meaning out of it.

mental illness

Psychedelic-assisted therapy isn’t a new invention

While it might seem like using psychedelics in therapy is a fantastic new discovery in mind-expansion to help treat mental disorders, it’s really not new at all. What is happening now, is a re-emergence of a field of study and therapy that started in the mid-1900’s, beginning with the use of LSD.

LSD was originally synthesized in 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann for Sandoz Laboratories. Hofmann, incidentally, also brought us the first isolated psilocybin compound from magic mushrooms, making him one of the more important characters in modern psychedelic research. The drug didn’t make its way to the States till almost 1950, where it caught the attention of psychotherapists.

One of the early pioneers into psychedelic therapy research was psychiatrist Humphry Osmond. Humphrey Osmond was one of a group of psychiatrists that got into LSD research for the treatment of alcoholism and other mental disorders in the 50’s.

He was actually the guy that coined the term ‘psychedelic’, and tried it himself before starting to offer it to patients in 1953. In one of his first experiments into alcoholism (limited as it was), Osmond gave one 200 microgram dose of LSD to two alcoholics, one of whom quit immediately, and one of whom quit six months later.

His collaboration with Abram Hoffer in 1951 started the Saskatchewan trials (named after the location of Weyburn Mental Hospital where the research took place.) Over 2,000 patients later, at the end of the 1960’s, the methodology of one single dose of LSD coupled with psychotherapy had consistently in their research showed positive benefits for treating alcoholism with 40-45% of test subjects not relapsing within a year.

Psychedelics in the UK

These positive results were mirrored by a UK psychiatrist Ronald Sandison who had already begun using alternative methods in psychotherapy like art and music. He began treating patients with LSD brought back from a trip to Switzerland where he met Albert Hofmann. His trials in the UK returned similar results to the Saskatchewan trials, and in 1954 Sandison published this study in which 36 psychoneurotic patients were administered LSD over the course of a year, leading to 14 recovered patients, only two without improvement, and the rest with some level of improvement.

psychedelic medicine

Sandison even opened the first LSD therapy clinic in the 1950’s. It could accommodate up to five patients, and included individual psychedelic sessions, and group discussion sessions. In 2002, Britain’s National Health Service agreed to pay £195,000 to 43 patients of Sandison’s in out-of-court settlements, though whether this was out of actual damage suffered, or opportunism to collect for the usage of a drug that had become illegal, is hard to say.

Osmond’s method of LSD therapy that included one large dose with psychotherapy, was termed ‘psychedelic therapy’, while Sandison’s approach of using multiple smaller doses that increase in size, also with psychoanalysis, was termed ‘psycholytic therapy’. Between the years of 1950-1965, over 40,000 patients were treated with LSD, over 1,000 scientific papers were published, and six international conferences on the subject were held. All of the research and treatments ended by 1970 when psychedelic drugs were formally illegalized by the Convention on Psychotropic Substances treaty.

Benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapy

Research will continue to build on the topic, but what is out there is certainly promising. In one systematic review from 2020 called Psychedelics and Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy, the authors looked at research from 2007-2019, reviewing a total of 161 articles. The most significant results were related to MDMA for the treatment of PTSD and psilocybin for the treatment of depression and anxiety (related to cancer). The authors also noted promising results related to the use of LSD and ayahuasca for mental disorders.

In another systematic review from 2018 titled Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy: A Paradigm Shift in Psychiatric Research and Development, the review authors investigated research related to psychotherapy involving psychedelics like ketamine, MDMA, psilocybin, LSD and ibogaine. Clinical results supported use of these drugs, even for treatment-resistant conditions, and backed-up that psychedelics have proven to be both safe and effective. The review authors also made a point of how psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy can challenge the notion of standard diagnostics, saying the model:

“…has important consequences for the diagnostics and explanation axis of the psychiatric crisis, challenging the discrete nosological entities and advancing novel explanations for mental disorders and their treatment, in a model considerate of social and cultural factors, including adversities, trauma, and the therapeutic potential of some non-ordinary states of consciousness.”

Conclusion

Though the coupling of psychedelic drugs and psychotherapy might not technically be a ‘new’ version of treatment, it is new to current generations that were born in the wake pf psychedelic illegalization. In a way, the use of psychedelic-assisted therapy is simply going back to our own relatively recent history. Just imagine how far along research could have been if these drugs had not been illegalized in the first place. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened, and now, this old form of therapy, is becoming the new thing once again.

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Resources

Can LSD Treat Your Mental Illness?
Forced Legalizations: EU & France Battle it out Over CBD Laws

William O’Shaughnessy & The Start of Cannabis Medicine
Is CBD A Good Solution For PTSD?
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

Is Cannabis Good for Young Brains?
Florida Bill Aims to Legalize Medical Magic Mushrooms
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers). How to choose Delta-8 THC flowers?  A Complete Look At Cannabis and Depression
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
What is Delta-8 THC? All Your Questions, Answered!
The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Delta 8 THC Deals. Best Delta-8 THC Vape Bundles – Winter 2021 Denver Residents Vote to Decriminalize “Magic Mushrooms”
Cannabis and the South: How Things Change The New Rise of Medical Psychedelics Ask A Doctor – General CBD/PTSD Discussion
Merry Cannabis! Christmas and Marijuana
New Jersey Wants Home Cultivation for Cannabis   Nature’s Magic – The Health Benefits of Psilocybin Mushrooms Plant Power: Everyday Plants That Activate the Endocannabinoid System

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MDMA – The New Way to Treat PTSD

For sufferers of PTSD, the world can be a scary place. Modern medicine has attempted many ways to treat the disorder ranging from medications to therapy tactics, but they don’t always work. Building evidence shows that alternative remedies like the psychedelic drug MDMA might be a better long-term answer to treat PTSD.

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What is PTSD?

Post traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder, which means it is diagnosed subjectively. It effects people who have gone through a traumatic experience, whether they were actually a part of it, or just witness to it. This can include things like being physically attacked, witnessing atrocities of war, living through natural disasters, or being the target of bullying or psychological abuse. PTSD is diagnosed separately from other anxiety-based mental illnesses based on the experiencing of a traumatic event.

PTSD was known as ‘shell shock’ during World War I, and was referred to as ‘Battle Fatigue’ after world war II. It is associated with disturbing, and often very intense thoughts concerning past traumas. This can include reliving the event in flashbacks or nightmares, fear, sadness, anger, and feelings of detachment and estrangement from other people. Sufferers of PTSD often display strong negative reactions to situations that others would find non-triggering, and may avoid situations or people entirely that remind them of their past trauma.

Subjective diagnoses make for a difficult time adding up statistics, however, according to psychiatry.org, approximately 3.5% of adults in the US suffer from PTSD per year, and its estimated that about one out of every eleven people will experience PTSD in their lifetime. Women are the predominant sufferers, outnumbering men 2:1, and the three ethnic groups where PTSD symptoms show up the most in the US, are Latinos, African Americans, and Native Americans – all minorities that have experienced a lot of overall violence, intolerance, and general contempt aimed at them throughout history.

medical psychedelics

What is MDMA?

3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine, known colloquially as ecstasy, or molly (which is slang for ‘molecular’), is a man made psychoactive drug which is derived from the safrole oil, found primarily in sassafras plants. MDMA has properties of both hallucinogens and stimulants, acting primarily through its interaction with serotonin receptors. It forces the brain to released large amounts of the neurotransmitter, while blocking its reuptake to aid in extra absorption. MDMA comes as either pressed pills, or as a powder that can range from brown to white.

MDMA is known for promoting a feeling of connectedness between people, of reducing fear and anxiety, and increasing feelings of empathy. It was created by Merck Pharmaceutical back in 1912, however its effects were not well understood until the 1970’s when chemist Alexander Shulgin created a new method to synthesize the drug, and tested it out along with a few of his psychotherapist friends. This is around when it started being used in psychotherapy practices, as a treatment method coupled with therapy sessions, known as psychedelic-assisted therapy.

Despite showing usefulness in dealing with mental disorders, MDMA was illegalized in 1985. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan’s administration enacted the Comprehensive Crime Control Act which allowed for emergency banning of drugs by the government. When the subject of MDMA came up in 1985, after other psychedelic drugs had already been illegalized, this act was used to immediately illegalize the compound by placing it in Schedule I of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances treaty, ending therapeutic uses of it.

The illegalization of psychedelics started with smear campaigns during the Vietnam war which culminated in the passage of the Staggers-Dodd bill in 1968 illegalizing LSD and psilocybin specifically. This was followed up with the creation of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances treaty in 1971 which outlawed most of the rest, with the exception of MDMA, which was outlawed later.

While the topic is obviously a controversial one, statements made by John Ehrlichman – former Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs under President Nixon in 1994, made evident that the war on drugs wasn’t necessarily about drugs at all. Creating further concerns about why drugs like MDMA were illegalized. In his statement he claimed:

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people… We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

MDMA treat PTSD

MDMA to treat PTSD

So, what do we really know about the ability of MDMA to treat PTSD symptoms? In 2020, a systematic review was released that investigated articles published up until the end of March 2019, that used key terms like ‘treatments for PTSD’ and ‘MDMA pathway’. All articles came through PubMed and ScienceDirect.

It was found in the identification and review of these articles (and their sources) that many small scale investigations had been done that show MDMA aids in reducing psychological trauma. The review authors made a very important point, though. They emphasized that none of the research showed MDMA as a cure for PTSD, as that specifically had not been researched.  What the review was identifying, and what had been studied, was the usefulness of MDMA assisted psychotherapy, and its ability to help people who have been unable to resolve their trauma issues through other avenues.

The big story today with MDMA revolves around currently in-progress trials. As of last summer, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) had begun Phase 3 of clinical trials into MDMA. MAPS is conducting double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trials at multiple sites, testing the safety and efficacy of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD. The participants are 200-300 PTSD sufferers who are all 18+ in age, but with varied histories to produce their traumatic experiences.

These trials follow the Phase II trials which had promising outcomes, and are the last hurdle required by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in order to be assessed for legalization in the treatment of PTSD. Should it get the pass, MDMA would be able to be prescribed along with therapy, in outpatient settings with residential stays – to allow users to have their experience in a safe and controlled environment.

How likely is the FDA to approve MDMA to treat PTSD? It is, after all, a psychedelic drug in Schedule I, which defines it as highly dangerous with no therapeutic value. Apparently, back in 2017, the FDA identified MDMA as a ‘breakthrough therapy’ for PTSD.

The FDA defines a ‘breakthrough therapy’ as a “drug that treats a serious or life-threatening condition and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement on a clinically significant endpoint(s) over available therapies.” This definition is meant to help speed up research progress in order to get products to market. In 2019, the same designation was made by the FDA for psilocybin in magic mushrooms.

medical MDMA

More about MAPS Phase 3 trials

Phase 3 trials were designed according to an agreed upon Special Protocol Assessment between MAPS and the FDA to make sure trials and outcomes would be in line with regulation. The trials take place at 15 different sites between three countries: the US, Canada, and Israel. Participants receive three therapy sessions with either MDMA or placebo over a 12-week therapy period, along with three preparatory sessions and three integration sessions, without any drugs. The MDMA/placebo sessions are spaced every 3-5 weeks.

The (CAPS-5) – Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale – is the primary measurement tool for success in the study. This is a loosely structured interview used in most PTSD trials, and requires assessment by raters who are ‘blinded’, or do not know where the study participant falls in terms of actual drug or placebo. The study investigators will use other measurement tools as well including, but not limited to: Beck Depression Inventory and Inventory of Psychosocial Functioning.

‘Phase 3’, of course, implies that this is not the beginning of the study. Phase 2 findings of the study indicate the following about MDMA and its ability to treat PTSD: it can cause a reduction in fear and defensiveness; increase introspection and communication, as well as empathy and compassion; and generally improves the therapeutic experience of those suffering from PTSD. Phase 2 consisted of 107 patients.

Two months following the MDMA-assisted treatment in Phase 2, 61% of patients were no longer identified as having PTSD. One year following treatment, 68% no longer qualified as PTSD. All participants had chronic PTSD that was treatment resistant, and had been suffered from for an average of almost 18 years.

Conclusion

It’s getting heated in the race to see which psychedelic drug gets the first US medical legalization (as the US so often sets the standard for other parts of the world). Psilocybin from magic mushrooms is certainly making waves, but it looks like MDMA might take the win. With the FDA already drooling at the mouth to approve, and the pharmaceutical world getting its ducks in a row, it looks like very shortly MDMA will officially be approved to treat PTSD, with a change in global legalization measures likely to follow.

Hello and welcome to CBDtesters.co, your one-stop-shop for all cannabis-related news worldwide. Keep up with us to stay on top of the ever-changing world of legal marijuana, and sign up to our newsletter so you’re always in the know!

Resources

Merry Cannabis! Christmas and Marijuana
Forced Legalizations: EU & France Battle it out Over CBD Laws

Florida Bill Aims to Legalize Medical Magic Mushrooms
Is CBD A Good Solution For PTSD?
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

The New Italian Cannabis Contradiction
Delta 8 Flowers – Milder Than Cannabis, But Very Relaxing and Uplifting
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers). How to choose Delta-8 THC flowers?  Delta-8 THC Flowers: Everything You Need To Know.
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
How Criminal Organizations Are Dealing with Corona
The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Delta 8 THC Deals. Best Delta-8 THC Vape Bundles – Winter 2021 Denver Residents Vote to Decriminalize “Magic Mushrooms”
Cannabis and the South: How Things Change Plant Power: Everyday Plants That Activate the Endocannabinoid System Ask A Doctor – General CBD/PTSD Discussion
The New Rise of Medical Psychedelics
New Jersey Wants Home Cultivation for Cannabis   Is Medical Cannabis A Solution For Veteran PTSD Suicide Epidemic? Nature’s Magic – The Health Benefits of Psilocybin Mushrooms

The post MDMA – The New Way to Treat PTSD appeared first on CBD Testers.

Can LSD Treat Your Mental Illness?

For several decades, psychedelics have been uniformly outlawed, with massive campaigns from the late 1900’s used to raise fear and controversy over their effects. Now, as the world acclimates to the medical and recreational use of cannabis, psychedelics are being looked at once again for their medical benefits. In fact, one of the leading points of research is the use of LSD to treat mental illness.

When it comes to psychedelics, cannabis is one of the most popular, and its not hard to see why. THC has medical benefits and makes people feel good. However, for some people, regular THC is just too much. If you’re one of those people, check out our Delta-8 THC deals, and experience THC with slightly less psychoactive effect, and less anxiety.

What is LSD?

LSD, known more scientifically as Lysergic acid diethylamide, is a hallucinogenic psychedelic drug, which was first synthesized in 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman. He was also the first person to experience its effects when he accidentally ingested a small amount in 1943. As a psychedelic, it is known for altering perception, feelings, and thoughts, as well as causing visions and sensations that are not actually there (hallucinations). LSD is in a class of drugs called ergolines which are often used to treat disorders like Parkinson’s. Unlike some compounds like DMT, LSD is manmade, though derived from the ergot fungus.

How exactly LSD works to cause the effects its associated with, is still not completely defined. However, certain aspects have been found in research. In one study put out in 2017 from the University of North Carolina, it was found that LSD interacts with serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a big role in mood and brain communication. The particular receptor it effects is called 5-HT2AR. One of the interesting things that happens when LSD attaches to this receptor, is that the receptor closes over the molecule, preventing it from leaving quickly. This could very well explain why the drug can last for many hours, even after it has left the bloodstream.

The serotonin receptor it attaches to can activate two signaling pathways through G-proteins and β-arrestins within cells. With LSD, it primarily works through the β-arrestins. The researchers on this study found that different drugs in the ergoline group effect serotonin receptors differently, and found evidence that the compounds themselves can modify the structure of the receptor in order to activate different effects.

Research

There has actually been plenty of research into how LSD can aide in the treatment of mental illness. Back in 2014, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was done to investigate how safe and effective LSD is in treating the anxiety experienced by patients with life-threatening illnesses.

12 patients were used in the study, and they were given drug-free psychotherapy sessions, along with two psychotherapy sessions with LSD. A two-month follow-up showed a positive trend according to the (STAI) State-Trait Anxiety Inventory in terms of reductions in trait and state anxiety. The reductions in anxiety related to the LSD were sustained for 12 months. No serious adverse effects were noticed, and minimal adverse effects subsided within one day. The overall outcome of the study was LSD safely decreased anxiety.

In a systematic review of LSD in psychiatry, 11 studies were identified  concerning LSD and mental health that consisted of randomized and controlled clinical trials. These were done between the years of 1950-1970 when it was not illegal to use LSD in medical testing, and when LSD was regularly studied for use with addiction, anxiety, depression, and psychosomatic diseases. As part of the 11 studies that made the cut, 567 subjects were administered LSD in doses of 20 to 800 micrograms. The overall finding was that LSD has positive results in psychiatric symptoms, particularly for alcoholism. A grand majority of the study authors from the review cited positive, if short-term, improvements. This was not always seen in long-term follow-ups.

LSD in the treatment of mental illness today

Yet another systematic review was done on studies into LSD from after 1970. This review, called the Modern Clinical Research on LSD was published in 2017. The review looked at five recent studies in London, Zurich and Basel. All studies were placebo controlled. The London studies were single-blind, non-randomized, the Switzerland studies were randomized, double-blind. In all studies, low-moderate doses of LSD were used between 40-80 micrograms. (It takes about 100-200 micrograms for a full LSD effect).

In terms of subjective effects according to validated psychometric scales, the response in controlled settings was mainly positive. Average group ratings for liking the drug and having positive effects reached 90% of the maximum possible on the VAS scale after 200 micrograms had been administered. At 200 micrograms, only a small percentage increase was made for the average of those who had a negative drug effect (<25%), however negative ratings did go up with the increase.

No high levels of anxiety or panic occurred, necessitating no sedation of patients to stave off negative effects. The main feelings experienced during testing were: bliss, altered perceptions, audiovisual synesthesia (think crossed wires and mixed-up responses), and derealization and depersonalization in positive ways. Higher doses included more insightfulness.

LSD for mental illness

In terms of the synesthesia, LSD produced spontaneous experiences, indicating it alters spontaneous processes, rather than creating an induced response. At under 100 micrograms, LSD promoted suggestibility, and at 200 micrograms it inspired mystical experiences during psychotherapy combined with LSD. Similar studies that have been done on psilocybin have shown that more intense mystical experiences are tied to long-term positive benefits.

However, these mystical effects were correlated at a high level with blissful states as well, meaning the long-term response could be more related to blissful experiences than mystical ones. In these studies, LSD promoted feelings of happiness, well-being, openness, closeness to other people, and trust.

In terms of negative effects, they generally didn’t last more than 10-24 hours, and included headache, difficulty with concentration, decrease in appetite, dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, exhaustion and feeling unbalanced. No severe adverse responses were noticed in any of the modern testing. LSD, in general, is considered non-toxic physically.

Why is it illegal?

When looking at all the positive scientific research, and the lack of detrimental side effects, it starts to look very strange that LSD has been illegalized, while pharmaceutical medications to treat the same things often have lower success rates and harsher side effects. While the US government might stick with a tagline of psychedelics being dangerous and having no medical value, there is another underlying story which makes a bit more sense.

LSD and psilocybin were first illegalized in the late 60’s after a years long smear campaign which coincided with the Vietnam war. America was off fighting a battle that didn’t technically involve it, and causing a massive death toll, and unspeakable and unnecessary violence and destruction to residents of Vietnam.

There was already a pretty heavy anti-war movement during that time. Want to speculate on how much bigger and harder to control that would’ve been if the country was focusing on the war as it should have been? The question of why America wanted to be in that war so badly is a whole debate in and of itself, but regardless of the ‘why’s, there are still some heavy truths. In 1994, a guy named John Ehrlichman, who had been the Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs in Nixon’s administration, made this statement:

psychedelics

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

Is it really any wonder that in 1968 the US passed the Staggers-Dodd bill illegalizing both LSD and psilocybin? Or that in 1971 the Convention on Psychotropic Substances treaty gave it a Schedule I ranking? And is it really any wonder that this was heavily pushed for by richer countries with developed pharmaceutical industries, while poorer countries that didn’t have industries that could benefit the same way, were against the illegalization?

What now?

Things can change easily from good to bad, but they can also change from bad to good. Growing scrutiny towards agencies like the DEA for blocking scientific discovery in order to restrict access, and a renewed interest in medical testing, has re-opened the door which had been closed on LSD. Last month, the company MindMed even announced the beginning of the very first clinical trial ever to incorporate LSD and MDMA to test the possible benefits in dealing with mental illness.

Mindmed is a biotech company specializing in medicines and therapies using psychedelics. The trials are being done in Switzerland, which has been the base for a lot of psychedelics testing. Considering it’s a biotech company doing them, the logic answer would be that they want to make a product to sell eventually. My guess is, by the time they’re ready, it’ll be more legal globally to make LSD products to treat mental illness. After all, think about how fast the cannabis industry changed in the last few years.

Conclusion

The ongoing legalizations of cannabis, which is also a psychedelic, though a much less intense one, do signal a change in things. LSD has shown a spectacular profile for aiding in mental illness, with so few adverse reactions, that its silly what people are taking instead. It’s hard to say what the future holds, but it might very soon be the legalization for LSD medically.

Welcome to CBDtesters.co, your primary spot for all cannabis-related news around the world. Stop by frequently to stay on top of the ever-changing world of legal marijuana, and sign up to our newsletter so you’re always in the know!

Resources

Cannabis and Schizophrenia – Not a Testable Hypothesis
Forced Legalizations: EU & France Battle it out Over CBD Laws

Is Delta-8 THC Legal? What Does The Law Says? Is CBD Effective for Treating Bipolar Disorder?
Everything You Need to Know About Kratom
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

The New Italian Cannabis Contradiction
Merry Cannabis! Christmas and Marijuana
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers). How to choose Delta-8 THC flowersDelta-8 THC Flowers: Everything You Need To Know.
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
Relax: How CBD Can Reduce Anxiety
The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Delta 8 THC Deals.  Best Delta-8 THC Vape Bundles – Winter 2021 Gallup Poll Finds Americans Use CBD Mostly For Pain Management
Using CBG To Treat Clinical Depression The New Rise of Medical Psychedelics America Is Cannabis Friendly – It’s Official
A Complete Look At Cannabis and Depression
Will Cannabis Tourism Be Over in Amsterdam?   Compared to Prescription Medication, Medical Cannabis Not Always Affordable Alternative
CBD’s Role in the Treatment of Multiple Mental Health Disorders

The post Can LSD Treat Your Mental Illness? appeared first on CBD Testers.

Florida Bill Aims to Legalize Medical Magic Mushrooms

For the last several decades, it was almost unthinkable to consider what Florida lawmakers are now considering. In light of the recent flurry to change legal restrictions on cannabis, the psychedelic field is starting to get its own flurry of attention. With new research coming out to back the medical properties, a Florida lawmaker produced a bill that aims to legalize magic mushrooms for medicinal purposes.

In the world of psychoactive and psychedelic drugs, THC is one of the most popular compounds, but it’s not for everyone. If you get too high on traditional THC, or the anxiety is too intense, you might be better off with delta-8 THC. Check out our Delta-8 THC deals and give the other THC a shot.

What are magic mushrooms?

Magic mushrooms are a group of fungi that grow wild or are cultivated, that contain the compound psilocybin. Some of the mushroom genera that fit into this category include: Panaeolus, Conocybe, and Psilocybe – the most well-known.

Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic and psychoactive compound. Much like LSD it is a serotonergic psychedelic, which means it activates serotonin receptors in the brain. Albert Hoffmann, the same guy who brought us LSD in 1938, was also the first guy to isolate psilocybin in 1958. As hallucinogens, magic mushrooms can cause users to see, hear, and physically feel things that are not actually there. Psilocybin is also associated with feeling euphoric, altering mood, altering perception, an intensified sense of connection to other people, distortion in time and reality, a high level of introspection, and spiritual experiences.

Mushrooms can be dried out before being consumed, or eaten raw, and effects can last about six hours. Psilocybin is a Schedule I compound according to the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, a drug scheduling treaty, much like the Single Convention on Narcotic Substances treaty which was signed in 1961. Schedule I on both treaties denote a dangerous drug with no medical value.

Florida legalize magic mushrooms

Is it legal?

Psilocybin in technically banned due to being in Schedule I of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances treaty. The treaty is an international UN treaty from 1971 that sets legal guidelines for drugs throughout the world. It was originally illegalized in the US in 1968 with the Staggers-Dodd bill, before becoming illegal all over the world through the scheduling treaty, which ignored all medical benefit of the compound.

However, this is not the whole story. While psilocybin and psilocin (another psychoactive compound in magic mushrooms) are Schedule I drugs, the mushrooms themselves are not regulated under any treaty, and are part of longstanding medical, religious, and spiritual traditions all over the world. In a letter dated September 13, 2001, Herbert Schaepe – the secretary of the board for the (INCB) International Narcotics Control Board, which is the independent body that monitors the implementation for the UN’s International drug treaties – specified the following to the Dutch Ministry of Health:

“As a matter of international law, no plants (natural material) containing psilocine and psilocybin are at present controlled under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. Consequently, preparations made of these plants are not under international control and, therefore, not subject of the articles of the 1971 Convention.”  

Where are they legal in the US?

In fact, different countries have different legalization policies for mushrooms, making a disconnect between the UN treaty, and individual laws of countries. In the US, mushrooms are illegal under federal law, however there are already states with decriminalization policies in place, including: Ann arbor, Michigan; Denver, Colorado; Oakland and Santa Cruz in California; and Washington DC. Psilocybin was legalized in Oregon during the 2020 presidential election, for the treatment of mental health disorders, under supervision. Oregon even decriminalized its recreational use, along with several other drugs, under Measure 110. All of this went into effect on February 1st 2021.

On November 3rd, 2020, Oregon passed Measure 109, making it the first US state to legalize psilocybin use medically. The state has two years to complete an operational regulation structure. The law, which passed with 56% of the vote by Oregon voters, will allow adults 21+ to have access to psilocybin products for ‘personal development’ so long as they pass a screening. This would take place only in licensed facilities. It should be remembered that Oregon already allows legal adult-use marijuana through Measure 91 which was approved back in 2014.

New Florida bill to legalize magic mushrooms

Oregon isn’t the only state to update its view on magic mushrooms and psilocybin. Last month, Florida House Representative Michael Grieco introduced a bill that would legalize magic mushrooms (psilocybin) medicinally for people with mental disorders like depression and anxiety. Called the Florida Psilocybin Mental Health Care Act, it calls for the creation of state-funded clinics where micro-dosing of psilocybin by licensed professionals, can be done. The magic mushroom experience would take place with the health care professional, and the patient would be offered a counseling session afterwards as well. Said Grieco:

“When people think of ‘magic mushrooms,’ they think of listening to Pink Floyd and tie-dye T-shirts, but we should take this seriously… We have veterans and Floridians who have deep depression and post-traumatic stress disorder who are resistant to other medications.”

psychedelic medicine

His 59-page proposal is partially based on Oregon’s aforementioned bill that legalized psilocybin for medicinal use. It should be noted, that while psilocybin and magic mushrooms are illegal federally in the US, the US (FDA) Food & Drug Administration twice in 2019 made the designation of psilocybin as a ‘breakthrough therapy’ for major depression.

This isn’t just cute wording either. Giving such a designation is meant to quicken development for medications. As per the FDA, “A breakthrough therapy designation is for a drug that treats a serious or life-threatening condition and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement on a clinically significant endpoint(s) over available therapies.”

What about Connecticut, California, New Jersey and Hawaii?

Not every state to introduce a new measure, is introducing one as extreme as the Florida bill that would legalize magic mushrooms medicinally. However, on February 18th, 2021, California democratic Senator Scott Weiner introduced a bill that would decriminalize psychedelic drugs like psilocybin, LSD, ketamine, MDMA, mescaline, and DMT for both personal and therapeutic use in California.

The bill actually specifically excludes peyote, since its considered an endangered plant which is highly important to Native American traditions. This is not the same as what Florida is proposing, or that Oregon has with Measure 109, but it would make the possession and use of these drugs not a criminal offense. The bill would also expunge the criminal records of those who had psychedelic possession convictions.

Said Weiner, “The war on drugs has been a complete failure… It hasn’t stopped people from using drugs and it hasn’t stopped addiction.” This idea was expanded on by policy and advocacy counsel Ismail Lourido Ali of (MAPS) Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, who said:

medical psychedelics

“Psychedelic use can come with some risks, but criminalization only increases those risks by creating an unregulated market in which difficult-to-verify dosages and the presence of adulterants like fentanyl threaten public health.”

Then there’s Connecticut where Representative Josh Elliot, along with four other legislators, put forth a bill that would create a task force for researching the medical benefits of psilocybin. This is significantly more limited than California’s bill, but shows a definite interest in knowing more about psilocybin and how it can help.

Both California and Connecticut are following in line with Hawaii which introduced bill SB 738 at the end of January 2021, which would legalize magic mushrooms for therapeutic use. The bill would also officially remove both psilocybin and psilocyn from Hawaii’s Schedule I drug list. The bill is not otherwise terribly specific, literally saying only that the Department of Heath will adopt rules to go along with the law.

And don’t forget New Jersey! On February 4th, 2021, Governor Phil Murphy – who has done quite a bit to pass cannabis legalization measures in New Jersey, signed a bill that works to semi-decriminalize magic mushroom use. The law took effect immediately, and downgraded up to one ounce of psilocybin from a third-degree crime, to a ‘disorderly person’s offense’. It’s not a true decriminalization in that users can still end up with six-month jail sentences and $1,000 in fines. However, this is much better than the previous three-five years in prison.

Conclusion

It’s hard to say if the new Florida bill to legalize medical magic mushrooms will go through, but if it doesn’t this time, it’ll have that much more push the second time around. Plus, with state after state adopting new decriminalization and medical legalization policies for psilocybin, and psychedelics in general, it seems that just like with cannabis, we might see a very quick shift to psychedelic acceptance.

Welcome to CBDtesters.co, the best online site for all cannabis-related news from everywhere in the world. Join us frequently to keep on top of the exciting world of legal cannabis, and sign up for our newsletter so you never miss a thing!

Resources

Merry Cannabis! Christmas and Marijuana
Forced Legalizations: EU & France Battle it out Over CBD Laws

Is Delta-8 THC Legal? What Does The Law Says? Is CBD Effective for Treating Bipolar Disorder?
The New Rise of Medical Psychedelics
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

The New Italian Cannabis Contradiction
Plant Power: Everyday Plants That Activate the Endocannabinoid System
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers). How to choose Delta-8 THC flowersDelta-8 THC Flowers: Everything You Need To Know.
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
Relax: How CBD Can Reduce Anxiety
The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Delta 8 THC Deals. Best Delta-8 THC Vape Bundles – Winter 2021 Denver Residents Vote to Decriminalize “Magic Mushrooms”
Using CBG To Treat Clinical Depression The New Rise of Medical Psychedelics Microdosing: The Ideal Way To Manage Cannabis And CBD
A Complete Look At Cannabis and Depression
New Jersey Wants Home Cultivation for Cannabis   Compared to Prescription Medication, Medical Cannabis Not Always Affordable Alternative
Nature’s Magic – The Health Benefits of Psilocybin Mushrooms

The post Florida Bill Aims to Legalize Medical Magic Mushrooms appeared first on CBD Testers.

Delta 8 Flowers – Milder Than Cannabis, But Very Relaxing and Uplifting

When it comes to Delta-8 THC products, flowers are usually not the first choice, as this title reserved for Delta-8 THC vape cartridges and Delta 8 gummies. However, lately we have seen a rise of new Delta-8 THC infused hemp flowers (AKA Delta 8 Flowers), which offer us a new and improved way to get our Delta-8 THC, by smoking.

The new flowers have arrived

Not only is the quality of the new Delta 8 flowers is much better than what was offered only a few months ago, but also the price went down. As a result, currently you can get really good flowers for less than $650/lb (when using the 35% discount code, currently available to the subscribers of the the CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter).

The new Delta 8 flowers are hand-trimmed indoor hemp flowers, carefully treated with Delta-8 THC distillate and sometimes dusted with CBD or CBG Kief, for the extra touch. Unlike regular cannabis flowers, high in Delta-9 THC or high-CBD hemp flowers, the Delta 8 flowers are a twin-peak product. As such, they have high-levels of both Delta-8 THC and CBD (or CBG, depends on the hemp strain) which creates a category of its own.

That’s why smoking Delta-8 THC flowers is unique, both because Delta-8 is different than Delta-9 and also because of the twin-peak effect of the products. If you happen to like blended, enhanced or even infused products, these flowers are exactly what you are looking for.

Good Delta-8 flowers are an incredible experience. They allow you to experience a new high, milder than what regular THC offers, but very relaxing and uplifting. Delta-8 high also comes with less anxiety and paranoia, compared to Delta-. No wonder why so many cannabis and hemp users are shifting to Delta-8 THC lately.

AS always, the best hemp flower deals are reserved for the subscribers of the CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter, going out every Friday and Sunday. If you like to claim our exclusive 35% discount code, click HERE to subscribe, or use the form below.

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The New Rise of Medical Psychedelics

As the battle for cannabis legalization continues globally, the re-acquaintance to its medical use has reopened the door for other drugs that have also been labeled as narcotics, or scheduled so that people have no access to their medical benefits. One of the major classes of drugs that has shown great promise therapeutically, is psychedelics. With a greater level of liberal acceptance, there has been a recent rise in the medical use of psychedelics.

What’s one of the most widely used psychedelic compounds on earth? THC! And not just the standard delta-9 THC that most people are familiar with. With the addition of delta-8 THC, users can choose how they want their experience to be. Want less psychoactive effect and less anxiety, then check out our Delta-8 THC deals and give the other THC a try.

What are psychedelics?

A psychedelic is a drug containing psychoactive compounds capable of altering a person’s mood, perception and cognition. This can include naturally occurring and man-made substances. Examples of psychedelics include: mescaline, which can be found in San Pedro cactus and peyote; DMT, one of the main ingredients in ayahuasca; LSD; and psilocybin, which is what makes magic mushrooms so magical.

Psychedelics are known to produce life-altering experiences, wherein the user can find insights into life and consciousness. It are these attributes that have been the main instigator for the recent rise in research of medical psychedelics.

Psychedelics, much like cannabis (which is technically a psychedelic), occur naturally in different plants around the globe, and have been used for millennia in different ceremonial, religious, and medical practices throughout history. Unlike cannabis, they were not all outlawed together in one sweeping move, but rather, became illegalized over time. In the US, the criminalization of psychedelics started in 1968 with the Staggers-Dodd bill which specifically illegalized LSD and psilocybin.

The word itself, ‘psychedelics’, was first used in 1957 to recognize substances that were said to open the mind, however, the more scientific term for them is ‘entheogens’. This term was adopted less to be scientific, however, and more to allow the field to operate without the stigma attached to psychedelics from the smear campaigns of the 1960’s. The term entheogen comes from Greek where it means ‘building the god within’.

LSD

History of illegalization

When it comes to the illegalization of cannabis, it is becoming understood more widely that there was more to it than a fear for public safety. The entire movement to illegalize was spearheaded in the government by Harry Anslinger, with media giant William Randolph Heart pushing the anti-hemp movement from outside, in an effort to kill the enemy of his paper industry.

Some might see it as a similar manner of business, when psychedelics were demonized in the 60’s and70’s, as when cannabis was in the 1930’s onward. In the case of psychedelics, much of the news, controversy, and general story around them, took place during the Vietnam war, and served as a good distraction from the horrible ridiculousness of that mess and the unnecessary violence and deaths that came from it. Think about what actually came out of that war. The nothingness that was accomplished in the face of the massive death toll that was taken. How easy is it to get your population to go along with such antics? And would focusing on the truth of it have made it a harder sell?

In 1970, the US congress passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act which enforced stricter measures for pharmaceutical companies, requiring stringent reporting, and better security of drug stocks. These aren’t bad things, of course, but they led to the current model of drug scheduling, which has, essentially and with much bias, ruled many drugs out.

The Single Convention on Narcotic Substances is a treaty that was formed out of international discussions concerning drug controls in 1970. This was followed up with the Convention on Psychotropic Substances in 1971, a similar treaty which also orders drugs into classes based on their potential level of harm and usefulness. In both treaties, schedule I is associated with the most dangerous drugs with no medical benefit, but a high addiction possibility, and schedule IV denotes safer drugs with medical purpose. Psychedelics took the schedule I spot in 1970, ruling out their use as medicines.

Putting psychedelics in this scheduling category seems to have been the result of industry issues, much like with cannabis. During the discussions for the treaties, bigger and more developed countries with bigger and more developed pharmaceutical industries, pushed for the illegalization of these natural compounds, whereas countries with less development, and which didn’t have competing industries, were not for their illegalization. As with cannabis, the bigger, stronger countries won out, and forced these decisions on everyone else.

In fact, in 1994, John Ehrlichman, the Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs under Nixon, made this statement about the war on drugs that was fought under Nixon, highlighting an alternate reason for pushing anti-drug measures at that time:

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

And then it got worse. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan’s administration put out the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which allowed for emergency banning of drugs by the government. This was put into effect the following year when the subject of MDMA came up, and was used to immediately illegalize it. And this despite a judge’s decision to schedule it as Schedule III, and allow it for medical use. This action entirely stymied any research progress into the drugs, and slowed the rise of medical psychedelics to a halt.

magic mushrooms

Psychedelics in history

As with anything else, putting together the history of psychedelic use in antiquity, is dependent on ancient texts, findings, and rituals. While there is a current rise in the use of medical psychedelics, this does not imply that they were used for the same exact purpose back then, as they are today.

One of the interesting finds related to psychedelics, is the discovery of a pouch in southwestern Bolivia, dated to a thousand years ago. The pouch contains traces of several psychedelic compounds including harmine and DMT (dimethyltryptamine) which denote the use of ayahuasca, bufotenine (from toad skin), and psilocin – another psychedelic constituent of magic mushrooms. The pouch also contained traces of cocaine and its metabolite benzoylecgonine, which would have likely come from coca leaves.

The discovery came from the Sora River Valley. The pouch – made of three fox snouts – was part of the contents of a leather bag, which mass spectrometry carbon dating has put between the years of 900-1100 CE. It is thought that because of the dating period, that the pouch likely belonged to a member of the Tiwanaku, which pre-dated the Incas. The use of ayahuasca denotes the earliest evidence of it that has been physically found.

The reason this part is interesting is because the two compounds that were found that ayahuasca is made from, come from two separate plants that work in combination to produce the effects. This means that the ancient population this comes from, was putting two plants together to gain a psychoactive effect that wouldn’t be felt if they were used on their own. Another interesting aspect of the find is that the plants used to make ayahuasca were not from that area, so whoever procured them, had to go out and find them somewhere else.

Other findings

According to this study, Mayan culture is associated with the drinking of balché, a drink consisting of Lonchocarpus bark extracts that create a mildly intoxicating effect, which is strengthened through the use of honey. This was used in group ceremonies to reach intoxication. Peyote for mescaline, hallucinogenic mushrooms for psylocibin, and ololiuhqui seeds for lysergic acid amide (a precursor to LSD), were used by the Mayans, Aztecs, Olmecs, and Zapotecs.

During the period when the Olmecs were around, it was also customary to use bufotoxins which come from the skin of the Bufo spp. toad. At the same time, wild tobacco, Jimson weed, Salvia divinorum, and water lily were used for psychoactive effects. And while the exact use is arguable, mushroom stones dating back to 3,000 BC have been found in the Mesoamerican region in religious/ritual contexts which could indicate the use of mushrooms that far back. Archeological evidence of the use of peyote goes back as far as 5,000 years.

Mesoamerica isn’t the only location where psychedelic remains have been found. Researchers into psychedelic use in the near-East have turned up botanical remains in the form of residues, pollen, fibers and fiber impressions, and carbonized seeds. Where were they found? Traces of Blue Water Lily extract, a potent narcotic plant, were found in none other than Tutonkamen’s tomb from the 14th century BC. And in the late bronze age temple Kamid el-Loz in Lebanon, a storage jar containing 10 liters of Viper’s Bugloss was found, which is a very strong hallucinogen.

Things to consider…

One thing to take into account, is that there is a great amount of controversy over whether something like the use of ayahuasca can actually be traced back through history, with a lot of evidence pointing to confusing stories that come more from Western tourism, than actual history. Researchers into the topic have continually found a mesh of newer ideologies masquerading as old-school folklore as a means to sell a product. In fact, the whole idea of how ayahuasca is used today to treat mental illness, is not how it seems to have been used in history, when shamans took it to contact the supernatural, and battle evil beings.

psychedelic toad

Does this mean that psychedelics weren’t used in history? Of course not, but it does shed light on the idea that what we consider real history, might have been altered because of tourism. It should also be remembered that there are a lot of kinds of psychedelics that would have factored into different cultures and time periods. For example, the aforementioned study into hallucinogenic drug use in pre-Colombian Mesoamerica, which has findings based on archeological, ethno-historical, and ethnographic evidence, found plenty of indication of hallucinogenic drug use in that area, for that time period.

Rise of medical psychedelics

There is quite a bit of medical research into psychedelics, as well as historical evidence to its uses, going back thousands of years. According to the more recent medical research, psychedelics have shown a possible ability to aid in depression, PTSD, and with addictions. It should be remembered that cannabis itself is considered a psychedelic drug, with research into a multitude of categories including: insomnia, depression, neurodegenerative diseases, spastic disorders, inflammatory diseases and so on.

Psychedelics have not just been touted as a treatment for different mental illness. They have shown strength in dealing with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, and have even shown possibility in treating autoimmune disorders. If these benefits prove consistent over time, it will likely help boost the current rise in medical psychedelics.

However, despite all the relevant research into the useful benefits of these compounds, the DEA has continuously rejected information, and stood in the way of scientific progress. Kind of makes a person wonder what the agency is even there for. The report highlighted found that the DEA has continuously slowed down scheduling decisions, while increasing speed on banning drugs, in order to restrict all access.

It took an entire 30 years in all to respond to requests to reschedule marijuana, with gaps of 16 years, five, and nine in between requests and responses. The DEA even overruled its own judge to illegalize MDMA by putting it in schedule I. This, of course, has never gotten in the way of military testing of these compounds, which seems to be perfectly okay with the same agency.

Conclusion

With cannabis opening the door into the medical (and recreational) use of drugs like marijuana, the rise in medical psychedelics is sure to keep going. Just like with cannabis, it will likely be found over time, that the notions we have related to these drugs are way more attached to long-lasting smear campaigns, than the actual dangers they pose. And that just like cannabis, they can offer incredible medical benefits that have been suppressed for quite some time now.

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Cannabis for Eating Disorders Like Anorexia

It almost sounds counterintuitive to say it, but yet another possible application of cannabis is in the treatment of eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia. It’s quite possible that the ability of marijuana to build an appetite, while also helping with symptoms of anxiety, makes it a great treatment option for those suffering from certain eating disorders.

The new rage in the world of cannabis is the addition of delta-8 THC. Slightly different than delta-9, with less anxiety and psychoactive high, delta-8 is the newest way to get into cannabis. Sound interesting? We can hook you up with the best Delta-8 THC deals so you can investigate for yourself what this new-fangled version of THC is really about!

What is an eating disorder

An eating disorder fits under psychiatric disorders which means first and foremost, there is no medical definition, as in, there is no formal proof that can be made. The definition according to psychiatry, is a disorder “in which the people experience severe disturbances in their eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions. People with eating disorders typically become pre-occupied with food and their body weight.” This, of course, extends to both ends of the spectrum, those who are overeating for their body weight, and those who are undereating for their bodyweight.

As always with psychological disorders, as there is no medical definition or confirmation, these disorders are identified only through the diagnosis of a doctor, and are therefore subjective in their interpretation. It is also quite possible, because of a lack of a medical definition, that different professionals can levy entirely different diagnoses on the same patient. Having said that, all the examples listed below highlight basic eating disorder categories, each with its own individual symptoms.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), approximately 20 million women and 10 million men will develop an eating disorder at some point in life. The National Institute of Mental Health thinks its even higher, stating that approximately 25% of college students have an eating disorder. It should be remembered that binge eating is included here, and that these statistics come from subjective diagnoses.

Examples?

anorexia nervosa

1) Six of the more well-known eating disorders are as follows: The most well known is anorexia-nervosa. This eating disorder is characterized by a limitation in food intake, often to the point of extreme malnutrition and physical emaciation. Sufferers often have distorted body images whereby they see themselves as looking different (generally in a negative capacity) then how they actually look, with this discrepancy being focused on weight. Anorexia can affect men or women, but is more commonly seen in women.

2) Bulimia-nervosa is also very well known. It is characterized by a binge/purge pattern in which the sufferer will at times eat large amounts of food (exercising no control in the process), and then work to purge themselves of the food by vomiting, using laxatives, diuretics, enemas, or excessive exercise. While some publications (including the one referenced) name fasting as a method of purging, this would have to be an extreme fast that is intense enough to effect health (it isn’t uncommon to eat a lot at one point, and not get hungry – or choose not to eat – for a much longer than normal period of time.) Much like anorexia, this is more commonly experienced by women.

3) Binge eating is also very common, maybe the most common of all, although to the majority of people it is simply known as ‘overeating’. In binge eating cases, the sufferer will consume excessive calories, experience a lack of control while doing so, but unlike in bulimia cases, will not attempt to expel the excess calories. For this reason, this eating disorder is often associated with being overweight or even obese. In fact, the purging or not purging of the calories is what separates binge eating from bulimia, and in most other ways including the lack of control, large amounts of food and small consumption time, and overall feelings of guilt, embarrassment and shame, the two are about the same. Simply overeating here and there does not constitute entry into this category. Getting an actual diagnosis implies an existing pattern of extreme behavior.

4) The top three disorders are known to most, but here is where it gets a little weird. The next disorder on the list is pica. In pica cases, the individual is likely to be hungry for all kinds of things that aren’t exactly food. This can mean ice, soil, soap, hair, pebbles, detergent etc. As you might imagine with some of the inputs on this list, this can cause some severe issues if the wrong material is ingested, both in a person accidentally poisoning themselves, as well as considering all the infections and injuries that such non-foods can cause internally. Pica can be experienced by anyone, but is generally seen in children, the pregnant, and those with mental disabilities.

5) Next is rumination disorder, which also has a kind of strange definition that those of us in the regular eating world, were probably not aware of. A person with this disorder regurgitates food which has already been swallowed, and then re-chews the food, and swallows once again, or spits it out. This is, essentially, what animals that chew their own cud do, however this is obviously not a characteristic of basic humanity. The reflux occurs within about 30 minutes of a meal, and is completely voluntary, unlike with acid reflux. This disorder can affect men and women, of any age, and often resolves itself when seen in infants. It is a newly recognized disorder.

6) Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder is generally seen in infants and children only, but can persist into adulthood. It involves a disturbance in eating which can be due to having no interest, or an issue related to the temperature, taste, texture, or smell of something. This is only identified in extreme cases and shouldn’t be confused with simply being picky. People with this disorder might even be diagnosed with other conditions like failure to thrive if they can no longer mature due to lack of nutrients. This disorder has nothing to do with food availability.

How could cannabis help?

cannabis for eating disorders

The first thing to consider when looking at cannabis for eating disorders is that – as previously mentioned – they are not medically defined. They are only defined through a grouping of symptoms which leads to a subjective diagnosis. Cannabis and eating disorders can be studied by observing changes in behaviors related to food when cannabis is consumed.

Cannabis has been used for quite some time to treat the anorexia associated with diseases like cancer and AIDS – called cachexia, where the inability to eat causes the person to waste away. Cannabis has been used in this way since it was reintroduced back into Western medicine more recently, with plenty of research being done which supports the use of cannabis in this way. Less research has been done on anorexia nervosa, which is voluntary, whereas cachexia is not.

However, there are some studies. Cannabis could be useful for helping with the underlying anxiety of some eating disorders, and by supporting a healthy appetite. This study from 2017 which investigated the effects of delta-9 THC on anorexia-nervosa symptoms found no overall increase in BMI, but it did show significant positive results in terms of self-reporting for body care, feelings of ineffectiveness, and general depression. The study authors concluded that delta-9 could be effective in the treatment of psychological symptoms associated with anorexia.

One study even found that using cannabis makes food smell and taste better to the eater, which could be a big draw for those attempting to keep themselves from food.

A systematic review from 2017 investigating the efficacy of cannabis for different psychological and neurodegenerative diseases, included two studies done on cannabis and anorexia. In one study with 11 female participants being given titrated amounts of THC, similar weight gain was shown to diazepam – aka valium. It should be noted that three patients in the THC group had to be withdrawn due to negative side effects, which begs the question of why doses were not individualized based on needs. However, they were not, so it is unclear if the issues experienced could have been alleviated with smaller doses. What is clear is that valium, as a benzodiazepine, is a highly addictive drug, and getting the same benefit from cannabis would mean a significantly safer alternative.

The second study in the review used dronabinol as the form of THC. Dronabinol is a pharmaceutical cannabis medication that does contain THC in it. The placebo-controlled study consisted of two four-week periods with a four-week clean-out period in between. The study presented evidence that dronabinol encouraged weight gain, as much as .73kg compared to the placebo group.

binge eating

Some speculate that issues like anorexia and bulimia are related to imbalances in the endocannabinoid system, for which cannabis can be useful in regulating. It is speculated that these disorders result from impairments in this system, with the hypothesis that cannabis, as an agent that effects the endocannabinoid system, could be used for positive benefit. As noted by Dr. John Krystal, editor of Biological Psychiatry which put out a report in 2011, “The role of endocannabinoids in appetite control is clearly important. These new data point to important connections between this system and eating disorders.” There is obviously much more to be investigated here.

Issues with cannabis for eating disorders

When it’s said that cannabis can be good for eating disorders, its important to specify which ones. Cannabis has been known to cause episodes of binge eating, so it wouldn’t be the likely answer for someone who is already having issues controlling their overeating. It also might be questionable for those suffering from things like pica – where it could encourage more unnecessary and dangerous eating, or bulimia where it could encourage even bigger binges.

The dose used is also very important to consider when it comes to cannabis for eating disorders. In one study, three participants were removed due to negative side effects with THC, but this was done rather than assessing personal limitations for THC consumption. Accounting for the fact that different people will handle things differently, and require different amounts of medication, is a generally important point in medicine. Not accounting for this is a massive detraction for any study using standardized doses, especially if the study authors did not consider this. However, having said that, it’s important to remember that high doses of THC can cause a cannabis overdose with negative side-effects, and this should always be considered when treating someone who already has mental issues.

Conclusion

New applications for cannabis are being discovered (and rediscovered) every day. Cannabis might not be best for all eating disorders, but it might be useful for those suffering from anorexia-nervosa. These days, everything is about body image and weight. The idea that cannabis might help anorexia sufferers to feel better about themselves, or even add on a few pounds, is incredibly useful, and highlights another great example for medical cannabis.

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A Complete Look At Cannabis and Depression

Millions of people across the globe suffer from depression, with little relief from conventional medicine and big pharma. Many are turning to cannabis to treat their condition and regain a sense of normalcy in their lives.

Depression affects nearly 16 million people in the United States alone. Although the emotional reasons will be different for each person, from a chemical standpoint, the root cause of depression is an endocannabinoid deficiency that effects the 5-HT1A receptors and causes low levels of serotonin.  Low levels of serotonin also cause the limbic system to shrink.

The limbic system controls various emotions including fear, pleasure, hunger, anger, and sex drive. This is the reason why people who suffer from depression often describe the feeling as “flat” or just “blah”, because it simply sadness they are feeling, but a general disinterest in things that once made them happy and loss of enjoyment in life.

To add to the distress, pharmaceutical medications have a reputation for not always being effective, and in some cases, causing more harm than good. What is the role of cannabis in the treatment of depression? Is it the silver lining therapy that many people are yearning for?  

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What is Depression?                                 

Depression is an incredibly complex mood disorder that ranges in severity and type. Several forms of depression exist such as major depression, dysthymia, bipolar disorder, and seasonal. Regardless of the type, depression can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life and ability to complete day-to-day tasks. Some sufferers of depression lose the ability to feel joy or pleasure at all – and all these feelings last for an extended period of time.  

The World Health Organization estimates that around 350 million are living with depression worldwide It affects people of all ages and races, and those of differing socio-economic status. Although symptoms vary widely from person to person, in general, symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, lethargy, low self-esteem, guild, shame, and anxiety.

Again, these symptoms will manifest differently in each person as well, but it’s common for sufferers to feel tired and unable to focus, they can experience negative/intrusive thoughts, issues sleeping and eating, problems with memory, difficulty making decisions, and many will be irritable and short-tempered.

Depression can lead to dangerous and reckless behavior, substance abuse for example, and life-changing decisions that cause additional stress and increased feelings of depression. Depression can also lead to self-harm as well as suicidal thoughts and attempts, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. On average, the CDC records upwards of 48,000 suicides each year – that’s one life every 12 minutes. And the numbers continue to rise with seemingly no solution in sight.

How Cannabis Can Help

For centuries cannabis has been a natural remedy for depression. It wasn’t until the 1900s that in started to become widely politicized and prohibited. Back in the early 1600s, English clergyman Robert Burton discussed the use of medicinal cannabis in his book The Anatomy of Melancholy, published in 1621. During that same time period, doctors in India were regularly using cannabis to treat depression and anxiety in their patients. Around the world, cannabis is a renowned ancient therapy.

The reason it works is because cannabinoids stimulate our endocannabinoid systems (ECS). The ECS is a network of receptors found throughout the bodies of all animals (except insects), and the naturally produced endocannabinoids that bind to them. This is why cannabinoids have such wide-ranging effects on human health, able to treat everything from depression, to physical pain, to epilepsy and more.

Cannabis is a natural, much safer alternative to pharmaceutical antidepressants, which are known to have worrisome side effects including nausea, blurred vision, aches and pains, and oddly enough, they can increase the risk of suicidal tendencies in some rare circumstances. Talk about counter intuitive.

Cannabis is faster-acting, and there are quite a few natural compounds in the plant that work synergistically to fight depression. Both THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) have their place in the treatment of mental health disorders; and terpenes, which are found in all plants not just cannabis, can also be beneficial for this purpose.

According to researchers from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, who conducted a study on this subject in 2006, “This natural remedy offers patients peace of mind and battles stress by enhancing mood, providing energy and focus, relieving anxiety, inducing hunger, and combating insomnia. Occasional or daily cannabis consumers have lower levels of depressive symptoms than non-users.”

The University Medical Center Utrecht, in the Netherlands, also touted cannabis as a promising treatment option for depression and other mental illnesses. Numerous studies have linked moderate but regular cannabis use to mood stabilization and stress relief.

Samir Haj-Dahmane, a senior research scientist at the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions who studies chronic stress and depression, mentions this: “Chronic stress is one of the major causes of depression. Using compounds derived from cannabis — marijuana — to restore normal endocannabinoid function could potentially help stabilize moods and ease depression.”

When to Abstain from Cannabis Use

It’s important to keep in mind that cannabis won’t work for everyone, and while there is scientific literature showing that low to moderate doses can be helpful, too much THC can actually do the opposite in some people. High doses of THC can induce anxiety and panic attacks. Studies found that CBD can counteract the effects of THC, so if you’re feeling anxious or paranoid after smoking it might be time to switch to a different strain, maybe something with a 1:1 ratio of CBD:THC.

There is also the issue of human error, and evidence suggest that many patients misuse their cannabis, using either too much or too little depending on their current mood, when in reality, a consistent regimen might be better. It’s also more likely for patients to stop using any conventional treatments in lieu of medical cannabis, although they might not be ready to make the full transition yet.

“I was, at times, able to get patients to agree to stop their marijuana use for a few weeks just so they could determine whether there was or was not an improvement in mood,” says Allan Schwartz, LCSW, PhD, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker in Colorado and New York. “These individuals were surprised, but were willing to admit that they felt real improvement in mood and functioning.

“I have directly witnessed the tragedy of patients going off of their medications for bipolar disorder, using marijuana and ending up re-hospitalized in worse shape than any time prior to the relapse,” Schwartz added. “In fact, it has been my experience that many of these unfortunate patients experienced multiple relapses and were caught in an endless cycle of hospitalizations marked by periods of instability in between.”

Possible Interactions with Pharmaceuticals

Researchers from the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut Health Center conducted an extensive review of the research available, albeit limited, to determine if there are any interactions between cannabis and pharmaceutical anti-depressants. Their report, titled Psychotropic Medications and Substances of Abuse Interactions in Youth, they specified how minimal the risk is.

“It’s possible adverse events are ‘relatively rare’ or ‘do not happen.’ Moreover, ‘newer psychotropic medications have a relatively high therapeutic index’—as a class of drugs, they are less likely to produce adverse interactions.” Patients who consume cannabis along with antidepressants are advised to “be cautious” and “talk with [their] health provider” before making any changes to their treatment plans.

Final Thoughts

Cannabis isn’t for everyone, but it does seem to work well for the overwhelming majority of people who struggle with symptoms of depression. There is no standardization when it comes to medical cannabis, so how it’s used will depend on many factors including the individual’s current health, weight, cannabinoid tolerance, and more. Speak to your physician or a healthcare provider you trust before stopping any of your medications.

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Resources:

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