Brownie Mary and Her Contributions to Medical Cannabis 

If you’ve ever had a pot brownie, then you have Brownie Mary to thank for that. An elderly woman known for her exceptional baking skills, is not uncommon for many grandmas. Except Mary wasn’t baking treats for her grandkids, she was crafting cannabis edibles for a community of disenfranchised people that she cared for as if they were her own children.  

Often referred to as the Florence Nightingale of HIV/AIDS, and the creator of the weed brownie, Mary was famous for baking delicious, cannabis-infused treats for gay men and other people who were suffering from wasting syndrome, a condition categorized by diminished appetite and significant weight loss. It’s common in people with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other illnesses.  

In addition to her humanitarian work, for which she was arrested 3 times, Brownie Mary was also the reason California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis, as she had a big part in the passage of Proposition 215 back in 1996.  

Bottom line, Mary was an amazing, powerhouse of woman. And she played such a huge role in the cannabis industry as we know it today, that everyone who smokes weed should know her name and her story. Let’s take a closer look at the incredible life of Brownie Mary.  

Who is Brownie Mary? 

Mary Jane Rathbun (yes, Mary Jane is her birth name given to her by her conservative Irish Catholic mother) was born in on December 22, 1922, in Chicago, Illinois. Soon after, her family moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Mary attended a strict catholic school. One of her first acts of rebellion was at 13, when she hit a nun who tried to cane her.  

She moved on her own when she was a teenager and took to waitressing to support herself (keep in mind, this was during a time when it was especially hard for a young, unmarried woman to do such a thing). She continued to work as a waitress for most of her adult life. From a young age, she was drawn to activism and got involved in many important causes, from campaigning for miners’ rights to form unions in Wisconsin, to promoting women’s healthcare and abortion rights in Minneapolis.  

She moved to San Francisco, California, during World War II. Shortly after getting there, she married a man she met at a USO dance and had a daughter named Peggy, who was born in 1955. They divorced shortly after and Mary moved with her daughter to Reno, Nevada. In the early 1970s, Peggy was killed by a drunk driver, and Mary moved back to San Francisco.  

Cannabis activism 

Shortly after moving back to San Francisco, Mary met Dennis Peron at Café Flore in the Castro district, in a change encounter that would change the trajectory of her activism work forever. Peron was a well-known cannabis and LGBTQ activist. He was a prominent figure in California politics, and was an adamant supporter of medical cannabis use. He watched it how it provided relief to his partner, who eventually died from AIDS in 1990. He wanted other people to be able to benefit from weed as well.  

Mary started baking her brownies, and Peron was selling them at his Big Top pot supermarket on Castro Street – and thus Brownie Mary was born. The majority of Mary’s customers were gay men, especially after HIV/AIDS began to spread more rampantly in the 1980s. Noticing this, Mary started providing her brownies to sick people, whom she referred to as her “kids”, totally free of charge. Her $650 monthly social security check, along with donations from the community, helped her purchase baking supplies.  

“I know from smoking pot for over 30 years that this is a medicine that works,” Brownie Mary stated. “It works for the wasting syndrome; these kids have no appetite; but when they eat a brownie, they get out of bed and make themselves some food. And for chemotherapy, they eat half a brownie before a session, and when they get out, they eat the other half. It eases the pain. That’s what I’m here to do.” 

Around 1984, Brownie Mary started volunteering every week in the AIDS ward (Ward 86) at San Francisco General Hospital. She often helped by wheeling patients to and from the radiology department and taking their specimens to the lab. In 1986, she was named “Volunteer of the Year” by the hospital ward. TV reporter and author, Carol Pogash, also profiled Mary her 1992 book titled: As Real as it Gets: The Life of a Hospital at the Center of the AIDS Epidemic.  

Multiple arrests  

By the early 1980s, Mary was baking about 600 brownies per day. She advertised them in on local bulletin boards around San Francisco, calling them her “original recipe brownies” that were “magically delicious”. Eventually, an undercover officer caught on to what she was doing and a raid was conducted on her home on January 14, 1981. 

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Police found over 18 pounds of cannabis flower, 650 brownies, and some other drugs and paraphernalia. She was 57-years-old at the time of this arrest, and this is the time that the media started referring to her openly as Brownie Mary. In this case, she ended up pleading guilty to nine counts of possession and served three years’ probation as well as 500 hours of community service.  

A little over a year later, on December 7, 1982, Mary was walking down Market Street to deliver a batch of brownies to a friend who had cancer, when she happened to run into one of the officers involved in her arrest.  He searched her bag and found about four dozen brownies. She was arrested and charged with probation violation and multiple counts of possession, but the district attorney dropped the charges against her.  

Fast forward a decade to July 19, 1992, and that’s when Brownie Mary was arrested for her third time. She was held up during the middle of the baking process, while pouring cannabis into brownie batter at the home of a local grower. She was charged with felony possession again, 2.5 pounds this time, and released on bail. The district attorney tried to prosecute her, but she plead not guilty and was eventually acquitted of these charges too.  

Her legal team argued the defense of “medical necessity”, claiming that Mary was “able to testify that her deliveries were made to assist others in need, not to advance individual greed, that the nobility of her actions outweighed the reprehensibility of her offense according to the law.” 

In one of her most famous moments at a San Francisco rally in 1992, Rathbun reportedly cried out: “If the narcs think I’m gonna stop baking brownies for my kids with AIDS, they can go f*** themselves in Macy’s window”. This about a month after her third arrest, and she continued to bake about 600 brownies every day throughout the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis.  

Prop 215  

In the early 90s, Mary helped her friend Dennis Peron open the first medical cannabis dispensary in the United States, known as the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club. The Buyers Club operated from 1992 to 1998 and had over 8,000 members at one point. During that time, Peron and a group of cannabis activists drafted Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act.  

Prop 215 passed in 1996 with more than 55 percent of the vote, making California the first state to permit the medicinal use of cannabis. Less than two years later, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Nevada passed their own medical cannabis initiatives. Today, 37 states have medical cannabis, and 21 of those have passed recreational use laws as well.  

“It wasn’t the hippies per se, it wasn’t the standard establishment marijuana movement players, but it was the gay people who legalized pot in California because of the AIDS epidemic,” says John Entwistle, Peron’s husband and co-author of Proposition 215. “That’s been forgotten to some extent.” And Brownie Mary was right there at the heart of it all, lovingly helping people in her community while at the same time, bringing media attention to the cause.  

Brownie Mary’s legacy 

The work Mary Jane Rathbun did for AIDS patients is definitely under looked and under appreciated these days. During a time when there was no relief from the symptoms they experienced…she was their guardian angel. 

After the passage of Prop 215, Mary’s health began to decline, and she suffered from a few different health conditions including osteoarthritis, COPD, and colon cancer. As expected, she self-medicated with cannabis to ease her pain. In 1999, at the age of 76, Mary passed away from a heart attack (December 22, 1922 – April 10, 1999). The following week, 300 people gathered in a candlelight vigil in her name at Castros on Market Street. 

“We loved to ask her, ‘What’s the recipe?’ and she always made Betty Crocker jokes,” Entwistle remembered. “She once explained it to me: When you’re buying boxes of brownies, look at how much oil the recipe calls for, and go for the one that uses the most oil. But the mystery—the recipe for her brownies—goes to her grave.” 

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Can Cannabis Cause Psychosis?

Can cannabis cause psychosis? Public health busybodies will list negative aspects of cannabis as an argument either against legalization or for the “public health” model of legalization (which, in Canada’s case, has been a complete failure). So if you’re playing public health bingo, you can stamp psychosis next to anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, and other “harms” associated with cannabis. Of course, only .047% of cannabis consumers seek medical help for psychosis. So what’s the rationale behind this belief? Or is […]

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Cannabis Public Health Harms Debunked

Cannabis‘ public health harms need a thorough debunking. We’ve covered the cannabis industry‘s public health problem before. But now we’ve got a recent review of existing studies. And the results are favourable for us and unfavourable for public health prohibitionists. Of course, the problem is “public health” itself. Like “public education,” it confuses the state for civil society. It assumes that individual adults, private organizations, healthcare providers, insurance companies, and other agencies cannot determine and provide quality and accessible healthcare. […]

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The Cannadelics Sunday Edition: Amanita Mushroom Tinctures, Psilocybin Cup, Cannabis DUI and more

Welcome to our weekly newsletter, The Cannadelics Sunday Edition, going out every Sunday morning at 11am est with the main headlines of the week. This week we look into Amanita Mushroom Tinctures, Psilocybin Cup, Cannabis DUI and more trending stories from the world of Cannabis and Psychedelics.

If you happen to like Amanita Muscaria mushrooms, we have a great product in this weeks spotlight: the new 1000mg Amanita Mushroom Tictures, finally available online. We even have a 25% discount code you can use. Read more below.

In our deals section, you could find great offers on Amanita Muscaria extract powder, Free 1250mg HolyRope and as mention above, the Amanita Mushroom tinctures.

As always, the best offers on legal cannabis and psychedelic products are reserved to the subscribers of our weekly newsletter, The Cannadelics Sunday Edition.

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The Cannadelics Sunday Edition: Amanita Mushroom Tinctures, Psilocybin Cup & Cannabis DUI (3/19/2023)


Welcome to the Cannadelics Sunday edition, going out every Sunday with the top trending stories of the week. This Sunday we have an great selection of items, as well as an exciting deal on legal cannabis and psycheelic products. Scroll down to learn more.


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Amanita Mushroom Tinctures – Watermelons

If you’re interested in trying legal psychedelics, a new product has been developed just for you: the Amanita Tincture. This potent tincture is infused with 1000mg of muscimol complex, derived from the Amanita Muscaria mushroom, which is known for its psychoactive properties. The tincture offers a unique and trippy experience. The experience may involve feelings of euphoria, a dream-like (lucid) mental state, and out-of-body experiences.

The Amanita Tincture is available in three enticing flavors – Watermelons, Blue Bliss, and Lemon Dream – ensuring there’s a choice to suit everyone’s taste preferences.

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The week in review:

This week we have a little bit of everything for you such as including coverage about the world’s first magic mushroom competition, a living PC made from mycelium, Amsterdam’s ban on public cannabis smoking, Amanita Mushroom tinctures and more. Scroll down for our most exciting industry stories!

Opioid Lawsuit Money: Where Does It All Go?

How is opioid lawsuit money doled out
How is opioid lawsuit money doled out

With how may overdose deaths opioids have caused, it should come as no surprise that every state in the US has at least one active lawsuit against one of the many companies manufacturing these drugs. The Johnson & Johnson lawsuit is probably the most prolific though, as despite them refusing to admit any wrongdoing, they have still been ordered to pay out a lot of money for their misdeeds. But exactly how much will they have to cough up, and where does all the money go?

Continue reading »

Ann Shulgin And Her Contributions to the World of Psychedelics

They say that behind every great man is an even greater woman. Many people in the psychedelics industry are familiar with the name Alexander Shulgin, a cutting-edge researcher from the mid 1900s who focused on utilizing MDMA in psychotherapy. But what about his wife, Ann Shulgin, who worked right alongside her husband and helped bring supporters to his cause?

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Special deal on high-potency Amanita Muscaria gummies

Hyphae Psilocybin Cup Is 1st Magic Mushroom Competition

There are a lot of variations of cannabis cups these days, with the High Times cannabis cup being the most popular and well-known. But as the psychedelic industry continues to grow, people are wondering if such substances can be judged in the same way as weed. Enter the Hyphae Psilocybin Cup, the world’s first magic mushroom competition. 

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Science Meets Nature – New “Living PC” Powered by Mushrooms

mushroom computer, Amanita Mushroom Tinctures
Grow It Yourself: Different Drugs You Can Grow at Home

When science and nature meet, you get as close to seeing magic as seemingly possible. Using a new age concept known as “wetware”, a team of researchers from the UK created a “living computer”, which utilizes a mushroom motherboard for power and data storage. The idea combines technology, mycology, and AI into what sounds like something out of a science fiction novel. But it’s not, this is real life, so let’s take a closer look at how it all works.

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50% OFF Amanita Muscaria Extract Powder

50% OFF Amanita Muscaria Extract Powder

Attention Amenita lovers: 50% discount on Amanita Muscaria mushroom extract powder! With 4.5mg of Muscimol per gram, and quantities ranging from 1 gram to 100 lb, this is an excellent stocking-up opportunity. 

One of the great benefits of buying Amanita Muscaria mushroom powder in its raw form is the flexibility it provides. You can easily compound or consume it based on your individual needs. Whether you want to make capsules, formulate tinctures or infuse food, this raw powder is a great place to start. 

This extract powder is derived from 100% fruiting bodies. Additionally, the material has been refined through a post-processing method that involves grinding and sifting. This process helps to remove any unwanted by-products and ensures that you are getting the most potent product possible. 

To take advantage of this 50% off deal, simply add the product to your shopping cart, and the discount will automatically apply. 

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Additional Reading:

Important news and stories from the week.

Amsterdam: Ban on Cannabis Smoking in Red-Light District?

amsterdam cannabis ban, Amanita Mushroom Tinctures
Will Amsterdam ban smoking Cannabis in the famous Red-Light District?

Amsterdam, known for its liberal and progressive culture, has almost become synonymous with drug use. The local coffee shops that sell weed and magic truffles have been a draw to tourists from all over the world. However, this reputation has been under scrutiny from the Dutch establishment in recent years, with visitors seemingly coming to the beautiful city for all of the wrong reasons. In response, Amsterdam has decided to ban smoking cannabis on the red-light district streets. 

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What Gas Station Heroin Says About Our Need to Get High

Gas station heroin is an antidepressant
Gas station heroin is an antidepressant

Despite the name, gas station very little similarities with actual heroin. It’s not an opioid, but rather an antidepressant of the tricyclic class. It’s sold at gas stations and cornerstores in the US under the names Za Za, Tiana, Red Dawn, and others. It’s addictive, and possibly dangerous, although virtually no statistics exist. Some states are making laws against gas station heroin, but is this distracting from the bigger issue of opioid abuse?

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High-potency THC gummies

What It Really Means to Be Charged with a DUI for Cannabis

cannabis dui, Amanita Mushroom Tinctures
What It Really Means to Be Charged with a DUI for Cannabis

When we think of a DUI, we tend to think of people driving drunk. It makes sense, as a huge number of vehicular accidents are indeed caused by drunk drivers. But as cannabis legalization sweeps the country, the topic of getting a DUI for using cannabis while driving has become of greater interest and importance. We know that smoking weed and driving is illegal, but is it really as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs?

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The Unlikely Treatment for Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome

One of the enigmas of cannabis use is that, although in many situations it’s used to alleviate digestive issues like nausea and vomiting, in some rare cases, it can actually cause it. The condition is known as cannabis hyperemesis syndrome, and it’s characterized by periods of intense vomiting following cannabis use. The exact cause is unknown though it’s believed to result from a desensitization of cannabinoid receptors. To date, there’s only one cure and that necessitates stopping all use of cannabis.

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FREE 1250mg Holy Rope on all orders over $50 

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Amanita Mushroom Tinctures: A Potent Elixir for a Mind-Bending Experience 

Amanita Mushroom Tinctures: A Potent Elixir for a Mind-Bending Experience 

Today, we examine a new product: the Amanita Mushroom Tinctures, an innovative and potent formulation containing 1000mg of muscimol complex derived from Amanita Muscaria mushrooms. This remarkable tincture invites you to explore its diverse flavors, learn about appropriate dosing, and investigate its various applications, all while deepening your understanding of the Amanita Muscaria mushroom and its primary active compound, muscimol

The Amanita Tincture offers a unique and intriguing experience due to the psychoactive properties of the infused muscimol complex. Discover the Amanita Muscaria mushroom’s historical background, cultural relevance, and the role of muscimol in eliciting its characteristic effects. 

Learn more about the captivating Amanita Mushroom tinctures, a scientifically-formulated product that combines taste and sensation with the intriguing properties of the Amanita Muscaria mushroom.

Learn more about the new Amanita Ticture

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News from the Week:

*** The Role of the Endocannabinoid System in Menopause

*** Amanita Phalloides & Cancer – What Kills You, Can Save You…

*** Are Cigarette Butts Recyclable?

*** Are Pain Medications Preventing You from Healing?

*** Oils, Tinctures, Tea? How to Make an Amanita Extract

*** Mushroom Deaths – How Many Are There?

Amanita Mushroom Tinctures and more – Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this week’s review. We work hard to find and verify the best products, so we may include affiliate links to support the maintenance and development of this site. We hope you enjoyed our articles.

The Cannadelics team 

*** Disclaimer: As the legality of cannabinoids and psychedelics changes between state to state, you should always check with your local authorities first.

The post The Cannadelics Sunday Edition: Amanita Mushroom Tinctures, Psilocybin Cup, Cannabis DUI and more appeared first on Cannadelics.

Nip It In The Bud: The Truth About the ‘Harms’ of Vaped CBD

A recent study claimed to show vaped CBD is more harmful than vaped nicotine, and while several news outlets have reported on it, they all missed numerous flaws in the methodology. As a result of numerous confounding variables, there is no way to actually show that any of the harms they found were from CBD, and not one of the many other chemicals in the oil. High Times spoke to several cannabis vaping experts in an effort to nip this story in the bud, and stop it before it can spread further. 

Seeing Through the Hazy Cloud of Vaped Variables

Rather than test a range of CBD and nicotine products, Dr. Yasmin Thanavala and her colleagues only looked at one CBD and one nicotine product, using the same Juul device to aerosolize both. The study was done on groups of ten mice, and rather than direct inhalation, the mice were in chambers filled with vapor. Things got off to a rocky start, with Table 1 showing the CBD sample used propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG) and the nicotine sample used medium chain triglycerides (MCT), yet every other part of the study reported the CBD sample used MCT and the nicotine sample used PG/VG.

Source: “Not All Vaping is the Same: Differential Pulmonary Effects of Vaping Cannabidiol Versus Nicotine”

Dr. Thanavala told High Times “that is an error in Table 1,” confirming the CBD sample used MCT oil, which is banned by five legal cannabis states due to concerns over EVALI-like symptoms. Despite being “aware that ~ 5 states have banned MCT oil as a vape additive,” Dr. Thanavala and her colleagues used a CBD sample with MCT. Paradoxically, given their choice to use samples with MCT, VG, and PG, the researchers noted that “any respiratory toxic effects of vaping could potentially be exacerbated by the presence of other constituents,” like MCT, VG, PG, and terpenes.

Dr. Jeff Raber is the CEO, CVO, and a co-founder of the cannabis analytical laboratory, the Werc Shop, and is an expert on vaped cannabis and common vape additives. “VG/PG blends can be irritating to the vapor pathway,” which is one reason why they are not widely used in the cannabis industry today. Dr. Raber said “the concern with MCT is that it could stay in the lungs and lead to lipid pneumonia,” which is normally caused by “long chain fats” with over 40 carbons in their chain, cautioning “we don’t know the ‘magic number’ on what is safe to inhale.” Dr. Raber is an advocate for using alternatives that are “naturally in the plant” like terpenes or cannabinoids, and thinks terpenes are a great alternative to PG, VG, or MCT.

Dr. Peter Grinspoon is a primary care doctor, cannabis specialist at Harvard Medical School, and author of the upcoming book Seeing Through the Smoke. Dr. Grinspoon echoed some of Dr. Raber’s concerns, “I can’t see the rationale for dissolving them in different solvents, as the solvents themselves could be responsible for some of the findings.” Dale Gieringer Ph.D. is the Director of Cal NORML and a vaporizer research pioneer, who told High Times, “It’s impossible to draw meaningful conclusions about vaped CBD from this study.”

The next thing you see in Table 1 is there are a dozen terpenes in the CBD sample and seven terpenes in the nicotine sample, which all are “confounding variables,” in other words, potential sources for the supposed harm of CBD which were not controlled for by their study. When asked about their attempts to limit the myriad of confounding variables, Dr. Thanavala said, “Our goal was to test commercial pods the way a user would.” 

“That’s a fair point to test the pods consumers buy,” said Dr. Raber “but they did not clearly delineate that the CBD was the culprit.” Dr. Raber then fired off some questions for the researchers: “How pure was the CBD? Could it be the combination of that formula with that hardware? How consistent was the hardware made? How was it stored? Did they use a new battery or an old one?” Dr. Raber noted the “time and cost limitation to studies” but would have preferred to see “2-3 different CBD and tobacco samples tested to see if they all behaved the same way.” 

When pressed about the variables clouding their data, Dr. Thanavala told High Times, “Our goal was not to dissect out the effects of the individual components.” As that was their goal, one major question remains: Why did they “dissect out” the CBD and blame all the reported harms on it? If they truly wanted their study to demonstrate real-world harms of consumer-available products, they should have reported on that, rather than singling out CBD, which their study was not constructed to control for. 

Designing a Better Study

Dr. Raber had an easy solution to control for the numerous confounding variables,“they could have gotten rid of concerns by just filling the cartridges themselves.” That would allow them to test terpene and solvent free samples, limiting confounding variables significantly. As a result, Dr. Raber was “disappointed” and felt they didn’t run “the right blanks and controls.” He also brought up a meta level issue of risks vs. rewards. Any potential harms need to be weighed against the potential benefits in what Dr. Raber called a “medicinal cost benefit risk analysis.” Considering the benefits of cannabis will be one way to improve a follow up study.

Another confounding variable they did not properly control for was the temperature samples were heated to. When asked if they knew how hot their samples got, Dr. Thanavala pointed to their supplemental section, which only had information on the room temperature, not device temperature. A 2021 study found that some “vape pens” heated to temperatures far above the point of combustion (450 °F, 232 °C), in worst cases as high as 633 °F/334 °C when containing liquids or 1000 °C when dry heating the coils. “Temperature is a key parameter but very hard to determine,” said Dr. Raber, because the temperature around the coil is hotter than the vapor stream. “The rate of molecular change doubles every 10 degrees celsius you go up,” said Dr. Raber, “a jump of 50 degrees can lead to a lot of changes.” The study hinted to these concerns saying, “Numerous potential degradation byproducts were detected … suggesting that both products are susceptible to high temperatures.” The CBD sample “may have been more susceptible to thermal degradation compared with nicotine product.” 

One final way to improve their methodology is to use more accurate puff topography. “At present there is no information on CBD user topography,” said Dr. Thalanavala, so their study “followed the same puffing protocols for both products.” They did note that “users of cannabis-based vaping products may use these products in a very different way than nicotine vapers.” 

Arnaud Dumas DeRauly is the CEO of the Blinc Group, and Chair of the ISO & CEN Vaping Standards Committees, and has researched cannabis user puff topography. DeRauly told High Times that this study used a puffing regime similar to Coresta Recommended Method 81, which “is totally different” than what Blinc’s research showed. In the study, “Animals were exposed … to a total of 20 puffs generated over 1 hour (1 puff every 3 min), 5 days/week.” Blinc’s research found that, while rates were different for U.S. and Canadian cannabis consumers, most needed only 20 puffs per day rather than 20 puffs per hour like the mice. Beyond puff topography, DeRauly was critical of the decision to use the Juul atomizer for both samples, and said “the Juul coil is not compatible with lipids like CBD oil.” Finally, DeRauly pointed out that one of the researchers, Maciej L Goniewicz, received funding from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, which the study noted was “outside of this work.”

Source: “Blinc Group and Labstat”

Mice: Nice Animals, Definitely Not Humans

As previously mentioned, this was a study done on small groups of mice, which means the results might not even be generalizable to the broader population of rodents, let alone, humans. While Dr. Thanavala said that ten mice per group is an “adequate group size,” the study’s discussion section said “larger numbers of mice could have further strengthened our study conclusions.” Dr. Raber viewed the findings as “not generalizable” and said, when it came to rodent lungs and humans, “It is a model, it is not an exact replica.” The mouse lung is not just smaller than human lungs, it “is considerably different in structure,” namely, while both mice and humans have five lobes in their right lung, “unlike the human the mouse has only a single left lung.” Research on mouse lungs also shows they lack “mast cells in the peripheral lung” and “extensive pulmonary circulation.” 

Another way this study could be improved is to actually do it on humans, which currently is very difficult due to the federal ban on cannabis research with a positive hypothesis. If a researcher sought to prove the claim that vaped CBD is more harmful than nicotine, they could be eligible for funding, but if they wanted to disprove that claim, they would not. While a lot of research is done on mice, in the words of the recently deceased Father of Cannabis Research, Raphael Mechoulam, “Mice are nice animals but they are definitely not humans.”

The post Nip It In The Bud: The Truth About the ‘Harms’ of Vaped CBD appeared first on High Times.

The Role of the Endocannabinoid System in Menopause

The use of cannabis for women’s reproductive health is a practice that dates back thousands of years. The ancient medical text The Ebers Papyrus dated 1500 BCE to 3000 BCE described a cannabis ointment mixed with honey to aid women in childbirth. However, it’s only in recent decades that researchers discovered the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the role it plays reproductive health. Today, many women are using cannabis during menopause.

A 2020 study found that 1 in 4 women use cannabis to treat the symptoms of menopause, and that those women choose cannabis above hormone replace therapy and other conventional medicines. A newer study of 250 women showed that 83% of them used cannabis to treat menopause-related symptoms such as sleep issues, mood swings or anxiety. 84% of the women consumed cannabis by smoking, while 78% consumed edibles.

Though these statistics are alarming to some doctors, it makes sense given the complex interplay between the ECS and the endocrine system, the body’s network of hormones or neurotransmitters that regulate all physiological functions, including reproductive health. As a result, there’s growing interest in the role of endocannabinoids as modulators of the reproductive system, as well as the role of the endocannabinoid system in menopause.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is located throughout the body, and includes CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors as well as endocannabinoids and enzymes that are involved in the activation and degradation of the receptors. The ECS plays a role in energy balance, bone metabolism, muscular health, blood flow, and even the progression of cancers.

Studies show that activation of CB1 receptors, which are found primarily in the nervous system, is responsible for increased food intake, stimulating bone formation, inhibiting oxidative stress, and preventing cancer progression. The activation of CB2 receptors, found in immune cells and peripheral nervous system, induces a reduction in appetite and body weight, inhibits bone growth, prevents vascular risk and reduces cancer cell proliferation. Variants of these receptors are involved in obesity and osteoporosis.

These receptors are activated by cannabinoids. The body can produce its own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids. They are also found in the cannabis plant, and plant-derived cannabinoids are called phytocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are a type of unsaturated fat derivative, of which the two most studied are anandamide (AEA) and 2-AG. AEA plays a key role in lipid metabolism, and its name comes from the Sanskrit word “ananda” meaning inner bliss, which describes the euphoric effect of this ligand. Phytocannabinoids including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) mimic the activation action of endocannabinoids.

Links between ECS and Reproductive System

Overall, the ECS impacts a number of reproductive functions including fertility, reproduction and endocrine function. Studies show that changes in levels of sex hormones, in particular estrogen and progesterone, are strongly related to alterations in ECS activity. It’s been shown that the ECS regulates the female reproductive system through cannabinoids, and that receptors are localized to those parts of the hypothalamus that produce gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), the hormone responsible for regulating the endocrine system and gamete maturation. GnRH acts through the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovary (HPO) axis, the pathway that controls parts of the female reproductive process.

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In particular, it regulates the release of two key peptide hormones, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which regulate the growth and development of the follicle and oocyte (a cell that may form an ovum), and stimulate the ovaries to produce the sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Various studies show that cannabinoids negatively affect reproduction by inhibiting the release of GnRH, blocking FSH and LH, and lowering levels of sex hormones.

It’s believed that this is the reason why THC affects several aspects of reproductive function. Chronic exposure to cannabinoids in rats and humans has been shown to reduce sperm count and testosterone levels. In females, chronic exposure to cannabinoids has been shown to disrupt the menstrual cycle, delay follicle maturation and inhibit release of sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone. 

What is Estrogen?

Estrogen is a hormone that influences various functions in the body. Both males and females have this hormone, but it’s more dominant in females, where it regulates the development and health the reproductive system. The ovaries, adrenal glands and fat tissues produce estrogen. As well as reproductive health, estrogen contributes to cognitive health, bone health and the cardiovascular health.

There are different types of estrogen that are present at different stages in the life cycle of the body. The most common type of estrogen is estradiol, which is present in both males and females, but more prevalent in women during reproductive years. A second form of estrogen is estriol , which is present during pregnancy and prepares the body for delivery of a baby. A third type of estrogen is estrone, which is present in post-menopausal women, and is the weakest form of estrogen.

Levels of estrogen vary over the course of the menstrual cycle and over a lifetime, with significant fluctuations in the years leading up to menopause, followed by a significant drop. When an imbalance in estrogen occurs, as is natural during menopause, it can lead to the following symptoms due to the many roles estrogen plays in the body:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Mood swings
  • Brain fog
  • Weight gain
  • Low libido
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Muscle loss
  • Bone loss
  • Hair loss

The Role of the ECS in Menopause

The ECS is involved in many biological functions including appetite regulation, pain management, organism development as well as the modulation of inflammatory and immune response. Because of its involvement in a variety of physiological functions, it’s a proposed therapeutic target for several conditions including metabolic disorders, heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer.

Due to its presence in the HPO axis, and its influence on the production of estrogen, the ECS plays a clear role in female reproductive health. On top, levels of estrogen play a role in other biological functions also influenced by cannabinoids, including bone health, brain health and cardiovascular health. As a result, menopausal women experience related symptoms, and are at risk for conditions such as diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancer.

During menopause, the down-regulation of estrogen slows the metabolism, causing the accumulation of fat around the waist and stomach. One study demonstrated that the presence of CB2 variant is associated with obesity in post-menopausal women, leading to increased risk of osteoporosis. Another study demonstrated that AEA and 2-AG were present at very high levels in post-menopausal women.

Low levels of estrogen during menopause also expose post-menopausal women to loss of bone mass as well as increased bone fragility and risk of fractures. Both CB1 and CB2 play important roles in the regulation of bone cell functions such as aged bone absorption and new bone formation. Studies show a reduced efficacy of CB2 could lead to lowered bone density, and could be a marker for women at risk for osteoporosis or fractures.

Various studies show that as women age they’re at increased risk for heart disease due to falling levels of estrogen, resulting in vascular inflammation and changes in blood pressure. To treat this condition, hormone replacement therapy that stimulates Nitric Oxide (NO) production is often used. Newer studies show that AEA causes an increase in NO levels with resultant effects on the vascular system.

The way in which endocannabinoids protect vascular health remains unclear, but the activation of CB1 and CB2 receptors are suspected to be involved. One study on rats showed that AEA could be used as an alternative to estrogen replacement therapy to restore vascular health. Another study showed that vascular risk could be reduced on diabetic rats using a treatment that targeted CB2 receptors.


What’s clear is that we have a lot of interesting studies showing the intricate links between female reproductive health, the endocannabinoid system, and overall health during menopause. It would appear there’s no question the ECS is potentially a reliable diagnostic marker and therapeutic target, and most definitely worthy of further studies to uncover effective therapies in the future.

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Study Finds Significant Increase in Medical Cannabis Use in U.S.

With a majority of states now permitting medical cannabis treatment, a new study has found a sharp increase in its usage over the last decade.

The study, published this month in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that “prevalence of US residents using cannabis for medical purposes increased significantly from 1.2% in 2013-2014 to 2.5% in 2019-2020, with an [average annual percentage] of 12.9%.”

The authors additionally noted that “many of socio-demographic and clinical subgroups showed similar significant increases in cannabis use for medical purposes.”

“In the multivariable-adjusted model, living in a state that legalized medical cannabis remained significantly associated with medical cannabis use,” the authors of the study wrote. “The study documents a continued nationwide increase in use of cannabis for diverse medical purposes between 2013 and 2020, two decades after the first state passed legalizing legislation.”

As the authors of the study noted, “Cannabis use for medical purposes is legalized across 39 states and the District of Columbia in the US.”

California became the first state to legalize the treatment back in 1996, and in the nearly three decades since, medical cannabis has been embraced in dozens more, cutting across partisan lines. 

Last year, Mississippi became the latest to legalize medical cannabis treatment when its Republican governor, Tate Reeves, signed a measure into law. 

In the last decade, more than 20 states –– and the District of Columbia –– have gone a step further and legalized recreational cannabis for adults. 

Those shifts in policy served as the backdrop of the study published this month, with the authors saying the “objective…was to evaluate temporal trends and correlates of cannabis use for medical purposes in the US.”

“Since 2013, medical cannabis use has been assessed using a dichotomous question asking whether any medical cannabis use was recommended by a doctor among those who used cannabis in the past 12 months. A modified Poisson model was used to estimate the average annual percent change (AAPC) of medical cannabis use from 2013 to 2020,” they wrote in explaining the methods used in the study. “The analyses were repeated for key socio-demographic and clinical subgroups. Data were analyzed from September to November, 2022.”

The authors said they used data “from [the] 2013-2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).”

Qualifying conditions for medical cannabis vary from state to state, but it has been known as a particularly effective treatment for patients suffering from chronic pain, for which it can serve as a safer alternative to highly addictive prescription opioids.

A new study this month out of Great Britain found a connection between medical cannabis and improvements in health-related quality of life for patients suffering from chronic illness.

The authors of that study said that their research “suggests that [cannabis-based medicinal products] are associated with an improvement in health-related quality of life in UK patients with chronic diseases,” and that it “was tolerated well by most participants, but adverse events were more common in female and cannabis-naïve patients.”

“This observational study suggests that initiating treatment with [cannabis-based medicinal products] is associated with an improvement in general [health-related quality of life], as well as sleep- and anxiety-specific symptoms up to 12 months in patients with chronic illness … Most patients tolerated the treatment well, however, the risk of [adverse events] should be considered before initiating [cannabis-based medicinal products],” the researchers wrote in their conclusions.

They added, “In particular, female and cannabis-naïve patients are at increased likelihood of experiencing adverse events. These findings may help to inform current clinical practice, but most importantly, highlights the need for further clinical trials to determine causality and generate guidelines to optimize therapy with [cannabis-based medicinal products].”

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Doctor on TikTok Says Be Honest About Smoking Weed Before Anesthesia

In a TikTok video posted on March 10, influencer and doctor Kunal Sood M.D. warned that people who need anesthesia and who smoke pot should disclose that information because of real interactions that can occur. A higher dose of medication may be required for people who smoke regularly, and it’s in the patient’s best interest to plan accordingly.

LAD Bible reports that one doctor is trying to bring light to an issue related to cannabis consumers that has basis in fact—not just a typical scare tactic you may hear from other sources.

“Did you know if you do cannabis (marijuana) long term you will require a higher dose of anaesthesia to achieve the same effect,” his TikTok video reads. “Make sure you tell your anaesthesiologist if you smoke or consume cannabis.”

It’s a simple five-second video, and the doctor simply nods his head in approval, but the video gained over 10 million views at the time of writing. Sood is a double-certified pain doctor and CMO of Avenir Nutrition. He uses comedy and facts to inform people about health issues.

Simply discussing cannabis use with a doctor can make a big difference in their decision for your dose of medicine. The doctor is not suggesting the people quit completely, but simply be honest with their doctors.

In a nutshell, if you consume cannabis regularly, then you will probably need to have a larger dose of anesthesia than someone else in order to be unconscious for your operation and stay unconscious. In the worst case scenario, that could mean not fully knocking out. Waking up during surgery sounds genuinely like one of the all-time worst experiences that a person could have.

It turns out that most experienced anesthesiologists say the same thing. Sometimes it’s recommended to abstain from cannabis for a certain amount of days prior to surgery based on these potential interactions.

Harvard David Hepner, MD, MPH, issued a similar plea in 2020, saying that he’s seeing more people who need different amounts of anesthesia because they consume cannabis.

“The way(s) you use marijuana (smoking, edibles, etc.), how often you use, and how much all can affect how your body responds to anesthesia,” Hepner wrote. “Since marijuana and anesthesia both affect the central nervous system, people who use marijuana regularly may need different amounts of anesthesia medicines. In order to know which medicines and how much to use, your doctor needs to know ahead of time how much and how often you use marijuana.”

The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) has a list of eight things that you should tell your physician and anesthesiologist before surgery, and the use of marijuana is one of them.

Recently, detailed and informed advice on the potential interactions between cannabis and anesthetic medications before, during, and after surgery was released

The first guidelines on cannabis use and the surgery timeline were published on Jan. 3 by the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA Pain Medicine), who acknowledged that up until now there is “no single document” that summarizes all of these concerns.

The guidance is based on known data and recommendations from the Perioperative Use of Cannabis and Cannabinoids Guidelines Committee—a group composed of 13 anesthesiologists, chronic pain physicians, experts, and patient advocates.

The committee answered nine questions and made 21 recommendations.

“While many of the perioperative risks and challenges related to perioperative cannabis, such as how to advise patients preoperatively, the effects of cannabis on anesthetic medications, and the interaction between cannabis, opioids, and pain, have been described in the literature, there is no single document that summarizes all of these concerns and provides evidence-based recommendations,” the document reads.

You might want to listen to what anesthesiologists are saying about cannabis.

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The Unlikely Treatment for Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome

One of the paradoxes of cannabis is that even though it’s known to alleviate nausea and vomiting in certain cases, particularly amongst cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, it also causes nausea and vomiting in some users, a condition known as cannabis hyperemesis syndrome (CHS.) The symptoms of CHS can be so intense, it’s birthed a new term, “scromiting,” a portmanteau of screaming and vomiting, used to describe one side-effect of this condition. In the second phase of CHS, loud retching or screaming is a known symptom.

The main symptom of cannabis hyperemesis syndrome is severe or prolonged vomiting after consuming cannabis. CHS is not something that every cannabis user experiences, and research is still underway to identify why some users develop the condition, which typically only affects long-term heavy users. So, if you’re someone who uses on a casual basis, don’t worry, this is condition is unlikely to affect you. The exact cause is unknown though it’s believed to result from a desensitisation of cannabinoid receptors. To date, there’s only one cure and that necessitates stopping all use of cannabis.

What is Nausea and Emesis/Vomiting?

Vomiting is activated by a part of hypothalamus called the nucleus tractus solitarius, which is connected to the parts of the brain and nervous system that sense chemicals in the blood and the status of the gut. Bundles of neurons are relaying messages from different sources to the vomiting center using different neurotransmitters and neuromodulators to communicate these messages.

Both nausea and emesis are complex processes designed to protect against orally ingested toxic substances. However, they can also be a symptom of an underlying disease or a side effect of certain pharmaceuticals used for the treatment of pain such as opiates, chemotherapeutics and antiviral drugs. A number of drugs are available for the treatment of vomiting associated with chemotherapy but there’s specific interest in the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of nausea.

Cannabis hyperemesis syndrome is more difficult to diagnose. One study found that on average patients visit a doctor’s office or emergency room 3 to 5 times before receiving a correct diagnosis. They often go through a list of tests for pain, such as appendicitis or ectopic pregnancy. Today, it’s well known in US Emergency rooms but for years, it was a condition that the medical community did not take seriously. This article mentions a person who had their gallbladder removed before receiving a diagnosis of CHS.

People with CHS often experience weeks or months of stomach pain and/or nausea before the vomiting starts. In fact, CHS has three stages. The first stage includes symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain, light heartburn and burping. The second stage is the hyperemetic phase, a period of constant vomiting after cannabis has been consumed. The third stage is the therapeutic stage, when all consumption of cannabis has stopped and the patient is in recovery.

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The Endocannabinoid System and Hyperemesis

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) made up of endocannabinoids located throughout the body, which are a type of lipid-based neurotransmitter that bind to cannabinoid receptors and cannabinoid receptor proteins in the central and peripheral nervous system. CB1 receptors are found in the nervous system, and CB2 receptors are found in immune cells and peripheral nervous system.

CB1 receptors are located along the gut wall but are found in the highest density in the myenteric and submucosal plexuses of the enteric nervous system, which is the nervous system in the gut. According to the work of biochemist Vincenzo Di Marzo at Quebec’s Laval University, most of the neurons in the vomiting center express the cannabinoid CB1R, which is the most abundant G protein-coupled receptor in the brain.

CB1R is also present in the peripheral nervous system and in the enteric nerves that connect the brain with the gut. When CB1R is activated it has the effect of inhibiting neuron synapsis. For this reason, the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can have the effect of inhibiting vomiting. Another study showed the presence of CB2 receptors in the vomiting center, and how stimulating them can also reduce vomiting.

Though the exact cause of CHS is unknown, hypotheses to explain the condition include 1. Accumulation of cannabis derivatives in the brain based on their lipid solubility and long-term half-life, 2. Degradation of some cannabis ingredients to some emetic metabolites 3. Delayed gastric emptying induced by cannabis and 4. Down-regulation or desensitization of the receptors due to chronic use.

Ethan Russo is a neurologist who is known for decades of research into cannabinoids and is also the founder of bio-tech venture Credo Science, who said that any CB1R agonist can cause cannabis hyperemesis syndrome. Di Marzo agrees that if a certain level of CB1 activity is required to keep the vomiting center calm, any desensitisation of those receptors could trigger sustained vomiting, as is the case with CHS.

Treatment for Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome

Desensitisation is a common biochemical response to restore homeostasis after chronic receptor activation. When a patient presents with constant vomiting, the first course of action is typically an anti-nausea drug. However, in the case of people with CHS, this is rarely effective. What appears to be more beneficial is a hot shower, which calms the feeling of nausea.

The beneficial effect of heat got doctors thinking about ways to help CHS patients warm up quickly in order to alleviate vomiting. One medical fellow in New York, LaPoint, was in emergency rooms there when the first cases of synthetic cannabinoid poisoning showed up. He started to think about TRPV1, one of the body’s heat-sensing receptors, and wondered if it might be involved in the therapeutic effect of hot baths on CHS patients.

TRPV1 is also present in the endocannabinoid system. It binds to the endocannabinoid anandamide and other phytocannabinoids, but not THC. TRPV1 is expressed in the vomiting center in the hypothalamus and in the Vagus, and its ligands tend to reduce vomiting in animal studies. Capsaicin has been used to reduce vomiting associated with chemotherapy.

In a review study on CHS in the journal Clinical Toxicology, researchers posited that TRPV1 works by diverting blood flow to the skin to cool the body down and reduce gut pain. It’s also possible that it blocks the release of neuropeptides from pain-receptive nerve fibers to the hypothalamus.

To test his hypothesis, LaPoint used an off-label application of a topical capsaicin cream to create a sensation of heat in the body. It also activated TRPV1, and was typically used to treat arthritic pain. How exactly the capsaicin cream works is not clear, but it’s possible that the pain caused by the cream overrides the pain of CHS.

Researchers are now keen to uncover what cannabinoid mechanisms are at work in this condition. Cannabinoids are hydrophobic, which means they are embedded in cell plasma membrane, where they easily reach and slip into receptor membranes. To identify which cannabinoids are at work in CHS, a research team at Brown University is now conducting a mixed-methods study that surveys patients arriving at the hospital with symptoms of CHS.


A small study by Ethan Russo’s team identified a group of gene variants specific to people with CHS. His company sells a genetic test based on the study’s findings but it has yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Though it’s painful, for now, capsaicin cream remains a possible albeit unlikely treatment for cannabis hyperemesis syndrome. For a total cessation of symptoms, however, the most effective treatment is to stop using cannabis completely. Once cannabis use is stopped, it can take up to 3 months for all symptoms to clear up.

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Study: Cannabis Linked With Higher Quality of Life in Chronic Illness Patients

A new study out of Great Britain suggests that medical cannabis may lead to improvements in health-related quality of life among patients suffering from chronic illness.

The study, published in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, analyzed 2,833 patients who are enrolled in the United Kingdom Medical Cannabis Registry. (The researchers said they excluded 443 patients from an original pool of 3,546 because they failed to complete their “patient reported outcome measures,” or “PROMs.”)

They wrote that the “study suggests that [cannabis-based medicinal products] are associated with an improvement in health-related quality of life in UK patients with chronic diseases,” and that treatment “was tolerated well by most participants, but adverse events were more common in female and cannabis-naïve patients.”

“This observational study suggests that initiating treatment with [cannabis-based medicinal products] is associated with an improvement in general [health-related quality of life], as well as sleep- and anxiety-specific symptoms up to 12 months in patients with chronic illness … Most patients tolerated the treatment well, however, the risk of [adverse events] should be considered before initiating [cannabis-based medicinal products],” the researchers wrote in their conclusions.

“In particular, female and cannabis-naïve patients are at increased likelihood of experiencing adverse events. These findings may help to inform current clinical practice, but most importantly, highlights the need for further clinical trials to determine causality and generate guidelines to optimize therapy with [cannabis-based medicinal products],” they added.

Medical cannabis was legalized in the United Kingdom in 2018, but it can only be prescribed when other licensed medications have failed to produce an adequate response. 

That limitation was the impetus for the researchers to conduct the study.

“Since 2018, cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) can be prescribed in the United Kingdom by specialist doctors for chronic illnesses where there has been insufficient response to licensed medications,” they wrote in the introduction of the study, which was published online earlier this month. 

“However, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence currently only recommends CBMPs for intractable chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, spasticity in adults with multiple sclerosis, and severe treatment-resistant epilepsy in Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes,” they continued. “The reason for these narrow recommendations is that current evidence is limited and of low quality.” 

Specifically, the researchers said there is “a paucity of randomized controlled trials, due to the challenges of investigating CBMPs in this setting.”

The findings mesh with another study published in January that found a growing number of patients across the United States turning to cannabis to treat their chronic pain.

That study, from researchers at the University of Michigan, found that “31.0% … of adults with chronic pain reported having ever used cannabis to manage their pain; 25.9% … reported using cannabis to manage their chronic pain in the past 12 months, and 23.2% … reported using cannabis in the past 30 days,” and that “more than half of adults who used cannabis to manage their chronic pain reported that use of cannabis led them to decrease use of prescription opioid, prescription nonopioid, and over-the-counter pain medications, and less than 1% reported that use of cannabis increased their use of these medications.”

“Most persons who used cannabis as a treatment for chronic pain reported substituting cannabis in place of other pain medications including prescription opioids. The high degree of substitution of cannabis with both opioid and nonopioid treatment emphasizes the importance of research to clarify the effectiveness and potential adverse consequences of cannabis for chronic pain,” the researchers wrote. “Our results suggest that state cannabis laws have enabled access to cannabis as an analgesic treatment despite knowledge gaps in use as a medical treatment for pain. Limitations include the possibility of sampling and self-reporting biases, although NORC AmeriSpeak uses best-practice probability-based recruitment, and changes in pain treatment from other factors (eg, forced opioid tapering).” 

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