Understanding Terpenes: Geraniol

Diehard fans of fruity or sweetly floral scents like berries or roses may not be aware that they have an affinity for a terpene called geraniol that is also found in cannabis and a variety of other plants, herbs and fruits. As the name suggests, it occurs naturally in geraniums as well as in roses, lemongrass, peaches, passion fruit, blackberries, blueberries, coriander, nutmeg, bergamot, lemon peels and even carrots. Bees also naturally produce geraniol in their scent-producing glands and use the aroma of it to mark their territories against other colonies.

Geraniol is a primary part of rose oil, palmarosa oil and citronella oil. The aroma and flavor has a range of sweet notes from sugary and rosy to citrus. Its taste is often used in different foods as an enhancer and flavoring agent to reproduce the flavor of several fruits in desserts like candies and ice cream and the smell can commonly be found in all types of bath, body and beauty products from lotions, creams and perfumes to soap and detergent.

The terpene has a variety of medicinal and therapeutic uses as well. It’s a natural antioxidant that has anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties that can be useful in treating many different types of cancer. The International Journal of Oncology published a study that provides evidence that geraniol could discourage tumorous cell growth in oral, colon, lung, prostate, breast, pancreatic and liver cancer. Plus, it has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that can help reduce infections. In a study published by a medical journey called Lipids, geraniol is shown to be effective at inhibiting the growth of certain types of fungus.

Geraniol has also been shown to be anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and have a lot of potential as a neuroprotectant. A study published by the Journal of Neuroscience research showed that the terpene can be useful in treating neuropathy which is common among people who have diabetes or are pre-diabetic. The condition damages the peripheral nerves and causes numbness, weakness, pain or loss of sensitivity in the hands and feet. In the experiment, geraniol was able to lower enhanced cytosolic calcium levels and acetylcholinesterase activity, reduce levels of protein carbonyls and nitrates and restore the activities of enzymes.

It’s common for strains with high linalool profiles to be rich in geraniol as well. A few strains that have geraniol in them include Afghan (a calming hybrid that’s good for an euphoric, balanced buzz), Headband (a pain-relieving hybrid that helps with depression, anxiety and headaches), Amnesia Haze (a citrusy sativa strain that’s uplifting and energizing), Great White Shark (a heavy-hitting sativa that will reduce stress and improve bad moods) and Sweet Skunk (a potent hybrid that leans more towards a cerebral high).

According to Steep Hill Labs, geraniol is also closely related to another terpene called citronellol which has “used as a natural mosquito repellent for over 2,000 years.” Because it’s used by honey bees to mark nectar-bearing flowers and help find their way back to their hives, geraniol is known to attract them, but it also be used as an effective insect repellent for things other than mosquitoes as well including flies, roaches, fire ants and ticks. So, if you’re ever smoking outside during the summer and wonder why bees are buzzing around you, it may be because they’re getting a whiff of the geraniol in the strain you’re enjoying. But, at least it might keep the mosquitoes and flies away for a little bit.

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8 weed strains for focused studying

Weed can be a great tool for clearing your mind and slowing down the world. This is why it’s so good for people who like to smoke before studying. Though getting high before doing anything productive can be overwhelming and distracting for some, for others, cannabis is the first step before sitting in one spot for hours — all while giving the mind the tunnel vision needed to knock out daunting tasks.

Whether you’re sitting down to homework, cranking out a paper, or studying for your real estate licensing exam, there are hundreds of cannabis strains that may ease the process. Here is a quick list of eight to get you started.

Trainwreck

Trainwreck is a powerful strain named for its cerebral effects that hit “like a runaway train.” If you’re the overactive type, and you need a strain with some potency to help study for the bar exam, or whatever your field, this could be the one.

Trainwreck was created from a mix of Mexican, Thai, and Afghani landrace parentage. Its terpenes produces an earthy, piney, and slightly gassy aroma, followed by an overall earthy flavor. The effects come on quickly with an invigorating, yet calming high, making it great for people who need to smoke before they can sit still.



Cinderella 99

Cinderella 99 dates all the way back to the 90s when Brothers Grimm Seeds found some Jack Herer seeds which grew into a plant they named “Princess.” They then used Princess to cross with Shiva Skunk, and after a series of backcrossings and working the strain, the upbeat Cinderella 99 was finally born. 

Cinderella 99’s terpene profile commonly features a floral and somewhat fruity flavor that translates into an earthy smoke. The effects tend to hit people with a heavy dose of cerebral stimulation, so if you’re about to lock into some study hours, Cindy 99 could be the one for you.



Harle-Tsu

They said CBD strains won’t get you high, but anyone that has smoked a joint of Harle-Tsu, or anything CBD-dominant, will tell you that while these strains don’t get you stoned, you still feel a change in your mind and body. With Harle-Tsu, that change is a clear-headed focus that raises alertness, making it an absolutely perfect strain for studying.

Harle-Tsu was bred by crossing the CBD-dominant Harlequin with the even more CBD-dominant Sour Tsunami. Like most CBD strains, it has that familiar earthy, sour, slightly citrus flavor profile. It has little-to-no THC, and most people experience a creative euphoria.



Tropicana Cookies

If you’re looking for a staunch orange-forward terpene profile, because citrus strains usually give you uplifting effects, you may not find anything better than Tropicana Cookies. 

Tropicana Cookies is a cross between Tangie and a special cut of GSC that produces a surprisingly uplifting high. This sativa-dominant hybrid smells and tastes just like oranges, and its high will help you feel relaxed but mentally energized and alert for the tasks at hand. It’s a great pregame strain for someone that wants heavier effects before they sink into study mode.



Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake is another heavy-hitter with long-lasting effects. Also known as Pineapple Cake, it’s a cross of Pineapple Trainwreck and Cookie Monster. Those Pineapple and Cookies genetics give way to a sativa-dominant hybrid with a sweet tropical aroma that turns into a spicy-flavored smoke. 

Most consumers feel a rush of cerebral stimulation that keeps you upbeat and energized, which is common amongst many strains that have a pineapple-like terpene profile.



Jack Flash

Most strains with Jack Herer genetics will be great for daytime consumption, and especially great for anyone seeking a clear-headed focus. Jack Flash is just one of many Jack derivatives that serve as an excellent example.

Jack Herer was originally bred by Sensi Seeds. Jack Flash was one of Sensi’s many projects that enhanced the original strain. Bred with Jack Herer, Super Skunk, and Haze genetics, Jack Flash features that classic earthy, piney, and spicy terpene profile and usually makes people feel relaxed, centered, and focused.


ACDC

When it comes to studying, you won’t always have the good fortune of working in the daytime. For nighttime studiers, you may want to smoke, but don’t want any stoney feelings that could make you sleepy. For that, ACDC is a great suggestion.

ACDC is a phenotype of the commonly featured Cannatonic strain. It is known for its CBD:THC ratio that can sometimes be as high as 20:1. ACDC features a sour, earthy flavor, followed by clear-headed effects that help you feel alert during all-nighters.



Allen Wrench

Rounding out the study suggestions list is the upbeat hybrid, Allen Wrench. 

This sativa-dominant strain was bred by crossing Trainwreck with NYC Diesel. The result produces resinous buds with an earthy, slightly citrus terpene profile with diesel undertones. After consuming Allen Wrench, most people feel an energizing boost in morale that helps tremendously when studying for the dreaded GRE exams — or anything alike.



Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Terpinolene: The Powerful Medicinal Terpene with Anti-Cancer Promise

Few cannabis consumers are fully aware of the complex molecular chemistry of the herb they vaporize, smoke, or eat.

Terpenes like terpinolene are the aromatic molecules responsible for the sometimes revealingly pungent aroma of many strains of cannabis. Although the chief purpose of this family of chemicals is an evolutionary defense mechanism against pests and predators, terpenes have been found to deliver medicinal efficacy that equals that of cannabinoids such as CBD and THC.

More than 20,000 terpenes exist throughout nature, about 200 of which have been identified in various strains of cannabis. Terpinolene (sometimes denoted as “TPO”) is considered a minor, or secondary, terpene and features an aroma resembling sweet pine.  It delivers a taste reminiscent of citrus and is produced in many plants in nature other than cannabis, including allspice, cumin, junipers, parsnip, rosemary, sage, and tea tree.

The Details of Terpinolene

In terms of medicinal efficacy, terpinolene kills cancer cells and acts as a sedative. In addition, it displays antibacterial properties and is both an anti-fungal and an anti-oxidant. It is employed as a flavoring agent by various segments of the food industry. It is also used to manufacture plastics and resins and is an effective repellent against pests such as mosquitoes and weevils.

2013 study found this special molecule to be a powerful anti-cancer agent. Concluded the study’s researchers, “Our findings clearly demonstrate that terpinolene is a potent antiproliferative agent for brain tumour cells and may have potential as an anticancer agent, which needs to be further studied.”

The Research

2013 study entitled “Anticancer and Antioxidant Properties of Terpinolene” that was published in the journal Arh Hig Rada Toksikol found terpinolene to be a “potent antiproliferative agent for brain tumour cells” and surmised that this powerfully medicinal terpene “may have potential as an anticancer agent,” an issue in obvious need of further research due to the 91 million people worldwide who suffer more than 100 types of cancers.

The researchers concluded, “Our findings clearly demonstrate that terpinolene is a potent antiproliferative agent for brain tumor cells and may have potential as an anticancer agent, which needs to be further studied.”

2012 study entitled “Terpinolene, a Component of Herbal Sage, Downregulates AKT1 Expression in K562 Cells” and published in the journal Oncology Letters found the terpene terpinolene to be an effective agent in the battle against a variety of cancers.

Concluded the study’s researchers, “Increased expression and/or activation of AKT is involved in a variety of human cancers. In cells treated with sage or rosemary extract, mRNA and protein expression levels of AKT1 were reduced compared with those of the control cells 48 hours after the herbal treatments. We found that terpinolene, a common component of sage and rosemary, markedly reduced the protein expression of AKT1 in K562 cells and inhibited cell proliferation.”

Originally published on cannabisaficionado.com.

TELL US, how well do you know your terpenes?

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Wednesday, August 26, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, August 26, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Pennsylvania governor calls for marijuana legalization to boost economic recovery (Leafly)

// Congressman Raising Money To Legalize Psychedelic Mushroom Therapy (Marijuana Moment)

// MindMed Plans MDMA-LSD Trial To Study ‘Bad Trip’ Reduction (Green Market Report)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical and adult use marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 350,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// Ascend Wellness completes $68 million raise, acquires Illinois marijuana shops (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Marijuana Sales Are ‘Pandemic-Proof,’ Top Illinois Cannabis Regulator Says (Marijuana Moment)

// Lawmakers poised to pass expansion of marijuana expungements (VT Digger)

// TILT Holdings Q2 Revenue Slips 9% from Q1 to $38.6 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Hexo Molson Coors launch Truss cannabis beverage portfolio (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Chart: Nationwide sales of adult-use cannabis further eclipse those of medical marijuana (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Canada Will Officially Stop Drug Testing Student-Athletes for Weed (Merry Jane)


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An in-depth look at the study that discovered THCP, a cannabinoid more potent than THC

A new cannabinoid has been discovered, and the ramifications could be massive. Scientists funded by the UNIHEMP research project have discovered a new psychoactive molecule: Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabiphorol, or THCP; and they believe that there are great scientific implications for the phytocannabinoid

Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoid molecules that are specifically produced by plants. There are several types of cannabinoids, including endocannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids, and phytocannabinoids. 

Endocannabinoids are compounds that are produced within the body by an organism’s endocannabinoid system; and synthetic cannabinoids are man-made chemicals that cannot be found in nature. Phytocannabinoids, on the other hand, are a different beast altogether. They are those that naturally occur in plants and are found in a variety, including echinacea. However, the plant species in which phytocannabinoids are most prominent is cannabis.

Because of cannabis’ status as a Schedule I controlled substance in the US, there are several barriers that prohibit the scientific study of the plant and its constituents. Thus, a considerable portion of cannabis research takes place abroad. Many clinical and laboratory studies of cannabis take place in Israel and Canada, where there is federal research funding to support this work; but, the newly discovered THCP was characterized by a group of Italian scientists.

Unlike the US, government funding for cannabis research is relatively commonplace in Europe. The discovery of THCP was enabled by the UNIHEMP project, which is sponsored by the European Regional Development Fund. A multi-disciplinary team of Italian scientists was responsible for the discovery of this novel cannabinoid, led by Giuseppe Cannazza of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.

The researchers’ findings were published in late 2019 in the journal Nature.

THCP is 33-times more active than THC

Throughout the duration of the project, the group studied a medicinal cannabis cultivar, dubbed FM2, which was supplied by the Military Chemical Pharmaceutical Institute in Florence. Using a variety of scientific characterization techniques, the researchers observed two novel cannabinoids, THCP and CBDP, and isolated them from other cannabinoids that were present. Following this discovery, the group artificially synthesized THCP and CBDP to create reference materials, and the synthesized versions were successfully used to verify the natural expression of the two cannabinoids in the FM2 cultivar.     

After the confirmation of the identity of the two cannabinoids, the group turned its focus to THCP. To study the compound, they pursued an in vitro experiment with cultured cells. This experiment tested the binding affinity of THCP with CB1 and CB2 receptors, using synthetic cannabinoids as reference materials. It was shown that, when comparing THCP-related results to the previously reported data of other cannabinoids against the CB1 receptor, THCP is 33-times more active than delta-9 THC. 

This finding is critical because the group also found that the chemical was present in FM2 at 0.0029%, whereas THC was found to be expressed at 3.9%; so, even in smaller amounts, THCP is more active than THC.

They also tested the cannabimimetic activity of the molecule. Cannabimimetic activity is a measure of how well a substance replicates the effects of more well-characterized cannabinoids which bind to the CB1receptor. An in vivo experiment involving mice was performed. Herein, the influence of THCP on body temperature, spontaneous activity, immobility, and pain was determined — the results of these tests confirmed that THCP acts similarly to other cannabinoids like delta-9 THC.

Will THCP be important?

According to the study, even at lower doses, THCP has more cannabimimetic activity than THC. Further, the group posits that THCP could account for the wide variability of patient responses in cannabis-based therapies, even amongst cultivars with equal THC doses. This means  that cannabis’  psychotropic effects, which the scientific community attributes to THC, may actually be due to the presence of THCP. 

Unfortunately, none of the original researchers could be reached for comment. However, experts in the field do have varying opinions regarding the study. Dr. Cecilia J. Hillard of the Medical College of Wisconsin said, “I think it is well designed.” She goes on, “[The study] has two important gaps, in my opinion. First, they should have compared the in vivo effects of THCP to that of THC ‘head to head’ so that relative potencies could be assessed. Second, I would like to know whether THCP has greater efficacy to activate the [CB1 receptor] in particular. THC is relatively safe because it has low efficacy at the receptor. If THCP has high efficacy (like the synthetic analogs that have also increased the tail length), it is a more concerning finding, as it would suggest that strains making a lot of THCP could be more dangerous to use than those that do not.” 

Expanding on how THCP could be more dangerous, Hillard continued, “The so-called ‘spice’ compounds are synthetic agonists of the CB1 receptor. They are full agonists, meaning that they are very strong activators of the CB1 receptor. Compared to THC, these drugs have significant adverse effects and produce significant dependence (addiction). So, my issue is that we do not know yet whether THCP is like THC, a partial agonist, or like the synthetic compounds, a full agonist. And my concern is that, if it is the latter, cannabis strains high in THCP will have more adverse effects than those that are low.”

Dr. Samuel Banister of The University of Sydney states, “[The study] was well designed and executed,” concurring with Dr. Hillard. However, he goes on to disagree with the group’s assessment that THCP may account for the variability of psychotropic effects across various cannabis cultivars: “While this possibility cannot be ruled out, the known potency differences for THC and THCP at cannabinoid receptors is relatively small, while the difference in abundance of each in cannabis is enormous. The same is true of CBD and CBDP, although CBD requires even higher doses to achieve many of its pharmacological effects. For this reason, I do not feel that minor or trace phytocannabinoids like THCP or CBDP contribute significantly to the psychoactive effects of different cannabis strains.” 

How this novel cannabinoid plays out in both medical and recreational use is yet to be determined, as much more research is needed. Nonetheless, this new evidence suggests that analytical laboratories in US regulated markets may need to expand their testing panel to include THCP.

Featured graphic by David Lozada/Weedmaps

The post An in-depth look at the study that discovered THCP, a cannabinoid more potent than THC appeared first on Weedmaps News.

Monday, April 27, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Monday, April 27, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Top New York Lawmaker Wants To Pass Marijuana Legalization This Year Despite Coronavirus (Marijuana Moment)

// Marijuana Seems To Reduce Opioid Use Among Chronic Pain Patients, Meta-Study Finds (Marijuana Moment)

// Australia moves toward over-the-counter CBD sales (Marijuana Business Daily)


These headlines are brought to you by MJToday Media, publishers of this podcast as well as our weekly show Marijuana Today and the most-excellent Green Rush Podcast. And check out our new show Weed Wonks!


// Massachusetts marijuana store seeks medical license amid coronavirus shutdown (Mass Live)

// Ohio allowing phone orders, curbside pickup at medical cannabis stores (Marijuana Business Daily)

// State-By-State COVID-19 Announcements Impacting Marijuana Businesses (JD Supra)

// Massachusetts marijuana: In lawsuit over 2-year moratorium allowing only economic empowerment applicants to open, Appeals Court sides with Cambridge (Mass Live)

// Cannabis Has Become a Major Threat to Alcohol (Real Money)

// Arkansas medical marijuana consumers are buying in Oklahoma (Marijuana Business Daily)

// 1,700 soldiers in Alabama were drug tested a day after 4/20, but the Army says it’s ‘just a coincidence’ (Business Insider)


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

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Photo: Don Goofy/Flickr

Monday, April 27, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Monday, April 27, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Top New York Lawmaker Wants To Pass Marijuana Legalization This Year Despite Coronavirus (Marijuana Moment)

// Marijuana Seems To Reduce Opioid Use Among Chronic Pain Patients, Meta-Study Finds (Marijuana Moment)

// Australia moves toward over-the-counter CBD sales (Marijuana Business Daily)


These headlines are brought to you by MJToday Media, publishers of this podcast as well as our weekly show Marijuana Today and the most-excellent Green Rush Podcast. And check out our new show Weed Wonks!


// Massachusetts marijuana store seeks medical license amid coronavirus shutdown (Mass Live)

// Ohio allowing phone orders, curbside pickup at medical cannabis stores (Marijuana Business Daily)

// State-By-State COVID-19 Announcements Impacting Marijuana Businesses (JD Supra)

// Massachusetts marijuana: In lawsuit over 2-year moratorium allowing only economic empowerment applicants to open, Appeals Court sides with Cambridge (Mass Live)

// Cannabis Has Become a Major Threat to Alcohol (Real Money)

// Arkansas medical marijuana consumers are buying in Oklahoma (Marijuana Business Daily)

// 1,700 soldiers in Alabama were drug tested a day after 4/20, but the Army says it’s ‘just a coincidence’ (Business Insider)


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

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Don Goofy/Flickr

Weed Goggles: Marijuana Can Increase Hookups

Anyone who hangs around the bars understands there is a phenomenon that happens after a few or five cocktails that seems to make the world a more beautiful place than it really is. On beer one, the scene might appear more as if management turned a pack of drunken hyenas loose than a place where humans go to drink. It’s like your favorite watering hole has all of a sudden started moonlighting as a shelter for weird-looking animals with beer bellies and speech impediments. But then somewhere around the third vodka and soda, something miraculous starts to happen. Wait, what’s this? All of the beady-eyed varmints mingling around the room are starting to look just a bit more appealing than when you first walked in. You think to yourself for a moment: Perhaps the crowd changed when I wasn’t looking. But, oh no, that’s not it at all. The more likely scenario is that you’re now riding the barstool with your booze goggles on.

Interestingly enough, it’s not just alcohol helping ugly people hook up. Our old pal marijuana has also been known to inspire its fair share of regretful encounters, which may or may not have started with the phrase, “Hey baby, what’s shaking? Want to get high?” Yep, we are fully aware that we could use a little help with our pick-up lines, no doubt. But here’s the thing: With weed, there may not be a need for any smooth-talking when trying to pick up a partner for the night. It could be as easy as getting stoned and just allowing all of the annoying hang-ups we might have about a person slip away into a cloud of smoke. It’s something that the pros are calling “weed goggles,” which is where the buzzed brain makes a person think their prospective love interest — one who might only have one tooth and reek of cheese — is totally doable.

The problem with weed goggles is, just like when alcohol is involved, people can wake up the next morning and think, “Sweet Jesus, what in the hell did I do?” Ah, yes, the hot sexual conquest has transformed into a ghastly beast that doesn’t come anywhere close to passing standards. This realization is hard to swallow, too, and it can spawn the kind of loathsome regret that makes a person want to gnaw their arm off at the shoulder to make a daring escape. But there’s always a chance —  always — that they’ll get caught trying to bolt and have to make up a dumb excuse to avoid staying for breakfast. Admittedly, these “oh, crap” moments are not as common in those sexual prowlers who consume marijuana as it is in those who like to get drunk.

But there is undoubtedly a level of unsafe, questionable sex that often transpires because two people got high.

“While alcohol reportedly led to riskier sexual behavior, both drugs appear to potentially increase risk for unsafe sex,” concluded a study published several years ago in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

What is most telling about this study is it suggests that the marvel of weed goggles may have more to do with marijuana being illegal in most places than anything else. Lead researcher Joseph J. Palamar, Ph.D. claims that people are more likely to hook up because of the situations they find themselves in when trying to get high. “If you’re older than 21, you’re able to drink anywhere you want. But when it comes to marijuana, at least in most of the U.S., it has to be in a hidden area where you can’t get arrested,” he told Inverse. “If you get someone to come home with you to smoke weed, there’s a way to facilitate getting a sexual connection, for better or for worse.”

Some of the latest research on the subject of sex and marijuana finds that people are just having more of it in states where it is legal. A study published in the Journal of Health Economics shows daily marijuana users are having 20% more sex than their sober counterparts. But before you get too excited, you should also know that these people are also having more babies and contracting more sexually transmitted diseases. States with medical marijuana laws on the books saw a 2% increase in yearly births, the study shows, and most of these kids got brought into the world by unmarried parents. Presumably, this is because single people are getting high and jumping into the sack with strangers. It’s this impaired judgment (weed goggles) that the study attributes to a temporary increase in gonorrhea. The idea is that people are just getting stoned, getting naked and getting it on without much consideration for contraceptives.

There is no denying that marijuana and sex go hand in hand. But it’s not supernatural. Marijuana enhances the senses, lowers inhibitions and makes average, everyday gobbledygook just a little better. So, toss in some good music and a pizza with those affairs guided by the so-called weed goggles and that’s just about as perfect a night as they come. It is worth mentioning, though, that there has been a spike in STDs nationwide over the past several years – some of which are incurable – so sexual stoners might need to start getting serious about using condoms. Because while the regret of sleeping with the unattractive can be hard to stomach, it has nothing on the despair of finding out that you’re about to have an ugly baby with herpes.

TELL US, does cannabis play a role in your sex life?

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Study: Boomers Smoking More Cannabis

Cannabis use continues to increase in popularity among adults 65 years of age and older in the United States. With the legalization of cannabis in many states for either medical or “recreational” purposes, there is growing interest in using it to treat a variety of long-term health conditions and symptoms common among older adults.  

These are the findings of a new study from the Grossman School of Medicine at Manhattan’s New York University, entitled “Trends in Cannabis Use Among Older Adults in the United States, 2015-2018,” and published Feb. 24 in JAMA Internal Medicine

The researchers estimate that cannabis use in adults aged 65 and older increased from 2.4% to 4.2% in the United States — a significant increase of 75% — between 2015 and 2018. 

The study states that with the relaxation of the laws governing cannabis in many states, more medical professionals are open to its use in treating a number of chronic health conditions. 

By the study’s count, 31 states have legalized medical marijuana since 1996, while 11 states and Washington DC also have legalized “recreational” use. (In fact, more states than that have some kind of provision for use of cannabinoids by the ailing, if not actual herbaceous cannabis.) 

“Our study shows cannabis use is increasingly popular nationwide among older adults,” says the study’s lead author, Benjamin Han, assistant professor of geriatric medicine and population health at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. 

Han added an implicit reference to the paucity of research on the health impacts of cannabis (without actually saying that this research has long been bottle-necked by federal policy): “As more older adults use cannabis, whether for therapeutic or recreational purposes, it is important for health care providers to counsel their patients despite the very limited evidence base on the benefits and harms of cannabis use among older adults.”

For the study, researchers analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, carried out annually by the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, a division of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which is in turn under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The SAMHSA survey categorized cannabis use by asking participants whether they had either smoked or ingested “marijuana,” “hashish,” “pot,” “grass” or “hash oil.”  

Researchers crunched the stats to determine trends in prevalence of past-year cannabis use — broken down by socio-demographic background, chronic disease, healthcare utilization, and other substance use — among adults age 65 and older, nationwide, between 2015 and 2018. 

Certain subsets of this population were determined to have seen an even higher increase in prevalence. For example, researchers estimated that past-year use more than doubled by older adults with diabetes, among those who have received mental health treatment, and those also reporting past-year alcohol use. Women also significantly increased their cannabis use, as did individuals who were married, had a college degree, and/or had higher income.  

In general, however, the increase in cannabis use appeared to be driven largely by those who do not have multiple chronic medical conditions.  

“We need to continue to study both the risks and benefits of marijuana use, especially among older individuals,” says another senior author of the study, Joseph Palamar, associate professor of population health at the Grossman School. “This survey also did not ask about vaping of marijuana or THC products, so its possible use was underestimated. We must follow vaping trends closely, among all age groups.”

The researchers say they next plan to seek more detailed information on how medical marijuana affects older populations, including possible risks and side-effects. They also noted that the profiles of cannabinoids other than THC and CBD in medical marijuana products warrant further research.  

“This study gives us important insights into cannabis use among key groups of older adults, particularly baby boomers,” says Caroline S. Blaum, director of NYU’s Division of Geriatric Medicine & Palliative Care. “Understanding how our older patients use marijuana and evaluating its risks and benefits is one of the most important questions our field must answer to provide the best care.”  

The new study echoes the findings of a report issued last year by the Pew Research Center. That report also determined that Boomers are using cannabis more, with many turning to the herb as medicine to deal with the challenges of advancing years. That study additionally analyzed attitudes about cannabis, and found that boomers are also the generation that began the demographic tilt in favor of legalization.  

TELL US, are you a senior who enjoys cannabis?

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