When you think of sparkling water, you probably think of La Croix, White Claw, or Nude. The alcoholic sparkling water craze filled a huge demand for low-calorie drinks in a market saturated with beverages with high sugar content. But the beverage industry has quickly realized that sparkling water doesn’t have to limit its infusions to […]
Have you ever wondered how long weed stays in the system? Ask An Expert! Dr. Markus Roggen will tell you all about it and more! This week is all about plant genetics and making sure you are getting the good stuff… into your system and out of it. Welcome to Season 2, Episode 5 of […]
Canopy Growth Corporation acquired a patented cannabis extraction technique that GW Pharmaceuticals allegedly infringed. So, two giant players in Canada’s commercial cannabis are now in a head to head legal battle. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas will host this landmark battle. Greenwich Biosciences is a US subsidiary of GW Pharmaceuticals […]
We previously explored how cannabinoid content is displayed on cannabis labels in some Canadian provinces, such as BC. Whether those quantities are given as a percentage or in milligrams per gram, two different values of THC and CBD can be strangely advertised. We will explain the differences between THC and the THC total based on […]
It’s our first segment of the Cooking With Cannabis 101 series in the new year so why not start with some delicious CBD Strawberry & Cream Cheese Scones. For this recipe you’ll need to know how to make cannabis butter, a tutorial can be found here. Remember if you want this recipe to use CBD […]
As more places legalize cannabis for recreational use, the issue of a minimum use age becomes relevant. When trying to establish a minimum use age for a drug that was considered a narcotic very recently, even by the places legalizing it now, it becomes about the actual risk factors associated with it. While a few studies come out with weak links to neural issues, the real question not being asked is, can cannabis be good for young brains?
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Perhaps it’s taboo to even suggest it, but it was also taboo to consider legalizing cannabis just a few years ago. It was perfectly fine for doctors to encourage cigarette smoking all the way up until the 1960’s, even though by that point it was already well understood by the medical community the very strong, and undeniable connection between cigarettes and cancer. That connection was denied by tobacco companies until 1998. It only became ‘taboo’ to mix smoking, and things like children, when it was decided on a grander scale to encourage a minimized use of cigarettes. The idea of taboo is often linked simply to how well something is understood, and the information being put out there. Information that is often paid for, and used to serve a purpose. Before we get into the question of whether cannabis is good for young brains, let’s go over what we do know about it already.
Cannabis and plant medicine?
Cannabis is a flowering plant in the Cannabaceae family. So right there we know one important thing about it: it’s a plant. And that means that we are not dealing with pharmaceutical medicine, we’re dealing with natural plant-based medicine. Now, if you’re thinking cannabis is the one standout plant in the plant world to offer medicinal benefits, you’d surely be mistaken. For anything (and I mean *anything*) that cannabis is said to be capable of doing, you will, indeed, find other plants that do the same. Want help with neurological issues and cutting down on amyloid plaque in the brain? Take some turmeric. Want a natural anti-depressant? Give St. John’s Wort a try. Need help sleeping? Try hops, or California poppy, or valerian. Need some help paying attention? Swallow down some gingko biloba, and if you really want to get rid of that cold faster or protect yourself against microbial diseases, take your oregano oil everyday (also about the best way to get rid of food poisoning, which I can personally attest to).
Even when it comes to THC’s ability to make a person feel good, well, so do poppy, and coca, and plenty of other plants. In most ways, when looking at plant medicine, there is actually absolutely nothing special about cannabis. But, also when looking at plant medicine, there is very little reason to believe that a plant already associated with helping with neurological disorders, would be the same plant to cause them. Yes, some plants are deadly, but we already know that no one dies from cannabis. At the very worst, literally, the very worst possible, it *could cause minor deficits, but once again, way more points in the direction that it is helpful to the brain, not harmful.
Things to consider
Having thoughts is great, but being able to back up information is what we rely on. This can come from medical research, or looking at history, and the most reliable results tend to be when the two agree. While history can often tell us how things have been used over thousands of years of time, it can’t necessarily tell us what the situation is today. One thing that can be looked at though is the simple question of ‘was cannabis used on children in ancient medical traditions?’ No search turned up a negative response to this, indicating that children were included for cannabis treatments.
Long standing medical traditions like Ayurvedic medicine, and Traditional Chinese Medicine tend to be good at not causing more harm, and even in the case of more dangerous plants, give plenty of warnings of literally everything that can be expected. So, while there is no ancient medical study to show if it is actually detrimental, or if cannabis is good for young brains, what we can know is that it was used on young people for thousands of years, and within that time, the medical practitioners who managed to write thousands of pages on the effects of plants, never noted it causing any kind of brain damage in in adults who used it as children. This is not to say that there weren’t warnings attached to it, as there absolutely were.
These days, people are way less caring of what went on thousands of years ago if there isn’t a medical study to say the same thing today. This is mostly good, except for where it gets to the part about medical studies being funded, and often having massive conflicts of interest that didn’t exist back when natural medicine practitioners were doing their thing a thousand years ago. So really, it’s not just about having a study done, it’s about having multiple studies done, and limiting (and publicly admitting to) any conflicts of interest.
Unfortunately, the latter part is rarely done, making simply reading a random study often less useful than looking at behaviors of ancient people. When the drug in question is cannabis, it should be remembered that pharmaceutical and biotech interest runs heavy, making it all the more difficult to get unfettered information. In this case, the very specific information we’re looking into, are the effects of cannabis on a young person’s brain, and whether its actually possible that cannabis is good for young brains, or at the very least, without detriment.
The medical research
There have now been plenty of studies that look at the effects cannabis has on young brains, although most are not clear or direct, giving confusing, and often conflicting answers.
In 2020, a systematic review was done regarding studies investigating if an adolescent brain is more vulnerable to cannabis. The review indicates that there is the possibility of neurological changes (notice the word ‘changes’ and not ‘damage’). This systematic review, much like the others I’ve seen, does not stipulate per study mention, how much cannabis was used. It is quite possible that some of these studies were done using a ridiculous amount of cannabis, rather than anything that would be realistic. It could be the difference between investigating the effects one joint a week might have, and 100 joints a day.
Regardless of the amount used for individual studies, the overall general finding was that changes can be noticeable, but “Future studies are required to better investigate adolescent cannabis use with more accuracy using better defined groups or longitudinal studies and examine the permanency of these changes following caseation of use.” This line indicates that even the changes mentioned cannot be called permanent, which undermines the idea that permanent damage was caused.
In a systematic review from 2019 – Age-Related Differences in the Impact of Cannabis Use on the Brain and Cognition, it states “The aim of this systematic review is to provide a critical examination of the moderating role of age on the relationship between cannabis use and cognition.” The review authors state: “While the results of this review do not offer a conclusive answer on the role of age…[it] has allowed for the formation of new hypotheses to be addressed in future work.” The following are the assumptions the review authors saw fit to test next in research, based on their findings:
“First, general executive functioning seems to be more impaired in adolescent frequent cannabis users compared to adult frequent cannabis users. Second, age-effects may be most prominent among very heavy and dependent users. Third, craving and inhibitory control may not decrease as much post-intoxication in adolescents compared to adults. Lastly, adolescents’ vulnerability to reduced learning following cannabis use may not persist after sustained abstinence.”
These authors point out the importance of how much cannabis is being used, while not pointing to huge deficits, and admitting, like every study out there, that there isn’t anything published right now saying the effects are permanent.
In yet another systematic review from 2014 on the effects of cannabis on adolescent brains, the review authors state: “teens who engage in heavy marijuana use often show disadvantages in neurocognitive performance, macrostructural and microstructural brain development, and alterations in brain functioning.” This is followed by this admission:
“It remains unclear whether such disadvantages reflect pre-existing differences that lead to increased substances use and further changes in brain architecture and behavioral outcomes. Future work should focus on prospective investigations to help disentangle dose-dependent effects from pre-existing effects, and to better understand the interactive relationships with other commonly abused substances (e.g., alcohol) to better understand the role of regular cannabis use on neurodevelopmental trajectories.”
Basically, they’re admitting that they have no idea if those who show more disadvantages, are actually showing the result of cannabis use or genetics, as well as making it clear that dose is important (possibly ruling out study findings where insane amounts of cannabis, or THC, are used), and the implication of other substances. Let’s remember that apart from alcohol and a multitude of other illicit drugs, teens are perfectly allowed to take all kinds of heavy medication like diphenhydramine (Benadryl), are often prescribed benzodiazepines (do you think any medical professional really wants to argue which is worse?), and are subject to all kinds of things like chemical cleaners, and air pollution – the latter of which, depending on the location, is far more dangerous to a developing brain than a little cannabis. If you really want to get into how dangerous the things in the air that we’re exposed to are, you can start by reading this.
Other medical research
Maybe most damning to the assertion that cannabis causes irreversible brain damage, is this study – one of the only of its kind – put out in 2019 that actually followed a group of approximately 1000 subjects, starting in the 1980’s, and going for about 15 years. Brain scans and testing were done throughout. The study found that “Adolescent cannabis use is not associated with lasting structural brain differences.” This is one of the only studies published where actual testing was done at different time junctures, covering an expansive amount of time.
Lastly, let’s remember that cannabis is being looked at more and more for help specifically with neurodegenerative diseases. While this study from 2020 investigates CBD for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, this study from 2012 talks about how “CBD combined with Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol is already under clinical evaluation in patients with Huntington’s disease.” In fact, more and more studies are popping up showing cannabis as a whole, and different cannabinoids independently, as having the ability to help the brain.
These studies just don’t exist for crack and alcohol. And perhaps it should be considered that if we’re using cannabis to help brains in one domain, it’s probably unlikely to cause massive damage in another. That’s not a rule, but it is a basic logic point to consider. This isn’t to say that cannabis is good for young brains either, but it does add to skepticism that cannabis is causing major and irreversible brain damage for adults who start smoking young.
And now to make it a bit more personal: I didn’t start smoking until I was around 21, but I went to high school with lots of people who were smoking in their teenage years. I come from a very rich, upscale area, and nearly everyone of those pot-smoking kids, is now not only a functional adult, but with a medical degree, law degree, engineering degree, or something like that. If cannabis is so detrimental to young brains, there should be an abundance of messed up people from where I’m from, and there aren’t. Quite the opposite indeed. Perhaps things like socioeconomics, access to quality food and education, and decent medical care, play more into future brain issues than a plant no one seems to be able to make a real connection to actual brain damage with.
Let’s put it in perspective
When it comes to the actual studies that are referenced throughout the internet, with all different spins put on them, there is not one that can make the definitive statement that cannabis causes detrimental and permanent brain damage. And that one statement that I just made is scary considering how downright sure of themselves most of these publications sound. To give an idea of how ridiculous it all is, consider all the same studies, but involving alcohol. Do you think the end result would be ‘we just can’t say for sure if children drinking every day will be more likely to develop brain issues in the future’? Can you even imagine a statement so silly?
Part of the reason its silly is because we don’t need studies to tell us. It’s such a massive part of life, and something that so many people have so much experience with, that we just know. Just like how information was known in those ancient medical traditions. In fact, if studies came out saying otherwise, we’d be confused. Mainly because we’ve all seen it in some way, whether it came from a mother drinking too much while pregnant, kids starting at a young age, the way a person (literally any of us) acts while inebriated, or the outcome of accidents involving alcohol.
You also won’t see that kind of “we don’t know” hogwash when talking about crack, or methamphetamine. Because we already know what they do too. It’s so obvious we can see it. Yet no one seems to be able to ‘just see it’ with cannabis, and the best that the very best studies can do is say there ‘might’ be a connection, possibly with an ‘ungodly’ amount of cannabis used, which ‘doesn’t’ seem to be permanent. Let’s be glad that the authorities are more sure about crack, and perhaps we should sigh a bit at how sure we all are of the issues involving alcohol, and the measly, incompetent job that’s done to keep the damage contained.
If ever you get into the dangers of drugs and appropriate societal responses, I think the one place where there will always be more to say, and more to do, is with alcohol. It’s almost funny to point the finger at cannabis in light of the hulking, massive, destructive issue of alcohol, and yet, that’s what’s happening. Of course, they both can pose their own dangers, as it is not one against the other, but when it comes to the scope of that danger, there is no comparison. In the same way I wouldn’t encourage anyone to light-up over vaping, I also wouldn’t encourage a child to consume large amounts of…well…anything. Because maybe that’s the biggest takeaway when it comes to cannabis and young brains. Maybe, unless a ridiculous amount is being consumed, cannabis is good for young brains. And if it isn’t actually helping them, at the very least, it’s not hurting them either, at least not in any super well-definable way. And that’s according to both research and history.
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With cannabis becoming more available to the average — and often inexperienced — person, it’s important that people get informed about how to responsibly consume weed. You know, in a way that allows them to enjoy the experience. But even all the well-meaning advice, suggestions and cautionary tales in the world might not be enough to prevent someone from unintentionally indulging a little too much.
In these instances, it’s a good idea to have a game plan for keeping your companion calm until they feel like themselves again.
First things first, once someone realizes they are too high, it’s time to stop smoking, vaping, hitting the bong or taking dabs. It ends immediately. Even once the high starts to subside, just leave it alone — because honestly, it’s just not worth it. Naturally, the same goes for edibles, although the amount of time it will take for the effects to wear off will undoubtedly be much longer, due to the way the body processes THC ingested orally.
If your friend is freaking out, do not match your friend’s energy. Do not start panicking or seem alarmed in any way — that will only increase their sense of dread. Start by finding out how they are feeling by asking simple questions to see if they are just feeling momentarily overwhelmed or if there’s deeper cause for concern. Once you’re sure they are okay, then you can start with some basics: Get them a glass of water and guide them through taking some deep, measured breaths. It sounds too simple to be effective, but this tip goes a long way to helping redirect their attention and instilling a sense of groundedness.
If your friend is willing, try to put them to bed. A solid nap can help put an end to a nerve-wracking experience. More often than not, staying awake to troubleshoot or “wait out” the high is unpleasant and unnecessary. Try offering them some snacks, a comfortable place to recline and then just let them float away. Keep in mind that it may be a quick nap, or it could be several hours before they sleep it off. Just check on them every hour or so and definitely have more water ready for them upon their rising.
You can also try some easy distraction from their overstimulation to bring some calm. This can mean that if you’re in a crowded, packed environment, take them to a quiet place to regroup. If you are at home, throw their favorite movie or find a stream of funny videos to keep them occupied. If sitting still isn’t working, try going to a walk outside where they can take in some fresh air and get distracted by what’s going on around them.
Lastly, if none of these other techniques work and you need another option before you start to get truly concerned, try CBD. It’s well-known for helping with anxiety, and can help take the edge off of a gnarly high by warding off the psychotropic effects of THC that can lead to feeling anxious, paranoid or overstimulated.
And it’s definitely worth noting that these suggestions are for weird or uncomfortable feelings that follow an individual consuming beyond their personal tolerance level, like the (irrational) fear that one will never stop being super stoned.
If you or someone is experiencing medically-related symptoms, like shortness of breath or persistent faintness, then should take more serious action. But if your friend is just more affected than expected and needs someone to sit with them outside of a loud event for a little while or wants help just calming down a bit, then these tips will be useful — we promise.
TELL US, do you have any tricks for calming down someone who’s too high?
If you’re familiar with cannabis culture you’ve probably heard of or encountered moon rocks. If you haven’t, moon rocks are an extremely potent way to consume cannabis. They’re made by taking a bud of cannabis, dipping/coating it with hash oil, and finally rolling it in kief. So just how potent are they? Well there’s plenty […]
Starting January 3rd, all cannabis products sold in California will now require a Prop 65 warning on the label, a move that will likely spark an influx of product-liability lawsuits within the industry.
In theory, health warning labels are a good thing – they alert consumers that the product they are buying can potentially have an impact on their health. However, in practice, they lead to overregulation, frivolous lawsuits, and many California consumers have started to ignore them because they can be vague and are so liberally applied.
The Proposition 65 labels date back to the mid-80s and applies to any product that contains known toxins or carcinogens, even if the amounts are trace and research is inconclusive. Once the new mandate goes into effect next month, all products that create “marijuana smoke”, as well as those containing Delta-9 THC will need a warning label. This covers pretty much every product in the legal market, minus CBD (cannabidiol) or CBG (cannabigerol) topicals and edibles.
Legal experts say that these types of mandates are often enforced by private attorneys and plaintiffs rather than state regulators. This practice was initially intended to keep the court system from backlogging over minor cases, but it has transformed into a sort of under-the-radar industry that preys on small business owners.
“The bounty hunters (people who go to stores specifically to look for unlabeled products) will be able to start regulating and enforcing those come Jan. 3, 2021,” Anne Marie Ellis, an Orange County attorney who specializes in product liability, said during a webinar in early December.
Proposition 65, formally known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, was established to protect California’s drinking water sources contamination by chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm, and it requires business to keep and current list (which is updated regularly) of chemicals that cause these reactions.
The program has expanded in the last couple decades and you can find Prop 65 warnings on everything from food items, children’s toys, hygiene products, and even entire buildings (for example, my local Wal-Mart has a Prop 65 warning stating that chemicals within the building are known carcinogens).
Additionally, there is no penalty for posting an unnecessary sign, which leads to vague and overused warnings that rarely resonate with the consumer. It’s for these reasons, among others, that the law has been harshly denounced over the years with critics saying it causes “over-warning” and “meaningless warnings”. These sentiments have been backed in numerous court cases as well.
Applying it to the cannabis industry
Again, starting January 3rd all products the create cannabis smoke and/or contain THC will be subject to the new law. The labels these new products will be sporting can come in two different formats: a standard warning or a short-form version.
The standard warning is quite long and a bit more detailed, while the short version is straight to the point and intended for smaller products. Most likely, you will see more of the short-form version on dispensary products, and this version reads: “WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm – www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.” Short and ominous.
“If a product doesn’t have the warning on its actual packaging, then the alert must be placed somewhere obvious so consumers can see it,” Ellis said. “And because both marijuana smoke and THC are about to be triggers for Prop 65 requirements, literally every company that does business in California needs to comply with the law, not just companies that produce smokable cannabis products.”
This will include many noncombustible products such as edibles, topicals, and vapes, unless they both, contain isolated CBD or other non-psychoactive cannabinoids AND do not produce any smoke during consumption.
Prop 65 laws and litigations aren’t new to the Golden State cannabis industry, however. Cannabis smoke has been on the state’s list of carcinogens since 2009, and THC since 2018. In January 2020, a ruling by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Enforcement listed both as potential reproductive toxins.
Conflicting research on THC and cancer
Now, about this issue of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) being named a carcinogen. The existing studies on this are conflicting but overall, research indicates that it’s helpful, not harmful. For example, a number of small studies found that inhaled cannabis is helpful in treating nausea and pain (especially neuropathic) associated with chemotherapy.
More recent studies have even documented THC and other cannabinoids as cancer inhibitors, noting that they can slow the growth and/or cause death in certain types of cancer cells. This was demonstrated numerous times in lab petri dishes as well as live-animal studies.
In Israel, research on the medicinal use of cannabinoids has been going on for decades. Just last year, Professor Raphael Mechoulam from Hebrew University of Jerusalem received a $2,000,000 grant for just this purpose.
Mechoulam is leading a research team to work on developing cannabis-based treatments for three aggressive forms of cancer: melanoma (skin cancer), neuroblastoma (cancer originating in the surrounding and mostly neural system in children), and glaublastoma (brain cancer).
I did come across one study that suggested cannabis exposure may increase the “susceptibility to and/or incidence of breast cancer as well as other cancers that do not express cannabinoid receptors and are resistant to Delta9-THC-induced apoptosis.” In this scenario, it refers to very specific types of cancer and more research is definitely needed.
Liabilities and lawsuits
According to Ellis, the main issue businesses will face once this law goes into effect is the cannabis industry “bounty hunters” who are basically undercover shoppers that will look for cannabis products in dispensaries that are not in compliance with the new mandate. In these situations, they will often file a “notice of violation” and push for a settlement out of court – so in other words, they’re looking for money.
“This is low-hanging fruit for lawyers who want to make a quick buck and don’t want to do a lot of work,” said Lara DeCaro, a San Francisco attorney who represents numerous cannabis businesses. “Most legal marijuana businesses are already complying with the Prop 65 labelling mandate because such requirements have been on most companies’ radars for a long time.” Nevertheless, she expects there will be an influx of legal complaints who target the “industry stragglers” who are waiting until the last minute to get up to speed.
There are many attorneys who make their living working Prop 65 cases in other industries, since it covers all consumer products and businesses and the list exceeds 1,000 chemicals that are considered dangerous. Roughly 90% of Prop 65 cases – across all industries – are settled out of court. Fines for companies who are in violation can be up $2,500 per product, daily. So if you have 3 non-compliant products, you’re looking at $7,500 in fines every single day until you remedy the situation.
“They will go around, much like they do under the (Americans with Disabilities Act) and find violations and then file numerous complaints,” DeCaro said. “Whether or not those complaints end up having merit, they’re going to name a bunch of people, and defendants will throw a few thousand dollars at it just to make it go away. It’s a cost-benefit analysis at that point. Am I going to spend $20,000 on a lawyer to fight it and get it kicked out, or am I just going to spend $3,000 at it and make the person go away?”
What the future holds
Although this may come as a shock to some of the newer businesses or those that aren’t particularly worried about the logistics of working in the industry, but for the most part, the word is out and most cannabusiness owners are well-prepared for January 3rd.
“The industry is aware. There’s been a fairly good job of discussing the need for Prop 65,” said Pamela Epstein, attorney for Oakland-based Eden Enterprises and a board member of the California Cannabis Industry Association. “Prop 65 is generally on most checklists for incoming and outgoing product at the manufacturing and distribution and retail level, so they should be ready.”
Overall, people are prepared for Prop 65 to hit the California cannabis industry . But for those that aren’t, it could end up being a very costly mistake so you’ll want to do everything you can to get compliant by the beginning of next month.
Aside from being cute and convenient, these Ganja Gummies are fantastically flavorful and a fun, effective way to medicate. If possible, make these candies in a silicon mold and they’ll pop right out after being chilled. It’s also helpful to taste the mixture before pouring it into the mold. If the weed taste is too strong, try adding some additional honey.