Tag: Health

Ontario Dogs to Remain CBD-Free

The life of a dog can be an enviable thing, filled with sleeping, eating, and sniffing the butts of peers with impunity. But sometimes things go wrong, with the unluckiest dogs experiencing ailments like anxiety, chronic pain, persistent seizures, and osteoporosis. One potential remedy for these canine ills: CBD oil, which progressive pet owners have successfully used to treat their dogs’ serious medical conditions.

Unfortunately, officially sanctioned medical marijuana for dogs is a way off, as recent discussions between the College of Veterinarians of Ontario and the Office of Medical Cannabis at Health Canada confirmed that Canada’s Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations do not apply to veterinarians or their animal patients.

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“Both cannabis (marijuana) and cannabidiol are Schedule II drugs under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act,” notes the College of Veterinarians of Ontario. “As veterinarians are included in the definition of practitioner in this Act, veterinarians would be permitted to prescribe either substance if there was a legal pathway to do so. The Office of Controlled Substances at Health Canada has confirmed that there are currently no approved CBD products for animals, meaning there is no legal pathway to obtain these products for animals in Canada.”

A ray of hope: Colorado State University is currently conducting clinical trials for CBD as a possible treatment for epilepsy and osteoporosis in dogs. If successful, these trials could lead to FDA-approved cannabidiol treatments in the U.S., which might inspire Health Canada to follow suit.

In the meantime, please enjoy this photograph of a dog dressed as a pickle.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Oregon Researchers Find More College Students Consuming Cannabis Since Legalization

Researchers at Oregon State University in Corvallis have found that university students are consuming more cannabis since adult-use legalization commenced two years ago—especially at an “undisclosed large public university” in the state.

According to the study, the increased cannabis consumption occurred mainly among students who binge-drink alcohol, though researchers also found rising rates among students who are under 21.

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“We found that, overall, rates of marijuana use have increased across most schools and across the country likely, but that the rates in Oregon increased more,” OSU professor David Kerr told the Register-Guard.

The study compared consumption by college students before and after Oregon legalized adult-use cannabis in July 2015. Adult-use sales began on Oct. 1, 2015. OSU researchers looked at seven universities across the country and found increases at six of them. The unnamed Oregon university posted the highest increase by the schools in the study.

Data from the Oregon university came from 588 students in 2014 and 1,115 students in 2016. In 2014, 21.4% of those surveyed reported having used cannabis. In 2016, 25.7% of students said they had—an increase of 4.3%.

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All told, the 25-page report, published Wednesday, uses responses from 10,924 undergradute students, whose ages range from 18 to 26. It keeps the universities in the study anonymous, as some schools are in states where recreational marijuana remains illegal.

Researchers also relied on existing data published by the University of Michigan. Kerr said OSU researchers focused on the seven schools in particular because Michigan had already compiled data from those universities before and after Oregon’s cannabis legalization.

“We can’t give the name of the institutions, either the Oregon one or the comparison institutions,” Kerr said. “That was part of the agreement to use the data.”

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The PDF of the full study is posted below:


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

How to Keep a Cannabis Strain Health and Wellness Journal

Keeping a cannabis journal is a great way to help you maximize the power of cannabis consumption, particularly if you’re utilizing cannabis as part of your wellness or medical regimen. Individual strains impact everyone differently, and remembering whether it was Blue Dream, Blue Cheese, or Blueberry that you liked so well on your last trip to the dispensary can get a little hazy—particularly when different growers’ strains will have different characteristics, too.

Not sure where to start? Check out the following insight, tips, and tricks to make keeping a cannabis journal as easy as updating your status.

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Step 1: Get Behind the Concept

How to Keep a Cannabis Strain Health and Wellness Journal | Leafly(Julia Sumpter for Leafly)

Why is keeping a cannabis wellness journal so important? First, it makes it easier to keep track of things that don’t agree with you. Have you ever vaped something that made you feel totally lethargic and found yourself wondering whether you should have known to avoid this strain? With a cannabis journal, you can simply flip back and reference whether you’ve tried a certain strain before and how you felt about it.

It also makes it easier to see patterns. Perhaps you’re experiencing cannabis-induced paranoia only on the days that you also consume coffee, but unless you write those things down over the course of several days or weeks, it can be hard to decipher those connections.

Furthermore, you’ll have a record that you can go over with your budtender or even your doctor if need be. They might, with objective eyes, see things that you miss, which can help them modify their recommendations to better suit your personal experiences.

Finally, journaling is good for your overall health. Studies have found that journaling helps to improve self-confidence, hone communication skills, and even increase your IQ!

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Step 2: Figure Out Your Medium

Are you the kind of person who prefers to write things longhand or utilize a memo app on your phone? Perhaps the more important question is: What type of journal will you keep up with every single day? The biggest and perhaps most difficult part of keeping any sort of journal is keeping up with it daily.

If you prefer digital journaling, find an app that will remind you during the day to keep up with your notes. If you prefer an old-school approach, consider investing in a nice physical strain journal such as Goldleaf’s Patient Journal or The Chronnoisseur’s Complete Tasting Journal. Keep it by your bed or somewhere that you won’t be tempted to ignore it. Writing longhand can be beneficial—studies have shown that it keeps your mind sharp and helps you learning—but it’s not convenient for everyone, so choose the medium that works best for you.

Step 3: Decide What to Write

How to Keep a Cannabis Strain Health and Wellness Journal | Leafly(Julia Sumpter for Leafly)

Cannabis journals can be a great way to help you make sense of your favorite strains and how they can complement your lifestyle, but what sort of things should you be writing about?

  • Starting state of mind. How were you feeling before you smoked, vaped, or had an edible? Were you stressed about work? Tired from a long day? If you were experiencing anxiety, was it unusually pronounced? Be sure to note anything out of the ordinary.
  • Cannabis intake. Keep track of the strain and brand, the consumption method you used (be specific—“One half-gram pre-roll” is better than “Smoking”), when you consumed (time of day as well as things like whether it was before or after a meal), how quickly you started to feel effects (particularly with edibles), and so on. Be sure to note the dispensary you picked the product up from so you can track it down again if you loved it.
  • Cannabis effects. How intense were the effects? When did they start to taper off? What did you like or dislike about your experience? Maybe you found a strain that you loved for the most part, but that gave you dry mouth—if so, you can ask your budtender for something similar with less likelihood of causing dry mouth next time.
  • Food and water intake. Did you have a huge brunch? It might have been the eggs benedict making you sleepy all afternoon, not the Golden Goat. Keep track of whether you ate less or more than average, whether you ate anything unusual, whether you drank coffee, tea, or alcohol, whether you felt dehydrated, and so on.
  • Pain, illness, or allergies. This could include allergies to food, environmental allergies (pollen, dust, pets), sharp or dull pain, or symptoms of any illness that you experience. If you’re taking medications or supplements besides cannabis, list those as well.
  • Sleep. How many hours of sleep are you getting? Are you sleeping straight through or waking frequently? You can use an app such as Sleep Cycle to help you keep track of how well you’re sleeping.
  • Exercise. Record your physical activity, whether that means workouts or just the step counts on your fitness tracker.
  • Hormone changes. For women, this should include menstrual cycles.

Try to record all the same items every single day, even if you don’t consume any cannabis. You might not need to record everything that we’ve listed here—these are just suggestions. A cannabis wellness journal is something that’s exclusively yours, so feel free to modify it as you go.

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Step 4: Schedule Your Journaling Time

Schedule your journaling time each day, whether you choose to spend just a few minutes or a half-hour at a time. Writing in your journal first thing in the morning is a great way to analyze your sleep and to see how you’re feeling before you’ve consumed any cannabis. Meanwhile, journaling in the evening allows you to look over the day, analyze any mood shifts, and see how your intake of cannabis, caffeine, food, water, and other medications affected you throughout the day. If you like, you can even do both. If you forget to journal for a few days, don’t give up—start back in and keep trying until you solidify the habit.

Wellness journals are invaluable tools in making sense of this crazy thing we call life, particularly when we have such a wide world of cannabis strains and products at our disposal. Try writing in a cannabis wellness journal for a few weeks to see the kind of difference that it can make in your life.

Keeping a cannabis journal already? Share your experiences and advice in the comments!


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

What Is a ‘Weed Hangover’ and Why Does It Happen?

For some, it’s a well-known fact while for others, it remains a questionable mystery, but the “weed hangover” is a more common phenomenon then some may think. In fact, it can have a range of effects from brain fog to headache.

To gain a full understanding of the weed hangover, one must explore the limited studies that have been conducted and the symptoms users have experienced, and dispel some of the more common misconceptions that get passed down from one consumer to the next.

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Cannabis Hangover Studies

There is admittedly little research when it comes to this topic, which is unsurprising given prohibition’s restrictions on cannabis studies. That said, a few studies exist that can serve as a jumping off point to coincide with anecdotal reports of “weed hangovers.”

The most famous study was published in 1985. Researchers used a very small sample size of only 13 participants to conduct their experiment. The participants, who were notably all men, were given either placebos or joints containing cannabis with 2.9% THC. They were then presented with a number of behavioral tasks after smoking, such as card sorting, free recall, and time production. The subjects were then tested again after a full night’s sleep. Researchers noticed a residual effect in only the cannabis users and stated, “the findings suggest that marijuana smoking can produce residual (hangover) effects the day after smoking. The precise nature and extent of these effects, as well as their practical implications, remain to be determined.”

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This study’s results were concluded to be significant (P value < 0.05). That said, there is room for critique due to the study’s small sample size and lack of diversity, leaving definite room for improvement.

Another study from 1998 with a similar sample size of 10 (again, all male) participants studied the residual effects of smoking a single joint and found that “residual effects of smoking a single marijuana cigarette are minimal.” While the results of this study were concluded to be significant, once again, it had a very small sample size lacking in diversity and only looked at the effects of a single joint.

Most anecdotal accounts from users who have experienced a weed hangover report much higher consumption rates, particularly in the manner of RSO and other potent products such as edibles. While there is some evidence to corroborate the anecdotal accounts of those who have experienced a cannabis-induced hangover, more research would be beneficial to truly understanding this phenomenon.

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What Kind of Cannabis Products Cause Hangovers?

As the studies on this topic suggest, a weed hangover (much like other hangovers) is most commonly linked to overconsumption. However, because cannabis is such a unique plant that can affect each person differently depending on strain, tolerance, THC content, and body chemistry, what’s too much for one person may be just enough for another. Therefore, the mantra “start low and go slow” stays true.

Anecdotally, as stated above, many of those who have experienced hangover symptoms report having used edibles or extracts. According to these conversations, the phenomenon seems to be far less common as a result of more traditional consumption methods such as smoking.

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One could surmise that this is because it is much easier to overconsume with edibles than from smoking cannabis. With that in mind, some may find their symptoms are a result of waking up with a lingering high, due to the slow rate at which products such as edibles metabolize in the body.

Whatever the method of consumption, it may simply come down to a reduction in dosage to find a more even high that does not cause unpleasant lingering effects.

Does Cannabis Cause Dehydration?

Many resources claim that cannabis directly causes dehydration and that this dehydration can lead directly to symptoms of a weed hangover. In fact, some even go so far as to make wildly exaggerated claims that cannabis is more dehydrating than alcohol. However, despite this seemingly “well-known” side effect, there is simply no science to back up the claim.

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Ultimately, what many people are mistaking for dehydration is actually dry mouth (aka cottonmouth), and the two are simply unrelated. Dry mouth, while terribly uncomfortable, is not a result of dehydration, but a lack of saliva.

So why does this happen? As studies show, the cannabinoid THC binds itself to the glands in the mouth responsible for producing the majority of saliva (these are known as the submandibular glands). In doing so, this binding temporarily halts the production of saliva, leading to the dry, uncomfortable sensation most of us have known at one time or another.

However, despite the fact that cannabis may not directly lead to dehydration, it’s worth noting the importance of staying hydrated while smoking—as well as in general. Studies seem to suggest that a large percentage of Americans are dehydrated and not consuming enough water during the day. Dehydration can lead to a slew of issues, including ones that medical cannabis may not be able to fully treat without the assistance of hydration.

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For example, an article from May 2016 details the importance of staying hydrated even when treating chronic back pain with cannabis. The author, a medical cannabis user, was perplexed that although the cannabis helped bring him much longer-lasting relief than the prescription medications he had tried, he was still experiencing severe back and spinal pain from time to time. After paying closer attention to his symptoms, he discovered the culprit: dehydration! Upon correcting his water intake, the author found himself feeling healthier with greater spinal flexibility.

Although there is no evidence to correlate cannabis directly with dehydration, many of the symptoms of a cannabis hangover may be improved by larger consumption of water, and generally speaking, it is good practice to make sure you’re staying hydrated.

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Cannabis Hangover Symptoms

Reported symptoms of a weed hangover include brain fog, headache, fatigue, nausea, and dry eyes. Since the aforementioned studies did not research all of these symptoms, much of what we know is based off user reports. It is possible, therefore, that other factors may come into play, and without proper studies we have no way to validate these claims with certainty. That said, there is enough commonality in anecdotal reports on this topic to warrant an honest conversation on the symptoms users are experiencing.

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Brain Fog and Fatigue

If you’ve ever woken up feeling groggy, unfocused, and in a daze, you’re familiar with brain fog. This symptom can make it very difficult to kickstart the day. Brain fog is incredibly unpleasant and may seem hard to snap out of, but there are some things you can do to help re-spark your battery, so to speak.

  • Get moving. Staring at a screen all day is not going to help. Try to start your day with a brisk walk.
  • Take a cool shower. The refreshing water should wake up your senses.
  • Adjust your eating habits. Make sure you eat healthy food and stay hydrated throughout the day to nourish your body.
  • Try a stimulant. For those who need an extra boost, a stimulant such as caffeine can give a foggy brain the jumpstart it needs.

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It may not completely resolve the feeling of sluggishness, but these remedies should help get you through the day more comfortably.

Headache

Another commonly reported symptom of the weed hangover is headache. Many attribute it to dehydration, but again, there’s no evidence to support the theory that cannabis directly causes dehydration. That said, it’s possible that when consuming cannabis in large quantities, one may forget to keep hydration in mind and as a result, end up not consuming enough water in the evening before bed.

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Whatever the cause, if you wake up with a headache, it’s best to go the normal route in treating it:

  • Cold compresses
  • Temple massages
  • Over-the-counter medication such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen (make sure to follow dosing instructions)

Nausea

Some consumers have reported experiencing nausea during a weed hangover. This seems to be less common, but can be terribly unpleasant nonetheless. If you wake up feeling nauseous, try to take it easy while you ride the feeling out. In more severe cases, make sure you are staying hydrated and try to eat some gentle, mild foods or opt for anti-nausea medication after checking with your physician.

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Dry Eyes

THC causes dilation in ocular capillaries, leading to the signature “red eyes” look as the flow of blood to the eyes increases. For most consumers, this clears up fairly quickly after smoking. However, if you wake up the next day and find you still have dry eyes, consider some rewetting drops to soothe the redness and restore moisture.

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The “weed hangover” may remain a topic of contention for some, but until the experience can be studied more extensively to truly understand the causes and effects of this phenomenon, the best we can do is pay close attention to proper dosage.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Dealing With Breast Cancer: How Cannabis Can Help Patients Cope

Breast cancer, according to the CDC, is the “most common cancer in women, no matter your race or ethnicity.” This disease is a concern for all genders, as the CDC highlights from its most recent available statistics (2013) that “230,815 women and 2,109 men in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer.”

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Two of my friends are currently at different stages of their breast cancer journey. Kristy Edwards was just diagnosed in early 2017 and is in currently the midst of her first round of chemotherapy. Nique Pichette, RN, MSN, has battled breast cancer twice and is now adjusting to life after cancer. I asked them to share their experiences about how cannabis has impacted their quality of life, both during and after treatment. If more patients are willing to be “out” about their experiences, we can build and present a greater body of knowledge to elected officials who can keep these stories of real people (and, specifically, real voters) in mind when shaping policies in the future.

Nique Pichette left, Kristy Edwards, right.Nique Pichette left, Kristy Edwards, right.

How did you find out you had breast cancer?

Kristy Edwards: I was laying in bed reading naked (as everyone should!), and I was mindlessly caressing my breast when I felt a lump. I didn’t get too concerned because I am 38 years old. Months later, I went in and had it biopsied, [and it was] stage 2 breast cancer—invasive ductal carcinoma. I was so close to not needing chemo and radiation, but unfortunately I do.

How has cannabis impacted your life since beginning treatment?

Nique Pichette: I did not use cannabis until my second battle with breast cancer in 2013. I had reached survivor status on November 14, 2011, 18 months before. I saw a picture of my son and I and I looked emaciated. As a nurse, and a Director of Nursing Operations at the time, I was petrified of losing my license. But I had lost my children to my eating disorder Anorexia Nervosa in 2005.  I was not going down that path again. So I contacted my biggest advocate, Steven Placek, and my journey with cannabis as medicine began.

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During treatment I was able to sleep at night. My appetite improved and the GI effects of chemotherapy that felt like cement running through my intestines were improved. After treatment, I started to learn as much as I could, both as a patient and a nurse, about cannabis as medicine. I had to learn the effectiveness for the symptoms I was trying to manage. [To get better educated], I’ve worked in a dispensary [and] have taught at the Northeastern Institute of Cannabis in Natick, MA. I received my cannabis nurse competency in 2015, and I developed the Cannabis Nurse Navigator Position to help patients navigate their way through the medical system while using medical marijuana.

Edwards: My experience with cannabis since starting chemo has been incredibly positive. I use a combination of ingestion methods: edibles, dabbing, transdermal patches, and vape pens. I prefer hybrid strains, and I find that [cannabis] helped ease my bone pain and keep my appetite going. It also helped me go to sleep when I was feeling that bone pain.

Another side effect was mental—cannabis helped me with the anxiety I felt about the diagnosis, and it helped me compartmentalize what I was going through without all of the emotion attached. I found that edibles were most helpful when I was in “the suck” of the first week. I took about 40mg of edibles to blast myself into oblivion. My favorite is a brand called Infused Creations. I supplement as needed with my Jetty Extracts vape pen—I use it every night to help me calm my thoughts and sleep. I’ve also been using a 1:1 transdermal patch from Nature Nurse because I’ve heard that CBD helps with stopping cancer growth, plus the patch helps with overall body pain.

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I have fully embraced medicating myself through this ordeal, especially on a mental level. Cannabis helps me feel normal. My friends and family are all supportive of cannabis use as well, and it’s actually changing some of their minds about it. I feel like I’m becoming a huge advocate for the awesomeness of weed and am no longer afraid of talking about it. I can just say “I HAVE CANCER, DUH,” which seems to make people more compassionate.

Were your doctors supportive of you using cannabis?

Edwards: My doctor is supportive of my cannabis use. I told her I was going to be a heavy user and she said she was fine with it, because she knew it would help with appetite.

Pichette: My doctors at Dana Faber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA, would not write for my authorization, but they did not deny me my rights to obtaining my medical marijuana card in a legal state. I knew it was just a matter of time, and in 2016 I attended a conference at Harvard University in Boston, in which Dr. Raphael Mechoulam was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award for his half-century research on cannabis.

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What advice or insights do you have for other newly diagnosed patients?

Edwards: For newly diagnosed patients, be open-minded about cannabis. It can truly help you in so many facets—both mentally and physically. Don’t be afraid of it. Experiment with your favorite strains; I personally love a body high.

Pichette: I would tell a newly diagnosed patient to embrace the journey. Getting angry [or] living in denial, worry, and fear will just add to the negative energy the cancer cells have from within.  Remember that everyone’s journey is personal. It is not for family, friends, and medical professionals to judge a patient’s plan of care. Until you personally hear the words “You have cancer,” you cannot truly understand the answer to this question.

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We want to hear more stories of how cannabis can help cope with the myriad effects of cancer. If you’d like to, please share your own story in the comments below.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Mixing Cannabis and Tobacco Could Hurt Heart Health, Improve Memory

A new research study from University College London is the first to examine how cannabis and tobacco interact together when mixed.

Published in the journal Psychological Medicine, the study found that adding tobacco to a cannabis joint does not, as some consumers believe, affect the resulting high—although it could help counter the memory-impairing effects of cannabis consumption.

“There’s a persistent myth that adding tobacco to cannabis will make you more stoned, but we found that actually, it does nothing to improve the subjective experience,” the study’s lead author, clinical psychologist Chandni Hindocha, told University College London.

The study examined 24 “healthy, non-dependent but experienced users of cannabis and tobacco,” as each took part in four sessions. The sessions included smoking joints filled with various mixtures: cannabis and tobacco, cannabis and a placebo, tobacco and a placebo, or a placebo mixture entirely.

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Researchers then tested participants’ episodic memories by having them recall passages of prose, which they heard both before and after consuming. Another test studied spatial working memory. The study team monitored participants’ heart rates and blood pressures, and afterward asked  them evaluate their moods and the experience.

Consistent with previous studies, cannabis was found to impair participants’ ability to recall information. Adding tobacco, however, reduced this impairment, which researchers said fits with prior findings that nicotine helps improve concentration.

Heart rate was its highest when participants consumed tobacco and cannabis together, with “a moderate increase” in blood pressure among participants. Study authors said the increase could add to the cardiovascular risk of smoking cannabis.

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While combining cannabis and tobacco is far from the norm in the US, a prior study found that the majority of cannabis consumers in Europe actually prefer the combination to joints filled purely with cannabis.

“In a previous study, we found that the large majority of cannabis users in Europe smoke cannabis with tobacco. Tobacco’s ability to reduce the memory-impairing effects of cannabis may be part of why people add it to their joints,” Hindocha said. “Surprisingly little research has been done on how tobacco might alter the effects of cannabis. As cannabis gets legalized in more countries, it is essential that any changes in cannabis policy consider their interrelationship.”

Another author, UCL clinical pharmacology professor Val Curran, said: “There is a clear public health implication here, suggesting that smoking tobacco with cannabis does not improve the stoned feeling but is still worse for physical health.”


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Cannabis Use in Australia Has Dropped Significantly. Why?

Cannabis use declined significantly in Australia between 2001 and 2013, according to a new report out of the University of New South Wales. But while the use-rate data seem solid, the underlying reasons for the decline are harder to pin down.

Between 2001 and 2013, consumption fell dramatically, especially among  young people. Among individuals aged 14 to 19, past-year use dropped from 24.4% to 14.8%. Among those in their 20s, past-year use declined from 29.1% to 20.8%. The only recorded uptick was a slight rise in consumption among those in their 40s.

(Image via "Trends in Drug Use and Related Harms in Australia, 2001 to 2013," University of New South Wales. PDF)(Image via “Trends in Drug Use and Related Harms in Australia, 2001 to 2013,” University of New South Wales. PDF)

A combination of five significant factors may be contributing to the phenomenon, according to a review paper published in Drug & Alcohol Review. The piece, by University of New South Wales academics Alison Ritter and Oluwadamisola Sotade, calls for more comprehensive research into the reasons for the decline in cannabis use in Australia.

“We have known for some time about the declines,” said Ritter, who also authored the report itself. “This was more about trying to start to think about why.”

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Ritter and Sotade identified various changes in attitude, regulation, supply, and complementary drug use as factors that might help explain the decline, as well as an “increasing focus on healthy lifestyles.”

To better understand such factors, the authors argue, “A new research agenda is required, with a multidisciplinary focus including regulation theory, economics and econometric techniques, comparative policy analysis methods, and sociology and cultural analysis such that the plausible reasons can be empirically tested.”

Will Australia’s Medical Cannabis Law Impact Broader Use?

“It’s very hard to speculate on this,” Ritter told Leafly, “but research published from the USA after their experience with medicinal cannabis suggests that rates of cannabis use in young people [has] not increased in association with medicinal cannabis.”

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“There is conflicting evidence about cannabis use amongst adults,” she added. “Some studies do show a trend to increasing cannabis use, others do not. There does appear to be evidence of an increase in cannabis use disorders.”

Among medical marijuana states in the US, Ritter said less-regulated systems may be more  likely to contribute to a rise in nonmedical use. “The effects depend on the kinds of medicinal cannabis programs” in place, she said.

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What About Decriminalization?

Ritter noted “there has always been very strong support for [decriminalization] in Australia,”  pointing  out that every state has some style of decriminalization law on the books. In a paper published last year, Ritter and other University of New South Wales academics published data on the effects of decriminalization.

The research evidence indicates that decriminalisation of drug use:

  • Reduces the costs to society, especially the criminal justice system costs
  • Reduces social costs to individuals, including improving employment prospects
  • Does not increase drug use
  • Does not increase other crime
  • May, in some forms, increase the numbers of people who have contact with the criminal justice system (net widening)

Evidence that decriminalization doesn’t result in increased drug use is not, of course, the same as a finding that it results in decreased drug use. Nevertheless, it’s relevant data to consider as communities weigh how further decriminalization measures could affect cannabis use rates.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

PTSD, Insomnia, and Cannabis: What’s the Evidence Say?

According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), psychotherapy and sleep aid medications are the most common first-line treatments for solving PTSD-related insomnia. Beyond making sufferers sleepy and irritable the next day, chronic insomnia is associated with serious long-term health issues, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Medical marijuana is a particularly popular option for veterans who don’t want the side effects of the pharmaceutical suggestions most often used, such as sedatives like zolpidem or other drugs like clonazepam and trazodone.

Some research suggests people using medical marijuana may fall asleep easier and sleep longer.

Beyond anecdotal evidence from medical marijuana advocates who are military veterans, scientific research suggests that medical cannabis may be a promising option for treating insomnia.

Though more research is needed, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the global pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis funded a study that showed consuming THC enabled subjects to fall asleep easier and more quickly.

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Other research has been similarly suggestive that medical marijuana may help people have an easier time falling asleep and sleep longer and better, helping facilitate deep sleep, which in turn is thought to play a vital role in the natural bodily restoration process.

To hear more about PTSD, insomnia, and medical cannabis, listen to the third episode in the Zana/Leafly insomnia podcast, “Eyes Wide Open.”

Listen to “Zana HealthLab” on Spreaker.

PTSD as a Qualifying Condition

While the VA says more scientific research on PTSD and medical marijuana is needed, the anecdotal evidence is strong.

Amanda Berard, a military veteran from Texas, wrote about PTSD and medical marijuana for her master’s thesis in nursing at the University of North Texas. The sexual assault Berard experienced in the Army at age 19 led to PTSD that she says led to depression and hypervigilance. In Texas, her condition is typically treated with pharmaceuticals.

“You’re given a cocktail of medication,” Berard explained in a February 2017 interview with San Antonio’s KENS5 news. “A cocktail of pharmaceutical pills. I have five or six different medications that I’m supposed to take. The prescriptions, I feel, are like a Band-Aid solution.”

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Berard is now an advocate with the Texas chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Like other veterans, Berard is working to try to raise awareness of the many lives that might be transformed for the better if medical marijuana were an option for veterans in all states. That’s available to veterans in many legal MMJ states—but not all. Some states do not include PTSD on their list of qualifying conditions. Berard fought to advance a medical marijuana bill in the Texas state legislature this past spring, but the bill ultimately died in mid-May.

Other states have been more progressive, although it hasn’t been without a fight. (Surprisingly, one state you’d assume would have PTSD as a qualifying condition years ago — Colorado — is only now on the verge of adding it.) PTSD is now a qualifying condition in most other jurisdictions where medical cannabis is legal.

And, that’s certainly good news for vets who find cannabis is not only more effective than prescription treatments, but safer and less addictive.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

High School Athlete With Epilepsy Fights to Bring CBD Oil on Campus

A Georgia high school athlete has found himself in the middle of a medicinal cannabis debate, as school officials refuse to let the student, who suffers from epilepsy, take his medicinal cannabis oil on campus at lunch.

17-year-old CJ Harris, a senior-to-be at Warner Robins High School in central Georgia, has to meet his dad, Curtis Harris, at lunch every day. The two ride around the block or sometimes go home so CJ can take his medicinal cannabis oil, according to Associated Press reports.

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CJ draws some of the oil in a syringe, squirts it under his tongue, and then waits for it to dissolve, before going on with his day.

The standout football and basketball player has been taking medicine four times a day, or every six hours for the past four months for epilepsy.

Harris has been seizure-free since beginning his medicinal cannabis treatment, though in the last year he transferred to Warner Robins, a public school in Houston County. The oil was not an issue at his previous school, First Presbyterian Day School, a private school in Macron.

Harris is the first medical marijuana patient at a Houston County school since state Rep. Allen Peake of Macron introduced a law in 2015 establishing a state medical marijuana registry.

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Under the current rules, families that are registered can possess up to 20 ounces of low-THC cannabis oil to treat several illnesses, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. There are more than 1,700 patients in Georgia now registered in the MMJ database.

Beth McLaughlin, a spokeswoman for the Houston County school district, said the school can’t administer or store the cannabis oil on campus.

“By law, the only person whose name is on the registration card issued by the Department of Public Health for cannabis oil may store the oil,” she said in an emailed statement to The Telegraph. “In addition, per the Safe and Drug Free Schools federal law, the oil may not be brought onto school grounds.”

Currently, Rep. Peake is helping supply many in the area with low-THC oil. CJ is on his second bottle in four months and the Harris family said Peake is giving it to them for free.

If CJ makes it another two months without a seizure, he will be eligible to get his driver’s license. Harris also seems to be a pretty darn good football player—check his recruiting videos here.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

For Veterans With PTSD, Medical Marijuana Can Mean a Good Night’s Sleep

Too many American veterans face a new enemy, encountered months or many years after leaving active duty: sleeplessness.

David Bass, a US Army officer who served for 20 years, describes how insomnia can begin for soldiers.

‘In the combat zone, sleeping is extremely difficult. You’re adrenalized all the time.’

David Bass, 20-year Army veteran

“In the combat zone,” Bass says, “sleeping is extremely difficult. You’re adrenalized all the time, under tremendous pressure all the time to accomplish the mission. So you’re operating on extreme lack of sleep. My experience in Iraq was that medical personnel gave us Ambien. I personally became addicted to Ambien so I could sleep. Some of my friends who were also officers were also using it when we were there.”

But Ambien-induced sleep is different from regular sleep. “[Ambien] has some side effects,” said Bass. (Ambien is notorious for these known side effects). “I’ve seen people sleepwalking. That’s not a good thing to do in a combat zone—doing things and having no memory of it.”

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Stateside Problems

Even without those side effects, there’s still the problem of Ambien addiction once a soldier leaves the combat zone and return home. Soldiers who in the combat zone had Ambien-induced sleep – and had been readily supplied it by medical personnel there to ensure some means of getting rest — find their supply cut off, said Bass. Many turn to what’s available: unlimited quantities of alcohol. After deployment, “those of us dependent on Ambien used alcohol instead,” he said.

david-bass-veteran-1David Bass: Hypervigilance, nightmares can cause insomnia.

Even as he was dealing with his Ambien addiction, Bass recalls, he was also experiencing PTSD symptoms. “Paranoia and hypervigilance are two of the most common markers of PTSD,” he said. “I had nightmares. All these things lead to insomnia.”

According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, “Insomnia is reported to occur in 90-100% of Vietnam-era Veterans with PTSD. Insomnia was also the most commonly reported PTSD symptom in a survey of Veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Sleep problems aren’t just a symptom of PTSD; they’re a hallmark of the disorder.

“One of the reasons [we’re] so adamantly working for medical marijuana was that we discovered it was the answer to insomnia,” Bass said, referring to himself and his veteran friends who were experiencing sleeplessness. “[We] were able to use it to have very peaceful and restful sleep. I realized I didn’t need Ambien and didn’t need to drink myself to sleep.”

Cannabis Can Require Trial and Error

Roger Martin, an Army veteran and the executive director of the advocacy organization, Grow for Vets, had experiences similar to Bass. Dealing with chronic pain and severe insomnia, Veterans Administration doctors prescribed him a cornucopia of drugs — including Ambien and opioids. After years of medicating with prescription drugs, he saw the writing on the wall. And, he knew it wouldn’t end well.

For Martin, who worked in law enforcement after he served, cannabis wasn’t a drug thought he’d ever consider. However, after doing research and at the suggestion of his doctor, he decided to give it a try. Martin’s initial foray into cannabis wasn’t exactly successful. Having never tried cannabis, he had no idea what to expect. Following advice from a budtender, he started with edibles. And, as he recounts:

“I had no idea how long to wait for edibles to take effect. I waited 20 minutes, nothing happened. So I took some more. Another 20 minutes, still nothing. I took some more. Than pow! It all hit at once, and I didn’t know what hit me.”

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Martin, who shares his story in the most recent installment of Eyes Wide Open: A Podcast About Cannabis and Insomnia, says despite his miscalculation, he was so determined to get off of prescription drugs, he tried cannabis a couple of more times before getting it right.

Now, he says — his moderate dose of 10 to 15 mgs — works great. But, he urges others to heed his advice. “Start low, and go slow.”

Jeremy Kossen contributed to this report.

Listen to “Zana HealthLab” on Spreaker.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.