Your Weekly Cannabis Reader
ONCDP would also like the public to know that the drug is addictive and that it is not used by everyone. Okay, two separate issues. On the first, they eventually acknowledge that “users can become addicted” (which is different from “will”), and frankly many experts have rated marijuana’s abuse potential as lower than or safer than that of alcohol and other drugs. But second, it is interesting how defensive ONDCP has gotten about marijuana’s popularity that they feel they have to address the question “Doesn’t everyone use marijuana?”
The really, really interesting admission by ONDCP concerns just how much a monumental failure prohibition has become. Consider this: “In 2011, approximately 2.6 million Americans aged 12 or older used marijuana for the first time. This averages out to about 7,100 new marijuana users every day.” Yes, prohibition does not keep people from trying marijuana. Indeed, it can be argued that prohibition increases the availability of marijuana to young people. After all, the average age of new marijuana users is 17.5 years old. That exposes the simple truth that, under prohibition, teenagers are able to access and use marijuana.
Prohibition is an unequivocal failure, but the Office of National Drug Control Policy is still trying to enforce it. Currently, one of the biggest risks associated with cannabis is the fact that it’s illegal. Police are even attempting to use possession of small amounts of cannabis as an excuse for shooting people.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy, run by Michael Botticelli, routinely distributes fear-mongering misinformation. One of its biggest campaigns, anti-drug television commercials, did little more than convince people that everyone was doing it. It inappropriately (and possibly illegally) campaigned against Nevada’s medical marijuana initiative in 2004, demonstrating a willingness to ignore states’ rights in favor of its own agenda.
The office of the drug czar is supported by taxpayer money, but it has repeatedly demonstrated that it is not interested in either the will of the people or the facts about cannabis.
It was four years after losing his legs that Drugan found the sport of sit skiing—or Mono Skier X to those familiar with the X Games. Training with Oregon Adaptive Sports and discovering that he could canvas the mountain with even the best of skiers revealed an entirely new path to the medal podium, which once upon a time Drugan had hoped would be for skateboarding. “That’s why I ski for one, when I’m on the mountain just kicking back, I can go and be in these spaces and be more able-bodied than most people. There’s no boundaries to me, it’s all skiable—I can do anything that anyone else can do. And that’s really empowering, but it’s also about just being in nature and enjoying the scenery. Just stopping on the mountain and taking it all in, it’s epic. It doesn’t matter how fast you get up there or how well you ski—it’s just getting up there and seeing the view.”
While Drugan remains opposed to the misuse and abuse of pharmaceuticals that’ve grown commonplace in today’s society, he doesn’t shy away from candidly praising the many benefits he feels he receives from his cannabis use.
Ravi Drugan lost his legs at age 15. He began using cannabis therapeutically shortly afterward, and he now uses it to help him ski.
Despite only skiing a couple of times before his accident, Ravi began skiing competitively after losing his legs. He won the bronze in Mono Skier X at the 2015 X Games. His name will come out of my mouth every time someone tells me that skiing “is too hard” for the foreseeable future.
Whilst the most well-known form of consuming marijuana is by smoking it, not everyone – especially those who use it for medical purposes – want to smoke it. Regardless of the research showing that there is no physical harm in smoking pure medical marijuana, a lot of people find the smell, especially of smoking, puts them off.
That doesn’t mean however that they can’t consume it in different ways. There are a number of ways that you can get marijuana into your system, and this is especially important for children and older people. However, with these different consummation options, the potency and its effect can be different.
Each different method of ingestion offers a different onset time, duration, and potency. This means that there are plenty of options and some good reasons to look into more than just smoking.
Do you need something long-lasting, but you don’t mind if it doesn’t kick in for an hour or so? Try an edible. Want something that works a little faster, but might not last as long? Try a tincture or a sublingual spray.
How do you prefer to take cannabis?
Meanwhile, each of us has a unique metabolism that processes cannabis at a different rate, further complicating the picture. Even amongst people of the same gender and age, individual lifestyle choices such as levels of exercise and eating habits may also affect the amount of time required to pass a drug test (those with higher levels of fat content store cannabinoids more readily than leaner folks).
At the standard 50 ng/mL cutoff, he states that “it would be unlikely for a chronic user to produce a positive urine drug test result for longer than 10 days after the last smoking episode.” And if this sensitivity is dropped to the 20 ng/mL level, he posits that this detection window extends to around 21 days for frequent users.
Meanwhile, for those who smoke occasionally or for the first time, “it would be unusual for the detection of cannabinoids in urine to extend beyond 3-4 days following the smoking episode” at the 50 ng/mL cutoff. This is drawn out to around one week for a more sensitive 20 ng/mL threshold.
Despite the fact that drug testing employees is rarely worth the expense, despite the fact the drug tests give employers access to private medical history, despite the fact that even the FBI is struggling to find employees who can pass a drug test, despite the fact that medical marijuana reduces absenteeism, most states offer no employment protection for for people using cannabis medically.
Even in medical states, people using cannabis in compliance with local laws can be fired for a positive drug test. Any cannabis user working at a company with a federal contract can be fired due to the federal government’s drug-free workplace policy. Many states also deny public assistance to people who can’t pass a drug test.
So, even if you’re using cannabis responsibly and you’re in a legal state, it’s still legal for your employer to fire you. This situation is ridiculous and is one of the many reasons we need to end prohibition.
These changes are not permanent. They are simply the body’s response to an excess of a certain unneeded compound. Cell receptors become less responsive to THC because there’s a lot of it in your system and you don’t need as much.
Believe it or not, some researchers suggest that there may be some instances when this tolerance is beneficial. Different areas of the body seem to be more prone to developing tolerance than others.
Yet, these areas of research are still in preliminary investigations, and it is difficult to draw firm conclusions based on these observations.
In general, experienced cannabis consumers can tell whether or not the herb is working for them. If cannabis once stopped your pain and no longer seems effective, you’re probably tolerant to the herb.
Patients need their medicine to work every single time, so what do you do when it becomes less effective? Taking a tolerance break1 isn’t an option for everyone, but cannabinoid cycling might be a way to reduce tolerance without compromising treatment.
If you’re a patient with access to healthcare professional who can guide you through this process, start there. Unfortunately, many patients have few resources when it comes to cannabis; in that case, please proceed with caution and pay attention to your body as you go.
If you’ve every built up a tolerance to cannabis, what did you do about?
Now, taking a 20:1 CBD:THC solution twice a day, Sarah experiences many seizure free days at a time, most recently, a 13-day stretch! She has much more awareness, as if she’s “waking up” after so many years of seizure-induced sedation. Sarah’s sleeping and eating better, her mobility, strength and balance are improving, and she has renewed interest in activities she had long ago stopped doing, such as looking at books and playing notes on her xylophone. Our old Sarah is returning!
We are extremely encouraged by Sarah’s response to this treatment but at the same time, we are dismayed by what is quickly becoming a financial crisis for our family. Because the oil Sarah takes is not an FDA-approved medication, no insurance covers the cost. Sarah’s last 30-day supply cost us nearly $500 out of pocket.
Federal prohibition leaves many families struggling to pay for life-changing medications if they can obtain them at all. There is a flood of anecdotal evidence of the difference CBD can make for people suffering seizures, but federal prohibition makes it very difficult to study effectively.
Currently, people performing studies on cannabis are limited to what’s grown at the University of Mississippi, which does not grow a high CBD strain. That means that patients like Sarah are forced to do trial and error at their own expense until they find the product and dosage that works best. Can you imagine if people were forced to do the same with antibiotics?
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