Cannabis Education: The Weekly News Roundup

by Oct 31, 2016

As part of our ongoing cannabis education, we share the latest news and research every Monday. This week, we discuss how to talk about cannabis with both your kids and your peers, questions about how the DEA is spending money to eradicate very little cannabis, how testing is making a huge difference in Oregon, and the effect of cannabis on both dreams and Crohn’s disease.

What would you like to learn about cannabis? Share your requests or cannabis news in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Marijuana may cause Crohn’s disease remission

Cannabinoid receptors are found all throughout the gastrointestinal tract. They are specifically found on immune cells, indicating that the ECS is important for immune function.

In a 2013 review, authors Rudolf Schicho and Martin Storr explain that patients with irritable bowel disease produce fewer endocannabinoids, the body’s natural THC.

They also state that certain cannabinoid receptors are overexpressed (upregulated). Upregulation is a sign that the intestinal tract is calling out for more cannabinoid inputs.

Cannabis is a known anti-inflammatory and inflammation along the gastrointestinal tract is one of the main causes of Crohn’s disease. Herb shares the few studies that have been done using cannabis to treat Crohn’s disease, as well as some great anecdotal evidence from Shona Banda, Coltyn Turner, and Matthew Lonsdale.

Image credit: Marijuana

Lawmakers Push DEA to Justify Marijuana Eradication

A bipartisan group of members of Congress is pushing a government watchdog agency to investigate the effectiveness of a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) program aimed at chopping down marijuana plants.

“Over half the states have now legalized marijuana in some form, yet the DEA continues to funnel millions of tax dollars every year into marijuana eradication,” eight U.S. House members wrote in a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Tuesday. “As Congress evaluates how to allocate government funds over the next fiscal year, it is critical that we have an accurate picture of what the DEA’s [cannabis eradication] funds are being spent on, where, and how effectively.”

Prohibition is expensive. In 2015, the DEA spent $18 million on destroying cannabis plants alone. That number includes $73,000 paid to Utah to irradicate cannabis plants…no plants were found.

On a local level, the city of Santa Ana agreed to pay a $100,000 settlement after police botched a raid on a dispensary there.

This is a lot of money that ultimately comes from taxpayers, but our elected officials are finally starting to question where it’s going and why.


Lab Testing Shows That Oregon’s Marijuana Is Safer Than Food

“If you can’t sell your product, that’s a big motivator to find a new product that is safe and possibly organic so you can pass your test and have your product on the shelf,” Lyons added.

The state’s strict standards provide peace of mind for consumers, knowing that what they’re buying is safe and pure.

“I only wish our food was tested to the highest standards as cannabis.” Lyons said.

Legalization brought regulation and now cannabis in legal states like Oregon is subject to strict testing before it hits the market. This means consumers know what’s in the cannabis they buy and can make informed decisions about what they put in their bodies.

When I read the arguments against legalization, I have to wonder if people are afraid that legal cannabis simply means a free-for-all where people who smell like patchouli and wear too much tie dye will roam the streets offering drugs to pedestrians and stray cats?

Instead, the success of Oregon’s testing program shows that legalization means far more consumer protection and cannabis education.

Image credit: Dope Magazine

THC to REM: Marijuana’s Effect On Dreams

THC’s interruption of the usual sleep cycle might not be such a bad thing, as a lack of REM sleep and a surplus of deep sleep have both been tied to more restful, higher quality sleep—which may explain why cannabis is such a valuable tool in treating sleep disorders.

The question that remains is whether or not long-term deprivation of REM sleep results in negative effects, aside from putting our usual dreams on hold? In truth, it’s impossible to say. The rebound effect upon withdrawal suggests that REM sleep is necessary, but scientists have yet to figure out why, just as they have yet to figure out why we dream in the first place.

Much like cannabis itself, there’s a lot we don’t know about dreaming. We do know that cannabis suppresses dreams in favor of deep sleep, but we don’t know how or why or if it matters.

However, for anyone with insomnia, missing a few dreams seems like an excellent trade for a decent night’s sleep. Does it seem worth it to you?


Image credit: The Marijuana Times

The Message Kids Have Heard About Marijuana Through the Years

Within the rise of the Internet and global information sharing is another revolution, possibly the most influential one in human history: social media.

Billions of people communicate their thoughts, feelings and opinions to each other every day. Many of those people have children and in this day and age all parents will eventually have to answer the question: what did you/are you going to tell your children about marijuana?

The Marijuana Times does a great overview of the cannabis education children have been given through the decades. They covered everything from “Reefer Madness” to a PSA from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

However, the end of prohibition means that the narrative is changing and parents need to find better ways to discuss cannabis with their children. If you’re a pro-cannabis parent, what do you want your kids to know?

Advice on Coming Out of the Cannabis Closet

However, you may have friends or loved ones who don’t understand this, and may even look down upon it. In some cases, depending on your living situation, they may even forbid it.

This is an incredibly challenging situation, and one that isn’t easy to tackle. Many of us want to maintain the respect of the ones we care for, and don’t want the conflict that could ensue by telling them. But at the same time, just because someone decides to consume a nonlethal herb, that doesn’t mean they should be treated negatively or have to hide it, especially in the modern era of energy drinks, glorified alcohol use and rampant pharmaceuticals, all of which are much more dangerous.

Prohibition forced cannabis users to keep quiet. Talking about how and why you used cannabis was reserved exclusively for people you could trust and couldn’t be discussed publicly. Even now, people are still jailed for simple possession and risk having their children taken from them in some parts of the country.

However, many of us are fortunate enough to live in places where cannabis is both accepted and gaining some legal standing. If we’re open about using cannabis and willing to show the world the diverse population of people who benefit from cannabis, it will help everyone.

Coming out of the cannabis closet reminds the prohibitionists that they are fighting their friends and neighbors, not just faceless “bad guys” who threaten the safety of their communities; cannabis users are the community. The Joint Blog has some great tips for how to be open about your cannabis use if it’s safe for you to do so.

See the next blog here! 

How did you come out of the closet about cannabis? What do you tell your kids? How do you further your own cannabis education? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.

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