Your Weekly Cannabis Reader

by Oct 11, 2016

Detecting the Undetectable

What’s more, these tiny concentrations can be measured in the presence of relatively massive amounts of other compounds – cannabinoids, terpenes, sugars, fats – that are always present in any given cannabis sample. The point I’d like to make is that the accurate measurement of trace amounts of cannabis contaminants including pesticides and residual solvents is an astounding feat that borders on magical. This feat is not magic though. It requires extremely delicate instrumentation, ultra-pure reagents, expert analysts, and labor-intensive sample preparation. It is far from trivial, and unlike magic, requires a large investment on the part of the laboratories performing this feat of science. Other industries have embraced this reality, and the cannabis industry is well on its way toward that end.

Testing is a vital step in our process at Medicine Box. We test our soil, our flowers, our trim, our oil, and the edibles and tinctures we make with those materials. We want to create something wonderful from soil to oil, and testing provides us with essential feedback.

It’s also important for consumers to look for products that have been properly tested by a third-party lab. Just as with anything you consume, it’s important that your cannabis is safe, especially if you’re using it for medical purposes. While understanding the testing process isn’t essential to enjoying cannabis, it does show the level of care that goes into creating post-prohibition products.

Image credit: Dean Krakel via The Cannabist

I’m a Convert: How Cannabis Changed Everything Amid My Sports Injury Recovery

I’d long heard stories about the healing properties of pot, but I’d never needed to explore that any further. For me, the weed had stayed in the recreational, not medicinal, category. But if it had helped the nurse’s father-in-law and if all the stories I’d read were true, “Maybe I should try it too,” I thought.

A week after surgery, on the way home from my first post-operation examination, I asked my son to make a detour. An hour later I left a local dispensary with a bag full of oils, patches, creams, shatter, flower and edibles — ready and determined to ditch the painkillers I’d been prescribed.

I didn’t know it then, but I was on the brink of a personal epiphany — one that involved a natural, plant-based medicine replacing a more addictive, more dangerous, heavy-duty opioid to treat my seemingly unending pain.

More and more people are wary of opiates and looking for safer, less addictive alternatives. Many of those people are turning to cannabis as an effective painkiller with far fewer side effects than opiates and other pharmaceuticals.

Both THC and CBD provide effective pain management. Between the variety of strains available and the various methods of consumption, patients who choose cannabis have the means to tailor their treatment to their needs, further reducing the risk of unwanted side effects.

Image credit: Leafly

Does Cannabis Interact with Antidepressants?

Cannabis can make people feel more relaxed, less stressed, and, of course, happier. So predictably, people experiencing depression or anxiety are much more likely to use cannabis — and more of it — than people not suffering from these conditions.

Of course, many people with these conditions also take prescription antidepressants. Consequently, it’s important for medical professionals and patients to be educated on potential interactions that could arise by combining the two.

Yet again, research is desperately needed. Despite that, Jeremy Kossen put together a great overview of the potential side-effects of combining cannabis and antidepressants.

Dosage is another important but often overlooked factor. As Kossen points out in the article, small amounts of THC can be beneficial for anxiety and depression, but large quantities can actually exacerbate it. 

Image credit: Green Flower

7 Reasons Cannabis is Great for PMS

Tired, sore, and all-around irritated? Over 75% of women experience some form of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). In fact, physical and emotional symptoms can start as many as one to two weeks before menstruation. For some women, these symptoms can be excruciating, even debilitating.

But cannabis may have an answer.

After all, cannabis has been used to alleviate symptoms of PMS for thousands of years. Even Queen Victoria of England relied on cannabis for her menstrual cramps. From pain relief to sleep – here are 7 reasons why cannabis is great for PMS. 

PMS often sounds trivial, but many women find it debilitating. The pain alone can make it impossible to work, care for children and other loved ones, or even get out of bed. I was once trapped in a parking garage for over an hour because the waves of pain were too intense for me to safely drive.

Even though PMS is incredibly common, there are very few reliable remedies for any of its symptoms, let alone something that can simply provide relief and enable women to get on with our lives. However, as Rachel Garland explains, cannabis alleviates a host of symptoms of PMS and offers women at least one viable method of feeling better.

Image credit: Colm MacCárthaigh

FBI Admits 1 Million-plus Arrests for ‘Breathing While High’ in 2015

These infractions include murder (11,092) and property crimes (1,463,213) and drunk driving (1,089,171), and are topped by what the FBI categorizes as arrests for “drug abuse.” The country’s 1,488,707 “drug abuse” busts do include sales, manufacture, and trafficking, but 83.9 percent of those drug-related pinches were for possession alone, with 574,641 drug arrests inflicted for simply holding weed.

Beyond quantifying the reality of pointless marijuana arrests, the FBI data raises a fundamental question regarding drug possession and the struggle with substance dependence in the United States: Why, you can’t help ask regarding 296,252 cases of heroin, opiate, and cocaine arrest, are cops and narcs the best America has to offer on the harm-reduction front lines?

In 2015 over half a million people were arrested for simply possessing cannabis. That’s a staggering number of people whose lives (not to mention the lives of their loved ones and employers and coworkers) were disrupted for nothing more than possessing a plant that more and more people are voting to legalize.

The waste of time, taxes, and private funds is unbelievable. The upcoming election offers millions of people a chance to send a clear message that cannabis is not a crime.

Image credit: Herb

How Can Cannabis Help With Autoimmune Disorders

It’s a misconception to think that cannabis simply provides a distraction from a serious illness. Compounds in the herb directly engage with immune cells, creating real and valuable changes in the body.

This gives the herb the potential to fight cancer, ease neurological disorders, combat autoimmune diseases, and calm swelling.

But, what makes this possible? It’s all thanks to the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

People have been using cannabis to treat a huge variety of illnesses for centuries. Now, we’re finally learning how cannabis works in the body and how it can heal us. We’re learning to apply this knowledge to specific ailments and we’re getting results that can be replicated and tested, potentially leading to relief and healing for an uncountable number of people.

Using cannabis to treat autoimmune disorders is particularly exciting because these diseases are often incurable and can severely reduce the quality of life of the people who suffer from them. Are you using cannabis to manage a chronic illness? Please share your experiences in the comments.

See the next blog here!