Women of Cannabis

Stacy Thompson saw an overwhelming need for women to connect at the many different cannabis conferences she attended, so her mission became clear: create an experience for women to unite and foster an atmosphere of empowerment. In 2018, Thompson began the Women of Cannabis Conference (WOCC), with the debut event happening the day before MJBizCon (the conference is unaffiliated). The first WOCC brought 500 women together, in a networking space that reminded everyone they are on the same team.

Parisa Rad, Director of Marketing for WOCC, says that her first experience with Thompson was online, and since joining the team, can attest that Thompson is passionate about making it easy for women to build bonds that go beyond networking.

“[Thompson’s] enthusiasm and passion for creating a safe place to help current and emerging women not only connect with like-minded colleagues, but form meaningful interactions with those women, which will lead to stronger bonds. Her vision for creating a powerful female unity in the space is what drew me to the organization and ultimately to joining the team,” says Rad.

The WOCC will fall on December 10th, 2019 in Las Vegas this year, and the speaker list includes some of the most formidable pioneers in the industry: Aundre Speciale, Ophelia Chong, Stormy Simon, Frances González, Mila Jansen, and Monique Jackson-Fitzgerald, to name a few. For those who can’t make the Vegas event, there is another WOCC in Detroit in May. Annie Epley, Director of Operations of WOCC, says the biggest difference this year is the addition of Rad to their team, who she claims was the element missing from their team.

“We are 3 unique powerful women making it happen.  Stacy and I found our missing piece with this conference which is Parisa Rad and the connection is real,” says Epley.

Connections are an important theme at WOCC, as Epley says that beyond networking, attendees will build relationships that will result in future outings and vacations. Sharing experiences and encouraging each other, learning from one another, and finding a tribe are at the center of what WOCC is about. Rad says that the team hopes genuine, welcoming vibes will spread through the audience.

“A room full of ambitions, driven women (and men) leading the forefront of this thrilling yet challenging industry. Leaving behind egos to learn and share from one another’s experiences and even mistakes, to form a strong support system. We seek to form unity and strength for our female sector in the cannabis space,” says Rad.

Attendees can expect interactive games and entertainment, opportunities to win luxury items as well as important business tools, and chances for mentorship and advice. For those looking to shape the framework of their new entrepreneurial venture, there will be an all-day master class featuring intensive training for branding, funding, and business-building. The team is also searching for ways to make it accessible for people who can’t attend by offering livestreaming on multiple media outlets, as well as on their YouTube channel.

 

Diana-Ashley Krach is a freelance writer, journalist, and content creator whose work can be found on Everyday Feminism, Ravishly, and Playboy. She is the co-host and creator of Your Highness Podcast and founder of Good Vibes Marketing Agency. You can find her on Twitter or on her website


Dixie Elixir Review

When medicating with cannabis, having an inconspicuous and easy choice is always attractive, especially when that product is delicious. While a newer concept, adding cannabis to drinks is a trend that is quickly becoming popular. Convenience and efficacy are what many of these enhanced liquids and beverages boast, so it makes sense that this form of edible is gaining traction.

Dixie Elixirs are an easy and pleasant way to medicate, by offering THC-infused drinks in a variety of flavors. The bottle is a small and sleek design, holding 8.5 ounces of 100 MG of THC-infused liquid in a container that easily tucks away in the fridge. On the back of the bottle, the intensity level (this product rates 12 out of 20) is shown.  As is the amount of time it will take for the product to activate (30 minutes). As an added benefit, the bottle cap is designed to measure out 15 ML of the liquid, making it easier to control portions. It is recommended that you rinse out the cap after use to avoid sticky overspill, but otherwise, the bottle is very convenient.

I tried the Half tea and Half lemonade and Fruit Punch flavors. The Half and Half works well as a shot of sorts, or as a booster to a non-infused iced tea or lemonade. I found myself mixing the fruit punch with black cold brew coffee or just drinking it alone with a splash of ice water. Both flavors work well as a mid-afternoon way to lift your spirits.  And give your body a break from any aches or pains.

The Half and Half also lists black tea as an ingredient, making it a nice compliment to the afternoon.   It doesn’t make you zone out.  For nighttime, I found that the Fruit Punch offered more of a body relaxation, and I was able to fall asleep easier. Another benefit of this elixir was that it ignited my appetite, which is important for someone who has Crohn’s Disease, as I do.

Not only is the ingredient list simple and short, the product has no artificial flavors or colors, and no high-fructose corn syrup. The taste alone is pleasant, and even better when mixed with a favorite beverage. It has high potency without inebriation, if you use the cap measuring cup and take it slow.  As with any edible form of cannabis, it is best to tailor dosage to your needs.  Also be aware each product can affect you in a different way.

Dixie uses special technology that allows for quick uptake, or a fast reaction to the liquid, which I can attest to as a benefit. While it did take the full 30 minutes, it was a slow progression, felt mostly in the body. There was never a moment of hesitation or concern that I took too much.  The dosing works well to relieve my symptoms without making me feel high.

I would continue to use this elixir in all the flavors and recommend it as a convenient and fun way to medicate.

 

Diana-Ashley Krach is a freelance writer, journalist, and content creator whose work can be found on Everyday FeminismRavishly, and Playboy. She is the co-host and creator of Your Highness Podcast and founder of Good Vibes Marketing Agency. You can find her on Twitter or on her website


Pot In Pans: A History Of Eating Cannabis

In Pot in Pans: A History of Eating Cannabis, by Robyn Griggs Lawrence, the history of cannabis is viewed from a different lens: how different cultures incorporate cannabis into food recipes throughout time, dating back to cave men. The use of cannabis in food, not just as nourishment but to improve the quality of life, is a common theme throughout the book.

Women in Tashkent, Uzbekistan would make a sweet mixture with cannabis and egg whites to enhance mood, and to keep babies from crying during circumcision. In the Middle Ages, as the book points out, cannabis was an active ingredient found in kitchens throughout Europe. One of those incidents is the “health drink of cannabis nectar,” found in papal historian Bartolomeo Platina’s (the first Vatican librarian) cookbook, and it’s a basic cannabis extraction.

While the book does investigate how cannabis is incorporated into cuisine throughout history, it more specifically traces the origins of the pot brownie. Popular culture has long held onto misconceptions surrounding the pot brownie and very few people know about the story behind it.

This book weaves tales of cannabis use in art with political drug wars, all while keeping food at the forefront. Most importantly, though, Pot in Pans teaches people about the unknown history of the intersection of cannabis and cuisine. The book explore the way people consume cannabis throughout history and weaves in stories of how academics and creatives used the plant for productivity.

Furthermore, Pot in Pans explores details most people don’t consider when baking infused cuisine: the origin of the word cannabis, the beginning of the sativa and indica label, and the complicated science behind identifying where the plants exist throughout history. Readers of this book will have a deeper appreciation of the plant and will better understand the complex past of cannabis.

After writing her book title The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook in 2015, Robyn Griggs Lawrence saw a lack of solidly researched academic books about cannabis and food.

“I think for all of us in the cannabis industry, education is—or should be—a crucial part of our mission. My dream is that this book finds a place in college courses around the world, so students can learn why they’ve been deprived of knowledge about a plant that delivers so much—and put their minds to making the most of it in years to come, “Lawrence tells bud.com.

Lawrence says that in her research, she found that the use of Majoon (a hashish-based confection) dates to the 11th century. Being the genesis for the pot brownie, Majoon was prepared in a variety of ways, depending on the culture and time. For example, Indian Majoon is a sweet confection, while the Islamic preparation is basically straight hashish. In addition to a deep dive into the true background of the pot brownie, Lawrence respects the many ways cannabis has enhanced food over time by offering recipes. Because of Pot in Pans, new incorporations of ancient cannabis traditions are possible.

“Humans have found many ingenious ways to incorporate cannabis into their cuisine for thousands of years, and the time-tested cookery techniques and recipes they’ve passed along to us—nearly lost because of prohibition—are delicious and often very potent.”

 

Diana-Ashley Krach is a freelance writer, journalist, and content creator whose work can be found on Everyday Feminism, Ravishly, and Playboy. She is the co-host and creator of Your Highness Podcast and founder of Good Vibes Marketing Agency. You can find her on Twitter or on her website


How CBD Topicals Can Help Psoriasis and Sensitive Skin

Those with sensitive skin understand the trial and error of figuring a beauty routine that works. Figuring out which products won’t cause an adverse reaction is often an ongoing project. Personally, patch tests don’t always predict my skin’s long-term response to a product. This could be due to environmental or hormonal changes, but whatever the cause, I’m always reluctant to try anything that claims to be great for sensitive skin.

Even with my love for CBD, I was skeptical about how my sensitive skin would react. Surprisingly, most of the CBD topicals help my skin without an adverse incident. This is probably because CBD is a great source of Vitamin C and E, can boost collagen production, and can fight free radicals and signs of aging.

As acceptance of CBD grows, more and more beauty and wellness products are surfacing with the promise of helping sensitive skin. Of course, as esthetician Barbara Stender says, testing out products is part of the process. She says doing research and finding what works for you is more important than you may realize: the skin’s memory will show the good care you took years from now.

Stender also points out that sensitive skin is rarely a result of genetics.  Rather an outcome of lifestyle elements like dieting. Environmental factors like extreme heat or cold, skin disorders, medicine side effects, and hormones are some of the reasons a person can develop especially sensitive skin. Using CBD with other essential oils and natural ingredients can potentially soothe irritation.  Everyday Face and Body Oil by Apothecanna, combines CBD with cedar, which soothes skin, and geranium, which can heal scars.

Because CBD is a strong anti-inflammatory, it can reduce redness and blotchiness often present with sensitive skin. Additionally, dry skin can also be associated with sensitive skin, so it helps that CBD topicals can regulate sebum. Trista Okel, CEO and founder of Empower Bodycare, says that CBD can also impact the way our bodies respond to stimuli.

“CBD interacts with the TRPV1 receptor in the skin, it reduces inflammation and acts as an antinociceptive, which means that it reduces the body's response to painful stimuli. CBD also activates PPAR-γ, a receptor that regulates cell life in the skin, including regulating inflammation. In addition, CBD suppresses a pro-inflammatory enzyme, TNF-alpha, thus reducing inflammation,” Okel tells bud.com.

Okel reaffirms the need for patch testing, especially with sensitive skin, and stresses that there is no one product that works for everyone. The presence of CBD doesn’t always mean that a product is good, because things like perfumes and dyes can completely negate any benefits of CBD. Assuming you find a product that doesn’t include irritating ingredients, CBD topicals can significantly improve life for those with sensitive skin.

“If used regularly, CBD-infused lotions, oils, and creams can help prevent irritated skin through a couple of different mechanisms. First, by creating a barrier to potential environmental irritants, and second, by reducing the skin's inflammatory response to irritants,” says Okel.

 

Diana-Ashley Krach is a freelance writer, journalist, and content creator whose work can be found on Everyday Feminism, Ravishly, and Playboy. She is the co-host and creator of Your Highness Podcast and founder of Good Vibes Marketing Agency. You can find her on Twitter or on her website


Cannabis Brands Look For Online Platforms

When YouTube began cracking down on content creators in 2018, many cannabis-related channels were either shut down or repeatedly demonetized (when YouTube makes it impossible for creators to make money from videos). Despite the videos showing nothing harmful, offensive, or dangerous, the content was being purged swiftly, and many creators with large audiences were being erased. The list of reasons YouTube gave for deleting and penalizing content was vague, but the insinuation was that the videos were harmful.

It didn’t matter that the videos were being uploaded legally, with people offering educational or entertainment value about cannabis or hemp. Despite only offering tutorials and other unoffensive content, the videos were disappearing at a rapid pace,  The creators lost thousands and even millions of views. Arend Richard, co-founder of TheWeedTube, says that prior to this elimination, YouTube was home to a thriving cannabis community.

Richard began his channel on YouTube in 2015, and over the next three years gained almost 120,000 subscribers. YouTube has a three-strike rule, but they have no timeframe for those strikes. Richard received six strikes within 24 hours and was given no recourse to appeal. Before his channel was shut down, he originally set out to make a Patreon-like site that would work in conjunction with YouTube channels. He and a group of fellow creators decided to switch gears once it became clear there was a desperate need for an alternative for those who were most negatively affected by the elimination.

“We had originally set out to make a Patreon-like site but then changed gears to start a free-to-use, user-generated content site. We set up a GoFundMe and raised more than our goal within 72 hours and launched TheWeedTube.com a few days later on March 1st 2018,” Richard says.

TheWeedTube (TWT) features content like podcasts (under the potcasts label), travel videos, and hundreds of stories from patients detailing their weed delivery stories. There are also products use videos, cannabis news, and loads of growing and cultivation tutorials, but Richard says that the site isn’t restricted to cannabis. Gaming and fitness, for example, are topics that cater to an adult demographic.  They also fit in the scope of TWT’s content guidelines.

“We have more liberal content guidelines than YouTube—think HBO as compared to network television—but we also want our content to be completely positive, so we have community policing to make sure nothing is posted that is offensive, hateful, or violent. It’s a sporadic occurrence but our loyal users have been able to flag anything truly inappropriate right away,” says Richard.

One of the most difficult elements of being a content creator in cannabis is the prohibitive nature on social media platforms. Facebook and Instagram are consistently removing educational and non-profit material they consider offensive because of the mere mention of cannabis, so video-uploading platforms like YouTube were the only safer options. Before what is now known as “The Cannabis Purge,” many educators and patients found a place to host their content, none of it violating the posting guidelines.

Now, anyone mentioning anything cannabis-related faces the risk of losing months of hard work. Brands that show their cannabis products for sale or even CBD products—even without any added advertising—are likely to have their accounts cut without notice because the powers that be claim their content offers illicit drugs. The narrative of protecting consumers from drug pushers is really a fight against information, as many of the content creators on TWT can attest.

TWT also created an app, and an event was held on the eve of the launch (on 4/20 of this year) in Los Angeles. In addition to making cannabis content more available to consumers, it allows content creators and influencers to make money with creative freedom.

“Besides providing a protected content hub, TheWeedTube is the first video-based social network to provide monetization options to cannabis influencers and to offer cannabis companies commercial-style advertising. We want to create a safe space for a wide adult audience—both experienced cannabis users and the canna-curious—where cannabis is mainstreamed and destigmatized,” says Richard.

 

Diana-Ashley Krach is a freelance writer, journalist, and content creator whose work can be found on Everyday Feminism, Ravishly, and Playboy. She is the co-host and creator of Your Highness Podcast and founder of Good Vibes Marketing Agency. You can find her on Twitter or on her website


Can CBD Cigarettes Help You Quit Smoking?

Cigarette smokers face an incredible challenge when attempting to quit. Nicotine enter the blood stream and stay in the body for a long time.  Withdrawal symptoms affect focus, memory, sleep, appetite, mood, and heart rate. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it can take a person several times to quit smoking. However the risk for different cancers and heart disease decreases greatly within the first couple of years after cessation. Because of this, nicotine withdrawal is one of the most difficult experiences a person can have, and any successful smoking cessation method should warrant further exploration. Luckily, a person may have a natural alternative with CBD cigarettes.   Also called hemp cigarettes, CBD prerolls, or hempettes, these herbal smokes are showing signs they may be more effective  than other tobacco cessation methods.

Hemp cigarettes offer people who spend a small fortune on nicotine an accessible way to quit. For some, nicotine patches and other aides don’t work for a variety of reasons.  side effects, efficacy, affordability, and a lack of mental health support plague those trying to quit. Treating the withdrawal symptoms without addressing the root cause of nicotine addiction (anxiety, depression, mood disorders, other mental health conditions) doesn’t make long-term success feasible.

Because of this, having an alternative for smoking cessation that not only treats side effects of nicotine withdrawal, but also helps relax the body and reduce anxiety seems almost too good to be true. While the studies are limited, the research that does exist is hopeful that CBD pre-rolls could be a safe way to quit smoking. One small study found that CBD can reduce continued nicotine use by 40%.

Easing the Transition

To make the transition even easier, some companies like Bhang offer CBD pre-rolls that look like nicotine cigarettes. While it may be slightly more costly to buy a pack of CBD cigarettes, they last longer and are beneficial to your health (unlike nicotine). Tobacco use is one of the top preventable causes of death in the U.S., while there are no recorded deaths caused by CBD cigarettes or hemp pre-rolls. For many smokers, triggers like social settings, public speaking, stressful work conditions, and insomnia can derail any attempt at quitting, which is why CBD could be a crucial element for smoking cessation.

CBD can help maintain your body’s homeostasis, which keeps you balanced, but it has been shown to help with those specific triggers. For example, one report suggests that CBD can reduce the stress-inducing elements of Social Anxiety Disorder, while other studies show CBD can have the same impact as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications (without the nasty side effects). Furthermore, while nicotine can cause cancer, CBD has anti-cancer properties and has been shown to enhance the inhibitory effects THC has on glioblastoma cell proliferation in cancer patients.

Even more promising is the benefit CBD can have for those experiencing nicotine withdrawal symptoms, which can be so negative that a person will often use nicotine again because they are so desperate for relief. There is evidence that higher doses of CBD, which can be found in hemp cigarettes, can enhance the quality and length of sleep, while smaller doses can make concentration and mindfulness easier. Additionally, CBD lessens the impact visual triggers and memories have on a smoker. In other words, the pleasant associations and social aspects that can make a person recall smoking in a nostalgic manner are weakened, making it easier to abstain from nicotine long-term.

Hemp Cigarettes Activating Dopamine Receptors?

While there are many cessation methods that can work, CBD cigarettes show promise as an option that won’t worsen nicotine withdrawal symptoms. In a recent Merry Jane article, Dr. Michele Ross says that people who inhale CBD by smoking it are 50% less likely to smoke another cigarette. Furthermore, Dr. Ross points out CBD can be helpful in activating the body’s dopamine receptors and boosting anandamide. What this means is that the “bliss” molecule in the endogenous system is stimulated, creating the euphoric feeling.  This is what many people feel when they first light a tobacco cigarette.

When someone inhales nicotine, the effect is felt within the brain in ten seconds. Initially, this boosts the dopamine and neurochemical receptors, leading to the happy, relaxed feeling. Over time, however, the brain is only able to release dopamine when it receives the nicotine. This results in the brain being unable to produce dopamine when the smoker tries to quit.  This leads to worsened depression, anxiety, irritability and a host of other nasty side effects.

Hopefully, more research will surface supporting CBD cigarettes for smoking cessation, because we need a safer alternative. If you are thinking of quitting nicotine, trying this method could be the path of least resistance.

 

Diana-Ashley Krach is a freelance writer, journalist, and content creator whose work can be found on Everyday Feminism, Ravishly, and Playboy. She is the co-host and creator of Your Highness Podcast and founder of Good Vibes Marketing Agency. 


striving for equity in cannabis

The aggressive enforcement of arbitrary drug laws continues to destroy the lives of many, despite growing acceptance of medical cannabis. Unfortunately, even in states where cannabis is legal for adult use, POC wind up with the most negative impact. California has some of the most lenient possession laws in the United States, yet almost 500,000 arrests for cannabis occurred between 2006 and 2015.

In addition to unfair prosecution of nonviolent crimes, the legal cannabis markets often leave out those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and those who can’t afford expensive application and licensing fees. California has made strides to change this with the Cannabis Equity Act of 2018, which is trying to reverse the damage caused by prohibition. With funding for technical and capital assistance, there will be more opportunity for disadvantaged business applicants to take part in the emerging legal cannabis industry.

There remains a lot of work to be done, so it is invaluable to have organizations who are making moves to change the equity ownership in this space.

Business Accelerator to Tackle Inequities in Cannabis : A partnership between Minorities 4 Medical Marijuana (M4MM), Oaksterdam University, and Green Rush Consulting resulted in a Cannabis Business License Bootcamp (CBLB) program, which will focus on helping minority and women-owned cannabis business applicants obtain licenses. The CBLB is slated to begin in April, and the multi-week course will offer a layered opportunity for business license applicants.

Open to 150-200 applicants, the program will go through the process of applying for a license, so participants have a clear understanding. Additionally, they gain access to educational tools, networking resources, and specialized training. The program also offers pre- and post-license support.

MCBA Model Municipal Ordinance: MCBA released their latest guidelines for true equity in the cannabis industry and recommended that local government adopt this model countrywide. Drafted by attorneys, stakeholders, drug policy reform advocates, and other big players in policy change, the Model Ordinance aims to serve areas looking to create equity programs.

The ordinance calls for priority licensing, technical assistance, and access to capital for confirmed equity applicants. Additionally, it calls for municipalities adopting equity programs to participate in social impact studies that will show the cost of the war on drugs. Those studies will better inform future reinvestment in those communities most negatively impacted.

National Cannabis Diversity Awareness Convention (NCDAC): Recently held in Oregon, this inaugural event set out to make diversity and inclusion the mission by connecting POC entrepreneurs and business owners with resources in the cannabis space. By focusing on providing access to tools that will allow minority business owners to grow and be profitable, this event was full of opportunity for newcomers. The convention also provided tools for displaced community members and business owners to transition into the cannabis industry.

These are only a small sampling of the efforts surrounding equity in the cannabis space, but they are valuable resources for people looking to support inclusivity and diversity. With efforts like these, we can inch closer toward repairing some of the socioeconomic damage caused by the War on Drugs. As the industry moves forward with legalization efforts, equity programs and opportunities need to remain at the forefront.

 

Diana-Ashley Krach is a freelance writer, journalist, and content creator whose work can be found on Everyday Feminism, Ravishly, and Playboy. She is the co-host and creator of Your Highness Podcast and founder of Good Vibes Marketing Agency. You can find her on Twitter or on her website


uc berkeley researches cannabis at new center

People have long speculated on the social and environmental impacts of cannabis, but cannabis prohibition has made nuances of the realm difficult to study. There is a severe lack of research regarding the integrated systems in the cannabis industry. This why the Berkeley Cannabis Research Center comes as welcome news for proponents who want to make research-backed claims on the global impact of cannabis legalization.

Led by co-directors Ted Grantham and Van Butsic, the center focuses on changes that make the transition into legalization easier and make compliance more accessible. Some of those changes come at a policy level, though the research team aims to have a better understanding of what stands in the way for industry people.

The center is affiliated with the Social Science Matrix, a social science research institute at the university. It’s an incubator dedicated to the research of cannabis—the first of its kind for researching the relevant social and environmental impact. More specifically, they research how governing systems manage the environmental impacts of cannabis production, and how well those systems are working.

In California, for example—where medical cannabis has been legal for over twenty years—the impact cannabis production has on hydrological cycles and freshwater environments remains unknown. There is also no research surrounding how Californian farmers have adjusted to new guidelines, which is why the researchers are looking at how regulations make compliance accessible across different scales of farming. So far, researchers have found less participation within the cannabis space than they anticipated.

Despite this challenge, the center continues to monitor how cannabis production can help communities remain sustainable while minimizing the negative impact on the environment. Their hope is that this comprehensive new research opens public dialogue surrounding cannabis legalization. They’re focusing on three core areas: policy and regulation, environmental impacts, and cannabis-producing communities. The work could dramatically impact non-legal farmers making the transition to legal commercialized cannabis.

As Michael Polson, a researcher associated with the project, tells bud.com, "The Cannabis Research Center brings a spotlight to matters of cultivation and the environment, farmers, and communities that depend on it. Prohibition inhibited the ability of researchers to understand and build useful knowledge around this widely grown plant. We hope to fill that gap and build towards sustainability, equity, and justice along the way."

 

Diana-Ashley Krach is a freelance writer, journalist, and content creator whose work can be found on Everyday Feminism, Ravishly, and Playboy. She is the co-host and creator of Your Highness Podcast and founder of Good Vibes Marketing Agency. You can find her on Twitter or on her website


can cannabis help with your depression?

For those who suffer with depression, the struggle to find safe and effective treatment is rife with trial and error. One of the biggest risks with trying a new form of treatment is the exacerbation of current symptoms. With over 300 million people in the world suffering from depression, there is a desperate need for a safe and effective treatment. That treatment can be cannabis, if approached with caution and research.

One study completed by Washington State University’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Program showed that women dealt with their depression better with cannabis compared to men. Additionally, symptoms improved 50% across both sexes with depression. Over 89% of study participants saw a reduction of symptoms during tracked sessions as well as a significant decrease in stress levels.

Though it is difficult to find studies proving certain strains work better, terpenes can play a major role in treatment. Strains high in Limonene, Beta-Caryophyllene, Linalool and Beta-Pinene work well as anti-depressants and can also combat other symptoms like fatigue. But picking the best strain for your treatment will take some experimentation and patience, especially if you have any co-existing medical conditions.

In addition to terpenes, it is important to monitor THC content. Studies show that depression worsens in rats exposed to high doses of THC, but improves with low doses. A strain high in CBD and low in THC is recommended, because high levels of THC can cause effects like “couch lock” and paranoia, which can trigger a depressive episode.

While current laws make peer-reviewed clinical data scarce, there are many anecdotal accounts of cannabis working as treatment for many mental health conditions. It is important to note, however, that certain medications can make symptoms worse. And Jessie Gill, RN—cannabis nurse and founder of Marijuanamommy.com—says, some people can’t replace their current treatment with cannabis, though it can be used as supplementary therapy.

”People with depression should know that cannabis can occasionally interact with some antidepressants like Zoloft, which could increase the risk of experiencing side effects or adverse reactions. Patients on medications should introduce cannabis slowly into their routine. Many cannabis patients eliminate their need for other meds, but NOT everyone can. Depression can be serious, so patients should utilize all available tools in managing it, including traditional pharmaceuticals when needed.”

Because mainstream medicine bases most decisions on peer-reviewed studies, there will likely be pushback against using cannabis for depression. If a prescribing doctor doesn’t agree with supplementing treatment with cannabis, you can always get a second opinion. Even if you don’t agree with the doctor, it’s very important that you don’t abruptly quit your antidepressant. Social worker Laura Geftman, LCSW, founder of thecalmcoolandcollected.com, says that a person should never just quit taking psychotropic medications.

“Quitting antidepressants ‘cold turkey’ could make you sick, set back your treatment and increase your symptoms. Antidepressant withdrawal is real, and cannabis cannot immediately replace any medication. Talk to your prescribing doctor. If they are not supportive of cannabis use, consider getting a second opinion but do not just stop taking your meds!”

Whichever route you choose, going slow and starting low is key to safe experimentation. Do your research and consult a medical professional. As Geftman points out, the most successful treatment plan involves the support of a doctor who is familiar with your case. She also makes it clear that traditional medicine is just beginning to understand the possibilities of cannabis.

She says, “It is, however, worth noting medical schools just started educating about the endocannabinoid system. Many healthcare providers are not well versed in medical cannabis treatment and/or maybe associated with corporate systems that will not yet allow them to discuss this as an option. Don’t be afraid to ask if the provider you are scheduling with is knowledgeable and supportive of medicinal cannabis use.”

 

Diana-Ashley Krach is a freelance writer, journalist, and content creator whose work can be found
on Everyday Feminism, Ravishly, and Playboy. She is the co-host and creator of Your Highness Podcast and founder of Good Vibes Marketing Agency. You can find her on Twitter or on her website


vaping vs. smoking for lung health

For the last several years, vaping has become increasingly popular, along with the debate about which is safer: smoking traditional flower or vaporizing. Some people are flower-smoking purists for their own personal reasons, while others will only vape. There have been a lot of technological advances with vaporizing, and some of those changes have made medicating more accessible.

Some of these advances allow for strategic dosing, which allows for better treatment. While vaporizer proponents may enthusiastically endorse vaping as the safer alternative, there are is very little evidence to back that claim. Limited studies exist regarding which method is safer, though safety goes beyond physical effects.

For instance, because vaping is a more discreet method, it can be a safer to medicate during times isn’t accepted. Furthermore, with the technology allowing for specific dosing, the risk for over-consumption is very low. This helps for when you need to medicate at work or in other situations where your livelihood could be compromised.

Additionally, smoking flower involves combustion, which can irritate the throat and lungs. While it has been shown that smoking cannabis doesn’t cause cancer, it could potentially worsen respiratory issues. Combustion also destroys up to 50% of the cannabinoids. For those who are sensitive to smells, or for social situations where it may be a problem, the obvious lingering scent of flower is inconvenient.

In the first study regarding vaping, 96 participants identified several benefits to vaping: no smoke smell, more effect from same amount of flower, better taste, and better perceived health benefits. The downsides were convenience-related: difficulty with set-up and the time it takes to use. If the battery dies and there is no way to charge, you’re left without a way to medicate.

For this reason, smoking flower continues to be a preferred method of consumption for some. If you have a lighter or match, you can medicate. Moreover, natural cannabis flower provides the most full-spectrum, whole medicine available. Smoking flower allows for the full Entourage Effect, which is when all the compounds in the plant work synergistically.

Although vaping versus smoking cannabis hasn’t been studied much, evidence is mounting that for nicotine, e-cigarettes have fewer health costs than cigarettes. Cigarettes (unlike pure cannabis flower) include additives, and the health risks of tobacco are dramatically different than cannabis, but perhaps some of the health differences will prove parallel. In one of the first studies of respiratory health that compares vaping and smoking cannabis, subjects self-reported fewer negative health effects.

Regardless of which method you prefer—vaping or smoking—don’t hold it in for too long. Despite popular belief, the length of time smoke is held (without exhaling) has no bearing on the effect. In fact, all it does is allow for your lungs to better absorb the toxins in the smoke. Even with vaping, it is recommended you take short, shallow puffs.

Until there is more comprehensive data available, it really boils down to preference. For some, it doesn’t feel like medicating unless the flower is crackling in a joint or bowl, while others won’t ever stray from vape life.

 

Diana-Ashley Krach is a freelance writer, journalist, and content creator whose work can be found on Everyday Feminism, Ravishly, and Playboy. She is the co-host and creator of Your Highness Podcast and founder of Good Vibes Marketing Agency. You can find her on Twitter or on her website