The Risk of Smoking Weed During COVID-19

These are very stressful times. With sickness and death seemingly stalking us from all corners of the globe, it would be very little surprise were you not seriously thinking of firing up a bowl or rolling a fatty to take off some of the edge. After all, we don’t know how bad this is going to get or how long it’s going to last.

I don’t blame you for thinking about it and I certainly wouldn’t condemn you were you to be partaking. That said, I feel as though I need to warn you about some associated dangers when it comes to mixing weed and SARS-Cov-2, the virus that’s causing the COVID-19 pandemic. I want you to be safe and get through this situation unscathed.

The problem that needs to be discussed is inflammation. Any time we ingest smoke, the particulate irritates the lining in our lungs. The inflammation caused by smoking weed is similar to both that of bronchitis and tobacco. And while there’s no question that cannabis has some protective properties that minimize the risk of developing cancer, the fact remains that smoking causes inflammation of the delicate linings of the lungs.

If you’re shaking you’re head about that claim, pause to consider whether you know anybody with a toker’s cough. I had a nasty bark that stuck with me for decades. In fact, I can’t think of a single person I knew who smoked heavily and didn’t have a phlegmy cough. Literally everybody I’ve known with a steady diet of bowls and fatties have had that characteristic cough. It goes and hand-in-hand alongside the munchies.

The problem is that if we’re chronic smokers, we are unavoidably going to have at least minor levels of chronic inflammation of the airways. When we add COVID-19 to the mix, we set ourselves up for health complications. I’m not claiming that such complications are a given, but the mortality rates of COVID-19 are looking to be around 10x that of the seasonal flu. The last look at the numbers posted by the WHO had the mortality rate among confirmed cases at approximately 6%. That’s 6 out of every 100 people, folks.

We need to take this seriously.

When I started looking at the WHO numbers for COVID-19, the mortality was at a scary 3%. I had expected those numbers to drop as testing (both confirmatory and prophylactic) became more widespread. Alas, that hasn’t happened. Testing has increased, but so has morbidity. That’s not what we wanted to see.

But, Dude, I Only Smoke Once A Day …

Okay, I hear that. The problem is that the smoking will cause the aforementioned inflammation. If you get COVID-19, inflammation from smoking dope will complicate the diagnosis by your medical doctors. Basically put, it would unnecessarily complicate the doctors’ ability to assess your condition. That’s not a great thing.

One of COVID-19’s symptoms is a dry cough. A common trait among light-to-moderate weed smokers is … a light, dry cough. Because joints burn at a lower temperature than tobacco, we get unburnt plant material in our lungs, which causes some inflammation and tends to create a cough due to our lungs attempting to move that material out of our lungs.

I’m not going to lecture you and say you shouldn’t smoke. You’re a big boy/girl and you’re going to make those decisions for yourself. That said, it’s my opinion that smoking weed isn’t your wisest choice during this pandemic. If I were looking for a buzz, I might be inclined to lean towards edibles of some sort. I personally think that reducing inflammation is the most important thing we can do in the face of this illness.

So take it in, give it some thought and make an informed decision. I wish you good health and well-being throughout this uncertain and crazy time we’re in and I hope to see you on the other side.

Health. Healing. Herb.

Be well,


Farewell, Justin — We’ll Miss You

It’s with sadness that MellowMeds has learned of the passing of Justin Marshall. Justin was a cannabis advocate who recently graced our pages in a blog post.

For me, the poignancy of his happening serves as a reminder that none of us who deal with cancer — I currently am dealing with skin cancer — have to take every possible avenue of treatment to improve our odds of success. Personally, I’ve been remiss in doing all I can. I’m not eating as well as I could be and I still have a relationship with that demon alcohol.

Putting my situation into a broader context is that my MellowMeds partner, Al, lives in Canada and is a long-time cannabis producer. With the legal landscape in Canada, his access to cannabis is assured. I, on the other hand, have been in Japan since 1991, where cannabis and even CBD oil are illegal. The frustration is real.

When Justin shared his story with us, I was excited at the prospect of JMO (basically, uncooked RSO) as a solution of getting a high-CBD product without the high. Excited and frustrated, because as promising as JMO sounded, I have no legal means of access. And I am disinclined to explore illicit means of access here in Tokyo. Incarceration is simply not an option.

The availability of cannabis products should be universal. Cannabis is a naturally occurring plant and it is positively ridiculous to me that it somehow became illegal to possess something that grows in nature. People are messed up. Anyway, I’m currently looking forward to being able to visit Al in Canada to sample his fine product. I’ll be looking forward to sampling some herb, RSO and — courtesy of Justin — some JMO.

Godspeed, Justin. Your passion for cannabis lives on. You can visit Justin’s memorial page via the link below:

Help Prevent Or Reverse Marijuana-Induced Memory Loss

digital image of human brain on blue backgroundI think it’s fair to suggest that most of us who’ve gotten high have, at some point, walked into another room to do something and realized we have no idea what we went off to do. If you’re like me, you probably had a laugh at your brain fart and then hit the fridge for more munchies. If you’re lucky, you experience very few such episodes and they happen at times when it isn’t an inconvenience. Some people, however, really struggle with short-term memory loss associated with chronic marijuana use. Worse, the impairment may have more negative effects than bailing on a task and going for the stash of munchies instead. If you’re at all concerned about preventing marijuana-induced memory loss or perhaps even looking for ways to reverse it, we may have a few tips that you’ll find worthwhile.

1 – Exercise

For a regular head, exercise might be the furthest thing from your mind. That said, the body has evolved to require movement and work load to maintain its homeostasis of well-being. Exercise affects everything from our muscle tone, core strength and skeletal fitness to the quality of our sleep, our intelligence and, yes, our ability to recall. Both short-term and long-term memory are affected by whether we engage in regular exercise, and that effect is that the more regularly we exercise, the better our memory works.
Photo of girl doing yoga
Yoga is great for improving mobility, blood flow and core strength.
We literally get smarter through regular exercise. One of the ways exercise helps us improve our smarts is through Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). BDNF is a protein found in the brain and is known as a growth factor. BDNF works to support existing neurons and promote the growth of new ones and is active in the hippocampus, cortex and basal forebrain. These areas of the brain are all vitally important to both learning and memory. Without going into extreme detail, BDNF is important for our brain health because of the way it promotes neuronal health and development. With regular exercise, we create more BDNF, which promotes the well-being of the neurons upon which we rely for efficient memory, learning and higher thinking.

2 – Meditation

Meditation works in remarkably similar fashion to exercise in that maintaining focused awareness promotes neuronal development, encourages synapses related to focus and awareness to grow closer together and, finally, helps the left and right hemispheres of the brain to synchronize their activity instead of working in more isolated fashion.
photo of girl meditating outside
Meditation is about focused attention, not zoning out.
When combining meditation with controlled breathing, blood flow in the body normalizes, blood pressure is reduced and serotonin and dopamine are released. Meditation really does help you to feel better. Not only will it make you smarter, it will improve your physical well-being and improve your mood!

3 – Choosing Appropriate Strains

While it might not be immediately obvious, the strains you choose to smoke are an important factor in how your memory may be affected. One of the aspects of marijuana that is of serious interest here are the terpenes present. And in that light, one of the terpenes that is strongly implicated in memory performance is pinene.
Ball-and-stick model of the alpha-pinene molecule
Alpha-pinene is a terpene found in Cannabis Sativa and is implicated in memory performance.
Pinene, unsurprisingly, has a somewhat piney scent or flavour. As such, if you’re smoking a strain that has a piney aroma, you’re most likely dealing with a strain that is high in pinene. Consider a strain such as Jack Herrer as a way of increasing your pinene intake.
photo of Jack Max nug
Jack Max is a Jack Herrer and Island Max hybrid that has increased pinene. Click the image to visit TrueMeds and get some.
As well as choosing strains with increased amounts of pinene present, consider high-CBD strains or even mixing a CBD strain such as Charlotte’s Web in with your Jack Herrer, etc. The reason for this is that while THC has been implicated in memory loss, CBD has been shown to help mitigate those effects. By creating your own CBD-rich blend with a high-pinene content strain, you get the best of all possible worlds. Pro Tip: CBD can help to mitigate an anxiety response to high THC doses and, at the same time, prolong the actual high. This gives a moderating effect of potential psychotic episodes, yet stretches those moderate effects out for a longer duration. To me, that seems like pure win.

4 – Diet and Supplements

Finally, while it’s fun to chow down on bags of Oreos and scarf down an XL pizza, it’s abundantly true that we are what we eat. Nothing that we ingest has zero effect on our state of well-being. As such, if you want to be healthy, then you’ll need to eat healthful foods. The less processed foods you eat, the better. Fresh rules here, so don’t skimp. For supplementation, I like going heavy on high-quality fish oils to get my Omega-3 fatty acids, which are strongly associated with mental acuity and memory performance. I take a vast array of vitamins, but Omega-3 fatty acids are the #1 go-to with regard to staving off memory lapses and keeping myself sharp. Till next time, may you enjoy Health, Healing and Herb.

Potential Relief for IBS Sufferers with CBD

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a major issue for a growing segment of society. When the pain hits, the experience can range from discomfort to complete debilitation. If you suffer from IBS, you know well just how bad it can be.

I’m fascinated by the potential of using cannabis products for both pain management and healing. A recent article over at Puff Puff Post discussed the potential of CBD-infused chewing gum being used in a trial to treat IBS. The initial data suggests that CBD could be quite effective in helping sufferers manage their condition.

I think chewing gum has good potential as a delivery mechanism. Chewing releases pre-digestion enzymes that make for good bioavailability of the CBD. Additionally, chewing gum offers a slower, sustained release of CBD into the system. Instead of getting a large payload, as happens with capsule supplements, the dosage is trickled into the system over time. Slow release enables fine control over the dosage.

It will be very interesting to see the final results after all the trials are completed, but this interested bystander expects that there will be a lot of good news forthcoming. IBS sufferers may want to give CBD products a serious consideration in helping to manage their symptoms. Focus on products that are unlikely to trigger a flare-up. For example, if you have issues with wheat, CBD cookies may not be a good delivery mechanism for you, but CBD-infused butter might very well be. Experiment and find what works best for you.

CBD Gummies
CBD Gummies deliver anti-inflammatory properties without the high.

Do note that high CBD dosages may affect the intensity and duration of any THC you are likewise ingesting. As such, take care when exploring new combinations of products. It’s a good idea to sneak up on your target dosage rather than to just plough head-long into it. That’s especially the case when we’re dealing with a delicate bowel.

If you’re interested in trying CBD products, feel free to visit our partner:
Visit TrueMeds Now

Manage Pain with Cannabis Instead of Opioids

Opioid prescriptions are reaching all-time highs and many sufferers of acute- and chronic pain are looking for alternatives to help manage their pain. With conventional approaches to pain management, many chronic sufferers face the all-too-real risk of opioid addiction, detrimental side effects and reduced efficacy over time. For people who require effective pain management, medical cannabis may be a viable alternative that unbinds them from the chains of potential opioid addiction.

Pain-Relieving Effects of Marijuana

The reason that cannabis is so effective at relieving pain is that we have a great many cannabinoid receptors throughout our body! Cannabinoids are naturally occurring and the human body utilizes them in a vast number of processes that includes regulating metabolism, pain, cravings, immune function and even bone growth. Our body naturally produces its own cannabinoids as a part of its endocannabinoid system. Scientists now believe that the endocannabinoid system may be the largest receptor system in the human body.

Marijuana contains the plant analog of cannabinoids, known as phytocannabinoids. There are at least 113 active phytocannabinoids in cannabis. Phytocannabinoids interact with the human endocannabinoid system, which is the reason why we experience a high from THC strains. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most prevalent of the cannabinoids found in cannabis, representing up to 40% of the cannabinoid payload.

CBD, unlike THC, does not appear to have psychoactive effects, but its strong interaction with the human endocannabinoid system means that it has far-reaching effects on the human body. One of the areas that CBD appears to be wonderfully effective is in pain management. Because cannabinoids are naturally implicated in how the body reacts to and manages pain, ingesting cannabis products may help users manage their pain.

What A Reception!

THC binds with the orthosteric site of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor. CBD binds to the allosteric site. What this means is that CBD alters the way that THC binds to the CB1 receptor and, therefore, alters how both THC and endogenous cannabinoids interact with our endocannabinoid system. From a medicinal cannabis perspective, it’s worth taking notice of CBD’s influence here.

One of the key points for users who are prone to experience anxiety with high THC-content strains is that CBD appears to have a downregulating impact on anxiety. As such, consider looking into strains that offer 50:50 ratios of THC:CBD. Alternatively, consider supplementing your herb with a quality CBD oil supplement.

Another interesting feature of CBD is that it appears to inhibit certain proteins and enzymes in such a fashion that the duration of THC effectiveness may be increased. The suggestion here is that we may be able to extend the pain relief experienced through ingesting our high-THC strain by supplementing with CBD products.

A Final Note

The function of the endocannabinoid system is to bring homeostasis (balance) to the body’s tissues and biological systems. It serves to inhibit excessive stimulation in cells, which can have far-reaching consequences from everything from how we experience pain to reducing the incidence of seizures. Mammals have well-developed endocannabinoid systems, which suggests that cannabis has played a role in our evolution and well-being throughout our entire existence.

If you’re considering alternatives to opioid-based pain management, consider medicinal cannabis for its widespread health benefits and lack of detrimental side effects. In fact, if you’re part of the aging population, you’ll be delighted to note that cannabis use in the elderly brain actually enhances cognitive ability!

Health. Healing. Herb. It really is the way forward.


If you’re a resident of Canada and are interested in purchasing cannabis products, please visit our partner:

Visit TrueMeds Now