The Gift of an Enemy

This is likely the 25th or 30th time I’ve tried to put something of my story into words. I’m unsure of why or even if would want it read, but there is an unknown need to satiate. I cannot ignore it any longer.

In truth, the reasons to not write this are far easier to find. Fear is always the first one, as it has so many components. Fear of being judged or disliked roots itself deep in my earliest years. Fear of exposing oneself, which I suspect is strongly tied to the previously mentioned fear, has been ever present.

There was also an internal conflict that seemingly could not be overcome. For a long time, the motivation could have easily been claimed as anger. That anger and the message it wanted to send was in direct conflict with my personal growth. Truth be told, I used that anger from a very young age as motivation to get as far away from the source as possible.

That was flawed plan from the start, as you cannot outrun that which you carry with you.

Such viewpoints and considerations are not granted to a youth who is trying to cope with a reason to be fearful in most any direction. Fear becomes fight or flight. When it is impossible to fight, flight remains the only option. Both responses being fuelled and justified by fear, it becomes a singular all powerful drive with no sense or direction beyond just escape.

I met a friend recently whose flight response resulted in him basically running away to university. Never let it be said the power of diversion is a weak force. His journey lead me to wonder how many post graduate students are there for similar reasons. Likely more than we would care to realize. For others, I suspect taking the fight path came about in much the same way, with the only real difference being a choice to stand instead of run.

So, how to tell a story without needing to tell the whole story? The last thing I wish to do here is create a list of traumas and crises. It neither serves me or the reader any benefit to endure the process of reliving any of it.

In fact, that very unwillingness — something I see as a crucial step forward — is a hinderance in finding a way through this with help from the medical community. How truly beneficial is it to force someone to relive all the most terrifying moments they can recall, for the sole purpose of giving a clinician a ‘complete’ picture of what they live with on a daily basis? It makes as much sense as reopening every cut and rebreaking every broken bone a patient endured to get a complete picture of their overall health.

While that description may sound extreme, anyone with PTSD who has interacted with health professionals in the course of treatment will agree 100%. Barbaric is how I would honestly describe it.

This, however — whatever it is — is not about the failures of the medical system. In fact, perhaps through an unwillingness to waste my time or theirs, I cycled through enough individuals to end up sitting in front of someone who was truly helpful. An old Irish hippie GP and my current nurse practitioner. So if we are not here to bash the medical system or lay bare all my scars, what the fuck are we doing here? Wasting your time? Wasting my time? Maybe.

I’m certainly not here to make any claims that anyone should ‘just do as I do/did and you’ll be fine’. Nor am I here to entertain any delusion that my path of healing is complete. It is a journey I will walk with gratitude all my days. So the only real story I guess want to tell, for now, is where I was in the time before it all collided and how that collision in turn changed my life. Let me reword that: How that collision forced me to change my life.

By my mid-40s, I had run the medical gambit of therapists, god-complex, “I can heal you” doctors and resident psychiatrists and I had had a few good years with the afore mentioned Irish hippie doc. There was also a new relationship in my life that proved to be an incredibly grounding force. Unconditional love seems like an empty platitude until you experience it for yourself. May you have the ability to offer it and recognize it in those around you for there is little in life more rewarding.

Things should have been perfect. On the surface, they were. Burying anger becomes so normal that even when rooting it out over time, there will be areas that get missed or overlooked.

I knew it was there. Its own cycle kept it fed as it would anger me that I had not been able to identify the source and deal with it. I had gotten pretty good at getting past triggers through identification and clear choices to leave whatever that was behind and move forward without it. That is easy to do once you start to take ownership of yourself, claim what is yours — good or bad — and toss any rocks packed in your bag by someone else.

Easy isn’t the best word, but it fits. The viewpoint on that word in that context is vastly different depending on where you are in your own personal journey. For me it was still not enough; there was still something deep I couldn’t quite find. I sure as hell was not expecting it to be revealed in the manner it was.

Gratitude was not something strange to me. There was much around me to be grateful for. Life brings to us many gifts. Some we ask for; some are more of a surprise. My gift, at a time when needed, was an enemy. Someone who went out of their way to be abusive to others had decided I was worthy of their negative attention.

Four years of numerous and consistent incidents had served well to fuel the remaining anger I sought to bury because I couldn’t kill it. I did not realize at all how closely tied that anger was to the current state of affairs. One particular day, there was another incident. I sat down, frustrated, having tried everything within reason to simply keep the peace. Yet this person was having none of it.

Something inside me switched that day. As I sat there, I told myself that enough was enough. Living like this was no different from parts of childhood I fled so many years ago. I remember thinking, “I thought this shit was behind me”. And then, “I am putting a stop to this once and for all”. That thought had no sooner appeared to me when here was this person once again in my face.

Nobody touched anybody that day and no one was hurt in any way, but a clear message was sent. And received. The arresting officers could not have been nicer and they went out of their way to make the process very easy. They even drove me both ways to the station and back home again.

It started in the back of the police car with a feeling in my gut. Something was different, yet in a good way. It was something I could not reconcile at the time. In fact, it was confusing. Being in the back of a cop car means you’re in trouble. So why did I feel somehow liberated?

It was hard to even identify that sense of liberation at the time. For the entire month prior to my single court appearance it was there alongside a knot in the gut. It wasn’t that I had no idea what it was; it was accepting it for what it was. In conversations with one of the most special and influential people in my life in the immediate days following my arrest, we talked about epiphanies. The system, however, still had something to say about my losing my cool. Until I knew what the outcome was, there would be a knot.

Court came and went in a day, just a single appearance. It seems that accepting responsibility for ones actions is favoured, though I did not share the reality I had no regrets. Having that burden lifted, it was on to dealing with the fallout. It was time to sort through this mess. What came next was life-changing. All the anger and frustration I thought I held towards that person became something entirely different: Gratitude.

While I already had a nice list of people and things I was grateful for, when it came to this person, well, it was the last thing I expected. The more I thought about it, however, the more it made sense. The more I accepted it, the smaller the knot in my gut became. Before long, it was gone.

If someone said to me 20 or 30 years ago, “Life gives you what you need when you need it”, I would likely have responded with resentful anger and listed off 20 or so things I would have demanded justification for ‘needing’. But the filters change with time. My progress up to that point had been my own. I owned it. I nurtured it. I guided it. Yet I was still stuck with a ball of anger I could not root out. I likely would not have managed to do so without the gift of an enemy.

Life had put me in a position where I had to face some of my worst fears head on. Where I had to choose fight over flight. Even if only to know it was possible to make that choice.

Who knows.

I can only tell you what I do know: I am not angry anymore, though I regret living so many years with anger. It blinds you. It is not life, it is merely existence.

A lyric comes to mind, “I don’t know where I’m going. but I sure know where I’ve been”. It has special meaning for me these days. In some ways, I feel like I have only just become alive and aware. And I do not know where this life, just like this article, is going. Not knowing where this path now leads only brings excitement and enthusiasm. One foot in front of the other, I’ll go where it takes me knowing my past does not predetermine my future. I am in control.

If there is any real takeaway message in all this, it is simple: Self-empowerment equals choice. Choice is everything. My own fears were drowned because I made a choice. I made the choice to stand up and demand something better for myself, to protect myself and to heal myself.

I wish for all of you to find the strength you need. To make a choice. To heal yourself.

To walk a path unburdened.

Cannabis Gummies: Nice treat Or Bad Trick

Photo of cannabis gummies

Cannabis use was once so simple. Once flower was procured, ingestion was a simple decision: Smoke a joint or smoke a bowl. Even the twenty different ways to describe it basically came down to those two choices. Once in awhile you might come across some ‘special’ hash brownies or cake baked with some canna butter. Depending on the method and experience of the baker, the taste would vary from weedy to hard-to-finish.

Over time, as extraction methods other than making butter became more and more common, options for culinary cannabis enhancement also grew as the green unpleasant flavours were lost. During this early shift, most of the jurisdictions that now see cannabis legal in one form or another were legislated otherwise. The result? This burgeoning cannabis edible market is, for the most part, entirely unregulated. The end result could have been predicted. Faced with no resistance or guidelines, any movement will naturally progress to the extreme. This is where we find ourselves today.

The extreme nature of the edibles market has clinicians voicing concern and suggesting a serious look at how some cannabis edibles are being sold. Some are even asking whether certain types of products, such as child-familiar gummies, should be sold at all. It’s clear that no responsible individual would make THC-infused gummies intended for children. For adults, it is our right to medicate as we see fit; however, it’s possible that we’re lacking sufficient education on the risks that such edibles pose for children. As well, there need to be sufficient punitive measures for irresponsible parents whose child found some treats and ended up in the ER. Some will oppose any such measures based on what they perceive as continued ‘Reefer Madness’ drug war propaganda. The reality is that a child who stumbles upon a bag of 80-mg gummies and eats a handful of them could be in very serious danger.

Some of the earliest products that became available to me via the Canadian online grey market were completely snack based. Rice Krispie squares, peanut butter cookies and gummies were some of the most common. Novelty effect is real and trying a few of these treats was kinda fun. They certainly tasted better than the party cakes of the past and such products led to me and my Mrs. discovering our required dosages for noticeable effect, 350+ mg and 30 mg respectively.

It was fun trying those treats. Learning how much more effective orally ingested cannabinoids are for therapeutic purposes was, however, the valuable take away for us. Dosage consistency and ease of ingestion — you don’t always want a cookie — led us away from treats and into using CBD and whole-plant THC oil in a capsule as a daily-dose medium. Any treat-based edibles we now consume are only what we make from our own butter.

I do not even have full exposure in Canada to the incredible range of products found in different parts of the world. Seeing 1000 mg chocolate bars online seemed fairly inert at first glance and may have elicited the thought, “That might be fun”. Yet, something seemed off and gave me pause for thought.

There have been plenty of times in recent years where cannabis edibles have made the news in some notorious fashion. Children mistakenly taking them to school or unfamiliar adults calling 911 in fear from an edible-induced anxiety attack are just a couple of examples. Social media responses are predictable, ranging from blind disbelief because “cannabis is harmless”, mockery and even abuse from the ‘no regulation’ side. Those advocating for common sense controls are typically shouted down and end up muted in the din of recreational outrage. Such is the modern internet.

An objective venture into the issue circles around some key basic questions:

  • Is the availability of infused sweets a public health issue?
  • Is the availability of infused sweets an education issue?
  • Is the availability of infused sweets an enforcement issue?
  • What is the most responsible approach?

The above questions are easy to ask, yet answers pose more of a challenge. As a public health issue, adding additional concerns to the sugar addiction our society is already dealing with is never going to be a good idea. That, however, is truly minor in comparison to how serious an edible episode can be. It is not at all uncommon for someone to experience some mild anxiety from ingesting edibles. For some, the anxiety can be extreme and downright terrifying. Imagine being in such a state of fear that you feel you are going to die. While those stories seem to draw much ridicule, it is anything but funny to those facing an overwhelming and impending sense of death.

An education issue?

I don’t think that anyone would be opposed to a well-informed public. That may remain difficult, however, while there is still such distance between the opposing sides and inconsistent positions among governments. One person’s information is another’s propaganda. It turns out that another victim of the drug war is clear and concise truth.

An enforcement issue?

It would be unsurprising to see some governments attempt a heavy-handed restrictive approach that mirrors past prohibition policies. Legalization in Canada, for example, has in its initial approach taken a very restrictive ‘harm reduction’ stand with clear lines between legal and illegal activities. We do not yet know what the laws regarding edibles will be until the federal government releases them later this year. Those laws are to go into effect as of Oct 17th. I think it is very likely the laws will be extremely restrictive in the THC levels that can be present, as well as what can be sold.

What is the responsible approach?

Each side will have a very different answer on the outer edges, ranging from outright banning to fully unregulated. As with anything however, agreement on some basic truths on each side usually points towards a happy medium. Or a balanced discontent.

Is banning prepackaged, cannabis edibles that are too easily indistinguishable from normal dessert treats from being sold the right approach? Perhaps. An entire sector of the cannabis industry is very much hoping for minimal regulation knowing this could potentially be a huge market. Some believe the edible market share will come to rival the dried flower market. The possibility of a billion dollar marketplace is squarely at odds with public health.

Is there a form of prepackaged edible that fully appeases health care concerns? It’s unlikely. Is there likely to be a version that is far more acceptable and meets some of the main concerns? Chief among such concerns are edibles looking like anything a child might find in the candy isle of the local general store. Finding an acceptable product could be a tough call. Sweet treats were a natural evolution from the brownies and cakes of old. There is no obvious substitute. The next best — frankly, for some, better — alternative is the active ingredients in a capsule form. While it would be very effective, it’d hardly be the fun of a good cookie.

Where do common sense, public health and public demand all find acceptable common ground? Surely public health concerns are better met with legislated controls. Ensuring safe dose levels would, in all probability, put an end to the 1000mg chocolate bar type offerings.

Perhaps the only solution is strict dosage limits. It serves harm reduction well, but not perfectly. Nothing I can think of, in fact, serves to fully appease any of the relevant positions. It may be in that grey zone where the only possible solution is found. One thing is certain: No one side is happy, but all are equally unhappy.

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:

https://www.gatheringus.com/memorial/justin-b-marshall/304?c=423

Cannabis Trailblazers- Justin Marshall

In an ever aging society very few have not been touched in some way by a serious illness such as cancer, either directly or through someone they care about. As the dark mask of cannabis prohibition is slowly but surely being lifted off the beliefs of our population, cannabis is coming ever more into the forefront as a means to treat an ever increasing number of conditions.

The ability of the THC component of cannabis to kill cancer cells was shown in laboratory settings in the United States, in a study published in 1975 in the ‘Journal Of The National Cancer Institute‘. Yet much of the progress since with regard to what conditions cannabis can benefit has been done by activists and those willing to forgo their own freedom to provide sick people with a benign, beneficial plant.  Due to the dire cost of mainstream science and research, countless sick and dying patients have been told by doctors that they would not support  cannabis treatment because of a lack of scientific evidence to say that it actually works.

Not that there are no studies; there are, plenty. The majority of these studies are done overseas, but many of them are simply ignored or discarded by caregivers. In North America, the War on Drugs has aggressively prevented researchers from investigating the potential benefits of cannabis for an ailing population. With cannabis being a Schedule 1 drug in the United States, researchers there face an extremely difficult environment. The scenario leaves North American caregivers with a dearth of reliable information from which to evaluate their options.

First-hand accounts and patient testimonials are in abundance for good reason. A few minutes on your favorite search engine reveals thousands real accounts from real people who have used a form of cannabis to treat everything from acne to PTSD, cancer and much more. The patients who are getting the most attention are children who are combating horrific seizures with cannabis oil to reduce both the frequency and severity. In some cases, the seizures can be eliminated entirely.

Many parents who have treated their children in this way have had to do it illegally and live with the very real fear of imprisonment. Many have moved thousands of miles to a place where they can access this medicine so their child would not suffer. They are trailblazers who would say they are no more than loving, desperate parents.

Trailblazers come in all forms. Rick Simpson is a well known and persecuted example. His use of raw cannabis extract began as a curiosity after watching David Suzuki on The Nature Of Things-Reefer Madness 2, which aired on October 17th 1998. That program aired 20 years to the day before Canada would legalize recreational cannabis. Coincidence?

Rick Simpson took great inspiration from that episode and shortly afterward made his first batch of whole-plant cannabis extract, which he promptly put on a shelf and forgot about for about a year. When facing a recurring melanoma the next year he remembered the show and the oil he made. Simpson put some of the oil on the returning cancerous growth and it wasn’t long before everything changed for him. And for so many others since.

We as living, breathing, thinking beings are truly miracles of evolution. We are the wonders of our invention and creation. That said, we can be prone to sometimes missing the obvious, simple things that are right in front of us. That is a big part of this story.

Rick Simpson Oil, also known as simply RSO, while incredibly effective in restoring health under some conditions, has always had one effect that many did not want: it makes you high. Especially in the higher doses that are suggested and used for aggressive cancer, the psychoactive properties of THC may be considered unwanted or inappropriate by certain patients, especially children.

The high from RSO had always simply seemed a known but unavoidable side effect for which there was really nothing that could be done. This non-trivial side effect led many to not want to use RSO for treatment. Here is the funny thing, however: With all the effort to grow low-THC and high-CBD strains to circumvent the cannabis medicine ‘high’, the simplest answer was right in front of us all along.

Don’t cook it!

When you eat a raw cannabis bud — no matter how potent it is to smoke — you will not get high from it. The reason is there is no decarboxylation to convert the THC from its default non-psychoactive form to a psychoactive form. In the process of making RSO, low heat is used to aid and speed evaporation. This process effectively converts the THC to its psychoactive form.

When you do the same process, but do not use heat for evaporation, there is no decarboxylation taking place. As such, the THC doesn’t become psychoactive. The result is that the RSO has all the beneficial goodness of the whole-plant cannabis extract without the intoxicating effect. No high!

The reality of this came to me when I learned of a man named Justin Marshall on social media who was describing how he makes and uses an oil he calls JMO. When I learned why he calls it JMO and how it was very different than RSO, I became curious. The more I think about this simple change and resulting effect, I can’t help but think of those I have known who would have taken this treatment were it known to us. All the whole-plant compounds are in both JMO and RSO. RSO gets you high; JMO does not.

I asked Justin to tell his story and he agreed. Below is his article in his own words.


My name is Justin Marshall and I was diagnosed with late Stage IV metastatic colon cancer over 4 years ago . At that time, the doctor said there was nothing they could do for me and that I had approximately two months to live. I was very shook up, yet I knew there had to be something that could be done. So, I started researching and I learned about Rick Simpson’s oil. I found this encouraging because I have been a cannabis advocate all my life and was very familiar with the world of cannabis. I immediately learned how to make Rick Simpson’s oil and started taking a gram a day.

After 3 months of taking the oil daily, I flew to California to access a large amount of organic cannabis to continue making into oil. Once in California, I did another CT scan, which showed that the cancer was not growing or spreading but was dying. I realized this oil was working and keeping me alive. I did do a couple rounds of chemotherapy in conjunction with the oil and I feel that if it were not for the cannabis oil, I may not have survived the chemotherapy as it was very brutal.

About a year later, my dad was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer that spread to his brain. He wanted to try the cannabis oil, so I made him a batch of RSO. Unfortunately, he was not even able to take one tenth of a gram because it made him feel too high. I decided to make him a special batch of cannabis oil that was not activated. Basically, I extracted the cannabinoids using food-grade alcohol and then I evaporated the alcohol off at room temperature. I never heated the cannabinoids at any time during the extraction or evaporation process.

My dad was able to take a full gram of this JMO each day and it did not have the psychoactive effects. It did, however, have the cancer-fighting properties. Over the last 2 years, I have been taking JMO everyday and I am using myself as a clinical test patient to see how well this works. It is working well and keeping me in remission. I find this oil to be very beneficial for elderly patients and children who cannot handle the intense high.

When I am selecting strains for my JMO, I always pick strains that are high in THC and CBD and I only use organic cannabis. I feel that if pesticides were used on the Cannabis, it would be not good to use as medicine. I truly believe in the healing power of cannabis and I am living proof that this cannabis oil works miraculously well. It is very easy to make and I find that from one quarter pound of cannabis I can get 30 grams of oil. I found that taking 90 mg of oil in 90 days is enough to destroy cancer.

I have been taking very careful notes and, so far, I have found that the strain called Fire OG has worked best for fighting colon cancer, yet I am currently developing some new strains that hopefully will work even better. Justin Marshall Oil ( JMO ) is an amazing medicine that has been used for centuries by civilizations around the world, so I cannot take credit for it. I am simply just reintroducing it to the world as an effective way to fight cancer.


We want to give Justin a huge Thank You for sharing his story with us and for his work to spread the word on the benefits of JMO. JMO really does bring a whole new meaning to …

Health. Healing. Herb.

It is with great sadness that we at MellowMeds learned of Justin’s passing from cancer on February 19, 2019. His passing serves as a reminder that there is no single silver bullet with which we battle the Big C. Godspeed, Justin. You can visit his memorial page here:

https://www.gatheringus.com/memorial/justin-b-marshall/304?c=423

PTSD and Cannabis, What do we know?

PTSD What comes to mind when seeing those letters? The quick answer when asked will invariably be the same, soldiers and 1st responders. Many might be very surprised just how prevalent PTSD is in our society.  Would you believe it affects up to 80% of the population, if not more? How you view that question will be filtered heavily by your interpretation of what PTSD is and any personal experience dealing with it, or lack of same.  But the reality is everyone has met or knows someone who has PTSD to some degree. That shy kid at school, the nice girl at the office who does not like to make eye contact, the guy who looks at the ground whenever passing by someone on the street, the unusual looking lady who looks almost terrified being on public transit, the healthcare worker in your social group who always drinks a bit more than the rest, the multitude who are introverted and must work from home,  anyone unwilling to talk about a troubled past. The main reason PTSD is so widely misunderstood, by the public and medical community, is it’s unique to the individual nature. No two sufferers are alike in symptoms, depth of trauma and cause. A soldier doing his duty will not be affected in the same manner as a paramedic, yet it can be equally debilitating, an endless list of comparisons could easily be formed here. Fortunately I am not that cruel. In reality PTSD has been around always, however recognized as merely expected traits as a result of certain experiences. Great war soldiers who came home and were unwilling to talk about the time spent overseas was common and almost an expected understanding that is just how it was, with no further thought into it. A mole to be left untreated. A mole that looks benign, yet turmoil, grief, rage, regret and so many other dark eddies than ever imagined churn beneath the surface. What is not yet widely known, or understood, is what exactly causes PTSD in an individual. Strong and horrible to imagine examples would be a dramatic 6 o’clock news way to try and make this next point, I’m going to try and find a way around that. What would you consider a bottom of the barrel traumatic experience? Would that same experience  be more traumatic to say perhaps a child? Or for someone who is experiencing it for the second or multiple times? The sum of the PTSD experience is the result of a combination of vast possibilities and  the trigger for one does not have to be significant to another. The sound of a very loud firecracker going off at an unexpected moment will for some be a quick adrenaline thrill, for others a strong scare that imprints that time, place, setting and all other factors to create a conditioned response to avoid those combination of factors. How many have even some mild form of PTSD just from watching the news? Yet for each brave patriot that had the good fortune to come home and try to live a peaceful long life, the effects were very different. For the medical community, researchers and caregivers this presents a unique problem. Great strides in medicine has brought us to the point where a great many conditions have a medical fix. Medicine is based around informed logic, just as an auto mechanic, thankfully with very different levels to the education standards. Diagnosing a patient is not vastly different than a technical troubleshooter finding and solving an issue with a vehicle. The main difference being the complexity of the machinery. As recognition and subsequent methods of treatment were being researched and developed, standard approach methods were being developed that were aimed at being beneficial to a profiled demographic who fit a particular diagnosis requirement. Well intentioned and based on prior, repeatable formulas that have proved so successful for a long time, how and why we get to where we are now is understandable. Finding help in standard medical avenues can be a very difficult path to navigate, for a number of reasons. While the medical community seeks to try and understand PTSD cause and effect, providing that information can be anything from horrendous to simply impossible. For the PTSD patient conveying to a caregiver the cause or nature of the trauma is like putting themselves back in the moments that caused the illness. Further exacerbating an already spiraling world of despair. The reality for many of those with PTSD is they find little relief in traditional medicine. That is slowly changing however as old once again becomes new and cannabis medicine is more and more becoming part of the treatment discussion. A discussion that is taking place more and more as word of mouth is a very different beast than it was even 25 years ago. Social media has brought about a means for those finding relief to share their struggles and those seeking relief to see what is working for others. More and more that discussion revolves around cannabis treatments. Many who found benefit years ago would not share for fear of persecution or worse, prosecution. But as we see the demise of ignorance and fear based legislation attitudes are shifting as well, people are less and less fearful to share how they found relief by breaking the law. Cannabis as medicine is only possible as a discussion because of one thing. Our endocannabinoid system. Spread throughout or bodies very much like our nervous system and crucial in regulating countless systems. Physical as well as psychological. Cannabinoids are neurotransmitters that function differently than others. “In general, cannabinoids function like a “dimmer switch” for presynaptic neurons, limiting the amount of neurotransmitter (e.g., dopamine) that gets released, which in turn affects how messages are sent, received, and processed by the cell.” ref*1(http://headsup.scholastic.com/students/endocannabinoid) The ability of cannabis to create a strong mood is at the heart of why it is so effective in PTSD treatment, as long as it is the correct type. It is well known different cannabis strains have different affects, for PTSD relaxing non-anxiety strains of Indica will be most effective. The reason it is effective is due to the neurotransmitter abilities. The same processes that produce fear and anxiety responses are the same ones responsible for producing the emotions that makes us feel good. When consumed cannabinoids take over and chemically tell the brain we are feeling something different. Or prevent or reduce the strong adrenaline based fight or flight response affect when experiencing a triggering event. There is many end results for those medicating with cannabis, protection mechanisms being told to chill out may allow someone the ability to go out in public, despair being replaced with messages that you are going to be OK. The truth is cannabis medicine and recreational use allows millions to feel better, more content, more social, become less isolated and perhaps even at peace. With the world, with family or with the demons no one can see. For anyone reading this and wishes to know more, for their own use or as a caregiver or family members, there is links at the bottom of this article to any referenced material as well as PTSD in relation to cannabis information and help resources in the U.S. and Canada. Here in Canada is an interesting experiment crashing in glorious style, prohibition. Recent legalization is finding that Canadian cannabis users number well into the millions. While there are also several hundred thousand registered medical patients I do not believe that is a fair or true estimate of the actual medical numbers, as black market access and the ability to covertly grow has been a very easy road to walk as a consumer prior to legalization. So any real numbers are vague at best but it is safe to say an overwhelming number of Canadian like cannabis. In terms of PTSD self medication with cannabis is nothing new. Many have been perfectly willing to risk sometimes incredibly harsh costs to freedom, family and assets, in order to experience the relief they find only a form of cannabis medicine provides. How badly would you have to be suffering to do the same? To risk everything for some sense of sanity and peace. It is odd actually, but cannabis appears to benefit the vast majority of PTSD sufferers in a similar way. Odd in that PTSD is so vast in it’s root causes, yet one plant can provide the same relief. The last couple of decades have shown a boom in not only information sharing via social media but also a very speedy expansion of the types of cannabis products that are readily available. While it is the same plant, it’s genetic differences are well known even if not as well understood, and adding the combination of different strains and effect to the variety of end user products, well it becomes an extremely large variety pretty quickly. While precise science, and what busy little molecules and chemical interactions are up to during everything that’s going on is still not clear, the reported effects of cannabis medicine are. Individuals who have found cannabis effective report an overwhelming majority of common beneficial results. Restoration of healthy sleep patterns, including a drastic reduction of nightmares where applicable, clearly improved sense of well being, more relaxed, less on edge, comfortable, reduced anxiety. Often drastic reductions in anxiety. It would very much seem that, regardless of how an individuals PTSD was manifested, the desired goal in treatment is common in where to go, and cannabis is the most popular way to get there. ref*1 http://headsup.scholastic.com/students/endocannabinoid PTSD and Cannabis:
How Cannabis Can Help Treat PTSD
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
http://veteransformedicalmarijuana.org/content/general-use-cannabis-ptsd-symptoms If you are in need of more immediate care please contact. USA:
Hotline / Crisis Numbers
Home
Canada: http://www.suicide.org/hotlines/international/canada-suicide-hotlines.html
PTSD
https://www.ptsdassociation.com/ http://www.legion.ca/support-for-veterans/mental-health-ptsd

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:
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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.

Peace.

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

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