Cannabuzz: The Week in Cannabis

Pain, Pills, Pot, and Progress

Comments

1
Cannabis isn't a drug; it's an herb. It's non-toxic. There's absolutely no reason for it to be illegal, taxed nor regulated. Get Fascist corporate government tyrants the fuck away from grass. End the prohibition, and rescind ALL laws that have anything whatsoever to do with what's usually termed, Marijuana.

The only saving grace about the recent, so-called, "legalization" in Orygun is that any adult can grow a total fucking shitload of top shelf shit, and not have to buy it from greedy inexperienced entrepreneurs or fronts for organized crime.
2
I am a pharmacist who has been working with chronic pain patients in rural Oregon for the last seven years. I can confirm that medical marijuana has provided a safe and effective alternative for opioids. During the last two years, in response to the the opioid overdose and diversion crisis (which peaked in 2011), I have helped several patients (along with their prescribers) reduce or eliminate their opioid use with medical marijuana. I hope to continue to do so, since I believe medical marijuana is much safer than opioids since it does not have the same dependence, addiction and overdose risks as opioids (not to mention the street value which drives opioid diversion and crime).

However, I feel compelled to stress to your readers that just because marijuana is safer (primarily because one cannot die *directly* via marijuana overdose toxicity), it is a complete myth that marijuana is not a drug and is 100 percent safe for every person at every dose.

Of course it is impossible to overdose via smoking marijuana. That's not what I'm talking about here. It is however quite easy to overdose by ingesting marijuana orally, especially via marijuana edibles prepared using de-carboxylated (ie already active) marijuana extracts, which are basically 98-99% active THC.

First of all, the dose of THC that constitutes an oral "overdose" is quite individual depending on the person. Even in the clinical trials for pharmaceutical THC, study subjects showed incredible diversity (for a standardized, pharmaceutically prepared drug!) in response to dose for both desired (nausea and pain relief) and overdose (increased heart rate, dehydration, psychotic symptoms, anxiety, super nausea) symptoms.

Second, while oral overdoses of edible cannabis products have not killed anyone directly (eg like opioids, which shut down the respiratory system), they have certainly made many, many people feel like they are dying, due to the overdose symptoms listed above, which directly affect neurotransmitter transmission and the cardiovascular system. In Colorado for example, since legalization has made cannabis edibles much more widely available to the general public, ER visits due to oral cannabis overdose have increased by 56% and hospitalizations by 86% (www.rmhidta.org/html/FINAL%20Legalization%20of%20MJ%20in%20Colorado%20The%20Impact.PDF). Child exposures (accidental ingestion by children leading to calls to Poison Control and ER visits) have increased 256%. This has increased health-care costs in the state to the extent that they are quite concerned there that the increased tax revenue from sales won't be enough to cover it.

In response to this, in February, Colorado has enacted dose limits for recreational edibles as well as unit-dose packaging and overdose warning rules to help prevent accidental overdoses due to people who don't understand things like a brownie that has 300mg of THC (but is actually TEN servings, not ONE) and accidental ingestion by adults who don't understand how long it takes for orally ingested marijuana to take effect, and children who are accidentally attracted to sweets made with cannabis.

So it is not true that marijuana is "just and herb" and is therefore completely, 100 percent safe in any form. It contains a drug--THC-- which affects the brain and circulatory system and in high doses (and what is a "high dose" varies incredibly per the individual) can create disturbing psychological and physiological symptoms that compel immediate medical attention. Smoking marijuana bud is pretty damn safe, if you are an adult and used to smoking it. Ingesting concentrated oils and preparations made with concentrates or high THC is not completely safe. It won't kill you, but it can make you feel like you are dying.

Are marijuana edibles safer than opioid medications? Absolutely, in my opinion and in the opinion of most medical professionals. But we don't put Vicodin in brownies and ice cream, with ambiguous packaging and labelling rules, which are very easy to overeat. Is marijuana safer than alcohol? Absolutely!

But please everyone, remember that when we go recreational, we will be presenting marijuana as a product for consumption to a huge new portion of the population that has never had access to marijuana before (especially the wide variety of edibles) and has no experience with it. It is irresponsible of those of us who want to see this drug used happily and safely both for recreation and medicine to imply to the general public that marijuana is not a drug and is 100% safe.

When opioids became more widely prescribed in the '90s, it was a societal experiment: not only did we enable millions more patients to get pain relief, but also we exposed millions more to its inherent dangers of addiction and overdose (and I don't mean that opioids--or any drug--"creates" addicts. It merely *exposes* a population already vulnerable to addiction to the risks if they use it. Anything that affects dopamine can do this: alcohol, opioids, gambling, etc.).

Marijuana holds nowhere near the dangers of addiction and overdose that opioids do. But as we enter into this vast social experiment where more and more of the population is going to try marijuana, we are not only going to help more people combat pain and anxiety and nausea, and help them enjoy the recreational pleasures of marijuana, but we are also--inherently and inadvertently--going to expose more vulnerable people to the potential downsides of marijuana by accidental oral overdose and addiction.

It's not a judgement of marijuana or any other drug. It's just a fact of population statistics and numbers. Increased availablity=increased use=increased good results for some and bad results for others.

So let's set an example for the rest of the nation, and help educate about the safe and responsible use of marijuana. Like any other drug, it has benefits and disadvantages, and those largely depend on individual physiological/psychological predispositions, and most especially, ROUTE of ingestion, and DOSE.

MK Welch, Pharm.D
3
The Latin, botanical, scientific term for the herb, is "Cannabis". Marijuana is slang, and not even a proper legal term. In fact, violation of laws against Marijuana should be challenged when misapplied to Cannabis.

Not all herbs are non-toxic; many of them are in fact out right poisonous. Cannabis is non-toxic. Cannabis is not a drug. Edibles are not Cannabis. Pure THC is a drug, but even that is not toxic. I once smoked an entire gram of Lebanese Blonde hashish in less than two hours. It was quite psychedelic for hash, but it put me to sleep before very long; it didn't make me ill. I would suspect that anyone who manages to stay awake after in-taking vast quantities of extracts, probably is on Prozac or amphetamines. One thing I don't do, is smoke dope after drinking. That gives me the whirlys, but it doesn't bother me to drink after having smoked out. I rarely drink at all, however.

Too much coffee can make people feel quite uncomfortable. That might actually even be toxic. Too much sugar can cause a hypoglycemic reaction with dangerous symptoms. Personally, I like to drink coffee with weed.

There is no need for Pharmacists to become the gatekeepers for Cannabis. Pharmacists know more about drugs than do medical doctors, but essentially are just glorified store clerks. Let them sell pure THC if they need to cash in.
4
Furthermore, Cannabis is not addictive, but is rather habituating. There is no physical withdrawal, just psychological dependency in some cases. As for having a bum trip, there's always that risk, even without chemical enhancement. Just reading crap from fascist individuals from special interest groups can bring you down.
5
MK Welch condemns with faint praise. Just fuck off.
6
Ginseng is an herb, but despite popular consumption, it's really not for everybody. There can be contraindications for some medical conditions. Only a properly trained and experienced, Classical Chinese Medical Doctor can make that determination. Mine tells me that I can have all the Ginseng I want. I like Ginseng with Coffee and Cannabis!

Traditional Chinese Medicine, is not Classical Chinese Medicine, by the way, so beware; it's a modern bastardization.
7
In Canada, you can buy most any drug you want over the counter. Works just fine up North.

Health care in Canada is cheaper, because drugs are cheaper. Drugs are cheaper by eliminating the middle man, whereas in the US, O'bama Care cuts expensive procedures and drugs, while protecting the racket of middle men to make a profit.

While some herbs can in fact be toxic, the FDA needs to stay the fuck away from regulating them, as long as they are not adulterated.

If anyone is foolish enough to take toxic herbs or drugs without consulting a physician, then they are probably the type who ride motorcycles.
8
If you drink too much water, it can make you as if drunk, by diluting your blood, which is fatal.
9
There seems to be no shortage of tyrants on all fronts, who wish to restrict people's freedom as means to serve their own ends. They are the real smiley face on the bottle of iodine.
10
Just one more thing, said Columbo.

This is really going to blow your mind. At the time when my OMD first recommended Ginseng to me, he also told me not to drink coffee; only hot, green tea. He never did prescribe Cannabis. During that same time period, I hadn't been smoking weed for quite awhile. On a regular visit, a few days after having smoked merely a few hits, he could tell from taking my pulse, that my lungs were a bit stiff.

Busted!

Once, he even noticed from my pulse that I had a cramp in my left leg.
11
Just like that unelected, bitch of a first lady, finagles to dictate what little school kids have to eat. Soda pop has sugar, caffeine, and water, all of which can kill you if taken in high enough dosage. There are some trying to make that illegal, too. At the same time, the VA recently had an elderly patient in the hospital having a heart attack, so the doctor ordered him to be left alone in a vacant room without treatment. He had a 75% chance of full recovery, but it could have cost a half million dollars.
12
Green Tea contains Fluoride, a substance so toxic that Federal law prohibits it from being dumped in a river, yet Shrfu would rather have me drink that, than coffee. He can tell by taking my pulse if I've had coffee or chocolate, or even Tabasco.

The main active ingredient in Prozac is Florine. The one thing that a pharmacist ought to be able to do that most physicians usually can't do, is know how drugs interact with each other. It seems to me that MK Welch fails to consider effects from interaction of Cannabis with prescribed drugs. While Cannabis itself in non-toxic, it's effects are not necessarily enjoyable when the herb is used in conjunction with toxic drugs, such as Prozac or amphetamines.

One of the few times I ever tried snorting coke, and then smoking weed, my heart stated racing and I had to fight having a panic attack.
13
To be clear, I only tried coke about a half dozen times, and only one time with weed. I don't like Cocaine, but I love Coca Cola! For those who like a more stimulating experience, pure Sativa strains are best. For those who like something more sedative, Indica strains are best. Most available strains nowadays are hybrids of both, taken in moderation, had proven effective to anxiety and depression, but the more you smoke, the more likely you are to want to sit, or sleep. A pure Sativa, if you can find it, will be better for action adventuring, but might be a lot more psychedelic. Taken in moderation, it can be nicely, euphoric. Most commercial farmers grow hybrids, because they have a body stone as well as a head trip, and generally, produce the highest yields. If you want a Sativa, you'll probably have to grow your own. Ace Seeds, and Canabiogen offer wide varieties.
14
Why not drink tea instead of taking Prozac? While you're at it, practice T'ai Chi. Cannabis makes exercise fun and desirable to do.
15
If the United States were to scrap O'bamass' lack of care, and adopted the Canadian system, the cost of health care would be cut in half, even with all the wasteful abuse in that centralized bureaucracy. If the US were to combine the Canadian system with Classical Chinese Medicine for primary care, or even Traditional Chinese Medicine, or Naturopathy, there would be even greater savings.

Fascist corporate interests are deathly afraid of herbal remedies.