written by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, MS

written by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, MS

Undoubtedly every retailer of cannabis or CBD lube is psyched the media has deemed the summer of 2021- “slutty summer.” There has been lots of chatter in the news projecting the increasing amounts of individuals “whoring” themselves out of quaratine as they engage in casual sex (hopefully) after getting vaccinated. If you’ve been tracking the essential status of the cannabis industry through the pandemic, you may be thinking- we have gone from “Hot Girl Summer” to “Pot Girl Summer” and now “Shot Girl Summer. 

Whether you received Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson, you may be thinking it is time to refill  that birth control, stock up on condoms or other contraceptives, and finally try out cannabis or CBD lube. Though  before you start updating your Bumble and Tinder profiles, there are some key details  you may want to familiarize yourself with before introducing new partners into your pleasure experiences… specifically related to cannabis or CBD lube.    about the cannabis or CBD lube you plan on using…

Cannabis as an Aphrodisiac

Yes, you read that correctly! – It is time to replace chocolate, oysters, ginseng, maca root, candlelight, and lingerie with cannabis. Whether you believe that any of these common day aphrodisiacs are really capable of making your toes curl, it looks like cannabis actually offers a full mind and body effect that will have you grabbing your pillows and screaming yes!  Sure, the mechanisms making your toes curl during pleasure are governed more by complicated systems in the body such as psychological, neurological, and endocrinological rather than cannabis alone.  Cannabis may move through your body to get your blood flowing, ease your nerves, calm your mind, and increase your hormones to give you the tingles in all the right places.

It is a toss up on which is more complicated; human sexuality or cannabis. Here’s what we’ve come to understand about these two complicated things together… When cannabis is consumed, cannabinoids bind to receptor sites throughout our brain (receptors called CB-1) and body (CB-2). Different cannabinoids have different effects. Depending on a cannabis product’s cannabinoid profile, different types of relief are achievable including- pleasure, coordination, cognition, and more… So the endocannabinoid system is thought to influence sexual behavior.

Cannabis is a natural enhancer of all sensations, and can be used as anxiety-relieving, pain-reducing, and euphoria-inducing. It can also produce a defense against physical and psychological resistance and/or inhibition. Essentially cannabis may address common sexual- physical and psychological- barriers to spice up your sex life. In other words, for those of you who have trouble getting out of your heads and into your body during sex- cannabis might be just the thing you need. The use of cannabinoids is also thought to expand the longevity of your sexual encounters, increase the duration and frequency of orgasms achieved, and heighten the level of intensity experienced. 

Scientific research and anecdotal reports alike support that cannabis may increase sensitivity to touch, changing tactile sensations for the better. Users also report an increased libido and sexual desires. Though more research is needed regarding cannabis’ thought out impact on blood flow, pressure and soft tissue as all these functions are targeted during sexual experiences. Further, cannabis’ impact requires more research on sexual dysfunction, desires, lifestyle changes, and pleasure, such as erectile dysfunction, sex hormone, and orgasm, as these factors can all be influenced by the use of cannabis. 

In the meantime, and good news for us, anecdotal evidence overwhelmingly shows improvement in the overall aphrodisiac effects of cannabis. If your friends haven’t already started kissing and telling about their cannabis fueled sexy times, too- just wait. It’s coming soon. 

Choosing Cannabis for Sex

Plain and simple, cannabis is a psychoactive drug, so different bodies will react in different ways. If you are toying with the idea of introducing cannabis into your sex life, whether solo or partnered, it is important to set a goal for your practice. I know that doesn’t sound really sexy but hear me out. Cannabis’ diverse effects may be satisfying for one partner and unenjoyable for the other, especially if it is a first time use. To balance the vibe, remember, start low and go slow… no one enjoys a quick finish. In other words- it is best to start with a lower dose and titrate up slowly. Partners may have different needs such they don’t want to use the same strain or may even choose different routes of administration. Don’t expect your party to simply join your cannabis party as their needs may be different. 

Choosing a strain can be as personal as choosing a partner. Depending upon what kind of sexual experience you are craving, you are going to want to be specific about your choice of cannabinoids and terpenes. Choosing individual strains may also decrease the barrier of unbalanced pleasuring experiences with partnered play. Since we know each strain and person hold a different “working relationship,” if you will, it is best to meet your own needs. So It is really more of a BYO situation as each person’s endocannabinoid system will interact with THC, CBD, and all the other cannabinoids differently. Once again, create a safe space for yourself and partner by choosing a strain and dosing wisely as certain strains increase sensitivity to touch and change tactile sensations for the better. 

Terpenes, responsible for the aroma and flavor, will really help to set the mood as they also define the effects of each strain. Of course like cannabis, sex has many flavors of fun, all looking, feeling, and experienced differently and all equally valuable. If you are a person who lives for hot, intense, and maybe even some kink, then limonene, caryophyllene, and terpinene may feed your hot fire with energizing and uplifting effects. If you’re hoping for a more passionate, sensual, intimate love-making experience, relaxing and relieving linalool is the terpene for you.

You may want to also take some precautions to make sure you have the most enjoyable and safe experience possible. Before you get too stoned, talk about what you’re consenting to, find the condoms or other contraceptives, grab some water, etc… You may also want to consider whether you’d prefer to try it alone and masterbate versus with a sex partner- either can be fun!

Choosing Your Cannabis Aphrodisiac Products 

Perhaps you have already seen some of the many cannabis and CBD sexy intimacy products on the shelves at your dispensary and even drug stores. For those who still think smoking a joint is the only efficient way to use cannabis, this next bit will really blow your mind, and maybe even your load…

🚫 Ingesting Cannabis If you are still looking to add that secret ingredient of love into your sexual journey with cannabis, look no further at the explosive heart shaped baked goods and products all over the market. Edibles make for a discrete, smoke free consumption of cannabis building intensity over time creating a long lasting high. Perfect for some Netflix, Drill, then Chill as sensations may still be present after making the love, so take advantage of the effects and snuggie up nice. Products such as chocolates, cookies, and even flavored body paints are available for every kind of sexual encounter. 

However, as popular as edibles are (and they are the most favored form of consumption), they are not  always the best route  for partnered sex. Since edibles take 30-60 minutes to kick in, the uptake is often too slow and unpredictable, increasing the likelihood that partners will peak at different times. This too often leads to ingesting an over amount than necessary  shifting the focus of pleasure to the inability to sync with one another. to not sync up at all. Edibles are influenced by each individual  body mass index (BMI), digestive system, and other related factors sometimes making partnered edible eating less sexy as you two consistently ask each other, “are you feeling it now,” which may not always apply to cannabis at that moment.

Inhaling Cannabis If you are revved up, ready to go and looking for a more instant high, smoking would be the quickest route. Cannabis can be inhaled through multiple forms such as grinding your flower to use in your favorite smoking piece, or even baking the grinded flower through vaporization. There are also liquidated and waxed extracted cannabis usually in cartridge or concentrate form and these tend to kick in much faster compared to consuming cannabis, which can take too long.. 

🚩 Massage Oil, Intimacy Oils & Serums Sexual wellness has been embraced by the cannabis industry. Like cannabis balms, ointments, bath salts, salves, lotions, perfumes, and face cream- cannabis and CBD massage oil, intimacy oil, and serums are topicals like all the rest. So do not be fooled by the marketing scams. 

However, sensually you and your partner release each other’s tension when you apply cannabinoids to the skin, as these topicals provide localized pain relief along with anti-inflammatory benefits. The act of touching one another provides that extra sexual drive of focusing on pleasure and connection for one person at a time. Although, keep in mind a massage rubdown will not necessarily get you as applying cannabis to the skin penetrates the epidermis only inhibiting absorption directly into the bloodstream. 

Topicals designed and formulated to intensify sexual pleasure also focus on overall genital health. There is faster absorption through the mucous membranes of the vagina and anus. Oils and serums are thought to enhance blood flow and heighten sensitivity with intoxicating scents and tastes. These types of topicals may alleviate dryness and increase lubrication as everyone should be implementing lube into their sexual practices. Topicals works as a sensory or physical release creating an experience of feeling different stimulation and soothing simultaneously.

🚩 Suppositories Administering medication via suppository is much more common than many would think. Suppositories are often used to treat GI conditions, vaginal dryness due to menopause, seizures, and other conditions as it is an accessible localization point for administering medication. Suppositories are round or cone-shaped medications designed to be inserted into the vagina, anus, or urethra. Some may take the form of a pre-lubricated clear, jelly cone shape making administration accessible. While other forms may require lubrication prior to inserting and may resemble a medication capsule. Either way, they both do the same job of  dissolving once inside, and absorbed by the body  directly into the bloodstream. Inserting a suppository is thought to be more targeted relief than oral ingestion. Cannabis suppositories are commonly used in preparation for your romantic moments or following them for relief. Please advise before inserting any unknown object into your body as you may want to consult with a doctor if you are prone to infections or pH imbalances. 

🚩 Lube Sufficient lubrication is key to comfortable and enjoyable penetrative sex. In fact, everyone should go out and purchase lube after reading this for lube should always be a member of the party.. Lube truly is a great additive for penetrative sex as it reduces friction, tearing, discomfort, and decreases stimulation from driness. Many products on the market have been infused with cannabis and/or CBD to increase your natural flow of lubrication or just add for fun. Lubes are meant to be applied directly to the genitals- vulva, clitoris, and anus. Though they are not as effective on the skin of the penis as it is far less absorbent than the vagina and vulva. However there is a small wait time before dessert, as it takes  a 15-20 minute of absorption time for the relaxed, tingling, prolonged, and multiple orgamsic effects to rock your body.

A Note on Cannabis Topicals

Okay so now I need your full attention. You may have noticed some “red flags” 🚩 when reading about the cannabis options to elevate your sex life. Just like red flags with partnered sex (i.e. consent), there are some red flags that cannabis can carry into the bedroom. You need to be knowledgeable to make the choices for your safety which is an important factor when experimenting with pleasure. Some products have risks, such as cannabis topicals. There are a few things of note when using these types of cannabis aphrodisiacs:

🚩 Most cannabis topicals are coconut or hemp oil based and therefore edible- which can make for a pretty fun time. However if you kiss, lick, suck cannabis lube, you may get high. After ingesting a topical, the cannabinoids are absorbed through the digestive system. They then impact the endocannabinoid system. So if you’re giving oral sex, be aware that ingesting this topical is psychoactive and will get you high.

🚩 While we’re on ingesting a topical- let’s also talk about allergies. It’s entirely possible to have an allergic reaction to lube. It’s important to review the ingredients to know if you may react to any element in the formulation. If you feel any swelling, burning, or itching, you may need to check for the following symptoms: hives, redness, difficulty breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of a severe allergic reaction when using cannabis lube or any other topical.

🚩 If you are practicing safe sex with with use of condoms, steer clear of the cannabis or CBD topical as they are not the best lubricants to ensure protection from STIs or pregnancy. Cannabis and CBD lubes and other topicals commonly use coconut or hemp oil as its fat soluble carrier. While this is good for cannabis and CBD bioavailability, it’s not so good for condoms:

      • Latex condoms can dissolve and/or break when used with oil-based lubricants.
      • Latex diaphragms and sex toys can also be broken down by oil-based lubes.
      • Non-latex condoms are sensitive to oil-based lubes- so it is best to check the package before use.

Oil-based lubes are ideal for masturbation, penetrative unprotected sex, and water-play. They can also be used for a sensual massage. Please remember to practice consent when engaging in penetrative unprotected sex with a partner– creating a safe space for experiecing emotions and pleasures ensures for a eye-opening time. 

Other options- try to find water-based lubes or use nitrile, polyurethane, or animal skin condoms. After all, reducing friction and increasing comfort during sex should minimize soreness or irritation. Be sure to choose wisely if using contraceptives as some chemicals will react.

Getting Ready for Shot Girl Summer

Okay now that you have all the product tips you need for a sexy cannabis lite night, there is still one more thing we want to share. Here are some other key tips to consider as you train for your Slutty Summer. Actually, these tips will keep you in check with your selfcare, physically, mentally, and emotionally to ensure the experience is staying true to your goals. Here are some great tips to support your sexual self and health when considering a Shot Girl Summer:

Touch Yourself Yup, that is right. Consider masturbating more to grow awareness of your body’s on and off switches. When masturbating, you become the expert of your own pleasure as you control the experience. It is important to touch yourself and notice the response or reaction. Then once you are comfortable, you can share your findings with other sexual partners.    

Orgasm is Not the Goal It is best to focus on enjoying what is actually happening in the moment. Feel the sensations you are experiencing and follow them. Sometimes when sensations of orgasm arise, be mindful of where your thoughts are heading and bring yourself back to the moment. The more you focus your attention on an orgasm, the more you miss during the moment, so enjoy yourself. Live through any anxious thoughts, accept them, and let them go – be mindful in the moment and just keep redirecting your attention back to the pleasure. Focus on breathing to relax your body and allow for increased sensation. Orgasm happens when they happen and if we miss an orgasm opportunity then all the more reason to try again. 

Communicate, communicate, communicate Sex is not purely physical, and following your instincts is not alway enough as your partner cannot read your mind. Telling your partner what you like and do not like can help sex become deeper, less awkward, and more pleasurable. It also may be best to negotiate before you bring cannabis to the party so you can set a plan for boundaries, consents, and maybe even safe words so if you get too high, we know to support each other.

Plan for safer sex If protecting yourself and your partner from STIs, HIV, and pregnancy is of importance, be sure to plan as such. There are many contraception methods to suit every encounter. Getting frisky does not have to be risky if you are  well prepared. Oh and using a condom does not hamper your ability to have an orgasm. Of course there are always potential risks when using condoms, so be sure to keep in mind and plan for moments of uncertainty, as there is a risk for impaired judgment. Best to be safe than sorry, so plan ahead so cannabis can participate in future pleasurable experiences. 

Hydration A lack of water causes your body to release stress hormones, which may throw off sexual hormones and leave you with a low libido. Proper hydration can facilitate natural lubrication and help you orgasm by increasing oxygen levels in the bloodstream.

Get loud and active Sound and movement help the sexual energy move through your body. The more you moan, cry, talk dirty, laugh- the more you will feel it. YAASSSSS!!!!

So similarly to the approach we suggest about cannabis, we would also recommend “harm reduction” for your post-vaccination, post-pandemic plan. With bars and restaurants opening back up all over (if they have not already), it is still best to hang out in a small circle with vaccinated people in open and/or outdoor space. Stay safe y’all!!

And keep in mind- if sex is painful, increasing lubrication  may not always be the answer nor  taking another hit. Many infections and/or illnesses can increase pain during sexual intercouse – especially vaginal sex. If you experience recurrent or worsening pain during sex, be sure to consult your healthcare provider. Also be aware that sometimes sexual dysfunction symptoms may arise throughout our lives as this is natural and normal. It is best to seek support for these symptoms as sexual health is a significantly important factor for future experiences. 

https://www.smoa.jsexmed.org/article/S2050-1161(19)30009-1/fulltext

Androvicova R, Horacek J, Stark T, Drago F, Micale V. Endocannabinoid system in sexual motivational processes: Is it a novel therapeutic horizon? Pharmacol Res. 2017 Jan;115:200-208. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2016.11.021. Epub 2016 Nov 21. PMID: 27884725.

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. FAQ020: When Sex Is Painful. September 2017. 

The World Health Organization, Family Health International, United Nations Population Fund. Use and procurement of additional lubricants for male and female condoms: WHO/UNFPA/FHI: Advisory note. World Health Organization 2012.

Dezzutti CS, Brown ER, Moncla B, Russo J, Cost M, Wang L, et al. Is wetter better? An evaluation of over-the-counter personal lubricants for safety and anti-HIV-1 activity. PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e48328. 

Nicole W. A question for women’s health: chemicals in feminine hygiene products and personal lubricants. Environ Health Perspect. 2014 Mar;122(3):A70-5.

Pacher, P., Bátkai, S., & Kunos, G. (2005). Cardiovascular pharmacology of cannabinoids. Handbook of experimental pharmacology, (168), 599–625. https://doi.org/10.1007/3-540-26573-2_20

https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/489287

Iffland K, Grotenhermen F. An update on safety and side effects of cannabidiol: a review of clinical data and relevant animal studies. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):139-154. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0034

Nagarkatti, P., Pandey, R., Rieder, S. A., Hegde, V. L., & Nagarkatti, M. (2009). Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future medicinal chemistry, 1(7), 1333–1349. https://doi.org/10.4155/fmc.09.93

HEY NEWBIES- START HERE!

KEEP IN MIND

Stay calm. Canna-curious is cool! But collect some info first.
If you are:

  • under 25 years old
  • taking any medication
  • at risk for heart disease
  • family history of psychosis
  • family history of mood disorders
  • family history of addiction

…please be sure to consult a medical or mental health professional.

NAVIAGTE

EXPLORE

2-Arachidonoylglycerol - The Endocannabinoid You Probably Did Not Know You Know All Too Well

2-Arachidonoylglycerol – The Endocannabinoid You Probably Did Not Know You Know All Too Well

LJG 2021

written by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Hannah Sadock, LMFT

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, LMFT

written by

Namen Namestein

reviewed by

Namen Namestein

2-Arachidonoylglycerol, 2-arachidonoylglycerol, 2-arachidonoylglycerol – say it three times fast and you might just produce some. Yes, activating your brain to say this very long and complicated word could very possibly produce this especially abundant cannabinoid. If I am speaking a whole other language to you, just keep reading because 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) is well worth knowing about…

 

What are Cannabinoids?

Aside from cannabinoids being the most mispronounced word in cannabis science- kuh–nab–uh-noid- they actually comprise approximately 100 chemical compounds out of 500, responsible for psychological and physiological effects. Cannabinoids are a group of chemical compounds made up of 21 carbon atoms in a 3-ring structure. They bind to receptors throughout the brain and body. 

Cannabinoids are neurotransmitters that exert their effects by interacting with specific cannabinoid receptors present on the surface of cells. The effects of cannabinoids depend on the part of the body or brain they are targeting. They mediate communication between cells, allowing for immediate response to deficiencies or problems in our endocannabinoid system and  halt unpleasant symptoms and physical complications. Simply put, cannabinoids activate receptors to maintain internal stability and health. 

While most cannabinoids are not intoxicating themselves, combinations of their presence can influence how each affects you. Different cannabinoids connect with or influence different receptors to produce different effects to achieve homeostasis or balance. 

There are three different kinds of cannabinoids:

🌿 phytocannabinoids or exogenous cannabinoids

👤 endocannabinoids or endogenous cannabinoids 

🧪 synthetic cannabinoids

Now, let us focus on endocannabinoids as it applies most to the anandamide…

 

What are Endocannabinoids?

Endocannabinoids or endogenous cannabinoids are produced inside the body as the Latin prefix “endo” – meaning internal or within- specifies cannabinoids produced from our body. Yes, the magic of the body as it makes similar chemical compounds to those of cannabis plants. Endocannabinoids are on-demand neurotransmitters. We make them when we need them. They go to work in seconds and can disappear again.

Endocannabinoids lend themselves to rebalancing the most essential systems in the body, and function as activators of the immune system.They are synthesized from fatty acids and act locally where they are produced. Just like phytocannabinoids, endocannabinoids interact with receptors to initiate a physical response. The two most commonly occurring endocannabinoids are:

👤 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)

👤 N-arachidonoylethanolamine – “anandamide” (AEA)

 

What is 2-Arachidonoyl Glycerol?

Considered one of the most important and common endocannabinoids, 2-AG is a major endocannabinoid produced by the body which helps maintain homeostasis. 2-AG is present in high levels in the central nervous system and works to bring the body into balance. To be very clear about this- it is not found in cannabis flower.

2-AG performs many crucial functions as it is a key regulator of neurotransmitter release in the central nervous system. It is thought to play an important role in:

🧬 regulation of appetite

🧬 immune system functions

🧬 pain management

🧬 regulation of the circulatory system 

 

In Conclusion

As endocannabinoids research continues, it is clear that 2-AG contributes a crucial function  in human physiology and our overall well being. 2-AG, along with the rest of the endocannabinoid system, is quickly becoming a target for the treatment of various conditions. Its role in the circulatory system has made for the potential target for cardiac related illnesses and neurodegenerative conditions.

Hillard, C. Circulating Endocannabinoids: From Whence Do They Come and Where are They Going?. Neuropsychopharmacol. 43, 155–172 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2017.130

 

https://www.jyi.org/2018-june/2018/6/1/the-endocannabinoid-system-our-universal-regulator

 

https://sensiseeds.com/en/blog/cannabinoid-science-101-what-is-2-arachidonoylglycerol-2-ag/

 

Karabowicz P, Grzęda E, Baranowska-Kuczko M, Malinowska B. Znaczenie endokannabinoidu 2-arachidonyloglicerolu w fizjologii i patofizjologii układu krążenia [Role of endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol in the physiology and pathophysiology of the cardiovascular system]. Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2014 Jun 12;68:814-27. Polish. doi: 10.5604/17322693.1108875. PMID: 24934539.

 

Marc P. Baggelaar, Mauro Maccarrone, Mario van der Stelt, 2-Arachidonoylglycerol: A signaling lipid with manifold actions in the brain, Progress in Lipid Research, Volume 71, 2018, Pages 1-17, ISSN 0163-7827, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plipres.2018.05.002.

Zuzana Justinová, Sevil Yasar, Godfrey H. Redhi and Steven R. Goldberg, The Endogenous Cannabinoid 2-Arachidonoylglycerol Is Intravenously Self-Administered by Squirrel Monkeys, Journal of Neuroscience 11 May 2011,  31 (19) 7043-7048; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6058-10.2011

2-Arachidonoylglycerol - The Endocannabinoid You Probably Didn’t Know You Know All Too Well Pin 1
2-Arachidonoylglycerol - The Endocannabinoid You Probably Didn’t Know You Know All Too Well Pin 2
2-Arachidonoylglycerol - The Endocannabinoid You Probably Didn’t Know You Know All Too Well Pin 3

HEY NEWBIES- START HERE!


KEEP IN MIND

Stay calm. Canna-curious is cool! But collect some info first.
If you are:

  • under 25 years old
  • taking any medication
  • at risk for heart disease
  • family history of psychosis
  • family history of mood disorders
  • family history of addiction

…please be sure to consult a medical or mental health professional.


NAVIAGTE

EXPLORE

Everything You Thought You Knew About Marijuana and Everything You Need to Know About Cannabis

Everything You Thought You Knew About Marijuana and Everything You Need to Know About Cannabis

LJG 2021

written by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Hannah Sadock, LMFT

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, LMFT

written by

Namen Namestein

reviewed by

Namen Namestein

It may seem kind of silly to address what cannabis or marijuana is as most of us may have met the substance at a high school or college party. Truth is- while cannabis is believed to be one of the oldest cultivated crops in history, recent, impactful discoveries about the plant have been made within the past few years that may be worth knowing. Specifically linked to our unawareness of all the varietals of the plant that appear to yield medicinal benefits. 

So let’s start with this- marijuana is not the actual scientific name of the plant. It is slang devised from dated racist legal terms meant to criminalize its use, possession, and distribution. “Cannabis,” is the largely preferred actual scientific name and term of choice of the plant known to produce industrial, medicinal, therapeutic, and recreational benefits.

What is Cannabis?

Many plants have been discovered and used for their medicinal effects over the course of human evolution. The Cannabis Sativa L plant was thought to have originated over 10,000 years ago in the Himalayas with a use for its fiber and oil-bearing seeds. The plant was made into fiber for rope and cloth, and its seed’s oil was used for household needs.

Its first recorded medical use was noted in Indochinese texts over 3,000 years ago. A Chinese pharmacopeia recorded its effectiveness in treating tapeworm, constipation, and hair loss. Cannabis use for recreational and medicinal effects spread throughout various empires. By the Middle Ages, it was regularly used as a topical to relieve muscle and joint pain.

In 1545, the Spaniards introduced the Americans to cannabis for its use as fiber. Hemp quickly became a major crop throughout the Americas in the 18th century.

In 1839, Dr. William B. O’Shaughnessy returned to the United State from his time in India having learned of the medicinal use of cannabis. He recommended its use for insomnia, pain, muscle spasms, and other conditions. He encouraged other physicians to recommend the use of cannabis and soon it became an acceptable treatment included in the US pharmacopeia. Cannabis tinctures were sold as patented medicines.

In the late 19th century, over 280 manufacturers of cannabis were established as laws started to be enacted to address issues of adulteration, mislabeling, etc. Since then various laws and policies have been established to control the plant, its use, and those profiting from it.

All of this is worth noting; the legal limits placed on this plant contributes to how it is defined within our society.. As we know it today, the Cannabaceae family of flowering plants yields 170 species including cannabis, hemp, hops, hackberries, and more. Members of the family are erect or climbing plants with leaves born oppositely or in spirals. The plants are dioecious, meaning that individuals are either male or female and the flowers are petal-less.

The cannabis plant has a wide variety of colors and crystals located on its buds. It emits a distinct aroma that can seem pungent. It does not all smell the same- sometimes it is fruity and other times it is skunky. Each plant offers various patterns of growth, chemical compound profiles, levels of resiliency, recreational effects, and medical applications. There are some differences based on its three diverse set of species including:

🌿 Cannabis Sativa can grow fifteen-feet high making it more suited for outdoor growth to reach its maximum potential. It also grows best in higher temperatures and humidity levels. These conditions may be a concern for mold and other environmental effects on the offspring, though tend not to decrease its popularity due to its higher yield of psychoactive components.

🌱 Keep in mind, Hemp (aka that CBD stuff you see everywhere) is a type of Cannabis Sativa. In accordance with the UN Narcotics Convention, the US federal government classified “industrial hemp” in the 2018 Farm Bill as cannabis containing no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC- the principal psychoactive constituent) by dry weight. As defined by this law, hemp is being bred to produce minimal levels of THC. 

🌿 Cannabis Indica is a stocky plant, typically growing no higher than 3 to 6 feet tall. This makes it more conducive to growing indoors. Cannabis Indica plants flower fast and present thicker foliage and broader leaves. Cannabis Indica plants tend to have an earthy smell and taste and are often more pungent. This type of plant tends to be tolerant of colder temperatures and relative humidity.

🌿 Cannabis Ruderalis aka “ditch weed” lacks psychotropic effects and is mostly used for breeding hybrids as a source of producing auto-flowering traits. It grows relatively short, reaching a maximum height of approximately two feet. Originating in Siberia, Cannabis Ruderalis is accustomed to colder climates. It has a short life cycle and blooms quickly. 

It is, however, worth noting that due to genetic engineering, some of the typical characteristics cannot be assumed about modern day cannabis plants.  The shapes and sizes of these plants do not adhere to this paradigm as there are now innumerable hybrid plants bred for different effects.

What is Cannabis Used For?

Cannabis consumption is generally described as either medical or adult-use (previously recreational). Adults using it for anything other than treating a medical condition tend to find cannabis aids in enjoyment, stress relief, and creative stimulation. Whereas medical users are hoping to alleviate symptoms such as pain, anxiety, insomnia, appetite loss, and more.

The hemp plant is also an important agricultural resource. Its strong fibers have been used to make ropes, clothing, textiles, building materials, and more. Hemp seeds can also be consumed as they are packed full of essential amino acids, protein, and other valuable minerals. Other cannabis byproducts can be manufactured into cooking oils, and can even function as a sustainable biofuel.

What are the Components of Cannabis?

Just when you thought you were understanding cannabis, we are going to break it down even deeper. Cannabis is actually made up of many different chemical components which determine everything from the way it looks, tastes, and smells to the way it affects you if you use it. There are over 500 chemical compounds in cannabis that work together to provide a wide range of psychological and physiological effects. The following is a breakdown of the most commonly occurring constitutes:

🔬 Phytocannabinoids (“phyto” meaning of a plant or referring to a plant- also called cannabinoids) are a group of chemical compounds made up of 21 carbon atoms in a 3-ring structure. Scientists have identified over 120 cannabinoids specific to the cannabis plant. The most commonly occurring cannabinoids in the cannabis plant are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

🔬 Terpenoids (aka terpenes or terps) combined together with cannabinoids can also influence the effect of cannabis on the body to regulate brain function and mood. If you are familiar with “essential oils” you already have some experience with terpenes. High quantities of terpenes are found in various essential oils. The terpenes in these essential oils contribute to the uplifting effects you experience if you smell the rind of a lemon or walk through a pine forest.

🍋 limonene is in the essential oil of lemons and limes

🌲 pinene is found in the essential oil of pine needles

High concentrations of terpenes are found in the bud of the cannabis plant. The combination of terpenes with the other cannabis chemical compounds can enhance your experience, affect its taste, and smell. There are over 100 different terpenes in the cannabis plant.

🔬 Flavonoids are chemical compounds responsible for color pigmentation, odor, and flavor of plants. They are not unique to cannabis as they are found in thousands of plants including fruits and vegetables. In cannabis, flavonoids have synergistic qualities with terpenes, but whether they enhance the properties of cannabinoids or modulate their efficacy is not yet fully known and needs more research. Flavonoids are also partly responsible in the protection of plants from harmful UV rays, pests, and diseases.

Keep in mind- this is what we know so far. Scientists are still hard at work discovering more about cannabis and hemp plants everyday. So stay tuned!

What is a Cannabis Strain?

Reviewing the different chemical compounds in the cannabis plant will help you understand the multiple cannabis strains. Strains are essentially different breeds of cannabis. Each strain contains a different combination of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids profiles. Different strains of cannabis produce different effects, and thus can be used for different reasons. 

When you go to a cannabis dispensary, you will find the products are categorized by Sativa, Indica, and/or Hybrid. These names look familiar, right? Yup, they are the same as the plant species. That is not the only confusing thing about them. Here is what these categories are suppose to mean:

🍃 Sativa is believed to produce an uplifting head high.

🍃 Indica is believed to have a whole body effect that is relaxing or sedative.

🍃 Hybrid is thought to offer a combination of both.

Unfortunately, it is not that simple. More recently, the cannabis industry has moved away from categorizing strain in this paradigm. For an effective result, individuals should determine what works best for them with a combination of strain identity, cultivator source, cannabinoid, and terpene contents specific to that product batch rather than classifying cannabis products based on subjective effects. 

Some websites like Leafly have started to categorize cannabis strains by their terpene profiles. However, it looks as though chemotype classification may be the future distinction to help offer unique medical benefits and effect profiles. Five different chemotypes have been identified as follows:

🪴 Type I: the “drug type” because of its high THC content and low CBD:THC ratio

🪴 Type II: the “intermediate,” consisting of nearly equal parts THC and CBD

🪴 Type III: the “fiber” or “non-drug type” is mainly CBD

🪴 Type IV: which is predominantly cannabigerol (CBG), with little THC present

🪴 Type V: material with undetectable amounts of any cannabinoids

Ultimately, it is up to each consumer to try experimenting with different strains and potencies to find what works best for you. Be sure to keep track of your findings!

What Does It Feel Like to be High on Cannabis?

If this is your first time using cannabis, you are likely curious about the experiential feeling during the process such as how it will make you feel in the moment. Getting “high” or “stoned” does not have to be scary. For many it is really fun. Though, as we know everyone is different, the plant can have drastically different effects on each individual. Some people find cannabis to be calming while others find it energizing. For many, the munchies are real, causing you to be inclined to eat combinations of foods you might not normally consume. Really if you have never experienced cannabis before you should proceed with caution as it is important to not use too much inducing a negative reaction such as anxiety, panic, and paranoia. The following are the common reactions, good and bad, to cannabis:

✅ euphoric

✅ relaxed

✅ amused 

✅ giggly

✅ creative

✅ hungry

✅ increased sensitivity

😬 anxiety

😬 confusion

😬 delusions and hallucinations

😬 high blood pressure

😬 nausea and vomiting

😬 panic

😬 paranoia

😬 psychosis

😬 racing heartbeat

Can You Get Addicted to Cannabis?

It is critical our language around cannabis is not too quick to judge or report, rather a balance between what is common and uncommon. An uncommon reaction is for an individual to become addicted to cannabis in the same manner as other substances do with uncontrollable cravings affecting daily functioning. However with regular or heavy use, it is common for individuals to develop a dependence on cannabis. Dependence causes the brain to adapt to large amounts of cannabis causing more frequent use to feel the effects, which creates a potential for financial or social risks. Another way to think about it is as a really bad habit that is very hard to break such as smoking cigarettes. Habitual or dependent cannabis use may produce withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop, such as:

🚩 moodiness 

🚩 irritability

🚩 nausea 

🚩 difficulty sleeping

🚩 change in eating habits

🚩 sweating

🚩 shaking

🚩 diarrhea

If you become concerned about dependence or withdrawal, be sure to consult your doctor, therapist or other medical professionals within your self-care routine.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5531363/

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/can.2018.0039

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4883103/

Cannabis: The facts. (2017).
nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/cannabis-the-facts/

Is marijuana addictive? (2020). drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-addictive

Morales P, et al. (2017). Molecular targets of the phytocannabinoids: A complex picture. Phytocannabinoids. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-45541-9_4

What is marijuana? (2019).
drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana

What is the scope of marijuana use in the United States? (2018).
drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/what-scope-marijuana-use-in-united-states

Heustis MA. (2007). Human cannabinoid pharmacokinetics. DOI:
1002/cbdv.200790152

Is marijuana medicine? (2018).
cdc.gov/marijuana/faqs/is-marijuana-medicine.html

Piomelli D, et al. (2016). The cannabis sativa versus cannabis indica debate: An interview with Ethan Russo, MD. DOI:
10.1089/can.2015.29003.ebr

Schauer GL, et al. (2014). Toking, vaping, and eating for health or fun. DOI:
10.1016/j.amepre.2015.05.027

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Track CBD & Meditation Hero

How to Track Your CBD and Mediation Progress

Jessica Christion

written by

Jessica Christion

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

written by

Namen Namestein

reviewed by

Namen Namestein

If you have tried out CBD with your meditation practice then hopefully you are aware of the benefits, sometimes when you are just starting out trying new forms of CBD and even new ways to meditate can seem a bit overwhelming.  One suggestion I have for beginners is to track your CBD and Meditation combinations through journaling your experience. Trust me doing this will make the process a whole lot easier and more enjoyable. If you are new to the benefits of CBD and meditation check out my previous blog called Find Your Mind: Making CBD Your New Meditation Partner for a complete overview on the two partners in crime. 

What does it mean to track your CBD and meditation progress?

Tracking your CBD and meditation progress should be done through journaling your experience. Meaning, everytime you try a new form of CBD you would want to keep track of how a particular form of CBD aided in your meditation practice. Since there are different forms of CBD like flower, vaping, topicals, edibles, tinctures and sprays to name a few it can get super overwhelming to keep up on the method that worked or did not work for you. You can find out more information about 4 Ways to Incorporate CBD into Your Meditation by reading my previous blog. This will tell you all about the different ways to consume CBD. 

Why It’s Important to Track

CBD can get expensive, especially if you are trying various methods and not keeping up with how they affect you. Tracking is a great way to keep up with cost, dosage, form of CBD and how it helped with your meditation practice. When you are first starting your CBD and meditation journey you are going to want to find what best works for you so that you have something to go back and refer to. You can also share your experience with friends and family who can also benefit from the combination. It would be nice to find multiple forms of CBD that work for you as well. You can see if different types of meditations like mindfulness, guided meditations, or Transcendental Meditation compliment a specific type of CBD form. I really encourage you to use a tracking method like journaling, or even keeping track on a chart or spreadsheet that you can print. 

How to track your CBD and mediation progress: 

This is the last step to your CBD and Meditation partnership. The best thing you can do on this wonderful journey is to journal your experience and Reflect… Reflect… Reflect! This will be the only way to truly know if the CBD and Meditation combo is the right fit for you. You also want to keep track of the effects it had on your body during meditation. It is important to journal every time you try a new consumption method so that you can find the best and most useful form of CBD for you.

Here are a few things you may want to ask yourself when journaling:

  • What way did I choose to consume CBD? 
  • How long did it take for me to feel each form?
  • What is my dosage for said form.
  • What is my monthly cost to use said form?
  • How did I feel getting into my meditative state? Did it take me a long/short time with this form? 
  • How did I feel after my meditation?
  • How long was I able to meditate? 

Conclusion

I hope your CBD and Meditation Journey is fulfilling and that you can find peace in your busy everyday life. It is important to always make sure your self-care is up to par to be the best you that you can be. Although it may seem like meditation is not for you, consider the fact that it may just be uncomfortable to face our thoughts, and really become relaxed. CBD can help you become more comfortable and confident within your practice. I encourage you to try multiple methods, and to give yourself time to adjust to your new partner in crime… and peace!

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If you are:

  • under 25 years old
  • taking any medication
  • at risk for heart disease
  • family history of psychosis
  • family history of mood disorders
  • family history of addiction

…please be sure to consult a medical or mental health professional.

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Cannabis for pain Hero

Cannabis for Pain: Does Medicating with Marijuana Increase Abuse Risk?

Of all the conditions that motivate medical cannabis use in the US, chronic pain tops the list. Sixty-six percent of adult Americans now view marijuana as beneficial for pain management. An estimated 62% of patients rely on weed to help render chronic pain more manageable, and plenty more unregistered consumers likely seek it for the same purpose. 

While evidence accumulates that cannabis can work wonders for those living in the grips of chronic pain, it’s not necessarily a quick fix or simple solution. Cannabis is a nuanced plant medicine that can elicit distinctive effects at different doses and provoke varied responses depending on delivery method and body chemistry. 

Get it right and you have a powerful plant-based ally that can help lower your volume of pain. Get it wrong and you may experience paranoia, nausea, or other unwanted side effects.

A recent study published in the January 2020 issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry reports that adults who use cannabis to manage pain are at a higher risk of developing a use disorder than those using cannabis for purposes other than pain. The research highlights the need to cultivate an awareness of the potency of cannabis, despite its harmless, non-toxic reputation. 

Does pain lead to cannabis use disorder?

Ultimately, the above study concluded that cannabis consumers living with pain might be vulnerable to adverse outcomes. Healthcare providers treating patients with pain need to monitor for signs of Cannabis use disorder (CUD) and convey credible information and education about the health risks associated with cannabis use. CUD can be characterized by a set of symptoms that affect the behavior, physical, cognitive, and psychosocial aspects of one’s life.

In the study, researchers studied non-medical cannabis consumption, comparing patterns between adults with pain and without pain, and drawing on data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions in 2001–2002 and 2012–2013. Approximately 20% of participants in both surveys had moderate to severe pain.

Those with pain used cannabis more frequently than those without pain in both surveys. In the 2001–2002 survey, 5.15% consumed cannabis for pain compared with 3.74% who didn’t; in the 2012–2013 survey, 12.42% consumed cannabis for pain compared with 9.02% who didn’t.

The researchers found that cannabis use disorder was more prevalent among respondents with pain rather than those without pain. In the 2012–2013 survey, 4.18% of consumers with pain developed cannabis use disorder (CUD), compared with 2.74% who developed the disorder but didn’t consume cannabis for pain. 

Do consumers really understand the plant?

Cannabis consumption and education is also a hot research topic, with a survey, also published in January 2020, reporting significant discrepancies between cannabis consumers’ knowledge and available evidence. Among some of the more striking findings, 74-81% of participants got their understanding of cannabis from their own experiences, while only 18% received information from primary care providers. 

Those who received information from providers had a more thorough knowledge of medical efficacy. Between 38-42% thought cannabis consumption did not increase any risk. Those who consumed medical cannabis more frequently had an increased risk of adverse events. Again, the study’s authors highlighted the need for more education from physicians, caregivers, and dispensaries to raise awareness about both efficacy and risk.

For Dr. Oludare Odumosu, PhD, and CEO of Zelira Therapeutics, cannabis is medicine and must be handled with awareness and a concern for safety. 

“With every medicine, abuse is a risk. Any adverse effect should be taken seriously,” he says. “A 2017 report released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine cited pain as a condition for which cannabis is effective,” said Odumosu. “That said, education is an evolving process, and no one should assume that they understand all there is to know about the use of cannabis.”

The treatment of pain with cannabis requires a subtle approach that takes into consideration the subjective qualities of an individual’s pain experience. 

“For example, if you ask me and I say on a scale from one to ten that the pain that I feel is a five, my five might be somebody’s three. Somebody’s three might be somebody else’s ten.” With such variation in pain thresholds, a tailored approach to pain treatment, developed by a cannabis healthcare professional, can be highly beneficial to avoid unwanted effects.

How to stay informed when medicating with cannabis

Odumosu encourages seeking cannabis medicine for pain through state-approved programs with credentialed health practitioners, and he also cautions against turning to the internet for guidance on self-medicating for pain with cannabis. 

“There is an increasing number of scientific articles coming from outside the US, from countries like Israel, Canada, and Australia, with legalized cannabis programs,” he points out. “Although many are custodians of some form of cannabis knowledge, please do not rely on unverified information sources. Engage with practitioners within your state’s program because they know the products that are in your area and have the requisite knowledge and skill sets to guide you to an appropriate medicine.”

Those with expertise and experience can support a safe and effective approach to dosing, as well as selecting the optimal mode of delivery. “Certified physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and healthcare practitioners within the dispensary system are constantly learning and applying what I call real-life empirical data, as well as drawing from the available body of clinical data with patients,” said Odumosu. 

Odumosu further emphasizes the need for providers to monitor patients to reduce the risk of cannabis use disorder. “Because this is an emerging space, we should constantly monitor patients, as we would for any condition. For example,  If somebody presents with cancer, we don’t just hand them a bunch of chemo drugs and say go home,” he said. “They come back; we watch their progression, we’re monitoring several aspects based on the presentation. It should not be any different for cannabis-based therapies.”

This article written by Emma Stone was originally posted on Leafly.com.

Deborah S. Hasin, Ph.D., Dvora Shmulewitz, Ph.D., Magdalena Cerdá, Dr.P.H., et al. U.S. Adults With Pain, a Group Increasingly Vulnerable to Nonmedical Cannabis Use and Cannabis Use Disorder: 2001–2002 and 2012–2013. The American Journal of Psychiatry 177, 7 (July 2020).

 

Kevin F. Boehnke, Saurav Gangopadhyay, Daniel J. Clauw, and Rebecca L. Haffajee. Qualifying Conditions Of Medical Cannabis License Holders In The United States.

Health Affairs 2019 38:2, 295-302. 

 

Patel J, Marwaha R. Cannabis Use Disorder. [Updated 2021 Jul 12]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538131/

 

Kruger DJ, Kruger JS, Collins RL. Cannabis Enthusiasts’ Knowledge of Medical Treatment Effectiveness and Increased Risks From Cannabis Use. American Journal of Health Promotion. 2020;34(4):436-439. doi:10.1177/0890117119899218

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Why Do We Get So SAD Around This Time of Year? Hero

Why Do We Get So SAD Around This Time of Year?

Caroline Platzman

written by

Caroline Platzman

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

written by

Namen Namestein

reviewed by

Namen Namestein

From usually around November until March, as the sun begins to set earlier and the nights feel colder, many individuals experience feelings of melancholy, vulnerability and anxiety. Sometimes, these feelings can manifest into depression, a type that looms at this particular time of year when it gets colder and darker in many places. This condition is known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.

What is seasonal affective disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder, otherwise known as SAD or seasonal depression, is characterized by symptoms of depression that can become prominent in fall and winter months, when the days become comparatively colder and darker than the rest of the year. Seasonal affective disorder is a mood disorder that is cyclical, as depressive symptoms will generally subside when the individual begins to feel comfortable in their environment again. 

Seasonal affective disorder is impacted by both neurological and environmental factors, such as the amount of sunlight we are exposed to and the chemical disposition of our individual brains. Seasonal affective disorder is most common in the colder, winter months but, although it is less common, individuals can experience seasonal affective disorder in the spring and summer as well (Nussbaumer-Streit et al., 2018).

How common is seasonal affective disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder is extremely common, with over 3 million U.S. cases reported every year. According to Dr. Paul Desan, director of the Winter Depression Research Clinic at Yale New Haven Hospital, about 5% of people live with seasonal affective disorder. And, roughly 33-44% of SAD cases actually turn into non-seasonal major depression cases (Nussbaumer-Streit et al., 2018).

While anyone can develop seasonal affective disorder, some populations are more at risk than others. Seasonal affective disorder is more common in women than men, and is typically more common in younger populations. However, it can occur at any age. Another factor to consider is location: according to experts, those who live farthest north or south from the equator are more at risk for developing seasonal depression.

Why does seasonal depression occur?

Scientists speculate that people develop seasonal affective disorder for a few reasons. Most notably, the decrease in sunlight in fall and winter months in many parts of the world can affect the body’s internal clock in a negative way. Additionally, hormonal changes in the body may contribute to onset in colder months: lack of sunlight means lower levels of serotonin and melatonin, two hormones that play essential roles in regulating mood and sleep.

What are the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder?

The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder parallel the symptoms of major depression, both mentally and physically. This means that individuals can experience SAD in a number of ways.

Emotional symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include, but are not limited to:

      • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or melancholy
      • Feelings of loneliness
      • Feelings of emptiness
      • Lack of motivation
      • Anxiety or agitation 
      • Irritability

Physical symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include, but are not limited to:

      • Lack of energy
      • Lack of focus
      • Fatigue and tiredness
      • Sleep disturbances
      • Increase or decrease in appetite
      • Weight gain

The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder vary from person to person, but a wide range of those living with it report depressive symptoms like lower energy levels and increased fatigue. According to Nussbaumer-Streit et al. (2018), “in addition to depressive symptoms, most patients also experience hypersomnia, increased appetite often accompanied by weight gain, and extreme fatigue during winter months”. In other words, those living with seasonal affective disorder are prone to excessive sleepiness, tiredness, and appetite.

Additionally, an individual might become more irritable or moody during the change in seasons, and feel less energized overall. Plus, the inclination to stay inside during the colder months can make a person feel more like sleeping in or oversleeping, ignoring household tasks and other necessities, or not socializing as much. For the most part, “in summer, SAD patients are free of depressive symptoms. However, little is known whether or not the fear of upcoming depressive episodes impacts their well-being” (Nussbaumer-Streit et al., 2018). The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder can be seemingly daunting, however, they are not impossible to manage.

Is seasonal affective disorder treatable?

Research suggests that seasonal affective disorder is not only manageable, but treatable. In fact, for less severe episodes of seasonal affective disorder, the first choice treatment is light therapy. Other effective treatment options can include certain antidepressant medications as well as cognitive behavioral therapy (Nussbaumer-Streit et al., 2018). With the help of a mental health professional, individuals can work through their symptoms most effectively in order to learn healthy and safe ways to cope with symptoms during these months.

Some find solace in the utilization of other treatment options that are more natural in regulating mood and sleep, such as melatonin supplements or cannabis as a way to combat seasonal depression. Exercise and nutrition also play a huge part in the regulation of mood, so sometimes a lifestyle or diet change may help fight seasonal depression (Nussbaumer-Streit et al., 2018).

Bottom line

Seasonal affective disorder is never something to be ashamed about. And, this winter, we have had a new and looming presence amidst the cold and dreary days: a global pandemic. Depression and anxiety are at an all time high, so if you are feeling the pressure, understand you are not alone. And, understand it’s fairly normal to feel this way, particularly now. As Dr. Desan puts it, “The pandemic conditions plus the winter season – a lot of people will find this is a very difficult next few months. It’s not your imagination.” It’s not.

https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/its-not-your-imagination-experts-urge-people-suffering-from-seasonal-depression-to-get-help/2401279/

 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31124141/

 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651

 

Meyerhoff, J., Young, M. A., & Rohan, K. J. (April 2018). Patterns of depressive symptom remission during the treatment of seasonal affective disorder with cognitive‐behavioral therapy or light therapy. Retrieved from Wiley Online Library, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/da.22739

 

Nussbaumer-Streit, B., Pjrek, E., Kien, C. et al. Implementing prevention of seasonal affective disorder from patients’ and physicians’ perspectives – a qualitative study. BMC Psychiatry 18, 372 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-018-1951-0

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Budtenders : Everything You Should and Should NOT Ask Them

Jessica Christion

written by

Jessica Christion

Hannah Sadock, LMFT

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, MS

Jessica Christion

written by

Jessica Christion

Hannah Sadock, LMFT

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, MS

Cannabis dispensaries are popping up everywhere from coast to coast creating access to medicine and news jobs- aka budtenders. Playing on the word ‘bartender’ and similar to a bartender fulfilling a drink order, these cannabis industry employees are donning tshirts with the names of every new dispensary, and jumping behind the counters to help cannabis patients choose their medicine. Budtenders fulfill cannabis orders and again like a mixologist, they can make or break your whole experience at a dispensary 

However budtenders aren’t necessarily as well versed about all things cannabis nor are they allowed to answer some questions you may have. Certain state policies stipulate how much information they can provide while others don’t. Some dispensaries make sure their budtenders are well educated about the many strains of cannabis while others just want to know you can work a cash register.

So how can you tell the difference and get the help you may need? Read on…

What is a budtender?

Go into any store- from a department store to a convenience store- there you will find employees to advise you where you can find the right department to the where to find the jumper cables. All retail outlets depend on their employees to ensure that you find what you need and buy. It’s no different in the cannabis industry and its dispensaries. 

Commonly those tending to customers in a cannabis dispensary are called “budtenders.” However some don’t appreciate the comparison to bartenders and alcohol. So it’s also common that these types of customer service providers may also be called “patient advocates,” “care consultants,” “wellness guides,” or “sales associates.” Titles aside, the job is the same.

Budtenders not only staff dispensaries, as they disseminate information, offer suggestions, present trending products, and carry out retail operations. On any given trip to a dispensary, you can pick the budtenders’ brains, ask them questions, and challenge them on what works best for your needs. 

However not every budtender is the same… In the beginning of the legal cannabis industry, most budtenders were friends or relatives of the dispensary owner. Back then dispensaries were “cash only” businesses. Owner’s hired based on who they could trust to handle their profits. While banking is still a bit of an issue, dispensaries employees include many others beyond the family tree now.

Building a relationship and establishing a rapport with resourceful tenders can be very helpful for positive medical outcomes. Some states even mandate that dispensaries be staffed with medical personnel to support the patients and advise their budtender colleagues. Budtenders are responsible for assisting with your cannabis needs that might serve as educators on products including flowers, edibles, concentrates, and topicals. They are also usually well versed on local laws, and can answer questions about where you can use cannabis legally. They often have access to educational pamphlets and medical resources for more information. 

However not every interaction with a budtender is the best. Just like finding the perfect therapist, it is all about trial and error until you find the match. They are meeting your cannabis needs, so be sure you feel heard and understood. 

What qualities make a budtender helpful?

Undoubtedly we have experienced negative customer service interaction in the past. There is a certain weight of stigma and sensitivity budtenders need to manage while offering insight and education. It is in their best interest to make the experience feel safe, non-judgemental, normal, and rewarding. 

The goal of a budtender is to ensure your cannabis needs are met by focusing on you and your life experiences. They are mindful of the diversity in human experiences and consider the consumer first. Remember, it is always acceptable to request the service of a different budtender if needed. 

Here are other qualities of a budtender: 

😁 product knowledge 

😁 patience

😁 passion

😁 ability to cater to all levels of experience 

What Cannabis Needs can budtenders help you with?

Budtenders can help you with a wide range of cannabis needs to best recommend products to suit your needs. While it is important to remember that everyone experiences different responses to cannabis, a budtender can educate and advise you to make the best choices for your individual needs.

Here are more ways a budtender can be of assistance and inform you of:

👍 products targeting symptoms
👍 possible product benefits 
👍 possible product side effects
👍 terpenes levels
👍 forms of consumption
👍 methods use
👍 cannabinoid levels 
👍 how cannabis was grown 
👍 extraction method 

What a Budtender Cannot Help You With

Although budtenders can assist medical marijuana patients, they are not able to give out any medical advice or diagnosis. They do not hold the education equivalent to a doctor or therapists and for that matter, should not act like one. Please consider seeking support for another budtender if an overstep in this boundary accounts. Consider the list below of things a budtender cannot help you with:

👎 provide medical advice – ie “this product will cure your depression.”
👎 advise about drug interactions, for example “this will not affect your use of xanax.”
👎 cannot make medical claims about products like “this will cure your anxiety.” 

If you have any concerns about treating your medical condition or if you’ve been prescribed any medication that could interact with cannabis be sure to consult a medical professional. 

Questions to Ask Your Budtender

There are many decisions to make when choosing the cannabis products for you. Your budtender can really play a big role in your decision making process. To ensure that you are being well cared for by your budtender, it is always a good idea to ask them some questions. It is best to know if they have the background and ability to answer your questions intelligently or not. Here are some questions you may want to consider asking: 

❓ how long have you been working here? in the industry?

❓ how did you learn about cannabis? the product you sell?

❓ what makes you recommend this product? 

❓ is there more cannabinoid or terpene info you can share with me?

❓ can you explain the extraction methods and how they’re different?

❓ how should I store this product?

❓ what is the recommended dosing for this product?

…and many more. You get it, right? You basically want to stick to info about their expertise and the products they sell.

In Conclusion

Whether it is your first time at a dispensary or your routine visit, budtenders are there for you. A good budtender shows patience with customers and gives you honest, product suggestions based on the knowledge that they have learned. Budtenders can make suggestions about products, though they cannot give any medical advice or advise you on certain cannabis products that will “solve all your needs.” When you are curious about cannabis information it is best to do your research first, and then ask clarification questions to your budtender. Hopefully, your next dispensary visit will be full of information that helps assist you on your cannabis journey. 

Check out previous blogs on everything you need to know about your first dispensary visit: Everything to Know About Your First Dispensary Visit • The Calm, Cool & Collected (thecalmcoolandcollected.com)

4 Good Budtender Habits That Make for a Positive Customer Experience. (2015, August 19). Leafly. https://www.leafly.com/news/industry/4-good-budtender-habits-that-make-for-a-positive-customer-experie

Budtender Definition & Information. (n.d.). Weedmaps. Retrieved June 25, 2021, from https://weedmaps.com/learn/dictionary/budtender

Top 5 Qualities of a Good BudTender. (2018, May 2). Cannabis Magazine. https://cannabismagazine.com/good-budtender-top-qualities/


HEY NEWBIES- START HERE!


KEEP IN MIND

Stay calm. Canna-curious is cool! But collect some info first.
If you are:

  • under 25 years old
  • taking any medication
  • at risk for heart disease
  • family history of psychosis
  • family history of mood disorders
  • family history of addiction

…please be sure to consult a medical or mental health professional.


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