written by

Caroline Platzman

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

written by

Caroline Platzman

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

In both the scientific community as well as in our own, a lot of people question if Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is a viable treatment option for psychosis- and the truth is, the answer is not yet known but research is ongoing. As the scientific community does its part to find the answers for us, it is important we take a moment to understand the research that we do have so far. If you or someone you love lives with symptoms of psychosis, you may have already looked into CBD as a potential alternative yourself, as CBD is becoming more and more mainstream. So, let’s break it down.

As we know, medical CBD is used to treat a wide variety of ailments, including pain, nausea, anxiety, depression, low appetite, insomnia, muscle spasms, autism, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and other seizure disorders, inflammatory bowel diseases, and other conditions. The list goes on! With that said, research suggests CBD may also have the potential to reduce psychotic symptom severity and improve cognitive ability in patients experiencing psychosis.

What is psychosis?

Psychosis is an umbrella term that refers to symptoms of delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized thinking that demonstrate a detachment from reality. Chronic, or ongoing, psychosis is associated with diagnoses such as Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective disorder and Delusional disorder. Psychosis can mean sensing something that isn’t there or believing in something that isn’t reality. It can also mean having thoughts that don’t make sense or seem unclear. Sometimes, psychosis looks and sounds obvious: for instance, someone who might be yelling “FIRE!” and claiming to smell smoke, where there is no smell or apparent cause for alarm to others. Feelings of anxiety and paranoia can accompany episodes of psychosis and cause extreme distress in the person experiencing it.

A lot of times, though, psychosis might not appear so overtly. Symptoms might display in ways other than agitation or yelling. Someone experiencing psychosis might tell you in detail about how they worked for the FBI for 20 years (when they are only, say, 30), or how they are going to Oxford University next fall (they are intelligent, but you do not recall them even mentioning an application). Another example would include someone experiencing feelings of anxiety due to the belief they are being watched, and acting on that belief. Episodes of psychosis manifest differently in different people, and can sometimes even pass as reality.

What is the relationship between CBD and psychosis?

Because psychotic symptoms can be so individualized as well as unpredictable, much research has concluded that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis, may have the potential to exacerbate psychosis. However, CBD may be another story. Due to research still being young, “there is currently encouraging, albeit embryonic, evidence for medicinal cannabis in the treatment of a range of psychiatric disorders” (Sarris et al., 2020).

CBD is known to have natural antipsychotic, anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic properties. In a clinical setting, CBD has been shown to fight psychosis, as it is associated with an improvement in acute symptoms as well as fewer side effects and inconsistencies than traditional antipsychotic medications. Compared to common traditional antipsychotic medications, which are notorious for producing a variety of adverse side effects, the therapeutic impact of CBD for many seems like a promising alternative that comes at virtually little to no cost.

Some research suggests CBD may help to reduce abnormal brain activity associated with symptoms and have the ability to ‘reset’ the brain, normalizing the brain into a state of equilibrium (Bhattacharyya et al., 2018). According to the 2018 study, just one 600mg dose of CBD has the power to partially manipulate specific regions of the brain and counteract psychosis (Bhattacharyya et al., 2018). Another recent study suggests that CBD use in those living with Schizophrenia helps to decrease the severity of symptoms over time (Khan et al., 2020). In addition, CBD for Schizophrenia has “particularly promising effects in the early stages of illness” (Batalla et al., 2019).

While some research has shown some promise for CBD in relation to psychosis, more research is needed to determine the therapeutic effects of CBD on psychosis. It might be wise to also consider anecdotal evidence regarding the use of CBD for treating symptoms of psychosis while scientific research slowly increases.

Bottom line

The science regarding the effects of CBD on psychosis generates hope, but it is still in its juvenile stages. It remains unclear as to whether CBD can be an effective long-term solution to treating symptoms of psychosis. It is important to remember that because each individual is different, effects of CBD can vary, and CBD may need to be used as an adjunct in order to produce results. More research is needed and ongoing; according to Batalla et al. (2019), “future studies should focus on the effects of CBD on psychotic disorders in different stages of illness, together with the effects on comorbid substance use”.

While the effects of CBD as a treatment for psychosis remain unclear, CBD definitely has versatile medical implications that continue to astound researchers. What we do know is that CBD has not been shown to necessarily exacerbate psychosis, and it is clear that the beneficial properties of CBD could conceivably be utilized to yield safer, more tolerable alternatives to traditional antipsychotic medications. However, further research is required to more accurately dismantle and assess the advantages and disadvantages of CBD for psychosis.

For more information on CBD and mental health, check out:

Batalla, A., Janssen, H., Gangadin, S.S., Bossong, M.G. (2019). The Potential of Cannabidiol as a Treatment for Psychosis and Addiction: Who Benefits Most? A Systematic Review. J Clin Med; 8(7):1058. doi: 10.3390/jcm8071058. PMID: 31330972; PMCID: PMC6678854. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31330972/

 

Bhattacharyya, S., Wilson, R., Appiah-Kusi, E., et al. (2018). Effect of Cannabidiol on Medial Temporal, Midbrain, and Striatal Dysfunction in People at Clinical High Risk of Psychosis: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Psychiatry; 75(11): 1107–1117. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.2309

 

Davies, C. & Bhattacharyya, S. (2019). Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for psychosis. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol;9:2045125319881916. doi: 10.1177/2045125319881916. PMID: 31741731; PMCID: PMC6843725. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31741731/

 

DiSalvo, D. (2018). Study: CBD from marijuana may ‘reset’ the brain to counteract symptoms of psychosis. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2018/08/31/study-cbd-from-marijuana-may-reset-the-brain-to-counteract-symptoms-of-psychosis/#3db8daf06a36

 

Hahn, B. (2018). The Potential of Cannabidiol Treatment for Cannabis Users With Recent-Onset Psychosis. Schizophrenia bulletin, 44(1): 46–53. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbx105

 

Khan, R., Naveed, S., Mian, N. et al. (2020). The therapeutic role of Cannabidiol in mental health:  a systematic review. Journal of Cannabis Research, 2(2). https://doi.org/10.1186/s42238-019-0012-y

 

McGuire, P., Robson, P., Wieslaw, J.C., et al. (2017). Cannabidiol (CBD) as an adjunctive therapy in schizophrenia: a multicenter randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Psychology, 175(3): 225-231.

https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.17030325?journalCode=ajp&


Sarris, J., Sinclair, J., Karamacoska, D., Davidson, M., Firth, J. (2020). Medicinal cannabis for psychiatric disorders: a clinically-focused systematic review. BMC Psychiatry; 20(1):24. doi: 10.1186/s12888-019-2409-8. PMID: 31948424; PMCID: PMC6966847. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31948424/

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

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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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

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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).
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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).
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What is the scope of marijuana use in the United States? (2018).
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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:
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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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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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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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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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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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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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Cannabis and mental health_ Harm reduction strategies Hero

Cannabis and Mental Health: Harm Reduction Strategies

There is a well-documented link between cannabis and the onset of psychosis in vulnerable individuals. Typically, guidelines recommend that people with a history of mental illness, either individually or in their family, should avoid cannabis at all costs. Approximately 1 in 5 Canadians and Americans experience a mental health condition each year, and approximately 1 in 33 Canadians will experience psychosis in their lifetime, with similar numbers in the States.

But is abstinence the only option? Or might there be some middle ground, where people can consume cannabis while taking measures to protect themselves?

There is little consensus on the specifics of the complicated relationship between cannabis and mental health, although the association between cannabis use and mental illness is well-documented. Some experts staunchly insist that cannabis causes mental illness, while others believe the data reflects the fact that people with a predisposition to mental illness are more likely to be attracted to cannabis.

But what almost everyone can agree on is that people with a personal or familial history of mental illness, in particular, psychosis, should take action to reduce harm if they do choose to consume cannabis.

There are many choices that can reduce potential mental health risks of cannabis consumption.

What are the mental health risks of cannabis?

The main mental health risk of cannabis consumption is developing psychosis, the experience of losing contact with reality. The symptoms vary among individuals, but may include unusual thoughts, seeing or hearing things that are not there, and paranoid or delusional beliefs.

While THC can cause paranoia in people without mental illnesses, the evidence suggests that those who develop full-blown psychotic illness in response to cannabis use were likely predisposed to it in the first place.

There is also some evidence suggesting that people who have mental health vulnerabilities may be more likely to try cannabis, rather than cannabis causing their mental illness.

Depression and heavy use of cannabis are also associated, but similarly, it is unclear if the association is causal, or if shared factors may increase the likelihood of both cannabis consumption and depression.

Strategies for lower risk cannabis consumption

Most physicians recommend a person abstain from cannabis if they have a personal or family history of mental illness. If someone chooses to consume cannabis anyway, there are a few ways to reduce harm.

The Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH), along with Health Canada, has produced a set of lower risk cannabis use guidelines.

The guidelines explain that abstinence is the most effective way to avoid the psychiatric risks of cannabis. In addition, they suggest delaying the use of cannabis as long as possible, and ideally until after adolescence.

Dr. Romina Mizrahi, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and director of the Focus on Youth Psychosis Prevention program at CAMH explains:

“The key issue, I think, here really has to do with brain development,” she says. “One would want to minimize use before the brain is developed. And I would usually say ideally until 24 or 25. But I mean, it has to be after the age of 21, for sure.”

The guidelines also recommend people opt for cannabis with lower THC content overall, and a higher CBD to THC ratio.

Dr. Mizrahi emphatically agrees.

“We know that THC is associated with psychotic experiences, and we also know it’s associated with abuse and dependence. So certainly I want to make that recommendation that when people have to choose, they attempt as much as possible to use a minimal THC content.”

Finally, the guidelines suggest that people with a family history of psychosis should not consume cannabis at all.

If you have a first-degree relative—a mother, father, brother, sister, or child—who has experienced a psychotic disorder, it is worth being extra cautious.

Your risk is higher the more closely you are related to the affected individual. For example, the risk of schizophrenia is 6.3x higher in those with an affected first-degree relative, and 2.4x higher in those with an affected second-degree relative. Second-degree relatives include aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, half siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren.

Dr. Kim Lam, MD, a patient educator at Apollo Cannabis Clinics in Toronto, has some additional advice to offer.

Lam suggests patients with any history of mental illness use the “start low and go slow” rule. This means starting with a low dose of cannabis, and increasing it slowly to reduce the risk of side effects.

When asked about how cannabinoid content can impact a person’s experience, Lam’s clinical experience lines up with the CAMH guidelines.

“Cannabis with a higher CBD content and lower THC content can reduce harm in a mental health context,” Lam said.

“Because THC is psychoactive, and CBD has been shown to help diminish the side effects of THC, we often like to start patients on just CBD, and add THC only if needed.”

Importantly, people with mental health vulnerabilities who choose not to abstain from cannabis can still make choices to reduce the risk to their mental health.

Here are some harm reduction strategies for cannabis consumption:

      • Consider abstinence. Abstinence is the best way to avoid the mental health risks of cannabis consumption. Consider this more strongly if you have a close relative who is affected by psychosis.
      • Delay use until after adolescence (age 21). Cannabis is thought to affect teens’ brain development, which may account for some of the mental health risks.
      • If you choose to consume, select cannabis with lower THC content overall, and cannabis with a higher CBD to THC ratio. Avoid illicit cannabis, which is not tested.
      • Start low and go slow to reduce the risk of side effects. If you have a distressing mental experience while using cannabis, stop consuming it temporarily and seek help.

This article written by Laura Tennant was originally posted on Leafly.com.

Chou, I. J., Kuo, C. F., Huang, Y. S., Grainge, M. J., Valdes, A. M., See, L. C., Yu, K. H., Luo, S. F., Huang, L. S., Tseng, W. Y., Zhang, W., & Doherty, M. (2017). Familial Aggregation and Heritability of Schizophrenia and Co-aggregation of Psychiatric Illnesses in Affected Families. Schizophrenia bulletin, 43(5), 1070–1078. https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbw159

https://www.schizophrenia.ca/docs/SSC%20and%20SSCF%20Annual%20Report%20for%202017-2018.pdf

 

Louisa Degenhardt, Wayne Hall, Michael Lynskey. Exploring the association between cannabis use and depression. Addiction: 98 (11), 1471-1640, (November 2003).

Morrison, P., Zois, V., McKeown, D., Lee, T., Holt, D., Powell, J., . . . Murray, R. (2009). The acute effects of synthetic intravenous Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol on psychosis, mood and cognitive functioning. Psychological Medicine, 39(10), 1607-1616. doi:10.1017/S0033291709005522


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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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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Everything You Need to Know About Terpenes in Cannabis

Laura Geftman, LCSW

written by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Hannah Sadock, LMFT

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, MS

Laura Geftman, LCSW

written by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Hannah Sadock, LMFT

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, MS

“Oh, I know so much about cannabis,” is the most common response from average users but how much do you really know if you have never heard of terpenes? I would assume not, as there are many components contributing to the success of cannabis. Our knowledge of terpenes has expanded thanks to extensive research highlighting the plant’s multiple abilities. Specifically in treating biological symptoms, suggesting terpenes’ role of operating in the brain and body pharmacologically.

Terpenes can help you zone in on your desired effect, adding an extra layer of symptom relief. In fact, the research has been so telling, some experts now suggest overlooking the terpene profile and selecting cannabis simply based on sativa, indica, or hybrid will result in limiting the product’s full medicinal benefit. The entourage of chemical compounds affecting cannabis is reliant on the magnitude of properties the plant has to offer. Here is what you need to know to use terpenes to your benefit…

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes or terpenoids are the largest and most diverse group of naturally occurring chemical compounds with more than 20,000 identified in plants and some animals. They are aromatic compounds (aka essential oils) responsible for the aromas (smells), flavors, and even colors of their host. Whether you know it or not, terpenes are part of everyday life. They can be found in everything including food, household cleaning supplies, and personal hygienic products.

Though in cannabis, there are more than 200 possible terpenes thought to exist in various strains of flower. Throughout the cultivation process, terpenes provide a defense system protecting from being eaten by herbivores or damaged by high temperatures. They attract pollinators and repel enemies all at the same time. 

Each cannabis plant has a unique blend of terpenes. The diverse combinations of terpenes in a particular strain produce its aromatic properties creating a distinctive smell or taste unlike others. Keep in mind- different harvests can yield slightly different terpene profiles of the same cultivar creating a variation in different batches of the same strain. 

How Terpenes Work

Ask any cannabis connoisseurs or budtenders as they will tell you most consumers place far too much emphasis on Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. Instead, they recommend focusing more on certain terpene profiles to get their desired effects when choosing strains. Here’s why…

Terpenoids play a huge part in exposing your receptors to the magnitude of desired effects from cannabis. Consider the process of moisturizing after a hot shower. The steam from the water temperature opens the pores for the moisturizer to absorb into the skin resulting in the most effective way to soothe dryness. Now terpenes (the moisturizer) work simultaneously with phytocannabinoids (the steam) to produce the desired effects from different strains (skin). Phyotcannabinoids and terpenes are synergistic resulting in enhanced medicinal effects accounting for diverse experiences. With cannabis’ magnitude of unique phytocannabinoids and terpenes’ combination, achieving relief through different bodily effects is possible. Luckily, terpenes combinations are also synergistic with each other allowing for other enhanced therapeutic effects.

Terpenes are psychoactive as they affect the brain while not making you feel high. However while they are not intoxicating, terpenes may impact the effects of THC and those intoxicating effects.

Effects of Terpenes

When was the last time you smelled something delicious that did not elevate your mood? What about smelling something bad? Liking or disliking an odor predicts a positive or negative shift in mood respectively. The same concept applies to our reaction to the smell of cannabis. There are delicious and not so delicious smells for everyone with over 200 different terpenes in various combinations of cannabis. 

Each terpene offers distinctive aromas, flavors, colors….and effects.Terpenes with similar aromas may have similar effects. Overall, terpenes may be able to provide physical effects including:

👉🏽 anti-inflammatory 
👉🏽 pain relief
👉🏽 antibacterial
👉🏽 antifungal 
👉🏽 antispasmodic

In addition, other terpenes may help with mental health diagnoses such as:

👉🏽 depression
👉🏽 anxiety
👉🏽 insomnia
👉🏽 stress

The synergistic effects of terpenes may improve mood, decrease anxiety, and decrease the unpleasantness of pain. While disliked odors may worsen mood and heighten the experience of pain. Emotional learning, beliefs, and expectations play at least some role in the way terpenes operate. These roles do not make the effects any less “real,” rather the effects may diversify based on person(s). 

The effects of terpenes are certainly felt though they are definitely a different sensation than cannabinoids. Terpenes power the cognitive or mental experience of cannabis. Terpenes control whether the experience is uplifting, relaxing, or any other desired/ undesired effect.

Common Types of Terpenes

While there are around 200 known terpenes that may be found in cannabis, not all are usually listed on product labels…if your products even include labels at all. Requiring the listing of the cannabinoid and terpene profiles varies from state to state. Terpene profiles focus on the most common and abundant terpenes found in cannabis only. While in other states, dispensaries display cannabis smell jars which allow consumers to smell the flower and its terpenes. So no matter where you live and how your cannabis is displayed or packaged, it is important to get to know these terpenes:

✨ myrcene

✨ limonene

✨ caryophyllene

✨ terpinolene

✨ pinene

✨ humulene

✨ ocimene

✨ linalool

✨ limonene

✨ nerolidol

✨ bisabolol

Best Use of Terpenes in Cannabis

Terpenes can elevate your experience of cannabis though specific mechanisms may be needed to be achieved. The key to experiencing all the aromas and flavors terpenes offer is in its boiling points. Consumption methods involving less combustion tend to heighten terpene effects. The higher the temperature, the more likely terpenes will combust before being consumed. However each terpene boils at a specific temperature and if not heated to that point, the compound will not activate. Also if overheated, the terpene may be scorched.

Download our free terpene boiling points chart here.

Terpenes Tips and Tricks 

If you are planning to follow our terpene info, there are some tips and tricks to best enjoy them in your cannabis. Here are some things to consider when choosing terpy cannabis:

✴️ Always read the labels when choosing products. Most states require lab-testing that includes terpene profiles (levels of the most prevalent terpenes) to ensure you are choosing the terpenes to address your needs.

✴️ Check your cannabis for freshness. Terpene concentration can diminish over time. Be sure to look at product package dates. If choosing flower, give it a sniff. You want something that is fragrant (indicative of high terpene content), not stale.

✴️ Use caution with oil-based vaping products as they often have added synthetic terpenes. While it is not yet clear if synthetic terpenes are less effective than natural ones, they are often used to create solvents and other household chemicals. 

✴️ Lay off the heat. As mentioned, there are specific boiling points for each terpene. If you burn them at too high a temperature, you will not benefit from them. Stick with vaporizing flower at a low temperature or consuming edibles. 

✴️ Keep a journal of the different terpenes you try. Take note of your ingestion method and how they make you feel to pinpoint the best terpene profile for the effects you seek.

Bottom Line

Terpenes play an important role in the aroma, flavor, and color of a cannabis strain. They are thought to work in synergy with cannabinoids and other cannabis plant compounds to produce various medicinal effects. Terpenes are just one piece of the equation, though they can be an interesting way to play with different products and find your best fit.

Researchers have only begun to scratch the surface when it comes to the way the terpenes in cannabis affect the body. It is important to keep in mind that much of the research around terpenes is still in early stages. More high quality studies in humans are needed to fully understand the health impacts of different terpene profiles. Future research will reveal much more about the way terpenes interact with our bodies and minds.

Cox-Georgian D, et al. (2019). Therapeutic and medicinal uses of terpenes.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7120914/

Goldstein Ferber S, et al. (2020). The “entourage effect”: Terpenes coupled with cannabinoids for the treatment of mood disorders and anxiety disorders.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7324885/

McPartland, John & Russo, Ethan. (2001). Cannabis and Cannabis Extracts: Greater Than the Sum of Their Parts?. J Cannabis Therapeutics. 1. 103-132. 10.1300/J175v01n03_08. 

Meehan-Atrash J, et al. (2017). Toxicant formation in dabbing: The terpene story.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5623941/

Russo E. B. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British journal of pharmacology, 163(7), 1344–1364. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x

Singer BC, Destaillats H, Hodgson AT, Nazaroff WW. Cleaning products and air fresheners: emissions and resulting concentrations of glycol ethers and terpenoids. Indoor Air. 2006 Jun;16(3):179-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0668.2005.00414.x. PMID: 16683937.

Villemure C, Slotnick BM, Bushnell MC. Effects of odors on pain perception: deciphering the roles of emotion and attention. Pain. 2003 Nov;106(1-2):101-8. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3959(03)00297-5. PMID: 14581116.


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

written by

Narinka Guichette

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

written by

Narinka Guichette

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

I am sure many of us growing up did not listen to our parents, maybe break a rule or two and thought our parents’ rules were unfair. Maybe some of us even thought there is no way our parents could understand what it means being an adolescent. And most of us turned out fine. Is there a specific behavior as an adolescent that is a predictor of how we will grow up to be? 

What is Different in Adolescence Brain

I know as an adult now, when I am walking down the street past the park near my house I witness adolescents engaging in the riskiest behaviors. Then I think to myself- what on earth is going on in their brain?  Let’s think about it this way- the human brain is like a computer; it processes information and different parts are responsible for different functions. As an adolescent the prefrontal cortex which is located in the forehead area is not quite done developing (Sarah Spinks 2000). Yes, that section alone is responsible for decision making, behavior, personality expression, etc…  That is why adolescents lack responsibilities and do not always make the right decision a majority of the time. 

How the Environment Contributes to Adolescent Behavior

 What is a determining factor that leads some of us into the straight narrow path and others to divant and risky behaviors? Studies have shown that children exposed to multiple forms of early life adversity are more likely to engage in high levels of delinquent behavior during adolescence (Connolly, & Kavish, 2019). Criminologists believe the environmental factor is important because behavior depends on adolescents’ responses to stress, which they learn at at home through family, social and school bonds (Hinnant, Erath, Shimizu, et al.,2019). According to control theory, individuals will commit criminal or delinquent acts when their bonds to society are weak or broken ( Fuller, 2019). 

According to this theory there are four types of bonds: attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief. For example an adolescent’s attachment to a teacher, commitment to their future, involvement in school activities, and belief in succeeding are all positive attributes that can deter an adolescent from engaging in risky behaviors. When the bonds are strong, an individual will refrain from deviant or risky behavior. School is a systematic factor beneficial for individuals’ social and educational purposes and can play a role in weakening or strengthening involvement bonds. How so? When adolescents succeed in school and are engaged in extracurricular activities, they are less likely to engage in risky behaviors that lead to delinquency since they have little free-time. The student to teacher relationship is a crucial part of keeping that bond intact ( Fuller, 2019). Although the environment plays a significant role in the types of people adolescents are surrounded by it is not necessarily a determining factor. So what other factors contribute to behavior in adolescents? 

 Early Exposure to Cannabis 

Based on the environment some adolescents are exposed to cannabis early on either through household exposure or from friends. There are pros and cons for exposure to cannabis at a young age. The cons include developmental issues because the prefrontal cortex is not fully developed. But for adolescents who suffer from epilepsy or autism there is a counteractive effect. It instead diminishes the frequency and amount of seizures. In a study conducted in Israel in 2016 they found that there was a positive effect on the reduction of seizure by  25-50 percent. They also observed an improvement in behavior, alertness, language, communication, motor skills and sleep (Tzadok, Uliel-Siboni,  Linder,  Kramer, et al. 2016). 

What does this mean

As mentioned, cannabis can be a new option for adolescents living with mental health conditions. As always, continued research will be necessary to fully understand the potential medicinal qualities of cannabis and the best protocols for it. We need to continue educating ourselves on how we can help future generations cope with mental health diagnoses. We can learn how to use earth’s natural resources to form possible treatments. If you want to learn more about the mechanisms of cannabis, here are some suggested posts to read next:

Connolly, E. J., & Kavish, N. (2019). The causal relationship between childhood adversity and developmental trajectories of delinquency: A consideration of genetic and environmental confounds. Journal of Youth & Adolescence, 48(2), 199-211. doi:10.1007/s10964-018-0960-0

Epilepsy Foundation.Medical marijuana and epilepsy. Retrieved from https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/other-treatment-approaches/medical-marijuana-and-epilepsy

Tzadok, M., Uliel-Siboni, S., Linder, I., Kramer, U., Epstein, O., Menascu, S., . . . Ben-Zeev, B. (2016). CBD-enriched medical cannabis for intractable pediatric epilepsy: The current israeli experience. Seizure (London, England), 35, 41-44. doi:10.1016/j.seizure.2016.01.004

Hinnant, J. B., Erath, S. A., Shimizu, M., & El‐Sheikh, M. (2019). Parenting, deviant peer affiliation, and externalizing behavior during adolescence: Processes conditional on sympathetic nervous system reactivity. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 60(7), 793-802. doi:10.1111/jcpp.13046

Randolph Fuller, J. (2019). Introduction to criminology (A Brief Edition ed.)


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