How To Practice Self-Care When Depression Is Getting In The Way
Mattias Sommers

written by

Mattias Sommers

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Mattias Sommers

written by

Mattias Sommers

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

It can be challenging to find the time and energy to put into taking proper care of yourself. Not to mention when depression is involved, it is twice as hard to do. Depression has a way of making you feel so run-down and tired that all you want to do is sleep or lay down, but this can only perpetuate the depression. It is vital for those suffering from an episode of depression to fight to find the motivation to engage in activity that makes them feel better, although initially, it seems impossible to do. Taking time for yourself is an essential part of maintaining good mental health, and there are various ways we can achieve that. Keep reading for tips and information on how you can practice self-care even when your mental health is at a low.

What is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder that includes feelings of intense persisting sadness that manifest as feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness. To meet the clinical criteria for depression, one must exhibit five symptoms outlined is the DSM-5 for at least a period of two weeks Source. These symptoms are depressed mood, lack of energy, hard time focusing or remembering details, sleep too little or too much, lack of interest in activities once enjoyed, thoughts of death or suicide, anxiousness or irritability Source. It is important to note that depression differs from sadness as sadness is experienced by everyone from time to time, but depression is a persisting sadness that affects day to day living. It also can physically manifest as aching and pain.

What Exactly is Self-Care?

Self-care can be defined as taking action necessary to maintain or improve one’s physical, mental or emotional health. Between working, education, caring for children or any other demands that life brings, it is hard to put self-care at the top of your to-do list sometimes. Self-care looks different for everyone as people find comfort and improvement in various actions and activities. It is an active choice that one must plan to incorporate into their daily or weekly routine to do for themselves and their overall health. For it to be considered healthy self-care, we must ENJOY doing the activity we choose. If it is stressful or does not bring us joy, then is it really self-care? No, it’s just another activity that we are performing that is bringing us down instead of lifting us up. Self-care looks different for everyone, so while your friend may find relief and happiness in taking the time to walk around the block every morning, maybe you find comfort in cooking yourself an excellent nutritious meal for dinner on certain days. It is absolutely fine for your self-care ritual to differentiate from others, as everyone has different interests and reactions to various activities.

What are the basics of maintaining proper self-care?

Some things are necessary for us to do to live a balanced and healthy life. Starting with the basics of self-care is the first step to achieving a healthier and more stable life. Some of the basics include:

  • Spending time with friends and family and maintaining relationships: Support from loved ones can do wonders for your mental health and help you to stay uplifted. It is a great way to feel motivated to fight the lows of depression and avoid isolation, which only further exacerbates depressive symptoms.
  • Maintain a sleep schedule that allows you 7 to 8 hours of rest each night: For those that are prone to depression, sleep has more of an effect on your mood than you might realize. When you are tired and lack energy, this might trigger depression. But keeping yourself alert and ready to take on the day’s activities is a great way to keep yourself from falling into an episode. It is also necessary for our brains to function effectively, and to keep a schedule is always a great way to stay healthy.
  • Eat a healthy diet: We have been being told since we were children that vegetables and fruits are necessary and useful for us. But there is a science behind all that fuss. If our bodies are taken care of and being given the nutrients they need, then our brains will have more energy to ward off low moods and give us the power to take on whatever life throws our way. So to put it simply, eat healthy and your mind will reward you! 
  • Exercise: This might be the last thing you want to do when you are experiencing depression, but the endorphins released from exercise have shown to improve mood and maintain better overall health physically, mentally and emotionally. Just like when we provide our bodies proper nutrition, taking care of the body will help you take care of the mind. It is also a great way to prevent falling into an endless cycle of not being able to get out of bed, which is probably all we want to do with depression, but I promise you this will only hinder your abilities to get better.
  • Make sure you are maintaining medical check-ups: Going to the doctor or your therapist can sometimes be the last thing we want to do, but it is always essential for us to be sure that we are on the right track with our health. Many health problems can trigger depression, so it is still best to rule out any medical possibilities and give yourself peace of mind that you are on track health-wise. 
  • Make sure you take the time to engage in at least one activity that brings you pleasure each day: Taking time to make yourself experience something that brings you happiness is more important than one might think. It helps you realize that there are things out there that you can find some joy in and that life is not just all stress and hard work. It really is the little things that matter.

Examples of self-care activities that you can do

Depending on what you enjoy, the following may be something you can use to incorporate into your self-care plan.

  • Spend some time outside each day, walking or exercising. This does not have to be long, sometimes fifteen minutes is enough.
  • Find a new hobby to practice (woodworking, painting, writing, cooking, yoga, sports, etc.)
  • Keep a journal and make a new entry every morning or night.
  • Get a planner and plan out your days if you like organizing.
  • Spend some time watching a favorite tv show or new movie and relaxing.
  • Set up a relaxing environment and listen to some music for a set amount of time.
  • Take a bubble bath (I LOVE doing this to relax and wind down).
  • Cook a nice meal and spend time with your friends and family for some time.
  • Do some crafting (knitting, sewing, DIY home projects).
  • Call a friend or family member and have a friendly chat.

The options are endless, and if it is something that makes you happy, then it is something that is helping you improve your mood and overall mental and emotional health!

Conclusion

Although depression might be telling you to crawl back into bed and sleep away the day, routine and self-care is a way to fight your way out of a low mood. We have to remember that depression is always trying to trick us into not living life, and the only way through it is to fight it by taking care of our health and engaging in things that help us relax or bring us joy. So rip those covers off, pull yourself up, and be kind to yourself and your body. You will be rewarded in the end and your mental health will thank you.

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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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There's No Place Like Home: Understanding How Teen's Mental Health Can Be Affected By Their Environment & Cannabis

Narinka Guichette

written by

Narinka Guichette

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Narinka Guichette

written by

Narinka Guichette

LJG 2021

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.)

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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

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How to Mix the Perfect CBD Cocktail

LJG 2021

written by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Hannah Sadock

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, MS

LJG 2021

written by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Hannah Sadock

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, MS

CBD in nail polish. CBD toilet paper. CBD infused workout apparel. It seems there is every combination of products being partnered with CBD as if no production idea can be left unturned. Whether or not CBD is safe being mixed into a multitude of products, it is currently selling and marketing as a “miracle supplement,” improving your overall lifestyle in any and every way, shape, or form you could possibly imagine and/or want.

Some of the thoughts and assumptions about the miracle of CBD are true. Maybe not the nail polish but some of them. Though what is often missed in our conversations about CBD is what should not be combined with the “miracle supplement.” Cutting through all the hype, it is time to talk about the chemical compound, which has the potential to affect the medication you are prescribed to take daily. If you are using CBD to soothe and feel better in combination with medications, let us make sure the product will do the job without triggering any medication interactions. There are many considerable factors that need to be evaluated and explored before “shaken up” the perfect medication cocktail.

Just like alcoholic and nonalcoholic libations, mixing drug cocktails takes the proper ingredients, proportions, and preference to being shaken, not stirred. The sum is greater than its parts usually applies to situations like these. Whether we are talking about drinks, CBD or prescription medication- mixing a cocktail altogether can leave you with unintended side effects that could be scary, dangerous, or life threatening.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, can be found in virtually every product in your market, pharmacy, and ecommerce store. It is one of over 100 different cannabinoids that are naturally occurring chemical compounds unique to the cannabis sativa plants. It is the second most prevalent active ingredient in cannabis though partakes in the opposite effect. CBD does not produce any intoxicating highs rather it decreases the active psychoactive effect from THC in the body. Though, even with non psychoactive effects, CBD can still be utilized to offer health benefits. Research suggesting CBD’s benefits and risks is ongoing with some early results indicating CBD’s potential to reduce seizures in candidates with an epilepsy diagnosis. It is thought to be a multi-purpose chemical modulating the endocannabinoid system. CBD does not bind to CB1 or CB2 receptors, instead it is believed to work by preventing endocannabinoids from breaking down, allowing more of an effect on your body.

CBD Side Effects

CBD is generally thought to be very safe and not harmful. It is well tolerated by many and denied to have any addictive qualities. There are, however, still some side effects when using CBD. The most common side effects include:

🚩 drowsiness
🚩 lightheadedness
🚩 reduced appetite 
🚩 change in alertness
🚩 nausea
🚩 diarrhea
🚩 dry mouth
🚩 damage to the liver (in rare cases)

It is also important to note that even though CBD is permitted for purchase, it is just as unregulated. Therefore some CBD products may not have undergone quality control assessments causing false advertising on the CBD levels claimed to be contained in the product by the manufacturers. Others may contain unsafe contaminants affecting all users differently. Be sure to thoroughly review and solely use products that have a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) and have included testing by a third party for potency and contaminants, such as pesticides. 

CBD Interactions with Other Drugs

A cause for concern arises if you are using over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications in combination with CBD. Taking CBD with other medications may increase unwanted side effects, toxicity, or altered status and concentration.

Most drugs are metabolised by enzymes in the liver. When CBD is used in combination with  other medications, the two compounds compete for the available enzymes in the liver. In turn, the medication’s breakdown and absorption is altered, decreasing effectiveness, and increasing unwanted side effects. In essence, CBD basically prevents your body’s liver enzyme from binding to the medication molecules allowing the medication to work effectively. Depending on the medication administered in combination with CBD, you can either decrease or enhance targeted effects creating almost an unstable state. 

The effects of mixing drugs with CBD can be difficult to predict and can generally cause a range of symptoms from  discomfort to serious problems leading to medical assistance. Meaning, these drug toxicity must be taken seriously. The following are some examples of CBD’s effect on different medications:

✦ opioids, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, antidepressants, antihistamines, or alcohol may cause:
sleepiness
fatigue
dizziness
accidental falls 
accidents when driving
✦ herbal supplements and vitamins may cause:
increased sedation
tiredness 
✦ stimulants may cause:
decreased appetite
heartburn 
diarrhea
✦ warfarin, amiodarone, levothyroxine, clobazam, lamotrigine, valproate and a total of 57 other medications may cause: 
serious, dangerous interactions

Effects of Different CBD Routes of Administration on Your Medication

It is important to consider the route of administration when medicating with CBD and other medications. There are numerous ways to use CBD and therefore numerous ways the body metabolizes the compound. 

Inhalation provides the quickest onset averaging within 30 minutes. So when CBD is smoked or vaped, cannabinoids enter the lungs and then the bloodstream. Cannabinoids are then quickly circulated throughout the body’s endocannabinoid system. CBD influences receptors throughout the body to modulate equilibrium. Finally CBD is broken down in the liver.

Therefore choosing the right method of use could contribute to your use and absorption of CBD and other medications. The faster CBD enters the bloodstream, the faster the onset of acute side effects will arise as well. Keep in mind- inhalable CBD would carry the highest risk of onset as it reaches its highest concentration within 30 minutes. Topicals, on the other hand, carry the lowest risk as it may not be absorbed in the bloodstream at all. 

Talking to Your Medical Professional About CBD

For all these reasons and more, it is really important to consider your OTC and prescription medications first when choosing to also add CBD into your cocktail. It is best to prepare yourself for any unintended interactions or consequences as the process of identifying the optimal mix of medication without interactions is not alway easy.

If you are choosing to use any OTC medications or herbal supplements, you need to know how the substances may interact with your body’s regiment. You may want to consider consulting a pharmacist, like you would a mixologist. Instead of concocting a cocktail blindly, which could affect the predicting end result, do yourself a favor and speak with your local pharmacist– even if you have to wait.

It is of utmost importance to disclose your CBD use to your medical professionals. If you are being prescribed medication, your doctor will need to factor your CBD use into your treatment plan or medication cocktail. It could be that your doctor may just need to adjust the dosages of CBD and medication when combined. Please be aware there are some conditions for which CBD is not advisable. The following are conditions you shouldn’t be surprised if your doctor advises against the use of CBD if you are: 

🚩 under 25 years old
🚩 at risk for heart disease
🚩 at risk for liver disease
🚩 at risk for kidney disease
🚩 weakened immune system
🚩 family history of psychosis
🚩 family history of mood disorders
🚩 family history of addiction 

So now that you know about CBD drug interactions- talk to your doctor or pharmacist first and…✨ Clink / Clink ✨ Enjoy your 🌿 cocktail.

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cbd-and-other-medications-proceed-with-caution-2021011121743

https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/507998

https://sites.psu.edu/cannabinoid/files/2020/06/NTI-Meds-to-be-Closely-Monitored-when-Co-Administered-with-Cannabinoids_2020_04_25.pdf

Anat Zimmer, Itay Katzir, Erez Dekel, Avraham E. Mayo, Uri Alon. Prediction of multidimensional drug dose responses based on measurements of drug pairs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016; 113 (37): 10442 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1606301113

Weizmann Institute of Science. “How to mix the perfect (drug) cocktail.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 December 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161208121908.htm>.

Alsherbiny MA, et al. (2018). Medicinal cannabis — potential drug interactions. DOI:
10.3390/medicines6010003

Bailey DG, et al. (2013). Grapefruit–medication interactions: Forbidden fruit or avoidable consequences? DOI:
10.1503/cmaj.120951

Gaston TE, et al. (2017). Interactions between cannabidiol and commonly used antiepileptic drugs. DOI:
10.1111/epi.13852

Grapefruit juice and some drugs don’t mix: Grapefruit juice can affect how well some medicines work, and it may cause dangerous side effects. (2017).
fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/grapefruit-juice-and-some-drugs-dont-mix

Geffrey AL, et al. (2015). Drug-drug interaction between clobazam and cannabidiol in children with refractory epilepsy. DOI:
10.1111/epi.13060

Iffland K, et al. (2017). An update on safety and side effects of cannabidiol: A review of clinical data and relevant animal studies. DOI:
10.1089/can.2016.0034

McDonnell AM, et al. (2013). Basic review of the cytochrome P450 system.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4093435/

Ahn K, et al. (2008). Enzymatic pathways that regulate endocannabinoid signaling in the nervous system. DOI:
1021/cr0782067

Alger BE. (2013). Getting high on the endocannabinoid system.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3997295

Background: Marijuana. (2007).
drugabuse.gov/publications/brain-power/grades-6-9/weeding-out-grass-module-4/background

Cannabidiol (CBD) Pre-review report. (2017).
who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf

Cannabis and cannabinoids. (2019).
cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/cannabis-pdq?redirect=true

Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency: Issue brief on clinical endocannabinoid deficiency. (2017).
health.state.mn.us/people/cannabis/docs/rulemaking/endocannabinoidbrief.pdf

De Laurentiis A, et al. (2014). Role of the endocannabinoid system in the neuroendocrine responses to inflammation. DOI:
2174/1381612820666140130212957

Gomez M, et al. (2008). Cannabinoid signaling system.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2633685

Human endocannabinoid system. (n.d.).
uclahealth.org/cannabis/human-endocannabinoid-system

Lu H-C. (2015). An introduction to the endogenous cannabinoid system. DOI:
1016/j.biopsych.2015.07.028

Pacher P, et al. (2008). The endocannabinoid system as an emerging target of pharmacotherapy. DOI:
1124/pr.58.3.2Zou S, et al. (2018). Cannabinoid receptors and the endocannabinoid system: Signaling and function in the central nervous system. DOI:
3390/ijms19030833

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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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Jessica Christion

written by

Jessica Christion

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Jessica Christion

written by

Jessica Christion

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Incorporating CBD into your daily meditation practice may be exactly what you need. Whether you are new to meditation or an expert, CBD can boost your meditation by allowing you to deepen your relaxation and focus. I personally have incorporated CBD into my practice especially when I am experiencing more intense stress and anxiety. For example, I deal with panic attacks,  they can be extremely draining afterwards; my body feels completely numb and depleted. I have found that during these times meditations help to rebalance my state of mind, but because I just went through such a high stress, high anxiety experience it is not as easy to get into a meditative state. This made me want to try CBD with my meditation because I needed an extra push. Sometimes it is harder to get into a meditative state depending on the circumstances, CBD can be of assistance, if you let it. 

How can CBD contribute to your practice of mediation?

CBD and meditation are both known to benefit your body in numerous ways including relief from stress, anxiety, pain, concentration. They are also known to increase a sense of calm, help with sleep and much more. A  2019 study found that CBD was linked to a decrease in anxiety related symptoms and an improvement of sleep. While another study has shown that meditation can reduce the negative effects of stress. Mindfulness meditation in particular were linked to small improvements in pain, anxiety and depression. If CBD and meditation have similar effects- why not use both? There are several ways to incorporate CBD into your meditation practice. I have narrowed some down so that you are not overwhelmed…  

4 ways to incorporate CBD into your mediation:

Now I assume you are eager to learn how to incorporate CBD into your meditations. There can be so many fun, exciting, beneficial and just outright overwhelming different ways. Based on the type of meditation you decide to do, different forms of CBD may be beneficial for you. Let me recommend 5 different forms of CBD based on general ways to meditate.  

Remember, each form of CBD has a different onset time to feel effects. Be mindful of this before you start your meditation. Everyone is affected by CBD differently. It is recommended to start off small with dosing and work your way up. 

1. Yoga: Yoga can be a form of meditation, yoga is not only a good form of exercise but it is also an awesome way to create a sense of balance and calm while using your entire body. If you enjoy yoga, a great form of CBD to consider are topicals. Topicals can be found in the form of  CBD lotions, patches, joints and muscle cream to name a few.  These topicals work to ease pain, arthritis, and inflammation. Topicals nearly work instantly and the feeling with some forms is like using icy hot but 10x better. Topicals are a great form to use if you are looking to use meditation to control your pain, and are especially great for hot yoga classes, if you are into them. 

2. Meditation Classes/ Retreats: If you attend meditation classes, or meditate with others as a group it is nice to be able to enjoy the effects of CBD a little longer. A great option would be CBD edibles.  There are many different forms of CBD edibles for consumption including gummies, cookies, candy, chocolates, water, tea, honey sticks and many more. These are created by infusing these lovely goodies with CBD isolate or oil. Results typically last 2-4 hours longer than other methods because of the way your body consumes the CBD, through your digestive tract and then a second time through your liver. This would also be a great option for nighttime meditations because they can help you sleep throughout the night . Onset of CBD can be anywhere between 1- 2 hours. So, if you do not feel your edible give it a chance to settle in.

3. Instant relief: Since meditation is a great way to learn how to manage your mental health and wellness, sometimes we need instant relief from symptoms. When we are doing common forms of meditation like guided meditations, mindfulness meditations, and Transcendental meditations it would be great to have a form of CBD that is working at the beginning of our practice, without the need to wait to feel the effects. The best form of CBD to use would be in flower or vape form. Smoking is not the healthiest form to consume CBD, but it is the best form if you are looking for instant effects. If you want to meditate before an event you have planned the same day, or you just need extra assistance from feeling stressed out, this is a great option. Effects from flower/vapes do not last as long as the other forms mentioned so it is great if you do not want this to last throughout the day.  

4. Beginner to meditation: The most known and comfortable form of meditation are Tinctures. Since it is the most researched, and it is more common to find information about tinctures it is great for beginners. Tinctures are also really simple to use. Tinctures can include oils, and sprays and they are also considered edibles. This method is also great to use everyday even without meditation. If you are new to CBD in general it is a great way to introduce your body to it. The onset for CBD oil and sprays are typically 30 minutes. With this method you want to put the recommended dosage * everyone is different* under your tongue and let the oil/spray absorb.Just like the other edible methods mentioned, tinctures are a healthy alternative to smoking flower or vaping. 

Conclusion

I hope that CBD can be beneficial for your meditation practice. Oftentimes we are so busy with our everyday lives that we tend to neglect our own needs. It is so easy to become overwhelmed and tense creating harmful stress to our bodies, meditation and CBD is a great way to release tension. It is also important that you track your CBD and Meditation progress so that you are aware of what methods mentioned worked/did not work for you. I encourage you to visit How to Track your CBD and Meditation progress to learn more about the process in order to get started.

Brewer, J. A., Worhunsky, P. D., Gray, J. R., Tang, Y.-Y., Weber, J., & Kober, H. (2011). Meditation experience is associated with differences in default mode network activity and connectivity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(50), 20254–20259. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1112029108

Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E. M. S., Gould, N. F., Rowland-Seymour, A., Sharma, R., Berger, Z., Sleicher, D., Maron, D. D., Shihab, H. M., Ranasinghe, P. D., Linn, S., Saha, S., Bass, E. B., & Haythornthwaite, J. A. (2014). Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being. JAMA Internal Medicine, 174(3), 357. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13018

Shannon, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente Journal. https://doi.org/10.7812/tpp/18-041

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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

Narinka Guichette

written by

Narinka Guichette

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Narinka Guichette

written by

Narinka Guichette

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Military personnel are amongst those advocating for the descheduling of cannabis due to their all too common experience of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD.) Our soldiers are often exposed to life-threatening experiences that can greatly affect their mental health. According to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, the number of veterans with PTSD varies per service era. Veterans diagnosed with PTSD are as follows:

  • 11-20% of Iraqi Freedom Veterans 
  • 12% of Gulf War Veterans
  • 15% of Vietnam War Veterans

Our soliders also experience the trauma of sexual assault and harrassment while serving at the following rates:

  • 23% reported sexual assault
  • 55% of women reported sexual harassment
  • 38% of men reported sexual harassment

This equates to over 800,000 veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD. That’s staggering, isn’t it!? That’s a lot of people who need a lot of healing.

The VA and their patients have become a focal point for cannabis activists due to this larger population of people who may benefit from medical cannabis treatment. More and more veterans have begun speaking out about the effective treatment they are receiving, and their desire to be granted the use of the federally illegal substance that jeopardizes their federally subsidized medical benefits.

This is one fight the soldier’s don’t seem to be backed down from. Here’s why…

Veterans & PTSD: One Soldier’s Story

Mike Whiter served as a Marine for eleven years, and fought in the Iraq war on two combat tours. He was medically discharged after being diagnosed with PTSD. Upon returning home, Whiter not only struggled with acclimating to civilian life but also with a desire to continue living. Whiter experienced bouts of depression and attempted suicide three times over the course of five years.. Until trying medicinal cannabis for PTSD that is… 

Whiter’s whole life has turned around since he started medicating with cannabis. He is living proof of the benefits of cannabis to treat PTSD. Consequently Whiter has become an outspoken cannabis advocate having worked to decriminalize cannabis in his state- Pennsylvania. He now works as a Producer for NowThis News where he often features stories about cannabis legislation, decriminalization, and recreation.

What is PTSD?

According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5)- also known as the “Therapist’s Bible,” Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is defined as a condition triggered by a terrifying event or an experience that causes recurring physical and psychological distress. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people develop after seeing or living through a dangerous or distressing event. This can be an experience that scares a person so much it affects their day-to-day life. It can trigger the “fight, flight, freeze, fawn” reaction that’s normal at the time but can linger much longer with PTSD after the danger has passed. 

Common PTSD symptoms include:

  • Anxiety, panic attacks or constantly looking out for danger
  • Depression or hopelessness
  • Feelings of guilt or shame
  • Reliving the event through bad memories, flashbacks or nightmares
  • Avoiding activities you used to enjoy
  • Avoiding situations that remind you of the trauma (e.g., not driving, or staying away from crowds)
  • Irritability
  • Withdrawing from loved ones or even thinking that they would be better off without you
  • Having trouble concentrating at work or school

Those struggling with undiagnosed PTSD commonly say that instead of feeling better as time goes on, you feel as though things are progressively getting worse and worse. But know- PTSD is treatable. The sooner you seek help, the easier it will be to overcome.

How PTSD Affects Veterans

Some of the experiences veterans face can include losing a fellow soldier, being severely injured, witnessing war, sexual assault, rape, harassment, and for many- difficulty readjusting to civilian life once they’re home. Veterans re-experience their trauma through nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, and more. For all those reasons and more, hundreds of thousands of veterans are in need of PTSD treatment.

The number of veterans diagnosed with PTSD is at a 23% high in the United States. Seventeen percent of returning veterans also meet the criteria for depression.This is important because PTSD symptoms can mimic or overlap with depression. Some of the similarities of  PTSD and depression symptoms include oversleeping, loss of interest, anger, and hypervigilance. 

In addition to the use of pharmaceutical drugs, Veterans often increase the consumption of alcohol and the medications prescribed by their doctors. Addiction is a major concern in the veteran community. According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health in a study using diagnostic criteria found that alcohol use addiction was widespread at 32 percent. Clearly addiction is an undeniable challenge for this population.

Treatment Options for Veterans with PTSD

According to Whiter, PTSD initially cost him his career, social life, and self-esteem, and medicating the problem didn’t help. “Over the span of five years, I was put on 40 different kinds of medications.” He wasn’t sure what he was suffering from at first. When he was diagnosed with PTSD, he originally thought it was a personality disorder. 

Many veterans search for possible treatments to combat PTSD and are prescribed psychiatric medications like Zoloft, Paxil and Prozac. Antidepressants have been shown to reduce flashbacks and nightmares, and anti-anxiety medications may reduce the physiological arousal in PTSD patients. They use medication to numb their pain in order to gain some control of their lives. 

Aside from medication, the VA also commonly offers their patients psychotherapy including cognitive, behavioral, and exposure therapies. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is considered to have the strongest evidence for reducing the symptoms of PTSD in veterans and has been shown to be more effective than any other non-drug treatment. Research has shown that exposure therapy has been more effective because it provides a safe place to relieve trauma. The downside is that not many people want to re-experience a trauma or have conversations about that trauma. 

After researching and educating himself, he knew there had to be a better way to medicate his condition but he knew the VA defense to PTSD is pills and psychotherapy. Whiter’s research didn’t end there. He learned of another treatment thought to be a safer choice than anything the VA had plied him with…cannabis…

Treating PTSD with Cannabis

“I learned about veterans using cannabis for their PTSD via a National Geographic special,” said Whiter. “So, I asked my friend to get me some. We sat in the living room. I laughed, smiled and felt good. That was the turning point of my life.”  

There’s been a growing interest in the uses of cannabis to treat illnesses such as epilepsy, glaucoma, cancer, anxiety, and yes, you guessed it- PTSD. The use of cannabis in reducing PTSD works by lessening the brain’s inflammation, therefore reducing the PTSD symptoms such as anger, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts (Jackson, Bassett,  Zvolensky, & Borsari, 2016). It does this by activating cannabinoid receptors known as CB2. This type of receptor is found throughout the body, and acts as a messenger. The chemical compounds in cannabis work to modulate nerve signal transmission which minimizes the feeling of fear associated with PTSD. When cannabis is consumed it also affects the brain chemicals serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine to manage anxiety, motivation, and compulsions, and balance your minds and bodies.

Cannabis is also a safer choice that helps alleviate symptoms while also managing substance abuse. Cannabis can be used for medical purposes without a high risk of overdose compared to pills. 

Where Do We Go From Here? 

The stigma around cannabis has changed over the years, which can potentially open doors for more research and resources to help. We can use sources such as The Calm, Cool & Collected to educate ourselves on cannabis and for Veterans who are searching for alternatives to therapy can rely on the site to educate themselves on cannabis and see if it may be an option for them. 

Whiter can also be a great inspiration to become more active in your community to ensure Veteran’s rights to the use of cannabis. Be sure to get involved in your local organizations like Norml, Women Grow, and more.

Abizaid Alfonso, Merali Zul, Anisman Hymie.Cannabis: A potential efficacious intervention for PTSD or simply snake oil? US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health Search Database, Retrieved from https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.ezproxyemc.flo.org/pmc/articles/PMC6397040/

Berman, M. (2014, February 24,). How public opinion on marijuana  has changed over the last half-century. The Washington PostRetrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/02/24/how-public-opinion-on-marijuana-has-changed-over-the-last-half-century/

Feingold, D. (2020). Working with clients who self-medicate using cannabis: Mind the gap in knowledge. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 51(4), 313-316. doi:10.1037/pro0000345

How to overcome PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Health Prep, Retrieved from https://healthprep.com/topics/mental-health/how-to-overcome-ptsd-post-traumatic-stress-disorder/?xcid=624&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=ppc&utm_campaign=370292343&utm_content=1264438982654820&utm_term=what%20is%20post%20traumatic%20stress%20disorder&msclkid=662ffaaf6cb31ad8ed6ba5843ed6ef8c#

Metrik, J., Jackson, K., Bassett, S. S., Zvolensky, M. J., Seal, K., & Borsari, B. (2016). The mediating roles of coping, sleep, and anxiety motives in cannabis use and problems among returning veterans with PTSD and MDD. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 30(7), 743-754. doi:10.1037/adb0000210

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iIENII-lVo

Lan, C., Fiellin, D. A., Barry, D. T., Bryant, K. J., Gordon, A. J., Edelman, E. J., . . . Marshall, B. D. L. (2016). The epidemiology of substance use disorders in US veterans: A systematic review and analysis of assessment methods. The American Journal on Addictions, 25(1), 7-24. doi:10.1111/ajad.12319

Reisman, M. (2016). PTSD treatment for veterans: What’s working, what’s new, and what’s next. P&T (Lawrenceville, N.J.), 41(10), 623-634. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27757001

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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

Caroline Platzman

written by

Caroline Platzman

Hannah Sadock

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, MS

Caroline Platzman

written by

Caroline Platzman

Hannah Sadock

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, MS

When touching a fresh nug of cannabis flower, you might notice tiny, glistening bits of coating flaking off making your fingers sticky. This coating surrounding the nug of flower is referred to as Kief and if collected and stored properly, can be a great enhancer to your cannabis high.  

What is kief?

Kief, simply put, is the very fine bits of cannabis remaining after it is ground. Kief is a powdery-like substance, created when the trichomes, or resin glands, are removed from the cannabis flower and consolidated. The trichomes are what you see as the crystallized or hairy bits of cannabis that tend to fall off easily when you handle or roll with it. The word “trichome” comes from the Greek word “τρίχωμα”, meaning “hair”- trichomes protect the plant and house THC. Kief contains the highest concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes in the plant, therefore it has many uses.

How do I collect kief?

Most herb grinders on the market include a kief catcher, or a chamber located at the bottom of it that accumulates kief over time. The easiest way to collect kief is to use a grinder with a kief catcher. As you use your grinder, over time, the kief will sift through the mesh screen inside and slowly accumulate in its own compartment. Your grinder will likely come with a convenient scraper to scoop the kief for when the time comes! Some people design makeshift sifters to collect larger amounts of kief, however, this is less common for beginners.

How does adding kief benefit use?

Although it takes some time to accumulate, many people find that it is worth using kief to elevate a smoking experience. Kief is an Arabic word that means “pleasure” or “intoxication”, afterall. Kief can provide amazing medicinal benefits due to its extremely powerful concentration of cannabinoids as well. Kief is fast-acting and smokers only need a little bit to get a lot of THC and other cannabinoids in one sitting. This can be beneficial to patients who utilize strains with high concentrations of THC for various conditions. Kief can also provide relief for those with a higher tolerance to cannabis. Additionally, if an individual wants the option to use cannabis without combusting it, they can choose to turn their kief into hash, rosin or moonrocks- this can help cannabis consumers avoid adverse side effects of smoking to their lungs.

What can kief be used for?

Kief is wonderfully versatile and can be used in several ways! You can:

💨 Smoke it! Smoking kief is the easiest way to reap its benefits. Simply scoop some kief and put on top of a bowl of fresh flower or, roll some into a joint mixed with fresh flower for a more potent smoke.

🍪 Eat it! Take a pinch and put it in your hot cup of morning coffee or tea- the heat will activate the cannabinoids and work almost like an edible! Or, you can even add kief to cannabutter to increase potency. With large amounts of kief, you can make butter on its own as well. 

🌿 Make hash, rosin, or moonrocks at home! Kief can be turned into hash, rosin or moonrocks using heat and pressure at home. There are a few ways to do this, but do not necessarily expect high-quality. 

Bottom line

Once you begin to handle your cannabis flower and notice all of the tiny, green crystals stuck to your fingers afterwards, you will better understand what kief is. Smoking kief is like cashing out on your personal rewards system of grinding and smoking cannabis- every time you break up your dry flower, you get a little extra perk that you can use later on.

Nunley, K. What is Kief: How to Collect and Use Kief Powder, Medical Marijuana, Inc., retrieved from 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.medicalmarijuanainc.com/what-is-kief-and-why-is-it-so-popular/amp/

Skrobin, N. (2019). Marijuana 101: How Can Kief Be Used Medically?, The Fresh Toast, retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/thefreshtoast.com/cannabis/kief-what-is-it-and-how-is-it-medically-beneficial/%3famp

Pin it

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

Mattias Sommers
Author: Mattias Sommers

Mattias Sommers
Author: Mattias Sommers

Mattias Sommers
Author: Mattias Sommers

Mattias Sommers
Author: Mattias Sommers

Mattias Sommers
Author: Mattias Sommers

Mattias Sommers
Author: Mattias Sommers