Caroline Platzman

written by

Caroline Platzman

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Caroline Platzman

written by

Caroline Platzman

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

I think we can all agree it feels as if so much has happened in the past year and yet, nothing has happened. Staying focused on making personal progress or leveling up can be difficult when it seems like everything around you is going to shit. While it can be easy to become stagnant in a time when things are at a standstill, what will empower personal growth and resilience lies in the ability to keep it moving. Even in times of crisis, putting yourself first while putting yourself out there will inevitably lead to success.

Treat yourself with kindness

First and foremost, treat yourself with kindness. Do not forget we are still in a global pandemic. It is essential that you are loving and patient with yourself. For many of us, self-care is barely an afterthought. Practicing self-care sounds so obvious, but it’s not always easy, especially when you are dealing with anxiety related to the general health and well-being of yourself and your loved ones. In fact, according to a meta-analysis published just this past October, “studies of the general public revealed lower psychological well-being and higher scores of anxiety and depression compared to before COVID-19…” (Vindegaard & Benros, 2020).

Many of us need to begin by tending to our mental health, because of the trauma or vicarious trauma we have experienced. This can be done in so many ways; first and foremost, if you are experiencing depression and anxiety that will not go away, consider seeking mental health treatment. Achieving mental wellness and resilience through therapy is possible for many people, and it has never been easier to access a therapist and resources virtually now! Plus, therapy or counseling can even be beneficial for those who are not in crisis, too.

To deal with feelings of anxiety or depression on the day to day, many people are able to utilize healthy coping tools successfully; these can include exercise, art, meditation, mindfulness, music, journaling, positive affirmations, and many more. It can be helpful to find solace in connecting with your peers, albeit virtual or socially distanced. And of course, a nutritious diet and drinking plenty of water is recommended to keep the mind and body healthy. Doing your best to get enough sleep is another important way to show yourself love, too. Try to complete small tasks to maintain a sense of routine -doing something always feels better than doing nothing. If you treat your body and mind with respect, you lay a foundation for growth.

Practicing small acts of self-care is a good place to start. You do not have to do it all at once. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself right now. Instead, take as many moments as you need to slow down and reflect on what it is you are doing with all this time you have (or have not) been given since last March. Do things you love, and make yourself proud – setting and achieving personal goals, no matter the size, will help motivate you to do even more.

Get creative with achieving your goals

Now is the time to get creative. Like, as creative as possible. Determine what needs you want to meet, and do everything in your power to meet them. Evaluate the goals you had this time last year and ask yourself if you have the same ones now. Do you value the same things? Can you still head in the direction you were going? Try to break down the walls of what you thought was “normal”, because the world is far from it. 

Understand that the moves you make now are planting seeds for the future. Are you looking for a new job? Cool, lots of places are hiring remotely now due to the pandemic. Also, a lot of people are working from home, meaning they are looking at their phones and computers periodically. Cold call someone who has a career you’re interested in and ask them questions. Send a couple emails, who knows, someone might bite and give you just the advice or career opportunity you are looking for. Want to work out more? There’s a million free quarantine-themed apps and workout videos on YouTube just waiting for you now. Want to finally get around to cleaning that bird poop off of your car? I’m sure there’s something for that on the internet, too.

Checking things off of our to-do lists, whatever they may be, feels good. Even as we accomplish the tiniest of tasks, we are working towards a greater goal. Holding yourself accountable for the ways in which you advocate for yourself keeps you grounded, confident, and motivated. Advocating for yourself means believing you deserve it and believing you have the means to achieve it.

Revel in the value you hold

A lot of us have a different perspective on our time here than we did this time last year. And, that’s okay. Understand that you have all the tools you need within yourself to overcome adversity and be successful, whatever that means to you. It sounds cliche but think about it – reflect for a moment on not only the past year but your life – the adversities you have faced, and the lessons learned. We are all stronger than we give ourselves credit for sometimes.

You have something to give to the world and you are worthy of being loved and giving it, too. Once you begin to truly love yourself, confidence follows. Building confidence is key. If you have confidence in yourself, you can achieve anything. And even if things don’t turn out the way you expect, you know you had the confidence to at least go for it. The revolution starts with you. It’s important to learn to value your strengths and utilize them to empower yourself and, sometimes more importantly, others. Making moves can come in the form of self-love, self-actualization, introspection, and reflection. You don’t have to physically make moves to make a meaningful change in your life.

Let go 

It’s been said time and time again, but because it serves a purpose: do your best to let go of what no longer serves you. A lot of true colors were shown to us this past year in a lot of different ways. A lot of systems, ideas and habits were challenged or even demolished. Sometimes, it is best to let go of the things that might be holding us back and contributing more negativity than positivity -this goes for habits, relationships, and mindsets. This is not an easy feat, but with time it becomes easier and clearer to determine what is working for you, and what isn’t.

Bottom line 

This year, we have all dealt with life-altering adversity. Some of us fared better than others. For many people, this year may have included losing a loved one or several, staying off the streets and keeping an income, and fighting to stay healthy. It is important to acknowledge that for a lot of Americans, making moves means more than starting online therapy or doing more meditation.

The moves you make are yours. Right before the pandemic hit, I was working a job I hated, I was going through a really tough breakup, and I was living at home with my mom and dad who are older and thus, in the midst of a global pandemic, I endured unparalleled anxiety. But as they say, nothing changes if nothing changes.

The world is begging for you to give it your all – with your brain, your art, your wit, your attitude, and your confidence. You can do this by maintaining the mantra that you will not just persevere but thrive. Revel in the knowledge that while you can’t control the world around you, you can control the moves you make to be successful in it.

https://www.thecalmcoolandcollected.com/vicarious-traumatization/

Vindegaard, N. & Benros, M.E. (October 2020). COVID-19 pandemic and mental health consequences: Systematic review of the current evidence. Brain Behav Immun. ;89:531-542. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2020.05.048. Epub 2020 May 30. PMID: 32485289; PMCID: PMC7260522. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32485289/

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How to make moves in a world that is standing still
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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

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

EXPLORE

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.

NAVIAGTE

EXPLORE

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

Caroline Platzman
Author: Caroline Platzman

Caroline Platzman is a Behavioral Health Counselor working with adults diagnosed with schizophrenia. She is passionate about mental health, journalism, nonprofit advocacy, and public relations. Caroline is also a dedicated guitarist and artist in her free time.

Caroline Platzman
Author: Caroline Platzman

Caroline Platzman is a Behavioral Health Counselor working with adults diagnosed with schizophrenia. She is passionate about mental health, journalism, nonprofit advocacy, and public relations. Caroline is also a dedicated guitarist and artist in her free time.

Caroline Platzman
Author: Caroline Platzman

Caroline Platzman is a Behavioral Health Counselor working with adults diagnosed with schizophrenia. She is passionate about mental health, journalism, nonprofit advocacy, and public relations. Caroline is also a dedicated guitarist and artist in her free time.

Caroline Platzman
Author: Caroline Platzman

Caroline Platzman is a Behavioral Health Counselor working with adults diagnosed with schizophrenia. She is passionate about mental health, journalism, nonprofit advocacy, and public relations. Caroline is also a dedicated guitarist and artist in her free time.

Caroline Platzman
Author: Caroline Platzman

Caroline Platzman is a Behavioral Health Counselor working with adults diagnosed with schizophrenia. She is passionate about mental health, journalism, nonprofit advocacy, and public relations. Caroline is also a dedicated guitarist and artist in her free time.

written by

Charlie Suter

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

written by

Charlie Suter

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Sleep disturbances can be an extremely frustrating issue to manage. Whether it is trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or any other stimulus affecting sleep, we all have had an experience of trouble sleeping, all presenting differently in each other.  Struggles with sleeping are so common that around 15 to 20% of adults in the United States are living and managing a sleep disorder.  Though it is important to remember, before you start matching symptoms and self diagnosing as an “insomniac”, there are two questions  to consider: What might be causing your sleep disturbances and what actually are sleep disorders. 

 

Assess your Sleep Disturbances

There can be many causes and factors influencing the onset of sleep disturbances. Lifestyle factors such as access to fresh foods, safe living environments, your mental and medical health status can each have  an impact on the quality and outcome of sleep hygiene. Assessing these different factors by tracking and adjusting them could rule out potential factors, listed above, as the trigger for sleep. 

 

Lifestyle factors can have impact on sleep, the most common being:

  • Caffeine consumption can cause a delay in falling asleep, shorten the duration of sleep, and decrease sleep quality. This is due to its effects on adenosine receptors, causing oxygen consumption and blood flow to increase.
  • Alcohol consumption can cause difficulty in falling asleep and a decrease in the amount of REM sleep. This is due to its effects on sleep homeostasis, which regulates the cycle between REM and NREM sleep.
  • Inconsistent sleep patterns due to shift work or jet lag can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm, which is the body’s 24 hour regulation of sleep-wake cycles, causing difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep at desired or appropriate times.

 

Environmental factors will also have a large impact on sleep. Common issues include:

    • Excessive light at night and decreased sunlight during the day can disrupt your circadian rhythm, the body’s 24 hour sleep-wake cycle. 
    • Excessive Noise can prevent you from both falling and staying asleep.
  • Room Temperature can cause difficulty falling and staying asleep. While the optimal room temperature for sleeping is 66 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, personal preferences can differ. 

 

Psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, PTSD, and depression can cause sleep difficulties. In cases like this, it is best to consult a mental health professional to discuss possible remedies such as therapy or medications. Chronic pain, diabetes, and other physical conditions can also cause sleep disturbances and may require consultation with a medical professional in order to explore possible remedies. 

 

Understanding Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders involve difficulties with the quality, timing, and amount of sleep obtained over an extended period of time. Individuals living with a sleep disorder will often experience difficulty with daytime functioning due to their sleep disruptions, which can lead to poor quality of life. Difficulty with sleep can affect an individual’s overall health and increase their risk of developing some serious health issues. Each disorder has its own specific set of symptoms but will often include: 

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Lack of concentration
  • A strong urge to take naps during the day
  • Abnormal breathing patterns during sleep

 

Common sleep disorders include:

  • Insomnia: the inability to fall asleep or to remain asleep.
  • Sleep Apnea: characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep due to airway obstruction resulting in loud snoring.
  • Parasomnias: a class of sleep disorders that cause abnormal movements and behaviors during sleep.
  • Narcolepsy: an inability to control sleep and wake cycles often causing individuals to fall asleep at any time.
  • Hypersomnia: feeling sleep deprived even after ten or more hours of sleep.

 

What to take away

The purpose of this is not to self diagnose a sleep disorder, rather to bring awareness to the possible factors contributing to your sleep. It is best to consult a medical professional after assessing your sleep disturbances and attempting changes to clarify what is still resulting in sleep difficulties. Accessing medical treatment can open doors to other remedies to support and treat sleep disturbances. 




https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/sleep-statistics/

Medic, G., Wille, M., & Hemels, M. E. (2017). Short- and long-term health consequences of sleep disruption. Nature and science of sleep, 9, 151–161. https://doi.org/10.2147/NSS.S134864

Clark, I., & Landolt, H. P. (2017). Coffee, caffeine, and sleep: A systematic review of epidemiological studies and randomized controlled trials. Sleep medicine reviews, 31, 70–78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2016.01.006

Smolensky, M. H., Sackett-Lundeen, L. L., & Portaluppi, F. (2015). Nocturnal light pollution and underexposure to daytime sunlight: Complementary mechanisms of circadian disruption and related diseases. Chronobiology international, 32(8), 1029–1048. https://doi.org/10.3109/07420528.2015.1072002

Thakkar, M. M., Sharma, R., & Sahota, P. (2015). Alcohol disrupts sleep homeostasis. Alcohol (Fayetteville, N.Y.), 49(4), 299–310. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.alcohol.2014.07.019

Boivin, D. B., & Boudreau, P. (2014). Impacts of shift work on sleep and circadian rhythms. Pathologie-biologie, 62(5), 292–301. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.patbio.2014.08.001

https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/index.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-disorders/symptoms-causes/syc-2035408

Common Sleep Disorders: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment (clevelandclinic.org)

Burke, T. M., Markwald, R. R., McHill, A. W., Chinoy, E. D., Snider, J. A., Bessman, S. C., … Wright, K. P. (2015). Effects of caffeine on the human circadian clock in vivo and in vitro. Science Translational Medicine, 7(305). https://doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aac5125

Harding, E. C., Franks, N. P., & Wisden, W. (2019). The Temperature Dependence of Sleep. Frontiers in neuroscience, 13, 336. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2019.00336

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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

Extreme Fear: The Experience & Frequency Of Childhood Trauma
Narinka Guichette

written by

Namen Namestein

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Narinka Guichette

written by

Narinka Guichette

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

When I was five years old, we took a field trip to the pool in summer camp. I was very curious about the water but could not swim. Everyone else was just jumping right into the pool. Curiosity got the best of me, and I, too, just jumped right in. I quickly regretted it, and immediately started panicking when I could not keep myself up above the surface. I was under the water for a while before a counselor noticed. I was pulled out of the water just in time…

Yes, you could call me a survivor but that experience left me traumatized til this day.  Because of that near drowning experience, I developed a fear of water. Pools, beaches, rivers and even baths scared me. That fear has stayed with me throughout the years and has caused me to avoid aquatic related social events. As an adolescent, I would not attend friend’s birthday swimming parties. As an adult, I cannot watch television or movies featuring large bodies of water. That even includes animated films like Nemo and Little Mermaid I wish I could watch with my family.

My coping mechanism has been avoidance. But for some adolescents facing different traumatic experiences avoidance is not always an option and is not recommended. It’s time to face our fears…

What Childhood Trauma Looks Like

Trauma is an experience faced where it causes extreme fear and hopelessness sometimes altering an individual’s perception of reality (Rhoden, Macgowan, & Huang, 2019). The percentage of girls and boys that experience trauma during adolescence ranges from fifteen percent to forty three percent. The trauma I went through as a child has left me distrubed causing a sense of uneasiness when I am near water and the fear it has instilled in me as an adult is not uncommon.  When you think about other trauma such as violence, abuse, traffic accidents, bullying, deaths in the family it is not a shock that it’s been estimated that more than two-thirds of American children will experience a potentially traumatic life event by the age of 16 (Lea Winerman 2015).

How do Adolescents Respond to Trauma

The behaviors adolescents use to cope with trauma ranges from acting out, substance usage, anger, and intentionally breaking rules and hurting themselves and others (Adolescent trauma and treatment, 2012). Based on that brief description alone I am sure you are saying, wait a second don’t all adolescents act this way in general? Each individual is different if you suspect that your adolescent might be trying to cope with a trauma they most likely will mask their feelings and it is important to seek professional help.  Avoiding the early signs can lead to different forms of addiction either with the drug they are misusing or other substances.

 Treatments and Alternatives to Therapy 

Although during that time it might feel as if you are alone or like my story embarrassed to talk about. People might judge you and say this happened when you were a child and get over it, undermining the  effect of trauma. Avoiding the traumatic experience is what causes it to follow you as you age. At Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, many doctors collaborated to develop a course for therapy known as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) in the 1980s. This course usually 12 to 18 sessions and results are shown to reduce PTSD, anxiety, depression and other symptoms in children and families. For the past 25 years Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) data and results have shown their effectiveness on clients as young as 3 and as old as 18. TF-CBT has multiple phase treatment. First, they focus on stabilizing a child’s clinical symptoms, and include psychoeducation. We help the child understand the connection between their trauma exposure and current clinical presentation. Next, they educate the child about the impact of the specific trauma that the child has experienced. After, they help the child with skills development, such as relaxation skills and other affective-regulation skills. These doctors encourage these children to express their feelings by speaking up about them, because we know that when children can describe their feelings, they’re less likely to act out those feelings in destructive ways. Lastly, they work on helping children understand the basics of cognitive processing, so they can begin to understand the relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. TF-CBT developed these phases to help children stabilize their emotions and their behavior and most children start to see improvement to be less traumatized.

Conclusion

Seeking help is not a bad idea. Therapists are shown to help clients make sense of the trauma and learn skills to better handle negative thoughts and feelings to go about living their lives better. Do not wait until that traumatic experience starts haunting you by causing nightmares to do something about it. Understanding why that experience is traumatizing can be the first step towards overcoming it. For those who cannot afford therapy they can engage in behavior that makes them happy such as getting involved in extracurricular activity. An activity that makes them happy. Life is beautiful filled with rainbow colors. We can’t let the grey colors that come with trauma overshadow our rainbow.

Adolescent trauma and treatment. (2012). Newport Academy, Retrieved from https://www.newportacademy.com/resources/mental-health/teen-adolescent-trauma/

Rhoden, M., Macgowan, M. J., & Huang, H. (2019). A systematic review of psychological trauma interventions for juvenile offenders. Research on Social Work Practice, 29(8), 892-909. doi:10.1177/1049731518806578

What is trauma . The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders, https://centerforanxietydisorders.com/what-is-trauma/

Lea Winerman. (2015). Helping children recover from trauma.Vol 46, No. 11, 40. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2015/12/helping-children

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/think-act-be/201609/21-common-reactions-trauma

https://www.healthline.com/health/traumatic-events

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25266475/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1619095/

http://cctasi.northwestern.edu/family/trauma-focused-therapy/

https://www.newportacademy.com/resources/mental-health/teen-adolescent-trauma/

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2015/12/helping-children

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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
Author: Caroline Platzman

Caroline Platzman is a Behavioral Health Counselor working with adults diagnosed with schizophrenia. She is passionate about mental health, journalism, nonprofit advocacy, and public relations. Caroline is also a dedicated guitarist and artist in her free time.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Your Brain- Learn About The Surprising Impact Of CBD On Psychosis
Caroline Platzman

written by

Caroline Platzman

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Caroline Platzman

written by

Caroline Platzman

LJG 2021

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/

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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.

NAVIAGTE

EXPLORE

Discover The Three Most Common Alarming Reasons The Black Community Experiences Trouble Discussing Mental Health
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

Mental health is not only a touchy subject worldwide, but it is especially difficult to discuss mental health in the Black community. The Black experience today has shaped many stigmas within Black families and society, including those that are mental health professionals. One day in therapy I expressed the fear I have when I am driving home late at night and notice a cop in my rearview mirror. I explained that I can feel myself nearly about to have a panic attack from the pure anxiety and lump in my throat from the fear that I may be pulled over… or killed.

After expressing these fears my therapist says, “I’m sorry. Can you please explain more about what this fear feels like for you, so that I can understand more?”

At that moment, I was not angry with my therapist for not understanding, I realized as I am a Black client speaking with a white therapist, she will never truly understand the all too common fear experienced by someone who is not white in this everyday situation. Furthermore, I did not feel like it was my job to teach her. I felt as though I was teaching her about my own culture’s trauma rather than expressing my feelings of anxiety and receiving the help I needed.

After my explanation she says, “I’m sorry there is nothing I can really say to take that fear away because that is the reality of our climate, but I can show you techniques to get through those feelings of anxiety.” This was not the first session I chose to bring up my Black experiences, but it was the last. I was not looking for a bandage to cover up the trauma and anxiety our community has to face daily. My particular  therapist’s lack of cultural competence did not allow her to give me what I needed at that moment. It was not about an anxiety technique to cope with the idea that I may be next and to find ways to accept it. Instead, it was about validation and attempting to discuss these fears further in order to feel more safe in a space where the odds are against me.

From that point on I realized two things:  I would prefer to work with a therapist of color. Unfortunately there is a lack of BIPOC (Black, Indeginious, and People of Color) in mental health professions. Next, there is a need for cultural competency of therapists and all of those in helping professions. Everyone’s experiences are different and people of color have a harder time sharing their experiences, especially regarding something as vulnerable as mental health. It is also okay to be referred to another therapist who can better serve a patients needs.

Why does the Black community experience trouble opening up about mental health?

Throughout history and the current climate, it is very difficult to be vulnerable and open about mental health, especially being Black. From stigmas within our community, a lack of cultural awareness and affordability, it can be difficult for those in the Black community to reach out for help. Only one in three Black adults who need mental health care receive it. Statistics show that they are also less likely to receive guideline-consistent care, less frequently included in research, and are more likely to use emergency and primary care instead of mental health professionals compared to their white counterparts. All these obstacles make it extremely difficult for those in the Black community to put their trust in mental health specialists and get the help they deserve. There are three main reasons the Black Community has trouble discussing Mental Health.

3 main reasons the Black Community have trouble discussing Mental Health: 

  • Stigmas within the Black community

Growing up in a Black household you are taught to keep issues within the family. You are told “everyone does not need to know our business”. In the Black community it is safer to discuss personal information within groups deemed as safe such as with family members, close family friends, and spiritual groups. Seeking additional help from outside sources is another way for Black people to feel misunderstood and misrepresented in the realms of identity, values, and experiences.

The main issue surrounding mental health or other health conditions is the fear of labels. Negative attitudes regarding mental health within the Black community are staggering and still seen as abnormal. For example, a study showed that 63% of Black people believe mental illness is a form of weakness. Labeling is a huge issue because it reinforces stigma and separates us further from being included and feeling ostracized more than we already feel from society.

  • Lack of cultural awareness within mental health professionals

Cultural awareness is the ability to understand, analyze and sympathize based on traditions, values and beliefs within your culture or another culture. To make it simple it is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes to recognize what they deal with on a day-to-day basis regarding their culture.

Lack of cultural awareness within the mental health field is a major deterrent for those wanting to seek professional help. Some examples include:

  • According to research done through the University of Michigan, Black men are five times more likely to be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia than any other group. This has been going on since the 1960’s.
  • Studies show that individuals with major depression are also more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia which can be extremely harmful, especially when medication is thrown at you for a mental illness that you do not have. Not only is there a risk of misdiagnosing but there is also a risk of missing diagnosis and ignoring possible symptoms if mental health professionals are not culturally competent.
  • Black teens are 50% more likely to show signs of bulimia than their white peers but do not get diagnosed.
  • Black women are also at a greater risk for postpartum depression but are less likely to receive treatment.
  • Another key point that slides under the radar is that Black people are more likely to describe their mental health problems by using physical symptoms so if you professionals are not aware of this, symptoms can go unnoticed.
  • Affordability

In 2018, studies show that 11.9% of Black adults in the United States had no form of health insurance. Low socioeconomic status is a major contributing factor to seeking out treatment. Like other minorities, Black people of a lower socioeconomic status suffer in multiple ways as seen through healthcare, education, and other socioeconomic resources all of which contribute to poor mental health.

Lack of affordability also contributes to another stigma: the idea that therapy is for the rich.This is a really harmful sentiment. Black adults who live below the poverty line are 2x more likely to report serious and alarming psychological distress than those who are at a higher status economically. They report more feelings and sadness and hopelessness than their White peers. Money should not be the reason people do not receive Mental Health care… but it is. There are always options to receiving care and Black people need to spread more awareness and resource options amongst the community.

From stigmas within our own communities, lack of cultural awareness, and affordability, it can seem like there are many barriers to receiving adequate mental health assistance if you are Black. Becoming more aware of these barriers is a major contributing factor to change.

Healthcare professionals need to acknowledge racial bias and cultural incompetence to best address the  cultural awareness and competency. Mandatory cultural awareness education should be required of all healthcare providers.  Every provider should be aware of their biases to address  the inequality of care.

Overcoming Barriers to Mental Health Treatment for the Black Community 

Black community- it is our job to educate our family members and friends by having those uncomfortable conversations about mental health. That way our healthcare can be interpreted as less of a weakness and more of a strength. Finally, please be patient with yourself and seek appropriate mental health professionals and resources that contribute to your overall well-being.

African American Patients. (n.d.). Www.psychiatry.org. https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/cultural-competency/education/african-american-patients

African-Americans more likely to be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia, study finds: The study suggests a bias in misdiagnosing blacks with major depression and schizophrenia. (2019). ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190321130300.htm

Artiga, S., Orgera, K., & Damico, A. (2020, March 5). Changes in Health Coverage by Race and Ethnicity since the ACA, 2010-2018. KFF. https://www.kff.org/racial-equity-and-health-policy/issue-brief/changes-in-health-coverage-by-race-and-ethnicity-since-the-aca-2010-2018/

Black Mental Health: Statistics, Resources and Services | Wake Forest University. (2020, September 14). WFU Online Counseling. https://counseling.online.wfu.edu/blog/black-mental-health-resources/

Mental & Behavioral Health – The Office of Minority Health. (2019). Hhs.gov. https://www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlid=24

NAMI. (2017). African Americans | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness. Nami.org. https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Identity-and-Cultural-Dimensions/Black-African-American

Ward, E. C., Wiltshire, J. C., Detry, M. A., & Brown, R. L. (2013). African American Men and Women’s Attitude Toward Mental Illness, Perceptions of Stigma, and Preferred Coping Behaviors. Nursing Research, 62(3), 185–194. https://doi.org/10.1097/nnr.0b013e31827bf533

Why Do Black People’s Mental Illnesses Get Misdiagnosed? (n.d.). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/racism-mental-health-diagnoses




Pin it
Black Pin 1
Black Pin 2
Black Pin 3

HEY NEWBIES- START HERE!

KEEP IN MIND

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

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

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

NAVIAGTE