The Entourage Effect: Compared to Vinny and the Boys

The Entourage Effect: Compared to Vinny and the Boys

Laura Geftman, LCSW

written by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Laura Geftman, LCSW

written by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Do you remember the smash HBO hit television series “Entourage.” The show featured Hollywood up-and-coming actor Vincent Chase and his friends who help him navigate the world of stardom. The show was not just an entertaining comedy but it also gave you a behind the scenes look at fame and fortune. Together Vinny, Eric, Turtle, Drama and Ari worked their way through all the pomp and circumstance being an actor could provide. Vinny did the acting while Eric managed his business, as Turtle took care of the details, then Drama kept them healthy, and Ari kept the deals coming in. Together they were able to take on the world and did. Their entourage had quite an effect.

While the story of Vinny and his boys was fiction, their interaction isn’t dissimilar to the ways in which the elements of cannabis work together.  There are many different cannabis products on the market, and more being introduced each day. However with all the products, patients most common compliant (according to my personal doctor) is that “it stopped working.” Let’s take a closer look at why this is likely happening…

WHAT IS THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM?

Thought to be the largest system in the body, the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) regulates through a complex group of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors. These receptors in the brain act as a liaison to help regulate various physiological processes including appetite, pain, mood, and memory. Neurotransmitters are communication molecules that help the brian and the body communicate with each other via nerve cells. Essentially it is a network that acts as a homeostatic regulator to help the body maintain optimal balance.  

While more research is underway and still needed, scientists believe that the ECS system regulates:

      • Sleep
      • Appetite
      • Pain
      • Pleasure
      • Cognition
      • Memory
      • Visceral sensation
      • Mood
      • Growth
      • Movement
      • Immune function

THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM AND CANNABIS

ECS mediates the psychoactive effects of cannabis and helps maintain a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory. Cannabis exerts psychoactive and medicinal effects by engaging with special receptors in our cells know as cannabinoid receptors. The active compounds in cannabis engage directly with the ECS. These compounds -which have not been found in any other plant- are called cannabinoids. The interact between ECS and cannabinoids work to aid the body to maintain homeostasis. 

WHAT ARE CANNABINOIDS?

Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds responsible for effects experienced by cannabis users. Scientists have been able to identify at least 113 cannabinoids. The two most common compounds are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). While both THC and CBD yields psychoactive properties, THC is known to get you “high.” There are five major cannabinoids in cannabis that are particularly effective in relieving symptoms of various illnesses. So just like the five main characters in the show “Entourage,” each of the five compounds produces different effects. Medical cannabis is bred to have different amounts of each cannabinoid as they can be recommended for different conditions.

What is THC? – The Vinny

Decent actor and pretty boy Vincent Chase never goes anywhere without his boys. His passion shine throw in his terrible movie picks. He argued and opted for films of substance rather than fat paychecks. While womanizing and living the life, he always took care of those closest to him. A bad boy with a heart of gold…

…kinda like THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol). While know as the active compound to get you high, THC physically it acts as a muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory, and psychologically it acts as a stimulant. This makes medical cannabis strains high in THC a good choice for patients who need relief while also to remain alert and active.

THC effects include:

      • anti-epileptic
      • anti-inflammatory
      • anti-depressant
      • stimulates appetite
      • lowers blood pressure
      • apoptosis (self induced cell death)

What is CBD? – The “E”

Eric Murphy- otherwise known as “E”- was Vinny’s BFF and alway had his best friend’s back. He took care of business as his manager and tried to keep it all together. In Vinny and E’s codependent relationship, E played it all with more self-awareness and understanding. He was the one who kept things level-headed.

CBD (cannabidiol) does just that for THC. CBD reduces the psychological effects of medical cannabis. A strain that has high THC and high CBD will have fewer mental effects and more physical ones. High CBD strains are especially effective for illnesses with strong physical symptoms.

CBD’s effects include:

      • reduced pain
      • reduced anxiety
      • reduced nausea
      • sedative effects
      • anti-convulsive
      • anti-schizophrenic
      • arrests the spread of cancer

What is CBN? – The Ari

Ari Gold- while foul-mouthed and crude, he befriended and supported his #1 client’s success. Ari proved to be the powerful and influential Hollywood agent that brought Vince the roles to set his acting career on fire and keep it going. Though his antics were off-putting antics, Ari always held up his part of the deal.

CBN (cannabinol) has this kind of relationship with THC. CBN is very similar to THC, but has less psychological effects. It is produced as THC breaks down within the cannabis plant. High THC will make cannabinol’s effects stronger, and very high CBN concentrations can produce undesirably strong head highs. 

CBN effects include:

      • lowering pressure in the eye (such as with glaucoma)
      • analgesic
      • anti-seizure

What is CBC? – The Turtle

Turtle moved from the old neighborhood to Hollywood to be Vinny’s driver. But he’s no Kato. While Turtle took care of transportation, he also brought Vinny promotional deals for celebrity cameos and millions earned in tequila. They worked to declare that “tequila is the new vodka.”

…just as CBC (cannabichromene) does for THC. CBCs main action is to enhance the effects of THC. High cannabichromene levels will make a high-THC medical marijuana strain much more potent.

CBC effects include:

      • sedative
      • analgesic
      • anti-inflammatory

What is CBG? – The Drama

Johnny Drama had been in the biz longer than his “baby bro.” However Johnny seemingly couldn’t hack it without the support of his brother.  He actually did pretty well for himself and kept the boys eating well as the personal chef of the crew.

CBG (cannabigerol) is just that in its cannabis family. CBG has no psychological effects on its own, and is not usually found in high amounts in most medical cannabis. Scientists believe CBC is actually one of the oldest forms of cannabinoids, meaning it is essentially a “parent” to the other cannabinoids. It also has anti-microbial properties.

Cannabigerol effects include:

      • lowering pressure in the eye
      • anti-inflammatory
      • sedative
      • sleep assistance

If you’re surprised by this info, you’re not alone. There are many misconceptions about CBD. Find out more here.

THE ENTOURAGE EFFECT

All cannabinoids are effective individually; however- they all work together synergistically to attain the “Entourage Effect.” It’s widely accepted that THC stimulates our CB1 receptors, affecting our central nervous system. CBD stimulates our CB2 receptors, affecting our peripheral nervous system. CBD is also said to function in ways which lessen the psychoactive effect of THC. In all actuality, they both stimulate CB1 & CB2 receptors. Medicinal cannabis containing only THC or CBD aren’t always sufficient for many medical conditions.

FULL SPECTURM CANNABIS

Full spectrum cannabis is what is optimal for our body systems. Utilizing the full spectrum of all the cannabis therapeutic compounds provides the most abundant cannabinoids and all the benefits. Also referred to as “whole-plant cannabis,” it offers treatment for a wide breadth of symptoms and conditions. Whole-plant cannabis is thought to be like a multivitamin for inflammation and other effects.

CANNABIS ISOLATES

There might also be medical applications when you don’t want the entourage effect at work. One of THC’s more famous treatments, for instance, is for lowering eye pressure to treat glaucoma. “We found that it works, and THC does a nice job,” says Indiana University, Bloomington researcher Alex Straiker, who studies cannabinoids. “But it’s actually blocked by CBD. People often think, oh yeah, CBD and THC work together. But in terms of CB1 receptor signaling, they actually oppose each other, or at least CBD opposes THC.” That’s not to say, though, that CBD isn’t having some sort of beneficial effect on its own when it comes to treating glaucoma.

Essentially cannabis isolates serve a monumental role not only as medicine but more importantly as a legislative stepping stone. CBD has prompted several states to adopt CBD only laws. While THC remains illegal, it’s a step in the right direction.

MENTAL HEALTH EFFECT

The endocannabinoid system is the largest neurotransmitter system in the body. It regulates other neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and GABA. Each of these chemicals is associated with the chemical imbalances of mental illness.

Those who struggle with depression, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety are often prescribed medication to manage their illnesses. More specifically medication is used to regulate the chemical compounds the body produces and control emotional symptomology. Traditional psychotropic medications target mental health disorders as follows: depression targets serotonin, ADHD targets dopamine, and anxiety targets GABA. 

BIg pharma has development many medications targeting these compounds and aiming to manage mental health. However some of these medications come with a cost- adverse psychological and behavioral side effects, addiction, and more… Cannabis, however, can treat what synthetic drugs are created to do but it does not have any side effects. This option is proving to be the answer many who aren’t happy with their prescriptions.

There isn’t a medication that directly treats Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Most patients end up with a medication cocktail that’s supposed to address their symptoms but don’t. There also isn’t any research about using the combination of prescriptions.  Cannabis reduces the amount of traumatic memories that are related to PTSD. 

Why take synthetic drugs when the natural compounds in cannabis could treat the root of the problem? Cannabis can effectively treat all the metal health conditions mentioned without concerns of overdose or side effects. Cannabis is proving to be a much more useful drug than previously thought, and much healthier than prescription drugs. 

ENTOURAGE IN EFFECT

So if Vincent Chase is the THC, Eric is the CBD, Ari is the CBN, Turtle is the CBC, Drama is the CBG, and Shauna, Billy Walsh, Dom, Mrs. Ari, Lloyd, Sloan and all the rest of the supporting characters lend to the effect of full spectrum cannabis. Essentially Vinny can only reach his full movie star potential when he rolls with his crew just like cannabis.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1574255/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165946/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2241751/

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

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

LJG 2021

written by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Hannah Sadock, LMFT

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, LMFT

written by

Namen Namestein

reviewed by

Namen Namestein

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

 

What are Cannabinoids?

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

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

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

There are three different kinds of cannabinoids:

🌿 phytocannabinoids or exogenous cannabinoids

👤 endocannabinoids or endogenous cannabinoids 

🧪 synthetic cannabinoids

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

 

What are Endocannabinoids?

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

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

👤 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)

👤 N-arachidonoylethanolamine – “anandamide” (AEA)

 

What is 2-Arachidonoyl Glycerol?

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

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

🧬 regulation of appetite

🧬 immune system functions

🧬 pain management

🧬 regulation of the circulatory system 

 

In Conclusion

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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HEY NEWBIES- START HERE!


KEEP IN MIND

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

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

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


NAVIAGTE

EXPLORE

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

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

LJG 2021

written by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Hannah Sadock, LMFT

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, LMFT

written by

Namen Namestein

reviewed by

Namen Namestein

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

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

What is Cannabis?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is Cannabis Used For?

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

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

What are the Components of Cannabis?

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

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

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

🍋 limonene is in the essential oil of lemons and limes

🌲 pinene is found in the essential oil of pine needles

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

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

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

What is a Cannabis Strain?

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

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

🍃 Sativa is believed to produce an uplifting head high.

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

🍃 Hybrid is thought to offer a combination of both.

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

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

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

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

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

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

🪴 Type V: material with undetectable amounts of any cannabinoids

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

What Does It Feel Like to be High on Cannabis?

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

✅ euphoric

✅ relaxed

✅ amused 

✅ giggly

✅ creative

✅ hungry

✅ increased sensitivity

😬 anxiety

😬 confusion

😬 delusions and hallucinations

😬 high blood pressure

😬 nausea and vomiting

😬 panic

😬 paranoia

😬 psychosis

😬 racing heartbeat

Can You Get Addicted to Cannabis?

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

🚩 moodiness 

🚩 irritability

🚩 nausea 

🚩 difficulty sleeping

🚩 change in eating habits

🚩 sweating

🚩 shaking

🚩 diarrhea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everything About Cannabis Pin 1
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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

Track CBD & Meditation Hero

How to Track Your CBD and Mediation Progress

Jessica Christion

written by

Jessica Christion

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

written by

Namen Namestein

reviewed by

Namen Namestein

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

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

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

Why It’s Important to Track

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

How to track your CBD and mediation progress: 

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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Cannabis for pain Hero

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

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

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

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

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

Does pain lead to cannabis use disorder?

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

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

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

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

Do consumers really understand the plant?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to stay informed when medicating with cannabis

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Health Affairs 2019 38:2, 295-302. 

 

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

 

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

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HEY NEWBIES- START HERE!

KEEP IN MIND

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

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

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

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

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

Caroline Platzman

written by

Caroline Platzman

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

written by

Namen Namestein

reviewed by

Namen Namestein

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

What is seasonal affective disorder?

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

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

How common is seasonal affective disorder?

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

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

Why does seasonal depression occur?

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

What are the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is seasonal affective disorder treatable?

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

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

Bottom line

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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HEY NEWBIES- START HERE!

KEEP IN MIND

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

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

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

NAVIAGTE

EXPLORE