How to Admit to Family and Friends That You’re a Cannabis Lover

Admitting to family and friends that you smoke cannabis does not carry the same stigma that it might have a decade or two ago, but in conservative circles it can still take a pretty big leap of faith to ‘fess up, and hope that the fallout won’t be overwhelming. Owing to the fact that there is now a decisive majority of states which have legalized marijuana, and a growing number which have even legalized adult legalization, coming out of the cannabis closet is simply much less difficult than it used to be.

But if you’re a person who happens to live in an area where legalization is still on the horizon, and the prevailing opinion remains on the conservative side, there are still ways you can broach the subject with people you know – without setting off a firestorm. Here are some tips for you to follow, when you’ve decided that candor is the best policy.

Cannabis LoverPick the Right Circumstances

Don’t drop a bomb on your family/friends at an awkward time – if you have to, wait until just the right gathering, where there will be time to discuss the matter, and opinions can be freely expressed by both sides. If possible, include an ally in the group for moral support, and for bolstering your case, if you should happen to get a little tongue-tied.

Prepare for Negative Reactions

Your parents might surprise you and be totally understanding about it. After all, they listen to the news too, and they have probably heard all the same things you have about the prevailing trends and opinions in this country toward legalization. However, it could go the other way just as easily, and if you can gauge your parents’ reaction somewhat ahead of time, you can prepare yourself with reasoned responses to whatever objections they might have.

Tell Your Side of the Story

Be ready to explain all the positive effects cannabis has had on your life personally. In addition to the improved mood, maybe it has provided some medical benefits for you that have had a major impact on your life. That’s where the next point comes in handy.

Know the Health Benefits

There is all kinds of documented evidence about the positive benefits that medical marijuana has provided for some patients – everything from reducing anxiety to eliminating headaches, to killing some types of cancer cells. These are legitimate advantages provided by cannabis, and are part of the package.

Observe Compliance Requirements

So that your parents don’t have a reason to object to you smoking cannabis, make sure to keep it all above board and legal. If you are doing anything against local laws, they would have a legitimate reason to withhold approval, but if you’re doing everything by the book, that takes away a possible objection.

Be Sensitive to Your Audience

If things don’t go well with your audience, don’t leave the meeting in a huff. Act mature, and try to understand their points of view as offered. It’s always possible they will come around to your viewpoint at a later date, and until then, just agree to disagree – respectfully.

Medical Marijuana on High Blood Pressure

Medical Marijuana on High Blood PressureMany people have the mistaken notion that cancer is the number one killer of men and women in America, but this is simply not true.

The real culprit and the number one threat to good health to all adults in the United States is actually cardiovascular disease. And the main contributor to cardiovascular disease is high blood pressure.

The importance of managing your blood pressure cannot be overstated

If your heart is working too hard in when going about your normal activities, it will be under significant strain most of that time, and that’s when heart attacks develop.

The really dangerous thing about high blood pressure is that there are no real visible signs of it. You can look and feel just fine, and can carry out all your daily activities without noticing any real difference.

Behind the scenes, however, a person with high blood pressure might have his heart working so hard, that it’s generally only a matter of time before it fails under the prolonged strain.

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Here’s how medical marijuana can help

Medical marijuana has been shown to help control high blood pressure to take the stress off your heart.

People who use medical marijuana almost universally experience lower levels of stress. They enjoy deeper, more prolonged sleep at night, which leads to a more restful and relaxed state the following day.

Patients who have experienced chronic pain in their lives also report that medical marijuana relieves many of these symptoms for hours. They are able to enjoy a fair amount of pain-free time and a more contented outlook on life.

Medical marijuana’s impact

Because medical marijuana has demonstrated an impact, it has consistently been shown to lower high blood pressure.

This is not to say that marijuana cures high blood pressure – but it can manage the symptoms that contribute to high blood pressure.

Of course, the effectiveness of marijuana on high blood pressure does vary from case to case. It is rarely so effective that you can completely do away with blood pressure medications.

Still, in virtually every case where it’s been used to counteract high blood pressure, it has been shown to be effective.

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Mass Media Casts Shadow on Medical Marijuana Industry

Despite being legal in 22 states, the medical marijuana issue continues to draw debate in the form of television shows and documentaries. With such controversy at its heart, it’s no wonder this medicinal substance used to treat pain in cancer and other patients invokes such heated commentary on screen. From shows like Weed Country to documentaries like Code of the West, the goal is to educate and inform, but also take sides on an issue that just can’t find a common ground.

The “Reality” of Reality ShowsMedical Marijuana Industry

Hopping on the band wagon of reality shows, series like Weed Wars have cropped up over the last few years to open up a window on the life of those involved in the medical marijuana lifestyle and business. While enlightening in some respects, these shows do little to open up the minds of mainstream America to the healing properties marijuana delivers to people in chronic pain.

Many of these shows came on the air right around the time federal prosecutors started to turn the screws on medical marijuana shop owners, citing their state-licensed dispensaries regulated by local government agencies, according the the Huffington Post. What typically ends up happening is the shows cast a bad light on the medical marijuana industry as a whole, yet choose to focus on sensationalizing the police, growers and distributors rather than hit on the true issue. This increased scrutiny in the public eye has its advantages, though, bringing to light an issue that was only whispered in certain circles before. Like homosexuality, meth labs, child abuse and rape before it, TV shows are the new breeding ground to expose the giant underbelly of what’s really going on in society.

Ditching the Stigmas

Serving to curb the stigmas, misconceptions and stereotypes about medical marijuana, Weed Wars and others are gaining popularity among a TV viewership eager to see this issue come to the forefront. That being said, like any reality show, drama is injected to give the viewers what they want: over the top views of the medical marijuana industry as seen from those really living it. Good or bad, shows like Weed Country aim to shatter the stigma associated with medical cannabis.

Unfortunately, with the focus on the “reality” TV stars within these shows, the negative connotations are still ever-present. Even with exploratory and information documentaries, the industry continues to seek the respect it deserves. Still, these documentaries work to capture the human stories behind the law-making processes of state-level marijuana reform through intelligent indie films like Code of the West and weak attempts at comedy with Super High Me, which chronicles a man’s physical and mental journey smoking marijuana for 30 days straight.

Despite its legality in more than 20 states, medical marijuana still captures a cult following as opposed to its more socially acceptable and legal cousin, alcohol. With more TV shows on the horizon highlighting the use and cultivation of medical marijuana, this calming substance has many more hurdles ahead of it in a desperate attempt to defend itself.

The Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Cancer and Chronic Pain Treatment

Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Cancer and Chronic Pain Treatment, Med Red CrossThe positive effects medical marijuana has on patients suffering from cancer or chronic pain is the subject of much debate throughout this country. Many supporters tout its ability to ease chronic pain where other pain medication drugs have failed, while others say there’s just not enough known about the potentially harmful side effects of this substance, which is still illegal in many states. Scientific research is still ongoing but the general consensus within the medical community and those suffering from the debilitating effects of pain associated with their disease is that it works.

Benefits

This form of pain management — now legalized in about half the states in this country — is used in precise doses to relieve nausea and pain, and increase appetite in those suffering from chronic diseases such as cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Approved for this use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), medical marijuana is also thought by many supporters to contain anti-bacterial properties, with an ability to reduce tumor growth and enlarge the airways to help those who have asthma. Whether smoked, made into hot tea or eaten with other foods, medical marijuana can relieve pain that cancer patients and others live with on a daily basis. Many are going through chemotherapy which can induce nausea and vomiting.

Medical marijuana can suppress this urge where other drugs have not worked as promised. A mouth spray version of medical marijuana, not yet approved here in the States, is thought to help relieve muscle spasms related to multiple sclerosis. Recent studies have shown the inhaled marijuana can help relieve neuropathic pain, which is essentially pain brought on by damaged nerves, as well as improve the food intake of HIV patients who struggle with loss of appetite. Studies have also found that patients who use medical marijuana have a far less need to take conventional pain medication, thereby reducing the negative side effects of those meds, particularly to the liver.

Legalization

The long and short of it is that more Americans are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana than criminalizing the substance, according to the Huffington Post. A recent poll says 58 percent of Americans say the plant should be legal. There are several reasons why. For starters, this substance has never been the subject of any recorded overdose when compared with other deadly illicit drugs or even prescription pain killers. It’s even been found to be less addictive than coffee, with a low risk of abuse. It can help you sleep better and alleviate a host of medical ailments including chronic pain due to cancer.

The Politics

Unfortunately, as with anything else, politics gets in the way sometimes of pushing through new legislation that counters the historic view of marijuana being “bad.” Famed neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta is exploring these stigmas of marijuana in his research around the world and resulting documentary called “Weed.” He explores what emerging scientific findings are proving about the positive benefits of this substance to the body and the brain in particular, helping others understand how the old school political system may be hindering patients from getting what he feels is a low risk pain-killing benefit from a plant that occurs in nature.

Initiatives

With more and more states passing legislation allowing the use of marijuana and medical marijuana, there are also more awareness-generating initiatives underway that highlight the struggles people with cancer and other deadly illnesses go through, including the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Movember and Livestrong. These organizations and events help spread awareness of the devastation of cancer and other chronic diseases, sparking ongoing conversations about what can be done to help.

The benefits of medical marijuana for chronic pain relief are well-documented. However, there is a still a long way to go.

Why is marijuana illegal?

marijuana illegal, Marijuana law, marijuana legal statesEven though more and more states are jumping on the marijuana legalization bandwagon, many states have yet to make this leap. It’s important to know where your state stands before you grow, sell or use marijuana. The laws are changing almost on a daily basis, so arm yourself with the knowledge of where marijuana is legal and how that is evolving.

Legalization

Of the 20 legal marijuana states, only 15 allow the cultivation of marijuana at home, according to ProCon.org. In terms of use in general, federal law has in place something called the Controlled Substances Act, classifying marijuana as a Schedule I substance and does not recognize it for medicinal purposes, according to the Huffington Post. In effect, the feds treat this drug like any other controlled substance such as heroin or cocaine. However, it has allowed individual states to make up their own minds about whether it should be allowed for medicinal use. You’ll see here which states are legal medical marijuana states. Where in the country is marijuana still illegal? Currently, states like New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, Georgia and Minnesota don’t have laws legalizing pot. Some states are even lobbying for and have been granted laws that legalize recreational marijuana, such as Colorado and Washington State. That being said, federal law trumps state law in that if the DEA decides to, it can punish people for both medicinal and recreational marijuana use because it does not officially recognize either use, and the penalties can be pretty steep, says Americans for Safe Access.

Change

In recent years, more and more states are allowing the use of marijuana within their borders. Why? There is a growing body of evidence that suggests making marijuana legal does not increase its use, and that in fact prohibiting its use can be harmful and costly, according to Norml. Many people and organizations, such as the Drug Policy Alliance, feel that legalizing the nation’s biggest cash crop will not only create jobs but also economic opportunities that would work to protect the safety of the public and reduce court costs. The DPA feels that the criminalization of marijuana actually works against curbing youth access to the drug and may boost mass levels of violence. The medicinal effects of marijuana, a major component of legalized marijuana use from state to state, has had a major impact on the increasing acceptance of the growing, selling and consuming of cannabis.

Former Prohibitionist Congressman Introduces Bill for Medical Marijuana Research

Former Prohibitionist Congressman Introduces Bill for Medical Marijuana Research
In a move that can only be described as stunning, former Republican marijuana prohibitionist, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah introduced a bill in Congress which would encourage far greater research into the medical benefits of cannabis. On September 13, 2017, Sen. Hatch stood before his peers and delivered an impassioned speech about how cannabis has already demonstrated some very profound healing properties, as well as the ability to improve quality of life for people suffering from various kinds of chronic pain.

An abrupt philosophical change

In his words, “The federal government strains to enforce regulations that sometimes do more harm than good. To be blunt, we need to remove the administrative barriers preventing legitimate research into medical marijuana, which is why I’ve decided to roll out the MEDS Act.” So what is responsible for this seeming about-face in Sen. Hatch’s philosophy? Apparently, the plight of a close friend figured strongly into his thinking, and even though he still opposes recreational use, his thinking about medical marijuana has indeed been drastically altered.

Sen. Hatch has an unnamed friend who had been forced to ingest nearly 20 pills a day to manage pain, and some of these were fairly powerful opioids. After trying medical cannabis, this friend was able to discard all the pills, including the opioids, and rely solely on the medical cannabis for full relief. Right before his own eyes, Hatch witnessed the near-miraculous effects of pain relief, as well as the extremely effective substitution of cannabis for opioids.

What’s included in the MEDS Act 

This is no lightweight, half-hearted bill introduced by Sen. Hatch – these are the highlights of the features included in the bill:

  • Requires the Attorney General to increase the national marijuana quota as soon as is practicable, in order to meet the changing medical needs of our society
  • Requires the National Institute on Drug Abuse to put forth ‘best practices’ recommendations for the growing and overall production of marijuana, with the expectation that crops would be then used for medical research
  • Make marijuana much more accessible for groups involved with legitimate research into medical marijuana, and for the production of marijuana derivative drugs which have FDA approval
  • Encourage more medical research into the uses of marijuana, specifically by streamlining the registration process and removing barriers to research. This would not be dependent on having marijuana re-classified from its current Schedule I status as a ‘dangerous drug’.
  • Prevent the Department of Health and Human Services from instituting any new requirements or protocols which would tend to inhibit research into the usage of medical marijuana.

Impact of the speech and the bill

The impact of Sen. Hatch’s bill could be far-reaching indeed. If passed, sorely needed research into medical marijuana should proceed at a much faster and less inhibited pace. It would also represent a concession by the federal government that medical cannabis can be an effective tool for many health conditions, and for fighting the opioid crisis. Lastly, it will be seen as one stark example of the changing attitude in our society over the unjust stigma formerly attached to the amazing cannabis plant.


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Does Cannabis Affect Memory?

Most of us have seen movies which depict cannabis users as delightfully scatterbrained, and afflicted with a euphoric detachment from reality, accompanied by any number of humorous side effects, one of which is complete loss of memory. But does cannabis really have any effect on short-term memory, or is that something just written into movie scripts to generate laughs?

It should be acknowledged at the outset, that this is a very difficult area to measure accurately, because there are different types of memory, e.g. short-term memory and long-term memory. It also should be noted that the effects cannabis can have on memory are largely determined by which strain of cannabis is in question, how often it’s used, and what dosage is consumed.

Short-term effects

While it should be acknowledged that available information on this subject comes from limited studies, there does seem to be certain facts which consistently emerge, relative to the connection between cannabis usage and its effect on memory.

  • Formation of new memories– studies suggest that cannabis users do not form new memories as readily as during periods of non-usage
  • No blackouts– cannabis users do not experience the memory blackouts that binge drinkers do, when they simply cannot recall specific details of things that happened while they were under the influence
  • Recall difficulty– it appears there is some difficulty in remembering events and situations which occurred during periods of usage, and even for several hours afterward, until the effects wear off
  • Development of tolerance– frequent users of cannabis generally develop a tolerance to any memory impairment effects, so that the impact is less and less over time
  • Temporary effects– in all known studies on the subject, it was clear that any impact on memory was temporary in nature, and involved no long-term impairment


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Long-term effects

In one of the few studies conducted on long-term effects of cannabis usage, Professor Reto Auer from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland surveyed over 3,000 Americans over a period of 25 years.

Specifically testing for verbal recall, his results showed that cannabis users who smoked every day during that time were able to recall 8.5 out of 15 words. The control group, consisting of individuals who either smoked very little or not at all, could recall nine out of 15 words at each point during the testing.

Positive cannabis effect on memory?

One of the most interesting aspects in the study of cannabis effects on memory, is that it might actually help to protect rather than degrade memory.

Several studies have demonstrated that high levels of cannabidiol (CBD), which is the non-psychoactive cannabis component, may actually impart a therapeutic benefit. This can serve to prevent cognitive degradation.

CBD protects against damage caused by alcohol

Research in its early stages points at the fact that CBD seems to protect against damage caused to the brain by alcohol abuse.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has reported findings that CBD is able to prevent brain cell destruction due to alcohol abuse, by as much as 60%. Related studies suggest that CBD also acts as a neuro-protectant, and serves to prevent the onset of many diseases which affect the brain such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

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Will Vermont Legalize Cannabis This Year?

On May 10, 2017, the Vermont House of Representatives approved a bill by a vote of 79-66 which would legalize the possession of cannabis for adult usage, starting in 2018.

The Vermont Senate had already passed the bill, known as S.22, by a vote of 20-9, which would make it permissible to cultivate a small amount of cannabis for home usage, and possess up to an ounce.

Vermont’s neighbor, Massachusetts, has already legalized cannabis possession for adults, and it permits ownership of up to 10 ounces for each adult in a household.

The allowable home cultivation amounts for Vermont adults would include
  • Growing two mature plants
  • Four plants not considered to be mature by virtue of their having no buds
  • The ounce of cannabis which may legally be possessed is completely separate from the plants which can be cultivated


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Commission will study cannabis regulation

The bill also allows for formation of a commission to evaluate how the fledgling cannabis industry would be taxed and regulated within the state. While this may be a huge undertaking, it is one which has already been successfully implemented by eight other states in the U.S., and far more than that, if medical marijuana is included.

This commission would be comprised of nine members which would meet prior to August 1 of the present year. By November 1, the legislature and the governor would be provided with a proposal for the regulation of cannabis within the state.

Needless to say, as the bill passed through both the Senate and the House, it received considerable rework, and in the end, still didn’t please all the legislators involved.

According to Sen. Dick Spears, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill at least has broad appeal and widespread support. “I believe strongly that while this is not what we all wanted, this may be the best that we can get at this point. This is an effort to put something together that might have an opportunity to pass this session.”

First state to legalize through legislature

If this bill should be signed into law by Gov. Phil Scott, Vermont will become the very first state in the US to legalize cannabis through its legislature rather than by popular referendum.

Now all eyes will turn to Gov. Scott to see if he does indeed sign the bill into law, and even though the bill has popular support in both houses of the legislature, its passage is far from a done deal.

A spokesperson for the governor has already declared that while he is not philosophically opposed, he wants to thoroughly review the bill to ensure that public safety and health questions are appropriately addressed.

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How to Choose the Right Strain for Medical Cannabis Patients

It can be more than a little embarrassing when a medical cannabis patient walks in a marijuana shop, and the rep can’t match them up with the best strain to alleviate whatever symptoms they’re experiencing.

By understanding the properties for some of the most common cannabis varieties, a marijuana shop’s representatives have a better chance of providing their medical customers with the right strain of cannabis to manage chronic pain, insomnia, nausea, or whatever issue is bothering them.

Here’s how a store can do a better job of matching up symptoms with the appropriate reliefs from different kinds of cannabis.

What is the patient’s problem?

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important all the same to have a good understanding of the issues being experienced by a patient visiting a shop and vise versa.

A store rep should really hone in on what the patient is experiencing. Once the reps have a good idea of the symptoms troubling the client, they should have a better idea of which strains can help.

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Know the strains

If a store rep doesn’t know the particular strains of cannabis, they should learn them. If they can’t for whatever reason, there are guides available which list the properties of each strain, and which medical conditions they would be helpful for.

A good start is an understanding of differences between indica, sativa, and hybrid strains, especially how ones act as stimulants and which are more sedative in nature.

Understand chemical composition

Probably the single most important factor in determining which kinds of symptoms a strain might alleviate is understanding its chemical composition.

By ‘chemical composition’, the cannabinoid and terpene contents are known and understood. As an example, elements of terpenes encourage alertness and sharpness, while also combating inflammation in the body.

THCV is a cannabinoid which has the effect of suppressing appetite and supercharging the consumer with energy.

Know the origins of the cannabis

The best way to learn of any specific or unusual properties of a given strain of cannabis, is by discussing it with its grower.

No one is better positioned than the grower, to know exactly which characteristics a strain of cannabis might have. In such cases, talking with the grower may be the only way to have an understanding of a given variety of cannabis.

Personal experience Sometimes there’s just no substitute for having a thorough understanding of the characteristics of the various strains of cannabis in a shop, other than by experiencing them first hand.

Even though it’s likely that visiting patients will have at least a slightly different reaction to any given strain, the broad properties of the cannabis strains in a marijuana shop should be fairly similar from one person to the next.

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Amazing Dietary Benefits of Cannabis

In the view of Dietitian Jessica Aragona, the next best thing might be the most nutritious plant ever discovered by humanity with some amazing dietary benefits of cannabis. That’s undoubtedly saying a lot of course, but there is some strong evidence to back up the notion that cannabis has some powerful nutritional advantages.

For instance, it is a terrific source of protein, it’s very easy to digest, and it’s rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which are known to provide numerous health benefits.

For those who follow a vegan lifestyle, cannabis is also dairy-free, gluten-free, and 100% vegan, so it can fit right in with that lifestyle.

Raw dietary benefits of cannabis

Raw cannabis is not psychoactive unless it is first heated, but it still contains two very powerful compounds which are disease-fighting dynamos; cannabidiol (CBD), and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

When these two are ingested like any other vegetable (for example mixed in with a salad, blended into a smoothie, or juiced into a liquid) they produce some tremendous health benefits to the consumer.

Dr. William Courtney is credited with being a prime move in the ‘Raw Greens’ movement, and helped to reveal many of these benefits by devising a method for raw cannabis juicing.

In one of his best-known cases, a woman named Kristen Petuski-Courtney experienced an astounding return to good health after suffering through years of chronic illnesses which left her virtually debilitated. All medical treatments had failed her for years until she was introduced to raw cannabis juicing – and her miraculous recovery began.

The woman in this case is far from an isolated success however. As Dr. Courtney himself says, “Whether Sativa, Indica, Ruderalis, male, female, hermaphrodite, native, feral, bred for fiber, seeds or medicinal resin, cannabis is the best source for beneficial cannabinoids. Over 50 patients have used only cannabinoids to put their cancer in remission, and over 150 have found symptomatic relief.”

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Medical conclusions

Dr. Courtney’s medical conclusions about the benefits which accrue from ingesting raw cannabis are startling, and may hold the promise of medical breakthroughs in the future.

He has found that ingesting cannabis raw is far more effective than smoking it, because the properties of cannabinoids are degraded through heating, and lose their therapeutic effectiveness.

Raw cannabis however, triggers activation in the brain’s own cannabinoid system, and that results in the release of antioxidants in the body. As most people are aware, antioxidants serve as cleaners in the body, and cause the removal of many kinds of damaged body cells. This in turn, increases the efficiency of all other cells in the body, which are no longer burdened by weakened or damaged cells.

While smoking cannabis does treat the symptoms of many pains and illnesses, raw consumption seems to be far superior in terms of providing a healthy and therapeutic boost to the body’s systems, and possibly curing the causes of those problems.

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