What does marijuana actually do to your brain and body? This video from ASAP Science explains how marijuana acts on our brains shortly after smoking or ingesting it. Cannabis contains at least 60 types of cannabinoids, chemical compounds that act on receptors throughout our brain. THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s effects, including the euphoric high. THC resembles another cannabinoid naturally produced in our brains, anandamide, which regulates our mood, sleep, memory and appetite.

Essentially, cannabinoids’ effect on our brains is to keep our neurons firing, magnifying our thoughts and perception and keeping us fixed on them (until another thought takes us on a different tangent). That’s why when you’re high, it’s really not a good time to drive, study for a test, or play sports that require coordination, like tennis or baseball. Like alcohol, caffeine and sugar, cannabinoids also effect the levels of dopamine in our brain, often resulting in a sense of relaxation and euphoria.

Salon explains a few more ways marijuana interacts with our brains, such as impairing our ability to form new memories, and how cannabinoids cause the classic “munchies”.

The effects will depend on the amount taken, as well as how potent the preparation is (common marijuana contains 2-5% THC, while ganja can contain up to 15% THC and hashish oil between 15 and 60% THC). At high doses — and if you don’t follow the 10 commandments of marijuana edible safety — marijuana can produce scary curled-up-on-the-couch-for-hours hallucinatory states.


Not all people may find it an enjoyable or relaxing experience; for those who have anxiety or are prone to panic attacks, marijuana could exacerbate their symptoms rather than bring on a sense of calm.

Marijuana Is a Controlled Substance…Lacking in Controlled, Scientific Research

We should note that a whole lot more research needs to be done in this area. Although marijuana has been used for centuries as a medicine and as an inebriant (it’s even mentioned in the Old Testament several times as “kaneh-bosem”), we don’t know a great deal about the health effects of using it. That’s because there haven’t been many controlled studies on it, due to the way marijuana is classified by the US federal government.

The Food and Drug Administration classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, defined as the most dangerous of all drug schedules, with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” (Fun fact: heroin, ecstasy and LSD are also Schedule I drugs, but cocaine and meth are considered less dangerous Schedule II drugs.)

As such, to do clinical research with marijuana, you need a license from the DEA and your study approved by the FDA, and to obtain research-grade marijuana, you have to go through the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Popular Science explains. Otherwise, since it’s federally illegal to have marijuana (even in states that have legalized marijuana), researchers working in hospitals, colleges, or other institutions that receive federal funding risk losing their funds to do this research.


Marijuana Doesn’t Seem to Have a Long-Term Effect on Memory and Concentration

The short-term effects of marijuana are generally felt within a few minutes, peak within 30 minutes, and wear off after about two or three hours. The bigger question is: what happens if we use marijuana more regularly, or are occasional but heavy users? Are there permanent cognitive and other health changes? Do we all turn into The Dude from The Big Lebowski?

Again, we don’t have many rigorous scientific studies on this, much less many longitudinal studies. A 2012 review of available research, however, published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, finds that the immediate impairments on memory and concentration, at least, aren’t likely permanent:

  • Attention/concentration: Marijuana impairs light users’ attention and concentration but doesn’t appear to affect regular or heavy users within six hours of smoking or ingesting it. In the long run, researchers have found that after 3 weeks or more since last using marijuana, subjects’ attention and concentration return to normal. “In five of seven studies, no attention or concentration impairments were found in subjects who had remained abstinent from 28 days to one year (Lyons et al., 2004Pope et al., 200120022003Verdejo-Garcia et al., 2005).” The other two studies found differences in attention and concentration between heavy and non-users after 28 days, but the reviewers note that the disparate findings could be due to measuring different types of processing skills.
  • Working memory: Several studies likewise found no residual or long-term effects on working memory. A 2002 study, for example, tested 77 heavy smokers for days after abstaining from smoking pot. Memory impairment was found for heavy users up to 7 days after using marijuana, but by day 28 their memory test results didn’t differ significantly from control subjects. In other words, even if your memory is affected when you smoke up, after you stop it will likely go back to normal with time.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a brochure on the possible short- and long-term consequences of using marijuana. It reports that there’s no strong link between frequency of marijuana use and violence or crime, an unclear or weak link between depression and marijuana use, and no clear link between marijuana use and birth defects. Heavy use of marijuana, however, has been linked to increased likelihood of respiratory problems, schizophrenia development (but some studies suggest a genetic predisposition might be involved in these cases), and, for teens increasing pot use, a harder time adjusting to society. We’ll touch on some of these issues below.


Addiction is a very complex topic. It’s possible for people to get addicted to anything that gives us pleasure. While marijuana addiction is real, it is a rarer addiction than other (legal or illegal) substances. Statistics say that 9 percent of people (roughly one out of 10) who use marijuana become dependent on it, compared to 32 percent of tobacco users, 20 percent of cocaine users, and 15 percent of alcohol drinkers.

When it comes to marijuana and other substances, some say what matters most might not be how addictive the substance is but how harmful it might be. Former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders told CNNshe supports legalising marijuana, saying it “is not addictive, not physically addictive anyway”. Time reports:

As Dr. Elders also said on CNN, marijuana is nontoxic. You can fatally overdose on alcohol, heroin or cocaine, but the only way a dose of marijuana will kill you is if someone crushes you under a bale of it.

By and large, marijuana has been shown to be much less dangerous and addictive than other substances — over 100 times safer than alcohol — but that’s not to say it is completely harmless. How marijuana is consumed and prepared can make a big difference on its health effects, for better or worse, as well.


The chances of getting addicted to marijuana increase if you’re a daily user or if you start when you’re a teen. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana addiction goes up to about 17 percent in those who start using young (in their teens) and to 25 to 50 percent among daily users.
Dr. Damon Raskin, internist and Diplomat of the American Board of Addiction Medicine, advises:

Marijuana these days can cause changes in the brain that impair learning, especially in teenagers as their brains have not finished developing. Brains are not fully developed until the age of 25 or 26. Chronic marijuana use can lead to changes in both personality, judgment, and reasoning skills.

Pot damages the heart and lungs, increases the incidence of anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, and it can trigger acute psychotic episodes. Many adults appear to be able to use marijuana with relatively little harm, but the same cannot be said of adolescents, who are about twice as likely as adults to become addicted to marijuana.

Much of the marijuana available today is more potent than it was in the past, so the potential exists for it to have more intense deleterious effects on the user. Medical professionals are seeing more emergency room visits with excessive vomiting, and with adolescents, there is greater risk of psychosis and delirium.

If you’re a parent, this is another reminder to talk to your kids about drugs, especially during those formative years.


Marijuana is most commonly smoked, but it can be used in vaporisers, turned into a tea, or used as an ingredient in foods as an edible. Oils and tinctures are often made from the cannabis plant as well for medicinal purposes. Of the many ways to use marijuana, smoking seems to have the most harmful side effects. According to the American Lung Association:

Smoke is harmful to lung health. Whether from burning wood, tobacco or marijuana, toxins and carcinogens are released from the combustion of materials. Smoke from marijuana combustion has been shown to contain many of the same toxins, irritants and carcinogens as tobacco smoke.

Beyond just what’s in the smoke alone, marijuana is typically smoked differently than tobacco. Marijuana smokers tend to inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than cigarette smokers, which leads to a greater exposure per breath to tar.

Secondhand marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxins and carcinogens found in directly inhaled marijuana smoke, in similar amounts if not more.

review of studies in 2013, however, found mixed evidence linking heavy, long-term marijuana use to pulmonary disease or lung cancer and concluded that there’s definitely a bigger risk for these if you smoke tobacco.

Still, regular users might consider other options besides smoking, such as vaping and edibles. Ata Gonzalez, CEO of G FarmaLabs, says:

Traditional methods (joints, blunts, etc), first off, aren’t the most efficient and certainly aren’t the cleanest ways to do it. These paper-based methods can be harsh on throat and lung tissue over time, potentially introduce the possibility of inhaling mold spores, and can be carcinogenic depending on what the cannabis is rolled in. Vaporizers are a much better option if you’re going to smoke it, not only because it’s much more discreet, but it introduces cannabinoids into the bloodstream as a gas through heat, rather than as smoke due to combustion. Vaping also reduces any possible exposure to harmful toxins/byproducts because the marijuana is never burned.

Conversely, there’s always the edibles option. This method is the most efficient way to get cannabinoids into the system because it’s done through the gastrointestinal tracts instead of the lungs – this also means that absorption is slower and the effects seem like they’re delayed, but that’s because the body has to process THC through the liver. The resulting effect, however, is a much more body-focused “high” that’s optimal for pain relief. Tinctures and tonics are sometimes classified in this subset/consumption category. Finally, we have topical solutions made with cannabis oil (e.g. salves, lotions, ointments, etc.) which are best used as anti-inflammatories and analgesics.

Additionally, if you partake, you’ll ideally want to know where your marijuana came from — who grew it, how they grew it, how they harvested it, and so on. If you don’t know (which is fairly likely in Australia), consider Global Healing Center editor Ben Nettleton’s suggestion to water cure your stuff:

Water curing is basically just soaking your stuff in water and changing the water several times. The water draws out any water soluble impurities. So any leftover fertilizer, pesticides, fungus (recent Smithsonian touched on the prevalence of that), and even innocuous unnecessary compounds like salts and chlorophyll. Pretty much just like giving it a wash. THC is not water soluble so you don’t lose any of what you want.


Finally, there are the potential medical uses of marijuana for a wide variety of conditions. 23 US states and DC have legalised the medical use of marijuana to treat symptoms of cancer, AIDS, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, migraines, epilepsy, nausea and other conditions. 76% of doctors surveyed said they would prescribe marijuana for medicinal purposes. And Procon.org’s analysis of 60 peer-reviewed studies on medical marijuana found 68% of them concluded treatments were positive for the conditions treated.

As with the adverse effects of marijuana, however, the research here is still limited and lacking. CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who changed his stance on marijuana to now question marijuana’s categorization as a Schedule I drug, says that of the recent papers on it, the overwhelming majority — about 94% — are designed to investigate the harm while only 6% investigate the benefits of medical marijuana.

So what we’re left with is anecdotal evidence. Greta Carter, marijuana activist, entrepreneur, and founder of a chain of clinics tells me:

What we know is that the VA has clearly identified the benefits of marijuana on post-traumatic stress syndrome. We also know that parents who have struggled daily with children suffering from seizures and movement disorders go to extremes to relocate their families to states that will allow them access to the medicine. We’ve heard from patients with AIDS and cancer who find benefits from cannabis. There are studies outside of the US that actually show tumours being reduced with cannabis treatment. I find it unconscionable that we as a country that have over 500 deaths a year to aspirin, and none to cannabis in its entire history would ever try to stand in the way of this plant being readily available to whomever might seek it.

Opponents of medical marijuana argue that it’s too dangerous to use (though the arguments seem to be mostly associated with the effects of smoking rather than marijuana in general or administered in other ways), that marijuana is addictive, and that legal drugs make marijuana unnecessary.

As ever, “further research is recommended” (isn’t that how all studies conclude?) In the case of marijuana, though, we really do need more.






La ricerca rivela: dopo aver provato il CBD il 42% dei malati abbandona le medicine standard

Una collaborazione interessante quella tra HelloMD, la community statunitense col 150.000 utenti che mette in contatto pazienti, medici, esperti e aziende sul tema della cannabis e Brightfield Group, una società di ricerca e analisi di mercato per le organizzazioni incentrate sull’industria della cannabis.

Un importante studio che ha visto la raccolta dati di 2500 membri del gruppo sull’utilizzo del CBD in ambito terapeutico. Ne è emerso che il 58% dei consumatori sono donne e che preferiscono utilizzarlo tramite i vaporizzatori, seguiti dal fumo e le varianti commestibili. Sul mercato è possibile trovare 850 aziende che producono derivati della marijuana e la spesa mensile affrontata dai consumatori varia tra i 20 e gli 80 dollari.

Ma il fattore forse più importante emerso è quello relativo al cambiamento nella scelta delle terapie.

Di fatto dopo aver provato il CBD il 42% ha abbandonato la medicina tradizionale per abbracciare l’uso esclusivo del cannabidiolo.

Si tratta di persone che devono affrontare insonnia, depressione, ansia, dolori alle articolazioni e ancora morbo di Crohn, epilessia e sclerosi multipla. Il feedback dell’80% degli intervistati ha confermato che il CBD è “molto o estremamente efficace”, avendo proprietà analgesiche, antinfiammatorie e rilassanti, mentre il 3% lo trova “inefficace o solo leggermente efficace”.






What is the link between psoriasis and medical marijuana? It’s easy to think of psoriasis as just a skin condition. But psoriasis starts underneath the skin. It is a chronic immune system disease that can range from mild to severe. Psoriasis can be associated with other conditions such as arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. It has been established through medical studies that marijuana helps with immune support and inflammation.

Experts believe psoriasis occurs due to genetic inheritance. Psoriasis is caused by benign, uncontrolled skin cell growth, psoriatic patients produce new skin cells quickly. These skin cells reach the skin surface before they have matured. The buildup of immature skin cells can cause itching with raised flaky scales. The patient may suffer redness, swelling, pain or discomfort at the site of inflamed skin.

Common symptoms of Psoriasis are itching, burning, soreness, and  dry and cracked skin. Psoriasis affects approximately 2% of the Western population.


Psoriasis patients are more likely to develop psoriatic arthritis, which is characterized by painful swelling and stiffness of the joint’s. Psoriasis may lead to permanent joint damage in psoriatic patients.


Endocannabinoid receptors are found on the skin. Studies have show the positive effects of endocannabinoid system activation in the treatment of skin disorders. One  study found that certain cannabinoid agonists stopped the abnormal growth of skin cells, which has potential implications in psoriasis treatment.

the endocannabinoid system

The main role of the cutaneous ECS is to regulate or control the optimal functioning and survival of the skin cells. A disruption of this delicate balance  might result in several skin-related problems, such as, hair growth disorders, allergic dermatitis, acne,  psoriasis and related itching and pain and skin cancer.


Other studies have observed the human keratinocyte proliferation inhibitory effects of cannabinoids via non-CB1/CB2 mechanisms. The possible non receptor-mediated mechanism suggested by these studies are the dual-modulatory role of the endocannabinoid system on cholinergic and anti-inflammatory pathways, which may have potential therapeutic implications in anti-psoriatic treatment.

Cannabinoids are anti-inflammatory in nature, as well as analgesic, immuno-modulating and anti-inflammatory.Cannabis as also anti-microbial, and an antioxidant. These qualities might be helpful in treating psoriasis symptoms.

A Polish study reported that the topical application of cannabinoid-based cream helped with Psoriasis With just three weeks of topical application, complete disappearance of lesions was show in 38% of patients and remarkable reduction of symptoms was observed in the rest of the patients in the study.81% of the patients reported complete reduction of skin dryness after topical cannabinoid treatment.


Marijuana Infused Balms and Lotions Work for Psoriasis

Psoriasis patients ideal route of medical marijuana medication would be a topical skin application, such as an oil or balm. Studies have suggested that topical-formulated cannabinoids are readily absorbed through the skin, and hence it could be easily employed as oils or balms to treat skin disorders.

Topical cannabis oils and balms work to control immature skin cell production and inflammation, which can stop the psoriasis from developing. With it’s anti-inflammatory properties, marijuana can also ease painful inflammation during psoriatic flare ups as well.

Learn More about the Endocannabinoid System







Cannabis use may protect people from stroke

A new study claims that smoking weed or cannabis can reduce the risk of stroke in a person.

Medical strains of the drug are already prescribed across more than half of US to treat chronic pain, anxiety and epilepsy.

The new study, conducted by the University of Texas at Dallas has found that the drug can improve oxygen and blood flow to the brain, reducing the risk of clots that cause brain attacks.

According to the researchers regular cannabis users have the most efficient brain blood flow of all, suggesting that the risk of stroke is lowest in them.

The study builds on previous researchers on marijuana but while they concluded that cannabis slows down memory function, the research, led by Dr Francesca Filbey states that the drug has a positive effect.

Speaking to Daily Mail the lead author said that the study seeks to understand the possible neurophysiologic mechanisms that may drive cognitive changes.

The property in marijuana called THC is already known to relax blood vessels and alter blood flow to the brain. The new study focussed on how prolonged THC exposure might affect the brain’s blood flow.

They did this by analyzing the differences in regional brain blood oxygenation and metabolism in chronic cannabis users.

Filbey and her team concluded that cannabis users show higher global oxygen extraction fraction and cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen compared to non users.

They also saw that blood flow in the putamen, an area of brain associated with reward, learning and habits was more in use than in non users.

Increased blood flow in the putamen may either reflect the capacity of THC to dilate blood vessels or the development of additional circulatory pathways.




Philippines: Marijuana as Medicine

Doctors talk of ‘compelling scientific evidence’ to support bill legalizing medical cannabis.


While President Rodrigo Duterte maintains a violent, hardline approach to ridding the Philippines of illegal drugs, a groundbreaking bill is said to be gaining support in the House of Representatives to legalize medical marijuana in the country.

The contrast is so glaring, it’s hard to ignore: While the war on drugs has led to thousands of deaths, House Bill No. 180, or the proposed Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, would improve, if not prolong, the lives of people who ingest marijuana as medicine.

The bill is being reviewed by a technical working group, said Isabela Rep. Rodito T. Albano III, its principal author.

Albano is pushing for the bill’s approval despite opposition from what he calls “uninformed” quarters.

In the Philippines, marijuana is at the top of the list of dangerous drugs under Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Medical need

But in that same law is a provision, in Section 2, Paragraph 2, second sentence, that does not entirely prohibit the use of dangerous drugs:

“The government shall, however, aim to achieve a balance in the national drug control program so that people with legitimate medical needs are not prevented from being treated with adequate amounts of appropriate medications, which include the use of dangerous drugs.”

When the Inquirer asked Albano if he had set a time frame for the bill’s passage, Albano said: “That’s what I’ll discuss with the Speaker (Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez).”

Albano said he filed the bill in 2014 “to let patients have access to medical cannabis.”

The medical conditions of those patients range from autism to epilepsy to cancer.

There are no official statistics, but private groups estimate the number of Filipinos with autism at more than 1 million and epilepsy, more than 500,000.

A study by the University of the Philippines’ Institute of Human Genetics, National Institutes of Health showed that 189 in 100,000 Filipinos are afflicted with cancer, while four Filipinos die of cancer every hour.


Although Filipino doctors are divided on legalizing medical cannabis, a growing number of them are convinced of its efficacy in, for instance, pain management.

“There is already compelling scientific evidence for the use of medical cannabis,” the department head of a top hospital in Metro Manila, who requested not to be named, told the Inquirer.

He said cannabis had been proven to prevent nausea, ease pain and stimulate the appetite, especially among chemotherapy patients.

“My son has global retardation with autistic features,” the doctor said. “He does not talk but understands most things that the family tells him. He has seizures, too. Medical cannabis helps him calm down.”

The doctor said he was prepared to work slowly for the legalization of marijuana.

“We can start with research, where patients can gain access to it. There are patients who need it. We cannot turn our eyes in the other direction. There is a need for it,” he said.

He added: “Its uses in other conditions are equivocal. That is what medical science should work on, to find more evidence and show its benefits.”


The primary evidence is contained in the scientific papers written by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli chemist who, in his research on cannabis in 1964, discovered that among its numerous chemical compounds, only one is active: delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the drug’s psychoactive effects (the “high” that is felt when marijuana is smoked).

Another compound, cannabidiol (CBD), acts on many of the same receptors as THC, but without the psychoactive side effects.

CBD is the main ingredient in cannabis oil.

In the paper, Mechoulam says THC can be used as “an antivomiting and antinausea drug for cancer chemotherapy, and as an appetite-enhancing agent.”

He says THC is being tested to help patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, and that “recent work with cannabidiol in animal models of rheumatoid arthritis may lead to clinical investigations. A synthetic cannabinoid, HU-211 (Dexanabinol), is in advanced clinical stages of investigation as a neuroprotectant in head trauma.”

In 1988, scientists Allyn Howlett and William Devane of St. Louis University Medical School in Missouri made what Mechoulam called “an important discovery about cannabis:” the human brain contains a receptor for THC, which they named CB1 (cannabinoid receptor No. 1)

CB1 has been identified for its compatibility, or its ability to interact with certain parts of the human brain called the endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system helps regulate sleep, appetite, digestion, hunger, mood, motor control, immune function, reproduction and fertility, pleasure and reward, pain, memory and temperature regulation.

The discovery confirmed what recreational users believe, based on their own experience, that marijuana induces a natural, or safe, interaction with the human body—which itself has elements of cannabis.

Cannabis oil

Medical cannabis comes in various forms, including vapor, capsules, lozenges, dermal patches and oil.

In the Philippines, cannabis oil is made by private sources to help cancer patients.

A few years ago, an American residing in the Philippines was diagnosed with a “high-grade AA” brain tumor.

In 2013, he underwent open brain surgery, then went through 42 days of radiation, which was followed by six months of chemotherapy in 2014.

After a short period of remission, the American, who requested anonymity, said the tumor came back in mid-2015, which required another round of radiation and chemotherapy.

In late 2016, the tumor returned for a third time. That was when he decided to try cannabis oil and go on a vegetarian diet.

“I take the oil three times a day in very small dosages,” he said. “I still battle cancer, but I feel healthy and strong and I’m able to live a normal life and go to work daily.”

He added: “I look forward to the day when medical cannabis will receive the credit it deserves and becomes available for all people suffering from cancer.”


A female doctor, who also requested anonymity, decided to administer cannabis oil to a brother-in-law who was suffering from mouth cancer.

Another doctor, who facilitated the supply of cannabis oil to his colleague’s brother-in-law, told the Inquirer that the patient was declared “cancer-free in two weeks, with no need for chemo.”

But the most astounding case the Inquirer has learned about was that of an 8-year-old boy afflicted last year with stage 4 brain cancer. His father, who also requested anonymity, recounted his son’s dramatic journey.

When tests confirmed that the boy had multiple tumors in the brain, doctors recommended five days of radiation for six weeks, and chemotherapy once a week for 10 months.

The father said three weeks of radiation therapy made his son “sluggish, weak, moody, have a hard time sleeping, lose his appetite as well as his concentration.”

When friends told him about cannabis oil, he researched the subject and was willing to give it a try. He met a doctor who helped him get the oil and advised him on administering it to his son.

He, however, did not inform his son’s doctors that he would be trying out cannabis oil on the kid.

Starting with a dose of one drop, thrice a day, of 1 ml cannabis oil through rectal suppository, the boy was observed to “sleep soundly, had energy to play and his mood swings lessened.”

On the advice of his cannabis oil source, the father gradually increased his son’s dosage while continuing radiation.

Two months later, the boy was taken off radiation, but went on taking the oil till the dosage reached five drops, thrice a day.

The attending neurosurgeon requested an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) procedure before the boy started his chemotherapy. The MRI results showed “all four tumors in the brain shrank significantly up to the point that one of the tumors disappeared.”

When the boy started undergoing chemotherapy, his father continued giving him cannabis oil for five months.

A second MRI yielded results that the father described as “mind-boggling to the point of disbelief: All tumors are now gone except for one that is suspected as a ‘scar tissue’ and is yet to be ruled out in the next MRI. I asked the doctor if we are on track with my son’s progress, and his answer was, ‘No, we are way ahead. I have never seen such a case respond so fast to this medical protocol. We’ve been praying for a miracle. I believe this is a miracle.”

On June 12, attending doctors declared the boy “in remission, no maintenance meds needed, patient in very good condition, is steadily gaining weight and his energy is back. Patient is still taking the oil five drops, thrice daily, orally but stopped the suppository.”

Skeptics may dismiss such testimonies as merely anecdotal evidence. Yet marijuana—from which cannabis oil is made—has, for thousands of years, been regarded as medicine, until the US government outlawed its cultivation and use, and the Philippines adopted that law.





President Donald Trump has declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency. It is estimated that nearly three million Americans are currently addicted to opioids. A report released by the White House stated, “the opioid epidemic we are facing is unparalleled. The average American would likely be shocked to know that drug overdoses now kill more people than gun homicides and car crashes combined.” But there is evidence that CBD for opiate withdrawal can help with this health crisis.


With the opioid crisis at such a deadly climax, it is clear that important steps must be taken to help curb opioid addiction. Preventative care to dissuade people from becoming addicted to opiates is the logical first step. However, helping current users recover from their addiction cannot be neglected. Recent research seems to suggest that both THC and CBD – which are the most prominent active compounds found in cannabis – can help addicts recover from their opiate withdrawal symptoms.


There is still limited evidence to definitively suggest that cannabis can help people recover from opioid addiction. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t promising data that CBD for opiate withdrawal can be a viable treatment, In fact, a study conducted in 2014 found that states with medical marijuana laws had addiction rates that were 25% lower than states where cannabis was illegal. While THC and its pain-relieving properties can be useful for some people battling opioid addiction, it is CBD that may help treat the aggressive withdrawal symptoms.


CBD is non-psychoactive, which opioid addicts would find more desirable than THC. CBD will not give an individual a high. However, CBD does have anti-inflammatory, antipsychotic and neuroprotective qualities which greatly help aid in the recovery process. CBD will help limit depression and hallucinations that the patients may experience during opioid withdrawal.

More research is needed to determine which ratio of CBD/THC works best in addiction recovery. What we do know is that current scientific and anecdotal evidence proves combining these two cannabis compounds may be useful alternative to slowing down the opioid crisis in America.



In what is seen as an alarming wake-up call, prescription drug overdose deaths among women in the United States have QUINTUPLED – or have become five times as common since 1999.

By Catholic Online

Prescription pain pill addiction in the U.S. became a national epidemic among workers doing backbreaking labor in the coal mines and factories of Appalachia.

Today, the typical death from prescription drugs in the U.S. is women who are abusing pain medications.

Deaths from such overdoses have now overtaken cervical cancer and murder as a cause of death in U.S. women.

Some women are blaming the changing nature of American society.

The rise of the single-parent household has thrust immense responsibilities on women, who are not only mothers but the primary breadwinners.

Some women described feeling overwhelmed by their responsibilities that they craved the numbness that drugs bring.

“I thought I was supermom,” one 42-year-old recovering addict. “I took one kid to football, the other to baseball. I went to work. I washed the car. I cleaned the house. I didn’t even know I had a problem.”

For years, drug overdose deaths in the U.S. were seen as mostly an urban problem that hit blacks the hardest. Opioid abuse, which exploded in the 1990s and 2000s and included drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet, has been worst among whites, often in rural places.

The Centers for Disease Control analysis found that the overdose death rate for blacks in 2010, the most recent year for which there was final data, was less than half the rate for whites. Asians and Hispanics had the lowest rates.

One surprising statistic found was the while younger women in their 20s and 30s tend to have the highest rates of opioid abuse, the overdose death rate was highest among women ages 45 to 54, a finding that surprised clinicians.

Findings indicate that at least some portion of the drugs may have been prescribed appropriately for pain, Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, says.

If death rates were driven purely by abuse, then one would expect the death rates to be highest among younger women who are the biggest abusers.

C.D.C. Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said the problem had gone virtually unrecognized.

The study offered several theories for the increase. Women are more likely than men to be prescribed pain drugs, to abuse them chronically as well as get prescriptions for higher doses.

The study’s authors hypothesized that it might be because the most common forms of chronic pain, like fibromyalgia, are more common in women. A woman typically also has less body mass than a man, making it easier to overdose.

In addition, women are also more likely to be given prescriptions of psychotherapeutic drugs, like antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, Volkow says.

That is significant because people who overdose are much more likely to have been taking a combination of those drugs and pain medication.




The number of overdose deaths involving opiates and heroin has almost doubled around the country since the year 2000. In 2014, 547 New Mexicans died of a drug overdose. Drug overdoses killed more New Mexicans than firearms, motor vehicle crashes, and falls combined. This statistics have New Mexico policy makers asking for marijuana to fight the opioid epidemic.

Pain specialists, people recovering from addiction, community members, and drug policy reformers came together to call for the allowance of medical cannabis to treat addiction.

“I am trying to save my hometown and my state with something that works,” said Anita Briscoe, M.S., A.P.R.N.-B.C, “As a medical practitioner I’ve seen evidence over the years of medical cannabis working to help people stop or reduce opioid use. We have to make this option accessible to prevent needless deaths and patient suffering. Our communities are broken and in desperate need responsible solutions.”

In the midst of the opioid crisis, lawmakers have been trying to find an alternative solution that treats drug use as a public health issue. The laws and policies in New Mexico remain on criminalization of drug offenses, and deaths from opioid related drug overdoses have not fallen. Research has shown that medical marijuana is not only an effective pain treatment, and it can lower the amount of opioids people take.


Statistics have shown that States with medical marijuana as an option have a significant reduction in mortality from opioid abuse. There was a  25 percent reduction in opioid overdose deaths, resulting in 1,700 fewer deaths in 2010 alone. Similarly, another recent report by Castlight Health, found almost double the occurrence of opioid abuse in states that did have legal medical marijuana. Specifically, in those states, 5.4 percent of individuals with an opioid prescription qualified as abusers of the drug, whereas only half or 2.8 percent of individuals with an opioid prescription living in medical marijuana states qualified as opioid abusers. Used in combination with opioid pain medications, marijuana can lower opioid side-effects, cravings and withdrawal severity as well as enhance the pain relieving effects of opioids, thereby allowing for lower doses and less risk of overdose.

From Castlight Health

“The bottom line is making medical cannabis accessible to New Mexicans who are dependent on opioids for pain management or who are struggling with opioid or heroin use will save lives,” says policy coordinator Jessica Gelay.


“Cannabis and cannabis-derived products have been found to be safe and effective for treating certain types of chronic pain conditions, with over 9,000 patient/years of data from modern clinical studies in existence (Russo & Hohmann, 2012). A lethal toxic overdose of cannabis has never been documented because, unlike opioids, cannabis derived compounds, such as THC, do not depress respiration due to sparse receptor density in medullary centers ofthehumanbrain(Glass,Dragunow,&Faull, 1997; Herkenham et al., 1990). Furthermore, lifetime use is not significantly associated with increased morbidity, brain damage, or cerebral atrophy (Karst et al., 2003, Weiland et al., 2015, Russo et al. 2002).

Researchers have found that THC works in concert with opioid-based painkillers, to increase their combined effectiveness, particularly in cases of neuropathic pain. In addition to enhancing the pain relieving effects of opioids, THC also serves to lower the dose of an opioid necessary for relief thus minimizing the inherent risks of opioid use (Abrams, et al., 2011; Abrams et al., 2007, Desroches & Beaulieu, 2010; Lucas 2012; Wallace et al., 2007; Welch & Eads, 1999). Research in animals has also demonstrated that the addition of cannabinoids to opioids enhances analgesic efficacy, helps diminish the likelihood of the development of opioid tolerance, and can prevent opioid withdrawal symptoms (Morel et al., 2009).

Data gathered from states that have medical cannabis programs has shown a 24.8% reduction in deaths attributed to opioid- related overdose compared to states without programs (Bachhuber, Saloner, Cunningham, & Barry, 2014). Examination of the association between state medical cannabis laws and opioid analgesic overdose mortality in each year after implementation of the program showed that such laws were associated with a lower rate of overdose mortality that generally strengthened over time.” Safe Access Now

Learn more about Opioids and Medical Marijuana with our 100% Online Pain Management Course

Sources: Drug policy Alliance 






Isolato nell’intestino un batterio che ‘cura’ la sclerosi multipla

Scoperto un tipo di batterio della flora intestinale che potrebbe essere usato come terapia contro la sclerosi multipla, avviando la medicina verso una nuova era di “farma-microbi”, ovvero microrganismi usati come farmaci per curare malattie tra le più disparate, dall’autismo al Parkinson.
È il risultato di una ricerca condotta tra Università dell’Iowa e Mayo Clinic e pubblicata sulla rivista Cell Reports.

Isolato nell'intestino batterio che 'cura' sclerosi multipla © Ansa

Si tratta di una ricerca potenzialmente importante, perché sempre di più aumentano le evidenze sperimentali che dimostrano come i batteri che compongono la flora intestinale siano cruciali non solo per la salute del tratto digerente ma anche di tutto il resto dell’organismo: “Stiamo entrando in una nuova era della medicina – afferma l’autore del lavoro Joseph Murray – in cui useremo i microbi come farmaci per curare malattie (Murray ha coniato il farmaco ‘brug’ dall’unione di ‘bug’, microbo, e drug, farmaco).
Il batterio protagonista di questo studio si chiama Prevotella histicola, gli esperti lo hanno isolato da campioni di flora intestinale prelevati dall’intestino di soggetti sani e lo hanno iniettato in modelli animali di sclerosi multipla.

Grazie a questa ‘terapia’, il quadro neurologico dei topolini malati è migliorato e allo stesso tempo è diminuita nel loro organismo la concentrazione di due proteine che causano infiammazione ed aumenta la concentrazione di cellule che contrastano la malattia, cellule immunitarie come i linfociti T, ‘cellule dendritiche’ e un tipo di ‘macrofago’. Gli esperti ritengono che questi risultati siano il punto di partenza per testare il batterio su pazienti con sclerosi multipla, una malattia autoimmune in cui il sistema immunitario del paziente va in tilt e distrugge la guaina isolante dei nervi, la mielina, determinando danni neurologici progressivi.
Studi recenti hanno evidenziato che pazienti con sclerosi multipla presentano alterazioni della flora intestinale e, guarda caso, sono carenti o privi del batterio Prevotella histicola.




Could Trump’s declaration of opioids as national emergency be used for Sessions’ war on drugs?

“We need to be cautious about the intentions of this administration,” said Grant Smith of the Drug Policy Alliance

By Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post

President Donald Trump on Thursday said he considers the opioid crisis to be “a national emergency,” starting a process aimed at giving the federal and state governments more resources and flexibility to deal with the epidemic.

“The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I’m saying officially right now it is an emergency,” Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.

The president did not offer details of what his emergency declaration would entail, and he said his administration is working on the paperwork needed for the emergency declaration to take effect.

From a strictly practical standpoint the emergency declaration would have two main effects, according to Keith Humphreys, an addiction specialist at Stanford University (and frequent Wonkblog contributor) who worked in the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy under President Barack Obama.

“First, it lets states and localities that are designated disaster zones to access money in the federal Disaster Relief Fund, just like they could if they had a tornado or hurricane,” Humphreys said. States and cities would be able to request disaster zone declarations from the White House, which would enable them to use federal funds for drug treatment, overdose-reversal medication and more.

“Second, declaring an emergency allows temporary waivers of many rules regarding federal programs,” Humphreys said. “For example, currently Medicaid can’t reimburse drug treatment in large residential facilities (16 or more beds). That could be waived in an emergency.”

Trump’s opioid commission recommended he make the emergency declaration, but his statement Thursday was an abrupt reversal from 48 hours ago, when Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, after meeting with President Trump, said at a press briefing that such a declaration was unnecessary. He added, however, that all options including a declaration of emergency were still on the table.

Groups advocating for a public health-centered approach to the epidemic are worried about what powers an emergency declaration would grant an administration with a fondness for “tough on crime” law enforcement tactics.

“We need to be cautious about the intentions of this administration,” said Grant Smith of the Drug Policy Alliance. “An emergency declaration can be used for good. It can help free up federal resources, help prioritize responses by the federal gov, help give the administration leverage to request legislation from Congress.”

On the other hand, Smith said, “all of those things I just mentioned could be used to further the war on drugs. It could give the administration leverage to push for new sentencing legislation. Or legislation that enhances [drug] penalties or law enforcement response. It could give [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions more leverage to push the agenda that he has been pushing.”

Humphreys points out that Congress could have addressed any of these issues legislatively in recent years, and it could have allocated billions in funding for the opioid crisis as well. But, he said, “the reality is that they have spent this entire year trying to cut spending on the opioid epidemic” via drastic cuts to Medicaid contained within the various GOP-supported Obamacare repeal bills that nearly became law.

In 2016 Congress did approve $1 billion in funding over two years for state grants to fight the opiate epidemic as part of the 21st Century Cures Act. But the epidemic shows no sign of relenting. The latest federal estimates released this week suggest the pace of drug overdose deaths accelerated last year.





La sclerosi multipla nasce nell’intestino, nuova pista italiana

Gli scienziati del San Raffaele di Milano svelano un possibile ruolo chiave della flora batterica


Gli autori della scoperta Ilaria Coscorich, Marika Falcone e Vittorio Martinelli

La sclerosi multipla potrebbe nascere nell’intestino. A indicare la nuova ‘pista’ è uno studio dell’Irccs ospedale San Raffaele di Milano, che svela un possibile ruolo chiave del microbiota nell’origine della malattia neurologica. Il lavoro, finanziato dall’Aism (Associazione italiana sclerosi multipla) e dalla sua Fondazione Fism, è pubblicato su ‘Science Advances’ e ha scoperto un legame tra l’anomalia della flora batterica intestinale, l’attività del sistema immunitario e l’andamento della patologia.

“Nell’intestino dei pazienti colpiti da sclerosi multipla recidivante-remittente”, la forma che alterna crisi e recuperi, “durante le fasi che precedono la riattivazione della malattia si osserva un’alterazione del microbiota e la corrispondente proliferazione di un tipo di globuli bianchi considerati fondamentali nello sviluppo della patologia”, riassumono dall’Istituto del gruppo ospedaliero San Donato.

Lo studio è coordinato da Marika Falcone, ricercatrice della Divisione di immunologia, trapianti e malattie infettive del San Raffaele, e Vittorio Martinelli, neurologo del Centro sclerosi multipla diretto da Giancarlo Comi. “I risultati, che dovranno ulteriormente essere confermati da studi futuri – precisano gli autori – supportano l’ipotesi di un ruolo importante dell’intestino nell’evoluzione della malattia: secondo questa teoria, l’attivazione patologica delle cellule del sistema immunitario avviene principalmente nell’intestino, meccanismo già provato nel caso dell’Encefalite autoimmune sperimentale (Eae), il modello sperimentale della sclerosi multipla”.

I ricercatori di via Olgettina hanno analizzato i tessuti dell’intestino di 19 malati di sclerosi multipla recidivante-remittente e di 18 persone sane. Il primo gruppo, a distanza di 2 anni dalla raccolta dei campioni, è stato ulteriormente diviso in 2 sottogruppi: pazienti con malattia in fase attiva e pazienti in fase di remissione. L’analisi ha permesso di censire le popolazioni di batteri e di cellule del sistema immunitario presenti a livello intestinale e di mettere in relazione questi dati con lo stato di attività della malattia.

Nell’intestino dei pazienti con malattia in fase attiva si è così osservata una quantità aumentata di un particolare tipo di linfociti T, i TH17, noti per essere “le prime cellule del sistema immunitario a superare la barriera ematoencefalica e a raggiungere il sistema nervoso centrale, contribuendo al danno del rivestimento mielinico”, sottolinea Falcone. Siccome poi “una molecola da loro prodotta, l’interleuchina-17 (IL-17), è presente in alte dosi nelle lesioni cerebrali tipiche della malattia”, i linfociti TH17 sono fra le cellule immunitarie più fortemente indiziate come responsabili della sclerosi multipla.

Successivamente gli scienziati hanno cercato di capire se l’espansione di linfociti TH17 nell’intestino dei pazienti con sclerosi multipla fosse associata a uno squilibrio delle popolazioni batteriche che normalmente lo abitano. Microrganismi che regolano numerose attività del nostro organismo, tra cui proprio il funzionamento del sistema immunitario. Ebbene, i ricercatori hanno evidenziato che nei pazienti con malattia attiva, con ricadute cliniche o documentate dalla risonanza magnetica, c’erano “due vistose anomalie: una quantità ridotta di Prevotella, batterio che riduce il differenziamento dei linfociti in cellule TH17, e l’aumento di due ceppi di Streptococco (oralis e mitis) che solitamente risiedono nella cavità orale e hanno notevoli capacità infiammatorie”.

“I risultati del nostro studio suggeriscono un ruolo importante della flora batterica intestinale nella patogenesi della sclerosi multipla recidivante-remittente”, afferma Falcone. “Ciò non deve stupire”, aggiunge, perché “le popolazioni batteriche che vivono nel nostro intestino interagiscono continuamente con il sistema immunitario. L’alterazione del loro equilibrio favorisce uno squilibrio immunologico a livello intestinale ma anche sistemico, con conseguenze importanti nel campo di tutte le malattie immuno-mediate, e in particolare delle patologie autoimmuni come la sclerosi multipla o il diabete di tipo 1”.

“Lo studio sulle possibili relazioni tra microbiota e sclerosi multipla, campo nuovo ma in rapida espansione – commenta Martinelli – non è importante solo per la comprensione dei meccanismi patogenetici della sclerosi multipla, ma potrebbe anche avere un ruolo nel decorso della malattia e nella risposta ai trattamenti”.