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By Zulfikar Abbany
The search for a vaccine for the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, or indeed a medicinal drug to cure it, has taken researchers down both traditional and less traditional avenues.
Blocking Gateways<p>As with the research into nicotine's effect on the coronavirus, it is thought that some strains of cannabis reduce the virus' ability to enter the lungs, where it takes hold, reproduces and spreads.</p><p>In <a href="https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202004.0315/v1" target="_blank">a paper on preprints.org,</a> where scientists can publish non-peer-reviewed results, Kovalchuck and colleagues write that their specially developed strains of cannabis effectively stop the virus from entering the human body. </p><p>The study is one of many papers globally that have been shared on preprint websites, including preprints.org, in a bid to disseminate preliminary findings into potential COVID-19 treatments that have yet to undergo rigorous peer review. </p><p>The coronavirus needs a "receptor" to enter a human host. That receptor is known as an "<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angiotensin-converting_enzyme_2" target="_blank">angiotensin-converting enzyme II</a>," or ACE2.</p>
No Common or Garden Cannabis<p>Some in the science community say medicinal cannabis may help to treat a range of conditions from <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/why-humans-vomit-toxins-and-rodents-just-avoid-them/a-52420626" target="_blank">nausea</a> to <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/unique-cannabis-compound-reverses-brain-aging-in-mice/a-44401750" target="_blank">dementia.</a> But medicinal cannabis is not the same as what you might call recreational cannabis.</p><p>Those more "common or garden varieties" of cannabis — or street cannabis — are known for their <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrahydrocannabinol" target="_blank">Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)</a> content. That's the main psychoactive agent in the drug.</p><p>The Alberta-based researchers, meanwhile, have focused on strains of the plant, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_sativa" target="_blank">Cannabis sativa,</a> that are high in an anti-inflammatory cannabinoid, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabidiol" target="_blank">cannabidiol (CBD)</a> — one of the other main chemicals in cannabis, aside from THC. </p><p>They have developed more than 800 new Cannabis sativa variants, with high levels of CBD, and identified 13 extracts which they say modulate ACE2 levels in those humans gateways.</p><p>"Our varieties are high in CBD, or balanced CBD/THC, because you can give a higher dose and people will not be impaired due to the psychoactive properties of THC," said Kovalchuck. </p>
Low Funding, Low Knowledge<p>Kovalchuck also heads a company called <a href="https://inplantabiotechnology.com/" target="_blank">Inplanta BioTechnology,</a> with Dr. Darryl Hudson, who has a PHD from the University of Guelph — another Canadian institute where research is ongoing into the use of cannabinoids in medicine.</p><p>But funding for cannabinoid research is "still hard," he said. And that's the case in other countries, too.</p><p>Some researchers in the UK say that may be because there are misconceptions among the general public and politicians about medicinal cannabis, perhaps even a fear that people will become addicted or try to self-medicate, using just any old form of cannabis they can find.</p><p>Those researchers say themselves that it is vital to be clear about the information and to avoid sensationalism. </p><p>"Researchers have to be particularly careful when disseminating their results given the socio-political volatility of medicinal cannabis use," said <a href="https://www.kcl.ac.uk/people/chris-albertyn" target="_blank">Chris Albertyn,</a> a Research Portfolio Lead at King's College London, and an expert on cannabinoids and dementia. </p><p>The best way to get through that, says Albertyn, is to implement open, transparent research methods.</p><p>"In this instance, the current research from Canada has just unveiled a potential therapeutic 'mechanism of action' but that would need to be validated and tested in well-designed, robust clinical trials before any meaningful clinical conclusions can be drawn," he said.</p><p>That would include pre-registering clinical protocols and analysis methods, publishing in open access journals, double-blind placebo controlled trials, and strict, independent peer review by the clinical academic community, said Albertyn.</p>
A turning tide<p>The problem is that without sufficient funding and further research, there is too little knowledge about cannabinoids — whether it's positive or negative research results — some say we just won't know until we do the research.</p><p>"But there is ENORMOUS interest now," said Kovalchuk in his email. And that's his emphasis. "The tide is coming."</p><p>While he and his co-authors say even their most effective extracts require large-scale validation, they say they may be a "safe addition" to the treatment of COVID-19. An addition, mind, alongside other treatments.</p><p>So, large-scale verification pending, medicinal cannabis could be developed into "easy-to-use preventative treatments," such as a mouthwash or a throat gargle in both clinical and home use.</p>
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Consuming marijuana edibles may not be as risk-free as some like to believe, Canadian doctors argue.
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The Center for Disease Control's (CDC) latest survey found that an increasing number of Americans are taking the wheel under the influence of marijuana, according to a new report released on Thursday.
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For 21 years, Doug Distaso served his country in the United States Air Force.
He commanded joint aviation, maintenance, and support personnel globally and served as a primary legislative affairs lead for two U.S. Special Operations Command leaders.
But after an Air Force plane accident left him with a traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic pain, Distaso was placed on more than a dozen prescription medications by doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new numbers that show vaping-related lung illnesses are continuing to grow across the country, as the number of fatalities has climbed to 33 and hospitalizations have reached 1,479 cases, according to a CDC update.
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People who develop respiratory illnesses after using e-cigarettes to vape nicotine and marijuana are showing symptoms akin to chemical burns in their lungs, according to new research by Mayo Clinic doctors.
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By Shawn Radcliffe
- As illnesses and deaths linked to vaping continue to rise, health officials urge people to stop using e-cigarettes.
- Officials report 8 deaths have been linked to lung illnesses related to vaping.
- Vitamin E acetate is one compound officials are investigating as a potential cause for the outbreak.
Cdc and FDA Narrow Investigation<p>The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are coordinating with state health officials in testing samples of vape products and monitoring illnesses.</p><p>The focus of the investigation is narrowing, but "complex questions" remain, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/about/leadership/leaders/ondieh.html" target="_blank">Ileana Arias</a>, PhD, the CDC's acting deputy director for noninfectious diseases, said in a <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2019/a0906-vaping-disease.html" target="_blank">briefing</a> on Friday.</p><p>"Until we have a cause and while this investigation is ongoing… we're recommending individuals consider not using e-cigarettes," she said.</p><p>The FDA, though, has focused its <a href="https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/vaping-illnesses-consumers-can-help-protect-themselves-avoiding-tetrahydrocannabinol-thc-containing?utm_campaign=CU_Vaping%20Illnesses_9/6/2019&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua" target="_blank">warnings</a> on vaping products containing THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis.</p><p>Many people affected reported recently <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2019/p0906-vaping-related-illness.html" target="_blank">vaping cannabis products</a>. But some said they had used e-cigarettes containing both THC and nicotine, or only nicotine.</p><p>Given the number of questions that remain about these cases — and that e-cigarettes are largely <a href="https://www.salon.com/2019/09/03/experts-say-a-lack-of-regulation-caused-mysterious-vaping-illness/" target="_blank">unregulated</a> — many health officials are urging caution.</p><p>"There is no guarantee that vaping is safe, especially if 'black market' products are used," said <a href="http://www.lenhorovitz.com/_index.php" target="_blank">Dr. Len Horovitz</a>, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.</p><p><a href="https://www.fda.gov/tobacco-products/about-center-tobacco-products-ctp/mitch-zeller" target="_blank">Mitch Zeller</a>, JD, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, echoed this in Friday's briefing.</p><p>"If you're thinking of purchasing one of these products off the street, out of the back of a car, out of a trunk, in an alley… think twice," he said.</p><p>He also warned against adding compounds to vaping products, even those purchased at licensed retailers.</p>
Vitamin E Compound Is Possible Culprit<p>CDC officials currently believe that these cases involve chemical exposure, rather than an infection. Laboratory testing has identified one possible culprit — vitamin E acetate.</p><p>The <a href="https://www.health.ny.gov/press/releases/2019/2019-09-05_vaping.htm" target="_blank">New York State Department of Health</a> said this month that nearly all cannabis-containing samples tested as part of the state's investigation contained "very high" levels of this compound. This wasn't found in nicotine-based products that were tested.</p><p>Vitamin E acetate is a common nutritional supplement that is "not known to cause harm when ingested as a vitamin supplement or applied to the skin," said the Department.</p><p>But if the compound is aerosolized and then inhaled through the lungs, it's not clear what kind of damage it can do.</p><p>Vitamin E acetate isn't approved as a vape product additive by the New York State Medical Marijuana Program.</p><p>The Department is continuing to investigate whether inhaling this oil-like compound could be responsible for the symptoms seen in patients.</p><p>Although health officials are keeping an eye on vitamin E acetate, some of the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2019/p0906-vaping-related-illness.html" target="_blank">more than 120 samples</a> being tested by the FDA have not contained this compound.</p><p>"No one substance or compound, including vitamin E acetate, has been identified in all of the samples tested," said Zeller.</p><p>During Friday's briefing, health officials emphasized that the number of cases is definitely rising, rather than more of them being diagnosed by doctors.</p><p>States are also reviewing earlier medical records using <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6836e2.htm" target="_blank">guidelines</a> developed by the CDC to see if the illnesses extend further back than the first cases reported in July.</p><p><a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/jen-layden-8aa35311a/" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Layden,</a> chief medical officer and state epidemiologist with the Illinois Department of Public Health, said during the briefing that so far they've identified cases as early as mid-April.</p>
Even Licensed Vape Products Carry Risks<p>While the current investigation focuses in part on black market vaping products, even those purchased from licensed retailers <a href="https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12940-017-0249-x" target="_blank">contain</a> potentially harmful ingredients.</p><p>"People should remember that these devices are still not regulated," said Labaki. "Therefore, consumers of e-cigarettes are constantly at risk of exposure to potentially toxic inhaled compounds."</p><p>With the number of vaping-related illnesses continuing to rise, Labaki recommends that people stop vaping immediately.</p><p>"This is a still growing public health crisis and the consequences are very serious, including respiratory failure and death," he said. "Continuing to vape is certainly not worth the risks."</p><p><a href="https://www.northwell.edu/find-care/find-a-doctor/emergency-medicine/dr-teresa-murray-amato-md-11354025" target="_blank">Dr. Teresa Murray Amato</a>, director of emergency medicine at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills in Queens, New York, said there's a shortage of good-quality research on the short- and long-term effects of vaping on health.</p><p>But she said given the recent concerns about vaping, people should consider the risks before choosing to vape.</p><p>The CDC says that people who use e-cigarettes should seek medical care promptly if they experience any <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html#symptoms-severe-pulmonary-disease" target="_blank">symptoms</a> seen in these cases.</p><p>A growing number of recent studies show that e-cigarettes have a number of potential health risks independent of this recent outbreak. These dangers include damaging <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31390877" target="_blank">lung tissue</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31429679" target="_blank">blood vessels</a>.</p><p>Nicotine addiction is another issue that concerns experts. <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0193328" target="_blank">Studies</a> show that e-cigarettes could get a new generation of young people hooked on nicotine and combustible cigarettes.</p><p>"Vaping in any form is smoking, and we know now that smoking destroys lungs and leads to chronic breathing problems," said <a href="https://www.houstonmethodist.org/doctor/zeenat-safdar/" target="_blank">Dr. Zeenat Safdar</a>, pulmonary critical care physician at Houston Methodist, in Houston, Texas.</p>
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The Trump administration will ban flavored e-cigarettes. It comes in response to a surge in youth vaping and health concerns following a handful of mysterious deaths and hundreds of lung illnesses linked to the product.
Fda Approval Required<p>U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar made the announcement at the White House alongside acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Ned Sharpless, the president and First Lady Melania Trump.</p><p>Azar said the FDA would create guidelines over the next couple of weeks to remove all flavored e-cigarettes from the market.</p><p>"We simply have to remove these attractive flavored products from the marketplace until they can secure FDA approval, if they can," Azar said, adding that tobacco flavored products would remain on the market for adult consumers.</p><p>But he said that if <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/childrens-health">children</a> use tobacco flavored products, "we will take enforcement action there also."</p><p>Flavored products may apply for FDA approval, but they would only be granted clearance if they prove to show a net benefit to public health, he said. </p>
New Generation of Vaping Addicts<p>The announcement comes after parents, health officials and politicians have called for federal action to stem a surge in vaping.</p><p>Preliminary federal health data for 2019 shows a quarter of high school students had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. The vast majority of underage teens consumed fruit, menthol or mint flavors.</p><p>E-cigarette advocates argue <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/vaping">vaping</a> is safer than cigarettes and can help users stop smoking, but there is little evidence nicotine-containing e-cigarettes are effective in dropping the habit.</p><p>Critics say companies such as Juul have marketed their products to youths and created a new generation of addicts to feed a multi-billion dollar market. </p><p>"It has taken far too long to stop Juul and other e-cigarettes companies from targeting our nation's kids with sweet-flavored, nicotine-loaded products," said Matthew Myers, of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in a statement.</p>
Growing Questions Over Safety<p>Most health experts agree that e-cigarettes are safer than smoking tobacco products that contain thousands of chemicals and lead to the death of nearly a half-million people a year in the United States.</p><p>However, there is scant research on the long-term effects of vaping.</p><p>The administration's announcement comes as e-cigarettes and other vaping devices have been linked to six deaths and nearly 450 cases of possible vaping-related lung illness.</p><p>The exact cause of the deaths and illnesses have not been determined, but most are initially believed to be related to vaping counterfeit <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/marijuana">marijuana</a> products containing vitamin E oil, which is dangerous if inhaled.</p>
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It's still unknown exactly what is causing the epidemic of lung-illness from vaping that has afflicted at least 215 people in 25 states and killed two people, according to the FDA, but investigators in New York think they have pinpointed the culprit: Vitamin E, as NPR reported.
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By Dan Nosowitz
With industrial hemp becoming federally legal thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, research has had to work hard to catch up after decades of prohibition.
By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD
Marijuana — colloquially called weed — refers to the dried flowers, seeds, stems, and leaves of the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plants (1).
Can You Eat Marijuana?<p>The short answer is yes, you can eat weed. In fact, marijuana-infused foods and drinks have been consumed throughout history, as far back as 1000 B.C. (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3728280/" target="_blank">2Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>Marijuana was used as medicine in ancient China and India and was introduced to Western medicine in the early 19th century. Edible applications, such as tinctures, were prescribed to treat various conditions, from chronic pain to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-improve-digestion" target="_blank">digestive disorders</a> (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3728280/" target="_blank">2Trusted Source</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22742944" target="_blank">3Trusted Source</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5345167/" target="_blank">4Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>Edible marijuana products were also used to relieve stress and induce euphoria, similar to alcohol.</p><p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/bhang" target="_blank">Bhang</a>, a beverage made from a mixture of the leaves and flowers of marijuana plants, has been consumed for centuries during religious festivals, such as Holi, a Hindu festival of love and color (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22742944" target="_blank">3Trusted Source</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604179/" target="_blank">5Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>In the United States, recreational use of edible marijuana products became popular during the 1960s, and today, many different types of edibles are available, both legally and illegally, depending on state laws.</p><p>For example, gummies, candies, chocolates, capsules, teas, and oils are some of the edible marijuana products sold in both legal marijuana dispensaries and through the illegal marijuana market.</p><p>Edibles enthusiasts also make their own weed products by infusing butter or oil with marijuana and mixing it into baked goods and other recipes.</p><p><strong>Raw Marijuana</strong></p><p>Though you can eat raw weed, it won't have the same effect as consuming marijuana-based products, as marijuana has to go through a process known as decarboxylation to become activated (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5549281/" target="_blank">6Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>Raw marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), compounds that must be exposed to heat, such as in smoking or baking, to turn into the active forms, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cbd-oil-benefits" target="_blank">cannabidiol</a> (CBD) (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5549281/" target="_blank">6Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>Therefore, eating raw weed will not result in the same effects as consuming weed that has been heated, as in edible products like candies, tinctures, and baked goods.</p><p>Though you can't get high from eating raw weed, some health experts believe that eating it may offer some health benefits due to the wide array of plant compounds it contains.</p><p>Yet, research in this area is lacking, so the potential therapeutic benefit of raw marijuana is still unclear.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Weed has been consumed in various forms throughout history for both medicinal and recreational purposes. Though you can eat raw marijuana, it won't have the same effects as marijuana that has been heated.</p>
Health Benefits Related to Edible Marijuana<p>Marijuana has many medicinal benefits and has been used to treat various ailments throughout history.</p><p>Today, edible marijuana products have a number of uses in the medical field and are becoming a more popular, accepted natural treatment in clinical settings.</p><p><strong>May Benefit Certain Health Conditions</strong></p><p>Edible marijuana products are often used to treat conditions, such as chronic pain, cancer-related symptoms, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-foods-that-reduce-anxiety" target="_blank">anxiety</a>.</p><p>Medical cannabis products can legally be prescribed in countries around the world, including Italy, Spain, Germany, and parts of the United States (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5845915/" target="_blank">7Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>THC is one of over 100 active compounds — known as cannabinoids — in marijuana.</p><p>THC is the compound responsible for the psychoactive properties of marijuana products, including edibles, that may induce feelings of euphoria and relaxation (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3728280/" target="_blank">2Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>Other compounds in marijuana, such as CBD, have been shown to have pain- and anxiety-reducing properties.</p><p>The powerful combination of therapeutic compounds in this plant makes it a popular natural treatment that effectively reduces symptoms of and eases pain related to various conditions.</p><p>For example, edible marijuana products, such as oils, tinctures, pills, and gummies, are prescribed to treat poor appetite, pain, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cbd-oil-for-weight-loss" target="_blank">weight loss</a> in people who have cancer (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5176373/" target="_blank">8Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>Additionally, these products may significantly reduce pain and muscle spasms, relieve nausea and vomiting, enhance sleep quality, and improve depression and anxiety (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23386598" target="_blank">9Trusted Source</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5260817" target="_blank">10Trusted Source</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28349316" target="_blank">11Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>In fact, pharmaceutical companies manufacture oral preparations of marijuana-derived treatments, such as Sativex, which is an oral spray prescribed to treat pain and muscle spasticity (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK525777/" target="_blank">12Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>Though edible marijuana products are prescribed and used to treat many other ailments, such as digestive and neurological disorders, high-quality research in these areas is lacking.</p><p>Therefore, the full therapeutic potential of marijuana is still unknown (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6306710/" target="_blank">13Trusted Source</a>).</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Edible marijuana is used to treat symptoms related to various medical conditions, such as cancer and chronic pain. However, high-quality studies are lacking, so the full effects of marijuana products on health are still unclear.</p>
Potential Side Effects and Downsides of Eating Weed<p>Though edible marijuana products may benefit many conditions, some potential adverse effects may occur.</p><p>The main issue with edible marijuana products is that it can be very difficult to determine an appropriate dosage. Concentrations of THC vary widely depending on different factors, such as where the product was made and the quality of the marijuana used.</p><p>Additionally, unlike smoking weed, edible marijuana products have a long latency period, meaning it can take a while — sometimes hours — for it to take effect.</p><p>When marijuana is smoked, THC reaches the brain and takes effect within a few minutes. The effects peak at around 20–30 minutes after smoking and begin to wear off within 2–3 hours (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5260817" target="_blank">10Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>In contrast, the psychoactive effects of edibles usually take 30–90 minutes to kick in. The high feeling lasts much longer and typically peaks at about 2–4 hours after ingestion (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5260817" target="_blank">10Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>The effects of edibles can last for many hours, depending on how much was ingested, as well as your body weight, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-ways-to-boost-metabolism" target="_blank">metabolism</a>, gender, and other factors.</p><p>The combination of the highly variable THC concentration and the long latency period of edible marijuana products makes them very easy to unintentionally overconsume, which can lead to unwanted symptoms, such as paranoia and impaired motor ability.</p><p>Additionally, though rare, there have been instances of cannabis-induced psychosis, a condition usually related to overconsumption of edible marijuana products that results in symptoms like paranoid delusions, extreme sedation, hallucinations, and confusion (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4427213/" target="_blank">14Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>Other side effects related to edible marijuana products include dry mouth, sleepiness, and changes in visual perception.</p><p>Edible marijuana products can also <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cbd-and-alcohol" target="_blank">interact with alcohol</a> and certain medications, including blood thinners and antidepressants. Therefore, you should avoid consuming edibles with these products (<a href="https://doh.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/doh/publication/attachments/Medical%20Cannabis%20Adverse%20Effects%20and%20Drug%20Interactions_0.pdf" target="_blank">15</a>).</p><p>Another concern is that edible marijuana products often resemble regular candies, cookies, and other baked goods, posing a risk for children, pets, and other adults.</p><p>In fact, between 2005 and 2011, marijuana-related calls to U.S. poison control centers increased by 30% per year in states that decriminalized marijuana. Many of these calls were related to accidental ingestion of edible marijuana products (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24507243" target="_blank">16Trusted Source</a>).</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Edible marijuana products are difficult to dose and take a long time to kick in. They also resemble regular food products, which may lead to accidental ingestion.</p>
Is Eating Weed Safer Than Smoking It?<p>Though smoking weed is not often considered harmful, research has shown that inhaling marijuana smoke can negatively impact health, similar to cigarette smoke.</p><p>Both cigarette and marijuana smoke contain toxins, such as ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, that may damage your lungs and increase your cancer risk (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18062674" target="_blank">17Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>Currently, some research shows a weak link between smoking weed and certain types of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cancer-and-diet" target="_blank">cancer</a> (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23846283" target="_blank">18Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>Yet, scientists emphasize that it's unclear whether or to what extent smoking marijuana influences cancer risk, as many available studies are of low quality, and confounding variables, such as cigarette smoking, affect study results (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4262725/" target="_blank">19Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>Smoking weed has also been associated with lung inflammation, bronchitis, and even impaired <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-brain-foods" target="_blank">brain function</a> (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5260817" target="_blank">10Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>In contrast, edible marijuana products have not been shown to negatively affect lung health or cancer risk.</p><p>Therefore, if you're concerned about the possible health risks associated with smoking weed, you may want to use edible marijuana products as an alternative.</p><p>However, because most marijuana research focuses on smoking weed, the long-term health implications of consuming edibles are still unknown.</p><p>Nevertheless, ingesting marijuana is likely safer than smoking it.</p><p><strong>Summary<span></span></strong></p><p><span></span>Marijuana smoke contains toxins that may negatively affect health. Though edibles are likely safer, the long-term health implications of these products are still unknown due to a lack of research.</p>
How to Enjoy Edibles Safely (and Legally)<p>Many people enjoy using marijuana products to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety" target="_blank">relax and ease stress</a>, while some take edibles to treat or improve symptoms of a medical condition.</p><p>Either way, it's important to use safe products and choose appropriate dosages to avoid unwanted side effects.</p><p>If you're interested in using edibles to treat a medical condition, your healthcare provider is the best person to consult to learn if medical marijuana is an option.</p><p>Depending on where you live, you might be able to get a prescription. In the United States, 33 states allow the use of medical marijuana. It has also been legalized in countries around the world, including Italy and Australia (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4328738/" target="_blank">20Trusted Source</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30092752" target="_blank">21Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>Some conditions that may warrant a medical marijuana prescription include chronic pain, anxiety, multiple sclerosis, terminal illness, and inflammatory bowel disease.</p><p>In contrast, recreational use of marijuana is illegal in many parts of the world, including most parts of the United States. Only 10 states, including California, Maine, Vermont, and Oregon, allow for the use of recreational marijuana products.</p><p>However, even though marijuana is legal to use in these states, it remains illegal at a federal level and is considered a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).</p><p>According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Schedule I substances are "determined to have a high potential for abuse" and are defined as having "no currently accepted medical use" (<a href="https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling" target="_blank">22</a>).</p><p>Yet, many disagree with this classification, especially those who have seen firsthand that marijuana products offer powerful medicinal and therapeutic benefits for many people.</p><p>In fact, scientists have repeatedly questioned marijuana regulation, with some arguing that the current legal status is outdated and "thwarts legitimate research" exploring the potential of marijuana in the medical field (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4849133/" target="_blank">23Trusted Source</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK425757/" target="_blank">24Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>Though both social and political views on marijuana are changing rapidly, for now, citizens must abide by the laws set forth by state and federal governments for the use of both medical and recreational marijuana.</p><p><strong>Purchasing Safe Marijuana Products</strong></p><p>When using edible marijuana for the first time — whether for medical or recreational reasons — it's important to do so safely.</p><p>Sticking to prescribed dosage and usage recommendations can help reduce your risk of potential negative effects related to overconsumption.</p><p>If purchasing edible marijuana products in a state where recreational use is legal, only purchase products from a licensed dispensary that you trust.</p><p>Licensed dispensaries are often required to have their products tested for safety and potency in state-accredited laboratories to be approved for sale.</p><p>However, testing protocols vary considerably from state to state, and some don't require laboratory testing (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4695936/" target="_blank">25Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>It's important to note that marijuana bought from illegal operations or dispensaries that sell untested products can be contaminated with <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pesticides-and-health" target="_blank">pesticides</a>, mold, fungi, bacteria, heavy metals, formaldehyde, and other substances, which can pose serious health risks (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29953631" target="_blank">26Trusted Source</a>).</p><p>Dispensaries typically carry a variety of marijuana products with different concentrations of THC and CBD, which can be confusing for first-time buyers. Consulting dispensary staff is a smart way to find the best product to suit your needs.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>The legality of marijuana varies, so the use of both medical and recreational marijuana products depends on where you live. Only purchase marijuana products from trusted sources and follow dosing recommendations carefully.</p>
The Bottom Line<p>Edible marijuana products may offer various benefits, including reducing symptoms of chronic illnesses and anxiety.</p><p>Still, these products may cause side effects, react with common medications, and take a long time to kick in.</p><p>Depending on where you live, you may be able to use medicinal or recreational products legally. However, it's important to only purchase from licensed, reputable dispensaries that sell products tested for purity and potency.</p>
By James David Adams
Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states as of November 2018. Yet the federal government still insists marijuana has no legal use and is easy to abuse. In the meantime, medical marijuana dispensaries have an increasing array of products available for pain, anxiety, sex and more.
The glass counters and their jars of products in the dispensary resemble an 18th century pharmacy. Many strains for sale have evocative and magical names like Blue Dream, Bubba Kush and Chocolope. But what does it all mean? Are there really differences in the medical qualities of the various strains? Or, are the different strains with the fanciful names all just advertising gimmicks?
What are Cannabinoids?<p>New research is revealing that marijuana is more than just a source of cannabinoids, chemicals that may bind to cannabinoid receptors in our brains, which are used to get high. The most well-known is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Marijuana is a particularly rich source of medicinal compounds that we have only begun to explore. In order to harness the full potential of the compounds in this plant, society needs to overcome misconceptions about marijuana and look at what research clearly says about the medical value.</p><p><span></span>The FDA has already made some moves in this direction by approving prescription drugs that come from marijuana including dronabinol, nabilone, nabiximols and cannabidiol. Dronabinol and nabilone are cannabinoids that are used for nausea. Nabiximols — which contain THC, the compound most responsible for marijuana's high and cannabidiol, which does not induce a high — are used to treat <a href="https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Multiple-Sclerosis-Information-Page" target="_blank">multiple sclerosis</a>. Cannabidiol, or <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/cbd">CBD</a>, is also used to <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/06/26/fda-approves-first-cbd-oil-derived-marijuana-treat-epilepsy/733567002/" target="_blank">treat some types of epilepsy</a>.</p><p>Marijuana, originally from the Altai Mountains in Central and East Asia, contains at <a href="http://doi.org/10.1016/bs.apha.2017.03.004" target="_blank">least 85 cannabinoids</a> and <a href="http://doi.org/10.1016/bs.apha.2017.03.004" target="_blank">27 terpenes</a>, fragrant oils that are produced by many herbs and flowers that may be active, drug-like compounds. THC is the cannabinoid everyone wants in order to get high. It is produced from THC acid — which constitutes up to 25 percent of the plant's dry weight — by smoking or baking any part of the marijuana plant.</p><p>THC mimics a naturally occurring neurotransmitter called <a href="https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Anandamide" target="_blank">anandamide</a> that works as a signaling molecule in the brain. Anandamide attaches to proteins in the brain called cannabinoid receptors, which then send signals related to pleasure, memory, thinking, perception and coordination, to name a few. THC works by hijacking these natural cannabinoid receptors, triggering a profound high.</p><p>Tetrahydrocannabivarinic acid, another cannabinoid, can constitute up to 10 percent of the dry weight. It is converted to another compound that probably contributes to a high, <a href="https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/tetrahydrocannabivarin" target="_blank">tetrahydrocannabivarin</a>, when smoked or ingested in baked goods. Potent varieties like Doug's Varin and Tangie may contain even higher concentrations.</p>
Medical Properties of Marijuana<p>But not all cannabinoids make you high. Cannabidiol, a cannabinoid similar to THC, and its acid are also present in marijuana, especially in certain varieties. But these do not cause euphoria. The cannabidiol molecule interacts with a variety of receptors — including cannabinoid and serotonin receptors and transient receptor potential cation channels (TRP) – <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(15)00379-8" target="_blank">to reduce seizures</a>, combat anxiety and produce other effects.</p><p>Marijuana also contains several monoterpenoids — small, aromatic molecules — that have a wide range of activities <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/ph5101045" target="_blank">including pain</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2008.11.004" target="_blank">anxiety relief and that work by inhibiting TRP channels.</a></p><p>Myrcene is the most abundant monoterpenoid, a type or terpene, in marijuana. It <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12587690" target="_blank">can relax muscles</a>. Other terpenes such as pinene, linalool, limonene and the sesquiterpene, beta-caryophyllene are <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/1424-8247/5/10/1045" target="_blank">pain relievers, especially when applied directly to the skin</a> as a liniment. Some of these terpenes may add to the high when marijuana is smoked.</p>
What Do All These Varieties Do?<p>Many different varieties of marijuana are on the market and are alleged to treat a range of diseases. The FDA has no oversight for these claims, since the FDA does not recognize marijuana as a legal product.</p><p>Strains of marijuana are grown that produce more THC than cannadidiol or vice versa. Other varieties have abundant monoterpenoids. How do you know that the strain you choose is legitimate with probable medical benefits? Each strain should <a href="https://b2b.gocaliva.com/what-is-cannabis-certificate-of-analysis-coa-california/" target="_blank">have a certificate of analysis</a> that shows you how much of each active compound is present in the product you buy. Many states have a bureau of cannabis control that verifies these certificates of analysis. However, many certificates of analysis do not show the monoterpenoids present in the marijuana. The analysis of monoterpenoids is difficult since they evaporate from the plant material. If you are looking for a strain high in myrcene or linalool, ask for proof.</p><p>Marijuana can improve several conditions, but it can also make others worse and can have nasty side effects.</p><p>As recreational use has become more widespread, <a href="http://doi.org/10.14309/crj.2018.3" target="_blank">marijuana hyperemesis syndrome</a> is becoming more of a problem in our society. Some people vomit uncontrollably after smoking marijuana regularly. It can be <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28494183" target="_blank">treated</a> by rubbing a cream made from capsaicin, from chili peppers, on the abdomen. Capsaicin cream is available in pharmacies.</p><p>Also, high THC varieties of marijuana, such as Royal Gorilla and Fat Banana, can <a href="http://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.17r11839" target="_blank">cause anxiety and even psychosis</a> in some people.</p><p>Researchers have also shown that anxiety can be effectively treated with strains that have more cannabidiol and linalool. It may be best to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1017/S2045796018000239" target="_blank">rub a cannabidiol balm or lotion on your cheeks to relieve anxiety</a>.</p><p>Other conditions that studies have shown are improved by marijuana are: <a href="http://doi.org/10.2217/fon-2018-0530" target="_blank">cancer induced nausea</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.2337/dc12-2303" target="_blank">Type 2 diabetes</a>, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(15)00379-8" target="_blank">two forms of epilepsy</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2015.6358" target="_blank">HIV-induced weight gain</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0009" target="_blank">irritable bowel syndrome</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1002/phar.1673" target="_blank">migraines</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1517/14712598.2012.721765" target="_blank">multiple sclerosis</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1111/1756-185X.13146" target="_blank">osteoarthritis</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/kei183" target="_blank">rheumatoid arthritis</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2015.6358" target="_blank">pain</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2015.6358" target="_blank">chronic pain</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1007/s40261-014-0212-3" target="_blank">post-traumatic stress disorder</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2015.6358" target="_blank">sleep disorders</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25264643" target="_blank">traumatic brain injury</a>.</p><p>For some of these conditions, studies show that eating or topically applying marijuana products rather than smoking is recommended.</p><p>Clearly, more research is needed from the scientific community to help guide the appropriate, safe use of marijuana. However, the FDA does not recognize the use of medical marijuana. This makes funding for research on marijuana difficult to find. Perhaps the cannabis industry should consider funding scientific research on marijuana. But conflicts of interest may become a concern as we have seen with drug company-sponsored studies.</p>
By Kristi Pahr
The importance of a good night's sleep can't be overstated. So often, we stay up late trying to milk the day for as much time as we can get — then wake up early feeling tired and bleary. Or we toss and turn in bed, replaying the events of the day or the week or the month, our brains cranked up until midnight while our bodies lay there exhausted.