Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Real Risk of Buying Medical Cannabis Products Online

“The first step is ordering products from reputable sources or getting advice from other people you trust,” he says, “or getting products tested yourself in an independent lab.” (The group Patient Focused Certification can provide names of nearby facilities that will test CBD extracts, he says.) “Unfortunately, the onus is on the consumer to do the homework.” - Marcel Bonn-Miller, PhD
Many people buy medical marijuana online — but they may not always get exactly what they pay for, according to new research.
A study, published the week November 7th 2017 in JAMA, found that nearly 70% of all products sold online made from cannabidiol — an extract of the marijuana plant also known as CBD — contained either higher or lower concentrations of the drug than indicated on the label. That could potentially mean those CBD products are ineffective or even dangerous.
Some CBD products examined in the study also contained significant amounts of THC, the chemical compound in cannabis that makes people feel high. Pure CBD should not contain THC, which is one reason experts say it has potential as a medical treatment, and is not something that can be abused. The presence of THC is especially concerning because CBD is sometimes used by children with seizure disorders, says lead author Marcel Bonn-Miller, PhD, adjunct assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Parents could be giving their kids THC without knowing it,” says Bonn-Miller.
For the study, Bonn-Miller and his colleagues spent a month searching the Internet and purchasing 84 products, from 31 different companies, that included CBD content on their packaging. Then they analyzed each product for actual CBD content, as well as other ingredients.
They found that 42% of the products were under-labeled, meaning they contained a higher concentration of CBD than indicated. Another 26% were over-labeled, while 30% contained accurate CBD content (within 10% of the amount listed).
No studies have shown that taking too much CBD is harmful, says Bonn-Miller, although very little research has been done on doses over 1,500 mg. A bigger concern, he says, is that doses that are too low may affect how well the product works. Because of the variability between products, it can also be difficult for patients to expect consistent results.

“Say I have a kid with seizures who’s in really bad shape, and I ordered some CBD oil as a last-ditch attempt to treat them,” he says. “If I happened to order something that has hardly any CBD in it, that’s a problem. Number one, I might not be getting any therapeutic effect, and number two I’m probably spending a decent amount of money for CBD that I’m not actually getting.”
CBD products sold in liquid form—for use with vaping devices—were mislabeled about 88% of the time, while CBT oils were mislabeled about 55% of the time. THC was detected in 18 of the 84 samples tested, and in some cases it was found in concentrations that “may be sufficient to produce intoxication or impairment, especially among children,” the authors wrote in their paper.
A 2015 study by the same group of researchers found similar mislabeling among edible marijuana samples. But the mislabeling of CBD products is even more concerning, says Bonn-Miller, since CBD is largely used for medicinal purposes among people of all ages, rather than as a recreational drug.
The researchers believe the reason for these inconsistencies is a lack of regulation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The federal government considers cannabis a Schedule 1 controlled dangerous substance, and is not involved in production, labeling and distribution at the state level.
“Right now, if you buy a Hershey bar, you know it has been checked over; you know how many calories are in it, you know it has chocolate as an ingredient, you know how much chocolate is in there,” Bonn-Miller says. “It’s crazy to have less oversight and information about a product being widely used for medicinal purposes, especially in very ill children, than a Hershey bar.”

Last year, the Hemp Business Journal estimated that consumers will spend more than $2 billion a year on CBD products by 2020. One drug company, GW Pharmaceuticals, is currently pursuing FDA approval on a CBD-based treatment for children with a rare form of epilepsy — but beyond that, the industry remains unregulated, and Bonn-Miller warns consumers should be wary of what they’re purchasing online.
“The first step is ordering products from reputable sources or getting advice from other people you trust,” he says, “or getting products tested yourself in an independent lab.” (The group Patient Focused Certification can provide names of nearby facilities that will test CBD extracts, he says.) “Unfortunately, the onus is on the consumer to do the homework.”

By Amanda MacMillan for Time

Friday, November 24, 2017

Medical Cannabis And A Healthy Diet

A major cause of illness and death in our country is nutritional deficiency. We all know that lack of food makes us feel weak and tired with a loss of stamina and short term energy. And as medical cannabis patients, we strive to ensure that those producing our medicine do so in the safest manner free from toxins and unwanted chemical pesticides. We should also take this same approach to our own personal diet, as eating healthy is another way you can get more benefits from the medical cannabis.

A healthy diet will improve the body’s ability to best process your medical cannabis intake in all forms and this will provide improvement with your health and overall wellness.

Humans have long sought food from our earth’s bounty and have found protein and carbohydrates and sugars in large enough quantity to sustain and enlarge the human race.

But what is the best food?
The perfect diet to follow?
What can be paired with cannabis?

For Health:
1. Blueberries- one of the most powerful disease fighting foods because of all the beneficial
fiber and antioxidants they contain. In addition, they are packed with Vitamin C and are easy
to find because they are available all year round. Blueberries are a favorite for many when making raw cannabis smoothies or health cannabis blueberry muffins.
2. Salmon- this cold water fish is a superb source of protein and is packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association advises eating salmon and other omega-3 rich foods twice a week for benefits that go beyond heart health.

3. Soy Protein- Inexpensive, packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, this high-quality protein has all the ingredients for a heart-healthy meal. A diet rich in soy protein can lower triglycerides which help prevent cardiovascular disease and keep your heart strong and healthy. Soy Protein can be used in juicing of raw cannabis and cooking recipes for cannabis.

4. Oatmeal- My dad used to say it “sticks to your ribs” and he was right! A warm bowl of oatmeal will provide nourishing whole grains that contain cholesterol lowering fiber, vitamins and minerals and will sustain you for hours because of its high fiber content.

5. Spinach- the powerhouse of the veggie kingdom and Popeye’s “transforming superfood” is rich in vitamins, minerals (especially iron and folate) and many disease-fighting phytochemicals. Spinach is a must have ingredient when juicing raw cannabis.  “Phyto” means plant. Phytochemicals are nutrients derived from plants, and they are healthy buzzwords in nutrition and cancer research. Phytochemicals appear to stimulate the immune system, exhibit antibacterial and antiviral activity,, and in general, help your body fight cancer.  Some foods these are found in are onions, garlic, leeks, chives, carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, tea, coffee, citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower), berries, beans, and whole grains.

6. Mangoes- The chemical compounds that have been found within mangoes have been discovered by science to be able to increase, strengthen, and even lengthen the medical effects felt after smoking. This is due to a chemical compound known as myrcene terpenes, most often used in fragrances, can be found within cannabis and marijuana as well as many other various plants such as lemongrass, hops, and of course mangoes.

To Speed Up Your Metabolism  
(Metabolism refers to all of the chemical reactions that take place within an organism by which complex molecules are broken down to produce energy and by which energy is used to build up complex molecules. An example of a metabolic reaction is the one that takes place when a person eats a spoonful of sugar.)

1. Water helps nutrients flow through your body. And for medical cannabis smokers, a increased water intake is needed as the smoking is dehydration to the entire body.  Even MILD dehydration will slow down one's metabolism as much as 40%. One glass of water shuts down hunger pains for almost 100% of dieters. Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. Keep a BPA free water bottle in sight all day.

2. Lean proteins such as poultry, fish, bison, and egg whites are all good sources. These proteins keep you feeling satisfied while helping your body burn energy faster, resulting in higher calorie burn. Hemp protein is a industrial byproduct from hempseed where the seeds (balanced macronutrient profile) have their oil extracted into Hempseed oil, and the remaining seed meal that is high in protein relative to the seeds is then processed into Hemp protein supplements. Proteins are made from building blocks called amino acids. Amino acids are a major component in the hundreds of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These compounds enable brain cells to communicate with each other. Examples of neurotransmitters you may be familiar with include dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. Try to eat a portion of protein with every meal.

3. Fiber is in complex carbs (oatmeal, wheat germ, bran, and flaxseed) and provides steady, long lasting energy without the crashes that accompany simple carbs. Hemp Seed is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Eating the seed whole is the perfect way to get your daily fiber needs. All dietary fiber is either soluble or insoluble. Both types are actually equally important to health, digestion, and aiding in keeping many diseases at bay including diabetes, obesity, diverticulitis, and constipation.

4. Dark Pinon coffee or green tea are both good for boosting metabolism. Dark Pinon coffee ( in moderation ) raises metabolism, increases concentration, and improves heart health. Green teas that are high in antioxidant content raises metabolism better than coffee.  And both are healthy ways to medicate by adding a cannabis tincture to the drink.

5. Spices such as hatch green chile, jalapeno, habanero, and cayenne have thermogenic
properties that speed up the heart rate and heat up the body; the body must then burn more
calories to cool down.  While eating spicy foods may cause you some temporary pain, applying capsaicin topically is known to alleviate it. Capsaicin helps alleviate pain in part by depleting your body's supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain. It also works by de-sensitizing sensory receptors in your skin and this compliments the medical cannabis benefits.

6. B Vitamin Complex includes thiamine, riboflavin, niacin/niacinamide, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic acid, and pantothenic acid. The B vitamins help with nervous system functioning, and being under a lot of stress can deplete your levels. A deficiency can lead anxiety, fatigue, and mood problems. Studies have found Vitamin B helpful in treating anxiety disorders, particularly agoraphobia and obsessive thoughts. Some of the best sources of vitamin B6 are poultry, seafood, bananas, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, potatoes, and fortified cereals. And several of those sources can be added to juicing raw cannabis or making smoothies.

7. Get Outside-Getting exposure to light in the morning will only help you wake up, but may help keep you slim, research from Northwestern University. Happily, bright light, just as for cannabis and hemp- the natural sun is the best for us, it sets your body clock, a key player in regulating every system of your body, including a speedy or sluggish metabolism. Humans make 90 percent of our vitamin D naturally from sunlight exposure to our skin – specifically, from ultraviolet B exposure to the skin, which naturally initiates the conversion of cholesterol in the skin to vitamin D3.  Studies have indicated   a relationship between low levels of vitamin D in the blood and depression.

Healthy Diets
When maintaining a healthy diet-perhaps to address a chronic disease or condition being treated with cannabis-you can follow the functional medicine perspective. This perspective considers how various nutrient dense foods in a healthy diet interact with the systems of the human body for better health to compliment you medical cannabis use.

1. The Mediterranean diet is a modern nutritional recommendation originally inspired by the
traditional dietary patterns of Greece, Southern Italy, and Spain. The diet also recognizes the importance of being physically active, and enjoying meals with family and friends.
• Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts
• Replacing butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil
• Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
• Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
• Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
• Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)

2. The Paleo diet is based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food. Several websites now feature cannabis edible recipes with paleo ingredients. Cannabis and hemp both would fit in well with paleo living because it comes from nature and is not chemically produced or made. It seems to fit into the spirit of being paleo more so than modern medicine.

3. Farm to Table diet: essentially, it’s food that’s like it was 100 years ago, when people lived on farms and grew their own fruits and vegetables, raised their own chickens for eggs, milked their own cows–before agribusiness, pesticides, bovine growth hormones and grain-fed meats. It’s food that’s about the same as when it was pulled out of the ground, plucked from a tree, or harvested in the field. It’s the food that helps your body run best, burn fuel most efficiently, feel more energetic, and heal health issues. And this diet has many great benefits, not only complimenting the cannabis culture but provides many items to pair with raw or cooked cannabis.
Some guidelines for a Farm Food diet:
•Foods free of additives, preservatives, colorings, artificial ingredients, or other chemicals.
•Organic foods that are seasonal in your region, and those that grow within a few hundred miles of your home whenever possible.
•Animal products that come from chickens, cows, and sheep that roam in pastures and eat grass
•Single-ingredient, unprocessed foods (that means organic oat groats, rather than oat puffed cereal with cane juice—even if it’s organic).
•Food that has little or no labeling or packaging.
•Foods that are free of gluten and common allergens like corn, dairy, and soy (because those crops aren’t what they were 100 years ago).
•Foods that work for you, individually, to help you keep your body in its best condition.

4. The Asian diet is one to create wellness thru certain eating habits.
• Limit cold drinks with meals, green tea or other tea before a meal supports enzymatic activity to better improve digestion.
• Have soup often, it is a nutrient dense food option and Asian style soups are a healthy choice over traditional style soups.
• Eat a 3:1 ratio of vegetables to meat
• Eat with the seasons... temperatures of foods should not be overlooked. Eating warm foods in cold weather and cool foods in hot weather. This common-sense rule of thumb is barely spoken in Asia because it's simply practiced. Cold drinks and cold foods such celery, melons, and cold salads are not eaten in the middle of winter. Hot soups and stews with meat are preferred because this is what the body needs in cold weather. A hot summer day is the perfect time for watermelon or a cooling drink made with aloe and cucumber. Every food has an energetic temperature and acts on the body accordingly. Eating the right temperature foods during the various season of the year is an important part of a healthy diet.

Follow the 80/20 Rule
This is a tip with a built-in reward. No one can eat healthy all the time; sometimes you’ll have a hard time sticking the plan, or may not feel well. If you can make healthy selections 80% of the time, you can allow yourself to make less healthy choices 20% of the time. Knowing you have some wiggle room allows you to make healthier choices long term and not feel constricted or deprived.

Sleep And A Healthy Weight
While sleeping more will not necessarily help you lose weight, sleeping less, coupled with some unhealthy habits can certainly lead to you packing on the pounds.  Less sleep can leave us reaching for calorie loaded drinks and sugar to keep us awake.   Ask yourself the next few questions to see if you are getting adequate sleep and what to do about it.

Do you get less than 8 hours of sleep?
  •  Yes?  8 hours of good sleep is the recommended amount of sleep for the average adult.

What happens if you don’t get those 7.5 hours ?
  •  Without the adequate amount of sleep per night, the hormone balance in your body will not respond normally which can alter your metabolism.
  •    Ghrelin and Leptin are two key hormones that control your hunger.  Without enough sleep, gherlin is over active telling you to eat, even when you may not feel hungry. Leptin, is under active, so it doesn’t kick in to stop you from eating when you’re full.
  •    When your body doesn’t get enough sleep, you also begin to produce more stress hormones (such as cortisol).  These hormones promote the storage of abdominal body fat.

How can I get more good sleep?
  •  Some of the earliest research on medical cannabis and sleep shows that medical cannabis’s main ingredient, THC, can significantly reduce the time it takes for both insomniacs and healthy people to fall asleep.   
  •  Don’t drink caffeine late in the day. Drinking caffeine after 2 pm can keep you in the light stages of sleep, diminishing your overall sleep quality that night.
  •  Early studies also revealed that taking either THC or CBD before bed could lead to an increase in overall sleep. In one study, increasing the dose of THC also increased the amount of time spent sleeping.
  •  However, higher doses of THC also caused a “hang over” feeling in some subjects when they woke up, while the feeling was not present at lower doses.
  •  Don’t eat a large meal close to bedtime.  If it is close to bedtime, try eating a couple healthy snacks and a small meal like a bowl of cereal instead.    
  •    Some of the more interesting effects of marijuana on sleep involve its impact on the sleep cycle. Studies show that THC can increase the amount of slow-wave sleep, also known as deep sleep, that an user experiences during their slumber.
  •    Try not to exercise right before bed.  Giving your body time to relax before bed will help ensure you get those hours of good sleep.  
  •    Most importantly, allot yourself enough time to sleep.  Go to bed early when you have to get up early the next morning.  Time management is key for adequate sleep.
  •    Keep the bedroom dark and cool.  People sleep best in cool dark environments, so lower the temperature in your house or apartment and make sure all the lights are off and blinds/shades are drawn closed.

When it comes to medical use, cannabis could offer an incredible benefit to the approximately 25% of men and 9% of women who suffer from a disorder called sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is characterized by disrupted breathing during sleep, and has been linked to a number of serious conditions, including diabetes and heart problems. Unfortunately, the vast majority of sleep apnea sufferers remain undiagnosed and untreated.

Even of those who seek treatment, many eventually give up on wearing a CPAP mask every night. Another way medical cannabis affects the sleep cycle is a reduction in REM sleep. Many people who smoke before bed report a lack of dreaming, which only occurs during REM sleep.

While less REM sleep could be seen as a negative effect of cannabis use, scientists are still not sure what purpose REM sleep actually serves.

However, people who quit after using cannabis on a frequent basis often experience an increase in REM sleep, also known as the “REM rebound” effect, which is accompanied by an increase in dreaming and restlessness during sleep. But this effect tends to wear off within days or weeks, depending on the individual.

Sleep is key to maintaining a healthy body, so aim for those 8 hours of sleep and see how you feel the next day.  You’ll be surprised.

Choosing the Right Strain for Weight Loss
Now, before we get too hung up on the idea that medical cannabis can keep you skinny, it's important to remember that consuming large amounts of calories without burning them off will certainly not help you in your weight loss plan, no matter how much herb you smoke; some strains are bound to make you want to gorge. And check nutritional labels on medibles as they can have all kinds of bad calories.
Some strains of cannabis, especially landrace strains from South and East Africa, have actually been shown to suppress appetite because they contain the compound THCV. This cannabinoid is actually an antagonist of the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which means it blocks THC, keeping you from getting high and from getting the munchies. It has the same psychoactive effect as THC, however, and tends to take effect much more quickly (think "one hit wonders"), but the high is much shorter lived, which is why it is often bred out of popular strains.

To find strains with a high amount of THCV, ask a consultant at your favorite dispensary or keep your eyes peeled for these popular, appetite-suppressing strains.

Durban poison:
Durban poison is a very popular sativa strain from South Africa. Offering a sweet, earthy flavor; a smooth smoke and ton of energy, Durban Poison is the perfect strain for to keep you active and on track.

It has been known to promote high levels of anxiety, however, so if that's an issue, you could try mixing the strain with a mild indica strain, or just chew on a few peppercorns should an anxiety attack occur.

Super Silver Haze:
This sativa-dominant hybrid --a cross between Northern Lights, Haze and Skunk #1 -- offers a long-lasting body buzz accompanied by a very clear-headed cognitive high. The buds are dense and covered with trichomes, and the flavor is mellow and earthy.

Despite being categorized as a sativa, however, the indica qualities of its parent strain, Northern Lights, comes through a few hours after smoking. If you're planning on using Super Silver Haze in addition to your diet, make sure stay active during your high to help maintain motivation.

G13 is an indica strain whose origins are still up for debate. The rumor is that G13 was one of many strains produced secretly by the government in the 1960's and 70's in an effort to create an ideal indica. G13 was said to be the best of the 23 strains cultivated thanks to its ability to ease pain without causing drowsiness.

The flavor profile of G13 is a pleasant one, featuring a sweet, earthy flavor with a slight pine overtone. The effects are also very pleasant, but may make you feel a bit lazy, so don't sit down after smoking unless you don't want to get up again.
Green Crack:
Known for its quick high and sweet taste, Green Crack is increasingly becoming a favorite around Denver. It was given the name by none other than Snoop Dogg because of its quick-acting, high-strung effects and short-lived high.

This sativa-dominant hybrid features the citrus flavor and aroma characteristic of its parent strain Skunk #1, but takes a bit longer to take effect. Be careful not to overindulge as Green Crack has been known to cause time lapses and slight disorientation.

How to incorporate medical cannabis into your weight loss plan.
Though medical cannabis has been shown to help reduce plaque build-up in arteries and potentially improve the body's ability to absorb glucose, if there is an excess of sugars and fats in your diet (that is not burned off through regular exercise), weight gain is eminent. To reap the benefits of the marijuana diet, you will still need exercise and consume a proper diet.

Begin by ridding your cabinets of fatty, salty and sugary foods which also cause cravings. If you focus, instead, on having only healthy fruits, vegetables and grains, then if the munchies do occur, you'll be prepared.

I also recommend choosing a sativa-dominant strain to help maintain your motivation. Plan at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week, being careful not to overdo it early on lest you damage your muscles and make it more difficult to continue.

Finally, wind down with a calming indica such as Cataract Kush, Rare Darkness or G13 to help you relax and restore. If your muscles are especially sore, try using a topical medical cannabis salve to ease any muscle soreness.