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cannabis and health

A Guide for Novice Cannabis Users

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One question many new cannabis users have is whether they should smoke or vape cannabis. When I first started I was already a heavy cigarette smoker on my way to making the switch to vapes, fuelled by the ever-growing mounds of evidence that vaping was better for you and just as strong as cigarettes. As I got into cannabis, I figured the same principle would apply, but it’s actually not that clear-cut.

Vaping cannabis has become more popular in recent years. In Canada, vapes have emerged as the most popular Legalization 2.0 product, and I wonder if that has anything to do with the growing number of new cannabis users who have the same idea I did.

As many users try to figure out which method to settle for, here are some key differences between smoking and vaping weed to keep in mind:

Potency

A study conducted by experts from Johns Hopkins University found that vaping cannabis produces stronger effects than smoking it. There is also research that suggests that vapour can contain up to 80 percent higher concentrations of cannabinoids compared to smoke. For users who can’t stand smoke, the taste of joints or the burning sensation produced by smoking, this may be good news as this could mean needing to take fewer puffs to get the same effects. With that said, the potency of vaping or smoking may depend on other factors like product quality and whether or not you were doing it right. Whatever the case ends up being for you, if you are new to using cannabis, pace yourself to avoid getting way too high.

Taste and Smell

In general, it is said that vaping produces purer and lighter flavours which make it easier to distinguish between the flavour profiles of different strains. This is potentially due to how quickly and intensely terpenes get obliterated when weed is combusted as well as how the smoke can quickly overpower other senses. Vaping also produces a lighter aroma that does not linger. On the other hand, some people prefer the denser, stronger flavours offered by smoking. Also, many cannabis users find pungent cannabis smoke to be an indicator of a good batch. For those people, the lightness of cannabis vapour is only really an advantage if they are in public and trying to be discreet.

Price

The largest expense associated with vaping is the cartridges, which typically retail legally for anywhere between $40 to $80 per half a gram. Evidence cited earlier that vaping is more potent, as well as the fact that vaping uses a heating method that is gentler on cannabis compounds, suggests that vaping is a more efficient way to consume cannabis than smoking is. But do these small differences in efficiencies actually mean you will spend less money? There is no real data on that yet, and so I recommend you ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I more likely to use up a $60 cartridge in a week or smoke $60 worth of bud in a week?
  • Am I willing to risk purchasing my cartridges or bud from the black market where there are more competitive prices?
  • Is there something about vaping or smoking that makes a potentially higher price point worth it?

Convenience

Vaping beats smoking in one area: discreetness. Otherwise, smoking has my vote for the convenience factor. Vapes have to be charged in advance. If you find yourself outdoors without a charger for a full day, or if you want to do something off-the-grid like backcountry camping, you can’t really rely on your vape. Furthermore, most vapes still use outdated micro USB charging ports. This means you probably have to carry an extra cable around. Vapes also do require some level of maintenance, such as cleaning, replacing batteries and more. The only potentially tedious thing about smoking is having to roll your own joints. Then again, there are always pre-rolls and helpful friends to circumvent that.

Health

While studies have said that there is no link between cannabis use and lung cancer, an article published in 2007 indicated that weed vapers do experience fewer respiratory symptoms compared to smokers. There is no open flame involved in vaping and combustion is the main culprit for these respiratory symptoms. However, the emergence of vaping-relating illnesses has sparked concerns about the potential health effects of vaping cannabis. As a vaper of both, the media hysteria is confusing and unhelpful, but there are credible resources out there to help you figure out which ingredients are actually harmful to you.

Why not both?

Photo by: @fortheloveofsmoke

Personally, I find both vaping and smoking to have their own merits. I don’t think they’re actually that different from one another. I prefer the taste of vaped weed, but have a soft spot for the evergreen novelty of smoking it. Perhaps the answer is not to pick a favourite, but to make room for both options.

If you have never vaped, vaping doesn’t feel any different from smoking a hookah or a bong. If you’ve not done those either, there is a way to “test-drive” vaping so you can get a rough gauge of how potent it is and whether or not you’d enjoy the experience. There are vape lounges all over Canada where you can try out Volcanos and other vape products. Although, I’d save this activity for a safer, post-COVID-19 world.

A lot of what we know about vaping should not be considered the end of the story. Science is still trying to catch up with the vaping phenomenon. At the end of the day, you should experiment with different options to see which one best suits you. You can start by learning more about the best THC vape pens and batteries currently in the market here.

Do you prefer smoking or vaping weed? Let us know why in the comments and follow CLN for more cannabis news and articles.





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The History of Cannabis and Women’s Health

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There is a long but often untold history of cannabis and women’s health. This International Women’s Day, we at CLN want to celebrate this history.

Women have always played an integral role in medicine, holding positions of authority and regard in society as providers of care. For many healers, midwives and herbalists, cannabis was one of the stars of their toolkit, used to treat patients, especially women, for a variety of ailments.

However, as the perception of cannabis evolved over the centuries, many societies that once saw the plant as central to their healing arsenal began to regard it as something taboo. Much of this healing prowess and knowledge has since been cast into the backlogs of history.

As such, it is no surprise that women play a pivotal role in cannabis advocacy, fighting to bring it back to the mainstream. People used cannabis to treat nausea, pain, bloating and other ailments related to female biology for thousands of years. Naturally, losing access to it disproportionately affected individuals who experience menstruation, childbirth, menopause and more.

As cannabis regains credibility in the world of medicine, we must not forget the history of cannabis and women’s health. We must pay tribute to women’s role in cannabis cultivation, use and advocacy. With the tide of recent cannabis reforms all over the world, many assumed that men were more likely to use cannabis than women. However, new data now suggests that women are actually the fastest-growing consumer base for cannabis. This follows a long-established historical pattern of women using cannabis in their day-to-day lives:

2300 BC – Mesopotamia

Photo by: Lei Mu

Ishtar is the Mesopotamian goddess of love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. Her followers associated her with the healing arts and would burn the herb Sim.Ishara in her honour. Outside of religious rituals, many also used the herb as a remedy for a myriad of ailments. Experts now theorize that this herb is cannabis.

1550 BC – Ancient Egypt

Photo by: British Library

The Ebers Papyrus is a medical papyrus detailing herbal knowledge from Ancient Egypt. It contains information on a wide variety of herbal remedies, including cannabis. Specifically, it prescribed the application of cannabis for inflammation and menstrual pain as well the insertion of the plant in ground form into the vagina as an aid for childbirth.

500 BC – Siberia

Photo by: Nikolay Tengerekov

The Princess of Ukok was a young woman, found mummified and buried with cannabis near the Altai Mountains in Russia. Upon examining her remains, scientists determined that she suffered from breast cancer and used cannabis to deal with the pain.

5th Century to 15th Century AD – Medieval Europe

Photo by: Gabriella Clare Marino

As cannabis arrived in Europe through trade, healers began to use the plant for a variety of obstetric and gynaecologic ailments, including as an aid for childbirth. Descriptions of the plant can be found in the Old English Herbarium, a document from around 1000 AD. The writer recommends using cannabis in a mixture with lard to relieve swollen breasts. A 12th century Benedictine abbess by the name of Hildegard von Bingen also wrote about hemp in her book Physica, detailing various uses for the plant. Many cannabis aficionados now recognize her as one of the more prominent historical women advocates of cannabis.

19th Century AD – Queen Victoria

Photo by: K. Mitch Hodge

Plagued by menstrual pains throughout her life, Queen Victoria is one of the most famous women in history to have used medicinal cannabis. She was given liquid concentrations of cannabis to help with the pain. According to her physician, Sir J. Russell Reynolds, cannabis “is one of the most valuable medicines we possess.”

As the 20th century came around, cannabis became a scapegoat for society’s ills and the law cut off women’s access to this important resource. Women had to seek alternatives, which often brought along a slew of side effects. This is particularly saddening, considering a natural solution has been around for millennia.

Thankfully, medicinal cannabis for women has regained traction, with a renaissance of women-led businesses bringing the plant back to the forefront as a treatment for menstrual ailments such as painful cramps, bloating and abnormal bleeding. There have also been important developments in using cannabis to treat menopausal symptoms and certain complications related to childbirth.

Indeed, women have something of a love affair with cannabis. Cannabis’ history is indisputably intertwined with women’s health, and it should be no surprise that its future is too. 





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Could Cannabis Be The Best Cure for PTSD?

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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been around for generations as being the most researched mental illness. Psychiatrists in the late 1800s studied trauma victims from a psychological perspective to gain more knowledge of PTSD. Between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, we witnessed military combat soldiers returning from war experience symptoms of PTSD. But what exactly is PTSD?

Generally, post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental illness caused by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. People diagnosed with PTSD often describe it as reliving the trauma over and over in your mind without knowing how to stop it. Major symptoms include panic attacks, insomnia, mood swings, overwhelming emotions, and self-destructive behaviour. Yet, despite the years of research, there hasn’t been a definitive solution in how to treat PTSD.

Cannabis and Trauma

Depending on the severity of the trauma, symptoms of PTSD can last anywhere between months to years. We commonly see this in soldiers coming back from service as they try to acclimate themselves to civilian life after living in a warzone. While the Veterans Association (VA) provides medication and other resources to help veterans assimilate to civilian life, medical cannabis isn’t on the approved list of prescriptions. But it wasn’t until 2013 that veterans started using cannabis to treat symptoms of PTSD. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs reported a total of 9 percent of veterans in the U.S. reported using cannabis. Cut to 2020, and the number skyrocketed to 20 percent.

Cannabis helps to treat PTSD pretty well, actually probably better than some people even realize,” says Alex Gould, co-founder of Mr. Hemp Flower. Mr. Help Flower is a cannabis company that distributes organic, non-GMO, pesticide-free hemp from licensed USA farms. “It’s able to help reduce anxiety which is one of the major things PTSD sufferers have to deal with. Cannabis can also help PTSD sufferers to sleep better. Many PTSD sufferers are plagued with nightmares and insomnia.”

Canadian Solider Talks Cannabis & PTSD

How Cannabis Could Help Us Cope With Trauma or Even PTSD?

When the topic of PTSD comes up, the majority of people assume that the only group affected by the effects of PTSD are veterans. However, research shows there are different variations of post-traumatic stress. These can occur at any point in time, regardless if they served in the combat zone. However, with the recent global pandemic, many have stated it has given us all a collective trauma. Research states how the Coronavirus pandemic has been stressful and has given people symptoms of PTSD. Some of which include the fear of future infection, death, economic hardship, and other stressors related to total isolation.  

As PTSD begins to spread, cannabis can be a powerful tool to cope with the overwhelming symptoms. “I won’t say that it cures it, but it does help to treat it,” says Gould. “It makes PTSD more manageable and easier to cope with. … so that the PTSD sufferer can function at relatively lower stress levels, and feel normal.” Although cannabis has been a shining light as the next holistic option for mental health, it’s not approved by the FDA. It also remains a Schedule 1 drug in many locations. Depending on the state you live in, cannabis use remains illegal.

Yet, the majority of people who use cannabis for PTSD have sung its praises and continue to do so. If cannabis can help people’s needs and ease the mind to focus on the present, then the option of medical cannabis should be a must. And as local governments slowly navigate this new world of cannabis into the market, cannabis users continue to use this natural plant to aid this infamous disorder.





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Can Cannabis Help With Weightloss?

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The weightloss industry is a multibillion-dollar industry. Countless gyms, diets, retreats, products, and even online programs — there’s no shortage of resources in how to lose weight. Weight loss in western culture is considered the mecca of overall health and wellness. Society has told us for years that losing weight is a good thing. When we hear a comment about how our weight loss, it’s considered a compliment. It shows that we are taking charge of our wellness.

So, where does cannabis fit in weight loss?

As nations across the globe start to see cannabis as a beneficial substance, weed has become the number one holistic method in overall wellness. But when it comes to losing weight, some consumers may have a hard time believing this to be true. With the help of movies and media, people have become aware of the most common side-effect of cannabis: they’re called the munchies. Usually, after people smoke weed, their hunger, and appetite increase causing users to want to eat or munch on food which contributes to weight gain. This side-effect has been beneficial for users prescribed medicinal cannabis for health issues like anorexia and eating disorders.

If this side effect is widely known, how would it even contribute to losing weight?

Research shows how CBD activates receptors in the brain and central nervous system, which may result in a loss of appetite. While there’s little factual evidence on whether cannabis can help with weight-loss, there are companies that see the potential for cannabis in the weight loss industry. One of them is SUNMED, released their latest product it’s called TRIM and it’s been labelled as the first CBD weight loss product line created.

A holistic way to encourage weightloss

Natural herbs and remedies for wellness and weight loss have been around for generations. Research shows that the most commonly used herbs in weight loss formulations are herbs like chamomile, peppermint, licorices, and even rhubarb. Yet as time went by and diet pills and pharmaceuticals became the popular choice, natural remedies were thrown by the wayside. Now with the cultural shift and people becoming more aware of what they put into their bodies, holistic remedies have made a unique comeback in today’s culture. This makes for health companies like SUNMED and Your CBD Store hoping in bringing consumers back to natural herbs.

“We are excited
to continue our path as a disruptor, leaning heavily on research and science to
introduce new products that truly enhance the lives of our customers,” said Dr.
Anthony Ferrari, chief science officer of Your CBD Store. “This natural
approach to weight loss has many added benefits such as anti-inflammation, deeper
and longer sleep as well as a reduction in pain, depression, and anxiety.”

It’s safe to say that natural and holistic remedies like CBD, it’s opened doors for people in a whole new way. While CBD and hemp are awesome alternatives, it’s important to note that research is still being discovered. When it comes to starting a new health regimen, it’s always best to consult with your doctor or physician before taking on anything new.





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