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How to Keep Your Lungs Healthy and Happy as a Marijuana Toker



healthy lungs for marijuana smokers

How to Keep Your Lungs Healthy as a Stoner


This is the second article I’m going to write where I highlight some of the more undesirable effects of smoking cannabis.


Before the lynch mob comes for me – “I’m writing this while smoking a joint with literal tar dripping from the edge…”


Nonetheless, I believe that willful ignorance is idiotic and one must be ruthlessly honest about one’s own behavior. The fact of the matter is that “smoking” any substance has a negative impact on the human physiology.


Over the past week or so, I’ve been seeing more headlines about a small study that looked at cannabis smokers, tobacco smokers, and non-smokers CT scans to see if they could visibly see effects their substance us one the lungs.


You can spot a smoker by merely looking at CT scans, and so – the researchers wanted to see what the effects of cannabis were.


Revah said it’s possible to see that someone is a heavy or longtime cigarette smoker just by looking at their CT scan. She wondered if marijuana, the second most commonly smoked substance after tobacco, would show similar results. She was surprised to find little information existed.

For this study, the researchers compared chest CT results from 56 marijuana smokers, including some who also used tobacco, with 33 who smoked only tobacco and 57 nonsmokers.

Roughly 75% of the weed smokers had emphysema compared to 67% of the tobacco-only smokers and 5% of nonsmokers.



Additionally, there were some men who had enlarged breast tissue within the cannabis group. Of course we don’t know how many “some men” are within the small sample group – however, the article thought it was important to mention that “man boobs” might still be a thing.


While the sample size of the study was very small, I can very much imagine that chronically smoking weed will have some detrimental effect on the lungs. While lung cancer isn’t very prevalent in cannabis smokers – it makes sense that there would be damage to the air sacs in the lungs.



According to the researchers, the nature of how people smoke cannabis could pay an important role in the type of damage they are seeing.


Firstly, cannabis smokers tend to smoke without a filter. The filter serves to cool down the smoke, filter out some undesirable plant matter, etc. Most people do make “cardboard filters”, by rolling a piece of cardboard and putting it in the end of the joint or blunt.


However, this doesn’t provide the same level of filtration as a tobacco filter which has cotton doused in chemicals. While the “other shit” in the filter is probably murderous – the filtration of the smoke from the burning plant matter is superior to “rolled up cardboard”.


 Then there’s the factor of cannabis users “holding” the smoke in their lungs. This is a cannabis myth where they want to “absorb as much THC per hit” as possible. However, the truth of the matter is that you absorb up to 97% of THC from the smoke in the first 2-3 seconds. Therefore, you just need to inhale, hold it for a second or two, and then release.


Holding the smoke will not “get you higher”. What is getting you higher is oxygen deprivation. When you enter into a hypoxic state, you can feel light headed which in combination with the THC makes you “feel way higher”.


At the end of this article I’ll provide you with some exercises to “get higher” without needing to hold any smoke.


Nonetheless, researchers believe this is why there were greater evidence of emphysema in the CT scans of cannabis smokers than tobacco smokers.


They also said the golden words – more research is needed and with good reason. The sample for this study does not indicate anything. It simply shows some correlation between CT scans and cannabis users, but with a sample size that small – you can’t definitively say that this is true across the board.


Irrespective of whether it’s true or not, the information provided by the research does give you the opportunity to mitigate the damage from cannabis smoke. An informed cannabis smoker can reduce risk armed with actionable information.


So for the rest of this article – we’re going to be talking about ways that you can keep your lungs healthy as a cannabis smoker.



When you’re smoking weed to get high, you don’t have to inhale a full lung of smoke. You simply need to know how to inhale diaphragmatically. However, even if you don’t know how to inhale diaphragmatically, you simply need to take a hit up till where it’s comfortable.


Trying to force as much smoke into your lungs as possible won’t “make you higher”. In fact, if you want to achieve the “highness” from oxygen overstimulation or deprivation, then stick to the end of this article. I’ll show you exactly how you can “trip balls” on O2.


Nonetheless, just take normal tokes. No need to over do it. You can always take another hit if you need more. However, trying to force an ungodly amount of smoke in your lungs could have a more detrimental effect on your overall health over time.



While I have spoken about this above, I think it’s important to reiterate that holding it in doesn’t necessarily make you higher. Rather, you’re playing around with the dynamics of the breath and you don’t need to hold in smoke to achieve similar results.


It’s best to smoke up, rest, and then dive into breathwork or something similar if you truly want to “trip balls”. If that’s what you’re after.


Holding it in doesn’t provide any inherent benefit, therefore, simply cutting out this practice can reduce the stress you place on the lungs.



If you’re smoking from the moment you open your eyes to the moment you’re closing them – you might have a dependency on cannabis. Nonetheless, even if you’re chronically impaired, then why not switch things up. You can have edibles, you can vape, you can even have tinctures.


All of these non-smoking alternatives can reduce the impact of the “smoke” on the lungs. Maybe instead of your regular wake N bake, you can take a few drops of tincture and drop it into your coffee. That way you get the morning buzz without burning any plant matter.



While a bong can certainly give you more volume of smoke per hit, it’s also cleaner because the smoke gets filtered through the water. Therefore, if you’re going to smoke, using a bong is actually not a bad idea. All you got to remember is to take moderate tokes.


While there isn’t too much “science” on the quality of bong smoke (I wonder why), it doesn’t take a rocket science to understand that when you add a filter to the smoke – you’ll get fewer harmful particles. Does this make it safe?


Of course not! But certainly less harmful than smoking a blunt!


Vaping eliminates the combustion process from “smoking marijuana”. However, I would argue that vaping “dry bud” should be the gold standard of vaping. When it comes to pre-mixed cannabis, you don’t know what else they put in there. However, when we’re using straight up cannabis in a dry herb vaporizer, you’re heating up the process enough to turn the cannabinoids into vapor but not enough to start combustion – thereby eliminating smoke altogether.


Whether vaporizing might have some other risks involved – only time will tell. However, when compared directly to smoking, it’s certainly a lot less riskier.


An added benefit of vaporizing is that your weed lasts longer. You get more “toke per bowl” with a vaporizer than with a traditional pipe. Therefore, even though the price tag of a Pax pocket vaporizer might be hefty, after a month or two of use, you would have saved that much money in weed.



One thing that I’m very surprised about is that there isn’t more education on breath control. The fact of the matter is that the cardiovascular system is responsible the majority of the energy you wield. Think about it.


How long can you go without food? In some cases, a human being can go months without food. How about water? Water is a more essential element for the human condition seeing that 60% of our mass is water. Therefore, you can go for roughly 1-week without water before you suffer organ failure. I’m sure there are some people who can go even longer, but the average Joe and Jane would only be able to do a few days at most.


Now how about air? Air is so vital to your life that the vast majority of people can only go a few minutes without air before they cease to exist.


Yet, despite this being such an important function for living – we hardly have any education on how to properly breathe, how to regulate our nervous system using the breath etc.


One would think that with such a vital resource for sentient life, we would have countless studies on the subject matter. However, that isn’t really the case. Modern science is only now getting into the “science of breathing” and we have been “re-discovering” some ancient truths.


The fact of the matter is that the breath has been studied extensively – by ancient cultures. The Vedic Sciences have entire volumes dedicated to “breath control” or “Pranayama”.


Pranayama, for those who don’t know – is basically yoga for the lungs.



Deep Slow Breathing is definitely something that everyone should try daily. Not only is this proven to relax and calm down your nervous system, it also can help provide mental clarity and help declutter the mind, lower your blood pressure, and increase your dopamine levels.


To do this, you simply have to inhale slowly through the nose shooting the air into the diaphragm. Once you have filled the diaphragm to the brim, then open up the mid section of your lungs, and finally the top. Try to inhale in a single smooth movement.


On the exhale, with pursed lips – simply let go for about eight seconds of exhalation. This full expansion allows your lung to extend completely, and helps exercise the lung. In the book “The Yogi Science of the Breath” they call this type of inhalation the “Yogic Complete Breath”.


You can practice this a few times per day and you will notice a significant improvement in your overall vitality. It’s also a good way to take a moment to re-center yourself, if shit is going a bit haywire.



While the Yogic Complete Breath is definitely going to be something that will give you a boost in life, doing regular breathwork is probably one of your best bets to strengthening the lungs. There are plenty of styles of breathing out there, so depending on the type of person you are – you’ll find something that fits.


A good way to get your feet wet is to buy a breathwork bundle pack, which contain several different modes of breathwork. That way you can experiment with different techniques and see which ones you like.


Of course, there’s also plenty of free material on Youtube where you can experiment with the breath. Not only will you see a major improvement in your breathing capacity, you’ll also feel an overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility as the breath is directly tied to the autonomic nervous system.


In other words, when you realize that by changing your breathing patterns you can actually flip a switch in your nervous system – it’s a game changer!



In the end, these suggestions are simply meant to make you aware of the fact that whenever you smoke anything, you’re still doing some damage to the organism. Being conscious about what it is you’re doing can go a long way in mitigating lasting damage.


At the very least I hope you realize that you don’t need to hold big monster hits to “get higher”.


In fact, if you want to get “high” on the breath, just go ahead, smoke a bowl of your favorite weed – wait like 10-15 minutes, and stretch…then, lie down flat on the back, put on some headphones, and do this breathwork video.

Afterwards – let me know how high you felt.





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What Can Other Countries Learn from First-Mover Canada’s Shrinking Medical Marijuana Industry?




Canadian medical market shrinking

Since its peak, the regulated medical cannabis industry in Canada has declined a bigger rate than most people thought would happen with recreational legalization. This decline began even before the legalization of recreational marijuana in October 2018 to be precise, and has continued as adult-use sales have replaced controlled medical cannabis purchases.


According to experts, the ease of purchasing from adult-use retailers, difficulties for doctors in approving medical cannabis, a lack of tax benefits for medical cannabis consumers and producers, and the fact that THC potency thresholds apply to both medicinal and recreational cannabis products are all contributing factors to the medical market’s decline.


Those problems could serve as lessons for other countries and regions that approve medical marijuana first before legalizing it for adult usage.




According to data from Statistics Canada, medical cannabis spending in Canada peaked in the fourth quarter of 2017, at 161 million Canadian dollars, nearly a year before recreational marijuana sales started.


The most current statistics indicate that medicinal marijuana sales increased to CA$109 million during the second quarter of 2022 from a low of CA$104 million in the first. According to Brett Zettl, president and CEO of Zyus Life Sciences, a medical marijuana business based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which is getting ready to go public through a reverse takeover, patients are currently just giving up and buying stuff from an adult-use store.


Canada was the first significant economy in the world to federally legalize recreational marijuana use. But established marijuana markets in the US, like Colorado, have shown a similar tendency, with medical markets contracting after recreational legalization.


If Germany implements its proposal to legalize adult use, these tendencies make it uncertain if the country’s largest cannabis market in Europe will experience a similar medicinal market drop.


According to Deepak Anand, a top executive of the charitable advocacy group Medical Cannabis Canada and a consultant on cannabis laws for several international governments, some Germans purchase medical marijuana out of their own pockets, and that segment of the market stands to be impacted by the legalization of adult use.


Anand said that the public health system reimburses about 40% of all German medicinal marijuana prescriptions.


“I don’t think the pattern that we’ve seen in legal markets—where, basically, after recreational legalization, we see medicinal sales have declined—will necessarily continue in Germany,” Anand added.




To obtain dried marijuana, oils, edibles, or topicals through the government’s system, Canadians need a prescription from a doctor or nurse practitioner. This allows people to purchase marijuana straight from licensed dealers for mail delivery.


Both growing medical marijuana at home and purchasing it from a certified grower are acceptable.


As of the end of 2021, just 42,000 people were producing medical marijuana for personal use or others, according to Health Canada.


Comparatively, over 257,000 people registered to purchase cannabis from a commercial grower.


Zettl, a veteran participant in Canada’s regulated MMJ market, suggests that several causes could account for the market’s fall since its 2017 peak.  Zettl stated that the Canadian medical cannabis patient group contained both “genuine medicinal users” and some casual users before the legalization of recreational use in October 2018.  They would attempt to obtain it legally while continuing to take it recreationally, according to Zettl.


Now, he claimed, purchasing marijuana at an adult-use store is easier than utilizing the legal medical marijuana system.


Zettl also thinks that doctors might be reluctant to waste hours filling out medical marijuana permission paperwork and that medical-certification agencies may audit doctors who approve cannabis for an excessive number of patients.


People simply don’t want the inconvenience element, according to Zettl. The hassle aspect is not desired by the doctors.


Following the legalization of cannabis for adult use, new cannabis products, such as edibles, entered the market. However, medical cannabis products are still subject to the same laws as recreational cannabis, including THC limitations on goods like edibles.


Anand said that it would be incorrect to hold recreational and medical marijuana to equal standards, concerning imposing limitations for high THC, for example.


He contends that due to Canada’s preoccupation with legalizing marijuana for recreational use, not just have patients been overlooked, but also regulating policy has been disregarded to a significant degree.”


The patient is going to the illegal market to be able to acquire their products, as we observed and are still experiencing, he continued.


Another historical obstacle for the medical market was the cost of cannabis, according to Anand.  That has improved since recreational use was legalized.


Although it does allow registered patients to deduct medical marijuana costs on their yearly tax returns, Canada does not provide registered medical cannabis users with any special tax treatment.


Patients who purchase medical marijuana pay retail taxes, just like they would at a store selling recreational goods, and growers pay the same excise taxes as those on cannabis for adult use.


Anand stated that it simply doesn’t make sense since, in Canada, there is no tax on any other medicinal products.




To get Canada’s medical marijuana business thriving once more, Anand advocated for legislative changes.


It should be done right away, he argued, to permit pharmacists to administer medical cannabis.  We should also immediately remove taxes and potency restrictions.


The Canadian cannabis sector is hoping for changes to the federal Cannabis Act, which is presently being reviewed.


One of the key subjects for the review, according to the government, is the effect of regulation and legalization of cannabis on accessibility to marijuana for medical purposes.


According to Zyus’ Zettl, the government is utilizing “this recreational-style statute to control and regulate the medical side – and it’s coming at a great disservice for the medicinal usage, on both the doctors’ side and the patient side.


Zettl stated that Zyus is creating three cannabis drug-product candidates to expand the country’s medicinal marijuana industry and anticipates eventually obtaining official Drug Identification Numbers (DINs) from Health Canada.


Because they could be included in insurance companies’ formularies for prescription drugs and doctors could recommend them without worrying about being scrutinized by regulators.


Zettl acknowledged the long-term nature of obtaining DINs for herbal cannabis products.


Therefore, medical marijuana must, in the interim, find methods to appeal to those who are really, honestly utilizing it for medical purposes and offer them a reason to continue using it rather than giving up and only purchasing it (from recreational businesses).



Other countries looking to make recreational cannabis legal at the federal level can take a look at what the move did to the Canadian cannabis market and work on policies and regulations that will be better for the country before legalization takes place.





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Don’t Miss! New York Retail Dispensary Guidelines: What Every CAURD Applicant Needs to Know




Register Here

Date: December 7th, 2022

Time: 2 – 3pm EST

New York recently released its adult-use cannabis retail dispensary guidelines and there is a lot to unpack. We will likely see additional changes to New York’s rules and regulations, but the released guidelines provide a robust initial framework for applicants (past and future) to follow.

Join Harris Bricken’s lead New York cannabis attorneys, Simon Malinowski and Matthew Schwartz as they analyze the recently released regulations.

Simon and Matt will cover operating requirements, employee training, and marketing rules, among many other topics covered in New York’s retail dispensary guidelines.

Check out some of our past Canna Law Blog posts on New York’s cannabis regulation updates:

  1. BREAKING: NY Federal Judge Blocks CAURD Licensing in Five Regions
  2. New York’s Cannabis Retail Dispensary Regulations Are Here!
  3. New York’s Cannabis Retail Dispensary Regulations, Part 1: Dispensary Operations

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CBD is Coming to Your Dentist’s Office




cbd for dentists

The Therapeutic Benefits of CBD for Dentistry and Oral Health


Cannabidiol (CBD) is among the most important compounds in marijuana.


CBD products are typically derived from hemp plants, which contain only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana which causes a high. CBD has numerous valuable applications in medicine, with the potential of its use in various medical fields growing each year thanks to an increasing body of research.


CBD works with the endocannabinoid system, which features receptors all over the body. It’s widely used for treating anxiety, pain, epilepsy, and many other illnesses with little to no side effects.


Many dentists these days, aside from doctors, are seeing the potential of using CBD in their field. In fact, there are even specific CBD products developed for oral health, such as toothpastes, mouthwash, mouth sprays, and creams.


Dental Applications of CBD


There are several ways CBD can be used in dentistry. These include:


  • Post-operative inflammation: Studies show that CBD has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Because of this, dentists may be able to prescribe CBD to reduce the inflammation experienced by patients following oral surgery, root canals, and other procedures.


  • Dental pain: CBD has potent pain-relieving properties, making it a safer, natural alternative to pharmaceutical drugs when it comes to dental pain. Patients may be able to take CBD products to minimize pain before or after certain procedures. Conventional painkillers such as opiates are addictive and cause side effects to patients, while CBD is free of these unwanted side effects.


  • Better sleep: Oral discomfort due to problems and procedures in your teeth and gums can make it difficult to fall asleep. However, proper rest is essential for healing any conditions no matter where in the body. CBD has been known as an effective sleep aid, making it easier for patients to get much-needed sleep following a procedure that may still leave them in discomfort for days after.


CBD For Oral Health


The vast array of CBD’s therapeutic benefits can help individuals improve overall oral health, reducing the need to visit the dentist for treatments.


In a 2020 study by Belgian researchers, they found that cannabinoids were more effective in eliminating the quantity of bacteria that causes dental plaque, when compared to conventional and established oral products like Colgate and Oral B. They followed it up with another study, which revealed that cannabinoid-infused mouthwashes with both CBD and CBG were just as effective when compared to 0.2% chlorhexidine mouthwashes for the reduction of dental plaque.


These findings are significant because chlorhexidine mouthwashes have long been considered as the most effective when it comes to reducing plaque.


However, looking deeper, chlorhexidine does have some side effects. These include possible staining of tooth restorations and surfaces, allergic reactions, light-headedness, mouth sores, gingivitis, tartar, throat and mouth irritation, tongue swelling, change in taste, unpleasant taste, mouth ulcers, and much more.


Other benefits of CBD for oral health include:


  • Treatment of TMJ: TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder is characterized by tenderness or pain along the jaw, in one or both temporomandibular joints. This joint connects the skull to the jaw, which is why it can result in serious discomfort in this part of the head. It can also cause severe pain in and around the ear, difficulty chewing, facial pain, and lock jaw. Conventional treatments for TMJ include pain relievers, antidepressants, and muscle relaxants.


Without effective treatment, some patients may even experience total jaw displacement and chronic pain. However, studies have shown that CBD can be effective in treating the symptoms of TMJ in patients.


  • Prevent tooth decay: Too much bacteria in the mouth produces plaque acids, especially after eating sugar or starches. These bacteria, called Streptococcus mutans, causes enamel erosion and thus, gives you cavities. When cavities grow bigger, it makes it easier for other harmful bacteria to reach deeper in the mouth and cause infections.


As proven by the study by researchers in Belgium, CBD is just as effective as conventional dental care products in protecting your teeth. It can keep your mouth free of the harmful bacteria while ensuring the healthy bacteria still thrive, protecting both your teeth and your gums for healthy oral health.


  • Prevent gum disease: Poor oral hygiene is the number one cause of gum disease. However, genetics can also play a role. Regardless of the cause, gum disease can cause irritation and inflammation in the gums and eventually lead to gingivitis. When gingivitis isn’t addressed, it can evolve to a more serious condition called periodontitis, which compromises the tooth as well as the bone that holds it in place.


Consuming CBD-infused oral health products can prevent inflammation and reduce the damage caused by gum disease.




Just like with other medications, CBD should be used with caution (or avoided altogether) if you are taking prescription drugs. The same is true for anesthesia, since CBD users may need more anesthesia for it to work, especially if it contains epinephrine. Patients who consume CBD (and THC) regularly should always inform their doctor ahead of time. You may be asked to abstain from consumption 2 days before surgery.




More research would certainly be beneficial for backing up the efficacy and safe use of CBD in dentistry. It already clearly has so much potential helping both dentists and patients especially for alleviating anxiety, inflammation, and pain. We expect to see more dental-specific products developed over the next few years to help countless people improve oral health safely with the help of CBD.


Last but not least, CBD should not be seen as a dental cure-all: it’s still important to maintain proper oral hygiene, brush your teeth, and floss regularly.





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