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Medical Marijuana

Insights on Libido and Pleasure

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In the “Ask Well” column, there’s been chatter about treatments for low libido in women. After that, a bunch of folks started wondering if cannabis might just be one of those potential remedies.

Now, this isn’t just a random question. The U.S. House of Representatives just passed a bill decriminalizing marijuana on a federal level. Marijuana, the most commonly used federally illegal drug, is now allowed for medical use in 37 states and for adult use in 18. According to a 2020 survey, about 18% of Americans over 12 had tried it in the past year, and over 67% are all for legalization, based on various polls.

To dive deeper into the connection between cannabis and sexuality, we reached out to some experts, including a gynecologist who’s been studying marijuana use in women.

Here’s the bottom line: It’s tough to say for sure if cannabis will boost sexual desire or enhance one’s sex life. But, there’s plenty of stories out there suggesting that the right dose of cannabis can make women’s sexual experiences more fulfilling and increase their libido. Part of this might be because cannabis can heighten the senses and ease symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, and pain that can put a damper on desire. It might also have some positive effects for men, but there are some potential downsides women should be aware of. So, what’s the research saying?

For ages, both men and women have reported that cannabis changes their sexual experience. Way back in 1971, the astronomer Carl Sagan, a regular toker himself, wrote that cannabis “enhances the enjoyment of sex” and gives an “exquisite sensitivity.”

But, research on cannabis and libido is kinda thin, partly because of the challenges in funding studies on a federally illegal substance in the U.S. Most of the research leans on survey data, which can be biased towards folks who already use cannabis and doesn’t necessarily represent the general population. Plus, these surveys don’t give the full picture on dosage, how it’s taken, or when.

Despite these hurdles, the limited evidence suggests that marijuana seems to enhance the sexual experience for many women who already partake.

Dr. Becky K. Lynn, a sexual medicine and menopause expert and founder of Evora Women’s Health in St. Louis, has had patients come to her with low libido complaints. Some have said, “I’ve got low libido. Can you help?” and then mentioned that cannabis helps them climax without a hitch. They also reported a libido boost from using marijuana.

 

Dr. Lynn, who also teaches at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, led a 2019 study surveying 373 women at an OB-GYN clinic in Missouri. Of them, 34% said they’d used marijuana before getting intimate, and most said it led to increased desire, more satisfying orgasms, and less pain.

Other research has found that some women use cannabis to manage menopause symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and vaginal changes like dryness – all things that can tank libido if left unchecked.

Additionally, an online survey of over 200 women and men cannabis users found that about 60% said cannabis boosted their desire, while nearly 74% reported greater sexual satisfaction. However, this study, done by experts in Canada and published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, noted that 16% said they saw improvements in some sexual areas but not others, and just under 5% felt their sexual experience was worse.

Research on cannabis use and male sexual function is also sparse and has mixed results. The International Society for Sexual Medicine reports that some men say marijuana improves their performance, while others might experience issues like reduced motivation for sex, erectile dysfunction, trouble climaxing, or premature ejaculation. Plus, cannabis use has been linked to reductions in sperm count, concentration, motility, and viability.

Starting low and going slow is key when it comes to any substance, including cannabis.

If a doctor gives the green light for cannabis use in a legal state, Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a primary care doc at Massachusetts General Hospital and a cannabis medicine expert, advises newbies to start with a “small dose”, sometimes as low as 1 milligram of THC, marijuana’s main psychoactive compound. According to him, in low doses, cannabis might help increase libido, but in high doses, it might not work as well and could even cause anxiety and paranoia. Plus, in high doses, it might inhibit climax, achieving the opposite of what’s desired.

Dr. Lynn agrees that it’s essential to start small and go slow.

The right amount of marijuana can vary from person to person, so it’s crucial to pay attention to how your body responds individually.

Since cannabis can affect judgment, coordination, and reaction times, folks using psychoactive substances before or during intimacy should make sure both they and their partners are in a position to have safe and consensual relations.



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Parkinson’s Disease and Medical Marijuana

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Michael J Fox brought attention to Parkinson’s at his recent appearance at the BAFTA awards.  But what about Parkinson’s Disease and Medical Marijuana

Parkinson’s disease is one of the worst things to happen to a person. Ultimately, an active mind will be trapped in a non-functioning body. Along with the physical symptoms of Parkinson’s, many people with the diagnosis also experience psychosis, which begins with mild symptoms. This mental side of Parkinson’s can start with confusion and progress to include hallucinations and dementia. Michael J. Fox, the actor, is one of the most famous faces of the disease. The actor received a standing ovation during a surprise appearance at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) Sunday. But what about Parkinson’s disease and medical marijuana.

RELATED: Science Says Medical Marijuana Improves Quality Of Life

Long an advocate for more research and discovering treatments to help patients, Fox has been a leader in the field.  His Foundation has shared research to date lacks the data to prove benefits or safety. Thus, doctors don’t have strong evidence to guide recommendations on what to use or how to truly help patients. Still, many people are interested in trying this therapy. In 2020, The Michael J. Fox Foundation convened a workshop on medical marijuana with field leaders and other Parkinson’s organizations.

The limited amount of true research completed has had mixed or conflicting results (some positive, some negative). On questionnaires, people often report benefit on pain, sleep, mood, or motor symptoms such as tremor or stiffness. But many also report side effects. This leaves patients, doctors and researchers with insufficient evidence to guide use.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis. In limited studies, THC has shown to improve both activity and hand-eye coordination in an animal model. A clinical study of 22 patients with the Parkenson’s and smoking marijuana, resulted in improvement of motor symptoms such as bradykinesia, resting tremor, rigidity, and posture, along with with non-motor symptoms such as sleep and pain.

RELATED: 5 Morning Activities To Help You Feel Happier

Cannabis has been used for hundreds of years for pain relief, improving sleep and for other purposes, there is still very little evidence regarding its efficacy and safety. Parkinson’s Europe is more positive toward research and information. They note many clinical studies into cannabis as a Parkinson’s treatment have been hampered by regulatory restrictions or have had various shortcomings.



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Brighton to allow marijuana stores for the first time

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The city of Brighton is about to get a little greener.

This week, the Brighton City Council voted 7-2 to allow recreational marijuana shops for the first time. The council-approved ordinance allows for the establishment of four stores, with two of the licenses reserved for social equity applicants. Applications open March 1.

This will be the first time Brighton, which is located primarily in Adams County, has ever allowed cannabis businesses within city limits, despite the fact that recreational weed has been legal in Colorado for a decade and medical marijuana has been legal since 2000. The city still prohibits cultivation and manufacturing businesses.

Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.



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Medical Marijuana

Cannabidiol in Epilepsy Treatment: Understanding CBD’s Role

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By: Juan Sebastian Chaves Gil

The therapeutic use of cannabidiol (CBD) is a subject of controversy. While its application to treat various conditions such as anxiety, stress, insomnia, or certain chronic pains is on the rise, scientific and clinical evidence regarding the effects of this component of cannabis remains limited. In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that CBD has only been proven effective in some types of epilepsy after clinical trials, as research for other diseases is less advanced.

Several studies have shown the positive effects of cannabidiol in the treatment of refractory epilepsies, those that do not respond to conventional antiepileptic medications. However, neurologist Ángel Aledo Serrano warns about the need for caution and the importance of using it under the prescription and supervision of a neurologist.

There is a positive perception of CBD due to its natural origin, but Dr. Aledo emphasizes that it is crucial to adjust expectations, as it is not a universal remedy or healthier than other medications just because it comes from a plant.

In Spain, the only scientifically endorsed medication for certain epilepsies and authorized by the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Medical Devices (AEMPS) is Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ Epidyolex. This medication is indicated for Dravet Syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, and Tuberous Sclerosis, all of which are rare epileptic syndromes that are difficult to control with conventional medications.

Dravet Syndrome, a common genetic epilepsy, was the first to demonstrate the beneficial effects of CBD. Its application began ten years ago with the case of Charlotte Figi, an American girl with this syndrome, whose epileptic seizures significantly improved with a CBD-rich and low-THC cannabis treatment.

 

Despite the proven efficacy in Dravet Syndrome, Epidyolex has recently obtained approval in Spain to treat epileptic seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis, a rare genetic disease.

Regarding administration, cannabidiol can be used in children and adults of various ages, although its effectiveness is not as supported in children under 2 years old due to a lack of research. Epidyolex is presented in syrup form and is taken twice a day, with precautions regarding dosage to avoid adverse effects. Dr. Aledo highlights that the use of CBD is not as common as other antiepileptics due to its specific indication for rare and severe epilepsies.

Additionally, he underscores that its high cost, approximately 1,000 euros per bottle of Epidyolex, also contributes to its limited use.

As for the effects, cannabidiol improves the quality of life by reducing the frequency and intensity of epileptic seizures, although it rarely eliminates them entirely. Moreover, it can have a positive impact on cognition and behavior.

However, potential adverse effects, such as drowsiness, dizziness, diarrhea, and blood abnormalities, especially in liver transaminases, should be considered and monitored regularly.

Although Epidyolex is the only scientifically endorsed cannabidiol for epilepsy and is only available in hospital pharmacies, CBD is legally sold in parapharmacies in various forms and brands not scientifically tested. This poses risks as it lacks the necessary medical supervision, as the amount of cannabidiol and other components is not guaranteed and can vary, leading to intoxication or insufficient doses. Dr. Aledo emphasizes the importance of caution and consultation with a specialist in refractory epilepsies before resorting to products without scientific endorsement.



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