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My Experience: Taking Magic Mushrooms in Goa

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If there’s one place on Earth where magic mushrooms are meant to be consumed it is the sun-kissed, stretched out beaches of Goa. With palm trees hanging over you like an omnibenevolent presence, the sea glinting for what seems like forever, the sky bluer than you’ve ever seen and, of course, the sound of light trance music comfortably guiding you into a meditative state – is there anywhere better to enjoy a psychedelic trip?

Whilst the south Indian state of Goa had its hallucinogenic hayday in the 60s and 70s, this does not mean that the place has completely lost its charm and soul. Drugs are not as easy to find as they were back then and the party scene has definitely become more commercialized, but when I was offered magic mushrooms by a green-haired lady who looked like a character from a Studio Ghibli movie, I knew I couldn’t let the opportunity pass. Maybe this was the chance to experience what the hippie paradise used to be like. This is the story of how I took magic mushrooms in Goa. 

Goa

Goa is one of the 25 districts that exists within the incredibly diverse and huge nation of India. It is the 7th largest country in the world, with the second biggest population. Whilst most know India for its temples, mountains, deserts and spiritual getaways, there is also another reality. This reality is, in essence, Goa. A coastal district in the south of the country, which still has the remnants of its Portuguese colonial past.

This place has some of the best food in the entirety of India, has beaches that stretch for miles and, significantly, had a large part to play in the 60s hippie trail. This was a gigantic journey around the globe that many westerners took in the 1960s – mostly with only a VW van, some light luggage and some great friends. It was a right of passage, a chance to see the world after generations of conflict. The trip for many started in London, went through Europe, into the Middle East and deep into Asia.


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This was, for many, where it ended; others boated over to Australia. Goa was like the promised land, the light at the end of the road. Those who’d managed to get that far would sleep in beach shacks, live in peace and enjoy all types of mind-altering substances. Duncan Cambell writes about his experiences in the Guardian:

“It was possible to live for months on a few quid. A bed in a shared bedroom could be secured for six rupees a night. “Imagine no possessions” was a creed as well as a line in a John Lennon song. Fresh fish, coconut rice. Paperback copies of Hermann Hesse and Rabindranath Tagore, William Burroughs and the Bhagavad Gita were swapped… Disconnection from the west was complete”

The question people seem to ask when they wander around Goa now is: is this still a paradise or is it a paradise lost? In other words, has its time passed? It is often irritating being told by older generations how much better life was in their day. An image of an old man, sitting in his armchair, reading a copy of Nietzsche comes to mind, saying: “back in my day, no one sat around looking at their screens, they would read books and explore the world”. Well maybe Goa was better in the 60s, but at least we have better healthcare, eh? 

Goa now still has its long beaches and palm trees, but they are no longer empty. The majority of the beaches in the North and South are full of resorts and thousands of tourists, many of them more interested in taking the perfect Instagram photo rather than learning about the culture. However, not all hope is lost. The soul of a place cannot be eradicated, but it can be led astray. One writer exemplifies this perfect: 

“While Goa today may not exude the carefree nature of the early 1970s when it was a hub for hedonistic Hippies from around the world, much of the culture that sprung the movement still remains in pockets.”

That is why when I was offered the chance to take magic mushrooms on a Goan beach I simply could not say no. It would be a disrespect to my ancestors. 

Magic Mushrooms in Goa

The drug scene in Goa is certainly different in 2022 from what it was back in the ‘glory years’. Many substances were easily available in the 70s due to a lack of police authority – hashish, LSD and basically anything else. In fact, it wasn’t until the mid 1970s that the majority of recreational drugs were deemed illegal by the government, before that they were accepted. Now, of course, all common drugs are banned and dealt with harshly. You may have to bribe a police officer 100,000 rupees if caught or be put in prison. Many of Goa’s best and most beloved clubs – including Curly’s and Hill Top – have recently been closed down due to drug controversy. Goan authorities are on a dogged mission to end the reputation of the beach district as a substance tourist spot. 

However, whilst I was in Goa it was still possible to find drugs. In the north beach of Arambol it was possible to slyly find hashish or some dodgy meth that was being disguised as cocaine. However, it wasn’t what I had imagined. I dreamt of a chilled shack that sold shroom shakes and hash, but instead I found myself in a dark alleyway and could feel the fear in the dealer’s eyes; being caught by the police being a terrible threat. The India Times writes:

“In the last seven months, Goa police has seized around 100kg of narcotic substances worth over Rs 2.5 croce. Goa police have not only arrested Goans in the trade but also people from outside the state and foreigners… Ganja, caracas, LSD, MDMA, ecstasy tablets and powder, cocaine, hashish oil, heroin and cannabis are among the drugs that have been seized.”

In essence, this wasn’t what I had really been expecting. However, hope was not lost. A few weeks into my trip I was visited by an elder Indian Canadian woman with striking green hair. She was incredibly warm and comforting, I felt like I’d known her my entire life. She approached me at a beach bar in Ashwem and we got chatting. Her line of work was rather extraordinary. She lived in Goa and worked as toad venom shaman; helping people through their trip. I told her my ambition to try psychedelics whilst in Goa and within 30 minutes she’d sold me 10 grams of magic mushrooms. After that she sort of disappeared into the etha, never to be seen again. 

The Trip

I was in Goa with my girlfriend and we were pretty overjoyed that we’d finally managed to find hallucinogens. The next step was to ensure our set and setting were perfect – we didn’t want any bad vibes to ruin our trip. We decided to take them early – 3pm – this way we’d be able to have dinner in the evening and enjoy a chilled sleep. Although, we managed to buy some valium at the pharmacy just in case we found sleep difficult.

We divided the mushrooms into 2 grams each and found a perfect shaded spot on the beach. We didn’t want to overdo the amount – I mean, they looked like liberty caps but how can you ever be sure? A magic mushroom trip usually lasts around 4-6 hours, with the peak coming at around 3 hours in, which we hoped would bring us to the beautiful Goan sunset at around 6pm. 

Then we ate. They tasted awful but we washed them down with a beer. It had been a few years since my last psychedelic trip so I was full of nerves, but I was actively telling myself to simply allow the experience to happen. My intention for the trip was: to see the beauty in everything. To be honest, I realise in hindsight that this intention was a little vague. Anyway, it was hot, very hot. Within 30 minutes I decided to go into the sea to refresh but as I walked back to the sun beds everything went strange. The beach stretched out for miles and everything sounded different; enhanced.

My body was heavier than it had ever been and I felt like I needed to sit down. The trip had begun. With magic mushrooms you often can’t quite work out why you feel a certain way, which is why it took us maybe another 30 minutes before we finally realized that it was the heat that was making our bodies feel so tired. We decided to walk back to our hostel. On the way back everything felt wavey and technicolor, and each interaction with another human felt like a video game. We tried to buy water from a shop owner and it felt like we had some sort of secret. 

The peak of the trip happened in our air conditioned room. We showered probably around 10 times each just because of how good the water felt on our skin. We cried, we had moments alone, we had moments together. An entire lifetime happened in that wavey, orange room. Nothing and everything had the space to occur. It was only when the visuals began to subside slightly that we felt able to go and see the sunset on the beach.

The trip was on its way down but one overriding sense remained: beauty. The world was beautiful. The people, the sunset; everything. We enjoyed some deliciously tasty food – enhanced by the shrooms – and watched as the sunset turned to stars. Whilst the trip was no longer at its peak, we were refreshed, rid of our anxieties and issues. All there was left was to allow the world to truly be its spectacular self in front of our eyes. 

Final Thoughts

Had we found old Goa? Of course not. You cannot recreate the past and you’ll spend your life disappointed if you try. However, we’d found our own version of Goa. Whilst the overriding sun may have caused us to spend a great deal of the trip inside our hostel room, it didn’t stop the experience from being wonderful.

My intention had been to see the beauty in the world and it certainly had worked. I felt clarity. One of the reasons why psilocybin is now being explored as a therapeutic substance is due to this exact experience – people report feeling happier and clearer for months after a psychedelic trip. If I ever return to Goa I hope I will one day meet that green-haired, studio Ghibli character again but – if not – I will simply write it here: thank you.

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Poilievre Misdiagnoses Opioid Crisis – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre misdiagnoses the opioid crisis in the latest video, “Everything Feels Broken.”

In the five-minute video, Poilievre uses a Vancouver tent city as his backdrop to make a case for the drug war.

For a decade, British Columbia (among other Canadian cities) has provided a clean, safe supply of drugs for the addicted.

He calls it a “failed experiment” brought in by “woke Liberal and NDP governments,” before saying he’ll end this policy and instead put taxpayers’ money into recovery and treatment.

The narrative is easy to follow: there is a correlation between safe supply sites and opioid deaths. Ergo, one caused the other.

Unfortunately, data doesn’t support this narrative. Nor does the data support Poilievre’s claim that Alberta‘s anti-drug policy has worked better.

(In fact, how Alberta deals with opioids isn’t all that different from the rest of the country, including having safe supply sites in Edmonton and Calgary).

But if you want to critique Poilievre’s video, there are plenty of articles on this topic.

Most critics, however, defend safe supply sites, claim compassion for addicts, and, far from engaging with Poilievre on his ideas, merely parrot federal Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett by calling the video “irresponsible” and “misguided.”

Pierre Poilievre is wrong about the cause of drug overdose deaths in Canada. And, like his critics, he’s also wrong about throwing money at “treatment and recovery.”

Just as his critics are wrong that taxpayer-funded “safe supply” is the way out of the crisis.

How Poilievre (And his Critics) Misdiagnose the Opioid Crisis

Poilievre Misdiagnoses Opioid Crisis

When Poilievre misdiagnoses the opioid crisis, it comes from a place of politics. His goal is to acquire Justin Trudeau’s PMO power, which has significantly increased since the Harper years.

Therefore, when ordinary families are facing a shortage of children’s pain medication, it’s apt time to go after the taxpayer-funded supply of hard drugs.

Especially since a decade of “safe supply” hasn’t produced immediate results.

Now, critics are right to point out that, in B.C., over 80% of overdoses don’t occur in the street but in a private residence or shelter. The problem is less about homeless people dying in the streets than the toxicity of street drugs.

That’s why safe supply sites work, say the supporters.

And Poilievre isn’t opposed to using taxpayer money to fund treatment policies. He disagrees with the means.

But in a discussion about Poilievre’s “Everything Feels Broken” video, almost no one has mentioned the elephant in the room: the corporate pharmaceutical conglomerates.

They caused the opioid crisis and profit from supplying methadone and Suboxone to safe supply sites.

Poilievre critics would be wise to stop with the surface-level attacks and get to the core of the issue. And Poilievre’s supporters would be wise to question their leader’s motives and proposed solutions.

If you want a villain, look no further than McKinsey & Company.

How McKinsey & Company Caused the Opioid Crisis

Poilievre Misdiagnoses Opioid Crisis

McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm. They’ve been around since the 1920s and are considered one of the “Big Three” consulting agencies worldwide.

They’ve also been involved in many controversies, from Enron, the ’08 financial crisis, insider trading, conflicts of interest, and associations with murderous dictators, including Saudi Arabia.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise they’ve played a role in the opioid epidemic.

McKinsey & Company wanted to “turbocharge” Oxycontin sales. They proposed strategies to combat the messages from real parents who lost their children to Oxy overdoses.

They also advised opioid makers on how to circumvent government regulations.

They’re the type of firm to crunch the numbers and figure out that it’s cheaper to pay $36.8 million to the families who’ve lost someone from an overdose than to stop selling the toxic crap.

In 2018/19, McKinsey & Company collected over $400 million by consulting pharmaceutical companies.

McKinsey’s services turned Endo from a small generic opioid manufacturer to one of the world’s largest opioid businesses.

McKinsey also recommended targeting and influencing doctors. They wanted elderly and long-term care patients hooked on opioids.

They’re staffed by a revolving door of consultants who either come from (or go on to work for) government regulators like the FDA and pharmaceutical clients like Purdue.

Purdue Pharma went into bankruptcy and had to pay a multi-billion-dollar settlement because it “intentionally conspired and agreed with others to aid and abet” the over-prescribing of painkillers “without a legitimate medical purpose.”

The idiom “the fox is guarding the henhouse,” has never been more relevant.

Poilievre spends five minutes criticizing his political opponents instead of the corporate-state cartel that has brought us to this point. That’s when you know Poilievre is misdiagnosing the opioid crisis.

Poilievre Misdiagnoses Opioid Crisis

While Poilievre misdiagnoses the opioid crisis, he does mention in passing the doctors who “prescribed and over-prescribed,” opioids.

For someone who goes on about gatekeepers, you’d think Poilievre could put two and two together. Yet, this was far as he went with that line of criticism.

If Poilievre wants to go after Justin Trudeau, why not point out that our blackface PM made a McKinsey crony (Dominic Barton) Canada’s ambassador to China in 2019?

(Although, in Justin’s defence, you could argue that dealing with a murderous regime that doesn’t believe in the sanctity of human life requires an ambassador who feels the same way).

Like most of Poilievre’s critiques of government, he misdiagnoses the opioid crisis by not going deeper into the issue and pointing fingers at his political opposition instead of the merging of corporate and state power.

And why would he?

Like Liberal and NDP governments, Conservatives adhere to lobbying concerns more than their constituents.

And when constituents get rowdy, like organizing an occupation in the nation’s capital, the corporate press is there to propagate a narrative that fools the masses and protects the financial interests of the elite.

That’s where critics on both sides fail to grasp the nature of the opioid crisis. Not only did pharmaceutical corporations cause this crisis (with help from the state), but they also profit from the proposed “solutions,” including safe supply.

So what’s the answer?

How Poilievre Can Reverse His Misdiagnoses of the Opioid Crisis

Poilievre Misdiagnoses Opioid Crisis

In his “Everything feels broken” video, where Poilievre misdiagnoses the opioid crisis, he proposes statist solutions like toughening security at the border to keep illegal drugs out of the country.

That’s obviously unrealistic. You’d have to claim complete ignorance of the global fentanyl trade to believe “strengthening the border” would work.

Further, Poilievre says, “There is no safe supply of these drugs.”

Indicating that even if we rid the country of killer opioids like fentanyl and carfentanyl, we’d still have a drug problem.

As if the mere existence of an opioid is enough to justify the drug war.

You won’t find the correct solution from Poilievre’s brand of quasi-libertarian politics. And you won’t find an answer from the various left-wing parties who have never found a problem more government spending couldn’t fix.

Politicians know who butters their bread. Additionally, cultural norms and attitudes about drugs shape our thinking.

But no matter how you slice it: no one has a right to your body except you.

Taken to its logical conclusion, someone throwing you in a cage for consuming opioids is an aggressor and a tyrant.

Meaning, the solution to Canada’s opioid crisis is to legalize heroin.

Legalizing “Hard” Drugs

Photo credit: Trey Patric Helten

Is there a difference between “hard” drugs like heroin and “soft” drugs like cannabis? Is one more addictive than the other? What about alcohol? Is that a “hard” or “soft” drug?

Perhaps the distinction itself is arbitrary.

Some drugs are more dangerous than others. Just as riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than driving a car. 

Too much of our conversation surrounding drugs, especially opioids, is wrapped up in language about “losing control” and “involuntarily behaviour.”

But this narrative is entirely false. Just as there are responsible cannabis consumers, there are responsible opioid consumers.

Problems arise when people behave according to the ideas they have about drugs. No one is living on the street and committing crimes to get their hands on refined sugar.

But if you limit the supply of the sweet stuff, I can guarantee you societal chaos is around the corner.

A refined sugar prohibition would incentive an illegal supply of sugar. And cutting that white powder with non-sugar is a sketchy but efficient way to boost profits.

Would the solution be to put sugar addicts into rehab centres where they lose whatever autonomy they have left?

Or would the solution be to set up clinics where the people jonesing the hardest could go for a safe supply?

Or is the solution legalizing all sugar and letting individuals decide what is best for them?

Poilievre misdiagnoses opioid crisis. But so do his critics. The answer is obvious. It’s only drug war propaganda that keeps us from seeing it. 





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My Personal Ketamine Experience: Part 1 – The First Infusion

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Ketamine might be all the rage these days when it comes to treating psychological issues, but the reality of these treatments is not often written about, and personal experiences are hard to find. Mostly you’ll just find promotional articles and a few studies. Of course, realities don’t always meet the hype, and perhaps one of the biggest lessons to learn about ketamine therapy, is that it will not work for everyone, and results can vary. It’s important for prospective patients to understand the different possibilities when going in for treatment. This article is my own highly personal experience of my first ketamine infusion.

First off, a little about me

One of the hardest things to do in life is be open about a psychological issue, and its probably for this reason that personal accounts of ketamine therapy are few and far between. Not many people want to actually talk about what drove them to seek treatment in the first place. And while I often consider myself a private person, I think there are times when it’s good to open up for the good of others and public knowledge in general. And for that reason I will tell you a little about me. At least enough to know how I ended up in a ketamine clinic.

I am a child of psychological and physical abuse, as many of us are. My problems are not hard to come by in the general public, and there are plenty of people that can relate. I grew up in a very tense environment, which led to an array of anxiety-related issues, the biggest one regarding my ability to sleep. I am considered an intractable insomniac. I do not respond to regular medications. This can be expanded to anxiety as a whole, though the largest issue I deal with on a consistent basis, is the ability for sleep. As ketamine is looked into for insomnia issues, it is indeed a reason for prescription, along with the underlying anxiety issues that cause it.

You will see different words used to explain this concept of non-response to treatments. ‘Treatment-resistant’ is the most well understood, but you will also see it as ‘intractable’ or ‘refractory.’ All of these words when used with a diagnosis next to them, mean ‘it ain’t responding to anything.’ This is far more common than many realize. Sometimes it’s hard to know that because these aren’t pleasant subjects to speak about, and many people won’t.


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A large part of the ketamine industry is based around the idea that it can possibly help those, that aren’t helped by other treatments or medications. However, it’s also available simply as an alternate treatment for those who don’t like conventional medications. I fit into both categories. I’ve been through the ringer enough in life to know I am unresponsive, but I’m also not a huge fan of the conventional pills that get doled out. I prefer alternative therapies that don’t involve standard medications.

A last point to make about my situation, is that I did not go to a clinic in America, I went to a doctor in Mexico. I am told he is one of only 15 in the country that currently provides this treatment, so its not the set-up industry it now is in the States. However, the doctor I found has been providing such treatments for two years, mostly for pain, but for other issues like mine as well.

The infusion, and the basics of what to expect

I cannot say how this goes in a clinic specifically geared toward these treatments. I can only give my experience of going to a psychiatrist where I am, who provides the treatment. There is less protocol available, and it was my decision originally to undergo an initial six treatments, as it tends to be done in the more set-up industry in America. I was provided very little information on what to expect, or the possible outcomes.

There are different ways to receive ketamine treatment. It can be injected into a muscle (IM), given as a nasal spray (esketamine), provided as a sublingual tab, given as a pill, or the original way, by infusion (IV). I did the infusion. That means I had an IV hooked up to my arm for somewhere between 45 minutes and one hour. For people that don’t like IVs or needles in general, this is probably not the best option, and the other forms of ingestion might be more desirable. This was the only mode of delivery offered to me.

It is administered by weight, but this is less precise than many articles make it sound, or at least it was in my situation. I gave my approximate weight, and an anesthesiologist, whose job it is to be able to eyeball such things, set the dosage for my weight. In my case, I wasn’t actually weighed. I was okay with this, but if you feel better with more precise measurements, make them weigh you. I was given standard racemic ketamine. That just means it was regular ketamine, and not esketamine or arketamine, which make up the two halves of the molecule.

I sat on a couch in a semi-comfortable office with no outside view. A private office within a bigger hospital. I had an IV stuck in my left hand. As my veins are a little narrow, this meant a bruised hand for the next several days. My second treatment was done in my arm for this reason. The doctor asked my music preferences, I said classical was fine, and classical music was put on.

First infusion – my experience

I cannot say the exact dose I was given, but I can say how it felt. I can also say that because I had anxiety over an IV infusion (never had anything like this before), I was given a small amount of xanax beforehand. There is debate in the ketamine therapy world as to whether benzodiazepines can hinder the experience, and honestly, I can’t answer that, and neither can my doctor. I can only say I did have a small amount in my system because of the fear of being hooked up to an IV. Those like me who haven’t undergone many (or any) medical treatments in life might understand the anxiety.

I didn’t spin out, or hallucinate wildly. The idea of ketamine treatment is to use sub-anesthetic doses. As in, you won’t end up in a ‘k-hole‘. I had an experience less often written about. The ketamine produced an anxiety in me, referred to online as ‘ketamine-induced anxiety.’ The issue with new industries is that they get hyped by only the success stories, and the realities of all the possibilities are often left out.

My doctor never mentioned this term, and I had to look into it myself. This is a negative perhaps of going to a doctor in a less set-up industry, where less background information is made available. When it comes to ketamine treatments, non-responders, or negative-responders are actually a large group, and this makes sense. Barely anything in life works for everyone, as we are all so physiologically different. My response is therefore not uncommon, though it isn’t often spoken of yet, probably because it’s not the desired outcome. But, again, its still common, and that makes it important to know about for anyone seeking treatment.

It wasn’t all-out bad though. I certainly felt spacey, and sort of out-there, though I did not hallucinate, or lose track of reality. As an example of my body’s desire to fend off treatments, I actually felt it in waves, which is the opposite of how it should feel when hooked up to an IV. The doctor did what isn’t often done in these treatments (and is more well known for psychedelic treatments) and talked me through it, partly to keep my mind off the anxiety. We went over childhood issues, and patterns of response. He gave me some interesting insights.

When the infusion was over I calmed down partially when the IV was taken out, indicating this method of ingestion is probably not the right one for me. As I calmed down in the following 20 minutes or so, a sick, nauseous feeling crept in. Ketamine is known for this, it doesn’t seem to mean anything in terms of whether the treatment will work, and is a side effect of the medication.

For the next 24 hours or so, I can honestly say I didn’t care about a lot of the things that had been troubling me. I was able to put things on hold that I had not been able to before. I didn’t have a desire to check my phone, or a need to get back to people urgently. It was actually a good feeling, though it was undermined a bit by the sick feeling that persisted, and a general heaviness.

Ketamine first infusion
Ketamine first infusion

Truth is, this is common too, and can go on even into the next day, as it did for me. Also something not explained by my doctor. The following day it was more a tired feeling, and the good effects wore off throughout the day. While I was able to get more sleep the first night, that was the only night this was true of that first treatment.

I cannot say I felt a response past that point, but this is also common of ketamine treatments. It’s sometimes described online as planting a flower and tending to it over several sessions, without expecting full results right away. So, I was optimistic. I did feel something temporarily, it really did feel like a possible start. I scheduled my second infusion for four days later.

Conclusion

This article relates to my own personal experience with ketamine treatments. It is not generalizable to the entire population, and is meant to help those looking into this treatment, to know some of the possible things to expect. Everyone that tries treatment will have their own experience. Some will not sound like mine. Read the next installment to find out more about my second infusion.

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Does CBD Modulate THC? No, Says Study – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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Does CBD modulate the effects of THC? No, says a new study.

For years, both experience and research have indicated that CBD has a mitigating effect when consumed with THC.

For example, budtenders suggest a THC-strain balanced with CBD for new consumers to avoid overwhelming them.

When an experienced stoner has eaten an edible or taken some oil and feels too high – they use CBD to take the edge off.

But a recent study suggests this is all placebo.

How Could CBD Modulate THC?

CBD Modulate THC

More extensive studies will conclusively determine if CBD modulates THC. But for now, we’ll have to rely on conflicting research and anecdotal experiences.

CBD and THC have drastically different effects. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, the most famous of all cannabis compounds. THC binds to our cannabinoid receptors to produce the “high” feeling.

CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t directly bind to our cannabinoid receptors. It is more like a psychedelic in that it targets the serotonin 5-HT1A receptors, which we find primarily in our stomach.

CBD also prolongs the life span of our endogenous cannabinoids: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG).

These endogenous cannabinoids bind to our cannabinoid receptors. Researchers figure that because CBD inhibits the breakdown of anandamide in the cannabinoid one receptor, THC can’t fully bind and thus has a muted effect.

Research performed under double-blind, placebo-controlled conditions suggested CBD can reduce the unpleasant effects of THC.

Other research disputes this. But what about this new study?

Does CBD Modulate THC? No, Says Study

psychosis

According to the latest study no, CBD does not modulate the effects of THC. Published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacologythis randomized, double-blind cross-over trial was thorough.

Researchers recruited 46 healthy volunteers ranging from 21 to 50 years old. They’d used cannabis before but not more than once per week during the previous year. Researchers asked them to inhale cannabis vapour containing 10mg of THC combined with different levels of CBD. 

So per experiment, they consumed a 10:0 ratio, then a balanced 10:10 ratio, followed by 10:20, and then 10:30. In other words, by the last experiment, participants were inhaling more CBD per milligram than THC. 

After each experiment, the researchers asked the participants to complete a set of tasks. Researchers measured “psychotic symptoms,” including “cognitive, subjective, pleasurable, pharmacological and physiological effects.”

For example, THC is associated with delayed verbal recall. The study said CBD did not improve those scores.

The study concludes, “There was no evidence of CBD modulating the effects of THC on other cognitive, psychotic, subjective, pleasurable, and physiological measures.”

Even going further to suggest, “This should be considered in health policy and safety decisions about medicinal and recreational cannabis.”

Yet, did this study conclusively determine these results? Even the authors admit their research can only go so far without a placebo-controlled group.

To suggest that “no evidence that CBD protects against the acute adverse effects of cannabis,” while other double-blind clinical trials have shown otherwise, indicates more to the story.

Building a CBD Tolerance 

CBD Modulate THC

This latest study suggested that CBD does not modulate the effects of THC in the short term. But what about the long term?

Cannabis connoisseurs know about tolerance. If you smoke weed daily, you build up a tolerance to THC. You can take a few days off and let your cannabinoid receptors reset. When you return to the herb, you’ll feel the effects more with less.

CBD might work the opposite way. It may promote receptor sensitivity, meaning you need less over time.

CBD may also reestablish homeostatic levels (bringing balance to your endocannabinoid system). So while it may give the impression it’s not doing anything, CBD is working with your system without producing the “psychotic symptoms,” of THC. 

At least one study suggests the longer you use CBD, the lower dosages you’ll need. Which is another way of saying: you need to build up some CBD in your system before it can work. 

With that in mind, how accurate was this new study? A short-term look at people inhaling THC-CBD vapour after a year of virtually no consumption?

And no placebo-controlled group, to boot.

Yet, these researchers want their inconclusive opinions “considered in health policy and safety decisions” about cannabis.

The Problem With the “CBD Doesn’t Modulate THC” Study

Langara College grant

Of course, the apparent problem with this “CBD doesn’t modulate THC” study is its short-term aspect, the lack of a placebo group, and the cannabis delivery method.

Cannabis is a complex plant, and if you consume THC or CBD through edibles, the body will process the cannabinoids differently.

Same for plant extracts. Were the volunteers of this study taking THC and CBD isolates in vape format? Or were these full-spectrum products containing other cannabinoids like CBG and CBN?

What would result if a participant ate 10mg of CBD edibles for two weeks straight and then smoked a one-gram joint with 25% THC? And what if we paired them with a participant who didn’t consume CBD two weeks prior? 

This is why more research is needed before inconclusive results should be “considered” in government policy. 

But the big problem with the “CBD doesn’t modulate THC” study comes down to bias.

The study says, “Cannabis users may reduce harms when using a higher CBD:THC ratio, due to the reduced THC exposure rather than the presence of CBD.”

Throughout the paper, the researchers engage in a priori extremism by labelling THC “harmful” without further discussion. It’s one of the biases built into the study. And we saw it earlier by referring to THC’s effects as “psychotic symptoms.”

But what evidence links cannabis, particularly the effects of THC, to “psychotic symptoms?”

When we consume THC, we don’t become “psychotic.” We get high. We become stoned. The fact that they didn’t use a neutral, scientific term to describe THC’s effects brings the entire paper into question.

Not to mention, English and Australian universities funded this study. Two countries not exactly known for their legal recreational cannabis markets. (Even their medical program is strictly controlled and absurdly risk-averse).

Furthermore, we have conclusive, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies that prove that CBD reduces anxiety. And since higher concentrations of THC cause anxiety in some people, it’s no surprise we have past studies indicating that CBD modulates the effects of THC. 

What Did This Study Prove?

CBD Modulate THC

The problem with this “CBD doesn’t modulate THC” study is its bias and limited scope. They created a category of “psychotic symptoms.” Then they tested this theory on a small group of participants in the short term without any placebo-controlled group.

It may be that CBD isn’t the modulating agent we think it is. Further studies may validate the conclusions of this study. 

But further research is needed. Governments destroyed nutrition science in the 20th century by accepting half-baked theories and biased research as proven facts.

With cannabis legalization sweeping the world, we cannot allow the same thing to happen to cannabinoid-based therapies. 





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