Cannabis and Sleep

Do you use Cannabis to help you sleep?  Do you sleep better because of it?

There is not much actual scientific evidence because of its illegal status.  Most of the studies were conducted in the 1970s.

Cannabis is a very complex drug with varying effects depending on the variety of the plant, the way it is ingested, the setting in which it is used, and the psychological set of the user.

In general, Cannabis has three different strains that have different psychoactive characteristics depending on the specific chemical make up of the plants. Cannabis sativa is the most commonly used strain and generally is the most psychoactive. Recent strains have been produced which are extremely psychedelic while others are more sedative.

The drug effects are caused by cannabinoids that attach to our cannabinoid receptors in our nervous system.  Primarily THC (tetrahydocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidol) are responsible for the psychologic effects, although their effects may be modified by other cannabinoids.  THC in small doses is sedative, in moderate doses is a stimulant, in large doses is a psychedelic, and in very large doses can cause psychotic-like symptoms.  

Various factors come into play.  Cannabis can be eaten, smoked, or vaporized.  It's effects can differ based on the environment.  A quiet, calm environment is less likely to result in anxiety.  Also, some people are more sensitive to it's effects. 

In the 1970 studies, it was found that cannabis actually decreased REM sleep initially but this disappeared with continued use.  It did decrease the amount of time it took to fall asleep.

It's too bad that further research cannot be conducted because of it's illegality.  More studies need to be conducted.  What are your experiences?  I know it definitely helps me to sleep.  I'm more relaxed, I fall asleep faster, and seem to sleep sound the whole night.  

Cannabis and Driving

Does cannabis affect our ability to drive?  Do you expect to see more accidents in Temecula and Murrieta, California because of legalized Cannabis?

Does the presence of a drug in the body indicate impairment?  Currently 11 states have a 0 tolerance for THC in the blood of drivers although NTSB researchers have pointed out that the presence of THC in your blood does not indicate impairment.  THC persists in the human body long after effects of cannabis have worn off. The researchers concurred that certain amounts of alcohol were directly linked with impaired driving, but were not able to establish a level at which THC impairs driving.

NTSB conducted three studies in 1993 and published their findings in "Marijuana And Actual Driving Performance".  The studies included drivers who had smoked cannabis with one on a highway closed to other traffic, one with other traffic, and one who had drunk alcohol.

The studies assessed various aspects of driving -maintaining a steady speed, maintaining a safe position in traffic, following another car in traffic, and urban driving. The subjects were also made to perform simple physical tests to determine levels of impairment.  The cannabis smokers perceived their driving worse than the observers and the conclusion was that cannabis smokers drive more carefully when they know they are impaired.

Information from decades of statistics of auto fatalities in the US shows that cannabis can modestly impair driving, but alcohol and prescription pills fair much worse with loss of motor coordination and impaired perception.

So, we may not see increased traffic accidents in Temecula or Murrieta, California because of legalized cannabis, but you still should not drive being impaired even just a little bit.  Just as drinkers have a designated driver, tokers should have one too.

I know many people who insist that cannabis makes them drive even safer.  What do you think?

Cannabis and Cancer

Cannabis plants produce cannabinoids. The cannabinoids are: Delta-9-THC which is the primary psychoactive (high) ingredient, cannabinol, cannabidiol (CBD), cannabichromene, cannabigerol, tetrahydrocannabivarin, and delta-8-THC. CBD, in particular, is thought to have significant pain relief and anti-inflammatory activity without the psychoactive effect (high) of delta-9-THC.

Studies performed from 2001 to 2004 suggested that cannabinoids may have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect the normal cells and may even protect them from cell death.

Studies performed in 2010 and 2011 found that cannabis caused cell death in breast cancer cells. CBD inhibited the survival of the cancer cells while keeping normal mammary cells healthy.

In 2012 studies of CBD has also demonstrated a preventive effect against chemotherapy in a study of colon cancer. Those treated with cannabinoids were protected from developing premalignant and malignant lesions. They even found that CBD protected DNA from oxidative damage. Another investigation into the antitumor effects of CBD found that it lead to decreased cancer cell invasiveness.

CBD may also enhance uptake of drugs into malignant cells. Receptors can become resistant to the uptake of cytotoxic drugs. CBS increased this uptake of the drugs, leading to cell death in glioma cells. Also, CBD together with THC may enhance the antitumor activity of classic chemotherapeutic drugs such as temozolomide.

Appetite Stimulation

Many studies have previously demonstrated that delta-9-THC and other cannabinoids have a stimulatory effect on appetite and increase food intake. It is believed that the cannabinoid system may serve as a regulator of feeding behavior. In 2006, a study found that the cannabinoid anandamide potently enhances appetite. Moreover, CB1 receptors in the hypothalamus may be involved in the motivational or reward aspects of eating.

Pain Relief

Studies in 1998 and 1999 found that CB1 receptors found in both the central nervous system (CNS) and in peripheral nerve terminals received the cannabinoids and decreased pain without the loss of consciousness.

Studies from 1995 through 2015 found that Cannabinoids may also contribute to pain relief through an anti-inflammatory mechanism, comparable with morphine used for tumor pain.

In summary, Cannabis Cannabinoids are helpful to modern medicine with the absorption of drugs as well as the affects of Cannabinoids on the cells, stimulated appetite, and pain suppression.

Should we medicate our animals with Cannabis?

Should we medicate our animals with Cannabis?

Having an animal companion comes with a lot of responsibilities, including supporting him or her through illness and the end of life can be one of the most difficult times. We want to know that the treatments we are giving our animals are effective, humane, and causing more good than harm. Since our animals may not be able to show us how they feel, we are often left to make decisions about their medical treatments based on advice and good intentions.

There is evidence that marijuana was used to treat horses by the Ancient Greeks through a treatment called Berlin Hippiatrica, which involves placing a mixture of herbs, including marijuana, on a horse’s wounds. A modern version was developed in San Diego. But topical preparations and non-psychoactive versions of marijuana are not the only products being investigated by vets.

We have a friend who is a registered veterinarian technician who told us that if NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-Inflammatory drugs) did not work for our dog's arthritis, then we would have to use a steroidal drug which shortens your dog's life.  Our dog continued to get worse, so we opted to try cannabis oil.  After two days of having a small amount of cannabis oil, she was energized, eating, happier, and became playful.  Our dog continued to life another year and outlived her average breed age by 4 years.

Conversely,  some people feel that since animals can't tell you how they feel, you shouldn't give them a psychoactive drug.  Just like people, dogs react to cannabis in different ways and it can be difficult for us to determine when they are having a good or bad reaction to a particular strain.

But, cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug, requiring a doctor's recommendation.  Do you think vets should be able to give a dog a recommendation for cannabis?  What types of cannabis?  Flower?  Oil?