New Study Suggests Cannabis and Chili Peppers for Gut Disorders

New Study Suggests Cannabis and Chili Peppers for Gut Disorders

It may sound crazy, but research suggests that some of the toughest-to-treat gut disorders may benefit from treatment with two very different plants: cannabis and chili peppers. As it turns out, there’s a wealth of science behind the claim that we can use both chilies and cannabis for gut health. To be fair, cannabis has a long history as a medicine, and specifically as a treatment for digestive troubles. We mean really long, as in thousands of years. The first medical texts to reference cannabis for gut health date back to 1500 BCE, though cannabis had already been in wide use for over a thousand years at that point. On the other hand, chili peppers are more often associated with upset stomachs than healthy guts. So, what’s the link? Why should these two unrelated plants have a positive impact on our digestion? Chili: Firing Us Up, Inside and Out The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) draws a link between our nervous systems—which, after all, is what interacts with the cannabinoids in marijuana and the endocannabinoids produced by our bodies—and a healthy and happy gut. Essentially, the nervous system helps maintain a gut environment that’s friendly to foreign bodies. In essence, we want our guts to be tolerant of these potential invaders because they include food. When the normal immune response of our gut becomes oversensitized, it turns on itself, launching an attack to repel the invaders (that is, the perfectly safe food we’ve just eaten) when it shouldn’t. The result? Autoimmune disorders such as Crohn’s, inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes, and...
Marijuana Already Cuts Opioid Deaths. But Can Addicts Stay Clean with Cannabis Therapy?

Marijuana Already Cuts Opioid Deaths. But Can Addicts Stay Clean with Cannabis Therapy?

For some people, all drugs are more or less the same, and they’re all more or less all bad for you. Unfortunately, that includes Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who famously said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” Luckily, he’s increasingly a voice in the wilderness (if a powerful one). And in the midst of the country’s opioid epidemic, there is some good news: Cannabis Inclusive Recovery may help those suffering from opioid addiction to kick that dependency for good. Cannabis Inclusive Recovery is currently one of the drug’s most controversial applications. It’s the brainchild of Joe Schrank, a former addict and the founder of High Sobriety, a Los Angeles-based rehab program that offers cannabis to users addicted to objectively more dangerous drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and opioids. The legal and medical communities are split as to the wisdom of this approach. To dive deeper, let’s first familiarize ourselves with the underlying concept of harm reduction. Harm Reduction: Tender Mercy or a Free Ride? Many in the drug treatment community trace their involvement in harm reduction to the 1st International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Harm, held in Liverpool, England, in 1990. Since then, organizations such as Harm Reduction International have spread the concept across the globe. In essence, the idea is to lessen the damage done by drug abuse, even if it means allowing the use and dissemination of those drugs. As stated in the Harm Reduction Coalition manifesto: “[HRC] accepts, for better or worse, that licit and illicit drug use is part of our world and chooses to work to minimize its harmful effects rather than simply...
How Does Cannabis Really Affect Memory?

How Does Cannabis Really Affect Memory?

The creeping legalization of cannabis in this country is having a massive effect on so many facets of life. Social norms are changing, new businesses are sprouting, and millions of Americans now have access to medicinal and recreational benefits of cannabis. One exciting side effect? The flood of new research, insights, and knowledge we’re gaining about cannabis and how it interacts with our bodies. One of the most fascinating areas of study is how cannabis affects memory. And—spoiler alert—while cannabis is proving to be a vastly powerful treatment for numerous diseases and chronic conditions, researchers are finding that the stereotypes about stoners being forgetful have a basis in fact. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize how cannabis affects memory. First, let’s talk about what we currently know about why cannabis affects your…um, what was it again? How Cannabis Affects Memory As you’re probably already aware, the way we humans create and then access our memories is a complex set of processes utilizing different parts of the brain for different functions. For instance, “working memory,” or the short-term memory functions we require to learn new things, and spatial memory—your memory of the environment around you—are mainly handled in the part of the cerebral cortex called the frontal lobe. By comparison, long-term memories—which are generally not thought to be as affected by cannabis—are typically processed and stored in the medial temporal lobe. Working and spatial memory are particularly vulnerable to distortion by cannabis consumption. Studies such as a 2004 paper from the San Francisco Brain Research Institute indicate that subjects who had just consumed marijuana were slower and less...
Pets and Cannabis: Vets and Animal Lovers Turning to CBD for Safe Pain Relief

Pets and Cannabis: Vets and Animal Lovers Turning to CBD for Safe Pain Relief

Cannabis is still a hot-button issue in this country (even if a clear majority of Americans support its decriminalization). But what if we change the topic from cannabis for people to cannabis for pets? Surprisingly, the picture starts to look pretty darn clear: CBD oil for pets can be an effective option for pain and anxiety relief. Earlier this year, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA)—the pre-eminent veterinarians’ group in the U.S.—approved a resolution to begin advocating for federal rescheduling. They argued that cannabis’ therapeutic effects on both humans and animals far outweigh its risks. Along those lines, growing numbers of veterinarian and clinician groups have called to reclassify cannabis as a Schedule II drug. If that happens, it would open the door to more research funding and more impactful findings. So, why should we give our pets cannabis in the first place? And what kind is safe? Read on, animal lovers! CBD Oil For Pets If you’re in a cannabis-legal state, maybe you’ve seen advertisements for “CBD Oil For Pets” in local pet shops. That’s because CBD—or cannabidiol—is non-psychoactive, so pet stores can sell it without being licensed dispensaries. CBD is recognized for a long list of therapeutic qualities. It reduces pain, inflammation, and anxiety, it’s an antioxidant, and it even helps fight certain cancers. Of course, pets suffer from these conditions just like we do, and some owners have been treating their pets with cannabis for years. Using CBD oil for pets is especially popular around challenging times of the year like July 4th, when America’s love affair with explosions takes a real emotional toll on our...
Can Marijuana Improve Your Workout?

Can Marijuana Improve Your Workout?

Media often portrays cannabis consumers as being lazy and junk-food craving individuals. It’s about time that the narrative on marijuana begins to shift away from stereotypes and toward the facts. Regardless, even those who are educated on the benefits of cannabis may be surprised to find that it has something to offer everyone, from the average Joe looking to get fit to professional athletes. Here are some reasons that smoking weed and working out is just as realistic a combo as those other, more popular stereotypes. Pain Management If you dread working out because of the pain that inevitably ensues on a long run or during a heavy lifting session, you may want to try toking beforehand. Marijuana appears to manage pain by distracting you from it. A study conducted by the journal Pain found that though weed doesn’t appear to actually kill pain, it makes it more bearable. Cancer and AIDS patients have used marijuana as an alternative to opioids to treat chronic pain and this has been one of the leading arguments for its legalization. Federal hurdles still remain, however, making further research on cannabis incredibly difficult to conduct. Reduced Anxiety Some people may have the motivation to go to the gym but end up not going because of the anxiety of lifting weights or running in a room full of sweaty and athletic people. Studies have shown that cannabis strains that are high in cannabidiol (CBD) have powerful anxiety-reducing effects. CBD works by counteracting the adverse effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component in cannabis. The sounds of other people’s thoughts could be drowned out by...
How Cannabidiol (CBD) Can Help Save Lives in the Opioid Epidemic

How Cannabidiol (CBD) Can Help Save Lives in the Opioid Epidemic

We don’t have to tell you that opioid overdoses have become a public health crisis. To put in perspective on how bad things are: three times as many people in the U.S. die each year from opioid overdoses than from gun-related homicides (according to the CDC, 33,000 opioid-related deaths vs. 11,000 gun-related homicides). In the last 12 years, deaths from opioid overdoses have skyrocketed over 400%. Last year alone nearly 19,000 Americans died from opioids. That works out to about 52 people per day– the equivalent of two 747s full of people crashing and burning every single week. Even President Trump has officially declared it a health emergency. Fortunately, there is a natural solution that can help break the power of opiate addiction and help restore people to their natural life. New studies show that cannabis may be our best answer to this crisis, and one solution looks particularly promising. Read on for more info on using the cannabinoid cannabidiol for opiate withdrawal. Cannabis, Opioids, and Chronic Pain Chronic pain lies at the source of the opioid crisis. Because the chronic pain is, well, chronic, it requires consistent medication. The problem of turning to opioids for chronic pain treatment is that they are extremely addictive. Opioids are a godsend for acute pain like recovering from surgery, but a small consistent dose over a long period of time gets the patient hooked. And when the prescription finally runs out, they can slam into a brick wall of withdrawal. If the doctor won’t continue to supply them, many people find other ways to procure them—and the addiction becomes more dangerous. Cannabis offers...