Can You Use Marijuana In Pain Management?

As more states begin the process of marijuana legalization–and others only now contemplate the idea of medical marijuana legalization–it’s important to learn more about the use of marijuana when it comes to managing pain. Is marijuana better for pain management than the opioids we tend to use today? What do doctors prefer, and why? The answers don’t come so easy, especially since our access to reliable information about the long-term effects of marijuana use are so very limited. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to using marijuana for pain management!

A recent report released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (or NASEM) concluded that either cannabis or cannabinoids can be effectively used in order to treat a variety of chronic types of pain. That’s probably not so surprising. Even so, doctors still aren’t convinced that marijuana is the best solution for those who suffer from chronic pain.

Pain is treated in a number of ways, all with potentially different effects for the user. If you use anti-inflammatory medications, those drugs will cut off production of chemicals that cause inflammation after some type of injury. When you use marijuana, the cannabinoid receptors in your body seem to help dull your pain–although we’re not entirely sure how. When you use an opioid to combat any type of pain, the drug can cause pleasure in addition to reducing your pain. This sensation can be highly addictive, while marijuana has no such similar quality.

You might think that the less addictive qualities of marijuana might leave doctors on that side of the fence, but we’re not quite there yet. The problem remains: we don’t know enough about the drug, which types of pain it can be used to treat or how, or its long-term effects to guarantee its helpfulness. The medical community wants answers to these questions, especially since marijuana can be delivered into the body in a number of ways with seemingly different outcomes for pain management.

It’s important to realize that many people who become addicted to the opioids they use to combat chronic pain cannot kick the habit once they begin. In 2014, it was documented the 14,000 people died from an overdose of prescription opioids. No one dies directly from any amount of marijuana use, and so the reluctance of doctors to get on board with weed might be in part due to the simplicity of writing a prescription for painkillers. Especially in the U.S., we have the tendency to combat the symptoms instead of the underlying problem causing those symptoms. Until we do the latter, this epidemic of opioid deaths is likely to continue.

The fact remains, though, that marijuana certainly has a place in the future of pain management. In order to reduce the rising costs of damage done by opioids, we need to learn as much as we can as quickly as possible.

Is Weed Healthier Than Cigarettes?

Most of us are probably more inclined to answer this question in one way instead of another, but the reality isn’t as simple as you might think. Because marijuana is so strongly regulated by the government, it can be very difficult to perform the kind of research we’ve done on tobacco, alcohol, and even other substances that people are most likely to abuse or misuse. The general societal consensus these days seems to be that weed is healthier than cigarettes, but is that really the case? Here’s a closer look into the few facts we do have.

The University of California at San Francisco conducted one of the largest studies available to date, collecting and compiling information taken from about five thousand people over a period exceeding two decades. These were subjects who smoked in the U.S., so the conclusions and findings may not be relevant for other regions of the globe.

The results in tobacco users were consistent with what we already know: the more you inhale tobacco smoke, the more lung function you’re subject to lose as time goes on. Contrarily, study participants who smoked marijuana actually saw increased lung function. The authors of the study were the first to point out the differences between those who smoke either drug. Tobacco users tend to be more consistent, while marijuana users are more infrequently exposed to their drug of choice.

The authors believe that heavier use of marijuana might also be connected to the loss of lung function, but the data they currently have is inconclusive. We might not have definitive evidence for a long time, too. Because laws are only now transforming the way in which some people get their hands on marijuana, we’ll start to see more and more studies done in order to draw more precise conclusions about the effects of the drug.

It should also be noted that while we definitely know that tobacco use causes cancer, no such link has been discovered in relation to marijuana use. In fact, some research suggests that the cannabinoids present in marijuana smoke inhibitor combat certain forms of cancer. Like other studies, more research needs to be done in order to know for sure.

We do however have sufficient evidence to conclude that using either weed or cigarettes during adolescence can lead to adverse side effects later down the road. We know that short-term side effects include reduced attention span, memory and learning inhibition, and impaired decision-making ability, even though it’s important to recognize that each user reacts to the drug differently. A 2013 study conducted at the University of Barcelona found that adolescent users may be more susceptible to structural brain alterations after long-term use of the drug. Other studies show that this damage could be significantly reduced if kids wait until at least age seventeen.

Although many of these studies seem to conflict or remain inconclusive, we simply don’t know enough about the adverse effects of long-term marijuana use to say for sure that weed is healthier than cigarettes. However, it is likely that the impact of casual marijuana use is significantly smaller than it is for the casual cigarette smoker.  

Is Pot A Gateway Drug?

Before you can answer this complicated question in any meaningful way, it stands to reason you might want to define the term “gateway drug” and determine where and under what circumstances it was coined. A gateway drug refers to any drug that might lead the user to take additional drugs down the road, most usually ones that might cause serious damage to oneself. In the 1930s, similar theories were called the stepping-stone theory, progression hypothesis, or escalation hypothesis. All of them pretty much mean the same thing. The gateway drug theory didn’t really gain steam until the drug war began.

Opponents of the ideas behind the gateway drug theory contest that it shows only statistical succession, but not causation. In other words, while users of one drug might be more likely to move on to another, that doesn’t necessarily mean the empirical data exists to prove that the drug itself led the user to move on to more serious drugs in the future. After all, most people might start drinking coffee before drinking alcohol or smoking pot, but if you popped the idea that caffeine is a gateway drug, you probably wouldn’t get taken very seriously. That’s basically where the science is at right now.

Instead, opponents argue, it’s more likely that people themselves are more likely to do a variety of drugs based on environmental, biological, or genetic factors. Although these arguments most likely have a lot of merit, it hasn’t stopped politicians (most usually opponents of pot legalization) from using the term gateway drug when referring to marijuana.

That probably doesn’t come as a huge surprise to most of us.

A publication of the National Epidemiological Study of Alcohol Use and Related Disorders discovered that many pot-smoking adults were at an increased danger for developing an alcohol disorder, while many of those adults who already suffered from an alcohol disorder ended up with further deterioration after using marijuana. Again, it should be noted that studies like these show events in succession without proving what caused them.

Another study shows that cannabinoids in young rodents affects the reward centers of brain dopamine as they grow and age, evidence that pot is indeed a gateway drug (in rodents, at least). Although this is not proof that the same reaction might occur in human adolescents, it could explain why a person who begins using marijuana from a young age is more likely to advance to harder drugs in adulthood. More studies are needed.

It should be noted that most people who choose to smoke marijuana never become addicted to more dangerous drugs. It’s also important for people to realize that while marijuana might affect dopamine centers, alcohol definitely does. To call one a gateway drug based on as-of-yet unproven effects while refusing to acknowledge the proven effects of another dangerous substance is perhaps irresponsible–or evidence that political posturing is more important than real science. Most people will inevitably choose to believe whatever they want to believe, but more information is needed before any definite conclusions can be made by one side or the other.

Marijuana & Chemotherapy

Cancer is a scary word and is a difficult challenge for any person. Even the most “benign” cancer puts a person at risk, and challenges families and friends as well.

While suffering through cancer can be heartbreaking, the primary tool for fighting cancer has been what is called chemotherapy. But sometimes the suffering through chemo can be seen as worse than suffering through cancer.

Chemotherapy wreaks havoc on the body of a cancer patient. It is designed to attack the cancerous cells, but in the process it zaps the healthy cells as well, creating a lot of difficulty because of the chemicals that course through the body in order to find and subdue the cancers.

Very often, patients come out of a single chemo session feeling very week and nauseous, often leading to some vomiting and sometimes leaving the patient bedridden for days at a time afterward.

While chemo may be an antidote or cancer, patients have often found themselves searching for an antidote to the chemo itself. After all, maybe the patient had cancer but was able to live a semi-normal life, but then after chemo they have their lives disrupted for days. There has to be an answer.

Fortunately, research suggests that a drug which is federally illegal seems to have favorable effects.

Marijuana has been approved for medical reasons in nearly half the states, according to a Dallas, Texas personal injury attorney, despite being considered an illegal substance in federal law. Medical marijuana can be prescribe ed for a number of ailments, and a couple studies have shown that one of the “ailments” can be to support the body as it goes through chemotherapy.

Often after a session of chemo, the body can ache, the patient can lose sleep and feel nausea and be vomiting for several days. But as the chemical in marijuana, THC, has been found to settle some nausea and pains in relation to other illnesses, it has begun to be used to mitigate the symptoms of chemo, and it has been shown (at least with some patients) to be very effective in alleviating nausea, vomiting and pain, not to mention some constipation and other issues that may come with the use of other medications.

There is also some evidence to suggest that cannabis may not only relieve chemo symptoms, but the herb may reduce tumors and may kill cancer cells altogether, though some of that research is still relatively preliminary. There also seems to be questions about how much cannabis is effective and how much is too much.

It is known that cells gain tolerance to THC over time, but it is unknown whether cancerous cells get more or less tolerant, which means it can be difficult if not impossible to prescribe a dose that would be considered “right” without making the patient addicted to the drug or make the cancer situation worse.

Research about cannabis and its effects with various medical conditions is still early, as the states that have approved limited medical uses for marijuana is relatively new (only in the last 10-15 years).

However, there has been some data compiled about the various conditions for which cannabis is prescribed, and research is ongoing in terms of determining the efficacy of marijuana in these various uses and weigh the dangers of its use with the benefits.

The Difference Between A Joint And A Blunt

If you have ever smoked marijuana before, you are probably aware of what a joint is. It is simply marijuana contained within normal rolling paper, the same type that you would use if you roll your own cigarettes. The only difference is that instead of putting tobacco, you are putting in marijuana, and you smoke both of them in the same way. Where some people get confused is when they hear people talking about a blunt, and they are not sure what the difference is. Let’s discuss the differences between joints and blunts, and help you decide which one might be the better choice for you. It’s not like getting the two mixed up can lead to death, but it’s always good to know

What Is A Joint?

A joint is the name given to a marijuana cigarette, thought to have first been used back in the 1930s. It was simply a way of referencing the difference between a cigarette with tobacco and one that contained marijuana. People tried to use different names such as a spliff, but the term joint is the one that has lasted. These are handrolled cigarettes, using marijuana instead of tobacco, and can come in many different sizes.

What Is A Blunt?

A blunt is very similar to a joint. It is also a rolled up cigarette, one that contains marijuana. The difference is in the size of this rolled up cigarette which does not have any tobacco inside. However, the paper that is used is not simply paper, but is actually pressed tobacco leaves. Very similar to the wrapper of a cigar, it is sometimes made with very expensive tobacco leaves that can produce a very unique flavor. When used together, not only will the taste be different when you inhale, but it’s also going to produce a much different effect. Tobacco can actually cause your brain to work at a higher rate, whereas marijuana tends to slow down cognitive processes. This, combined with the THC, can create a very unique experience.

Is This A Better Way To Experience Marijuana?

Many of the people that smoke marijuana also enjoy cigarettes. They may also smoke cigars. If you are the type of person that tends to smoke both marijuana and tobacco products during the same session, then a blunt will probably re-create that experience all at once. If you have never smoked tobacco before, then you may not like the overall effect, especially if you prefer the way that marijuana makes you feel. You may even find yourself experiencing a state that is too calm or relaxed, depending upon how the cannabinoids and the components of tobacco that can actually produce dopamine. Either way, you have a choice and you may want to try a blunt to see how it affects you. If you already smoke both, then it simply a matter of seeing if you prefer using one at a time, or both simultaneously.

If you have never used a blunt before, it could be a very unique experience. You may actually prefer the combination of tobacco and marijuana at the same time. It may take a little bit of practice to get used to rolling your marijuana with tobacco paper, but once you learn how, this may become the primary way that you get nicotine and THC into your system on a regular basis.

Here is a video detailing the difference between joints and blunts:

What Are Cross Joints And How Do You Make Them?

If you have been smoking marijuana for quite some time, you have probably heard the term cross joint. It is likely that you have used one of these before. If you are not a marijuana user, or if you have just started, this term might be foreign to you. It is a way of creating a marijuana joint that can be used by three people simultaneously. It is actually in the shape of a cross, and that is where it gets its name. There are benefits to making joints in this manner, plus it can provide a way to socially connect with others that are in your group. At the very least, it’s something that you should try once if you do smoke marijuana regularly.

What Is A Cross Joint?

As mentioned above, this is a joint which is in the shape of a cross. As you can probably guess, this must be made using two separate joints. There is going to be one that is much larger, and one that is smaller, in order to make this possible. The larger joint should be at least twice as large as the smaller joint, or you will not be able to create the cross. Once you have made both of them, you will then use a paperclip to poke a hole above the middle point of the larger joint. You will then wiggle the paperclip around, removing any excess marijuana that is in the way. Once this is cleared, it should be large enough to stick the smaller joint through. Before you do that, however, you also need to poke a hole in the exact center of the smaller joint in order to allow air to pass through. Once the smaller joint is inserted, make sure that the holes of the smaller joint are pointing toward the front and back of the larger joint. You will then take the gum strip that is on the joint paper to wrap around the center, completing the cross joint.

How Do You Use A Cross Joint?

A cross joint is used by three people, preferably having a minimum of two lighters. In most cases, people will be inhaling simultaneously, so if you only have one minor, that’s just fine. The end that you light is going to be the end for this from the top of the cross. People will inhale at all three of these ends, and light the only remaining end at the bottom of the cross.

Is There A Benefit To Making A Cross Joint?

The only real benefit to making a cross joint is that it is done for social purposes. If you have two friends that are with you, it’s something you can do together. Another possible benefit is that the size of the larger joint, combined with the smaller joint, can give you quite a hit. Other than that, it simply a novel way to smoke marijuana when you are with a group of people.

Once you have learned how to roll joints effectively, both large and small, you should be able to create a cross joint within minutes. It does take a little bit of practice to make the holes without cutting all the way through the joint accidentally. Other than that, it’s going to be very easy to learn and fun to do with friends.

Is Marijuana A Gateway Drug?

Marijuana has become a hot topic of contention in recent years as authorities look to gain control over it.

Some believe it is a major problem and others think other drugs are wreaking greater havoc on the streets. This is why it has become important to understand marijuana’s role in the community and whether it is a gateway drug as some call it.

So, is it a gateway drug or is that a myth that has been passed around in recent years? This article will take a deeper look into the question.

What Is A Gateway Drug?

Before looking at marijuana, a good starting point is understanding what the term “gateway drug” means.

In essence, a gateway drug is the starting drug people take to enter this world of narcotics. It is a drug that might not be addictive but is one that gets you hooked to the habit of taking drugs. This alone can lead you towards stronger drugs that will be addicting.

We’re no intellectual property lawyers, but we think we’re well-informed on this topic. Let’s take a look at marijuana to see if it fits the bill of being a gateway drug among the masses.

Marijuana Isn’t Addictive

Since gateway drugs aren’t supposed to be addictive, marijuana does fit the bill.

The drug itself isn’t addictive, and a person can quit whenever they want. Of course, this doesn’t mean the habit doesn’t settle itself into a person’s life where it becomes harder to get past the idea of smoking. However, this is still a drug that is more of a gateway option in comparison to what else is out there for people to take.

A lot of work has gone into the subject by researchers who are trying to understand what marijuana does. Here is more on that part of the subject.

Studies on Marijuana

The main thing to back this notion is the amount of reporting that has gone into the subject.

Gateway drugs are supposed to make a person vulnerable to exposing themselves to these drugs. Marijuana does fit the bill according to research since it makes the person vulnerable and they start to seek out stronger drugs to cash in on their dopamine centers.

The brain wants those rewards, and it does veer towards stronger options to get it. It is a primer of sorts where the brain is prepared to face such encounters with other drugs on the market.

Social Environment A Bigger Influence

However, one of the things that goes against this notion is the idea of social environments being a greater problem.

Studies reveal while people are primed with marijuana, they still don’t end up going towards harder drugs. So, the risk goes up, but that doesn’t mean they follow through on it. However, social environments do play a role and can act as a gateway setting for drug abusers.

So, there are two sides to the story, and in most cases, marijuana is a gateway drug, but only when united with other realities such as the social environment one is in.

If you would like to hear more from the side who thinks marijuana isn’t a gateway drug, please watch the video embedded below:

What Is CBD? Is It the Same as Marijuana?

The laws governing marijuana have begun to relax in the past twenty years, with many states having legalized it for recreational use and even more for medical use. While these state laws have yet to impact the federal stance on pot, it will happen. As a result of this growing legalization, more is known about the plant at a scientific level than ever before recorded in history.

This has led to the development and sale of various products, including different types of weed and ways to ingest it. Most people who have an interest in the marijuana industry have likely heard of CBD though they might not know what it is. If you fall into this group, you can start learning today and make better choices as a result.

The plant itself has multiple cannabinoids, the most well-known being THC. This is the component that gives people the “high” feeling associated with smoking pot. During the study for medical uses of marijuana, it was discovered that this benefit could aid those with excessive mental and emotional disorders to restore a greater sense of calm.

However, scientists also discovered a wide range of other cannabinoids and have been testing to see how they can be of benefit to patients. The most research thus far has gone into CBD studies. Unlike THC, CBD does not get you high. No matter how much you ingest of it alone, you will never get stoned. Likewise, you will not fail a urine analysis if you have CBD in your system.

In order for the federal government to regulate pot, they had to give a clear difference between possession of the hemp plant used for making stuff and a plant designed to get you high. The factor they used was THC. Although it is still very difficult to legally grow hemp in the country, legislation and enforcement is lightening up.

However, any product containing THC is still considered illegal by the federal government. Substances free of THC but containing CBD are legal to consume across the country. There are many benefits associated with CBD use, and countless patients have been able to improve their quality of life thanks to it.

If you suffer from pain and other medical symptoms, you don’t have to relocate to the west coast or one of the other legalized states in order to enjoy the benefits of CBD. There are some great online retailers who sell high-quality products at reasonable prices. Look for one that has good reviews and that provides excellent product descriptions. Ones from most legalized states are subject to third party testing to ensure that the quality matches what is stated on the package.

While there are other cannabinoids in the plant, they have not undergone the same rigorous testing as of yet. But, you can depend on a high quality CBD distributor to provide excellent choices for your medical needs. The more people who learn about it, the better for everyone!

What Is A Marijuana Fusion

When someone is preparing to go for bone or spinal surgery the doctor may tell the patient that they will need to quit smoking because it inhibits fusion which is necessary after the surgery. Bone Fusion is a surgery that is performed on the spine and in other areas, and the process is similar to welding two bones together. After the surgery, the bones will need to fuse together and smoking can inhibit that.

The question that many people have is if tobacco is a problem, then is marijuana okay to smoke. The opinion will differ from person to person, and website to website. There are many people that say that it is the nicotine that inhibits proper fusion and others say it’s the carbon monoxide. The facts support that both of these can cause an issue. The confusing reality is that it causes a problem in a percentage of people but not in everyone. So one person could continue to smoke and they would not have any issues with fusion after the surgery.

Another person who continued smoking would have problems. This can be serious and it could cause the individual to have to repeat the surgery. Repeating such a surgery is definitely something that no one is going to want to do. So it then brings back the question as to whether it’s just tobacco that is a problem or if any smoking is an issue.

Because of the fact that both nicotine and carbon monoxide can cause issues, it means any type of smoking, including marijuana, can cause problems with fusion. Again, you might have a friend that had the surgery who continued to smoke and didn’t have a problem whether it be tobacco or marijuana. But that doesn’t mean that if you smoke either of those products that it won’t cause a problem for you.

How Do You Know If It’ll Be A Problem For You?

The fact is, that there is no definitive way to know what kind of effect it will have on you. It may have a minimal effect or none at all. On the other hand, it might have a significant effect and if your bones fail to fuse properly because you were smoking marijuana or tobacco, then it will mean that you will not heal properly from the surgery and the surgery will likely need to be repeated.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide which is created when smoking anything, including marijuana, will reduce the fusion that is possible. The reason for this is that carbon monoxide binds faster with the hemoglobin than oxygen does and this means that there is less oxygen in the blood. One of the things that will greatly assist healing after spinal fusion is exercise but the benefits that come from exercising are significantly reduced because the carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygenated blood in the body.

So the very thing that will help the healing process after bone surgery is greatly inhibited because of the carbon monoxide that is produced by smoking. Smoking marijuana where and when legal is a personal choice. Deciding if it is worth the risk of having to repeat a difficult surgery is also a personal choice.

For more information, please check out the following video:

How Long Does Pot Stay in Your System?

When it comes to marijuana, there has been a lot of study in recent years thanks to the increasing legalization at the state level. However, because the federal government has yet to recognize the wishes of the population, it is important to understand how long marijuana stays in your system if you are subject to being tested.

There are many different factors that can influence how much THC you have in your system and what the test results will show if you are doing a urine analysis to look for marijuana. One of those things is the amount of weed that you have ingested. Someone who smokes an eighth each day will need significantly more time to purge their system than a person who is accustomed to only smoking a little bit on their day off.

In addition to the quantity, you will also need to weigh the quality of the marijuana you have been using. The pot on the market today is significantly stronger than what was available to folks in the previous century. Many of the strains available for purchase today have high levels of THC, the active component that causes users to feel stoned. But, there are other products that are available that do not have much, if any THC.

Since scientists have been able to study the plant in depth since legalization began, they have been able to determine other components of the plant that have medical benefits. The most well known of these is CBD. Urine tests do not look for this and it is legal in the entire country, provided that the product contains no traces of THC.

The active THC found in weed does not leave your system quickly because it is stored in fat tissue. Because it is not water soluble, this will extend the amount of time it takes to cleanse your body. If you are losing weight at at the same time you are stopping the weed, it could take even longer than you had anticipated. While many experts say that it takes around a month to get it out of your system, burning fat stores with traces of THC stored in them could extend the period. Some folks actually take twice this amount of time before getting a good result.

If you are going to smoke recreational or medical marijuana but still need to be able to pass a drug test once in a while, take steps to keep your system as clean as possible. Eat healthy foods and take your vitamins. Drink lots of water each day and engage in sweat-producing activities. This will help to purge the THC from your body more quickly and allow you to face a drug test with greater confidence.

Until the federal government catches up with the states and voter wishes, it is vital that you make smart choices regarding your use of marijuana. Though it can stay in your system for a long time, these suggestions will help you to avoid an unwanted result.