House Blocks Medical Marijuana

Controversy has surrounded the effects of marijuana, both under recreational use as well as medical benefits, for years. Ever since California passed legislation to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, the fluctuations in marijuana legalization have been more and more turbulent. Since that point, 29 states and the District of Columbia have approved legislation to legalize marijuana for medical (as well as 8 states and the District of Columbia having approved legislation for legal recreational use). But, now it appears the Federal government has begun to take steps in attempting to reverse certain legislature that protected medical marijuana under state law.

Having gone by a few different names, the legislation was introduced as the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment, and its initial purpose was to set a precedent of separation of power regarding medical marijuana laws in individual states, which would also subsequently free up portions of the Federal budget from prosecuting individuals who were charged with possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes. The bill passed into law in 2014 after six failed attempts through the House of Representatives, but due to Federal laws that still maintain marijuana as an illegal substance, the “law” of the amendment is required to pass through the House every year to keep it in effect for the applicable states.

Due to the legislative disagreement between state and Federal powers and the fact that this amendment needs to be reinforced on an annual basis, the most recent administration has attempted to take it upon itself to override the amendment and thereby forcefully altering the laws set into place by the 29 states (as well as the District of Columbia) who implemented it.

Needless to say, the reversal of this legislation and the nullification of medical marijuana laws already in place in those states would also expose businesses and individuals to Federal prosecution under pre-existing laws which still rendered marijuana illegal, regardless of its intended purpose. This poses an obvious logistical problem, considering more than half of the nation has legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and patients who use medical marijuana on any regular basis has been on the rise.

In fact, statistics have shown that, within 23 of the 29 states (and D.C.) who have legalized medical marijuana, almost 1.25 million patients have been cleared to use medical marijuana as of 2016, with a projection that doubled that figure if all 50 states had legalized medical marijuana at that time, and an approximation of 33,000 business entities that offered retail sales of marijuana.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions had spear-headed the effort to reverse these laws, and he has argued that Americans should work to change the laws if they aren’t in favor of them. Though, there are some who argue that Sessions’ attempts to turn over state laws in this manner may be a violation of the Tenth Amendment, which assures that powers not specifically delegated to the Federal government and simultaneously not prohibited from state governments will defer to the state level or to the people. The Amendment was set to expire on September 30 and be resubmitted for its annual review.

Why are More Seniors Using Marijuana

The debate over the pros and cons about the uses of marijuana, be it medical or recreational, has been on-going for a long time, and despite recent laws that have established medical marijuana as a legal activity in many states within the United States, Federal legislation has attempted to reverse this decision and enforce Federal laws pertaining to marijuana and its otherwise illegal position on the legislative stage.

However, that doesn’t seem to be stopping many seniors.

With increased studies pertaining to the effects and medical properties of marijuana, an increased number of senior citizens seem to have decided to partake of the once- and still-controversial cannabis, often supplementing prescription medication or even foregoing prescriptions whenever possible. In a seven-year span between 2006 and 2013, statistics had shown that the number of senior citizens who used marijuana for medical purposes had more than doubled, and other statistics suggest this number may still be on the rise.

Over half of all surveyed Americans over the age of 65 had reported pain of a considerable measure, reported a government survey. Whether this pain stems from arthritis or nerve damage resulting from diabetes or even long-standing injury, the trend seems to be shifting to the same place. More seniors are using marijuana.

At its base level, marijuana seems to provide a slew of health benefits, many of which seniors find to be a boon to their own health. While marijuana fights chronic pain without the inherent risk of addiction and overdose as many opioids on the pharmaceutical market, it has also been known to provide more of an overall health benefit. Documents have shown that the laughter for which marijuana may be famously known to cause in many users, whether recreational or medical, has been known to counter symptoms of depression. The general effects of laughter have shown to reduce stress levels, improve function of the immune system and even provide protection to the heart among other effects. Some speculate that the social nature of marijuana may also promote stronger bonds with others as a result of its use, effectively increasing the life span as well as the overall quality of life among the elderly who use marijuana.

Beyond this, others have also found advantages in the versatility of form marijuana can take and be ingested or consumed, providing a greater ease of use along with what seems to be a safer alternative to addiction-causing prescription medication. Apart from the tried-and-true method of smoking marijuana, companies have manufactured it into candy, and the famed “pot brownies” and other baked goods apparently make for easy and eager consumption.

But there are those who still remain concerned. While studies have revealed a great deal regarding the medical impact that marijuana can have on the human body, the attached stigma of slowed reaction time and reduced balance is still a point of worry – particularly in elderly patients who are at a much greater natural risk of falling and, with weaker frames, more prone to life-threatening injury. Says Dr. Lynn Webster, “I wish we had the science to understand who [marijuana] would help and in what doses, and for whom it would be toxic.”

Despite political pressure that doctors face in continuously prescribing opioid medications, seemingly-inconclusive evidence and the challenge of maintaining state law against Federal law are still two major obstacles for advocates of medical marijuana, beyond the challenges of overcoming the stigma that remains attached to marijuana as a whole.

Smoking Marijuana While Pregnant

Most people realize that they shouldn’t smoke while pregnant. Sadly, this wasn’t always the case and the effects of postnatal development are well documented. Smoking marijuana while pregnant is a topic of conversation that hasn’t really been fully debated, however, and a lot of research needs to be done before we can definitively tell people that they shouldn’t do something that, well, they probably know they shouldn’t do. Although we don’t have enough information on what marijuana will do to a developing fetus, here are a few things we do know about the effects of smoking pot while you’re pregnant.

First of all, it’s important that people realize and acknowledge that the number of women seeking treatment for substance abuse for marijuana while pregnant is going up. If you know someone who needs help, then do your best to responsibly intervene and provide that person with the resources they need to find the right kind of help.

New York animal studies have been conducted that show an increased likelihood of miscarriage when marijuana is used early on in a pregnancy. While no similar human studies have been conducted, you should still consider the animal studies relevant. We might not know for sure, but when it comes to the health of your baby, you should act in accordance with the studies we do have. If an animal study isn’t enough to convince you, then here’s a better source of information: research has indicated that stillborn children are more likely to result when a mother uses marijuana during pregnancy. Learning deficits and potential neurological developmental disorders are also a possibility based on animal studies.

There are a few studies that have reported a connection between developmental disorders and a mother’s marijuana use while pregnant. Other studies show a connection between marijuana use and premature birth, but yet more studies contradict them. It’s more likely that repeated long-term use increases the chances of such side effects. More evidence is required in order to know for sure.

The same lack of research accompanies marijuana-use and breastfeeding. Potential links between THC exposure and motor development might exist during the first year of life, and THC may be present in breast milk when a mother uses marijuana regularly.

We don’t have enough information and haven’t conducted enough research to draw many conclusions on the effects of marijuana-use when pregnant, and unfortunately the ignorance of the scientific community in this respect leads a lot of women to smoke in order to treat symptoms of nausea brought about by pregnancy (or simply because they want to). As always, it’s important to check with your doctor if you’re a user of medicinal marijuana and wondering if you should terminate use while you’re pregnant.

What About Sex While Stoned?

Many things we do, we do because it feels good to us, not necessarily because it is the right thing to do.

We can give charitably, or volunteer our time for a cause because it makes us feel good. We can buy a gift for someone just because … because it feels good. We can have a beer instead of water because it feels good.

We can get high on marijuana, and want to remain high because it feels good. And we like to have sex, maybe more than we actually do have it … because it feels good.

What do many of these activities have in common? They make us feel good because they trigger endorphins in our bodies, which give us a feeling of happiness and serenity. Now, can you imagine combining more than one of these things at the same time, and what the endorphin effect may be?

Let’s start with having sex while high on weed … because it feels good. Now, maybe you are not in your right mind while high on dope, but that’s OK. On the one hand, you may be more in touch and aware of your body and the things you like, and you may be more open and honest about those – on the other hand, you may do some silly things that you would never do if you didn’t have the weed. Because inhibitions.

In that vein, here are a few quick tips if you decide to try out the combination of sex while stoned. These tips can help you be honest with yourself and your partner, and yet not be so uninhibited that you do stupid things:

  • Don’t do anything you truly don’t want to do.

When you are high, you are not only very aware of the sensations in your body, but you also can have very strong awareness and perception of your partner trying to pressure you or coerce into doing something. You can roll with that and be honest to understand that if you don’t want to do that thing, whatever it is, then don’t. And if he continues to pressure you, it’s OK to tell him to leave.

  • Have torturous foreplay.

This simply goes back to the first tip. Act like teenagers during foreplay, even if you have been together for a while. Spend time exploring and teasing each other until you feel like you can’t take it anymore. Then you’ll know you want to do it, so it’ll be OK.

  • Live in the moment, no matter how slow it seems.

It’s easier to enjoy the sensations of sex when you think only about the moment you are currently in, and you don’t let your mind wander. Also, your mind tends to go a little slower anyway, so your sex activity should be moving at a similar pace. This makes it easier to enjoy the moment when our bodies aren’t moving faster than your brain can register. Enjoy each other, completely.

Did you know that breathing can actually turn you on even more? Yes, apparently blood flows to the genitals while you are working on breathing deeply, so work on that during sex. Not only can it arouse you, but breathing helps you focus on the moment, and even trying to coordinate your breathing with your partner may enhance some of the movements and sensations you have during sex. It’s at least something to consider.

Of course, these tips aren’t anything particularly telling – these same tips can help make sober sex better, but maybe it’s just that it’s a little harder to do these while high. But if you keep these in mind, either way, you can have a very good experience … because it feels good.

The Weedhead’s Guide To Bong Use

OK, so this is not to say that the author of this piece is a weedhead, or is high on pot while writing this. The opposite may be true, in fact. (He will not confirm nor deny this report.) However, the author can say that he has it on good authority that bongs can be an effective way to smoke weed, but it may be a bit underappreciated these days.

If you have any curiosity about using a bong to get high, we have some guidance to bongs, how they work and how you may incorporate them into your pot-smoking habit.

First, a Foggy History

Maybe it’s appropriate that the history of the bong is a bit clouded in mystery (pun intended). Its origins have been hard to trace, as there are many stories that pop up that make it seem like they are legends. But the word bong seems to come from the Thai word “baung,” which was a pipelike device made of bamboo.

There have been tales of the bong coming from a nomadic group of people who used a pipe-like device in what is modern-day Russia, and similar devices were reported in use among tribes in Africa, and going as far back as the Ming Dynasty in China. Bongs are related to the hookah, which was a device used for smoking flavored tobacco.

Advantages of Using a Bong

The author is told on good authority that smoking marijuana through a bong has its advantages over smoking straight from a pipe or a joint. The water and the percolators in bongs contribute much to the experience.

The biggest advantage with bongs is the cooling and percolation of the smoke in water, as well as the filtering of the smoke. Cooling the smoke and filtering it before inhaling makes for a smoother, calmer draw no matter how much smoke you take in. The cooling effect can spare your throat and lungs from harsh heat sensations (like the summers on Long Island), as well. This can contribute to a purer, easier and more enjoyable experience.

What are the Bong Parts?

If you interesting I buying or perhaps creating your own bong (lots of people can create one out of almost any material they have in their house), it will be good to know the various parts of a bong so you can know how much material you need to make an effective bong.

  • The bowl is where the cannabis is stored and lit to create the smoke.
  • The carburetor is a small hole that helps clear the smoke when finishing a draw. Bowls are often attached at or near the carb and is often removable.
  • The downstream is necessary to lead the smoke from the bowl down into the base of the bong where it is percolated and filtered in water.
  • The base is where the water and percolators are located, at the bottom of the bong.
  • The tube is where the filtered-and-cooled smoke rises from the base toward the mouthpiece. This is the part of where you take a draw of smoke.

Bottom Line

Bongs are just another tool to consume cannabis. Bongs can be an artful science, or a scientific art, depending on how you choose to look at them. There are several designs, many materials and some features that are unique to certain types. If you don’t like the dry heat intake of a joint or pipe, but you enjoy inhaling the smoke, a bong can help make the entire experience more enjoyable.

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.

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.