“Weed to the Wise: The April Scoop”
Welcome to our first edition of your monthly curated PLAYBOOK for emerging medical cannabis research for seniors! We take the newest or most important information that has surfaced in the last month and condense it for your learning as well as reminding you of just how sacred nature is and sharing ideas for living well. This month, as an introduction, We’d like to briefly clarify the difference between recreational, medical, and spiritual applications of marijuana and along the way address the hype of psychosis and weed since that has been in the news recently.
In Brief: THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana (THCA and THCV are non psychoactive.) All of the various forms (over 100) of CBD are non-psychoactive. CBD’s ability to interact with multiple organ systems, combined with its proven safety profile and extremely low toxicity make it a very popular. It can affect appetite, metabolism, pain sensation, inflammation, thermoregulation, vision, mood, and memory.
Recreational use refers to the process of using THC for getting high with feelings of euphoria and hopefully positive thoughts and emotions–stoned, with various states of impairment. (This is typically smoked or vaped and these days is becoming easier than ever to do with very high THC strains of marijuana–6-8 times more powerful than in the ’60s.) In other words, the ultimate objective or essence of the process, is to become impaired.
Weed and Psychosis: The European research being quoted in the media this month, determined that regular smoking of high THC weed can potentially trigger those who are psychologically vulnerable, to be triggered into a psychotic episode. In other words heavy marijuana use can be a risk factor for at-risk youth but is not shown to be causal. Alex Berenson, in his book “Tell Your Children” takes it to a more extreme but familiar message of ‘Marijuana makes you go crazy!’ Cultivated, ‘high octane’ weed is potentially more dangerous for abuse, not natural, and the object of much current hype and competition. For seniors, our greatest risk is falling and accidentally overdosing with edibles.
Medical use: For many elders, our first real entry into marijuana use is for medical purposes or we only remember from years past getting high and assume that medical use just means doing the same thing but using less. The objective of medical use for seniors is to become less impaired by pain, seizures, depression or anxiety; have a greater sense of well-being; and be better able to keep up with our grandchildren. Ultimately, we hope for curative applications but the research doesn’t go that far yet. Symptom relief can be accomplished by using very targeted micro-doses (0.5-2.0 mg a dose, when the average edible is 10 mg) several times a day of selected strains over a long period of time that will decrease our symptoms and at the same time avoid unpleasant side effects. The surprising learning is that sometimes these micro-doses have more impact on our symptoms than 10-20 mgs.
Spiritual Use: Spiritual and personal development applications consist of micro-dosing along with psychotherapy or meditation and prayer (Joan Bello). This can open our perceptual filters or release our inhibitions to be able to confront our unconscious self and to be able to ‘see’ differently. Cannabis has been used for over 5,500 years for spiritual and medical purposes in its natural form.
EMERGING MEDICAL CANNABIS RESEARCH
“Go low and go slow”
- Strains: There are essentially two main marijuana strains: the Indica strain (calming) or the Sativa strain (stimulating), but but there is so much interbreeding now that it is an artificial label, and most are hybrids. Dr Dustin Sulak ( Healer.com) recommends instead using the characteristics of awakening, reserving sativas and some hybrids for mostly daytime use, and sedating, reserving indica and some hybrids (and occasionally a sativa) for nighttime use.
- Tilray Ontario Study in Long Term Care with Dr. Blake Pearson (2017-18) Using cannabinoid therapy in long-term care participants could reduce 2-3 other medications and improve their quality of life as well as the quality of the workplace for the staff.
- Lyme potential: The cannabis plant is antioxidant (cell protective), antimicrobial (against bacteria), and antipest (repelling insects) both for plants AND for people. Micro-dosing THC over time has been shown to be a helpful antidote to chronic Lyme disease and can increase the efficacy of the antimicrobial drugs as well. (**Anecdotal, Dr. Dustin Sulak, Healer.com)
- Drug Interactions: THC can either ramp up (i.e. anti-microbials), tamp down (anti depressants), or not impact your other medications. Micro-dosing has very little, if any, impact on any medication that you are taking. To double check potential impact on your medications go to www.drugs.com
- American Academy of Neurology (May 2019) With an average age of 81, the study not only found medical marijuana may be safe and effective, it also found that one-third of participants reduced their use of opioids.
- In a recent CBD study with anxiety and sleep, a low dose of 25mg a day was given for anxiety in the morning and for sleep at night. There was significant reduction of anxiety and little impact on sleep.
- THC, Glaucoma and Dementia: There are over 100 cannabinoids in cannabis; several forms of THC, many of CBD and most commonly now, CBD combinations. THC is the psychoactive element and CBD non-psychoactive and both can be effective with pain, anxiety, depression and sleep. But THC isn’t all bad and CBD isn’t all good. It turns out that it is the combination that has the most medical uses. In some cases (like Glaucoma), THC alone has a positive impact on eye pressure and potentially on dementia but CBD doesn’t seem to help and can actually interfere with the positive impact of the THC.
- European Journal of International Medicine (2018), n=2700 age 65+, finds that the therapeutic use of cannabis is safe and efficacious in the elderly population. Cannabis use may decrease the use of other prescription medicines, including opioids.. Summary
It’s a plant!
“It is fitting in this age of pollution and plastic that the guru to bless us with Shaktipat comes in the form of an ancient sun-loving plant that has as its most intrinsic attribute the power of consciousness raising.” Joan Bello
“An organism hungers to unfold itself, to propagate itself, to enlarge itself, to suck in more of the precious stuff of life. The desire to live carries an organism like a wave carries a swimmer in the ocean.” Andreas Webber
“The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” Henry Miller
Things that go well while high: electronic music, basic concepts of new pieces, details of orchestration, playing well studied familiar pieces, improvisations of two minutes or less. Things that go poorly: complex counterpoint, pulling together of the whole project, sight-reading unfamiliar music, solving technical computer problems, memorizing. Herb Garden
Bloom in the cosmos today!
- Daily practice: Use healthy rituals, express gratitude, experience pleasure, and practice forgiveness
- “Forgiveness is the fragrance of the violet which still clings fast to the heel that crushed it”. George Roemisch
- “I believe plants and nature are the antidote to the stress we feel from being so connected to screens,” says Rebecca Bullene, the founder of Greenery NYC, which creates plant installations for companies, sells plants to New Yorkers online, and just opened a retail store in Brooklyn. “We all know how good it feels to take a walk in the woods or lay in the sun in a meadow. We grew up on planet Earth and we’re so disconnected from it.” “It’s the same thing as having pets, the act of nurturing that adds so much value into your life.”
- Willie’s recipe for cannabis infused coconut oil for topical use and ingestion.