Medical Marijuana And Opioid Addiction

Medical Marijuana and Opioid Addiction

Medical Marijuana and Opioid Addiction

Over 30,000 Americans died from opioid overdose in 2015.

That’s 600 people a week. It’s rightfully being called an “epidemic.”

The thing is…we didn’t just get here gradually. The body count didn’t go up, one by one, over the years, until we finally reached over 30,000.

No, opioid use has skyrocketed within a very short period of time. And the pharmaceutical industry deserves a lot of the blame.

The irony? Medical marijuana could be a viable treatment for opioid addiction and prevention.

That’s right: marijuana. The drug that has been demonized for decades as a “gateway” drug.  Some researchers, doctors, and journalists believe it could be a gateway that leads away from harder drug use.

Anti-drug crusaders like AG Jeff Sessions don’t believe medical marijuana and opioid addiction belong in the same sentence.

The science says otherwise, and so do we. Medical marijuana and opioid addiction do have a connection: just not the one people immediately assume.

If you’re currently struggling with opioid addiction, keep reading to learn how medical marijuana might be able to help you.

What are Opioids?

Opioids are drugs that act on our nervous system in order to relieve pain.

Remember: many of the opioids responsible for this epidemic are perfectly legal and can be prescribed by doctors. This includes drugs such as:

  • oxycodone
  • hydrocodone
  • codeine
  • morphine
  • fentanyl (which is sometimes 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin)

The most commonly-known illegal opioid is heroin.

How Do Opioids Work?

Opioids bind to opioid receptors in your brain and throughout your body.

  1. Your Limbic System – The limbic system manages your emotions. When opioids affect the limbic system, you feel pleasure, relaxation, and contentment.
  2. Your Brain Stem – Your brain stem controls automatic body functions such as your breathing. Opioids can slow down your breathing rate and eliminate coughs.
  3. Your Spinal Cord – By affecting your spinal cord, opioids reduce pain sensations that are sent to your brain

What Are the Side Effects of Opioids?

Side effects can include:

  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • respiratory depression

Why are Opioids Addictive?

Withdrawal

Your body produces its own natural opioids. When people take high dosages of opioids, their bodies don’t produce as much of their own natural opioids.

After all, why should it keep making something that it’s already getting for free?

And that’s why people can experience severe withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit. Their bodies don’t make enough natural opioids to pick up the slack.

Withdrawal symptoms  include:

  • muscle pain
  • anxiety
  • excessive perspiration
  • insomnia
  • diarrhea
  • stomach cramps
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • high blood pressure
  • rapid heartbeat

For some, these withdrawal symptoms are enough to drive people back to opioids.

Tolerance

Over time, opioids lose their power. A single dose doesn’t pack the same punch as it did when you first started taking them.

So you have to take higher doses in order to order to get the desired effects. As you take more and more, you put yourself at greater risk of overdosing.

Non-Medical Use / Recreational Use

Let’s not beat around the bush: opioids make us feel good when we use them. That’s part of their job: take away the pain and make you feel better.

In fact, opioids make us feel so good, they can become addictive for that reason alone. People might want to keep using them, even if they’re no longer feeling chronic pain.

And that’s how people wind up using them in ways they were never intended to be used.

Some opioids, such as oxycodone, have an  “extended release” function. This allows the drug to work over a long period of time and prevents you from being overwhelmed by euphoria and intoxication.

But some opioid users want an instant, powerful high, so they crush and snort their pills. Or they inject them directly into their bloodstream. Users get a stronger high after doing this, but they’re also putting their lives in danger.

Why Are Opioid Overdoses So Dangerous?

Opioids affect your brain stem, which controls your breathing. If you overdose, you could stop breathing and die from asphyxiation. That risk goes up if you mix opioids with alcohol.

Some opioid users experience irregular heartbeats, which also have the potential to be fatal.

What Caused the Opioid Crisis?

This Vox video offers a great breakdown of how the opioid epidemic got to where we are today:

Here are the most important facts:

  • During the 90s, the federal government and advocacy groups pressured doctors to treat pain as a “serious medical issue.” At the time, almost 100 million Americans were suffering from chronic pain.
  • Drug companies like Purdue Pharma claimed that opioid painkillers were safer, more powerful, and less addictive than other types of painkillers.
  • By 2012, doctors had given out 259 MILLION prescriptions for opioid painkillers; that’s enough for every adult American to get a bottle.
  • Millions got hooked. In 2014, almost 19,000 people die from opioid overdoses.
  • Doctors tried to pull back on these prescriptions but the damage was already done. Patients had already become addicted, and when they were unable to get more opioids from their physicians, they turned to an illegal opioid: heroin.
  • Heroin overdoses have gone up by 500% since 2000. 10,000 people died of heroin overdoses in 2014.
  • In 2007, Purdue Pharma pled guilty to misleading doctors, regulators, and patients about OxyContin’s potential for abuse. They shelled out  $634.5 million in fines.
  • Federal and state governments are finally responding. They’re funding opioid prevention and treatment programs, but we still need an alternative treatment for chronic pain.

And that’s where medical marijuana comes in.

Medical Marijuana and Opioid Addiction: What the Research Shows

  • Studies show that medical marijuana can effectively treat chronic pain. Remember: it was chronic pain that got us into this mess in the first place. At the end of the day, people were searching for a powerful, effective treatment for pain. Medical marijuana offers that.
  • Medical marijuana and opioid addiction are connected because of the issue of chronic pain. However, the connection ends there. Marijuana is nowhere near as a lethal as opioids. To date, there are ZERO cases of fatal marijuana overdoses. Ever. Compare that to over 30,000 opioid deaths in 2015 alone.
  • Medical marijuana can ease opioid withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for people to quit them. A clinic in Massachusetts reported that three-quarters of their patients stopped using opioids after switching to marijuana.
  • Opioid-related deaths dropped by 25% in states with legalized medical marijuana, as opposed to states that still outlaw it.

What This Means for Nevadans

Nevada has the fourth highest number of fatal drug overdoses in the country.

If you’re a Nevadan who’s struggling with an opioid addiction because of chronic pain, know that you’re not alone. There is hope.

Our team is available to answer any questions you may have about using medical marijuana to treat your chronic pain. Please feel free to give us a call anytime.

And if you’re ready to receive the healing benefits of medical marijuana, schedule an appointment with us today! We look forward to helping you get the right treatment.

Marijuana And Fibromyalgia Pain Relief

Marijuana and Fibromyalgia Pain Relief

Marijuana and Fibromyalgia Pain Relief

We still don’t know what causes fibromyalgia.

But we do know that it’s a chronic pain disorder that affects 5 million people in the U.S. The most common symptoms are muscle and bone pain and fatigue. Other symptoms include

  • Points of tenderness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

After seeing that list, you can imagine why fibromyalgia is such a devasting disease. Often, the pain is so overwhelming that it impacts a person’s emotional and mental well-being as well as their physical health. It can feel as if the disease is taking over your life, and it’s no wonder that some patients invest hours and hours of research into their condition, trying to find an effective way to treat the pain.

But what are the options?

FDA-Approved Drugs For Fibromyalgia Pain Relief

  • Pregabalin (Lyrica)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Milnacipran (Savella)

For some, these drugs can effectively treat fibromyalgia. But anecdotal evidence suggests that many patients don’t get the relief that they need from these medications.

Another problem is that all three of these drugs come with potentially serious side effects; your kidneys and liver can take a huge beating when using these drugs.

In some cases, doctors will prescribe opioids for fibromyalgia pain relief. But as we’ve written before, opioids also have serious side effects like constipation, sexual dysfunction, and dependency/addiction.

Why Medical Marijuana Could Help Fibromyalgia Sufferers

For patients looking for a natural fibromyalgia pain relief treatment, medical marijuana may offer them the solution they’re looking for.

Meet Juliet Hopper, a management consultant who suffers from fibromyalgia and cervical cancer. She moved from Ohio to California so that she could have access to medical marijuana. Here’s her story, as reported by National Geographic:

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The video includes a nifty animation that depicts cannabinoids (marijuana’s active compounds) binding with cannabinoid receptors in the human body. These receptors are part of the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating important functions like

  • Motor control
  • Mood
  • Memory
  • Appetite
  • Pain

That’s how marijuana is able to work its magic: when it binds with the receptors in your body, it “calms down” the pain signals sent to your brain.

Marijuana May Be More Effective at Treating Fibromyalgia Than FDA-Approved Medicines

In March of 2014, the National Pain Foundation and National Pain Report did a survey of over 1300 fibromyalgia patients.

Of the Patients Who’ve Tried the Drug Cymbalta

  • 60 percent said the drug had no effect
  • 32 percent said it worked mildly well
  • 8 percent said it worked very well

Of the Patients Who’ve Tried the Drug Lyrica:

  • 61 percent said the drug had no effect
  • 29 percent said it worked mildly well
  • 10 percent said it worked very well

Of the Patients Who’ve Tried the Drug Savella

  • 68 percent said that the drug had no effect
  • 22 percent said it worked mildly well
  • 10 percent said it worked very well

Of the Patients Who’ve Tried Medical Marijuana:

  • 62 percent said that it worked very well
  • 33 percent said it worked mildy well
  • 5 percent said that it had no effect

When you compare the FDA-approved drugs, their numbers are about the same. But when you compare those numbers to the medical marijuana numbers, they practically flip. More people are getting fibromyalgia pain relief through marijuana than the standard prescription drugs.

In the video below, Teri Robnett of Colorado talks about how she initially used prescription drugs for fibromyalgia, but she grew worried about the side effects and drug interactions. She switched to medical marijuana, and now things are looking up:

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A couple important things to note here:

  • Because the symptoms of her condition change from day to day, Teri is able to create a highy individualized treatment regimen based on her needs at the moment. Vaporized medicine gives her immediate relief before going to bed; edibles help make sure she gets a good night’s sleep; and CBD-based medicines provide her with pain relief during the day while allowing her to remain clear-headed.
  • Because of the effectiveness of the medicine, she’s able to continue doing the things that are important to her: spending time with grandchildren and being actively involved in her community.

What About You?

Have you tried using medical marijuana to treat your fibromyalgia, or are you thinking about it? We want to hear what you have to say, so write to us in the comment section below.

If you suffer from fibromyalgia or any other type of chronic pain condition, schedule an appointment with our doctor to find out if medical marijuana is right for you!

Using Marijuana To Treat Chronic Pain

Using Marijuana to Treat Chronic Pain

Using Marijuana to Treat Chronic Pain

You wake up in the morning. Roll out of bed. You’re ready to start your day, but you can already feel it.

Severe, chronic pain.

Maybe you felt it before you even got out OF bed. Or maybe it was so bad, you hardly slept during the night.

Whatever the case, you know this much: you want the pain to go away.

Well, there’s good news:

Studies show that using medical marijuana to treat chronic pain might actually work!

Why We Feel Pain In the First Place

In a previous post, we discussed anxiety. Furthermore, we said that anxiety was like having your own personal alarm system inside your body, warning you of possible danger.

But if anxiety is an early-warning detection system, pain is like an intrusion alarm. Pain means your body is taking damage, and you need to do something about it quickly.

It’s a good system. After all, it keeps you from touching hot frying pans, cactuses or other things that could potentially harm your body.

In fact, pain is the reason that most of us go to the doctor in the first place. We want to find out why we’re in pain and how to make it stop. And we expect our physician to give us those answers.

So yes, pain has a purpose: it helps us stay alive.

But What Do You Do When the Pain Won’t Go Away?

Even after you’ve removed yourself from the harmful situation…

And after you’ve seen the doctor, followed his/her advice and taken the necessary medication…

And even after you’ve had the operation that was supposed to fix the condition you were suffering from…

Sometimes, the pain just won’t go away.

And if it’s left untreated, chronic pain can

  • Prevent you from being able to perform daily activities
  • Affect your job performance
  • Disrupt your sleep pattern
  • Cause mental and emotional distress/depression

In other words, chronic pain can ruin the quality of your life.

At that point, your pain is no longer helping you function safely. It’s not warning you of an underlying condition.

Chronic pain itself becomes the condition that needs to be treated.

Why Not Just Take Over-The-Counter Pain Medication?

Oftentimes, over-the-counter painkillers aren’t strong enough to treat the severe, chronic pain.

You should never increase the recommended dosage of an over-the-counter pain medication in order to treat your chronic pain. Especially without consulting your doctor.

  • The #1 reason people call Poison Control centers is due to of acetaminophen overdose.
  • Acetaminophen overdoses lead to 56,000 emergency room visits, 2,6000 hospitalizations and 458 deaths a year as a result of liver failure.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen aren’t entirely risk-free either. Overdose risks include gastrointestinal ulcers, heart attacks and strokes.
  • 41,000 older adults are admitted to the hospital each year because of NSAIDS.
  • 3,300 people die each year from NSAIDs-related ulcers.

The Problem With Opioid Painkillers

In certain cases, physicians may prescribe opioid painkillers to treat patients suffering from severe, chronic pain

But opioid drugs come with significant side effects such as

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Respiratory depression
  • Dependency/Addiction

We’ve written in the past about the opioid epidemic that is currently sweeping our nation. Over 33,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose in 2015.

Medical Marijuana: A Potentially Safer Solution to Chronic Pain?

  • For thousands of years, people have used marijuana as a medicine because of its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory powers.
  • Marijuana works directly with your body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for managing your pain.
  • When you consume cannabinoids, marijuana’s active ingredients, they bind to cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system, reducing the level of pain you’re experiencing.
  • Veterans, NFL players and fibromyalgia patients have reported success in using medical marijuana to treat chronic pain.

Here’s what Dr. Sunil Kumar Aggarwal has to say on the subject:

Is It Safe to Use Marijuana to Treat Chronic Pain?

  • Marijuana does have side effects such as
    • Increased appetite
    • Drowsiness
    • Dry mouth
    • Impaired motor skills
    • Increased anxiety
  • However, these side effects depend heavily on the amount of marijuana you use as well as the type and strain. You should consult your doctor and dispensary staff member to find the best type of marijuana for your condition.
  • There is ZERO evidence of fatalities directly caused by marijuana overdose. The same can’t be said for acetaminophen, NSAIDS or opioids.
  • We’re not saying that people shouldn’t use acetaminophen, NSAIDs or opioids to combat their pain. These drugs can be effective if used properly. However, given marijuana’s relative safety, you should definitely factor it in when thinking about pain relief options.
  • Medical marijuana is not as powerful as opioid painkillers, but the two can be used together in a low-dose combination if done under the instruction and supervision of a qualified doctor. Working this way, marijuana can counteract the opioid’s addictive qualities, making it easier for people to wean themselves off of the opioid altogether.

In this video, medical marijuana patient Wendy Hart shares her own experience of using medical marijuana along with opioid medication (her interview begins around the 1:34 mark):

If You’re a Nevadan Who Suffers From Severe, Chronic Pain, You Qualify for Medical Marijuana

Don’t wait any longer! If you suffer from severe, chronic pain schedule an appointment with us online. We want to evaluate you and help you get back on the road to healing and wholeness!

And if you’re a current patient who uses medical marijuana to treat chronic pain, give us a shout on social media and share your experiences!

SOURCES:

Blesching, U. (2015). The Cannabis Health Index: Combining the Science of Medical Marijuana with Mindfulness Techniques to Heal 100 Chronic Symptoms and Diseases. Berkeley (California): North Atlantic Books.

Using Marijuana To Treat Alcoholism

Using Marijuana To Treat Alcoholism

Using Marijuana to Treat Alcoholism

You’ve tried quitting cold turkey.

You’ve tried rehab, 12-step programs, and counseling.

But nothing works. You still keep picking up the bottle.

In an earlier post, we talked about how marijuana could help people who are addicted to opioid drugs.

So what about using marijuana to treat alcoholism?

Some people might argue that you’re just switching one drug for another. We disagree.

Marijuana is more than just “a drug.” As we’ve said time and time again, marijuana is a medicine.

That’s why we want to explore the idea of using marijuana to treat alcoholism. Based on studies and anecdotal evidence, we think putting down the bottle and picking up the pipe might help people on the road to recovery.

Wanting to Quit, but Still Can’t Quit

One of the first steps to beating alcoholism is knowing you have a problem.

But just because you know it’s a problem and you want to stop doesn’t make it easy to do. When you’re addicted to something, your body depends on that substance in order to function normally.

Even if that the substance is slowly killing you.

It’s not that an alcoholic doesn’t truly want to quit; it’s that they feel physically unable to.

And the withdrawal symptoms can be quite serious.

What are The Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal?

  • Shaky hands
  • Sweating
  • Low-level anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations (can usually be distinguished from reality)

What is Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome?

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition. Symptoms include:

  • Disorientation, confusion
  • Severe anxiety
  • Hallucinations (cannot be distinguished from reality)
  • Heavy sweating
  • Seizures
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid and irregular heartbeat
  • Severe tremors
  • Low-grade fever

Marijuana May Help Reduce Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Buzzfeed writer Katie Herzog was a former alcoholic. Her drinking affected her relationships, her school life, and her ability to hold down a job.

Herzog went through the standard forms of treatment such as rehab, Alcoholics Anonymous, and talk therapy. But none of those things stopped her from relapsing.

Until she started using marijuana.

Once she switched out booze for cannabis, her life began to improve. Now she’s able to drink occasionally, but she prefers marijuana to alcohol. And that means she usually won’t have that first drink at all.

Here are more examples of people using marijuana to treat alcoholism:

  • Amanda Reiman, manager of Marijuana Law and Policy at the Drug Policy Alliance, did a survey study of Berkeley cannabis patients and found that half of them were using marijuana to replace their alcohol use.
  • In this Reddit thread, former alcoholics share stories of how marijuana helped them stop drinking.
  • Research by economist D. Mark Anderson suggests that marijuana legalization could help reduce alcoholism. In one of his studies, he found that 19 states with legal marijuana saw an 8 to 11 percent drop in driving fatalities.

Wait a Minute! You’re Just Replacing One Bad Substance With Another, Right?

Both marijuana and alcohol alter your mind, but they affect the mind and body in different ways.

The idea that alcoholics should avoid ALL mind-altering substances is known as the abstinence model. Alcoholics Anonymous and other rehab programs use this model. It is, by far, the most well-known type of addiction treatment.

But here’s a fact that not very many people know: 12-step programs only have a 5 to 10 percent rate of success.

Of course, if you’re one of the few people who found success with these types of programs, that’s great! We’re not saying that total abstinence is bad. We’re just stating the facts: these programs don’t work for everyone

And if you’ve tried one of these programs, and it didn’t work, it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you.

It just means you might need a different approach.

The Abstinence Model V.S. the Harm Reduction Model

There’s another approach to addiction treatment: It’s called harm reduction.

Harm reduction argues that, despite society’s best efforts, people are going to use both legal and illegal drugs. Rather than condemning or ignoring the problem, harm reduction tries instead to reduce the damage that drug users cause themselves and others.

Using cannabis to treat alcoholism falls under the harm reduction model. Because of marijuana’s unique medicinal properties, it has the potential to reduce the severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, making it easier to quick drinking altogether.

Here’s the bottom line: alcohol can kill you. 88,000 Americans die each year because of excessive alcohol use.

Cannabis does not even come close to this level of dangerousness. Although marijuana has adverse side effects like most prescription drugs, it’s nowhere near as toxic as alcohol. There’s also no evidence that anyone has ever died from a marijuana overdose.

The gap between heavy binge drinking and total abstinence is huge. Cannabis offers alcoholics the option of reducing their drinking without fearing severe withdrawal symptoms.

Check out this video to learn more about harm reduction and how it can help people struggling with addiction.

Using Marijuana to Treat Alcoholism: Final Thoughts

  • Again, we’re not saying that 12-step programs don’t work, or that you shouldn’t consider traditional forms of treatment. You should use every tool at your disposal to help you beat your addiction. All we’re saying is that cannabis may be another tool that can help.
  • Cannabis is not a “magic bullet” solution. It may not work for everyone, so be sure to consult your doctor and/or therapist first. He or she needs to be able to observe your progress and warn you of any potential risks.
  • Alcohol addiction doesn’t qualify you for medical marijuana use in Florida. However, many people turn to alcohol because of an underlying condition such as severe, chronic pain or PTSD. And these conditions do qualify you for medical cannabis.

If you suffer from these two conditions, or any other qualifying condition, schedule an appointment with our doctor online. If you use medical marijuana instead recreational pot, you’ll save 10 percent on every purchase. You’ll also get access to much stronger products!

Using Marijuana To Treat Anxiety

Using Marijuana to Treat Anxiety

Using Marijuana to Treat Anxiety

Anxiety. Stress. Drama. We may hate it, but we still have to deal with it.

Because here’s the thing: anxiety is supposed to be good for us!

When we feel anxious, it means our body is warning us that danger is ahead. It’s why we look both ways before crossing the street and avoid areas of a forest where we know the grizzly bears are hanging out.

Anxiety helps us stay alive. It’s like your own ADT security system, only it’s inside you.

The problem is when you can’t turn that security system off.

Imagine if you had a home alarm system going off all the time, even though there’s nobody breaking into the house. You’d go crazy! You’d have to move out of that house, no question.

That’s what chronic anxiety can feel like. It’s so pervasive and enduring that it interferes with your ability to work, sleep, maintain healthy relationships with others, and be happy.

So can you use medical marijuana to treat anxiety?

Yes. Yes, you can. Provided it’s the right kind of marijuana!

Why Medical Marijuana Helps You Relax

When you use medical marijuana, its active ingredients – cannabinoids – interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system.

(We know that’s a mouthful, but don’t worry. You don’t have to say it; you just have to know how it works).

So what does your endocannabinoid system do?

Well, a lot actually, but one of the things it does is controls your moods – in other words, it manages how you feel.

Now this is the very important part:

Marijuana’s cannabinoids can help support your endocannabinoid system.

The two most popular cannabinoids are THC and CBD.

THC is known mostly for its psychoactive effect (the marijuana “high” that we all know and love), and CBD is popular because of its anti-anxiety properties.

Both THC and CBD have many other benefits, but we need to focus on these two for now.

Because as it turns out, the amount of THC and CBD in your marijuana will determine whether it’s the best type of marijuana to treat anxiety.

What is CBD:THC Ratio?

The CBD:THC ratio of a product is pretty straight forward; it’s the amount of CBD in a product compared to the amount of THC.

For example, some products might have a 0:1 ratio – which means it’s all THC.

Others might have a 2:1 ratio, which means the product contains twice as much CBD as it does THC.

Because THC gets you “high,” many patients make the mistake of thinking that the best products are the ones with the most of THC.

While there’s nothing wrong with high-THC-percentage products (they can be very effective at treating highly severe pain), it’s important to remember that more does not equal better.

Especially when it comes to managing anxiety.

Because if you take too much THC, you may experience anxiety as a side effect, which is something you want to avoid if you’re using medical marijuana to treat anxiety!

CBD Counteracts THC’s Side Effects

CBD and THC work best when they’re working together, a phenomenon known as “the entourage effect.”

More specifically, CBD counters the anxiety that THC can cause; it makes you feel more relaxed as a result.

So if you’re using marijuana to treat anxiety, you definitely want to consider products with at least a 1:1ratio.

The general rule of thumb is that the higher the CBD number, the more relaxed you’ll feel. Consequently, you’ll also experience less of THC’s euphoric effects.

For this reason, some patients may find that these “CBD-favored” products are a better fit for them, especially if they need to medicate during the day but want to keep a clear head!

Using Medical Marijuana to Treat Anxiety: General Guidelines

  • Use indicas instead sativas. Indicas and sativas are the two main types of marijuana. Sativas give you a “head high,” giving you energy and stimulating your mind. Indicas give you more of a “body high,” which relaxes you. Indicas also contain more CBD than sativas, so that’s a definite plus for anxiety treatment. Also, indicas have high concentrations of myrcene, a chemical compound also associated with sedation and relaxation.
  • Check products for CBD: THC ratio.Nevada law requires marijuana product labels to show you how much THC and CBD are in your products. Stay away from products that emphasize THC and don’t carry a lot of CBD. If you don’t know the right ratio for your needs, products with 1:1 or 2:1 ratios aren’t a bad place to start. You can always work your way up from there if you need to.
  • Ask the dispensary staff for recommendations. If you let your budtender know exactly what you’re looking for, he or she should be able to show you a product that will best serve your needs.
  • Create the proper set and setting. Your environment and the company you keep have a huge effect on your state of mind. Some people don’t mind using medicine around others. Others prefer to be alone, in the privacy of their own homes. Figure out what type of set and setting works best for you while consuming your medicine. You want to manage your anxiety, not amp it up!
  • Combine meditation/yoga with your medical marijuana use. Meditation and yoga help you relax and connect with your body. They also help you observe your thoughts and emotions without getting sucked into them. Using these tools in combination with medical marijuana can be a powerful way to stay centered and calm.
  • Eating edibles for the first time? Start with small doses! An average edible dose can range anywhere from 5 to 10 milligrams of THC. Start small and work your way up. Remember, it can take up to two hours or more for edibles to kick in, so you shouldn’t expect to feel the effects immediately. Be patient and don’t jump the gun and bite off more than you can chew – so to speak.
  • Most importantly, speak with your physician and/or mental health counselor before starting any treatment regimen. Not every anxiety disorder is the same, so if you’re considering using medical marijuana to treat your anxiety, please speak with your doctor first to see if marijuana truly is the right fit for you. And if you’re seeing a therapist or psychiatrist, be sure to inform them as well, so they can weigh in and track your progress.

Have you ever used medical marijuana to treat your anxiety? What were the results? We want to hear your stories, and we know our other readers do too! Please give us a shout-out on our social media pages.

And if you don’t have a medical marijuana card, and you suffer from a qualifying illness, schedule an appointment with our doctor so we can get you on the path to pain relief!

Marijuana And Meditation

Marijuana and Meditation

Marijuana and Meditation

DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion blog post and should not be considered medical advice.  If you’re thinking about combining marijuana and meditation, first talk to your physician AND a professional meditation instructor about the potential risks.

Marijuana and meditation have a lot in common.

Both have been used, together, in religious ceremonies and in spiritual practices for thousands of years.

Both marijuana and meditation promote relaxation and peace of mind, and they both help reduce chronic pain.

And, if used correctly, both can help you find mental clarity and put you in touch with your deepest, core self.

If this sounds like we’re going off into “woo-woo” territory, relax.  We’re not pretending to be metaphysicists or theologians.  We deal with medical marijuana, so we try to keep things as grounded in physical reality as we can.

That being said, research suggests that our mental and emotional states can impact our physical health.  If we want to take control of our health, getting control of our mind is a good place to start.

After all, our mind is one of the few things we actually do have control over in life.

Although meditation and marijuana have been used in various religious and spiritual traditions,  you don’t have to believe in anything in order to benefit from either.

The proof will be in the pudding, so to speak.

So let’s talk a little bit more about what’s in this pudding.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a mind-body technique designed to calm the body and mind.  It typically involves settling into a comfortable position (sitting or lying down on your back) and focusing your mind on a particular object.

It usually involves sitting or lying in a comfortable position, keeping your back straight and your breathing steady, and focusing your mind on a particular object.

The object of focus can be anything: a lit candle, a statue, a point on the wall.

It can also be a word, phrase or mantra that you repeat in your mind.  Or you could simply focus on your breathing.

If you get distracted and start thinking about something other than your chosen object, you simply take note that you were distracted, and you return your focus to your chosen object.

And that’s pretty much the nuts and bolts of meditation.   You can do it for ten minutes or you can do it for two hours.

(If you’ve never meditated before, you may want to try ten minutes first.

Why Meditate?

Studies show that meditation could help treat the following medical conditions:

  • High blood pressure
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Pain
  • Nicotine addiction

Meditation can also boost your immune system, improves cognition, increase your brain’s gray matter density (seriously!) and just make you a happier and more empathetic personal all around.

Pretty great, right?

Why Combine Marijuana and Meditation?

You might have noticed that the benefits of meditation are remarkably similar to the benefits of medical marijuana.  Especially when it comes to treating anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, insomnia, and pain.

So what happens when you combine the two?

We’ll say this:  marijuana can deepen and intensify the meditation experience, and meditation can, in turn, deepen and intensify the effects of marijuana.

That can either be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your temperament and mental state.

Some people swear by this combination.  Entire spiritual practices have been built around this combination

Others would rather not mix and match.  Marijuana and meditation are pretty powerful on their own.  Adding marijuana to your meditation routine, or vice versa, could be like throwing gasoline on an already blazing fire.

Meditation and Marijuana: A Positive Story

Many years ago, one of the members of the Dr. Green Relief team (we’ll call him “Rick”) ate marijuana-infused brownies for the first time.

And like many first-time edible eaters, Rick ate more brownies than he should have.   Not only that, he ate them late into the evening and didn’t feel the effects until around midnight.

It was a long night for Rick.

His thoughts were out of control, and his anxiety had backed him into a corner.

Fortunately, Rick had already been studying and practicing meditation for a while.

He put on some Bob Marley to boost the positive vibes in his room, and he started meditating.  Instead of fighting his thoughts, he just focused on breathing in and out.  He imagined himself at the center of his thoughts, where he could observe them peacefully, instead of getting dragged down by them.

Rick didn’t come down from the high until late the next morning.  Although it was a harrowing experience, it was also a valuable one, and it taught him two things:

  1. Edibles should be eaten in slivers, not chunks.
  2. Meditation can help you stay calm and centered if you’re experiencing paranoia or anxiety (a common side-effect of the cannabinoid THC)

Is It Safe?

The National Health Institute says that meditation is safe for healthy individuals.

For people suffering from psychiatric issues, there have been rare cases in which meditation made their symptoms worse.  The Institute recommends that you notify your physician before beginning a meditation regimen.  You should notify your meditation instructor of your condition.

It’s even more important to notify your doctor and your meditation instructor before combining meditation with marijuana.

How to Combine Marijuana and Meditation

1). Develop a meditation practice first

The UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center offers free guided meditations that can help you get started.

There are also plenty meditation apps you can download on your mobile device and use for instruction.

Of course, there’s no substitute for an in-person meditation instructor.  An instructor can observe you while you’re meditating, help you correct your posture and encourage you to eliminate bad habits.  An instructor can also be a valuable sounding board for any feedback or thoughts that you want to share.

2).  Practice meditating for at least 90 days

90 days may seem like a long time, but there’s a good reason for waiting this long.

Meditation has its ups and downs.  Some days, you might feel like the time you sat went really well.  Other days, you may feel like you weren’t able to shut off your mind

Also, when you spend a lot of time observing your own mind, emotional and psychological baggage can come up.  You might be ready to face this baggage.  Or you might not be.  Again, this is why it’s so important to work with an instructor.

Doing your practice over a three-month period will give you a sense of the highs and lows of meditation.  Once you have experience navigating these highs and lows, you’ll be in a better place to navigate the highs and lows that marijuana will bring into the equation.

3). Slowly introduce marijuana into your practice

Once you’re ready to introduce marijuana into your practice:

  • Meditate for at least ten minutes so that you can get calm and centered.
  •  When you’re ready, take one puff of marijuana, and then go back to meditating.
  • Observe the high feeling that’s overtaking you.  Try not to get wrapped up in the fact that you’re high.  Just observe it from a distance.  You’ll find that doing this actually increases the intensity of the high.
  • If you feel ready, you can take another puff.  Continue to meditate and use additional marijuana when you feel it’s necessary.

Have you ever combined marijuana and meditation?  Share your experiences with us on Instagram or Facebook!

And if you’re ready to enjoy the benefits of medical marijuana, schedule an appointment with us today!