Health

Health

Cannabis and sleep

cannabis and dreaming

It will come as no surprise to the initiated amongst you that the consumption of Cannabis before bed will have you sleeping on a cloud of smoke and will often result in you getting a great night’s sleep, but is this really the case?

This week on ISMOKE we’ll be looking at how consuming Cannabis affects your sleeping pattern, your dreams and the length and quality of sleep that you get after you light up before heading off to the land of nod.

Cannabis vs Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the UK. According to mentalhealth.org, depression is the predominant mental health problem worldwide. Nearly 20% of the UK population, aged 16 and over, showed some evidence of anxiety or depression, according to the 2014 General Health Questionnaire.

Following on from our feature by Simpa Carter last week about consuming cannabis for depression, today we want to take a detailed look at the cannabis vs depression argument, incorporating some UK patient stories as well as more studies in this area.

The growing amount of people suffering from some form of depression is evident in the fact that, according to a report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), 61 million antidepressants were prescribed in the UK in 2015. That’s 31.6 million more than were prescribed in 2005, and up 3.9m, or 6.8%, on 2014.

The symptoms of depression can often be debilitating. The common mental disorder causes people to experience depressed mood, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, a loss of interest or pleasure, low energy, disturbed appetite or sleeping patterns and poor concentration.

If antidepressants worked, then why are prescription figures rising year after year? Surely there must be something which can better treat the symptoms of depression than pharmaceutical medications.

Wake and Bake with Tyler Green [Episode 15]

Join me for another Wake and Bake session this week (a little later than planned) as I show you a couple of new legal CBD products that I picked up from Synergy of Nature.

Also featuring in this video are a couple more dabbing products from Marvel Extracts and even some homemade Rosin thrown in for good measure.

Cannabis and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

cannabis and post-traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that can affect anyone at any time and can develop after a person is exposed to highly stressful and traumatic events.

In the majority of cases, the symptoms develop during the first month after a traumatic event. However, in a minority of cases, there may be a delay of months or even years before symptoms start to appear.

The length of time varies from case to case as to how long a person may have PTSD. In some cases, especially when not treated, PTSD can last a very long time, perhaps the remainder of one’s life.

Consuming cannabis for depression

Now that we have explored the links between smoking and schizophrenia, we can talk about using Cannabis as an antidepressant.

With mental health issues becoming ever more of a concern to public health, and at a time of severe austerity in the UK, wouldn’t it make lots of sense to conduct some clinical studies to test the efficacy of using cannabis for depression and the potential savings for the NHS this could bring?

This is why you should stop smoking cannabis with tobacco right now

Stop smoking cannabis with tobacco

Following last week’s story on the study which found that the biggest potential health risks from smoking cannabis is combining it with tobacco, we decided to find out how dangerous tobacco use with cannabis really is, and whether cannabis users would take heed of this warning.

The conclusion from the study that researchers reached was that the majority of health risks from smoking cannabis could be reduced simply by discouraging people from smoking with tobacco. They even went as far as recommending people opt for vaporisers instead.

The study mentioned is not the only study conducted on the impact tobacco has on cannabis use. The British Lung Foundation’s study found that when you smoke cannabis and tobacco together, the harmful effects are significantly worse.

The BLF’s study found that smoking 3-4 joints (cannabis joints with tobacco) a day causes roughly the same damage to smoking a 20 deck of cigarettes a day: leaving users exposed to acute and chronic bronchitis and the same degree of damage to the bronchial mucosa.

The way that users inhale spliffs is one of the main issues. Because cannabis users tend to inhale joints/spliffs deeper than they would a cigarette, the puff volume increases by two-thirds and depth of inhalation by one-third. There is also an average fourfold longer breath-holding time with cannabis than with tobacco. All of this means  is that there is a greater respiratory burden of carbon monoxide and smoke particulates such as tar than when smoking a similar quantity of tobacco.

Smoking cannabis with tobacco also increases dependence, which might sound obvious (seeing as nicotine is the third most addictive substance in the world).  A study in Frontiers in Psychiatry found that mixing between the two substances also vastly increases the risk of dependence in users, both to tobacco and cannabis!

Speaking on the findings, lead researcher from the Frontiers in Psychiatry study, Chandni Hindocha, said: “Cannabis is less addictive than tobacco, but we show here that mixing tobacco with cannabis lowers the motivation to quit using these drugs.”

The study found that it’s primarily Europeans who contaminate their cannabis with tobacco.

The Figures:

Between 77.2-90.9% of Europeans are smoking cannabis with tobacco, compared to 51.6% of Australians.

Compared to only 4.4%of Americans and 16% of Canadians combine cannabis with tobacco, it’s no wonder that UK researchers came out recently to reiterate the dangers of mixing to Brits.

Cannabis, on its own, however, is not addictive. If smoked with tobacco, however, it can reduce your motivation to quit smoking tobacco, which is never a good thing. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the UK, where nearly half-a-million people were were admitted to hospital in 2008-9 due to smoking.  How can you enjoy your herbs if you’re dead?

 

According to yet another study, smoking tobacco on its own also increases the risk of dependence on cannabis, independent of tobacco itself.

Researchers found that smoking cigarettes mediated the relationship between cannabis use and cannabis dependence, even when controlling for psychological and demographic correlates that might explain this relationship. The suggestion here is that cigarette smoking enhances vulnerability to the harmful effects of cannabis.

So, if you’re craving a joint, it might just be the nicotine in the tobacco you’re craving, not the high from the cannabis!

Gary experienced this craving when he quit tobacco five years ago: “I quit smoking cigs, but still had a joint with tobacco before bed to help with sleep.

“I started craving that Joint. Obviously for the nicotine. It would be on my mind all day.”

It was only when Gary discovered vaporisers that he was able to use cannabis to induce sleep without having the 24hour craving for nicotine: “After I discovered vaporisers I realised I could use cannabis to sleep without the tobacco.

“I mean, obviously, I’d done pipes and stuff, but I preferred the taste with tobacco until I got one of these things.”

The fact that the above study suggested that smoking just 3-4 joints a day may cause the same damages as a full 20 deck should put anyone off using tobacco with their cannabis. This was certainly the case for some of our readers.

Renmko also experienced this nicotine craving before she quit: “The craving for a spliff really came from the nicotine addiction, so once I got that addiction out of the way, it became more like, ‘hmm I could go for a bowl or a joint right now, instead of ‘f*ck mate, I wanna smoke a spliff so bad right now!”

Renmko, however, used cannabis to help her quit tobacco! She told us that before quitting tobacco, she was smoking a pack a day, but has since been smoking cannabis without contaminating it with tobacco: “Smoking pure has helped my lungs massively!

“My physical condition is a lot better, I smell more, I taste more and the effect of pure cannabis is a thousand times better than with tobacco!”

Her advice for other cannabis users addicted to tobacco may sound simplistic, but should resonate with a lot of us: “Just stop it!

“Get a nice bag, prepare yourself for a week of being extremely grumpy and not being able to sleep properly for a week, that’s why smoking a lot in the beginning helps!

“Just do it, it’s the best decision I ever made!”

Kieran shared a similar experience after smoking cannabis helped him cut out his 10-a-day habit.

He told us: “I started smoking when I was 14 year’s old and stopped when I was 19. I spent my teenage years completely abusing my body as that’s what all my friends were doing and I just thought it’s what I’m meant to do.”

However, once Kieran started smoking cannabis daily, he realised the damage tobacco, and alcohol, was having on his body: “When I started really smoking weed all-day-every-day, it made me really feel what’s bad for my body like smoking and drinking alcohol.

“I came to the realisation that I should stop drinking and smoking and just continue to smoke weed. I’ve done so for the past 4-5 year’s now!”

Quitting tobacco, with the help of cannabis, has had an enormously positive impact on Kieran’s life and health: “I’ve been training boxing for over 3 years now, and I’ve had 4 amateur bouts and my fitness is through the roof!

“I credit all this to the fact that smoking cannabis helped me realise my potential and what I should and should not be doing.”

Martin ditched tobacco for a vaporiser, and told us how great the switch has been: “I changed from spliff to vaping, and it’s amazing!

“For the first few days I didn’t think I was getting stoned until I got up to go to bed and then really felt it.

Smoking cannabis without tobacco also may have the potential to enhance your high! It certainly did for Martin: “I definitely prefer the high without the tobacco, I feel less edgy, and I no longer have that craving to smoke again soon after.”

Renmko also attested to the cannabis high being better without tobacco: “There’s better benefits and even a better high.

“Plus, you know what the craziest thing is? Eventually, I actually smoke less cannabis than before!”

So it does seem that cannabis can, in fact, help those addicted to nicotine quit tobacco. However, it’s important to remember that cannabis is not a wonder, cure-all, drug

Andy told us that his nicotine cravings would be impossible to manage without his nicotine mints: “I use nicotine mints for the cravings would be impossible without them, they help so much.”

Andy explained that cannabis oil helps the cravings along with the mints: “I have learned how to cook with cannabis, so I make my own canna-oil now.

“The oil is amazing and so much stronger than smoking it! I’m sticking to my mints and oil from now on!”

Smoking tobacco in any sense is a bad idea. Coupled with the fact you inhale spliffs deeper and for longer, it may be a wise idea to roll that next one pure.

#ISMOKEPURE

Exploring the links between smoking and schizophrenia

Today, I want to tackle the argument that “Cannabis causes schizophrenia”. This argument is a fundamentally misleading and untrue assessment of the clinical data.

Scientists in the UK are finally warning of the dangers of mixing cannabis with tobacco

The dangers of mixing cannabis and tobacco

The UK needs to catch up with rest of the world on cannabis laws to make it safer for consumers.

• Researchers say that the UK needs to take steps to reduce harm from cannabis use
• Cannabis combined with tobacco, mainly used by Europeans, poses the most serious health risks

Following a new study, scientists are now calling for the UK Government to take a serious look at how they can make cannabis even safer than it already is.

These people in the UK are ditching their pharmaceutical medications for cannabis

ISMOKE Special Report

Yesterday we reported on the newest study into the relationship between cannabis and pharmaceutical medication, after researchers from the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria found that patients suffering from chronic pain and mental health issues were ditching their traditional opioid-based medications in favour of cannabis.

But why are so many people making the transition from legal prescriptions to a currently illegal alternative and ditching pharmaceutical medications for cannabis?

New study finds patients with legal access are choosing cannabis over opioids

A new study conducted in Canada has found that patients prefer cannabis over opioid medication to treat chronic pain and mental health issues. Researchers from the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria conducted the study.

Billy Caldwell’s mum: “fight for legal medicinal cannabis oil in Northern Ireland has been won”

Belfast Live is reporting that Medical Cannabis patient Billy Caldwell’s mum is now able to treat him in Northern Ireland with full-spectrum cannabis oil produced locally.

Billy suffers with intractable epilepsy, a seizure disorder in which a patient’s seizures fail to come under control with traditional treatment.

CBD for Generalised Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

Generalised Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

Generalised Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is a very common and impairing condition and today – despite several guidelines or consensus statements issued over the past few years – its management still remains a huge problem. 

Social anxiety disorder (formerly known as “social phobia”) is a much more common problem than past estimates have led us to believe.  Millions of people all over the world suffer from this devastating and traumatic condition every day, either from a specific social anxiety or from a more generalised social anxiety.

A Rose By Any Other Name [Medical Cannabis Documentary]

A Rose By Any Other Name is a Medical Cannabis Documentary produced, directed and edited by Made by Manchester Productions.

There aren’t too many medical cannabis documentaries from the UK, when compared to the amount of marijuana content that is produced in the United States. This is because legal access for many Americans has resulted in much more of a relaxed culture when it comes to cannabis.

Cannabis and Autism : Self-Medicating with Cannabis

Autism and Cannabis

Autism is a condition that affects an individual’s ability, both to communicate and understand. This means that the forming of relationships can be difficult due to lack of social understanding.

This may take the form of not knowing how to act in social situations, not recognising tones of voice or even understanding facial expressions in a way that most people find natural. Learning disabilities will vary in each individual across the autistic spectrum and we are still learning more about Autism.

Did you know that there are around 700,000 people in the UK living with autism? That’s more than 1 in 100 people.

Dying for Weed BBC Documentary – ISMOKE Review

Dying For Weed

For the past 24 hours, I’ve been in deep thought after watching almost the entire BBC Drugs Map of Britain series. I was hooked after watching ‘Dying For Weed‘.

Dying for Weed follows Journalist Poppy Begum who explores the underground world of medicinal cannabis in the UK, meeting seriously ill people who use cannabis to treat themselves.

The film features Jeff Ditchfield who supplies medicinal cannabis oil, and other medical users, and contains a lot of information about cannabis, along with some harrowing scenes (one poor chap is using what looks like soap bar to medicate.)