I recently tried the DabPro pen produced and sold by Synergy Extracts on their website www.synergyofnature.co.uk. They offer various flavours and terpene blends – the one I’m sampling for this review is called “Energise” and features a naturally-matched terpene blend of the Golden Lemon and Sour Diesel cannabis strains.
The cartridge contains 500mg of CBD distillate (that’s a VERY pure form of extract) with added terpenes, which are used as a solvent achieving the correct viscosity for the extracts in the DapPro pen.
We all know that it’s safer to vape than to smoke because when vaping you aren’t combusting any plant material. So today we want to take a look at the benefits of vaping cannabis as a consumption method.
Smoking cannabis is one traditional way to consume it. People also eat (edibles) or apply cannabis topically for medical benefit. Due to the advent of better technology, in recent years there have been several great vaporizers to hit the market, and the benefits of vaping cannabis are more apparent – it is now easier than ever to vape cannabis safely and effectively.
There are several benefits to picking up a vaporizer over smoking, so let’s discuss them here.
Last week I travelled up to meet Andrew and Ben, directors of the CBD Brothers company at their base near Bury St Edmunds, UK.
I’ve wanted to visit CBD Brothers ever since I first sampled their CBD oil back in April 2016 -it was actually one of the first videos I made for the ISMOKE YoutTube channel.
Since then I’ve kept in touch with the company, and have seen their range of products grow – as I write this they’re one of the UK’s top supplies of CBD, and offer a wide range of full-spectrum and top-quality CBD oil, skin balm and other products.
The donation of blood is a selfless, kind act that has the potential to save someone’s life. Give Blood UK say they need around 200,000 new blood donors every single year.
With over 50% of donors being over 45 years old it’s younger donors they need. Most people between the ages of 17-70 are able to become blood donors. Members of the UK cannabis community may be surprised to learn that cannabis use doesn’t rule you out in becoming a donor.
We spoke to Raymond Miller, corporate communication manager for NHS Blood & Transplant to clarify a few things.
Firstly there are other health and eligibility requirements a potential donor must pass before being accepted to make a donation.
“The safety of our patients, as well as our donors, is number one priority which is why we carry out a donor health check for each donation.”
He states clearly though to the cannabis community that
” We do not test blood for THC“
He was also clear in mentioning that
” Give Blood UK would never accept a blood donation from anyone who tells them they are intoxicated by alcohol or drugs.”
Miller went on to add that
” Blood donation is an altruistic act and we thank all donors for their commitment.“
What does donating involve?
The first step in becoming a donor is to visit the Give Blood UK website to check that you first meet all the donor requirements. Provided that the criteria is met you will then be able to register online and make your first local appointment. Women are able to donate blood every 16 weeks whereas men can donate every 12 weeks.
Upon arrival for your first donation, you will first be asked a few health questions. You will then have your iron levels checked by providing a small blood sample.
The Donation process
Provided all is well the next stage will be the donation process, as soon as available you will be asked to sit down in a chair that’s perfectly set up to efficiently take the donation.
Blood will be taken from your chosen arm and a clean sterile needle will be inserted into a vein. A collection bag is then connected up it will then usually takes around 5-10 minutes to donate the required 470ml of blood.
Once you’ve given the donation you’ll have your donating arm fully cleaned and dressed and will be asked to rest.
You’ll need to take a few minutes out to relax as you’ve just lost some of your blood supply. You will be sat down and offered a hot or cold drink and a selection of biscuits, crisps and snacks.
After around ten to 15 mins, provided you are in good health and have had your fill of biscuits you will be free to leave. You can also make your next blood donation appointment too before you go. You’ll also be advised not do anything too strenuous for the next few hours.
What happens to the blood donations?
Donated blood or components are given to a patient in a blood transfusion. Blood transfusions are given via an intravenous line into a blood vessel.
How blood was used in 2014, according to hospital usage:
67% was used to treat medical conditions including anaemia, cancer and blood disorders
27% was used in surgery, including cardiac surgery and emergency surgery
6% was used to treat blood loss after childbirth
Usage varies between hospitals depending on their particular specialities.
So, to sum-up, you can indeed give blood as a cannabis consumer.
If you want to give blood you can call 0300 123 23 23 or visit https://blood.co.uk to find out more
There is a lot of info online about CBD in the UK, most of it coming from CBD companies providing a variety of products to consumers.
Because of this, it can be difficult to navigate this market of products containing CBD in the UK, and so we have put together some info about this wonderfully beneficial cannabinoid.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural, non-psychoactive cannabinoid, a compound which is found in cannabis. It’s one of over 110 such cannabinoids that are currently known to science.
In fact, CBD is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids found in cannabis, along with Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the most commonly occurring and well cannabinoid which is responsible for the “high” that is traditionally associated with consumption.
CBD doesn’t get you “stoned” in the same way as THC does but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t useful in many other ways.
All Humans and mammals have what is called an Endocannabinoid system, (ECS) a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems that interact with cannabinoids.
Recent studies have found that utilising this internal system CBD can act as an:
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) reclassified CBD in the UK as of January 2017 meaning as far as the British government is concerned CBD is a medicine. MHRA Issuing the following statement in October 2016:
“We have come to the opinion that products containing Cannabidiol (CBD) used for medical purposes are a medicine. Medicinal products must have a product licence (marketing authorisation) before they can be legally sold, supplied or advertised in the UK, unless exempt. Licensed medicinal products have to meet safety, quality and efficacy standards to protect public health” ((https://www.gov.uk/government/news/mhra-statement-on-products-containing-cannabidiol-cbd))
This meant that as of the start of 2017 CBD in the UK could only be sold as a medicine under license and under strict regulatory controls. There was, however, a legal grey area created by this reclassification. CBD in the UK cannot be sold as a MEDICINE without a license, but it can be sold as a food supplement as long as the proprietor doesn’t make any medical claims about the product or imply that it will do X or treat condition Y when there are no “approved” studies of CBD’s efficacy in the UK. (The same bullshit argument that is made in general around the legal status of cannabis in the UK despite the mountains of international research showing cannabis’ efficacy)
This grey area means that patients and consumers are left in the dark about how CBD could benefit their particular ailments, illnesses and conditions or simply how regular ingestion of cannabinoids could help to improve their general health and well being.
This legal grey area is a continued indictment of the failures of successive governments to acknowledge the truth about Cannabis and a constant reminder why it desperately needs relegalising in the UK and globally!
The restrictions on advertising and publicising the medicinal effects of CBD in the UK is being negated by the sheer volume of international studies and trials taking place around the globe.
Research and that most invaluable of communication tools, the internet is revolutionising the way the world views cannabinoids/cannabis in general and the way it accesses information about it.
This allows even the most hardened prohibitionist instantaneous access to valid scientific information which is slowly eroding the foundations of reefer madness and the failed war on drugs.
A Patient or consumer can now within 30 seconds look up all of the potential benefits of CBD for their condition and purchase a plethora of preparations online legally and increasingly in high street locations too, as companies scramble to capitalise on the recent commodification of this cannabis compound.
Companies currently cannot legally confirm, deny or comment on the potential medicinal application or benefits of CBD. The recent reclassification means it has to be marketed strictly as a food supplement, as Holland and Barrett have done recently and many new companies are popping up intent on following suit.
Consumers are left to experiment with it, titrating dosages and varying ingestion methods seeking to optimise their consumption. They’re also free to swap notes on their condition and how CBD affects it with other consumers creating community consensus on some conditions.
Cannabidiol is non-toxic, non-psychoactive and as with all Cannabinoids, non-addictive so there really is no risk to including CBD into your health regiment or into your diet as a nutritional additive.
Cannabis is, after all, one of the oldest medicines and most studied plants on the planet. As we’ve discussed previously in ISMOKE Magazine, cannabis has been cultivated and utilised by humans for at least 5,000 years, with evidence of its use in nearly every culture on Earth.
There is a growing issue around the sale and use of single cannabinoid medications. Again as with THC oils, there are a large number of “snake oil salesman” and conmen seeking to cash in on the government’s failures and charm sell useless and inferior products to too often the most vulnerable in our community.
There are also companies providing Synthetic, Hemp based or Cannabinoid only preparations and medications which do not benefit from the entourage effect and may, therefore, leave consumers with products that aren’t as beneficial as their full-spectrum counterparts.
Indeed, whole plant extracted products are most effective because they keep all the chemical compounds found in cannabis such as 100+ cannabinoids, The plethora of Terpenes and Flavoroids and many other chemical constituents that all combine to become greater than the sum of their parts, working together synergistically to maximise the benefits of each compound.
Terpenes have been discovered to work in tandem with cannabinoids. Myrcene one of the most prevalent terpenes found in cannabis has been found to reduce resistance in the blood-brain barrier, enabling easier passage of other beneficial chemicals to the brain.
Pinene another commonly occurring terpene has been found to help negate some of the cognitive impairing effects of excessive THC consumption and a combination of Linalool and Limonene with CBD is being examined as a possible anti-acne treatment ((https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/cannabis-entourage-effect-why-thc-and-cbd-only-medicines-arent-g))
This just goes to show the importance of the entourage effect and utilising the whole plant in extractions for preparations and medications. It further highlights the urgent need for further unbridled research into the 10,000+ strains and hundreds of thousands of potential combinations of chemical compositions for future treatments of conditions we cannot yet even imagine.
The recent bill proposed by Paul Flynn, unfortunately, seems like a push by pharmaceutical companies to gain easier access to research cannabinoids to produce patented profitable drugs that they can make billions on continuing their domination and monopolisation of the legal UK cannabis market.
The new bill would seek to put Cannabis in schedule 2, alongside such dangerous drugs as, Amphetamines, Cocaine and Benzodiazepines. This is spitting in the face of cannabis consumers regardless of their reasons for consumption and means that the general population continues to be persecuted and criminalised for growing or utilising cannabis, one of the safest plant medicines on the planet.
It is also worth noting that the largest survey on CBD usage to date found that women were more likely than men to use CBD and once they started using it, were likely to drop their traditional medications. ((https://www.forbes.com/sites/debraborchardt/2017/08/02/people-who-use-cannabis-cbd-products-stop-taking-traditional-medicines/#773035722817)) This is another motivator for big pharma to seek to control the inevitable classification of cannabis.
It is a disgrace that in the twenty-first century we’re still having to fight our own elected officials for access to a substance that has not and never will kill a single consumer.
As someone who suffers from Asthma, I was always told that it wasn’t a sensible idea to smoke.
Perhaps it’s my age; I was born in the late 1980’s, well after the public health worries and anti-smoking movement began, into a world where a lot of people smoked, but at least they knew it was bad for them.
This week, we’ll be looking at a few of the persistent myths that surround the gateway theory and cannabis, including where it comes from and the consequences it can have on the consumer & society. We’ll also be taking a look at the growing evidence that disproves these frankly fraudulent fallacies.
As many of you will be aware there have recently been some divisive documentaries and programs produced around the subject of cannabis which seem to be rehashing archaic, destructive myths and down right lies such as “Skunk Psychosis” “Cannabis Addiction” “Hash having less THC in it than flower” and, of course, “The gateway theory”. Thus continues the British media’s campaign of demonising both cannabis and its consumers.
Let’s talk about that…
Although the term wasn’t first popularised until the 1980’s, the ideas and concept that the Gateway Theory encapsulates have been discussed in academia for decades, as far back as the 1930’s.
Occasionally referred to as “stepping stone theory” or “escalation theory”, it is the idea that the consumption of one drug will increase the user’s likelihood of consuming another.
This idea has been championed by varying individuals over the years but none so much as by anti-drug activist Robert DuPont who, for decades, helped to “guide” American drug policy. This was the man appointed to positions of influence by the father of the modern war on drugs – the racist, warmongering former US president Richard Nixon, who created the war on drugs as a way to control the black population, hippies and anti-war campaigners that were gaining social traction.
John Ehrlichman who was Nixon’s adviser on domestic policy famously said in a 1994 interview that:
“We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalising both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. “We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes… and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
In order to understand why cannabis ISN’T a gateway drug it is first important to understand the difference between “the gateway theory” and the concept of “exposure opportunity” that is created by our current system of prohibition and the draconian legal status of cannabis here in the UK.
Under the current paradigm, the average consumer has to acquire their cannabis from a local dealer who may potentially be involved in serious criminal activities, and happy to also sell their customers far more harmful and potentially lethal illegal drugs.
It is this interaction that creates the exposure opportunity for dealers to become salesmen, pitching their latest product to the naive misguided youth who, disillusioned by cannabis lies, may now seek to further explore the depths of deception of prohibition by ingesting and exploring other illegal substances.
This cannot and should not be blamed on cannabis. The blame in this instance is squarely on our prohibitionist policies and decades of reefer madness propaganda which has been pumped out by successive governments, media outlets, tabloids and other mouth pieces of those ideologically opposed to ending the war on drugs.
The status quo is maintained in part because the fear of risk to investments in industries that could potentially be decimated by the coming global legalisation of cannabis and the ubiquitous implementation of industrial and medicinal applications of cannabis derived technologies and medicines. This stems back to the paper industry in the days of Harry J. Anslinger, when they smeared “marijuana” to protect business interests.
But gettng back to the point, the truth is the opposite to this false notion of cannabis fitting in with the gateway theory: There is little evidence to support it. At the very best there is a correlation in data, but this in no way can imply a casual link or be claimed in any way to be evidence that cannabis is a gateway drug.
Evidence is actually emerging that suggests that cannabis can be (and is being in several US States) utilised as an exit drug, contradicting the gateway theory entirely. It can help addicts to recover from such afflictions as heroin addiction, alcoholism and tobacco addiction, as well as other destructive drug addictions and detrimental behaviours and habits.
In states where Cannabis has been legalised the Opioid abuse and death rates have declined year on year since legalisation. All prescription drug use is down in states with legal access to cannabis. People are taking less prescription medication, including anti-anxiety drus, antidepressants, anti-seizure medication and even painkillers – this is clear evidence of cannabis’ efficacy at treating hundreds if not thousands of conditions.
The four main contenders for the real gateway drug, if indeed any such thing does exist, are Sugar, Alcohol, Prescription pills and Tobacco – all of which could be described as having an escalation usage model. This means the more they’re consumed, the more users are likely to consume in the future, often in higher quantities.
Prescription drugs may actually be a growing pathway to heroin addiction. They are certainly attributed to be the cause of the current opioid epidemic in the west. Drugs available on prescrition include Oxycotin, Fentanyl, benzodiazepine, xanex, and Tramadol, all of which are vastly more deadly to people than illegal drugs, but have until recent years been prescribed like they’re going out of fashion. This has created thousands of addicts who otherwise wouldn’t have had any contact with these potent potentially lethal drugs.
When mentioning heroin addiction, it is worth mentioning Hungarian-born Canadian physician Dr Gabor Maté and the link he discovered through decades of his work in neurology, psychiatry, and psychology, as well as the study and treatment of addiction. He observed that there is an “equal correlation between sexual abuse as a child and dependant intravenous drug use as an adult as there is between obesity to diabetes”
If you’ve suffered childhood trauma, you’re 4600% more likely to become an injecting drug user than if you haven’t.
Meaning that this kind of abuse could be termed a gateway.
Legal drugs and The Gateway Theory
Tobacco has actually been observed to exhibit traits of the gateway theory. In a recent American study scientists found that over 90% of adult cocaine users between the ages of 18 and 34 had smoked cigarettes before they began using cocaine. Researchers suspected that nicotine exposure might increase vulnerability to cocaine.
Contrast this with cannabis which can be used to help tobacco users to quit their carcinogenic habit and live healthier lives Nicotine free.
If anything, alcohol could potentially fit into the debunked gateway theory, as exposure to alcohol lowers the users inhibition, which makes them more susceptible to taking other drugs. As pubs have traditionally been a marketplace of illegal drugs up and down the country, this, coupled with the current cultural acceptance of using cocaine to extend binge drinking sessions makes the alcohol user rather vulnerable and increases their likelihood of poly-drug consumption and addiction issues.
It could and should be argued that poor economic circumstances are one of the main gateways to harder drug use. It is the criminalisation and prohibition of so called soft drugs that has created a gateway to harder drug use.
Legalising cannabis could negate this and a lot of the avoidable deaths and detrimental societal harms and affects caused by tobacco, alcohol and other harmful human behaviours by allowing the public access to a much healthier and safer option of a recreational drug.
In conclusion, its propaganda and prohibition that have caused a great deal of the issues and harms associated with the consumption of cannabis and the perceived social consequences.
Simply put, if cannabis truly is a gateway drug, why aren’t there equal usage statistics for all other harder drugs?
This myth much like prohibition needs burying with the other relics of our haunting history in the shallow grave of the twentieth century.
Watch Let’s Talk About The Gateway Theory here via the ISMOKE YouTube Channel:
This is an accompanying post to our YouTube video We need to protect medical cannabis consumers in the UK, which you can watch below or by clicking here.
At present, medical cannabis consumers in the UK are subjected to the same laws as any cannabis consumer- that means that if you are using herbal cannabis to treat your condition, you’re a criminal in the eyes of our Government.
The answer to this question is clear – we need to legalise cannabis and regulate access urgently for medical cannabis patients. We need our doctors to be able to prescribe cannabis to patients who would benefit.
Let’s take a look at how as a direct result of prohibition the UK cannabis scene is littered with cannabis oil scammers, confidence men, criminals, thieves and other nefarious individuals out to make themselves rich off of the backs of patients and consumers.
Unfortunately, it happens daily under prohibition. People in the community can be seen discussing it at length via Social Media – talking about times that they have been conned and that they know or suspect someone in the community of wrong doing and being involved for all the wrong reasons. We’re not just talking about cannabis oil scammers here, but all sorts of unscrupulous behaviours which we will discuss in detail below.
You know, the sort of behaviour that leads far too frequently to online Witch Hunts that devolve into immature behaviour that frankly reflects poorly on the community as a whole.
This week on ISMOKE we are taking a look at why we British have a propensity to mix our cannabis with tobacco, as well as where we acquired this antiquated practice and what you can do to reduce the associated harms of mixing your cannabis with tobacco and hopefully ultimately quit altogether.
It is difficult to trace the genesis of our affair of combining the two substances.
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.
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.