Could Microdosing LSD Treat Bipolar Disorder?

In her new book, Ayelet Waldman says she’d been “held hostage by the vagaries of mood” throughout her entire life. Psychotropic meds and all manner of treatment never did the job. So she decided to try LSD.

 A Really Good Day is Waldman’s first-person account of her month-long adventure into microdosing LSD. In the preface, Waldman tells readers that she was diagnosed years ago with a variant of bipolar disorder.

“When my mood is good, I am cheerful, productive and affectionate,” Waldman writes. “I sparkle at parties, I write decent sentences, I have what the kids call swag. When my mood swings, however, I am beset by self-loathing and knotted with guilt and shame.”

Read more at High Times

Marijuana Users Have Good Lungs (for Transplanting)

It was a very big deal when results of a major, long-term study into marijuana use and lung health revealed no link between cannabis use and respiratory ailments like lung cancer or COPD.

Lifelong marijuana users had no significant increased risk for breathing problems; indeed, cannabis use might even be beneficial and carry some “protective effect,” a team lead by UCLA researcher Donald Tashkin found.

And now, it appears weed smokers’ lungs, no worse off for the smoker, are also good for other people.

Read more at High Times

Marijuana Compounds Show Promise in Treating Heart Failure

Though even the federal government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) concedes cannabis has medical potential, there’s no scientific consensus around what marijuana does to the heart.

But at least one researcher is confident some of the compounds in marijuana can help treat heart failure, when the heart loses its ability to pump enough blood to supply the body and brain—and maybe even reverse the disease.

In 2015, Alexander Stokes, a research professor at the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine, secured a U.S. patent for a unique plant-based therapy for heart disease. As Medical Xpress reported, Stokes believes that by activating a particular receptor, the heart can be made to work harder to pump blood, without eventually failing.

Read more at High Times

Pot Policy Leaders React to Major Scientific Report

A landmark report from the National Academy of Sciences has outlined conclusive evidence that marijuana has measurable medical effects and identified the Schedule I status of cannabis as the primary obstacle to further research.

A major cannabis report released last week by the National Academy of Sciences covered the good, the bad, and the ugly consequences of our self-imposed black market. But one of the biggest parts was the continued obstacle to research presented by cannabis’s status as a Schedule 1 drug.

In 300-plus pages, the report covered many aspects of the current relationship between Americans and cannabis when it comes to policy and science. Many of the folks who have been working on the issue way before it was cool were quick to chime in on the report with a slew of statements on the findings.

Read more at Cannabis Now

What NIDA Isn’t Telling You About Pot and Pregnancy

In December, the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) published an op-ed by Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), titled “The Risks of Marijuana Use During Pregnancy.”

Volkow was inspired to write by “some sources on the internet” (always a bad sign; take it from us) that have been “touting marijuana as a solution for the nausea that commonly accompanies pregnancy.”

Whether it was these sources or the country’s general changing attitude on marijuana, more women than ever are indeed smoking weed: four percent of women reported using cannabis during their pregnancies in 2014, according to the AP, up from 2.4 percent in 2002. At least some of these women, taking note of marijuana’s value controlling nausea, are using marijuana to cope with morning sickness.

Read more at High Times

Marijuana For Addicts: The Case For Cannabis’s Place in a 12-Step Program

Drugs are commonplace in recovery circles, and are considered indispensable tools for addicts, by the addicts themselves and their counselors alike—provided they are the right drugs.

It’s hard to imagine a 12-step meeting without coffee and cigarettes—nicotine and caffeine the constant companions of many, including people escaping other “harder” intoxicants—and as many recovering alcoholics can attest, replacing the calories from alcohol with sugar is a rite of passage.

As writer Katie MacBridge recently observed in Rolling Stone, recovering addicts achieve sobriety when they abstain from “the recreational use of ‘mood-altering’ substances.” Annoying purists (is there any other kind?) may point to the above paragraph and question why it’s alright for an addict to pepper his or her brain and body with a steady barrage of low-level stimulants, but there’s a much bigger issue at play than denying someone a coffeehouse buzz. 

Read more at High Times

Australian Researchers Testing Medical Pot for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

Researchers from Curtin University’s School of Biomedical Sciences in Perth, Australia are testing medical marijuana as a possible breakthrough treatment for pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal diseases on the planet.

The project is being undertaken in collaboration with Zelda Therapeutics, a Perth-based biopharmaceutical company, which will import the cannabis from Canada.

The research, according to news.com.au, will examine the usefulness of cannabis formulations as stand-alone treatments in combination with existing chemotherapy drugs.

Read more at High Times

NORML Responds To National Academy of Sciences’ Marijuana Report

The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a comprehensive report today acknowledging that “conclusive or substantial evidence” exists for cannabis’ efficacy in patients suffering from chronic pain, and sharply criticized longstanding federal regulatory barriers to marijuana research – in particular “the classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance” under federal law.

Authors of the report also addressed various aspects of marijuana’s effect on health and safety, acknowledging that the substance may pose certain potential risks for adolescents, pregnant women, and for those who may be driving shortly after ingesting cannabis. In each of these cases, these risks may be mitigated via marijuana regulation and the imposition of age restrictions in the marketplace.

Commenting on the report, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said:

Read more at NORML

Can Cannabis Rescue the Opioid Overdose Epidemic in 2017?

2017 needs to be the year we fight back against the opioid epidemic. We will use the greatest weapon—cannabis.

Is this wishful thinking? Is there scientific justification to this speculation?

My wife is a resident physician in Seattle’s trendy Capitol Hill neighborhood. Early in her residency, she was musing with her colleagues over their challenging patient interactions. I chimed in, “How many of your patients are just after pain medication?” One of the residents looked down and shook his head. “Too many. And if we don’t give [opioids] to them, they just keep switching their doctor until they find someone who will.”

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