BY RUTH HILL R.N.

The biggest event this week in Coachella Valley is possession of recreational cannabis/marijuana is now legal. Unlike WA state, medical cannabis/marijuana will not only be available, but many new products will fill up space on dispensary shelves. Do not get rid of your medical recommendation. It entitles you to less taxes on your product. Plus, many dispensaries give seniors a discount.

In the past it has been difficult to find CBD in higher doses, i.e. 30-40mg a capsule or 10-20mg per spray. Now these higher dose/capsules, and suppositories for menstrual cramps, or prostate or colon cancer pain will become readily available. Regulations will require all ingredients to be noted. Together these various ingredients magnify the therapeutic benefits of the plant’s individual components—so that the medicinal impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts.

Medical grade products may become costly for those on fixed incomes. The user must ask themselves if their goal of coming off toxic pharmaceuticals is primary. Children of the elderly can play a crucial part in their parents’ medical condition. What can be more generous and respectful than giving a parent money for cannabis over another gift they may not use.

Long term cost will drive users to smoke shops for medicinal cannabis. Recreational cannabis will be everywhere. As my previous article on WA state demonstrated recreational products will not have the potency, terpenes, type of molecule (i.e. CBD, CBC, CGN, THC, THCa), or ratio of CBD:THC. Buyers need to ask dispensaries for the lab tests. Per Dr. Kymron deCesare, twenty-five percent of products tested have pesticides, one third have mold. Do not use a product that does not have a label, or lot number.

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While it is almost impossible to take cannabis, and suffer a toxic response, it does not negate the possibility of death due to a product contaminated with mold or pesticides. There are validated documented cases of cancer patients dying from a respiratory mold infection obtained from a cannabis product. The cannabis industry does not like to talk about these cases. Opening the recreational market will bring on operators who will convince the user their product is safe, but is it food/drug grade quality?  

Because of the myriad cultivation of cannabis in the past fifty years, indica vs sativa, is no longer relevant. Cross breeding by cultivators has changed the original ratios found in the natural plant that existed 100 years ago. They are all hybrids now with thousands of strains.

Constant research is being conducted by medical physicians who test their own hybrids that target specific diseases. Previously mentioned is Myra Gordon MD, who treats cancer patients. Dr. deCesare is another researcher at Steep Hill Labs, located in seven states, two are in CA.

There are chemicals taken in the body that if you load the system of this chemical the body will be damaged and the respiratory and circulatory system will shut down. Alcohol, morphine and other opiates, digoxin, blood pressure medications, all can load the body of chemicals that depress life support.

Cannabis on the other hand has over 1000 different chemicals including terpenes that do not react toxically in the body because there are no receptors in the life support area of the brain for these chemicals. Cannabis is not an intrinsic life supporting part of the body. In contrast opiates do have receptors in the life supporting area of the brain that support life. Overloading these receptors with toxic opiates are lethal.

In review, side effects of cannabis include dislike, bad taste, sleepiness, headache but no life supporting toxicity. Studies in the EU have shown that rashes noted with taking cannabis are from the terpenes not the CBD, or THC. (Contact Dermatitis. 2009 Jan;60(1):32-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.2008.01471.x). Terpenes are in many supplements. Per Dr. DeCesare, the EU, where the research on terpene allergies was developed, is the only place in the world that regulates supplements. 

In conclusion legal recreational cannabis will be both a bane and a boon to the cannabis industry. It will be up to the user to demand food/drug grade quality products.

For questions contact hilruth@gmail.com