Baked Goods: Cannabis Can Relieve Depression Symptoms In Minutes, High-Thc Concentrates Won’t Get You Higher, Reciprocal Rules Kick In

Cannabis Can Relieve Depression Symptoms In Minutes

Joshua Lee
5 min read
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While it might seem like common knowledge that smoking reefer can lead to an improved mood and bouts of the giggles, science is still trying to catch up. The War on Sadness has begun, and it should come as no surprise that cannabis will have a role to play. In fact University of New Mexico researchers say cannabis can have a positive effect on symptoms of depression within minutes of consumption. Imagine that.

According to a
UNM press release, self-reported data collected from the Releaf App—a tool used by researchers to conduct real-time surveys of cannabis patients—was analyzed to determine if cannabis had any measurable effect on depression symptoms.

Patients were asked to rate their emotions and sensations on a scale of 1 to 10 only moments after consumption. The survey found that around 20 percent of cannabis use was associated with some negative side effects like feeling unmotivated, but the vast majority of users reported positive effects, including feeling happy, optimistic, peaceful and relaxed.

The speed with which the effects kick in is notable, researchers point out. Conventional pharmaceutical medications for treating depression—like monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MOIs), tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)—usually take weeks or months to begin affecting patients. The side effects from these pharmaceuticals can sometimes be as bad as the illness, and many patients are forced to try multiple prescriptions before they find one that works for them.

“With no end to the depression epidemic in sight, and given the limitations and potential severe negative side effects of conventional antidepressant medications, there is a real need for people to be able to treat mood disturbances with natural, safe and effective medications, and the
Cannabis plant checks off all three boxes,” said Jacob Miguel Vigil of the UNM Department of Psychology Department. “One of the major reasons I wanted to conduct this study was to help find answers for a close colleague who confided in me that their loved one was struggling with severe depression and heavy cannabis use.” The study would seem to indicate that the colleague’s loved one was self-medicating their depression rather than exacerbating the problem.

The press release says that depression is the most common mental health disorder in the US, claiming it affects one in five American adults.

High-THC Concentrates Won’t Get You Higher

A new study is questioning whether THC is the only psychoactive cannabinoid.

Last month researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder published “Association of Naturalistic Administration of Cannabis Flower and Concentrates With Intoxication and Impairment” in
JAMA Psychiatry. According to the study, THC potency levels did not correspond to intoxication levels, and participants who used THC concentrates appeared to have impairment levels that were similar to those who smoked flower.

The study involved 121 adult participants who identified as regular cannabis users. Participants were randomly given different doses of THC through different delivery methods. Some received relatively low-THC flower—ranging from 16 to 24 percent THC—or high-potency concentrates—ranging from 70 to 90 percent THC. Participants’ blood plasma THC levels were tested throughout the study, and they were asked to report their moods. Subjects were also tested on attention, memory, inhibitory control and balance.

“Most neurobehavioral measures were not altered by short-term cannabis consumption,” the study found. “However, delayed verbal memory and balance function were impaired after use. Differing outcomes for the type of product (flower vs. concentrate) or potency within products were not observed.”

The results of this study bring up a number of paradigm-altering questions. If THC potency has little to do with impairment, then why should we continue to use it as a metric for describing the potency of our products? If THC isn’t the only psychoactive cannabinoid involved in the feeling of being “high,” then what are the others?

This is an exciting discovery that probably won’t break through the membrane of the collective knowledge bank for years to come. Just keep it in mind when you go shopping next time and take better notes when you experiment with different strains.

Reciprocal Rules Kick In

Senate Bill 139 went active last week. It finally fixed a previous mistake in the Lynne and Erin Compassionate Use Act by changing “qualified patient” back to “resident of New Mexico.” The goof—made last year—led to a legal back-and-forth that, for a time, allowed nonresidents to apply for the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program. We’ve already covered the whole ordeal ad nauseum, so we’ll skip to the part that’s still interesting: the reciprocity program.

As of July 1, nonresidents who can show proof that they belong to another state’s medical cannabis program are allowed to purchase their meds from New Mexico dispensaries. According to a
press release from Ultra Health, New Mexico’s reciprocity program is unique in that it recognizes Tribal sovereignty and specifically recognizes patients from Indian nations, tribes or pueblos as reciprocal patients. The new policy also accepts “proof of authorization” in another medical cannabis program rather than a “card,” as some other programs reportedly require.

Reciprocal patients are now allowed to purchase and own up to 8 ounces in a 90-day period—the same as residents who are enrolled in the Medical Cannabis Program. Reciprocal sales are not subject to any additional taxes or fees.
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