#03 Is Cannabis Safe? Part Three: Adolescent Use and Harm Reduction



Episode Description: In this episode of the Curious About Cannabis Podcast we wrap up our three-part series on Cannabis safety and harm reduction by exploring the question, “Is Cannabis Safe?”. First we talk about adolescent Cannabis use before discussing ways in which Cannabis users can minimize or eliminate many of the risks associated with Cannabis. Make sure you listen to episodes 1 and 2 prior to listening to this episode!

 

Episode Transcript:

#03 Is Cannabis Safe? Part Three: Adolescent Cannabis Use and Harm Reduction

You’re listening to the Curious About Cannabis Podcast.

[Reefer Madness Clip]

[Shutter]

Hey everybody, this is Jason Wilson with the Curious About Cannabis podcast, thanks so much for tuning in once again. Over the last two episodes we have been exploring the topic of Cannabis safety and harm reduction. We explored the toxicity of some of the major chemical constituents of Cannabis resins, how Cannabis can interact with medications, and contaminants that could be found in Cannabis products. Now, for this third and final part of this series, we are focusing on the topics of teen Cannabis use before diving into some of the ways that Cannabis users can minimize the potential risks associated with Cannabis use.

So here we go, the third and final part of our series where we explore the question: “Is Cannabis Safe?”

[INTRO MUSIC]

What about adolescent Cannabis use?

What are the risks of exposing children to Cannabis at an early age? As you might imagine, this is a very complicated question. For this episode we are going to ignore the topics of Cannabis use during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, or medical Cannabis use in children. We’ll explore those topics in other episodes. For this episode, we are going to focus on looking at the health risks of adolescent Cannabis use during the teenage years.

The topic of adolescent Cannabis use is a complicated and sensitive topic. Kids today have become very wary of drug education of any kind, primarily because kids have been exposed to tales of exaggerated harms or outright lies about drug use for decades as part of prohibition and abstinence-based drug education programs.[1] [2]

[MATT VOGEL SEGMENT]

This is Matt Vogel. Matt is a health and wellness educator that works with high school and college students to teach about health, substance use, and harm reduction strategies.

[MATT VOGEL SEGMENT]

Regarding Cannabis, kids have been told that it will kill brain cells, lead to schizophrenia or other mental health issues, make them lazy or stupid, or cause them to move on to other drugs like cocaine or heroin.

It should first be pointed out that there are big differences between acute or occasional Cannabis use and chronic Cannabis use. In general, acute Cannabis use is pretty safe, physiologically, with the biggest risks being risks of motor discoordination, which is why it is not a good idea to drive after using THC-rich Cannabis, memory disruption, and psychological distress.[3] However, most of the major risks that adolescents learn about Cannabis are associated with chronic, or repeated, Cannabis use.

While chronic Cannabis use can alter the way the brain functions[4] [5] [6], and we need to understand the consequences of that more, to say that it kills brain cells is dishonest. Cannabis can make some parts of the brain less active while making other parts of the brain more active.[7] In fact, in some cases Cannabis can actually encourage new brain cells to grow in a process called neurogenesis[8] [9].

While Cannabis can exacerbate or reveal underlying mental health problems in adolescents, there is not strong evidence that it actually causes these problems.[10] [11] And the only time that Cannabis seems to act as a gateway to other drugs seems to be when users are exposed to those other drugs on the black market.[12]

The issue of adolescent Cannabis use and IQ is a more complicated problem. Research has confirmed that there does not seem to be a link between Cannabis use and low IQ, but there does seem to be a link between early onset Cannabis use and poor cognitive performance.[13] [14] If you dig through the research, a common theme emerges. The issue is that THC in Cannabis can, in some people, interfere with the learning process, by disrupting attention and memory. Ultimately users that are affected in this way have to work harder to perform as well as they typically would without Cannabis.

Depending on the situation, Cannabis use can also cause kids to avoid social interactions, which can cause problems with the development of emotional intelligence and social skills.[15] [16] [17] Chronic THC-rich Cannabis use can interfere with learning processes at a time when a person is going through critical developmental stages, resulting in poor development into adulthood. Although the brain is not actually a muscle, it acts like one in the sense that if you don’t exercise it, it won’t perform well.

But a lot of these possible outcomes are difficult to assess[18] because there are a lot of variables that affect a person’s cognitive development including social factors, concurrent drug use, such as alcohol use, and underlying mental health disorders to name a few. In addition, everyone responds to Cannabis differently. There are also a wide variety of Cannabis products, with different risks associated with them.

It has to be noted here, that the context of Cannabis use has a lot to do with outcomes. There are children, teens, and adults throughout the world with qualifying medical conditions that are using Cannabis medically and exhibiting very few adverse events.[19] [20] In addition, CBD rich Cannabis or Cannabis products that don’t have intoxicating effects do not present the same psychological health risks as THC rich Cannabis products. Dose is also an important factor to consider. Lower dosages of either THC or CBD present fewer risks than higher doses.

So if Cannabis can be used responsibly, while minimizing adverse events, then what does that look like?[21] When does Cannabis use become Cannabis abuse?

[MATT VOGEL SEGMENT]

One thing I really appreciated about my conversation with Matt was his attention to how complicated this topic is, and that there is no one size fits all answer regarding teen Cannabis use and the potential risks involved. Even just finding reputable information about Cannabis can be challenging in the age of internet headlines and memes

[MATT VOGEL SEGMENT]

So, let’s assume an adolescent has decided that they want to experiment with Cannabis. How long should they wait in order to stay safe?

[MATT VOGEL SEGMENT]

How can people minimize the risks of using Cannabis?

This all begs the next question, what can people do to reduce the risks associated with Cannabis use? From Matt’s perspective, that begins with cultivating a healthy amount of self-awareness regarding not only substance use, but health and wellness in general.

[MATT VOGEL SEGMENT]

And beyond all of that, Matt had a simple recommendation to reduce risk that was echoed by many of my other guests.

[MATT VOGEL SEGMENT]

I asked veteran Cannabis and cannabinoid researcher, Dr. Ethan Russo, about his thoughts on minimizing risks associated with Cannabis use. Right away he wanted to bring attention to the diverse and sometimes uncertain quality of Cannabis products on the market.

[ETHAN RUSSO SEGMENT]

So it’s clear that the first step of minimizing risk is to ensure you find clean, high quality products. But what comes next? Many people understand that it can be a very uncomfortable and unpleasant experience to take too much Cannabis, so what can people do to avoid this?

I spoke with Dr. Jason Miller about this issue. Jason is a doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine that is an expert regarding the clinical use of medicinal plants. Recently he started having a lot of patients coming to him to ask about Cannabis, so he began taking note of what their experiences and outcomes were like in order to be prepared to counsel others on the potential pitfalls and promises of Cannabis use.

The first goal, he noted, was to develop strategies to avoid taking too much in the first place…

[JASON MILLER SEGMENT]

Okay, so let’s say you’ve done your best to find your minimum effective dose, and you still went too far and are in the midst of an uncomfortable Cannabis experience. What can be done?

[JASON MILLER SEGMENT]

In case you don’t know, Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter in our brains that among many things is responsible for influencing things like sleep, arousal, memory, and attention.[22] [23] [24] [25] [26]

[JASON MILLER SEGMENT]

And if you forget all of these suggestions, there are some products on the market now that claim to combat Cannabis intoxication.

[PEGGY ANDERSON SEGMENT]

That’s Peggy Anderson, the founder of a company called Canna Help You? Which is dedicated to providing seniors with education about Cannabis. In one recent study, it was found that the demographic of Cannabis users over the age of 65 is growing faster than any other demographic of older adults. Many of these users don’t want to be intoxicated and are particularly concerned about taking too much THC. Peggy shared some of her experience with this issue.

[PEGGY ANDERSON SEGMENT]

The feedback I got from some of my guests mirrors some of the suggestions found in literature dating back all the way to the 10th century.  See Taming THC by Ethan Russo.[27]

I asked some of my guests whether they thought that Cannabis products, overall were safe or not. The response was consistent. In places where Cannabis is legal and the quality of Cannabis products are regulated, Cannabis seems to be safer than it has ever been.

[ANTHONY SMITH SEGMENT]

[PEGGY ANDERSON SEGMENT]

Alright, Let’s review what we’ve learned, across these past three episodes:

  • While the exact level of toxicity of cannabinoids is unclear, we know that cannabinoids are orders of magnitude less toxic than caffeine or nicotine. It is physically impossible to lethally overdose on herbal As far as extracts and concentrates are concerned – there are a lot of unknowns. There is no long-term safety data available yet to understand how chronic consumption of Cannabis concentrates might affect health, however we do know that a variety of contaminants in Cannabis can become concentrated in Cannabis extracts, presenting greater risk to consumers – particularly those that have pre-existing health problems.
  • Although Cannabis is unlikely to present the risk of a lethal overdose, there are still health risks to users, including risks to lung health, heart health, mouth health, immune system health and mental health.
    • Many of these health risks stem from smoking and can be minimized or eliminated by using other consumption methods like vaporizing[28] or using edibles, tinctures or sublingual products.
    • Naïve users are at greater risk for experiencing psychological adverse effects than experienced users.[29] Start low, go slow.
  • Cannabis can potentially interact with other medications.[30] Usually this leads to sedation, but in some cases, particularly with CBD, Cannabis could slow down the body’s ability to metabolize drugs, resulting in elevated concentrations of those drugs in the blood. For anyone taking medications with narrow safety windows, this could be dangerous.
  • Some people with pre-existing health conditions could be at greater risk to suffer adverse events from Cannabis use. If you are using Cannabis and have a heart condition, compromised immune system, diabetes, or mental health condition – it’s best to work with a health care professional to make sure you stay safe.
  • Cannabis use in adolescents can exacerbate underlying mental health issues. In general it is best for young people to wait as long as possible before trying Cannabis, ideally until the age of 25, as this is the age when the brain is thought to have reached maturity.
  • If you decide to use Cannabis, start with a low dose and slowly work your way up. If you end up getting too high, there are a number of home remedies to counteract the effects of THC, including drinking water or warm milk, eating peppercorns or black pepper, taking tinctures of passionflower or calamus root, chewing on pine nuts, or drinking lemonade. There are even some targeted Cannabis antidotes now on the market. In addition, CBD may help curb the effects of THC to some extent.
  • Finally, if you consume Cannabis regularly, it’s important to perform regular abstinence breaks and wellness audits to evaluate your relationship with Cannabis to ensure that your Cannabis use is not negatively impacting your health.

So, is Cannabis safe? In toxicology it is well known that nearly anything can be toxic when consumed in a particular way or in a particular dose. In the early 1500s, the swiss physician, alchemist, and astrologer Paracelsus said, “All things are poison, and nothing is without poison. It is the dose alone that makes a thinit so a thing is not a poison.”[31] Today this is often simplified to the saying, “The dose makes the poison.” This applies to everything, including the water we drink and the air we breathe. Nothing in life is without risk, but in general Cannabis is safer, physiologically, than many substances we engage everyday, like coffee.

While there are some rare exceptions and contraindications to be aware of, Cannabis, as long as it is clean, seems to be pretty safe and well tolerated by most people, especially at low doses. Deaths attributed to Cannabis are extremely rare[32] [33], and most adverse events that could arise from Cannabis use, like hyperemesis syndrome[34], are usually reversible. To minimize risk, wait as long as you can to try Cannabis for the first time, avoid smoking, only use Cannabis of a known quality, start with low dosages, and slowly increase dosage to find a minimum effective dose. And remember, if you do take too much THC and are having an uncomfortable experience, there are a variety of things you can do to help ease that uncomfortable feeling, and, most importantly, the feeling will eventually pass and you will be fine.

I know that some of you listening might be wondering about the issue of substance abuse and addiction as a risk, which I did not cover in these episodes. Don’t worry, there will be an episode dedicated to that issue, as well as issues like pediatric Cannabis use and Cannabis use while pregnant or breastfeeding. So stay tuned as we revisit the issue of Cannabis safety in other episodes.

And with that, I’m your host, Jason Wilson. Until next time, stay curious.

[OUTRO Music]

Special thanks to our guests that were so gracious in spending time with me for interviews. To check out the citations for this episode, and there are plenty, you can check out the show notes by visiting CACPodcast.com. If you want to learn more about Cannabis, you can check out the Curious About Cannabis book, available on Amazon.com and other online book retailers. If you like what we are doing and want to support the show please consider supporting the podcast by liking and sharing this episode. You can also support us on Patreon at patreon.com/naturallearningenterprises where you can get access to the full-length guest interviews, behind-the-scenes content, and more! You can also connect with Curious About Cannabis on social media on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

[OUTRO Music continues]

 

Citations:

[1] Rosenbaum DP, et al. Cops in the Classroom: A Longitudinal Evaluation of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE). Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. 1994. 31(1): 3-31.

[2] Birkeland S et al. Good reasons for ignoring good evaluation: the case of the drug abuse resistance education (D.A.R.E.) program. Evaluation and Program Planning. 28(3): 247-256.

[3] Karilla L et al. Acute and long-term effects of cannabis use: a review. Curr Pharm Des. 2014. 20(25): 4112-4118

[4] Ashtari M et al. Medial temporal structures and memory functions in adolescents with heavy cannabis use. Journal of Psychiatric Research. 2011. 45(8): 1055-1066.

[5] Demirakca T et al. Diminished gray matter in the hippocampus of cannabis users: possible protective effects of cannabidiol. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 114(2-3): 242-245.

[6] Steel R et al. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol disrupts hippocampal neuroplasticity and neurogenesis in trained, but not untrained adolescent Sprague-Dawley rats. Brain Research. 2014. 1548: 12-19.

[7] Jager G et al. Cannabis use and memory brain function in adolescent boys: a cross-sectional multicenter functional magnetic resonance imaging study. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2010. 49(6): 561-572.

[8] Wolf SA et al. Cannabinoid receptor CB1 mediates baseline and activity-induced survival of new neurons in adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Cell Communication and Signaling. 2010. 8:12.

[9] Jiang W et al. Cannabinoids promote embryonic and adult hippocampus neurogenesis and produce anxiolytic and antidepressant like effects. Neuroscience. 2005. 115(11): 3104-3116.

[10] Rubino T et al. Adolescent exposure to cannabis as a risk factor for psychiatric disorders. J Psychopharmacol. 2012. 26(1): 177-188.

[11] Johns A. Psychiatric effects of cannabis. Br J Psychiatry. 2001. 178: 116-122.

[12] Hall W and Lynskey M. Is cannabis a gateway drug? Testing hypotheses about the relationship between cannabis use and the use of other illicit drugs. Drug and Alcohol Review. 24(1): 39-48

[13] Jackson N et al. Impact of adolescent marijuana use on intelligence: Results from two longitudinal twin studies. PNAS. 113(5):E500-E508.

[14] Harvey M et al. The relationship between non-acute adolescent cannabis use and cognition. Drug and Alcohol Review. 26(3): 309-319.

[15] Nehra DK et al. Emotional intelligence and self esteem in cannabis abusers. Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology. 38(2): 385-393.

[16] Nehra DK et al. Alexithymia and emotional intelligence among people with cannabis dependence and health control: a comparative study. Dysphrenia. 2013. 5(1): 49-55.

[17] Limonero JT et al. Perceived emotional intelligence and its relation to tobacco and cannabis use among university students. Psicothema. 2006. 18: 95-100.

[18] Pope HG et al. Early-onset cannabis use and cognitive deficits: what is the nature of the association? Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2003. 69(3):303-310.

[19] Sznitman SR and Zolotov Y. Cannabis for therapeutic purposes and public health and safety: a systematic and critical review. International Journal of Drug Policy. 2015. 26(1): 20-29

[20] Blake DR et al. Preliminary assessment of the efficacy, tolerability and safety of a cannabis-based medicine (Sativex) in the treatment of pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatology. 2005. 45(1): 50-52.

[21] Lau N et al. Responsible and controlled use: older cannabis users and harm reduction. International Journal of Drug Policy. 2015. 26(8): 709-718.

[22] Acetylcholine. Neuroscience. 2nd Edition. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11143/

[23] Miyazawa M and Yamafuji C. Inhibition of Acetylcholinesterase Activity by Bicyclic Monoterpenoids. J Agric Food Chem. 2005. 53(5): 1765-1768.

[24] Ryan MF and Byrne O. Plant-insect coevolution and inhibition of acetylcholinesterase. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 1988. 14(10): 1965-1975.

[25] Pattanaik J et al. Acorus calamus Linn.: A herbal tonic for central nervous system. Journal of Scientific and Innovative Research. 2013. 2(5): 950-954.

[26] Mukherjee PK et al. In vitro Acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity of the essential oil from Acorus calamus and its main constituents. Planta Med. 2007. 73(3): 283-285.

[27] Russo EB. Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoids-terpenoid entourage effects. Br J Pharmacol. 2011. 163(7): 1344-1364.

[28] Abrams D et al. Vaporization as a Smokeless Cannabis Delivery System: A Pilot Study. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 82(5): 572-578.

[29] Volkow ND et al. Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use. N Engl J Med. 2014. 370: 2219-2227.

[30] Bornheim LM et al. Characterization of cannabidiol-mediated cytochrome P450 inactivation. Biochemical Pharmacology. 1993. 45(6): 1323-1331.

[31] Paracelsus, dritte defensio, 1538.

[32] Gargani Y et al. Too Many Mouldy Joints – Marijuana and Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis. Mediterr J Hematol Infect Dis. 2011. 3(1): e2011005.

[33] Bachs L and Morland H. Acute cardiovascular fatalities following cannabis use. Forensic Science International. 2001. 124(2-3): 200-203.

[34] Simonetto DA et al. Cannabinoid Hyperemesis: A Case Series of 98 Patients. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 87(2): 114-119.


#02 Is Cannabis Safe? – Part Two: Contaminants in Cannabis



Episode Description: Continuing from our previous episode, we continue exploring the basic question, “Is Cannabis Safe?”, this time focusing on contaminants that could be found in Cannabis or Cannabis products. We speak with biochemist Dr. Anthony Smith about what contaminants labs are commonly finding in Cannabis. We also speak with herbal scientist, Travis Simpson, about his concerns regarding Cannabis processing operations and the potential contaminants that may be introduced to products through bad manufacturing practices. Finally we talk again with neurologist and cannabinoid researcher, Dr. Ethan Russo, to discuss the “vaping crisis” that has claimed the lives of as many as 37 people in the United States and affected nearly 2000 users. This is part two of a three part series exploring the question, “Is Cannabis Safe?”

 

Transcript:

You’re listening to the Curious About Cannabis Podcast.

[Intro Preview]

[Shutter]

Hey everybody, this is Jason Wilson with the Curious About Cannabis podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in once again. This episode is part two of a three-part series exploring Cannabis safety and harm reduction. If you haven’t listened to the first part of this series, I really recommend stopping this episode and going back to listen to this series from the beginning.

Previously we explored some of the main chemicals in Cannabis, the adverse health risks associated with Cannabis, and how Cannabis can interact with medications.[1] Today we will be focusing on a critical topic that has a huge impact on the safety of Cannabis products – Cannabis contaminants.

[INTRO MUSIC]

What contaminants might be found in Cannabis products?

Anthony Smith is a biochemist that has spent that last five years analyzing Cannabis products for potency and purity in labs all across the United States and Canada.

[ANTHONY INTERVIEW SEGMENT]

Before we continue, let’s talk a little more about pesticides. Many pesticides are designed to disrupt the nervous systems or hormone signaling in insects.[2] The problem is that this same effect can happen in humans, if someone is exposed to enough of a certain pesticide for long enough periods of time.[3] Additionally, some pesticides, like myclobutanil, a common fungicide[4], can degrade into toxic compounds like hydrogen cyanide when heated.[5]

You might be thinking, what’s the big deal about pesticides in Cannabis? Aren’t we already exposed to pesticides through our food? Well, that’s true, but the problem relates to the way in which Cannabis is consumed. When you eat something, your body works hard to ensure that any toxins are captured, broken down, and excreted from the body before they have a chance to reach your blood stream.[6] But when you smoke something, you are bypassing those metabolic processes, and the compounds that enter the lung will pass directly into the blood stream.[7] So essentially when you smoke you are bypassing your body’s natural defense systems that might otherwise keep you safer.

It’s also really important to point out that many pesticides, as well as mycotoxins, can become concentrated in Cannabis extracts. The process of making a Cannabis concentrate can elevate contaminants like pesticides as much as 5 to 10 times the concentration found in the Cannabis flower[8], meaning that if you are consuming a Cannabis concentrate, you are potentially being exposed to much greater doses of contaminants than if you were consuming the Cannabis flower used to produce that concentrate. I also want to point out that it’s not enough to simply test Cannabis flower for contaminants prior to making a concentrate. It is possible for there to be very trace amounts of pesticides or other contaminants present in the flower that won’t show up on a standard contaminant screening – but when concentrated they suddenly become present in dangerous levels.

[BACK TO ANTHONY SMITH SEGMENT]

The leaching of contaminants[9] [10] from cultivation, processing or packaging equipment is an issue that people working in the natural products industry have had to think about for quite some time. However some Cannabis companies are still learning about typical herbal processing and manufacturing best practices – putting consumers at risk. I spoke with Travis Simpson, an herbal scientist that has spent the past several years working with hemp in the Cannabis industry. He shared some of his concerns regarding contaminants from manufacturing and packaging equipment.

[TRAVIS SIMPSON SEGMENT]

One of the important things to note regarding most of these contaminants, including pesticides, metals, and mycotoxins, is that you won’t necessarily have an immediate reaction when you are exposed to these toxins. They can build up in the body over time, and you may not exhibit any symptoms for a long time before the body finally reaches a tipping point.[11] So just because you may have consumed a Cannabis product and didn’t notice any adverse effects, that does not mean that you are not being exposed to harmful contaminants.

The takeaway from my discussions was clear – know the purity of your Cannabis before consuming. But this is easier said than done. There are still many places in the US and abroad that have not legalized Cannabis or established strict testing requirements for Cannabis.[12] For users getting their Cannabis from the black market, they are left at the mercy of their supplier’s quality.

Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to tragic consequences.

[ETHAN RUSSO SEGMENT]

Dr. Russo is referring to a recent string of fatalities linked to lung infections or lung damage associated with vape pens.[13]

[“VAPE CRISIS” NEWS REEL]

At the time of this recording, there have been 29 recorded deaths, and over 1300 reported cases of lung infections or damage linked to vape pens[14]. And these reports are growing at a rapid rate. While the exact culprit responsible for these illnesses and deaths has not yet been identified, investigators suspect it has to do with additives or contaminants.

[CONTINUE ETHAN RUSSO SEGMENT]

There is other evidence that contaminants in Cannabis have caused very serious problems for some people, which in rare cases has led to death. There are several case studies available of patients that contracted fatal lung infections, such as a condition called aspergillosis.[15] [16] Aspergillosis is a condition where the spores of certain species of Aspergillus fungi get nestled in small scrapes and crevices in the lungs where they begin to grow, forming a fungal mass called an aspergilloma[17]. This ultimately starts to break down lung function and can be fatal. In some fatal aspergillosis cases reported, contaminated Cannabis was deemed to be a contributing factor, and possibly the sole cause.[18]

This is more common in immunocompromised users than regular healthy users, but that just highlights the tragedy here. Many people with serious health conditions are turning to Cannabis as a medicine – and those patients are the ones most vulnerable to the adverse health effects of consuming contaminated Cannabis.

So let’s review what we’ve learned so far:

  • There are a lot of different contaminants that can appear in Cannabis and Cannabis products such as pesticides, residual solvents, metals, mycotoxins, molds, and bacteria.
  • Metals and molds tend to appear most frequently in Cannabis flower, however metals do sometimes show up in extracts due to leaching from incompatible packaging
  • Bacteria tend to appear most frequently in Cannabis infused products.
  • Pesticides, solvents, and mycotoxins are more common in Cannabis extracts, because the process of making a concentrate actually concentrates these contaminants.
  • Contamination is not always direct. Contamination can come from contaminated soil, water, drift from nearby farms, leaching from manufacturing equipment or packaging equipment.
  • Contaminants or toxic additives have been responsible for fatalities associated with Cannabis consumption. Users with compromised immune systems are the most at risk.

By now we seem to be getting a pretty good picture about the safety profile of Cannabis. But we’re not done yet. There is one more issue that we haven’t discussed yet – and that’s adolescent Cannabis use. What unique risks might young Cannabis users face?

Find out in the third and final part of this series where we finish our curious quest to discover, “Is Cannabis Safe?”

[OUTRO MUSIC]

 

Citations and Resources

[1] “#01 Is Cannabis Safe? Part One”. The Curious About Cannabis Podcast. Natural Learning Enterprises. 2019. https://cacpodcast.weebly.com/episodes/01-is-cannabis-safe-part-one

[2] How Pesticides Work. Kentucky Pesticide Safety Education Program. http://www.uky.edu/Ag/Entomology/PSEP/12pesticides.html

[3] Kim et al. Exposure to pesticides and the associated human health effects. Science of the Total Environment. 2017. 575(1): 525-535.

[4] https://www.nbcnews.com/health/vaping/tests-show-bootleg-marijuana-vapes-tainted-hydrogen-cyanide-n1059356

[5] Product Safety Assessment: Myclobutanil. Dow Chemical. http://msdssearch.dow.com/PublishedLiteratureDOWCOM/dh_08d6/0901b803808d60fd.pdf?filepath=productsafety/pdfs/noreg/233-01023.pdf&fromPage=GetDoc

[6] Pond SM, Tozer TN. First-pass elimination. Basic concepts and clinical consequences. Clin Pharmacokinet. 1984. 9(1): 1-25.

[7] Huestis MA. Human Cannabinoid Pharmcokinetics. Chem Biodivers. 2009. 4(8): 1770-1804.

[8] Voelker R, Holmes M. Pesticide Use on Cannabis. Cannabis Safety Institute. 2015. https://cannabissafetyinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/CSI-Pesticides-White-Paper.pdf

[9] https://www.coleparmer.com/chemical-resistance

[10] https://www.scilabware.com/en/chemicalcompatibility/

[11] Williams et al. Human aflatoxicosis in developing countries: a review of toxicology, exposure, potential health consequences, and interventions. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2004. 80(5):1106-1122.

[12] https://norml.org/laws

[13] https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html

[14] https://www.sciencenews.org/article/vaping-tied-nearly-1300-lung-injuries-29-deaths-united-states

[15] Gargani et al. Too Many Mouldy Joints – Marijuana and Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis. Mediterr J Hematol Infect Dis. 2011. 3(1): e2011005.

[16] Ruchlemer et al. Inhaled medicinal cannabis and the immunocompromised patient. Support Care Cancer. 2015. 23(3):819-822.

[17] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/aspergillosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20369619

[18] Gargani et al. Too Many Mouldy Joints – Marijuana and Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis. Mediterr J Hematol Infect Dis. 2011. 3(1): e2011005.


BTS #01: Janna Champagne, RN on Cannabis Safety, Treating Autism, and Overcoming Social Stigma



In this behind-the-scenes (BTS) full-length interview, I sit down to talk with Janna Champagne (aka Nurse Janna), a registered nurse and health educator specialized in Cannabis and cannabinoid therapy. In this conversation we talk about managing risks associated with Cannabis use, Cannabis interactions with medications, clinical outcomes that she has witnessed in patients using Cannabis, the struggle to overcome social stigma regarding Cannabis use, and much more.

About Nurse Janna:

Nurse Janna’s focus is educating patients about holistic approaches to health, and natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals including cannabis therapy, and genetic screening/nutrigenomics. Her specialties include: Autism, Autoimmune Disorders, Inflammatory/Chronic Pain Syndromes,Neurological, Gastrointestinal, and Mental Health conditions. Janna’s introduction to the cannabis industry began as a cannabis patient when she suffered a health collapse in 2012.  Janna credits cannabis for helping to reduce her reliance on pharmaceuticals, and for supporting her ability to regain optimal health status.

Nurse Janna has worked with thousands of patients, with her combined focus of targeting epigenetic mutations (nutrigenomics) and addressing other causes of chronic illness (Endocannabinoid Deficiency) helps promote balance in the body systems naturally, with a goal of improved body synergy. Nurse Janna has completed the Cannabis Nurse courses at The Medical Cannabis Institute. She is also a founding member of the Cannabis Nurses Network, serving on their speaker’s bureau, through which she teaches at conferences and other events.  Janna is an award-winning author, and her daughter’s Cannabis/Autism article was featured on the front page of a nationwide cannabis industry magazine in December 2017.

To learn more about Nurse Janna, visit:

Integrated Holistic Care

Cannabis Nurse Approved

JannaChampagne.com


#01 Is Cannabis Safe? – Part One



Episode One: Is Cannabis Safe? Part One

Welcome to the very first episode of the Curious About Cannabis podcast! Briefly I wanted to introduce the podcast and let you know what to expect. There are two different types of podcast episodes that we’ll be presenting this season. Each primary episode, like this one, is a 20 – 30 minute beginner to intermediate educational episodes exploring a critical Cannabis topic or question. Accompanying the primary episodes are behind-the-scenes episodes. A behind-the-scenes episode features a full-length interview or conversation between myself and a guest, typically running anywhere from 45 minutes to two and a half hours. These behind-the-scenes episodes are more for anyone wanting a deeper dive into some of the content covered in the primary episodes.

Each primary episode has accompanying show notes that feature the show transcript and citations so you can explore any of the topics we present more deeply in your own time. You can find these show notes at CACPodcast.com

I am really excited to finally be sharing this content with you. I hope you enjoy it and find it valuable. And with that, I present the first episode of the Curious About Cannabis podcast.

– Jason Wilson

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You’re listening to the Curious About Cannabis Podcast

[Shutter]

[NURSE JANNA SEGMENT]

The combined North American Cannabis market alone is expected to exceed 16 billion dollars in value in 2019.[1]  People all over the world are taking notice and becoming more curious than ever about Cannabis. The momentum of Cannabis legalization across the world does not seem to be slowing down. And as more places legalize Cannabis, broader demographics of Cannabis users are emerging.[2]

As more and more people are trying Cannabis without fear of legal repercussions, I wanted to understand just how safe Cannabis products are or aren’t.

[INTRO MUSIC]

How safe is Cannabis, really?

Hey everybody, this is Jason Wilson with the Curious About Cannabis Podcast. Thanks for tuning in. Today we are going to be talking all about Cannabis safety and harm reduction in an effort to understand whether Cannabis is really as safe as many people claim.

To start our curious quest, we’ll be focusing on three main questions:

  • How toxic is Cannabis? And as an aside, what the heck is in Cannabis anyway?
  • What are the known health risks of Cannabis use?
  • How can anyone that chooses to use Cannabis or Cannabis products minimize those risks?

Now, this is a really big topic that we could spend hours upon hours exploring. And in effect this topic will end up being woven throughout the podcast. As such, there are several aspects of Cannabis safety that we won’t be getting into in this initial series of episodes. So if there is a topic we don’t end up covering immediately – don’t worry. We’ll get there.

Let’s get started.

 

What’s in Cannabis?

Cannabis contains a lot of different chemicals. Depending on what research paper you read, there are anywhere from 400 to over 500 compounds that have been characterized in Cannabis so far.[3] [4] [5] But some researchers think there are likely far more chemicals in Cannabis, as well as other plants generally, than have been identified so far.

[KEVIN SPELMAN SEGMENT]

That’s Kevin Spelman, a molecular biologist and phytochemist that has dedicated his professional career to understanding why plants affect the body the way they do. And lately, he has had his eyes on Cannabis.

[KEVIN SPELMAN SEGMENT]

So despite what the scientific literature says, there very well may be a thousand or more chemicals found in Cannabis.

When Cannabis is burned, however…[6]

[JUSTIN FISCHEDICK SEGMENT]

That’s Justin Fischedick, a natural products researcher that once burned Cannabis joints to see what was in the smoke…for science.[7]

[CONTINUE FISCHEDICK QUOTE]

Cannabinoids, like THC or CBD, are by far the most abundant compounds found in the resins surrounding the female Cannabis flowers. To be accurate, these compounds actually start off in the plant as THCA and CBDA. When heated, THCA and CBDA change into their well-known counterparts, THC and CBD.

So how toxic is THC and CBD?

 

How toxic are cannabinoids?

In one now famous study in 1973, dogs were given THC orally in escalating doses all the way up to 9 grams of THC per kilogram of body mass in an attempt to find a lethal dose.[8] To put that into perspective, it’s not uncommon for a lot of dogs to weigh somewhere between 20 and 30 lbs. In kilograms, that would be 9 – 14kg. For a 9kg dog, this study would have administered 81 grams of THC in a single dose. If we assume that a Cannabis cigarette, or joint, contains a gram of Cannabis containing 20% THC, that’s the equivalent of approximately 400 joints, or over 115 grams of concentrate…at once!

Now, let’s jump forward from 1973 to 1988 – there was a petition to try to reclassify the legal status of Cannabis. Cannabis was and is currently at the time of this recording considered a schedule one drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency. This category of drugs is reserved for drugs with no accepted medical use and a high propensity for abuse. Other drugs in this category include things like heroin and bath salts.

Well, in the 80s there was a push to reschedule Cannabis, and administrative law judge Francis young issued a report commenting on the issue. In his report, he stated: “…in order to induce death, a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in one marijuana cigarette…A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1500 pounds of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response.”[9]

By that measure, the carbon monoxide and tar exposure would end up causing problems before the cannabinoids in the Cannabis would.

But that was THC. What about CBD? As recently as this year, in 2019, a report was issued claiming that CBD was identified as being toxic for the liver.[10] Publications like Forbes promoted headlines reading “CBD Causes Liver Damage”[11]. So is this something Cannabis consumers need to be concerned about?

[ETHAN RUSSO SEGMENT]

I had the chance to talk about the safety of CBD with Dr. Ethan Russo, a neurologist and cannabinoid researcher that worked as a medical advisor for the development of two cannabinoid pharmaceuticals, Sativex and Epidiolex. Epidiolex, specifically, is a pure CBD pharmaceutical.

[ETHAN RUSSO SEGMENT]

If you look up the LD50 for Cannabidiol, you’ll typically find data reporting intravenous doses of over 200mg/kg.[12] [13]It would be extremely difficult to get that much CBD in your bloodstream through typical consumption methods. For an average human that weighs 65kg, or around 144lbs, 200mg/kg equates to a dose of approximately 13,000mg, or 13 grams of pure CBD – in the bloodstream. Consider that CBD-rich Cannabis contains approximately 10-20% CBD, or 100 to 200 mg of CBD per gram of Cannabis flower. So if you consume a gram of CBD-rich Cannabis flower, you are getting exposed to maybe 200mg of CBD at best. Ignoring the fact that CBD is not very bioavailable and much of the CBD you consume is simply excreted[14] [15], 200mg is approximately 1.5% of 13 grams.

To put this into better context, for caffeine, the LD50 is 200mg/kg of oral caffeine (that’s not to say that it is the same as the 200mg/kg LD50 that I mentioned for CBD. Keep in mind that the CBD LD50 is intravenous. this is actually a lot lower than the CBD LD50, because not all of the orally consumed caffeine will make it into the bloodstream), which would be like drinking somewhere between 75 and 100 cups of coffee back to back.[16] While for nicotine, the LD50 is around 8 – 13mg/kg, or over half a gram of nicotine.[17] That’s about 40 cigarettes.[18] [19]

You may be saying, okay sure, it may be difficult to overdose on THC or CBD, but Cannabis contains a lot more chemicals than THC – and you’d be right! So just how many reported deaths are there associated with Cannabis use?

While many advocates of Cannabis claim that there have been no deaths attributed to Cannabis – that is not exactly true, however the number is still very low. Like extremely low. We don’t know the exact numbers, but there have been a handful of case studies reported that have linked fatal heart attacks and lung infections with Cannabis use, but these reports have been difficult to confirm definitively.[20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26]And yet according to some estimates there are nearly 100 million people in the United States alone that admit to having at least tried Cannabis once, and over 30 million are classified as regular users – and that’s just based on how many people are willing to admit their own Cannabis use on a survey.[27]

So, we are looking at a handful of possible fatalities linked to Cannabis use, compared to tens of millions of users in the United States alone. Let’s assume 1 out of 10 million users were to die from Cannabis use in some way, that would mean that you would have a 0.00001% chance of dying from Cannabis use, and even that’s an exaggerated number. You would have a much greater chance of dying by getting into a car crash[28] or getting struck by lightning[29].

 

What are the health risks of Cannabis?

So, okay, it is unlikely that anyone is going to experience a lethal overdose of Cannabis, but what about other health risks?

[REEFER MADNESS SEGMENT]

All reefer madness and propaganda aside,

There are a variety of research papers out there that have summarized the common health risks of Cannabis use.

One common symptom of Cannabis use is dry mouth, also called xerostomia. Xerostomia can negatively affect mouth health if not managed properly and can lead to changes to the bacteria and fungi that live in our mouths, potentially leading to gum disease, tooth decay, bad breath, and even an altered sense of taste.[30] Now, many may assume that the dry mouth effect from Cannabis use is related to smoking, but this does not seem to be the case. The dry mouth effect is directly linked to the stimulation of cannabinoid receptors in the body, regardless of how you choose to use Cannabis.[31]

Another thing Cannabis affects directly is blood pressure. Interestingly enough, Cannabis can lead to lower blood pressure with repeated use, but at high dosages, Cannabis can cause elevated blood pressure and heart rate[32], which can be particularly problematic for users that have a prior history of heart issues, such as high blood pressure or previous occurrence of heart attacks. This effect is made worse by smoking.

Additionally, if you are smoking Cannabis, you also run a greater risk of experiencing chronic bronchitis and emphysema.[33]

THC-rich Cannabis can cause motor coordination disruption, potentially increasing the risk of falls, home or workplace accidents, and car wrecks. However, this effect tends to be more mild in frequent users that have built up tolerance.

THC-rich Cannabis can present several psychological health risks to users, including memory disruption, anxiety, fear, and paranoia. When it comes to the negative psychological effects of Cannabis, new or infrequent users are more likely to experience these effects compared to regular users.[34] Additionally Cannabis can act as a precipitating event for mental health problems to reveal themselves in younger users – but we will talk more about that later.

Although Cannabis has gained popularity for being a potential treatment for seizure and tremor conditions like epilepsy and Parkinson’s, there has been some research that has revealed that Cannabis could actually exacerbate these conditions in as much as a third of the population.[35]

In addition to these risks, there is also a condition that can develop in chronic users, usually in users that have been using high THC Cannabis regularly for two years or more, called Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome.[36]

[CHS NEWS REEL]

The good news is that for anyone that may experience this condition, it typically goes away if you simply stop consuming Cannabis for a while. However, there are some reported cases where users that stopped using Cannabis to recover, re-experienced the nausea and vomiting symptoms when they starting using Cannabis again.

Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is a somewhat controversial condition. Some people claim that it is likely caused by contaminants in Cannabis products, rather than the cannabinoids found in Cannabis. However, this has not been substantiated, as of yet. Also, in states that have legalized Cannabis use, reports of this condition are starting to become more prevalent as people become more comfortable talking about their Cannabis use with their health care providers. So, potentially this condition is actually more widespread than once thought. We just don’t really know, yet.

 

How might Cannabis interact with other medications?

The next topic I wanted to explore is drug interactions with Cannabis.

[NURSE JANNA INTERVIEW SEGMENT]

That’s Janna Champagne, a registered nurse who over the past several years has focused her attention almost exclusively on Cannabis.

[CONTINUE NURSE JANNA SEGMENT]

Other health care professionals I spoke with said that they are particularly concerned about interactions with things like blood thinning medications, chemotherapy drugs, epilepsy drugs, and immune system therapy drugs, like HIV treatments.

Some of this concern regarding drug interactions relates to CBD more than THC. And this has everything to do with a thing called “the grapefruit effect”.[37] It’s been long known that certain foods and medications can change the way the body metabolizes things, like other foods and drugs. This effect is so well known with grapefruit that some drugs even have a grapefruit warning on them. If you ever see a grapefruit warning on a medication, it is referring to this potential interaction that could occur where compounds in the grapefruit can slow down the liver’s ability to metabolize a lot of different medications by inhibiting a group of enzymes called the P450 enzymes. This inhibition will cause the levels of medications in the blood to rise. For people taking drugs with narrow safety windows, this can be very problematic.

Well, it turns out that CBD exhibits this same effect, the grapefruit effect. [38] Anyone using CBD, particularly high doses of CBD, along with other medications should be particularly cautious and work with a healthcare professional to stay safe.[39]

So, while it seems like Cannabis is relatively safe compared to a lot of other things, like coffee, there are some serious drug interactions that can occur.

[CONTINUE NURSE JANNA SEGMENT]

Let’s review what we’ve learned so far:

  • The primary constituents of Cannabis resins, THC and CBD, are not toxic and it is virtually impossible to lethally overdose on Cannabis or Cannabis products.
  • There are other health risks associated with Cannabis use, however, like risks to lung health, mouth health, mental health, and heart health. Many of these risks can be minimized by avoiding smoking and using low doses.
  • Cannabis can interact with medications and anyone taking drugs with narrow safety windows or a grapefruit warning on them should work with a health care professional to stay safe.

So far everything we have explored about the health risks of Cannabis have ignored a critical element – contaminants.

Join me in part two of this series as we explore the health risks of contaminants and additives in Cannabis products. Until next time, thanks and take it easy.

[OUTRO MUSIC]

 

CITATIONS

[1] Legal marijuana industry had banner year in 2018 with $10B worth of investments. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/legal-marijuana-industry-had-banner-year-2018-10b-worth-investments-n952256

[2] Han et al. Demographic trends among older cannabis users in the United States, 2006-13. Addiction. 2017. 112(3): 516-525

[3] ElSohly MA. Chemical Constituents of Cannabis. Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutic Potential. 2002. Chapter 3.

[4] ElSohly MA, Gul W. Constituents of Cannabis Sativa. Handbook of Cannabis. Oxford University Press. 2014. First Edition.

[5] ElSohly M.A., Radwan M.M., Gul W., Chandra S., Galal A. (2017) Phytochemistry of Cannabis sativa L.. In: Kinghorn A., Falk H., Gibbons S., Kobayashi J. (eds) Phytocannabinoids. Progress in the Chemistry of Organic Natural Products, vol 103. Springer, Cham

[6] O’Brien Fehr K, Kalant H. Analysis of Cannabis Smoke Obtained Under Different Combustion Conditions. 1972. Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. 50(8): 761-767.

[7] Fischedick J, Van Der Kooy F, Verpoorte R. Cannabinoid receptor 1 binding activity and quantitative analysis of Cannabis sativa L. smoke and vapor. 2010. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 58(2):201-7.

[8] Thompson GR et al. Comparison of acute oral toxicity of cannabinoids in rats, dogs and monkeys. 1973. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. 25(3):363-372.

[9] Young F. In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition. Opinion and recommended Ruling, Findings, of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Decision of Administrative Law Judge. Sep 6 1988. Part VIII.

[10] Ewing LE et al. Hepatotoxicity of a Cannabidiol-Rich Cannabis Extract in the Mouse Model. 2019. Molecules. 24(9): 1694.

[11] Adams M. Marijuana Study Finds CBD Can Cause Liver Damage. Forbes. Jun 18 2019. https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeadams/2019/06/18/marijuana-study-finds-cbd-can-cause-liver-damage/

[12] Rosenkrantz H et al. Toxicity of short-term administration of cannabinoids to rhesus monkeys. 1981. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 58(1):118-31.

[13] Cannabidiol. ChemIDplus Database. https://chem.nlm.nih.gov/chemidplus/rn/13956-29-1

[14] Millar et al. A Systematic review on the pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol in humans. 2018. Pharmacol. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2018.01365/full

[15] Huestis MA. Human Cannabinoid Pharmacokinetics. 2007. Chem Biodivers. 4(8): 1770-1804.

[16] Caffeine. Toxnet Toxicology Data Network. https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/a?dbs+hsdb:@term+@DOCNO+36

[17] Mayer B. How much nicotine kills a man? Tracing back the generally accepted lethal dose to dubious self-experiments in the nineteenth century. 2014. Arch Toxicol. 88(1): 5-7.

[18] Taghavi S et al. Nicotine content of domestic cigarettes, imported cigarettes and pipe tobacco in Iran. 2012. Addict Health. 4(1-2): 28-35.

[19] Benowitz NL, Henningfield JE. Reducing the nicotine content to make cigarettes less addictive. 2013. Tobacco Control. 22:i14-i17.

[20] Yurtdas M, Aydin MK. Acute myocardial infarction in a young man; fatal blow of the marijuana: a case report. 2012. Korean Circ J. 42(9): 641-645.

[21] Hartung B et al. Sudden unexpected death under acute influence of cannabis. 2014. Forensic Science International. 237: e11-e13

[22] Sattout AH, Nicol MF. Cardiac arrest following cannabis use: a case report. 2009. Cases Journal. 2(208)

[23] Cappelli F et al. Cannabis: a trigger for acute myocardial infarction? A case report. 2008. Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9(7):725-728.

[24] MacInnes DC, Miller KM. Fatal coronary artery thrombosis associated with cannabis smoking. 1984. J R Coll Gen Pract. 34(267): 575-576.

[25] Ruchlemer R et al. Inhaled medicinal cannabis and the immunocompromised patient. 2015. Supportive Care in Cancer. 23(3): 819-822.

[26] Gargani Y et al. Too Many Mouldy Joints – Marijuana and Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis. 2011. Mediterr J Hematol Infect Dis. 3(1): e2011005

[27] Yahoo News/Marist Poll: Weed and the American Family. April 17, 2017. Marist Poll. http://maristpoll.marist.edu/yahoo-newsmarist-poll/#sthash.VAK0GIiK.dpbs

[28] Traffic Safety Facts 2017: A Compilation of Motor Vehicle Crash Data.  2017. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. US Department of Transportation.

[29] Lightning Safety Tips and Resources. National Weather Service. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. https://www.weather.gov/safety/lightning

[30] Versteeg PA et al. Effect of cannabis usage on the oral environment: a review. 2008. International Journal of Dental Hygiene. 6(4): 315-320.

[31] Kopach et al. Cannabinoid receptors in submandibular acinar cells: Functional coupling between saliva fluid and electrolytes secretion and Ca2+ signaling. 2012. Journal of Cell Science. 125:1884-1895.

[32] Pacher P et al. Cardiovascular Pharmacology of Cannabinoids. 2008. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 168: 599-625.

[33] Volkow ND et al. Adverse health effects of marijuana use. 2014. N Engl J Med. 370(23): 2219-2227.

[34] Crippa JA et al. Cannabis and anxiety: a critical review of the evidence. 2009. Hum Psychopharmacol. 24(7): 515-523.

[35] Szaflarski JP, Bebin EM. Cannabis, cannabidiol, and epilepsy – from receptors to clinical response. 2014. Epilepsy Behav. 41: 277-282.

[36] Simonetto DA et al. Cannabinoid hyperemesis: a case series of 98 patients. 2012. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 87(2): 114-119

[37] Grapefruit Juice and Some Drugs Don’t Mix. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/grapefruit-juice-and-some-drugs-dont-mix

[38] Bornheim LM et al. Characterization of cannabidiol-mediated cytochrome p450 inactivation. 1993. 45(6): 1323-1331.

[39] Grayson L et al. An interaction between warfarin and cannabidiol, a case report. 2018. Epilepsy Behav Case Rep. 9: 10-11.


Season One – Meet Our Guests



Season One of the Curious About Cannabis Podcast is coming at the end of October!

Check out this promo to get introduced to most of the guests that have contributed content for our first season, and don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast to get notified when the first episodes are released! Connect with Curious About Cannabis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Find behind-the-scenes clips of guest interviews on the Curious About Cannabis YouTube channel.

Support the show by becoming a patron at www.patreon.com/naturallearningenterprises

Stay curious!


Episode 0 – Introducing the Curious About Cannabis Podcast



It’s a plant that goes by many names.

Some call it hemp. Some call it marijuana.

Call it what you will – it’s Cannabis, and it’s got a lot of people curious.

Hey everybody, thanks for tuning into this Episode 0, a preview of the Curious About Cannabis Podcast, coming Fall 2019. My name is Jason Wilson, author of the Curious About Cannabis book, and host of the Curious About Cannabis Podcast. I want to invite you on a journey with me as we try to cut through all of the hype and the hear-say to discover the truth about the world’s most controversial plant – Cannabis. We’ll be talking to researchers, doctors, nurses, medical Cannabis patients, growers, extraction chemists, and many others to critically explore essential questions about Cannabis.

So if you’re curious about Cannabis, don’t miss out! Subscribe to this podcast to get notified right away when new episodes are released. You can also connect with us on social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Check out this preview and don’t forget to like and share this episode to help spread the word!

The clips featured in this preview episode are excerpts from an interview with health and wellness educator Matt Vogel. Enjoy!


The Curious About Cannabis podcast is presented by Natural Learning Enterprises, a science education company dedicated to the enhancement of public scientific literacy through education about the natural world. Curious About Cannabis is only one of several learning initiatives produced by Natural Learning Enterprises. To learn more, visit www.naturallearningenterprises.com or connect with NLE on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

If you want to support the show, you can donate via PayPal, or become a member on the Natural Learning Enterprises’ Patreon at www.patreon.com/naturallearningenterprises


The Curious About Cannabis Podcast is Coming Fall 2019



Welcome to the home of the Curious About Cannabis podcast! Please bear with us as we continue to work on building out the website – it is still under construction in some areas.

We are currently working on putting together a preview “Episode 0” to share with you, as well as some additional sneak peak content that you can enjoy until season one of the podcast is released this Fall 2019. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay current on CAC podcast updates and even influence the development of the show by letting us know what you want to learn about. We will also be releasing educational videos on our YouTube channel

Subscribe to the podcast and get notified when new content is released.

If you want to jump start your educational journey you can also buy the Curious About Cannabis book!