Do Bisexual Women Smoke the Most Cannabis as Studies Claim?.

March has been declared as the BiSexual Health Awareness Month (BHAM) by the bisexual community. As concerted efforts increase about their unique health disparities, a few questions arise about their higher anxiety levels than average and their ways to deal with it.

In a study by researchers in Canada, United States and Australia, reports revealed that bisexual women smoked the most weed, reported the cannabis-related website, Leafy. Their use of cannabis was three times higher than their straight and gay peers. 38% of bisexual women smoked pot compared to 20% lesbians and 5% straight women.

Why do bisexual women smoke more weed than other communities?

The reason behind the correlation is more about their state of mental health than the bisexuality itself. They reported far higher rates of anxiety, mood disorders and suicidal thoughts than heterosexuals or homosexuals from issues stemming from biphobia, bi-erasure and the absence of feeling part of any one community. Many feel that they are stuck between two monosexual groups and not embraced by either. The sense of isolation leads to desolation, leading to cannabis consumption. CBD in cannabis is said to reduce anxiety and depression.

Why do bisexual men don’t feel as isolated as bisexual women?

Interestingly, bisexual men have not reported the same habits as their female counterparts. Although they suffer from high levels of anxiety as well, their issues are different. Statistically, they struggle more to come out. Even then, they do feel the need to use weed as much. The reason here is attributed to social stigma and sexism. Bisexual women are marginalized and face more discrimination than the bisexual men.

Is there a correlation between anxiety levels and cannabis use?

Medical studies have shown time and again how cannabis calms the nerves. But should cannabis levels increase with increasing levels of anxiety? The answer is more complicated. While some admit that medical marijuana relieves depression, others say that it exaggerates their symptoms. Similarly, while some studies report that pot relieves anxiety, others say that it can cause anxiety and paranoia. Much of it depends on the strain, THC levels and the constitution of the consumer.

Does cannabis reduce depression and anxiety in everyone?

Some strains are said to relieve anxiety but there is no guarantee that it will do so for everyone in general. There is also no certain evidence that using more weed will relieve higher levels of anxiety. From reports of personal accounts, what is revealed is that bisexual women do not smoke cannabis simply to control anxiety. It has also been said to aid many to sleep better, reduce or relieve pain, relax and calm the nerves.

Does Testosterone Level Increase in Men Who Smoke Cannabis? .

In a recent study published in the journal called Human Reproduction, researchers at Harvard University tested the sperm of 600 men at fertility clinics and evaluated their drug consumption habits, if any. 55% reported that they smoked cannabis at some point earlier. 11% said they used it at present. About 1,143 health surveys and semen samples at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Centre were examined. Here is what the reports revealed, according to a U.K. news portal, The Independent, U.K.:

  • Half the men admitted to using cannabis in the past or present.

  • Only 5% of the cannabis user were found to have clinically low sperm counts compared to the 11% of those who never tried it.

  • Higher testosterone levels were reported in the cannabis user participants. (Higher testosterone has a key role in producing sperms.)

The reports are quite a contrast to previous ones that linked heavy cannabis use to lowered testosterone levels and lowered sperm production and quality. So the question arises: does smoking cannabis really lead to higher sperm count in men?

In an interview with Time magazine, the author of the journal explained that the spike in sperm count could be due to the effect of cannabis on the body’s endocannabinoid system which sends chemical messages in the brain, regulating fertility. However, he also mentioned that measuring past habits and the current sperm count do little to reveal the exact sperm count measurements prior to smoking the drug, hence does not prove whether it actually has any effect.

Dr. Jorge Chavarro and Dr. Feiby Nassan, authors of the study, explained it in a different way: "An equally plausible interpretation is that our findings could reflect the fact that men with higher testosterone levels are more likely to engage in risk-seeking behaviours, including smoking marijuana.”

Similar Reports from Other Sperm Count Studies in Cannabis Users

Other findings on similar effects of cannabis use in men have been more sceptic. Before you reach out for your bongs, hear this:

Professor Sheena Lewis, from Queen's University Belfast has another explains, “Their sperm quality plummeted,” as the sperm became less mobile and less able to penetrate the wall of the egg. “Worst of all, sperm counts dropped and the nurse cells - also known as sertoli - that help to make sperm disappeared irreversibly.”

Conclusion for Couples Looking to Conceive

Fertility expert and professor of andrology at the University of Sheffield, Allan Pacey, said strict drug laws in many countries make it hard for high-quality trials to be completed, and so the evidence base remains inconclusive. In that light, it’s hard for researchers to come to a firm conclusions. “In my opinion, this (cannabis) should be avoided at all costs in any couples trying to start a family," he reportedly said.


Weed in the Workplace: What Employers Should Know.

The Government of Canada has legalized recreational use of marijuana since October 17, 2018 but does this allow employees to be impaired at work? What are the rules regarding consumption of medical marijuana at work? What precautions should employers take to ensure safety at their workplace. Here’s more:

FAQs on Marijuana Consumption at Work

Can employees be impaired at work?

  • No. Employees must follow the rules set down by employers in their workplace, just like the way rules for alcohol consumption at work are followed.

  • During work hours, employers have the right to prohibit marijuana consumption.

  • Employers have the right to prohibit employees from attending work if they are found to be impaired (impaired memory / impaired coordination / distorted sense of time) after cannabis consumption.

  • Workplace rules can be enforced through the discipline policy of the company during application.

Should employers accommodate employees who consume medical marijuana?

  • Yes.The provincial and federal human rights legislation requires employers to accommodate disabled employees who use medical marijuana.

  • Employers must accommodate employees who may have an addiction disability within limits.

  • Employers must accommodate employees who a prescription for medical marijuana use just as it is required for regular medical drugs.

  • A medical marijuana prescription does not permit an employee to be impaired at work, or compromise his/her own safety or those of others.

  • A medical marijuana prescription does not permit an employee to smoke in the workplace, arrive late for work or be absent without appropriate reasons.

What other strategies have the CCOHS outlined for employers on the risk of impairment from consumption cannabis?

  • Impairment in the workplace can have severe consequences but in Canada, workplace drug testing is generally considered to be discriminatory on the basis of disability or perceived disability under the human rights legislation.

  • Employers must provide training to their staff and employees on the impact of impairment, recognizing or responding to possible signs of impairment.

  • Employers are recommended to seek legal advice before implementing a substance testing programme or seek guidance from the nearest CCOHS (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety) agency in the jurisdiction.

  • Employers can outline organizational policies about the presence of cannabis products in the workplace just the way it is set about alcohol use on the premises, regardless of the intent to consume it.

  • Employers can consider creating a designated area for smoking therapeutic cannabis, away from entrances and ventilation intake vents if required.

  • Employers can request the client to stop smoking marijuana an hour or more before a visit.


Women Entrepreneurs Influencing the Cannabis Industry.

Once a male-dominated industry, the cannabis world is slowly evolving to include women in a big way. Since legalization and explosive growth in Canada, USA and many other parts of the world, more and more cannabis companies are being led by women. The rising number of female entrepreneurs and consumers are creating a cultural shift with healthcare products in the forefront, reports Cannabis Maven in an article on the subject in their website.

This was visible in the Cannabis and Hemp Expo in Ottawa held late in 2018 that included seminars for a host of activities such as cooking with cannabis and cannabis wellness products. The seminar also talked about female participation in the industry.

Cannabis Companies Led by Women

Megan Cornell, CEO of Momentum Law, predicts that the true range of potential cannabis-infused products is absolutely vast. From infused teas and bath products to candles and creams — products are geared toward wellness and style, and their market success could be driven by female customers and investors, she feels."Women have less of an association with a smoked product in the cannabis industry," she said. "It's something that's clearly associating with the health and wellness industry right now very, very strongly."

Autumn Shelton, an owner of a California cannabis company called Autumn Brands thinks “cannabis brands are waking up to the fact that their biggest growth potential for their products is in the health and wellness sector, and their largest potential market consists of women who are the major healthcare decision makers and purchasers in households."

As awareness grows, more and more people are embracing CBD-rich cannabis products for medical purposes for themselves, their children, senior members in the family and their friends. “Self-care is taken very seriously by women, who are the fastest growing segment in cannabis,” notes Shelton. “This is an exciting time for women and the industry,” she adds. "We formed Ellementa to address the lack of information about cannabis and CBD specific to women's health needs and their roles as caregivers. We find that cannabis companies with women at the helm are more mindful of the female customer and are producing products specifically with her in mind."

Women are Key to Product Decisions

Autumn Brands started as a medical collective. The company is women-dominant and self-funded. Shelton says that women are key to product decisions and their company infrastructure.

Kelly Bruce, Founder and President of CannaMommy NonProfit that provides women with safe access to natural medications such as cannabis and CBD bath bombs, shares similar sentiments. She says that the plant's ability “to support several aspects of the female needs (menstrual pain, endometriosis pain, menopause pain, childbirth pain, etc.), make it a market floodgate for products. During a time period like a #metoo movement, females are taking back their bodies on many levels and cannabis is just another one. It’s incredible to see the female-led companies and products coming up. I hope that as this industry (like the plant) continues to grow, so do the opportunities and funding for fem-trepreneurs.”

Sherman added that while numbers and projections of cannabis’ billions of dollar potential differ depending on the source of information, one consistent factor to consider is that women are sometimes ignored in the equation.



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Does Higher THC Mean Better Quality Strain?.

Looking for high THC in your cannabis flower for greater effect? You may be looking at the wrong chemical compound. Award-winning strains are not always those with the highest THC. What they have in common are a riot of the compound called terpenes that give them a burst of flavour and aroma.

Ever heard of terpenes? That’s what you need to know about and sniff out to find your favourites too. Sounds complicated? It can be for cannabis neophytes but connoisseurs are aware and allow their nose to do the selection. Let’s explain more simply.

When you walk into a liquor store in search of the perfect bottle of wine, what do you look for? Do you look for higher alcohol content in a bottle or go by the flavour and aroma? Choosing cannabis is quite the same. New consumers look for the highest THC percentage available but that is just one indicator of superior quality. Cannabis connoisseurs know that a multitude of factors contribute to the effect of a joint, just like a multitude of factors contribute to a glass of the finest wine or whiskey. They sniff out the terpenes to select the best strains.

Why Flowers with Low THC Can Leave You Feeling Higher

Terpenes are like the chemical fingerprints of cannabis that determine its chemotype. Just like alcoholic drinks have their own character, terpenes give each cannabis strain its own “personality.” This is why lower-testing flowers can sometimes make you feel better and higher-testing blooms can underwhelm.

Sometimes two strains with the same THC content can affect you in different ways. This is because, like fine wine, cannabis is influenced by the plant’s terpene content. When you are selecting cannabis, consider the effect of the terpene.

How to Find the Terpene Profile in Cannabis Flowers

A few dispensaries list the terpene profiles of each flower but accurate results depend on lab tests in an accredited laboratory. Simply ask your “budtender” if the terpene testing was performed. Alternately, try sniffing it out yourself.

It’s the ensemble of terpenes and cannabinoids that makes every strain of cannabis unique and special. There are over 150 of them, each influencing your mind and mood in a different way. Below are some terpenes to start with:

  • Limonene: Smells strongly of citrus. It elevates your mood and de-stresses.

  • Pinene: Smells of pine. It increases alertness and memory retention.

  • Myrcene: This is musky and relaxing with sedative effects.

  • Caryophyllene: Heavy with the woody smell of cloves, this terp is anti-inflammatory and relieves gastrointestinal disorders.

  • Linalool: This terp carries floral notes of lavender. It calms, sedates and relaxes, relieving anxiety.

The best way to master the art is by trying out different strains with different levels of THC, CBD and terpene content. Observe the subtle differences in the fragrance of each flower; check out the concentration of terpene indicated by lab tests and follow your “budtender’s” suggestions. Then observe the effects closely. Are you energized, relaxed, creative or anxious? Go for the strains that leave you feeling best. Over time, practice will make selection easier.

Dangers of Synthetic Cannabinoids.

Ever heard of K2, Spice, Black Mamba or Kronic? These contain synthetic cannabinoids that are designed to mimic the effects of psychoactive THC, but end up sending hundreds of users to hospitals due to far harsher effects.

Over 84 different synthetic cannabinoids have been identified internationally as of May 2013. They are marketed under some of the names mentioned above, and sold as alternatives to weed or incense but under no circumstances can they be considered safe for inhalation in any form. They have been associated with seizures, paranoia, hallucinations, agitation, palpitations and even death.

25 people in Brooklyn were hospitalized for suspected overdose of synthetic cannabinoids in May, 2018. Just a month before, 153 people fell ill displaying symptoms of erratic, zombie-like behaviour while four people died across Chicago and Central Illinois. The synthetic cannabinoids they were suspected to overdose on were found to contain rat poison. In Washington, a man went into a coma for three days after smoking synthetic cannabinoids. In 2012, a teenager in Iowa lost his life to the drug, sparking a national outrage.

Closer to home, the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey has reported that 1.8% of Canadian students between grades 7-12 are known to have used synthetic cannabinoids in 2013. Between 2014 and 2015, poison control received a 229% increase in synthetic cannabinoid-related calls. Forbes said that one of the reasons that contributed to the alarming epidemic were the new blends of chemicals that were replacing banned compounds, poorly mixed with a non-homogenous mix of chemicals.

What are Synthetic Cannabinoids?

Synthetic cannabinoids, also known as herbal or liquid incense, are man-made mind-altering chemicals that are sprayed on dried, shredded plant material for smoking purposes. They are also sold as liquids to be vaporized or inhaled in e-cigarettes.

They are similar to the chemicals found in the marijuana plant hence have been termed synthetic cannabinoids or "fake weed,” often marketed as safe, legal alternatives to herbal weed. Many of these dubious substances hide under a label titled “not intended for human consumption” to escape FDA regulations. But under any circumstances, synthetic cannabinoids cannot be considered safe. They have the potential to affect the brain much more powerfully than marijuana, often leading to unpredictable, even fatal consequences.

Synthetic cannabinoids are collectively classified under a group of drugs called new psychoactive substances (NPS). NPS are unregulated mind-altering substances that have the capacity to produce the same effects as illegal drugs that the government is attempting to knock off the market but continues to make their presence felt in altered chemical forms.

Synthetic Cannabinoids Versus THC

The effects of synthetic cannabinoids often appear similar to THC. Users have been reported to suffer from psychotic symptoms such as seizures or hallucinations but there’s a difference. Even though the compounds bind to the same receptor sites in the brain as THC, synthetic cannabinoids bind far more strongly than the phytocannabinoids in cannabis, leading to long-term adverse effects.

John W. Huffman, the man who invented the synthetic chemicals said: “People who use it are idiots. You don’t know what it’s going to do to you.” Here’s more about how they differ from THC:

  • Unlike cannabis, synthetic cannabinoids are also considered severely addictive and life threatening.

  • K2, Spice and others such can cause alarming symptoms from headaches and sweating to vision loss and vomiting.

  • Synthetic cannabinoids are 2-100 times more potent than cannabis. They hit the receptors with the maximum impact, altering brain cell communication to the nerves.

  • Natural herbal cannabis contains a huge variety of wonderful health-aiding compounds such as CBD and Terpenes that regulate the THC high, lessening many of the side effects such as anxiety. But synthetic cannabinoids do not contain any of this, adding to the danger of consuming them.

  • The effects of herbal cannabis are short-lived so the effects of an overdose is short-term. The extreme side effects are associated with synthetic cannabis such as a coma, suicidal psychosis and seizure is unheard of.

Synthetic cannabinoid products are often labeled "not for human consumption" but labels are known to associate them with "natural" material taken from a variety of plants. However, the only parts of these products that are natural are dried plant materials. Chemical tests show that the active, mind-altering ingredients are cannabinoid compounds made in laboratories.

Watch out for these products sold in colorful foil packages and plastic bottles to attract consumers marketed by illicit sources under specific brand names such as K2, Spice, Joker, Black Mamba, Kush and Kronic. Earlier, they were easy to buy in drug paraphernalia shops, novelty stores, gas stations, and online. But because the chemicals are harmful authorities have made it illegal to sell, buy, or possess some of these chemicals. It is important to learn and spread the word about these substances to know good weed from bad and buy only from authorized licensed sources.



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