On a whim, I recently had my chart done by a Jungian astrologer. I’m interested in all things esoteric, always have been — but I’m also from rural Texas, so some touchy-feely aspects of metaphysics fall outside this fellow’s comfort zone. But now that I’m a 70-year old cancer survivor, I’m thinking about the future more than ever. What’s the best way to use the time I have? All we’re promised is a corpse, a reality that sure does sharpen as the years pass. An astrologer friend of mine knew I was wrestling with these questions and suggested that he do my chart. So I dutifully turned over the day, time and place of my birth, prepared to have a good chuckle about it later on.
Well, let me tell you…I was wrong. This astrologer, as we say in Texas, read my mail. It was like the stars handed him the Cliffs Notes of my past, present, and future. It was sobering as hell, especially when he told me, “John, it’s time to stand in your medicine.”
Stand in my medicine? “Shoot,” I replied, ”I already do that. I’m the CEO of a cannabis bio-pharma company in Las Vegas. I walk our 30,000-foot state-of-the-art grow with my team nearly once a week. I’m talking to investors and sponsoring researchers at nine different universities to develop medicines all day, every day. Stand in it? I live in it.” But that’s not what the astrologer meant. Once my bluster died down, he said, “John, it’s time to put yourself out there and talk about the medicine. It’s time to share some wisdom about the plant and how it can help the world.”
Ah. Stand in my medicine. That was the lightbulb moment right there, and it led me here.
Between the 24/7 news and the smartphones and everything else eating up our time, it’s no wonder that 70 percent of Americans struggle to sleep. Fittingly, insomnia is among the most common reasons people use cannabis. We know from empirical evidence – meaning, what medical cannabis patients tell one another, researchers and doctors – that the right strain, at the right dose, consumed in the right way, can alleviate sleep problems and promote better rest. Many people are simply tired of the side effects found in prescription pharmaceuticals like Ambien, which can lead to addiction, sleep eating, and nightmares, and don’t want to use over the counter meds or alcohol to promote sleep.
But it’s a big leap between wondering, “Is cannabis right for me?” and finding a product that will actually help you rest. The first step is knowing about the plant and how it affects your body. Here are the basics:
- The plant has three different species (indica, sativa and ruderalis), which can be cross-bred to produce seemingly infinite varieties of strains. Most commercially cultivated cannabis plants are female because the female produces the flowers that are used for smoking.
- Indica strains are typically used to promote relaxation, appetite and sleep; sativa strains are used for focus and energy; ruderalis is infrequently used in products.
- Cannabis plants contain up to 85 different cannabinoids, up to 200 terpenes and approximately 180 other bioactive molecules that are relatively unstudied. The two most well-known cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Terpenes give the plant its taste and smell but also contain powerful medicinal qualities.
- The human body has an “endocannabinoid system” comprised of endocannabinoid receptors in most cells of the body – except the brain stem (which is why cannabis can’t kill you – but opiates can). The body produces natural cannabinoids every day that help to regulate cell health. Phytocannabinoids from cannabis bond with the endocannabinoid receptors to provide therapeutic relief for a multitude of medical conditions.
- THC creates a “brain high” (aka feeling stoned) while CBD creates a relaxed physical state without any meaningful psycho-active reaction.
There are literally thousands of cannabis products marketed as sleep aids. With brands like “Nice Dream,” “Tranquil-Tea,” “Doze Drops,” and the creatively-named “Sleep,” it can be tough to discern the right dose and product. Don’t worry, it’s not you. It’s because so little clinical research has gone into the specifics of the relationship between cannabis and sleep. This is a byproduct of cannabis’ outdated Schedule I federal designation, which means the DEA and FDA feel it has no medicinal benefits and is harmful to human health (this from the same folks who approved oxycodone…don’t even get me started on the irony). While we all know that to be untrue — including the feds, who have started approving cannabinoid medicine for epilepsy treatments — Schedule I means researchers like GB Sciences have to go through a lengthy, expensive, and mind-numbingly slow and tedious process to do FDA approved clinical trials or pilot studies on human subjects. At the same time, state after state is approving medical cannabis, so products are coming onto the market as fast as you can count sheep. It’s a head-scratcher.
Even with these challenges, it’s possible to find good, healthy, effective cannabis-based sleep solutions. And that’s what this blog is all about: helping you weed out the good from the bad (and giving yours truly a forum to occasionally make a bad cannabis pun). But, the first thing to remember is that different folks react to cannabinoids in different ways. For example, some folks get agitated and paranoid when using THC. Similarly, notwithstanding CBD’s calming effect on most folks, it is excitatory in a few. So, if you are thinking sleep, consider “self-titrating” and start at low doses to see how you feel and how it works. Also, look for these ingredients in any sleep promoting formulation: CBD, CBN, and Linalool. You can throw in a little indica based THC if you like, but not a high percentage. For many medical applications, micro-dosing THC produces a better therapeutic outcome than a stoned-inducing dose.
I’m excited to stand in my medicine and share the wisdom the incredible growers, researchers and manufacturers in the cannabis field are compiling to give us all a shot at a happier, more relaxed, and better-rested life. So, let’s put on our nightcaps and start the journey to sleepy town together.
John Poss is CEO of GB Sciences, Inc. (OTCQB: GBLX) a diverse cannabis company focused on standardized cultivation and production methods; as well as biopharmaceutical research and development. Their goal is creating safe, standardized, pharmaceutical-grade, cannabinoid therapies that target a variety of medical conditions. To learn more about John and his work, visit: http://gbsciences.com