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Thoughts On Coca, Cannabis, Opium & Tobacco – Gifts Of The Great Spirit


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Who Wouldn’t Enjoy A Little Brain Moistening?

If your experience with lettuce opium is that it’s all a hype then … first, I used to agree completely, and second, if you’ll read on you may agree that we probably don’t know the whole story and that there may be a lot more to be re-discovered. Also, if you already know and use garden lettuce, Lactuca Sativa and its wild cousin, Lactuca Virosa as herbal medicines, then I hope that this post contributes to your existing store of useful knowledge.

As for the delightful idea of brain-moistening as a property of Lettuce Opium, you’ll find that ancient Iranian medical concept discussed in the research papers at the end of this article.

Dr. John Duncan, an Edinburgh physician who you’ll meet shortly, clearly knew something important in 1810 that has since been lost. 

Not that many of us in the Cannabis culture aren’t already familiar with “Lettuce Opium” but if you, like me, have tried it several times with a big “so what” result, it’s hard to understand how Lettuce Opium was for many years, across continents, considered by physicians and patients alike to be an excellent substitute for Opium itself, without the addiction and side-effects but with many of the virtues – pain relief, a restful night’s sleep, and – in today’s terms – what sounds like a nice high. 

Doesn’t sound like the “Lettuce Opium” of today, dThese early physicians were objective observers, and when Dr. Duncan says that his Lettuce Opium extracts fall somewhere between Bengali and Turkish Opium in their effect, I believe him. 

So why was Lettuce Opium so effective in the 1800s in Europe, where they had their choice of opium opium, and why has it been a respected medicine for thousands of years in Iran, where they have had their choice of opium opium since forever, but today when you buy lettuce opium on eBay or Amazon or at a local head shop it is almost always – in my opinion – a big disappointment?

This question has been circulating in the back of my mind for years and finally, one day quite recently, the answer appeared with discovering this gentle little essay from 1810. It looks like the active principles in Opium Lettuce are far more unstable than those in Papaver Somniferum, and it has to be used somehow immediately after harvest for best results. 

And that fits perfectly with how doctors provided patients with medicines in those long-gone centuries. They didn’t write a script and send the patient off to a pharmacy to buy pills from Pig Pharma. Most doctors in 1810 made many of their medicines themselves or, at a minimum, bought their natural medicines from someone in the community who made them to order. In other words – fresh. I thought – maybe that’s why Lettuce Opium worked so well for these doctors and their patients, and why the Lettuce Opium sold today for a recreational high is by and large a bust.

A little research on the internet confirmed that my hunch seemed correct about the instability of the active principles in Lettuce Opium – they degrade very quickly in a matter of a few days or at most weeks, depending on storage, environmental conditions, the care and media used for extraction, the lettuce species used, etc. That tells me that there are probably great opportunities for home medicinal herb gardens and in local markets and little chance of seeing “Corporate Opium Lettuce” like we’re seeing “Corporate Cannabis”.

So, let’s ask again, what did Dr. Duncan know in 1810 that we don’t get today? Or are we so over-medicated in today’s world that simple lettuce opium is just too mild and doesn’t do it for us? 

I seriously doubt that, because when you look at the 1800s there was a shitload of pure heavy duty opium everywhere so when this doctor compares his fresh lettuce extract as the equal of Bengali but not quite as strong as Turkish Opium you know he’s speaking from experience. 

I smoked a lot of both Turkish and SE Asian opium in Amsterdam in the 90s and I agree with the good doctor from 1810 – there is a definite difference. If lettuce opium was hitting his patients, and the good doctor himself, in 1810 with an impact somewhere between Turkish and Bengali Opium I would have to say that’s not what I’ve experienced today. There’s a mystery to be solved here, which is why I’m sharing this.

With 50-70 million people in the US alone suffering from moderate to severe insomnia and with few if any effective sleep-aids available, I wonder if having this fresh, organic, locally-grown Opium Lettuce solution available, even at local markets, could be an answer to a lot of people’s dreams – quite literally – while reducing their dependence on Pig Pharma. I also have to wonder what role Lettuce Opium might be able to play in helping people work their way free from industrial poisons masquerading as  street drugs. Then there’s a possible role in withdrawal from tobacco product addiction, treating eating disorders, and maybe more. I’ll share some of those references later.

So with that in mind I am offering this short paper by an 18th Century doctor whose experiments with Lettuce Opium clearly point the way, in detail, for anyone today who wants to make potent, fresh, safe and effective Lettuce Opium. The doctor’s directions are clear and simple and I hope that they are inspirational.

Keeping in mind that the good doctor’s outdoor lettuce production was in a garden in cloudy, cool Edinburgh, Scotland it seems clear that Lettuce Opium could be a very effective natural medicine that anyone can grow anywhere and prepare even in a small growing container, or intercropped with other medicinal herbs in a garden.

“Observations on the preparation of Soporific Medicines from common Garden Lettuce”, by Dr. J. L. Duncan, Senior, 

Read in the Caledonian Horticultural Society, 6th March, 1810, and printed in the 1st volume of their Memoirs, p. 160. et seq. 

https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/123537#page/17/mode/1up

“Opium, or the inspissated white juice which exudes from the capsule of the Papaver somniferum, or Opium Poppy, when wounded, has long been allowed to be one of the most useful articles employed in the alleviation or cure of diseases. The high encomium bestowed upon it by the illustrious Sydenham, has been fully confirmed by the testimony of succeeding practitioners in every nation. 

“It is, however, much to be regretted, that there are individuals of the human species, with whom, from peculiarity of habit, opium seldom fails to produce distressing consequences. 

“There are also conditions of disease, in which it may be very necessary to induce sleep, or allay pain, though circumstances occur by which the use of opium at that time is contra-indicated. 

“Hence it has long been a desideratum in the healing art, to discover other powerful quieting medicines. For, although it is hardly to be expected that an article will ever be discovered, so extensively useful as Opium, yet a good soporific may be found, which, with some, will have less influence, either as exciting sickness at stomach, as occasioning confusion of head, or as inducing a state of constipation. 

“It has been the opinion of many that all the milky juices spontaneously exuding from wounded vegetables possess somewhat of the same sedative power with the milky juice of the poppy. Few plants in Britain afford such milky juice more copiously than the common garden lettuce, the Lactuca sativa of Linnaeus. 

“As everyone must have observed, that this juice when spontaneously inspissated by the heat of the sun on the wounded plant, soon assumes the dark colour of Opium; while, at the same time, it possesses in a high degree the peculiar, and, I may say, specific taste, which distinguishes that substance. Besides this, it is a well-known fact, that lettuce was much used by the ancients as a soporific. 

“These circumstances led me to turn my thoughts on some method of collecting and preparing this exudation, that I might try its effects in the practice of medicine. And, after several trials of different modes of preparation, those which I shall now briefly describe are the best methods I have yet been able to discover. 

“I dedicated to this experiment, in my garden at St. Leonard’s Hill, near Edinburgh, a small bed of that variety of lettuce, which is commonly known among gardeners by the name of ice lettuce. I allowed the plants, about a hundred in number, to shoot up, till the top of the stem was about a foot above the surface of the ground. I then cut off about an inch from the top of each. The milky juice immediately began to rise above the wounded surface. 

“Though then of a white appearance, it had next day formed a black, or dark-coloured incrustation, over the surface where the stem was cut off. I found it impossible to separate this by scraping, as is done with the milky juice exuding from the head of the poppy, when it has assumed the form of Opium. 

“I therefore cut off with a sharp knife a thin cross slice of the stem, to which the whole of the dark coloured opium-like matter adhered. This was thrown into a wide-mouthed phial, about half filled with weakened spirit of wine, the alcohol dilutum of the Edinburgh Pharmacopoeia, formed of equal parts of rectified spirit (grain alcohol 190 proof) and water. By this menstruum, the whole black incrustation on the thin slice of the stalk was dissolved; and the spirit, as may be readily concluded, obtained both the colour and taste of the black incrustation. 

“Each of my plants, in consequence of the fresh wound inflicted by the removal of the thin cross slice, afforded a fresh incrustation every day. And by throwing these into the phial, I soon obtained what I concluded to be a saturated solution of the exudation from the lettuce, or rather of the milky juice in its inspissated state. It was then strained off, to separate the pure solution completely from the thin slices of the stalk. To this strained spirit, which had nearly both the appearance and taste of the ordinary laudanum of the shops, I have given the name of solutio spirituosa succi spissati lactucot

“From trials made with this solution, both on myself and others, I have no doubt that it is a powerful soporific. But to obtain a form in which it might be exhibited, with greater certainty as to the dose, I evaporated the spirit, and thus brought the residuum to a dry state. 

“In this state, it has very much the appearance of the Opium imported into Britain, particularly of that which is imported from Bengal, and which is a much softer substance than the Turkey opium. To this Opium-like substance, I have given the name of lactucarium. And from some trials which I have made with it, when exhibited under the form of pills, it appears to me to be little inferior in soporific power to the Opium which is brought from Bengal, which in general is much inferior in power to Turkey Opium. 

“From the lactucarium thus obtained, I have formed a tincture, by dissolving it to the extent of one ounce in twelve of weak spirit, which is the proportion of Opium to spirit in the liquid laudanum of the Edinburgh college. To this formula I have given the name of tinctura lactucaril. 

“I consider it as the best formula I have yet been able to contrive for obtaining the soporific and sedative powers of the lactuca sativa. And in different cases, I have, I think, seen manifest good effects from it, both as inducing sleep, allaying muscular action, and alleviating pain, the three great qualities of Opium, which demonstrate it to be one of the most powerful sedatives. 

“At present, however, I intend nothing more but to communicate to the Caledonian Horticultural Society a method of preparing a soporific medicine from common lettuce. For ascertaining more fully its medicinal effects, I am at present engaged in a series of trials, which may, perhaps, be like-wise communicated to them. 

“Meanwhile it will afford me great satisfaction, if the above short account shall draw the attention of others, particularly of professional gardeners, to the same subject, and shall lead to the discovery of a better method of obtaining a useful medicine, from a plant so easily cultivated in every garden.” 

Editor’s Note: I haven’t yet been able to find any information on Dr. J. L. Duncan’s subsequent trials aimed at refining his technique and testing his medicine. They’re either lost in time or still waiting to be found. 

However, here is an excellent article in the Caledonian Society papers of 1825, 15 years after the article above. Scroll to page 153 in the manuscript (162 in the sidebar) to begin reading the extremely informative and worthwhile article that talks about Dr. Duncan and others involved in the Opium Lettuce quest. 

Further observations on the Preparation of Soporific Medicines from Common Garden Lettuce.

By Mr John Young, Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.”

John Young’s Method of preparing the Inspissated Juice of Lettuce

“Take any quantity of the leaves and stalks of the lettuce when the plant is nearly ready to flower.

“Bruise them well and including them in a Hempen bag compress them strongly till they yield their juice.

“Let this juice be evaporated in flat vessels heated with boiling water.

“Let the evaporation be continued till the expressed juice be reduced to the consistence of thick honey

“According to the trials which I have made twelve pounds of lettuce will yield about eight ounces of inspissated juice”

John Young’s Method of preparing the Tincture of Lettuce Leaves

or

The tinctura foliorum siccatorum Lactuca Sativæ

“To one ounce of the dried leaves and stalks of the lettuce cut down add eight ounces of the diluted alcohol of the Edinburgh Pharmacopeia ( Editors note: that is a solution of ⅓ grain alcohol and ⅔ distilled water)

“Let the vessels containing this mixture be kept for a week in a warm place shaking it frequently

“Let the liquor then be strained through paper and kept for use”

John Young’s  Method of Collecting The Milky Juice

“It occurred to me that the milky juice of the lettuce might be immediately collected from the plant in great abundance by absorbing it on cotton soon after it exudes from the plant and while it yet continues in a liquid state and by afterwards inspissating it by a moderate heat communicated from a water or vapour bath

I accordingly adopted that method this year – 1816.

I had the ice lettuce planted in rows and when the top of the stem was about a foot above the ground I then cut off about an inch from the top of each plant

The milky juice immediately began to rise above the wounded surface

I cut off the tops of all the plants before I began to collect. But after the portion which had exuded was removed by the cotton I found that the milky juice ceased to exude until I had made another wound

I began to collect at the end of the border where I made the first incision and then cut off a thin cross slice from the stem of each plant leaving fresh wounds as I went along

These I found covered with milky juice each time when I returned to where I set out

After going round the plants about five or six times in the way mentioned they ceased to give out any more milky juice at that time

But this process may be repeated two or three times in a day In the manner above described

In the manner above described I have collected more of the milky juice in one day than I did last year in five days when it was not removed till it had acquired a dry state and black colour

Having mentioned to a friend my mode of collecting the milky juice in its recent state by means of cotton, he suggested the use of a lightly moistened sponge for that purpose instead.

This I find answers better than the cotton; the juice being both more completely removed from the plant, and more easily expressed than from the cotton. The milky juice collected in this way squeezed into a tea cup or any similar vessel, soon acquires a dark-brown colour like opium obtained from the papaver somniferum, and has all its other sensible qualities.”

REFERENCES

As icing on this sweet little cake here are some interesting current scientific references. 

1. “Pilot study of the efficacy and safety of lettuce seed oil in patients with sleep disorders”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3119588/

“Results: Improvements in the modified State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Sleep rating scale scores were significantly greater in patients receiving L. sativa seed oil compared with those on placebo (P < 0.05). No side effects were found to be attributable to L. sativa seed oil at the given dosage.”

2. “Evaluation of sedative effects of an intranasal dosage containing saffron, lettuce seeds and sweet violet in primary chronic insomnia: A randomized, double-dummy, double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378874120329974

“Our study revealed a significant reduction in Insomnia Severity Index and Sleep Quality Index scores from baseline… Moreover, the use of hypnotic drugs in the intervention group was significantly reduced (P < 0.001), while in the control group was maintained at baseline level.” 

Ed. Note: these results show less dependence on sleeping pills (hypnotic drugs) among those receiving the nasal treatment with saffron, sweet violet and lettuce seed oil. These were extracted in almond oil according to ancient Iranian techniques.  Here’s some interesting validation of Saffron & Sweet Violet Oil.

“The Impact of Saffron on Symptoms of Withdrawal Syndrome in Patients Undergoing Maintenance Treatment for Opioid Addiction in Sabzevar Parish in 2017”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29359178/

“Efficacy of Viola odorata in Treatment of Chronic Insomnia”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4341349/

3. “Analysis of Fatty Acid Composition of Crude Seed Oil of Lactuca sativa L. by GC-MS and GC Methods”

https://tips.sums.ac.ir/article_42253.html

Ed. Note: Before going into lettuce seed oil data and analysis, which show very interesting properties, the author covers the history of the use of medicinal lettuce opium in Iran. He says:

“In Traditional Iranian Pharmacy books, garden lettuce is named “Kass Bostani” and  Hakim Aqili classified it as a “Ghazā’ye Dawā’ee” (Ghazā means Food; Dawā means Drug). It is said to be soporific, prescribed to cure insomnia and to be useful in thirst and feeling of hotness and burning in the stomach. Seeds of this herb reduce semen, suppress libido and are useful in cases of frequent nocturnal emissions. Fixed oil obtained from seeds of this plant is reputed to have hypnotic and brain moistening properties. “

Final note: Don’t know about you but I think brain-moistening sounds promising. Happy salads!


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A Good Night’s Sleep Can Be The Best Medicine

by Pat Krug (from) Marijuana Foods, 1981

“Mom couldn’t sleep more than a couple of hours and then she would just lie awake until I came in to get her up in the morning. She would always be exhausted. When Medical Marijuana became legal in our state I asked her doctor if she would prescribe it for Mom for sleeping. The doctor said that she could prescribe Medical Marijuana for pain but not for sleeping, so we agreed that it might help Mom’s arthritis. I filled out the paperwork and got approved and then went to the dispensary and bought the first prescription. The young woman there talked with me about dosage and recommended a Vaporizer for Mom rather than her smoking the Marijuana. She showed me how it worked and how easy it was to control the dose by the size of what I put in the Vaporizer.

Mom now inhales just once or twice from the Vaporizer at bedtime and then falls asleep reading! Before her Medical Marijuana she hadn’t read a book in years. Now she reads and then sleeps for five or six hours. And also, we now light up the vaporizer again before her lunch, which she now actually eats and then she takes a two-hour nap! Medical Marijuana has been a blessing for her. And it really does help with her arthritis pain too.”

Kathy (Washington) in a Panaceachronicles.com comment

 If Cannabis Flowers did nothing else but help people get a good night’s sleep or a restful afternoon nap then the fact that it is helpful in so many other ways almost wouldn’t matter. But the fact is that, for most older people, pure, natural Cannabis flowers are the only sleep-aid they will ever need. The bonus is that these natural little beauties are not addictive like so many pharmaceuticals and don’t cause collateral damage to your brain or body like almost all pharmaceuticals.

Where most prescription and OTC sleeping pills operate by knocking you out without even a hint of subtlety, and leave you with brain fog and a nasty headache, not to mention organ and neurological damage with long-term use, you can tailor your Cannabis flower sleep medicine to give you exactly the kind of sleep you’re looking for without paying for that relief with ugly side-effects afterwards.

Since there are over 800 recognized strains of Cannabis, and since each strain has its own treating & healing properties, let’s begin by discussing the best kinds of Cannabis for promoting sleep.

In one sense this is an easy task. Almost any landrace or hybrid Kush, a family of Cannabis strains that originates in the mountains of Central Asia, has strong sleep-inducing properties. Commonly available Kush strains include Hindu Kush, OG Kush, Purple Afghani and Purple Kush.

Some strains based on Kush genetics without “Kush” in their names also have the sleep-aid properties of pure Kush strains including AK-47 and White Widow. A little research at a credible website such as leafly.com will give you all the information you need, and if there is a dispensary in your area that you trust you’ll probably be able to get good advice on the spot.

With a number of excellent choices available, if you are using a medical Cannabis dispensary as your source then choosing which Cannabis strain is right for you, or the older person you are caring for is simply a matter of what is available in your area. In states that allow medical Cannabis sales through dispensaries your challenge is going to be finding the most helpful, knowledgeable dispensary and then working with them to determine which of the strains they carry will work best in your individual situation.

When discussing Medical Marijuana with any advisor for use as a sleep aid remember that it is important to take into account whether you are taking any pharmaceuticals for any other medical conditions. If you are fortunate enough to live in a legal state and have a doctor who is knowledgeable then you can get advice from them, but the reality is that Cannabis conflicts with very few pharmaceuticals. However, if for example you have Diabetes then you will want to choose a strain that does not promote the “Munchies” which could easily lead to a blood sugar overload. In case you weren’t paying attention or weren’t around in the 60s, the “Munchies” are simply an uncontrollable to eat. Anything. Preferably sweet. Not good if you have Diabetes.

This is just one example of the kind of common-sense precaution that anyone using Cannabis for any reason needs to take. Without doubt the greatest precaution that everyone needs to take is to buy only organic Cannabis, as far as that’s possible. Cannabis growers can’t technically say “organic” because USDA is playing “Cannabis is Federally illegal” games, but there are plenty of ways for growers to communicate with the comunity. Others include precautions that asthmatics need to keep in mind when thinking about inhaled vs ingested Cannabis, issues that a person challenged with obesity might face if the Cannabis strain that they choose for sleep instead makes them want to raid the fridge, and potential hazards from falling that an elderly person might face unless they are all tucked in before their Cannabis sleep aid starts to come on strong, or if they have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and are still half-asleep. Any such issues can be resolved by taking a thoughtful approach to the use of Cannabis as a sleep aid, and by asking knowledgeable people for advice on potential issues before beginning.

In states that allow patients to contract with growers for their medical Cannabis supply you won’t be limited to what a dispensary has in stock as a sleep aid choice, since a responsible medical Cannabis grower will have access to seed stock for virtually any strain you feel is best, and of course a good grower will also understand the properties of each strain and be able to make knowledgeable recommendations.

Finally, if you are in a position to grow a personal legal crop of medical Cannabis for yourself or for someone technically your “patient” if you have a medical Cannabis license, you will be able to choose from among dozens of first-rate Cannabis seed suppliers, and you’ll be even more certain of the provenance of the strain you are growing. These are people who have been in the trenches of the “War On Drugs”, and who have dedicated their lives to making authentic, pure Cannabis seeds available to growers worldwide despite the terrible risks. Now that Cannabis is finally coming into its own as a natural medicine these seed producers have come out into the open and as long as you live in a Cannabis-legal state you’ll be able to buy your seeds from any of them online.

Are We Talking Naptime or Nighttime?

Normal sleep patterns vary so much that there’s no general prescription the best use of Cannabis therapy for an individual who is experiencing a short-term or long-term disruption of their sleep. Fortunately, plenty of people have talked online about their experiences with Cannabis as a sleep-aid.

It’s important to keep in mind that a person with sleep problems might not need a Cannabis strain that will essentially knock them out, and some of the “couchlock” strains of Cannabis Indica can do just that. But a given individual may benefit more from a Cannabis Sativa strain that simply relaxes them and helps them enjoy reading a little before falling asleep, and might reject the more compelling hammer of Indica at bedtime. Because Cannabis lets a person choose from among different pathways to sleep it’s important not to throw away this advantage by simply assuming that everyone needs a strong Cannabis Indica for sleep.

One pathway to sleep that many seniors enjoy is a daytime nap, and yet many people who suffer from conditions that create pain and discomfort have a hard time getting any rest during the day, much less at night. So in some sense the ability to nap peacefully may simply depend upon relief from the conditions of body and mind that are interfering with that daytime rest.

This leads to a consideration of what strain or strains of Cannabis are already being ingested, if any, to treat any of the person’s other health issues besides sleep and rest? If Cannabis is not already being used to treat any other conditions, then the choice of strain or strains and the method and timing of use in promoting daytime and nighttime sleep become less problematic.

But if a heavy strain is already being used, say for pain, and the person is still having a problem with sleep, the problem may be that the heavy Cannabis strain being used to help control the pain has lost some of its sleep-promoting effect in the process. This may mean that the pathway to sleep is blocked, and if it is, then the relaxation & meditation pathway to sleep may still be opened by the use of a mentally stimulating Sativa strain. If the environment is right and if the person is able to relax in bed or a comfortable reclining chair doing something they enjoy like reading or watching a movie, then a little Sativa flower in a cup of infused tea or in a vaporizer can send a person onto that longed-for pathway to sleep, perchance to dream, with just a light touch of the sacred blossom even if they are also taking a heavy-duty strain for pain.

Another important consideration is whether or not to smoke Cannabis as a way to enjoy its sleep benefits. For Seniors who don’t mind, or who enjoy smoking, this is a good choice for shorter dozes like an afternoon nap, or as a way to get back to sleep in the middle of the night. The sleep that comes with smoking a nice pipe of Kush will last at least several hours, but not much longer, and there is very little residual mind cotton. However, for a Senior who for whatever reason doesn’t want to smoke, which for many Seniors is a good decision, vapor devices offer a great alternative.

There are several big differences between smoking Cannabis bud and using a Vapor device.

First, since the vapor device doesn’t combust the THC in the bud, it takes fewer puffs to get the desired result. Which also means that if you are buying Cannabis, your usage is less expensive and if you grow your own or a friend grows it for you, you use less per session.

Second, also because there is no combustion, there are no nasty combustion byproducts. In spite of all the positive aspects of Cannabis use, Cannabis buds are still organic plant material and when you combust any plant material – Cannabis flower or firewood – you get hundreds of chemical compounds in the smoke, many of them harmful and even carcinogenic, along with particles that lodge in the tiny air sacs in the lungs.

A third benefit is that with pure vapor you get more of the great tastes of the terpenes and oils in the Cannabis bud and almost none of the “gag and cough” components. Not that you can’t overdo it with a Vapor pipe too – the secret is to take small, light draws and to figure out from experience how much you need to get a good sleep and not to exceed that amount.

The final option for Seniors is edible/drinkable Cannabis in just about any food or beverage form that you can imagine from gummy bears to classic brownies to infused teas. The advantage of ingesting Cannabis for sleep is that the effects last much longer than inhaled Cannabis. The effects take longer to come on, and when you wake up they take longer to wear off, but ingested Cannabis is definitely the solution for a Senior who wants a long night’s deep sleep. It is important to note that with ingested Cannabis dosage control is important because unlike smoking, you won’t know that you have taken too much until it’s too late to stop. This means that Seniors using ingested Cannabis as a sleep aid should be very particular about anything they buy, making sure that it is produced by a reputable company with solid dosage controls in place. Buying Cannabis edibles from local entrepreneurs can be just fine, or it can be a disaster in terms of dosage control.

Other than buying reputable Cannabis edibles, the other option is to make them yourself, and if you are buying your Cannabis from a good dispensary they ought to be able to tell you the concentration of THC per gram in the buds you are buying, as well as offering you everything you need in the way of scales, thermometers etc. to make your culinary efforts a success.

My wife and I both prefer to use Cannabis edibles as our sleep aid, and we also prefer to cook them ourselves because we can be certain of what ingredients are in the edible as well as how much THC there is in a given dose. Not all Seniors would want to go to this much trouble, which is why taking precautions is necessary if a Senior is using a commercial product, or even a batch of Alice B. Toklas brownies baked for them by a well-meaning friend.

Speaking of making edibles for yourself or a friend, although there are a lot of choices in Cannabis cookbooks these days I like to think that the recipes and extract techniques that my wife and I invented for my 1981 book “Marijuana Foods”, which was the first book written specifically for people who wanted to use edible Cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, still offer some of the easiest and most delicious ways to cook with and ingest the divine flower. You can find the hardcopy version of Marijuana Foods on Amazon.

With all sensible precautions taken, and all important choices made thoughtfully, Seniors who have access to high quality Cannabis can simply forget about any sleep issues they may have been having, and can take those poison pills hawked by Pig Pharma back to the pharmacy where you got them and ask them to please dispose of this dangerous shit responsibly. 

 

 

 

 


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A Good Night’s Sleep Can Be The Best Medicine

by Pat Krug (from) Marijuana Foods, 1981

“Mom couldn’t sleep more than a couple of hours and then she would just lie awake until I came in to get her up in the morning. She would always be exhausted. When Medical Marijuana became legal in our state I asked her doctor if she would prescribe it for Mom for sleeping. The doctor said that she could prescribe Medical Marijuana for pain but not for sleeping, so we agreed that it might help Mom’s arthritis. I filled out the paperwork and got approved and then went to the dispensary and bought the first prescription. The young woman there talked with me about dosage and recommended a Vaporizer for Mom rather than her smoking the Marijuana. She showed me how it worked and how easy it was to control the dose by the size of what I put in the Vaporizer.

Mom now inhales just once or twice from the Vaporizer at bedtime and then falls asleep reading! Before her Medical Marijuana she hadn’t read a book in years. Now she reads and then sleeps for five or six hours. And also, we now light up the vaporizer again before her lunch, which she now actually eats and then she takes a two-hour nap! Medical Marijuana has been a blessing for her. And it really does help with her arthritis pain too.”

Kathy (Washington) in a Panaceachronicles.com comment

 If Cannabis Flowers did nothing else but help people get a good night’s sleep or a restful afternoon nap then the fact that it is helpful in so many other ways almost wouldn’t matter. But the fact is that, for most older people, pure, natural Cannabis flowers are the only sleep-aid they will ever need. The bonus is that these natural little beauties are not addictive like so many pharmaceuticals and don’t cause collateral damage to your brain or body like almost all pharmaceuticals.

Where most prescription and OTC sleeping pills operate by knocking you out without even a hint of subtlety, and leave you with brain fog and a nasty headache, not to mention organ and neurological damage with long-term use, you can tailor your Cannabis flower sleep medicine to give you exactly the kind of sleep you’re looking for without paying for that relief with ugly side-effects afterwards.

Since there are over 800 recognized strains of Cannabis, and since each strain has its own treating & healing properties, let’s begin by discussing the best kinds of Cannabis for promoting sleep.

In one sense this is an easy task. Almost any landrace or hybrid Kush, a family of Cannabis strains that originates in the mountains of Central Asia, has strong sleep-inducing properties. Commonly available Kush strains include Hindu Kush, OG Kush, Purple Afghani and Purple Kush.

Some strains based on Kush genetics without “Kush” in their names also have the sleep-aid properties of pure Kush strains including AK-47 and White Widow. A little research at a credible website such as leafly.com will give you all the information you need, and if there is a dispensary in your area that you trust you’ll probably be able to get good advice on the spot.

With a number of excellent choices available, if you are using a medical Cannabis dispensary as your source then choosing which Cannabis strain is right for you, or the older person you are caring for is simply a matter of what is available in your area. In states that allow medical Cannabis sales through dispensaries your challenge is going to be finding the most helpful, knowledgeable dispensary and then working with them to determine which of the strains they carry will work best in your individual situation.

When discussing Medical Marijuana with any advisor for use as a sleep aid remember that it is important to take into account whether you are taking any pharmaceuticals for any other medical conditions. If you are fortunate enough to live in a legal state and have a doctor who is knowledgeable then you can get advice from them, but the reality is that Cannabis conflicts with very few pharmaceuticals. However, if for example you have Diabetes then you will want to choose a strain that does not promote the “Munchies” which could easily lead to a blood sugar overload. In case you weren’t paying attention or weren’t around in the 60s, the “Munchies” are simply an uncontrollable to eat. Anything. Preferably sweet. Not good if you have Diabetes.

This is just one example of the kind of common-sense precaution that anyone using Cannabis for any reason needs to take. Without doubt the greatest precaution that everyone needs to take is to buy only organic Cannabis, as far as that’s possible. Cannabis growers can’t technically say “organic” because USDA is playing “Cannabis is Federally illegal” games, but there are plenty of ways for growers to communicate with the comunity. Others include precautions that asthmatics need to keep in mind when thinking about inhaled vs ingested Cannabis, issues that a person challenged with obesity might face if the Cannabis strain that they choose for sleep instead makes them want to raid the fridge, and potential hazards from falling that an elderly person might face unless they are all tucked in before their Cannabis sleep aid starts to come on strong, or if they have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and are still half-asleep. Any such issues can be resolved by taking a thoughtful approach to the use of Cannabis as a sleep aid, and by asking knowledgeable people for advice on potential issues before beginning.

In states that allow patients to contract with growers for their medical Cannabis supply you won’t be limited to what a dispensary has in stock as a sleep aid choice, since a responsible medical Cannabis grower will have access to seed stock for virtually any strain you feel is best, and of course a good grower will also understand the properties of each strain and be able to make knowledgeable recommendations.

Finally, if you are in a position to grow a personal legal crop of medical Cannabis for yourself or for someone technically your “patient” if you have a medical Cannabis license, you will be able to choose from among dozens of first-rate Cannabis seed suppliers, and you’ll be even more certain of the provenance of the strain you are growing. These are people who have been in the trenches of the “War On Drugs”, and who have dedicated their lives to making authentic, pure Cannabis seeds available to growers worldwide despite the terrible risks. Now that Cannabis is finally coming into its own as a natural medicine these seed producers have come out into the open and as long as you live in a Cannabis-legal state you’ll be able to buy your seeds from any of them online.

Are We Talking Naptime or Nighttime?

Normal sleep patterns vary so much that there’s no general prescription the best use of Cannabis therapy for an individual who is experiencing a short-term or long-term disruption of their sleep. Fortunately, plenty of people have talked online about their experiences with Cannabis as a sleep-aid.

It’s important to keep in mind that a person with sleep problems might not need a Cannabis strain that will essentially knock them out, and some of the “couchlock” strains of Cannabis Indica can do just that. But a given individual may benefit more from a Cannabis Sativa strain that simply relaxes them and helps them enjoy reading a little before falling asleep, and might reject the more compelling hammer of Indica at bedtime. Because Cannabis lets a person choose from among different pathways to sleep it’s important not to throw away this advantage by simply assuming that everyone needs a strong Cannabis Indica for sleep.

One pathway to sleep that many seniors enjoy is a daytime nap, and yet many people who suffer from conditions that create pain and discomfort have a hard time getting any rest during the day, much less at night. So in some sense the ability to nap peacefully may simply depend upon relief from the conditions of body and mind that are interfering with that daytime rest.

This leads to a consideration of what strain or strains of Cannabis are already being ingested, if any, to treat any of the person’s other health issues besides sleep and rest? If Cannabis is not already being used to treat any other conditions, then the choice of strain or strains and the method and timing of use in promoting daytime and nighttime sleep become less problematic.

But if a heavy strain is already being used, say for pain, and the person is still having a problem with sleep, the problem may be that the heavy Cannabis strain being used to help control the pain has lost some of its sleep-promoting effect in the process. This may mean that the pathway to sleep is blocked, and if it is, then the relaxation & meditation pathway to sleep may still be opened by the use of a mentally stimulating Sativa strain. If the environment is right and if the person is able to relax in bed or a comfortable reclining chair doing something they enjoy like reading or watching a movie, then a little Sativa flower in a cup of infused tea or in a vaporizer can send a person onto that longed-for pathway to sleep, perchance to dream, with just a light touch of the sacred blossom even if they are also taking a heavy-duty strain for pain.

Another important consideration is whether or not to smoke Cannabis as a way to enjoy its sleep benefits. For Seniors who don’t mind, or who enjoy smoking, this is a good choice for shorter dozes like an afternoon nap, or as a way to get back to sleep in the middle of the night. The sleep that comes with smoking a nice pipe of Kush will last at least several hours, but not much longer, and there is very little residual mind cotton. However, for a Senior who for whatever reason doesn’t want to smoke, which for many Seniors is a good decision, vapor devices offer a great alternative.

There are several big differences between smoking Cannabis bud and using a Vapor device.

First, since the vapor device doesn’t combust the THC in the bud, it takes fewer puffs to get the desired result. Which also means that if you are buying Cannabis, your usage is less expensive and if you grow your own or a friend grows it for you, you use less per session.

Second, also because there is no combustion, there are no nasty combustion byproducts. In spite of all the positive aspects of Cannabis use, Cannabis buds are still organic plant material and when you combust any plant material – Cannabis flower or firewood – you get hundreds of chemical compounds in the smoke, many of them harmful and even carcinogenic, along with particles that lodge in the tiny air sacs in the lungs.

A third benefit is that with pure vapor you get more of the great tastes of the terpenes and oils in the Cannabis bud and almost none of the “gag and cough” components. Not that you can’t overdo it with a Vapor pipe too – the secret is to take small, light draws and to figure out from experience how much you need to get a good sleep and not to exceed that amount.

The final option for Seniors is edible/drinkable Cannabis in just about any food or beverage form that you can imagine from gummy bears to classic brownies to infused teas. The advantage of ingesting Cannabis for sleep is that the effects last much longer than inhaled Cannabis. The effects take longer to come on, and when you wake up they take longer to wear off, but ingested Cannabis is definitely the solution for a Senior who wants a long night’s deep sleep. It is important to note that with ingested Cannabis dosage control is important because unlike smoking, you won’t know that you have taken too much until it’s too late to stop. This means that Seniors using ingested Cannabis as a sleep aid should be very particular about anything they buy, making sure that it is produced by a reputable company with solid dosage controls in place. Buying Cannabis edibles from local entrepreneurs can be just fine, or it can be a disaster in terms of dosage control.

Other than buying reputable Cannabis edibles, the other option is to make them yourself, and if you are buying your Cannabis from a good dispensary they ought to be able to tell you the concentration of THC per gram in the buds you are buying, as well as offering you everything you need in the way of scales, thermometers etc. to make your culinary efforts a success.

My wife and I both prefer to use Cannabis edibles as our sleep aid, and we also prefer to cook them ourselves because we can be certain of what ingredients are in the edible as well as how much THC there is in a given dose. Not all Seniors would want to go to this much trouble, which is why taking precautions is necessary if a Senior is using a commercial product, or even a batch of Alice B. Toklas brownies baked for them by a well-meaning friend.

Speaking of making edibles for yourself or a friend, although there are a lot of choices in Cannabis cookbooks these days I like to think that the recipes and extract techniques that my wife and I invented for my 1981 book “Marijuana Foods”, which was the first book written specifically for people who wanted to use edible Cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, still offer some of the easiest and most delicious ways to cook with and ingest the divine flower. You can find the hardcopy version of Marijuana Foods on Amazon.

With all sensible precautions taken, and all important choices made thoughtfully, Seniors who have access to high quality Cannabis can simply forget about any sleep issues they may have been having, and can toss those poison pills hawked by Pig Pharma where they belong – in the trash.