A Primal Take on Cannabis

Today I’m taking on a mammoth in the living room so to speak. Based on the emails I’ve received and the string of developments around the issue, it’s maybe a long time coming.

As of November 11, marijuana is legal for recreational or medical use in 26 states. Recreational use is even legal in the nation’s capital, Washington DC. Despite the DEA declining to recognize the therapeutic potential of marijuana, formal medical research proceeds in labs and clinics, while millions of consumers in states like California, Oregon, and Colorado are running informal n=1 personal experiments. Usage has doubled in the last ten years. A recent Gallup poll found that 1 in 8 American adults “say they smoke marijuana.” Pretty much anytime legalization is up for a vote, it passes.

It seems there’s more weed out there than ever before and more people willing to consume it. They’re eating it, applying it sublingually, vaporizing it, and smoking it. Meanwhile, “pro” and “con” claims mount on both sides.

And while hippies, burnouts, and trustafarians might be the popular face of marijuana culture, the modern cannabis consumer will surprise you. A few stats:

Nearly half of all California cannabis dispensary customers are over the age of 30.

By some accounts, Silicon Valley tech firms run on weed.

More Colorado adults are consuming cannabis, while teen usage has gone down.

Middle-aged parents are more likely to smoke weed than their teenage kids.

Cannabis never really left, but it’s definitely shifting out of the counter-culture and into mainstream society. For better or for worse.

So, which is it, Sisson? Better or worse?

Cannabis commentators, both detractors and evangelists, deal in anecdote.

“The pot heads I knew in high school ended up in dead-end jobs. Half didn’t even graduate!”

“Everyone I knew in college smoked. The smartest dude on my floor—an engineering student—grew the stuff!”

It really seems to depend on the individual, the type of cannabis, the (mind)set and setting, and a dozen other factors. It’s complicated and contextual.

In keeping with that point, my goal here isn’t to pass absolute judgment but to highlight the benefits, risks and myths.

First off, there’s some very promising research into the medical and health benefits of cannabis.

Pain: Purified THC has no effect on chronic pain. It doesn’t help postoperative pain, either.

Meanwhile, whole plant cannabis reduces Parkinson’s-related pain, neuropathic pain (even low-dose), and diabetic neuropathy.

Curiously, men seem more sensitive to cannabis-induced pain relief than women. Sorry, ladies.

PTSD: Medical marijuana shows great promise in PTSD therapy, with one study seeing a 75% reduction in symptoms.

Cancer: Most research into cannabis and cancer has focused on its ability to ameliorate chemotherapy-induced nausea. And in vitro and animal studies do show some interesting effects on cancer cells and cancer, but lots of plant compounds do that. We have a ways to go before oncologists are handing out joints.

Weight loss: We don’t have any good intervention studies in people, but we do have evidence from animal and in vitro studies that isolated cannabinoids can trigger formation of new fat cells and generally impair metabolic health. We do have fairly consistent findings from observational studies showing that regular cannabis users tend to have lower BMIs than non-users, better metabolic markers (fasting insulin, waist circumference, and insulin resistance) than non-users, and lower rates of metabolic syndrome.

Tough to say, but I lean toward the totality of the observational studies. If cannabis is so bad for metabolic health, why is its use so consistently associated with better metabolic health?

Intake of other drugs: People with access to legal marijuana end up drinking less alcohol (one reason for the generally beneficial effect of weed on body weight) and using less opioids.

Type 1 diabetes: There’s limited (read: animal/in vitro) evidence suggestive of a protective or therapeutic role for cannabis in type 1 diabetes (CBD reduces pancreatic inflammation and slows down T1D progression).

What about the negatives?

Filling your lungs with hot smoke: While it probably isn’t “good” for the lungs, the “accumulated weight of evidence” shows that “even regular heavy use” of cannabis smoke confers “far lower risks for pulmonary complications” than the “grave pulmonary consequences of tobacco.”

Dependency: Addiction recovery counselors claim cannabis addiction rates of 10%, which pale in comparison to cocaine, heroin, alcohol, and tobacco addiction rates but exceed the 0% addiction rates weed enthusiasts commonly tout.

And I’ll head off the inevitable cries of “it’s just psychological dependence, not physiological!” before they arrive. Psychological is physiological. The brain is the body. It’s physical and tangible. Cannabis may not create physical withdrawal symptoms, but heavy use can create dependencies via the brain reward systems just the same.

Mental health: Heavy cannabis users with the right (wrong) genetic variants tend to be at higher risk for various mental health disorders, like psychosis and schizophrenia. Furthermore, the earlier in adolescence you start smoking, the higher your risk of psychosis as an adult.

Causation hasn’t quite been established here. Put another way, people with psychosis and schizophrenia may be more likely to be heavy cannabis users. But if your brain is still developing, whether in the womb or during adolescence, avoid cannabis. You really don’t need it, and you’ll be better equipped to handle it as a full-fledged adult.

Sleep: Many people use cannabis to sleep. It certainly can make you sleepy, but it also affects REM sleep, even going so far as to reduce dreaming. Heavy users show evidence of sleep disturbances. You all know how important sleep is.

Plus, an older study shows that smoking cannabis increases melatonin secretion. That’s a good thing at night. This could be trouble if you smoke during the day, however, as melatonin isn’t supposed to be elevated when the sun is up.

Now some things to keep in mind when deciding to try cannabis or not…

Whole plant is safer than isolated cannabinoids.

Whether you’re talking about medical benefits or recreational use, using the whole plant has better effects than using an isolated component. There is no one active component. There are many, and isolation is going to miss them.

Foremost are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). If THC provides the “high,” CBD smooths it out. THC targets the CB1 receptor, CBD gets in the way and blunts some of the effects. Why is this important, and why shouldn’t I just get the stuff with the most THC?

Well, the whole plant compounds are synergistic:

A high-CBD cannabis whole plant extract reduces gut inflammation and damage in a mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease. Purified CBD does not.

A human study tested the cannabinoid content of hair plucked from a group of regular smokers. Those with more THC in their hair were more depressed and anxious than those with CBD in their hair. They also performed more poorly on tests of visual and verbal recall, while those with higher hair CBD were better at recall and had fewer psychosis-like symptoms.

Normally, THC impairs short term memory. It’s famous for it. This is why people (like me) stumble over their words after consuming cannabis. In one study, giving CBD alongside high-THC weed mitigates this THC-induced memory impairment.

CBD may even show efficacy against schizophrenia, which makes me wonder if higher CBD/THC cannabis strains have the same relationship to mental health issues as the strains higher in THC and lower in CBD.

The superiority of the whole plant could explain why observational studies find improved metabolic health and body weight in users versus non-users and animal studies using the isolated cannabinoids find the opposite.

Whole plant cannabis isn’t perfect, though. The THC/CBD ratio has been increasing over the years as consumers chase ever more “potent” strains. The average sample of street cannabis was 4% THC in 1995. In 2014, it was 14%. In the same time frame, CBD content dropped from 0.28% to 0.15%.

What’s great about the legalization push is that you no longer have to buy an unlabeled baggie of random cannabis from a seedy dealer. You can enter a clean, well-lighted place, chat with an expert, and choose from dozens of strains labeled with THC, CBD, and other cannabinoid levels to obtain the desired effects and thus bypass the lopsided ratios of street marijuana.

Don’t take cannabis lightly.

It’s a powerful plant, technically a psychedelic. Many ancient cultures used cannabis as a sacrament and spiritual ally. You don’t have to chant or burn incense or anything, but pay it the respect it deserves if you plan on using it.

It can have paradoxical effects.

To some, it’s the best way to take the edge off a bad day or a stressful situation. You light up and the stress melts away.

To others, it increases anxiety. You light up and get sucked into a paranoid thought loop. You might even have a panic attack.

Some people can’t focus on anything after consuming cannabis. It scatters their mind and makes following a plot or conversation impossible.

Others use cannabis as a focus aid. They’ll create art, read books, consume film and music, and generally be more productive.

Use others’ experiences as a rough guide, but know that it’s not the final word.

Don’t use it to defeat boredom.

It’s often said that cannabis is a mood-enhancer. It won’t “make you happy.” But if you’re in a good mood, it will likely enhance it. The same goes for a bad mood.

Don’t do it if you’re bored. Don’t do it because there’s nothing else to do. Perhaps you’ll make life mildly more interesting for a couple hours, but man, what a waste.

It shouldn’t be a habit or crutch—or an excuse to not go out and grab a life you want to live….

Careful with the edibles.

Widespread legalization has ushered in an incredible range of edible cannabis products, from olive oil to butter to coconut oil to caramels to baked goods to lollipops to spaghetti sauce to entire restaurant menus. Since cannabinoids are fat-soluble, anything with fat is fair game.

Eating cannabis is very different from inhaling it. Smoking it provides delta-9 THC, which hits fast and dissipates relatively quickly. When you eat it, your liver converts the delta-9 THC into 11-hydroxy THC and you feel the effects of both compounds. It lasts longer, too—5-6 hours compared to 1-2—and feels stronger and more psychedelic. Edible cannabis can get downright overwhelming, especially since most people don’t expect it.

Oh, and that pot brownie better be gluten-free or you’re excommunicated.

That’s about it folks. As I said earlier, I recognize the therapeutic effects and medical potential of cannabis all while acknowledging the apparent risks and cautions.

Now I’d like to hear from you, especially those who use cannabis. How does it affect your Primal way of life? Does it help or hinder your pursuit of health?

Thanks for reading, everyone.


About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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200 thoughts on “A Primal Take on Cannabis”

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  1. Just before the vote in California, I saw a YouTube video of a guy in Colorado who is experimenting with a cannabis nasal inhaler as a therapeutic intervention in status seizures in children. I was hoping the vote would pass in California because my dog has status seizures, and if I could get a mister that I could spray in his nose and bring him around, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

    Personally, I don’t like it for my own use. Tried it with an ex at his insistence–made me feel weird. I like having control of my thoughts.

    1. Be careful! I have heard that weed is poisonous to dogs and cats. May not have the same effect as humans.

      1. Nope, I’ve been making CO and dosing my dog 2x daily orally and with a DMSO solution topically directly on his tumor for 8 months. He’s eating, gained most of his weight back and the tumor is shrinking.

        1. wow impressive, my dog has chronic skin issues we just seem to cycle in the vet and the meds become dependent for him not to start itching again. I’ve read some basics that cbd specifically can be helpful and so now trying to see if there is a safe effective way to use that for him

          1. Dave Asprey interviewed the owner of CW Hemp on his podcast. Canine dosage is explained of the site. I just bought Charlotte’s Web CBD oil for both my aging dog and myself. http://Www.cwhemp.com

    2. Apparently the nasal spray is currently being used for seizures and is being effective.

    3. My pup had bad hips in his old age so I gave him Vet CDB and it worked wonders. He was able to get up and move like he was a puppy again. https://vetcbd.com Maybe it will work for your dog. It is administered orally or you can mix with food.

  2. I am Paleo, and I don’t find anything wrong with smoking a bowl an hour before bed. It really does help me sleep a good 8 hours as opposed to the 3-4 hours with my normal sleep cycle. I have lowered my BMI since smoking, and the only thing I would worry about is the munchies, which oddly enough, I don’t get with pot, but I do with alcohol. I just don’t smoke it and go straight to bed, because my mind will race, but an hour before bed is just right for me. Overall, it depends on the user, but it has helped me in my Paleo lifestyle.

    1. It helps me sleep, too! I wake up about once every 2-3 hours but wake up after 9-10 hours rested. With weed I sleep straight through 7-8 hours no issues.

      1. I too have sleep problems. I’ve been using the oil, but it doesn’t get me through the night. Are you using the plant?

    2. I’ve been using edibles as a sleep aid for a few years now. Not every night just when I feel more stressed out. I’ll eat a very small doze of 5mg about 2 hours before bedtime and note that I do sleep longer before my bladder wakes me. As a man, I’m wondering if other middle aged men with enlarged prostates and frequent nighttime urination, have slowed that process by using edible’s like myself?

      1. If I take a a small dose of indica chocolate (3-5mg) before bed, I’m so relaxed that I generally don’t get up to pee until morning. I attribute that to muscle relaxation. Since your bladder is a muscle, that is relaxed too, so you don’t feel the desire to pee as much.

        1. I find I sleep sounder with edibles – but smoking/vaping allows me some better sleep as well. I’ve been getting up in the middle of the night to pee 3-4 times since I was a kid. I just don’t sleep well and never have. Frankly, I’m glad this is available and since I didn’t start until later in life, I am not so concerned with brain development issues. I also find vaping to be so much easier on the lungs.

      2. @jtcapa Re the nighttime pee: I’m early fifties, male. A couple of years ago someone recommended a herb, to take as a tea: Willowherb / “Epilobium parviflorum” (Kleinblütiges Weidenröschen). I took it for almost three months– made a large teapot full every day, and drank it over the course of the day. It made a very big difference for me. I still have to be careful to not drink too much evenings, but before and after were dramatically different in terms of how often I needed to get up nights to pee.

          1. I actually got it from someone who had collected it wild. I’m in Germany where herbs are available in Pharmacists. Presuming you’re in the States, I have no idea — it does grow there according to wikipedia, sorry cant help more.

    3. I use edibles an hour before bedtime. My cPap shows fewer “episodes” and fewer “restless” periods.

      1. Isn’t that crazy!? I have central sleep apnea, and thought I was experiencing fewer episodes, my doctor said there is that theory, and there is one small study. She is an advocate! I use micro dosing tinctures and topicals for fibromyalgia pain, the effect on my central sleep apnea is a total bonus side effect.

    4. I am also Paleo, and developed a great indica paleo brownie made with coconut flour, coconut sugar and cacao and self-made grassfed indica infused butter. A small piece before sleep has really helped with nighttime anxiety and waking. I don’t like smoking, so the brownie before I crawl into bed does the trick for me.

        1. I agree would be very interested in a recipe and details if possible

      1. Make sure you do not use marijuana that has genetics that lean towards the extreme (Sativa or Indica) as you brew these types into a concentrated cannabutter the effects can cause anxiety. Using more of a hybrid ensures a calming effect.

    5. I never tried Pot as a adolescent and now in my middle ages. I am kind of excited, somewhat giddy to try, not to get “high”, but really to get more than 5 hours of sleep. That’s my average, sometimes its less. My question is if you can recommend the type of weed, I’ll explain. Someone told me the types of weed are Indica and Sativa one is an upper and one is the downer. Which I would believe is the best for sleep remedy, so if anyone could offer advice, it would be greatly appreciated.
      Thank you

  3. I have recently started using CBD/CBDa oil with my clients (MS, pain etc), with some very positive responses. You get the medicinal benefit without the psychoactive effect — surely the way to go!

  4. I used to smoke the time. Got to the point no matter how little I smoked I would start to have panic attacks. Would get really dizzy and felt like I could never get a breath. Stopped it and never really missed it. I can imagine I would have a hard time controlling food impulses

    1. That has been my experience too. I smoked often between 16 and 22, then started having those panic attacks. Stopped for 25 years and once it went legal tried it again and found it was still bad if I tried smoking these now powerfully potent THC versions. But Mark’s data seems right. If I consume a CBD oil and smoke, I’m fine, or if I use a little of the high CBD strain of the whole plant, I’m also fine. But still the possibility of the panic attack really keeps me from using it for anything other than a sleep aid. As it is harder to panic if I’m asleep.

    2. I think for some people, the panic attacks and paranoia are cause by either using way too much or choosing a sativa instead of an indica (anything with kush in the name). Sativa can be very stimulating mentally and physically and can send your mind racing. Indica is much more sedative and tends to reduce anxiety.

      1. @Clay [this all past tense as I havent smoked in a while]
        with grass, I’ll get really wired, almost like taking speed. With a good oily black hash, I’ll get a really nice mellow buzz. We didnt get grass where/when I grew up, so we used make tobacco joints (with hash) — I also smoked tobacco then. After giving up tobacco, I realised how strong an effect the tobacco also had (when inhaled deeply), and that the effect of the hash on it’s own was quite different (nicer).

        1. Haven’t seen any black hash in years. Marijuana makes my asthma worse so I don’t use it. I smoked black hash several times in a city with notorious air pollution, and it loosened up the airways.

      2. Exactly. I can’t smoke sativa. Makes me paranoid and anxious. I exclusively use indica to counter anxiety and help relax.

      3. Yes, those are important differences. Without knowing if the source is one or the other or “hybrid,” it’s almost fruitless to say, “Pot does X or Y to me.” As I go to sleep easily, all my bud is Sativa. Had a new acquaintance over a few weeks ago, she and I talked for seven hours and could have gone longer except her boyfriend was increasingly panicly texting her. Ha ha….

    3. I’ve had that experience with weed, whether I smoked it or ate an edible. Weed is not for me. I’d rather be sane rather than smoking and having panic attacks and paranoia.

  5. As we continue to explore the benefit of botanical medicine which includes cannabis, we are understanding the receptors in our brain that may benefit from cannabis use. Smoking is not the optimal delivery system, as temperature is important to release the medicinal value. I am on the path to help my son whom had a high dose of radiation as a childhood brain cancer survivor, and a stroke survivor. Glad to see mark do a story on it. There is no magic wand in medicine…so you must continue to learn and explore avenues of wellness. Thank you mark.

    1. hello Sandra, I am curious to learn more about the optimal temperatures or ways to realize the medicinal value, can you share any links/details thanks

  6. I have been waiting years for this post! Well done Mark! I normally consume in the form of edibles as it results in less coughing and hacking, but it looks like I will need to go back to the good ole days of lighting one up 🙂 I am the type of person that gets silly and lazy when I partake in cannabis so I save it for Friday nights when I don’t plan on leaving the couch. Mastering my “need” for munchies is the hardest part of imbibing but I have found that sipping a La Crioux helps immensely and if all else fails – a Lara Bar probably isn’t going to kill me. All in all I do not find that cannabis consumption derails my primal lifestyle nearly as much as alcohol can and is my drug of choice when in comes to relaxing on the weekend. Thank you for this article and not making people like me (27, married, no kids, CF’er, primal) feel like pariahs. XOXO

  7. I am using for the 40th day my first round of CDB oil. I got fascinated by the interview done here with Stuart Tomc. Of course the CDB oil is THC free. So no buzz for me. But I will tell you it has dramatically improved my sleep cycle within about 12 days. I am going to take another 44 day round and then go off it to really see the results. I do not smoke so my endogenous cannabinoid system h.d to get opened up to see the results. My adult son does smoke and is doing the same round with me and indeed he saw instant sleep benefits it is a fascinating new greenfield

    1. I think your on to something here. When I consume high CBD oil mixed with small amounts of THC I do get much better sleep. Is it more or less REM? I have no idea other than I feel like I do dream more.

    2. Hi Ron, thanks for the info on CBD oil. I am trying to improve my sleepless nights also. Can you share the name or link about the CDB oil? Also I never smoked pot, so can you also share what you do what the oil?
      Thank you

  8. Lived in CO for decades before legalization. Visited this fall, what a trip. Oops, wrong metaphor…….

    If you haven’t experienced a purchase, you cannot, will not believe how controlled it is and how scientific the whole process is. Young plants have RFID chips inserted to track them all the way to the consumer, to identify the THC/CBD contents, and more. All edibles are standard servings at 10mg THC. I bought pot with 18% and 28% THC. Actually, they rate to two decimal places. Also an e-vape pen and cartridge.

    The CO Department of Revenue oversees the process (and collects lots of revenue, $150 million last year, IIRC, and increasing.) They do research, I ran across one that compared the efficacy of eating vs. smoking pot! BTW, it’s 5.7:1 by weight. Not exactly your father’s staid bureaucracy!

    I left CO a legal recreational pot user and became a possession with intent to distribute felon when I hit Texas. This so backward state doesn’t even have medical marijuana under consideration.

    1. To clarify, and since this new format doesn’t allow editing……..grrrrrrrr…….smoking is almost six times as efficient as eating.

      1. If by efficient you mean how quickly it hits you, then yes, smoking wins. However, milligram for milligram, eating is much stronger and longer lasting than smoking.That’s just a simple fact of how ingested THC is metabolized by the liver.

        1. No, they were measuring circulating THC or a metabolite in some manner.

  9. Biggest issue is the munchies, so I have to watch out about that and consume sparingly. But I also don’t drink that much, and prefer cannabis to alcohol for occasional indulgence. Outside of that it really does not affect my healthily lifestyle. If anything, I am a good deal healthier than my many of my piers in my age group (49) that don’t use cannabis. That is purely anecdotal though. When great thing for me at least, is that it really seems to enhance the feelings of touch, especially during sex, but there are other that I have talked with that feel that cannabis seems to attenuate their libido.

  10. Started looking into the CBD oil for anxiety and stress. I got some candy\gummies and took one last week, will have to try it again while at home to know if it helps or not. I’ve been high enough in my 20s so I’m not dong it for that, i need to take the edge off and I don’t want to go the pharmaceutical route.

  11. For those with a problem with this:

    “Oh, and that pot brownie better be gluten-free or you’re excommunicated.”

    Ego te absolvo 🙂

  12. I’ve tried all sorts of cbd oils and also full extract…I wanted to use it for lymes disease as well as help ease anxiety. However every product I’ve tried has caused major constipation. I really wish I could tolerate it but the constipatikn just is crazy! Had anyone ever heard of this happening or know what could be the cause? Would really appreciate some input.

    1. This is the reason I’ve hesitated – everything I’ve read has said that it slows down peristalsis, which is terrible for SIBO (my main issue).

      1. I agree…slowing down peristalsis is the worst for me. It almost seems like it makes there peristalsis lame….I have read something about it working on opiate receptors…and this well known that opiates can cause constipation.

    2. this is some interesting feedback. In chinese medicine hemp seeds are used to moisten the bowel and alleviate constipation however , my chinese dr informed me, the seeds are known to be slightly toxic.

  13. I have smoked/vaporized since I was 11. I am now 51. I am a very successful computer engineer. I grow my own, for the 7.5 years, because I vaporize a LOT every day. There are many myths and scare tactics used by people that want to control the discussion.

    If you want to understand the medical side – Jorge Cervantes has a new book out called The Cannabis Encyclopedia. The first section is all medical. He explains that Cannabis was the first “domesticated” plant by man. That the medical effects would have migrant tribes carry the best seeds with them.

  14. Mark/worker bees: Don’t know any other way to let you know, but your Nutritional forum is totally locked down. Can’t post a new thread, can’t make comments to existing threads. For the first month or more of this new format, pages were not accessible about half the time, “database error.” Now that seems to be fixed, but we are totally locked out.

    I hope you have withheld some payment from these dolts that made this for you. Time to hire a fixer.

    1. OnTheBayou, thanks for your message. This has been an ongoing issue unfortunately, and it’s my first priority for the site right now. The fix is in process. Stay tuned.

      1. Thanks! Of course, I’ll stay tuned. I’ve been around MDA for seven years. You literally saved my life, as I tell friends.

  15. Thank you, this was incredibly informative. More to come as legalization may open more opportunities for formal research (beyond n=1). 🙂

  16. Not for me. I still run, bike and swim and can’t imagine that inhaling anything other than pure air (mostly) will help me go faster and farther.

    But, I’m a supporter of legalization. It should be legal in all 50 United States.

    1. I agree. I live in Colorado and pot has been readily available here for quite a while. It hasn’t been without growing pains, however. The state continues to get creative about regulating and taxation. I did support legalization although I’m not a user. Like you, I can’t see sucking anything into my lungs other than fresh air. I have no interest in getting high, but I wouldn’t hesitate to use it medicinally (in other forms) if the need ever arises

      1. I agree, I did not try any until my later adult years so I have been on both sides and while I have experienced the medicinal benefits I can see it isn’t a perfect medicine either and not the be all answer. That said if someone does or doesn’t smoke, legalizing is just another issue in terms of if someone does indulge in a bad habit without hurting others should they be jailed. When people are jaild you have tax payers paying tens of thousands per person to be in prison , the actual prisoner be it a kid or an adult loses his ability to get student loans, will make it much harder to get a job, not to mention being intertwined in prison with the likes of molesters, violent criminals, gangs. Prohibition just doesn’t make logical sense in any sense and then on top of that since it has shown not to curb demand, it just creates and entirely unregulated black market which have no problem selling to kids, using violence, etc.

  17. I have used the substance in question off and on or over 4 decades….a lot in my twenties, and about one to three times a week now, in my 60’s.
    I don’t care for many of the effects, such as anxiety (at times overwhelming) and the general drowsiness. My main reason to even bother with it currently is because of something I noticed with my very first use and continuing til now. I lose my appetite right away and the effect lasts for hours.
    I have lost as much as fifty pounds and kept it off for years (this last time over 13) and only gain it back if/when I get tired of using the stuff and stop.
    I never seem to get psychologically/physically “addicted”. I have stayed away from it entirely for as long as a decade or more in the past, without any sort of “withdrawals”.
    I don’t care for most of its effects, but really like being able to control my eating and lose weight so easily and that is always why I start up again. Don’t know the science as to why, but have wondered which component (THC or CBD) is responsible for the appetite reduction and weight loss. Perhaps its both as Mark suggests, the whole plant being more effective. I may never know for sure.

    1. Wait! You get the anti-munchies? Wow, I’ve never heard of that. I always presumed pot to be illegal because the increased demand for food would cause shortages and there would be riots. Right? 🙂

  18. Hi Mark – I watched some Truth About Cancer episodes and there were a few people on their who took hemp oil (rubbed it on their gums) and their tumours shrunk and disappeared. I thought this was too good to be true but did some quick web searches and there are many stories in local UK newspapers of others who have also cured themselves of cancerous tumours. Is there any scientific support anywhere that you have found to support these claims? I’m not saying everybody and every type of cancer would be cured but it must have some basis?

    1. Since hemp is devoid of THC, it’s not unreasonable to presume that it still has the CBD. But that needs to be confirmed.

      You could rub it anywhere, not just the gums. It’s a topical treatment.

  19. I use edibles (generally very low dose indica chocolate) occasionally as a a sleep aid when my stress levels eclipse my ability to wind down my brain, or sometimes when sick or having too much pain and inflammation to sleep comfortably. Usually a low dose (3-5mg THC) an hour before bed is all that’s needed to “reset” myself back to baseline. Low doses shouldn’t mess with your REM cycle. If cannabis is interfering with sleep, then the dose is too high. And like mentioned above, be very careful with edibles. They take at least an hour to kick in and stay with you for a long time. And once you are in, you can’t get out. So forget about trying to “sober up”. Not going to happen. If you want to blunt the psychedelic effects of THC, but keep many of the anti-inflammatory properties, try a 1:1 ratio of THC/CBD.

    1. I’d have to agree with your comment, I’ve been doing the same and have enjoyed the “reset” aspect myself. Low dose is the best way to get better sleep.

  20. Personally I’ve done weed only once many, many years ago in college and wasn’t really impressed so I never touched the stuff again.

    As with anything else, I’d be interested to see how the medical benefits of cannabis weigh out against the societal risks. This looks like something that only time will tell.

    Mark, another plant that is making ripples is Kratom. There’s a lot of controversy over this plant with a recent push to postpone the banning of it in the USA. Would be interested to hear your take on it.

  21. I smoke occasionally but I can only take one or two hits before I’m baked. I’ve had a couple vicious panic attacks after smoking too much (one in 05 and a small one this last spring). Thought I’d gone insane and all that fun stuff. Just that endless loop of madness. (Deep, steady breaths, water, fresh air, walking, and knowing you’re just peaking and you’ll come down soon seems to help.)
    Also I usually get hardcore munchies so even if I’m eating primal fare I’m eating way too much, once I start I can’t stop. This usually leads to bad food choices too.
    I’ve found that one little hit once a week or so is enough for me and that’s fine. Sure beats spending $60/week back in the day (and the chance of having panic attacks).

  22. I have asthma (which primal/paleo really helps me to control) so smoking weed is so not an option for me 🙂 and my n=1 experiences involve 2 different extended family members and 1 ex who are very negatively impacted by their smoking habits… so i’ll wait for further non-n=1 studies to examine who best benefits, when, and how. Altho it seems to me that the legal weed really should hit THC levels that were native to the plant originally (and at which levels weed has the long history of alleged anecdotal evidence of “healthy usage”), and not the modern “pumped up” levels.

  23. “Oh, and that pot brownie better be gluten-free or you’re excommunicated.” – You are very adorable and charming, this line had me lol

  24. My husband was addicted the first 36 years of our marriage. I knew for years something was wrong but what? He went to school and received 2 degrees. But he is incapable of holding down a job. I have supported the family, and was unable to go to school because we needed income. It has caused hell in my life. He was erratic with the kids. I can’t even consider it doing any good if not used medicinally.

    1. I’m sorry you had to go through that. However, alcohol is legal and just because it’s not good for some people doesn’t mean all of us can’t use it. I feel the same with cannabis. It’s an adult choice to make, and a few bad apples should not keep everyone else from deciding what is right for them. I hope you’ve found some peace.

      1. Thank You. Yes I have found peace :o) And I agree alcohol is just as destructive.

        1. true, my best friend has never smoked or drank in his life. He has ballooned to 400 lbs on just a horrible diet and has stagnated his comfort, confidence, and ability to live in a lot of ways. So I think so many things can be abused. While the saturation of all the chemicals in food may affect the brain,obviously with alcohol and cannabis the connection is more direct in it being psychoactive so you have to be careful and mindful with any medicine. I’ve experienced the medicinal benefits in ways that have really helped me heal/live and then I’ve also just wanted to get high and killed my motivation. All in all it just takes someone to have the personal responsibility to fin the balance in their life to do it right. So many anecdotal cases of cigarette users who might have gotten lucky and live healthy for a long time although we know the heavy risks. So everyone is different. Your husband has struggled so doesn’t seem to agree with him in his ability to handle the balance and hoping your whole family has/will heal from the ordeal

    2. This kind of one off anecdotal experience drives me bonkers. You didn’t know he was smoking? Apparently, a lot? If he got two degrees I suggest he could focus and meet goals. And that perhaps he has underlying psychiatric issues that got in the way of jobs and the kids.

      Is this past or present tense? Has he ever been off of pot for a few days in 36 years? Did his behaviors improve? If so, then perhaps you nailed it.

  25. Good start on the analysis.
    There are many other cannabinoids. For example Cannabavarin which is actually an appetite suppressant. I wonder if it is this component that makes cannabis users leaner than non users.
    In addition there are many terpenes present in whole plant. Many users attribute psychoactive properties to them. Certainly they are responsible for many of the aromatic properties. (Limonene, Pinene, Linalool etc.)
    There is a lot of research to be done, made easier as various levels of legal barrier are reduced.

    1. To me, the simplest explanation for the thinness is the same reason smoking “keeps you thin”: it partially replaces the endorphins so many are deficient in, and when that pseudo-replacement is gone, high-reward foods are needed to keep us functioning.

  26. Weed is not physically addictive, and it is very easy to prove. Have you ever seen a pot head on the street corner offering sexual services for their next hit of weed? Answer: Never, but I have seen plenty of crack/cocaine and heroin addicts doing just that. It is a drug and all drugs have consequences that vary person to person, but it is not physically addictive.

  27. I live in Washington where it has been medically legal for quite some time and
    recreationally legal for a few years now. I use it and have found it fantastic for sleep and stress and have used it several times successfully for pain resulting from physical injuries, muscle pulls, sprains and injuries sustained from the occasional mountain bike crash. I have done quite a bit of research on the topic and I would say that Mark has done a very good job of touching on almost everything. The one piece that I think still needs addressing is the part about it making people paranoid, which it certainly will if you are not aware of what strain you are smoking. Most of the strains available today are a hybrid of indica and sativa; indica being more of a whole body physical affect that tends to relax your mind and body where as sativa is more cerebral and can really get you moving around and your mind going. Too much sativa dominant weed can make people paranoid and keep them from sleeping. That being said if a person is aware of exactly what it is they’re smoking and gear that towards what their objective is they can get a lot more pig of its use.

    1. Spot on. I think many people who say pot makes them paranoid are smoking sativa. But back in the 70’s and 80’s it was just “pot”. It was hard to get and no one even talked strains, CBD content, etc. I remember recently when I was experimenting to find a proper emulsifier to suspend cannabis oil in water. We were sampling as we went yo test for the best mouth feel. The extract was Sour Diesel. An hour later it’s bedtime and right when my head hit the pillow it kicked in.My mind got very active. My skin was buzzing. Took about an hour to back off so i could fall asleep.

      1. I find that smoking (I vape) sativa is giving you a paranoid out look in your mind you have to do something physically active or stimulating. Thats why you hear that stoners make great gamers especially shooters. Sativa gives you energy and if you don’t channel it you will feel it trying to escape. So don’t lie down and smoke sativa go do some shit. My thing is hitting the gym and using the energy to develop muscle! ? it becomes very internal.

  28. great piece. i would just love to see “chemical laced tobacco” instead of tobacco. tobacco in its organic form is a sacred plant. a sacred plant should not be demonized because there are so many that disgrace it by poisoning the earth and its creatures. ritualistically smoking organically grown tobacco is natural and good, just like marijuana. keep up the great work Mark! (:

    1. Tobacco is just a plant. Anything about “sacredness” is just what people choose to assign to it. Ditto pot. Smoking a lot of tobacco, organic or not, will still cause ill health and perhaps death.

  29. You forgot probably the most obvious negative about smoked marijuana – it stinks.

    Also, marijuana being put into edible products becomes a hazard for children.

    1. But a child can’t die from THC like they can from aspirin. But we all have aspirin in our house.They even make tasty children’s aspirin. They also make all cold medicines and pain killers in tasty children’s formulas. Most homes also have bleach, solvents, WD-40… all sorts of things that can kill you. The marijuana puts children at risk argument only sounds right when you don’t see what other risks are available. The number one preventable cause of death in children is car accidents followed by drowning in home pools.

        1. I agree with ajb, Clay. None of the items you mention are enticing to children. This is “false equivalency” at its finest.

          1. How many children have died from ingesting marijuana? The answer is zero. No one has. No one has gone into a coma, had massive liver failure or started bleeding internally from marijuana. There is no known overdose level for THC. And yes, children’s medicine is very attractive to children. That’s the whole point. You should check out the OTC drug isle…looks like rows of candy. But no one says don’t make aspirin taste like candy because it’s dangerous. And I don’t know any parent that keeps their cannabis anywhere near where their kids can find it. But in most homes, OTC drugs are very easy to access. So the fear is misplaced.

    2. Stink is in the olfactory bulbs of the beholder. It stinks to you, but for many of us, it’s the opposite. I’ve experienced non inexpensive perfumes that stank to me. Also, the vape smoke smells sweet, very unlike the bud smoke, and only minimally at that.

      Yes, the issue with children is real. Of course, the bottom line responsibility lies with the parents, not the herb. They shouldn’t buy edibles that look like candy, perhaps they shouldn’t buy edibles at all. They wouldn’t put vodka in a water bottle, but they do this kind of stuff? If I don’t want to smoke, I just eat a small bit. The laws in CO are being tweaked to help avoid this. A learning curve for society.

  30. I’m going to be trying whole-plant cannabis shortly to see if it helps with my full-body, idiopathic neuropathy. I tried CBN while in Colorado without success.

  31. I’m a medical user, and it’s a lifesaver in many respects. There are so many physical and emotional aspects to living with a dangerous cancer. I use less pain medicine than I would without it. I use less anti-anxiety medication. I can relax in the evenings and simply “forget” about the cancer, but still function with my family. I sleep better. I’m currently doing a course of radiation, and it’s very helpful there for the nausea problems. It really is time to get weed and a few other botanicals off of Schedule 1. I’d love to try psilocybin legally to deal with the depression (bordering on PTSD) that many cancer patients face. I mostly use edibles, but I also vaporize. It’s just a situational thing. If I need to be “normal” in 2-3 hours, vaporizing works better. If I’m just at home for the evening, edibles win. My life isn’t better because of cancer, but my life as a cancer patient is better because of medical MJ.

  32. “Oh, and that pot brownie better be gluten-free or you’re excommunicated.”


  33. I’ve more recently been partaking in cannabis – for medical reasons. After sudden onset daily migraines and headaches for a YEAR with no relief from doctors (they just wanted to push low dose antidepressants, which I refuse to take) I tried cannabis. Strains are REALLY important for me, and yes I do need THC. I haven’t had too much luck from isolated CBD, but maybe getting full flower would be the way to go. The good news is that I’ve reduced my migraines and headaches from every day to…maybe a few times a month. I don’t have to use rescue medication very often anymore, and as long as I use cannabis a few times a week, I can live normally! It’s given me my life back. As a bonus, it helps me sleep, which I think aids in helping the headaches. I think it’s been amazing for me, and while I’m trying to find my way back to Primal living it’s helped me be relatively pain free. Vaping helps keep my lungs from hurting. Edibles are very strong for me, so I don’t need much. Overall, I find it better than alcohol if I were looking to just chill (and I gave up alcohol completely after the headaches began – and I was not a drinker before that either). But mainly, it’s helped me not live in horrific pain. Is it a cure all? No…but it’s been amazing for me.

    1. To clarify, Mark’s “whole plant,” is not “whole flower.” The former includes the leaves, aka “shake” in the parlance.

  34. I was in Law Enforcement for almost 30 years. Although I am just South of 60 I have the spine of a 90 year old man, fuse spine etc. I was prescribed various opiates and nerve pain drugs while working. Having seen the ravaging of our community by prescription opiates I started using medical cannabis since retiring. For me the Indica strains work best for pain and sleep. In essence more or a body and less of a head high than Sativa. As mentioned in this article edibles work differently. In short they provide a more intense longer lasting effect. The downside is the effects carry over to the next day. I won’t get on my motorcycle if I medicate the night before.

    It is important to learn about the various strains of cannabis. All weed is not created equal. Example…..if you are anxious you don’t want a head high Sativa. You might freak out. Check out Leafly.com for some good info.

    Last thing, there are a lot of stereotypes about cannabis users…..see Cheech and Ching and Jeff Spicoli. In reality I know many high producing six figure types who use weed for medication or to replace their gin martini after a hard day. In my humble opinion part of the perpetuation of these stereotypes is a result of Big Pharma and the liquor industry trying to preserve their market share.

    1. Best pain killer I’ve ever tried. 51 years old doing construction for a living. Smoke in the evening and the body aches just dissappear. No anxiety, sleep like a baby. I prefer the sativa strains, but do the indica strains on occasion. It replaces alcohol consumption very nicely. I hope they take it off the class 1 narcotic classification. I would classify it as an herbal medicine. It shouldn’t be off limits to people that need or want it, just to protect the cotton industry.

  35. Finally, some serious thought to the plight of the Primal Pot Smoker. It’s a sizable class of people. I am one of them and I can tell you 1st hand that everything found in this outstanding article to be accurate. Smoking is best. Edibles, not for me. YMMV, but it is definitely worth trying.

  36. On the downside, people need to keep in mind that this herb is still illegal at the US federal level. One way people get bit on this is ATF Form 4473 question 11e (and the October 2016 revision of that form makes the issue quite clear). Merely having had a med mary card issued in your name can suffice to disqualify you.

    I have no idea what the implications are for security clearance screening or various careers that require background/character checks, but people need to do their homework.

    Still illegal in many states too, who are leveraging that for revenue generation where they border a legalized state.

    Until this nonsense gets dealt with nationally, be careful out there. Hemp would make a great crop to plant in Kansas, but it’s stupidly illegal (except during World Wars, when we need it for rope).

    1. Bob, I think every adult in the USA is well aware of this matter. As I pointed out in my first post, in CO I was a recreational user, I drive home to Texas and I am a possession with intent to distribute felon.

      Eric Holder did the smart thing and narrowed the list of marijuana concerns to eight, as I recall. Things like making sure organized crime doesn’t get inserted in the states where legal, keeping it aware from children, all things no one could disagree on. Personal us? Not on the DOJ list.

      A true “conservative” position on this would be leave it up to the states. Embrace the Holder Doctrine. You know, what Trump wants to do with abortion. But my experience and observations are quite a few, that when counties or local governments want to do something where some business feels is reducing their profits, they head straight to the state capital and get local control overturned.

      If the new administration starts to re-enforcing the federal pot laws, there will be some kind of serious rebellion happening. When a third of adult Americans smoke recreationally – and this is before CA and the new states come on line – and almost thirds believe that recreational use is OK, and 80% believe medical use is OK there’s a fight brewing.

      To say nothing of the jobs, the tax revenues, and pot tourism.

  37. Tried it in high school, many times. Didn’t like it. I had more trouble staying awake than falling asleep anyway, so it seemed like a redundant drug for me. And my then-boyfriend spent way too much money on it. That being said, I think it has been just stupid to criminalize its use. Alcohol, for many reasons, seems like a much more dangerous drug.
    My father died of lung/kidney cancer. During chemo, he had trouble keeping food down, especially nutritious things that could have kept his strength up to fight the cancer. We tried to get him to try pot to quell his nausea, but he’d been too influenced by the Reefer Madness of the 50s and refused. I have always wondered if some pot brownies could have helped him fight off the cancer.
    Will I try it again now that it’s legal in CA? Probably. I am more intrigued in growing a plant in my backyard garden, more because growing things is what I do. But if and when I do try it, it will be by smoking it. I have no interest in edibles, and I think all these edible pot vehicles are just another form of junk food!

  38. Thanks for your discussion about cannabis. We need better studies, that’s for sure. It is hard to sort out truth from fiction since there haven’t been enough studies, and there are extreme opinions out there. Just today I saw another article about pot not helping sleep.

    I do take a quarter to half a teaspoon of a marijuana coconut oil before bed sometimes and it has helped. I have to time it right or else I will experience hunger pangs before bed. It really has helped, but I have experienced a reduction in dreams, so I don’t like to get in a rut about it. I take the oil because I have asthma and I don’t want to smoke. Plus I figure the oil curtails any potential to take too much as eating coconut oil straight is not particularly pleasant or ritualistic the way smoking is.

    There are people out there who say smoking pot can help asthma. But anything that makes me cough is not a good thing for me. .. In the early 1900’s tobacco was considered a treatment for asthma. Now we all know that doesn’t work. I am also not crazy about the dry mouth which can lead to dental problems. I get annoyed that studies don’t always take into account even basic differences in strains, (sativa vs. indica). In my experience indica is better for sleep, and is less likely to cause anxiety.

  39. I’m a veteran and I use medical cannibis to self-treat both social anxiety and chronic insomnia. Tried a lot of different strains of THC and CBD, and I enjoy both edibles and vaporizing. Results for me have been life-changing, and I lost 50 pounds over the last few years by combining cannibis with Paleo.

    NOTE: I sought professional treatment for my sleep and anxiety issues for years, most doctors prescribed drugs, like Zoloft, which essentially turned me into a constipated zombie. Drug companies are strongly anti-cannibis, so be wary of what you read.

    1. “Drug companies are strongly anti-cannibis, so be wary of what you read.” The American public hardly factors this into the legality equation. If the new administration decides to return to the old days and ways, it will be because Big Pharma is behind it. The money needed to clamp down on the new tolerance via K street will not be coming from some anti-drug nonprofit……….although they will make it look that way. Like the astroturf anti-tax organizations.

      Just in June Big Pharma convinced Visa and Mastercard to no longer process payments from the online pharmacies. They are the only business involved – actually, not involved – that could gain from such a prohibition. Certainly the card companies only made money.

      There are six Pharma lobbyists for every member of congress. And you think you have a voice? Ha!

  40. I was a light recreational user in social situations in high school and early 20’s. Jump in time to around 40. I had been hearing how potent the stuff on the market was compared to that of my youth. I had a friend who smoked so I decided to take a couple hits. My conscious explore and I began rocking back and forth. Puked and went to bed. I tried it again a short time later with the same results. The stuff I smoked in high school was baby food compared to the stuff on the market ten or so years ago.

    1. Spell check alert:. That should read “My consciousness exploded.”

  41. After using marijuana, LSD, magic mushroom, etc. in my youth, I find the legalization of recreational marijuana a tragedy. Why can’t people enjoy life without toxic substances? Traffic deaths in Washington state are up due to marijuana use. Do you want to be in a medical situation where the doctor or nurse is a little high? How about someone who works on your car brakes? What about someone on a production line, or a lawyer representing you? Very sad and destructive for our society.

    1. “Toxic” is a relative term. What is “toxic” because the federal government says so, is actually beneficial to a great many people who would otherwise be living with very painful conditions. Governments are not right just because they are governments. This site is a main advocate of scrutinizing everyone, and definitely popular opinion, or CW.

      While I do not advocate for intoxicated driving of any kind, I’ve seen some of the statistics pushed forward in regards to Washington. After looking at the sources, many even admit they do not know what driver was even at fault. More to the point, they can claim someone was impaired simply by having certain levels in their bloodstream…even if they chose to partake in cannabis a week ago. It doesn’t necessarily make them impaired, as it is different than alcohol. The numbers are skewed to play into the cannabis fear. I say that more work needs to be done, but cannabis IMO is overall far less detrimental than alcohol, which is perfectly legal. Does that mean I should be able to mandate prohibition? Heck no. A few bad apples should not be dictating what is right for everyone. As far as other people in other professions – well, I’ve personally seen “stoners” who are very successful and good at their jobs. And many standardized industries have randomized drug screenings. I’m not as worried about this and feel it is fear mongering.

      I would also note that the Colorado economy has been highly invigorated (pun intended) since legalization.

      I see more good than bad here currently, and more to the point I don’t think we should ever be legislating people’s bodies. To each their own.

    2. DUI’s are down in CO. How can you link traffic deaths up in WA to pot? I know that the police at all levels in CO are still trying to come to terms with how can there be an objective measure of impairment? We all know that the THC will hang around for up to a month (fact, I did testing on myself once to clear for a job) while the alleged impairment is for a few hours. If someone thinks they are causully linking deaths in WA, they are smoking something. Or, should be.

      For instance, an improving economy results in more traffic deaths. More people on the road. “Proximity in time does not equal causation.” Words to live by.

      Gary, no one is asking you to smoke it, and I doubt if the potential scenes you describe are common, if at all. Unless incredibly stoned, which would be observed almost immediately by others in a critical work environment, most experienced smokers can concentrate of focus when needed. Unlike alcohol.

    3. “Traffic deaths in Washington state are up due to marijuana use.”

      Can you site a source for this claim?

  42. “CBD gets in the way and blunts some of the effects”

    Pun intended?? =D

  43. I no longer partake, but back then I always enjoyed a toke before a mountain bike race, a surf contest, snowboard session or a long hike. It certainly didn’t hurt performance.

  44. I’m a light, very occasional user. I use it in the evening when I’m very stressed out, using a high quality vape and high-CBD whole plant. The effect on me is mild but noticeable.

    One interesting observation is that when I was eating the SAD, cannabis would give me the munchies. And then after I went Primal and became a fat-burning machine and lost 30 lbs, it no longer gives me the munchies.

  45. Started at 15 when I discovered it and realized it resolved my lifelong sleep issues. Sadly, I get addicted to anything very easily so it soon turned out to be more of an issue than a helper in my personal case. Fast forward a bit and I ended up as a chronic user finding any reason under the sun to smoke up because it was an “enhancer” and supposedly made everything I lived more enjoyable. This brought me a whole lot of issues in my relationships and my finances, something I still am recovering from. This lasted for over 22 years and I am now in the process of taking control of the thing.

    From personal experience using it as a sleep aid I can sure agree that it helps with sleep but still distorts the natural process, it kills your dreaming allright. I used to love that : fall asleep, blackout, wake up decently refreshed but since I have stopped thanks to the adoption of Primal habits to help with my melatonin combined with mandatory meditation prior to bed time I fall asleep easily and have an increasing and bettering relationship with my second life : dreams.

    From a medical standpoint I loved to have some around for nausea and bad digestion it’s a miracle in this case, and sometimes headaches (in this case it’s a coin flip : makes it better or worse).

    Addiction can clearly be an issue for some but it’s way less dangerous than most substances out there, including sugar.

    There is indeed a great deal of variation between strains and also cultivation methods, if it’s the case a majority of growers have no clue how to check for trichrome maturity and will just harvest based on a calendar timing, which can result in variations in the effect on top of the strain itself and lead to undesirable effects (early pick tends to induce more paranoia but is often driven by monetary profit).

    Great analysis Mark, open minded and thorough as always!

  46. I’m all for new, better, and heathier ways to live. In the same vein, I’d love to hear more about mushrooms and LSD in treating depression!

    1. There’s this thing called the internet and Google or Bing. 🙂 The NYT just had an article about using a measured amount of psylocibin during a structured setting. One time, and 80% of the sufferers of PTSD were cured. Cured. Not just reduced.

  47. Thank you–a very intelligent and balanced post. I have no doubt that cannabis has remarkable healing properties for various illnesses. I also have no doubt–and yes, this is anecdotal–that it can turn you into a total couch potato, and have seen lots of people who can’t get through the day without getting stoned. I live in an area of California known as the Emerald Triangle, and I can tell you that, legal or not, marijuana is big business. We need to evaluate its value and usefulness carefully and independently, because soon we will be deluged with ads promising us what a lovely life we will have if we only smoke Carly’s Cannabis or Uncle Harry’s Good-Time Hash, or whatever else the marketers will dream up.

  48. Be Careful. A lot of the studies and data has been pushed by the cannabis industry to keep it in a positive light. Many young people have developed throat and stomach cancers. Many people have developed heart problems. Cannabis 30 years ago is not the same cannabis today which is highly toxic and filled with unnatural chemicals. Right now, the marijuana grows in California are being sprayed and monitored with an illegal pesticide from Mexico that’s utlized to kill rats. Unfortunately, it is so incredibly toxic that it can kill a bear and it is transdermal and kills humans. We are finding many dead animals in and around these grows: Deer, rabbits, bear, etc. Media does not cover this information. A big part of the drought in California has to do with waters from the rivers, lakes and streams being diverted to grow. There really are no laws in effect regarding the diversion of water and many of our rivers, streams and lakes are drying up. One marijuana plant requires six gallons of water a day. We do not have the climate for grows. Someone really needs to fight to save the animals and water sources. Conservationists ares saying our wildlife ecosystem, at this rate, will be completely eradicated in 10 years. They need to focus grows for marijuana in naturally tropical regions. In its natural state I have known it to help those afflicted with Tourette’s Syndrome. Someone needs to regulate.

    1. FUD. Lots of unsubstantiated claims. Some are patently absurd, like one plant requires six gallons of water a day? Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt……

  49. Very informative blog post Mark! Thanks for taking the time to write this with the currently changing times of our nations laws and healthcare.

  50. I would like to know if anyone here can comment on the use of edible cannabis by endurance sports athletes and if it has any possitive efect whatsoever

  51. I’m 23 years old and live a healthy life all around. My only issue with alcohol is the binge drinking that we see chronically in our society. Cannabis is a perfect companion (for me) when drinking so that I don’t overdo it and can get by with just a few drinks and a little smoke. It’s a much more pleasant experience with no hangovers and no excess alcohol intake. I totally agree about not smoking (heavily) until you are fully developed. I see issues with people who consume weed too heavily and too young but my friends who started late are totally fine and they love it.

    1. I connect with your comments. im constantly struggling to reduce my alcohol intake and use pot to do that. im a booze hound but dont want to be cause its killing me. unfortunately im from a country wherepot is illegal so i dont have the quality that is available in the US. im a heavy user of low quality pot and have been for 25 years. thankfully im primal which means im healthy and luckily because of the culture here i only boozed hard until i was in my late 20’s before i started on the pot. so i didnt damage my brain development too much. it does initially hurt your brain then there is no further deterioration.

  52. I quit almost as soon as I started, back in Jr. High; one hit and thirty minutes later I’m throwing up. Tried again in ’99, same thing. Don’t know why, don’t care, can’t be bothered, don’t ‘need’ to get high. Paleo is enough for me.

  53. Like Mark says, the effects depend on the individual. I started smoking at 14 with good effects but by 17 the effects were bad and that was it for me.

  54. What about raw cannabis and its non psychoactive health benefits? #drwilliamcourtney #cannabisinternational.org

  55. Gorgeous balanced article. Want to toss in major disease control and cures written about using RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) are on the pro side of the coin. Mr. Simpson would be the first to say the idea generated with a UVA study one in the 1970s.

    Perhaps an article from Mr. Sisson on Kratom will cross our transom one day soon. It is as varied and intricate a plant used for pain, stamina and social ease as marijuana is, maybe more so.

  56. Very interesting read. I was kinda surprised to see it covered here, but now that I think about it, it’s been used for thousands of years, and is very primal.

    I myself don’t smoke it. Tried it several times in high school, and never felt a thing, so I switched to vices that don’t smell like a skunks ass. An occasional scotch or pipe tobacco does nicely.

    Which brings me to a topic I’ve been curious to hear Mark’s thoughts on for a while. He’s covered alcohol, and now weed, but what about tobacco? Obviously smoking a pack or two per day is very very bad for you, but I’d like to know what the research says on an occasional (once a week, or once every few weeks) pipe or cigar. I’ve read on various forums that even regular pipe smokers have significantly lower lung cancer rates than cigarette smokers, and only very slightly higher than people who have never smoked. Another claim is that Japan has a very low lung cancer rate, despite the fact that 80% of their men smoke cigarettes. The reason for this is claimed to be that pipe tobacco and Japanese cigarettes aren’t laden with added chemicals like American cigarettes (for example, the chemicals that lower the burn temperature to prevent house fires). Other reasons given are that you don’t generally inhale pipe tobacco, or that the Japanese diet reduces cancer rates.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any research around this. Technically, smoking is a very primal behavior that’s been around for at least a few thousand years, and we’ve been inhaling campfire smoke for nearly a million, so it would make sense that we can handle occasional smoke, so long as there aren’t chemical additives. But then conventional wisdom (if that applies here) says that even a puff is bad.


    1. Bit of trivia to add (except it’s about tobacco): Old-timey firefighters, who used to smoke ciggies like … er… a house afire, turned out to actually be PROTECTING themselves from the house-afire smoke inhalation! When the “all firefighters must stop smoking so the state/city doersn’t have to pay for cig-caused cancers” thing (not unreasonably) showed up, the metaphorical “they” found that lots of the firefighters who quit smoking or hadn’t smoked died of cytokine storms — apparently the heavy smoke in fires was less damaging to a smoker whose lungs were already ‘practiced’ at dealing with heavy smoke.

      Interesting, eh? The dose makes the poison?

  57. Mark, if you use regularly enough and then cease use, there are indeed withdrawal symptoms. The most common being insomnia, headaches, irritability, and GI distress. I experience these every time I take a break!

    Cannabis keeps my stress and anxiety low, and as far as I know that’s helping my health.

  58. About 5 months ago, I started using external CBD rub for arthritis. It clearly seems to have helped. That is subjective but almost immediately all of my senses were heightened. Before, I could barely hear the turn signal clicking in my car, even with the engine off and windows rolled up. After starting CBD, the clicks are loud and clear with the engine on and some outside noise. My eyesight also improved dramatically. I can read small labels without glasses. Before, acupuncture needles did not hurt, which typically they don’t. Since starting CBD, they definitely hurt. Before, I had some neuropathy (although acupuncture had helped that.) With CBD, my skin is very sensitive to touch all over. People have commented that my skin looks healthier. I dab a bit of the ointment under my eyes. The bags and wrinkles are disappearing. I do eat a TINY bit of dark (of course) chocolate with THC before bed and sleep very soundly and restfully. All of these changes occurred without me changing anything else in my life.

    1. By the way, all the stuff I use is supposedly organic.Legalization is the to make sure the cannabis we use is safe and of a standardized potency.
      By the way, AT LEAST 10 or 11 of our presidents have smoked pot.
      Cannabis is illegal because Big Pharma knows their profits will plummet if it is legalized.

    2. The vision improvement jibes with some recent research on THC improving night vision considerably.

      1. Well, yeah. If your pupils enlarge, more light is getting in.

  59. i started smoking pot regularly a few months ago. I have had poor sleep for years, mostly due to racing thoughts at 2 or 3 am causing me to be wide away after a few hours of sleep. I could never handle pot socially (it just made me laugh hysterically and then go to sleep) but I love it before bed a few nights a week. I leave a bowl packed in my little pipe in the bathroom so if I wake up at 3am to pee and feel very awake, I just have a little toke and go back to sleep. I love it and don’t think it affects my dreams, but I do sometimes get the munchies if I smoke and don’t go straight to sleep.

    1. Waking at 3 a.m. is very often an adrenal fatigue symptom. (Ask me how I know {eye roll}.) Supporting and/or treating your adrenals removes that ‘shot of adrenaline’ they put out (right around 3… {sigh}), so you can stay asleep.

      And the effects OF adrenaline often include, racing mind, ‘wide awake’ (to deal with non-existent threat) state, and (to just throw a few more symptoms in for consideration: painful feet on awakening and/or hyper-sensitivity to light and noise. (I used to tell my husband to treat me when I got up in the morning as if I were hung-over until I got my coffee — ah coffee, which WHACKS the adrenals and makes them (struggle to) perform!)

      Once I treated my poor adrenals (along with treating my thyroid, but often thyroid treatments don’t ‘take’ if your adrenals are shot) using physiological doses (teeny), NOT treatment doses (“moonface”) of hydocortisone (this was AFTER trying all the OTC possibilities; I was a WRECK!), my results were amazing. I sleep all night; no foot pain, (no neck pain or back pain) on awakening, I can deal with noise and light in the mornings before coffee; I can even go out in the sun without very dark sunglasses….

      (Check “Stop the Thyroid Madness,” Janie Bowthorpe’s site, for info on adrenals… and thyroid! Read the thyroid book Mark’s co. published. Stop thinking it’s normal to wake bolt up in the middle of the night! Good luck!)

  60. I could write a book about weed. Smoked for 15+ years (started in high school, heavy daily user) and finally quit about 6 years ago. Best thing (and hardest thing) I ever did.

    I know it sounds a little hypocritical coming from a former ‘pothead’, but weed has a huge potential to screw your life. It does that in a discrete, almost imperceptible manner. I’d say, steer clear of the stuff, unless you’re above 30 and already very successful in all regards. If you’re below 20, avoid it. All my pothead friends from high school that didn’t quit are, without exception, frustrated and unhappy adults, having failed to realize their full potential.

    If you decide to smoke well into maturity (40+, 50+ y.o.), that’s another issue.

    However, I don’t think it should be illegal and I don’t think parents should go into a frenzy about their kids trying weed.

  61. Since 2012 I’ve used cannabis to manage a seizure disorder. Preferentially, I chose to inhale it using a vaporizer or by edibles. There is a body of emerging science that indicates people who suffer from several forms of seizures can benefit from cannabis use. I know I have (seizure free since 2012).

  62. Mark, thank you very much for this very informative article. Based on it, and the very valuable comments, I now know (unfortunately) that marijuana is most likely not going to help my back pain; but, I know which strain to use for sleep issues.

    I smoked occasionally in my 20’s & 30’s, during the 60’s & 70’s. I enjoyed the high, but hated the smoking. Then one 4th of July, I had MJ laced cookies. I went for a run; it was the best run I ever had. That evening watching the PBS celebration of the 4th, I found myself marching around the living room when the Boston Pops played some Sousa marches. I had so much fun, all by myself that night. In general, it loosened my inhibitions. I was, and still am, a very self contained person. After smoking, I would say funny things, which surprised my friends, and made it even funnier. It also greatly enhanced sex.

    Now I am a 71 yo women, with diabetic neuropathy, sleep issues and chronic back pain. I live in FL, which just passed a medical marijuana amendment. Now, the actual laws regulating this have to be written. When the law is in place and shops open up I definitely want to try it again. I will use edibles, and probably only take it at night. If one of my doctors won’t give me a script, I’ll be looking for a new doctor.

  63. I usually use sativa in the volcano vaporizer which I always find gives me a nice buzz but I have to be doing something active or stimulating otherwise I tend to sometimes get shortness of breath or pressure in the head but if I focus and meditate on the pressure it centres right in the middle of my forehead. Then I feel charged mentally and my focus erupts and I have to read a book, go to the gym, box anything until that charge settles. I’m in Australia and it’s going to be so much better when it eventually is legalized and I don’t have to buy from a dealer that doesn’t know the strains! Lol but still good shit for me here but I can’t imagine what feels and energy you get from actual dispensarys! Free the weed! ? ? ?

  64. A draw or two of pure indica from a vaporizer about 30 minutes before bed has been my routine for about the last four years. It’s worked wonders for sleep and anxiety issues.

  65. I’ve been eating cannabis, everyday for 8 years and eating 100% paleo for 5+ years to put MS into remission. As soon as I started eating cannabis everyday, I was able to put MS into remission. Without adopting a cannabis and a paleo eating lifestyle, I’d be bind and in a wheelchair. Instead, I have no symptoms and no loss of function. I now am a cannabis coach and educate others. Prior to that, I lost my eyesight and had mobility issues. Cannabis and a paleo eating lifestyle are the only forms of medicine, I have ever used to correct a “Leaky Gut” which is the root cause of the autoimmune disease. I have never taken any pharmaceuticals.

    1. Rebecca, do you do any consulting by phone or over the web? I’m in Michigan, and I have several chronic ailments. Celiac, near daily migraines, severe fibromyalgia, and others. I’ve been strongly considering getting my medical mj card. Thanks.

  66. I love edibles…. eat about 15mg of Sativa & go play tennis – great! Go hiking, great! Go paddle boarding – Great! Go to work (executive, but don’t tell), Great.. Sleep is good.. no hangovers – best shape of my life…(i think) – did i mention no hangovers… 🙂

  67. The Israeli’s have been heavy into researching the treatment of cancer patients for the disease with cannabis rather than its effects on symptom treatment which is what has been well documented. The results are thus far promising.

  68. Dangerous on the road, in the work place, or while children need supervising.

  69. Looks like I am the only Grokette who has never used the stuff. Seriously, you worry about eating grass fed tip-to-tail, move a lot at a slow pace, agonize over whether this-or-that is Primal, and then you smoke marijuana? Hmm, maybe sucking hot any-kind-of-smoke down your precious lungs that were meant to breathe only clean air is not such a smart idea, and if it alters your mental state, maybe that’s not so good either. Pretty sure Grok needed a clear mental state to keep away from the saber tooth tigers. I think you’re all nuts (but not peanuts, of course, since they’re legumes.)

  70. You didn’t mention anything about its effects on sperm production. I understand this is quite well documented. I have several friends who couldn’t have kids until they quit smoking dope. Then they only had girls, no boys. If it interferes with sperm production then it is an endocrine disruptor. There is quite a lot of medical research going on now about endocrine disruptors. My take is, anything that disrupts your endocrine system is something to stay away from.

  71. I have smoked/eaten cannabis somewhat regularly for 20 years now (currently 34y old) and I have to say I believe it has helped me with new perspectives, increased humility and flexibility of thought. There’s definitely a need for anxiety and thought management at times, and I think this has aided my meditation practice as well.
    These days I treat it as a plant medicine, almost as a sacrament, for use every 10 days or so. To reflect, scan mind and body for stress points, deep relaxation. Plus there’s also the great laughs you can have in company of good friends =)

  72. “THC targets the CB1 receptor, CBD gets in the way and BLUNTS some of the effects.”

    Was that pun intended or not?

  73. Mmj card holder here in Michigan. I used recreationally as a youngin,but now it’s medical and has helped tremendously. I have fibro, arthritis, chronic sciatica, neuropathy, which all this b.s. causes stress and anxiety. Now, just one medicine helps with All these ailments with the benefit of no side effects except a smile. Free the leaf !!

  74. I work with a certified referring doctor in NYS where it is legal and we see amazing results. Patients have successfully gotten off opiods. California is ahead of the game because you can use cannabis as chemotherapy. It does kill cancer cells and addresses a wide range of autoimmune conditions as well as neurological conditions.

  75. I think there’s a legitimate need for medical MJ, although it will certainly be abused. Less sure about legalization overall though…

    Reading all the pleasant stories in the comments about how much it helps people, how harmless it is, etc leaves me unimpressed. People reading this blog are either health-overachievers, or trying to be a health-overachiever. Yes, it is a ‘normal’ and ‘healthy’ state we are shooting for here, but we’re a small segment of society. It’s a pity but most people probably spend less than 10 minutes a week thinking about and working towards their health.

    So we don’t read the stories of a population more representative of the world we all live in.

  76. I have been wondering for awhile when someone in the Primal community was going to address marijuana usage…and I’m very glad it was you, Mark because you took quite an unbiased and scientific approach to highlight both the pros and cons of it. I live in Colorado and have been a medical marijuana patient for about 5 years now, using it to help with shoulder, hip and back pain from an accident 10 years ago. I have also been mostly Paleo for about 3 years. It has really helped me get to a point where I could exercise and strengthen my muscles while also helping with pain management without taking over the counter painkillers which seriously wreck my gut (duh). I have seen many positives through the legalization of it, and as you mentioned, people in all walks of life enjoy it.

    I think it’s sort of the same with anything that we talk about in the primal community, you have to make sure that you are using it in a positive way and not to supplement issues that you may have. Same with alcohol and even sugar! It definitely has benefits and everyone I know who uses weed is in their late 20’s working in successful careers, homeowners and have great relationships.

    I have also seen the benefits of helping medical conditions, aiding in chemo recovery, MS, seizures, etc. I can’t say that I enjoy the influx of people who moved to Colorado because of it, but it can be seriously life changing for medical conditions.

    I agree that marijuana can be a safe and great addition to a primal lifestyle and as you said can aid in drinking less which is all around better for health. I say, pass the marijuana!

    Thank you for this article. 🙂

  77. The biggest downside to cannabis is it’s most often typically smoked. It’s only common sense to believe in some parts of the world (particularly Asia) grok most likely had minimal access to cannabis, however he probably ate it, and if he ate it fresh right off the plant not allowing it time to dry he also avoided the psychotropic effects while purely reaping the anti-inflammatory properties. Suffice to say, smoking it is a fairly new practice to us. Most traditional cultures that’s used cannabis most often consumed it in the form of tea. I encourage people who might be interested in using cannabis to look up Dr. Courtney’s views on it. He believes in growing the plant and using the leaves and buds in their fresh state in homemade juices or smoothies.

    This avoids any psychotropic effects while getting the most benefits out of your bud. This is due to consuming the acid forms of the cannabinoids. Of course he recommends juicing a bunch of fruits to cover up the flavor, but you can most definitely primalize (don’t think that’s a word, lol) a cannabis smoothie. I usually can cover up the ratchet taste with just 1 cup of wild blueberries, 3 tbsp. of almond butter, 1 egg yolk, and 2 tetra pack of aroy d coconut milk. Plus, I ultimately believe this way is better then juicing a bunch of fruits because cannabinoids bind to fat not sugar, better absorption!

  78. I have came to Canabus later in life in grad school and i have found it to be a benifit in life with a few set ups to avoid problems. the “munchies” that can happen befor i was primal I found i if i stocked up on furits and veggies and kept the junk food out of the house I did better and as a primal eater i keep more whole foods around and not the quick snack foods I am much better off. m focus is more persise. but i know from experance i need to study and learn a topic first the when revisiting I could smoke and the focus would come in and allow me to place it in more long term memory.

  79. This is a very interesting article. I live in Texas and it is not yet legalized, even for medical reasons. To answer your question, I find that cannabis brings a sense of calmness to my mind as my brain tends to be on constant overload. I do not use it until the evening time, where in my past (high school/college) it was more for recreational use. I now use it simply to slow my brain down, even if just for a few seconds, and sometimes find that I come up with creative ideas under the usage of cannabis. I’m curious to read through others responses to learn what they think. I’m still confused on if it is helping or hurting my health. I’ve recently had the mindset that I would like to cut back, and be free of all prescription medication and cannabis. My focus is on the prescription medication right now. Cannabis does help me sleep. I have been using for 20 years. I do not consume much alcohol, what so ever, and I do appreciate using the cannabis over alcohol as I believe alcohol does an extreme amount of damage both physically and emotionally.

  80. I don’t see how smoking anything can be considered primal. Were peace pipes passed around by ancient tribes? Sure; but is that really paleolithic? I could see Grok sucking up smoke from a campfire, but I don’t see him rolling up leaves, igniting them, and sucking on them. Does’t seem particularly unprocessed.

  81. Mark, Come on. I can’t believe you didn’t mention the Munchies once in this article.

  82. I used to smoke a bit in my younger days just for a laugh at a party, much better than alcohol when you wake up the next day … But overall I’d say give the wacky weed a miss if you aren’t after it for some medical reason, it can mess with your brain.

  83. After reading your article, I know more about cannabis now. Thanks for your useful information!

  84. This must be the best well rounded, well balanced resume regarding cannabis, with in it everything that one should know when delving in this (though also the topic of terpenes is very interesting and relevant, and vaporizers).

    I NEEDED this post 2 years ago.. no other sources did i see mentioning that psychosis can definitely result from cannabis consumption (at the time i researched the topic psychosis-ly heavily). Were I myself to make a blogpost about cannabis, it would be exactly the same as this one.

    I can attest to all of whats being mentioned in this post. I came into full blown psychosis when i started to consume cannabis (in my head i was healing myself.. It does miracles but not those i had in mind). And i remember during that time taking cbd oil resulted in much clarity and antipsychoticness(thinking about it afterwards).

    Psychosis in its core is not caused by cannabis, it can bring in to the forefront.
    The core of it it, like almost always.. broken immune system. Specifically the endorphin system, and more specifically the dynorphins and the dynorphinreceptors. In order to get psychosis the dynorphin system (Entangled with the endorphin system) must be out of whack and severly strained. There’s a whole lot of factors dealing with this. But 2 main ones are cannabis (it relies in part on utilising dynorphin), and caseinomorhpins/gluteomorphins destroying endorphin system (especially if the dpp-iv enzyme is lacking, it has over 70 functions!)

    The group that is far more likely to get into psychosis as a result of cannabis consumption are the autistics (i have light asd), yes all to do with the immune system (of which i recently learned the endorphin system plays a huuuuge part, it affects so many things directly and indirectly)

    Everyone with autism (or anything) don’t take ciprofloxacine (or antibiotics in general), my psychosis started emerging from that point on (cipro has fluoroquinoline or something like that in it, destroys the gaba receptors)

    (For those that read my comment on “what do you expect from mda 2017” on the flat earth: do not think that my psychosis makes me and my message lose all credibility, its quite the opposite actually.. A brain now trained in having though stuff 3times opposite, taking all kinds of red pills)

    1. Oh and how did i forget, stress is what drains and strains the dynorphin system (as well endorphin system).
      Stress stress stress, story of my life

  85. I’m curios if the edibles extract all the cbd and what is lost in the process. I absolutely notice the difference in effects from those unfortunately so convenient vape pen concentrates and isolated thc. Beyond that I can even tell the difference from isolations that include both thc/cbd and pure grown perhaps because there are so many undiscovered or misunderstood cannabinoids beyond those two.

    I’ve gone back to an occasional vapor with the whole plant from a great source that grows it in an old fashioned way with reasonable thc. I still feel that it effects my lungs and am wondering if people have knowledge on how using water cooling helps with that.

    Otherwise I am trying to see if I can try my hand in creating edibles which is a struggle to understand the measurements and effects for me thus far as a beginner

  86. I dunno about the gluten-free pot brownie but a paleo coconut butter + cacao + nuts + cannabis truffle surely has to be commercial winner.

  87. Two things I found needed clarification. There is currently no concrete evidence that cannabis use increases the probability of other neural problems in people who smoke for long periods of time. It’s just as likely that they HAD these problems and were self medicating. The other is that if you have an educated supply source (as they do in Washington and Oregon and Colorado) you are less likely to get a strain that causes anxiety or panic attacks. As it becomes more available and is researched properly these kinds of problems should disappear. There are also ways to “come down” that I’ve found. Vitamin B and C helps (including lemonade or eating oranges) and eating protein helps. So when you get the munchies, go have a burger, skip the bun, and for heaven’s sake, keep away from junk food. Sugar will have the opposite effect and make you MORE jittery.

  88. I don’t partake, but edibles made from the leaves and stems has really helped my Dad with Parkinsons. Thanks for writing!

  89. I really love this. I do actually prefer edibles. I infuse organic coconut oil to make gluten free and (mostly) dairy free recipes. There are a lot of great resources for calculating potency of your recipes to properly toggle dosages so that you don’t get overwhelmed. So glad that you tackled this topic!

  90. As a healthy edible manufacturer in Colorado, I thoroughly appreciated your article. It is comprehensive and true. Our slogan for edibles is to Start Low and Go Slow. It should be an awesome experience from beginning to end. Read labels and consume with a trusted friend. Also note, that my company has several products that would be “primal” approved. High fat, and protein, with no Gluten or processed sugars…..Look us up if you are ever in Colorado. (Julie’s Natural Edibles)

  91. I smoked a lot in my teens. Initially, I enjoyed its ability to be a creative agent of sorts, inspiring philosophical and imaginative conversations with me and my friends. After a year of of smoking 3-10 times a week I no longer got that creative spark; instead the effects made me sleepy and had me wanting sit on the couch and eat junk food mindlessly. So I ended up using other drugs that I would never recommend anyone to try.

    While I still don’t care for the sensation of being high, every now and then I do crave it, after dinner, to help wind down from a stressful day. I used to remedy this with alcohol, but because alcoholism runs in the family, and I have a past of heavily abusing it myself, I just need to stay away from it. I think that, for some people, marijuana can be helpful for recreational use, and it doesn’t seem particularly un-primal to me

    1. Smoking is so dangerous no matter what you are inhaling. Smoking causes several lung issues and other health problems. Tobacco smoking is harmful and increases your chances of developing lung cancer by 80-90%. Instead of tobacco-based products, vaping CBD gives you the feeling of smoking without the harm. It does not give you any side effects. CBD vaporizers is an excellent way to avoid a problem like developing cancer or any other lungs problem.

  92. “that pot brownie better be gluten-free or you’re excommunicated” – ha! Thanks for bringing some science into this discussion. Very eye opening! But the real question is, in comparison to drinking, what’s better for your health? A Friday night beer or a joint?

  93. This. Thanks for posting this so we can begin to have the discussion and perhaps, change the narrative.

  94. Thank you for such a balanced discussion Mark! I’ve been making edibles through my brand Jambo Superfoods for 3 years, what started me on the path was the INCREDIBLE connection cannabis gave me to my body when doing yoga, slow weight training or even trail running. Cannabis took the “blarg” out of working out for me and I found that not only did I actually get out and do the work out, but I started to understand the very mechanics of my body and the positive feedback loops that were being generated by moving my body in ways it was designed to do. I understood my “animal” body in ways I never did before.

    Cannabis changed my entire view of being a human in profoundly positive and healthy ways.

    Of course, like with anything we have to make good choices. I could not find edibles (my preferred method of ingestion) that were healthy or consistent (as you mentioned you have to be more scientific with edibles because they are very effective on the human body) So I started my company to serve the paleo / fitness / biohacker cannabis crowd… and let me tell you there are A LOT of us, doing really awesome things, running HUGE companies, traveling the world, and going paddle boarding. It’s all about your set and setting and motivation…

    Cannabis is after all an herb, it has no attachment to outcomes or benevolent or malevolent intentions, we can use it as a tool for profound healing and growth or we can use it as an escape. That is not the plant’s choice it is our choice.

  95. I’ve heard it can effect fertility… Just something else to be aware of…

  96. Informative article but a majority of the focus was on marijuana and THC with a brief mention of CBD. Products with a low THC to CBD ratio will not get you high but you will reap the benefits of a neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and for many seizure control. Not all products are created equally so do your homework and look for products made in a pharmaceutical grade lab that can substantiate the ratio and quantity of THC and CBD.

    Remember CBD is considered a Scheduie 1 (same as heroin) so if you travel to a state or country where it is illegal and you are in possession of the product you can be arrested. And if you are a government worker or work where marijuana use is not allowed you will test positive, even on low THC products.

  97. Information is increasing daily, and commonly held beliefs surrounding cannabis are being altered in equal measure. Bad for animals, for example, not true. We give cannabis tincture to our aging dogs which has helped them with arthritic conditions. We have many patients that swear by the cannabis extracts in helping them cope with cancer and treatment symptoms, helps them sleep, eliminate ITB symptoms, and the list goes on. My 90 year old grandmother’s cataracts are held at bay as long as she consistently consumes her edibles. Her specialist says “I can’t tell you to take cannabis (what a shame!), but whatever you are doing, don’t stop!” Please always consider the sources of cannabis studies, many of which are performed by organizations which deal with drug addiction, not discovering potential benefits of ‘drug’ use.

    By the way, I am a successful business owner and employer. When you see (our new Attorney General) Jeff Sessions, tell him that I’m a good person, and I use marijuana.

    Keep up the great work!

  98. I am somewhat pressed for time. I have to run errands and attempt to use my time well for the next day and a bit. I accidentally missed an appointment that I was “legally” ordered (though not in any way obligated) to attend [aside: what gives any organizations the right to make demands of me just because I live on part of the planet that they claim is theirs?] and instead of disclosing my location or tricking me into an ambush my personally designated bureaucratic official with some magisterial authority decided to leave my course of action up to me and accepted my promise that I had some things to do and then I would, earlier than my convenience, go and have my day again in the case of Ontario Vs. yours truly.
    Anyway I could say a lot about the topic of this post. I already have in the past under other posts. I may add more here later. For now, as I sit getting warm and continuing nursing the carbonated part of a synergistic buzz (cannabis, fermented drinks, coffee) in a library I just plan on writing some basics about my experience with cannabis.
    I tried it for the first time when I was fourteen years old. My two closest friends, who had been smoking some for a while, got me to try it. Back then it was just an occasional indulgence when my friends offered, basically a blue moon weekend sort of activity, and I think I even went over 10 months without out. Part of the reason is because my friends’ parents caught them and were wary but even when I got the opportunity to partake I declined because I was determined to keep my lungs clean for football, which I was basically just beginning to play – only flag and recess tackle etc. before that – and was taking somewhat seriously.. To be honest I really liked charging people at high speeds like a rabid maniac, I made efforts to follow the rules, and, winning was a secondary consideration.
    To be continued. I have to take a quick break and, among other tasks, pour more amber (while really yellowy) fermented liquid bread into an apple juice jug. It’s reasonably inconspicuous.

  99. I needed to take a quick break from the computer while sketching out the basics of my historical cannabis use.
    My previous comment is awaiting moderation and since I logged out of this library computer and then logged in again the cookies etc. have been wiped to recycling domains. I will continue from memory.
    dude… where’d I lock up my bike?
    Well, I’m 26 now and have been using (mostly smoking) cannabis starting almost half my life ago. When I was sixteen years old one of the friends who introduced me to Mary Jane started smoking it “all the time” and got me high on school lunch break and then I quickly assimilated weed into my repertoire and was soon buying my own via money that was respectfully allocated from my after school job. Eventually I would get high in the morning, take the bus (in inclement weather) or bike to school, sometimes get high before class, sometimes leave classes and get high, get high at lunch, skip class and get high, get high after school before home or work, at home or work, well you get the idea. Thus my conversion to a stoner was irrevocably readily and hastily completed.
    Still, since then, even recently, I’ve done things I couldn’t or didn’t know I could do before. It’s the winter (and I expect it to get tortuously bitingly colder before I’m done camping in it) but I’ve been living in a little scrap-worthy hurting excuse for a tent with some tarps over it; the whole shabby shelter (I had it set up alright and then lots of weather happened) gets covered with snow very regularly because it’s been snowing aplenty. So do my feet and then foot end of my blankets since the tent is just basically a little claustrophobic burrow. It’s like a nasty, smelly, wormy hole, not like a pleasant Hobbit hole. Anyway I live out in the winter, waking up much too warm for comfort sometimes (hard to breathe from the heat, even, on occasion) due to the insulation of the cold-weather clothing/gear I wear and the good blankets I have. Even stuff around me that is close but not touching my blankets has thawed out or warmed up from the heat that mostly I produced in the tent (I guess friction and several small [preferably Bic lighter] fires close to my face with a homemade bong – plastic bottle and store bought metal bowl – contributed to the warmth). I suppose radiation and convection helped but I think conduction was mostly the how.
    Reminds me of a fact: the tip of the flame or probably, seems to me, right above is the hottest part.

  100. Oh yeah, speaking of things I’ve done lately I couldn’t previously or didn’t know I could do, I’ve been getting around on bicycles for a month and a half or so and lately I’ve been enjoying ripping around through bumpy, slippery, treacherous, snowy sidewalks and such, even at speeds I rarely maintained with such metabolic ease (though with much tenacity required) in “nice” weather prior to the other day.
    And I like to hotbox my tent a lot, smoke weed outside sitting on cold surfaces (even snow) and generally get high most of the time (sometimes I prefer sobriety).. and I’m baked quite so right now.

  101. I am a recovery room nurse in Colorado. And while I am all for the use of marijuana however people choose to use it. Its use makes for a miserable surgery experience. It saturates the opioid receptors and makes it virtually impossible to control perioperative pain with narcotics. We have some luck with benzo’s for assisting with pain. But as most anti inflammatory meds can cause bleeding we don’t use those. So you are just stuck in severe pain due to cannabis. Most people don’t know about this.

  102. I started using cannabis to releave inflammation in my body from autoimmune disease. Along with a primal diet I find that it has really helped me mitigate my pain. I hardly ever smoke it, I primarily vape the whole plant in a vape bubbler. I feel that if your going to use the plant as medicine then smoking it would be counter productive to a healthy lifestyle. For me it’s been a life saver and I know many others that have benefited from this wonderful plant. Use it responsibly and you’ll see benifits.

  103. I’m going to start doing some research into the effects of smoking and HRV using the Primal Beat App. I can see already that smoking does raise my heart rate on average 5 beet per minute higher than average for about 10 minutes. I have not yet noticed any specific effects on HRV scores (I need more time to “research”)

  104. A few points… 1) Dependency..the rate is much higher. The problem with accurately keeping track is because pot stays in your system a long time. You can quit using it for a month and still have it in your body. I had one patient that it took six months to get all the pot out of his body, he showed no withdraw symptoms until the six-month mark. And yes there are withdraws, problem is most do not recognize the withdraw because it doesn’t happen until the pot is out of your body, often months after you quit. 2) If you are having sleeping problems, get evaluated and find out why. Taking any kind of drug without knowing the cause is asking for additional long-term problems. It is not a lack of pot that is keeping you awake, you have some other problem that needs to be addressed. 3) the first 30-60 minutes of using pot raises your heart rate and increases your chance of heart attack. Many pot smokers have died of heart attack, the death certificate will say the cause of death was a heart attack when it was the pot that was the initial cause. 4) pot 40 years ago had maybe 3% THC, today it can be as high as 60% and often laced with other chemicals. All pot today is GMO (Grok would not approve I assume). 5) Every patient I have worked with that has some type of psychosis, has a history of marijuana use. 6) All the valid research shows that pot is the gateway drug to everything else, usually starting around age 14. 7) lastly, there is a lot of bogus research on both ends of the debate, the truth is somewhere in the middle and often comes from research outside the US. Bottom line is that pot can completely destroy your life and your family. Occasional use of less than 3% THC probably isn’t that bad if you are over the age of 30 with no health problems. Just not worth the risk given my years of experience working with drug users…

  105. I tend to view this issue in the same way I look at all human-related questions. That is, within the frame of our evolutionary past.

    Was the average grok smoking a joint? Probably not. Is our genome wanting cannabis in the same way it wants animal products?

    Probably not.

  106. Great writeup… Fair on both the pros and the cons. Anything else we can do to.mktigate any damage particularly thinking of those of us that still enjoy smoking it vs vape or edibles etc?