Is Marijuana Addictive?

Is Marijuana Addictive?
4.61 (92.13%) 61 votes

The evidence clearly indicates that long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction, but are there negative consequences?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“[T]he evidence,” evidently, “clearly indicates that long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction.” “[A]pproximately 9% of those who experiment with marijuana will become addicted,” and that “number goes up to about 1 in 6 among those who start…marijuana as teenagers and to 25 to 50% among those who smoke marijuana daily.”

By addiction, what they’re talking about is like the colloquial definition: “an acquired, chronic, relapsing disorder that is characterized by a powerful motivation to continually engage in an activity despite persistent negative consequences.” You may want to stop, but when you try, you may suffer withdrawal symptoms that make it hard to quit.

This “withdrawal syndrome…affects around 50% of daily users,” and “typically begins 1 to 2 days after [stopping], peaks at 2 to 6 days.” But the “craving[s], sleep[ing] problems, nightmares, anger, irritability, [unease], and nausea” goes away after one or two weeks.

Marijuana now has this “reputation…as being benign, non–habit-forming”—and that may be true “[f]or most users.” Certainly less addictive than many other drugs, like alcohol, only about half the dependence risk compared to heroin or cocaine, less than a third as habit-forming as tobacco, but 9%, “One in 11 users—1 in 6 for those starting in their early teens—is hardly an inconsequential percentage…”—given that about 20 million Americans actively use the stuff.

“However, not all varieties of cannabis” are equally addictive. “[H]igh potency strains have been associated with a greater severity of dependence,” but that’s the stuff people prefer.

This is not your grandmother’s grass. Based on 38,000 samples of marijuana confiscated by the DEA, the potency has tripled in recent years, from 4% THC up to around 12%, with Denver and California now up around 15%, and Seattle pushing 20%. That’s 15 times more powerful than pot from the 70s, so like 15 joints all rolled up into one.

Yeah, but don’t users know this, and “titrate their dose…” accordingly, using “less of the more potent” pot? Yes, but they don’t compensate fully, and so do end up getting higher doses—perhaps reflected in the increase in emergency room visits in Colorado for marijuana intoxication after legalization.

Parallels have been drawn with the tobacco industry intentionally boosting nicotine levels of their products to make them more addictive, but where that analogy breaks down is in the consequences of that addiction. Every year, tobacco kills 25 times more people worldwide than all illicit drugs combined. Alcohol kills about 10 times more, and “cannabis [alone probably] contributes little to [overall] mortality,” at least.

So, one has to consider the outcomes of substance dependence. Caffeine can be addictive, too. But if it gets you to drink more green tea, then great. The consequences of consuming this leaf, as opposed to this leaf, depends on the health consequences, which we’ll cover next.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Get Budding via unsplash. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“[T]he evidence,” evidently, “clearly indicates that long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction.” “[A]pproximately 9% of those who experiment with marijuana will become addicted,” and that “number goes up to about 1 in 6 among those who start…marijuana as teenagers and to 25 to 50% among those who smoke marijuana daily.”

By addiction, what they’re talking about is like the colloquial definition: “an acquired, chronic, relapsing disorder that is characterized by a powerful motivation to continually engage in an activity despite persistent negative consequences.” You may want to stop, but when you try, you may suffer withdrawal symptoms that make it hard to quit.

This “withdrawal syndrome…affects around 50% of daily users,” and “typically begins 1 to 2 days after [stopping], peaks at 2 to 6 days.” But the “craving[s], sleep[ing] problems, nightmares, anger, irritability, [unease], and nausea” goes away after one or two weeks.

Marijuana now has this “reputation…as being benign, non–habit-forming”—and that may be true “[f]or most users.” Certainly less addictive than many other drugs, like alcohol, only about half the dependence risk compared to heroin or cocaine, less than a third as habit-forming as tobacco, but 9%, “One in 11 users—1 in 6 for those starting in their early teens—is hardly an inconsequential percentage…”—given that about 20 million Americans actively use the stuff.

“However, not all varieties of cannabis” are equally addictive. “[H]igh potency strains have been associated with a greater severity of dependence,” but that’s the stuff people prefer.

This is not your grandmother’s grass. Based on 38,000 samples of marijuana confiscated by the DEA, the potency has tripled in recent years, from 4% THC up to around 12%, with Denver and California now up around 15%, and Seattle pushing 20%. That’s 15 times more powerful than pot from the 70s, so like 15 joints all rolled up into one.

Yeah, but don’t users know this, and “titrate their dose…” accordingly, using “less of the more potent” pot? Yes, but they don’t compensate fully, and so do end up getting higher doses—perhaps reflected in the increase in emergency room visits in Colorado for marijuana intoxication after legalization.

Parallels have been drawn with the tobacco industry intentionally boosting nicotine levels of their products to make them more addictive, but where that analogy breaks down is in the consequences of that addiction. Every year, tobacco kills 25 times more people worldwide than all illicit drugs combined. Alcohol kills about 10 times more, and “cannabis [alone probably] contributes little to [overall] mortality,” at least.

So, one has to consider the outcomes of substance dependence. Caffeine can be addictive, too. But if it gets you to drink more green tea, then great. The consequences of consuming this leaf, as opposed to this leaf, depends on the health consequences, which we’ll cover next.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Get Budding via unsplash. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

Stay tuned next for Does Marijuana Cause Health Problems? But, I have a whole treasure chest of cannabis videos that are going to be dribbling every month or so until the end of 2019. If you want to see them all now, I put them all in a DVD.

Here are the last two I did: The Institute of Medicine Report on the Health Effects of Marijuana and Researching the Health Effects of Marijuana.

Speaking of parallels with the tobacco industry, check out:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

198 responses to “Is Marijuana Addictive?

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  1. All mood altering substances are addictive. Weed is no different in that regard. If you value your own independence of mind and freedom of spirit don’t go there.




    25
    1. I agree totally.
      I’ve seen friends in the past that are using weed…daily.
      They are laid back and procrastinate everything.
      They admit that they are de-motivated.
      It definetely alters your mood and mindset.
      But we also have to discuss the affects of inhaling smoke in the lungs.




      19
      1. It’s been such a long time since I took part in a discussion on NF.org. But the topics were not that interesting.
        But now I have a story to tell…
        I had a cousin. He used to use marijuana and alcohol. This combo caused schizophrenia symptoms in him.
        Among other things, he started to go to church very frequently, visited cementeries, etc. It’s not like he found Jesus or something, he just (I guess) started to see dead people or hear their voices. Drugs helped him with this, he started working. But he was still involved with church.
        He took home a homeless man whom he befriended during church community meetings. Taking a stranger home – a very weird thing to do, especially in our country.
        After some time this “friend” stabbed him to death and seriously injured his mother then burnt their house down to bury the evidence.
        When alive and still normal, my cousin was so chilled that it annoyed the heck out of me, I couldn’t stand talking to him.
        So, it’s just one another anecdotal evidence that marijuana is in fact not good for you – especially for your mental health, and in consequence it may affect all your life.




        11
        1. I take home refugees, homeless people, share my drugs and even have sex with them. Not one of them has been dangerous or addicted to marijuana. Take home your propaganda and leave, sexist troll.




          6
          1. I’m sorry that you perceive my comment as trolling, though I always try my best and strive for my comments to bring some added value to the discussion.
            In this case I wrote about this because when talking about marijuana people always say “I like it and I see no side effects”. And it’s always like that.
            So my anecdotal experience was supposed to contradict this and warn from the consequences. My view is from a broader perspective (you may call it a perspective of theory of chaos) – my cousin only wanted to have a good time, never wanted any harm for himself or anybody else but one thing led to another and here we are. None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for marijuana.

            You should be focusing on the part what marijuana can do to people, instead you focused on the wrong part of story, ie. the homeless man and his addiction to marijuana (which BTW I never wrote about, it was only my cousin who was smoking it, and he still was (probably) not addicted).

            Even if your experience with people in need is that they are not addicted and dangerous this doesn’t mean that each and every case will not be. You can’t state that. In cases like this we should back up our claim with statistics – and statistics say that every once in a while something bad happens. But we all know that life is risk. Still, it doesn’t mean that we can’t warn each other from risks that are beyond an accepted level (as in the case of marijuana may be – this still remains to be seen (when more research is done)).




            5
          2. Dee, your comment is very fascinating. We would all like to know more about your life style. For example, where do you find these homeless people? How do you support yourself? Are your neighbors concerned about you taking refugees and the homeless. You have a fascinating story to tell.




            2
          3. Dee. How Earth do you figure out that Mick’s story makes him a “sexist troll”?

            That comment makes absolutely no sense. Frankly, it reads more like personal abuse than fair comment. Personally, I think your post should be deleted. It’s offensive.




            6
        2. OK Mick, it was the alcohol. Alcohol makes you do crazy shit. If your cousin had only smoked marijuana I would bet this would not of happened. I’m very sorry that this happened to your cousin, but from all my years of experience with people mixing alcohol and marijuana, as soon as they give up the alcohol they’re fine.




          1
      2. Im 39. Been smoking weed everday since 16. do not listen to people say it De motivates you. Im a motvation teacher and i own a successful car dealership my wife and kids are great. Life has never been better. I lool like in 22. Im healthy. I feel amazing and barely EVER get sick.




        6
          1. Cay, It has been my experience that everyone is different and the strains of cannabis have different effects on any one person. Your argument that Diego’s testimony is anecdotal, while duly noted, conflicts with your argument that your reaction to cannabis is confirmed by studies — the studies themselves are and will remain anecdotal until cannabis is removed from Schedule 1.




            0
            1. Thaks Joseph for explaining to us that all studies against pot are flawed and prove nothing. And anecdotal reports should just be thrown out the window. But, it is a scientific fact that all studies in favor of pot are highly regimented, peer reviewed, and have absolutely no weaknesses to them.
              I think I will get out my bong and smoke to that.




              0
              1. I specifically said that for as long as the scientific community is hamstrung with Schedule 1, conclusions from all studies, pro and con, are inconclusive. Then I invited you to join others like Dr. Greger, who advocate the lifting of Schedule 1 for cannabis. And this is how you respond?




                0
                1. Your wasting your time with them. They are close minded people. It’s like talking to the government lol. Trust me when I say this. Pot won’t kill you and without pot there will be more people suffering. It helps pain, mental issues, stress, insomnia, seizures, I can go on forever. I think it’s funny when people act like pot is evil and yet big pharma laughs. If anything pot makes you happy and kind.




                  0
              2. Wow. A pillar of health, experience, education and morals are you. You take in the homeless and do drugs and have sex with them? Let’s all biwbin reverence to your vast knowledge of safe healthy practices.




                0
          2. Cay, haven’t you got the message from Ron, and Joseph that your personal experiences with pot do not matter and are unreliable. You have to believe what they say about not pot and not what you have experienced about pot.
            Maybe, your perceptions were skewed while taking pot so you don’t really understand it. Only believe Ron and Joseph because they are all knowing and have had years and years of experience with pot…so you must be wrong.




            0
          1. Zita, I’ve known scores of people like Diego. And especially these days, with the ability to pick and choose among the wide variety of cannabis strains, one can choose to ingest only those that stimulate the pre-frontal cortex, where the faculty for creativity resides. Some strains leave one inactive and sleepy. Unfortunately those who fiercely oppose cannabis seem to believe that’s all there is to this remarkable and widely varied plant.




            0
    2. . . . or at least have the decency to become addicted to Big Pharma drugs instead of pot. Ten times more people die of opioids taken as directed than from street drugs.




      21
    3. That’s right. I gave up coffee because of that. Working on quitting chocolate now. And nothing puts me in a better mood than a good vegan meal … trying to quit.




      14
      1. I am addicted to chocolate and ice cream which I gave up long ago but still crave. Had some chocolate for valentines day and two days after before the negative effects kicked in. People can become addicted to many things. Cheap Meth has moved into the pacific northwest and is killing more than heroin now. That is a really nasty addiction.




        2
        1. jj, try freezing some bananas. Put 1.5 bananas in a high speed blender with almost 1/2 C of plant milk. Blend till of Dairy Queen consistency. Add a few walnuts and some frozen dark sweet cherries. Pulse till just chopped a bit.

          I don’t think you’ll miss ice cream any more.




          13
          1. Thanks. Have a champion juicer that makes wonderful banana and frozen fruit “ice cream”. For me it does not take the place of chocolate ice cream with peanut butter, caramel, brownie chunks, etc. But I do not eat that stuff anymore. One bite only leads to more and it isn’t even really rewarding anyway. And the physical after effect isn’t worth it.




            3
            1. You might consider getting a high speed blender since they keep the fiber.
              I gave away my juicer for that reason, but I’m sure you understand!




              2
        1. Yes, it is easy to have a “sensible” conversation with people that agree with you but it is kind of boring and there is little opportunity to learn anything from it.




          2
    4. What about HEMP? I understand it differs from Marijuana, eases pain without the addictive affects. Please address Hemp taken in oil-drop form.




      0
      1. First, cannabis is not addictive and there are no withdrawals when you stop.
        But what you’re looking for is CBD’s found in various quantities in cannabis.




        1
        1. Joseph

          You wrote “First, cannabis is not addictive and there are no withdrawals when you stop”

          That’s not what the evidence shows and it’s contrary to the personal testimony of a number of posters here. It appears to be addictive for a small minority of people.

          How can you justify such an absolute statement as yours?




          1
          1. Well I’m sure there are some people somewhere who would be addicted to anything, thereby making everything addictive….
            Obviously you DON’T LIKE CANNIBIS, I’m sure you understood what the guy meant.




            0
  2. Two topics concerning marijuana that I hope to see:

    1. marijuana for autoimmune conditions

    2. marijuana for pain relief/opioid replacement. Opioids do not relieve pain for me or a large minority of people who do not metabolize them as the majority does. Standard medicine does not consider our pain a problem to be solved. I hope to never need another surgery or acquire a terminal illness, but fear of unrelieved pain should not be part of my fear of those things.




    17
    1. Anne,
      It can help out in both cases, it has for me and many others. It’s not for everyone though, and the only way to discover that is with experimentation and proper guidance. Here’s another website that has a lot of great information for medical patients seeking help with cannabis. https://www.projectcbd.org
      If you’re in a legal state you should see a physician who’s well versed in cannabis medicine if you can. It’s so far away from conventional western medicine that most MD’s and DO’s just don’t get it. It doesn’t jive with their reductionist scientific training, and it’s hard for them to profit from it.
      If you’re not in a legal state I’m truly sorry for you.
      Best of luck to you! Getting away from opioids including fentanyl was the best thing I ever did. I wouldn’t be here today otherwise. The system almost killed me a few times until I decided it was time to take control of my own health. There’s no one better!




      16
      1. Prior to medical cannabis legalization in my state, I had used cannabis recreationally off and on for years with little problems. Using the high potency legal cannabis, was another story coupled with mild TBI. I was paranoid, having hallucinations of ghostly spirits and irritability. Luckily, my pharmacy was very well educated and very helpful in judging dosage coupled with checking for proper reactions that I wished to achieve for pain and sleep. High CBD products along with edibles and full raw plant healing oils are a wonderful compliment to homeopathic and herbal tinctures without the potent high THC psychoactive properties kicking in.




        1
    2. I understand the fear of pain.

      My great uncle had brain cancer and trigeminal neuralgia with a pain so severe that it caused the man who never shed a tear in his life to cry.

      I ended up taking him to a Pain Clinic, and I wasn’t sure what they would do, because he had already been on Neurontin and Trileptal and Dilaudid,and Morphine and doses of Oxycodone and OxyContin and was spending $1000 out of pocket for his pain meds and none of it was working at all and he was at such high doses that the pharmacist was threatening to not fill his prescriptions anymore.

      The Pain Clinic doctor was brilliant. He listened so well and talked through the logic of all of it and my uncle ended up on Methadone and I was terrified at the concept of taking him off high dose Oxy to put him on a $7 a bottle drug, which I didn’t even know was something, which could be used for pain at all.

      Much to my surprise, there was no transition at all and he never really struggled with pain again. He had shown such addictive response to the Oxy Drugs, but never had it at all on Methadone and it didn’t cause the same constipation, and he didn’t wake up in the morning panicking anymore, because the Methadone stayed in his body long enough that he would even skip doses. He just took one pill a day and sometimes not even that. (On the Oxy drugs, he was taking extra pills and was running out of pills at the end of the month. With the Methadone, he had pills left over.)

      It was the first thing, which worked and two days before he died he told me that he had no pain at all. (I put him in the hospital that week, to have him on IV Methadone, because there was no way I was going to have him on Morphine, when that hadn’t touched his pain at all.)

      The day he died, a nurse from the hospital who had known him from when he was literally crying in pain said, “He was in that horrifying pain all that time” and I said, “No. After I saw you that time, we switched meds and he never complained of pain again.”

      I say it, because pot may help, but if it doesn’t, there might be something else to try and a pain clinic doctor might really know what they are doing.




      8
  3. Dear Dr Greger
    I would like to leave a request for a video and research on Lichen Sclerosus in general and if it relates to plant-based oxalates in the diet. I have been vegan for about 20 years and I would be very interested in any information you can find on the best diet for this condition.




    3
  4. That 9% figure is very misleading considering it includes all those people who were required to take an addiction class instead of getting jail time for their possession charge. Very misleading indeed! And anything coming out of the DEA is definitely a joke. They’re just trying to keep their jobs and justify all the lives they’ve ended or completely ruined over a plant. The insanity continues! If you want some good information about cannabis try Green Med Info. It’s a great site and it references PubMed for its information.
    Yes, people can and do get addicted to marijuana, but it’s a very small number, less than 9% certainly. They’re the same people who get addicted to anything they try and like. Is it harmful? Only if they allow it to dictate their lives. That can’t be said about opioids or alcohol addiction. Those WILL kill you. There has never been a death in history actually caused by cannabis.
    Today the cannabis is much more potent and you need to be careful not to consume too much or you will experience dysphoria in some form, and that’s not fun, but a good nap and you’ll be back to normal. There is also many high CBD strains available now that provide great symptom relief without the euphoria if that’s your goal. Euphoria is not always a bad thing, especially for those suffering from a chronic pain condition. I have CRPS II and Lupus, and it has saved my life after opioids almost took it away. I’m very grateful for it and will be seeing my 60th birthday soon thanks to cannabis and a plant based lifestyle.
    Obviously a lot more research needs to be done here…




    30
    1. It’s going to be interesting to see the American landscape when marijuana is legal in all states and children start eating it in cookies and candies. It will be very interesting. The Russians and Chinese will be watching very closely to see the impact of a nation where marijuana is prevalent in all stations of life and its impact on military readiness, scientific progress, economic development, and on political directions. They are eagerly watching. Spasiba.




      7
      1. John, do children eat alcohol infused cookies? That’s just a ridiculous statement.
        I probably already mentioned in a different comment, pot turns on your brain and makes you think and question. People will not blindly follow the corporate line when they smoke marijuana, or as my new friend Joseph mentions, any psychedelics. But marijuana is a very low level psychedelic that has been around forever and has benefited humans for eons. The American economy used to run on hemp. I did a report on this in college and I can tell you this, the plastics industries and the pharmaceutical industries wanted hemp illegal and they got it. We could be making so much out of industrial hemp instead of cutting down trees and making plastic.
        By the way the drinking age should be 18, like every other country in the world. And so should the age for smoking marijuana. When we have visitors from Europe who are under 21 they are astonished to be treated like children here. We can send you off to war, but try to get a drink and you are a child.




        1
    2. I totally agree with you. I been waiting for him to come out with cannibas info and I’m very disappointed he’s so negative about it. After all it’s a PLANT lol. I really hope he keeps an open mind and talk about all the positive things cannibas offers. No ones ever died from cannibas so try and find a drug to match that. But to clarify it’s not really a drug. Cannibas has so so so many benefits that if he doesn’t bring some to light it will sort of hurt all his videos that I love and would make me wonder if he’s been biased. Either way Dr Greger is awesome but please do more thorough research on the benefits of the green plant of cannibas.




      5
      1. He’s doing a series of videos on this and he and the NF team have clearly done extensive research on the topic.

        Dr Greger may also reach a different conclusion about the advantages/disadvantages of marijuana when used for therapeutic purposes such as pain relief than he does about marijuana used for recreational purposes I don’t know. We will have to wait and see,

        However, we need to distinguish between actual scientific evidence, anecdotal stories/claims on the internet and plain wishful thinking. The question is, do we want Greger and his team to report what the scientific evidence shows or do we just want them to validate our beliefs?

        I don’t use the stuff and never have, so I don’t care one way or the other. Nor have I researched the topic so I am completely agnostic on this But your post implies that you have done extensive research and it sounds like you have already come to a definitive conclusion . There is nothing to stop you posting that research evidence here if you think that it is convincing and conclusive.




        5
        1. I heartily agree with you Terry. I want the science.

          With Marijuana, I am not against it for pain, but feel like the recreational users are hiding behind the pain people.

          I do have a lot of negative anecdotal stories of what happened to the people in my life who smoked pot – from their minds, to their relationships, to their jobs, to their early deaths. Yes, many of them died very young – much younger than the national average – not saying it was the pot itself, but pot was part of a greater decision making process.

          I am not submitting that as evidence against medical marijuana.

          I just am not sure it is as safe as people say.

          I remember looking at Dr. Amen’s brain scans of people who smoke pot and it damages the brain in a way that I don’t even know if you can heal that type of damage and I also wonder what it does to the lungs. Yes, they have non-smoking ways of taking it.

          My friend’s father ate a medical pot brownie at the place dispensing it and landed on the floor with his heart conditions and was getting resuscitated in the ER within the hour. They didn’t say it was the pot, but he was on the floor in the place dispensing it and they didn’t call the ER for him and didn’t suggest he even go there. They mostly seemed to be more concerned with getting him out of there.

          I am not getting rid of animal products trying to heal my own brain and then pick up something which might hurt my brain with my other hand.




          2
          1. That being said, if Dr. Greger comes up with some science that says that smoking pot cures some disease or isn’t really what damages the brain, and doesn’t cause passivity and doesn’t hurt people with heart issues, I will go with the science.

            I don’t think we will know if it causes disease or death for decades.

            This legalization in some states will give us concrete answers.




            1
          2. Missing in the conversation and studies about recreational use of cannabis is why people do it. To say that they do it because”it’s euphoric” isn’t the real reason. Yes, it’s often a fun thing to do, but it’s also instructional. One learns a lot about their life and their inner motivations. Perhaps what distinguishes it most from alcohol (and their respective effects are not remotely alike) is that with cannabis you are humbled by coming face-to-face with your real self and life. With alcohol you escape it, even further than you already have, and get cocky.
            I know what I’m saying. I’m 77, have smoked weed since 1964 (now I vape), and lived with hundreds of others (hippie days) all of whom smoked.




            3
            1. If your main purpose in life is to see your future and place on the planet then why don’t you use Ayahuasca. But, then you might be coming into contact with jungle spirits.




              2
            2. I would have thought that if that was truly your aim, meditation, yoga or biofeedback etc would have been a better option.

              It’s also instructional meeting people in pubs and seeing what happens when alcohol breaks down their inhibitions. And if you don’t think that alcohol can’t be humbling then I suspect you haven’t had much experience in that area.

              It seems to me that people take up booze, pot or cigarettes for all sorts of reasons. Often complicated ones and often for multiple reasons. I doubt pot smokers are any more noble in this regard than drinkers or smokers (although marijuana is probably much less unhealthy than either of those two other things).




              4
              1. Isn’t it all about dopamine? People do all sorts of addictive things, including eating unhealthy foods, because their “drug” of choice gives them the dopamine hit the love and come to crave.

                Our bodies are designed to love the dopamine our brains produce, but throughout our ancient past we never got it in concentrated forms, and in ever-escalating amounts. We got it from mama’s milk so that, as infants, we would want to nurse, and therefore grow and thrive. Now we continue getting it from cow’s milk and, in more concentrated form yet, from cheese. That’s why cheese is the hardest thing for many people to give up. They’re addicted to the casomorphins that give them a dopamine hit.




                6
                1. Joseph

                  No personal experience of using it. I think I mentioned that in another post. But I’ve met a lot of people over the years – drinker, smokers and pot users – and I’ve never noticed that pot users were particularly “together” or happy compared to those others Of course, many people do all three which makes it a bit difficult to disentangle the effects.

                  As i say, if you were going to pick one vice out of those three, I’d suspect that pot (sans tobacco) may be the least unhealthy. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is healthful or even harmless. I’d like to see what the evidence shows on this – rather than simply taking the word of enthusiasts.




                  0
                  1. Here’s just one study, and there are many more, especially on the linked site.
                    http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/medical-cannabis-superior-opioids-chronic-pain-study-finds
                    Dr Greger seems to be very aware of the industry bias that exists in peer reviewed studies in the field of nutrition, but he seems to be ignoring that very same dynamic when researching cannabis. His future posts will elucidate this more I believe. I’ll say it again, it’s Not for everyone. But it’s far safer and more effective than anything the pharmaceutical companies are dealing for big money, and it’s never caused a death directly, unlike almost all pharmaceutical medications including over the counter pain relievers. That fact cannot be ignored yet it is widely denied and/or danced around by all the naysayers. Follow the money and you’ll find the real reason for keeping cannabis illegal. It represents the biggest threat to many of our big industries than anything they’ve ever seen. They’re afraid of it and will do anything to hold onto their monopolies, just as big tobacco has done. This plant makes better medicine, excellent paper and fabric, plant based plastics that outperform petroleum based compounds and is biodegradable, stronger concrete, the best rope, the list goes on and on…




                    0
                  2. Tom,

                    If you want verifiable studies, then I imagine that we agree that the federal government shouldn’t list cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, which denies them.

                    I wouldn’t call myself an enthusiast. That’s your term. But I am an advocate, one with a lot of experience with cannabis. I’m also extremely strong and healthy, especially for someone who was born the year that Germany invaded France. And I remember seeing the newsreels in the movie theater about FDR having died, and I remember actively rooting for Truman to be victorious over Dewey four years later. That’s how old I am.

                    For memory as with other factors of life, experience counts large. You’ve had none with cannabis, so without objective knowledge, current studies being insufficient, and without subjective knowledge of cannabis, I don’t think you’re as qualified as you seem to believe that you are about the subject. Don’t take that statement personally, because I think you’re quite intelligent. But I also think that on this subject, you’re biased but without cause, except the anecdotal, which doesn’t count.




                    0
                    1. So Jerry…I mean Joseph….do you recommend that we give cannabis to our grandchildren? Are you willing to introduce cannabis to your grandchildren, nieces, and nephews? Do you think children in elementary school should be introduced about the wonderful benefits of cannabis in the class room? And, then maybe they could have a little cannabis refreshment during recess instead of playing kickball or dodge ball. Does that sound like a cool thing…or what?




                      0
                    2. I don’t think anyone here would be giving marijuana to their kids or grandkids unless it’s medicinal. My dad was a big smoker but he waited till I was 18 to smoke with me. Because in every other part of the world people are considered adults at age 18. Having a 21-year-old arbitrary drinking and smoking law does nothing but turn millions of people from age 18 to age 21 into criminals for nothing, if they are old enough to go to war they are old enough to make decisions about what they eat or smoke or drink. This is how the rest of the civilized world thinks.




                      0
                    3. If they are old enought to go to war, then you say they are old enough to legally smoke pot. Now, that would be an interesting battle field. A platoon of pot smoking American soldiers versus a platoon of disciplined — do it by the book — russian soldiers. No, the Russians do not want their soldiers smoking pot off the battle field or on the battle field. But, you seem to think it would be good for Americans to smoke pot on the battle field. War and national survival has always been a part of life on earth.
                      And, it always will be. There has never been a time when there was not a war someplace. If you do not care about national survival and think we can make a paradise down here on earth by smoking pot then you are out of touch with history and human nature. War, death, destruction is history…. is human nature….and only the strong win.




                      0
            3. Joseph, my dad also smoked pot nearly every day of his life till he died of a rare disease at age 83. He ran a small engineering company, played many sports, and stayed relaxed as hell. He became a vegan around age 50, and outlived his siblings by a good 20 years. I take after him, I always love a tiny smoke after work, I mostly do not drink at all, and the smoke makes me want to write poems and play music and do yoga and dance. My dad discovered vaporizers years ago, and thank goodness they’ve gotten cheap, because they really save your lungs. It was my favorite thing, to get high with my dad. We would talk about life and philosophy and just enjoy being together.




              1
          3. You can count on big money pushing for the legislation to legalize recreational marijuana and like I said before, all 50 states will eventually legalize it and then we can all sit back and watch.




            1
    3. Thank you, Terry. At last, a kindred spirit when the topic of marijuana is presented here for discussion!

      As you so rightly put it, anything coming out of the DEA is suspect–it’s like getting your dietary advice from the North American Meat Association or marriage counseling from Donald Trump. Half of the comments, on this site, address the issue by anticipating the use of edibles by the School Children of America, etc, etc. and, on that basis, predict the complete and imminent collapse of civilization. It’s as if the topic of “Marihuana, the Weed with Roots in Hell,” once introduced, reduces the IQ of those involved, by 20 – 50 points, with rationality tossed aside. I can’t imagine the response should psychedelics be made legal for use by adults…

      I blame Putin for this; Americans couldn’t be this credulous. Could they?




      4
      1. Eventually, all 50 states in America will legalize recreational pot. Russia and China have always and will continue to ban marijuana and other drugs because they know that they are detrimental to the state. In time you will see the fall of America and the rise of the Russian Federation along with China as the dominant world powers. A country is only as strong as its people. Machines, and equipment are only as good as the people operating them. Today’s advanced weapon systems require people with precision focus and acute decision making abilities. A nation of pot heads is no match to the militancy, dedication, and discipline of the military machines of China and Russia. You will see. A pot head nation cannot compete with the Iron Fist of communism.




        7
        1. John, zdrast-vue-teya Spent 20+ years in the military (66-88). We have now a larger population base and a smaller pool of physically fit young men than when I got my draft notice. Obesity/overweight (diet??), physically weak (diet?, lack of exercise??), poor motivation (diet, drugs, coddling?), and all sorts of allergies etc. We don’t need mary jane/wacky tabacky to screw up the troops since we as a nation are eating/poisoning ourselves without any outside intervention. The Army is considering lowering physical/mental/testing standards once again so more recruits can be had (shades of McNamara and Project 100,000) The longer I hang around the more I am convinced that we in the USA are shooting ourselves in the foot when it comes to diet. Oh well. pah-ka




          3
          1. Kak dela? Tak….Vbi gavarit pa-russky…horosho. Well, yes, I agree with your assessment of the American military. There have been many smaller military units that have won battles against much larger units because quite often it is the quality of the soldier that counts and not so much the equipment that they have. Have you seen the latest long distance nuclear torpedo that the Russian scientists have developed. It can travel over 5000 miles underwater and hit cities with huge nuclear warhead. A pot head nation cannot defend itself from the rapid advances of the Russian military.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYLxNFOpfLE




            1
        2. John I wish there was a laughing emoji. Smoking pot makes people think. Smoking pot makes people question. That’s why the government does not want people to smoke pot. Some of the smartest thinkers in the world and the smartest thinkers I have known are people who smoke pot. There are some types of pot that make you tired and sink into the couch, but Sativa types of pot turn on your brain. I have a girlfriend who is a doctor who smokes every night to relax. One of my best friends in college was also my pot dealer, who went on to become a doctor/concert pianist. He still smokes. Marijuana is so much preferable to opioids. Are you kidding? We are now a nation of people on opioids. Many of those people would happily switch to marijuana, which is so much more subtle and gentle. And you can function and think.




          0
    4. Green Med Info is a good site if you prefer woo and pseudoscience to a rational assessment of the evidence.
      https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/GreenMedInfo#Kelly_Brogan

      Frankly, if I wanted a hard-headed and credible discussion of the evidence, I’d turn to the US CDC rather than some dubious alternative health website that promotes ant-vaccine ideas, homeopathy and quack cancer cure even if it does dress them up with Pubmed references. Apologies to conspiracy theorists and enthusiastic pot users everywhere but somebody has to say it.
      https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/index.htm




      2
  5. Are there any nutritive benefits? What about the CBD Oil- snake oil or real deal? Does marijuana contribute to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease? Any benefits for fibromyalgia? What about nootropics? Any thoughts on all the new focus products inundating the market place?




    1
    1. Keith, CBD is the real deal. While not everyone responds in the same way, the overall data shows that CBD (the hemp-derived, non-psychoactive cannabis extract) works extremely well for a host of issues. As been already cited here, http://www.projectcbd.com is a great resource, as also are pubmed.gov, medicaljane.com and hybridhealth.us.




      1
  6. Addiction for sure, one of the worst side effects has to be loss of ambition. I grew up with a kid who got into this at a young age, and in about 10 years’ time he lost interest in everything he used to love. He tried college, but dropped out. Tried to quitting for a month so he could pass a drug test and get a semi-decent job, failed. He was actually smart and very driven when he was young, and before pot.

    Medical use: the vast majority are simply looking to get loaded, it’s not about a medical issue. And for the rest it’s nothing but a Band-Aid. If a person really wants good health they clean up their diet and lifestyle… harder to do, but well worth the effort. I don’t doubt smoking might offer temporary relief to some, but as with every drug, eventually you need more, and then more, finally it barely works or not at all.

    The worst thing about legalizing pot, is that we take away the taboo of it being illegal and then the law abiding citizens start to use it. Eventually it becomes like alcohol, and 90% of the population is getting loaded.




    17
    1. Michael, I have a former neighbor diagnosed with MS just after we moved away. We ran into him occasionally, and somewhat recently he raved about the medical marijuana he’d been prescribed: he said it alleviated some of his symptoms and helped immensely with his mood. I can’t imagine having to deal with such a diagnosis, can you?

      Also, I think that one benefit of legalizing marijuana is regulating it, and keeping more of it out of the hands of teenagers. However, I knew several people in college and graduate school who smoked marijuana regularly but not heavily, and they are now successful professionals: doctors, scientists, lawyers, teachers, social workers, etc. It didn’t seem to have adversely affected their ambition and motivation. In fact one early proponent of marijuana use was Carl Sagan — how does he fit into your paradigm? It could be a matter of the age at which one first tries it, where the older — past 20 or so — the better the outcome.




      2
      1. Dr. J. you may be right about people who get into things older might have better outcomes, because that is what they already say about alcohol, though I have someone I genuinely care about who didn’t drink at all until he was almost 50 and he drinks every day and may already be an alcoholic. He is someone who overeats and pleasures himself with junk food and meat and sugar and television and computer and every “pleasure trap” there is and I have never seen him get over any of it. (I am using Dr. Lisle’s term, but I am saying that America is so addicted to absolutely everything pleasuring.

        Meat, cheese, sugar, television, internet, shopping, soda, alcohol, smoking, sex, gambling, etc.

        I grew up in the “pleasure trap” food version and might have argued the way the pro-pot people are arguing, but now that I am off of meat and dairy and eggs and milk and sugar and every junk food and soda that I ever thought that I loved, I wouldn’t wish it on anybody, but the people around me haven’t come to the end of that process yet.

        Feels like more people will be growing up in the “pleasure trap” substance version and other people are already so addicted to Facebook that they don’t work at all when they are at work and that statistic is growing by leaps and bounds, along with obesity.

        The average adult can’t go for 10 minutes without checking their phones. They have studied it and people are like the mouse hitting the button to stimulate his brain.

        People are 1000 pounds and more and are starving to death of lack of nutrition. There is so much pain from going down these roads.

        I know someone who is a Police Officer and one year he had the money to hire people to replace a few people who were retiring and he said that it was horrifyingly awful. He could not find even one qualified, disciplined applicant. Not one in a year. He said the younger generation doesn’t show up to interviews. If they do show up, they show up late and text during the interviews and have attitude problems They can’t communicate clearly or think clearly or make good decisions.

        He told me that as a temporary stop-gap, he hired back the retirees, but said that he was terrified about the future.




        4
        1. Deb, you are exactly right. This generation of young people are addicted to not only marijuana, but also to designer drugs, porn, sugar, junk food, having a good time, facebook, texting, and so on. However, the teenagers of Russia are also addicted to texting and social media, but it is illegal for them to take drugs.




          1
          1. John, that cumulative effect is what I am more interested in.

            The average American watches 5 hours of television a day. Passive already. That doesn’t include computer or phone or constantly entertaining ourselves.

            Pot fits within that greater reality.

            If it isn’t something nourishing like fruits or vegetables, it really will hurt the whole and how many of the people have things which could be cured by diet in the first place.

            If Dr Greger’s grandmother had been given pot to help her pain, rather than Pritikin getting rid of her pain and having her suddenly be able to walk ten miles a day, we might be at the pot channel.

            Which is real compassion to heal people with diet or numb their pain with drugs?

            Yes, there are accident victims, etcetera who need pain management, but turning these conditions around is better.

            So maybe we need pot for the people who went keto and are deeply in pain? My friends are in pain and are trying to get rid of the pain by going keto to lose weight. They probably need pot. Sigh.




            2
            1. You make a good point Deb. Most people are caught in a web of addictions.
              Only a few like yourself can see the big picture. But, so much of it is sponsored by money hungry business men wanting to sell you ketogenic diet books, or Mercola selling his bottles of elixir magic vitamins, or Big Pharma. People are so addicted to their processed foods that they will think you are crazy if you suggest to them that going off of meat could benefit their pain. I was talking to a guy who had stints put into his coronary arteries. I told him about the whole plant food diet. He rejected everything I said. Then I asked him a question. “Well, are you going to eat for pleasure or eat strictly for health?” He thought for a moment, and then said, I am eating for pleasure. That was a year ago. I see him every time I go into the grocery store because he has a rented space in this mega super grocery store where he sells real estate. You can walk by his station and see him sitting at the computer with his clients. I am wondering how much longer he will last…..just sitting and sitting and eating junk food.




              2
              1. I am going to post Dr. Lisle’s TED Talk on The Pleasure Trap here.

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jX2btaDOBK8

                He talks about a concept that any time we use a super normative stimulus we run the threat that the creature will make huge potentially self-destructive mistakes.

                I feel like we have three generations right now who have made mistake after mistake after mistake and those mistakes are so hard to undo.

                I can tell my friends straight out that vegan could reverse their diseases, but they have zero sense of being able to go vegan. The transformation of their minds might take years.

                Now, multiply that times all of the ways we pleasure ourselves, because those ways are many, even for the addicts.

                People give up cigarettes and take up something else. It is so hard for people to break free.

                And yet, if they were raised eating fruits and vegetables and going outside and getting exercise and doing work and limiting leisure and limiting overstimulating entertainment – maybe watching educational films and documentaries, instead of junk television.

                I am not trying to put people down for any of it, but dealing with pot just comparing it to harder drugs versus to whether it is genuinely healthy for people is a type of putting our heads in the sand and I probably did that about soda for 40 years, but I am trying to not do that anymore about any of it and I feel like people who have spent enough time on this site know better.

                I laugh, because I will go back to me walking down the natural food aisle looking at sweet potato chips and bean chips and beet chips and kale chips and lentil chips and I genuinely was pondering if they were good for us to eat, but I am not at all confused when I read potato chip or corn chip. I just hadn’t thought it through properly. Having potato chips now and then may not hurt me, but having them become a staple in my diet may.




                2
                1. Do people make logical well thought decisions about choices they make? I don’t believe they do.
                  Emotion, habit and ease are what people turn to instead of rational choice. I agree with you completely, Deb.




                  1
                  1. When I was watching the psychology part of Dr. Lisle’s videos, what struck me the most was that 65% of the people are so influenced by the peer pressure of the culture around them that they would give an obviously wrong answer.

                    There was more than one study where that 65% number came up.

                    One was that 65% of the people gave the wrong answer, knowing it was the wrong answer, because the whole group gave the wrong answer intentionally.

                    The second study was one I remember from psychology where they had a subject give (fake) electric shocks to someone to see how far the person was willing to go, if there was an authority figure telling them to do it and 65% of the people went all the way up to believing that the person was being dangerously shocked and crying out in pain.

                    Sixty-five percent of people are going to get so injured by everything and the thirty-five percent are going to be out there selling them products or just plain manipulating them and trying to get power over their minds and health might be knowing when to agree with everybody else for the sake of the whole and when to stand alone if it is required.

                    I am a Christian and am not necessarily big on the evolutionary argument part of things, and don’t find them necessary for my decision making, but I respect the people who are doing these studies and who are healing these diseases with food and I respect people who are examining these issues and bringing the real information to light.

                    Since I come from a Christian perspective, during this journey, I have been thinking about the Exodus in the Bible, where God tells the people of Israel that He would keep them from the diseases. I pondered that He had them not eat meat most of that time of wandering in the wilderness and had them do intermittent fasting and use the leaves of the plants for medicine.

                    No, I am not going to preach at people for smoking pot or for eating meat or whatever, because I do believe that a majority of people are genuinely struggling and that number might get greater.




                    1
        2. That being said, it is obviously a wider cultural problem, rather than being able to point to “pot” or “food” or “television” it is all of the things we do to stimulate our brains day and night.

          I have a seven year old, who I was trying to help learn her alphabet and phonics and she is doing well now, but she was raised by a mother who didn’t really interact with her, because her mother is addicted to Facebook. The mother never read to her. She went to Kindergarten after she had turned 6 years old and didn’t learn her alphabet or phonics until she was almost 7 years old and, honestly, where she lives, that isn’t even considered behind.

          It is so widespread and it obviously isn’t “pot” related. It is however “pleasure centers” related.




          3
          1. You are exactly correct. It is the big picture. It is the total pleasure trip that Americans are on that is making America weak. However, when recreational pot is legalized in all 50 states you will see a rapid weakening of the American people, especially the youth.




            2
        3. Hi Deb! Your post assumes that ingesting cannabis is about seeking pleasure. To some extent it is for many, but enlightenment about one’s own self is another reason why it’s done, and for some, it’s the main reason.
          As we live our lives in this “rational” world — that is, the Western world where since the 18th Century, esp since Descartes, reason has dominated our culture to the detriment of intuition — we have a tendency to get myopic.
          Cannabis’ THC is an effective antidote for that. Better still, it allows us to look at at our motivations, which are not always as they appear. In other words, it’s used by many as a path towards self discovery. All psychedelics do that.




          1
          1. Intuition or mystical societies are not better than western rational societies. Take the mystical hindu societies of India with their thousands of gods and reliance on meditation, yoga, and marijuana…..you won’t find any solace or utopian dreams come true in that society. The history of India has been a history of war, poverty, class persecution, and degradation of women before the 20th century. Or go deep into the Amazon jungle and live with the Indians who use the mystical drug ayahuasca….their lives are based upon intuition, and inspiration. Ayahuasca hasn’t helped them one bit to live longer lives, fight off diseases, or to gain the knowledge of writing. Many of these Indians used to be head hunters. Primitive societies live by intuition and feeling and they never progress but they still fight each other, enslave each other, and steal from each other. As for me, I’ll stick with the best that western science has to offer. When you rely upon intuition, then it is anybody’s guess as to what truth is.
            When you see politicians consulting with astrologers, psychics, and the such….then you need to worry.




            1
            1. I didn’t say nor mean that “intuition societies” are better than rational ones. I’m saying that our Anglo-American culture has gone too far in believing that reason is the only way to knowledge. We’re straight jacketed by a way of believing that robs the sweet aroma from roses.
              Books that tell a very different story are: *Blink* by Malcolm Gladwell and *Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do* by Yale Professor




              1
  7. Dr. Greger, I’m so glad you’re doing this series on marijuana. I’d like to offer a few comments from my perspective as a practicing clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst with 30 years experience in Silicon Valley and Santa Cruz county California (and I assure you there are many many marijuana users in both areas which have strikingly different demographics). I’ve worked with teens, adults and older adults from many walks of life: students, clergy, engineers, attorneys, physicians, educators, scientists and so forth. I think the answer to the question “Is marijuana addictive?“ should be no/yes. As you touched upon in your video the potency of marijuana strains now poses a serious risk, especially to teenagers whose brains are still developing and whose developmental stage predisposes them to impulsive behaviors to begin with (amplified by the frequent combination of marijuana and alcohol). For teenagers and others whose genetic inheritance predisposes them to addiction marijuana (like all other drugs) becomes a huge problem. That said, I have known a much larger percentage of people both professionally and socially who live very productive and responsible lives and who enjoy marijuana without harm to their functioning. I think some of the commenters’ reflexive condemnation of marijuana use does not contribute to a useful discussion. (Also, some do not seem to be aware that the potentially harmful effects of smoking marijuana may be avoided by vaporizing the plant material.) Marijuana use has been a feature of human societies for centuries and will continue to be. We need good research which is nearly impossible to do now in the U.S. because of arcane and restrictive federal policies. We need open and nuanced discussions without reactive and reductive condemnation of a substance that demonstrably harms far fewer persons than alcohol and certain prescribed medications. Thank you again for beginning this series and I look forward to further installments.




    19
    1. In other words you want a discussion on marijuana where NOBODY says anything negative about marijuana. You want to hear from PRO marijuana people. You want a safe space for this discussion so that it does not hurt your darling little liberal ears.




      13
        1. I look at all the teenagers in my neighborhood and see what it has done to their lives. One kid I knew was winning tennis games one after another when he was 12 years old and was making straight A’s. Now, he is unmotivated, can’t play tennis that well anymore, can’t hold down a job. He went from being a potentially successful person until he started smoking dope. The people behind me living in a house is a den of pot smoke. They can’t hold down a job. The police are always over to the house. I see a lot of teenagers who were doing good until they grew up and started smoking pot. I am sure Vladimir Putin will support you in your efforts to expand pot smoking in America.




          5
          1. So your experience with cannabis is watching others who smoke cannabis.
            Give it a try John, it’ll probably blow your mind, but in a good way. BTW, who knows why the people you’ve noticed “can’t hold down a job” or no longer play tennis. It’s really strange being on Dr. Greger’s blog, where he always cites strict protocols for scientific discovery, and watch you completely avoid all of it. That’s what happens when people get brainwashed John, and there has been a concerted government effort to brainwash us against cannabis. But again, no one can know what cannabis is like unless they’ve tried it. It’s like trying to describe the sensation of having good sex, or what it is that you see when you see the color green. You have to experience it. Looking at a bud under a microscope, or seeing others smoke weed won’t do it.
            All the best John! Stay out of the military! Do your mom a favor.




            2
            1. When recreational smoking marijuana becomes legal in all 50 states, maybe your surgeon will be high as a kite when he does your surgery. Maybe, your airline pilot might be feeling euphoric as he flies you across the country.
              Maybe the guy driving the 18 wheeler next to you on the highway might be feeling really loose and cool. Maybe, the mechanic that is repairing your car might not be focused and forget to tighten your brake lines. A stoned nation is going to be a dead nation in 20 years. China and Russia will put so much pressure on American politicians that America will capitulate and will be broken up into separate regions….and will be ruled with an iron fist. Potheads will not be useful to these people. People like you make America weak.




              2
    2. Really, dude?

      Just wait until you or your patients try to quit and see what happens. I’m never messing around with this stuff again. Getting off it is brutal. I made another post on this page about my withdrawal (search for “Reggie”). I would not wish that experience on my worst enemy.




      8
  8. I have a question. Greger has mentioned how Calcium supplementation is not a good way to go about getting calcium. However, I have seen elsewhere it being said that soy milk calcium is just calcium supplementation in disguise, and the supplement is added to the milk. If this is the case, does the calcium in bread and tofu also not count as they are added rather than occuring naturally in the ingredients? Thanks.




    3
    1. Yes, you are exactly right. They put calcium in everything. You do not need calcium supplements. There is nobody on the planet suffering from hypoglycemia. To much calcium will collect in your arteries, organs, and even weaken your bones. I stopped using hemp milk, soy milk, and almond milk because they add a truck load of calcium to these drinks to make them feel thicker like when you drink whole milk.




      1
    2. I use a little soy milk and there is NO additional calcium added–and it tastes great. It’s organic and it only lists soybeans and water as the ingredients.




      3
    3. Hi I’m a RN and health support volunteer with nutritionfacts.org. Thanks for your great questions.

      Soybeans do have some calcium naturally. I don’t know if they retain this calcium when they are made into soy milk and tofu and how much of the calcium in those products are natural and how much are added. I don’t think you have to add tofu or soy milk to your diet for calcium, but if you like them, they do have some health benefits (just as long as there is not sugar or oil added) and are fine to eat.
      You might like this video on soy milk:
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/calcium-absorption-soy-milk-versus-cow-milk/

      Dr. Greger recommends we get our calcium from whole food plant sources like dark leafy green vegetables. Please see the calcium section of his blog on optimal nutrition:
      https://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-gregers-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/
      And this video:
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/plant-vs-cow-calcium-2/Calcium is found in all sorts of whole foods.

      If you eat everything on Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen (available as a free app), you should not be deficient in calcium or any nutrients:
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dr-gregers-daily-dozen-checklist/

      All the best,
      NurseKelly




      0
      1. Hi Nurse Kelly! Thank you for the links. Dr. Greger says that he tries to ingest the daily dozen, daily. But that’s a lot of food for one day. Over the past few years I independently derived the same list of foods (and exercise), but I don’t consume them daily. But everything on the list is consumed within two days. I think we can think in terms of longer cycles, i.e. as a default, the 24 hour cycle is presumed. I’m 77 and my lab blood work remains Normal and Stable. And I take 0 medications. My only supplement is D3, because of where I live.




        0
        1. I think about this all the time Joseph, and usually just have smaller portions, not longer cycles. But (I’m 54) as I age I may do a 2day cycle like you.




          0
          1. The exercise shouldn’t be thought of as 1/12 of the whole. Forty percent might be the right portion. Exercise is super important for health and longevity. Weights and cardio, especially.




            0
  9. Why do anything when you can get an injection right into the brain? It bypasses the natural reward mechanism of the brain and it has deep social consequences. For example, should addicts have an equal job pay than non addicts? Will a marijuana dominated city have higher taxes to compensate for negligence?




    4
      1. You should know that cannabis alters the decision-making part of the brain. Thus, the tax revenue obtained from cannabis cannot be compared with the potential damage caused by its effects on the brain. For example, the tax collected from alcohol sales cannot be compared with the damaged caused oby DWI accidents.

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22648319

        “Several neuropsychological studies have shown that chronic cannabis users have cognitive impairments, including decision-making process.”




        9
        1. Ponchito, thank you for the scientific reference you made concerning the impairment that marijuana can have on individuals. The leader of the free world, The United States, will not be able to protect the world from the aggression of Russia and China when marijuana is legalized in all 50 states.
          We cannot even contain Russia now from taking Crimea. We cannot even contain Russia now if they wanted to further advance into Ukraine. Russia and China will be embolden when they see our jet pilots smoking reefers at the officer’s club at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, or watching our submariners joyfully getting high on pot over at Point Loma in San Diego. I give it about 20 years. In 20 years all of the states will have legalized recreational marijuana. It will become a real money maker. Just as the Russians interfered with the 2016 elections, you can believe they are spending money to support the efforts to legalize marijuana.




          1
        2. hi Panchito, some years ago I walked into my cardiologist’s office for my pre-bypass consult, and the first question to me was if I smoked dope. I told him no, I didn’t care for it, and asked him why he mentioned it. He said , ” because the boomer dope smokers are dropping like flies” , and that’a quote. Now this was pre-Greger days for me so I didn’t ask him to cough up the references, but he was adamant that dope presented a great danger in heart attack risk after smoking, and over the long term in clogged arteries. Have you come across any similar ideas in your reading ? Just wondered, always enjoy your posts. thanks




          0
          1. Susan, there was a small study in England, I think, where people who have heart conditions were dying if they used pot. Not all of the deaths were attributed to the pot itself, but some were.

            My friend’s father died and came back to life the night he took medical marijuana, but the doctors didn’t point to the pot. They pointed to preexisting conditions.




            0
            1. I am also wondering if it will be associated with brain tumors, because more than one of the people I am thinking about who were long term users from jr high through adulthood died 40 to 50 with brain tumors.




              0
              1. Deb

                Apparently marijuana use is associated with increased brain cancer risk

                “increased risks of prostate and cervical cancers among non-tobacco smokers, as well as adult-onset glioma among tobacco and non-tobacco smokers, were observed.”
                https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16054989

                Ironically though, there is some evidence that THC can treat brain tumours
                https://www.sciencealert.com/cannabis-has-been-used-to-shrink-one-of-the-aggressive-brain-cancers-in-the-lab




                0
                1. TG said: “Apparently marijuana use is associated with increased brain cancer risk”.

                  Not so TG. It said that studies indicated that possibility, but when it was time to summarize their findings, the NIH said what we all should know, that the studies are sparse and not well done. And that’s because the feds labeled cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug. Here’s how the NIH summarized its paper.

                  “In summary, sufficient studies are not available to adequately evaluate marijuana impact on cancer risk. Several limitations of previous studies include possible under reporting where marijuana use is illegal, small sample sizes, and too few heavy marijuana users in the study sample.”




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                  1. Joseph

                    Yes, that is what “Apparently marijuana use is associated with increased brain cancer risk”. means.

                    That paper does not mean that there is no evidence that marijuana use is associated with brain cancer risk, which is apparently what you want to believe. Nor does it mean that marijuana use is definitively associated with brain cancer risk or definitively causes increased risk. It just means that there is an apparent association.




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            2. Thanks Deb, I did find these older links on bbc that talk about several studies in Baltimor, Montreal and the UK http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4244489.stm and http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2419713.stm dealing with effects of pot on blood vessels of the brain, stroke risk, and other issues. I have no doubt that pot has its usefulness as a medicinal plant, I am just saying that my cardiologist really impressed upon me the fact that I could not be smoking pot or around second hand smoke .




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          2. Interesting question. Apparently the evidence on this is mixed. There was, though, a study that suggested that, among people who had already had a heart attack (myocardial infarction or MI), pot use was associated with greater mortality risk

            “However, in patients who already had an MI, marijuana use more than once a week was associated with a threefold increase in mortality.25”
            http://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2016/09/22/08/58/marijuana-and-coronary-heart-disease

            Harvard Medical School has a short non -technical summary of the evidence here
            https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/marijuana-and-heart-health-what-you-need-to-know




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            1. Thank you Tom for your reply and the links,. It’s very interesting, and I wonder how much of the hazard surrounds the smoking part versus other forms . From the conversation I had with the cardiologist, I recall two points particularly : first, that people in general are unaware/in denial about the state of their health, and second, unaware of how pot negatively can impact that state of health (in his view) I’m sure Dr G will get to these questions during his series.




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            2. Tom, you never cease to amaze me on the research you find to bring a ray of light into a confused cloudy discussion. Keep up the good work. You are the backbone of this forum.




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    1. Panchito, you present some interesting question about the future as America becomes “The Pot Nation Of The World”. Pot users will vote for liberal democrats every time. As more and more states legalize marijuana, the political left in America will gain more and more votes which will effect legislation, laws, and leadership. The political left in America want to dismantle the American military along with many other agendas. So, as I mentioned before, Russia and China are eagerly waiting for the political left to take over in America supported by an army of pro-marijuana users. They are eagerly waiting to deal with a dysfunctional nation. Spasiba.




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      1. The US military has the US up to it’s eyebrows in debt….which will be paid back one way or the other. The wars are started for mostly one purpose…to open up land and people to US financial exploitation. Unfortunately…this has backfired…and the voters being easily manipulated…can’t seem to figure it out. The US is mostly dysfunctional at this point….the more war…the more they want….




        0
        1. You are correct. The U.S. is dysfunctional right now, and it will become even more dysfunctional when all 50 states legalize recreational marijuana.
          It’s coming. Those politicians want to get that tax money. The politicians in Colorado are jumping with joy over the millions of dollars that are getting from taxing marijuana sales. However, they never consider the monetary costs of the damage it does to the brains of children, teenagers, and the car accidents, and the trips to the emergency room. Aside from that, the bigger picture of life and death on this planet is the fact that Russia and China want to dominate this planet, and they are doing everything they can to make the U.S. as dysfunctional as possible. Meddling in elections, promoting strife, supporting the legalization of marijuana are just a few of the overt and covert operations they freely perform in the U.S. This kind of interference is never tolerated in their countries. They are focused and determined. We are all slowly getting high as a kite…on pot, cocaine, heroine, designer drugs, alcohol, meth, glue, processed foods, football, and the list could go on and on and on. We are following the same pattern as the downfall of Rome, except now in the day of computers, the descent is even faster. It took Rome hundreds of years to deteriorate.
          Today with modern technologies, any country can deteriorate in a matter of minutes when you consider the possibility of EMP’s, Russian nuclear tipped torpedos that travel 5000 miles under water undetected.




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  10. In the aftermath of an aggressive form of breast cancer I used medical marijuana for a period. I first tried the oil, but dosing was impossible at that time. Processors have since become more sophisticated. It’s rarely about smoking any more. There are capsules, tinctures, edibles, creams, and other forms have no doubt hit the market since I gave up on using it. I live in Washington where medical cannabis has been around for a few years and recreational cannabis is now everywhere, so getting it wasn’t a problem. Getting a predictable measured dose was not at all possible just a few years ago in this state.

    My cousin in California asked me to come down and see her doctor, who had been recommending it for many years, since medical cannabis has been legal in that state since 1996. My cousin is able to buy a tincture with measured doses. While there I used hers, since I couldn’t legally cross state lines with my own, and I was able to use hers without feeling the effects of the THC. But back home I couldn’t find anything suitable at all. One day I’d be out of it, the next probably underdosed. One day I woke up so stoned that all I could do was vege out in the recliner FOR THREE DAYS!!! That was the end of cannabis for me.

    I think what was happening is that I have two genes for the MTHFR 677 mutation, meaning I methylate poorly, leading, I have been given to understand, to difficulty with detoxifying things. I’d never become an alcoholic because three drinks has me throwing up. I think the same kind of thing was happening with cannabis. But here’s the thing: a huge percentage of the population (estimates range from 30%-80%) have one or two genes for one of the MTHFR variants, and have a tough, slow time metabolizing all kinds of drugs and herbs, including cannabis. This is only my theory, and I haven’t even tried to keep up with the science since I gave up on using marijuana, but it is something to consider before giving it a try.

    Meanwhile, I know cannabis has helped people with pain that opiates didn’t touch, and I wouldn’t want to deny anybody access in that situation. In fact, I think cannabis should be the first prescription tried, not opioids, for intractable pain.

    We definitely need to bring science and commonsense into the picture, and I appreciate Dr G’s covering it in this ongoing series.

    And oh, by the way, I wish we could still find seeds for the old stuff from the ’70s, because it was mellow and peaceful in my very occasional use, not at all like today’s potent plants.




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    1. And oh, by the way, I wish we could still find seeds for the old stuff from the ’70s, because it was mellow and peaceful in my very occasional use, not at all like today’s potent plants.

      I agree with this statement. This new high thc stuff throws me for a loop and I won’t touch it but the 70s stuff was mellow. I hear the CBD doesn’t have the same effect but am now willing to take the chance on it.




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  11. I’m a 77 year old hippie who’s been smoking weed off and on since 1964. From time to time I give it up for a few years if it’s interfering with what I’m doing — like composing literature, or driving a taxicab, etc. I’ve associated closely with hundreds of potheads through the years, especially when I lived in communes, many of them.
    Here’s the nitty gritty. The medical community doesn’t know squat about weed. Why? Because you can’t learn about cannabis by looking at it through a microscope. That won’t tell you a thing. Nobody, I repeat, Nobody has studied the psychological benefits of smoking weed. Our Western culture, especially in the US and Britain, is tightly wound up. Cannabis is a medicine for this. It helps us see past the life that we’ve made for ourselves, which enables us break through the blockade that we’ve built for ourselves. That’s often why people drink. But what they really need is to smoke. I’d suggesting vaping, it’s healthier. So you psychologists out there! Why not study the main reason why people smoke ganja? Why is it such a popular “recreational” drug? I just gave you a whiff of why it’s an important substance in this “civilized” wound up society. Check it out.
    Joseph in Misoula




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    1. Joseph, military leaders in Russia and China hope that the American military takes your advice and allows fighter pilots, submarine sailors and the such to smoke marijuana, because like you say, it will help them to see past their lives and what they are doing. Good advice. Spasiba.




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    2. Joseph, my dad also smoked pot nearly every day of his life till he died of a rare disease at age 83. He ran a small engineering company, played many sports, and stayed relaxed as hell. He became a vegan around age 50, and outlived his siblings by a good 20 years. I take after him, I always love a tiny smoke after work, I mostly do not drink at all, and the smoke makes me want to write poems and play music and do yoga and dance. My dad discovered vaporizers years ago, and thank goodness they’ve gotten cheap, because they really save your lungs. It was my favorite thing, to get high with my dad. We would talk about life and philosophy and just enjoy being together.




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  12. Michael, as I read your comment I thought: “Has this man considered that ambition is way over valued in our Anglo-American culture? And that losing some of the ambition drilled into you from a young age may be just what the doctor ordered? How about living an enjoyable life being your ambition? In our culture everyone seems to be living their lives so their progeny can go to a good school and live in a good neighborhood, so that their progeny can do the same, and down the line. All the while, and through the generations, nobody gets to live the life they want. Do you see what I mean? Cannabis helped me to see through that. And because of that, for the past 50 years I’ve lived the life I wanted. I dropped out of a Ph.D. program in philosophy in 1967 to drive a taxicab, and haven’t looked back. You may think: “poor guy, he’s so delusional”. But it’s not true. I see clearly that for me, life in academia would have been a drudge, while driving through San Francisco in my cab at night helped me see the world. Traveling to Argentina on a motorcycle did that too, as did my many travels since. I wouldn’t have done any of it without weed.
    Joseph




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    1. Interesting. I know that in traditional Buddhist countries they don’t emphasize achievement and the material world like they do in the west. They look for lasting peace and contentment through meditation, spiritual development, etc. I think this is starting to change as they “westernize” though.




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  13. Dear Dr. Greger,

    Doubtless we very much appreciate the work on this site, but increasingly the subject matter, while fascinating, is wandering well away from Nutrition. There are truckloads of topics that still need to be addressed and re-visited from your early work with updated information. Time to refocus.

    NUTRITIONFACTS.ORG is a strictly non-commercial, science-based public service provided by Dr. Michael Greger, providing free updates on the latest in nutrition research via bite-sized videos. There are more than a thousand videos on nearly every aspect of healthy eating, with new videos and articles uploaded every day. NutritionFacts.org was launched with seed money and support by the Jesse & Julie Rasch Foundation. Incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit charity, NutritionFacts.org now relies on individual donors to keep the site alive and thriving.

    Stay well.




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      1. John,

        While hemp, not necessarily CBD by itself, has numerous nutritional benefits, i.e. ideal balance of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and is very high in protein, I’m not sure I’d call it a superfood. But it is good for you.

        Yours in health,
        Elliot Galdy CEO

        919-748-9394 http://www.hybridhealth.us

        THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FDA AND ARE NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT OR CURE ANY DISEASE. ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE STARTING A NEW DIETARY SUPPLEMENT PROGRAM.

        *Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural component of Hemp Oil. CBD is a Dietary Supplement. We do not sell any products made of Marijuana.
        This message contains information which may be confidential and privileged. Unless you are the addressee (or authorized to receive for the addressee), you may not use, copy or disclose to anyone the message or any information contained in the message. If you have received the message in error, please advise the sender by reply and delete the message




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      2. People who truly eat a whole plant food diet eat a lot of raw vegetables and fruits and no processed foods. You are not going to get any contamination in raw plants, only in processed foods.




        1
        1. John, you wrote: “You are not going to get any contamination in raw plants, only in processed foods.” This is not true. Many raw foods are contaminated; do you remember cantaloupe, lettuce, and the like? The most likely culprit is fecal material, from wild life in the fields or from food handlers not properly washing their hands. In fact, most folks who suffer from “GI distress” or “stomach flu” (which doesn’t exist) are actually suffering from food poisoning — from consuming contaminated food.




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          1. I wash my food throughly. I grow a lot of my food in my organic garden. I also eat a lot of raw food from salad bars such as Golden Corral. I have never had any problems with bacteria or viruses. You don’t scare me one bit Dr. J…….go take your paranoia someplace else.




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      3. Human Nutrition is about whole food, not isolates. Understanding the concept of whole food versus a reductionist approach maybe difficult for some to grasp, but has little to do with professional training and/or status. Many eminent scientists just don’t get it.




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  14. Well said Joseph, it’s refreshing to hear someone point out another perspective without going into attack mode. Unfortunately most don’t know what they are getting into, or truly understand the long term consequences. How can we, when this subject has not been thoroughly debated and studied, especially for the youth?

    Taking drugs is a roll of the dice, for many it will not be so easy to take it, or leave it. Addiction is often like that of Master and slave, the slave does as he is told. One day he says “NO more, this is taking me into the ditch!”, the next he is compelled, and back in the same trap. Others might be in the cage, but don’t so much mind the bars… for them it works. You also run into the risk of one drug, leading into another.

    I’m 100% in favor of escaping the rat race, and Living life… a high paying job does not bring happiness. From the financial perspective something like this works for many: https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/




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  15. I wonder what studies would show about the addictive qualities of consuming cannabis in different ways. I found that when I smoked cannabis, I was way more likely to want to smoke more and more often and even if I didn’t have cannabis, I’d want to smoke anything to get that fix. I’d also get headaches if I smoked once during the day and didn’t continue to smoke throughout the day. However, now that I only vaporize cannabis I never crave getting stoned like I used to and I don’t get headaches if I only vape once during the day. Now I easily go weeks or months without even thinking about cannabis and then tend to only use it medicinally, whereas before, I felt like I had to smoke very regularly and I would get strong cravings. Just another thing that I’m waiting on studies for :)




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    1. Interesting. My boyfriend bought me a little vaporizer two years ago to save our lungs, and the high you get is more mellow. Every once in a while I’ll smoke out of a regular pipe, and it’s so much more intense. You don’t get all the harsh chemicals from burning when you use the vaporizer.
      Trouble is they have not been able to do too many studies on pot because the government keeps it illegal, the pharmaceutical industry wants it illegal and also the plastics industry wants industrial hemp illegal. And I learned from BBC that the cotton industry also wants hemp illegal, they don’t want to compete with it. You would think they could just easily convert over to hemp.




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  16. Great to see the video discuss THC percentage (and show a reference to cannabidiol in some of the displayed study text).

    Looking forward to the next video!




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  17. I totally agree with you. I been waiting for him to come out with cannibas info and I’m very disappointed he’s so negative about it. After all it’s a PLANT lol. I really hope he keeps an open mind and talk about all the positive things cannibas offers. No ones ever died from cannibas so try and find a drug to match that. But to clarify it’s not really a drug. Cannibas has so so so many benefits that if he doesn’t bring some to light it will sort of hurt all his videos that I love and would make me wonder if he’s been biased. Either way Dr Greger is awesome but please do more thorough research on the benefits of the green plant of cannibas.




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    1. In other words you want a SAFE place to discuss marijuana. You only want to hear good anecdoctal evidence about cannabis. Let’s cover our ears if anyone says anything negative about our little marijuana plants.




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    2. Bobbi

      Not a convincing argument – after all, to echo your words, belladonna, monkshood, hemlock, foxglove, deadly nightshade are PLANTS lol. That doesn’t mean that it’s OK to consume them.

      Not all plants are good for us although many of those named above are actually used to produce therapeutic medications. The fact that certain plant products can successfully be used therapeutically does not automatically mean that smoking or eating or whatever these or related products by otherwise healthy people for recreational purposes will necessarily be harmless or beneficial. What does the evidence show?




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    3. My father died of a rare virus at age 83, but he spent most of his life smoking marijuana daily. He ran several successful businesses, was an athlete, successful, happy, and very relaxed. Sort of like a liberal Jewish vegan Buddha. Nowadays I have several sisters taking Zoloft daily. Well I read about it and low and behold, certain types of marijuana do exactly the same thing to your brain as Zoloft. Now does anyone wonder why the pharmaceutical industry does not want marijuana legalized?? Personally I think the biggest problem is, as long as it’s not legal it’s hard to get the right type for your individual brain chemistry. The medical marijuana nowadays is so specifically bred and concentrated that is very helpful and necessary to research the types you are buying to make sure it will agree with your brain. I personally love sativas, they are a daytime pot that does not make you tired but keeps you relaxed and creative and hopeful, the head high. The type they seem to give cancer patients is indica, which gives a stronger, heavier high that can make you tired, the body high. When I was in California recently I realized I cannot smoke Indica, it was way too powerful for me. I had to go back to the pot store and get a pure sativa like Trainwreck, which was a very light and uplifting high. Most types you come across are some kind of cross between the two main strains. Unlike alcohol, the different strains affect you very differently. People know, or they find out very fast, you only need to smoke a very little bit. I myself don’t like the edibles, because it’s very easy to do too much as they take at least 30 minutes to hit you. But the downside of eating too many edibles will be falling asleep on the couch. It’s not going to kill you. It’s going to make you eat a bag of chips and fall asleep. SO much safer than opioids and alcohol, and none of the side effects of antidepressants.




      1
  18. I been waiting for him to come out with cannibas info and I’m very disappointed he’s so negative about it. After all it’s a PLANT lol. I really hope he keeps an open mind and talk about all the positive things cannibas offers. No ones ever died from cannibas so try and find a drug to match that. But to clarify it’s not really a drug. Cannibas has so so so many benefits that if he doesn’t bring some to light it will sort of hurt all his videos that I love and would make me wonder if he’s been biased. Either way Dr Greger is awesome but please do more thorough research on the benefits of the green plant of cannibas.




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  19. Marijuana withdrawal only lasts two weeks? Yeah, right. I wish it was that short. And I wish someone had told me about withdrawal before I started!

    For me withdrawal was brutal. Constant blurry and distorted vision, wicked insomnia, nightmares, feeling like I was in a nightmare when I was awake, constant agitation, severe akathisia, inability to focus, chronic diarrhea and other digestive problems, etc. I didn’t even smoke that much or for that long, but your body can develop a dependence on it pretty fast. When you take it away, it lets you know!

    It lasted about 6 months. A friend of mine was sick for about a year after quitting pot but he had been on it longer and vaped every day.

    Be careful. Withdrawal can be brutal and it’s much worse than the researchers and health professionals are letting on.




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    1. I don’t believe you Reggie. But if you really did have those symptoms, be aware that “after this therefore because of this” has been a fallacy for almost three hundred years. The fallacy is known by its Latin: post hoc ergo propter hoc. Just because you had those symptoms after withdrawing from smoke doesn’t mean that they were caused by the withdrawal.




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      1. It’s cool that you haven’t had problems after smoking for so long. After Wood Harrelson quit last year a few of my older hippie friends started rethinking their age old habit. They got a little nervous and started asking me, “What happened to you again when you quit?” They didn’t want to believe it. I don’t think withdrawal hits everyone hard, but when it does… just hope that it doesn’t.

        It was weird, man. I thought I was going crazy. I really wanted to believe it wasn’t related to pot, but it started right after I quit. I’ve never used any other drugs legal or illegal. I’d heard stories about withdrawal before but thought they were just trying to scare you into just saying no. Like I literally thought the horror stories were part of an anti-drug campaign or something.

        I googled my problems and came across a website for people recovering from chronic pot use. There were thousands of active users worldwide who were recovered or going through it. They said to just stay off the weed, no alcohol, don’t take psych meds or street drugs, just let everything run its course, and you’ll go back to normal. And that’s what happened. I’m fine now. After six months it all just disappeared.

        When I was on that site I learned the word “akathisia.” I didn’t even know it was a thing! It’s probably the worst feeling in the world. Can’t sit still, can’t sleep, can’t focus, can’t even watch TV. I would just walk and walk and walk and shake my arms for hours at a time. Then I’d sit or lie down and just shake in bed, hoping I’d finally sleep. I could barely sleep for months, so I’d usually just get up again and walk around hour after hour, often in the middle of the night. The whole time I was sweating like I was in a sauna.

        Anyway, like I said one day I woke up and it was just all gone, like nothing happened, just like they said on the pot site. I’ve been plant-based and completely drug-free ever since.




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        1. Well my dad smoked for 40 years and then quit for a few years ( worried about his lungs) and he ended up buying an expensive vaporizer and vaped the next 20 years of his life, and he never had any withdrawal symptoms that time period he quit. I’ve quit for a year at a time every now and then, but mostly been a daily to several times a week smoker my whole adult life. I never had withdrawl symptoms. Pot can be like being on an antidepressant, and if you stop an antidepressant all of a sudden it could make you feel pretty weird, from what I have heard. My dad, once he discovered vaporizers, never found any reason to stop smoking, since it kept him calm and happy, and he was quite successful and had a happy marriage. And I also find it’s like a gift from mother nature, I don’t drink or do any other intoxicants except coffee and tea. Now you want to talk about withdrawls, coffee, oh my God! That is scary withdrawls.




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  20. Three things (NOT speaking of medicinal — I won’t touch that): though chemically, maybe not always, ppl can associate feelings w it, as in, they like to do it when getting home fr work, after a stressful time, when out w friends, to relax, etc. Hence, a habit. Additionally, I wouldn’t trust sellers for anythg: they’ll lace herb w chemicals to get u addicted or fillers to bulk it up/cut costs. Finally, it is a proven gateway drug. Ask many coke, crack, alcohol addicts how they started numbing their emotional/physical pain and they’ll tell you: pills or pot, then they graduated to harder stuff. If not for medicinal, Marijuana is dangerous and should not be used if operating a motor vehicle or other machinery, etc, and should not be considered tame, light or harmless just bc it’s (sometimes) ‘natural”. Many herbs are unsafe.




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    1. Hi S! Did you know that mothers’ milk and infant formula are gateways to eating pizza? A survey of pizza eaters found that almost all of them said that they started out drinking either their mother’s milk or formula.
      Also, almost all fighter pilots who get shot down drank it too.

      The “gateway” argument is a classic “Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc” fallacy (after this therefore because of this). I guarantee you that millions of pot smokers never “graduated” to hard drugs. Now alcohol may be a culprit because one does get mindless when drunk.




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      1. Thanks, Joseph Fleischman, for throwing in a bit of logic, an ingredient missing from most of these comments. You might have noted that some internet users show strong evidence of brain damage resulting in the use of seemingly mindless, ad hoc, spelling and grammar choices. Please, don’t use when composing sentences! (Bc ppl as in getting home fr work, etc. should not be considered tame)

        The idea that legalizing marijuana would take the dealer out of the process and provide unadulterated marijuana seems to have eluded S; he want’s the laws kept as is. That’ll fix the problem! U no?




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  21. So glad Dr G is going here….and exploring the facts.
    I’d also like to add that, not only is the grass more potent now, as he clearly points out, it (apparently) has also been selectively bred to create different effects.
    Some strains claim to be cerebral, physical, pain management, relaxation, etc..
    I have not explored these claims (not a current user), but, would like to know if the various medicinal claims are backed up by studies.

    And… THANK YOU Dr. Greger for all you do to bring facts and reality to the public!




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    1. KB, as I wrote in another comment, yes, they are breeding very specific types of pot. There are great websites devoted to explaining what all the specific strains are, like leafly.com. There’s definitely been studies and experiments showing what part of your brain is affected by different strains. Sativa strains keep you awake but relaxed and creative, and I’ve heard Mexican pot from the old days was more like this. I’ve also read that these types do a similar thing in your brain as Zoloft and Prozac. My father smoked this sort of marijuana for most of his life, and he lived a long, happy, successful life where his moto was to not worry and to appreciate life. Now when I think about it, several of my sisters are or have been on Zoloft, and it’s probably doing a very similar thing to their brains as my father’s smoke was doing. But his medicine was natural. There’s a reason the pharmaceutical industry is very against legalization, it will cut right into their profits. Now the other type of strain is Indica, which is heavier and skunky. Indicas will help you sleep and help with nausea. In my experience they are stronger and can make you paranoid. Most stains that are sold today tend to be hybrids. In states where it is legal, people can pick the exact type that will help them, some people do better with one or the other. But in places where it’s illegal you don’t have much of a choice and people might get something stronger than what they need. Typically in the old days people would smoke a whole joint but nowadays they only do one or two puffs out of a pipe or vaporizer. Many veterans say marijuana helps with posttraumatic stress better than pharmaceuticals, and it’s so much more gentle and natural. There are many people who should be smoking every day (or preferably vaping, which is easier on your lungs) just the same as doctors are now prescribing endless amounts of daily antidepressants and opioids.




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  22. Missing from Dr. Greger story is alcohol or caffeine impact at our sleep. I would be interested what he thinks about latest sleep research. There is new book now “Why we Sleep” in which author claims that caffeine impact on sleep is significant and damaging to our health. Book author recommends elimination of caffeine from diet. I was drinking a lot of green tea, I stopped drinking for 3 days and my sleep improved. After that I drink tea only in the morning (caffeine half time is about 5 to 7 hr). As of yet I do not have enough data (from personal experience) to say that my sleep is better.




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  23. I searched Dr. Gregor‘s website for silica. I cannot find anything on his website for silica. Strange, because silica is very important to bone health.




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  24. The World Health Organization has a couple of pages on the health effects of cannabis use

    http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/facts/cannabis/en/

    However, it also found that CBD appears to be safe and non-addictive and the scientific working group
    “concluded that current information does not justify scheduling of cannabidiol and postponed a fuller review of cannabidiol preparations to May 2018, when the committee will undertake a comprehensive review of cannabis and cannabis related substances.’
    http://www.who.int/medicines/news/2017/WHO-recommends-most-stringent-level-int-control/en/
    http://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf




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      1. I am not trying to be a rabble-rouser when I say that.

        People eat to 1000 and higher pounds when they eat highly processed junk food and try ten zillion diets and don’t succeed.

        We see products as innocuous and might split hairs about what addictive means, but people are addicted to just about everything in our society, based on the definition that Dr. Greger already gave.

        I know people who shopped until they have hoarders houses and who gambled until they lost everything and ended up stealing and couldn’t quit smoking long after they were on oxygen and who sat watching television for hour after hour addicted to passive entertainment and not interacting with human beings for years and, yes, I know a young woman who never interacted with her baby or toddler, because of texting and Facebook and my aunt said that she was at a restaurant and saw the same thing, a toddler sitting in a high chair and the mother didn’t look up even once, except to place her order. Kids aren’t going to Kindergarten to six now and have never had one book read to them, because their parents are addicted to something or another.

        Is it less addicting than everything else in society or just less addictive than harder drugs and alcohol?




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        1. Deb I’ve been reading all your comments and I’m wondering if you have ever tried smoking pot? You sound like you haven’t. Next time you are in one of the many states where it is legal I suggest you actually try it. But tell the sales person you want something mellow. It’s so much safer than alcohol.




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      2. You know Deb, you’re using the term “addiction” or “addictive” in a colloquial way, i.e. it’s not scientific. And this, I thought, is a forum that respects science.




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  25. Not all cannabis have THC. Hemp does not have THC, CBD strains have low THC levels, etc.

    Non psychoactive cannabis seems to be eluded into this video serie.




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  26. We could do with more Michael Gregers; no economic conflict of interest, a concern for public health and respect for the research-based scientific evidence on pot. Sanje Gupta was a dream come true for the marijuana industry. Gupta doubled down on the campaign of misinformation by the marijuana industry. He might as well have been a PR rep for the industry.




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  27. Some marijuana strains do the same thing to your brain as Zoloft or Prozac. Are those drugs addictive? Is it not better to smoke or preferably vape some natural pot every day instead of taking Zoloft? My father was a regular marijuana user for most of his 83-year-old life, and he ran several successful businesses, and was always very calm and thoughtful in everything he did. I would venture to say there was no downside, and the fact it kept his anxiety to a minimum, would indicate it was beneficial. I have used it off and on in my life, the Sativa strains are quite different then the Indica strains, Sativas keep you awake and energized but creative, I write a lot of music and poetry after smoking. Indicas are heavier and tend to make me sleepy, and in public make me paranoid. I believe Indicas may be more prescribed for cancer patients. The effects of various strains are so different, it’s not like alcohol. I have heard the older types of pot from the 60s or 70s was more Sativa. Most pot nowadays is some cross between the two types. Once it is legal everywhere people will be able to buy the type that actually helps them. When it’s not legal there is not much choice, I believe many people get paranoid from smoking because they are inadvertently getting the wrong type of strain.




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  28. Addiction may not be specific to a particular substance. Here is the new definition of addiction by the American Society of Addiction Medicine:
    > The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) just released this new definition of addiction after a four-year process involving more than 80 experts.

    >”At its core, addiction isn’t just a social problem or a moral problem or a criminal problem. It’s a brain problem whose behaviors manifest in all these other areas,” said Dr. Michael Miller, past president of ASAM who oversaw the development of the new definition. “Many behaviors driven by addiction are real problems and sometimes criminal acts. But the disease is about brains, not drugs. It’s about underlying neurology, not outward actions.”
    https://www.livescience.com/15563-addiction-defined-brain-disease.html




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    1. Exactly Prashant! Thanks for posting that. Addiction is about new pathways in the brain that are formed, not by repetition of usage, but by ingesting a substance that activates hormonal changes. It’s a neurological phenomenon. This is done by caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, opiates, and sugar. That someone continues to ingest or do something does not qualify for branding that thing as addictive. I know that “habit” and “addiction”
      are colloquially used interchangeably, but it’s a mistake that has ramifications in our understanding of subjects such as the one we’re discussing: cannabis.




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  29. As a note with regards to the comment about people titrating their intake for stronger strains of weed — a large number of the weed-related emergency room visits are due to people eating edibles, not smoking. With the lag time between eating and feeling the effects of the THC, it is common for inexperienced or “thrill seeking” users to overdo it.




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    1. So true Jordan. It’s about novices doing edibles. And if they just incubated themselves at home instead of going to the emergency rooms, they’d be fine.




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      1. Yes and I’m afraid companies and corporations will be pushing edibles because they likely have the biggest profit margin. Well they definitely have the biggest profit margin. I am not a fan of edibles at all. They always end of making me sleepy. Maybe it would be good for a cancer patient. But I think they have the potential to be overdosed on, although usually an overdose just makes you fall asleep.




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          1. I did not say they can make you fall asleep while driving. I actually have not driven on them, and I can hardly imagine anything making me fall sleep while driving. If you’re on a couch relaxing it’s a different story. But I think on any edibles there needs to be a really big notice saying to only eat as much as the directions indicate. I think edibles can be dangerous because they make them into such delicious sweet treats. I think people should stick to using vaporizers or smoking. That’s my opinion.




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  30. Not everybody’s reaction to marijuana is the same i wish everybody would quit saying it makes people lazy because when I smoke it it gives me energy like I can clean my whole house and cook dinner and still got energy left to deal with my kids and I know a good handful of people that is the same like one of my now famous friend can smoke a joint of marijuana and write a whole new album without crashing from the high so for the people who is still doing research on weed needs to widen there research and find new people for there study.




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    1. Yes, the type of strain totally dictates how it makes you feel. And your individual brain chemistry also makes a difference. For me a sativa energizes, while a Kush can make me tired. But for some people it’s the opposite. Once it’s legalized people can easily figure out which one works for them! As long as it’s technically illegal people take what they can get.




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          1. I don’t drink coffee. I don’t take tylenol. I am a very strict whole plant food consumer….mainly raw food. I use visualization, sound vibration for achieving various needs. But, I do not poison my system with mind altering drugs.




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  31. Dear friends, because caennabis legal in Colorado. Can American military people smoke it in military establishment. For example, can soldier smoke marihuanna at Cheyanne Mountain Air Force establishment, Petersen Air Force, Schriver Air Force establishment located in Denver? If caennabis legal in all United States in future, can military man or woman smoke it at Ramstein Air Force establishment near Landstuhl, Deutschland?




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