5 Ways Pot Can Kill You, Or Not
You’d need to smoke 200+ joints to OD on marijuana — but there are still risks.
Feb. 4, 2014— — intro: It’s been compared to alcohol and tobacco, but research into marijuana and its long-term health effects is still a bit, well, green.
Some experts say smoking weed can have lethal effects on the body and mind, while others say it’s less toxic and addictive than booze and cigarettes and should be legalized nationwide.
While it would take an estimated 240 joints to overdose on marijuana, there are at least five other ways the drug can put your at risk (not counting being crushed by your stash, like this Brazilian trafficker).
Here’s a breakdown of what we know and don’t know about the health effects of marijuana – a drug that roughly 5.4 million Americans use on an almost-daily basis.
quicklist: 1category: Ways Pot Can Kill You, Or Nottitle: It Hurts Your Lungsurl: text: Like tobacco, marijuana is usually smoked. And smoke of any kind irritates the lung.
Some studies have equated a single joint to as many as 20 cigarettes in terms of lung damage, causing chronic coughs and predisposing users to dangerous lung infections.
But when it comes to cancer risk, the jury’s still out: “It is not yet known whether marijuana smoking contributes to risk for lung cancer,” according to the National Center on Drug Abuse.
quicklist: 2category: Ways Pot Can Kill You, Or Nottitle: It Might Hurt Your Hearturl: text: Smoking weed can raise your blood pressure and double your heart rate – cardiovascular effects that test the old ticker.
Some studies suggest marijuana use can increase your risk of a heart attack, particularly in the first hour after use. But one 15-year study found no such effect. The drug is also linked to cannabis arteritis – an arterial disease that can lead to amputations.
quicklist: 3category: Ways Pot Can Kill You, Or Nottitle: It Can Baffle Your Brainurl: text: Marijuana can make it harder to remember and learn new things – especially in teens and young adults.
“It disrupts the development of circuits,” said Dr. Paula Riggs, a substance abuse expert and professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado. “The latest study shows that regular use when you’re an adolescent is associated with a 6-to-8 point reduction in IQ.”
quicklist: 4category: Ways Pot Can Kill You, Or Nottitle: It Can Crush Your Concentrationurl: text: Weed can also interfere with judgment, concentration and coordination, which can have deadly effects on the road. Marijuana use among drivers more than doubles the risk of being in an accident, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
quicklist: 5category: Ways Pot Can Kill You, Or Nottitle: It Can Mess With Your Moodurl: text: Marijuana use has been linked to depression, anxiety and even suicidal thoughts, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In high doses, the drug can also trigger hallucinations and paranoia and worsen the symptoms of schizophrenia.
quicklist: 6category: Ways Pot Can Kill You, Or Nottitle: Marijuana Tweet Chat Today at 1 p.m., ET url: text: Now we’d like your opinion. Join ABC News Health for a tweet chat today at 1 p.m., ET and tell us whether you think marijuana should be legal or laws should stay the same.
The chat will be hosted by our chief health and medical correspondent, Dr. Richard Besser. We’ll have marijuana experts from all over the country tweeting with us, as well as physicians, researchers and policy makers.
Step 1: Go to TwitterStep 2: Search for the hashtag #abcDRBchatStep 3: Follow the conversation — or chime in when you’ve got something to add!
3 ways to use your weed stems
Weed stems can be a gray area for the average cannabis smoker.
Can you smoke them? Should you smoke them?
If you find yourself wondering this very thing, you’re not alone. It’s a common question we get from people who are new to smoking cannabis. And since no question is a dumb question when it comes to having a great cannabis experience, let’s unpack all the details on weed stems.
What are weed stems?
Weed stems are the small, stick-like pieces that sometimes end up in the cannabis flower you buy from the dispensary. Depending on the quality of flower you bought, you may end up with a few or more stems in your haul. For example, shake bought from dispensaries tends to contain more stems than non-shake flower. Unlike the dense buds of the cannabis plant, weed stems contain very little to no THC (the main active ingredient in cannabis).
Can you smoke weed stems?
Although you may be tempted to, you should not smoke weed stems. Smoking stems from cannabis plants will not get you high due to their lack of THC. If you do decide to smoke stems, you’ll likely experience a few of the negative side effects that come with smoking, like coughing and sore throat, without the fun of a THC high.
In other words, it’s simply not worth it.
Alternative uses for weed stems
The good news is your stems don’t have to go to waste. Although you can’t smoke them, stems still have some surprisingly useful purposes in life. Here are a few of the most popular ways people are making good use out of their weed stems.
Did you know you can use discarded weed stems to help make a cannabis-infused butter? If you have a good amount of stems saved up, toss them in with the rest of your flower when you start the decarboxylation process. These stems won’t bring any potency to your final product, but they will add some cannabis-inspired umami. Butter containing cannabis is a good thing to have on hand because it is the foundation of most edible recipes.
2. Cannabis topicals
Much like the infused butter recipe, you can decarboxylate any leftover weed stems with 7-10 grams of dried cannabis. After this process has been completed, you can infuse the cannabis and stems with coconut oil. This creates the base for many cannabis topical recipes, like lip balms and lotions.
3. Cannabis tea
Another excellent way to make use of your stems is by making a cannabis-infused tea. Cannatea is a good choice for when you only have a small number of stems you want to use.
For example, our cannabis-infused tea recipe only requires 2 teaspoons of weed stems and is ready to drink in about ten minutes. This recipe is flexible and allows you to customize with different tea flavors until you find your ideal combination.
Start saving your weed stems
As you can see, the life of a weed stem can go above and beyond the time it spends in your grinder. If you want to get better about keeping your stems (given your new knowledge of their magic), we recommend that you keep a jar to collect your weed stems over time. That way, you’ll always have a fresh stash ready when you want to tackle any of these projects.
What do you think about cannabis stems?
Have you done anything special with your leftover weed stems? Are they more useful than we originally thought? We want to hear about it! Join the conversation on Twitter, or leave us a comment below.
Everything that you need to know about smoking seedy weed
It can happen to the best of us, especially when it comes to outdoor crops, as it really doesn’t take much for one lonely male to pollinate hundreds of females within a several mile-wide radius. Cannabis seeds can appear when we least expect them to, and that’s why it’s so extremely common to get a crop or a bag from your local dispensary that has these annoying pieces scattered throughout the flower.
This is one of the reasons why so many cultivators take such strict steps to avoid contamination by wearing full-body gear and even PPE that is completely sanitary and disposable, but once you’re past the point of no return, and left with a pile of weed seeds in your buds, there are only so many options. You can toss it, and lose out on all of that hard work, or you could process the plant materials along with the marijuana seeds into oil or some other concentrate, but for those who have invested their last few dollars, or prefer the enjoyment that pure flowers can offer, one question remains.
Many people wonder if cannabis is safe to smoke when it’s full of a bunch of seeds, and if it is, in fact, safe as far as the lungs are concerned, whether or not there are any other potentially adverse effects that they should be privy to. Since this is such a common problem, we feel the need to answer these questions in-depth, so that consumers know what they’re getting into when they’re inevitably faced with this scenario.
Is it risky for your health to smoke cannabis seeds?
Marijuana seeds consist of completely non-toxic plant matter, so they are entirely safe, as far as we can tell, to smoke along with flower, which means that if you find them in a bag, they aren’t going to make you sick, but unfortunately that doesn’t necessarily translate to a truly enjoyable experience, as you will soon find out.
Adverse effects on taste
Cannabis seeds are incredibly annoying when they get lodged in a joint roll or stuck in your grinder, but the absolute worst thing about them is that they taste terrible when they’re smoked, which can completely ruin the normally delicious flavors of your weed. This might sound strange at first, after all, the materials all come from the very same plant, but those yummy trichomes and terpenes that you’d normally bask in simply don’t exist in weed seeds.
Unfortunately, what they do have is a whole lot of fibrous material, so when these bits of the cannabis plant are burnt, they leave behind a distinctive and shocking level of taste that many compare to charred popcorn. It’s certainly not going to be enough to hurt you, but they could leave you coughing or with a burnt tongue feeling, and both of those things can significantly impact the flavor of your herb in a bad way.
If you’re one of the truly unlucky ones that have a crop that gets hit really hard with a foreign dose of pollen, then the weed seeds that develop could seriously reduce the quality of your cannabis, and it’s not just the taste that is impacted. Since cannabis seeds are a fair-sized, they take up a whole lot of room and add weight that otherwise wouldn’t be there, which results in a double whammy as far as potency is concerned because they also don’t contribute any cannabinoids to the harvest.
That’s right, those heavy, irritating cannabis seeds might look pretty and be attached to a fully matured plant, but they have absolutely nothing in common with the flower materials that surround them. To put it more simply, if you had one gram of two identical plants, with one that had been pollinated, the bud would weigh more, but it would have far less for cannabinoids like THC or CBD, which are the elements that influence how you feel right after taking a bit hit off of a joint.
In their absence, your buds won’t be nearly as strong or effective, which means that you will need to smoke way more to get the same results, so you’re also going to find that you go through a whole lot more weed than you’re probably used to with better quality product, and you still might not be satisfied once all is said and done. Now, of course, this isn’t the case with all seedy cannabis as there are various levels of seed production to consider, but it will greatly reduce the potency of what could have been a stellar harvest.
So now that you know what smoking seedy weed can do, it’s time to highlight one of the only real dangers of applying heat to cannabis seeds. These little balls seem nearly indestructible, and carry a wood-like texture that might have you believe that they’d burn away slowly just like a chunk of wood, but the way it works is much more like popcorn kernels which explode to produce the light and fluffy snack.
Sadly, marijuana seeds aren’t nearly as fun to watch heat up, especially when they’re in a joint or well-packed bowl, because they can and often will explode, and that can result in flying hot coals and joints that get ripped wide open due to the incredible amount of pressure. These things might not be overly dangerous, but they are something that every cannabis consumer should be aware of, as they tend to hit sensitive areas like the eyes or mouth, which can be quite painful.
The best ways to deal with weed seeds in your flower
Now that you know everything there is to know about smoking seedy cannabis, it’s time for us to discuss some of the different ways that you can choose to deal with the problem. Some are certainly more effective than others. However, all three of these solutions will work to at least reduce the effects that cannabis seeds can have on the experience of getting high.
1. Remove them manually
If you have a really bad case of seedy weed, then this might not be the best option, as it can be time-consuming to do, and even if you do manage to remove every single one, they will leave behind dried up shells that will still produce that lingering taste we talked about earlier. The best way to use this is by hand, using your fingers to gently shuffle through the bud and pinch any seed casings which should make them fall right out.
2. Make the flowers into a cannabis concentrate
If removing the marijuana seeds sounds like way too much work, and you’re open to trying or using other more potent cannabis concentrates like cannabis oil or cannabutter, then the best choice might be to toss the whole pile into the solution. Cannabis seeds might taste awful when they’re smoked, but that quality doesn’t carry over when they’re included in plant materials that are used to make concentrates. They strain right out, and you’re left with only the best element, which is why this is a preferred method of dealing with seedy weed for many cannabis consumers.
3. Use an electric grinder to break them down
If you aren’t willing to budge on the idea of a freshly packed bowl, and you’re really not interested in dedicating a whole bunch of time to the removal of the cannabis seeds, then you are left with only one option other than tossing it out, which would be a waste. Using an electric grinder will help you to avoid clogged or broken manual grinder, and it will reduce the cannabis seeds into dust so that you won’t see any sparks flying that may cause burns when you smoke them, but unfortunately, this method isn’t typically ideal, because it still leaves the strong taste that can ruin the natural flavors of your buds.