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Is Marijuana a CNS Depressant?

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Marijuana is a drug that people often use recreationally and also call it to weed. However, some even use it for medicinal purposes to cope with symptoms of chronic conditions. It can have depressant effects, but it is not a depressant. Also, it can act as a hallucinogen or stimulant. 

It contains delta-9- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive chemical that alters the mental state of the person who uses marijuana. Consuming, vaping, or smoking weed or marijuana can affect each person differently. It can have a strong depressant effect for many and may not on others. Different strains and types of plants can have a different effect on the mind and body. 

When a person uses marijuana, his stomach and lungs absorb THC in the bloodstream. This absorbed THC moves to the brain and other parts of the body. When it reaches the brain, it acts on brain cell receptors causing stimulant, hallucinogenic, and depressant effects. 

Marijuana or hemp is similar to alcohol as it contains both depressant and stimulant properties, as suggested by the National Institutes of Health in a publication. The side effects of marijuana begin quickly and also last longer than alcohol.

Many of the cannabinoids present in marijuana can cause side effects, just like depressants. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has categorized marijuana as a psychoactive drug, with hallucinogen effects. Hence, marijuana is used widely across the globe as a powerful hallucinogen, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

What are Psychoactive Drugs?

A psychoactive drug is a substance that has the potential to change the brain functions of a person. This type of mind-altering or recreational drug can lead to shifts in mood, perception, level of awareness, consciousness, and cognitive behavior or functioning. 

Regular marijuana consumption, especially higher doses, can cause unpleasant thoughts, disorientation, feelings of paranoia, or anxiety. It can affect emotions, attention, learning ability, coordination, decision-making, memory, and reaction time of a person.

Excessive usage can also interfere with work, daily functioning, relationship, and other regular activities. As these psychoactive substances are rewarding and have potential drug abuse, they can reinforce drug-seeking behaviors in the consumers, which can lead to addiction and dependence on these products. 

What are CNS Depressants?

CNS Depressants are substances that can slow or depress the central nervous system of a person. The Central Nervous system consists of the spinal cord and brain. The system is a complex network of nerves and neurons, which send messages or signals to all the parts of the body. 

CNS Depressants slow down the rate of regular activities occurring in the spinal cord and brain by slowing or depressing the rate at which the nerves of the body sends the signal. Depressants increase the amount of neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the body, which hampers the transmission of signals in the nervous system. 

Sleep medications, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates are three common types of CNS depressant drugs. Prescription drugs like Valium and Xanax are used for the treatment of medical conditions like insomnia, anxiety, and seizures. Generally, these medications are safe and effective only when used as per prescription and for appropriate medical conditions.

Even though marijuana can cause effects similar to CNS depressants, it cannot be considered as a CNS depressant. The main reason for the sedative effect of marijuana is its ability to increase the level of dopamine in the body. However, marijuana doesn’t affect the level of neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid in the body.

A study conducted in the year 2016 has clearly indicated that the initial use of marijuana can increase the levels of dopamine in the body. However, long-term use of the drug can affect the level of neurotransmitter release. When the level of dopamine in the body goes down to normal, the user may experience low energy and lethargy. On the other hand, consistent use of the drug can cause the effects of CNS depressants. 

Risks associated with CNS Depressants

Risks of CNS depressants include addiction and dependence. When depressant is misused or taken for long-term, the risks associated are even higher. Consuming CNS depressants to achieve a high can cause dangerous and severe side effects. 

When consumers combine these drugs with other substances, it can lead to CNS depression or sleepiness. Overdose can result in a significant slowdown of breathing and heart rate of a person, which in turn can lead to deadly consequences that need emergency medical attention.

Depression and Marijuana

Specific evidence for the role of marijuana in causing depression is lacking. There is only limited research on the drug due to its classification into the Schedule I category. However, some studies have shown that marijuana’s high dose can aggravate depression. People who are suffering from depression may use weed or marijuana to numb or lighten the negative feelings. Similarly, people who use marijuana may feel depressed due to the CNS depressant effects of marijuana. 

The CNS depressant effect of marijuana includes:

  • The lesser feeling of anxiousness
  • Relaxation
  • Aiding sleep
  • Reducing insomnia

However, with long term use and overdose of marijuana, a person can experience side effects like:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Memory problems
  • Slow breathing
  • Poor concentration levels
  • Loss of interest
  • Dependency and addiction to marijuana 

It needs to be noted that the classification of a drug as a CNS depressant is different from the potential effect of the drug on depression. A drug that can depress the central nervous system of your body doesn’t cause depression symptoms like insomnia, loss of interest, or sadness unless the drug is used chronically for an extended duration.

Marijuana to treat Depression

Recent studies have shown that controlled use of marijuana or medicinal products derived from marijuana can help relieve symptoms of depression. The studies have shown the correlation between marijuana and depression depends directly on the amount and duration of use. 

In 2014, the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs had published clinical research that showed the use of marijuana is associated with reduced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. The research showed that, on average, 75 percent of symptoms of PTSD were reduced with effective use of marijuana. However, scientists feel that there is a need for more research to account for variables.

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Germany: Implementation challenges of cannabis legalization

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As many people gathered to dance and listen to music at the Brandenburg Gate in central Berlin, Germany to celebrate the recreational legalization of cannabis on April 1st, 2024. Many have wondered if it’s too early to speak on whether the German government’s new law on the “controlled use of cannabis” will be a success or failure as it still leaves many questions unanswered.

The government’s objectives are simply “eradication of black market sales”. Originally this was planned to be achieved via authorised sales through licensed stores, this was later abandoned due to its conflict with European laws. As a secondary plan, under the new law consumers now have the choice to navigate two options: grow at home with the limitation of 3 plants or join a growers association which limits possession to 30 grams for those between the ages of 18 – 21, 50 grams for anyone older and only 25grams in public

Yet one thing is still at fault, these growers’ associations still need to be created. By law, they will not be able to start operating before July 1 – and to do so, they must first obtain a license with many conservative voices still fighting its implementation in certain parts of Germany

Suppose the regional authorities don’t play ball and instead decide to make setting up these growers’ associations more difficult. In that case, consumers who don’t want to start growing cannabis will continue to buy from their usual dealers. Forsmall-time dealers, the new legislation provides a certain advantage, in that it is now legal to carry 25 grams of cannabis on your person.

Another of the government’s stated aims is to lighten the workload of police officers and judges. With decades of prohibition and repression having failed to reduce cannabis consumption – quite the opposite, in fact – what’s the point in continuing to ask them to apply a failed policy? The problem is that implementing the new law is already proving to be a real headache. It prohibits smoking cannabis near minors, within 100 meters of schools, sports facilities, children’s playgrounds and in pedestrian zones between 7 am and 8 pm.

All these prove to be the first few implementation problems Germany is yet to face and we are excited to see it all come together.

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A taste of Cannabis: South African Edition

A few places that could help you experience the South African cannabis space

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We have all tried our chances with a Google search hoping to find the best places to satisfy our cannabis needs but we never seem to find exactly what we need. With 4/20 coming up, we at CannaAfrika decided to make your life easier and have created our Ganja Guide for your best and safest South African cannabis experience.

Is Cannabis / Marijuana Legal in South Africa?

As you might know, Cannabis in South Africa has been decriminalized by the country’s constitutional court for personal use by adults in private. However, there are still many ifs and buts, grey areas and fairytales.

South Africa is moving towards fully legalising Cannabis shortly. It seems weed is posed to become a major South African export. This has led to a large variety of Weed Clubs, Dispensaries, and health stores selling to the public.

Best Nationwide Online Stores:

  • Taste of Cannabis:

Taste of Cannabis (TOC), a leading CBD retailer under CannaFood International, was established in 2019 at the beginning of South Africa’s cannabis journey. Specializing in high-quality CBD products and Full Spectrum Cannabis Products, TOC addresses various health issues. The company, known for its diverse, innovative and exciting product range collaborates with experts to ensure efficacy. TOC extends its offerings to pets, pain relief, and sexual wellness to allow customers to experience the world of cannabis in many different ways. TOC originally operated online and has expanded to operate in 9 prime kiosk locations, pharmacies across Africa, and other online stores. Find them here www.tasteofcannabis.co.za

  • HighTEA CBD:

HighTEA CBD is a well-known and locally loved online cannabis edibles and vape club. HighTEA is passionate about everything cannabis related and prides itself on creating eye-catching, delicious happy products. Their wellness first mantra is evident in their delight from customer feedback on how their products affected people for the better, coupled with their fame from their CBD gummies and full spectrum cannabis oils that bring life to the small artisanal cannabis products.  Find them here: www.hightecbd.online

CBD Gummies, CBD Oil, Cannabis Products Cape Town, South Africa

(Hightea CBD Cannabis Oils and Edible Products)

  • Tubby’s Kitchen

Run by a mom and son duo Tubby’s Kitchen was started by tasting various local teas and incorporating CBD as a way to heal the body from seizures. Tubby’s vision is all about health and infusing CBD into the dining experience to provide customers with an opportunity to enjoy physical and mental healing for a balanced life. Tubby’s Kitchen fuses your love for cooking and CBD with a great range of CBD teas, pastes, and spices. Now you can choose to start your day off with an amazing CBD cup of tea and enjoy cooking with their tasty paste and spices.  And what adds even more to Tubby’s is the fact that all these products are natural and none are infused with isolate or chemically produced CBD oil. Find them on www.tubbyskitchen.co.za

Best Retail Stores:

  • CannAfrica

CannAfrica is a company that views its products as a new way of thinking and a new way of living, with a focus on healing. With its scientific approach, CannAfrica prides itself on producing products that have been carefully researched and tested to ensure great quality. As a trusted dispensary that has a ton of quality goods such as oils, gummies and coffee, CannAfrica has something that will suit your CBD needs. Their values are all about health and making your way of life a lot more easier and enjoyable. With a great online store and a few store locations in  East Rand Mall, Pretoria, Spriggs and more on the way. For more store locations near you check out their website: www.cannafricaer.com

  • Tree of Life

Tree of Life is a revolutionary health and wellness dispensary founded in 2021 which provides its patients with natural healing products. Tree of Life prides itself on providing organically grown cannabis, roots and select plant-related products which includes oils, capsules, teas and coffees. With an exclusive collaboration with DANK as its storefront provider they are continuously providing wellness and building long-lasting relationships with patients from all walks of life. The stores can be found in Hatfield, Pretoria and Bryston, Johannesburg. For more information visit their website: www.treeoflifestores.co.za

  • Canna Kingdom

Canna Kingdom is known as a one-stop shop for all things cannabis. Hosting a range of products from smoking accessories to therapeutic oils and medicinal pet drops, to growing equipment and nutrients, even infused soft serve ice cream, Canna Kingdom boasts of retailing the largest range of smoking and cannabis products in South Africa, with 4 Johannesburg locations, Parkuhurst, Malibongwe, Hillfox and Glenhazel. Their website is currently under construction but sign up for when they finally launch again: www.cannnakingdom.co.za

Best Private Clubs:

  • Hi-Grow Cafe:

The Hi-Grow brand consists of multiple sub-brands that create one united Community. Hi-Grow Cafe (NPC) is an association of cannabis consumers, cultivators, connoisseurs, and other related stakeholders supporting the growth of the cannabis community in South Africa one tree at a time. Hi-Grow provides the platform for the cannabis community to come together and enjoy the cannabis culture. They are passionate about education and the delivery of accurate information regarding cannabis in South Africa. The cafe is located in Menlo Park, Pretoria. Find out more about your membership at www.higrowcafe.co.za

(Cannabisters Club in Cape Town)

  • Cannibisters:

Cannibisters is a members-only club incorporating a herbal apothecary in Cape Town. It is a home away from home where members can share cannabis and related products privately and responsibly. The club environment is elegantly presented in the familiar style of a retail store, coffee shop and relaxed lounge area. Cannibisters also offers a few nights of the week, either classical or light jazz music and cover bands. The aim is to ensure that they create a peaceful, healing and safe environment. They offer cannabis connoisseurs and medical users a legal space to enjoy and share the herb.

Email High@cannibisters.com

  • Grow One Africa:

Grow One Africa™(GOA) aims to be a self-regulatory organisation and service provider within the recreational craft cannabis social grow club market in South Africa. They provide a self-regulatory Grow Club Compliance Model and then facilitate the opening of private cannabis social clubs in compliance with the 2020 Proposed Cannabis Bill. This model focuses on responsible cannabis use, sharing and cultivation while providing full traceability to all associated GOA cannabis social club members. GOA motto states they believe that social clubs show that it is possible to create a safe, informed community where like-minded people can practise their constitutional rights of possessing and using cannabis in private, while still complying with current legislation. Looking to find a way to start your social club look for further assistance here: www.growone.africa/clubs/

This is just a short list to introduce you to what South Africa could offer you in the world of cannabis. Stay tuned for more as we continue to update our list.

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Weedo: The new kicks on the block

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Ever since the inception of 8000Kicks and their introduction of sustainable hemp footwear, inquiries directed to co-founder Bernardo Carreira often humorously inquire about the safety of smoking the brand’s sneakers. Although a jest, the consistent stream of such queries on the brand’s social media channels augured well. Never one to squander a creative opportunity, Carreira seized upon his clientele’s suggestion by partnering with the renowned European seed bank, Royal Queen Seeds (RQS), to birth WEEDO: an exclusive collection of shoes crafted from premium cannabis blooms.

8000Kicks typically harnesses traditional hemp fibers, transforming them into footwear through a multi-stage process encompassing harvesting, retting, carding, and pulping of the source material, culminating in the spinning of yarn, which is then meticulously woven into textiles of superior quality.

WEEDO footwear, however, diverges from convention by incorporating CBD extracted from the cannabis plant. Each shoe is meticulously crafted using up to 500 grams of top-tier CBD sourced from cannabis plants. They are exceedingly sought-after, with only a limited edition of 100 pairs available. Offered exclusively on the RQS and 8000Kicks websites on a first-come, first-served basis, the steep price range of WEEDO footwear (1000-1500€/$1500USD) reflects the substantial cost and labor invested in producing such a distinctive and captivating product.

According to Carreira, the genesis of WEEDO stemmed from a collaborative brainstorming session conducted via email between himself and RQS President Shai Ramsahai, which culminated in a face-to-face meeting at Spain’s annual Spannabis cannabis expo. “We were already entertaining the idea of a collaboration,” Carreira remarks. “Upon our rendezvous at Spannabis, we formalized our intent. Amidst a plethora of unconventional concepts, the notion of a cannabis-infused shoe took root.”

What does the creation of a cannabis-infused shoe entail? Carreira elucidates that the process involves the utilization of an industrial grinder to pulverize cannabis blooms into minute fragments, subsequently hand-stitched onto the shoe with meticulous precision.

In a bid to spotlight sustainable materials, WEEDO footwear integrates cotton alongside hemp for laces, insoles, and interiors. Furthermore, to ensure the shoes align with vegan and eco-friendly standards, these materials are bonded using water-based adhesive. Moreover, their aesthetic and olfactory appeal is noteworthy.

A footwear marvel: A sneaker boasting innate aging capabilities? This further fuels the enthusiasm of sneaker aficionados for the collaboration between Royal Queen Seeds, 8000Kicks, and Nisiseltor Studio.
Visually, the sneakers evoke the impression of having been uniformly coated in freshly ground cannabis—a spectacle that is surreal, chic, and remarkably sustainable.

photo: 8000Kicks

“The most remarkable aspect of these shoes lies in their appearance, texture, and aroma,” Carreira muses. “Even with the shoe before me in my office, I find it difficult to fathom that we’ve actualized a cannabis-infused shoe. Its singularity is what renders it so captivating.”

Augmenting its novelty is the revelation that fortunate possessors of WEEDO footwear will observe a color metamorphosis over time. This phenomenon is straightforward: owing to their composition of authentic cannabis blooms, the shoes are predisposed to transitioning from verdant to earthy tones as the blooms desiccate.

A sneaker endowed with inherent aging properties? This serves as yet another catalyst for the fervor surrounding this special collaboration between Royal Queen Seeds, 8000Kicks, and Nisiseltor Studio. In fact, Carreira reports an influx of over 5000 new registrations subsequent to the public announcement of WEEDO’s impending release. With such fervent interest, could 8000Kicks continue along this trajectory with subsequent releases featuring authentic cannabis?

“It’s quite a formidable endeavor, truth be told,” Carreira acknowledges. “Presently, our focus is on finalizing the pre-sale launch of WEEDO.”

While the CEO of 8000Kicks understandably directs his attention toward the imminent launch of WEEDO, he remains open to the prospect of future fantastical and groundbreaking innovations.

“Our objective is to deliver WEEDO with unparalleled quality, leaving our clientele astounded, but thereafter…the possibilities are boundless,” he asserts. “Consider this: Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Puma—titans in the industry, yet none have ventured into this realm. Yet, we have—we’ve birthed the world’s inaugural cannabis-infused shoe.”

Remarkable, isn’t it? Ponder on that for a moment.

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