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men's health and marijuana

Keenan: A man’s guide to marijuana and its potential side-effects

The upcoming Canada-wide legalization of recreational marijuana will have all sorts of consequences, both intended and unintended. But what, specifically, will it do to the male body? Quite a lot, it appears.

For starters, pot affects males and females differently. A team of researchers from Washington State University, a state where cannabis has been legal since 2012, has given us some answers. Researcher Rebecca Craft found that, in female rats, the effects of THC were closely linked to hormone levels, with a spike in sensitivity right around ovulation.

Craft also notes that “the majority of research in humans suggests that women are more likely to be affected by cannabinoids than men, with reports of enhanced and decreased performance on various tasks.” She has also studied cannabis withdrawal symptoms, and says that women often have a harder time discontinuing pot after heavy use, with symptoms like irritability and sleep disruption. In rats, THC withdrawal has even caused changes in the menstrual cycle timing.

Smoking pot also can also affect the male hormone balance. A famous, if rather dated (1981) University of Texas study garnered wide attention by claiming that pot caused testosterone to jump up to six times the normal level right after administering THC. Then, after 20 minutes, it fell to below normal. It’s important to note that this work was done in mice who were fed liquid THC, so it may not be applicable to humans toking up at home.

More recent evidence comes from 1,221 young Danish men who were studied when they reported for their military induction physical between 2008 and 2012.

First of all, 45 per cent reported smoking marijuana in the last three months, even though marijuana is still illegal in Denmark. This study “found a significant increase in testosterone (levels in the blood) correlated to the use of marijuana.” The researchers explain the apparent contradiction with previous studies which showed lower testosterone levels by saying that those studies ignored the confounding effect of cigarette smoking. So, the jury is still out on what pot does to your T level. You might convince your doctor to order a blood test and do your own experiment if you really want to know how your body deals with weed.

What about fertility? The Danish men “delivered a semen sample” which was dutifully analyzed by the researchers. The news was not good. “Regular marijuana smoking more than once per week was associated with a … 29% lower total sperm count after adjustment for confounders.” Combining marijuana with other recreational drugs had an even more severe impact, with a 55 per cent lower sperm count.

Other fertility-related parameters like sperm concentration and motility were also negatively affected by drug use. The Danish researchers estimated that approximately 15 per cent of the men in their study might need fertility treatment in the future if they wanted to father a child.

Another gender difference noted by the University of Washington researchers was more increased post-cannabis appetite surge in males compared to females. So, expanding waistlines may become a significant problem for the Canadian male if marijuana use catches fire. This is especially true if the predictions in a recent Deloitte LLP study are accurate. That report notes that marijuana use “tapers off with age” but that the middle-aged “conservative experiment” might be a growth market. Of course, that 35 to 54-year-old guy is often struggling to keep off extra pounds.

Experts suggest planning fun distractions, so you don’t eat all the food in the fridge. It also seems that various strains of marijuana have different munchie-inducing properties.

While everything else in this article is based on serious scientific research, it was inevitable that I would stumble across some more informal studies, especially on sites like herb.co. This source suggests that certain foods may prolong the euphoric effect of marijuana. Put “mangoes and marijuana” into your search engine if you dare.

The more entertaining men and cannabis research question is, of course, is pot an aphrodisiac?

It certainly can be, though the long-term outlook for stoners is not so rosy. In 2017, psychiatrist Richard Balon of Wayne State University concluded that “low and acute doses of cannabis may enhance human sexual functioning, e.g., sexual desire and enjoyment/satisfaction.” On the other hand, “chronic use of higher doses of cannabis may lead to negative effect on sexual functioning such as lack of interest, erectile dysfunction, and inhibited orgasm.”

Balon concludes his article by suggesting that there is a need for rigorous double-blind studies of human sexuality in cannabis users and healthy volunteers. Somehow, I think he will find no shortage of research volunteers. Indeed, the October legalization will undoubtedly spawn whole new research initiatives at Canadian universities, which are now at a competitive advantage over U.S. scientists, at least in the wacky world of weed.

Dr. Tom Keenan is an award-winning journalist, public speaker, professor in the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary, and author of the bestselling book, Technocreep: The Surrender of Privacy and the Capitalization of Intimacy

 

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CBD and Cancer

CBD and Cancer

November Male Health Awareness Month: Marijuana, CBD and Cancer

Happy November! In honor of Male Health Awareness month,  lets talk  about Marijuana and CBD and how they can support those with prostate and testicular cancer.
  • Testicular cancer is cancer of the testicles that are responsible for male reproduction.  It occurs when cancer cells form in one or both testicles. These cells begin to change and grow uncontrollably and can form a mass or tumor. The cells can also invade the blood stream and lymph system. If they spread this can lead to tumors in other areas of the body. This is called metastases.
  • 1 in 250 men receive a diagnosis of testicular cancer in his lifetime between ages 15-40 years old.
  • Prostate cancer is one that begins in the gland found in men below the bladder.
    The gland produces part of the fluid contained in semen, and the urethra, or the tube that urine travels through, and goes through its center. This cancer can spread and migrate to bone marrow, causing severe and chronic pain. Or, it can reach the spinal cord, interfering with mobility, bladder function and bowel movements. As with any disease, it is important to catch -it early on.
  • 1 in 9 men receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer during his lifetime between age 35-65.

Common treatments for testicular cancer include:

  • radiation therapy
  • orchiectomy (removal of the cancerous testicle)
  • lymph node surgery
  • chemotherapy

The two common treatments for prostate cancer are:

  • chemotherapy
  • and radiation therapy.
Some of the common side effects of these combined are:
  • Fatigue
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Inflammation of the digestive tract
  • Bleeding
  • Infertility
  • Infection
  • Hair loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Malaise
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Hemotoma

Marijuana, CBD and Cancer

So how can marijuana help?  Marijuana and CBD can treat testicular cancer by improving a man’s overall quality of life by giving him back his appetite, reducing nausea, and reducing pain associated with chemotherapy.
The recommended ways of ingestion for his testicular cancer are through topicals, smoking, vaping, oils, edibles, pills, and tinctures.
With prostate cancer marijuana can actually reduce the tumor pressure, this will reduce the pain associated with larger tumors. It can also improve appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and lack of sleep.
  • The recommended ways of ingestion for prostate cancer include, capsules, sprays, edibles, vaporization, drinks, suppositories, and capsules.
Currently, there are not enough scientific studies out there that show evidence that marijuana can help with  prostrate or testicular cancer. However some would say that what we do have, is more than enough reason to recommend using marijuana and/or CBD. We have a number of true-life testimonies and real stories from real people all over the world utilizing cannabis and CBD oil as an anti-cancer treatment and as a way to support with the symptoms that come with male cancers such as prostate and testicular cancer.

cbd and cancer

Neuropathic Pain,  Marijuana, CBD and Cancer

A few studies have shown that marijuana can be helpful treating neuropathic pain caused by nerve damage. In addition, scientists have also found that THC and other cannabinoids can actually slow the growth and of certain types of cancer cells growing in lab dishes. Furthermore, there is also research on animals that would suggest certain cannabinoids can hinder the growth of certain cancer and inhibit them from spreading. We already know that CBD contains neuro-protective properties from our previous posts.
Marijuana can also help with emotions associated with diagnosis and the stressful journey that can come with a cancer diagnosis. Besides, it can relieve anxiety and depression associated with chronic illness giving the patient an overall better sense of well-being.
Now with all of that, we hope this gives you or someone you love an opportunity to live a better, more comfortable life through the gift of cannabis.

Resources

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