Categories
BLOG

is weed a vasodilator

Is weed a vasodilator

Daily CBD, light THC. If he’s going to veg out on Netflix all day, go higher on the THC, lay back and let those knees chill. Look for a topical product for his knees with THC and CBD.

By: Harry Lyles Jr.

Cannabis has moved far beyond the joints you lied to your mom about in high school. As more states decriminalize and legalize cannabis, experts are growing new, bespoke strains and creating new products — oils, tinctures, pastes, gummies, cookies, and more — that seek to target and treat different maladies. While the science behind all these is complex, the main thing to know is that cannabis has many chemical compounds called cannibinoids, and the two most abundant are Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Growers have worked out products that isolate these compounds, and both are used for different reasons — THC is responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis, while CBD is said to work as a pain reliever and mood stabilizer.

So we wanted to ask someone in the business: Which products are right for different types of athletes? To answer this, I reached out to Daniel Macris, the founder of Halcyon Organics, a medical cannabis company based out of Atlanta, Georgia.

To put Macris to the test, we provided him with different situations and asked how he would approach certain athletes who came to him.

Huge, mega note up front: Macris is not a doctor. The FDA, in its own words, “has not approved marijuana as a safe and effective drug for any indication.” This is just what he would recommend if someone was interested in cannabis treatments and came to talk to him.

THE SUPERSTAR

CBD [products] only — BEING 100 PERCENT SURE there is no THC in the product because of the NFL substance-abuse policy. [Were the tests not a factor,] I’d recommend a lot and because he has a big contract, he can afford it. Sadly, because of the NFL drug policy, I’d probably tell him to [talk to a doctor about] Valium (Diazepam) until the NFL loosens up because I wouldn’t risk my career trying CBD.

THE RUNNER

CBD three times a day. This will also help the inflammation that she has. I recommend trying light doses of different strains of cannabis to deal with the agoraphobia. THC is tricky because it can go the wrong way and make the user more paranoid and scared. I’d recommend something balanced to start.

THE BUFF

Daily CBD, light THC. If he’s going to veg out on Netflix all day, go higher on the THC, lay back and let those knees chill. Look for a topical product for his knees with THC and CBD.

THE OLD-TIMER

Full plant — balanced CBD/THC. Edibles for everything and topicals where the pain is.

THE RUGGER

CBD only daily. Stay away from THC. THC is a vasodilator, which means it opens blood vessels. This is why cannabis causes bloodshot eyes. However, for migraines, you want to constrict the blood vessels. As you see in migraine formula analgesics, they have caffeine. Caffeine constricts the blood vessels. Opening them with THC may cause the migraine to get worse and throb harder.

THE GAMER

Daily CBD with low, low, low THC. I don’t know how bad the league’s drug policy is, but with all of our pro athletes that get drug tested, I’d caution them to stay far away from THC until they retire or the leagues’ drug policies allow for it.

THE BALLER

If he’s 29, epileptic, and can play pickup ball, his epilepsy is well controlled. In fact, if the epilepsy is under control, I’d stay away from cannabis in general because you don’t want to introduce new neurotransmitter variables in his brain. Maybe light CBD for general health 10-20 mg/day. Other than that, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

THE HAIRLINE

Propecia. I don’t think there is enough beta sitosterol in cannabis to prevent DHT and use it as an effective treatment for baldness.

An expert looks at different types of athletes and offers up some cannabis suggestions.

Smoking Weed Doesn’t Mean You’ll Have Better Sex

Ian van Veen Shaughnessy is the CEO of Rare Industries in Oregon. Besides running the company, he also is a devoted chemist, who is, right now, working with his team to develop water- and silicone-based cannabis lubricants.

There’s already Foria—the popular (or at least popularly written about) THC-infused oil marketed to enhance women’s sexual health and pleasure. Although the product was talked about in the media as a lube, it actually works like a pre-lube: It’s a coconut oil product you spray on an hour before sex, or habitually every morning. Because it’s oil-based, Foria will also dissolve latex condoms. So Shaughnessy and his team are trying to create condom-friendly lubricants that also get you stoned.

“We have the same fundamental issues that Foria does, which is the transdermal uptake of THC and CBD,” Shaughnessy explains. “You have minimum an hour until it processes. Skin does what it does,” which is protect the body from outside substances. With Shaughnessy’s product, test subjects used about 2-4 grams per sexual interaction, yet don’t report feeling that stoned euphoria until way after they have orgasmed. Before his new lubricant will launch, it will also have to go through a rigorous testing period to experiment with dosage. Shaughnessy and his team are trying to even out their emulsions so every pump of their product has equal portions of lubricant and THC.

Rare Industries is a collection of extractors and chemists, not growers, but they are self-proclaimed “hippies” who believe in the molecular science of cannabis products and how it can enhance a person’s sex life. Shaughnessy used to work in a distillery making gin and various spirits, but he traded alcohol and the midwest for the west coast when cannabis laws started to change. He wanted to be a part of the science and research in this growing fringe industry. Besides, he says, “ethanol is more fundamentally destructive than cannabis.”

“Cocaine, any amphetamines, ethanol—these drugs depress your sense of empathy. Whiskey dick is a thing for a reason,” Shaughnessy laughs. “Cocaine is one of the worst. It creates a monstrous, tremendous depression of your empathy. Cannabis does the opposite. There are not very many natural drugs that actually do this. Cannabis has a unique place in the sexual pantheon because, unlike ethanol, which dulls your senses and makes you self-attuned, cannabis makes you more aware of the moment you are in with that other person.”

Weed! Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Research around the relationship between cannabis and sexual desire is contentious, clouded with myths. “The effects [of cannabis] are not guaranteed,” says Joshua Ahn, who studies marijuana for the International Cannabinoid Research Society. “Effects differ drastically according to an individual’s biology, more than [with] other drugs. It literally causes both excitation and inhibition on a molecular level, whereas other compounds tend to cause one or the other. In some people the excitation will be more pronounced, and in some people, the inhibition will be greater.”

Ahn disputes any myth that marijuana causes impotence in men. “THC is a vasodilator,” he says. “It opens up the blood flow. Alcohol, by comparison, is a vasoconstrictor when taken in large amounts. The only way I imagine someone loosing a boner from cannabis would be from over-thinking or paranoia.”

Ahn acknowledges that, throughout history, people have used cannabis as an aphrodisiac, but there is not a lot of published science about sexual function and THC. One 2007 study, which used rats, found that rodents had increased erections when their cannabinoid receptors were blocked, while another questioned the positive effects of blocking these receptors.

“This is classic cannabis controversy politics,” Ahn says. “They know those studies on rats do not necessarily carry over to humans, but by urging caution they are upholding stigmas against cannabis. I honestly feel like more research into receptors in this area of the human body will show a net benefit on sexual response, most likely connected to vasodilation and psychological stimulation.”

The only way I imagine someone loosing a boner from cannabis would be from over-thinking or paranoia.

Right now, the medical world is obsessed with CBD (or cannabidiol), which is an active cannabinoid that causes a calm, relaxed feeling. Shaughessy explains that traditionally all cannabis has CBD, but as criminal laws stiffened around the drug, growers began breeding marijuana to be the craziest stuff around. “If you are going to go jail for growing weed, you want to grow the craziest stuff you can,” Shaughnessy says. “Growers not only bred weed for higher potency, but they bred the CBD out of it. Now, we are re-discovering CBD. Kind of like when the British navy re-discovered that limes prevent scurvy.”

Unlike THC, CBD is an anti-psychotic. In 2013, CNN reported that CBD had been successful in quelling a young Colorado girl’s frequent, severe seizures, and other research has shown that CBD help certain symptoms in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Shaughnessy points out that the public really does not understand how cannabinoids work in the human body. When Shaughnessy explains it to me, he blasts through chemical names—terpenes, limonene, beta-caryophyllene—like he’s reading a grocery list. I barely catch the terminology as he rattles it off. So let’s cut to the chase, I say. What I really want to know is if he thinks weed makes sex better, or worse.

“I don’t think these inherent ‘problems’ with cannabis and sex are specific to cannabis,” Shaughnessy says, though he says he can only speak from personal experience; the data just is not there. “They are just problems with sex. This shit just happens.”

“I can tell you without a doubt [weed] has a positive effect [on sex],” Ahn says. “Personally, I find this to be largely due to the psychological effects. Unlike other compounds, like alcohol and stimulants, [weed] doesn’t interfere with blood flow. It does the opposite and enhances it.” But he also insists that marijuana has a learning curve. Ahn explains that cannabis can make experiences always feel new. If this effect is too pronounced for rookie users and they feel uncomfortable, that could easily derail a sexual situation. The extreme focus that Shaughnessy was talking about.

“I recall being a shy, 17-year-old fool, and this girl I had a crush on invited me to her apartment,” remembers Ahn. “We got stoned together, and suddenly I got so worried about how I was acting in front of her that I just split without any good reason. This obviously weirded her out.”

Get a personalized roundup of VICE’s best stories in your inbox.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.

A recent study showed that men who smoke weed have more and better sex. But other researchers say potheads might be lame—or at least paranoid—in bed.