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Marijuana Allergy: Fact or Fiction?

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Since the 1970’s doctors have been investigating allergic reactions caused as a result of handling or smoking marijuana. In 1971, Dr. Barry Liskow, Dr. Jay Liss, and Dr. Charles Parker reported that “A 29-year-old housewife had symptoms consistent with an anaphylactoid response after smoking a marihuana cigarette for the first time. Scratch testing and passive transfer studies confirmed an immunologic basis for her response and indicated that it was related to the cannabinoid and perhaps specifically to the tetrahydrocannabinol component of the marihuana plant.” Evidence Here Over the years, allergic reactions to marijuana have not been researched as thoroughly as other allergies due to marijuana’s illicit status in many countries globally as well as within many jurisdictions within the United States. One of the most recent studies conducted in 2007 and published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, concluded that marijuana allergy in and of itself is quite rare. However, further medical and scientific research will likely need to be conducted in order to fully understand people’s reactions to marijuana, not only allergic reactions but the beneficial reactions experienced by medical marijuana patients. For now, it is believed that people who suffer from allergies to the Nettle family of plants including Elm trees are more likely to be susceptible to allergic reactions from coming into contact with or consuming marijuana in different forms. This is of course because marijuana itself is within the Nettle family of plants. In case you don’t believe us. One way to spot a marijuana allergy could be the time of year that it occurs, marijuana pollen is not detected in many areas before mid-July, most years it peaks in mid-August, and it is unlikely to be detected after mid-September. It’s the truth. The allergic reaction is caused by marijuana pollen and not necessarily the marijuana plant itself, as is the case with many allergies. As far as marijuana is concerned, the pollen is only produced by male plants. A female plant that has not been exposed to pollen will not produce seeds, so many growers will kill off male plants when they are discovered or will choose to only grow feminized seeds. However, some growers use pollen to get seeds for future grows, we recommend cloning (Check out our article on cloning) as it saves time and allows you to avoid having to separate male and female plants halfway through a grow. But, back to the whole allergy thing. If you experience the following symptoms after coming into contact with, but not smoking, marijuana, you may be allergic:

• Itchy skin
• Redness where exposed
• rash or hives
• dry, scaly skin

While, experiencing the following symptoms after smoking marijuana may also suggest an allergy:

• itchy, runny nose
• congestion
• sore throat
• itchy, watery eyes (Note: this could just be a sign you’re high.)
• difficulty breathing (i.e. asthma)

Ultimately, if this is something you are concerned about, the best person to speak with would be your doctor. If you are using marijuana medicinally and were prescribed marijuana this may be an easier conversation than for someone who is using marijuana recreationally. Also, if you got to high and just think you are allergic you probably aren’t, stop being a hypochondriac, close WebMD, and find something to eat. It is important to remember that no one in recorded history has ever died as a result of a marijuana overdose or allergy, and most Marijuana Mythbusters know this already. Check out the poll. If you are one of the unfortunate souls who is allergic to marijuana our hearts go out to you, let us know and we will smoke twice as much just for you (not to rub it in or anything).

Some Myths Busted, Others Confirmed

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This article addresses some marijuana myths. Because of significant misinformation regarding marijuana over the past few decades, some myths have persisted for a long time.

Myth #1) Marijuana causes fatal overdoses.

Answer: Marijuana has caused no fatal overdoses. Over 24,000 yearly overdoses from narcotics kill Americans – this is second only to car accidents for unintended deaths. Marijuana has never played the primary role in a fatal overdose, as it does not act on the respiratory center like narcotics. Narcotics, on the other hand, may decrease the respiratory rate fatally, especially if the drugs get mixed with alcohol, muscle relaxers, or other sedatives.

Myth #2) Does marijuana stick around in the body for 30 days

Answer: This is actually true, with the following explanation. As marijuana is smoked or vaporized, THC enters the bloodstream, then about 1% reaches the brain and the psychoactive effects ensue. After a few hours, the THC levels in the brain falls below that needed to be psychoactive.

THC is lipid soluble so fat cells uptake the THC as it travels around the bloodstream. They sit in the cells for a while, then get slowly released. This can take days to weeks, so it is true that marijuana may stay in the human body for 30 days. The THC has no psychoactivity in the fat cells so after those first few hours of psychoactivity no one is high anymore. Final excretion may take a few weeks.

The bottom line is it can stick around in the body for weeks, but only remains psychoactive for hours.

Myth #3) Is Cannabis harmful to the immune system?

Answer: Research from the 1970′s evaluated the T cells of both marijuana smokers and non-smokers. T cells help fight infection and are deeply involved in the immune system. This early research showed decreased immune responses in the T cells of smokers, leading the researcher to say marijuana weakens the immune system.

However, numerous scientists have studied marijuana’s effect on the immune system since, and none have reproduced the results. No difference exists in the immune systems of marijuana smokers versus non-smokers.

When the FDA was approving the synthetic THC Marinol in 1985, they found no concrete evidence that THC reduced immune function. They looked at a large body of research concerning the effects of THC on humans.

The bottom line is that cannabis does not cause immune dysfunction in humans.

Inside Out Joint

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Just one of the many things that was smoked to celebrate on year of dedicated service to the marijuana smoking community. CHECK OUT THE MAGIC OF THE INSIDE OUT JOINT

MJMB: One year later

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It was one year ago today, April 13th, 2011, when Marijuana Mythbusters transformed from a pipe dream to reality. At the time we we’re located in Massachusetts, and we had spent about a month getting the site ready to be launched. On April 13th, the first post went live, and the rest is history. All in all, it’s been an exciting year for us, and through all the good times (and that one really bad time, just Google “marijuana mythbusters tmz” if you don’t know what we’re talking about) we would just like to thank all our fans and friends for helping to make MJMB what it is today. While we’re still working to bring our original idea to fruition and spending more time busting myths, we greatly appreciate your continued support and patronage of our site during the past year. With 420 coming up its getting to be a busy time in the stoner world. You better be ready, if the Mayans we’re right it could be the last 420 ever. Think about it. Our plan is to be in Boulder/Denver, Colorado for the big day. The High Times Medical Cannabis Cup and lots of other festivities will be taking place on the big day. No matter where in the world you will be on 420, just remember to get high, as high as physically possible. Don’t worry it won’t kill you.

We put this part in here because we know as well as you that stoners don’t always want to read. So, this picture here shows the monthly views we experienced at Marijuana Mythbusters during our first year. We look forward to continuing the upward trend, which to you means “Go click on some shit!”. So, until next time. MJMB out and Jah bless.

Determining the sex of marijuana plants

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It is very important to determine the sex of your marijuana plants, and preferably as early as possible. Only the female marijuana plants produces the buds which we all know and love, male plants on the other hand do not produce buds. Many people say that the male plants are worthless, but this might not necessarily be true, if used appropriately a male plant could be a valuable resource for your growing endeavors.

Now, for all intents and purposes and to completely contradict what we just said, male plants are absolutely worthless. In any size growing operation you would never need more than one, and as you will learn, it is better to just not keep them around. You also don’t want to be wasting your time and supplies growing a male plant that in the end won’t produce any bud. This means that the sooner you find out which plants are male versus female the better.

GROWING? CHECK OUT THE CHRONICOLOGY 101 SECTION OF OUR SITE

While the female plants produce buds, the male plants produce pollen. If the pollen from a male plant lands on the flower of the female plant (the flower is the bud), then this plant will produce seeds. This could be the reason why you would or wouldn’t want a male plant. In most cases you will not want any seeds in your weed, unless you are trying to create a self sustaining grow operation where with every batch of weed you get a batch of new seeds or if you are trying to cross breed two different strains. But, for now let’s stick with the idea that if you find a male plant you are going to want to separate it from all the other plants and in most cases probably just kill the plant. This is important to do as soon as possible because if the male plant matures it will release its pollen and likely pollinate every one of the plants in your grow room. Not only will this cause your weed to contain seeds but the bud will likely be of lower quality due to the fact that the plant had to sacrifice some of the energy and nutrients that would have gone in to producing bud to produce seeds instead.

There are some more advanced techniques that can be used to identify the sex of your marijuana plants after several weeks of vegetative growth. However, after switching your plants from the vegetative (18 hours of light, 6 hours of darkness) to the flowering stage (12 hours of light, 12 hours of darkness) it becomes much easier to separate the males from the females. But, regardless of when you determine the sex of your plants, you will always be looking for the same which in this case is balls. Believe it or not male marijuana plants actually have balls. During vegetative growth they can be identified with a magnifying glass or loop by looking at the plant’s nodes.

On a male plant you will see something like this…

Or, several weeks later, looks like this…

Identifying the sex of a marijuana plant is one of those things that is difficult to do the first time but that after doing once you will never forget. So, don’t feel bad if you don’t really see what is so special about these pictures. As we mentioned before, when you switch your plants to the flowering stage this as many of you know triggers the female plants to start making buds and likewise triggers the male plants to produce pollen. And, we definitely want to separate out all the males form the females before they release that pollen. You need to look for the little banana looking things that will be hanging down from the nodes of your plant. Check each plant thoroughly, you don’t want to let a male sneak by, and make sure to check several branches on each plant in case one of your plants is a  hermaphrodite (seriously, it happens).

They should look something like this at this stage of the game…

When these bad boys open up, its too late, and the pollen has likely contaminated your crop of sensemilla and turned it into some Mexican brick weed. So, to produce sensemilla make sure to pull males out when you notice them, take them out of the same room as the females at a minimum and better  yet kill it and throw it out. Of course if you are looking to get seeds for another round of growing you could use the male plant and its pollen to pollinate one branch of a female plant so that only that branch will produce seeds. This is best done to one of the lower branches which won’t receive much light anyway and won’t produce huge buds to begin with. To do this separate the male plant or plants from the females once you notice them, when the sacks open and release pollen gather some of this pollen in a plastic bag by either scraping it off the leaves as it falls or by shaking the branch so that the pollen may fall of. Then cover the female branch you would like to be your seed branch with the plastic bag and shake it making sure not to break the branch. Make sure pollen does not get into the air, spill out the bag, etc. when you are done with it throw it out. Mark the branch with  a small piece of string so you know which one has the seeds.

 

Just to keep things fair and balanced we’ll show you what a female marijuana plants sex organs look like in both the vegetative and flowering stages just as we did with the male plants.

On a female plant you are looking for the pistils, or these things…

Or, if you’re lucky some nice labels like these…

 

As always, if you have any questions feel free to post a comment to this post or email us at QUESTIONS@marijuanamythbusters.com. Remember to LIKE us on Facebook. And, tweet at your boys, @mjmythbusters.

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