Ask Dr. Mitch: Ganja Facts

cbd, up close, trichomes

Dr. Mitch Earleywine is the author of Understanding Marijuana and The Parents’ Guide to Marijuana. If you have a question for Dr. Mitch, email him at

What’s the latest on cannabis and anxiety? –Woody Allen

Hello Woody,
Recent longitudinal data show that, although the plant may be popular among the fretful, cannabis use doesn’t lead to any of the anxiety disorders. Some people suffering from panic have turned to the plant for relief, but I promise that a dozen sessions of psychotherapy can nix panic so that folks can enjoy their cannabis even more!

If cannabidiol alters THC’s effects, then how can a THC test determine if someone is too impaired to drive? –Kickin Trucker

Hi KT,
Don’t get me started! CBD does decrease THC’s subjective and memory effects, but we don’t know if it changes performance on motor tasks. But that’s only the beginning of why we need roadside sobriety tests – not blood samples – to determine impairment.

Does cannabidiol turn into THC in the stomach? –Elastigirl

Hi Elastigirl,
One experiment using the enzymes and chemicals central to digestion did find that CBD broke down to form some THC – but let’s not get too freaked out yet. If this phenomenon actually occurs in humans, then children who need CBD medication to control seizures or other ailments would still be exposed to only small amounts of THC. Any sedating or disorienting effects would cause few problems, as long as the doses were taken in the evening before bed. The little tykes could also use a vaporizer with a standardized dose, too.

What is it about today’s plants that lead to more THC? I mean, a stem is still a stem, and a bud is still a bud. Where’s the extra THC? –Stevie Wonder

Yo Stevie,
Most THC is found in the resin heads of the plant’s glandular trichomes, which are bigger depending on the strain’s potency. Indeed, the diameter of these heads in a high-THC strain is often 50 percent larger than those in industrial hemp or a low-THC strain.

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