Renowned Medical Marijuana Doctor Says Concentrates Should be Banned

Dr. Rav Ivker wants people to start thinking critically about concentrates.
Renowned Medical Marijuana Doctor Says Concentrates Should be Banned

Dr. Rav Ivker, a physician renowned for using cannabis to treat chronic pain, has said he believes marijuana concentrates should be banned.

“I think they should be illegal,” Ivker said. “In fact, I hope they become illegal. The only thing they’re good for is getting really high. But they’re high-risk, and there’s really no benefit from them.”

Ivker said that addiction is possible with “high-potency marijuana products, including concentrates — the shatter and the wax. These can contain from 80 to even 95 percent THC.”

Doctor Still Values Medicinal Cannabis

Ivker, who is the author of Cannabis for Chronic Pain and treats patients at the Fully Alive Medical Center in Boulder, Colorado, still recommends medical marijuana therapies. But he cautioned that patients have to be wary of becoming addicted.

“I advocate for cannabis as a medicine for treating chronic pain. That’s the title of my book, and Fully Alive is predominantly a chronic-pain practice, a holistic medical practice. The vast majority of my patients have chronic pain and are using medical marijuana to treat their problem, along with other modalities. And because I teach my patients how to use cannabis appropriately as a medicine, I don’t see the addiction problem among my patient population.”

Yes, Cannabis Can Be Addictive

According to research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 9 percent of cannabis users become addicted to the drug. For those that begin using as an adolescent, the rate climbs to 17 percent.

“Marijuana, like any substance or behavior that affects the reward system of the brain, has the potential for dependence and possible addiction — and that includes food, sex, and even television. THC releases dopamine in the brain, and dopamine is the neurotransmitter that causes us to have feelings of pleasure, just like food, sex and TV do,” Ivker explained.

He also said that many people erroneously believe that cannabis is not addictive, an idea that “goes back to maybe a decade or two ago, when the highest potency marijuana flower probably contained 5 percent or maybe 10 percent THC,” Ivker said.

“But today — and we’re talking about just the marijuana flower — the highest sativa strains can contain 25 to 30 percent THC. That’s what most people are smoking. And what they’re dabbing can be two or three times more potent than that.”

Young People Most at Risk

Ivker noted that cannabis concentrates are popular with young people, the group most at risk of developing an addiction to cannabis. Other dangers exist, as well.

“And even more concerning than the addiction problem is the fact that our brains are still developing until we’re in our mid-to-late twenties,” he said. “The THC affects brain function and can create a higher risk of schizophrenia, and that’s really awful. We’re definitely seeing an increase in the number of young people developing schizophrenia from the daily use of cannabis. I think that’s the greatest health risk of all, and one common denominator is that people who are at the highest risk for developing schizophrenia began using daily before the age of eighteen.”

Ivker said that different forms of marijuana, including topicals and CBD, are a better alternative for many patients.

“I strongly advise my younger patients to stay away from concentrates. A lot of them say they have friends who are dabbing on a daily basis. But when I warn them about the dangers, they often tell me that they’re going to let their friends know.”

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  1. I have suffered for decades, with severe headache 24/7 and multiple related issues including Cervical Dystonia. I suffer from neck damage and conditions from numerous accidents. I started receiving treatment in 1979 and continued going to different doctors, headache clinics and physical therapists all my life. All the regular treatments have not worked and have side effects. I was getting worse, my health was dive bombing, I was desperate. My state approved chronic headaches for marijuana treatment, I was skeptical, but decided to try that treatment. For a year I systematically tried the different lower dose forms, and a lot of CBD too, but none of those worked and I was ready to give up, it was costing a fortune! Then, one day at the clinic, a middle aged cancer patient told me that concentrate form is the only thing that works for her. So I researched, it’s complicated to use. After a half year trying cheaper intake devices, I ended up getting a really good mini nail device that allows me to exactly control the temperature and I put it on a large water pipe to cool the vapor. At just the right temperature the concentrate melts, and then by putting a cap over the bowl holding the freshly melted concentrate, it creates a vacuum when inhaling on the water pipe, and the melted concentrate vaporizes (as pressure drops, it boils), getting a well controlled, cost effective dose. Finding the right temperature is important, it shouldn’t boil before inhaling. After decades with no relief, this was the only thing that worked, it stopped the spasms in my neck. Before using concentrate, I had to wear a cervical collar all the time, but now, I am wearing a collar much less, down to almost never. Using the extreme high doses of THC helped break up a pain feedback loop and it’s allowing me to start healing, finally. I did have to get really blasted, but I adjusted, and that’s not a problem because the relief it gives me from an unbearable pain condition cannot be matched by any other treatment. For the first time, my neck damage is ever so slowly healing. I am only using this concentrated THC form temporarily, it’s definitely lowered the frequency of my neck spasms and intense knots enough that specialized physical therapy is now able to work on the soft tissue damage. Before discovering the benefits of concentrate, all prior physical therapy had made the pain and my overall health much worse. Before the concentrate THC, I had countless sleepless nights, for years, just laying in all consuming agony with no relief that worked.
    Thank you for developing and refining concentrated THC, it’s definitely extended my life, there’s no question about it.
    And, there is no question, it’s dangerous; you can overdose, I have, it is scary.

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