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Ginseng May Help Bring Your High Down

By Andrew Ward on August 27, 2018

Ever get too high? Not just a tad-over-your-comfort-zone high, but Earth-shatteringly high? If so, you may have experienced what some call cannabis intoxication. 

You reach this state through an overload of psychoactive effects from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and may experience panic attacks, anxiety and adverse bodily sensations, among other unwelcome consequences. In some cases, patients have turned to cannabidiol (CBD) to balance the ratios in their bodies. However, numerous other methods have been used throughout the history of cannabis and continue to this day. 

One such method involves ginseng, and it is now in the midst of a United States patent application that was published this past July. The three inventors—Paul Epner, Richard Zimmer III and Bill W. Massey—applied for a patent that covers any processed or unprocessed form of ginseng used in reducing cannabis intoxication symptoms. To achieve this goal, the applicants created a gum-base cold-pressed tablet containing 300mg of ginseng as well as other sugar alcohols, sweeteners and silica. Users chew the tablets as they would a piece of gum to release the properties of the ginseng and ease their intoxication. 

The application also highlights the presence of falcarinol in American ginseng. Falcarinol appears in ginseng root at a concentration of 14 percent and contains "special properties" that can reduce the psychoactive effects in the CB1 receptors.

With THC potency topping 90 percent in some cannabis products, there is validity in the concerns presented in the application regarding some types of intoxication. The application cites the uncertainty in cannabinoid content found in various strains as well as a lack of quality control. It went on to point out edibles and extracts as two prime areas where cannabis intoxication often occurs. 

Taming the effects of cannabis is no new effort. Ginseng joins a list of ancient methods people employ when they've consumed a bit too much cannabis. One of the more lasting methods began in 10th century Persia and has since been used for centuries. Credited to Al-Razi, he suggested drinking fresh water or eating any fruits with acid. By the 19th century, literary leaders across the Atlantic still held onto the citrus method, though the ice water theory appears not to have had the same staying power. Other ancient methods include calamus plant roots, pine nuts and black pepper. Calamus plant root, in particular, has received credit for easing the "toxic side effects" of cannabis by just smoking a pinch with your pot. 

Still, the 10th century was far from where these remedies began. In fact, another legendary genius of the time, Pliny the Elder, warned of the dangers from consuming "leaves of laughter" with myrrh and wine. If one were to partake, though, they could offset the effects with the kernels of pine-nuts with pepper and honey in palm wine. 

As a healing property for several other conditions, ginseng is regarded as a valid healing property for numerous individuals. If its application is approved, it could be one step closer to being considered a cannabis intoxication cure just as other methods have throughout history. Will it rival CBD? We’ll have to check back in as the application moves through the process. 

Photo credits: Duncan Shaffer and SnippyHolloW/Flickr

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