The emotional aspects of substance use disorder
When you are in a close relationship with someone who has substance use disorder (SUD), their frightening and dramatic emotional changes can be intensely disruptive. It’s common for the person who is witnessing these changes to not understand what is happening to their friend or loved one. Why are they so distant or suddenly paranoid? Why do they disappear for hours or days, then return and act like nothing odd has happened? Why don’t they relate to their families or friends in the same manner anymore?
When substance use becomes a long-term habit, it can wreak havoc on a user’s nervous system, overall health, and mental state. Being able to recognize the mental and physical effects of substance use will lead to greater awareness. The observer will better understand how to provide help and support if they can recognize the signs and symptoms of SUD.
When the potency of marijuana – measured by the THC content – was much lower, it had the reputation for making users laid back and mellow. However, the THC content of today’s marijuana is significantly higher than it was three decades ago. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) studies have linked marijuana use to psychosis, depression, and anxiety. Marijuana can also decrease, or even extinguish, the desire to engage in challenging and rewarding activities. If a person is normally excited about a sport, an activity, an educational effort, or a career goal one month, and a few months later, they abandon those pursuits, marijuana could be involved in that change.
The human body has developed its own natural opioid system which modulates a variety of functions related to arousal and motivation. This natural opioid system regulates social bonding and cooperative behavior. Utilizing licit opioids for the pursuit of pleasure, rather than for addressing pain, is the inappropriate application of opioids. Prolonged intake of opioids, like heroin or Oxycontin, can render dysfunctional the brain’s social bonding and emotion recognition circuits. Common symptoms of opioid abuse are the inability to cope with stressful situations, illogical reasoning, inability to prioritize, and loss of the ability to self-reflect. People suffering from opioid use disorder have trouble with regulating their emotions.
A person who occasionally uses stimulants, such as cocaine or methamphetamine, may be able to function normally day-to-day. When cocaine or methamphetamine use becomes more frequent, the mental and emotional symptoms include agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, and violence. The initial short period of euphoria, pleasure, and confidence that accompanies the initial experience begins to fade when the user may feel irritable, restless, and depressed. Only continued of use of the cocaine or methamphetamine will relieve this lowered mood, but again, only for a short while. These dramatic emotional changes may also involve thoughts of suicide in advanced cases.
Identifying signs of substance use, especially in the early stages, can be difficult. Perhaps you’ve noticed changes in your loved one’s moods or behavior that just do not add up. Or maybe your intuition is telling you there is a problem. Even if you cannot identify anything specific, it’s worth taking stock of your concerns. Speaking up and starting the conversation could save the life of someone dear to you. Recognizing the signs of substance use is key in getting someone the help they need.
If you, or someone you know, would benefit from learning more about substance use prevention and would like information on our community events, please Start Here, by contacting Charlotte Reeves, Surry County Office of Substance Abuse Recovery Community Outreach Coordinator, at [email protected] Visit our website at surrycountycares.com for more information about substance use disorder and the many resources in our county.
Charlotte Reeves is the Community Outreach Coordinator for Surry County Substance Abuse Recovery Office. She may be reached at 336-401-8218 or [email protected]
Regular Cannabis Seeds
Despite genetic breakthroughs like feminised and autoflowering seeds, sometimes, you just can’t beat the original.
Regular cannabis seeds are totally natural, without any chemical or genetic modification. They’re pure seeds bred from male and female plants, producing 50/50 male and female seeds.
Regular cannabis seeds are often cheaper than feminised ones and usually do a better job retaining each parent plant’s THC and CBD profiles.
You can collect the best regular cannabis seeds in the world directly from Seedsman, with discreet international postage and multiple payment opt ions .
Browse Seedsman’s collection of regular seeds below, using the filter to pick the perfect strain for your collection.
Why Grow Regular Cannabis Seeds?
Cannabis breeders need regular cannabis seeds too, well, breed. Unlike feminised seeds, which produce exclusively female plants, regular cannabis seeds have a 50/50% chance of being either. Sometimes, however, they can also be intersex or hermaphrodite.
Crossing different cultivars has been taking place since the cultivation of all plants began, Sometimes because you want a better yield, a higher profile of a specific cannabinoid, a particular colour or smell, perhaps. If you’re going to breed, you need a male. Offspring doesn’t happen without a male and a female.
Secondly, for cloning. Producing the same cannabis plant across a crop.
If you’re a hobby grower, you may be better off sourcing a feminised seed or an autoflower. But suppose you want the best in unfiltered cannabis genetics. In that case, regular cannabis seeds are not genetically modified and ensure that a particular variety is as close to its roots as possible.
How to Grow Regular Cannabis Seeds
Growing regular cannabis seeds is just like growing feminised seeds, really. Other than needing to watch out for a male. That being said, you need to consider a few things.
Your seeds need to be transplanted, meaning, to avoid them getting root bound, they should be repotted at least twice in their cycle. This is for the best results in terms of yield. Regular cannabis seeds can grow rigorously!
Male plants have to be removed unless you’re running a breeding program! Leaving a male in a crop of females means you’ll breed more plants but won’t be able to cultivate them for the buds. Don’t throw males out though, you can use the leaves.
Growing Regular Cannabis Seeds Basics: What Your Plant Needs
Once your seeds have arrived you can begin planting practically straight away. When you’re growing marijuana indoors, the space you choose will be really important. Many cannabis plants grow fast and they can get tall and unruly if you don’t look after them properly.
Here are the other main factors that you need to consider:
- Light: Most people know that cannabis plants need a good deal of light. Indoors you will be providing a minimum of 12 hours a day to keep your plant healthy. In the initial, vegetative stage your plants will require 18 or 20 hours a day with just a few hours in darkness.
- Ventilation: It’s one area that newbies growing marijuana for the first time tend to not think about. Make sure that your plants are well aerated as this will stop them getting damaged by mold and ensure they stay healthy and strong.
- Soil/Growing Medium: The soil you put your plants in is important and can vary slightly from strain to strain.
- Watering: It’s easy to overwater plants and once that happens it often leads to root rot. One bit growing tip is to make sure that you have great drainage for the soil. This should help avoid your planters from getting waterlogged.
- Temperature and Humidity: The other big factors are temperature and humidity. This needs to be fairly constant – not too hot nor too cold – if you want to a good yield.
Light and Growing Cannabis
Setting up your light system takes some thought. This isn’t just about a few lamps here and there. You can buy specially made grow cupboards which are really good if you are stuck for space or want to keep your plants limited to one area. Lights can be standard CFL or the new LEDs. You could go for a traditional high power sodium or metal halide lamps as well.
One thing you need to consider is the heat that these lights create. Place them too close your growing marijuana plant and you will burn the leaves and damage it. The other factor is whether you put your lights on a timer or not. This can save you forgetting to switch on or off on time – don’t forget the hours of light you expose your plant to are going to be critical.
Germinating The Seeds
There are plenty of different ways to germinate seeds and it’s not that difficult. This is where you get the seed to spring into life and form a small shoot ready for planting.
You can place seeds directly into your main pot if you don’t want the hassle of transferring later. Some people prefer to put their seeds on dampened paper towel and then transfer once they germinate just to make sure everything’s working properly. You can also buy specially made germinating stations.
Much will depend on your personal preference but what you generally need are three key ingredients: Water, a stable, warmish temperature and the right location.
The Lifecycle of Your Plant
There are two stages to the development of a cannabis plant. These are the vegetative phase where the stems and leaves grow and the flowering phase where your buds begin to develop.
The vegetative stage when growing marijuana requires lots of light. You will need your indoor bulbs trained on the plant for around 18 hours a day to keep it in this stage and this will last indefinitely if you maintain the same light levels.
The average time for the vegetative stage can be anything from 2 to 8 weeks. The longer you leave it, the more your plant will grow.
During this time you may want to prune your plant, make sure it is watered regularly and use feeding solutions to keep the nutrient levels up. The amount of work you need to do will depend on the strain you choose but the general rule of thumb is not to overdo the feeding and to allow it grow as naturally as possible.
The flowering stage takes between 6 and 12 weeks. Outdoors this will happen naturally with the daylight changing as the season moves on. Indoors you need to give it a little nudge by reducing the amount of light you provide. This means changing to a 12 hour light/dark cycle.
This all applies to photoperiod strains which tend to make up most of the products on the market. If you’ve bought autoflowering seeds, however, they will go into the flowering stage without you changing the light levels.
Harvesting The Crop
The next big decision you will need to make is when to harvest your growing marijuana crop. Most strains come with instructions from the breeder which include how long you should keep in the vegetative state and how long you should flower for.
If you want to be more accurate you need to look at the stigma of your flowering plant. This is the central stalk inside the flower and when it is ready to harvest this changes from white to orange. The other, more popular method, is to keep an eye on the many trichomes that cover the surface of the flower bud as these change from white to amber as the plant matures.
Harvesting is the fun part of growing marijuana and there are different ways to do it. The aim is to make sure you disturb the buds with their amber trichomes as little as possible. Some people focus in on these and cut round them, others take whole branches that they hang up to dry.
Drying and Curing
Even though you have harvested your crop, you aren’t quite finished with growing marijuana. The final stage is to dry and then cure your plant. First check all the buds to make sure there are no problems such as mold.
Drying requires you to have good ventilation around the cannabis and a temperature of about 21°C with low humidity. Chose a safe place to do this as it’s going to take as much as a couple of weeks. You’ll know it is finished when the stems snap rather than bend or dried petals flake off. Your buds should feel a little waxy and that’s because of the resin they contain so don’t worry about this.
Curing is about adding flavor to your cannabis and is a vital part of the process. For this you need dark and an airtight jar. Put you buds in the jar, screw the top on and put somewhere like a cupboard. For the first few days you should open the jar to let out the old air and some new in, a process that is sometimes called ‘burping’.
Curing can take quite a few weeks but the longer you leave your cannabis buds, the better it will taste. Most experts suggest anything between 4 and 8 weeks.
Mold and Moisture
SPECIAL NOTE: If you have questions about licensure of mold assessors or mold remediators in Florida, please review this Florida law. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is responsible for licensing mold assessors and remediators.
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The Florida Department of Health has developed the following information to address some of the most common questions and concerns about indoor mold, how it affects human health, and ways in which you can prevent or remove it.
What are molds?
Molds are types of fungi. They grow in the natural environment. Tiny particles of molds are found everywhere in indoor and outdoor air. In nature, molds help break down dead materials, and can be found growing on soil, foods, plants and other items. Molds are also very common in buildings and homes. Mold needs moisture to grow. Indoors, mold growth can be found where humidity levels are high, like basements and showers. Molds produce microscopic cells called “spores” that are spread easily through the air. Spores can also be spread by water and insects. Live spores act like seeds, forming new mold colonies when they find the right conditions.
What makes mold grow?
Mold only needs a few things to grow and multiply:
- Nutrients (food)
- A suitable place to grow
Many building materials (such as wood, sheetrock, etc.) provide food that can support mold growth. Even dust that has settled on these materials or furniture can be a food source for molds. Molds can grow almost anywhere there is enough moisture or high humidity. Controlling moisture is the key to stopping indoor mold growth, because all molds require water to grow. Moisture can come from:
- Flooding from the outside (storm water, overflowing lakes, streams, storm surge, etc.)
- Flooding from the indoor (overflow from sinks, tubs, toilets, air conditioner drain pans or sewerage systems)
- Condensation (caused by indoor humidity that is too high or surfaces that are too cold)
- Water leaks from outside the building (roof, walls, floors)
- Indoor plumbing leaks or broken water pipes
- Outdoor sprinkler spray hitting the walls, or indoor fire sprinklers
- Poor venting of kitchen and bathroom moisture (steam from shower or cooking)
- Humidifier use
- Drying wet clothes indoors, or not venting clothes dryers outdoors (including electric dryers)
- House plants (over watering, etc.)
- Moisture from our bodies (sweat, wet hair on pillows, breath)
- Warm, moist air from outdoors
- Liquid spills
Should I be worried about mold in my home?
Yes and no. On the one hand, there will always be mold in your home in the form of spores and pieces of mold cells. The presence of mold in the air is normal. On the other hand, one should not let mold grow and multiply indoors. When this happens, your level of exposure can increase, thereby increasing the risk of potential health problems. Building materials, household goods and furnishings may also be damaged. Mold needs to eat to survive, and it’s perfectly happy eating your home if you allow it.
What health problems can be caused by mold?
There are four kinds of health problems that come from exposure to mold: allergic illness, irritant effects, infection, and toxic effects. For people that are sensitive to molds, symptoms such as nasal and sinus irritation or congestion, dry hacking cough, wheezing, skin rashes or burning, watery or reddened eyes may occur. People with severe allergies to molds may have more serious reactions, such as hay-fever-like symptoms or shortness of breath. People with chronic illnesses or people with immune system problems may be more likely to get infections from certain molds, viruses and bacteria. Molds can also trigger asthma attacks in persons with asthma. Headaches, memory problems, mood swings, nosebleeds and body aches and pains are sometimes reported in mold complaints, but the causes of these physical symptoms are not yet understood. The toxic effects of certain molds are not well understood, and are currently a controversial topic in the medical and scientific community. There is evidence of specific long-term toxic effects from eating foods with mold toxins. Unfortunately, very little is known regarding the actual health risks from breathing in or skin contact with mold toxins. Allergic disease is now considered the most likely health problem related to mold exposures. Research into the possible health effects related to mold exposure continues today.
How can I tell if there is mold in my home, or should I test my home for mold?
Indoor mold growth can usually be seen or smelled. In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is not needed. There are no health or exposure-based standards that you can use to evaluate a mold sampling result. The Florida Department of Health does not recommend mold testing or sampling to see if you have a mold problem, or to see what kind of mold might be growing. Sampling for mold in the air can be expensive and, if done, should only be done by experienced professionals. Investigate a mold problem; don’t test.
- Look for visible mold growth (it may look cottony, velvety, rough, or leathery and have different colors like white, gray, brown, black, yellow, or green). Mold often appears as a staining or fuzzy growth on furniture or building materials (walls, ceilings, or anything made of wood or paper). Look for signs of moisture or water damage (water leaks, standing water, water stains, condensation, etc.).
- Check around air handling units (air conditioners, furnaces) for standing water. Routinely inspect the evaporator coils, liner surfaces, drain pans and drain lines.
- Search areas where you notice mold odors. If you can smell an earthy or musty odor, you may have a mold problem.
- If mold-allergic people have some of the symptoms listed above when in your home, you may have a mold problem.
How can I be exposed to mold?
Mold is virtually everywhere, floating in the air and on all surfaces. People are exposed to molds 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. Exposures increase when indoor moldy materials become dried, damaged or disturbed, causing spores and other mold cells to be released into the air and then inhaled. Elevated exposure can also occur if people directly handle moldy materials or accidentally eat mold.
How much mold does it take to make me sick?
It depends on the situation and the person. This question is difficult to answer in the same way it’s hard to say how much sun causes a sunburn: the amount varies from person to person. What one person can tolerate with little or no effect may cause symptoms in another individual.
The long-term presence of indoor mold may eventually become unhealthy for anyone. Those with special health concerns should consult a medical doctor if they feel their health is affected by indoor mold. The following types of people may be affected sooner and more severely than others:
- Babies and children
- Elderly persons
- Individuals with chronic respiratory conditions or allergies or asthma
- Persons having weakened immune systems (for example, people with HIV or AIDS, chemotherapy patients, or organ transplant recipients)
Are some molds more hazardous than others?
Some types of molds can produce chemicals called “mycotoxins”. These molds are common, and are sometimes referred to as “toxic mold”. There are very few reports that “toxic molds” inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions. If you think you have a mold problem in your home, you do not need to find out what type of mold you may have. All molds should be treated the same when it comes to health risks and removal. All indoor mold growth should be removed promptly, no matter what type(s) of mold is present, or whether or not it can produce mycotoxins.
What is Stachybotrys chartarum?
Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra) is a greenish-black mold that can grow on materials such as drywall or sheetrock, ceiling tiles and wood when they become moist or water-damaged. Not all greenish-black molds are Stachybotrys chartarum. Some strains of Stachybotrys chartarum may produce mycotoxins. Whether a mold produces mycotoxins depends on what the mold is growing on and conditions such as temperature, pH, humidity or other factors. When mycotoxins are present, they occur in both living and dead mold spores, and may be present in materials that have become contaminated with molds. While Stachybotrys is growing, a wet slime layer covers its spores, preventing them from becoming airborne. When the mold dies and dries up, air currents or physical handling can cause spores to become airborne.
Currently, there is no test to determine whether Stachybotrys growth found in buildings is producing toxins. There is also no blood or urine test that can tell if an individual has been exposed to Stachybotrys chartarum spores or its toxins.
How can Stachybotrys affect my health?
Typically, indoor air levels of Stachybotrys are low. As with other types of mold, at higher levels adverse health effects may occur. These include cold-like symptoms, rashes, sinus inflammation, eye irritation and aggravation of asthma. Some symptoms are more general – such as inability to concentrate or fatigue. Usually, symptoms disappear after the mold is removed.
How can I tell when Stachybotrys chartarum is present in my home?
Many molds are black but are not Stachybotrys. For example, the black mold often found between bathroom tiles is not Stachybotrys. Stachybotrys can be identified only by specially trained professionals through a microscopic exam or by cultures. The Florida Department of Health does not recommend that people sample mold growth in their home. All indoor mold growth should be removed, regardless of type.
How can I prevent mold growth?
Water is the key. Without it, mold growth cannot start, much less multiply and spread. The easiest way to prevent the mold from gaining a foothold is to control dampness. Keep your home clean and dry. When water stands for even 24 hours, common molds can take hold. Keeping humidity levels below 60% and venting moisture from showering and cooking to the outside are several ways to prevent the conditions that can lead to mold growth. Other ways include:
- Clean and dry up spills within 24 hours
- Dry out wet building materials and carpets within 24 hours
- Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier to reduce the indoor humidity levels below 60%. If you have a central air conditioning system and need a dehumidifier to reduce relative humidity below 60%, you should have the air conditioning system examined for problems
- Do not carpet bathrooms or basements
- Note: While most experts suggest a relative humidity of less than 60%, below 50% is best for controlling both mold growth and dust mites. Dust mites are microscopic animals related to spiders, ticks and other mites. Dust mites eat mold and dead human or animal skin scales (flakes) and leave allergenic proteins. Dust mites reduce allergen production at these lower humidity levels.
How Should Mold Be Cleaned?
Mold should be cleaned as soon as it appears. Persons who clean the mold should be free of symptoms and allergies. Small areas of mold should be cleaned using a detergent/soapy water or a commercial mildew or mold cleaner. Gloves and goggles should be worn during cleaning. The cleaned area should then be thoroughly dried. Throw away any sponges or rags used to clean mold. If the mold returns quickly or spreads, it may mean you have an underlying problem, such as a water leak. Any water leaks must first be fixed when solving mold problems. Additional guidance is available in the US Environmental Protection’s guidance: “A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home”.
If there is a lot of mold growth, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s guidance: “Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings”. Printable versions of these and other guidance documents are available on the EPA’s Publications on Mold webpage. If the moldy material is not easily cleanable, such as drywall, carpet padding and insulation, then removal and replacement may be necessary.
Should bleach or other biocides (disinfectants, sanitizers, or fungicides) be used to kill mold?
Using bleach or other chemicals to kill indoor mold growth is not needed in most cases. The goal should be to remove mold growth by cleaning or removing moldy materials. Dead mold can still pose health risks if you are exposed. Using bleach or other disinfectants on surfaces after mold removal may be needed where people are thought to be susceptible to fungal infections (such as a person with immune system problems). Should you decide to use bleach or another chemical, please read and carefully follow the label directions and hazard statements (caution, warning, danger). Do not mix bleach with ammonia cleaners or acids, because a dangerous chlorine gas may be formed.
Should I use an ozone generator to address an existing mold problem?
No. Ozone irritates lungs, and is not likely to be effective at addressing an indoor mold problem. No one should expose themselves or others to ozone on purpose. Address the cause of the mold (usually moisture) and then remove the mold by cleaning surfaces or removing moldy materials.
Who should do the cleanup?
Who should do the cleanup depends on many factors. One consideration is the size of the mold problem. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in most cases, you can handle the job yourself. However,
- If there has been a lot of water damage, and/or mold growth covers more than 10 square feet, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guideline: “Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. Although written about schools and commercial buildings, this document also helps when dealing with mold in other building types.
- If you choose to hire a contractor (or other professional service provider) to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience cleaning up mold. Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations in EPA’s “Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, the guidelines of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), the Guidelines of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMM), the industry standards published by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) or other applicable guidelines from industry, professional or government organizations.
- If you think the heating or air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold, read the EPA’s guide “Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?” before taking further action.
- If you have concerns regarding your health before starting the cleanup, consult your doctor.
- Note: The EPA suggests the following: “Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold – it could spread mold throughout the building”. Unfortunately, it is thought that most, if not all, heating and air conditioning systems in Florida will support mold growth at some point. Stopping the use of an air conditioning system due to suspected mold growth would make most Florida buildings very uncomfortable during hot and humid weather. Should you turn off an air conditioner if a mold problem in the system is found? Ideally, yes. The system should be shut down while cleaning or mold removal is performed. If the water and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, then call a professional who has experience cleaning and fixing buildings damaged by contaminated water.
Whom can I call if I suspect that I have a mold problem, or if I want more information on mold?
For additional information about the health effects of mold exposure and information on the safe removal of mold, please call your County Health Department’s Environmental Health Office, the Florida Department of Health, Radon and Indoor Air Program at 1-800-543-8279 , or review the respective mold webpages of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you have a mold complaint about an apartment, hotel or workplace, see our information on apartments and hotels or on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in workplaces.
What is the Florida Department of Health doing about mold?
The Florida Department of Health helps with mold issues through the following activities:
- Providing technical assistance and advice to the public, County Health Departments, School Districts and others
- Distributing current information and other resources on mold and moisture control
- Help you with the identification of mold problems and advise you on investigation techniques and clean-up methods
- Answer your questions about health effects and possible hazards of mold exposure
- Provide mold prevention advice into public message and disaster response plans
- Direct concerned people to the appropriate local resources or to the Florida Department of Health Indoor Air Program staff
- The Florida Department of Health does not provide mold testing.
- The Florida Department of Health does not provide support to professional consultants.
Where can I obtain additional information on the Internet?
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Florida Department of Health
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Bureau of Environmental Health
Radon and Indoor Air Program
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Tallahassee, FL 32399-1720
The Radon and Indoor Air Program is part of the Public Health Toxicology Section, Bureau of Environmental Health, and the Division of Disease Control and Health Protection.