The Health Benefits of Cannabis
In the past few years, there has been a drive to find alternative treatments for debilitating diseases. Western medicine relies on treating a symptom, not the disease. In some cases, these diseases are not fully understood so the medical industry tries to relieve pain the only way it knows how through prescriptions.
If we look at our history, and really study the many treatments that have been used successfully, we may just find out how to better relieve the pain and even help our own body eliminate the disease. But modern medicine thinks that is witchdoctor medicine or snake oil. The cannabis plant has been used for 6,000 to 10,000 years as a medicinal and spiritual herb. It has been used as a pain suppressant, for anti-nausea, arthritis relief, Spiritual reflection, as well as an anti-microbial supplement.
People have heard of the benefits of cannabis through word of mouth. With only a little to go on, families of children suffering from chronic juvenile epilepsy are turning to a very controversial treatment method with very significant improvements. The reason it is controversial is that the U.S. Government has systematically targeted cannabis as a Schedule 1 and made the use of cannabis in any form, a criminal offense and punishable as a felony, by imprisonment. In fact, within some states that still have the 3-strikes rules of law, anyone convicted of having cannabis in their possession three times can be sentenced to imprisonment for life.
Why has the U.S. Government gone this far? Before 1937, cannabis was commonly found in many over the counter medications. In 1937, with the campaigning by Harry Anslinger, then the Director of Narcotics, the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was put in place imposing taxes on the cultivation and distribution. It then was categorized as a Schedule 1 narcotic (drugs that have no currently accepted medical use in the United States). At this time, the American Medical Association was supporting the use of cannabis as part of pain relief as well as a multitude of other conditions. Anslinger intentionally used the term marijuana, to confuse those knowledgeable about the benefits of cannabis and strike fear in those who were afraid of the influx of migrants from Mexico subsequent to the Mexican Civil War in the early 1900s. The term marijuana is a combination of two Mexican names, Maria and Juana and it offered a way to make white America afraid of the Mexican locoweed. This was a conscious effort to instill a fear of cannabis as an illegal and dangerous imported drug into the American psyche. When the Marijuana Tax Act was ratified, the AMA was unfamiliar with the term and did not protest until it was too late.
With the assigning of Schedule I status assigned to cannabis, and with President Richard Nixon’s issuance of a “War on Drugs”, any studies on the benefits of cannabis have been dealt with harshly. Currently, the U.S. Government is obstructing scientific research in marijuana by requiring all working environments that receive government grants to be drug-free. To be drug-free, you cannot be researching an illegal drug and maybe “blackballed”. Having your research blackballed is something that will follow the research team their entire career, impacting their ability to use their skills. This may actually reduce government funds available to that institution, so there is a lot at stake.
In 1974, as an attempt to show how bad marijuana was for human health, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the National Institute of Health were asked to document that cannabis caused cancer. They did not get the results they were looking for. In fact, they found that cannabis was actually responsible for reducing or battling three kinds of cancer. The DEA buried the study.
But studies outside of the United States have been very supportive of the idea that cannabis can be beneficial. In 1988, researchers identified the endocannabinoid system. An endocannabinoid system is a group of protein receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. More specifically, the brain is loaded with cannabinoid receptors (sensors). Wikipedia states that “The two most relevant receptors for cannabinoids are the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are expressed predominantly in the brain and immune system respectively.” There are additional receptors not limited to the CB1 and CB2 such as the 2-AG, TRPV1, GPR18, GPR55, and GPR119. Much about the endocannabinoid system is still being studied but this information was gathered without the help of the U.S. Government.
This information has spurred a call for more studies to document the benefits of cannabis. People know that there are benefits but they do not know anything about cannabis except that it can induce a state of euphoria. It is important to know what chemicals are in cannabis, how these chemicals contribute to better conditions and what dosages are necessary for a given individual.
The cannabis plant produces two main cannabinoids, THC and CBD but there are hundreds more such as THC, CBN, CBE, and CBT. Some of these phytocannabinoids are responsible for the regulation of appetite, immune functions and pain management. In fact, one of the most popular over the counter pain medications is a cannabinoid unrelated to the cannabis plant.
While pharmaceutical companies will look to separate specific cannabinoids and likely patent the chemical, studies have documented that each cannabinoid works better in combination with other cannabinoids leading to the concept of whole plant medication which is called the entourage effect. The synergy between compounds increases its effectiveness. Cannabis has 480 different natural chemicals, and many may be therapeutic. And taking one cannabinoid out of the plant will decrease the plant’s effectiveness. As I mentioned, pharmaceutical companies want to limit the use of cannabis but study its properties so they can isolate one or two specific cannabinoids to apply for a patent. Then the new product will be theirs to control and sell, even though it is readily available in a simple plant that many places consider a common weed. The cannabis plant has chemicals that the human body cannot function without. The human body can produce some of these chemicals independently of ingestion of supplemental nutrients, but compromised systems need supplemental sources.
Some of the newly documented uses for this amazing plant is to cure some forms of cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Lyme disease, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), glaucoma, degenerative disk disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia. It has been used to treat chronic pain, stroke and Parkinson’s as well as an anti-inflammatory, an anti-oxidant, and an in the case for AIDs sufferers, an appetite stimulant. Now even the government thinks it can cure cancer.
The political football that is cannabis is a significant challenge. In the U.S., a few states have passed laws making medical marijuana legal while others have made both recreational and medical marijuana legal. But the Federal Regulations are still on the books and enforceable. This presents an abundance of legal and logistical challenges. One can think about supply chain deliveries but banking is a big concern. Stores that offer medical cannabis cannot bank with an establishment that is regulated by the U.S. Government. So what options does that leave a store with tens of thousands of dollars to do with the money? This is only one of the regulatory problems the medical marijuana industry faces.
Statics show that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will get cancer in their lifetime. There are people who have been given the death sentence with only weeks to live, but live a good life because of cannabis.
Cancer reacts to a deficiency of required nutrients. When the body and the immune systems are not compromised, cancer cells are destroyed before they can become a problem. Proper nutrition will keep your immune system strong and prevent most forms of cancer. However, cancer is opportunistic and it develops when there is a deficiency of required nutrients for the immune system to function properly.
It has been determined that extracts from cannabis, at certain dosages, causes auto angiogenesis or apoptosis (triggers cancer cell death). When endocannabinoids (natural cannabinoid cells within the brain) or a Phytocannabinoids (natural cannabinoids cell within the cannabis plant) acts on a CB1 receptor cell in a cancer cell, it initiates a suicidal program within the cell, causing the death of that cancer cell. This process is not limited to just a few types of cancer but works with many types of cancer.
Medical cannabis supports the natural immune system to guard against cancer. There are times when cancers may not react to cannabis alone. But when subjected to some chemotherapy treatments, the cancer cells are weakened and now become susceptible to cannabis and are induced into the cell death phase.
Within the United States, there is a growing understanding that mainstream medicine cannot cure cancer. Sometimes this is because of the family trauma caused by the treatment regime and failure of that regime to cure a loved one. Watching a parent or child die from the cure is just as bad as watching that same person die from the disease.
In one case, after watching their mother’s condition slowly degenerate, a family started Myriam’s hope. Myrian’s Hope is a nonprofit origination in California that was started when the founder’s mother was diagnosed with Stage IV Glioblastoma brain cancer. They started treating Myriam with CBD oil. They manufactured it in their own home and started with ACDC oil which is a high CBD, low THC ratio (27/1).
The oil is produced by taking the raw product and chopping it up (this organization started by using a home food processor). It takes a lot of raw product to produce a little oil. From the video, it looked like 2 pounds of raw material was used to produce 70 grams of oil. Alcohol is used to absorb the cannabidiols, then start the evaporation process. Because alcohol is flammable, it can be a dangerous process. Too many people attempt this without the proper precautions. Whatever process is used, it needs to be a natural extraction method, not using methanol, or butane as these are toxic. Rubbing alcohol will be toxic. Only pure ethanol alcohol is nontoxic but it is very flammable.
Dosing is difficult.
As mentioned earlier, some states do not allow any form of cannabis consumption, some only allow CBD product and only for children with epilepsy (Utah). Some only allow a limited concentration and volume. This is problematic because some patients respond poorly to low dosages but some do respond to low dosages. Because doctors are subject to federal review, they are not allowed to prescribe medical marijuana. To do so, would subject the doctors to federal prosecution. Even if they could, there is not enough information on the best dosages for specific diseases. It is not uncommon for patients to know more about dosing than the doctor. Cannabis is not a one size fits all. Much depends on a person’s medical history. Having diabetes or high blood pressure may affect the dosing rate. There are a number of issues that can complicate the issue of the proper dose. Some people are hypersensitive and the first dose is too high (or low). However, as stated many times in this program, you cannot overdose on cannabis. Cannabis is not toxic at any dose. No one has ever died because of cannabis overdose.
Some plants will have a high THC and low CBD concentration while others may have a low THC to CBD ratio while a third may have a 1/1 ratio. More study needs to be made to determine what dosage is necessary and match that dosage to the product made by the available plant. Not all plants are the same.
Some locations have a cannabis testing lab. Make sure you get a certification documenting the THC/CBD ratio and that it is a recent test. Additionally, not all cannabis processes are green. Some may use toxic chemicals to process the plant. They might use substitute solvents because they are more readily available but also may contain methanol, which is poison, or benzene which is very toxic. Always investigate the production process.
New scientific studies are focusing on genetic testing of specific plants. The focus is to know which plant and plant seed will produce a plant that has a known THC to CBD ratio. Then it will be possible to have a more refined knowledge of ratio of THC to CBD a specific plant will produce.
Legal cannabis and its products will have a very large impact on the prescription drug industry. A very interesting is the fact that geriatric studies in Israel have shown that small amounts of cannabidiol oil improve memory by regenerating neurons. Individuals into their 90’s can benefit from the properties of marijuana. When one consumes enough THC to “get high”, your memory starts to degrade but small amounts improve one’s memory and regenerate neurons. Other studies document that geriatric consumption helps with pain management, loss of appetite, agitation and muscle spasms.
Another study is finding that THCa is a very valuable constituent and can be a much more important product. THCa differs from THC in that it is the carboxylated form of THC and is not a psychoactive form of THC. THCa is the form of THC that is available from a green plant. THCa decarboxylates when dried, producing the psychoactive compound THC. Individuals who juice the plant to obtain cannabidiols get great results when they use fresh leaves. You can freeze the leaves but once they age, they decarboxylate.
Diabetes type I is an autoimmune disease and cannabis has been helpful in animal trials (no human trials are available because the DEA will not allow it). CBD’s can be used after stroke or head trauma. CBD’s can be used to hepatic encephalopathy, a brain disease caused by liver damage. There is no traditional therapeutic agent available to treat hepatic encephalopathy. Patients with hepatic encephalopathy have 2 to 5 micrograms per milliliter of ammonia in the blood. This can cause the brain cells to change which in turn can lead to coma or death. By inhibiting the CB1 receptor and stimulating the CB2 receptor, we can manage the liver disease and the hepatic encephalopathy. So, CBD’s help to restore liver and brain function.
A list of the diseases or conditions that have been helped by medical cannabis include the following;
• Cancer and Melanomas
• Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, (CTE) or head trauma
• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
• RA (rheumatoid arthritis)
• Hepatic encephalopathy
• Autoimmune disease
• Inflammation reduction including in Multiple Sclerosis.
• Parkinson’s Disease
• Memory Loss
• Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
• Crohn’s Disease
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome
• Insomnia and Sleeping Disorders
• Reverse Aging
• loss of appetite
• muscle spasms
Some other short videos you may want to watch are :
Government Interference – Medicinal Cannabis as a Human Right | Part 1/4
Injustice & Dissatisfaction – Medicinal Cannabis as a Human Right | Part 2/4
Dutch system is failing its patients – Medicinal Cannabis as a Human Right | Part 3/4
Patients take control – Medicinal Cannabis as a Human Right | Part 4/4
For a discussion on the history of cannabis, please visit my post on the World and its Love-Hate Relationship with Cannabis.
Photos source: Pixabay