This site contains adult themes and is for age 18 and over.
This weblog is a compassionate forum for patients, caregivers, volunteers, scientists, medical and legal specialists, clergy, growers and reform organizations.
The focus will range from pioneers in various fields, to practical use and leading research.
Medicinal cannabis is an important and nontoxic addition to pharmaceutical needs that is underutilized by today’s physicians.
Before using cannabinoids, please be sure to read these cautions and contraindications. For those with cardiovascular risk factors, it can increase risk of heart attack and stroke.
Other Risks and Benefits
As with any medication, there are possible risks and benefits. Most of my patients have serious, lifelong, intractable medical conditions. Intractable means they do not respond to known prescription medications. Cannabis may interact with these medications in ways not yet fully studied by controlled clinical trials. It is an herb that contains at least 400 different chemicals including 86 different cannabinoids so far discovered. THC is perhaps the best known cannabinoid, but cannabidiol may be more valuable clinically as it antagonizes the psychoactive properties of THC allowing higher dosages to be used if needed. It has important properties of its own and is believed to be anti-psychotic. For those who use opioid medication for severe pain, partial opioid substitution with medicinal cannabis may help to relieve cumulative side effects of an opioid such as daytime sleepiness, constipation, respiratory depression or central sleep apnea.
Cannabidiol is the major non-psychoactive component of medicinal cannabis
Recent research has illustrated the importance of cannabidiol (CBD). A 2005 article by doctors Ethan Russo and Geoffrey Guy summarized its uses:
“In modern clinical trials, [addition of CBD] has permitted the administration of higher doses of THC, providing evidence for clinical efficacy and safety for cannabis based extracts in treatment of spasticity, central pain and lower urinary tract symptoms in multiple sclerosis, as well as sleep disturbances, peripheral neuropathic pain, brachial plexus avulsion symptoms, rheumatoid arthritis and intractable cancer pain.”
Searching for plants that produce CBD, suppliers will be able to clone them for the benefit of those who are wish to use medicinal cannabis,
yet avoid the psychoactive properties of THC so that they can continue to function.
Research has shown cannabis is neuroprotective in stroke, it can help anxiety, depression, arthritis, and many conditions possibly including Alzheimer’s Disease.
Investigators at The Scripps Research Institute in California in 2006 reported that THC inhibits the enzyme responsible for the aggregation of amyloid plaque — the primary marker for Alzheimerʹs disease — in a manner ʺconsiderably superiorʺ to approved Alzheimerʹs drugs such as donepezil and tacrine. ʺOur results provide a mechanism whereby the THC molecule can directly impact Alzheimerʹs disease pathology,ʺ researchers concluded. ʺTHC and its analogues may provide an improved therapeutic [option] for Alzheimerʹs disease [by]… simultaneously treating both the symptoms and the progression of [the] disease.ʺ
Two types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2
The CB1 receptor is located in the central nervous system, in neurons and many types of cells. It is most abundant in GABAergic interneurons which is where Valium has its action.
The CB2 receptor is located outside the central nervous system, primarily in immune tissues such as macrophages, spleen, and B-Lymphocytes which produce immunoglobulin, the “natural healer cells.”
Cannabinoid receptors outnumber every receptor type in the human body, and are present even in creatures as ancient and lowly as the sponge. “This ancient internal signaling system of endocannabinoids and their receptors are present in fish, reptiles, earthworms, leeches, amphibians, birds, and mammals — every animal except insects, ” according to Martin A. Lee, associate editor of O’Shaunessy’s, The Journal of Cannabis in Clinical Practice. This is taken from a forthcoming social history of marijuana, “Mellow Mayhem,” which he is writing for Scribner’s.
.The body makes its own cannabinoids
It is even in mother’s milk. The brain itself makes two cannabinoids, i.e. endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoids – as differentiated from those in the plant which are termed phytocannabinoids. Both endocannabinoids in the brain are manufactured in large amounts by microglia and inactivated by the microglia which are the immune cells of the central nervous system. Curiously, microglia express CB2 receptors, not CB1 receptors that are present in the remainder of the brain.
In Multiple Sclerosis, the hallmark of pathology is the microglia. At lesions in the brain, the defense mechanism consists of accumulation of anti-inflammatory microglia. Nonpsychotropic cannabinoids therefore “ likely constitute lead compounds for therapy aimed at reducing acute and chronic neuroinflammation, such as occurs in Multiple Sclerosis,“according to a 2009 review by Stella, Endocannabinoid Signaling in Microglial Cells. Boosting the defense mechanism by this method has already been tested in mouse models of neurodegeneration.
Microglia are profoundly involved in dysregulation of pain systems, producing cascades of pro-inflammatory molecules. When you experience a viral illness, they are believed to be the cause of symptoms such as fever, malaise, lethargy, drowsiness, headache, and difficulty thinking. They are also believed to be the cause of Gulf War Syndrome.
Recent Research on Cannabis
NORML publishes this report, below, that summarizes scientific research (2000-2010) on the therapeutic use of cannabis and cannabinoids for 19 clinical indications:
* Alzheimer’s disease
* Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
* Chronic Pain
* Diabetes mellitus
* Gastrointestinal disorders
* Hepatitis C
* Human Immunodeficiency Virus
* Methicillin-resistant Staphyloccus aureus (MRSA)
* Multiple sclerosis
* Rheumatoid arthritis
* Sleep apnea
* Tourette’s syndrome
It is hoped that the addition of this herb that has been used for thousands of years, will once again be made available to all of us.
Medicinal cannabis is a natural supplement that, with rare exception, is nontoxic, safe, nonaddictive, and hopefully less expensive than so many other choices.
The material on this site is for informational purposes only,
and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.