CAN CANNABIS INHIBIT CERVICAL CANCER?

The disease that persistently plagues us today is cancer.

Cancer is an umbrella term that essentially results in gross proliferation of certain cell types throughout the body and can form (metastasize) in many different ways. The result is always the same, hyper-growth of a certain group of cells, depriving our bodies’ natural cells from properly functioning and surviving.

One particular variety of cancer that is having a detrimental impact on sub-Saharan Africa is cervical cancer.

Currently, there are a quarter million African women who die of cervical cancer a year, demanding further research into inexpensive and effective treatments. It has been known for decades that cannabis use helps cancer patients, though the science behind cannabis’s effect is not well understood.

While there are many ways in which cancer can form, there seem to be some common features, and they revolve around a cellular function known as apoptosis. Apoptosis, otherwise described as “programmed cell-death,” is a last resort effort in preventing the spread of malfunctioning cells.

The cell is at a constant equilibrium of anti/pro apoptotic signals, when the pro-signals “outnumber” the anti-signals, the cell initiates a cascade of reactions resulting in cellular self-destruction.

One common way in which cancer manifests itself is in the hyper-expression of anti-apoptotic signals, preventing the cell from self-destructing, resulting in over-growth and tumor development. One of the prominent signals in the cell that is associated with cancer growth is a protein called Bcl-2. While there is not a mutation in the protein itself, there are a series of mutations that cause the cell to make too much Bcl-2.

Recently, a lab at North West University in South Africa did a series of experiments using extracts from cannabis sativa. The researchers used a “cancer model” to perform their experiments on. (One example of these “model cancer” cells are the HeLa cells, an immortalized cell line that is widely used in molecular biology.)

It was discovered that cannabis sativa extract could not only inhibit the growth of cancer cells, but in some cases outright kill the cells.

The compound in the extract that is believed to be active is cannabidiol, better known as CBD. Researchers believe that the mechanism of action is that CBD activates a Bcl-2 degradation pathway. If you recall, Bcl-2 is an anti-apoptotic signal (keeping the cell alive), so if it is degraded, then the cell will succeed in killing itself.

Further research needs to be conducted to better understand the mechanism in detail, as well as exploring potential off-target effects. It would not be a good idea to use a drug that killed all cells!

There is an increasing need for affordable medical care around the world, and this is a potential, inexpensive treatment with the promise of saving lives.

Source : Hightimes

Why Cannabis Compounds Could Eventually Replace Anti-Anxiety Meds

Research into the potential medical uses of cannabis compounds continues apace. Among the most recent, a study delved into why cannabis is an effective stress reducer. While not conclusive on their own, the results contribute to a longer-term possibility – that cannabis compounds may turn out to be more effective and safer in alleviating anxiety than prescription anxiety meds.

The recent study focused on marijuana’s potency in reducing the stress response in regular users. Stress was measured by tracking cortisol amounts in study participants’ saliva. Cortisol, the “stress hormone,” is a reliable indicator of stress; higher or lower amounts correlate closely with a person’s response to stressful situations.

The study compared the stress responses of a group of daily marijuana users to a group of non-users. The results were consistent: regular users had a “blunted” response to acute stress. In effect, their internal stress engines had been tuned down by regular exposure to marijuana.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the effects of acute stress on salivary cortisol levels in chronic cannabis users compared to non-users,” said Carrie Cuttler, study co-author and clinical assistant professor of psychology. “While we are not at a point where we are comfortable saying whether this muted stress response is a good thing or a bad thing, our work is an important first step in investigating potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis at a time when its use is spreading faster than ever before.”

The comment that this result is too preliminary to be called “a good or a bad thing” is well-taken (tuning down the stress response too much is likely to have both negatives and positives), but it does point to the potential for harnessing a modified version of this effect down the road.

These results pair well with findings from research showing that marijuana compounds have a distinct effect on levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, which plays a key role in the anxiety response. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that acts as a brake on anxiety, counterbalancing the effects of excitatory brain chemicals like glutamate. Early research suggests that compounds in marijuana, particularly cannabidiol (CBD), enhance GABA’s effects with moderate downsides. (CBD has an impressive research profile in several areas, anxiety among them.)

Benzodiazepines, the mostly commonly used prescription anxiety meds, also affect GABA levels. The meds are effective at quickly delivering what users are seeking – an anxiety extinguishing calmness.

But that benefit comes at a cost. Tolerance to benzodiazepines, including Xanax and Klonopin, builds rapidly, requiring a user to take more and more of the meds to get the same effect. It doesn’t take long to develop a dependency that may not end. Instead of going through the well-documented hell of getting off the meds, many users choose to stay on them indefinitely. In addition, benzo side effects—fatigue, disorientation and mental fogginess, among others—are notoriously difficult to manage while trying to make it through the day. Overdose potential for benzos is also high, accounting for thousands of deaths in the U.S. every year.

While preliminary, the latest research suggests that the compounds in marijuana could eventually be harnessed to deliver anxiety relief with decreased dependency, fewer side effects and less overdose potential.

The early signs are promising, but this, like all possibilities for future medical uses of marijuana compounds, depends on the research continuing.

Source : David Di Salvo ( by Forbes )

The latest study was published in journal Psychopharmacology.

You can find David DiSalvo on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and at his website, daviddisalvo.org.

There’s no known cure for arthritis, but Cannabis works wonders

Most of us know someone — an aunt, uncle or grandmother — suffering from arthritis. It is one of the most common health ailments in the world, with more than 50 million people affected in the U.S. alone.

The term “arthritis” is actually a category that includes over 100 conditions and diseases affecting joints and surrounding tissue. Symptoms of pain, stiffness and swelling aching joints are common. Arthritis can seem inescapable and changes people’s quality of life. There is no known cure.

Despite anecdotal evidence about efficacy of marijuana for arthritis, physicians simply don’t know enough about it to engage their patients about it as a treatment option. In one study, 70 percent of physicians said they would not know how to discuss possible interactions with other meds or suggest dose.

That is a great shame since cannabis has a better safety profile than the NSAIDS, steroids and opiates that are often employed to reduce arthritis discomfort but come with increased risk of heart attack, stroke, weakening of bones and addiction. Even if patients were able to use cannabis as a complementary therapy, they could very potentially cut back on the use of harder, more dangerous meds.

It’s no surprise that cannabis could offer arthritis sufferers relief. After all, cannabis is known to be as much as 20 times more effective than aspirin at reducing inflammation and can be an effective sleep aid. Some research certainly supports those decisions.

An Israeli study found that 90 percent of medical marijuana patients stayed on their medicine regimen and most reported reduced pain and function. Researchers at the University of Nottingham noted that targeting cannabinoid receptors with medical marijuana products may help bring pain relief to knee joint pain associated with osteoarthritis.

The first Health Canada approved cannabis clinical trial studying arthritis began in 2016. The CAPRI Trial (Cannabinoid Profile Investigation of Vaporized Cannabis in Patients with Osteoarthritis of the Knee) will compare the effects of different ratios of THC and CBD as well as the short term safety of vaporized cannabis. Results have not yet been published.

Similar to other ailments, a gap exists between physician knowledge base about cannabis and patient interest. Some patients and physicians will wait until there is irrefutable evidence before trying cannabis as an alternative therapy. Others will not wait for more information and seek to improve their quality of life with cannabis now

What we do know is that as more states come online with regulated medical marijuana, more patients will have an alternative to consider, and having options is good news.

Source : Daily News

Medical Marijuana and Chronic Back Pain

Chronic Back Pain is one of the most common illnesses seen by physicians. Almost everyone has back pain at some time in their adult life. Back pain occurs most commonly between the ages of 30 and 50 due to the aging process and due to a more sedentary lifestyle that begins in this age group. The pain can be neuropathic or nociceptive. Neuropathic pain is caused by damage to a nerve. This kind of pain is felt as a sharp stabbing or burning. Nociceptive pain is caused by disease to the tissues outside of the nerves. It is felt as a dull ache or sense of pressure. Examples of these kinds of pain are a pinched nerve (neuropathic pain), and arthritis (nociceptive pain). It is frequent for patients to have both types of pain at once, called mixed pain.

Fifty percent of patients with back pain have experienced some type of trauma, such as a sports injury or motor vehicle accident. But the other fifty percent have no known cause of their back pain. Most patients who seek care for their back pain will undergo some type of evaluation that may include x-rays, CT scan, and/or MRI; occasionally some patients will have a myelogram (dye injected into the spinal cord area followed by x-rays) or bone scan (dye injected into the blood which will then concentrate in an abnormal area of bone). Many times no obvious cause of the pain is found.

Patients who have acute back pain will often improve or recover in six to eight weeks. Patients with acute pain occurring more than three times in one year or who experience longer episodes of back pain that interfere with daily activities (e.g., sleeping, sitting, standing, walking, bending, riding in or driving a car) are more likely to develop a chronic back condition. Sometimes these chronic back pain patients will have pain, numbness or tingling in their legs. Some patients with chronic pain do not respond to conventional therapy and have to find a way to live with their pain. Physicians have found that living with chronic pain is extremely difficult and can lead to opioid dependency (addiction), anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

The Treatment of Choice

Medical marijuana is increasingly becoming the treatment of choice for many chronic back pain patients. Conventional treatment therapies such as over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications – NSAIDS – (such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, or aspirin) can be helpful but can cause side effects such as stomach upset, nausea, gastric bleeding, and ulcers. Prescription medications like other NSAIDS (like Celebrex) or opiates (like Vicodin or Norco) can be effective at treating pain but can also cause many adverse and unacceptable side effects. The addictive potential of opiates is very concerning to patients who struggle with chronic pain and need relief; it is this concern that leads patients to consider using medical marijuana, a very effective treatment for chronic back pain.

In 1975, scientists began studying THC in cancer patients and found that it was a very effective pain reliever without significant or toxic side effects. Other studies followed and the conclusion was the same: marijuana safely and effectively treats chronic pain with little to no side effects. No nausea, no stomach upset, no ulcers, no addiction – many patients jokingly only refer to an increased appetite (”munchies”) the only “bad” side effect. Marijuana side effects of elevated mood, improved sleep, and reduced anxiety are welcomed by most patients and considered beneficial to having a good quality of life when you suffer daily with chronic pain.

How can medical marijuana help your chronic back pain?

You will reduce or eliminate pain, allowing you to continue being active
You will reduce or eliminate the use of potentially addictive medications or dangerous medication side effects
You will reduce or eliminate the anxiety, depression, and insomnia associated with chronic pain
You will feel better knowing that you are using a natural treatment for the pain
You will have better quality of life
Evidence for Medical Marijuana

In 1999, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued an evidence-based report on medical marijuana. It listed conditions that may be helped by cannabinoids, including neuropathic pain, acute pain, spinal cord injury, post operative pain, cancer pain, multiple sclerosis, nausea and appetite control among others.

The report says that discovery of a cannabinoid receptor in the parts of the nervous system that detect and control pain perception means that marijuana is a very promising source of pain relieving medications in the future.

The IOM found that cannabinoids are capable of giving mild to moderate pain relief comparable to codeine. In one study cited in the report, 10 milligrams of THC (marijuana’s active ingredient) yielded the same amount of pain relief as 60 milligrams of codeine. Side effects were similar with both drugs, but the THC seemed to be more sedating than the codeine. The patients taking the THC reported a greater sense of well-being and less anxiety.

The IOM also found that by combining cannabinoids with an opioid, the opioid may work better. This may decrease the dose of addictive narcotics needed to control pain.

Source: Medical Marijuana

Cannabis Topicals: A Beginner’s Guide

Cannabis topicals have been steadily increasing in popularity over the years, and for good reason. When used on the skin, cannabis-infused products like lotions and creams can have many benefits.

The main advantage of using cannabis topically is that you do not experience any psychological effects. Topicals are also incredibly easy to incorporate into your daily routine.

It’s as simple as rubbing a topical product onto any area that might be in pain, including sore muscles post-workout, itchiness from skin conditions such as eczema or even joint pain from arthritis.

If you’ve ever wanted to get the medicinal benefits of cannabis without the “getting high” part, topicals might be the answer you’re looking for.

What are Cannabis Topicals?

Cannabis topicals are products like lotions, salves and oils made for external use, and are most often used to treat inflammation, pain and skin conditions.
When used on the skin, the effect of cannabis is localized to the area of application, unlike the widespread effect when it is eaten or smoked. Another key difference between topicals and other forms of cannabis is that topicals do not produce a mental high.

“If you have tennis elbow and your elbow hurts, you can eat a cannabis brownie and it’ll go through your digestive system and enter your bloodstream and reach all parts of your body,” explains Ramona Rubin, founder of the topical cannabis company Doc Green’s in California.

“Or you can rub lotion on your elbow where it hurts and almost instantaneously you get a localized effect—very quickly and very effectively, and without any psychoactive effect.”

Different forms of cannabis topicals have been used throughout history. In early Indian medicine, for instance, cannabis was mixed with other ingredients to make a surgical anesthetic.

According to the East West School of Planetary Herbology, other ancient examples include a Tibetan treatment for itchy skin and traditional Arabic remedies for skin ailments and hair growth.

Despite being one of the safest and easiest methods of using cannabis, topicals are also one of the lesser known and utilized.

“The prohibition mentality has shifted things,” Rubin says. “I think we’ve forgotten a lot of the common uses. So we see what we do as a big education campaign. [Topicals are] one of the first forms of cannabis people should be exposed to.”

How Do Topicals Work?

When topicals are used, the chemicals from cannabis are absorbed through the skin and garner a response from the endocannabinoid system, a biological system that helps regulate many of the body’s functions.

Cannabinoids are the chemicals that activate our endocannabinoid system. They include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and other compounds found in the cannabis plant.

CB1 and CB2 Receptors

We have cannabinoid receptors throughout our body that receive these chemical signals.

“The body contains two main cannabinoid receptors: CB1, the psychoactive receptor that also mediates pain and many other functions, and CB2, a non-psychoactive receptor that mediates pain and inflammation,” says Ethan Russo, MD, a cannabinoid researcher and the former president of the International Cannabinoid Research Society(ICRS).

“Both are operative in the skin and affect pain, itch and inflammation associated with many dermatological conditions.”

CB1 and CB2 receptors are abundant in our skin’s epidermal cells and sensory nerves, according to a study in the Journal of Dermatological Science. They are also found on mast cells, which are linked to inflammatory and allergic responses.

When topicals are applied, cannabinoids bind to the receptors in the skin, muscle tissue and local nerves. THC binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors in the skin, says Dr. Russo.

CBD does not work by binding to CB1 receptors, but rather by inhibiting production of the enzyme that breaks down an important endocannabinoid called anandamide, thus allowing that therapeutic neurotransmitter to flourish.

Non-Psychoactive Effect

“THC and CBD work through independent mechanisms in a complementary fashion,” says Dr. Russo. “Both work well on the skin, but are poorly absorbed via this route.”

This is why topicals work differently in the body than cannabis that is eaten or inhaled, producing a targeted, localized effect on the afflicted area and not resulting in the user becoming stoned.

“The skin is a difficult barrier to broach with medications,” Dr. Russo explains. “There are layers that require a drug to be water-soluble and others that must be lipid (fat) soluble. Cannabinoids are lipophilic (fat-loving) and do not penetrate readily into the bloodstream.”

For THC to have a psychoactive effect, it needs to enter the bloodstream and pass the blood-brain barrier to reach the brain.

A study published in the journal Forensic Science International found that THC does not show up in blood or urine tests after consistent use of THC-based topical products.

Types of Cannabis Topicals

Topicals come in many forms, including body lotions, salves, balms, oils, body sprays, and transdermal gels and patches. They can be made with CBD, THC, or THCA (the non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in raw plants).

The most common types of topicals are fat-based products like oils and salves, or alcohol-based products, such as lotions and tinctures.

Extraction Process

Heating methods, such as a process called decarboxylation, are typically used to heat and activate the THC in cannabis. However, some brands—like Doc Green’s—opt for a raw, heat-free extraction method.

Doc Green’s Healing Cream uses an ethanol, pure alcohol extraction. Its CannaBalm, which is about five times as potent, is made from a CO2 concentrate.

“Carbon dioxide is a gas in the air at normal temperatures and pressures, and when it’s warmed and pressurized it goes from a gas state to something more like a liquid state,” Rubin says of the process.

In this “supercritical CO2 state,” it acts as a solvent on the cannabis—passing through the plant material, dissolving the cannabinoids, terpenes, resinous compounds, polyphenols, and more, before passing into another chamber where the CO2 is restored to a gas form.

“You’re leaving behind the chlorophyll, the ligands, and the plant structural elements, and getting a very pure, very clean, concentrated resin of the cannabis medicine,” explains Rubin.

Another benefit of using raw THCA is that there is no cannabis smell in the end product.

Popular Brands/Products

The topicals market is expanding, and Doc Green’s is joined by popular brands including Colorado’s Mary’s Medicinals, which is best known for its transdermal patches and transdermal gel pens that offer a slow, constant release of cannabinoids.

The company offers CBD and CBN-based products which are non-psychoactive. The THC versions of these products, on the other hand, do have a psychoactive effect.

Other popular brands include Whoopi & Maya (Whoopi Goldberg’s line of products aimed at relieving menstrual pain), Veda Balm, Mary Jane’s Medicinals, and HerbaBuena, in the Bay Area.

Although topicals are non-psychotropic, they are still largely treated like other cannabis products under the law. As such, availability and legal status depend on the laws in the state/country in which they are being sold.

Legalization in the U.S. would likely boost the use of topicals. In a survey, 79 percent of American Herbal Guild members said they would use cannabis clinically if federal law didn’t prohibit it.

Benefits and Uses of Topicals

Alicia Rose, with HerbaBuena, says the company has found THC to be most helpful for pain relief and THCA for fighting inflammation.

During the decarboxylating process, THCA becomes THC. Rubin, with Doc Green’s, explains that THCA products are still medicinally active, even though they are not psychoactive.

“They are so amazingly versatile,” Rubin says, adding that customers use Doc Green’s for treating injuries, aches, pains, cramps, spasms, sore muscles, headaches, insect bites and stings, pain from gout, menstrual cramps, and more.

Research on the efficacy and mechanization of topicals is lacking due to cannabis’s classification as a Schedule 1 drug in the United States and its status as only medicinally legal in Canada.

While a spike in this research in recent years has demonstrated the promising health potential of topical cannabis, there is still, in Rubin’s words, “a real need for more research and understanding.”

Studies on Cannabis Topicals

Existing research has focused on their potential for treating inflammation, pain and uncomfortable skin conditions (such as psoriasis and dermatitis).

A study on THC’s use for allergic inflammation out of the University of Bonn’s Department of Dermatology and Allergy concluded that cannabinoids should be “harnessed …for the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases.”

A 2009 study published in the journal Experimental Dermatology found that cannabinoids “seem to have immunosuppressive properties and could be considered as potential anti-inflammatory drugs.”

Additionally, the researchers concluded that topically administered cannabis has potential for its antipruritic (anti-itching) effect and pain relief.

“On the basis of the current knowledge, therapeutic possibilities of cannabinoid usage in skin diseases seem to be unquestionable,” wrote the study’s authors. “Possibly, in the future, cannabinoids will be widely applied to treat pruritus, inflammatory skin diseases and even skin cancers.”

According to the organization Americans for Safe Access, in addition to pain relief and reducing inflammation, “anecdotal reports on topical treatment efficacy” include superficial wounds, herpes, hemorrhoids, menstrual pains, migraine pain and more.

For links to additional studies, see MJCreams.ca’s list.

How To Use Cannabis Topicals

Topicals should be used as directed on a product-by-product basis, but, generally, they can be used liberally and often because there is no risk of overuse or abuse.

Doc Green’s recommends new users start with a small fingertip of its Healing Cream to gauge how much they need.

The effects last one to four hours, but Rubin says it can be reapplied as much as needed thanks to “a complete lack of side effects”—unless you count “very soft skin” as a side effect.

Since every person’s endocannabinoid system is unique, reactions may vary.

“Each person has an endocannabinoid tone that is a function of the number of cannabinoid receptors, levels of endocannabinoids, and prior experience with cannabinoids drugs, if any,” explains Dr. Russo, the researcher and former ICRS president. “On the skin, they may also have different reactions.”

Many cannabis lotions, oils and balms are made with a variety of other essential oils and ingredients. With this in mind, people with allergies and sensitive skin should take caution when trying a new topical.

Additionally, people with sensitivity or allergic reactions to airborne plant pollens may develop hives or itchy skin from contact with cannabis. Individuals who cannot use alcohol-containing products should avoid those made with pure alcohol extracts.

For everyone else, Rubin says the most important directive for using topicals is to remember to use them. Rose, of HerbaBuena, gives similar advice: “Use them liberally when and where it hurts.”

Source : Laef Science

Cannabis for Osteoporosis Prevention

Osteoporosis (brittle bone disease) is a degenerative bone disorder characterized by progressive loss of bone tissue followed by multiple, pathological fractures and related disabilities. Brittle bone disease is comparatively more prevalent in elderly women than in elderly men, possibly due to hormonal causes. Approximately 10 million people in the U.S. suffer with osteoporosis, and nearly 34 million people are at risk of developing this bone disease.

At present, bisphosphonates are the approved medications to prevent and treat osteoporosis. To treat osteoporosis, those afflicted with osteoporosis have to suffer moderate to serious side effects of these drugs, which include esophageal inflammation, nausea, abnormal heart beat, and even bone damage of the jaw. Even if someone is ready to tolerate these side effects, apparently there are no treatment benefits in the long run. Yes, after five years or so, the patient runs the risk of developing brittle bones or related bone fracture, even if the patient is put on bisphosphonates treatment.

Given these undesirable, serious side effects and inefficacy, a safer and effective alternative is being sought after by the patients, as well as the medical research community.

Cannabinoid Receptors and Bone Turnover

In most biological organisms, including humans, the presence of functional endocannabinoids and their potential physiological roles were discovered way back. Recently, researchers have discovered the presence of cannabinoid receptors in bone tissues. CB2 is predominantly expressed in osteoblasts (bone-forming cells) and osteoclasts (bone resorbing cells). It has been shown that cannabinoid receptors are vital for regulation of bone metabolism. Physiologically, the balance between osteoblasts and osteoclasts is vital for maintenance of optimal bone health. As we age, the balance gets impaired, and leads to bone density loss and osteoporosis.

Although bone structures are appreciably regulated by CB2 receptors, CB1 receptor-deficient experimental animals have been shown to suffer increased bone resorption with reduced bone formation. Similarly, CB2-deficient experimental animals remarkably suffer age dependent low bone density, trabecular bone loss and related fractures. Surprisingly, activation of CB2 receptors has inhibited bone resorption and stimulated bone formation.

CB2 is predominantly expressed in osteoclasts, osteoblasts and osteocytes. CB2 agonists, including cannabidiol, can modulate these receptors’ functions and notably, CBD does not possess psychotrophic effects. These agonists enhance osteoblast count and activity while inhibiting osteoclast precursor proliferation and expression of osteoblasts. These properties facilitate stimulation of endocortical bone formation, suppression of bone loss and help the body to maintain normal bone mass.

Among these receptors, Cnr2 is one of the main cannabinoid receptors that regulate bone metabolism. Deficits in expression of Cnr2 are linked with low bone mineral density and bone loss. Activation of CB2 receptors inhibits bone loss in experimental animals, while CB1 activation in sympathetic nerve terminals has resulted in suppression of noradrenaline release, and thus balancing tonic sympathetic restrain of osteogenesis. This evidence points to the irrefutable role of cannabinoid receptors in bone health and maintenance.

The positive role of cannabinoid receptor activation in bone cell differentiation and activity has been demonstrated in several studies. CB2 receptor activation has several effects in both precursor bone cells as well as mature osteoblastic cells. Cannabinoid receptors could elicit cell proliferating and differentiating effects in the bones.

Not only the presence of cannabinoid receptors, but also the synthesis of endocannabinoids in the bones, has been confirmed by research studies. These studies have found higher levels of endocannabinoids and ligands, including 2-AG and anandamide, in the bones than in brain cells. Anadamide directly influences bone tissue by binding with CB2 receptors.

Based on this evidence, a follow-up study has shown that activation of CB2 receptors significantly reduced experimentally-induced bone loss and improved bone formation. Researchers now confirm the functional involvement of CB2 receptors in the maintenance of bone metabolism and bone-protective benefits against age-related bone loss disorders, including osteoporosis.

Thus, the involvement of CB2 receptors and signaling in bone formation and maintenance is now clear, which may serve as a potential therapeutic target to treat osteoporosis.

CBD as a Treatment for Osteoporosis

Based on this review, we can see that CB2 modulation by agonists could be a potential therapeutic approach to treat bone disorders, including osteoporosis.

Upon researching the scientific evidence, the potential use of cannabinoids to prevent the onset of osteoporosis began two decades ago. Since then, no notable study has been done to investigate the therapeutic benefit of cannabis for brittle bones.

Naturally, CB2 receptors are not associated with psychoactive effects and CB2-specific agonists could offer a reliable opportunity to treat or prevent bone loss without suffering side effects. In pre-clinical studies, CB2 agonists attenuated estrogen-dependent bone loss, prevented bone resorption and stimulated bone formation.

In vitro studies have demonstrated that minimal concentration of cannabinoids could activate osteoclasts via hemostatic regulation of endocannabinoid production and expression of CB2 receptors.

With these benefits, oral CB2 agonists could be potentially employed as an anti-resorptive and bone-forming therapy for osteoporosis patients.

Bone fracture (pathological) associated with osteoporosis is a problem that maims many of the elderly patients. Experimental research studies have shown that CBD can help fractured bone heal faster, and also halt the progression of osteoporosis.

As of now, no approved drugs are available to aid the healing of fractures. In accordance with the animal studies, cannabis hastened the healing process after bone fractures in humans. Additionally, the pain-relieving properties of cannabis could be helpful to calm down the ache, sharp pains and inflammation that accompany the broken bone.

Recently, an Israeli study has proven that CBD treatment has the ability to promote healing in broken bones. According to the study, CBD remarkably enhanced the biomechanical properties of healing femoral bone after 8 weeks of treatment. In the study, CBD was shown to achieve these benefits by stimulating mRNA expression of the bone-forming genes and enzymes, including lysyl hydroxylase, that are involved in collagen crosslinking and stabilization processes. These biochemical events aid the improvement of biomechanical properties of fractured bone. However, these benefits were not evident in THC-treated experimental animals

So, it’s now clear that CBD not only treats/prevents osteoporosis, but also the related complications, including pathological bone fracture as a result of bone loss.

Conclusion

Despite this positive evidence, we do see a few negative studies that contradict cannabis use. These studies concluded that cannabis use caused osteoporosis, but recent studies have concluded that the opposite is true.

This research evidence points out the key role of cannabinoid receptors in bone turnover and healing processes. Although human clinical trials are yet to be initiated in these patients, it appears that cannabis use or cannabinoids could be helpful for the prevention of osteoporosis. Compared to existing treatments, cannabis may be a safer and more effective treatment option for osteoporosis.

Although this research evidence is nascent and we have not exhaustively investigated the benefits and side effects of cannabis on osteoporosis patients, the strength of the available evidence is strong enough to support the positive claims, including prevention of brittle bones and preservation of bone health.

As there are no effective and safe treatments available for this unmet need, we are delighted to see these under-explored benefits of cannabis. Unfortunately, it is not possible for all to have access to medical marijuana treatment. But it’s catching up and the benefits of cannabis are being recognized, and legalization will follow.

For those who are unable to get medical marijuana treatment; rest assured, we’re not far away to get this treatment for all, and it will happen in next few years. For others, who can get legalized marijuana treatment, the hope is that osteoporosis will be included in the list of cannabis-treatable ailments.

Source: Marijuana Time Org.

How Cannabis Treats Asthma

Studies show that cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant actually protect your lungs, and relieve the constriction and discomfort of asthma.
It is estimated that one out of twelve people suffer from asthma, a chronic respiratory disease that typically becomes present during childhood. While many people experience minimal symptoms with treatment, asthma is still linked to over 3,000 deaths per year.

Naturally, many asthmatics choose to stay away from smoking cannabis for fear of exacerbating their symptoms. But contrary to popular belief, studies have shown cannabis has little to no long-term impact on the lungs. In fact, recent research is actually showing cannabis is helpful rather than harmful for asthma patients.
Cannabis opens rather than restricts the airways.
A study in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics showed just how cannabinoids protect the lungs. Using guinea pigs, the researchers measured the ability of cannabinoids to inhibit bronchoconstriction. The researchers in the study specifically looked at THC, CBD, CBG, CBC, CBD-A, and THC-V cannabinoids. Surprisingly, the study revealed that THC and THC-V were the only cannabinoids to inhibit constriction, with THC being the most effective. Essentially, cannabis acts a bronchodilator rather than a bronchoconstrictor.

The results from this study are astonishing considering that bronchoconstriction is one of the biggest problem plaguing asthma sufferers. During an asthma attack, the bronchioles (air passageways in the nose and mouth) become constricted. As a result, the rate of oxygen flow is severely restricted. But as this study suggests, cannabis helps to open up these airways. Several other studies have also shown that cannabis improves bronchoconstriction while resting and during an asthma attack.

Dr. Rachel Knox, co-founder of The Canna MDS and current Medical Chair of the Minority Cannabis Business Association, talked to Green Flower about the plant’s efficacy for asthma patients. She says:

“THC is actually a very potent bronchodilator and that’s exactly what we need when we’re treating asthma. When we are suffering from an asthma attack, those bronchioles are squeezing on themselves, making it very hard to breathe. Well, enter THC. It opens those bronchioles right up and we can breathe better.”

Cannabis possesses powerful anti-inflammatory effects
how-cannabis-treats-asthma-cannabinoids-crystals
These mushroom-shaped crystals are the trichomes, which contain most of the plant’s active cannabinoids.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the lungs’ airways. Essentially, this inflammation of the air passages causes a temporary narrowing of the lungs, which reduces the amount of oxygen carried throughout the body. For asthma sufferers, this makes breathing difficult, to say the least.

However, inflammation is not only present during an asthma attack but also when resting. Low-level inflammation can also be found in bronchi and bronchioles of asthma sufferers. And when an asthma attack does occur, inflammation increases further. In severe cases, inflammation can even cause total loss of breath.

Cannabis is a well-known anti-inflammatory, interacting with cannabinoid receptors throughout the body, including the lungs. For example, a study in the journal Mediators of Inflammation revealed that the cannabinoid CBD contains potent immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory responses. In addition, the findings also showed that CBD reduces mucus hypersecretion – a hallmark characteristic of asthma. While the study has not yet been replicated on humans, the researchers concluded CBD could be a powerful treatment for asthma as it regulates exaggerated inflammatory responses in the body.

Cannabis reduces muscle spasticity
how-cannabis-treats-asthma-alpha-pinene
Alpha-Pinene is a terpene found in specific strains of cannabis. It is also found in the oils of many coniferous trees, like the pine tree, and is also found in rosemary essential oil.
Bronchospasm, otherwise known as bronchial spasms, are a sudden constriction of the muscles in the lungs. Causing difficulty in breathing, reactions range from mild to severe. For those with asthma, this likely comes as no surprise. Bronchospasms are a hallmark symptom of the condition.

But cannabis has shown to be incredibly effective for alleviating, and even eliminating muscle spasms. How is this possible? By relaxing the muscles in the lungs, the airways expand, allowing for an increase in airflow. According to Dr. Jessica Knox, it has to do with two components in specific cannabis strains – CBD and alpha-pinene. Knox says:

“Alpha-pinene and CBD have some muscle spasm relief effect which is crucial to hitting those bronchial muscles and helping them relax so that you can breathe better.”

A study in 2014 also indicated cannabis’ effectiveness for alleviating muscle spasms in the lungs. In fact, the researchers believe this mechanism may explain the acute bronchodilation (expansion of the bronchial air passages in the respiratory tract) produced when ingesting cannabis.

Cannabis alleviates asthma-related pain

An asthma attack may not only cause difficulty in breathing, it can also be painful.
While pain is not a primary symptom associated with asthma, over 75% of people who experience an asthma attack also experience chest pain. For those with severe forms of asthma, this pain can be uncomfortable and even debilitating.

However, it is important to note though that there are no pain receptors in the lungs. Asthma sufferers primarily experience pain because they are unable to breath properly. When normal airflow is interrupted, additional stress is placed on accessory muscles such as the sternocleidomastoid and scalene. During an asthma attack, these muscles must contract to help expand the ribcage. Because there is additional stress on these muscles, asthma sufferers often experience pain. This is primarily due to the fact that these muscles are rarely (if ever) used for normal breathing. It is essentially the same principle that applies after a tough workout for the first time. When a muscle is worked that has not been used, pain ensues.

While there have yet to be any studies that specifically address whether or not cannabis is effective at treating asthma-related pain, we do know that cannabis can reduce pressure and muscle spasticity in the lungs. This in turn allows for better airflow, causing less stress on accessory muscles. Not to mention the numerous studies indicating the powerful pain-relieving effects of cannabis.

Best method for treating asthma with cannabis?
how-cannabis-treats-asthma-vaporizing
Vaporizing is much gentler on the system and can deliver the medication without increasing irritation.
The positive impact of cannabis for asthma patients is evident. However, many asthma suffers are still hesitant to try cannabis. After all, isn’t smoking cannabis the last thing someone with asthma should do?

While studies as early as the 1970s suggest smoking cannabis widens rather than restricts the airways, thanks to modern technology, there are more treatment options than ever before.

One of those options is vaporization. Dr. Dustin Sulak, a leading medical cannabis physician, finds that vaporizing cannabis is a highly effective solution for asthma patients. Dr. Sulak says this is because a good vaporizer provides superior temperature control:

“Probably 90% of people with asthma can take a single vaporize inhalation… If they do it right, they’re going to be able to breathe deeper, expand their lungs, and relieve constriction.”

Dr. Sulak recommends a daily dosing to get a baseline level of medication in your system for better overall asthma control.

For quick onset relief, such as in the case of an asthma attack, he recommends a tincture or vaporizer. These are much gentler on the system and can deliver the medication without increasing irritation.

Above all, Dr. Sulak suggests that patients listen to their bodies. “It’s very important to realize that your body talks to you. So if you are using a vaporizer as a method to treat your asthma and it’s causing you to cough or worsening your symptoms, vaporizing may not be for you,” he adds. In those cases, Dr. Sulak recommends an edible or tincture (best administered sublingually).

Source: The Green Flower

Medical Marijuana and Acute Pain Study

A new study is being conducted by Dr. Fenney out of Saint Francis Hospital and Medical center in Hartford Connecticut. The trial is state funded and will compare opioids and medical marijuana for treating acute pain, (ie a broken bone)

There are studies that suggest that medical marijuana is effective for chronic pain, which is pain that continues after an injury should have healed. Dr. Feeney wants to test marijuana for acute pain, where opioids have long been the drug of choice for physicians.
“The big focus from my standpoint is that this is an attempt to end the opioid epidemic,” he says. Overdoses from opioids, killed more than 30,000 people in 2015.
Schedule 1 Status

Marijuana is a Schedule I drug, which makes it very difficult for researchers to study. Scientists first have to apply for a license from the DEA, which can take years and the only available supply for researchers is the government’s marijuana grow facility at the University of Missipipi, which has limited supplies.

Feeney’s research on acute pain is able to get around the issues associated with marijuana’s scheduling. Medical marijuana is legal in the state of Connecticut. Instead of directly supplying the patients with marijuana, a doctor certifies a patient to use marijuana, and the patient then picks it up at a dispensary or pharmacy.

“The strains I have to select from are so pure and so potent that the stuff they get from the University of Mississippi pales in comparison,” says Feeney.
The trial includes 60 patients with rib injuries in total—30 on marijuana, 30 on opioids. Because of the study’s design, patients get to choose whether they use opioids and marijuana to control pain. So far, the hospitals have enrolled a quite a few patients. They’ve all chosen marijuana.

More Studies

Dan Clauw, who runs the pain lab at the University of Michigan, and his colleagues published a survey of patients who started using medical marijuana to alleviate pain. They cut their previous opioid use by two-thirds.

“They felt a lot better when their pain was being controlled by cannabis rather opioids because opioids have a lot of side effects,” he says. “Those side effects include dizziness, constipation, sexual dysfunction and—in the case of overdoses—breathing problems. That’s because opioids receptors are also in the brainstem, the part of the brain that regulates breathing. Marijuana acts on a different set of receptors.”

Source: Medical Marijuana 411.

9 TYPES OF CANCER THAT CAN BE KILLED BY CANNABIS

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a plant grown in many parts of the world, and has been used for medicinal purposes dating back to ancient times. It produces a resin containing compounds called cannabinoids. These Cannabinoids are active chemicals in Cannabis that cause drug like effects throughout the body, including the central nervous system and the immune system. Some of these cannabinoids are psychoactive and act on the brain by changing mood or consciousness. Cannabinoids can be taken by mouth, inhaled, or sprayed under the tongue.

Studies of The Therapeutic Properties Of Cannabis

Cannabis and cannabinoids have been studied in the laboratory and the clinic for relief of pain, nausea and vomiting, anxiety, and loss of appetite. Two cannabinoids (dronabinol and nabilone) are drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention or treatment of chemotherapy related nausea and vomiting.

However, the therapeutic potential of cannabis almost appears limitless, as it extends far beyond just relieving nausea or pain in the terminally ill. Christina Sanchez, a molecular biologist from Compultense University in Madrid, Spain, has been studying the molecular activity of cannabinoids for more than 10 years, and during this time she and her colleagues have learned that tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the primary psychoactive component of cannabis, induces tumor cell “suicide” while leaving healthy cells alone.

This discovery was pretty unexpected, as Sanchez and her team had actually been studying brain cancer cells for the purpose of better understanding how they function. During this process, they observed that when exposed to THC, tumoral cells not only ceased to multiply and proliferate but destroyed themselves, both in lab tests and animal trials. This was first reported on back in 1998, and published in a paper on the anti-cancer effects of THC in the European biochemistry journa lFEBS Letters.

The Human Body is Designed to Utilize Cannabis Compounds

Research in the 1980s revealed that the human body contains two specific targets for THC. There is a framework known as the endocannabinoid system, that processes THC and other cannabinoids, along with containing various cannabinoid receptors throughout the body that utilize them. Together, these two natural systems allow the body to benefit from the cannabinoids found in cannabis, some of which aren’t found anywhere else in nature. The endocannabinoid system regulates a lot of biological functions: appetite, food intake, motor behavior, reproduction, and many, many other functions. And that’s why the plant has such a wide therapeutic potential.

Studies in mice and rats have shown that cannabinoids help to inhibit tumor growth by causing cell death, blocking cell growth, and the development of blood vessels needed by tumors to grow larger. Laboratory and animal studies have gone on to show that cannabinoids can kill cancer cells while protecting normal cells.

Brain Cancer Benefits

A study published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics outlines how brain tumors are highly resistant to current anticancer treatments, which makes it crucial to find new therapeutic strategies aimed at improving the poor prognosis of patients suffering from this disease.
A study published in the British Journal of Cancer, conducted by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Complutense University in Madrid, determined that THC and other cannabinoids inhibit tumor growth. THC was found to decrease tumour cells in two out of the nine patients, and the delivery was safe and was achieved with zero psychoactive effects.
A study published in The Journal of Neuroscience examined the biochemical events in both acute neuronal damage and in slowly progressive, neurodegenerative diseases. They looked at THC and found that it reduced neuronal injury in rats, and provide evidence that the cannabinoid system can protect the brain against neurodegeneration.
A study published in The Journal of Pharmacology And Experimental Therapeutics already acknowledged the fact that cannabinoids have been shown to possess antitumor properties. This study examined the effect of cannabidiol (non psychoactive cannabinoid compound) on human glioma cell lines (Glioma is the word used to describe brain tumor). The addition of cannabidiol led to a dramatic drop in the viability of glioma cells, the study concluded that cannabidiol was able to produce a significant antitumor activity.
Breast Cancer Benefits

A study published in the US National Library of Medicine, conducted by the California Pacific Medical Centre determined that cannabidiol (CBD) inhibits human breast cancer cell proliferation and invasion. They also demonstrated that CBD significantly reduces tumor mass.
A study published in The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics determined that THC as well as cannabidiol dramatically reduced breast cancer cell growth.
A study published in the Journal Molecular Cancer showed that THC reduced tumor growth and tumor numbers. They determined that cannabinoids inhibit cancer cell proliferation, induce cancer cell apoptosis and impair tumor angiogenesis (the creation of new blood vessels), providing strong evidence for the use of cannabinoid based therapies for the management of breast cancer.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) determined that cannabinoids inhibit human breast cancer cell proliferation.

Lung Cancer Benefits

A study published in the journal Oncogene, by Harvard Medical Schools Experimental Medicine Department determined that THC inhibits epithelial growth factor induced lung cancer cell migration and more. They go on to state that THC should be explored as novel therapeutic molecules in controlling the growth and metastasis of certain lung cancers.
A study published by the US National Library of Medicine, conducted by Harvard Medical School investigated the role of cannabinoid receptors in lung cancer cells. They determined its effectiveness and suggested that it should be used for treatment against lung cancer cells.
A study published by the US National Library of Medicine by the Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology, from the Department of General Surgery in Germany determined that cannabinoids inhibit cancer cell invasion. Effects were confirmed in primary tumor cells from a lung cancer patient. Overall, data indicated that cannabinoids decrease cancer cell invasiveness.

Prostate Cancer Benefits

A study published in the US National Library of Medicine outlined multiple studies proving the effectiveness of cannabis on prostate cancer.
A study published in the US National Library of Medicine illustrates a decrease in prostatic cancer cells by acting through cannabinoid receptors.
Another study published by the US National Library of Medicine determined that clinical testing of CBD against prostate carcinoma is a must, as cannabinoid receptor activation induces prostate carcinoma cell apoptosis (cell death).
Blood Cancer Benefits

A study published in the US National Library of Medicine conducted by the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology by Virginia Commonwealth University determined that cannabinoids induce apoptosis in leukemia cells.
A study published in the journal Molecular Pharmacology recently showed that cannabinoids induce growth inhibition and apoptosis in mantle cell lymphoma. The study was supported by grants from the Swedish Cancer Society, The Swedish Research Council and the Cancer Society in Stockholm.
A study published in the International Journal of Cancer also determined and illustrated that cannabinoids exert antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects in various types of cancer and in mantle cell lymphoma.
Liver Cancer Benefits

A study published by the US National Library of Medicine determined that that THC reduces the viability of human HCC cell lines (Human hepatocellular liver carcinoma cell line) and reduced the growth.
Pancreatic Cancer Benefits

A study published in The American Journal of Cancer determined that cannabinoid receptors are expressed in human pancreatic tumor cell lines and tumor biopsies at much higher levels than in normal pancreatic tissue. Results showed that cannabinoid administration induced apoptosis. They also reduced the growth of tumor cells, and inhibited the spreading of pancreatic tumor cells.
Oral Cancer Benefits

A study published by the US National Library of Medicine results show cannabinoids are potent inhibitors of cellular respiration and are toxic to highly malignant oral Tumors.
Colon Cancer Benefits

A study in mice showed that cannabinoids may protect against inflammation of theColon and have some potential in reducing the risk of colon cancer.

Aids Chemotherapy

A laboratory study of cannabidiol (CBD) in human glioma cells showed that when given along with chemotherapy, CBD made the chemo more effective, and increased cancer cell death without harming the normal cells. Studies in mouse models of cancer showed that CBD together with delta-9-THC may make chemotherapy such as temozolomide more effective.

Source : Get Cancer Cure

Study: Cannabis Plays A Key Role In Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

As we know, a growing number of studies have suggested a link between cannabis and cancer. A number of people have turned to the plant to help treat their ailments and more and more anecdotal success stories are popping up with increased prevalence. In turn, consideration for cannabis as viable treatment for cancer is gaining ground.

In 2006, a team of researchers from Complutense University in Spain published a study in the journal Cancer Research that sheds further light on the matter. It suggests that cannabinoids could help treat pancreatic adenocarcinoma – one of the most aggressive forms of cancer.
Spanish Researchers Investigate Cannabinoids, Cancer Treatment
Acknowledged as the fourth deadliest cancer diagnosis, pancreatic cancer is estimated to kill around 37,000 Americans each year. With this in mind, the Spanish research team sought to determine if the ability of cannabis to inhibit tumor growth could help improve the disease’s prognosis.
“The administration of cannabinoids seemed to induce cancer cell apoptosis (programmed cell death).”
Interestingly, the researchers used a cell culture experiment to determine that pancreas cancer cells express an increased number of cannabinoid receptors.
Further, the administration of cannabinoids seemed to induce cancer cell apoptosis (programmed cell death).
Upon further investigation, the team of Spanish researchers determined that cannabinoid-induced apoptosis occurred through activation of the CB2 receptor – one of two widely-acknowledged cannabinoid receptors.
Cannabinoids Shown To Inhibit Pancreatic Cancer In Animal Models
thcThe research team also investigated the effects of cannabinoid treatments on living animal models. First, they induced tumor growth in a group of nude mice. They then proceeded to treat the tumors with one of three options – tetrahyrdrocannabinol (THC), JWH (a synthetic cannabinoid), or a placebo for comparison.
According to their findings, cannabinoid administration was able to inhibit cancerous growth, prevent its spread, and even induce cancer cell apoptosis in live animal models.
“Cannabinoids lead to apoptosis of pancreatic tumor cells via a CB2 receptor.”
In conclusion, the Spanish researchers determined, “cannabinoids lead to apoptosis of pancreatic tumor cells via a CB2 receptor” They went on to report that their findings could spur the beginning of “a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.”
Of course, people have long been using medical marijuana and cannabis extracts to help treat a variety of cancers, so we’re not exactly surprised.

Source : Medical Jane