The Importance of Enhancing Your Endocannabinoid System

Cannabis extracts are proving to be remarkably effective against a wide range of diseases for thousands of people. Unfortunately, there is a subset of the population that responds negatively or not at all. Numerous factors influence an individual’s unique response to cannabis medicine, including genetics. Some people may never be able to benefit from cannabis due to rare genetic mutations. However, a major cause of poor experiences may be controllable – the health of the endocannabinoid system.
Cannabis and the Endocannabinoid System
Cannabis is effective because it works through the endocannabinoid system, the function of which is to maintain homeostasis. Given this role, it may often be the best place to target for treating disease, which fundamentally is a state of non-homeostasis. For cannabis to work most effectively, the endocannabinoid system needs to be healthy.
While concentrated cannabis can directly improve endocannabinoid signaling, they are not a cure-all. Other restorative and enhancement techniques must be utilized as well. If the endocannabinoid system can be enhanced before or alongside cannabis extract therapy, the healing results are almost certain to improve considerably.
Enhancing Your Endocannabinoid System
There are two primary ways to strengthen your endocannabinoid system. The first is by avoiding stimuli that deplete endocannabinoid resources. For example, one of the functions the system mediates is the reduction of inflammation. Therefore, eating inflammatory foods like refined grains, sugar, and trans fats can eventually be overwhelming. Stress also recruits endocannabinoid resources, so poor nutrition combined with stress can be especially damaging. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and healthy fat sources like olive oil, fish, and eggs is very helpful, as is engaging in stress-reducing activities like meditation and yoga.
The second pathway to empowerment is consuming things that up-regulate endocannabinoids or cannabinoid receptors. For example, probiotics increase CB2 receptors in intestinal cells and may even potentially reduce pain by acting through those receptors. Exercising, including running and biking, increases endocannabinoid levels. Olive oil, in addition to being anti-inflammatory, may help fight colon cancer by increasing CB1 receptors on the cancer cells.

Source: Medicaljane

Cannabis Oil Capsules May Be Best Treatment For Fibromyalgia

Treatment For Fibromyalgia much like treatments for any and all disease., often starts with the management of symptoms. With this disorder, the symptoms create a string of tender points along the body. Coupling this with extreme fatigue and an inability to sleep and you have a concoction for a drastically poor quality of life riddled with pain and discomfort.

Medical Cannabis Treatment for Fibromyalgia

The prevalence of Treatment For Fibromyalgia goes up as a person ages, yet 80-90% of all cases are women. The symptoms are known to worsen with persistence as it progresses and it is worsened by the weather, illness and stress. One cannabinoid profile that is well suited for this disorder patients has been identified as CBD. It is suggested patients obtain CBD rich medicine. Synergistically coupling a cbd rich oil with one that contains Low THC, there is additional relief provided to patients.

According to a report conducted by the National Pain Foundation and National Pain Report, medical cannabis has been rated as one of the most effective treatment in reducing pain from Fibromyalgia.Many of the 1,300 fibromyalgia patients who responded to the survey said they had tried all 3 of the FDA approved drugs. One patient explained there were far more negative side effects to the FDA approved drugs than there were positive attributes.

When asked about the effectiveness of Cymbalta (Duloxetine), 60% of those who tried the medication stated that it did not work for them, whilst 8% reported it to be very effective. 32% reported Cymbalta helped slightly.Of those in the study who tried Pfizer’s Lyrica (Pregabalin) a whopping 61% reported that there was no relief. 10% reported Lyrica to be very effective whilst 29% said it helped slightly.

Rating Forest Laboratories’ Savella (Milnacipran), 68% of those trailing the drug stated that it didn’t work. 10% reported that it was very effective and 22% reported slight relief.

Comparing the study findings against those who had tried medical cannabis for their this disorder symptoms 62% said it was very effective. Another 33% said it helped slightly whilst only 5% reported no relief.

Source : Women With Fibromyalgia

 

Study Shows Cannabis Protects the Liver From Alcohol Damage

We hear a lot about the effects of cannabis on the brain and body, but rarely do we consider its effects when used in combination with other drugs, like alcohol. Studying the health impacts of both alcohol and cannabis on their own is valuable, but it doesn’t always reflect the public’s use patterns. Therefore, it’s important to understand the impact that the combination of alcohol and cannabis has on health outcomes. A recent study took up this challenge by investigating the effect of cannabis consumption on alcoholic liver disease.
What Is Alcoholic Liver Disease?
Drinking a lot of alcohol over many years causes liver disease by consistently elevating levels of inflammation. Alcohol directly damages liver cells and causes an inflammatory response. Additionally, alcohol disturbs the walls of the intestine, leading to a recruitment of inflammatory cells to repair the damage. These inflammatory cells make their way through the intestine to the liver where they contribute to liver inflammation. Alcohol also disrupts the microbes in the gut, causing them to release toxins into the blood stream that the liver tries to break down and becomes inflamed in the process.
These processes lead to the onset and progression of alcoholic liver disease:
The progression of alcoholic liver disease often brings a disruption of normal gut function, leading to an excess of fat deposits in the liver. This creates a condition known as “steatosis,” or “fatty liver.”
The increase in the cellular stress by the excess of fat cells in the liver leads to a state of constant inflammation of the liver, even in the absence of alcohol. This state is called “alcoholic hepatitis.”
Eventually, this inflammation leads to irreversible liver cell damage. The damage reaches a point where few healthy cells remain and the liver becomes scarred with non-functioning tissue. This stage is called “cirrhosis,” and liver function is severely compromised.
Lastly, the ongoing inflammation for years, if not decades, also increases risk for liver cancer, called “hepatocellular carcinoma.”
These four manifestations characterize the devastating alcoholic liver disease, which turns out to be quite common. Nearly 29% of individuals have had an alcohol use disorder in their lifetime, and among them, 20% develop liver disease. And it can kill you. In fact, those with an alcohol use disorder are 23 times more likely to die from a liver disease. What if there was a way to reduce the risk of alcoholic liver disease in those with an alcohol use disorder?
Indeed there may be, and cannabis may hold the key.
Ten percent of individuals with an alcohol use disorder also have a cannabis use disorder, while even more use cannabis but aren’t classified as dependent consumers. Could cannabis’ anti-inflammatory properties protect against the development of alcoholic liver disease?
Study Findings: The Effects of Cannabis on Alcoholic Liver Disease
In a massive study that included 320,000 individuals with an alcohol use disorder* (of which over 26,000 were non-dependent cannabis users and 4,300 were dependent cannabis users), the scientists revealed that cannabis use protected against developing alcoholic liver disease. The scientists found that regardless of whether people were frequent or infrequent cannabis consumers, cannabis protected against developing each of the four stages of liver disease. Notably, the heaviest cannabis consumers had the greatest protection against alcoholic liver disease.
Specifically, cannabis use was associated with (note: percentages are for combined dependent and non-dependent cannabis consumers):
45% reduction in alcoholic steatosis (fatty liver)
40% reduction in alcoholic hepatitis (inflamed liver)
55% reduction in alcoholic cirrhosis (scarred liver)
75% reduction in hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer)
It must be noted that cannabis was most protective in individuals who met the diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse. Cannabis had less of a protective effect in those who presumably consumed more alcohol and met the criteria for alcohol dependence. Broadly speaking, alcohol abuse is drinking too much too often, while dependence is the inability to quit. In most cases, those who are dependent end up consuming more alcohol throughout their lives. So it appears that cannabis is only protective against alcoholic liver disease to a point; the more you drink, the less cannabis can help.
Cannabis Protects Against Liver Cancer by Reducing Inflammation
Despite the growing excitement of certain cannabinoids in cancer treatment, the scientists concluded that cannabis’ protection against liver cancer mostly came from its ability to prevent cirrhosis. This is therefore a different protective mechanism than halting or killing the cancer directly. Since 90% of hepatocellular carcinoma stems from cirrhosis, cannabis’ block of this critical step illustrates its substantial therapeutic potential to prevent the onset of these life-threatening conditions.
But their results still leave open the possibility for cannabis’ direct anti-cancer effects. The scientists report that cannabis use was associated with a similar reduction in liver cancer in both alcohol abusers and those who were dependent. Since cannabis was less effective at preventing cirrhosis in those with alcohol dependence, it leaves open the possibility that cannabis directly blocked the development of liver cancer independent of its effects on cirrhosis. Additional studies are needed to assess the effectiveness of cannabis’ anti-cancer properties in the liver.
Alcohol Increases Inflammation
Alcohol damages the brain and body by increasing inflammation, and this inflammation contributes to liver disease. The anti-inflammatory properties of the primary cannabinoids, THC and cannabidiol (CBD), lead one to predict that cannabis consumption could reduce inflammation caused by alcohol, and therefore help prevent the development of liver disease.
However, cannabis’ anti-inflammatory effects are not so straight forward in the liver. THC activates cannabinoid type I and type II receptors (CB1 and CB2), while CBD blocks THC’s actions at CB1 receptors and activates CB2 receptors. This distinction is important considering that activating CB1 receptors has pro-inflammatory effects in the liver and leads to liver disease, while CB2 activation has anti-inflammatory effects and protects against liver disease. These effects have been identified in laboratory models of liver disease, but cannabis’ effect on alcoholic liver disease in humans had not yet been assessed.
Cannabis’ anti-inflammatory properties are already being utilized for pain relief as well as treatment for colitis (inflammation of the colon), multiple sclerosis, and arthritis. Balanced THC/CBD strains or CBD-dominant strains may provide even greater anti-inflammatory effects, and hopefully better prevent alcoholic liver disease.

Source : Leafly

 

Cannabis & Alzheimer’s

According to brain experts, cannabis has shown considerable promise for treating the cause of dementia and Alzheimer’s, but federal regulators keep blocking their path toward a cure.

Despite evidence suggesting that chemicals found in cannabis can helpfully clear the brain of buildup that leads to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, ongoing federal opposition to the drug makes the road to finding a cure a long and difficult one, according to researchers. As the Independent reports, scientists at California’s renowned Salk Institute are expressing concern over the fairly unfounded legal hurdles that keep slowing down their work toward an effective treatment for these fatal diseases, which afflict millions of Americans each year.

Last year, the team published study resultsindicating that the active chemicals or cannabinoids found in cannabis, such as euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can effectively relieve the amyloid protein buildup and cell damage related to dementia using some of the brain’s own protective measures. Unlike methods which seek to remove amyloid buildup from the outside of brain cells, CNBC explained, those explored by Salk researchers work with the brain’s natural endocannabanoids, which prevent cell death, to fight buildup inside cells and resulting inflammation at an earlier stage in the disease.

Given the current lack of safe, effective treatments and the overall low cost and often minimal side-effects of in medicinal cannabis, the studies should be cause for celebration among advocates and caregivers for the millions of Americans who suffer from dementia, and for the over five million whose condition developed into Alzheimer’s disease, the most common kind of dementia, and for which fatality rates have risen by over 70% since 2000, CNBC noted.

According to lead author Professor David Schubert, however, these innovative results would seem a lot more promising if researchers’ next steps weren’t already bound up by federal regulation and red tape. “It’s a totally unexplored area, because researchers have been stopped by the DEA, due to the way the agency classifies marijuana,” Schubert told CNBC. “The result is that basically no clinical trials have been held to test the use of marijuana-based drugs in the treatment of Alzheimer’s or any other neurodegenerative disease. It’s not right that they have that type of say over something that could be very useful.” He continued,People are dying of this disease, and there is nothing out there for them… Marijuana is not physically addictive, although it can be psychologically addictive like, sugar, salt and fat, none of which are classified as Schedule I drugs. It’s ridiculous when in California anyone can legally go down to the corner store and just buy marijuana.

Schubert pointed out to CNBC that the pharmaceutical industry, with its extremely healthy lobbying power in D.C., is likely a major force in creating legal hurdles for researchers. “The pharmaceutical companies want to stop the use of cannabis in the research community because it’s a natural product, so it can’t be patented,” he said. “They can’t make money on it, so they are against it.”

CNBC also noted that, while an estimated one in three seniors will die fighting dementia and a new Alzheimer’s diagnosis is delivered every 66 seconds, the costs of holding back effective treatment don’t just involve human life. The site points to a 2015 study by the National Institutes of Health which found that the overall price of late-stage dementia exceeds that of any other disease, and to recent estimates that the economic cost of caring for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients totalled a whopping $236 billion last year. During a dementia-sufferer’s final five years of life, that could easily amount to upwards of $287,000 annually per person.

Drug companies are still pouring time and research dollars into potential treatments for the diseases, of course, but even mainstream, pot-free methods have found little success and been slow in coming. According to Schubert, that’s because pharmaceutical companies are not just trying to prevent cannabis cures, but also on the wrong track for finding their own. “They are trying to use antibodies to get rid of plaque that is outside the cell, but that is too late in the disease,” Schubert said.

However, while our big, highly evolved brains still have ample ways of holding us back, it is thankfully never too late to change the way we offer support to others, be it from research labs or the very law of the land.

Source : The Independent

CBD Oil for Pain

CBD oil is quickly becoming a mainstream product for chronic pain, stress, anxiety, and other ailments. The cannabis-derived chemical contains safe and natural medicinal benefits without the side effects of NSAIDs, analgesics, or opioids. In fact, many patients who previously relied on Tylenol, Ibuprofen, or Vicodin to control pain found CBD to help cut down on the number of pills needed to function each day. CBD oil is worth a try for anyone looking to relieve chronic pain.

Symptoms of Chronic Pain
Simply put, chronic pain is just pain that never really goes away. Sometimes it’s associated with a larger problem such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, or multiple sclerosis. It can come on in any form of pain sensation whether it be dull, aching, pins and needles, or sensitivity. Nerve dysfunction and inflammation are two causes of chronic pain, which can be genetic or brought on diet and lifestyle habits. In 2015, about 25 million adults were reported as having some form of chronic pain.

How CBD Relieves Pain
CBD oil helps relieve pain through the endocannabinoid system, a complex system that controls a range of metabolic functions. There are many different receptors throughout the endocannabinoid system, but CBD primarily works with CB1 and CB2 receptors.

CB1 receptors exist throughout the brain and central nervous system, controlling essential processes like sleep, appetite, mood, smell, and motor control. CB2 receptors are located in the immune system, peripheral nervous system, gastrointestinal tract, and brain.

CBD works by triggering CB1 and CB2 receptors through various molecular pathways. This produces analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, neuroprotective, and even antidepressive effects that help patients suffering from chronic pain. Since these receptors exist all throughout the body, the result is a systemic relief.

How to Consume CBD Oil for Treatment
CBD is most commonly consumed in the form of pure CBD crystals or pure CBD oil, which is usually made with a food-grade oil.

CBD crystals can be dissolved under the tongue, smoked through a vape pen, or smoked through a dab rig. They can even be sprinkled in a joint or on top of a bowl for an added smoke session boost, or into food or beverages.

Many dispensaries sell oil cartridges for vape pens that are free of THC and contain CBD only for immediate relief of pain and inflammation.

Which Conditions Can CBD Help?
CBD has shown positive results when put up against many chronic illnesses, particularly those throughout the immune or nervous system.

Cannabis is recommended for patients with Multiple Sclerosis, a disease with no known cure where the immune system attacks the nerves and spinal cord. One study showed CBD to inhibit the release of inflammatory compounds that cause painful flare-ups.

CBD is also recommended for patients with Crohn’s disease, a chronic condition caused by inflammation of digestive lining. Like MS, Crohn’s has no cure and CBD is recommended to calm pain during flare-ups.

There is a lot of research needed to evaluate how CBD can benefit cancer patients or inhibit tumor growth. However, what we do know is that cancer patients have used cannabis for pain relief, appetite stimulation, and also relief from chemo-induced nausea.

CBD oil is also highly recommended for patients with fibromyalgia, arthritis, and undiagnosed chronic pain.

Pharmaceuticals VS. CBD For Pain
One of the biggest benefits of CBD oil is the potential to reduce the number of pills needed for relief. Most of us can handle Tylenol, Advil, or opioids in moderation. However, these drugs can still lead to gastrointestinal damage, increased tolerance, dependency, addiction, and overdose.

CBD oil does not cause gastrointestinal damage and it is not known to be habit-forming. All it takes for a patient to become addicted to opioids is a 10-day prescription, which can be prescribed for anything from a pulled muscle to a kidney stone.

In states with legal marijuana, some rehab centers use cannabis as a tapering method for patients going through withdrawal.

Source : International Highlife

 

Cannabis-Infused Gum to Relieve Fibromyalgia Pain

Now you can chew cannabis gum to ease your chronic pain
Cannabis is known for its amazing effects on easing pain of all sorts: from irritable bowel syndrome to fibromyalgia to seizures to cancer pains. You name it! Many opt for smoking or eating cannabis to gain pain relief, but soon, you’ll also have an option to chew it.
The cannabis gum is called MedChewRx®, first to be FDA-approved
Axim Biotechnologies has developed the cannabis chewing gum called MedChewRx®. The gum is going through a series of clinical trials, with the goal of gaining FDA and equivalent international approval as prescription medications. Axim’s goal is completing Phase 3 clinical trials in early 2018.
This gum is made with fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis in mind
MedChew Rx® is being developed as a pharmaceutical drug to treat pain, spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) and fibromyalgia. The gum is intended to offer patients more consistent relief than existing cannabis-derived products that are smoked or eaten.
MedChewRx® contains 5mg each of THC and CBD
The cannabis gum is formulated with 5 mg of cannabidiol (CBD) and 5 mg of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC and CBD are both natural compounds that are found in the cannabis plant. The chemical compositions of both elements might be the same, but to put it in the simplest form possible, THC is psychoactive, while CBD is not. Both compounds have an impressive list of ways that they support the human body.
99% pure pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids are used
Axim Biotechnologies imports cannabis from the Dutch Government’s Office of Medicinal Cannabis, extracts and purifies cannabis strains into 99% pure pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids to produce MedChewRx®.

Until the cannabis gum is out on the market, you can try these cannabis treatment options
1. CBD Oil
CBD oil comes in many forms: tinctures, capsules, and topicals. CBD oil offers therapeutic benefits without the psychoactive properties.
2. Smoking
There are many different strains to choose from. Consult your doctor or research for the right strain for your purpose.
3. Edibles
Cookies, brownies, chocolate, and drinks are just a few of the edible options. Again, make sure to choose the product with the right strain for your use.

Source : DIV Health Academy

Cannabis and Alzheimer’s Disease

Compounds in cannabis may be able to help symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.Memory gradually declines with age for everyone. But for those with Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss can be so severe that they can lose the ability to recognize their loved ones.Areas of the brain responsible for memory are affected in Alzheimer’s, and these areas are highly regulated by the endocannabinoid system. This system is activated by compounds in marijuana known as cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, also have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects that may help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Here, we discuss the merits of marijuana as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition that mostly occurs in the elderly. The disease is progressive, meaning symptoms tend to worsen over time.

Neurodegeneration is the process of losing brain cells over time. It is not known what causes neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s.

The most well-known symptom of Alzheimer’s is dementia. Initial symptoms of dementia include problems with memory, but gradually expand into other symptoms like language impairments and behavioural changes.

The progression of Alzheimer’s is associated with the formation of plaques in the brain. These plaques form when a compound known as beta-amyloid is released from brain cells into grey matter.

These plaques actually form in the brains of healthy older adults too, but genetic differences in patients with Alzheimer’s cause a significantly higher number of plaques to form.

Can Cannabis Help Alzheimer’s Disease?
Overall, there is not much evidence on whether marijuana can treat Alzheimer’s, but early reports are promising.

There is preliminary evidence that cannabinoids have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects. Because of this, some researchers believe that marijuana may help with Alzheimer’s.

Researchers have investigated the role of the endocannabinoid system in Alzheimer’s disease. The endocannabinoid system is crucial in regulating memory, and scientists believe it may be affected in Alzheimer’s. Since marijuana stimulates the endocannabinoid system, it may be able to offer some benefits.

During the early stages of Alzheimer’s, the endocannabinoid system is blocked by the formation of beta-amyloid plaques. This disruption of the endocannabinoid system is believed to be partially responsible for the early symptoms of memory impairments.

Other evidence has found that cannabinoids can help protect brain cells from damage and prevent cognitive impairments in animal models of Alzheimer’s. This has led to an interest in THC as a potential treatment option. THC is thought to exert its neuroprotective effects by activating CB1 receptors.

Benefits of Cannabis For Alzheimer’s Disease

Cannabinoids reduce inflammation

Inflammation in the brain leads to damage in neurons and is believed to contribute to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s.

A 2009 study found that cannabinoids can help regulate inflammation in the brain. The researchers concluded that cannabinoids could someday be used to reduce inflammation in neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

Marijuana improves memory

The most well-known symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is the loss of memory. Patients slowly lose the ability to recognize their loved ones, their surroundings, and how to communicate.

A 2012 study showed cannabinoids can help protect brain cells from the beta-amyloid plaques seen in Alzheimer’s disease.

The study used a synthetic cannabinoid called WIN55212-2, which acts on cannabinoid receptors. The researchers observed that the cannabinoid improved memory in a rodent model of Alzheimer’s.

THC is neuroprotective

Like other neurodegenerative disorders, protecting the brain from further damage is an important element in treating Alzheimer’s. Cannabinoids are known to have neuroprotective properties, and researchers are investigating their potential in Alzheimer’s.

A 2016 study used human nerve cells to investigate the effects of THC on beta-amyloid levels.

The researchers found that THC improved the removal of beta-amyloid from the cells. THC also reduced inflammation and protected the neurons from damage. This evidence suggests that THC might be able to reduce the severity of Alzheimer’s disease in humans.

A 2006 study showed that THC might be able to block acetylcholinesterase (AChE), an enzyme that contributes to beta-amyloid plaque production.

Marijuana improves behavioural issues

As Alzheimer’s progresses, symptoms other than memory deficits begin to develop. During the late stages of the disease, behavioural problems such as irritability and aggression become more prevalent.

In a 1997 study, researchers found that THC could reduce behavioural disturbances in Alzheimer’s disease, and improved appetite in patients. The researchers noted that the effects of THC lasted into the placebo period, indicating that THC had long-term benefits.

Another human trial on the impact of THC in Alzheimer’s disease found that marijuana-infused oils could improve behavioural issues.

The study involved 11 patients, and was published in 2016 by researchers in Israel. Delusions, aggression, irritability, apathy, and sleep were significantly improved when the cannabis oil was added to the patients’ treatment regimens.

CBD and Alzheimer’s Disease

When discussing marijuana in a medical context, it’s important to consider the differences between THC and CBD. Despite coming from the same plant, these cannabinoids behave very differently in the body and offer unique therapeutic effects.

Unlike THC, CBD does not have any psychoactive effects. This can be very helpful for patients who can’t tolerate the psychoactive side effects of THC.

CBD can also reduce symptoms of psychosis and anxiety, suggesting it may be a better alternative for Alzheimer’s patients suffering from psychiatric symptoms. THC, on the other hand, may exacerbate these symptoms.

CBD might improve memory deficits in Alzheimer’s disease. A 2014 studypublished in the journal Psychopharmacology found that CBD could reverse cognitive deficits in an animal model of Alzheimer’s when given on a regular basis.

In a 2017 study, CBD was found to reduce the levels of proteins that contribute to beta-amyloid plaque production.

CBD may also help promote growth of new brain cells that have died off because of beta-amyloid plaques. A 2011 study found that CBD increased neurogenesis in the hippocampus, an area that regulates memory and is damaged in Alzheimer’s disease.

In a 2017 review of the pre-clinical evidence for CBD as a treatment for Alzheimer’s, researchers found that CBD had anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. However, these effects still require confirmation from clinical trials to determine whether the results are relevant to humans.

Summary

While preliminary research is promising, human trials are needed to determine if marijuana can be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

Both THC and CBD have shown potential to reduce inflammation and protect neurons from damage by beta-amyloid plaques. In addition, CBD may promote the growth of new brain cells, and has fewer side effects than THC.

While there is not a lot of human research, some studies have found that THC can reduce behavioural disturbances in Alzheimer’s patients.

Based on early findings, some scientists believe marijuana has the potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Source : Leaf Science

 

Is Cannabis Better for Chronic Pain Than Opioids?

Chronic pain can be an incredibly debilitating condition. For many who live with it on a daily or near daily basis, the condition can be so oppressive, it affects other parts of their lives, impacting their mood, health, and overall well-being. Unfortunately, many treatment options are only nominally effective. Worse, commonly prescribed drugs like opioids are highly addictive and potentially toxic; 28,000 people died from an opioid overdose in 2014, more than any other year in history. No wonder a growing number of the estimated one in five Americans who suffer from chronic pain are turning to cannabis as an alternative.
While many people believe cannabis to be an effective treatment, what does the science say? Is it really more effective and safer than other drugs? Fortunately, when it comes to cannabis and cannabinoid-based formulations, chronic pain is one of the best studied conditions. However, the causes of chronic pain are diverse. Moreover, chronic pain can be nociceptive or neuropathic. Nociceptive pain is caused by tissue damage or inflammation. Neuropathic pain is caused by nervous system damage or malfunction.
Everyone’s biology is unique and will respond differently to cannabis depending on a number of variables, including what type of chronic pain they experience, dosage, strain, and administration method (vaping, edibles, tinctures, etc.).
How Effective is Cannabis for Chronic Pain Relief?
How effective is cannabis for chronic pain relief?
In a comprehensive, Harvard-led systematic review of 28 studies examining the efficacy of exo-cannabinoids (e.g. synthetic formulations or cannabinoids from the plant) to treat various pain and medical issues, the author concluded, “Use of marijuana for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis is supported by high quality evidence.”
Of the studies reviewed, six out of six general chronic pain studies and five out of five neuropathic pain studies found a significant improvement in symptoms among patients. Notably, while most of the studies were limited to synthetic preparations of cannabinoids, three of the five neuropathic pain studies investigated “smoked” cannabis, while two examined an oral spray preparation.
Dr. Donald Abrams, a professor and Chief of Hematology/Oncology at San Francisco General Hospital, supports cannabis to treat chronic pain, suggesting the following:
“Given the safety profile of cannabis compared to opioids, cannabis appears to be far safer. However, if a patient is already using opioids, I would urge them not to make any drastic changes to their treanntment protocol without close supervision by their physician.”
Both THC and CBD in cannabis are known to elicit analgesic effects, especially when used together due to their congruent chemical synergies.

Cannabis vs. opioids
North America has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. Prescriptions have increased 400% percent since 1999, and with this trend a shocking increase in fatal overdoses has followed. Every day, 40 people now die from prescription narcotic overdoses. Many also move on to heroin because it is cheaper, easier to find, and more potent.
Could cannabis be part of the solution? Quite possibly. An increasing number of studies provide evidence that many patients can use cannabis instead of opioids to treat their pain, or they can significantly reduce their reliance on opioids.
A University of Michigan March 2016 study published in the Journal of Pain provides some compelling data. They found that cannabis:
Decreased side effects from other medications
Improved quality of life
Reduced use of opioids (on average) by 64%
Prescription Drug Use Falls in Medical Cannabis States
“We are learning that the higher the dose of opioids people are taking, the higher the risk of death from overdose,” said Dr. Daniel Clauw, one of the study’s researchers and a professor of pain management anesthesiology at the University of Michigan Medical School. “[The] magnitude of reduction in our study is significant enough to affect an individual’s risk of accidental death from overdose.”
Kevin Ameling, a chronic pain patient who now works for a Colorado-based non-profit cannabis research advocacy group called the IMPACT Network, is a success story. Ameling believes cannabis saved him from a life of dependency on prescription drugs. In 2007, he suffered a severe fall and was prescribed a cocktail of prescription drugs that included OxyContin, Tramadol, Clonazepam, and Lexapro. The pain became so severe that he had to progressively increase dosage while the OxyContin became less and less effective.
Living in Colorado, he decided to try medical marijuana in 2013. He claims he achieved results immediately and was able to significantly reduce his prescription intake. He cut his OxyContin dosage by 50%, reduced Clonazepam from 3 mg to 0.5 mg, Lexapro from 30 mg to 5 mg, and Tramadol from 300 mg to 75 mg.
“It’s hard to express in words what a life changer medical marijuana has been for me,” said Ameling. “I was becoming increasingly worried about having to take higher doses of prescription drugs that can be highly addictive and toxic. Not only was I able to cut back significantly, with cannabis I can often skip the OxyContin with no adverse effects, something I couldn’t do before.”
Cannabis Can Take a Bit of Trial and Error
Cannabis can take a bit of trial and error
Ameling added, “Everyone will respond differently. For me, I found smoking can worsen my symptoms, while low dose edibles work the best.”
No doubt, the chemical composition of the strain you choose and how you consume will affect the outcome. It may take a little trial and error before you find the most effective cannabis strain, dose, and preferred method of administration for your pain. Most importantly, if you are currently using opioids, exercise extreme caution. A change in treatment protocol should be done under medical supervision.
And, finally, heed the advice of Dr. Michael Hart, head physician at Marijuana for Trauma in Canada: “When considering cannabis to treat chronic pain, the adage ‘less is more’ rings true. Patients seem to find more relief in indica strains which are higher in THC than most sativa or hybrid strains. What we’ve found is that these strains can be highly effective in low to moderate doses, but could actually make pain worse in higher doses. So it’s important to start low, and titrate up as appropriate.”

Source : Leafly

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 )