2016 Will be Huge For Marijuana

The 2014 midterm elections will go down in history as one of the most important years in marijuana history. It provided validation that two trailblazer states — Washington and Colorado — had made the right decision two years prior in pushing through a voter-passed ballot initiative, allowing for the possession and consumption of adults. Many were skeptical when those states passed their respective laws, but in 2014, they suddenly don’t look so crazy.

Following this year’s election cycle, two more states — Oregon and Alaska — and the nation’s capital, Washington D.C., now have legalized marijuana for themselves. While it wasn’t completely unexpected, it is still a bit jarring for many people to comprehend. Ten years ago, or even five years ago, having any state, let alone four plus Washington D.C., with legal marijuana was inconceivable. But it appears public perception has gone through a massive flip in a relative short amount of time, and now states will be rolling in new tax revenues, will likely see their crime rates drop, and also save in terms of law enforcement costs.

It’s a very exciting time for cannabis activists. But hold onto your hats, because 2016 is going to blow the lid off the whole thing.

What makes 2016 so special? Well, it will be the third election cycle in which marijuana legalization measures will be on ballots across the country. While 2014 led some more credence to the legalization movement, it is still largely considered an “experiment” by many, seeing as how these laws still conflict with federal law, and that the feds themselves have really yet to choose one side or the other. With legalization hitting the nation’s capital, and three of the four states making up the Pacific coast, the feds will likely need to weigh in within the next several months.

There are a handful of states that are looking at getting measures on the 2016 ballot, and if even a few of them are able to successfully get the votes to put them into law, suddenly marijuana legalization is no longer simply an experiment.

Leading the way headed into 2016 is the nation’s most populous state, California. Efforts are underway, and have been for sometime, to finally get cannabis into a position of full-legality, and 2016 looks like it will be the first time it has actually been on the ballot, and up for voters to decide on. According to San Diego-based news outlet KUSI, the Marijuana Policy Project — which ran the campaign during 2012 in Colorado — is already on the ground conjuring up support.

Polling conducted in California prior to this year’s midterms show that Californians already support marijuana legalization by a fairly wide margin. Tulchin Research’s work show that 65% of California residents support a measure to legalize, regulate and tax cannabis. Over the next two years, as Oregon, Alaska and D.C. all rack up tax revenues and their residents go about their lives without fear of arrest for possession, that margin could easily widen. In fact, the state’s Democratic party has already added it to their platform for the next election cycle.

In addition to California, it looks as though Massachusetts, Arizona and Nevada could also be gearing up to legalize in 2016. Now, if all three of those states opt to do so (Arizona would be the only questionable one), that would bring the total up to eight states — not counting D.C. — which is 16% of the country. That may be enough to actually tip the scales and lead to a cascade of victories in other states in 2020 and 2022. Once voters in other states realize that the sky does not fall upon legalization, they’ll probably be more inclined to vote in support.

Another reason to think 2016 may be even better than 2014? More voters will show up, being a presidential election year, and it looks as though they’re likely to vote more progressive. “Voter turnout tends to be much higher in presidential election years,” Mason Tvert, communications director of the Marijuana Policy Project, told The Huffington Post. “We believe a 2016 initiative will best demonstrate just how much support there is for ending marijuana prohibition in California.”

California — the nation’s most populous state, and eighth largest economy in the world, all on its own — is the biggest domino that needs to fall, and it looks like 2016 is the year that it will happen. If the entire west coast, and a few other states legalize along the way, it’s hard to imagine the trend reversing itself, or the feds pulling the plug on the whole thing.

So if you think 2014 was a big deal for the legalization effort, buckle up. 2016 is due to provide some real fireworks.

Marijuana Can Help Heal Broken Bones Study Says

Scientists in Israel are exploring another medical use for marijuana: Their research indicates that a compound in the plant helps heal bone fractures.

The new study, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, found that broken bones healed faster and stronger when the patient received the non-psychoactive compound cannabidiol, or CBD.

“We found that CBD alone makes bones stronger during healing, enhancing the maturation of the collagenous matrix, which provides the basis for new mineralization of bone tissue,” said Dr. Yankel Gabet, one of the lead researchers, in a statement. “After being treated with CBD, the healed bone will be harder to break in the future.”

Researchers administered CBD to a group of rats with mid-femoral fractures. After just eight weeks, they saw marked improvement in the broken bones. They injected another group of rats with a mixture of CBD and THC, marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient. Comparing the results, they concluded that CBD alone was an effective treatment.

Researchers explained that humans have a naturally occurring endocannabinoid system, which regulates a number of physiological processes as well as the skeleton. The human brain and body are thus prepped to be responsive to cannabinoids, even those from an outside source like marijuana.

Gabet of the Bone Research Laboratory at Tel Aviv University and the late professor Itai Bab of the Bone Laboratory at Hebrew University led the research.

A number of studies in recent years have demonstrated the medical potential of marijuana. Purified forms of cannabis have been tied to better blood sugar control and may help slow the spread of HIV. A growing body of research suggests CBD may also be effective in reducing inflammation brought on by multiple sclerosis, stopping metastasis in many kinds of aggressive cancer, killing cancerous cells in people with leukemia and serving as an alternative antipsychotic treatment.

“The clinical potential of cannabinoid-related compounds is simply undeniable at this point,” Gabet said.

Seventeen U.S. states have legalized CBD for limited medical use or research, and 23 other states have more broadly legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Still, the federal government continues to ban the plant, classifying it as one of the “most dangerous” drugs with “no currently accepted medical use.”

The Key Differences Between Indica and Sativa Cannabis Plants

Sativa and Indica are the two major types of cannabis plants which can mix together to create hybrid strains. Each strain has its own range of effects on the body and mind resulting in a wide range of medicinal benefits.

Indica plants typically grow short and wide, compared to Sativa plants which grow tall and thin. Indica plants are better suited for indoor growing because of their short growth and sativa plants are better suited for outdoor growing because some strains can reach over 25 ft. in height.

The high produced from smoking Indica bud is a strong physical body high that will make you sleepy or ‘couch-locked’ and provides a deep relaxation feeling compared to a Sativa high, which is known to be more energetic and uplifting.

Marijuana strains range from pure sativas to pure indicas and hybrid strains consisting of both indica and sativa (30% indica – 70% sativa, 50% – 50% combinations, 80% indica – 20% sativa). Because Sativa and Indica buds have very different medicinal benefits and effects, certain strains can be targeted to better treat specific illnesses.

Indica dominant marijuana strains tend to have a strong sweet or sour odor to the buds (ex. Kush, OG Kush) providing a very relaxing and strong body high that is helpful in treating general anxiety, body pain, and sleeping disorders.

Indicas are very effective for overall pain relief and is often used to treat insomnia for many people. Indica buds are most commonly smoked by medical marijuana patients in the late evening or even right before bed due to how sleepy and tired you become when high from an indica strain of marijuana, like Kush.

Benefits of Indica:
1. Relieves body pain
2. Relaxes muscles
3. Relieves spasms, reduces seizures
4. Relieves headaches and migraines
5. Relieves anxiety or stress

Sativa dominant marijuana strains tend to have a more grassy type odor to the buds providing an uplifting, energetic and “cerebral” high that is best suited for daytime smoking. A sativa high is one filled with creativity and energy as being high on sativa can spark new ideas and creations. Many artists take advantage of the creative powers of cannabis sativa (marijuana) to create paintings.

Benefits of Sativa:
1. Feelings of well-being and at-ease
2. Up-lifting and cerebral thoughts
3. Stimulates and energizes
4. Increases focus and creativity
5. Fights depression

Crazy Health Benefits of Juicing Raw Cannabis

Contrary to popular belief, the marijuana plant is a whole lot more than just a psychoactive drug that “stoners” use to get high.

In raw form, marijuana leaves and buds are actually loaded with a non-psychoactive, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer nutrient compound known as cannabidiol (CBD) that is proving to be a miracle “superfood” capable of preventing and reversing a host of chronic illnesses.

The old saying an “apple a day keeps the doctor away” could officially be replaced by “a cup of juiced cannabis a day keeps the doctors away”.

Here is just a very SHORT list of some of the benefits of juicing raw cannabis:

1.  Antioxidants

2. Increased muscle repair

3. Increased quality of immune system which will help you fight off illness both severe and basic.

4. You can ingest higher than usual doses of cannabis this way because there will be little to no psychoactive effects.

Marijuana Stops Cancer From Spreading

CBD may help prevent cancer from spreading, researchers at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco reported.

Cannabidiol stops cancer by turning off a gene called Id-1, the study, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, found. Cancer cells make more copies of this gene than non-cancerous cells, and it helps them spread through the body.

The researchers studied breast cancer cells in the lab that had high expression levels of Id-1 and treated them with cannabidiol. After treatment the cells had decreased Id-1 expression and were less aggressive spreaders.

In “WEED,” Gupta also mentioned a few studies in the U.S., Spain, and Israel that suggest the compounds in cannabis could even kill cancer cells.

Your Rights

The following information is intended as a brief summation of your constitutional rights and is meant to offer helpful hints at how to effectively assert and protect those rights within the context of a police encounter. Of course, this information is no substitute for consultation with an experienced attorney.

The Fourth Amendment to the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The Fifth Amendment reads, in part, “No person shall be… compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law….” These amendments provide the foundation for the rights that protect all U.S. Citizens from intrusive law enforcement practices. If an officer violates your rights then any evidence discovered as a result of that violation must be suppressed from the evidence at trial. This is accomplished by filing a motion to suppress with the trial judge. Even if an officer obtained a warrant prior to searching, if that warrant is defective or not supported by probable cause, then the evidence must be suppressed. Often times, after the fruits of an illegal detention, interrogation or search are suppressed, the government is left with very little evidence and the charges are dismissed.

1. Don’t Leave Contraband in Plain View
Although law enforcement officers must obtain a warrant before they can conduct a privacy-invading search, any illicit material that can be plainly seen by any person from a non-intrusive vantage point is subject to confiscation. An arrest and a valid warrant to search the rest of the area is likely to ensue. A “roach” in the ashtray, a pipe or baggie on the coffee table, or a joint being smoked in public are common mistakes which all too-frequently lead to arrests.

Freedom Card

2. Never Consent
Many individuals arrested on marijuana charges could have avoided that arrest by exercising their Fourth Amendment rights. If a law enforcement officer asks for your permission to search, it is usually because: (1) there is not enough evidence to obtain a search warrant; or (2) the officer does not feel like going through the hassle of obtaining a warrant. Law enforcement officers are trained to intimidate people into consenting to searches. If you do consent, you waive your constitutional protection and the officers may search and seize items without further authorization. If officers find contraband, they will arrest you.

If you do not consent to a search, the officer must either release you or detain you and attempt to get a warrant. The fact that you refuse to consent does not give the officer grounds to obtain a warrant or further detain you.

An officer can obtain a search warrant only from a judge or magistrate and only upon a showing of “probable cause.” Probable cause requires an officer to articulate information that would cause a reasonable person to believe that a crime has been or is being committed and that evidence of that involvement can be found within the object of the search.

There are exceptions to the search warrant requirement which permit an officer to search an area without a warrant or consent under certain circumstances. The important thing for you to remember is never to consent to a search or talk with an officer if you want to preserve your rights.

If an officer asks to search you or an area belonging to you or over which you are authorized to control, you should respond:

“I do not consent to a search of my [person, baggage, purse, luggage, vehicle, house, blood, etc.] I do not consent to this contact and do not want to answer any questions. If I am not under arrest, I would like to go now (or be left alone).”

3. Don’t Answer Questions Without Your Attorney Present
Whether arrested or not, you should always exercise the right to remain silent. Anything you say to law enforcement officers, reporters, cell mates, or even your friends can be used as evidence against you. You have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. Your right to remain silent should always be exercised.

4. Determining if You Can Leave
You may terminate an encounter with officers unless you are being detained under police custody or have been arrested. If you cannot tell whether you may leave, you can ask officers, “Am I under arrest or otherwise detained?” If the answer is, “No,” you may leave.

An officer can temporarily detain you without arresting you if he has “reasonable suspicion” that you are involved in criminal activity. An officer must be able at a later time to articulate to a judge objective facts that would have caused a reasonable person to suspect that you were involved in criminal activity at the point that you were detained. Also, the officer may perform a “pat down” or “frisk” on you during the detention if he has reasonable suspicion that you are armed. However, an officer may only reach into your pockets if he pats something that feels like a weapon.

When an officer attempts to contact or question you, you should politely say:

“I do not consent to this contact and I do not want to answer any questions. If I am not under arrest I would like to go now (or be left alone).”

If arrested, you should again refuse a search of any kind and refuse to answer any questions. At this point you should insist on speaking to an attorney as soon as possible.

5. Do Not Be Hostile; Do Not Physically Resist
There are times when individuals politely assert their rights and refuse to consent to a search but the officers nonetheless proceed to detain, search, or arrest them. In such cases, it is important not to physically resist. Rather, you should reassert your rights as outlined above in section 2.

6. Informing on Others
The police and prosecutors often try to pressure individuals into providing information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of others. Threats and promises by police and prosecutors should be viewed with caution and skepticism. Decisions should only be made after consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney and examining one’s own conscience.

Finally, consider downloading and carrying NORML’s Freedom Card — a quick reference guide to your rights and obligations when you are stopped by the police.

Harvard Psychiatrist Says Weed Heals Concussions

Chief Cannabis Correspondent Ryan Nerz interviews Dr. Lester Grinspoon, a Professor Emeritus at Harvard University and the author of Marihuana Reconsidered. Grinspoon has written an open letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, advising him to consider allowing cannabis as a treatment for post-concussion syndrome.

Professor Grinspoon claims that CBD-heavy strains of marijuana serve as a powerful neuroprotectant, effectively helping the brain heal from concussions.

“The NFL should pay some attention to the fact that we are now pretty confident that cannabis, marijuana, has as a medicine, some qualities about it which make it clear that it is neuro-protective,” said Prof. Grinspoon. “We are talking about a particular formulation of the cannbanoids, that is a formulation which is largely made of CBD, and to a much lesser extent THC, and of course along with it other phytochemicals, like terpenoids, that come from the marijuana bud. And these three, these three components, work in an ensemble effect. There is no psychoactive effect. Anybody who takes this combination of high CBD and low THC, will if he tries to use it as a psychoactive drug, will be disappointed. He can’t get high on it.”

In the future, Grinspoon believes, many people will take the same non-intoxicating cannabis pill that he himself takes every night…as an antioxidant and neuroprotectant

How Much Marijuana Does It Take To Overdose?

Drugs used in medicine are routinely given what is called an LD-50. The LD-50 rating indicates at what dosage fifty percent of test animals receiving a drug will die as a result of drug induced toxicity. A number of researchers have attempted to determine marijuana’s LD-50 rating in test animals, without success. Simply stated, researchers have been unable to give animals enough marijuana to induce death.

At present it is estimated that marijuana’s LD-50 is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000. In layman terms this means that in order to induce death a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in one marijuana cigarette. NIDA-supplied marijuana cigarettes weigh approximately .9 grams. A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response.

In practical terms, marijuana cannot induce a lethal response as a result of drug-related toxicity.”

Even if someone is smoking marijuana concentrates or ‘dabs’ which can be 3-4 times more potent than their flower counterparts, that’s still hundreds of pounds of marijuana dabs within a 15 minute period. A person would pass out before they experienced a lethal dose level of marijuana. Something could harm the person if they fell while passing out resulting in death, but that’s different than the marijuana itself causing death. Some readers are probably wondering why the federal government fights so hard against marijuana research. Maybe it’s because every time they research marijuana they find out how wrong they are…

Introduction to Endocannabinoid System

Introduction to the Endocannabinoid System

Dustin Sulak, DO
Integr8 Health

As you read this review of the scientific literature regarding the therapeutic effects of cannabis and cannabinoids, one thing will become quickly evident: cannabis has a profound influence on the human body. This one herb and its variety of therapeutic compounds seem to affect every aspect of our bodies and minds. How is this possible?

At our integrative medical clinics in Maine and Massachusetts, my colleagues and I treat over 18,000 patients with a huge diversity of diseases and symptoms. In one day I might see cancer, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, insomnia, Tourette’s syndrome and eczema, just to name a few. All of these conditions have different causes, different physiologic states, and vastly different symptoms. The patients are old and young. Some are undergoing conventional therapy. Others are on a decidedly alternative path. Yet despite their differences, almost all of my patients would agree on one point: cannabis helps their condition.

As a physician, I am naturally wary of any medicine that purports to cure-all. Panaceas, snake-oil remedies, and expensive fads often come and go, with big claims but little scientific or clinical evidence to support their efficacy. As I explore the therapeutic potential of cannabis, however, I find no lack of evidence. In fact, I find an explosion of scientific research on the therapeutic potential of cannabis, more evidence than one can find on some of the most widely used therapies of conventional medicine.

At the time of updating (February 2015), a PubMed search for scientific journal articles published in the last 20 years containing the word “cannabis” revealed 8,637 results. Add the word “cannabinoid,” and the results increase to 20,991 articles. That’s an average of more than two scientific publications per day over the last 20 years! These numbers not only illustrate the present scientific interest and financial investment in understanding more about cannabis and its components, but they also emphasize the need for high quality reviews and summaries such as the document you are about to read.

How can one herb help so many different conditions? How can it provide both palliative and curative actions? How can it be so safe while offering such powerful effects? The search to answer these questions has led scientists to the discovery of a previously unknown physiologic system, a central component of the health and healing of every human and almost every animal: the endocannabinoid system.

What Is The Endocannabinoid System?

The endogenous cannabinoid system, named after the plant that led to its discovery, is perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health. Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body: in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis, the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment.

Cannabinoids promote homeostasis at every level of biological life, from the sub-cellular, to the organism, and perhaps to the community and beyond. Here’s one example: autophagy, a process in which a cell sequesters part of its contents to be self-digested and recycled, is mediated by the cannabinoid system. While this process keeps normal cells alive, allowing them to maintain a balance between the synthesis, degradation, and subsequent recycling of cellular products, it has a deadly effect on malignant tumor cells, causing them to consume themselves in a programmed cellular suicide. The death of cancer cells, of course, promotes homeostasis and survival at the level of the entire organism.

Endocannabinoids and cannabinoids are also found at the intersection of the body’s various systems, allowing communication and coordination between different cell types. At the site of an injury, for example, cannabinoids can be found decreasing the release of activators and sensitizers from the injured tissue, stabilizing the nerve cell to prevent excessive firing, and calming nearby immune cells to prevent release of pro-inflammatory substances. Three different mechanisms of action on three different cell types for a single purpose: minimize the pain and damage caused by the injury.

The endocannabinoid system, with its complex actions in our immune system, nervous system, and all of the body’s organs, is literally a bridge between body and mind. By understanding this system we begin to see a mechanism that explains how states of consciousness can promote health or disease.

In addition to regulating our internal and cellular homeostasis, cannabinoids influence a person’s relationship with the external environment. Socially, the administration of cannabinoids clearly alters human behavior, often promoting sharing, humor, and creativity. By mediating neurogenesis, neuronal plasticity, and learning, cannabinoids may directly influence a person’s open-mindedness and ability to move beyond limiting patterns of thought and behavior from past situations. Reformatting these old patterns is an essential part of health in our quickly changing environment.

What Are Cannabinoid Receptors?

Sea squirts, tiny nematodes, and all vertebrate species share the endocannabinoid system as an essential part of life and adaptation to environmental changes. By comparing the genetics of cannabinoid receptors in different species, scientists estimate that the endocannabinoid system evolved in primitive animals over 600 million years ago.

While it may seem we know a lot about cannabinoids, the estimated twenty thousand scientific articles have just begun to shed light on the subject. Large gaps likely exist in our current understanding, and the complexity of interactions between various cannabinoids, cell types, systems and individual organisms challenges scientists to think about physiology and health in new ways. The following brief overview summarizes what we do know.

Cannabinoid receptors are present throughout the body, embedded in cell membranes, and are believed to be more numerous than any other receptor system. When cannabinoid receptors are stimulated, a variety of physiologic processes ensue. Researchers have identified two cannabinoid receptors: CB1, predominantly present in the nervous system, connective tissues, gonads, glands, and organs; and CB2, predominantly found in the immune system and its associated structures. Many tissues contain both CB1 and CB2 receptors, each linked to a different action. Researchers speculate there may be a third cannabinoid receptor waiting to be discovered.

Endocannabinoids are the substances our bodies naturally make to stimulate these receptors. The two most well understood of these molecules are called anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). They are synthesized on-demand from cell membrane arachidonic acid derivatives, have a local effect and short half-life before being degraded by the enzymes fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL).

Phytocannabinoids are plant substances that stimulate cannabinoid receptors. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the most psychoactive and certainly the most famous of these substances, but other cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) are gaining the interest of researchers due to a variety of healing properties. Most phytocannabinoids have been isolated from cannabis sativa, but other medical herbs, such as echinacea purpura, have been found to contain non-psychoactive cannabinoids as well.

Interestingly, the cannabis plant also uses THC and other cannabinoids to promote its own health and prevent disease. Cannabinoids have antioxidant properties that protect the leaves and flowering structures from ultraviolet radiation – cannabinoids neutralize the harmful free radicals generated by UV rays, protecting the cells. In humans, free radicals cause aging, cancer, and impaired healing. Antioxidants found in plants have long been promoted as natural supplements to prevent free radical harm.

Laboratories can also produce cannabinoids. Synthetic THC, marketed as dronabinol (Marinol), and nabilone (Cesamet), a THC analog, are both FDA approved drugs for the treatment of severe nausea and wasting syndrome. Some clinicians have found them helpful in the off-label treatment of chronic pain, migraine, and other serious conditions. Many other synthetic cannabinoids are used in animal research, and some have potency up to 600 times that of THC.

Cannabis, The Endocannabinoid System, And Good Health

As we continue to sort through the emerging science of cannabis and cannabinoids, one thing remains clear: a functional cannabinoid system is essential for health. From embryonic implantation on the wall of our mother’s uterus, to nursing and growth, to responding to injuries, endocannabinoids help us survive in a quickly changing and increasingly hostile environment. As I realized this, I began to wonder: can an individual enhance his/her cannabinoid system by taking supplemental cannabis? Beyond treating symptoms, beyond even curing disease, can cannabis help us prevent disease and promote health by stimulating an ancient system that is hard-wired into all of us?

I now believe the answer is yes. Research has shown that small doses of cannabinoids from cannabis can signal the body to make more endocannabinoids and build more cannabinoid receptors. This is why many first-time cannabis users don’t feel an effect, but by their second or third time using the herb they have built more cannabinoid receptors and are ready to respond. More receptors increase a person’s sensitivity to cannabinoids; smaller doses have larger effects, and the individual has an enhanced baseline of endocannabinoid activity. I believe that small, regular doses of cannabis might act as a tonic to our most central physiologic healing system.

Many physicians cringe at the thought of recommending a botanical substance, and are outright mortified by the idea of smoking a medicine. Our medical system is more comfortable with single, isolated substances that can be swallowed or injected. Unfortunately, this model significantly limits the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids.

Unlike synthetic derivatives, herbal cannabis may contain over one hundred different cannabinoids, including THC, which all work synergistically to produce better medical effects and less side effects than THC alone. While cannabis is safe and works well when smoked, many patients prefer to avoid respiratory irritation and instead use a vaporizer, cannabis tincture, or topical salve. Scientific inquiry and patient testimonials both indicate that herbal cannabis has superior medical qualities to synthetic cannabinoids.

In 1902 Thomas Edison said, “There were never so many able, active minds at work on the problems of disease as now, and all their discoveries are tending toward the simple truth that you can’t improve on nature.” Cannabinoid research has proven this statement is still valid.

So, is it possible that medical cannabis could be the most useful remedy to treat the widest variety of human diseases and conditions, a component of preventative healthcare, and an adaptive support in our increasingly toxic, carcinogenic environment? Yes. This was well known to the indigenous medical systems of ancient India, China, and Tibet, and as you will find in this report, is becoming increasingly well known by Western science. Of course, we need more human-based research studying the effectiveness of cannabis, but the evidence base is already large and growing constantly, despite the DEA’s best efforts to discourage cannabis-related research.

Does your doctor understand the benefit of medical cannabis? Can he or she advise you in the proper indications, dosage, and route of administration? Likely not. Despite the two largest U.S. physician associations (American Medical Association and American College of Physicians) calling for more research, the U.S. Congress prohibiting federal interference in states’ medical cannabis programs, a 5,000 year history of safe therapeutic use, and a huge amount of published research, most doctors know little or nothing about medical cannabis.

This is changing, in part because the public is demanding it. People want safe, natural and inexpensive treatments that stimulate our bodies’ ability to self-heal and help our population improve its quality of life. Medical cannabis is one such solution. This summary is an excellent tool for spreading the knowledge and helping to educate patients and healthcare providers on the scientific evidence behind the medical use of cannabis and cannabinoids.

How Cannabis Oil Works to Kill Cancer Cells

How Cannabis Oil Works to Kill Cancer Cells
By: Dennis Hill Bio-chemist

First let’s look at what keeps cancer cells alive, then we will come back and examine how the cannabinoids CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) unravels cancer’s aliveness.

In every cell there is a family of interconvertible sphingolipids that specifically manage the life and death of that cell. This profile of factors is called the “Sphingolipid Rheostat.” If endogenous ceramide(a signaling metabolite of sphingosine-1-phosphate) is high, then cell death (apoptosis) is imminent. If ceramide is low, the cell is strong in its vitality.

Very simply, when THC connects to the CB1 or CB2 cannabinoid receptor site on the cancer cell, it causes an increase in ceramide synthesis which drives cell death. A normal healthy cell does not produce ceramide in the presence of THC, thus is not affected by the cannabinoid.

The cancer cell dies, not because of cytotoxic chemicals, but because of a tiny little shift in the mitochondria. Within most cells there is a cell nucleus, numerous mitochondria (hundreds to thousands), and various other organelles in the cytoplasm. The purpose of the mitochondria is to produce energy (ATP) for cell use. As ceramide starts to accumulate, turning up the Sphingolipid Rheostat, it increases the mitochondrial membrane pore permeability to cytochrome c, a critical protein in energy synthesis. Cytochrome c is pushed out of the mitochondria, killing the source of energy for the cell.
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Ceramide also causes genotoxic stress in the cancer cell nucleus generating a protein called p53, whose job it is to disrupt calcium metabolism in the mitochondria. If this weren’t enough, ceramide disrupts the cellular lysosome, the cell’s digestive system that provides nutrients for all cell functions. Ceramide, and other sphingolipids, actively inhibit pro-survival pathways in the cell leaving no possibility at all of cancer cell survival.

The key to this process is the accumulation of ceramide in the system. This means taking therapeutic amounts of CBD and THC, steadily, over a period of time, keeping metabolic pressure on this cancer cell death pathway.

How did this pathway come to be? Why is it that the body can take a simple plant enzyme and use it for profound healing in many different physiological systems? This endocannabinoid system exists in all animal life, just waiting for its matched exocannabinoid activator. This is interesting. Our own endocannabinoid system covers all cells and nerves; it is the messenger of information flowing between our immune system and the central nervous system (CNS). It is responsible for neuroprotection, and micro-manages the immune system. This is the primary control system that maintains homeostasis; our well being.

Just out of curiosity, how does the work get done at the cellular level, and where does the body make the endocannabinoids? Here we see that endocannabinoids have their origin in nerve cells right at the synapse. When the body is compromised through illness or injury it calls insistently to the endocannabinoid system and directs the immune system to bring healing. If these homeostatic systems are weakened, it should be no surprise that exocannabinoids are therapeutic. It helps the body in the most natural way possible.

To see how this works we visualize the cannabinoid as a three dimensional molecule, where one part of the molecule is configured to fit the nerve or immune cell receptor site just like a key in a lock. There are at least two types of cannabinoid receptor sites, CB1 (CNS) and CB2 (immune). In general CB1 activates the CNS messaging system, and CB2 activates the immune system, but it’s much more complex than this. Both THC and anandamide activate both receptor sites. Other cannabinoids activate one or the other receptor sites. Among the strains of Cannabis, C. sativa tends toward the CB1 receptor, and C. indica tends toward CB2. So sativa is more neuroactive, and indica is more immunoactive. Another factor here is that sativa is dominated by THC cannabinoids, and indica is predominately CBD (cannabidiol).

It is known that THC and CBD are biomimetic to anandamide, that is, the body can use both interchangeably. Thus, when stress, injury, or illness demand more from endogenous anandamide than can be produced by the body, its mimetic exocannabinoids are activated. If the stress is transitory, then the treatment can be transitory. If the demand is sustained, such as in cancer, then treatment needs to provide sustained pressure of the modulating agent on the homeostatic systems.

Typically CBD gravitates to the densely packed CB2 receptors in the spleen, home to the body’s immune system. From there, immune cells seek out and destroy cancer cells. Interestingly, it has been shown that THC and CBD cannabinoids have the ability to kill cancer cells directly without going through immune intermediaries. THC and CBD hijack the lipoxygenase pathway to directly inhibit tumor growth. As a side note, it has been discovered that CBD inhibits anandamide reuptake. Here we see that cannabidiol helps the body preserve its own natural endocannabinoid by inhibiting the enzyme that breaks down anandamide.

This brief survey touches lightly on a few essential concepts. Mostly I would like to leave you with an appreciation that nature has designed the perfect medicine that fits exactly with our own immune system of receptors and signaling metabolites to provide rapid and complete immune response for systemic integrity and metabolic homeostasis.

Bibliography
1. http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/65/5/1635.abstract
Sami Sarfaraz, Farrukh Afaq, Vaqar M. Adhami, and Hasan Mukhtar + Author Affiliations. Department of Dermatology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/pubmed
J Neuroimmunol. 2007 Mar;184(1-2):127-35. Epub 2006 Dec 28.
Immune control by endocannabinoids – new mechanisms of neuroprotection? Ullrich O,Merker K, Timm J, Tauber S. Institute of Immunology, Medical Faculty, Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany. oliver.ullrich@medizine.uni-magdeburg.de

3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endocannabinoid_system
Endocannabinoid synthesis & release.

4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabinoids
Cannabinoid receptor type 1.

5. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/121381780/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0
Journal of Neurochemistry, Volume 104 Issue 4, Pages 1091 – 1100 Published Online: 18 Aug 2008

6. http://leavesofgrass.info/info/Non-Psychoactive-Cannabinoids.pdf
Non-psychotropic plant cannabinoids: new therapeutic opportunities from an ancient herb.
Angelo A. Izzo, Francesca Borrelli, Raffaele Capasso, Vincenzo Di Marzo, and Raphael Mechoulam. Department of Experimental Pharmacology, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy. Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry, National Research Council, Pozzuoli (NA), Italy. Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products, Hebrew University Medical Faculty, Jerusalem, Israel, Endocannabinoid Research Group, Italy

7. http://sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/59872/title/Not_just_a_high
Scientists test medicinal marijuana against MS, inflammation and cancer
By Nathan Seppa June 19th, 2010; Vol.177 #13 (p. 16)

8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1766198/
NIH Public Access:
A house divided: ceramide, sphingosine, and sphingosine-1-phosphate in programmed cell death
Tarek A. Taha, Thomas D. Mullen, and Lina M. Obeid
Division of General Internal Medicine, Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Administration Hospital, Charleston, South Carolina 29401; and Department of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina 29425
Corresponding author: Lina M. Obeid, M.D., Department of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, 114 Doughty St., P.O.Box 250779, Charleston, South Carolina 29425. E-mail: obeidl@musc.edu

9. Yap WN, Chang PN, Han HY, et al. (December 2008).
“Gamma-tocotrienol suppresses prostate cancer cell proliferation and invasion through multiple-signalling pathways”. British Journal of Cancer 99 (11): 1832–41.doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6604763. PMID 19002171.
10.Ellagitannin-rich pomegranate extract inhibits angiogenesis in prostate cancer in vitro and in vivo. Int J Oncol. 2008 Feb;32(2):475-80.
Sartippour MR, Seeram NP, Rao JY, Moro A, Harris DM, Henning SM, Firouzi A, Rettig MB,Aronson WJ, Pantuck AJ, Heber D.
Center for Human Nutrition, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1742, USA.
– See more at: http://www.cureyourowncancer.org/how-cannabis-oil-works.html#sthash.8sQ2QpvW.dpuf

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