Originally Published: February 6th, 2017.
Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds found in cannabis which react with the cannabinoid receptors in the human brain and body. Different cannabinoids produce different reactions and effects, many of which provide relief to a variety of symptoms and medical conditions.
There are more than 80 different cannabinoids found in marijuana, yet we know very little about 90 percent of them. The two most widely studied are also the most commonly known by consumers, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC works effectively as an:
- Appetite stimulant
- Anti-sleep apnea
- Anti-intraocular eye pressure (glaucoma)
CBD works effectively to:
- Relieve anxiety
- Suppress epileptic fits
- Reduce psychotic behavior
- Protect against neurodegenerative diseases
- Fight against bacterial infections
- Reduce diabetic symptoms
- Stimulate bone growth
- Reduce psoriasis
- Reduce risk of artery blockage
Both THC and CBD work effectively to:
- Relive pain
- Reduce inflammation
- Curb symptoms of depression
- Reduce spasms
- Reduce nausea
- Inhibit tumor cell growth
The CB Scientific Personal Analytics detection kit provides an easy and affordable way, for medical patients and recreational consumers alike, to test marijuana flowers for two different cannabinoids from the comfort home. At this time, the test kits are only available for the two most commonly known cannabinoids — THC or CBD. For the purpose of this experiment, we used the THC detection kit.
The strain used for this example, Kosher Kush, was purchased at the Clinic Colorado’s original Capitol Hill location before it closed doors for relocation. We used this strain because The Clinic provides lab tested cannabinoid information, including the THC content, which was right at about 20 percent for the Kosher Kush strain.
The CB Scientific THC detection kit was easy to use, and gave us results in just 10 minutes. It starts with placing minimal amounts of cannabis into the provided snap top vials. Next, the solutions are added to the vials, which are then shaken.
After 10 minutes, the solutions react with the THC in the cannabis that is being tested. A color chart is provided with the detection kit, so that the color of the solution in the vial can be compared with the colors on the chart. The scale starts with a very pale red to white area which corresponds with 0 percent THC. On the other end of the spectrum is a very dark red color which corresponds with 20 percent THC or higher.
We found the results of the THC detection kit to match with the lab test results reported by The Clinic. The solution turned a deep red color, confirming that this Kosher Kush definitely contained at least 20 percent THC.
Even though knowing the cannabinoid content of dried marijuana flowers would be beneficial, especially to those seeking specific symptom relief, that information is not always available. This THC detection kit, and the CBD kit, will be very helpful for patients who want to verify the cannabinoid content of their medicine, as well as for curious recreational users. Home cultivators would also find this kit useful for testing home grown strains.
A new study has discovered that cannabinoids can help achieve better results when treating cancer, combined with a chemotherapy treatment.
There have been some studies conducted on cannabis’ ability to treat cancer, and cannabis is often used to alleviate the symptoms of cancer treatment therapies. But this study suggests that adding a cannabinoid treatment may allow doctors to use less chemotherapy drugs during treatment, minimizing the harmful side effects.
The study conducted at St. George’s University in London focused on leukemia, a type of cancer that destroys red blood cells. Dr. Wai Lu, the lead author of the study, said,
“We have shown for the first time that the order in which cannabinoids and chemotherapy are used is crucial in determining the overall effectiveness of this treatment.”
The report, which was published in the International Journal of Oncology, described the “anticancer activity” when cannabinoids are the sole treatment being administered. Researchers were curious about how cannabinoids interact with chemotherapy when administered before and after treatment, as well as different combinations of cannabinoids.
It revealed that taking cannabis before chemotherapy had a completely different effect than when taken afterwards. When paired with cytarabine and vincristine, two widely-used chemotherapy drugs that treat leukemia, cannabinoids helped kill more cancerous red blood cells after chemotherapy was administered. But it had an adverse effect when taken before chemotherapy.
“Studies such as ours serve to establish the best ways that they should be used to maximize a therapeutic effect,” explained Liu.
Although this was not a clinical trial involving leukemia patients, research on the cellular level is critical before studies can be carried out with human subjects. The authors of the study admit more research is needed to definitively support their results.
The cannabinoids were not administered through smoking whole-plant cannabis, and researchers warn that unregulated cannabis could have an adverse effect on a patient’s health. “These extracts are highly concentrated and purified, so smoking marijuana will not have a similar effect,” said Liu.
This study’s results are in line with previous research that supports a multi-cannabinoid approach to treating cancer. In 1974, researchers began looking into cannabis to treat cancer, and found that it did in fact shrink tumors in the majority of patients. But further research was restricted by the DEA. Liu himself conducted a similar study in 2013 that examined several cannabinoids, aside from THC, and it propelled his work towards the more recent study, “There’s quite a lot of cancers that should respond quite nicely to these cannabis agents,” he said in 2013.
Statistically, about 38.5% of Americans will develop some sort of cancer within their lifetime, according to the National Institute of Health. Newer treatment therapies focus on maximizing the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation to target cancer rather than harm the immune system, but these therapies can still be destructive. While cancer organizations still caution patients on using cannabis without strong clinical research, Liu is encouraged by the results of this study. “…cannabinoids are a very exciting prospect in oncology, and studies such as ours serve to establish the best ways that they should be used to maximise a therapeutic effect,” he said.
Studies have shown that the cannabinoids found in marijuana play beneficial roles in the treatment of many debilitating medical conditions affecting the human brain. For example, a recently published study confirmed previous indications that cannabinoids help to shrink aggressive brain tumors. Another recent study linked cannabis use with increased chances of surviving a brain injury. Now, another study has confirmed that cannabis may also play a role in the treatment of the degenerative brain disease known as Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer disease, a form of dementia that most commonly strikes people aged 65 and older, is a bit of a medical mystery. Although there is no reason known to cause the onset, nor to cure it, a study from a team in South Florida, lead by neuroscientist Chuanhai Cao, PhD, found that low levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, may “slow or even halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”
The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease earlier this year, was titled “The Potential Therapeutic Effects of THC on Alzheimer’s Disease.” The study summary stated, “These sets of data strongly suggest that THC could be a potential therapeutic treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease through multiple functions and pathways.”
There are many hypotheses about what causes the progression of the condition. The most commonly accepted, lists plaques and tangles in the brain as the culprits causing the degeneration and death of brain cells, which results in such symptoms as memory loss. The Alzheimer’s Association defines plaques as, “deposits of a protein fragment, called beta-amyloid, that build up in the spaces between nerve cells.” Tangles are defined as, “twisted fibers of another protein called tau that build up inside cells.” It is normal for plaques and tangles to develop in an aging brain, but the development significantly increases, for a reason unknown, in people suffering from Alzheimer’s.
In this particular study, the cells tested were outside the body in an artificial cultural medium, using a method known as in vitro. The small amount of THC that was introduced to these cells was able to reduce the the build up of beta-amyloid and clear debris in the cells. If THC is able to reduce the build up of plaques, which stimulate the disease in the brain, it will likely be able to prevent or slow the progression of the disease when introduced inside the human body. The study also found that the introduction of THC increased the function of specialized subunits within cells known as mitochondria. Mitochondria play important roles in the life-cycle, growth, and death of cells. This demonstrates the potential that THC may have to reduce or possibly prevent the degeneration and death of the brain cells in the first place.
Lead author, Cao told USF Health, “THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation, and enhancing mitochondrial function.” He added, “Decreased levels of amyloid beta means less aggregation, which may protect against the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Since THC is a natural and relatively safe amyloid inhibitor, THC or its analogs may help us develop an effective treatment in the future.”
When asked about the study, authors confirmed that potential benefits of using THC to treat Alzheimer’s far outweigh the risks, as no toxicity was observed. Although THC is associated with memory impairment, such a minimal quantity used for this study is no worse for a patient than the leading pharmaceuticals most commonly used to treat this disease.
More research must be done on this subject to confirm the findings with one-hundred percent confidence, but this study is a positive indication that the use of cannabis to treat degenerative brain diseases should be explored.
photo credit: Rocky Mountain Oils
Over 100 desperate Chilean mothers started a support group called Mama Cultiva, or Mama Grows, to share information about medical marijuana in the treatment of epileptic children. The group of mothers host covert meetings to learn about the cultivation of marijuana as well as the extraction of the CBD known to treat epileptic conditions.
Though consumption of this life-saving medicine is permitted, the cultivation still remains highly illegal and carries up to a 15 year prison sentence. This hasn’t stopped this small group of Chilean mothers from taking actions to save their kids.
Paulina Bobadilla is just one of the many mothers who fights daily with the reality of severe epileptic conditions. Paulina told the Associated Press that her child was in such severe pain that she would tear out her own fingernails.
Another mother, Gabriela Reyes, is an active member of the group with a seven-month-old who was experiencing up to 300 seizures per day. After Gabriela began treating her infant with the extracted cannabis oil (with a few drops on the pacifier) the number of seizures dropped to just 12 per day.
The members of the group can undoubtedly relate in their sense of despair, and justly pay no attention to Chile’s cannabis laws. There are currently 15,000 children in Chile that could benefit from the still illegal cannabis oil.
In September, Chile’s government began planting 750 medical marijuana plants for use in medical research. Mama Cultiva was not permitted into the program due to their focus on children, a verdict that is somewhat counterintuitive.
Still, there remains hope for Chileans as the government tiptoes in to marijuana research and unwavering parents stand up for their ailing children.
Eugene based TJ’s Organic Garden is offering up free medicinal marijuana to children suffering from epilepsy. TJ’s owner Jim Murphy says that they are aiming to supply about 500 children with the non-psychoactive medicine at absolutely no cost. Murphy said, “To be part of the fix is pretty special. It’s a payment within itself.”
The look on Jim Murphy’s face says it all; he’s proud to be helping suffering children. It seems that it’s Murphy’s sense of social responsibility that beckoned his generous donations. “It would be wrong of us not to do so,” Murphy says. With a glimpse of what’s at stake, its no wonder he feels this way.
“Now that I’m on this medication, I feel like a normal boy.”
Those are the words of 8 year old Forrest Smelser, one of the children receiving free medicine from TJ’s. On bad days, Forrest would suffer from a seizure up to every 15 minutes. His mother Tanesha says that in the case of seizures lasting more than 15 minutes, Forrest would begin suffering from brain damage.
Shortly after his 8th birthday, Forrest began suffering from epileptic seizures. The seizures were extremely damaging to the life of the rambunctious young boy. After multiple trips to the emergency room, doctors prescribed the anti-seizure drug Trileptal. The drug proved to be ineffective and didn’t provide the quality of life that a child this age deserves. Forrest became angry and violent on the drug, even hitting himself at times.
After a family friend’s suggestion, Forrest’s mother Tanesha began treating her son with non-psychoactive CBD pills. The results were remarkable. Young Forrest has been seizure free for over 9 weeks now. His mother Tanesha says, “I have my son again. He’s not this fog of a child. He’s not this angry child. He’s my child exactly.”
Forrest is one of 195 medical marijuana patients in Oregon under the age of 18. His mother Tanesha says, “I know it sounds scary and unconventional, but it’s working.” That seems to be the resounding message for parents with children afflicted by epilepsy. Children as young as 4 years old have been enrolled in Oregon’s medical marijuana program.
With more and more success cases being reported across the United States, CBD treatments for epilepsy are becoming increasingly common. TJ’s Organic Gardens has received inquiries from as far away as West Virginia. Murphy encourages parents to contact him, saying, “Get a hold of us. If we can help that’s great. If we can’t, we may be able to point you in the right direction.”
If your child is need of help, you can contact Jim Murphy at [email protected]
via Komo News