Science & Medicine Are Moving Reform Forward - Dr. David Bearman
Science & Medicine Are Moving Reform Forward
We have just seen the voters of Washington and Colorado take a giant step forward for common sense. This is based in part on what we have learned about cannabis, cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system. As we move forward we will be discovering even more about the medical utility of this amazing plant and it's phytochemicals.
The potential for human advancement through research on cannabis, cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system is enormous. Not only are we gaining a greater understanding of the workings of the human mind and body but modern science is documenting the wisdom of our ancestors about the therapeutic value of the cannabis plant and the compounds in it. We are seeing cannabis being taken more seriously as a medicine and that trend is likely to continue. The medicinal value of cannabis and cananbinoids is confirmed on a regular basis by clinical and research evidence.
Science, knowledge, and medicine are driving the increasing appreciation of the medicinal value of cannabis. Scientific findings and clinical experience with medicinal cannabis are generating changing attitudes and practices in the medical community and with the general public. As most informed physicians, scientists and research organizations believe, the federal government needs to reschedule cannabis to schedule II to allow for more research. This increased ease in drug research on cannabis, cannabinoids and terpenes will further unlock the tremendous therapeutic and health benefits of cannabis.
Scientific research has generated interest in cannabinoids for treatment of cancer. delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), considered by many to be the most pharmacologically active constituent of Cannabis sativa. THC serves as an appetite stimulant, analgesic and is effective against vomiting and nausea. THC is currently being tested in a clinical trial for the treatment of aggressive recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). CBD has been shown to have anti cancer effects. The compounds have been reported to be well tolerated during chronic oral and systemic administration.
In addition to delta-9-THC, cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN) and cannabigerol (CBG) are also present in reasonable quantities in cannabis. In vitro studies by GW Pharmaceuticals have determined that the cannbinoids CBN, CBD and CBG also are effective at inhibiting aggressive cancers. They found that a synergistic increase in the antiproliferative and apoptotic (cell killing) activity of cannabinoids can be produced by combining specific ratios of CB1 and CB2 receptors agonists with non-psychotropic cannbinoids.
CBD cannabinoid was first identified in 1940 and its specific chemical structure was identified in 1963. Conventional wisdom among many researchers is that CBD is the cannabinoid that possesses the greatest therapeutic potential.
Researchers Antonio Zuardi, writing about CBD in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry in 2008, concluded "Studies have suggested a wide range of possible therapeutic effects of cannabidiol on several conditions, including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, cerebral ischemia, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, other inflammatory diseases, nausea and cancer." A 2009 literature review by a team of Italian and Israeli investigators found that CBD has broad clinical potential. They wrote that CBD possesses anxiolytic, anti-psychotic, anti-epileptic, neuro-protective, vasorelaxant, antispasmodic, anti-ischemic, anticancer, anti-emetic, antibacterial, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, and bone stimulating properties. Author of Smoke Signals, Martin Lee, and director of the non-profit group Project CBD - wrote that "Cannabidiol is the Cinderella molecule. "[It's] the little substance that could. [It's] nontoxic, non-psychoactive, and multi-capable."
We first isolated the compound in 1896. Cannabinol (CBN) is a product of THC degradation, is found in cannabis in minute quantities, and weakly binds with humans' endogenous cannabinoid receptors. CBN is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid which potentiates the effects of THC. There are 500 published papers in the scientific literature specific to cannabinol. Several articles document CBN's therapeutic potential - including its ability to induce sleep, ease pain and spasticity, delay ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) symptoms, increase appetite, and halt the spread of certain drug resistant pathogens, like MRSA (aka 'the Super Bug').
Cannabichromene (CBC) was first discovered in 1963. Freshly harvested, dry cannabis contains significant quantities of CBC. It has not been extensively studied. There are no more than 75 published papers on PubMed that make specific reference to CBC. A 2009 review of cannabichromene and other non-psychotropic cannabinoids, "CBC exerts anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and modest analgesic activity." CBC has also been shown to promote anti-cancer activity in malignant cell lines.
THCV is currently being researched as a treatment for metabolic disorders, including diabetes. Medicinal properties include: anoretic, bone-stimulant, and anti-epileptic.
The British Journal of Pharmacology, a peer-reviewed journal, published one of the over 65 studies on cananbidivarin (CBDV), cannabis, which showed that cannabidivarin strongly suppressed seizures in six different experimental models. These models are commonly used in epilepsy drug discovery.
CBCV has the potential to prevent more seizures, with few of the annoying side effects (e.g. uncontrollable shaking), caused by many existing anti-seizure medication. Cannabidivarin works when combined with drugs currently used to control epilepsy and it is not psychoactive.
The major cannabinoid constituents in raw Cannabis come in the form of acids (e.g. THCA, CBDA, etc.) Research suggests the acidic cannabinoids hold most of the anti-inflammatory properties that Cannabis has to offer. Acidic cannabinodis show promise in the treatment of IBS, Chron's and Leaky-Gut Syndrome. Acidic cannabinoids go through a chemical change over time or with heat through a process called decarboxylation to form their non-acidic counterparts.
Clearly there is a market for these remarkable cannabinoid compounds. The market potential both as an herbal and an FDA approved pharmaceutical product. Expanded development of cannabinoid medicine can dramatically lower our health care costs as Dr. Christopher Fichtner argues in his book Cannabinoics. Here is a list on what research has shown are symptoms and conditions addressed by just some of the components of cannabis.
Analgesic: CBC, CBD, CBGA, D9-THC, D8-THC, THCA-C4, THCVA, CBLA, CBNA, Linalool, Myrcene - Relieves pain
Anorectic: THCV - Weight loss.
Antibacterial: CBD, CBGA, CBG - Slows bacteria growth.
Anti-Diabetic: CBD - Reduces blood sugar levels.
Antidepressant: Limonene - Relieves symptoms of depression.
Anti-Emetic: D9-THC, CBD - Reduces vomiting and nausea.
Anti-Epileptic: THCV, CBD, Linalool - Redues seizures and convulsions.
Antifungal: CBCA, Carophyllene Oxide, Limonene - Treats fungal infection.
Anti-Inflammatory: CBDA, CBD, CBCA, CBC, CBGA, Alpha-Pinene, Myrcene, Trans-Carophyllene - Reduces inflammation.
Anti-Insomnia: THCA, CBG - Aids sleep.
Anti-Ischemic: CBD - Reduces risk of artery blockage.
Anti-Proliferative: THCA, CBDA, CBD, CBC, CBG, Limonene - Inhibits cancer cell growth.
Antipsioratic: CBD - Treats psoriasis.
Antipsychotic: CBD, Linalool, Myrcene - Tranquilizing.
Antispasmodic: THCA, D9-THC, CBD, Myrcene - Suppresses muscle spasms.
Anxiolitic: CBD, Linalool, Limonene - Relieves anxiety.
Appetite Stimulant: D9-THC - Stimulates appetite.
Bone Stimulant: THCV, CBD, CBC, CBG - Promotes bone growth.
Gastro-Ooesophageal Reflux: Limonene - Reduces acid reflux.
Immunostimulant: Limonene - Stimulates the immune system.
Immunosuppressive: CBD - Reduces function in the immune system.
Intestinal Anti-Prokinetic: CBD - Reduces small intestine contractions.
Neuroprotective: CBD - Retards nervous system degeneration.
Vasorelaxant: CBD - Redues vascular tension.
Dr. Ethan Russo, the nation's top medical expert on cannabis and cananbinoids, recognizes the adverse effects of an endocannabinoid deficiency. He writes that, "Migraine, fibromyalgia, IBS and related conditions display common clinical, biochemical and pathophysiological patterns that suggested an underlying clinical endocannabinoid deficiency that may be suitably treated with cannabinoid medicines."
Russo postulates that there is a combined "entourage effect" of many of the compounds found in cannabis: cannabinoids, terpenes and flavinoids. This synergy of phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects is why the plant is likely more effective therapeutically than any single synthetic or extracted cannabinoid.
Research is demonstrating a combined effect of cannabidiol (CBD) and other phytocannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabivarin, cannabigerol and cannabichromene, potentially being greater than even the additive of effect of these chemical compounds. These substances exert additional effects of therapeutic interest. In his article he suggests the therapeutic importance of other phytotherapeutic agents. These include the cannabis terpenoids: limonene, myrcene, a-pinene, linalool, Ŗ-caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, nerolidol and phytol. Terpenoids share a precursor with phytocannabinoids. We find terpenes in all the "flavour and fragrance components common to human diets that have been designated Generally Recognized as Safe by the US Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies."
Russo points out that, "Terpenoids are very potent. They can affect animal and human behaviour when inhaled from ambient air at serum levels in the single digits ng/mL. He suggests that terpenes may contribute to the entourage (e.g. combined) effects of cannabis-based medicinal extracts. He suggests that this synergy may be present in respect to treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections (including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Phytocannabinoid-terpenoid synergy, if proven, increases the likelihood that an extensive pipeline of new therapeutic products is possible from this venerable plant."
Prohibition Makes Bad Policy
If we look at our dysfunctional drug policy it makes you scratch your head. One would think that alcohol prohibition had proved that Prohibition is a bad policy. That doesnít work and has too many unacceptable unintended negative consequences. The American public wants to know what has happened to common sense, a respect for law and the Constitution.
We have now so twisted the Constitution that we can prohibit drugs without a Constitutional Amendment. This is an assault on states rights. It violates the 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court 1925 Linder decision, and the 1938 Food, Cosmetic and Drug Act. This is not a secret. Justices Rheinquist, Thomas and Sandra Day OíConnor pointed this out in their dissent in 2005 in the Gonzales v. Raich case.
We can all agree that cannabis is an herb that has medicinal value and has been used as a medicine for at least 5,000 years. The FDA is there to protect us from potentially dangerous MANUFACTURED drugs sold to the general public for profit. Many citizens of all political persuasions believe that the government should have NO authority to control what we grow in our own vegetable garden for our own personal use.
How can one make sense of a government that approves a drug - dronabinol (THC) which is the most euphorogenic compounds in the cannabis plant, but say cannabis is illegal? With our government trillions in debt we squander twenty billion dollars a year on the ONDCP. If the states decide to regulate this medicine let the states not the federal government spend this money.
Further making it illegal is a foolís errand. As the AMA pointed out in their 1937 testimony opposing the Marijuana Tax Act, cannabis is a weed that is impossible to eradicate.
And why would we want to eradicate cannabis. Cannabis is safer, has fewer side effects, cheaper and more effective than the FDA approved dronabinol. Marinol (dronabinol) is synthetic THC combined with gelatin, glycerin, iron oxide red, iron oxide yellow, titanium dioxide and is marketed for profit. Itís legal. Growing an herb in your backyard is illegal.
With this kind of thinking itís no wonder no one trusts Congress and weíre trillions in debt.
Alabama: Considering a medical marijuana law.
HB642 - The Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act of Alabama
Arkansas: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Florida: Medical marijuana petition drive underway.
Idaho: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Illinois: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Bill Status of SB1381
Indiana: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Iowa: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Kansas: Medical marijuana petition drive underway.
Marijuana Bill Reaches House
Cannabis Compassion and Care Act
Maryland: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Bill Status of SB 627
Massachusetts: Passed a medical marijuana law.
Minnesota: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Missouri: Considering a medical marijuana law.
HOUSE BILL NO. 1670 - An Act relating to the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes
Cottleville Mayor Don Yarber hopes Missouri legislature passes medical marijuana law
New Hampshire: Considering a medical marijuana law.
New York: Considering a medical marijuana law.
North Carolina: Considering a medical marijuana law.
North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act
Ohio: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Pennsylvania: Considering a medical marijuana law.
South Carolina: Considering a medical marijuana law.
South Dakota: Medical marijuana petition drive underway.
Tennessee: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Texas: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Wisconsin: Considering a medical marijuana law.
The Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act
Featured Recipe - Better Bud Butter
Weíve received numerous inquiries about just how one goes about making butter for all of these recipes. Well, folks have been making butter from cannabis for as long as I can remember which unfortunately is quite long. In the 60ís butter was not widely used as cannabis was in short supply and many folks smoked the leaves as well as any flowers (bud) they might acquire.
Even before the widespread use of medical cannabis in the 80ís and 90ís, increasing numbers of folks who had access to significant quantities of leaf, began to use basic recipes to make cooking products including butter and oil. All of these basic recipes involved slow and low cooking of dairy butter (or oil) and chopped leaf (in roughly equal proportions) to produce a deep green butter. This butter could be very potent but tastes pretty terrible. The problem is that butter made from the whole leaf will include both the chlorophyll and terpenes (as in turpentine) from the plant.
The use of Cannabis for medical purposes has spurred innovation and variety in Cannabis products. Many patients cannot or will not smoke. Of course there are vaporizers and tincture (the subject of a future recipe) but butter is the easiest to cook with and food products are not only well tolerated but can be very tasty and add much needed nutrition. The better the butter the greater the application is in recipes ranging from baked goods to soups to stews, to a wide variety of sauces.
This author relies on the "experts" for the following butter recipes. There are a few basic principles to good butter:
- Use very low heat as to not lower the potency or alter the biochemical characteristics of the Cannabis.
- Use high quality sweet unsalted dairy butter.
- Use a roughly 50/50 ratio (by weight) of plant product and dairy butter. With potent strains or flowers instead of trim the ratio can be easily changed to 10/1 (butter to plant). The resulting butter will have lighter color and better taste.
Bud Butter and Trim Butter: Manicure and dry flowers and/or bud trimmings. Grind to a powder with an electric coffee grinder. Melt the unsalted dairy butter first in a crock pot set on low. Gradually add the trim or flower powder with constant stirring. Cook in crock pot covered on the lowest setting with frequent stirring for two to four hours. Before the dark green butter cools, pour through a cheese cloth and squeeze into plastic tubs. Once the butter cools you can cover the tubs and place them in the refrigerator to finish cooling.
Potency: Potency of butter can vary tremendously depending upon the strain and which portions of the plant are used. Adding four to six ounces of powdered bud trim to two pounds of dairy butter will produce extremely powerful butter. Adding 2-4 tablespoons of such butter to a recipe that serves 10 means that each portion is receiving approximately 1-3 grams of Cannabis. Cookies and brownies made with this butter can be even stronger. Most of the good cookie recipes call for as much as 16 tablespoons of butter to three dozen cookies. These cookies are strong. Although patient dose requirements for orally delivered Cannabis are 4-10X higher than when smoked, one can see a portion can be quite potent. Unlike smoked Cannabis, the effects of the butter will appear more slowly and have much longer duration.
Storage: Butter can be kept in the freezer in airtight containers. Butter kept in this fashion can last many months. One should frequently inspect the butter to insure mold has not spoiled it. If mold has developed or the butter has been exposed and become rancid then it is best to toss it. When in doubt, throw it out.