Medicinal Cannabis vs Skin Disease and Cancer

Marijuana may be the key to treating a wide range of skin diseases at the gene level, according to new research from Italy.

The study, published online in the British Journal of Pharmacology, shows that chemicals in marijuana have the potential to stop harmful DNA activity that underlies diseases like skin cancer and allergies.

“Our findings may lead to the development of preventive medicines, for example, aimed at controlling allergic reactions, or to the design of new and more effective treatments for skin cancer.”
Certain genetic factors are believed to play a role in the uncontrollable growth of skin cells – a key characteristic of many disorders.

But a class of chemicals produced by marijuana called cannabinoids appears to have a unique ability to switch them off.

“Plant-derived cannabinoids that are absent of psychoactive effects may be useful candidates for these applications.”
In the study, researchers recorded the effects of three cannabinoids – cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabidivarin (CBV) – on human skin cell lines.

CBD was found to be the most effective at targeting unwanted DNA activity, followed by CBG.

While THC has also been suggested as an effective therapy for skin allergies, research is beginning to focus on compounds in marijuana that can’t get you high – which may be more appealing to patients.

The authors also conclude that the potential to switch off gene activity may “extend well beyond skin disorders” to diseases like multiple sclerosis and other forms of cancer.

via: Truth on Pot

Growing From Clone vs Growing From Seed

In areas where cultivation is permitted, you’ll likely be able to get your cuttings or clones readily. However, the selection often offers a narrow range of choice in their medicinal effects. For example, they are all different types of “Kush” that have extremely similar effects, with perhaps a few Sativa strains to choose from.

Nonetheless, there are a number of benefits to growing from clones that are healthy and free of insects. These include:
  • Known sex (female) – this will make buds with lots of resin, not pollen. It also means less potential for accidental seeding in your garden.
  • They are often available after harvest if you want to start another crop; no need to keep separate growing areas as a nursery for producing transplants.
  • The source of your clone should be able to provide very valuable growing information. Of course, this is also true when working with a reputable seed source.
  • Growth habits and finishing times will be even for each plant from the same clone – this allows for a uniform grow cycle throughout your garden.
Starting from seed gives you a much wider spectrum of possibilities to choose from. Seed selections can be vast with an ever-growing number of cannabis seed breeders, seed banks, and collectives.

You will want to add an extra ten days or more to the cropping calendar for germination and establishment of seeds into young plants, but there are some important advantages in starting from seed. Some of these include:
  • Starting problem free with lots of vigor – no insects or diseases are carried over from seed. Experienced growers know how important this is for success.
  • F1 Hybrids (first generation crosses) can demonstrate a natural phenomenon known as “hybrid vigor”. Offspring show the best of both parental selections in proven hybrid crosses.
  • Cannabis plants started from seed develop a tap root, clones do not. A tap root anchors the plants more firmly, and can help prevent a medium-to-large cannabis plant with lots of weight from topping over in the wind.
  • You can start new plants as needed, because seeds can be stored.
  • Using stable, ‘feminized’ seeds over regular seeds can ensure 100% females plants that grow and finish nearly the same, time after time.
Note: Regular seeds allow you to select for particular traits through slight to significant variations exhibited from the cross of parental plants. However, you will have to pull out a few males from the garden to produce seedless buds.

STUDY Marijuana Use Does Not Increase Lung Cancer Risk

Researchers from Canada, the United States and New Zealand pooled data from six previous studies spanning more than 2,000 lung cancer cases and nearly 3,000 controls to determine whether cannabis use was associated with lung cancer.

The findings, published June 20 in the International Journal of Cancer, showed no link between marijuana smoking and cancer risk.

“Results from our pooled analyses provide little evidence for an increased risk of lung cancer among habitual or long-term cannabis smokers,” concluded the team, which included members from the International Lung Cancer Consortium. 

Even when data was analyzed based on intensity, duration, consumption and age of initiation, no significant association was found. 

The findings, the group adds, are consistent with a 2006 review that also showed no link between marijuana and lung cancer after adjusting for tobacco use.

Despite the fact that marijuana users don’t appear to be at greater risk of lung cancer, studies show that marijuana smoke does contain carcinogens. In fact, a marijuana ‘joint’ deposits four times as much tar in the lungs as an equivalent tobacco cigarette. 

Hal Morgenstern, PhD, a University of Michigan epidemiologist and co-author of the latest study, suggests it might be that most marijuana users don’t smoke enough of it to get sick.

“When you think about people smoking 20-40 cigarettes a day for 40 years, they’re smoking hundreds of thousands of cigarettes. The exposure that marijuana users get… is more than a magnitude of difference less.”

On the other hand, cannabis smokers are known to inhale deeper and hold smoke in their lungs for longer than cigarette smokers do.

Others who have studied the link between marijuana and lung cancer, such as Donald P. Tashkin, MD, a lung specialist from the University of California, point to an often overlooked difference between marijuana and tobacco — certain compounds in marijuana have been shown to have anti-cancer effects.

This may be the reason why marijuana smokers are unlikely to develop lung cancer, he explains.

“The THC in marijuana has well-defined anti-tumoral effects that have been shown to inhibit the growth of a variety of cancers in animal models and tissue culture systems, thus counteracting the potentially tumorigenic effects of the procarcinogens in marijuana smoke.”

Similarly, one of Dr. Tashkin’s own studies, published in 2006, found that while heavy tobacco smokers experienced up to a 20-fold increase in lung cancer risk, even the most frequent users of cannabis were no more likely to develop lung cancer than the average person. 

More From: Leaf Science

Cancer Patients Agree Medical Marijuana Highly Effective

One of marijuana’s most accepted benefits is the treatment of symptoms associated with cancer and cancer chemotherapy. Marinol, a synthetic THC pill, has been available to cancer patients since the 1980s, and a number of countries now allow the use of cannabis in its natural form. 

However, no controlled study has evaluated the benefits of medical marijuana for patients with cancer.

In order to shed some light on its use, a group of Israeli doctors conducted a survey among cancer patients that received cannabis treatment at the Sheba Medical Center, the largest hospital in Israel.

Of the 113 patients alive after one month of treatment, 69 completed the survey. The majority were in advanced stages of disease and 90% consumed the drug by smoking it.

More than 50% of patients that were surveyed said marijuana helped with symptoms of pain, nausea and vomiting, and appetite loss. 44% also reported reductions in anxiety.

Overall, 70% of patients said cannabis helped improve general well-being and 83% ranked the effectiveness of cannabis as high. The findings were published June 14 in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.

“Although these data cannot endorse the use of cannabis for specific symptoms, they support the view that its use may be justified as part of palliative treatment in selected cancer patients,” wrote the authors.

More than half of patients experienced no side effects from treatment. The most common side effects reported were fatigue (20.3%) and dizziness (18.8%).

“Cannabis use is perceived as highly effective by some patients with advanced cancer,” the authors conclude. 

via: Leaf Science

Cannabinoids may be the Key to Alzheimer's Disease

Early deficits in Alzheimer’s may be caused by blockage of the brain’s cannabinoids, according to new research out of Stanford University.


Clumps of protein in the brain, called beta-amyloid plaques, are the primary marker of Alzheimer’s disease. For long, scientists knew that these clumps interfered with memory signals in the brain — but they weren’t sure how.

Now a team from Stanford University School of Medicine has traced the effects of beta-amyloid plaque to activity of the brain’s endogenous cannabinoids, or endocannabinoids. These compounds are produced naturally by the brain and mimic the effects of compounds in cannabis. Among many functions, cannabinoids play a key role in memory and learning.

Looking at brain slices taken from rats, the researchers observed that clumps of beta-amyloid indirectly impaired memory pathways by interfering with the normal activity of cannabinoids.

This interference with the brain’s cannabinoids may be the mechanism by which early memory deficits in Alzheimer’s are formed, says Daniel Madison, PhD, who led the study. Cannabinoids may also present a new opportunity for treating Alzheimer’s before the disease advances, he adds.

The findings were published June 18 in the journal Neuron.

However, Dr. Madison says it would be inaccurate to assume that smoking cannabis could counteract the effects of beta-amyloid plaque on memory and learning.

“Endocannabinoids in the brain are very transient and act only when important inputs come in,” explains Dr. Madison. Marijuana’s main ingredient, THC, has a much longer-lasting effect, he notes.

“Exposure to marijuana over minutes or hours is different: more like enhancing everything indiscriminately, so you lose the filtering effect. It’s like listening to five radio stations at once.”

On the other hand, a 2013 study by researchers from Neuroscience Research Australia suggests an ingredient in marijuana called CBD could be beneficial. The team, led by Tim Karl, PhD, found that treatment with CBD led to drastic improvements in memory in mice genetically engineered to mimic Alzheimer’s disease.

Besides the potential to combat Alzheimer’s symptoms, some studies suggest cannabinoids also hold promise in slowing progression of the disorder.

More about Medicinal Marijuana: Leaf Science

What is Cannabichromene CBC?

When we consider the major cannabinoids, cannabichromene (CBC) is like the ugly duckling. It doesn’t get a lot of praise, or attention for that matter, but it has shown to have profound benefits. Similar to cannbidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBC stems from the all-important cannabigerolic acid (CBGA).

From there, enzymes cause it to convert into cannabidiol carboxylic acid (CBDA), tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (THCA), or cannabichrome carboxylic acid (CBCA). In this case of CBCA, it obviously passes through the CBC synthase, or the enzymes that get the specific process underway.

In order to get cannabichromene, decarboxylation must occur. Over time, or quickly if exposed to heat, the CBCA will lose a molecule of CO2; at this point it is considered CBC. The same process applies when developing THC and CBD.

Although cannabichromene isn’t the most popular cannabinoid, research suggests CBC could be very beneficial. According to Halent Labs, a top lab-testing facility, it’s believed to inhibit inflammation and pain. In addition, it is believed to stimulate bone growth.

One of the most intriguing findings about cannabichromene is it’s relationship with cancer. CBC is believed to have anti-proliferative effects, meaning it inhibits the growth of cancerous tumors. This could be a result of its interaction with anandamide.

Anandamide is an endocannabinoid, which means our body produces it naturally. It effects the CB1 receptors, as well as the CB2 receptors, and has been found to fight against human breast cancer. CBC inhibits the uptake of anandamide, which allows it to stay in the blood stream longer.

Not only does CBC have benefits of its own, but it seems to work with the other cannabinoids to produce a synergistic effect; it gives merit to the saying, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Even though cannabichromene is found in much smaller concentrations than THC and CBD, its importance should not be overlooked.

More From: Medical Jane

Medicinal Marijuana vs Chronic Pain

The use of cannabis to treat chronic pain has had a long history, with written references of its use dating back to around 2700 B.C.E. The first records in the nineteenth century were recorded by the Irish doctor William B. O’Shaughnessy, who described the use of cannabis in the treatment of cholera, rabies, tetanus, menstrual cramps and delirium tremens.

In modern times, significant research has been done around cannabis therapy in the treatment of chronic pain with very promising results.

“Medical cannabis is a very effective therapy for chronic pain patients because it affects people’s perception of pain, has the ability to mitigate the inflammatory process, and has been shown to affect voltage-gated sodium channels in nerves in a way similar to lidocaine,” reports Dr. Mark Rabe, Medical Director of Centric Wellness, am integrative holistic healthcare practice in San Diego CA and Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board at Medical Marijuana Sciences, Inc.

The ability of cannabis therapy to help relieve chronic pain on multiple fronts rests squarely in the cannabinoid receptors – cannabinoid receptor type-1 (CB1) and type-2 (CB2). Studies have shown that CB1 receptors are located all over the body, however they have particularly high concentration in the central nervous system in areas that control pain perception. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are primarily located in areas of the body that control immune function, such as the spleen, white blood cells, and tonsils.

The fact that these receptors are found in the two major body systems responsible for producing the sensation of pain, the immune system and the nervous system is what gives cannabis its therapeutic relevance in the chronic pain space. Additionally, and importantly, there are a lack of cannabinoid receptors in the brainstem region, the area of the brain responsible for controlling breathing, thus the dangerous side effect of respiratory depression found with high dose opioid use, is not a factor in cannabis therapy.

In practical application, cannabis therapy can be used in conjunction with other chronic pain therapies. In his clinical practice, Dr. Rabe reports, “We have many patients who come in on higher doses of opioid medications. Through using cannabis, in conjunction with other therapies, they are able to lower their daily opioid requirement.”

Numerous studies support these findings, including a 2011 study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics which showed that vaporizing cannabis increased the patient-reported analgesic effect of opioids, without altering plasma opioid levels. Moreover, there is an emerging body of research whose findings suggest cannabis can be used as an effective substitution therapy for patients with opiate abuse issues.

Overall, we are just at the beginning of our understanding of the possible therapeutic benefits associated with cannabis in the treatment of chronic pain. In addition to the wide range of possibilities in targeting CB1 and CB2 receptors, scientists are beginning to look at targets within the body’s endocannabinoid metabolic life cycle for potential opportunities for therapeutic intervention. Given the growing need for clinicians to transition away from an opiate dependent treatment protocol for chronic pain, hopefully these breakthroughs happen sooner rather than later. Naturally, the relaxation of government prohibition would go a long way towards supporting these efforts.

Much Much More at: Medical Jane

Beauties with Buds and Girls with the Ganja


MMJ and CBD vs Social Anxiety Disorder

The relationship between cannabis and anxiety is an interesting one. Large concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is often tied to bouts of paranoia and anxiety, but it’s been well-documented that cannabidiol (CBD) can counteract this affect.

With that said, a group of Brazilian researchers published an article in the 2011 Journal of Psychopharmacology that further investigates the relationship between cannabidiol  (CBD) and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). Their results suggest that CBD could offer a way for people suffering from SAD to help manage their symptoms.

In order to test the relationship between cannabidiol (CBD) and anxiety, the Brazilian research team recruited 10 people with a diagnosis of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). They then used functional neuroimaging to gauge the amount of bloodflow in various parts of the brain, noting the effects of CBD.

In the first session, half received an oral dose of 400 mg of cannabidiol (CBD) and the other half were treated with placebos. These roles were reversed in the second session so that all 10 particpants were treated with CBD at some point.

According to the results of the study, cannabidiol (CBD) was associated with a significant decrease in subjective anxiety. Cerebral bloodflow after CBD treatment also seems to point to an anxiolitic (anti-anxiety) effect in the areas of the brain that control emotions.

Read More: Medical Jane

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