Medicinal Marijuana vs Retinitis Pigmentosa and Eye Disease

Among the many benefits of marijuana, such as its ability to inhibit cancer growth and halt seizures, the treatment of glaucoma has been long-standing and widely accepted. Well, a new study indicates the herb could also work to prevent blindness from another eye disease—retinitis pigmentosa.

Retinitis pigmentosa is a condition that destroys the light sensors of the eye. This degenerative condition acts on the millions of microscopic photoreceptors and can lead to blindness. Currently, there is no known solution. But in this most recent study, researchers made headway in establishing cannabis as a potential treatment.

Published in Experimental Eye Research, the study “Neuroprotective effects of the cannabinoid agonist HU210 on retinal degeneration” interestingly used a synthetic cannabinoid known as HU210 to test the value of treating photoreceptor degeneration.

Over a study period of 90 days, the rats treated with HU210 experienced far less damage to their photo-receptors. As a matter of fact, they had 40 percent more of these light sensors left in their eyes when compared with the untreated rats. In addition, the rats treated with the synthetic cannabinoid had “improved connectivity between photo-receptors and their postsynaptic neurons,”—the neurons that receive and process the light signals.

Although the researchers could not identify how the cannabinoid worked and stressed more research is needed, they did say their findings were promising.

via: Collectively Conscious

Medicinal Marijuana vs Alcoholism

Due to the controversial nature of marijuana as an addictive substance itself,  the use of marijuana as a treatment for alcoholism is still heavily disputed. Given this, many studies have found that medical marijuana is not as addictive or harmful as other drugs like alcohol or opiates. In fact, there are several references to the use of cannabis as a substitute for opiates and delirium tremors which are associated with the withdrawal of alcohol addiction.

Delirium tremens, or “the DT’s,” is caused by the heavy, repeated and prolonged abuse of alcohol followed by an abrupt halt it’s use. Symptoms associated with the DT’s include nightmares, agitation, confusion, disorientation, visual and auditory hallucinations, fever, hypertension and diaphoresis. 

Alcohol withdrawal resulting in delirium tremens is most often treated with benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), or oxazepam (Serax). These drugs tend to have more side effects, less efficacy in regard to patient perception, and many cases can lead to a new form of dependancy.

 In the United States, cannabis was widely prescribed at the turn of the 19th century in the treatment of the DT’s until 1941 when the use and possession of cannabis became illegal under federal law. Fast forward over fifty years and the use of cannabis as an alternative to heavier medicines in the treatment of delirium tremens is slowly being considered by herbalists and doctors alike. 

In a an article by The Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, the use of cannabis to treat alcohol dependency was defined as,  “A Harm Reduction Approach” as the article’s subtitle explains. Although total abstinence is the true goal for those afflicted by addiction, this approach considers overall improvement of functionality and reduction of alcohol intake  measures of success when using cannabis as a treatment of alcoholism.

As it relates to addiction, the use of cannabis as a “replacement” for alcohol is still viewed by some to have efficacy in improving the lives of addicts. Overall, cannabis users tend to have more energy, less long term health issues, better sleep, appetite,  focus, social relationships and overall functionality.

The research supporting the treatment of alcoholism with cannabis is in it’s early stages, but shows signs of improvement. As always, you should do your own research and consult your doctor to decide if medical marijuana is right for you. 

Thank You: Whaxy

The Difference Between Hemp and Cannabis

Prohibition has spurred a lack of education surrounding the cannabis plant. This has led to countless rumors about what makes hemp different from cannabis. Everything from “hemp plants are male and cannabis plants are female” to “cannabis is a drug and the other is not” are incorrectly being preached as common knowledge to unknowing bystanders.  So, how are these terms supposed to be used? Let’s find out.

According to a 1976 study published by the International Association of Plant Taxonomy concluded “both hemp varieties and marijuana varieties are of the same genus, Cannabis, and the same species, Cannabis Sativa. Further, there are countless varieties that fall into further classifications within the species Cannabis Sativa.”

However, depending on how the plant is grown and utilized will determine which term is correct. For instance, the term cannabis (or marijuana) is used when describing a Cannabis Sativa plant that is bred for its potent, resinous glands (known as trichomes). These trichomes contain high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid most known for its psychoactive properties.

Hemp, on the hand, is used to describe a Cannabis Sativa plant that contains only trace amounts of THC. Hemp is a high-growing plant, typically bred for industrial uses such as oils and topical ointments, as well as fiber for clothing, construction, and much more.

Only products made from industrial hemp (less than 0.3% THC) are legal to sell, buy, consume, and ship. This single factor (0.3%) is how most people distinguish between what is classified as “hemp” and what is classified as “cannabis.” This limit has led to mass controversy (for good reason), which we will dive into a bit later. But first, let’s take a look at how hemp is utilized all over the world.

More About Hemp: Medical Jane

THC Tetrahydrocannabinol vs Alzheimer's Disease

Research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease has found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) could be a potential therapeutic treatment option for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease through multiple functions and pathways. Interestingly, findings also indicate that cannabis isn’t only effective in the treatment, but also the prevention of Alzheimer’s.

Scientists at the University of Southern Florida conducted their study by giving one group of rats a constant dose of a cannabis derivative for three consecutive weeks and nothing to a second group of rats. Follow-up memory tests conducted on the rats indicated the treated rats did better than the control rats in learning and remembering how to locate the concealed platform. The results indicate cannabis may be effective in preventing memory loss.

According to the American Academy of Neurology, those afflicted with this disease experience problems in behavior, memory and personality changes as well as a decline in cognitive abilities such as decision-making, language skills and problems recognizing family and friends. Symptoms develop slowly over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with everyday tasks. 

Other cognitive abilities such as swallowing, walking or controlling bladder and bowl due to inflammation around the brain decline as the disease progresses over time. Minor infections are also common in incapacitated patients. Typically, treatment regarding daily health regiment routines become particularly difficult to deal with because Alzheimer’s patients are unable to understand and participate in their own treatment.

Previous studies have shown that cannabinoids in cannabis are anti-inflammatory and also act as anti-oxidants, which prevent contamination of cells including brain cells. They also organically interact with communication systems in the body to bring customary balance. Chuanhai Cao, PhD, the lead author of the study, was on a mission to further illuminate the therapeutic qualities of THC as an effective drug to slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s as THC lowers certain markers of the disease.

“THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective assets, 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 said.

Currently Dr. Cao’s laboratory at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute is investigating the effects of a medicinal cocktail that includes THC and caffeine as well as other organic compounds in a cellular model of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers stress that at the low doses studied the therapeutic benefits of THC appear to reign over related risks of THC toxicity and memory loss.

Read More: Cannabis Now Magazine

STUDY Pot Smokers have less Inflammation

People who smoke marijuana may have lower levels of inflammation compared with people who have never smoked it, according to new research on one marker of inflammation.

In the study, researchers examined data from more than 9,000 people on their history of marijuana use and their levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), one marker of inflammation that is frequently linked with people's risk of heart disease.

About 40 percent of the people in the study said they had never smoked marijuana, while 48 percent reported having smoked the drug at least once in their lifetimes, but not in the past 30 days. About 12 percent (1115) said they smoked marijuana recently, or at least once in the past 30 days. The researchers found that the people who smoked in the last month had lower CRP levels than those who had never smoked the drug. 

The new evidence "points toward possible anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis smoking," the authors wrote in the study, published online Nov. 28 in the Journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

However, the researchers remain cautious about the possible implications of their findings, as previous research on CRP levels and marijuana use in people has been scarce and the results of other studies have been inconsistent.

Read More: Live Science

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