The Benefits of Cannabinoids

cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are a unique variety of chemical compounds only found in the marijuana plant and the human body/animals. Plant cannabinoids are called phytocannabinoids and in humans they are called endocannabinoids. When these two compounds bind, research has found and continues to discover many health benefits.

THC- Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol: This is the most common cannabinoid and is what causes users to experience the cerebral euphoria often associated with using cannabis. THC acts as a stimulant, muscle relaxant, anti-epileptic, anti-emetic, anti-inflammatory, appetite stimulating, bronchio-dilating, hypotensive, anti-depressant and has analgesic effects.

THCV, THV – Tetrahydrocannabivarin, also known as tetrahydrocannabivarol:
A non-psychoactive cannabinoid found naturally in Cannabis sativa. It is an analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with the sidechain shortened by two CH2 groups. THCV can be used as a marker compound to differentiate between the consumption of hemp products and synthetic THC (e.g., Marinol). THCV is found in largest quantities in Cannabis sativa subsp. sativa strains. Some varieties that produce propyl cannabinoids in significant amounts, over five percent of total cannabinoids, have been found in plants from South Africa, Nigeria, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Nepal with THCV as high as 53.69% of total cannabinoids. They usually have moderate to high levels of both THC and Cannabidiol (CBD) and hence have a complex cannabinoid chemistry representing some of the world’s most exotic cannabis varieties. It has been shown to be a CB1 receptor antagonist, i.e. blocks the effects of THC. In 2007 GW Pharmaceuticals announced that THCV is safe in humans in a clinical trial and it will continue to develop THCV as a potential cannabinoid treatment for type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders, similar to the CB1 receptor antagonist rimonabant.

CBD – Cannabidiol:
A major constituent of medical cannabis. CBD represents up to 40% of extracts of the medical cannabis plant. CBD is excellent for patients who are looking for the relief from cannabis without the phsycoactive “high.” Cannabidiol relieves convulsion, inflammation, anxiety, nausea, and inhibits cancer cell growth. Recent studies have shown cannabidiol to be as effective as atypical antipsychotics in treating schizophrenia. In November 2007 it was reported that CBD reduces growth of aggressive human breast cancer cells in vitro and reduces their invasiveness. It thus represents the first non-toxic exogenous agent that can lead to down-regulation of tumor aggressiveness. It is also a neuroprotective antioxidant. Also lessens the psychoactive effects of THC and has sedative and analgesic effects.

CBC – Cannabichromene:
Promotes the effects of THC and has sedative and analgesic effects.

CBG – Cannabigerol:
Has sedative effects and anti-microbial properties as well as lowering intra-ocular pressure. CBG is the biogenetic precursor of all other cannabinoids.

CBN – Cannabinol :
A mildly psychoactive degradation of THC, it’s primary effects are as an anti-epileptic, and to lower intra-ocular pressure.

Cannibas strains are know to help relieve the following symptoms.
• Pain from various ailments and injuries
• Arthritis, bursitis
• Migrains
• Multiple sclerosis
• Hepatitis C
• Fibromyalgia
• Nausea and low appetite
• HIV/AIDS
• Cancer, chemotherapy
• Crohn’s
• Muscular dystrophy
• Epilepsy, parkinson’s
• Asthma, emphysema
• Glaucoma and other intra-ocular disorders
• Skin diseases such as pruritis and psoriasis
• Back pain and muscle spasms
• Paraplegia and quadriplegia
• Insomnia and other sleep disorders
• Study finds THC promotes death of brain cancer cells and shrinks tumors *

Ask us about which products or strains would work best for your needs today!

Medical Marijuana Research Hindered Federally

Government funding, lack of restrictions slow progress on medical marijuana research.

Responding to questions about research spending, Mahmoud ElSohly, the director of NIDA’s marijuana program, said that NIDA’s job is to fund abuse and addiction research and that other NIH branches should be funding other kinds of research.MJ photo

“It’s not that NIDA would take it upon itself to investigate the medical aspects of cannabis,” ElSohly said. “It’s not the charge of NIDA. It’s the charge of other institutes within the NIH to investigate the use of cannabis.”

But the other parts of the NIH have not funded much marijuana research. A National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) spokesperson said that most NIH grants were based on what peer reviewers thought was the most promising science.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), for example, has spent just $48 million on medical marijuana research despite states approving it to treat PTSD. Yet the NIMH gave grants totaling $91 million for ketamine research —largely to treat depression —and almost $120 million for amphetamine research —largely to treat attention disorders.

Similarly, despite several states’ approval of marijuana and cannabinoids to treat epileptic seizures, NINDS spent just $38 million through 2014 researching the potential effects of marijuana, compared to almost $100 million spent on opiate research, largely to treat different kinds of pain. Researchers said that number is expected to increase this year as more work is done on cannabidiol (CBD) —a major cannabinoid in marijuana that doesn’t have psychoactive effects —and seizures.

Schedule 1

In 1970, Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which created one piece of federal law classifying all drugs. The law organized drugs into schedules based on their potential for abuse, status in international treaties and medical benefits.

Marijuana was temporarily designated as Schedule 1, but President Richard Nixon created a commission to do a review of the drug to determine if it should keep the most restrictive scheduling. The commission’s findings from research projects and public polls made up almost 4,000 pages of reports and technical papers published in four volumes in 1972. It concluded that marijuana should not be criminalized and suggested rescheduling the drug. But Nixon decided otherwise.

One hundred and sixty substances have been removed, added or transferred from one schedule to another since the CSA went into effect.

Investigators working with Schedule 1 drugs need an additional level of clearance from the DEA, also created during the Nixon administration to enforce the laws of the CSA, and to regulate the use of controlled substances. Wallace, the doctor at UCSD, cited five separate state and federal groups that sent him requests before he received approval for his research on how different doses of marijuana might be used to treat pain.

If marijuana were to be classified as a Schedule 2 drug, which would mean it has a federally accepted medical use, researchers would no longer need Schedule 1 clearance from the DEA to work with it.

“The Schedule 1 designation makes it challenging,” Wallace said. “I think if they move it to Schedule 2, it’s going to get a lot easier to research.”

That change is easier said than done, according to Matthew Barden, a DEA spokesman.

“A lot of people in the marijuana debate say to just put it under a different schedule, but in order to do that the FDA would have to change everything…” Barden said. “So we, the DEA, can’t just put something in Schedule 2. That would be a violation of how things are scheduled.”

Rescheduling can be done two different ways —by congressional action or administrative action. A few different bills have been proposed in Congress to give marijuana a different classification, but they’ve always died in committee.

The administrative route involves more steps and more agencies. To get the ball rolling, a petition must be filed by an interested outside party or the secretary of health and human services. The attorney general reviews the petition, and then forwards it back to the secretary of HHS to request scientific and medical evaluation by the FDA.

Findings and recommendations from HHS are reported to the attorney general, who then makes the decision whether to proceed with rulemaking after reviewing the evidence, which it will often do in consultation with the DEA. The DEA and FDA have the power to deny the petition if there is not sufficient scientific and medical evidence. If the attorney general can go forward with the rulemaking process, then the White House will decide if the rule could have economic effects or raises important policy issues.

Applying to research

Even when researchers are cleared to do federally funded marijuana research, they must obtain marijuana from a farm at the University of Mississippi, which operates with the authority of NIDA. The farm is located at the National Center for Natural Products Research, nestled in the eastern portion of the 640-acre Ole Miss campus, just steps away from the stadium where the Rebels play football.

The heavily secured farm is surrounded by fencing, guards in towers and lock vaults. The sprawling 12-acre, outdoor marijuana farm and growing room is the only federally sanctioned marijuana grow in the country.

“The National Institute on Drug Abuse is the only agency that is allowed under the federal law … to actually be in charge of the manufacturing and distribution of cannabis for any purpose,” ElSohly said.

cannabis research pic

HHS removed the mandatory public health services review from the marijuana research approval process to reduce the number of approval steps for marijuana research.

Parents campaigning for a form of CBD to treat their children’s seizures have already made strides in attracting public attention to marijuana research. Vanderah said that research and treatments with CBD should pave the way for future research because it proves that marijuana-based medicine can really work.

“If you have your own child that’s having 100 seizures per day and then they take some of this and it stops, you’ll look at it very differently,” Vanderah said. “They look at it as a medication, instead of how we always think of something like marijuana.”

Wallace, Vanderah and Schultz predicted future development in areas like multiple sclerosis, dementia, Lou Gehrig’s disease and neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (NHIE), a condition that cuts the flow of oxygen in infants. To treat such a wide variety of conditions, researchers are going to have to look at marijuana in many different ways —not just the extracts that companies like GW work with, Wallace said.

“I think what we’re going to find is a wide range of patient preferences, so we can’t think that we can just do away with the leaf and just extract it,” Wallace said. “It needs to be available in a wide range of products.”

This is from a continuing series from America’s Weed Rush, an investigation of marijuana legalization in America, a 2015 project of the Carnegie-Knight News21 program produced by the nation’s top journalism students and graduates.

By and , courtesy of Tucson Weekly

This is from a continuing series from America’s Weed Rush, an investigation of marijuana legalization in America, a 2015 project of the Carnegie-Knight News21 program produced by the nation’s top journalism students and graduates.

What is CBD?

What is CBD (Cannabidiol)?

In cannabis, there are more than 60 cannabinoids, or chemicals unique to the plant. The most commonly known cannabinoid is THC.

But another one, cannabidiol (CBD), is being researched and tested, and may prove helpful with many conditions, including seizures and cancer. It’s important to note that CBD does not produce psychoactive effects like THC. Today, medical cannabis producers are developing strains that are low in THC but high in CBD.  Nature Med carries CBD tincture and CBD topical balm.

See the videos below for some more information!  Leave a comment below with any questions or comments you have.


 

Vaporizers – To Vape or Smoke?

Vaporizers – To Vape or To Smoke?

More and more patients are switching from the old means of lighting a pipe to vaporizing their marijuana instead.  So what is all the hype about vaporizing? Does it really make a difference if you vaporize instead of smoke?  Here’s the scoop:

Vaporizers are devices that heat the marijuana to a temperature below the point of kindling, that is, not hot enough to ignite and burn. The active ingredients in marijuana (THC, CBC, etc.) turn into gas vapor at this lower temperature without igniting the cellulose fibers of the plant. The undesired soot, ash and smoke are never created. The patient inhales only the vapor that contains the active ingredients.puffit

Many patients prefer this technique to smoking traditionally with a lighter and pipe because the vapor is less harsh on their throat and lungs.  However, other patients find that vaporizing is less predictable for dose per inhale and that the euphoria achieved by vaporizing is different than that of smoking regularly.

Personally, I have Asthma and while I would prefer to smoke from a large water pipe, my lungs just don’t agree.  So instead of reaching for my illadelph, I use an EZ-Vape or a Puffit instead.  At first I disliked vaporizing because I enjoyed the taste of the smoke, but after a week of only using my vape, my lungs cleared up, I stopped coughing so much and I could breathe easier.  While I do still smoke from a pipe on occasion, I find my trusty vaporizers to be the best way for me to enjoy medical marijuana without my lungs objecting.

The only way to truly discover if this method is the best for you is to try it for yourself.  You can shop around online, or our dispensary carries a couple models that are very reliable and fairly priced.  The photo above is the Puffit portable vaporizer, and the second image is the E-Z Vape.

easy vapeAnother plus about vaporizing is that you can save your brown vaporized marijuana and make cannabutter and edibles from it!  More on this process in a future blog!  Leave a comment below with your thoughts on vaporizing or any questions you may have and we will respond.  Happy vape-ing!

History of Medical Cannabis

Many patients have asked us about the history of medical marijuana, here’s a bit of the background for you; Please feel free to leave a comment below with any more info to share in our community blog!

Cannabis is an ancient medicine, used for thousands of years in treating a variety of ailments. The exact region where cannabis use originated is difficult to place. Some believe its origins were in central Asia, but the extensive documentation of its usage in China suggests that usage began there. As early as 2737 B.C., after the process of extraction was developed, Emperor Shen Neng of China was prescribing cannabis tea for the treatment of gout, rheumatism, malaria, and poor memory. The popularity of cannabis then spread through various parts of the world including Asia, the Middle East and the eastern coast of Africa. A number of Hindu sects in India also used cannabis for religious purposes and stress relief. Ancient doctors prescribed cannabis for anything from a toothache to childbirth.

It is also believed that the Sumerian Culture of the Ancient Near East pioneered cannabis use for religious purposes. The plant assisted in giving man the ability for introspection, which the Sumerians believed was the gods speaking to them. Each person developed their own ‘personal deity’ whom they worshiped every day by burning cannabis.marijuana

While there is strong historical evidence illustrating that the psychoactive properties of cannabis have been used as part of cultural practices of several societies throughout the world, it is unclear when the psychoactive properties of cannabis were discovered in North America.  Some scholars believe that cannabis probably existed in North America long before the Europeans arrived [5]. The cannabis plant was widely grown across North America for its use as a fiber in clothing and cordage and to provide sails and rigging for ships.  The pilgrims also planted hemp soon after its introduction, and used it to cover their wagons. The psychoactive components of cannabis were not discovered in North America until much later.

By the late 18th century, early editions of American medical journals recommended the root of the cannabis plant, along with the seeds, for the treatment of inflamed skin, incontinence, and venereal disease. An Irish doctor named William O’Shaughnessy first popularized medical cannabis use in England and America. He found that cannabis helped patients with general discomfort, nausea in cases of rabies, cholera, and tetanus.

It wasn’t until 1914 that the drug was defined as a crime, under the Harrison Act. The act got around states’ rights issues by requiring a tax on nonmedical uses of the drug. If someone was using the drug without paying the tax, they were punished. By 1937, 23 states in the U.S. outlawed cannabis completely. That same year, the Federal Government passed the Marihuana Tax Act, which made nonmedical use illegal. Only the birdseed industry was exempted from the law. The hemp seeds gave birds’ feathers a distinct shiny gloss.

The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified cannabis along with heroin and LSD as a Schedule I drug, i.e., having the relatively highest abuse potential and no accepted medical use. Most cannabis at that time came from Mexico, but in 1975 the Mexican government agreed to eradicate the crop by spraying it with the herbicide Paraquat, raising fears of toxic side effects. The “zero tolerance” climate of the Reagan and Bush administrations resulted in passage of strict laws and mandatory sentences for possession of cannabis and in heightened vigilance against smuggling at the southern borders. The “war on drugs” thus brought with it a shift from reliance on imported supplies to domestic cultivation, typically in California. [4]

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, or prop 203, appeared on the November 2, 2010 ballot. The statute was approved, and Arizona became the 15th state to legalize medical cannabis. Prop 203 allows patients diagnosed with Cancer, Glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis C, Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), Crohn’s Disease, Agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease, Cachexia, Severe Nausea, Seizures, Epilepsy, severe muscle spasms, and chronic pain. The statute allows all patients to carry up to 2.5 ounces of usable medical cannabis.

medical-marijuana_0Different strains of cannabis have various effects and are used to treat each specific ailment. The two major classifications of strains are Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. There is also a third, less common group of strains called Cannabis Ruderalis. Cannabis Sativa tends to grow in tropical regions, it thrives in places with higher heat and longer days. Cannabis Indica is typically found in places like India, China, and the Middle East. Cannabis Ruderalis typically grows in cooler climates like Alaska and Russia.

The strains that fall within these categories each have a different medicinal benefit. Strains derived mostly from the Sativa plant tend to have higher levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis. These strains tend to help patients suffering from diabetes, muscle spasms, and multiple sclerosis. Indica strains contain higher levels of the Cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive component of cannabis that contains numerous health benefits. Indica strains tend to help people with conditions like Insomnia, AIDS, Glaucoma, cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, and other ailments.

As you can see there is a lot to be learned about this plant.  We’ve scratched the surface, but I hope this information inspires you to do further research. Feel free to leave a comment below with any additional info or questions!

Welcome to Nature Med Inc’s, The Buzz!

As autumn unfolds and the weather begins to cool in Southern Arizona, our team couldn’t be more excited!  In the past months we have had the opportunity to provide patients access to quality, natural medicine and education related to medical marijuana.  We are pleased to have developed such a strong patient community and look forward to sharing news on the Buzz, as well as daily discussions on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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