The Innocent Face of CBD Oil in North Carolina

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On July 16, 2015, with little fanfare, Governor Pat McCrory signed into law a bill that legalized CBD oil in North Carolina.

In that moment, the Tar Heel state joined dozens of other US states in legalizing some form of CBD oil, the substance developed from marijuana and used for the treatment of certain medical conditions.

The Governor’s signature meant that, from the 1st of August, 2015, board-certified neurologists across North Carolina could recommend CBD oils to any patient suffering from intractable epilepsy.

This was the culmination of a push to legalize CBD oil in North Carolina that really picked up the pace when Republican Representative Pat McElraft met a then-5-year-old Haley Ward, who suffers from CDKL5, a genetic disorder that can result in dozens of seizures each and every single day.

Hope For Haley

Sponsoring the bill, and naming it “Hope for Haley,” McElraft told of meeting Haley and having her heart touched. In that moment, she knew she had to do something to help.

Upon hearing of the difficulty Haley’s mother, Sherena, and parents of children suffering from similar afflictions were having in obtaining CBD oils to use in treating the seizures, Representative McElraft decided to pursue the legalization of this particular strain of medical marijuana.

Haley therefore became the face of the fight to legalize CBD oils in North Carolina.

Two Years On

Haley, now 8 years old, lives in a state where CBD oil is legal (albeit, with restrictions), and she is beginning to see the benefit.

Prior to legalization, Haley’s mom wanted her daughter to have the chance to take “Charlotte’s Web,”  a type of CBD oil made in Colorado and named for Charlotte Figi (who brought to light the possibility of utilizing CBD for kids). It was this fact that prompted Pat McElraft to act as she came to realize that mothers were travelling to the Centennial State, where it is legal to purchase CBD oil, and spending valuable time apart from their families when they need them most.

Now, Haley’s mom, Sherena, and mothers like her can legally purchase CBD oil in North Carolina. And this has made a world of difference to young Haley.

However, finding the correct product and dosage was not as straightforward as Sherena might have hoped.

In an update given to WBTV’s Molly Grantham, she told of the trial and error in finding the CBD oil that worked best for her daughter.

As a brief overview, Haley was started on the pharmaceutical version called Epidiolex (as recommended by the original state law). This was a trial drug with artificial flavoring. Unfortunately, the flavoring did not agree with Haley, and she became quite unwell.

Sherena took Haley off this version after only five days. She then tried Charlotte’s Web.

Before this, Haley was experiencing around ten seizures per day. After taking Charlotte’s Web, she was down to around 40 for the week.

However, Sherena felt there was still improvements to be had, and so, after a period of research, she began Haley on Palmetto Harmony CBD oil, made by a company in neighboring South Carolina. This brought Haley down to only two seizures per week.

The seizures then increased once more, primarily because the oil had began to build up in Haley’s body. After altering the dosages, Haley was back on track once again.

So, What Is CBD Anyway?

CBD is the shorthand for Cannabidiol, a natural substance extracted and separated from specific varieties of cannabis, often known as hemp.

Unlike the most abundant and perhaps best known constituent of cannabis, the cannabinoid known as THC (which has psychoactive effects), CBD does not get its users “high.”

And, while its benefits seem to aid children like Haley with certain disorders, it should be noted that there are still gaps in what we know and understand about its effects. The substance is safe and legal, yet its precise health benefits are still up for debate and are generating a great deal of research.

North Carolina’s Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act

As touched upon earlier, the legal status of medical marijuana and CBD oil in North Carolina can perhaps be described as complicated.

In 2014, Governor McCrory signed the North Carolina Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act into law. This was subsequently amended a year later to ensure neurologists no longer needed to be affiliated with a pilot study in order to recommend the use of hemp extract for epilepsy treatment. It also redefined “hemp extract” to adjust the percentage requirements for certain cannabinoids.

The Act, as amended, will ensure individuals with intractable epilepsy will be exempt from criminal penalties for using and possessing hemp products that contain at least 5% CBD and less than 0.9% THC, provided it has been approved by a neurologist affiliated with one or more hospitals in the state.

The Act does not, however, allow the in-state production of hemp extracts and states that the hemp extract must be acquired from another jurisdiction – that is to say, patients must cross state lines to a state where medical marijuana is legal in order to purchase a CBD oil product from a dispensary.

As it stands, the Marijuana Policy Project does not class North Carolina as a medical marijuana state due to the restrictions currently in place.

And, while the law has allowed minors, such as young Haley Ward, to avail themselves of the benefits of CBD oils, it is not yet the ideal solution many had hoped for.

To give you an idea of the complicated nature of the law, this is typically what lies in wait for NC’s epilepsy patients and their families who wish to try CBD oil in North Carolina:

    • Qualified patients must find and work with a neurologist who is affiliated with a licensed North Carolina hospital.
    • The neurologist may then approve a caregiver to dispense the hemp extract.
    • The caregiver must then, in theory, legally obtain the hemp extract from a state where medical marijuana is legal before returning to North Carolina.

All in all, this is an incredibly costly endeavor, filled with hassle and stress for the caregiver. And traveling to another state and back could also mean being in breach of the laws of states through which the caregiver would have to travel.

For North Carolina, “Hope for Haley” was a good start. But there’s still a long way to go.

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Hemp History and Colonial America

Colonial-hemp

Hemp History Week 2015 is rolling along nicely.  Part of hemp history week involves talking about the potential benefits of hemp in America today, but American Hemp history goes back to the very start of colonization.  In fact, the pilgrims brought hemp with them, and not just in seed form.  Hemp was on the Mayflower itself–it was used in the sailcloth and the rope rigging.  But that was only the ‘seed’ for hemp in colonial America; hemp would go on to grow in the colonies in some unexpected ways.

Britain and the need for Hemp

The importance of hemp in the American colonies dates to before colonial times. At the end of the 15th century, when Britain began to grow as a naval power one of the biggest challenges they faced was securing enough hemp to fully outfit their sailing ships.  This was a perennial problem for the British empire, and since their European adversaries France had a more consistent supply of hemp the British crown felt that securing raw hemp was a necessity.

To solve this issue, Britain mandated that hemp be grown in the American colonies. The goal was to secure a steady supply of raw hemp, and thereby secure their spot as a global power.  This plan, however, did not work out so well.  As British colonies in America grew, so did their own need for raw materials.  The first ship-builders were established by the Massachusetts Bay Company in 1629; and like the British, they required hemp.

Besides shipbuilding, the colonial cottage industries which were sprouting up interfered with the British thirst for hemp. These companies produced clothing and furniture within the colonies, and they needed raw materials such as hemp.  Britain tried to create laws that would slow or stop the industrialization of early America, but they all failed; much of the domestic (colonial) hemp crop never reached Britain.  This (among many, many other things) caused some tension.

Hemp in Early America

As the colonies grew in prosperity, so did their reliance on hemp. As a result, a few of the colonies had laws requiring farmers to grow hemp.  Hemp was even used as legal tender and to pay taxes in the young American economy.  At this point in history, Americans used hemp in many of the same ways the ancients did–and more.  They produced ropes and cloth.  They extracted oils from the seeds to use in lamps.  They bartered with it and used it to support their families.

“Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country.” -Thomas Jefferson

Hemp was a staple in Colonial America.  In fact, according to the Children’s book of nature, Benjamin Franklin himself used hemp string to secure a key to his kite on one famous (if apocryphal) day in American history. Benjamin Franklin went on to open one of the first hemp paper mills.

Benjamin Franklin was a hemp entrepreneur in the colonies.

The relationship between America and Britain began to degrade after 1760.  Britain was disappointed in the colonies growing their own industry, as opposed to bolstering the crown.  It was at this point in history that Britain began to pass laws that seriously hindered the American economy.  Laws like the sugar act, stamp act and the Townshend acts taxed the colonists heavily and engendered resentment against the crown.

Revolution and a Hemp rallying point

As resentment toward the crown grew, so did the prominence of hemp in the independence movement.  Noteworthy leaders of this movement, like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, were hemp growers (at least occasionally) at this point in history.

Eventually revolution broke out and the colonies declared independence. Thomas Jefferson wrote drafts of the declaration of independence on hemp paper.  But with this declaration and revolution came another need– an American flag.  Previously the flag used by continental forces was the “Grand Union” flag.  This flag, however, was inspired by the British union jack and thus caused some confusion.  When it’s flying over Wasington’s base at prospect hill during the siege of Boston was taken as a sign of Surrender by British loyalists, it was determined that we needed a new flag.

“Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.” -George Washington

Struggling widow, friend of Washington and noted seamstress– Betsey Ross, was chosen to sew a new flag.  One that would be a unifying element for the colonies–something they could rally around.  And for her material Mrs. Ross chose durable hemp cloth.

 

Underneath their hemp banner, the colonies would win the war and the United States would change the world.  Hemp remained a common crop in the US until it was outlawed.  Although its economic prominence was diminished by cheap imports like jute.  The decorticator had yet to be invented and less labor was needed to process the imported fibers.

Now we are at the cusp of a new revolution.  Technology has allowed us a new plethora of uses for hemp, but the growth of which is still largely outlawed here in the United States.  It is bitterly ironic that citizens of the US are not free to grow hemp as they see fit considering hemp was at the core of the colonies breaking away from Britain.  This Hemp History Week, call your senators and congressmen and remind them of America’s hemp history.

10 Things to Know About CBD Hemp Oil

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It’s full of cannabinoids:
As you may already know, cannabinoids are the compounds in cannabis that give the plant its unique properties. There are almost a hundred total cannabinoids present in cannabis in differing levels. These cannabinoids interact with your body’s native endocannabinoid system to promote overall homeostasis and balance within your systems.

It’s non-psychoactive:
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound in marijuana that gets you high, the primary cannabinoid in hemp, CBD, is non-psychoactive. Hemp is naturally high in CBD but low in THC, meaning that with hemp you can supplement CBD into your routine without experiencing the negative effects of THC.

Some CBD hemp oil products, like our RSHO-X, are completely free of THC, making it an excellent choice for competitive athletes, the military, and parents giving it to young children.

The research:
With over 23,000 studies and reviews published in respected peer reviewed science and medical journals and new clinical trials being announced nearly every month, there is too much research into the effects of cannabinoids to list in one place.

We invite you to do your own research into the benefits of cannabis from sources you trust and speak with your doctor before starting any new supplement routine.

It’s not just the cannabinoids:
Hemp oil is more than just a good source of cannabinoids like CBD. Our full-spectrum hemp oil is also an excellent source of a number of vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids, proteins and fibers, terpenes, and flavonoids, making it a versatile daily use dietary supplement.

It comes from cooperative farms:
Due to strict federal restrictions on hemp cultivation in the U.S., the CBD hemp oil used in our products must be imported into the country before we can process it. We work with a Northern European cooperative of 750 individual family farms with generations of cultivating experience. After testing and reviewing over 3,000 possible hemp cultivars, we chose the specific hemp plant that would thrive in our farms’ local climate and soil and produce the optimal harvest for our CBD hemp oil products.

Triple Lab Tested:
To ensure the safety and quality of our hemp oil products, we test our pure hemp oil three times along our manufacturing process. Our hemp oil is first tested for purity and potency after harvesting. Once we import our hemp oil, we test it again with an independent testing lab to verify its safety and quality. Our oil is then tested a third time after being processed and formulated into our products to help guarantee the products delivered to your door are safe for you and your family. This Triple Lab Testing™ approach to our products is our promise that the products you receive from us are the best they can be.

Product variety:
Whether you are looking to take high quantities of CBD or just want to supplement your diet with with a couple milligrams a day, we have the options you are looking for. From pure, high potency oils to low dose tinctures, our range of applications were designed to fit all CBD needs.

Our products come in your choice of tinctures, oils, capsules, and even chewing gum to fit the method that works best for you. For those interested in external use of CBD, there are a number or topical salves and balms, as well as bath and body products.

No medical card:
No, you do not need a medical card when buying CBD hemp oil. Because hemp-based products are sold as a dietary supplement, it is available nationwide to purchase online or in stores, just like any supplement or multivitamin.

It’s legal:
CBD derived from hemp is 100% legal to purchase and ship in the U.S. and in over 40 countries worldwide.

Getting it is easy:
Unlike medical marijuana, which requires you to visit a dispensary or give a delivery service your home address, getting CBD hemp oil at home is simple.

Ancient Hemp–4 ancient uses for the plant

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What is the history of hemp?  Lets take a look at 4 ways ancient people used hemp:

 

hemp history

Archaeological digs like this uncover evidence of ancient hemp history

The earliest records of hemp use and cultivation date back over 10,000 years.  According to MIT historians hemp was likely the first plant cultivated by humans for textile uses. Archaeologists have found scraps of hemp cloth in Mesopotamia (modern Iran and Iraq) that date to 8,000 BC.

There is also evidence of hemp cord from the same era in Taiwan.

Hemp cloth found in Mesopotamia has the noteworthy claim of being the oldest evidence of human industry–as well as a cornerstone of use for hemp by the ancients.  The Chinese were known to use hemp for cloth and it  makes an appearance in late antiquity in the grave of Aregund, one of the earliest French Queens.

1. Ancient Hemp Cloth.

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Ancient Chinese hemp paper

Although papyrus dates back further, paper-making originates in China around 250 BCE.  Hemp was a common material used by the Chinese in early paper-making.

Hemp cultivation was widespread in post-neolithic ancient China.  The Chinese used hemp to make many materials, including paper.  There is a record dating to the Sung Dynasty (500 AD) telling the story of the legendary, semi-mythical Emperor Shennong teaching the Chinese people how to cultivate hemp.  Shennong (The ‘Emperor of the Five Grains’) is also credited with giving knowledge of herbal medicine to the Chinese.  Although many of these stories are likely apocryphal (Shennong is considered a deity in Chinese folklore) China does boast the longest continuous history of hemp production.

2. Ancient hemp Paper

Moving west, Hemp and Cannabis were mentioned in the ancient Indian text the “Atharvaveda” and referred to as the ‘Sacred Grass’–as such, it was one of the 5 sacred plants of India. Bhang was a preparation of female Cannabis plants that were drank ritualistically as an offering to the god Shiva.

3. Ancient hemp/Cannabis ritualsBhang –i.e. “Bhang”

As you move slightly more west geographically and a little bit forward in ancient history, the use of hemp and Cannabis becomes more and more common. The Scythians of ancient Iran were known to leave hemp as a tribute in the tombs of the dead; and hemp rope makes an appearance in Greece around the year 200 BCE.  The famous Greek historian Plutarch speaks of the Thracian use of hemp and cannabis–as does Pliny the elder speaks of hemp rope in in his “Natural History” written in the first century AD.


Imported hemp rope made an appearance in England in about 100 AD. It was brought there by the Romans who were engaged in conquest of the island.

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Hemp was used for rope by the ancients.

4. Ancient hemp rope, and tributes

The stigma surrounding hemp (and cannabis) is truly an aspect of modern history.  Weighing a nearly 10,000 year history of use of industrial hemp against an 80 year ban on growing in the United States raises some interesting questions. Perhaps the ancients knew something we don’t.

Cannabis and HIV/AIDS

Many people in the US living with HIV/AIDS have for long suffered with the disease alongside its illnesses.

The Human Immune Virus is a sexually transmitted infection that damages the immune system and interferes with the body’s ability to fight off organisms that cause disease. This can eventually lead to development of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

HIV can also be spread by contact with infected blood or from mother to children or breast-feeding. Without treatment, AIDS patients live, on average, about 10 years before they succumb to the disease.

The HIV virus enters the bloodstream, then enters the cells that make up the immune system and multiplies. It attacks the immune system making it easier for a person to get a variety of illnesses known as opportunistic infections.

Traditional Treatment

The anti-HIV drugs both reduce the viral load and the number of infection present in the blood stream. Some of the commonly prescribed drugs are used to help the body fight off opportunistic infections. Although these drugs are available to help slow down the virus, there is no cure to eliminate the virus from within the body. The major downside to antiretroviral therapy are adverse side effects that can be so depilating that “patients will often abandon their treatment.

Cannabis’ role in the HIV/AIDS related illnesses

Marijuana is widely recognized for its effectiveness in treating symptoms related to HIV/AIDS. Marijuana has been known to help reduce the following symptoms in HIV patients: Nausea, Lack of appetite, Nerve pain, Depression, Anxiety, Sleeping problems.

In addition to treatment of common symptoms of HIV and side effects of antiretroviral drugs, research indicates that cannabis may help fight HIV itself. An increasing number of scientific studies, are revealing antiviral effects of cannabis against HIV.

The effects of cannabis are as a result of interactions between cannabinoids and receptors located on many cells. These include macrophages (a tissue cell of the immune system), CD4 cells called cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). Researchers at New York City’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine published data in 2012 demonstrating that stimulation of CB2 with compounds called cannabinoid receptor agonists can block the signaling process between HIV and CXCR4, one of the main types of receptors that allow HIV to enter and infect a cell. CXCR4 is used by HIV during advanced disease progression.

By stimulating activation of CB2 with cannabinoid receptor antagonists, Mount Sinai researchers decreased the ability of HIV to infect cells that utilize CXCR4, reducing the frequency of infected cells by 30 to 60 percent.

Cannabinoids may help prevent neurocognitive disorders

Macrophages are long-lived cells that are targeted by HIV and exist throughout the body. Macrophages are present in the blood and all organs, including in the brain. Some researchers hypothesize that these cells may be key to ongoing replication that creates inflammation, a damaging effect of overstimulation of the immune system. Inflammation can greatly contribute to many non-AIDS related illnesses, such as neurocognitive disorders, cardiovascular disease, bone disease, and some form of cancer.

The study authors found that anti-inflammatory compounds related to THC blind to CB2, effectively reducing viral replication and inflammation in the brain.

Many research studies by acclaimed medical institutions have found repeatedly, that Cannabinoids (components of Marijuana) are effective in treating AIDS conditions of; nausea, loss of appetite, anxiety, depression, wasting, and neuropathic pain. In addition, Medical Marijuana has anti-bacterial and anti-cancer properties that aid in battling associated opportunistic conditions.

Conclusion

There is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS. However, there are medications that can dramatically slow the progression of the disease. Cannabis has become an increasingly common prescription to help patients manage the often devastating symptoms of the disease and accompanying.

Pot for pain is picking up speed. Should it?

Like many people, economist W. David Bradford says he was under the impression that medical marijuana was something only young people would be interested in. At least, that’s what he thought until his own research began showing otherwise.

 

In mid-July, he and Ashley C. Bradford, his co-researcher and daughter, published one of the more compelling studies about medical marijuana to date. Theirreport, which ran in the journal Health Affairs, looked at data on prescriptions filled by Medicare enrollees from 2010 to 2013—and found that older people who qualified for Medicare were, where appropriate, making use of medical pot. Not only that, they also found that when states legalized medical marijuana, prescriptions dropped significantly for painkillers and other drugs for which pot may be an alternative. Doctors in a state where marijuana was legal prescribed an average of 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers per year.

Since 1999, overdose deaths in the U.S. involving opioids (prescription painkillers and heroin) have quadrupled. Meanwhile, estimates suggest opioid abuse racks up over $72 billion in medical costs alone each year in the U.S., and the Bradfords’ report found that states with medical marijuana laws saved $165.2 million per year in medical costs. So while it remains contentious, a growing number of experts some medical experts and even some states are considering the idea that medical marijuana should play a critical—and legal—role in combating the nation’s painkiller epidemic.

 

“What we hope people take away from this is that when marijuana becomes available as a clinical option, physicians and patients together are reacting as if marijuana is medicine,” says Bradford, the Busbee Chair in Public Policy at the University of Georgia.

 

Marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug according to the federal government, and many lawmakers and doctors remain resistant to the idea that marijuana has a place in medicine. Some doctors also argue medical marijuana isn’t well regulated. Others say there’s simply not enough scientific evidence to know for certain that people can improve their pain with cannabis, or kick a painkiller habit.

 

But other experts, like Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of the Hematology-Oncology Division at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, says anything that makes a dent in an epidemic that kills 80 Americans every day is worth consideration—especially since medical pot is proving in studies to be an effective treatment for pain. “If we could use cannabis, which is less addictive and harmful than opioids, to increase the effectiveness of pain treatment, I think it can make a difference during this epidemic of opioid abuse,” says Abrams who has investigated the effect of cannabis on pain for over a decade. “We are hampered by the fact that it is still difficult to get funding for studies on cannabis as a therapeutic,” he adds.

 

Still, the movement has momentum. In April, Maine became the first state to consider adding opioid addiction to the list of ailments that medical marijuana can treat. The health department ultimately denied the petition, but proponents like Dr. Dustin Sulak, a licensed osteopathic physician in Maine who treats people with medical marijuana, says it helped start a conversation about pot as a potential solution. “Cannabis enhances the pain relief of opioids and if they are working together, [the effect] is more powerful,” he says.

Sulak practices with Integr8 Health, a health care practice with around 15 providers in Maine and Massachusetts who treat about 20,000 people using medical cannabis. About 70% of the people use medical marijuana for chronic pain, and others use it for conditions like nausea from chemotherapy drugs or cancer. Among over 1,000 people Sulak recently surveyed at Integr8 Health, half said they used cannabis in combination with opioids to treat their pain, and the majority of those people said they either stopped opioids completely or reduced their dosage of opioids over time.

 

“You don’t see this anywhere else,” says Sulak. “Instead you see people coming back and asking for more and more opioids.”

 

The idea that marijuana may treat pain and combat addiction is not without precedent. A study published in 2014 in the journal JAMA found that states with medical marijuana laws experienced a nearly 25% drop in deaths from opioid overdoses compared to states that did not have those laws. That may be because medical marijuana, which often relies on compounds from the cannabis plant called cannabinoids, has been found in many studies to help pain management. For example, a 2015 analysis of 79 studies also published in JAMA reported a 30% or greater reduction in pain from cannabinoids compared to a placebo. Studies suggest cannabinoidsinteract with receptors in pain activity centers located in the brain and spinal chord. There’s also some suggestion that they have anti-inflammatory effects.

 

In February 2016, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren wrote a letterto the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asking the agency to look into the “effectiveness of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids for pain treatment in states where it is legal.”

 

In 2015, Minnesota added chronic pain as one of the conditions that could be treated with medical cannabis. The Boston Herald reports that some Massachusetts clinics are treating people addicted to painkillers with pot, though the state’s health department does not have an official position on that therapy. So far Maine has come closest to officially adding opioid addiction to the list of conditions pot can treat successfully.

 

It will likely be quite some time before medical marijuana is a standard and widely accepted alternative to painkillers — but, says Bradford, he’s seen changes over time. “I think we are seeing much more openness to the use of medical marijuana,” he says. Whether state lawmakers agree, remains to be seen.

Endogenous Cannabinoids: Homemade Cannabinoids Live Inside You

 Endocannabinoid System

It comes as a surprise to many people that we have a system in our bodies capable of producing its own cannabinoids without you ever picking up a hemp or cannabis product.  According to the Journal of Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, the discovery of this system occurred some time in the mid-1990s, after scientists found membrane receptors (known as CB receptors) used by the psychoactive compound delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Some scientists thought that THC acted on individual body cells, but this discovery proved that notion wrong. As it is understood now, we wouldn’t actually get “high” from THC in cannabis plants at all if we did not have an endocannabinoid system. Other species in the world cannot get “high” because they lack this feature in their anatomy.

According to the Journal of Comparative Neurology, such a system is common in many creatures including in mammals, birds, amphibians, fish, sea urchins, leeches, mussels, and even the most primitive animal with a nerve network, the Hydra. However, the presence of CB receptors has not been seen in terrestrial invertebrates (or any member of the Ecdysozoa). Surprisingly, no specific bindings of the synthetic CB ligands [(3)H]CP55,940 and [(3)H]SR141716A were found in a panel of insects: Apis mellifera, Drosophila melanogaster, Gerris marginatus, Spodoptera frugiperda, and Zophobas atratus.

Another study confirming the endocannabinoid system in humans was one done on runners in 2003. This study showed that male college students running on a treadmill or cycling on a stationary bike for 50 minutes had their endocannabinoid system activated. This study was among the first evidence to suggest alternative explanations for exercise’s ability to induce analgesia, or “runner’s high,” in people.

Other good preliminary knowledge to have before we dive into endogenous cannabinoids is about the four subtypes of receptors in the endocannabinoid system upon which they can act. We usually only talk about two, but these four types are…

  • CB1 (first cloned around 1990),
  • CB2 (first cloned around 1993),
  • WIN, and
  • abnormal-cannabidiol receptors (abn-CBD) or anandamide receptor.

Some might be yet to be discovered, since truncated forms of the CB1 receptor (like CB1A) have also been found.

Also important is knowing where CB1 and CB2 receptors are generally located. According to an article in the Journal of Current Neuropharmacology, “CB1 receptors are abundant and widely dispersed throughout the brain. Their distribution has been mapped by autoradiographic studies, immunohistochemical techniques, in situ histochemistry, and electrophysiological studies. CB1 receptors have shown particularly high levels of expression in cortex, basal ganglia, hippocampus, and cerebellum and low levels of expression in brainstem nuclei.”  In contrast, CB2 receptors are found mostly on white blood cells and in the spleen.

Endogenous Cannabinoids – What are these chemicals you make?

First thing to know regarding endogenous cannabinoids is that they are synonymous with endocannabinoids. “Endo” simply means “within” or “internal” while “genous” comes from the same root word as “generate” or “genesis” – in other words, “make” or “create.” The words “endogenous cannabinoids” and “endocannabinoids” will be used interchangeably.  Endocannabinoids serve as intercellular “lipid messengers” signaling molecules that are released from one cell and activating the cannabinoid receptors present on other nearby cells. The first endogenous cannabinoid to be isolated and structurally characterized in 1992 was arachidonylethanolamide, commonly known as anandamide, and it was taken from a pig brain.

Anandamide

Fun fact: The name for this chemical comes from the Sanskrit word ananda, which means “bliss.” This study published in the Journal of Neurochemistry shows how anandamide works. Anandamide can bind to membranes in two ways. Either it does this transiently, quickly passing, or it does so when it is “transfected with an expression plasmid carrying the cannabinoid receptor DNA.” Transfection, in biology terms, is a method of introducing genetic material. An expression plasmid can affect the gene expression in cells. The anandamide also inhibits the forskolin-stimulated adenylate cyclase in the transfected cells.  What all this means is that “anandamide is an endogenous agonist that may serve as a genuine neurotransmitter for the cannabinoid receptor.” Anandamide affects how CB1 receptors do or don’t get activated.

Anandamide is synthesised by the hydrolysis of the precursor N-arachidonoyl phosphatidylethanolamine, which is catalysed by the enzyme phosphodiesterase phospholipase D. After release from the postsynaptic terminal, which is the receiving part of the connection (synapse) between two nerve cells (neurons), anandamide interacts with presynaptic cannabinoid receptors. Deficiencies can have unpleasant results, as this study about neuropathic pain in mice shows. Anandamide plays a role in pain, mood, appetite, and memory and is the most extensively studied endogenous cannabinoid.       

2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)

Like anandamide, 2-AG is also an endogenous ligand for CB1 receptors. According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, it is the most prevalent endogenous cannabinoid ligand in the brain. The study, which observed self-administered injections of squirrel monkeys, also pointed to data suggesting that 2-AG plays a role in drug-taking behaviors. The monkeys were shown to exhibit an addictive behavior when given 2-AG. Its role in the organism overall is still being established, but recent studies show that it plays a role in the regulation of the circulatory system via direct and/or indirect effects on blood vessels and/or heart. It is synthesised by cleavage of an inositol-1,2-diacylglycerol, which is catalysed by phospholipase C.

Virodhamine (OAE)

This endogenous cannabinoid is a CB1 partial agonist but is a CB1 antagonist in vivo (in the body). It was discovered in June of 2002. Virodhamine is arachidonic acid and ethanolamine joined by an ester linkage. In the hippocampus, its concentrations are similar to those of anandamide. In peripheral tissues that express the CB2 receptor, however, it was found in amounts that were 2- to 9-fold higher than anandamide.

At the CB2 receptor, it acts as a full agonist. It sometimes can antagonize other endocannabinoids in vivo; for example, it can inhibit anandamide transport. In a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, it was shown to relax rat mesenteric arteries through endothelial cannabinoid receptors. It can do this to the human pulmonary artery via two mechanisms: It activates the putative endothelial cannabinoid receptor, and it initiates the hydrolysis of virodhamine to arachidonic acid and subsequent production of a vasorelaxant prostanoid through COX.  

In Retrospect: Clearing Up Misinformation

Here are some things you need to understand about how CBD relates to these endogenous cannabinoids. CBD is not itself an endogenous cannabinoid; however, it acts on CB receptors in a similar manner to some endogenous cannabinoids, like OAE. THC and CBD both influence the way that natural endocannabinoids carry out their jobs. Sometimes, they are agonists in one spot and antagonists for another.

In Conclusion..

We hope that this helps clear up some information about the endogenous cannabinoids involved in the endocannabinoid system. It is perhaps commonly thought when hearing about this system that we produce things like CBD in our bodies, but this isn’t quite so. We produce very similar chemicals that do very similar things that also influence how cannabinoids like CBD and THC will interact with our CB receptors or other receptor sites.  Some are ligands for synaptic reactions, and some are agonists/antagonists

We want to know: How has this expanded your perspective on the usefulness of cannabinoids? Leave a comment. In order to understand more about cannabidiol specifically, we have a great resource page on our website that neatly compiles must-know facts so you don’t have to do the arduous digging. Please don’t hesitate to ask us any further questions.

MJ and MS

How Medical Marijuana Affects Multiple Sclerosis

Medical marijuana research is picking up pace. Thankfully, due to the overwhelming support from the general public, it seems that people are starting to believe in the power of cannabis. And how could they not. After all the testimonials that are currently available online, it is really hard not to believe that there is something very peculiar about this drug, something that most researchers cannot even begin to explain. For instance, one of the conditions that is most heavily researched in relation to medical marijuana has got to be multiple sclerosis. However, the research couldn’t be more conflicting. As far as I can tell, there have been 11 conclusive medical marijuana research studies that researched the effects marijuana has on people suffering from MS.

Various Case Studies

In 2014, Dr. Peter Flachenecker published a study called “Long-Term Effectiveness and Safety of Nabixmols”. Nabixmols is basically just another term for Sativex, an oral spray that contains CBD and has reduced spasticity with a great number of MS patients, even those who are resistant to a bunch of other medications. Then, in another study by Tamela Stuchiner, cannabis makes MS patients disoriented, reporting more fatigue, pain, tingling and heat sensitivity. Another study that focused on Sativex comes up with inconclusive findings, making it hard to distinguish whether Sativex helps people or not. A study done by John P. Zajicek at the Neurology Research and Clinical Trials Unit of the Peninsula Medical School at the University of Plymouth reports that patients with MS benefit from cannabis in terms of muscle stiffness.

MS Patients Differ

In general, there are several studies on MS and cannabis that report marijuana is great for pain reduction and treating MS symptoms in general. Naturally, smoking cannabis has its side effects, which is why another study reported that MS patients who use cannabis have shady cognitive skills, which is really no surprise and should not refer to MS patients exclusively. Anybody who gets high will suffer from poor cognitive skills. There are about three to four additional studies that prove Sativex is indeed an efficient ailment in dealing with MS. You don’t have to be a scientist to put two and two together. It is obvious that cannabis works for some people but for some people doesn’t and it is important to make that distinction.

It is also important to know each and every strain currently available out there. I am usually against GM weed in terms of commercial consumption. However, if medical marijuana research could speed up to the point where you could modify certain strains to have more beneficial effects on their patients, there should be no time left to spare. In fact, CBD only strains are being modified while we’re writing this article and it would be ludicrous to even think what the future might bring. Hopefully, conclusive research and efficient medical marijuana strains will become a part of that future. Until then, we can be proud to live in a time where we finally accepted a plant that has been stigmatized for decades.

US Says “Yes”

United States Says Yes To Medical Marijuana

This was a long time coming. It seems like all the medical marijuana research has been leading up to this point, regardless of how scarce this research truly is. But we don’t have to go over ancient history with medical marijuana. Not even a few years ago, the feds were still busting down doors of medical marijuana dispensaries in California. And, keep in mind, they are still allowed to do that as state law acknowledges legalization but federal law still doesn’t.

So Much Funding, So Little Research

And don’t even get us started on research. About $1.1 billion was approved for marijuana research. But guess what? They spent the money on studying marijuana abuse and addiction. They were basically getting people legally high and studying their actions, like they were monkeys in a zoo. Instead of focusing on the benefits of the drug and expanding on that through various methods of research. Can we get some quality control here? Like, a well trained professional who would at least be able to stir the research in the right direction. Like a medical marijuana research coordinator? We’re sure that title needs to be added to the FDA or something.

So, now that we have got all the mistakes and delusions out of the way (well, not all, but maybe two), the United States have decided to admit that medical marijuana indeed does work. Just like that. For ages, the authorities have been busting down doors, trying to find the owner of that joint butt they found on the street but now – they’re totally cool with it. We wonder how Big Pharma took this in, or maybe it was their idea to begin with.

Rick Simpson’s Legacy

What did they say exactly? How did they explain the sudden change of heart? Did they only say that marijuana helps you get the munchies? Well, they decided to come out with a bang and state that marijuana indeed kills cancer sells. That’s how slow change truly is. Rick Simpson has been stating this for decades, numerous testimonials can be found online. Seminars, workshops, illegal THC oil cooks can be found everywhere so it is kind of fascinating to see just how long it took for a government to approve of medical marijuana.

While at the same time this fantastic news that is bound to open a few more doors for medical marijuana research, it is devastating that a huge chunk of time will pass before the plan is entirely legal. Because change costs a lot of money, but if you do it slowly, you can also make a lot of money. That’s the point of adjustment – money. Like when a country enters the EU but banks refuse to lower interest rates for a couple of years because “the banks need time to adjust”, like they’re a sensitive little wallflower that needs care and affection to grow.

Medical Marijuana: Nothing is New

Medical Marijuana helps people with these Conditions

 

The use of cannabis as medicine is not new, in fact, there are references to the use of marijuana as a medicine that date back to 2,000 years BC.  Marijuana use hasn’t been confined to just one geographical area either – there are global records of its use.  In China, it was used to treat conditions such as malaria, constipation and rheumatism.
You might be surprised to find that it wasn’t just ancient peoples who used the drug; marijuana remained in the United States pharmacopoeia until 1941. Up until that time, cannabis was freely available in shops and, in the UK, Queen Victoria, that most conservative of royals, used cannabis to alleviate her menstrual cramps.

Medical Marijuana: The Truth

The truth of the matter is we don’t know exactly how many illnesses and symptoms that the medical use of marijuana could alleviate. This list will continue to grow as we discover more conditions that can potentially be treated with cannabis.

We believe Medical Marijuana will help these conditions:

·        Alcoholism: scholars call it the “Alcohol dependence syndrome” and it is a severe disease that’s destroying millions of people’s lives.

·        Alzheimer’s Disease: a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior

·        Amyloidosis: Amyloids are body-proteins that have folded in on themselves, making them insoluble. The fact that they don’t dissolve can lead to a build up of deposits in various organs, such as the heart, the kidneys, and the nerves.

·        Anorexia: an eating disorder characterized by refusal to maintain a healthy body weight

·        Anxiety: a feeling of apprehension or fear, the source of which is not always known or recognized.

·        AIDS: (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is the final stage of HIV disease, which causes severe damage to the immune system

·        Arthritis: inflammation of one or more joints, which results in pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited movement

·        Attention Deficit Disorder: Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is one of the three subtypes of Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

·        Autism: autistic spectrum disorders  are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.

·        Biopolar Disorder – Mixed results when it comes to using medical marijuana to treat Biolpar patients.

·        Breast Cancer: cannabis study suggesting that a particular compound may be effective at taming metastasizing breast cancer cells with low toxicity.

·        Cachexia: physical wasting with loss of weight and muscle mass caused by disease.

·        Cancer: a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled cell division leading to growth of abnormal tissue.

·        Crohn’s Disease: an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), causing inflammation of the digestive tract lining . This can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea and malnutrition.

·        Dementia – Medical Marijuana has Potential to treat Dementia.

·        Depression: a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration.

·        Diabetes: people who are dealing with diabetes are falling short of insulin. It is either not produced by the body or it isn’t produced in sufficient quantity.

·        Diarrhea: Well, we’ve all had it, that’s for sure. For those of you who are not familiar with this river of fecal matter, think of diarrhea as a casual turd, not very compact but quite fluid.

·        Epilepsy: a disorder that results from the surges in electrical signals inside the brain, causing recurring seizures.

·        Fibromyalgia: a constellation of symptoms that include widespread aching, stiffness, fatigue, and the presence of specific body tender point

·        Gastritis: It’s an inflammatory condition that can’t really be narrowed down to one single disease. When your stomach lining reaches the stage of inflammation, that’s a pretty good sign you have gastritis.

·        Glaucoma: a group of eye diseases characterized by damage to the optic nerve usually caused by raised pressure (IOP) within the eye.

·        HepatitisSeveral studies, as well as ample anecdotal evidence have demonstrated that medical marijuana can reduce nausea, increase appetite, and improve wasting in people with hepatitis.

·        HIV/AIDS – Medical marijuana can be used to treat the symptoms of HIV and AIDS.

·        Insomnia: chronic inability to fall asleep or to enjoy uninterrupted sleep

·        Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Anecdotal evidence suggests that use of cannabis/marijuana reduces symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

·        Mesothelioma: Well, let’s get this said up-front: as far as we know medical marijuana will not cure mesothelioma. Nevertheless, we know of at least one study looking at cannabis for chemotherapy patients (Harvard University) that showed THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, slashed tumor growth in common lung cancer by 50% and also reduced the spread of the cancer.

·        Migraine: a severe recurring headache, usually affecting only one side of the head, characterized by sharp pain and often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and visual disturbances

·        Multiple Sclerosis: a chronic autoimmune disorder affecting movement, sensation, and bodily functions.Caused by destruction of the myelin insulation covering nerve fibers in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).

·        Nausea: a feeling of sickness in the stomach characterized by an urge to vomit

·        Obesity: Cannabis has pain-killing abilities that enable one to lead a more active life necessary for weight loss. Two compounds, Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and cannabidiol (CBD), found in cannabis increase the amount of energy that the body burns.

·        Pain: an unpleasant sensation occurring in varying degrees of severity as a consequence of injury, disease, or emotional disorder.

·        Period Cramps – THC, assists in blocking pain while allowing the brain to receive pleasure signals. Second, cannabidiol, or CBD, works with the immune system to suppress inflammation.

·        PTSD: (post traumatic stress disorder) a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event

·        Rheumatoid Arthritis: It’s been known, anecdotally at least, for many years that cannabis can help ease the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

·        Spasticity: a constant and unwanted contraction of one or more muscle groups.

·        Stuttering –  Cannabis is said to reduce stuttering by relaxing the muscles thus removing that disruption to speech.

Find out the Medical Marijuana state laws where you live. Then you will know whether you are legally able to use Medical Marijuana to treat your medical condition.


Cannabis a solution to motion sickness

Motion sickness also known as travel sickness, is a condition in which a disagreement exists between visually perceived movement and the vestibular system’s sense of movement. Depending on the cause, it can also be referred to as sea sickness, car sickness, simulation sickness or airsickness.
It describes an unpleasant combination of symptoms, such as dizziness, nausea and vomiting, that can occur when you’re travelling. Children from 5 to 12 years old, women, and older adults get motion sickness more than others do. It’s rare in children younger than 2.

Causes of motion sickness

Motion sickness is thought to occur when there is a conflict between what your eyes see and what your inner ears, which help with balance, sense. The most common hypothesis for the cause of motion sickness is that it functions as a defense mechanism against neurotoxins. The area postrema in the brain is responsible for inducting vomiting when poisons are detected, and for resolving conflicts between vision and balance.

When feeling motion but not seeing it (for example, in a ship with no windows), the inner ear transmits to the brain that it senses motion, but the eyes tell the brain that everything is still. As a result of the discordance, the brain will come to the conclusion that the individual is hallucinating and further conclude that the hallucination is due to poison ingestion. The brain responds by inducing vomiting, to clear the supposed toxin.

Medication

Many pharmacological treatments which are effective for nausea and vomiting in some medical conditions may not be effective for motion sickness. For example, metoclopramide and prochlorperazine, although widely used for nausea, are ineffective for motion-sickness prevention and treatment. Sedating anti-histamine medications such as promethazine work quite well for motion sickness, although they can cause significant drowsiness.

Motion Sickness Cannabis as Treatment

The primary symptom of motion sickness is nausea. Marijuana has been known to cure nausea with no side effects as compared to the traditional medication. The National Cancer Institute also states that cannabinoid medications are FDA approved for nausea and vomiting. They not only work on nausea and vomiting but they often work better than the non-cannabinoid treatments that are currently available.

There are currently two cannabinoid medications available for nausea and vomiting in the United States. These drugs are Delta-9-THC medications that go by the names nabilone and dronabinol. The active ingredient – tetrahydrocannabinol – in these medications is the same as found in the marijuana plant. Inhaled marijuana vapors can work markedly faster as compared to smocking it.

Conclusion

The Federal Drug Administration has not cleared these medications for use with motion sickness. This does not mean that they do not show promise for all types of nausea and vomiting even in the case of motion disease. Medical marijuana has been proven utterly safe concerning overdose and emergency side effects. With the rescheduling of marijuana underway, the hope of more research and cure for several other illnesses is reassuring.

 

Cannabis, treating Graves’ disease symptoms

Graves’ disease is an immune system disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). It is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in the United States with about 50% to 80% cases and often results in an enlarged thyroid. The thyroid gland is located on either side of the Adam’s apple in a patient and can be easily felt on physical exam. Its main function is to regulate the overall metabolism of the body. It also plays a role in calcium metabolism.

Although the exact cause is unclear, it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. A person is more likely to be affected if they have a family member with the disease. Those with other autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to be affected.

Signs and symptoms

Graves’ disease affects both men and women. However, it’s more common among women between the ages of 20 and 40. Graves’ disease is accompanied by a range of symptoms which include: irritability, muscle weakness, sleeping problems, a fast heartbeat, and poor tolerance of heat, diarrhea, and weight loss.

Other symptoms may include thickening of the skin on the shins, known as pretibial myxedema, and eye problems such as bulging, a condition known as Graves’ ophthamopathy. About 25% to 80% of people with the condition develop eye problems which involves eye irritation, double vision and even protruding eyeballs.

Treatment

The primary treatments have aimed at inhibiting the overproduction of thyroid hormones and lessen the severity of symptoms. These include radioactive iodine, antithyroid medications such as methimazole (Tapazole) and propylthiouracil (PTU), and beta blockers. In some patients, surgery is done. However, these conventional treatments re associated with a range of side effects.

Radioiodine therapy may increase your risk of new or worsened symptoms of Graves’ ophthalmopathy anti-thyroid medications, on the other hand can cause a relapse of hyperthyroidism at a later time. Side effects of both drugs include rash, joint pain, liver failure or a decrease in disease-fighting white blood cells. Beta blockers have been known to trigger an asthma attack in addition to complicating management of diabetes.

Using medical marijuana to treat the side effects

Graves’ disease causes a great variety of symptoms, many of which can be easily treated with cannabis. According to research and several trails, medical marijuana has been found to be an alternative to treat many of the symptoms associated with Graves’ disease. Medical marijuana can reduce eye pressure, reduce anxiety, relieve insomnia, reduce irritability, encourage appetite/weight gain, relieve restlessness/nervousness, slow or relax heart rate.

Studies have repeatedly shown the effectiveness of medical marijuana as an appetite stimulant. Medical marijuana can be used to help with any pain related to Graves’ disease. Conventional treatments often lead to painful side-effects such as joint pain.

Studies have shown that not only does medical marijuana significantly decrease pain levels, but it can also work to reduce a patient’s dependence on opiate based pain medications that are commonly prescribed for pain. By reducing the patient’s dependence on opiate based pain medications, the patient is at less risk for overdose, dependence or addiction.

Conclusion

Medical marijuana has a long history as a viable treatment for loss of appetite, insomnia and fatigue as well as for pain and anxiety. In addition, medical marijuana does not cause many of the serious side effects associated with traditional Graves’ disease treatments. For the many Graves’ disease sufferers in the US, the adoption to medical marijuana is an excellent option.

Medical cannabis, a fighting chance against autism

People living with autism make up approximately 1 percent of the global population. As of the year 2014, out of every 68 births in the United States, one child is autistic.

Autism, also referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a group of complex brain disorders, described by National Autistic Society as a lifelong development disability that affects how a person communicates and relates with others, and how they experience the world around them.

How it all began

Debra started to notice Roger’s autism symptoms at the age of three when he continuously failed to articulate his words and regularly threw tantrums. On critically looking at him, she noticed a dull look in his eyes and some occasional clumsiness where he could all of a sudden swing his arms involuntarily.

At first Debora thought it wasn’t anything serious and that Roger would soon grow out of it. Little did she know that this was just the beginning of her troubles of having to live with a child suffering from autism.

As a mother of a child living with autism, Debra Perkins always had to look out for her son Roger who had become a home-bound because his levels of cognition were far much lower than those of his age mates. For this reason, he could not go to school.

Need close attention

Autistic people have a tendency of self-injuring and so they always have to be under the care of someone. For this reason, Debra, who was by then working, had no choice but to give her work a break for a month as she sought of a way she could have her son well taken care of.

Soon enough, Debra was able to enroll Roger in a school for children with autism. With the doctor’s recommendation, she started him on a dosage of drugs for improving the mood and curbing psychotic behavior, although these presented some negative effects like sleeplessness and tremors. He also lost appetite and by age seven, he had lost a lot of weight.

What fellow parent has to say

One day as Debra picked Roger from school, she met a parent, also having a daughter there and he shared with her the wonders of cannabis as concerns autism. “I was delusional at first because I had grown up knowing that marijuana was like a drug for the most notorious people in society.” Worse still, Debra could not imagine introducing a narcotic to her little boy’s system.

After trying several therapeutic treatments, all seemed to be worsening and by the age of six, Roger had quite a number of scars from injuring himself. “He would frequently hit his head on the wall, or even tree,” Debra recalls, “It always broke my heart to see him like that!”

There is hope

Out of desperation, she decided to give it a shot – offered Roger a pot cookie. Alas, his behavior intensely improved; he became more relaxed, threw fewer tantrums and reduced on the self-injuring.

Discovering cannabis was a great breakthrough for Debra. Something she took for a street joke actually turned out to be the biggest reason for her smile. Roger is now on a dosage of cannabis tablets and it suffices to say that he’s moving proof of the wonders of the drug.

The dysfunction in the production of proper levels of endocannabinoids, the body’s own healthy molecules very similar to phytocannabinoids like Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) present in cannabis, may be one of the primary causes of autism.

Studies show that the cannabinoids from cannabis regulate emotional states and focus by redirecting the neurons in a way that is more manageable for the autistic. This way, symptoms such as anxiety, mood swings and hostility are dealt with. As earlier noted, autism is a life-time disorder. Despite this fact, the lives of thousands of people can be changed if they are to give cannabis a shot.

Cannabis and HIV/AIDS

Many people in the US living with HIV/AIDS have for long suffered with the disease alongside its illnesses.

The Human Immune Virus is a sexually transmitted infection that damages the immune system and interferes with the body’s ability to fight off organisms that cause disease. This can eventually lead to development of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

HIV can also be spread by contact with infected blood or from mother to children or breast-feeding. Without treatment, AIDS patients live, on average, about 10 years before they succumb to the disease.

The HIV virus enters the bloodstream, then enters the cells that make up the immune system and multiplies. It attacks the immune system making it easier for a person to get a variety of illnesses known as opportunistic infections.

Traditional Treatment

The anti-HIV drugs both reduce the viral load and the number of infection present in the blood stream. Some of the commonly prescribed drugs are used to help the body fight off opportunistic infections. Although these drugs are available to help slow down the virus, there is no cure to eliminate the virus from within the body. The major downside to antiretroviral therapy are adverse side effects that can be so depilating that “patients will often abandon their treatment.

Cannabis’ role in the HIV/AIDS related illnesses

Marijuana is widely recognized for its effectiveness in treating symptoms related to HIV/AIDS. Marijuana has been known to help reduce the following symptoms in HIV patients: Nausea, Lack of appetite, Nerve pain, Depression, Anxiety, Sleeping problems.

In addition to treatment of common symptoms of HIV and side effects of antiretroviral drugs, research indicates that cannabis may help fight HIV itself. An increasing number of scientific studies, are revealing antiviral effects of cannabis against HIV.

The effects of cannabis are as a result of interactions between cannabinoids and receptors located on many cells. These include macrophages (a tissue cell of the immune system), CD4 cells called cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). Researchers at New York City’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine published data in 2012 demonstrating that stimulation of CB2 with compounds called cannabinoid receptor agonists can block the signaling process between HIV and CXCR4, one of the main types of receptors that allow HIV to enter and infect a cell. CXCR4 is used by HIV during advanced disease progression.

By stimulating activation of CB2 with cannabinoid receptor antagonists, Mount Sinai researchers decreased the ability of HIV to infect cells that utilize CXCR4, reducing the frequency of infected cells by 30 to 60 percent.

Cannabinoids may help prevent neurocognitive disorders

Macrophages are long-lived cells that are targeted by HIV and exist throughout the body. Macrophages are present in the blood and all organs, including in the brain. Some researchers hypothesize that these cells may be key to ongoing replication that creates inflammation, a damaging effect of overstimulation of the immune system. Inflammation can greatly contribute to many non-AIDS related illnesses, such as neurocognitive disorders, cardiovascular disease, bone disease, and some form of cancer.

The study authors found that anti-inflammatory compounds related to THC blind to CB2, effectively reducing viral replication and inflammation in the brain.

Many research studies by acclaimed medical institutions have found repeatedly, that Cannabinoids (components of Marijuana) are effective in treating AIDS conditions of; nausea, loss of appetite, anxiety, depression, wasting, and neuropathic pain. In addition, Medical Marijuana has anti-bacterial and anti-cancer properties that aid in battling associated opportunistic conditions.

Conclusion

There is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS. However, there are medications that can dramatically slow the progression of the disease. Cannabis has become an increasingly common prescription to help patients manage the often devastating symptoms of the disease and accompanying.

Cannabis, the hope for viral hepatitis illness

Hepatitis is a series of viruses that primarily attack the liver. These include, hepatitis A, B, C, D, E, F (not confirmed), and G.In the United States, viral hepatitis is most commonly caused by hepatitis A virus (HAV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV). These 3 viruses can all result in acute diseases with symptoms of nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, malaise, and jaundice.

Chronic hepatitis may simmer for 20 years or more before causing significant symptoms related to advanced liver damage such as cirrhosis (scarring and liver failure), liver cancer, or death. Viral hepatitis, accounts for more than 50% of cases of acute hepatitis in the United States.American liver foundation estimates that one in every 10 people in North America is afflicted with a liver, biliary or gallbladder disease.This makes it a worldwide health problem in humans for which pharmacological treatments currently available are not adequate enough. With the letters representing the different hepatitis viruses going up, the need to venture into more research on ways to curb the illness has grown cannabis being one of the possible solutions.

Cannabidiol suppresses ConA-induced hepatitis

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a major non-psychoactive cannabinoid component of marijuana (Cannabis sativa). CBD has been shown to have potent immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties and is currently approved for clinical use in some countries for the treatment of pain in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. A research was conducted where rats where used to experiment the effect ofCannabidiol on suppressing the damage on the liver caused by the hepatitis virus.

Natural cannabinoids such as Delta (9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) effectively modulate immune cell function and have shown therapeutic potential in treating inflammatory diseases. According to the research results, THC treatment resulted into significant suppression of crucial inflammatory cytokines in ConA-hepetitis. THC treatment in ConA-injected mice led to significant increase in the absolute number of Fox3 (+) T regulatory cells in the liver.

Cannabis’ role in improving Treatment Response in Hepatitis C Patients

Auto immune hepatitis is generally treated with medications that suppress the immune system, such as prednisone and azathioprine, although these treatments are not universally effective and long term side effects exist.

Interferon-based therapy for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is often limited by side effects including flu-like symptoms, fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, muscle and joint pain, and depression, which can lead to poor adherence, dose reduction, or treatment discontinuation. However, research has shown that Medicinal cannabis