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Medical Cannabis Becoming More Available to American Consumers

Marijuana medical choice dilemma health care concept as a person standing in front of two paths with one offering traditional medicine and the other option with cannabis.

Marijuana medical choice dilemma health care concept as a person standing in front of two paths with one offering traditional medicine and the other option with cannabis.

by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News

As news about the disease-fighting abilities of medical cannabis (or medical marijuana) become more known, making cannabis a legitimate healing product rather than just a recreational drug, many consumers are beginning to research how one can avail of these curative natural medicines, and where to go to find them.

Almost like dominoes falling against each other beginning with California, states have adopted medical marijuana laws to allow qualified patients access to home grown and locally dispensed cannabis products. California, Oregon, Washington State, and Colorado are the most well known.

There are 19 other states plus the District of Columbia, bringing the total to 24 independent medical cannabis regions in the United States.

There are a few additional states that allow cannabis without THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the compound that has psychoactive effects. The result is an oil or tincture that produces medicinal effects without the “high.” These formulas have shown to be effective for children who suffer chronic epileptic seizures, for example.

The CBD (cannabidiol) strain is initially what impressed CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta to reverse his negative stand on medical marijuana applications and declare his positive opinion openly on TV, endorsing medical cannabis.

All of this has occurred over the past couple of decades, with California serving as an example in 1996 that other states followed with some caution before determining they could follow without much federal interference.

You can get familiar with all the complete cannabis states with each of their allowances and restrictions here [1].

Why This Was So Revolutionary

The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was the beginning of the end for legal recreational and medical cannabis use. But prior to that, cannabis or hemp tinctures were part of the AMA’s prescribed pharmacopoeia for a variety of ailments.

Some insist the Marijuana Tax Act was set up by vested financial interests involving paper milling, synthetic textiles, and the petrochemical plastics industry. Others have implicated the more obvious industries behind the coup to legally suppress cannabis use: Pharmaceutical companies, tobacco industries, and beer and liquor businesses.

The AMA’s congressional representative, Dr. William Creighton Woodward, was hooted down and reprimanded by the congressional committee for politely arguing against the 1937 bill in an attempt to preserve physicians’ rights for prescribing cannabis medicines.

The committee pushed forward the bill they had put together for easy approval despite Dr. Woodward’s efforts at striking a compromise to maintain doctors’ ability to prescribe cannabis tinctures. The “Reefer Madness” hysteria fomented by the movie of the same name made it easier for ignorant senate and house members to approve the bill.

The first medical study that countered cannabis fear mongering occurred at the University of Virginia Medical School in 1974. The “War on Drugs” had begun around that time, and pot smokers were easy targets for the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration).

That Virginia animal study determined that cannabis reversed cancers in mice. Alas, another cure for cancer was destroyed. Not only was that study shut down, the documents were seized and destroyed along with other similar research studies from 1966 through 1976 during Gerald Ford’s reign as president.

The bureaucrats that wanted cannabis to remain illegal cleaned house of almost all traces of research documents that were pro-cannabis. Yet they gave pharmaceutical companies the green light to proceed with their attempts to synthesize THC-CBD around that time as well. (Source) [2]

Hemp Plant Strains, Cannabinoids, Terpenes and the Entourage Effect

There is also scientific evidence, including preclinical and clinical studies, that suggest cannabis, and specific cannabinoids offer different benefits for different diseases.

Some studies indicate that either THC or CBD may be better for a certain condition, thus influencing decisions on the THC:CBD ratio. Dosing largely corresponds to the severity of disease.

Strains are ultimately differentiated by terpene profiles, so deciding which strain is optimal is largely dependent on what terpenes are desired. If someone wants a daytime strain without drowsiness, alpha-pinene and limonene work best.

For restful night use, myrcene and linalool are better choices. Beta-caryophyllene is almost always good as it directly activates the CB2 receptor.

The entourage effect is the essence of the whole cannabis plant’s wisdom, which is why pharmaceutical cannabis based drugs will never duplicate whole plant extract efficacy and safety.

This excerpt is from an excellent article by Dr. Malik Burnett featured in Medical Jane, “Medical Marijuana: Much More Than THC and CBD,” which discusses the “entourage effect”:

First described in 1998 by Israeli scientists Shimon Ben-Shabat and Raphael Mechoulam, the basic idea of the entourage effect is that cannabinoids within the cannabis plant work together, or possess synergy, and affect the body in a mechanism similar to the body’s own endocannabinoid system.

This theory serves as the foundation for a relatively controversial idea within pharmacology community, that in certain cases whole plant extractions serve as better therapeutic agents than individual cannabinoid extractions.

The entourage effect theory has been expanded in recent times by Wagner and Ulrich-Merzenich, who define the four basic mechanisms of whole plant extract synergy as follows:

1. Ability to affect multiple targets within the body
2. Ability to improve the absorption of active ingredients
3. Ability to overcome bacterial defense mechanisms
4. Ability to minimize adverse side effects(Source) [3]

Today’s Variety of Cannabis Medical Applications

Prior to 1937, most medical cannabis was in the form of tinctures or extracts. Smoking wasn’t used for medical applications, only for recreational pursuits. Then came safer, more effective, and more economical applications using vaporizers to heat small amounts of the cannabis leaves, inhaling the vapors without burning them.

Normal smoking increases absorption of toxic smoke elements while reducing helpful cannabinoids. Using a vaporizer or “vaping” is considered healthier and more medicinally potent. The cannabinoids are heated sufficiently to activate them without damage. (Source) [4]

Perhaps the game changer for cannabis for cancer was due largely to Canadian Rick Simpson’s rediscovering how to create medical cannabis oil, a highly concentrated thick decoction, which he used to cure his skin cancer topically and ingested to eliminate the lingering effects, constant noise in his head, of a previous head injury.

He treated several neighbors without charging them for a wide range of chronic maladies, including cancer, and the results were amazing. They were all medical mainstream failures in a nation that provides medical care to everyone. After his full length documentary “Run From the Cure” went viral, the oil became a major part of medical cannabis applications.

Rick asserts smoking marijuana will cause its medicinal values to “go up in smoke.” Nevertheless, clinical testing in Israel has demonstrated positive results with smoking cannabis for senility, arthritic pain, and other autoimmune deficiencies, even if its efficacy is less than vaporizing with a heated element that doesn’t come into contact with the herb.

Here’s a video clip of someone managing her ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) by smoking cannabis.

There are at least 65 cannabinoids in cannabis. One report claims 85 and another over 100. Many of them have medicinal values and more are constantly being discovered.

For children with epilepsy or post vaccination traumas causing daily seizures, low or no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content with high CBD (cannabidiol) content has empirically proved very useful. (Source) [5]

Growers have breeding techniques to create a variety of THC and CBD content percentages depending on what’s needed for various ailments. Medical marijuana dispensaries in legal states have enough understanding of the various strains to offer advice on what’s needed for many specific ailments.

But the potency of high THC cannabis oil became a priority among cancer patients. It can be ingested in small amounts at first then increased gradually as one becomes accustomed to functioning with the “high.”

The process of producing cannabis oil involves heat, which decarboxylates [6] the raw plant THC-A into the more psychoactive THC. This also converts CBDA into more medicinally active CBD.

The oil can be mixed into or used to make cannabis butter (cannabutter) for toast or muffins. Sometimes cannabis oil is placed in capsules. Some have avoided any displeasure or confusion from the THC high by inserting the oil rectally with the syringe or from suppositories made with the oil.

Cannabis effects from ingested edibles of all types take longer to create an effect and linger longer than the cannabinoids inhaled by smoking or vaporizing.

Dr. William Courtney of Mendocino has used raw non-decarboxylated whole hemp plant juicing to successfully treat some patients who have been on pharmaceutical medications and getting worse from side effects to the point of healing without using any prescribed drugs.

He advocates drinking raw cannabis juice from the whole plant to improve health and prevent diseases without the high. Currently, limitations on home growing cannabis plants amounts in states that allow its use make this approach untenable for most.

Despite those logistical legal limitations, this video from Dr. Courtney is extremely educational and heartwarming.

For the rest of us, there is a Dutch industrial hemp juice product called Sana Hemp Juice, which is freeze dried and can be shipped to you. Remember, industrial hemp products, such as hemp seeds from Canada, are legally sold to customers in the USA.

But Dr. Courtney’s juice from whole plants containing all the cannabinoids including THCA, which is not psychoactive, is a more therapeutic juice.

Below is a chart that will give you some idea of different strains’ known effectiveness with different ailments, with this one caveat: The chart makes the mistake of listing THCA as anti-cancer but not THC.

Decarboxylating THCA with sufficient heat creates THC, which is a proven anti-cancer compound present in cannabis oils produced with heat as well as “vaping.”

Health-Effects-of-Marijuana-Reduced [7]

An even more thorough list that must be accessed directly, as each condition hyperlinks to more detailed information, can be found here [8].

Dosing Protocols

Micro-dosing has become the latest movement among medical marijuana users. That is, using just enough to create the medicinal effects needed with standard THC-CBD percentages. Micro-dosing is not recommended for cancer.

And now there is FEMCO, an acronym for full extract medical cannabis oil with an exaggerated top heavy portion of 80% or more activated THC. This treatment modality is short and intense using only small amounts daily.

Intense is the key word with this more expensive protocol that has demonstrated rapid remissions with late stage cancer patients.

There have even been promising animal studies of cannabis CBD for reversing Alzheimer’s and cannabis THC for alleviating Parkinson’s disease. (Source) [9]

For the most part, one is mostly left to determining one’s own level of dosing individually.

“Cannabis has many variables that do not fit well with the typical medical model for drug prescribing. If the plant is used, the variations are extreme.”

The toxicity levels of cannabis are low enough, virtually nonexistent, to allow patient determined self-titrating (determining the right amounts and mixes for a proper effects). (Source) [10]

Anecdotal Success Stories with Medical Cannabis

Approaching 80, retired California dentist Stan Rutner was put into hospice care with pneumonia and terminal lung cancer that had metastasized into his brain until his daughter and future son-in-law got him onto a cannabis treatment. He made a complete recovery.

After having several operations and becoming bedridden, “waiting to die” from prescribed medications, Shona Banda used cannabis oil to reverse her Crohn’s disease and returned to normal health without pharmaceuticals.

Unfortunately, like so many other parents using cannabis for medicinal purposes, CPS came and took her child away from her. See:

Mother Files Federal Lawsuit Against State of Kansas for Kidnapping Her Son [11]

Debbie Wilson, who had suffered extensive neurological and brain damage from a freak accident was suffering from convulsions and the side effects of multiple prescription medications for 25 years until she was introduced to cannabis and realized cannabis restrictions were products of man’s laws, not God’s law.

If you live in a state or Canadian province that has legalized cannabis for medical use or you’re considering moving to one, you may need this list of doctors and clinics that are supportive of medical cannabis. Here is one that needs to be accessed directly. [12]

holistic-cannabis-summit-info [13]

Sources:

https://www.alchimiaweb.com/blogen/dr-courtneys-raw-cannabis-juice/ [14]

http://www.druglibrary.net/schaffer/Library/studies/vlr/vlr4.htm [15]

https://www.coloradopotguide.com/media/1584/effects-of-cananbinoids-chart.pdf [16]

http://cannabisplus.net/cannabis-research-pdf/Dosage/Abram%20%20Medicinal%20Cannabis%20Rational%20Guidelines%20for%20Dosing%20.pdf [10]

http://www.hightimes.com/read/talking-terpenes [17]

http://www.medicaljane.com/2014/05/14/thc-cbd-and-more-the-entourage-effect-of-whole-plant-cannabis-medicine/ [3]