Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cannabis talk here will lighten up sooner or later

The Rockford Register Star used Cannabis talk here will lighten up sooner or later as the headline for an article to discuss a 4:20 gathering at Whiskey's Roadhouse that I attended. The article discusses the pessimism at the gathering while "everyone" else and especially Colorado is celebrating. I met the reporter at the gathering and discussed with her my interest in endocannabinoids.

Here is an e-mail (slightly amended) I sent her on the article with links added for Rockford For Safe Access.


1. Sick people are dying from lack of medicine - look up - endocannabinoid cancer
2. People are still going to jail for pot crimes - right here in Rockford
3. Medical marijuana is not legal in Illinois - so far only one chamber has passed the bill
4. The number of conditions allowed in the Illinois bill compared to what pot can treat is ridiculous. - The endocannabinoid system is a major regulator in the body implicated in almost all diseases including cancer.
5. There is still a fight on with a certain segment of the population that LOVES persecuting hippies and that segment may be small - but they are in charge. ALL pot users are hippies according to them.
6. How would you like being a Jew in Germany in July of 1944?

There is not much to celebrate here in Illinois. In addition the community here in Rockford - those that come out publicly - are mainly in need of medicine.

You did get that the majority of people at the meeting were very well educated in the science. Excellent. But you presented very little of the science.

If you want to do us some good write about the endocannabinoid system in the body. Write up the NIH (National Institute of health) endocannabinoid cites. Tell people about the Rockford for Safe Access blog. Get your health columnist involved and start educating. Go to any hospital in Rockford and corner a doctor and ask that doctor about the endocannabinoid system.

We are no where near the end of Prohibition. We are not even near the beginning of the end. We may be at the end of the beginning - with a whole host of casualties yet to come. And anyone at that meeting may yet be a casualty. A certain grimness at the meeting? To be sure. There is a LOT of grimness yet to come. The war on Jews (dopers in the common parlance) is not yet over. My Rabbi put it very well - he understands that what he is doing opens him to the power of the law. The Federals are arresting dispensary operators.

You did get lots of column inches. And a heads up (heh) at the top of the front page. Nice. But nothing on the www [the article is now up on the www - link above --> Rockford Register Star]. So what ever good you did with what you wrote is a one day thing. And even that was limited since you made no mention of monthly meetings. I hope to see you at Whiskey's on the second Saturday of the month - 10AM to noon. Saturday 11 May is the next one.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Discovery of the Endocannabinoid System

I just came across a paper which discusses The Discovery of the Endocannabinoid System. From the opening:
Up until the late 1980s, Cannabis research remained a rather esoteric field involving a small number of scientists in the United States and abroad. Their efforts were circumscribed by the politicized agenda of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, which subsidized studies designed to prove the deleterious effects of cannabis while blocking inquiry into its potential benefits.

Rather than discrediting cannabis, NIDA inadvertently facilitated a series of major discoveries about the workings of the human brain. These breakthroughs —among the most exciting developments in brain chemistry of our time— spawned a revolution in medical science and a profound understanding of health and healing.

“By using a plant that has been around for thousands of years, we discovered a new physiological system of immense importance,” says Raphael Mechoulam, the dean of the transnational cannabinoid research community. “We wouldn’t have been able to get there if we had not looked at the plant.”

In the two decades following the identification and synthesis of THC by Mechoulam and his colleague Y. Gaoni in Israel in 1964, scientists learned a great deal about the pharmacology, biochemistry and clinical effects of cannabis. But no one really knew how it worked — what it actually did inside the brain on a molecular level to alter consciousness, stimulate appetite, dampen nausea, quell seizures, and relieve pain. No one understood how smoked marijuana could stop an asthma attack in seconds, not minutes. No one knew why it lifted one’s mood.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Connection

This is a piece I wrote in 2006. The links are still good and the "news" could be very helpful to those who need it.


I wrote an article about a year ago on how marijuana helps those suffering from diabetes and more recently how it helps those suffering from multiple sclerosis. It turns out there is a connection.
In a discovery that has stunned even those behind it, scientists at a Toronto hospital say they have proof the body's nervous system helps trigger diabetes, opening the door to a potential near-cure of the disease that affects millions of Canadians.

Diabetic mice became healthy virtually overnight after researchers injected a substance to counteract the effect of malfunctioning pain neurons in the pancreas.
Which is amazing. Now what is the connection to MS?
Dr. Dosch had concluded in a 1999 paper that there were surprising similarities between diabetes and multiple sclerosis, a central nervous system disease. His interest was also piqued by the presence around the insulin-producing islets of an "enormous" number of nerves, pain neurons primarily used to signal the brain that tissue has been damaged.

Suspecting a link between the nerves and diabetes, he and Dr. Salter used an old experimental trick -- injecting capsaicin, the active ingredient in hot chili peppers, to kill the pancreatic sensory nerves in mice that had an equivalent of Type 1 diabetes.

"Then we had the biggest shock of our lives," Dr. Dosch said. Almost immediately, the islets began producing insulin normally "It was a shock ? really out of left field, because nothing in the literature was saying anything about this."

It turns out the nerves secrete neuropeptides that are instrumental in the proper functioning of the islets. Further study by the team, which also involved the University of Calgary and the Jackson Laboratory in Maine, found that the nerves in diabetic mice were releasing too little of the neuropeptides, resulting in a "vicious cycle" of stress on the islets.
So the doctor noted a similarity. Which may explain why both MS sufferers and people with Type 1 diabetes report that marijuana helps.
They also discovered that their treatments curbed the insulin resistance that is the hallmark of Type 2 diabetes, and that insulin resistance is a major factor in Type 1 diabetes, suggesting the two illnesses are quite similar.

While pain scientists have been receptive to the research, immunologists have voiced skepticism at the idea of the nervous system playing such a major role in the disease. Editors of Cell put the Toronto researchers through vigorous review to prove the validity of their conclusions, though an editorial in the publication gives a positive review of the work.

"It will no doubt cause a great deal of consternation," said Dr. Salter about his paper.

The researchers are now setting out to confirm that the connection between sensory nerves and diabetes holds true in humans. If it does, they will see if their treatments have the same effects on people as they did on mice.
This is great news for the very near future if the research pans out. In the mean time for those of you waiting for new treatments to come on the market, I'll give you some adivice I was given a long time ago in the military while we were taking a break, "Smoke 'em if you got 'em." It just might help.

Amy at Diabetes Mine has more. Especially read the comments.

H/T Kesher Talk

Update: 21 Dec'06 0327z

More details on the research.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Medical Dictionary

I'm going to be posting to this link various medical terms in alphabetical order. There are a LOT of them in what I have been posting. If I miss one give me a heads up.

Autophagy - Autophagy (or autophagocytosis) is the basic catabolic mechanism that involves cell degradation of unnecessary or dysfunctional cellular components

Catabolic - The metabolic breakdown of complex molecules into simpler ones, often resulting in a release of energy.

Dyslipidemia is an abnormal amount of lipids (e.g. cholesterol and/or fat) in the blood. In developed countries, most dyslipidemias are hyperlipidemias; that is, an elevation of lipids in the blood. This is often due to diet and lifestyle. Prolonged elevation of insulin levels can also lead to dyslipidemia.

Glioblastoma multiforme - the most common and most aggressive malignant primary brain tumor in humans

Hyperphagia - Abnormally increased appetite for and consumption of food

Hypophagia is reduced food intake.

Ischemia - a restriction in blood supply to tissues

Lipid - Lipids constitute a group of naturally occurring molecules that include fats, waxes, sterols, fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamins A, D, E, and K), monoglycerides, diglycerides, triglycerides, phospholipids, and others. The main biological functions of lipids include energy storage, signaling, and acting as structural components of cell membranes.[4][5]

Murine - relating to mice

Nociceptive - causing or reacting to pain

Reperfusion - Reperfusion injury is the tissue damage caused when blood supply returns to the tissue after a period of ischemia or lack of oxygen.

CBDs and Breast Cancer

Sean McAllister, PhD said: "CBD could spell the end of breast cancer".
delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a mixed CB1 and CB2 receptor agonist, is the primary active constituent of Cannabis sativa and is currently being used in a clinical trial for the treatment of aggressive recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Cannabinoids are also being used in clinical trials for purposes unrelated to their direct anticancer activity. The compounds have been reported to be well tolerated during chronic oral and systemic administration. In addition to delta9-THC, cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN) and cannabigerol (CBG) are also present in reasonable quantities in Cannabis. CBN has low affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors, whereas the non-psychotropic cannabinoids, CBD and CBG, have negligible affinity for the cloned receptors. We have determined that these additional cannabinoids are also effective and inhibiting aggressive cancers. Importantly, we have discovered in vitro that a synergistic increase in the antiproliferative and apoptotic activity of cannabinoids can be produced by combining specific ratios of CB1 and CB2 receptors agonists with non-psychotropic cannabinoids.

We are currently determining the molecular mechanism that may explain the synergistic increase in anticancer activity that is observed with the combination treatments. We are also studying whether this combination strategy will lead to greater antitumor activity in vivo.

In addition to the combination therapy project, we are working in collaboration with Dr. Pierre Desprez to develop novel inhibitors of Id-1 using cannabinoid compounds. Id-1 is a helix-loop-helix protein that acts as an inhibitor of basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors that control cell differentiation, development and carcinogenesis. Past research of Id-1 expression in normal and cancerous breast cells, as well as in mouse mammary glands and in human breast cancer biopsies, demonstrated that increased Id-1 expression was associated with a proliferative and invasive phenotype. Specifically, it was found that Id-1 was constitutively expressed at a high level in aggressive breast cancer cells and human biopsies, and that aggressiveness was reverted in vitro and in vivo when Id-1 expression was targeted using antisense technology. Importantly, we have recently discovered that CBD, a nontoxic cannabinoid that lacks psychoactivity, can inhibit Id-1 gene expression in metastatic breast cancer cells and consequently their aggressive phenotype. The down-regulation of expression was the result of the inhibition of the endogenous Id-1 promoter and corresponding mRNA and protein levels. CBD and compounds based off of its structure can therefore potentially be used as therapeutic agents. CBD also inhibits breast cancer metastasis in vivo.

H/T High on Health: CBD in the Food Supply

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Pain In The Brain

I just learned something new today about pain (April 2007). What I learned is that Arthritis pain is processed in the brain's 'fear center'.
Researchers at The University of Manchester have discovered that arthritis pain, unlike that induced as part of an experiment, is processed in the parts of the brain concerned with emotions and fear.
So repeated pain trains you. It causes your experience of pain to be more painful. Which is a good thing since it will tend to reduce the stress on the areas in pain. The more it hurts the less you use it.
"We thought that arthritic and acute experimental pain would be processed within the same areas of the pain matrix," Dr Kulkarni continued. "But, although both activated both the medial and lateral pain systems, arthritic pain prompted increased activity in the cingulate cortex, thalamus and amygdala within the medial system - the areas concerned with processing fear, emotions and aversive conditioning.

"This suggests that arthritic pain has more emotional salience than experimental pain for these patients, which is consistent with the unpleasantness scores they themselves gave. The increased activity in the areas associated with aversive conditioning, reward and fear, which are less commonly activated during experimental pain, suggests they might be processing fear of further injury and disability associated with the arthritic pain."
This is very important because I think fear, if it reaches a high enough level, is experienced as pain. On top of that it is likely that extreme fear memories can be experienced as pain as well.

Which points out something another study looks at. Fear memories are at the heart of PTSD as I discussed in PTSD and the Endocannabinoid System. One of the keys tying this all together is this study: Fear memories, the amygdala, and the CB1 receptor. It turns out that cannabinoids are a part of this signaling mechanism and that the strength of the signal is in part genetically determined.

All this corroborates what I have been saying for years. The idea that "drugs cause addiction" is superstition. People in chronic pain chronically take drugs for pain relief. It doesn't matter if the pain is from a broken bone or rape memories. The same drugs work to provide relief.

The drug war is a persecution of people in pain.


I was searching the www for material to back up
Medical Marijuana prohibition is a crime against humanity and a violation of the religious precept - heal the sick.
and came across this.
Changes in endocannabinoid levels and/or CB2 receptor expressions have been reported in almost all diseases affecting humans,[34] ranging from cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, liver, kidney, neurodegenerative, psychiatric, bone, skin, autoimmune, lung disorders to pain and cancer. The prevalence of this trend suggests that modulating CB2 receptor activity by either selective CB2 receptor agonists or inverse agonists/antagonists depending on the disease and its progression holds unique therapeutic potential for these pathologies [34]
A crime against humanity might be too mild.

I spend some time every day at The Weed Blog and usually pass by their reviews of different strains of pot. I thought their differentiating the different stains by the diseases they were good for was nuts. Pot is pot. After reading the above article in its entirety I have changed my mind. Adjusting the cannabinoid ratios to fit the disease fits in well with what we know about the CB1 system and CB2 system in the body.

I have a few 5 or 6 minute videos up on the subject: CBD Science - HPLC Analysis which explains how the various cannabinoids work for those who need to rebalance them in their bodies. It discusses how different marijuana strains work to deal with different imbalances.

Endocannabinoids And Inflamed Wound Pain

Before you can understand the abstract you must know that "nociceptive" means pain.
... platelet by-products containing factors physiologically involved in wound healing, have been successfully used in the form of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) for the topical therapy of various clinical conditions since it produces an improvement in tissue repair as well as analgesic effects. Measurement of endocannabinoids and related compounds in PRP showed a significant amount of anandamide, 2-arachidonoylglycerol, palmitoylethanolamide and oleoylethanolamide. Investigation of the activity of PRP on the keratinocyte cell line NCTC2544 in physiological and inflammatory conditions showed that, under inflammatory conditions, PRP induced in a statistically significant manner the production of these compounds by the cells suggesting that PRP might induce the production of these analgesic mediators particularly in the physiologically inflamed wounded tissue. Studies in a mouse model of acute inflammatory pain induced by formalin injection demonstrated a potent anti-nociceptive effect against both early and late nocifensive responses. This effect was observed following intra-paw injection of: 1) total PRP; 2) lipids extracted from PRP; 3) an endocannabinoid-enriched lipid fraction of PRP. In all conditions, antagonists of endocannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors, if injected in the paw, abrogated the anti-nociceptive effects strongly suggesting for this preparation a peripheral mechanism of action. In conclusion, we showed that PRP and PRP lipid extract exert a potent anti-nociceptive activity linked, at least in part, to their endocannabinoids and related compounds content, and to their capability of elevating the levels of these lipid mediators in cells.
Translation: endocannabinoids (and by extension cannabinoids) that shut down CB1 and CB2 receptors (antagonists) relieve pain caused by wound inflammation.

Endocannabinoids And Cancer

Some new research on cannabis and cancer.
The endocannabinoid system, comprising lipid-derived endocannabinoids, their G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), and the enzymes for their metabolism, is emerging as a promising therapeutic target in cancer.
Which more or less confirms what we already know from anecdote.

Medical Marijuana Coming To Illinois - The Major Papers Chime In

The Chicago Sun Times has an editorial about Medical Cannabis.
After years of near-misses, medical marijuana finally may be coming to Illinois.

It is about time. Past time.

Advocates have tried to legalize medical marijuana here for years. They’ve finally constructed a bill that is sufficiently strict enough — the strictest in the nation, apparently. This leaves opponents without the wiggle room they’ve long relied on to avoid supporting a bill that would bring relief to seriously ill people.

The Chicago Tribune has an editorial about Medical Cannabis.
In 1976, the idea that marijuana could be a medicine was generally taken as laughable. Then a glaucoma patient named Robert Randall won a court ruling that he needed the drug to keep from going blind. His case started a movement that could finally make headway here.

The Journal-Standard has an editorial about Medical Cannabis.
If you have a loved one who is seriously ill you want that person to have access to any medication that can alleviate pain.

In 18 states and the District of Columbia that includes marijuana. Illinois could join those states if House Bill 1, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, finally is approved.

We think it’s long past time for Illinois to legalize medical marijuana.

Illinois lawmakers have discussed and voted on medical cannabis legislation for years, but a bill never has passed both chambers of the General Assembly. After every failure, lawmakers have increased the number of restrictions in the bill.

And our local Rockford Register Star? So far missing in action. Although I did get interviewed by Georgette Braun at the recent NORML gathering at Whiskey's Roadhouse on 20 April. We shall see.

H/T The Weed Blog.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Enocannabinoids, Omega 3s, And Crime

A few days ago I ran into an interesting paper on omega 3 fatty acids, endocannabinoids and crime. I had been meaning to blog it and so here it is.
Recent findings suggest that some criminal and aggressive behaviors are closely correlated with low serum omega-3 levels, which are linked to lower levels of altruism, honesty, and self-discipline. (13) These effects may be related to alterations in serotonin turnover, which controls impulsivity and aggression-hostility behaviors. (13)

There's solid data indicating that optimal omega-3 intake at all ages is a promising avenue for subduing aggression and hostility. (20), (21) For example, 1.5 grams of omega-3 supplementation (containing 840 mg EPA and 700 mg of DHA) in autistic children with severe tantrums, aggression, or self-injurious behavior produced significant improvements compared with placebo, without adverse effects. (22) And stressed but otherwise healthy volunteers given 1,500 mg/day of DHA reported a significantly improved rate of stress reduction compared to a no-treatment group, suggesting an adaptogenic role for omega-3s (adaptogens help the body respond to imposed stress in a variety of ways). (23)
Very interesting but what does this have to do with endocannabinoids? The body needs Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids in oder to synthesize the body's own cannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids are synthesized from essential fatty acids – specifically from the Omega-6 fatty acid -aracidonic acid (AA). Since essential fatty acids cannot be synthesized in our bodies, we need AA in our diet to synthesize the eCB anandamide. Dietary supplementation with AA increases levels of anandamide and another eCB, 2-acyl-glycerol (2-AG)...
And that is not all.
Approximately 8% of the brain's weight is comprised of omega-3 fatty acids (3)--the building block for an estimated 100 billion neurons. (4) Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) play a host of vital roles in neuronal structure and function, protecting them from oxidative damage, inflammation, and the cumulative destruction inflicted by other chronic insults. (5), (6)

Embedded in the omega-3-rich neuronal membrane are numerous proteins and complex molecules required for electrochemical transmission and signal reception. (4) Scientists have recently shown that the precise balance of fatty acids in brain cells helps determine whether a given nerve cell will be protected against injury or inflammation, or whether it will instead succumb to the injury. (7)

Omega-3s accumulate in the human brain during fetal development. The amount of the omega-3 DHA has been closely tied to intelligence and cognitive performance in infancy and childhood. (8) But the omega-3 content of brain cell membranes involved in essential memory-processing areas diminishes with advancing age and in certain chronic brain disorders. (9)

These findings have led scientists to suspect a role for omega-3 deterioration in development of typical age-related cognitive decline such as that seen in Alzheimer's and chronic disease. (10)
So could our diets be implicated in our dis ease?
Over the course of human evolution there has been a dramatic change in the ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fats consumed in the diet. This change, perhaps more than any other dietary factor, has contributed to the epidemic of modern disease.

Throughout 4-5 million years of hominid evolution, diets were abundant in seafood and other sources of omega-3 long chain fatty acids (EPA & DHA), but relatively low in omega-6 seed oils.

Anthropological research suggests that our hunter-gatherer ancestors consumed omega-6 and omega-3 fats in a ratio of roughly 1:1. It also indicates that both ancient and modern hunter-gatherers were free of the modern inflammatory diseases, like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, that are the primary causes of death and morbidity today.

At the onset of the industrial revolution (about 140 years ago), there was a marked shift in the ratio of n-6 to n-3 fatty acids in the diet. Consumption of n-6 fats increased at the expense of n-3 fats. This change was due to both the advent of the modern vegetable oil industry and the increased use of cereal grains as feed for domestic livestock (which in turn altered the fatty acid profile of meat that humans consumed).
Which leads me to ask - is the consumption of cannabis (other than for medical use) caused by poor diets?

So what is a good way to balance the omega 3s vs the omega 6s? Hemp oil.
A noteworthy feature of hemp seed oil is the ratio between the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids it contains. Most experts agree, reports Elson Haas, M.D., in his book "Staying Healthy with Nutrition," that the best ratio of dietary omega-6 to omega-3 ranges from 2:1 to 4:1. In hemp seed oil, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is about 3:1, or maybe slightly less, depending on the plant variety, notes Leson. This favorable ratio helps to compensate, at least partially, for the general overconsumption of omega-6 fatty acids in the typical American diet.
Here is a look at the American diet today with respect to omega 3s and 6s.
...before trans fats and processed foods were added to our diets, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats was about 4:1—a ratio associated with a 70% decrease in total mortality rate in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.1

Today, one study found that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats consumed was closer to 16:1.1 Other researchers say that the typical American diet contains 11-30 times more omega-6 than omega-3 fats.2 And in a study of asthmatic patients, a 10:1 ratio was associated with adverse consequences.1

So it’s clear that, to stay healthy, we need to balance our consumption of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. One expert suggests a 1:1 ratio—and never more than 2:1.(3)
What I find interesting is that we may have a generation or three dependent on cannabis due to dietary deficiencies. And those deficiencies may not be reversible. The only thing to do about it - other than changing the laws to stop arresting people - is to pay better attention to child nutrition starting with prenatal care. It is no good just seeing that mothers have enough to eat. We have to make sure (as best as we can without a police state) that they are eating the right stuff.

Here is another good resource on the subject which translates some of the medical talk into more easily understood words.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Medical Marijuana Is Coming To Illinois

The Illinois Medical Marijuana House Bill HB1 has passed. The Illinois Senate needs a companion bill.
Passage of HB1 by the House comes only a day after nearly 250 Illinois physicians pledged their support for legalizing medical marijuana in the state. Three physicians held a press conference Tuesday, calling on policymakers to push through legislation. Further indication that state officials are simply catching up with medical science and popular will was found in a Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll released in February, showing that more than 63 percent of Illinois voters support the legalization of medical marijuana.
The vote was 61 to 57. The Reps. have been juggling for weeks in order to get enough votes for passage.

The Illinois Senate needs to pass a bill. It did pass a bill in 2009 but the House side failed to pass one.

Contract your State Senator and ask that person to support a medical marijuana bill. Here is an interactive map of State Senator districts. After you find your district you can find a list of State Senators with their district here.

You can read the bill at House Bill One.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

FDA To Study Cannabis For PTSD

The video is not directly applicable to the subject at hand. It does feature one of the premier researchers in the field, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, who's work I discussed in a 2006 article PTSD and the Endocannabinoid System.

So what about the FDA?
PTSD is an extremely difficult medical condition to treat, and it currently effects around 7.8 percent of Americans. It is caused by exposure to dangerous and highly stressful situations, which can result in lasting symptoms that include disturbing flashbacks, distressful emotions, panic attacks, and nightmares.

On April 28th the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted MAPS' protocol design for their study of cannabis as a treatment for symptoms of PTSD in war veterans. This approval from the FDA represents another important step forward in PTSD research, although there is still a major hurdle to overcome before the research can actually begin. The FDA stated that MAPS’ current protocol successfully addresses all of their concerns, as long as the researchers can obtain cannabis for the study.
There is one slight problem. They have to get the marijuana from the government. And the government doesn't like to give pot to researchers who might undermine the drug war. There is a lot of money and a lot of jobs riding on the continuation of the drug war.

There is an interesting statistic in the above article excerpt. The statistic? About 7.8% of all Americans have PTSD. What is 7.8% of 310 million? About 24 million. That is right in line with government estimates that there are 30 million regular pot users in America. As I have been saying for years. The drug war is how we in America punish the traumatized. Like war veterans.
But the pot-versus-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder study is not happening yet.

According to California-based MAPS, the notoriously finicky National Institute on Drug Abuse -- apparently the only place to get legal weed for a federally approved study -- has to agree to sell some pot to researchers.

Sounds to us like MAPS isn't optimistic. It calls NIDA "a very different agency with explicitly political motivations and a monopoly on marijuana for research."

The study would ponder whether cannabis "can help reduce PTSD symptoms in fifty veterans with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)."
There is anecdotal evidence from Omaha in the efficacy of pot for PTSD.
The focus, they say, is marijuana's medical abilities and why anyone who's sick should be free to use it.

"I don't need to medicate with pharmaceutical drugs that make me feel nauseous or sick. It alleviates all of my symptoms of PTSD," says Diana Wulf.
I guess I should explain how we got tens of millions of pot users when we only have a few million veterans of combat. Child abuse.

That is not the only drug used to treat PTSD according to Oprah Magazine MDMA more commonly known by its street name Ecstasy can also be useful.
On a February day in 2005, Sarah is reclining on a futon beneath a skylight, with Michael and Ann Mithoefer seated on either side of her. A half-hour earlier, Sarah swallowed a yellow capsule containing 125 milligrams of MDMA, and relaxing instrumental music plays softly as she waits, eyes closed, for the drug to take hold. The first signs are ripples of nausea—she thinks she might throw up, yet she also senses her body relaxing. The usual ringing in her ears vanishes. "That constant hyperawareness of my environment—it was receding," she says now.

At this point, she heard "the grinding of a pen." The sound of the nib bearing down on the page was magnified, "like it was hurting the paper, beating and pounding on it," Sarah recalls. In the alternate reality of MDMA, she says, "I thought Michael was drawing circles around me, making fun of me, laughing at me. I felt the anger rising in my body. I opened my eyes and—he was just sitting there, taking notes."

It was an epiphany. "That's the moment when I discovered that my perception and reality were not always the same," Sarah recalls. She'd assumed that her caretaker was jeering at her, that she was an object of scorn and derision—a painful conditioned response imprinted by an abusive childhood. Sarah always had an intellectual grasp of how her early years had shaped her, "but this was physiological," she recalls. "That's when I knew I had to repair the connections, the chemicals that had gotten all screwed up when I was a kid."
So what about all the horror stories we hear about long term MDMA use? Bunk according to a study funded by one agency of our very own government.
New research suggests that the drug Ecstasy -- used on its own -- does not have residual effects on brain performance, according to a study published this week in the journal Addiction.

The Santa Cruz-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
[MAPS -ed] contributed $15,000 for an initial 2004 study on Ecstasy use. That work led to a $1.8 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse that was spearheaded by John Halpern of Harvard Medical School.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies has been conducting research on potential use of Ecstasy to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, and researchers said the new study likely would prompt more research and understanding of the drug.
So will we ever treat drugs rationally? Not as long as there is so much money in it. There are tens of billions maybe hundreds of billions to be made from exploiting the traumatized. Best yet we have convinced most of them and the vast majority of Americans that it is their own fault. Drugs are bad don't you know? Well I don't know it. What i know is that some people chronically take pain relievers for chronic pain. A pain in the brain so there are rarely any wounds to validate the pain. So we don't have armies of traumatized people in America. We have dirty drug fiends who deserve what ever punishments that can be meted out to them.

Here is one doctors take on all that.
No recruit ever considered that basic training would be easy, and in a time of war, they quickly discover that combat is a far cry from Hollywood’s portrayal. Reality is what it is. Dr. Phil Leveque knows this to be true. He served in the US Army and lived through World War II- and bears the scars within to this day.

“We were psychologically and physically stretched beyond normal limits and many recruits died. A bunch more were permanently psychologically damaged and the end result was PTSD even during training.”

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder which can occur after witnessing or experiencing even one traumatic event, especially when it involves injury or death, or the threat thereof, so being in a war takes that trauma to new levels. It is important to note that PTSD can be, and usually is, a long term/lifetime problem.

A recent report estimated that up to 40% of the Middle East veterans would be victims of combination of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Maybe more.

As a regular general practice physician and later as a marijuana doctor, Dr. Leveque saw the devastating results of the effects on veterans for generations.

Frequently, during the post-trauma time, with no better idea at hand, Dr. Leveque says that many PTSD patients discover that alcohol “drowns ones sorrows”.

Also during this post-trauma time, some caregiver will say to himself,”let’s treat this patient’s PTSD” and here come a mélange of medications. The various and numerous treatments leave very much to be desired; in fact their treatments have far more failures than successes.

“Those same pseudo-doctors and paper-pushers decry the use of marijuana,” says Dr. Leveque. “The veterans use it preferentially, to the zombifying and/or addicting drugs prescribed wholesale by those ’caregivers’, who then blame the victim for using a medication which works: Marijuana.” Dr. Leveque was convinced that there was a better way. And in the state of Oregon, it was so.

“I was asked by a healthcare professional at the Portland VA Hospital if I would help PTSD Veteran Victims to get permits to use legalized medical marijuana. I already had some Veteran patients from WWII, Korea and Vietnam, so I obliged.

“Within two weeks I had more than 50 Nam Vets requesting my help. As part of their medical history I asked what previous medicines they had been given or prescribed.

“There were two main types: strong pain killers (like Oxycontin, Morphine and every related pain killer), and anti-depressants.

“I was flabbergasted to read the anti-depressant list of many patients; Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro, on through the whole list of about 12; but nothing shocked me like the dangers they admit to! The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) says they can cause very bad adverse side effects including anxiety, depression, addiction, severe withdrawal, homicidal rage and suicide.”

It makes one wonder why they should be given to a psychologically fragile PTSD patient.
I wrote an article on why the pharmaceutical companies might be anti-pot back in 2002 in my article Addiction or Self Medication? In it I said:
It turns out that anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the United States. They are worth $46 billion a year to the pharmaceutical industry. You don't suppose this fact has any thing to do with the pharmaceutical industries being in the forefront of the Drug Free America campaign do you? Of course not. They are just trying to keep you from being addicted to natural products at the cost of 1/10th of a cent per dose when they are more than willing to sell you an FDA and doctor approved, pharmacy sold product that will do the job for a dollar a dose. They have only your best interests at heart. Just ask their accountants.
I have been looking around and what do you know? The above video might be relevant after all according to this article on the forthcoming MAPS study.
The study also calls for veterans to smoke weed with differing levels of active cannabinoids THC and CBD to determine if one, the other, or a balance of both proves more effective. Veterans will also either smoke or vaporize the plant to better test effects from different administrations of the drug.

Doblin said he was surprised that the FDA approved the study. He did not think the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) had the appropriate CBD-rich pot for the study, and that would force the FDA to reject it. NIDA controls the one federally legal pot farm in the nation, which is based in Mississippi and provides government-grown pot to a handful of federal patients, as well as researchers approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

But if history is any guide, NIDA will ultimately block the FDA-approved study from ever happening, said Doblin. NIDA must approve all research on pot, and their political goal is to ensure it never becomes legal, he said. NIDA states on its web site that it believes smoked marijuana is not a medicine, despite more than three thousand years of recorded medicinal use.
We have a government that is actively working against the American people and for the cartels - legal and illegal. So what else is new?

What can be done about all this? Gary Johnson for President. And guess what? Willie Nelson endorses Johnson. I think that speaks for itself. But how about a few words from the article?
Ron Paul has classified marijuana as a states' rights issue; Johnson, on the other hand, calls for outright legalization
I like Ron Paul on quite a few issues but he is so last century. A man once ahead of his time who is now falling behind the times. Good. Because I'm tired of a drug war that finances criminals at home and terrorists abroad. Not to mention punishing the traumatized.

Cannabinoid System in Neuroprotection

Professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Dr. Mechoulam gives a brief history of Medical Cannabis, then describes the role of Cannabinoids as anti-inflammatory for arthritis, as neuroprotectant for brain injury and as a possible treatment for PTSD. Dr. Mechoulam first isolated THC in 1964.

Marijuana IS Medicine

I recently posted some videos about marijuana as medicine. I got some criticism saying that the usefulness of marijuana for so many conditions was unbelievable. I will do some more posting including some articles that I haven't yet cross posted here. But I thought it might be worthwhile to do a links mostly post to familiarize people unaware of the vast literature currently available on the subject. First some educational links that explain why cannabis is useful in the treatment of so many conditions.

Cannabinoids "The current understanding recognizes the role that endocannabinoids play in almost every major life function in the human body."

Endocannabinoid system


Cannabinoid receptor

There is enough material there to keep you busy for a few hours. Or a few years. Depending.

Cannabis, Diabetes, and Multiple Sclerosis

The War On Cancer Patients

Conditions treatable by cannabis with links to the medical literature.

Marijuana for Chronic Pain

DEA Judge Rules On Medical Marijuana. The Judge says, "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."

PTSD and the Endocannabinoid System

Marijuana Reduces Some Cancer Risks says the The National Institute of Health (NIH)

Marijuana may protect against lung cancer and cure brain tumors. "In 1976 Gerald Ford forbade the US Government's sponsorship of any public research on marijuana and its effect on cancer."

Marijuana Stops Lung Cancer

Marijuana and colon cancer

That ought to keep you busy for a few more hours.

Update: NIH - Cannabinoids and Cancer

NIH - Cannabinoids and Heart Disease

I particularly liked this one: CB(2) cannabinoid receptor activation is cardioprotective in a mouse model of ischemia/reperfusion. Translation: if you are predisposed to heart disease regular cannabis use may improve your odds of living.

Patients Out Of Time
Patients Out of Time is pleased to be a contributer to Len Richmond's important new film, "What if Cannabis Cured Cancer", which features video of Raphael Mechoulam, PhD and Robert Melamede, PhD from our 2004 National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics. Patients Out Of Time - cancer
Nice video on the endocannabinoid system here FDA To Study Cannabis For PTSD. Here is the video:

Cannabis For Life Extension

I knew the narrator Peter Coyote back in the day.

Patients Out Of Time - medicalcannabis.com
Patients Out of Time is pleased to be a contributer to Len Richmond's important new film, "What If Cannabis Cured Cancer", which features video of Raphael Mechoulam, PhD and Robert Melamede, PhD from our 2004 National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics. Patients Out Of Time - cancer
Here are some text resources:

NIH - Cannabinoids and Cancer

NIH - Cannabinoids and Heart Disease

Also see Marijuana IS Medicine for more links.

That should give you some resources for further research.

Holistic Biochemistry of Cannabinoids

Not too difficult technically

CBD Science - HPLC Analysis

I used to do electronics design for and also some assembly work on HPLC equipment for Chromatronix in Berkeley, CA. About '67.

SC Laboratories.

A video about HPLC, which when I worked in the field was High Pressure Liquid Chromatography.

Another CBD video. delta9-THC - appetite enhancer. Lists a number of uses for the compound and side effects. Dr Raphael Mechoulam is the Israeli doctor who discovered delta9-THC.

Changes in endocannabinoid levels and/or CB2 receptor expressions have been reported in almost all diseases affecting humans,[34] ranging from cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, liver, kidney, neurodegenerative, psychiatric, bone, skin, autoimmune, lung disorders to pain and cancer. The prevalence of this trend suggests that modulating CB2 receptor activity by either selective CB2 receptor agonists or inverse agonists/antagonists depending on the disease and its progression holds unique therapeutic potential for these pathologies [34]
Medical Marijuana prohibition is a crime against humanity and a violation of the religious precept - heal the sick.

Pass it on.

Update: A different CBD - cannabidiol.

Also see this post CBD - Chalotte's Web.

Update: 20 Feb 2013 1741z

The electronic side of HPLC analysis.

Endocannabinoids And Cancer - NIH Publication

I came across this from the NIH this morning.
The endocannabinoid system consists of an array of endogenously produced bioactive lipids that activate cannabinoid receptors. Although the primary focus of endocannabinoid biology has been on neurological and psychiatric effects, recent work has revealed several important interactions between the endocannabinoid system and cancer. Several different types of cancer have abnormal regulation of the endocannabinoid system that contributes to cancer progression and correlates to clinical outcomes. Modulation of the endocannabinoid system by pharmacological agents in various cancer types reveals that it can mediate antiproliferative and apoptotic effects by both cannabinoid receptor-dependent and -independent pathways. Selective agonists and antagonists of the cannabinoid receptors, inhibitors of endocannabinoid hydrolysis, and cannabinoid analogs have been utilized to probe the pathways involved in the effects of the endocannabinoid system on cancer cell apoptosis, proliferation, migration, adhesion, and invasion. The antiproliferative and apoptotic effects produced by some of these pharmacological probes reveal that the endocannabinoid system is a promising new target for the development of novel chemotherapeutics to treat cancer.
Whew. Well that is going to require a translation. The short version - cannabinoids that increase or decrease activity of the cannabinoid receptors can cure cancer. They do this by preventing cancer cells from dividing, from moving around in the body (metastasis), from adhering to body tissue, and a number of other things cancer cells do in the body.

Obviously a look at chemotherapeutics is in order. Here is a video narrated by Peter Coyote (a friend in a different life over 40 years ago) posted here previously but I'm doing it again because it fits:
What if Cannabis Cures Cancer?


Cannabis Cures Cancer! Rick Simpson: Run From The Cure

Here is Rick Simpson's site Phoenix Tears.

Things have come a ways since Rick made the video in 2008. We now know that different ratios of he different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant have different effects. Some enhance receptor operation some suppress it. Thus different strains of cannabis will have varying efficacy depending on what you want to use it for. I go into that some at: CBD Science - HPLC Analysis.

This may also be helpful: Endocannabinoids - The Science. The endocannabinoid system is a major regulator in the body implicated in almost all diseases including cancer.

How To Make Cannabis Oil

Medical Marijuana prohibition is a crime against humanity and a violation of the religious precept - heal the sick.

Pass it on.

Update: Spanish study confirms cannabis oil cures cancer. Lots of text and video. Plus good comments. You can find papers by Dr. Manuel Guzman at this NIH link.

Heart Surgeon Discusses Medical Marijuana

Medical cannabis for stroke.

Dr. David Allen says: "Cannabis is an essential part of the human diet."

Medical Marijuana prohibition is a crime against humanity and a violation of the religious precept - heal the sick.

Dr. Allen on Facebook.

Endocannabinoid Receptors

About two minutes. If you want some text to go with it may I suggest: Endocannabinoids The Science. Heart surgeon Dr. David Allen considers cannabis an essential nutrient for heart health. This video is a layman's view of the subject.

An interesting fact from the video: There are more cannabinoid receptors in the body than any other receptor type.

Endocannabinoid Videos

The above video is suitable for pre-med students.

The above video is also suitable for pre-med students.

Visualization of the Endocannabinoid System was a 2011 Master’s Research Project by Leanne Chan.

Also have a look at Endocannabinoid Science which is not quite so technical.

Who In Their Right Mind?

Who in their right mind would outlaw an anti-aging drug that kills cancer and is found in mother’s milk?

Dr. Robert Melamede Associate Professor at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, discussing cannabis/marijuana.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Illinois HB1 Needs Your Support

The Illinois Medical Marijuana Bill - HB1 needs your support.

If you live in the Rockford area Chuck Jefferson is probably your representative. Contact him through the link.

If you live elsewhere in Illinois here is a list of Representatives with their districts - contact information is a click away. You can find your district with this interactive map.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Rabbi Kahn In Rockford

Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn was interviewed by WREX TV. I had the great honor of meeting him at Friday night services and at a Saturday afternoon symposium.

You can read more about the Rabbi here: Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn

and here:

DC Medical Marijuana Rabbi Comes To Rockford.

The Rabbi discussed Medical Marijuana and how as a clinic operator he might be incarcerated by the Obama administration for operating a dispensary. As happened to Aaron Sandusky who is serving a 10 year sentence under Federal law for operating a dispensary.

The Rabbi was most engaging and discussed a number of topics including Harvard Professor Lester Grinspoon and how he got involved with medical marijuana.

Visit Rockford For Safe Access which is working to make medical marijuana a reality in Illinois and specifically Rockford.

Update: 27 April 2013 1242z

NBC Washington has an article up with this quote:
But not all religious leaders approve of the rabbi's new venture. Some believe marijuana is immoral. Kahn disputes that charge.

"Morality is not part of the issue," Kahn said. "And what we're dealing with here is getting sick people medicine. We're talking about easing suffering."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Endocannabinoids - The Science

Today I'd like to do something Republicans do when confronted with a question. Look at the science. The science I'd like to look at is the science of endocannabinoids. Let's start with a definition. An endocannabinoid is a marijuana-like substance produced by the body that acts on specific receptors in the body. There are two known cannabinoid receptor systems in the body. They are the CB1 system and the CB2 system.

Since this is for a non-biochemistry trained audience (I'm an electrical engineer by trade) I'm going to make some simplifications. Those of you who are better trained please excuse my lapses unless they are egregious.

The CB1 system is mostly distributed in nerve tissue of the brain and the spine. The CB2 system is found in the immune system, the peripheral nervous system, the brain, and the digestive system. Various endocannabinoids in the body can either activate or inhibit the operation of the various systems by binding to the receptors in the system. Regulation is achieved by a balance of the chemicals involved. The systems can also evolve by increasing or decreasing the number of receptor sites in response to stimulation (bonding) or a lack of stimulation to those sites.

One of the neurotransmitters in the body that affects these systems is called anandamide which comes from a Sanskrit word which means bliss. The CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body were discovered by tracking where delta9-THC (one of the active ingredients in marijuana) traveled in the body and which receptors it was bound to. From the facts developed by that kind of study a team led by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam at the Hebrew University in Israel discovered the anandamide molecule. As discoverers they got to name it. Dr. Mechoulam is one of the pioneers in the field of cannabinoid science. Why he hasn't won a Nobel for his work is beyond me, unless it has something to do with the prejudices against cannabis. Let me quote (slightly edited for ease of text rendering) from his wiki:
Raphael Mechoulam (born 1930) is an Israeli professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. Mechoulam is best known for his work (together with Y. Gaoni) in the isolation, structure elucidation and total synthesis of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main active principle of cannabis and for the isolation and the identification of the endogenous cannabinoids anandamide from the brain and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) from peripheral organs together with his students, postdocs and collaborators.
All the above is probably enough general information to get you started if you want to delve deeper into the subject matter. Now I want to look at a more controversial aspect of all this. Marijuana. And specifically medical marijuana. As you can see from the above information, cannabinoids in the body affect a large number of systems in the body. I particularly like this quote from the CB2 wiki on the subject.
Changes in endocannabinoid levels and/or CB2 receptor expressions have been reported in almost all diseases affecting humans,[34] ranging from cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, liver, kidney, neurodegenerative, psychiatric, bone, skin, autoimmune, lung disorders to pain and cancer. The prevalence of this trend suggests that modulating CB2 receptor activity by either selective CB2 receptor agonists or inverse agonists/antagonists depending on the disease and its progression holds unique therapeutic potential for these pathologies [34]
That explains why some people claim wonder drug status for marijuana. Except things are not quite as simple as that. Marijuana is not marijuana. What do I mean by that? The anandamide analogs in cannabis are called generically CBDs. They include such chemicals as Cannabigerols (CBG), Cannabidiols (CBD), Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), Cannabinol (CBN), and a number of other compounds. Their expression in a given cannabis plant varies. Some of the cannabinoids bind to various CB system receptors and some of them prevent binding to a receptor, mimicking the function of the various endocannabinoids in the body. So marijuana is not marijuana. Since there is no regulation in the marijuana industry due to its illegality at the Federal level this has led to various novel names for the different cannabis strains. Names such as "Northern Lights" and "Charlotte's Web". "Charlotte's Web" was named for a child with severe pediatric epilepsy. The strain called "Charlotte's Web" was developed especially to treat her condition. Thus the name. You can check out this eleven minute video introduced by a doctor and her mother to learn more about how this strain was developed and used.

Well obviously we need regulation of medical marijuana. Don't we? My answer is yes. Absolutely. But surprisingly what we are getting is self regulation. And it seems to be working fairly well. Various companies are springing up to fill the analysis void. They do High Pressure Liquid Chromatography and Mass Spectroscopy on submitted marijuana samples to determine the quantities of the various CBDs in the samples. One such company is SC Laboratories in California, but there are a number of others around the country in medical marijuana states.

Obviously the subject is involved and I could go on at much greater length. But I'm not going to do that. Instead I'll leave you with what I think are a few more helpful links.

FDA To Study Cannabis For PTSD - includes a video.
What If Cannabis Cured Cancer - with an appearance by Raphael Mechoulam in the video.
CB(2) cannabinoid receptor activation is cardioprotective in a mouse model of ischemia/reperfusion. Translation: if you are predisposed to heart disease regular cannabis use may improve your odds of living.
Marijuana Stops Lung Cancer
DEA Judge Rules On Medical Marijuana. The Judge says, "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."
Conditions treatable by cannabis with links to the medical literature.

And finally to wind this all up what is my political stance on the matter?

Medical Marijuana prohibition is a crime against humanity and a violation of the religious precept - heal the sick.

Rockford For Safe Access

Rockford For Safe Access is a supporter of Americans For Safe Access.

As we get things rolling in Rockford and across Illinois we will have more news.

To get you started here is some information and links:

Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn will be giving a talk in Rockford about his experiences with medical cannabis and opening a dispensary in Washington, DC, on April 12th and 13th. Follow the link for more information.

There are more endocannabinoid receptors in the body than any other receptor type. The endocannabinoid system is a major regulator in the body implicated in almost all diseases including cancer.

Medical Marijuana prohibition is a crime against humanity and a violation of the religious precept - heal the sick.

Some time, if you are interested, do a casual perusal of "endocannabinoid NIH" on your favorite search engine. Even better go to the NIH site and enter "endocannabinoid" in the search box at the top right.

Endocannabinoids A Video

Endocannabinoids And Cancer - NIH Publication

Endocannabinoids The Science

Take Action For Illinois Medical Cannabis