Marijuana and Cannabis News

Worth Repeating: Medical Marijuana Is The Best Kept Secret
By Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ in Medical
Monday, August 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm
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Photo: Geoff Pugh/The Telegraph
Ben Whalley, middle, with Dr Gary Stephens and Dr Claire Williams of Reading University at a secret cannabis farm in the south of England in the hope of producing a new treatment for epilepsy
Welcome to Room 420, where your instructor is Mr. Ron Marczyk and your subjects are wellness, disease prevention, self actualization, and chillin'.
Worth Repeating
By Ron Marczyk, R.N.

An overwhelming amount of very promising research has been gathered supporting the use of medical cannabis for many illnesses and diseases... and the evidence is now impossible to ignore.

Examples:

"The endogenous cannabinoid system has revealed potential avenues to treat many disease states ... Medicinal indications of cannabinoid drugs including compounds that result in enhance endocannabinoid responses (EER) have expanded markedly in recent years."

"The wide range of indications covers ... chemotherapy complications, tumor growth, addiction, pain, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, inflammation, eating disorders, age-related neurodegenerative disorders, as well as epileptic seizures, traumatic brain injury, cerebral ischemia, and other excitotoxic insults."

Source: "Cannabinoid drugs and enhancement of endocannabinoid responses: strategies for a wide array of disease states," Current Molecular Medicine, September 2006

and...

"Research on the chemistry and pharmacology of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids has reached enormous proportions, with approximately 15,000 articles on Cannabis saliva L. and cannabinoids and over 2,000 articles on endocannabinoids"

Source: "Pharmacological and therapeutic secrets of plant and brain (endo) cannabinoids," Medicinal Research Reviews, March 2009

Contrary to government misinformation, cannabis is one of the best-studied medicines in history.

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Graphic: NORML
The U.S. government has known since 2003 that cannabis is a safe, nontoxic, effective medicine that apparently has the ability to treat and cure a multitude of life-threatening diseases and illnesses.

Back in 2003, seeing the future medical reality of cannabis, the U.S. government itself decided to get ahead of the wave of new research and locked up all the rights to this plant with its own patent.

However, I don't think anybody could have predicted back in 2000 how big the future wave of pro-medical cannabis studies would become, all supporting the same conclusion: Cannabis is a potent therapeutic medicine in a class of its own, and it is the future of medical research.

The biological pathway that links the endocannabinoid system with its CB 1/2 receptors and to the immune system which is positively activated by cannabis is now established medical fact.

The newest medical research in the last few years is now providing strong evidence that medical cannabis controls and helps reestablish body and mind homeostasis.

The very word dis-ease is the opposite of homeostasis.

If you are ill or with disease, I hope the following information is of benefit to you and your family. On your road to regaining your health, perhaps this gentle plant may be of service to you.

Please discuss this information with your doctor. This is how we will change the system from within.

Find your voice and advocate for your right to use a medicine proven over the past 12,000 years  -- and that has never caused a single death from its use. Educate your health team!

Marijuana -- it's not for everybody, but it's not a crime!

The Empirical Medical Cannabis Tsunami Strikes Again

Let's have a 2011 medical marijuana research update. The particular topics covered by the past few months' research include:

1. Brain homeostasis
3. Slowing neurodegenerative disease progression
4. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
5. Graft-versus-host disease
6. Bowel inflammation and pain
7. Cannabis and allergic contact dermatitis
Extra credit: Cannabis-Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and atherosclerosis

1. 'Therapeutic potential of the endocannabinoid system in the brain'

Highlights: Cannabinoids are responsible for regulating normal brain functioning by producing overall brain homeostasis, which is the main therapeutic effects of THC-CB1, cannabidiol (CBD) CB2 receptor activation.

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The THC molecule, enlarged to show detail. In reality it is much smaller than the diameter of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor through which it travels.

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CB1 cannabinoid receptor: the portal in the brain through which THC travels
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THC traveling within the CB1/2 receptors
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Graphic: Nature Reviews

​"Cannabinoids have been predominantly considered as the substances responsible for the psychoactive properties of marijuana and other derivatives of cannabis saliva."

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Cannabis ligand
​"However, these compounds are now being also considered for their therapeutic potential, since the term 'cannabinoid' includes much more compounds than those present in cannabis sativa derivatives."

"Among them, there are numerous synthetic cannabinoids obtained by modifications from plant-derived cannabinoids, but also from the compounds that behave as endogenous ligands (the docking key that fits in the CB1/2 receptor) for the different cannabinoid receptor subtypes."

"All this boom of the cannabinoid pharmacology has, therefore, an explanation in the recent discovery and characterization of the endocannabinoid signaling system, which plays a modulatory [homeostatic] role mainly in the brain but also in the periphery."

"The objective of the present article will be to review, from pharmacological and biochemical points of view, the more recent advances in the study of the endocannabinoid system and their functions in the brain, as well as their alterations in a variety of pathologies ... and the proposed therapeutic benefits of novel cannabinoid-related compounds that improve the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of classic cannabinoids."


2. 'Neuroprotective agents: cannabinoids'

Source: Clinical Immunology: the official journal of the Clinical Immunological Society, March 2011

Highlights: Multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, AIDS dementia

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Demyelization by multiple sclerosis. The tissue shows several macrophages in the area of the lesion.
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Detail of drawing from Carswell book depicting MS lesions in the brain stem and spinal cord (1838)
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A macrophage extends its "arms" (pseudopodia) to engulf two particles, possibly pathogens
Macrophages are also involved with muscle repair, growth, and regeneration -- rebuilding healthy cells in the body.

THC-CB1 and cannabidiol (CBD) CB2 receptor activation produces white blood cell homeostasis.

"Chronic inflammation and neurodegeneration are the main pathological traits of multiple sclerosis that coexist in all stages of the disease course..."

"Currently licensed medications have little efficacy to control aspects related to inflammation, and have been unable to modify pure progression."

"Experimental work has provided robust evidence of the immunomodulatory and neuroprotective properties that cannabinoids exert in animal models of multiple sclerosis."

"Through activation of the CB2 receptor, cannabinoids modulate peripheral blood lymphocytes, interfere with migration across the blood-brain barrier and control microglia/macrophage activation."

"CB1 receptors present in neural cells have a fundamental role in direct neuroprotection against several insults, mainly excitotoxicity."

"In multiple sclerosis, several reports have documented the disturbance of the endocannabinoid system. Considering the actions demonstrated experimentally, cannabinoids might be promising agents to target the main aspects of the human disease."

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Graphic: University of Washington School of Medicine
​Supporting replicated evidence from Laboratory of Brain Immunology, University of Washington School of Medicine

"Plant derived and synthetic cannabinoids reduce inflammation. Activated microglial cells express cannabinoid receptors, the molecular target for cannabinoids."

"Our working hypothesis is that uncontrolled neuroinflammatory responses, such as occurring in Alzheimer's disease, AIDS dementia and multiple sclerosis, are associated with -- or are due to -- malfunctions of the cannabinoid signaling system. The malfunction likely disables the negative feedback mechanism that normally keeps neuroinflammatory responses in check."


3. 'The endocannabinoid system and multiple sclerosis'


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​Highlights: "Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disease that is characterised by repeated inflammatory/demyelinating events within the central nervous system (CNS)."

"In addition to relapsing-remitting neurological insults, leading to loss of function, patients are often left with residual, troublesome symptoms such as spasticity and pain. These greatly diminish 'quality of life' and have prompted some patients to self-medicate with and perceive benefit from cannabis."

"Recent advances in cannabinoid biology are beginning to support these anecdotal observations, notably the demonstration that spasticity is tonically regulated by the endogenous cannabinoid system."

"Recent clinical trials may indeed suggest that cannabis has some potential to relieve pain, spasms and spasticity in MS. However, because the CB(1) cannabinoid receptor mediates both the positive and adverse effects of cannabis, therapy will invariably be associated with some unwanted, psychoactive effects."

"Stimulation of endocannabinoid activity in these areas either through increase of synthesis or inhibition of endocannabinoid degradation offers the positive therapeutic potential of the cannabinoid system while limiting adverse events by locally targeting the lesion."

"In addition, CB(1) and CB(2) cannabinoid receptor stimulation may also have anti-inflammatory and neutoprotective potential as the endocannabinoid system controls the level of neurodegeneration that occurs as a result of the inflammatory insults."

"Therefore cannabinoids may not only offer symptom control but may also slow the neurodegenerative disease progression that ultimately leads to the accumulation of disability."


4. The endocannabinoid system in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis


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Shrinkage of the motor neuron centers occurs in the brains of ALS patients.
​Highlights: "Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative condition characterized by the selective loss of motor neurons from the spinal cord, brainstem and motor cortex, there is significant evidence that several neurotoxic mechanisms including excitotoxicity, inflammation and oxidative stress, all contribute to disease pathogenesis."

"Currently the only licensed therapy available for the treatment of ALS is the anti-glutamatergic agent Riluzole, which has limited therapeutic effects extending life only by 2-5 months."

"However, there is increasing evidence that cannabinoids and manipulation of the endocannabinoid system may have therapeutic value in ALS, in addition to other neurodegenerative conditions."

"Cannabinoids exert anti-glutamergic and anti-inflammatory actions through activation of the CB(1) and CB(2) receptors, respectively."

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​Activation of CB(1) receptors may therefore inhibit glutamate.

"Release from presynaptic nerve terminals and reduce the postsynaptic calcium influx in response to glutamate receptor stimulation."

"Meanwhile, CB(2) receptors may influence inflammation, whereby receptor activation reduces microglial activation, resulting in a decrease in microglial secretion of neurotoxic mediators."

"Finally, cannabinoid agents may also exert anti-oxidant actions by a receptor-independent mechanism."

"Therefore the ability of cannabinoids to target multiple neurotoxic pathways in different cell populations may increase their therapeutic potential in the treatment of ALS."

"The CB(2) cannabinoid agonist AM-1241 prolongs survival in a transgenic mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis when initiated at symptom onset." (2007)


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President Obama meets with famed cosmologist Dr. Steven Hawking, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Dear Dr. Hawking, have you tried cannabis therapy yet?

5. "Targeting cannabinoid receptors as a novel approach in the treatment of graft-versus-host disease: Evidence from an experimental murine (mouse) model"


Highlights: People who have leukemia receive many blood transfusions in the course of their treatment. This 62-year-old man, who received a bone marrow transplant following chemotherapy for leukemia, developed chronic poikiloderma and lichenoid dermatitis thought to be consistent with chronic graft-versus-host disease.

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​"Allogenic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is widely used to treat patients with life threatening malignant and nonmalignant hematological diseases." [blood transfusions]

"However, allogenic HCT is often accompanied by severe and lethal complications from graft-versus-host disease, (GVHD), in which activated donor T cells recognize histocompatibility antigenic mismatches and cause significant toxicity in the patient."

"In the current study, we tested the hypothesis that activation of cannabinoid receptors on donor-derived T cells may prevent GVHD..."

"THC administration led to early recovery from body weight loss, reduced tissue injury in the liver and intestine, as well as complete survival. THC treatment reduced the expansion of donor-derived effector T cells and blocked the killing of host-derived immune cells."

"Impaired hematopoiesis seen during GVHD was rescued by treatment with THC. The ability of THC to reduce the clinical GVHD was reversed, at least in part, by administration of CB1 and CB2 antagonists demonstrating that THC-mediated amelioration of GVHD was cannabinoid receptor-dependent."

"Our results demonstrate for the first time that targeting cannabinoid receptors may constitute a novel treatment modality against acute GVHD."


6. "The Cannabinoid CB(2) Receptor: A Good Friend in the Gut"

Source: Journal of Gastrointestinal Motility, September 2007

"Mammalian tissues express the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor and the cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptor, the latter being involved in inflammation and pain."

"In somatic [body] nerve pathways, the analgesic effects of CB(2) agonism are well documented. Two papers published in the Journal have provided evidence that CB(2) receptor activation inhibits visceral afferent nerve activity in rodents."

"These exciting findings are discussed in the context of recent data highlighting the emerging role of CB(2) receptor as a critical target able to counteract hyper motility in pathophysiological states, gut inflammation and possibly colon cancer."

This is the first illustration of CB(2) receptor immunoreactivity in the human enteric nervous system:

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Dense CB(2) immunoreactivity was found in the luminal membrane at the ulcerative margin in active Crohn's disease (right-hand side of "a," red arrow)

Additional supporting evidence:

"Ulcerative colitis induces changes on the expression of the endocannabinoid system in the human colonic tissue" (2009) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19730730

"Differential expression of casnnabinoid receptors in the human colon: cannabinoids promote epithelial wound healing" (2005) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16083701


7. "Attenuation of Allergic Contact Dermatitis Through the Endocannabinoid System"

Source: Science, June 2007

Highlights: Cannabis treats dermatitis.

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Results demonstrated a protective role of the endocannabinoid system in contact allergy in the skin
​THC and cannabidiol (CBD) treat skin infections through CB(1) and CB(2) activation.

"Cannabinoid receptor antagonists exacerbated allergic inflammation, whereas receptor agonists attenuated inflammation."

"These results demonstrate a protective role of the endocannabinoid system in contact allergy in the skin and suggest a target for therapeutic intervention."

Read more at:

"Comparative topical anti-inflammatory activity of cannabinoids and cannabivarins" (2010) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20450962

"Cannabinoids, endocannabinoids, and related analogs in inflammation" (2009) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19199042


Extra Credit:

"Anticoagulant Effects of a Cannabis Extract in an Obese Rat Model"

Source: Phytomedicine, May 2007

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​Highlights: Heart disease and atherosclerosis.

"Blood coagulation studies were conducted to determine the possible anti-prothrombotic effects of an organic cannabis extract and the three major cannabinoids, THC, CBD and CBN."

"In an in vivo model used to determine clotting times of lean and obese rats treated with a cannabis extract, 50 percent clotting times were found to be 1.5 and two-fold greater than their respective control groups, supporting the results found in the in vitro model."

"The study thus shows that cannabis saliva and the cannabinoids, THC and CBN, display anticoagulant activity and may be useful in the treatment of diseases such as Type 2 diabetes in which a hypercoagulable state exists."

Atherosclerosis is caused by white blood cells attacking inflammation in the inner lining of the arteries.


"Cannabinoid CB(2) Receptors in Health and Disease"


"Cannabis has been used for thousands of years to affect human health."

"Dissecting the peripheral effects from the central psychotropic effects has revealed a complex interplay between cannabinoids, endocannabinoids and their receptors."

"Here we highlight the molecular aspects of the CB(2) receptor, CB(2) receptor signaling system."

"We focus in the rest of the review on recent findings in the immune system, the gastrointestinal tract and liver, the brain and the cardiovascular system and airways as examples of areas where new developments in our understanding of the CB(2) receptor have occurred."

"Early studies focused on expression of this receptor under baseline physiologic conditions; however, perturbations such as those that occur during inflammation, ischemia/reperfusion injury and cancer are revealing a critical role for the CB(2) receptor in regulating these disease processes amongst others."

"As a result, the CB(2) receptor is an appealing therapeutic target as well as a useful tool for shedding new light on physiological regulatory processes throughout the body."

Conclusion: Every one of these conditions is caused by an immune system problem that is fixed by THC and cannabidiol.

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This stone in the Celebrity Path of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is dedicated to Dr. Carl Sagan. "The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world." ~ Carl Sagan


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Photo: Ron Marczyk
Mr. Worth Repeating: former NYPD cop, former high school health teacher, the unstoppable Ron Marczyk, R.N., Toke of the Town columnist
Editor's note:
 Ron Marczyk is a retired high school health education teacher who taught Wellness and Disease Prevention, Drug and Sex Ed, and AIDS education to teens aged 13-17. He also taught a high school International Baccalaureate psychology course. He taught in a New York City public school as a Drug Prevention Specialist. He is a Registered Nurse with six years of ER/Critical Care experience in NYC hospitals, earned an M.S. in cardiac rehabilitation and exercise physiology, and worked as a New York City police officer for two years. Currently he is focused on how evolutionary psychology explains human behavior.


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