It’s a cold, foggy day here in northern California, and here I am again, sitting at my computer, figuring out what to say to all of you. Most of the time, the words I need come so easily to me, but not today! I’ve got a good case of writer’s block, but there are a few things I know I need to mention. Lately, Cannabis has become a very hot topic, both in the news and the world of science. It is getting harder to keep up with all of the new information. Yet, it’s still joy-filled work for me and I get to learn so much. I don’t see me stopping doing this.
One major change in the List, all of the recent news articles are now separate from the studies. Between all the news articles and studies, the 2010-2016 “Conditions” section was just getting too darn big – over 1,600 pages of links! I think being able to read the information as news will speed learning for the beginners. And those of you who are “into” the studies, you won’t have to wade through all those news articles to “get to the meat”.
I am hoping that all of you are registered to vote [US]- several states have either medical, or full legalization coming up later this year. Be sure that personal growing is allowed – otherwise you will be just trading one drug lord for another! The growing and personal use of medicinal herbs should not be a crime! With legalization comes responsibility. If you grow outdoors near others, try to pick strains with a more pleasant odor such as “Agent Orange”, “C-99”, “Grape Ape” or any good “Lemony” strain. Your home-grown doesn’t need to smell like a road-kill skunk to be good! And consider using a herbal vaporizer if your smoke may drift to another’s home. Vaping is healthier than smoking and easier on your lungs (See “Methods of Use – Vaporizers” in the “Conditions” section). We need to respect those who choose not to use Cannabis, and should ask for only the same level of courtesy in return.
My Goodness! How my List has grown over the last few months! And there have been some rather unexpected new “branchings” in the List recently. Acetaminophen, black tea, flax, echinacea, and magnolias? How did they manage to sneak into my list on cannabis, cannabinoids, and the endocannabinoid system?
The answer is simple, the plants all contain compounds that interact with receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Science has discovered that cannabinoids are, indeed, made by other plants. So far, none of them cause the same dramatic psychoactive CB1 receptor reaction (the high) as THC. They seem to be mostly limited to the CB2 receptors (no high, just healing).
Acetaminophen, on the other hand, is transformed by your body into a compound called AM-404, which blocks the break-down of anandamide, your body’s own version of THC. Just like THC, anandamide makes you “feel good” and decreases pain. Blocking the breakdown of the fragile anandamide by AM-404 results in more anandamide being in your body, relieving your pain. The acetaminophen, itself, does nothing to relieve your pain!
As much as I would like it to be, cannabis is not 100% safe – nothing is! There is something you need to understand about the endocannabinoid system – it is a system of checks and balances. The amounts of endocannabinoids vary according to the body’s needs. As an example, during a woman’s ovulation, her anandamide levels spike, then drop drastically for the implantation of the egg. THC during ovulation would have little effect, but just days later, THC might interfere with implantation. Women trying to get pregnant should avoid cannabis.
Teens under the age of 16 should not be using cannabis unless there is a medical reason. The adolescent brain undergoes a “rewiring job” and the endocannabinoid system is right in the middle of things. The fear is that THC will cause “misconnections” resulting in subtle personality changes or neurosis. Like alcohol, cannabis should normally be reserved for adults.
Likewise, cancer is not just one disease, which is why one treatment does not work on all types of cancer. Most cancers appear to be slowed by THC, but there are a few rare exceptions. When exposed to THC or similar synthetics, A549 lung cancer cells start reproducing, while exposure to CBD slows them down*. The usual “high THC” RSO could be a disaster for a small minority of cancer patients. We need more research, but that can’t happen without legalization!
Our government [United States] has lied to us about the effects of cannabis for over seven decades. They have blocked virtually all research into cannabis and how it heals. They have ranked a never fatal herbal medicine with the most deadly kinds of drugs, against all scientific evidence! Yet, somehow, that inconvenient truth keeps coming out – cannabis heals! It is time that we, as a nation, demand that the truth be openly acknowledged and research into this amazing plant begun! As my Grandfather said, “If the truth won’t do, then something is wrong”.
*Critical appraisal of the potential use of cannabinoids in cancer management (full–2013) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3770515/
#North American English (for the most part) is used across this site, thank you.