“Cannabis has been of medicinal and social significance for millennia.
It is obtained from Cannabis sativa and the plant’s name reflects its ancient use—cannabis may represent a compound of Sanskrit and Hebrew words meaning ‘fragrant cane’, while sativa is Latin for cultivated.
Cannabis is also known as hemp.
Marijuana describes the dried cannabis flowers and leaves which are smoked, while hashish refers to blocks of cannabis resin which can be eaten.
Advances in cannabis research have paralleled developments in opioid pharmacology whereby a psychoactive plant extract has elucidated novel endogenous signalling systems with therapeutic significance.
Cannabinoids (CBs) are chemical compounds derived from cannabis.
This review discusses the basic science and clinical aspects of CB pharmacology with a focus on pain medicine.
Advances in cannabis research have ensured a future for these analgesic molecules which have been used since antiquity.”
“Majority would give a prescription to an advanced cancer patient in pain. Three-quarters of doctors who responded to a survey about medical marijuana said they would approve the use of the drug to help ease pain in an older woman with advanced breast cancer.”
“The point of the vignette was to illustrate the kinds of patients that show up on our doorstep who need help. This issue is not one you can ignore, and some states have already taken matters into their own hands,” said Dr. J. Michael Bostwick, a professor of psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
“There are no 100 percents in medicine. There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that this is something we should study more. Forgive the pun, but there’s probably some fire where there’s smoke, and we should investigate the medicinal use of marijuana or its components,” Bostwick said.
Marijuana comes from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. It’s a dry, shredded mix of the plant’s leaves, flowers, stems and seeds. It can be smoked as a cigarette or in a pipe, or it can be added to certain foods, such as brownies.”
“Some are using marijuana as their drug of choice to curb anxiety.”
“A thimbleful is all it takes. After a day’s work, I pinch off a small amount of marijuana and put it in a steel-tooth grinder. The flowers, covered in tiny white diamonds of THC, release a piney scent when crushed. I turn on the TV, and instead of taking a glass of wine with my evening news, I take out my vaporizer and set it on the coffee table.
Outside the walls of my bungalow in Oakland, California, I can hear the rush-hour traffic, but I’ve already changed into my Big Lebowski–style robe and slippers. I tap the ground flakes into a canister that I attach to another piece, this one with a bag on the end, and set both on the vaporizer. I flip the switch, and the bag slowly inflates with plumes of white smoke. Once it’s fully clouded, I attach a mouthpiece to the canister, put this to my lips, and press. On the inhale, the cannabinoids taste like sunned grass. My prescription for anxiety disorder didn’t always begin and end with an herb. But I’ve run through enough pharmaceutical drugs to know that pot dulls my panic better than any pill.”
“I’m a cancer patient. I use an experimental chemotherapy that is an extraction of the cannabis plant. I don’t use it to feel good. I use it for the purpose of killing the cancer.
Right now, there are about fifty people making this experimental chemotherapy in the state of Michigan. As a result of the opinion issued by the attorney general, the number of people willing to create this substance may now be reduced to two or three. All are working at a fevered pace trying to keep patients alive. The clock is ticking. Most of the time we have one single chance to get it right. Most of the patients we deal with will die before we get a second try.
It takes about one pound of the highest quality cannabis flowers to make enough of this extract for one single procedure, for one single patient. This extract is eaten by the patient within sixty to 90 days. This is a much higher dose that normally used to get “high.”
The procedure cannot be stopped and restarted. It is used in a way that is similar to antibiotics. You can’t stop and start antibiotics. If you do, the infection gets stronger and more difficult to get rid of. The same seems to hold true for cancer. You simply can’t play the hit and miss game with cancer. If you are on target, it MUST be completed. What is required, to stay alive, is an uninterrupted supply of the medicine. Enough to last through the entire 90 day procedure.
It is very difficult to find enough material for a single patient. Within the community we have been begging for scraps for the last two years. Begging over and over again just to supply the needs for one single patient. So we work with left over trimmings that normally would have been burned or buried. Material that no one would want. Thieves that break into our growing areas would ignore the scrap. They view it as worthless.
This useless material has had negative impact on many court cases in this state. By law, if you forget to burn some scrap, it gets counted toward the limit of 2.5 ounces. Most of us are attempting to avoid that extra scrap excess. We burn and bury any hint of excess material as quickly as possible. If we’re caught trying to do so it could well mean a felony conviction. If we delay by just a few hours we could be arrested and convicted.
Those that have been already growing marijuana and receive fresh news that they have cancer are the lucky ones. The just might have the material needed to stay alive. Might. It depends on if they have been successful in growing, if they’ve avoided fungus and insect attacks long enough to produce usable material. If they’ve learned the right nutrient combinations to apply to their indoor growing plants that afford the maximum yield.
If the patient has luck after luck, they are then at a place they can attempt to make this extract for themselves.
For a very long time, there have been many studies that show the compounds in cannabis kill cancer cells. These studies first started reporting this effect in 1974. Hundreds, if not thousands, of such scientific studies have been published but our government and most other governments of the world have refused to allow testing in humans, with very few exceptions. Only one or two such studies have been allowed. Not one single human study has been allowed in the US in the last seventy years. Without human testing, our government relies on the statement “this hasn’t been proven in human testing,” which is technically correct because such testing isn’t allowed.
The voters of Michigan have told the government that it is acceptable to use this plant for medical purposes. It’s time for those officials to obey the voters.
While it is a noble thing to decrease the suffering of someone that is dying, I would rather see these same people survive. Wouldn’t you?
Gersh Avery is Cofounder of the Cannabis Cancer Project. He lives in Dexter.”
“Marijuana supporters have long argued that the plant’s active ingredients, known as cannabinoids, are safe and effective treatments for pain, nausea, and other ailments.
The most active cannabinoid—delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC—is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. But it is also responsible for the plant’s psychotropic effects.
Now researchers say that another cannabinoid, called beta-caryophyllene, or (E)-BCP, helps combat inflammation without affecting the brain.
(E)-BCP is already part of many people’s daily diets, the researchers note. Foods that are particularly high in the compound include black pepper, oregano, basil, lime, cinnamon, carrots, and celery.
Essential oils from cannabis plants—whose leaves and flowers are used to make the marijuana drug—contain up to 35 percent (E)-BCP.”