Cannabis Less Harmful Than Current Drug Therapies?

Many when faced with a serious illness fight for their life but ironically are prescribed medications that in fact not only cause harm but also are capable of taking their life.  Many prescription side effects are quite lengthy.  Those that are on prescriptions long-term end up requiring even more medication down the line to combat the side effects from the first drug.  With all that in mind patients are looking for a safer alternative solution.

From cancers to anxiety many prescribed therapies are not only dangerous but can cause death.  Chemotherapy has come a long way from the early days but it is still a drug that ravages the body.  By contrast research has shown that cannabinoid therapies induce programmed cell death in cancerous cells.  Cannabinoids as is widely known are praised for their ability to alleviate without any reported deaths throughout its historic, several thousand year use.

Although the official stance from the government is that cannabis has no accepted medical value science tells us otherwise.  Below you will see a study that weighs the harm of accepted drug therapies such as opioids.  As always I encourage all to do their own research and please feel free to share ~ Cherry Girl

Prescribing Cannabis For Harm Reduction 2012
Neuropathic pain affects between 5% and 10% of the US population and can be refractory to treatment. Opioids may be recommended as a second-line pharmacotherapy but have risks including overdose and death. Cannabis has been shown to be effective for treating nerve pain without the risk of fatal poisoning. The author suggests that physicians who treat neuropathic pain with opioids should evaluate their patients for a trial of cannabis and prescribe it when appropriate prior to using opioids. This harm reduction strategy may reduce the morbidity and mortality rates associated with prescription pain medications.

Advertisements

U.S. Government Destroying History: Why We Must Save Cannabis Plant Genetics From Extinction

Strains such as Kush have been made notorious through songs and celebrities professing their love for the strain.  Those that have experienced Kush know why it is so famous.  From Tahoe OG Kush to Afghan Kush the high is memorable.  Cannabis is not a new plant created in a lab but rather has been used for centuries as medicine, religious herb and for recreation.  Research proves more every day how vital plant genetics are in finding the right compounds to combat illnesses and find cures.  Genetics is something that isn’t often thought of when discussing the War on Drugs but it has definitely been affected by it.

Some cannabis genetics are thought to have come from Providences in China and spread throughout the Silk Road while others originate in the Middle East.  There of course was the large movement through the 60s and 70s that helped spread and create new cannabis strains through people exchanging seeds and ganja.

With new genetics infiltrating the gene pool in the States new plant strains emerged.  Hybrids also came out of the mix.  People discovered that by crossing different strains they could breed out the undesirable traits while promoting higher potency and better growth stamina.  By cross breeding not only Indica with Indica but breeding for balance we have seen hybrid strains that have the pain relief of an Indica but with the “upper” functioning high of a Sativa.  Genetics play a role in growth, mold/pest resistance and of course potency.  

Blueberry strains are known for their social anxiety and pain relief as well as helping with digestive disorders and have spawned notorious strains like Blue Cheese, Blue Dream, Old-Time Moonshine and Blue Haze .  DJ Short created the Blueberry strain by crossing his Afghani Indica, brought by some growers from California and his Purple Thai.  The female pedigree of his Purple Thai is his highly potent all-around champion, “Juicy Fruit” Highland Thai female. It packed a very sweet tropical punch and an intense high that lasted for many hours. The second plant was a Purple Thai out of Oregon, Ohio. This plant was a cross between an outstanding Highland Oaxaca Gold and a very freaky Chocolate Thai. The hybrid was very dark colored and would express a deep royal purple color at the slightest exposure to cold. The finished product was equally tasty and strong as the Juicy Fruit female.

The War on Drugs forced cannabis use underground.  Cannabis began being bred for bag appeal and what would bring the best sales.  Growers began looking for traits that would bring the biggest yield with the shortest flowering time.  Medicinal qualities were disregarded.    For decades it was thought that the compound THC was responsible for all of the effects cannabis provided.  We now know of CBD which is actually responsible for pain relief and has been found to help with insomnia, anxiety and Alzheimer’s.  CBD was another casualty of the war with most of today’s strains registering less than 0.5%.  With the War on Drugs ongoing for over 40 years countless plants have been destroyed with the government’s actions forever destroying precious genetics.

Although cannabis has been around for thousands of years it wasn’t until the summer of 2011 that the genetics of the cannabis Sativa and Indica were mapped.  We know that there are hundreds of strains that have come from the original heirloom landraces.  Today many patients and citizens alike have the option of what type of relief or high they are looking for.  From the euphoric highs of the Sativa to the amazing pain relief that Indicas bring the options are endless.

Everyday we have new research that is released that shows the anti-cancer properties of cannabinoids.  Now more than ever we understand why we need to preserve the genetics of all cannabis plants.  We know that we can use different strains to treat a wide range of illnesses and afflictions.  We also know that cannabis is not a one-size-fits-all type of plant.  You need to have the correct strain containing the right balance of compounds to reach the desired effects.

We have more proof than we have ever had before showing the medical benefits even on a molecular level.  We are beyond smoke when taking about cannabis therapies.  There are a wide range of options when talking about uses.  Tinctures, edibles, concentrates, oils, topical lotion, capsules, vaporizers and more.

Support is at an historic high with medical use over 75% and legalization for adults over 21 at 50%.  States that have enacted decriminalization have found favorable outcomes.  States that have enacted medical statues have found large increases in tax income as well as economic growth in the communities.

If cannabis is allowed to thrive imagine the possibilities.  Imagine 5, 10, 15 years from now how much we will know about genetics, compounds and treatments for cancers.  Imagine all the possibilities if we could openly and safely exchange genetics and end products.  How many people could find relief?  How many could save their life?

It is time that we stand up and protect cannabis genetics.  We need to stop the violent raids by government officials.  The government needs to change their stance on cannabis therapies.  Now more than ever it is time we stop the continual attacks on patients, crops and our heritage.  The War on Drugs needs to end.  It has been a failed war for over 40 years that has forever changed the history of cannabis.  Those that have kept cannabis genetics alive even in the face of persecution and imprisonment thus passing down history should be celebrated.  Urge your representative today to show support for ending the failed approach to dealing with cannabis.

Ganja For Your Guts: How Cannabis Can Help IBS

No one likes dealing with an upset stomach from taco night.  Those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS deal with those symptoms and more on a frequent basis.  It is estimated that 20% of the U.S. population has IBS.  It is no wonder then why scientists would be hard at work looking for a cure.  We are seeing more and more research targeting the human Endocannabinoid system to treat illnesses.  IBS is no exception.  Below you will see studies where science has researched the role of the Endocannabinoid system with IBS and how cannabis therapy could help patients.  As always I encourage all to do their own research and please feel free to share ~ Cherry Girl

The Role of the Endocannabinoid System in the Pathophysiology and Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Activation of cannabinoid (CB)(1) and CB(2) receptors under various circumstances reduces motility, limits secretion and decreases hypersensitivity in the gut. Drugs that alter the levels of endocannabinoids in the gut also reduce motility and attenuate inflammation. In this review, we discuss the role of the endocannabinoid system in gastrointestinal physiology. We go on to consider the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in the context of symptoms associated with IBS and a possible role of this system in the pathophysiology and treatment of IBS.

Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD): Can This Concept Explain Therapeutic Benefits of Cannabis In Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Other Treatment-Resistant Conditions?
THC modulates glutamatergic neurotransmission via NMDA receptors. Fibromyalgia is now conceived as a central sensitization state with secondary hyperalgesia. Cannabinoids have similarly demonstrated the ability to block spinal, peripheral and gastrointestinal mechanisms that promote pain in headache, fibromyalgia, IBS and related disorders. The past and potential clinical utility of cannabis-based medicines in their treatment is discussed, as are further suggestions for experimental investigation of CECD via CSF examination and neuro-imaging.

Cannabinoids For Gastrointestinal Diseases: Potential Therapeutic Applications
A pharmacological modulation of the endogenous cannabinoid system could provide new therapeutics for the treatment of a number of gastrointestinal diseases, including nausea and vomiting, gastric ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, secretory diarrhoea, paralytic ileus and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Some cannabinoids are already in use clinically, for example, nabilone and delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol are used as antiemetics.

Cannabinoids and Gastrointestinal Motility: Animal and Human Studies
Activation of prejunctional CB1 receptors reduces excitatory enteric transmission (mainly cholinergic transmission) in different regions of the gastrointestinal tract. Consistently, in vivo studies have shown that cannabinoids reduce gastrointestinal transit in rodents through activation of CB1, but not CB2, receptors. However, in pathophysiological states, both CB1 and CB2 receptors could reduce the increase of intestinal motility induced by inflammatory stimuli. Cannabinoids also reduce gastrointestinal motility in randomized clinical trials. Overall, modulation of the gut endogenous cannabinoid system may provide a useful therapeutic target for disorders of gastrointestinal motility.

Alternative Targets Within the Endocannabinoid System for Future Treatment of Gastrointestinal Diseases
Of major therapeutic interest are nonpsychoactive cannabinoids or compounds that do not directly target cannabinoid receptors but still possess cannabinoid-like properties. Drugs that inhibit endocannabinoid degradation and raise the level of endocannabinoids are becoming increasingly promising alternative therapeutic tools to manipulate the ECS.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Dysfunction of the Endocannabinoid System?

Cannabis, Cancer And Children:Why We Must Give Parents A Choice

There is something special about children that brings a smile.  Some parents wait a long time to be able to have that special time to cradle their child, gazing into their eyes.  Imagine being the parents faced with the reality that your child has cancer.  For over 10,000 parents each year that is the case.  Vigilantly staying by their child’s side through countless shots, painful procedures, body wrenching medications and worst of all watching as their child withers away before their eyes.  The spark slowly going out leaving behind a weak body.  Most would try anything to save their baby.  

Current therapies  such as chemotherapy are not precise measures.  Rates of success in comparisson with side effects make some wonder why alternatives are being stifled.    In contrast there is mounting evidence of the anti-tumor effects of cannabis compounds.  Cannabis has been praised for its large window of error since cannabis does not cause death.

Most in the cannabis community know who Cashy Hyde is.  He is the little boy who’s father treated him with cannabis oil and who today is cancer free.  Cashy has undergone extensive treatments that ravaged his tiny body.  His father watched as the light faded and decided to save his son.  He fed Cashy Rick Simpson Method Cannabis Oil through his feeding tube and miraculously watched his son bounce back to life.  Within days they noticed a difference.

Cashy is not alone.  There are millions of others that have been helped and cured with cannabis.  The discussion of cannabis is beyond smoke.  Cannabis research has shown that by targeting the Endocannabinoid system with the right combinations of compounds you will receive the desired effects including inducing cell death in cancer.

With so much more scientific medical research as proof the majority of the country is asking why we still pursue prohibition with a vengeance.  California has been helping patients since 1996.  Last year we saw a flood of stories where federal agencies terrorized local communities with their SWAT style raids.  In doing so they cut off supply of much needed medicine for patients just like Cashy.

We must do something to give parents an option to save their children.  When parents are told there is nothing more that can be done should we really take away hope.  Should we incarcerate parents for possessing a plant, one that science proves is lifesaving?  We need to bring sanity back into the equation.  We must change the laws.  Me must challenge the “way its always been”.  It is time to allow parents the right to decide for their children.  Several states have proposed or pending legislation.  Contact your state representatives and urge them to help change the future for our children.

Newly Released Studies Show Protection and Regeneration of Brain Cells with Cannabis Therapies

There are over 1.7 million cases of severe brain injury that are reported each year.  These injuries can be life altering for many but thanks to the hard work from the science and medical communities we are learning more about new treatment options.  Cannabis has been discovered to help with cell regeneration and repair in the brain.  Below you will see newly published studies where  cannabis has been applied to help with brain injuries. Truly exciting!!   As always I encourage all to do their own research as well and please feel free to share ~ Cherry Girl

Early Survival of Comatose Patients After Severe Traumatic Brain Injury With the Dual Cannabinoid CB1/CB2 Receptor Agonist KN38-7271
Despite many drug trials, no substance has yet been identified that improves the outcome of severe head injury. The dual cannabinoid CB1/CB2 receptor agonist KN38-7271 mediates potent neuroprotection in animal models. We describe here the first randomized, double-blind, prospective, placebo-controlled clinical phase IIa proof-of-concept trial to investigate the safety, pharmacokinetics, and potential efficacy of a cannabinoid receptor agonist in humans.  Conclusions KN38-7271 appeared beneficial in the acute early phase of the comatose patient after a head injury. Its use was safe and well tolerated by patients.

Cannabinoids As Neuroprotective Agents In Traumatic Brain Injury
Cannabinoids of all classes have the ability to protect neurons from a variety of insults that are believed to underlie delayed neuronal death after traumatic brain injury (TBI), including excitotoxicity, calcium influx, free radical formation and neuroinflammation.

Cannabidiol Administration After Hypoxia-Ischemia To Newborn Rats Reduces Long-Term Brain Injury and Restores Neurobehavioral Function 2012
Cannabidiol (CBD) demonstrated short-term neuroprotective effects in the immature brain following hypoxia-ischemia (HI).   In conclusion, CBD administration after HI injury to newborn rats led to long-lasting neuroprotection, with the overall effect of promoting greater functional rather than histological recovery.

Cannabidiol Reduces Brain Damage and Improves Functional Recovery After Acute Hypoxia-Ischemia In Newborn Pigs 2011
Newborn piglets exposed to acute hypoxia-ischemia (HI) received i.v. cannabidiol (HI + CBD) or vehicle (HI + VEH). In HI + VEH, 72 h post-HI brain activity as assessed by amplitude-integrated EEG (aEEG) had only recovered to 42 ± 9% of baseline, near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) parameters remained lower than normal, and neurobehavioral performance was abnormal (27.8 ± 2.3 points, normal 36).   In conclusion, post-HI administration of CBD protects neurons and astrocytes, leading to histological, functional, biochemical, and neurobehavioral improvements.
 

Cannabis Has Cancer In The Cross-Hairs. Utilizing The Endocannabinoid System To Kill Cancer

It seems that these days the word cancer is everywhere.  From billboards encouraging donations to charities to news headlines to loved one effected by cancer most people are familiar.  There are more than 200 different types of cancer that can develop in over 60 different organs in the body.  Current therapies include poisoning the body in hopes that it will also kill the cancer.  Cannabis is used to help counteract the side effects of these therapies.  However new research points to cannabis as the compounds that can actually cause cancer cell death, essentially curing cancer.  There are countless studies that have been published showing the benefits of using the endocannabinoid system to target cancer cells with cannabinoids.  From that research we have found where using the endocannabinoid system has proven vital in fighting cancer.  Below you will see several studies that show how using the endocannabinoid system can be used in targeting cancer.  Please feel free to share and help others see that using cannabis is beyond the smoke.  I encourage all to do their own research as well ~ Cherry Girl

The Endocannabinoid System in Cancer-Potential Therapeutic Target?
Endogenous arachidonic acid metabolites with properties similar to compounds of Cannabis sativa Linnaeus, the so-called endocannabinoids, have effects on various types of cancer.    Remarkably, these effects may be selective for the cancer cells, while normal cells and tissues are spared. Such apparent tumor cell selectivity makes the endocannabinoid system an attractive potential target for cancer therapy.

Targeting the Endocannabinoid System For the Treatment of Cancer–A Practical View
In recent years, considerable interest has been generated by findings that cannabinoids not only have useful palliative effects, but also can affect the viability and invasivity of a variety of different cancer cells.   It is concluded that cannabinoids (or agents modulating the endogenous cannabinoid system) are an attractive target for drug development in the cancer area….

The Endocannabinoid System As A Target For the Development of New Drugs For Cancer Therapy
Studies on the main bioactive components of Cannabis sativa, the cannabinoids, and particularly (THC), led to the discovery of a new endogenous signalling system that controls several physiological and pathological conditions: the endocannabinoid system. Recently, evidence has accumulated indicating that stimulation of cannabinoid receptors by either THC or the endocannabinoids influence the intracellular events controlling the proliferation and apoptosis(cell death) of numerous types of cancer cells, thereby leading to anti-tumour effects both in vitro and in vivo. This evidence is reviewed here and suggests that future anti-cancer therapy might be developed from our knowledge of how the endocannabinoid system controls the growth and metastasis of malignant cells.

Endocannabinoid System Modulation In Cancer Biology and Therapy
Endocannabinoid system modulation in cancer biology and therapy. The discovery of the endocannabinoid system… led to the development of therapeutic agents related to either the stimulation or antagonism of CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors… evidence suggests that agonists of cannabinoid receptors, which share the useful property to discern between tumor cells and their non-transformed counterparts, could represent novel tumor-selective tools to treat cancer in addition to their already exploited use as palliative drugs.

Use of Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists In Cancer Therapy As Palliative and Curative Agents
“Use of cannabinoid receptor agonists in cancer therapy as palliative and curative agents… Cannabinoids (the active components of Cannabis sativa)… development, exploration and use of cannabinoid agonists for cancer therapy, not only as palliative but also as curative drugs.

Changes in the Endocannabinoid System May Give Insight into new and Effective Treatments for Cancer
Marijuana and its derivatives have been used in medicine for centuries… cannabinoids might be effective anti-tumoral agents because of their ability to inhibit the growth of various types of cancer… Evidence suggests that the endocannabinoid system may be dysregulated in a number of cancers… the endocannabinoid system exerts a myriad of effects on tumor cell growth, progression, angiogenesis, and migration. With a notable few exceptions, targeting the endocannabinoid system with agents that activate cannabinoid receptors or increase the endogenous levels of AEA may prove to have therapeutic benefit in the treatment of various cancers.

Save Your Ass, Smoke Some Grass

When people think of grass, weed, pot or cannabis they think of hippies and parties.  What most people don’t think about is that cannabis is showing real promise, on the molecular level, in fighting cancers.  People of all walks have been touched by cancer.  Most people know of someone, has had a loved one go through it or they themselves have experienced cancer.  It is no wonder then that science and medicine have been working hard to find a cure.  Cannabis research has been taking notice especially for its anti-cancer discoveries.   Over 140,000 new cases were reported for colon and rectal cancers with 51,000 reported deaths.  Below you will see studies where cannabis has been examined in the context of colorectal cancers.  As always please feel free to share and I encourage all to do their own research as well ~ Cherry Girl

Single Nucleotide Change in the Cannabinoid Receptor-1 (CNR1) Gene in Colorectal Cancer Outcome
The cannabinoid receptor-1 (CNR-1) and endogenous agonists of this receptor are present in the central and peripheral nervous systems including the gastrointestinal nervous system.Indeed nontumor paired colorectal tissues showed nucleotide change. A large number of patients with mutation in the CNR1 gene were observed. These preliminary findings highlight the importance of further studies in the use of cannabinoid analogs as receptor ligands to analyze potential therapeutic effects.

Cannabinoid Receptor Activation Induces Apoptosis(programmed cell death) through Tumor Necrosis Factor α–Mediated Ceramide De novo Synthesis in Colon Cancer Cells
We show that the CB1 receptor was mainly expressed in human normal colonic epithelium whereas tumor tissue was strongly positive for the CB2 receptor.  The present study shows that either CB1 or CB2 receptor activation induces apoptosis through ceramide de novo synthesis in colon cancer cells. Our data unveiled, for the first time, that TNF-α acts as a link between cannabinoid receptor activation and ceramide production.

Apoptosis: Programmed Cell Death At A Molecular Level
Balanced apoptosis is crucial in development and homeostasis, and all multicellular organisms have a physiologically programmed continuum of pathways to apoptotic cell death. Further studies of the control at the molecular level of key components and promoters/suppressors of apoptosis may provide better approaches to treatment of autoimmune diseases, malignancies, and neurodegenerative disorders. Many important questions remain regarding the advantages of modifying apoptotic programs in clinical situations.

Beyond The Smoke: The Anticancer Properties Of Cannabis

Cannabis has many amazing healing properties that utilize the endocannabinoid system to reach target areas.  Scientists use this knowledge to target certain aspects of a condition depending on the symptoms.  It is well known that cannabis use can help cancer patients during the course of their battle, from increased appetite to pain relief.  Scientists have been uncovering cannabis’ anticancer effects as well.  This promising research is clearing the way so that one day we will fully understand this miracle plant.  Below are studies where science has looked at cannabis therapy when applied to cancer cells.  Please feel free to share and as always I encourage all to do their own research.  Please note that a lot of these are NEW 2012 released research which is really exciting! ~ Cherry Girl

CANNABIDIOL AS POTENTIAL ANTICANCER DRUG
Over the past years, several lines of evidence support an antitumorigenic effect of cannabinoids including Δ(9) -tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ(9) -THC), synthetic agonists, endocannabinoids and endocannabinoid transport or degradation inhibitors.

Non-THC Cannabinoids Counteract Prostate Carcinoma Growth In Vitro and In Vivo: Pro-Apoptotic Effects and Underlying Mechanisms 2012
Cannabinoid receptor activation induces prostate carcinoma cell…In LNCaP cells, the pro-apoptotic effect of CBD was only partly due to TRPM8 antagonism and was accompanied by down-regulation of AR, p53 activation and elevation of reactive oxygen species. LNCaP cells differentiated to androgen-insensitive neuroendocrine-like cells were more sensitive to CBD-induced apoptosis. Conclusions. These data support the clinical testing of CBD against prostate carcinoma.

Role of Lipid Rafts/Caveolae in the Anticancer Effect of Endocannabinoids 2012
The endocannabinoid system comprises the cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) and type 2 (CB2), their endogenous ligands (endocannabinoids) and the whole apparatus… drugs targeting the endocannabinoid system might be used to retard or block cancer growth… Perturbation of lipid rafts/caveolae may in fact represent a useful tool for the development of a novel therapy for endocannabinoids-related diseases, such as cancer.

Update On the Endocannabinoid System As An Anticancer Target
Recent studies have shown that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) could offer an attractive antitumor target.  One direction that should be pursued in antitumor therapy is to select compounds with reduced psychoactivity. This is known to be connected to the CB1 receptor; thus, targeting the CB2 receptor is a popular objective. CB1 receptors could be maintained as a target to design new compounds, and mixed CB1-CB2 ligands could be effective if they are able to not cross the BBB. Furthermore, targeting the ECS with agents that activate cannabinoid receptors or inhibitors of endogenous degrading systems such as fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibitors may have relevant therapeutic impact on tumor growth. Additional studies into the downstream consequences of endocannabinoid treatment are required and may illuminate other potential therapeutic targets.

Use of Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists In Cancer Therapy As Palliative and Curative Agents
Emerging evidence suggests that agonists of cannabinoid receptors expressed by tumour cells may offer a novel strategy to treat cancer. In this chapter we review the more recent results generating interest in the field of cannabinoids and cancer, and provide novel suggestions for the development, exploration and use of cannabinoid agonists for cancer therapy, not only as palliative but also as curative drugs.

Inhibitory Effects of Cannabinoid CB1 Receptor Stimulation on Tumor Growth and Metastatic Spreading: Actions on Signals Involved in Angiogenesis and Metastasis
Stimulation of cannabinoid CB1 receptors by 2-methyl-arachidonyl-2′-fluoro-ethylamide (Met-F-AEA) inhibits the growth of a rat thyroid cancer cell-derived tumor in athymic mice by inhibiting the activity of the oncogene product p21ras.  Three weeks from the paw injection of 3LL cells, Met-F-AEA reduced significantly the number of metastatic nodes, in a way antagonized by SR141716A. Our findings indicate that CB1 receptor agonists might be used therapeutically to retard tumor growth in vivo by inhibiting at once tumor growth, angiogenesis, and metastasis.

Good News For CB1 Receptors: Endogenous Agonists Are in the Right Place
Good news for CB1 receptors: endogenous agonists are in the right place” and “CB1 receptor agonists might be used therapeutically to retard tumor growth in vivo by inhibiting at once tumor growth, angiogenesis, and metastasis.

Cannabis And Autism: We Need Your Help

NORML and the Unconventional Foundation for Autism has teamed up to bring awareness to the need for research and children with autism.  For more information please visit http://www.UF4A.org or http://www.NORML.org
Click Here for the survey

Over the last five years there have been numerous media reports about the anecdotal use of cannabis to help autistic children. Two brave women, one on the east coast the other the west, have been at the forefront of this effort to help scientifically explain why cannabis appears to be so helpful. Marie Myung-Ok Lee wrote about her experience in Rhode Island, a state with medical cannabis laws, in 2009. Soon after, inspired by Marie’s writings, Mieko Perez Hester and her son had a similarly positive experience with treating his autism in California. Mieko, soon after going public about their experience, was invited onto ABC’s Good Morning America.

The reply from parents around the country to these charter members of the NORML Women Alliance experience as parents using cannabis as a therapy for their autistic children has been overwhelming and inspired the need to perform proper scientific research to possibly develop cannabinoid-based treatments for autism in both children and adults.

To help accomplish this Mieko established The Unconventional Foundation for Autism (UF4A), which is asking the NORML community of hundreds of thousands of cannabis consumers and patients to help with a scientific survey today.

The NORML community has joined UF4A in this remarkable journey and fight, and has offered to help solicit feedback through the survey.

Target: Persons on the autism spectrum currently using or interested in using cannabis as a safe and effective medication to treat autism.

With more than 1 in 88 children affected, autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States. Currently, there is no medical detection or cure for autism; however, there are pharmaceutical and therapeutic treatments that have proven to be effective in treating the condition. Among the safest and most remarkable is the therapeutic use of medical cannabis.

Amidst a highly controversial setting, one California mother is sharing her autistic son’s triumphant and life-saving journey with the world. Single mother of three, Mieko Hester Perez was watching her young son, Joey, succumb to various combinations of 13 different prescription drugs that ravaged his body and internal organs. Joey weighed only 46 pounds, and was in a battle for his life.

In 2009, The Unconventional Foundation for Autism (UF4A) was formed. UF4A is lighting a path in hopes that others may benefit from alternative therapies that may be available to other families on the Autism Spectrum. Mieko helped create a survey to help solidify and amplify her results and the level of help the Foundation can provide.

At UF4A, we believe providing the most accurate information to medical professionals for research purposes will pave the way for clinical trials for unconventional treatments.

We seek to solidify and further the fundamental understanding we have in regards to the effectiveness of cannabis alleviating symptoms along the Autism Spectrum. The information collected in the survey will be used to further guide families, new patients, doctors and lawmakers in making informed and proper decisions for themselves and our community.

SURVEY LINK:
https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dG9wYmVjaVhQdXpXWVVYbUtjaDR0UGc6MQ

If this survey applicable to you or a loved one, we invite you or them to fill out the form UF4A Treatment of Persons on the Spectrum with Cannabis. To fill out the survey, click here.

-Allen St. Pierre
Executive Director
NORML

Cannabis: Your Heart Hero

More and more Americans are being classified as obese.  With obesity comes other complications such as cardiovascular disease.  Cardiovascular disease refers to any disease that affects the cardiovascular system, principally cardiac disease, vascular diseases of the brain and kidney, and peripheral arterial disease.  The causes of cardiovascular disease are diverse but atherosclerosis and/or hypertension are the most common.  It is estimated that one-third of Americans die from cardiovascular disease so it is no wonder that scientists have been hard at work trying to find a cure.   Below you will see studies where science has looked at cannabis compounds when applied to CVD.  Please feel free to share and I encourage all do their own research as well ~ Cherry Girl

Targeting Cannabinoid Receptor CB(2 ) in Cardiovascular Disorders: Promises and Controversies
“Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, which can be largely attributed to atherosclerosis, a chronic inflammation of the arteries… the lipid endocannabinoid system has emerged as a new therapeutic target in variety of disorders associated with inflammation and tissue injury, including those of the cardiovascular system. The discovery that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), the main active constituent of marijuana, inhibited atherosclerotic plaque progression via a cannabinoid 2 (CB(2) ) receptor-dependent anti-inflammatory mechanism.

Endocannabinoid System in Cardiovascular Disorders – New Pharmacotherapeutic Opportunities
The evidence so far gathered shows that the modulation of ECS (as agonism or antagonism of its receptors) is an enormous potential field for research and intervention in multiple areas of human pathophysiology. The development of selective drugs for the CB1 and CB2 receptors may open a door to new therapeutic regimens.

Never Fear Cannabis Is Here! How Cannabis Can Help With Fear, Anxiety, and Other Psychiatric Disorders

Nearly 19 million Americans suffer from a  psychiatric disorder which could include disorders such as specific phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.  Many veterans returning from war have found cannabis to be a relief from PTSD.  Below you will studies where science has studied the effects of cannabis compounds when applied to psychiatric disorders.  Please feel free to share and I encourage all to do their own research as well ~ Cherry Girl

The Endocannabinoid System in the Processing of Anxiety and Fear and How CB1 Receptors May Modulate Fear Extinction 
The endocannabinoid system recently emerged as an important modulator of many neuronal functions. Among them, the control of anxiety and acquired fear represents nowadays one of the most interesting fields of research.  Finally, a neurobiological model possibly able to implement the role of the endocannabinoid system in these processes will be proposed.

CB1 Cannabinoid Receptors Modulate Kinase and Phosphatase Activity During Extinction of Conditioned Fear in Mice
Cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) play a central role in both short-term and long-term extinction of auditory-cued fear memory.  We propose that the endogenous cannabinoid system modulates extinction of aversive memories, at least in part via regulation of the activity of kinases and phosphatases in a brain structure-dependent manner.

Extinction of Emotional Response As A Novel Approach of Pharmacotherapy of Anxiety Disorders 
The patogenesis of anxiety may be related to the process of an extinction of aversive memories… Studies on molecular and cellular mechanisms responsible for individual fear extinction may serve as the basis of search for more effective forms of clinical treatment… ligands stimulating endogenous cannabinoid system… these substances stimulate different central mechanisms, they appear to act synergistically, to improve the behavioural therapy.

Enhancing Cannabinoid Neurotransmission Augments the Extinction of Conditioned Fear
the findings in the present study suggest that augmenting eCB-mediated neurotransmission by inhibition of eCB transport or breakdown may provide a novel mechanism for enhancing the extinction of fear. As such, eCB reuptake inhibitors may serve as useful adjuncts in the treatment of anxiety disorders (such as PTSD, panic disorder, and OCD) as well as drug addiction and other disorders that respond to behavioral treatments utilizing extinction processes.

The Endogenous Cannabinoid System Controls Extinction of Aversive Memories
Acquisition and storage of aversive memories is one of the basic principles of central nervous systems throughout the animal kingdom. In the absence of reinforcement, the resulting behavioural response will gradually diminish to be finally extinct.  We propose that endocannabinoids facilitate extinction of aversive memories through their selective inhibitory effects on local inhibitory networks in the amygdala.

The Endocannabinoid system and Extinction Learning
As several human psychiatric disorders, such as phobia, generalized anxiety disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) appear to involve aberrant memory processing and impaired adaptation to changed environmental conditions, the hope has been fuelled that the endocannabinoid system might be a valuable therapeutic target for the treatment of these disorders.

Bringing the War Back Home: Mental Health Disorders Among 103,788 US Veterans Returning From Iraq and Afghanistan Seen at Department of Veterans Affairs Facilities
Co-occurring mental health diagnoses and psychosocial problems were detected early and in primary care medical settings in a substantial proportion of OEF/OIF veterans seen at VA facilities. Targeted early detection and intervention beginning in primary care settings are needed to prevent chronic mental illness and disability.

Psychosis and Trauma. Theorical Links Between Post-Traumatic and Psychotic Symptoms
The links between psychotic and psycho-traumatic symptoms are complex and multidirectional; this co-occurrence is a factor of seriousness. The clinician, while paying attention to these symptoms, has to distinguish the structure of the personality of the subject to articulate the psychotherapy and the pharmacological treatment. Further investigational studies may determine whether antipsychotics will enhance treatment response in PTSD patients with psychotic features.

How Some Green Can Help The Blues

Americans across the nation are facing mounting pressure from the economy and many other challenges.  Many are also suffering with depression and mood disorders along with added pressures.  The average American who has tried cannabis well knows the mood elevating effects which include uncontrollable giggling or laughter.  Of course it is also dependent on the right strain but that is where science comes in.  Below you will see studies where scientists have discovered why our moods are altered as well as further the knowledge we have on the interactions of cannabis’ compounds and our bodies.  Please feel free to share and I encourage all to do their own research as well ~ Cherry Girl

The Dopamine and Cannabinoid Interaction in the Modulation of Emotions and Cognition: Assessing the Role of Cannabinoid CB1 Receptor in Neurons Expressing Dopamine D1 Receptors
Although cannabinoid CB1 receptors (CB1Rs) are densely expressed in neurons expressing dopamine D1 receptors (D1Rs), it is not fully understood to what extent they modulate emotional behaviors…….These results provided first direct evidence for a cross-talk between dopaminergic D1Rs and endocannabinoid system in terms of controlling negative affect.

Effects of Cannabinoids Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol, Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid and Cannabidiol in MPP(+) Affected Murine Mesencephalic Cultures
Cannabinoids derived from Cannabis sativa demonstrate neuroprotective properties… Therefore we studied some major cannabinoids, i.e. delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) in mice mesencephalic cultures for their protective capacities… our data show that cannabinoids THC and THCA protect dopaminergic neurons against MPP(+) induced cell death.” (Possibly due to the cross-talk between  the dopamine and cannabinoid systems as seen in the study above)

Antidepressant-like Effect of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and Other Cannabinoids Isolated From Cannabis
Results of this study show that Δ9-THC and other cannabinoids exert antidepressant-like actions, and thus may contribute to the overall mood-elevating properties of cannabis.

 

Cannabis: Part Of A Healthy Diet?

Cannabis has been used in a variety of ways for thousands of years.  One of the unique things about the cannabis plant is how versatile and green the plant truly is.  It can be grown organically leaving behind virtually no footprint as well as being used in whole when harvested.  Many people believe in the power of natural remedies including a natural foods diet.  Cannabis, especially the seeds are known for their nutritional value including antioxidants.  Below you will find studies that look at the dietary value of cannabis as well as helpful side effects.  Please feel free to share ~ Cherry Girl

Antioxidant Activities and Oxidative Stabilities of Some Unconventional Oilseeds
“Hempseed (Cannabis sativa), in addition to its nutritional value, has demonstrated positive health benefits, including the lowering of cholesterol and high blood pressure… As a result of the present research, the analyzed oils could be evaluated as an alternative to traditionally consumed vegetable oils…

Health Benefits of Herbs and Spices: the Past, the Present, the Future
Health benefits of herbs and spices: the past, the present, the future… The real challenge lies not in proving whether foods, such as herbs and spices, have health benefits, but in defining what these benefits are… At present, recommendations are warranted to support the consumption of foods rich in bioactive components, such as herbs and spices. With time, we can expect to see a greater body of scientific evidence supporting the benefits of herbs and spices in the overall maintenance of health and protection from disease.

Several Culinary and Medicinal Herbs Are Important Sources of Dietary Antioxidants
In a normal diet, intake of herbs may therefore contribute significantly to the total intake of plant antioxidants, and be an even better source of dietary antioxidants than many other food groups such as fruits, berries, cereals and vegetables.

Neuroprotective Antioxidants From Marijuana
As evidence that cannabinoids can act as an antioxidants in neuronal cultures, cannabidiol was demonstrated to reduce hydroperoxide toxicity in neurons. In a head to head trial of the abilities of various antioxidants to prevent glutamate toxicity, cannabidiol was superior to both alpha-tocopherol and ascorbate in protective capacity. Recent preliminary studies in a rat model of focal cerebral ischemia suggest that cannabidiol may be at least as effective in vivo as seen in these in vitro studies.

Cannabidiol and (-)Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Are Neuroprotective Antioxidants
Cannabidiol was more protective against glutamate neurotoxicity than either ascorbate or alpha-tocopherol, indicating it to be a potent antioxidant. These data also suggest that the naturally occurring, nonpsychotropic cannabinoid, cannabidiol, may be a potentially useful therapeutic agent for the treatment of oxidative neurological disorders such as cerebral ischemia. 

 

Cannabis Prohibition: Is It Really Keeping Our Children Safe?

Many a bored teen will hang out with friends and be faced with choosing to use drugs or not.  Many government officials as well as parents tout the War on Drugs as a savior to our children.  They say that it keeps the drugs out of the hands of minors, off the streets and out of schools.  With the economy shining a spotlight onto finances one can quickly see how big of a budget the War on Drugs consumes.  With taking all the different facets of this war into account some wonder if its really working.

The War on Drugs has been waging for over 40 years.  It has cost the tax-payers over $14 trillion, billions annually.  There have been surges and wanes over the 40 years in intensity in the pursuit to eradicate drug use.  Over the years we have witnessed many tragedies and successes.  We have seen harmful drug use drop among the population but especially minors.  We have also seen over the last 18 months an intensity like never before in the use of intimidation tactics, SWAT style raids against state legal patients, abuse, or lethal force when pursuing cannabis users.

With more education and information available to teens today many are able to see through the hypocrisy and lies.  Teens can see you are lying especially when they try cannabis, realize that it is not going to kill them and that they actually like the effects.  With alcohol, who’s effects are similar to cannabis but with much more harm at stake, not only available for sale but advertised everywhere including major sports events it is hard to see the difference.  When they see you are lying about cannabis they question other “truths” you have been telling them.

Simple cannabis possession or other non-violent cannabis related offenses can claim your driver’s license, student loans, subsidized housing, or federal grants.  It can jail a parent or guardian even if they are state and county legal.  With a parent jailed it costs tax-payers more to incarcerate and breaks up a family where the children are thrown into the broken foster care system.  All of us should be asking if this is really what is best for our children.

Children that go into the system cost tax-payers millions each year.  It costs the child emotionally and psychologically.   Children that grow up in the system are bounced around to different homes causing them to act out, perform poorly in school, drop out, get into legal trouble and end up repeating their parents mistakes.  Should we really treat cannabis related offenses this harshly?  Are these tactics really working?

Cannabis use was slightly higher this year but more harmful drugs, including alcohol, were reportedly down according to a recent study among teens use.  Those that take a quick look around or have a conversation with a teen will learn how easily drugs are accessible.  Each year D.E.A. officials boast of their catches but in reality they have barely scratched the surface.  Even with officials raiding and confiscating thousands of plants, California’s number one cash crop was still cannabis.  The plain truth is that it is a plant that can be grown in anyone’s home.  It can be kept from anyone’s knowledge provided the grower is smart.  It can be accessed through many avenues including access through children.

Drug cartels have taken notice of America’s love of drugs and has very outstretched networks that effect our children.  The violence and corruption that comes along with the cartels are infiltrating our schools.  The cartels lure children with money or threats using them as drug runners, smugglers or sellers.  They know that if children are caught the punishment is less.  The also know that it takes less money to impress children.  In this way they have been able to utilize children to sell to others including their peers thus spurring not only more drug use but recruiting even more children.

California has a heavily burdened prison and welfare system.  They have a large amount of incarcerated inmates for cannabis related crimes.  Our nation has been fighting this war for far too long.  Even our children see the truth about cannabis.  Isn’t it time we started talking about this subject from a new perspective?  Our law enforcement agencies have received cuts across the states including here in California.  Our streets are not safer.  Drug use has not been eradicated even after over 40 years.  Families are broken, children are effected, states are bankrupt and in the end drugs are still easily accessible at any school.  Isn’t it time we end the War on Drugs and start with a new approach?

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and Cannabis

This week the nation was heart broken to learn that little Avery Canahuati, 5 month-old girl who had SMA, died Monday April 30th.  Avery became an internet sensation with her bucket list.   It is estimated that spinal muscular atrophy occurs in between one-in-6,000 and one-in-20,000 births.  Avery’s parents want to spread the word about SMA so that more research can be done to better understand SMA.  Below you will see studies where scientists have studied the interaction of cannabis compounds when applied to SMA situations as well as a little background as to how the Endocannabinoid system ties into SMA.  Please feel free to share ~ Cherry Girl

TRPV4 Mutations in Children With Congenital Distal Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Functional analysis of the novel p.P97R mutation in a heterologous system demonstrated a loss-of-function mechanism. Protein localization studies in muscle, skin, and cultured skin fibroblasts from both patients showed normal protein expression. No TRPV4 mutations were detected in four children with dSMA without bone or vocal cord involvement. Adding to the clinical and molecular heterogeneity of TRPV4-associated diseases, our results suggest that molecular testing of the TRPV4 gene is warranted in cases of congenital dSMA with bone abnormalities and vocal cord paralysis.

Alterations in the Ankyrin Domain of TRPV4 Cause Congenital Distal SMA, Scapuloperoneal SMA and HMSN2C
Expression of mutant TRPV4 constructs in cells from the HeLa line revealed diminished surface localization of mutant proteins. In addition, TRPV4-regulated Ca(2+) influx was substantially reduced even after stimulation with 4alphaPDD, a TRPV4 channel-specific agonist, and with hypo-osmotic solution. In summary, we describe a new hereditary channelopathy caused by mutations in TRPV4 and present evidence that the resulting substitutions in the N-terminal ankyrin domain affect channel maturation, leading to reduced surface expression of functional TRPV4 channels.

TRPV4-mediated channelopathies
In addition, there are some potential signaling events that can also be involved in these genetic disorders. In this review, we analyzed how and what extent certain cellular and molecular functions like oligomerization, surface expression, ubiquitination and functional interactions might be affected by these mutations.

TRPV Channels and Vascular Function
TRPV1 and TRPV4 are expressed in sensory nerves and can cause vasodilation through calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P release as well as mediating vascular function via the baroreceptor reflex (TRPV1) or via increasing sympathetic outflow during osmotic stress (TRPV4). Thus, TRPV channels play important roles in the regulation of normal and pathological cellular function in the vasculature.

Tempo and Mode in the Endocannabinoid System
Using an extended haplotype homozygosity analysis of SNP data from the HapMap database. Significant evidence (p < 0.05) of a positive “selective sweep” was exhibited by PTPN22, TRPV1, NAPE-PLD, and DAGLalpha. In conclusion, the endocannabinoid system is collectively under strong purifying selection, although some genes show evidence of adaptive evolution.

Cannabinoid Actions at TRPV Channels: Effects on TRPV3 and TRPV4 and Their Potential Relevance to Gastrointestinal Inflammation
Cannabinoids can affect both the activity and the expression of TRPV1-4 channels, with various potential therapeutic applications, including in the gastrointestinal tract.   Cannabinol and cannabigerol were significantly more efficacious at desensitizing this channel to the action of 4-α-phorbol 12,13-didecanoate (4α-PDD) than at activating it; (iii) CBC reduced TRPV1β, TRPV3 and TRPV4 mRNA in the jejunum, and TRPV3 and TRPV4 mRNA in the ileum of croton oil-treated mice.


Central Nervous Disease and Cannabis

It is estimated that over 50 million Americans are affected by disease or disorders of the spinal cord and brain.  Central nervous system disease affects either the spinal cord (myelopathy) or brain (encephalopathy).  Disorders includes spinal cord injury, memory loss, addiction, schizophrenia, learning disability, depression, violence, stroke, brain injury, dementia, and many others.  Scientists have studied cannabis compounds when applied to CNS disease and below you will find those studies.
Please feel free to share ~ Cherry Girl

Therapeutic Potential of Cannabinoids in CNS Disease
The major psychoactive constituent of Cannabis sativa, delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta(9)-THC), and endogenous cannabinoid ligands, such as anandamide, signal through G-protein-coupled cannabinoid receptors… Signalling is mostly inhibitory and suggests a role for cannabinoids as therapeutic agents in CNS disease… Anecdotal evidence suggests that patients with disorders such as multiple sclerosis smoke cannabis to relieve disease-related symptoms. Cannabinoids can alleviate tremor and spasticity in animal models of multiple sclerosis… Evidence suggests that cannabinoids may prove useful in Parkinson’s disease… The inhibitory effect of cannabinoids… suggests they may be potent neuroprotective agents…cannabinoids may be effective analgesics. Indeed, in clinical trials of postoperative and cancer pain and pain associated with spinal cord injury, cannabinoids have proven more effective than placebo… Acute adverse effects following cannabis usage include sedation and anxiety. These effects are usually transient and may be less severe than those that occur with existing therapeutic agents. The use of nonpsychoactive cannabinoids such as cannabidiol may allow the dissociation of unwanted psychoactive effects from potential therapeutic benefits… This review highlights recent advances in understanding of the endocannabinoid system and indicates CNS disorders that may benefit from the therapeutic effects of cannabinoid treatment.

Cannabinoids.  Current Drug Targets CNS Disorders Neurol Disorders
Since the discovery of an endogenous cannabinoid system, research into the pharmacology and therapeutic potential of cannabinoids has steadily increased… Properties of CB receptor agonists that are of therapeutic interest include analgesia, muscle relaxation, immunosuppression, anti-inflammation, antiallergic effects, improvement of mood, stimulation of appetite, antiemesis, lowering of intraocular pressure, bronchodilation, neuroprotection and antineoplastic effects… CB receptor antagonists are under investigation for medical use in obesity and nicotine addiction. Additional potential was proposed for the treatment of alcohol and heroine dependency, schizophrenia, conditions with lowered blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease and memory impairment in Alzheimer’s disease.

Antiepileptic Potential of Cannabidiol Analogs
These data suggest anticonvulsant requirements of 2 free phenolic hydroxyl groups, exact positioning of the terpinoid moiety in the resorcinol system and correct stereochemistry. Moreover, findings of separation of anticonvulsant from neurotoxic and psychoactive activities, notably with CBD diacetate, suggest that additional structural modifications of CBD may yield novel antiepileptic drugs.

Structure-Anticonvulsant Activity Relationships of Cannabidiol Analogs
The compounds were evaluated for anti-convulsant activity in seizure susceptible (AGS) rats and for neurotoxicity in the rat rotorod (ROT) test. Comparisons of stereoisomers of CBD and several analogs revealed a general lack of stereoselectivity for anticonvulsant and other CNS properties of this class of compounds.

Antiepileptic Potential of Cannabidiol Analogs
Also, CBD and all analogs were not active in tetrahydrocannabinol seizure-susceptible rabbits, the latter a putative model of cannabinoid psychoactivity in humans. These data suggest anticonvulsant requirements of 2 free phenolic hydroxyl groups, exact positioning of the terpinoid moiety in the resorcinol system and correct stereochemistry. Moreover, findings of separation of anticonvulsant from neurotoxic and psychoactive activities, notably with CBD diacetate, suggest that additional structural modifications of CBD may yield novel antiepileptic drugs.

An Electrophysiological Analysis of the Anticonvulsant Action of Cannabidiol on Limbic Seizures in Conscious Rats
An electrophysiological analysis of the anticonvulsant action of cannabidiol (CBD, from cannabis) on limbic seizures in conscious rats…CBD was the most efficacious of the drugs tested… Other properties of CBD were also noted: For example, compared with delta 9-THC, it is a much more selective anticonvulsant vis-à-vis motor toxicity…These characteristics, combined with its apparently unique set of electrophysiological properties, support the suggestion that CBD has therapeutic potential as an antiepileptic.

Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Cannabidiol Displays Antiepileptiform and Antiseizure Properties In Vitro and In Vivo
“CBD (cannabidiol) is the major nonpsychoactive component of Cannabis sativa whose structure was first described by Mechoulam and Shvo (1963); CBD has recently attracted renewed interest for its therapeutic potential in a number of disease states. CBD has been proposed to possess anticonvulsive, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory properties in humans… within the CNS, CBD has been proposed to be protective against epilepsy, anxiety, and psychosis and to ameliorate diseases.

Cannabidiol–Antiepileptic Drug Comparisons and Interactions in Experimentally Induced Seizures in Rats
“A comparison of the anticonvulsant… effects of cannabidiol (CBD), delta 9tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabinol and antiepileptic drugs (phenytoin, phenobarbital, carbamazepine, chlordiazepoxide, clonazepam, ethosuximide and trimethadione) was made… These data indicate that CBD is an effective anticonvulsant with a specificity more comparable to drugs clinically effective in major than minor seizures. Furthermore, it appears that CBD enhances the anticonvulsant effects.

It Is Time To Start Looking At Cannabis Differently

We all get involved with the community for different reasons.  We watch a loved one suffer through horrific pain, see injustice done to another, are a victim of the system or just realize that the harm and cost done to our nation is not worth it.  Whether it is from personal strife or in memory of a loved one we all feel the passion.  It is sometimes unfortunate that it takes a tragic event for people to become aware and get involved.  Our hope is that we can prevent tragedies while still making people aware of all the damage done by the War on Drugs.

Some activists like Jack Herer died before he was able to see the results of his work.  Although they live on in the community isn’t it sad that even with today’s vast knowledge of the medical value possessed by cannabis compounds some patients are still treated like criminals?  Some patients die with the label of a criminal even though their only crime was using a plant when they were at their weakest.

This past week in Oakland, CA we witnessed the federal government yet again demonstrate its over-reaching intimidation tactics against a well known cannabis activist  Richard Lee.  Mr Lee bankrolled Prop 19, owned Blue Sky dispensary as well as industry trade school Oaksterdam University.  Federal agents raided those locations as well as Mr. Lee’s personal residence on Monday.

Backlash and outrage from the city as well as the community were immediate.  Protesters, blogs, news outlets as well as city officials spoke out against the U.S. Attorney General Melinda Haag’s office and other federal agents condemning their actions.  One message seemed to be that although federal law may consider cannabis illegal it’s legal for medical use in California, so stay out of state and city business.  Supervisor David Campos showed support saying “San Francisco stands firm against the federal government on the issue of medical cannabis”.  Fellow Supervisor Christina Olague called the federal threats to dispensary landlords to either evict the dispensaries or face legal action “absurd” and criticized the “ignorance coming out of Washington right now.”

The cannabis community in California and across the nation are once more betrayed by the current administration.  Yet again federal agents are attacking Californians, who for the past 15 years, have approved of cannabis for medical use.  In 2011 we saw several large scale raids carried out against our own citizens.  They have nothing left but to go after citizens for obscure tax laws and threaten any land owner with forfeiture of property if they lease to a legally operated dispensary.  These kinds of stories surely can’t be the United States of America who’s very objective is to protect its citizens from such types of theft?

If a dispensary or other cannabis industry related business is in complete compliance with state, county and city regulations and is actually a benefit to the community why would the federal government feel the need to stomp all over our home bringing terror into the community?  Why do they feel the need to aggressively barge in with their intimidation tactics and leave destruction in their path?  Why must patients who are otherwise law abiding citizens be treated in the same manner as terrorists or drug cartel members?  If Californians, the people who actually have to live with any repercussions of legalizing cannabis approve why then can’t the federal agents respect that and at the very least give some dignity back to the patients when dealing with them?

After presidential promises and memo reassurances proved to be completely empty many feel lied to and betrayed and rightfully so.  People further are disrespected when the President and his administration continue to address the issue in a laughing manner as if it is a bunch of frat boys asking the question.  They seem to forget the single mother cancer patient who must choose between keeping custody of her children and relieving pain and other side effects.  They forget the families who have lost loved ones to police incompetence in their endless fight in the War on Drugs.  Or the millions of people who have been directly effected and the whole nation who ends up paying for it.

Trillions of dollars have been wasted.  Schools are in disrepair, cities are going bankrupt, crime is going up and yet our priorities are going after patients.  It is time to demand an end to this costly war!  50,000 Mexicans have died, some violently, all in the name of the War on Drugs.  Top South American leaders see it is time for a different approach  and have already started looking for alternatives.  Meanwhile our leaders continue their archaic thinking taking a hardened stance against legalization or decriminalization.

With the economy on life support, people in desperate need of jobs and the government spending an obscene amount of tax-payer money on prohibition it is time to start looking at cannabis differently.  Cannabis is one of America’s biggest cash crop and California’s largest cash crop.  It can be regulated and taxed in the same manner as alcohol which would also address the restrictions for minors.  By responsibly regulating cannabis, communities across the nation can benefit.

After the events that took place this week it is obvious that the time is now to speak up.  We should not tolerate these attacks on citizens, on patients, on our loved ones.  We should not wait for a tragic event to strike us we should get involved now and stop these aggressive tactics from our own government.  Write, email or call your representative and urge them to demand a stop to these attacks.  Call the White house and let your voice be heard.    How far are we willing to let them intrude into our communities?

Cannabis and Teens

Since 1975 the “Monitoring the Future” study has recorded the self-reported use of various substances by middle and high school students. Each year it reveals what is really going on with teen drug use.  In 2011 47,000 teens participated with interesting results. Although many, including the US Drug Czar, took the findings as negative and just one more way to attack cannabis use what it revealed was more proof that teens just like most of us want to do what is best for our bodies.

Many Americans today have tried or use cannabis with no adverse side effects.  During the 90s there was a huge push with D.A.R.E. and other programs that educated school children on all dangers of drugs.  With the population becoming more educated on the actual dangers associated with cigarettes, alcohol and other harmful substances we have seen a shift in use.  People including teens  have also realized the real harms and benefits of cannabis as well.

With this realization people have turned to cannabis with its relatively mild side effects and no lasting damage or threat of death.  Data backs up that use of harmful substances such as cocaine, steroids and heroin have steadily fallen down almost 50% from peak.  Alcohol and tobacco use is down 50% as well actually reaching historic lows.  It would seem that the population of teens have weighed out the dangers and chosen for themselves.

Cannabis use by contrast in the last four years has increased but not noticeably.  Some wonder then why many saw this report as a call to action against cannabis.    Some blamed the medical use movement for not only exposure but access as well.  This argument does not entirely hold up.  Medical marijuana was in the mainstream media and nation-wide topic in 1996 when CA first tried to legalize for patients.  Access for minors in states that have legalized has been restricted and taken crime off the streets.

In 2011 it was reported that 6.6% reported consuming cannabis daily which is greater than previously reported.   The attitude towards cannabis by teens as a whole has also changed with about 45% of them viewing cannabis as harmful.  That is a huge difference considering in the early 90s it was at 80%.  One caveat is that during the time from the early 90s and throughout most of 2000 teen use of cannabis also fell.

Anyone who lives in the real world will attest that you can only shield your children for so long before you have to let go and let them make their own choices.  When it comes to that point all the training that they have received will guide them.  Teens will always party and always break the rules.  We will never live in a society where there is not a teenage party going on somewhere.  While I don’t support teen use of cannabis, when weighing out the harms against use of alcohol and other harmful substances I would rather see teens choose a natural plant that does not cause death.

There of course are risks with using cannabis not only from using the drug but also the consequential side effects and one’s actions.  The earlier in one’s life cannabis is used the more potential there is for risks.  With that, when weighing out the cons, the potential risks of using cannabis is far less severe than many other substances including prescriptions.

While Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske and other national media look negatively at the study others walk away with a sense of pride that our nation’s youth are choosing more wisely.  Today more people, including teens, perceive cannabis to be less harmful than alcohol and tobacco.  Someday our leaders will see the light and come to the same conclusion as the rest of us.  The War on Drugs has made cannabis an evil that is not neccessary.

Individualized Treatments: Key To Cannabis’ Success

With so many new scientific discoveries published for the world to see many patients are now gaining a better understanding of how cannabis actually helps them.  Millions of patients have found relief in cannabis for a wide range of afflictions with millions more that have found relaxation.  Cannabis has been used for medicinal, religious and recreation purposes for thousands of years.  But it wasn’t until the 60s when the endocannabinoid system was discovered that we really began to understand the effects.  In 2011 the genetics of the cannabis plant was mapped with that we found that it was not just a plant but a complex world filled with compounds that have many applications.

Patients now have the option of learning what compounds exist in the cannabis plant and how that can help them personally.  Currently there are companies one in particular, GW Pharmaceuticalsthat is seeking FDA approval of a new drug that contains actual cannabinoids, not synthetic, which is currently approved and on the market.  Their mouth spray contains a blend of cannabinoids that they have found to commonly bring relief.

The problem is now that patients are armed with more in-dept information of not only their illness but of cannabis and its compounds they are no longer happy with a “one size fits all” treatment.  Why and how cannabis interacts with our system is becoming more widely known.  With this comes the knowledge that when using cannabis the key to its success is using the right mix of compounds.  Many studies point to the fact that you can not just isolate THC or just CBD but  that its the correct balance of multiple compounds that achieves the desired effect.  This is important to keep in mind when researching your ailment.  Looking for strains that match up with your needs can be very tricky so it is recommended that you seek help when undertaking this.

This is just one more reason why legalization is important.  In states that have legalized medical use of cannabis, dispensaries have flourished.  This allows first-time patients to be guided through the process with experienced patients and experts.  This also allows for supervision of a professional doctor instead of just yourself.  Dispensaries offer a wide array of strain choices within sativa, indica and hybrid varieties.  Professionals also help with choosing the right delivery method for you.

Cannabis use has come a long way since the casual days of the 60s.  Today patients are faced with many choices from natural buds,concentrates, tinctures, edibles and more.  In the states that have passed medical use laws patients standards have been raised.  Gone are the days when people were satisfied with whatever the guy on the corner had that day, no questions asked.  Today patients can inquire about anything from if a bud is organic to what the percentage of THC, CBD or CBN a product contains.

Many dispensaries are now testing their products to not only raise industry standards but to educate patients and promote their best buds.  In today’s market we see dispensaries competing for business giving patients the best selection.  Patients are becoming more educated on the differences between not only the strains but the major compound contents.  With the database of knowledge on individual strains and their compounds becoming not only ever increasing but more accessible it is only a matter of time before we have a better grasp to really start helping patients.

One of the largest shortfalls of today’s medical community is individualized care.  Many times patients are quickly shuffled through their appointment with their doctor trying out different therapies that have worked for other patients.  We do not have the availability of affordable technology to scan or sequence every patients illness or cancer.  Someday we will have wide-spread use of technology that allows doctors to give patients exactly what their bodies need.  Gone will be the days when doctors guess if a medication will work or kill you.  We know today that the technology exists to DNA sequence a cancerous tumor.  We already know that if we have the right combination of cannabis compounds it can shrink a tumor.  Think of all the loved ones that we could save with the right individualized care.

Today’s medications can cause many side effects including respiratory failure, liver damage and even death.  Many times patients are left with the option of doctors guessing which medication will be most helpful with the least damage and many times are prescribed more medication later on to combat damaged caused by previous treatments.  Cannabis has been praised for its forgiving window for patients in regards to damage from side effects.  Common knowledge of no reported overdoses or deaths from cannabis is another appealing factor.  Many have discovered that the benefits of cannabis outweigh the non-lethal side effects and have stopped taking all other medications.

With patients today educated on not only their illness but the available treatment options it is no wonder that they no longer want to accept only what the industry is willing to provide.  Many have taken their health into their own hands.  We have discovered how vital individualized care is when dealing with cannabis and hopefully have sparked interest into other avenues where this can be applied.  It is no longer in the best interest of the nation to rely so heavily on the current industries but instead look for not only natural options but ones that will not do harm.  We can look to the future for the technologies that can one day save us but for today we need to keep our option of being able to choose our own strain combination for ourselves until we all can have individualized care.  To do this we must continue in our fight for legalization.

Dear Mr. President

I know this year is a very important year for you.  It is just as important for millions of Americans across the nation.  I write to ask you a question.  In an election year that many feel is vital we would like to know why the issue of cannabis has not been properly discussed?  I have read the releases from the administration but it fails to properly address our concerns.  The issue has been ignored at many venues where it was the leading question.

After 40 years of this War on Drugs where have we gotten and was it worth it?  In this economy many people are hurting and everyone is looking for ways to save money.  The War on Drugs cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year and is responsible for many tragic stories.

Not only has it cost us money but it has cost us as a society as well.  Millions of Americans have been shuffled through the judicial system destroying their lives many for simple possession.  This problem has also exposed racial divides and furthered the tension in the country.  People have lost faith in law enforcement in many cities.  In Mexico over 50,000 have died in the last 6 years directly resulting from this war.  The Cartels are getting richer and the demand is still there.

There is a sizable and growing group of supporters across the nation.  75% support medical use and the number for legalization for adults over 21 is rapidly growing.  In this economy where many are downsizing the cannabis industry is booming.  The states that have legalized cannabis have seen a sharp increase in revenue both in taxes and fees as well as residual income for local communities.  When properly regulated and implemented we have seen excellent examples shine through.

Consumers no longer want to go to the street corner dealer but instead enjoy the safety and security of dispensaries.  There patients can find natural, organic strain choices with professional help and options in consumption.  They can feel confident that they are paying taxes and contributing towards the community instead of the black market.

With legalization comes regulation which assists in restricting access to minors.  Today minors are restricted from buying and accessing alcohol on their own due to strict regulations.  We have seen the devastating effects that alcohol prohibition caused.  Since its repeal we have also seen the effects that it has had on this nation.  From responsible use to fatalities from car accidents, consumption and domestic violence alcohol has been responsible.  Today alcohol is advertised during major sporting events, radio, TV, movies billboards and more exposing children at a young age.

There is too much proof both in scientific studies and in testimonies to deny the many benefits of cannabis.   With the knowledge we have gained so far patients of all kinds have found relief with cannabis.  We have also seen miraculous cases such as Cash Hyde overcome childhood cancer.  We have come much further than smoking on a Friday night but rather uncovered just the surface of what looks to be exciting and promising discoveries.

With all these factors in mind our community is wondering why our our President and candidates, who are vying for the highest power in the country for the next four years  and who directly effect this issue, continue to ignore us?  We want to know why an issue that directly effects millions and indirectly effects us all would not be considered?

We are looking for a leader who is willing to stand up to the opposition and show people that legalization can be done responsibly with regulations and state approval.  We need a leader who will take us seriously and address our needs.  We are looking for that leader this year and it is for that reason it needs to be addressed.  Millions of voters are waiting it is time to address cannabis.