Monday, 5 October 2015

Cannabis as a Preventative Medicine and Dietary Essential.

Cannabis as a Preventative Medicine and Dietary Essential

US Patent: 6,630,507 - filed Apr. 21, 1998
Cannabis is a medicine, there can no longer be debate about that, and while the full extent of its medicinal potential is yet to be fully explored its status as a legitimate medicine is now beyond dispute. US Patents like patent number 6,630,507 make a mockery of the US government's denial of its medicinal status, as such patents show that they are fully aware of many of the medicinal properties and potential of cannabis.
Likewise the UK government has exposed their own contradictions on the subject as they license GW Pharmaceuticals to grow cannabis for both medicinal research and to produce cannabis based medicines, already approving the patented cannabis tincture Sativex as a safe and effective medicine for MS, with many trials already approved exploring the efficacy of patented cannabis medicines for a wide range of illnesses including MS, Epilepsy, Schizophrenia, Arthritis and as a cancer treatment for Glioma.


The obvious conflicts between the prohibition of cannabis that outlaws proper access to this proven medicine and the issue of the human rights of sick people in this country is being challenged by groups like the UPA (UnitedPatients Alliance) among others. But an equally valid issue is the issue of disease prevention. One thing that is generally agreed upon by all doctors and scientists is that the most effective treatment for illness is and will always be prevention.



The Endocannabinoid System

The Endocannabinoid System
To understand cannabis medicine you need to understand the Endocannabinoid System, which is primarily made up of receptors in our body, that are activated by cannabinoids, and the Endocannabinoids our body produces that acts upon these receptors, and other receptors in our body, for a wide variety of functions.
Essentially our Endocannabinoid System regulates almost everything in our body, including our immune system, and is responsible for maintaining proper health and balance with in the body. This is why cannabis has so many therapeutic applications as it can be used to stimulate our Endocannabinoid System to restore health. But more importantly a well maintained Endocannabinoid System can prevent disease from occurring in the first place.

A relatively well known ingredient to a healthy diet is consumption of Essential fatty Acids found in various oils like fish oil and Hemp Seed Oil (made from the seeds of cannabis/hemp). What is not so well known is why these fatty acids are so beneficial and "essential" to our health. Essential fatty Acids like Omega 6 are used by our body to produce the Endocannabinoids which are then used to maintain a wide variety of vital functions with in our body. 


It is now well established that cannabinoids, both the Endocannabinoids produced by our body and the Phyto (plant based) cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, protect us from insult and injury. They prevent formation of cancer cells and kill existing cancer cells, reduce inflammation, hunt and kill free radicals, regulate our immune system, repair damaged DNA, protect, repair and stimulate the production of new brain cells, can both suppress and enhance immune function depending on our requirements and regulate a whole host of other functions with in our body.


Endocannabinoids like Anandamide and 2-AG are very similar to plant based cannabinoids like THC in both their structure and interaction with the CB1 and CB2 receptors (with Anandamide a strong CB1 agonist like THC while 2-AG has a strong affinity with CB1 and CB2 receptors). Both Endo cannabinoids are psychoactive in the same way as THC but are usually produced in smaller quantities and dissipate quicker, so do not tend to induce a noticeable high.
Eating a healthy diet full of Essential Fatty Acids is vital to supporting a healthy Endocannabinoid System, which in turn supports and maintains optimum health with in our body.
Ironically, while there are numerous sources of these essential fatty acids, including fish oils, flaxseed oil, olive oil etc. It is hemp seed oil (oil made from the seeds of the cannabis hemp plant) that provides the Omega 3, 6 and 9 in the optimum ratio for optimum health. The importance of the Endocannabinoids in supporting proper human development and maintaining optimum health is further supported by the presence of Endocannabinoids in mothers milk and the fact that humans continue to produce these Endocannabinoids through out our lives, from cradle to grave.

There are 3 established ways to support the Endocannabinoid System: 

  • The first is the consumption of the essential fatty acids, as part of a healthy diet that includes numerous nutrients and vitamins, which are used to produce the Endocannabinoids that help maintain optimum health. 
  • The second is to limit the pressure on the Endocannabinoid System by avoiding exposure to toxins, carcinogens, and various pollutants that could put undue burden on our Endocannabinoid System, and our immune system in general. 
  • The third way to support our Endocannabinoid System is to consume Phytocannabinoids from the plant to top up and support our Endocannabinoid System.
It is this 3rd option that is severely hindered and even outright prohibited in most parts of the world.

Cannabinoids


When it comes to cannabinoids from the plant there are essentially two categories. The raw cannabinoid acids produced by the plant and the neutral or "activated" cannabinoids which are converted from the raw cannabinoid acids through a process called decarboxylation, which is usually stimulated by heating the raw cannabis sufficiently, though does also gradually occur naturally through time as cannabis is dried after harvest. 
Cannabinoids and Medicinal Effects


In the case of THC it is this process which makes cannabis psychoactive as the raw THCA on the plant is not psychoactive until it is converted to the neutral/"activated" THC, through decarboxylation. It is also decarboxylation which is essential to allow the cannabinoids to activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors as raw THCA does not interact with these receptors and only has a direct effect on these receptors when converted to its neutral counterpart.

The Cannabis plant first produces a type of cannabinoid acid called CBGA which is then converted, by enzymes in the plant, to other cannabinoid acids like THCA, CBDA, CBCA etc. Which then convert to neutral cannabinoids like THC, CBD, CBC etc. through Decarboxylation.
This gives people two options for cannabis consumption. For people who wish to utilise raw cannabinoid acids only it is advised to consume fresh cannabis, with popular methods including juicing cannabis, cold extracts (like tinctures or cold extracted oils) or eating raw as a vegetable in salads (though this last option is not desirable for some as the plant material can be too fibres for some people's digestion).
Such methods avoid the psychoactive effects of THC as raw cannabis, including THCA, can be consumed in large amounts with out causing any kind of high. However for those who wish to utilise the properties associated with the CB1 and CB2 receptors then decarboxylation is essential.

Just as the evidence is mounting up that cannabis can be used to effectively treat a wide range of illnesses including cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Glaucoma, Fibromyalgia, ALS, Crohns disease, IBS, epilepsy and much more, the constantly increasing body of evidence is also showing that cannabis can be used to prevent such diseases and illnesses from occurring in the first place.


The US patent 6630507 confirms that cannabinoids, including CBD, are known for their ability to limit and repair damage caused by ischemic insult caused by strokes, but this patent also talks about how such compounds can significantly reduce the risk of stroke in the first place. Like wise, both CBD and THC as well as raw cannabinoid acids like THCA and CBDA have been shown to protect from neurological damage, inflammation and damage from free radicals. Cannabinoids like CBN and THC have been shown to aid bone growth and both THC and CBD are recognised as effective neuroprotectants, which in addition to being detailed in the US patent (6630507) is also already utilised in Israel for victims of head trauma.



Dementia Patient in Israel
THC has been shown to prevent the plaque build up that leads to Alzheimer's disease, which makes consumption of THC possibly the most effective method of preventing Alzheimer's and it is also being studied for its potential to treat the disease, with the potential of reversing it. 

The anti diabetic properties of cannabinoids strongly supports the case for cannabis as a preventative medicine for diabetes, with cannabinoids like THCV already the subject of great interest as a potential treatment for diabetes and the anti epileptic properties of CBD, THC and raw THCA and CBDA, which has made cannabis a highly sought after medicine for very serious types of epilepsy, also supports the idea that cannabis use can prevent the development of such disorders.
There is also a lot of evidence to support the idea that regular cannabis consumption can prevent the development of auto immune diseases like MS as well as being an effective treatment for such diseases with many anecdotal cases demonstrating a potential to slow down, halt, and even reverse the progression of such diseases.

Sadly, while the science, the anecdotal evidence and the clinical and pre-clinical data already shows that cannabis has tremendous benefit for a wide variety of conditions as well as being an effective preventative medicine, the full potential of cannabis as both a preventative medicine and essential nutrient as well as an effective medicine after the fact (both as a palliative and as an actual direct treatment) is essentially prevented by this ridiculous prohibition of cannabis, which has no scientific basis, no truthful or sane justification and despite becoming an absurd contradiction remains unchanged in most of the world.

Dr William Courtney and Dr David Allen are big proponents of the benefits of raw cannabinoid acids like THCA and CBDA found in raw cannabis as both an essential nutrient to prevent disease and illness and an effective medicine used to treat diseases once they have occurred and recommend juicing fresh cannabis or producing cold extracts as ideal ways to consume large amounts of cannabinoid acids, along with the naturally present flavonoids and terpenes also available in raw cannabis.
For other conditions the decarboxilated cannabinoids present in properly cooked cannabis extracts, which can be consumed by eating, smoking, vaporising or consuming via suppositories as both an effective treatment for various illnesses and as a vital nutrient to prevent diseases from occurring, are more suitable or effective.



Raw Cannabis Juice
The raw option is more desired by those who wish to avoid potential psychoactive effects of decarboxilated THC and is especially desirable for children, though does not offer all of the medicinal benefits of the decarboxylated cannabinoids. Where as many adults will prefer the often more profound benefits of the decarboxilated cannabinoids which have a more direct effect on the Endocannabinoid System and are more established with regards to the prevention of diseases like Alzheimer's and cancer, with a larger body of evidence supporting their efficacy.

Sadly to consume the quantities required to utilise cannabis as a dietary essential people would need proper access to large amounts, and if they wish to utilise the raw, non psychoactive, form of cannabis they need access to large amounts of fresh cannabis. A feat which could be easily achieved if it wasn't for this shameful prohibition as cannabis is a fast growing and potentially cheap to grow plant which is only the subject of such inflated costs because of the legal restrictions and prohibitions applied to it.

It may seem over simplistic to merely say that diseases like cancer, epilepsy and autoimmune diseases like MS are the result of cannabinoid deficiency but the ever growing body of evidence that confirms the potential of cannabinoids to both treat and prevent such diseases lend considerable weight to such a claim, as does the various functions and purposes of the Endocannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids are produced by our body to maintain optimum health and balance and Phyto cannabinoids can be utilised to support this system and both maintain and restore optimum health. Until the legal restrictions are removed and people are allowed proper access to both raw and decarboxilated cannabis as both a medicine and a dietary essential we will not know just how far this medicinal potential goes but the proven benefits are already profound and the potential for cannabis to prevent disease and illness, along with its potential to treat diseases, is now way beyond the realms of debatable theory and the needless suffering and death that is caused by cannabis prohibition is both indisputable and, while currently incalculable, is clearly profound. 


Until the prohibition is removed and people are granted proper access to this medicine, along with the proper guidance on how best to utilise it, we will not know exactly how far this medicine can go, both in the prevention and treatment of diseases. But there is no doubt that this medicine can save lives and alleviate a lot of suffering.


United Patients Alliance would like to thank Matt Sands and #MedicineGrows for this article

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2 comments:

  1. For the majority of the last century, marijuana has been considered an illegal, dangerous and addictive drug. Now with the United States lifting limitations off of the drug, Health Canada ACMPR is also doing a medical marijuana overhaul that could increase addiction as it has in the United States.

    ReplyDelete