Monthly Archives: July 2012

Can Cannabinoids Cure Cancer?

cannabinoid receptors in the brainI read some more positive news about the application of Cannabis as a medicine today, and this time it comes from none other than the Cancer Research UK Science blog. The full article can be read by clicking here. It is a rather long post so I’ll do my best to summarise it below.

First up, I just want to say that seeing this type of bona fide research into the medical benefits of cannabis brings a warm glow to the heart. Yes it’s a class B drug in the UK, yes it can get you stoned, yes it’s a sociable drug that you want to share with friends, get the munchies, giggle your arse off and not fight anyone or stab anyone or be obnoxious and anti-social, and you can just wake up the next day and get on with your life…but as you can see the applications for this wonder plant go far beyond recreational drug use.

The Cancer Research blog post is focusing on cannabinoids, which are the active chemicals found throughout the plant. They stress that there isn’t enough evidence yet to prove conclusively that cannabinoids can effectively treat cancer, however research is ongoing globally.

Apparently we have two types of cannabinoid receptors in the human body, CB1 and CB2. CB1 is found mainly in the nervous system including the brain, and CB2 is found in the immune system. It’s thought that the CB1 receptors are responsible for getting us high (which makes sense if the CB1 is found in our nervous system).

I had to quote the following directly from the blog post as it is fascinating:

“Through many detailed experiments, handily summarised in this recent article in the journal Nature Reviews Cancer, scientists have discovered that various cannabinoids (both natural and synthetic) have a wide range of effects in the lab, including:

  • Triggering cell death, through a mechanism called apoptosis.
  • Stopping cells from dividing.
  • Preventing new blood vessels from growing into tumours.
  • Reducing the chances of cancer cells spreading through the body, by stopping cells from moving or invading neighbouring tissue.
  • Speeding up the cell’s internal ‘waste disposal machine’ – a process known as autophagy – which can lead to cell death.

All these effects are thought to be caused by cannabinoids locking onto the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. It also looks like cannabinoids can exert effects on cancer cells that don’t involve cannabinoid receptors, although it isn’t yet clear exactly what’s going on there.”

areas of brain affected by cannabinoidsFascinating stuff, but the post then states that it’s not all good news.

“some researchers have found that although high doses of THC can kill cancer cells, they also harm crucial blood vessel cells, although this may help their anti-cancer effect by preventing blood vessels growing into a tumour. And under some circumstances cannabinoids can actually encourage cancer cells to grow.

Others have discovered that activating CB2 receptors may actually interfere with the ability of the immune system to recognise and destroy tumour cells, although some scientists have found that certain synthetic cannabinoids may enhance immune defences against cancer.

Furthermore, cancer cells can develop resistance to cannabinoids and start growing again, although this can be got round by blocking a certain molecular pathway in the cells known as ALK.”

The article then goes on to say that all this is just lab work so far, and there are still far too many unanswered questions surrounding the medical application of cannabis. They then steer the conversation on to the YouTube videos of people stating that on video that cannabis has cured their cancer. We’ve all seen the videos and I agree with what Cancer Research state, basically that they are not convinced by the videos and they are emphatically NOT scientific. The type of video I’m talking about is like this one:

Cancer Cure?

So there you, yet more compelling proper research into medical cannabis. I urge you all to read the full article and make up your own minds.

Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of this research being carried out, and maybe, just maybe, the groundswell of support will increase until finally those people in power will have no option but to decriminalise the drug and explore all the benefits that cannabis can bring us.

Mould on the ‘Erb

Bud rot on cannabis plantOne of my friends told me yesterday that his greenhouse grow has been decimated this year due to the amazingly crappy summer we’ve been having here in the UK. The constant rain, damp, and lack of sun has not been a good thing! He’s been growing a few varieties of cannabis plants, and all of them have suffered to some extent with mould, bud rot, and some whitefly infestation.

The problem we all face as amateur gardeners is that we rely totally on the genetic makeup of the seeds we buy from the seedbanks, who in turn get the seeds from the breeders. Everyone knows that the trend has been for higher yields and higher THC levels, this is what growers look for when they are choosing what to grow, and of course if there’s a demand for this then the breeders and seedbanks will supply that demand to make money. It’s just business after all.

Doing some research on this I found that with all the cross-breeding in search of higher levels of THC and yields, factors such as resistance to mould and critter infestation has been largely over-looked. So is it any wonder that my friend’s crop has suffered so much with the mould this year.

However there are varieties of plants out there that have a higher resistance to these mould and critter problems. One business in particular makes this their USP; Mandala Seeds. They have developed various Sativa and Indica strains that are specifically bred for outdoor growing and have a higher than average resistance to mould, apparently.

I’ve picked four of these plants that I will definitely be recommending to my friend, two Indicas and two Sativas. Fair enough the potency of the plant won’t be quite as high as what he’s been used to, but surely in damp conditions it makes sense to have a healthy plant that gives a fair yield Vs a plant that rots, goes mouldy, and is ultimately not smokeable.

Kalichakra

kalichakra

Type: Sativa/Indica Hybrid
Yield: Heavy
Flowering Time Required: between 69 and 76 days

 

 

Beyond the Brain

Beyond the BrainType: Sativa dominant
Yield: (dry weight): 250+ gr/m2; 500-850 gr per plant outdoor in the ground
Flowering Time Required: 70+ days

 

 

 
Mandala #1 (My personal favourite)

Mandala Number 1Type: Hybrid mainly Sativa
Yield: Not sure
Flowering Time Required: It’s a Sativa, so probably 70 days+

 

Hashberry

HashberryType: Indica
Yield: Not sure
Flowering Time Required: 60-65 days

 

 

So there you go, there’s no excuse for a mouldy crop next year!

If anyone has grown any of these Mandala varieties I’d love to hear how you got on – was there any mould? What was the yield? How strong was the smoke?

Buying Cannabis Seeds Online

Now this is something of a grey topic in the UK, as the law states that there is nothing illegal about selling seeds, or indeed buying as many cannabis seeds as you want. However this does become illegal the moment you germinate them…and the law is quite clear on that point!

I’ve been doing a bit of research into the best places to buy seeds from, and so far I’ve tested two of the larger online stores with small purchases. I’ll give my reviews on these below, and hopefully I’ll be able to add to this list when I get round to buying more seeds from different outlets.

First up is one of the more established outlets:

Everyonedoesit.com (aka URT1)

I bought 3 x Sweet Seeds Fast Bud Fem Autos on their site. The checkout process was simple and took about 5 minutes, I felt like I could trust these guys with my credit card details.

I received my order two days later in a plain brown jiffy bag. Opening the pack I saw a DVD case, and inside that I found my seeds packed securely in a tiny phial. Also included was a rather chavvy looking orange wristband and a copy of my invoice. No free seeds from this site.

All in all I felt comfortable ordering from this site, and the only two negative points is that on the back of the jiffy bag was printed the URT1 name and return address. A quick search of Google for ‘URT1’ would have told anyone with half a brain what was in the jiffy bag. The other negative point was that I wish they hadn’t packed the invoice with the goods. If it had gone missing and been opened then all my details were on that piece of paper – I had an e-copy of the invoice so there was really no need for them to include a paper version with my order.

The next purchase was from a very slick website called:

Herbiesheadshop.com

The ordering process felt safe and secure and I got through the checkout procedure with no problems.

The goods arrived two days after ordering, and again it was just a plain brown jiffy bag with a black DVD case inside. Inside the case was my order (packed nicely into a tiny phial), as well as free seeds which were packed into a little round plastic case. There was no invoice, which I was pleased about. There was a return address printed on the back of the jiffy, but no business name.

Overall I felt more comfortable ordering from Herbies – not just because I got free seeds, but because if the seeds had been intercepted then there would be no trail back to me!

So next time I’m over in Spain visiting my friends there I’ll pop these seeds and see what comes up 🙂

More test orders to follow soon…if anyone else has ordered from other sites it would be good to hear what you thought of the ordering process.

Cannabis Coffee Shops in the UK?

Hi readers, what do you think of Amsterdam-style coffee shops opening up in the UK?

Cannabis to the Rescue…again!

Medical MarijuanaYet more positive scientific studies have been carried out using cannabis. The Telegraph reported over the weekend that cannabis could be used to treat obesity-related diseases. Read the full story by following this link.

So this so-called evil, destructive, and illegal plant is responsible for helping patients yet again – this time it’s those who are at risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Initial animal tests have already shown scientists that levels of cholesterol in the blood stream are reduced, and so they are now progressing on to human trials – fingers crossed they get positive results from these human test subjects. Results will be later this year apparently.

When you click the link to the Telegraph article I would strongly recommend you read the comments as well – some of it is eye-opening stuff.

Coffee Shops in the UK?

Professor David Nutt is in the news again, and once again he is talking very sensibly and rationally about potentially opening Amsterdam-style coffee shops in the UK; which would, he theorizes, reduce the consumption of alcohol by as much as 25%. Surely this can only be a good idea for all concerned:

  • There will be a legal outlet for smokers of the herb to go and buy whatever variety of weed they want, smoke without fear of arrest, and socialise with their friends.
  • The black market trade in selling cannabis would be a thing of the past if these coffee shops start up here.
  • alcohol-related fights and unsociable behaviour would be dramatically reduced (how many stoners have you seen starting a fight?!).
  • And of course as these coffee shops would be regulated the government would be able to have another steady tax revenue stream coming in.

This is not to mention the dramatic reduction in the cost of policing. In the article, which is reported on The Guardian website, Prof Nutt mentions that the cost of policing cannabis is only £500m per year, compared to a mind-boggling £6bn a year to police alcohol. The maths is very simple, however it would appear that yet again the goverment and Daily Mail readers refuse to even listen to this very sensible chap.

Cannabis Without the High???

So I checked the latest news on my Alerts this morning, and the headline “Medical Marijuana Without the High” screamed out at me, so I obviously had to check that link out immediately.

According to this Reuters report, an Israeli company has been able to cultivate CBD-only cannabis plants that have very little THC, if any. As any seasoned toker knows, it’s the THC that gives you that stoned feeling.

I for one welcome this move as this breakthrough will surely only support the expansion of medical research into the effects of cannabis-related products to treat conditions such as HIV, Parkinson’s, MS, Diabetes, and a whole host of other ailments. Some people just don’t want the THC stoner effects, and by developing a CBD heavy plant they may get all the benefits of the plant with none of the psychoactive feelings.