Category Archives: Research

Cannabis Research

New Kid on the Block?

I’ve mentioned and reviewed some established seedbanks on this blog before, and I’ve been meaning to do some more reviews but time has been against me lately!

I had time over the weekend, so I was browsing the usual seedbank suspects out there, such as the absolutely enormous Attitude Seedbank, Herbies and one of my personal favourites: Rhino Seeds. These are all established and seem to be doing very well, especially in these austere times.

I was also looking for any new UK seedbanks that have started up and I came across this peach of a new website called Freedom Seeds. They are based in the UK and it looks like they have just launched. The site works really well and it was easy for me to find what I was looking for. Along with most other seedbanks they also offer free seeds with every order. They stock an impressive line of quality seeds from the respected seed breeders out there; such as Dutch Passion, Barneys Farm, Dinafem, Big Buddha, plus lots more. What’s more, when I started following their Twitter feed they are offering a special discount of 5% off any seed order – just type in ‘tweetseed’ in the coupon code redemption box when you get to the checkout and it automatically takes the 5% off your order. Although I got email confirmation that my order had been placed, I still called them up soon after placing my order to make sure everything had gone through ok, and the people there were friendly and efficient.

Who knows whether freedomseeds.com will keep up with all these offers once their site is more established, but for now I would take advantage of this offer before they pull it!

Cannabis as a Treatment for Autism and Cancer?

Two great stories came through on my newsfeed this morning; both medical-related, and both claiming that cannabis could be of potential medical benefit for Autism and Cancer.

medical cannabis baggyCancer and Cannabis

I’ve written about the medical applications of cannabis as a treatment for Cancer in previous posts on this blog. However this story, which has been republished from The Huffington Post, claims that scientists in San Francisco have discovered a cannabis-derived compound that could halt metastasis in many kinds of aggresive cancer. There’s an aggresive cancer-causing gene called ID-1 which CBD, apparently, turns off. The full story can be read by clicking here.

autism and cannabisAutism and Cannabis

The other story about Autism and cannabis is also very interesting. It comes straight from Nature.com and the story is here for you to read the full version. It’s a bit long-winded and techy so you have been warned!

Anyway, the crux of the story is that there is a genetic condition called ‘Fragile X syndrome‘, which is the most common gentic cause of autism. Males are more prone to this syndrome as we only carry one X chromosone (females obviously have two of these, so if one is damaged the other X chromosone compensates). Scientists have been testing on mice and they’ve found that by linking the pathways dependent on these 2-AG endocannabinoid transmitters, it corrects the Fragile X fault. This apparently led to a dramatic improvement in behaviour in the mice that had the condition.

Testing on mice is one thing, testing on humans is something altogether different, but it’s all good steps in the right direction, and yet another reason to continue the research into what else cannabis can offer us in terms of medical breakthroughs.

Is Cannabis About To Be Decriminalised In The UK?

Is Cannabis About To Be Decriminalised In The UK?

via Is Cannabis About To Be Decriminalised In The UK?.

Cannabis Being Tested As A Treatment For Epilepsy

Cannabis MedicineSo this piece of news was waiting for me in my inbox this morning. It’s a story from foxnews.com so how accurate it is, is debatable! …FULL STORY HERE

Anyway it looks like, as well as the myriad other medical applications that cannabis is being tested on (see my previous posts here, here, and here), it is also now coming to light that one of the cannabinoids (CBDV) found in this wonder weed is showing positive indications that it could be used as an anticonvulsant treatment for epilepsy.

It’s early days yet though as the people in white coats at GW Pharma have only tested on rats and mice so far. Let’s see how this evolves over time, but it can only be positive news for this much vilified plant.

I love weed

Have a nice weekend people…and Free the Weed!

Cannabis vs Alcohol – PART II

cannabis v alcohol deathsAs the US gets ever closer to their 2012 Presidential election, medical marijuana coverage seems to be increasing over there. With medical marijuana dispensaries getting closed down in certain states it would appear that the pro-cannabis movement is cranking up the volume.

So while I was rummaging through the Stateside news this week I came across this statistic:

Deaths from Cannabis = 0 (ever)
Deaths from Alcohol = 2,000,000 (every year)

You would think that the more dangerous drug, ie alcohol, would be the illegal product. So with a zero death toll I can see why the pro-cannabis lobbyists are trying so hard to fight for the cannabis corner, and ultimately the decriminalisation of this fabulous herb as well as better medical research into the benefits it can bring.

Cannabis as a treatment has been controversial as there is conflicting research about whether medical cannabis is or is not addictive. Many studies have found that cannabis is not addictive, or as harmful, as other drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, and opiates.

There has been a few medical studies peformed over the last few years to ascertain whether the herb has a solid medical application, and three of the most compelling studies I’ve found are below:

1) A 2009 study found that injections of THC, the primary active chemical in cannabis, helped eliminate dependence on opiates such as morphine and heroin in test animals.

2) A survey on addiction treatment and relapse rates amongst substance users found that respondents used cannabis to curb their alcohol cravings, and as an alternative to previous use of prescription drugs, and even as a substitute for more potent drugs such as cocaine.

3) Another study published in the Harm Reduction Journal over in the US found that medical cannabis users were much less likely to use more potent drugs, and even reported less tobacco use than non-cannabis users.

To me, it couldn’t be clearer that more effective research is needed; not just in the US, but on a global scale. Since withdrawal from alcohol and serious drug use often prompts the same symptoms as other medical conditions that cannabis is used to treat (anxiety, depression, pain, nausea, and sleeplessness), it seems logical that responsible use of cannabis could also help with addiction recovery.

Just to round off this post, I’ve pasted below a beautiful illustration depicting several cannabis vs alcohol statistics.

alcohol Vs cannabis chart

Makes you wonder why cannabis is so vilified, doesn’t it?

…I’m also thinking of moving to Oregon, where apparently you are allowed to legally possess 24 ounces of the green gold, according to the chart above!

More Cannabis Myths Put Into Touch

Doobons.comOver in the US there’s a great organisation called Doobons (who recently changed their name to ‘United Patients Group’). They offer a free medical resource for alternative medicine, including medical marijuana. They tend to focus on helping find the right treatment for those people with terminal and acute diseases such as: Cancer, MS, severe pain, etc.

Even though this is a Brit blog I would urge you to check out their site and then wonder “why the hell have we nothing like this over here in the UK?”. I mean they offer all this free alternative medical advice to the needy…and heck they even have a free app to boot!

The reason I’m blogging about this organisation is that recently they have officially debunked a few cannabis myths that are circulating. For an organisation of this size and stature to be doing this certainly made me prick up my ears and take notice.

I’ll quote directly from John in bold below (John is the owner and founder of Doobons):

Myth #1: Cannabis is an addictive drug that poses significant health consequences to its users.

“Unlike many of the medicines frequently used, acute lethal overdoses of marijuana have not been reported and there is no research proving increased mortality attributable to chronic use. In fact, in a recent study, the Institute of Medicine concluded that, ‘Compared to most other drugs…dependence among marijuana users is relatively rare.’”

Myth #2: Supporting medical cannabis endangers our children and encourages abuse of the drug.

“I think it’s also really important for parents to understand that dispensaries are even harder for their teenagers to get into than nightclubs, not to mention the prices are higher,” said John. “There have also been studies that show a decrease in teens’ marijuana use since the legalization of medical cannabis in California, and no evidence supporting that the passage of Proposition 215 increased marijuana use.”

Myth #3: More access to medical marijuana for legitimate patients will increase the number of marijuana-related car crashes and fatalities.

“Similar to any other medication, medical marijuana patients are held accountable to the same standards and laws of those who take any medicine with the potential to impair coordination and decision-making. There are literally hundreds of prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs that can cause delayed reactions and drowsiness and should not be used while driving; medical marijuana is no different.”

Myth #4: Cannabis must be smoked in order to benefit from its medicinal components.

“In fact, there are several ways to use medical cannabis other than lighting and smoking it. The options for patients range from vaporizing and oils to edibles and medical cannabis pills. “It just depends on what the patient feels comfortable with and what works best for them.”

Myth #5: Medicinal cannabis is only used by teenagers.

United Patients Group has found that many of the people who visit the website are older patients that have never stepped foot inside a dispensary, or caregivers and parents of pediatric patients who desperately want to know all their options.

“United Patients Group has people from all over the world, from all walks of life calling us in need of direction and guidance, as they have days, not months or years, to wade through the ever changing laws and legislations of the cannabis world.”

A very interesting Q&A there, and I couldn’t agree more with John’s answers. I still firmly believe that these myths have been spun because of the powers-that-be – they want us to believe that cannabis is bad for us, is a gateway drug, causes mental problems, etc etc. But trust me people, just do a bit of research into this area, like I did, and that veil of lies is soon lifted. Sure, cannabis can be bad for you if you abuse it – it is a psychoactive drug after all, but there are so many uses for this plant, so many unexplored medical outlets, that it shouldn’t be vilified the way it is.

That is all, rant over 🙂

legalise regulate educate medicate

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.