The lab also has studied how the chemicals in cannabis, as well as cannabinoids like the anandamide produced by our bodies, protect our brains against various types of insults, such as physical and emotional trauma. “Our brain needs to remember things, of course,” says Guzmán, “but it also needs to forget things—horrific things, unnecessary things. It’s much like the memory in your computer—you have to forget what is not necessary, just like you need to periodically delete old files. And you have to forget what is not good for your mental health—a war, a trauma, an aversive memory of some kind. The cannabinoid system is crucial in helping us push bad memories away.”
He leads me through Mindful’s bustling front offices and into its interior corridors. In freezers Mindful stores seeds from all over—Asia, India, North Africa, the Caribbean. A world traveler who’s become something of a Johnny Appleseed for marijuana, Hague is extremely interested in the plant’s historical biodiversity, and his seed bank of rare, wild, and ancient strains is a significant part of Mindful’s intellectual property. “We have to recognize that humans evolved with it practically since the dawn of time,” he says. “It’s older than writing. Cannabis use is part of us, and it always has been. It spread from Central Asia after the last ice age and went out across the planet with man.”
Hemp oil contains some of the same terpenes as dried cannabis bud. Terpenes are the aroma molecules found in plants. Beta-caryophyllene (pepper) and myrcene (musk) are both been found in hemp oil. According to recent research, beta-caryophyllene acts as a cannabinoid in the body. It engages some of the same cell sites as smoked cannabis. In particular, the terpene interacts with cell receptors that regulate the immune system. Myrcene has been found to have antidepressant and anti-inflammatory effects. It also acts as an antioxidant and helps molecules move across cell membranes. The combination of essential fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants and healing terpenes make hemp oil one powerful superfood.
Taking a fish oil supplement can be a helpful way to increase omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, a nutrient that is essential for brain development, immune system health, and mood regulation. Expectant mothers certainly want to include these nutrients in their diet; however, fish contains a great deal of mercury which can hinder neurological and developmental mechanisms in the unborn baby. Fortunately, hemp seed oil works as a terrific alternative to traditional omega-3 fatty acid supplements and doesn’t carry the same risk of mercury ingestion.
Cannabis Oil: Cannabis oil is typically made from marijuana with a high THC percentage. Therefore, it must be purchased in an area where marijuana is legal or can be obtained with a prescription. The amounts of compounds, including CBD and THC, will drastically vary from product to product. Commercially produced cannabis oils will have more controlled concentrations of CBD and THC for medical purposes.
Jackson Leyden had always been a healthy kid; he practiced taekwondo, and he played lacrosse and baseball. But in 2011, a few months after his eighth birthday, he began having seizures several times a day. Many were brief, a half-minute of staring into space, but he also had severe episodes in which he would collapse, sometimes injuring himself. Over the next two years, he was hospitalized about 50 times, and he missed much of fourth and fifth grade.
Although delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (known as THC) is the primary psychoactive ingredient, other known compounds with biologic activity are cannabinol, cannabidiol, cannabichromene, cannabigerol, tetrahydrocannabivarin and delta-8-THC. Cannabidiol is thought to have significant pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory activity without the psychoactive effect of delta-9-THC.
If he had his way, what Mechoulam regards as the often irresponsible silliness of recreational pot culture would give way to an earnest and enthusiastic embrace of cannabis—but only as a medical substance to be strictly regulated and relentlessly researched. “Right now,” he complains, “people don’t know what they’re getting. For it to work in the medical world, it has to be quantitative. If you can’t count it, it’s not science.”
Still, for many, cannabis has become a tonic to dull pain, aid sleep, stimulate appetite, buffer life’s thumps and shocks. Pot’s champions say it peels back layers of stress. It’s also thought to be useful as, among other things, an analgesic, an antiemetic, a bronchodilator, and an anti-inflammatory. It’s even been found to help cure a bad case of the hiccups. Compounds in the plant, some scientists contend, may help the body regulate vital functions—such as protecting the brain against trauma, boosting the immune system, and aiding in “memory extinction” after catastrophic events.
I lean over to sniff one of the powdery, tightly clustered flower buds, purple-brown and coursing with white wisps. These tiny trichomes fairly ooze with cannabinoid-rich resin. This strain is called Highway Man, after a Willie Nelson song. Hybridized by Hague, it’s a variety loaded with THC. The best parts will be trimmed by hand, dried, cured, and packaged for sale at one of Mindful’s dispensaries. “This whole room will be ready for harvest in just a few days,” Hague notes with the subtle smirk of a competitive breeder who’s won international awards for his strains.
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