An extension of these concepts suggest that low levels of cannabinoids directly stimulating the CB1 receptor, could enhance the cancer cells activation and division. Without CB2 to balance excess free radical production that can occur when the cells are using the electron transport system to generate their ATP, cell death is a likely outcome. Hence the danger of CB1 specific drugs by humans to alter consciousness. Unbalanced CB1 specific excess will produce excess free radicals and they’re dangerous. drbob
Guzmán leads me around his cramped lab—centrifuges, microscopes, beakers, petri dishes, a postdoc researcher in a white smock extracting tissue from a mouse corpse pinned under bright lights. It’s your typical bioresearch lab, except that everything is devoted to the effects of cannabis on the body and brain. The lab focuses not just on cancer but also on neurodegenerative diseases and on how cannabinoids affect early brain development. On this last topic the Guzmán group’s research is unequivocal: Mice born of mothers regularly given high doses of THC during pregnancy show pronounced problems. They’re uncoordinated, have difficulty with social interactions, and have a low anxiety threshold—they’re often paralyzed with fear at stimuli, such as a cat puppet placed near their cage, that don’t upset other juvenile mice.
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Most acutely, the discomfort and stiffness I’d felt for months from a meniscus tear (confirmed by MRI) went away. The occasional twinges I had been getting on runs stopped. More significantly, what had been the tear’s near-constant presence in daily life, such as when getting up from sitting, has disappeared. For now I’ve postponed surgery on the tear. It’s impossible to know if CBD was the key factor in any of these changes. Still, at the end of the month I decided to keep taking CBD daily.
Further testing found what the world now knows: This compound is the plant’s principal active ingredient, its mind-altering essence—the stuff that makes you high. Mechoulam, along with a colleague, had discovered tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). He and his team also elucidated the chemical structure of cannabidiol (CBD), another key ingredient in marijuana, one that has many potential medical uses but no psychoactive effect on humans.
Right now, there’s a good chance that you don’t really know what you’re getting from any source. Testing and labeling rules vary by state, but many states that allow legal cannabis also require some kind of testing to verify that the THC and CBD levels listed on the label are accurate. However, this testing is controversial, and results can vary widely between labs, Jikomes said. A study published in March found measurable variations in test results, with some labs consistently reporting higher or lower levels of cannabinoids than others. There are no guarantees that the label accurately reflects what’s in the product. For a 2015 study published in JAMA, researchers tested 75 products purchased in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle and found that only 17 percent were accurately labeled. More than half of the products contained significantly lower levels of cannabinoids than the label promised, and some of them contained only negligible amounts of the compounds. “We need to come up with ways to confidently verify the composition of cannabis products and make this information available to consumers,” Jikomes said.
Even though marijuana is listed as a dangerous drug, there have been no direct fatalities recorded. The overdose levels are far too high for anyone to ingest. In fact, the overdose levels are 1000 times higher than the effective dose of 15 mg. Any fatalities connected to marijuana have been due to driving while under the influence of THC, trouble with the law because of possession, or smoking weed during a pregnancy (infant fatality).
Numerous diseases — such as anorexia, emesis, pain, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, neurodegenerative disorders, epilepsy, glaucoma, osteoporosis, schizophrenia, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, obesity and metabolic syndrome-related disorders — are being treated or have the potential to be treated by cannabis oils and other cannabinoid compounds. Although studies are limited due to strict government guidelines, a growing number of pediatric patients are also seeking symptom relief with cannabis or cannabinoid treatment.
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.
Now 13, Jackson — whose diagnosis is undetermined — continues to use marijuana every day. (Like many patients, he ingests it in droplet form, which allows for more precise dosing and avoids lung problems.) He still has seizures, but they are less severe and they occur once every week or two, down from around 200 a month before he started using cannabis. He is back in school full time and is well enough to go on hikes and bike rides with his family.
Let's start with the most officially proven medical use of CBD. Earlier this year, the FDA approved the first-ever drug containing CBD, Epidiolex, to treat two rare forms of pediatric epilepsy. To get to that point, the drug's manufacturers had to do a whole lot of randomized, placebo-controlled trials on humans. They had to study how much children could take, what would happen in case of overdose, and any possible side effects that would occur.
Then one day in 1963 a young organic chemist in Israel named Raphael Mechoulam, working at the Weizmann Institute of Science outside Tel Aviv, decided to peer into the plant’s chemical composition. It struck him as odd that even though morphine had been teased from opium in 1805 and cocaine from coca leaves in 1855, scientists had no idea what the principal psychoactive ingredient was in marijuana. “It was just a plant,” says Mechoulam, now 84. “It was a mess, a mélange of unidentified compounds.”
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Cannabis has been used for millennia as a pain-relieving substance. Evidence suggests that cannabinoids may prove useful in pain modulation by inhibiting neuronal transmission in pain pathways. The oil has the ability to relieve chronic pain and inflammation, which is why cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy often turn to cannabis oil for relief. It’s also why it can be a part of natural fibromyalgia treatment.
Typically, pharmaceutical companies making cannabis-based medicines have sought to isolate individual compounds from the plant. But Mechoulam strongly suspects that in some cases those chemicals would work much better in concert with other compounds found in marijuana. He calls this the entourage effect, and it’s just one of the many cannabis mysteries that he says require further study.
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