Can Medical Marijuana Kill Tumors?

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Yes, this title isn’t just a hypothetical. Earlier this week scientists discovered a link between medical marijuana and the elimination of cancerous tumors.

Reported at MensHealth.com ( in addition to many other outlets), these scientists found that using medical marijuana in conjunction with chemotherapy drugs actually INCREASED the effectiveness of those drugs.

According to research coming out of the University of London, THC and CBD both increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs. However, it turns out this only happens when the chemicals are ingested, not when they are smoked. Smoking, it seems, nullifies most of the benefits that these chemicals give you.

Why? Because ingesting these chemicals allows a much more concentrated dose to hit you, like swallowing a pill, rather than the slow diffusion of it through your lungs.

Now keep in mind, this is only one scientist’s research, and it will have to be backed up by further experiments in order to actually go forward and be useful. But still, it’s an exciting development for something that continues to surprise us with the sheer amount of uses it has for helping sick people in need.

We’ll be sure to keep following up on any more information that comes out of this.

 


Originally published at www.medicalmarijuana.com on June 15, 2017.

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Medical Marijuana and Organ Transplants

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Could smoking medical marijuana take you off an organ transplant list? Yes.

Over the past few years, people who used medical marijuana and signed themselves up to be organ donors have found themselves removed from the lists. Even worse, people who were waiting on organs ALSO found themselves removed from the transplant list, due to the “added health risk” of medical marijuana. CNN has a larger article about it, and we wanted to discuss it here.

This has led to a bill in Maine that, if approved, would not allow hospitals to remove people of an organ transplant list solely based on medical marijuana use.

Obviously, we think this is a great initiative. Can you think of any other medical prescription that would REMOVE your ability to get an organ for taking? The fact that medical marijuana was singled out for this is insane, and the fact that people weren’t told that this would happen to them is almost worse.

Several other bills are going out in other states, such as Delaware, each aiming to combat this unfair categorization. They are raising issues around who gets to determine whether or not people are allowed transplants, and particularly, why different states have their own criteria for this. In several instances, if these patients opted to get surgery in a different state, they wouldn’t have been taken off the transplant list.

We don’t have a solution to this problem ( except for the obvious–supporting these bills) but we just wanted to bring to your attention some of the insidious ways people who use medical marijuana are still discriminated against.


Originally published at www.medicalmarijuana.com on April 1, 2017.

Bacteria in Medical Marijuana?

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With medical marijuana’s growing legalization, more and more tests are being done on it to figure out just what properties it has. This week, the University of California came out with an odd warning. When studying people with weakened immune systems, they discovered that they are at a greater risk of infection of fungi and bacteria found in medical marijuana.

How was this discovered? Well the head doctor of the study had been working with patients with depleted immune systems. While examining them, he noticed that those who had been prescribed medical marijuana to treat some of their pain relief often wound up with fungal infections.

The cause? The marijuana itself. Because it’s a natural product, it can contain bacteria and fungi that a user might not know about, and because it’s only just growing in legalization, the methods to weed it out (no pun intended) might not be sophisticated enough. And that’s most likely the case, seeing as how the doctor tested samples from 20 different dispensaries and found they all had fungi or bacteria.

Does this mean you should reconsider medical marijuana? No. In people with healthy immune systems, these are basically harmless. But for people undergoing immune weakening treatments such as chemotherapy, or anything that requires immunosuppressants, medical marijuana may not be the best treatment for their pain systems.

So bottom line, as with any medication, ask your doctor about potential side-effects before starting medical marijuana, and possibly investigate other options if you have a weakened immune system.

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Originally published at www.medicalmarijuana.com on February 11, 2017.

How Medical Marijuana Can Increase Your Metabolism

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There’s always the stereotype–someone high on pot, going throughout their house, gobbling up any food they can find. And yes, one of the side effects of medical marijuana can be hunger. But surprisingly, marijuana has actually been found to increase your metabolism despite this stereotype.

How is that possible?

Recently, the University of Miami examined around 8,500 individuals, ranging from 20 to 59 years old, via the National Health and Nutrition Surveys. They found cannabis users on average:

  • Had lower blood sugar levels
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Less risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes
  • Less abdominal fat
  • Lower levels of bad cholesterol.

There have also been several other studies reconfirming this research. This led down another series of questioning, because how could a substance famous for making people eat more actually have an opposite effect on their bodies?

Well, it has to do with the chemicals that control hunger. In order to make us feel hungry, an endocannabinoid (yes, that is the actual term) called “anandamide” is released in our system. Anandamide is replaced by THC when we consume marijuana. This compound specifically activates the cell receptor known as the CB1 receptor, which increases appetite in your brain. But at the same time, other compounds in marijuana activate other cell receptors that encourage different urges to deactivate–for instance, the storage of fat from the food that you consume.

In effect, this cancels many of the effects from the added calories you may be consuming, as well as gives you the additional medical benefits associated with medical marijuana.

Does this mean you can use all the medical marijuana you want to not gain weight? Of course not. But it does show that there continues to be more benefits to this substance than we fully understand yet, and we need to keep researching its health properties.

Originally published at www.medicalmarijuana.com on November 20, 2016.

Stop Feeling Sick to Your Stomach: Medical Marijuana and Crohn’s Disease

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Every few months, as more research on the beneficial effects of Medical Marijuana is released, we find new diseases and ailments that it can help treat. One we haven’t talked about so far is Crohn’s disease, and how studies of shown that Medical Marijuana can help dull or eliminate the symptoms of this chronic condition.

First, a quick crash course in what Crohn’s disease is. Crohn’s is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract, and affects the small intestine more than the large. It can be aggravated in many different ways, but it can lead to problems that include chronic diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and fissures in the digestive tract.

Most interestingly, it’s a disease that flares up from time to time, with patients often going long periods without experiencing a symptom before rearing it’s ugly head again. Because of this, many treatments involve taking steroids during the flare-ups in order to eliminate the symptoms and heal the intestine. However, because steroids can be habit-forming and many times are stronger than one needs, science has been trying to find a better solution to deal with this problem.

Which brings us to the Medical Marijuana study.

Original Published in the journal of  Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology and then reposted on Medical Daily, an experiment was conducted to see the effects of Medical Marijuana on patients with acute Crohn’s disease, and the results were pretty shocking. 10 out of the 11 patients not exposed the placebo were weaned off of the heavy steroids used to commonly treat their disease, with medical marijuana having the exact same effects with nowhere near the level of side-effects.

Those are some incredibly promising results, effectively showing that Medical Pot could be a much safer alternative to the current steroid use the disease demands. Over and over again, we see evidence of Medical Marijuana’s ability to relieve the symptoms of diseases and conditions with no known cures. The more science behind the restorative properties of Medical Pot, the faster it’s likely to be approved, so we’re all for science continuing to push the limits of what marijuana can do.

Originally published at www.medicalmarijuana.com on October 28, 2016.

Is Marijuana Safe During Pregnancy?

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Nausea. Anxiety. Pain. These symptoms are part of most women’s pregnancies, often defining them for the entire nine months. Since marijuana can help these symptoms, and is now legal in several states, pregnant women are starting to beg the question: Could marijuana be medically useful for the nausea, the anxiety, and the pain? But if so, would it be dangerous for my baby?

For discussion purposes, we will look at two reports.

1) A December 2015 abstract from the NIH’s PubMed.gov (under the auspices of the national biotech research center) says don’t even go there. Evidence is lacking to prove marijuana is safe during pregnancy, and all the more so, past studies indicate that marijuana could be dangerous for the fetus. Complications center around “problems with neurological development, resulting in hyperactivity, poor cognitive function, and changes in dopaminergic receptors,” the report says.

2) A report by labor support doula Pamela McColl in the homebirth midwifery Birth Institute reviewed several studies dating between 1975 and 2011, and concluded similarly to the PubMed.gov abstract, stating outright, “Marijuana use during pregnancy interrupts fetal brain development.”

While both of these reports conclude that pregnant women should not use marijuana, neither of them can say that it is 100% dangerous. The PubMed.gov report admits that studies have not been comprehensive, and the studies cited by McCall are older and do not all examine cannabis usage during pregnancy per se.

More Questions Remain

All things considered, perhaps pregnant women are missing out if marijuana could be deemed safe, in quantity and quality, for them and their babies. As a related matter on the feminine front, a recently-released cannabis product called Fiora Relief garnered viral attention for its cures for premenstrual and menstrual cramps. Stick the cannabis suppository up the vagina, and voila, those wrenchingly-heavy, stop-you-in-your-tracks uterine pangs and lower back aches are gone.

Wait a minute. Menstrual cramps are mini uterine contractions. So could this solution do the trick for the really heavy labor contractions? After all, it can also be inserted rectally. At this point it’s unlikely anyone in the conventional medical community will suggest this because the effects of a cannabis suppository, even rectally, might risk the baby getting high and affecting the heart rate. Another question is whether cannabis for pain relief would be any safer than other medical pain relief, such as epidurals, which can also affect heart rate. We do not mean to imply the safety of either option, rather to raise the question of statistical probability of risks when comparing marijuana usage to accepted modern medicine norms.

No for Now

All told, to date, the safety of marijuana usage in pregnancy is toggling the line of opening up a can of worms. Like many pregnancy safety questions, researchers and doctors understandably are leery of giving a definitive answer because there’s a developing baby involved. As such, the answer — like the blanket US medical stance on alcohol consumption during pregnancy — is “since we can’t know, the answer is no.” In other words, the better-safe-than-sorry approach is the official medical word. Pregnant women are advised against using marijuana routinely during pregnancy, legalities notwithstanding. What people try on their own has been, and remains, another story.

Originally published at www.medicalmarijuana.com on February 18, 2016