Cannitrol – Cannabis Control Agent

Marijuana news from around the world

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Largest Study to Date Finds CBD Cannabinoid Helpful For Children with Epilepsy

Providing some much-needed hope for parents of kids suffering from severe forms of epilepsy, a new study provides further evidence that marijuana’s non-psychoactive cannabinoid, Cannabidiol (a.k.a. CBD), offers a safe and effective form of anti-epileptic therapy. As parents and guardians of epileptic children have been scrambling to obtain those few strains known to be high […]

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Update on Medical Marijuana Issues in Michigan

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While the coastal areas of New York and California have dominated marijuana reform news lately, we would like to turn our attention today toward the middle of the country.  Michigan approved medical marijuana legislation in 2008 and though Attorney General Bill Schuette has sought to bring an end to the program, advocates have rallied to ensure patient safety.

There was a major landmark court decision issued recently by the Michigan Supreme Court.  In a unanimous decision the court upheld a voter approved statute that would protect patients even if they have not applied for a medical marijuana card.  However, they would need a previous recommendation from a physician.  The current decision stems from lower cases where individuals were arrested for marijuana possession but should have been protected under the voter approved law.  Karen O’Keefe, an attorney with the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) was pleased with the victory.  MPP sponsored the initiative to get Michigan’s medical marijuana program passed.  Ms. O’Keefe did urge patients to register in order to avoid the stress of being arrested and any legal fees associated with it.  However, the victory is huge and patients can seek relief quicker as they can get their recommendation and start medicating as they wait on their paperwork to be processed.

Another interesting development in Michigan has to do with the medical marijuana program’s inclusion of 44 minors under the age of 18.  For many this is controversial at best, and maybe even downright wrong.  However, we must ask ourselves if there would be any attention paid to these children if they were taking highly addictive opiates in order to combat pain.  The Detroit Free Press recently ran an article that focuses on Cooper Brown, a 14 year old who is a Michigan cardholder and uses marijuana to relieve complications associated with Dravet Syndrome (a severe form of epilepsy that is untraceable and begins in infancy).  Cooper’s mother, Rebecca Brown, says that his seizures have drastically reduced since he began using marijuana.  In line with the growing trend, Rebecca relies on laboratories to select strains that are low in THC and high CBD (the cannabinoid associated with pain relief without feeling “stoned”).  She does not permit him to smoke it and, instead, prepares it in his food.

Rebecca and Cooper highlight just how desperate the need for medical marijuana regulation is.  Though Rebecca seems capable of selecting her son’s medicine, there should be much more information and professional recommendations available.  The time for simply dismissing marijuana as taboo is not a luxury Rebecca Brown can afford.  Her son needs help and a lack of information on the subject is simply unacceptable.  Thankfully they live in Michigan where the Supreme Court’s decision and Cooper’s situation show that patients are still a high priority.

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Hashish

Hashish

The cannabis plant is consumable in many forms.  One of the most storied and controversial preparations of marijuana is hashish.  Hashish is a compressed and purified form of the resin that grows in the trichomes of the cannabis plant.  Historically, bud harvests were pressed between palms or other plant leaves until all excess plant matter, save the resin, was rubbed away.  This left a much finer substance, varying in consistency from fine powder to a paste of oily substance.  The final product has a much higher cannabinoid content than regular bud clippings.  Today, there are numerous ways of preparing hash, from mechanical tumblers, to ice baths, chemical separation treatments, and even vacuum distillation.  This can result in powdered hash, hard blocks, nuggets of goo (for lack of a better description), or even a resiny oil, often called “honey oil”.  These preparations can range from 30-90% in THC content, as opposed to untreated buds (up 27% THC).  Although, as marijuana research and development has progressed, growers are now using high CBD strains to produce hashish that offers medical benefits to a greater diversity of patients.

Though hashish has been found frequently in historic sites throughout the Near East, Middle East and Indian subcontinent, many historical sources tie the name “hashish” to the word assassin and the story of al-Hassan bin al-Sabbah, a warlord from the mountainous region south of the Caspian Sea.  In a nutshell, Hassan used hashish preparations in training and maintaining the loyalty of his warriors, often sent out to kill (assassinate) his enemies.  This story came to the West, compliments of Marco Polo’s travels in the late 13th Century.  This is the most accepted tale, but many scholars refute this story’s accuracy.  From the 13th through 18th centuries, the use and spread of hashish stayed mostly in the East.  But in the late 1700’s it began to spread West as Napoleon’s conquests into Egypt exposed his troops to it.  Despite his prohibition, use of hashish continued and expanded, finding its way to the New World.
By the start of the 20th century hashish production and trade was widespread, with centers in the Middle East, Chinese Turkestan, and on the Greek/Turkish borders.  However, as time marched on, many laws prohibiting hashish production and trade were passed across the world.  As quickly as it had risen to prominence, it was quickly blacklisted.  Today it can be found, in many places but is still castigated in others. In Amsterdam (home of the Ice-olater production method), many kinds of hash can be found, or in India and Nepal as “charas.”  In California, Colorado, and other compassionate use states, it can be found at dispensaries. And these cultivators are some of the pioneers pushing the strains in new directions to help benefit patients whose afflictions leave them with few treatments.

On the other end of the spectrum, Oklahoma recently passed a bill including sentencing for anywhere from two years to life for production, sales or distribution of hashish.  House Bill 1798 names a mandatory 2-year minimum sentence, as a felony, for first time convictions.  Subsequent offenders face sentences without leniency or parole to a lifetime sentence.  This is a newly-minted law for a cannabis-based product, not heroin, crack or cocaine (although those laws are just as strict).  By the way, Oklahoma and Colorado share approximately 100 miles of border.  At the same time, Colorado is looking into DUI laws for cannabis.  This may not be welcome news to most patients, but it is a key part of regulation and acceptance.  Most people rail against sobriety check points (for alcohol), but they deter drunk driving and therefore save lives. Hopefully Colorado’s legislators will spend time to review the science behind the detection of cannabis in the body. It is not as simple as a test as for alcohol inebriation.

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Tinctures, another way to medicate

Tincture

There are many ways of medicating with cannabis.  Today, the most common method is smoking, either from a rolled cigarette, pipe, or bong.  We’ve also discussed vaporizing, as its popularity has soared, as well as edibles such as brownies and chocolates.  There is yet another way, the use of tinctures.  A tincture is an alcoholic extract or solution of a nonvolatile substance.  Tinctures are one of the oldest and simplest ways to medicate.  In fact, prior to 1937 (when Marijuana was made illegal) every pharmacy sold cannabis tinctures, and physicians had them on hand at all times.  Queen Victoria of England, was even known to use them to treat her menstrual cramps; nobody wanted a crabby monarch on the throne.

Cannabis tinctures are relatively easy to make and simple to administer.  They are often stored in vials with medicine droppers and dosed out in drops.  Depending on the strength of a particular batch, 2-3 drops are all that are needed for relief from disorders.  The most effective way is to apply it sublingually (under the tongue).  It is absorbed directly through the membranes and blood vessels below the tongue and usually takes effect between 5-30 minutes after application.  Some patients complain of a burning sensation when applied also.  This is usually caused by the ethanol base of the tincture.  Depending on the proof of the alcohol, higher proof equals a bit more burning.  In that case, the medicine can be taken orally, swallowed and digested.  When used as such, the time lapse before effect will increase because it needs to be absorbed in the stomach and then processed through the liver.

There are several ways of producing cannabis tinctures, but all agree that the higher proof content of alcohol will result in a higher quality medication.  Everclear is the highest proof (190) ethanol that exists on the market, though it is not available in all states.  Barring Everclear, Bacardi’s 151 rum (75% ethanol) is usually easy to find, but rums will impart some of their flavor and coloring to final product.  Below that, there are some very high quality vodkas available at 100-120 proof that also work quite well.  The next step is to procure some quality herbs and grind them down. Some recipes call for extra fine, and others say a good chopping is all that’s required.  The object here is to increase surface area for the alcohol work on to leech the cannabinoids from the plant into liquid.  Flowers, leaves and stems can all be used in the mix.  The next step is where most recipes diverge.  There are hot or cold preparations and then different “brewers” say it should steep for as little as 4 hours to as long as 12 weeks.  The longer it steeps, the more time the alcohol has to work.  When the proper time has elapsed, the mix should be strained and stored in glass jars in a cool area and out of sunlight.  All recipes agree on this, light will have a detriment on the strength of the product.

Patients should also consider what they are seeking to treat when deciding on the strain they select for their tincture.  Indica dominant strains work best for cramping and muscle spasticity while Sativas are better for pain relief.  These days, as selection is so varied, marijuana.net recommends using our strain library to help find what is best for you.  Also, in states where dispensaries are legal, speak with knowledgeable employees to help find the right type of herb.  There are many choices available, with varying percentages of THC and CBD content and those will determine the kind of relief a patient can expect.  Also, many dispensaries carry their own processed tinctures.  This might be the simplest option for patients because the product should be tested and labelled according to its cannabinoid content.

Overseas patients are better-provided for by GW pharmaceuticals. A UK based company, their product differs from all other cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals because it is naturally derived.  They have several state-of-the-art (and top secret) facilities for growing and harvesting marijuana plants.  GW is the creator of Sativex, an oromucosal mouth spray being marketed for people suffering from multiple sclerosis. The pros for this medication stand out because it is highly regulated and patients can expect that each dose will be as safe and effective as the last one, as opposed to homemade tinctures which can vary based on strain selection and imperfections in the manufacturing process.  On the other hand, it does not contain all the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the cannabis plant, so it won’t have the same overall effect.  Furthermore, it is only available in select countries; these include England, Spain, Canada, Germany and New Zealand. Further availability in Asia and Africa is pending.  Though US acceptance and trials are pending, it is not yet available in our country.

Long ago, before tinctures were widespread, marijuana had also been used for medical and religious purposes too.  In the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern areas, the cannabis plant was considered to have mystical and holy properties (aside from its hemp-utility too).  This oil is described in Exodus and is believed to be made of Myrrh, Sweet Cinnamon, Cannabis, Cassia and the base was olive oil. The Hebrews used it for their holy anointing oil used for the raising of kings and in many other ceremonies.  The Hebrews called such men their kings, in Hebrew it is “Messiah” (anointed one) and the Greek word is “Christos.” And that is part of the reason how Yeshua of Nazareth came to be called called Jesus Christ.  Also, for those who didn’t know, the Last Supper was actually a Seder, one of the Passover dinners.  Just a little tidbit of history for our readers in time for the holidays.  For those of you out there celebrating, Happy Easter.  And for our Jewish readers, Zissen Pesach, Happy Passover!

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The Sandman and the Greenman

sedative

“Mr. Sandman bring me a dream…”  Sometimes it’s not that easy.  According to the NIH 10-15% of adults complain of chronic insomnia, with as many as 40% suffering in the short term throughout the year.  This is no laughing matter.  Sleep is a very important bodily function.  It allows the body to relax and recuperate from the stresses that make up daily life.  It is necessary also to keep the mind healthy.  Insomnia can lead to many neurological disorders including hallucinations, memory failure, psychotic episodes and many more.  “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Stay awake long enough and that will happen sooner rather than later.

For those who suffer from sleep disorders, there are many treatments available.  Some problems can be solved with a change of diet or behavior.  Other people benefit from meditation and relaxation techniques.  For many others, the only solace lies in a doctor’s prescription.  Many narcotics, such as Valium, are derived from opiates.  They are effective, but do have their drawbacks.  Most sleeping medications, like Lunesta, Ambien, Rozerem, and Halcion can be habit forming and need to be carefully regulated.  And a common problem with any drug, taken over extended periods is tolerance.  As the body grows used to it, more and more of the drug is necessary to achieve the desired effect.  On a long enough time scale, or at high enough doses, all of these drugs can be lethal or can cause dire withdrawal symptoms.

There is a natural alternative to these pharmaceuticals, and that alternative is Marijuana.  Actually, there are many other naturally-found sleep aids available, such as Melatonin, but today let us discuss the wonder plant cannabis.  Many patients prefer cannabis because it not only has sedative properties and causes drowsiness, but because it helps stimulate a sense of personal well-being.  Many people’s insomnia is partially due to anxiety, and this reduces that feeling while also bringing on sleep.  But how does it work? Luckily, this is a time where science is bringing all its tools together and our understanding of the plant is growing in leaps and bounds.  The chemicals in marijuana, amongst them cannabinoids and terpenes, are numerous but many studies are underway to gain further knowledge of them.  Terpenes are lipophilic (from latin “fat” + “love” so they work well with fats, just like cannabinoids) compounds found in almost every plant.  They are the essential oils that are responsible for the odors we smell, such as pine, citrus and marijuana’s unique fragrance.

THC, the most famous of marijuana’s active compounds, has been shown to cause anxiety in some patients, but when it works in synergy with the many other compounds has sedative effects.  When combined with the terpene Myrcene, THC can be sedating and acts as a muscle relaxant; Also, studies show it to “potentiate sleep time,” helping people to stay asleep. Some users refer to this as “couch-lock,” the feeling that they are melting into the couch, which is generally enjoyed by the cannabis crowd, and decried by its many detractors.  Two other terpenes enjoy the “entourage effect” (synergy) of THC; they are Nerolidol and Linalool (also found in lavender).  These are not the only interactions scientists have found.  Limonene (found highly in lemons) works with CBD (cannabidiol) as an anti-anxiety compound to counter THC’s anxiety causing effects.  And Nerolidol (also found in oranges) combine with THC and CBN (cannabinol) to augment the sedative qualities.  CBD also works to counter the accelerated heartbeat that many users feel when smoking, an effect of the THC.

These are just a few of the 300+ chemicals and compounds found in marijuana. They work in conjunction to create the many effects that people feel when they medicate with cannabis.  This is why many patients did not warm up to Marinol (Big Pharma’s pill) when it was released in the 1980’s.  THC is not the only thing going on in that plant which helps so many people.  One patient’s testimony, “I used to take Ambien for sleep, but I’d wind up sleepwalking. And in the morning, I’d be so groggy I could barely function.  When I vape a little before bed, I feel peaceful and sleep well.  Sometimes I am a bit foggy when I wake, but as soon as I get moving, the fog lifts and the day awaits.  Before that, I slept poorly for years. I wish I could get a prescription for it where I lived.”  With proper, regular sleep many of the little aches and pains that bother people from day to day vanish.  When the Greenman meets the Sandman, people sleep at night and prosper in the day.

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The Endocannabinoid System

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The Endocannabinoid System

Today we take time to inspect the Endocannabinoid system (ECS).  Whuh? Yes, after many years of research around the Cannabis plant, researchers recognized that the body (really most vertebrates or even a couple of invertebrates too) come with an organs and circulatory system that creates chemicals similar in structure and effect as individuals based in the world’s most versatile plant.  In 1964, ?9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was isolated and thought as the active chemical in marijuana that triggers individuals to get high.  Ever since then, discoveries in chemistry and biology have brought to several breakthroughs about intricacies from the human body and mind.  Actually, you could reason that marijuana itself has spurred a larger knowledge of ourselves.  It works out that endocannabinoids are complex molecules that act at intercellular level on most of the body’s systems.  They’re transmitters that act on receptors in your body, “Endocannabinoid receptors are highly expressed within the brain, and also have been also present in organs and tissue from the body involved with energy homeostasis, for example adipose tissue, liver, intestinal tract, and skeletal muscle.” We began off considering nerve effects also it works out they’re type in energy regulation, body fat storage, memory and discomfort management and can also have an affect on fertility.  You will find several established cannabinoids and scientists are finding brand new ones his or her projects continue.  Although researchers have been studying cannabinoids for several years, the very first endocannabinoid wasn’t discovered and isolated before the early 1990’s,  Anandimide (arachidonoyl ethanolamide, AEA). Another chemical 2-Arachindonoylglycerol (2-AG) was referred to in 1994.

AEA’s effects could be observed in the mind in addition to peripheral systems, whereas 2-AG exists in high levels within the nervous system.  Presently the are three other recognized endogenous cannabinoids 2-arachidonyl glyceryl ether (noladin ether), virodhamine, along with the lately-discovered N-arachidonoyl-dopamine (NADA).  These chemicals float around our physiques, launched as necessary and do something about receptor sites CB1 and CB2.  The body is really a remarkably complex system that relays signals throughout itself using a number of techniques.  Basically, the body is a huge sodium pump that utilizes electrochemical stimulation to effect changes based on stimuli.  Some signals are relayed over nerves, firing electric. Others depend on these chemicals known as chemicals to complete the job.  To be able to keep your chaos low, a number of these chemicals act only in specific sites.  Think about it as being a number of locks and secrets.  To be able to prevent AEA from leading to responses inside your brain and stomach and toes simultaneously, it may only open doorways to particular areas like CB1 and CB2 sites.  The neurochemicals are furnished with some secrets that unlock specific doorways.

CB1 receptors are based in the brain, adipose (fatty tissue), liver, muscles, GI tract and pancreas.  Studies have proven that it’s integral to energy management and food and calorie consumption.  It accounts for impacting on hunger and appetite urges (munchies) and hunger satiety and palatability.  So, the activation of CB1 can trigger individuals urges for sweets while intoxicated by marijuana.  Additionally, it may incite hunger in patients whose illnesses cause appetite loss, or it may negate hunger and assist with weight reduction.  Focusing on how these chemicals operate in our physiques can result in doctors dealing with an array of illnesses from weight problems, anorexia, diabetes, and help chemotherapy patients.  New research has says adipose tissue is integral to energy management and putting on weight/loss.  Future remedies may benefit individuals with (or who’re vulnerable to) diabetes and weight problems.

CB2 receptor sites are located in high concentration within the brain and peripheral nervous systems, intestinal and natureal defenses.  By learning cannabinoids trigger reactions within scalping strategies we’ll have the ability to treat many troublesome illnesses.  Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are a couple of very debilitating GI illnesses which have basis in immune response.  To put it simply, your body responds adversely to a lot of stimuli and attacks itself, leading to massive inflammation and attacking your personal organs.  By unleashing the strategies of these chemicals doctors will have the ability to treat these awful conditions and return quality of existence to suffering patients.

Case a newbie as to the science can perform once we gain further knowledge of these chemicals and our physiques.  It’s amazing to consider that many of these fields of research were opened up up through the cannabis plant.  The majority of it’s because of the efforts from the medicinal marijuana movement.  1000’s of doctors, researchers and scientists have devoted themselves to growing our understanding. With the aid of countless active supporters pushing for brand new laws and regulations and grants or loans we are able to continue this effort.  You never know what enlightenment is going to be based in the a long time?

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