Mind & Body

Have the medicinal, cancer-fighting benefits of cannabidiol been overlooked?

Why have potential anti-cancer properties of a cannabinoid from the marijuana plant have been absent from the Rhode Island debate on legalizing and regulating marijuana?

Photo by Isaac

Medicinal marijuana being grown under lights by a registered caregiver in Rhode Island. The caregiver, Isaac, believes the medical benefits of CBD, a cannabinoid derived from marijuana, with potential cancer-fighting properties, should become part of the conversation about legalization and regulation of marijuana in Rhode Island.

The medical benefits of CBD, a cannabinoid derived from marijuana, with potential cancer-fighting properties, need to be researched here in the United States, according to Isaac, a registered caregiver.

By Richard Asinof
Posted 3/3/14
The potential healing, cancer-fighting qualities of CBD, or cannabidiol, have been missing from the conversation about the legalization and regulation of marijuana. As a registered caregiver explains, Isaac has researched and prepared an essence of CBD-enhanced oil in the treatment of his registered cancer patient. The potential medicinal benefits of marijuana should become part of the conversation, he believes. Rhode Island, with its strong academic medical research engine, could become a center of such research – if the political hurdles can be overcome.

What are the medicinal benefits of marijuana? What role do endocannabinoids play in supporting and participating in the signaling pathways in the central nervous system? Shouldn’t that be considered as a research topic for the Brown Institute of Brain Science, the Prince Neurosciences Institute, Butler Hospital, and the new Ryan Neuroscience Institute at the University of Rhode Island? Is there room for conversation about the potential medicinal benefits in the public debate about the legalization of marijuana? Is there a breast cancer organization in Rhode Island that would be willing to open the dialogue about research?
In a state and region inundated with heroin overdose deaths, the connection to legal prescription opioids – the prescription for painkillers that have been handed out like candy until recently, with ridiculously low co-pays – as low as $5 for Oxycontin – has now been driven home. The fear of marijuana – compared to the lack of oversight and concern of prescription opiates – is now changing. The overarching health issue related to depression and addiction are still woefully under-funded and not well understood.
In terms of public health, sugary drinks, fast foods and processed foods high in sodium, not to mention tobacco products and alcohol abuse – pose a much higher threat level to the future health of our communities and citizens. Getting rid of sugar and high fructose corn syrup in our diets may prove to be a far more efficacious use of resources.

PROVIDENCE – When Lifespan decided to put the “kibosh” on a planned forum about the dangers of legalizing marijuana, to be held at Bradley Hospital, organized in part by former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, the rationale given by Lifespan spokeswoman Gail Carvelli was that “hosting this forum could be viewed as taking a position on this important, yet controversial issue.”

Carvelli’s statement continued: “Since we have not formulated an opinion on this issue, we did not think it was appropriate to host such a forum at one of our facilities.”

Kennedy was outraged, claiming politics. As one seasoned Rhode Island political observer told ConvergenceRI, the real question was why Lifespan didn’t want to anger Sen. Joshua Miller, one of the sponsors of the legislation to regulate and tax marijuana. “The question is: what legislation is pending in the R.I. General Assembly that may impact Lifespan that the hospital system was worried about?”

Miller laughed out loud when he heard about the comment, dismissing it. He told ConvergenceRI that he thought Lifespan's hesitance reflected the changing opinion regarding legalization, that it had emerged as something favored by a majority of Rhode Islanders. 

Lost in the debate is an idea for a far more challenging, scientific conference that Lifespan and other parts of Rhode Island’s medical research engine could consider sponsoring: what are the medical benefits of cannabidiol, one of the cannabinoids in the marijuana plant, which has been found to have remarkable anti-cancer properties?

ConvergenceRI recently spoke with “Isaac” – a Rhode Island executive who is a registered caregiver for a cancer patient and survivor. What Isaac has discovered is that there may be far more innovative, beneficial uses of derivatives of the cannabis plant that he believes should be studied and made available to cancer patients.

ConvergenceRI: What is CBD?
CBD is an abbreviation for Cannabidiol; one of the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Dr. Sanjay Gupta's recent CNN special on cannabis showcased CBD in successfully treating that little girl Charlotte for seizures. I was not surprised, but, for many, I think their response was: “What? I thought cannabis was a dangerous drug.”

ConvergenceRI: What are the therapeutic health benefits of CBD?
The cannabis plant has a concoction of cannabinoids that together when ingested, not smoked, provide therapies for a host of conditions.

Most fauna on Earth have cellular receptors for cannabinoids. Humans are actually born with two cannabinoids; anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol.

These endocannabinoids support and participate in the signaling pathways in the central nervous system.

The Spanish, Italians and Israeliis have been leading the way on cannabinoid discovery and research. It is stunning how many medical therapies have been correlated to CBD. The primary area of my interest is in cancer therapy where cancer cells’ signaling pathways are manipulated by CBD resulting in natural cell death of the cancer cells.

This a process is known as apoptosis, which is dysfunctional in cancer cells.

What individuals, such as Rick Simpson of Canada, have discovered is that using entire cannabis plants when producing the resin reduction produces a tincture that attacks most cancers.

I know it sounds too good to be true, but all the basic science cannabis research that has been done to date (not in America due to the utterly illogical prohibitory statutes of our federal government) supports this claim.

It typically takes one month to ramp up to the daily maximum dose of 1000 mg of whole plant reduction, followed by three months at the daily maximum dose. I believe the number of people Rick has treated is at 5,000 and climbing.

ConvergenceRI: How did you first learn of the differences between THC and CBD?
Last spring I had heard from a friend that cannabis killed cancer. I was very suspicious. My first online research resulted in a PubMed abstract on how pure THC killed glioma (brain tumor).

This was the tip of the iceberg. As my research widened, it became apparent that palliative care using smoked THC was not where the true benefits of cannabis exist. It was the combination and balance between THC and CBD; the two most prominent cannabinoids occurring in the cannabis plant.

Generally, CBD moderates the effect of the THC “high” so cancer patients can stand higher doses without getting “high.”

However, what I call The Cannabinoid Army, includes all cannabis constituents, the 60 or so other cannabinoids and terpenes, from an organically grown cannabis plant.

ConvergenceRI: You are now producing your own CBD as an oil/essence? How do you do that?
Luckily, in Rhode Island, we’ve stood up to the corrupt federal government in terms of medical cannabis. I am a registered caregiver for my single patient, and provide medicinal oils on a donation basis. We should not have poor cancer patients dying because they can't afford expensive Big Pharma drugs. I believe that CBD will become a very cost-effective, non-toxic alternative to the current cut, burn or poison approach to cancer treatments.

Caregivers can have up to six patients in Rhode Island. My patient is also a registered patient with the state. The program allows us to have a garden of cannabis plants with a certain set of restrictions.

For cannabis oil producers like myself, the restrictions will eventually be relaxed as the volume of plants required to produce cannabis oil required for attacking cancer cannot be grown by a single caregiver under the current guidelines.

Basically, you grow your garden of specific types of CBD-rich cannabis strains. Once the plant is mature, all its leaves and flowers are harvested and dried.

They are then ground up in food processor into a fine powder similar to the consistency of dry cream of wheat. It is then placed in a cooking pot covered in grain alcohol and distilled for a few hours. Once distilled you make a reduction, like a French chef.

The reduction can then be prepared in various ways for patient consumption. Vegetable glycerin capsules are a common way of dispensing the oil to patients.

ConvergenceRI: Is it difficult to get the proper seeds with the right balance of CBD?
No. I have purchased all my seeds from the cbdcrew.org organization and their affiliates. I have also taken the approach of “trust but verify” by testing my oils produced from cbdcrew.org seeds and discovered, as advertised, all their claims of potency are true to form.

ConvergenceRI: Do any of the current dispensaries of medical marijuana in Rhode Island measure for CBD content?
Yes, the dispensaries have all products tested to show the concentrations of THC, CBD and number of other sample statistics. Unfortunately, most of the strains being offered at the dispensaries are low in CBD.

I think this is because there are a lot of caregivers like myself growing their own supply of high CBD plants that aren’t being sold to the dispensaries. Many growers want complete control over how their garden is managed and what their plants are fed.

For example, I am an organic grower using my own worm castings along with compost tea as fertilizer. This way, patients receive only products from Mother Nature.

ConvergenceRI: How can you test for the quality of purity of CBD in an oil/essence?
I use the Know Your Grow labs in Providence. Like us, each cannabis plant is “an individual” and will have various concentrations of cannabinoids. Therefore, I test each plant’s oil as the dosing calculations will change between individual plants.

ConvergenceRI: How have you sought to use the CBD oil in the care and treatment of your patient’s cancer?
After a few weeks of research, I realized the potential benefits of CBD. We immediately registered with the state medical marijuana program as a caregiver/ patient pair. Caregivers are only allowed to register at the behest of their patients.

I then proceeded to become a medicinal cannabis grower so that we could produce the highly concentrated cannabis oil to supplement my patient's treatment. I wouldn't be so bold to say we'll eliminate such treatments, but that is the “Holy Grail” and the goal – to irradicate cancer.

ConvergenceRI: Have you had dialogue and conversations with your caregivers about the therapeutic benefits of CBD? How have they responded?
Yes. Our health care providers always start out with the “party line” that cannabis is used for palliative care only. Once engaged in conversation about CBD they seem interested but have no scientific basis for continuing the conversation.

This lack of knowledge is tied directly to our federal government’s bullying. All the treatment information to them and us is anecdotal. Remember they only prescribe FDA-approved medications. All our providers have given it the lackluster approval of, “Hey, there's no downside.”

ConvergenceRI: Why do you believe this information about CBD’s cancer-inhibiting properties have not been shared widely with the general public?
I really believe there is a certain level of corruption in our federal government that, for whatever reason, refuses to apply common sense to the Schedule 1 classification of cannabis. Schedule 1 is a classification for a drug that has no medicinal value.

At the same time, the Department of Health and Human Services has been assigned patent #6630507, which documents specific cannabinoids from the cannabis plant that have specific medicinal applications. Go figure. Prohibition of cannabis is ending and not soon enough.

ConvergenceRI: With the current push in Rhode Island to join Colorado and Washington as states that regulate and tax the distribution of marijuana, why do you think it is important to talk about the health benefits of CBD so that it becomes part of the conversation?
There are two parts of the cannabis conundrum our federal government faces. First, the prohibition of cannabis requires the fallacy that there are no medical uses for the drug. Second, states have openly defied the prohibition by passing medical cannabis statutes based on the facts of cannabis. The primary medicinal property of cannabis is CBD in concert with the other constituents of the plant.

As more information is made available to the citizenry there is the level of distrust in the federal government. We are in the midst of the cannabis revolution that is a response to the government’s prohibition policies. To support their prohibition statutes, it appears they've been deceiving the citizenry and bullying our doctors since 1974, when the Department of Health and Human Services funded a cannabis research project that documented the anti-cancer traits the cannabis plant’s compounds exhibited. For those of you counting, that’s 40 years.

ConvergenceRI: Are there patents involved in the production of CBD? Who owns them?
CBD is naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. I don't believe Mother Nature can, should or will be patented. There was a precedent-setting case recently regarding the patenting of naturally-occurring genes that was not upheld.

ConvergenceRI: Where can people go to get more information?
The R.I. Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program. The National Cancer Institute. And at cbdcrew.org. And pubmed.com – for me, this is where it all began.

ConvergenceRI: What makes you most angry and frustrated about the lack of discussion/conversation about the health benefits of CBD?
The federal government’s deceit of the citizenry since 1974. Both my parents died from cancer since then, and my patient has been in the cancer fight since 1999. So, for me and countless other American citizens, this is personal. The citizenry should reject this government's disingenuous cannabis prohibition and begin the healing process, literally.


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Cannabis legalization pushed in some states like Washington and Colorado while in other state they consider it as a wrong move to legalize marijuana. According to Colorado lawmakers, benefits of legalizing marijuana bring them more profits and fewer crimes. How many times have you needed additional information on tips to get emergency payday cash loans, and turned to a web site search on "instant loans no credit checks?"

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Many study shows that ‘cannabinoids’ in marijuana slow the growth of cancer. It inhibits creation of new blood cells that feed a tumor and help in managing nausea, pain, fatigue etc. However, to fight cancer, the first step is to have essential diagnostic tests performed through tools present at www.ilexmedical.com. The test determine the type and severity of cancer. Depending on this results, various effective treatments are suggested to have better cure.

| Friday, July 24, 2015

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