Cannabis Oil: A Medical Marvel For Your Skin?

Back massageAs medical and personal use of marijuana become increasingly legal, many new ways to intake cannabis are now available. In addition to inhaling smoke, people can benefit from the medical cannabinoids in cannabis by vaporizing, ingesting, and absorption via the skin.

Plant cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD,  are fat soluble and readily absorbed by the skin. These medicinal molecules may well be most perfectly administered, for many conditions, via topical products applied directly to the skin’s surface, such as cannabis-infused massage oil. To clarify, this is not “hemp oil” from the seeds of low cannabinoid hemp, but made from the flowers (buds) themselves, and filled with cannabinoids.

© freshidea - Fotolia.com

© freshidea – Fotolia.com

The importance of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to the healthy functioning of the skin is only now becoming clear, as the profound ways the ECS effects all our systems are continually discovered. This system,with natural receptors (CB1 and CB2) found in brain, immune and most types of cells, including those in the skin, and natural endocannabinoids our bodies produce, are perhaps the greatest discoveries in human physiology of the last 50 years.

During these same time, researchers discovered the ability for plant based cannabinoids from cannabis, including THC and  CBD, to activate the ECS.  These cannabinoids offer great potential for preventing, treating, and curing common skin diseases. Massages using cannabis infused oil may be an optimal way to address skin maladies. Cannabinoids may be very useful in treating skin cancer.

The endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA) has been found to play a key role in the health of the skin, prompting these Italian researchers to study cannabinoids cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), and  cannabidivarin (CBDV) to study effects on skin cells. The Italian study skipped THC because of its psychoactivity, but THC has been shown to be powerfully therapeutic. THC is actually closer to AEA in function than is CBD, so it would have been interesting if it were included in the study.

Many skin conditions are inflammatory in nature and the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabinoids on skin cells have been demonstrated. Both THC and CBD show anti-inflammatory effects.

Cannabinoids also act on the genetic level to help calm skin diseases. The field of Epigenetics studies how “molecular mechanisms in the environment control gene activity independently of DNA sequence.” Activities such as exercise and factors such as nutrition and stress can change how genes are expressed. Endocannabinoids made by your own cells and phytocannabiniods from cannabis sativa also can change genetic expression in medically useful ways, addressing diseases from psoriasis to cancer.

The report concluded: “These findings show that the phytocannabinoids cannabidiol and cannabigerol are transcriptional repressors that can control cell proliferation and differentiation. This indicates that they (especially cannabidiol) have the potential to be lead compounds for the development of novel therapeutics for skin diseases.”

THC infused oils may offer many benefits missing from potions without this main cannabinoid. One of these benefits might be the “psychoactivity” seemingly dreaded by cannabinoid researchers. Patients may well enjoy the blissful experience, and even consider it part of the cure.

Watch for Part 2 of this series for more on the science, on the new found epigenetic capabilities of cannabinoids, how marijuana’s amazing molecules adjust gene expression to protect skin.

Chocolate, red wine, coffee and cannabis: good for you?

Daniel Lefferts for Bookish presents an intriguing look at popular foods and favors in 7 Vices that are actually good for you on the Huffington Post. He cites new books, each extolling health benefits of one of the 7 foods and substances claimed to be “bad.”

He begins with chocolate, citing a recent San Diego study that showed increased chocolate consumption correlated with slimmer physiques! Red wine also confers health benefits, especially from its resveratrol,  though Lefferts book choice, The Red Wind Diet, emphasizes procyanikins. These flavenols are also found in cocoa, berries and apples and contribute to blood vessel health. Coffee is for closers and also found to be healthful. Leffert also praises bread, fats and salt, in the right amounts.

The list of 7 good-for-you-vices concludes with cannabis, which he lists as being good for treatment of MS, migraines even cancer. The book cited is Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence is by Mitch Earleywine, a top book on the subject.

 

Your lungs on cannabis. Major study in JAMA finds no damage!

A major new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association JAMA finds no reduction of lung function in cannabis smokers. The research followed a huge sample (5000) over 20 years, including data on consumption of marijuana and tobacco cigarettes. Cigarette smokers were found to lose lung function over the two decades. Smokers of marijuana lost no lung function; intriguingly, they had slightly greater lung capacity than subjects who smoked nothing! This effect was attributed to the smoking technique of the cannabis users.

This research is in line with other findings on the relative innocuous (even healthful!) effects of marijuana smoke. Dr. Donald Taskin of UCLA is one of the planet’s most respected researchers on the effects of marijuana smoking on the lungs. After decades of studying possible cancer causing effects on the lungs, Dr. Tashkin published his results in 2005. Surprisingly, he found no increase cancer risk, even in heavy, long term marijuana smokers.  His data even indicated a protective effect of THC against cancer.

The article reports that Tashkin’s “own study of heavy, habitual marijuana smokers — people who smoked the equivalent of a joint a day for 50 years —  found no harmful effect on lung function.” Still, Dr. Tashkin cautions,  “The smoke in marijuana contains thousands of ingredients, many of which are toxic and noxious and have the potential, at least, to cause airway injury,” Tashkin says. “In an ideal world, it would be preferable to take it in another form.”

The inhalation of any smoke, from Marlboro cigarettes to the fumes of wood stove, is less healthy than breathing fresh air. Although cannabis smoke may be safe from raising cancer risks and not reducing lung function, using a vaporizer may still be a safer alternative. Virtually nothing is burned in releasing medical cannabinoids from cannabis by vaporization.

Bureaucrats successfully stifle medical cannabis research.

Last week, Dr. Lyle Craker of the University of Massachusetts, after a decade of trying to gain permission to grow or procure cannabis for research on its medical value, finally gave up. Unlike any other substance, the government maintains a total monopoly on growing and distributing cannabis for research purposes. Essentially the government allows no research on cannabis, especially investigations into its medical benefits, the focus of Dr. Craker’s research.

For more history of University of Massachusetts professor’s 9 year struggle, see the AP report here.  This dismal tale of bureaucratic injustice seemed more hopeful in 2007, when a federal judge ruled in Professor’s Craker’s favor and recommended the DEA grant the request. But then this judgment was overruled by the DEA‘s acting director Michele Leonhart in the waning days of the Bush administration. Obama’s response back-stabbed those who voted for change when he then nominated this DEA hack as director, a position which she now holds after unanimous Senate confirmation. Gag.

The government’s actions, and decades of stalling inaction, are crimes against humanity.  Dr. Craker says this is only the first battle and the struggle will continue for many decades. Problem is, those who need the new medications the most, the Baby Boomers, don’t have a lot of decades left to wait while bureaucracies stall research that would further undermine their palace of lies. Lies such as  the Schedule I assertion that cannabis has no medical value. Baby Boomers will be consumed by cancer, blinded by glaucoma, paralyzed by multiple sclerosis, racked by  Crohn’s disease and suffer other dire maladies for which cannabis medications show great promise while self-serving government bureaus continue to lie, to stall and to stifle research.  Such despicable behavior and horrendous consequences, especially when the anti-cancer promises of cannabinoids remain uninvestigated,  truly qualify as crimes against against humanity.

The Obama administration promised a science-based approach. Instead, Obama has allowed politics and bureaucracy to stifle what may well be one of the most productive veins of medical research this century. What if all the tens of billions of dollars wasted on cannabis prohibition and eradication were instead invested in researching medical benefits of cannabinoids? How many jobs could be created? How much suffering could be avoided?  For now, Dr. Craker has lost, along with the American people and scientific inquiry. The bureaucrat prohibitionists and their massive budgets have won. Thankfully, this vital cannabis medical research continues on in other countries.

Tobacco will kill 6 million people next year; cannabis will kill zero.

The World Lung Foundation and the American Cancer Society have compiled in The Tobacco Atlas a damning list of morbidity and mortality inflicted by cigarettes on the world’s people. Cigarettes are powerful drugs, the most addicting and lethal of all drugs. Cigarettes kill far more people than all the illegal drugs combined. In the USA, at least 30 times as many people die from cigarettes than all illicit drugs.

The lists of damage from cigarettes to the health of the world’s people is lengthy:

  • Smoking cigarettes contributes to 6 of the 8 leading causes of death.
  • “Tobacco accounts for one out of every 10 deaths worldwide”
  • Cigarette smoking killed 100 million people during the last century; it may kill one billion during this century.
  • Tobacco kills one-third to one-half of those who smoke it. Smokers die, on the average, about 15 years before people who don’t smoke. Chewed tobacco is also often deadly dangerous.

The most popular illicit drug, cannabis, kills zero people. Marijuana does not have a lethal dose and is not associated with morbidity. Actually though, a few people are killed by association with cannabis, usually in SWAT raids. In Malaysia, about one person is hanged each month for cannabis possession. Cannabis smoke, like all smoke, does contain some toxins, but has not been shown to cause cancer. Elements specific to marijuana smoke, especially THC, may be providing protection against tumors. Medical cannabis is now commonly consumed via vaporizer, so all toxins are eliminated.

What if swine flu developed into great plague next year and death swept across the globe leaving behind six million corpses? The world’s people would tremble in fear. We would grimace in mourning and horror among the mountains of the dead. Yet when this mass death is delivered by the artificial plague of cigarettes, the terrible toll is dismissed with a shrug.

Instead, a world-wide crusade is underway, lead by the USA, with the goal of stamping out not cigarettes, but instead the other drugs. Although they cause are the cause one one death for every 30 from cigarettes (in the USA) these other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, even nearly harmless drugs such as cannabis, are labeled poisons. Those possessing them, at least in the USA and places like Malaysia, are treated with penalties harsher than for real criminals with actual victims.

In light of cigarettes deadly toll, should the USA and other countries prohibit cigarettes and add them to the list of illicit drugs, where they clearly belong? Clearly NOT. The prohibition approach has failed spectacularly, as it did alcohol prohibition in the USA of the 1920s. The difference is that with alcohol the mistake was realized. With the war on drugs, into its 5th decade and with the USA quintupling its prison population into the world’s largest, the prohibitionist, hard-line, lock-em-up stance continues with almost no critical examination.

This ineffective and wasteful prohibition/incarceration model has caused immense collateral damage to American society. As has worked so well in Portugal, drugs should be removed from the law enforcement, zero-tolerance model into a harm reduction approach.

Such an approach has actually worked very well for cigarettes in the USA over the last 20 years. With education, segregation of smoking and higher taxes on cigarettes to help pay for their health toll, smoking has lost much of its popularity. Cigarette consumption has markedly declined in the USA with no arrests or violations of civil liberties.

UN Anti-Drug Day Soon: Get your execution pay-per-view now!

Don’t miss out! It is less than a month away from the United Nations Anti-Drug Day, June 26. This international holiday is celebrated in China and several other countries with executions of drug criminals. Get your pay-per-view now! Help support the UN’s mission to eradicate from earth the medicinal drug plant, cannabis sativa ! According to the UN Wire, a decade ago China executed 71 drug law violators on June 26, 1999. They should be able to do better than that now!

  • Perhaps methods of execution should be enhanced to expand their appeal to a world wide television audience. The traditional Chinese method of a bullet to the back of the head is frankly, too quick for good TV. And frankly, too easy on these violators of international drug laws!

How about more of a spectacle? Condemned drug prisoners could be taken to the Shanghai zoo and turned over to hungry lions, always a great crowd-pleaser in ancient Rome. Of course, the Chinese are not without their quaint and colorful forms of execution, the Death of A Thousand Cuts comes to mind. Not only would these more punishing forms of execution help boost pay-per-view ratings, they more clearly demonstrate the dangers of drug abuse.

Chinese drug abuser minutes from death.
Chinese drug abuser minutes from death.

Another country bravely attacking the menace of drugs by killing offenders is Malaysia. Those violating laws against the evil plant cannabis are routinely hung in Kuala Lumpur. Perhaps a simultaneous drop of 10 cannabis violators could be added to the UN pay-per-view. Or even 20 hung at once; there are plenty of young Malaysian necks to be wrung, because a trafficing charge brings mandatory death penalty.

  • Remember, it is for a good cause, the UN’s mandate to cause the extinction of cannabis. The evil medicinal plant has been used by people around the globe for relief of pain for thousands of years, drug abusers all!  With the UN’s brave backing perhaps the weed can finally be made extinct, freeing humankind from the from the threat of the plant’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, pain-relieving, nausea-preventing, glaucoma-stopping properties.

Although drug executions in Saudi Arabia are over all too quickly, the beheadings of hashish users with enormous swords are always good for audience appeal.

The UN Wire 10 years ago celebrated the low level of opium production in Afghanistan. The Taliban were in power and they “dropped anti-drug leaflets over Kabul on Saturday, warning that those caught growing illegal narcotics would be punished severely.” Without drug violator executions by the Taliban, things have gone downhill. A decade later, opium productions is many times what is was under the Taliban, a new record set nearly each year. Now, though, those growing opium or cannabis can be considered valid military targets by the NATO forces in the country. Perhaps the execution videos could be supplemented by NATO air-strike footage. Footage of Hellfire missiles exploding into farmhouses near illegal crop fields will also help teach those villagers not to grow cannabis, as their ancestors have been doing for millenia.

The UN Drug Control Program came up with a new motto in 1998 when it developed the decade goal of total drug eradication. The motto for the decade just ended was “a drug-free world – we can do it.” Hard-line drug war policies, pushed by the USA, were enthusiastically adopted; harm reduction policies were rejected by the UN. In 2008, a decade later, the goal was unmet. Perhaps the UN should adopt a more attainable motto, such as “an un-free world – we can do it.”

  • For your pay-per-view June 26, 2009 UN Anti-Drug Day Live Executions of Evil Drug Law Violators dial 1-800-THE-UNDCP-SUCKS. Order Now!

Pawlenty plenty pathetic: His medical marijuana veto is big government at its worst.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Republican, just vetoed a bill that would have allowed dying Minnesotans to relieve their pain and nausea with medical cannabis. The medical opinions informing the Governor came from mainly from law enforcement.

  • Pawlenty found it necessary to veto this bill even though it was restrictive to only the dying. He would not have to worry that Minnesotans who needed cannabis to prevent blindness from glaucoma, for example, would get access to the plant substance. As they are not dying, only going blind, they would not be eligible even in the bill Pawlenty vetoed.
  • Luckily now with the veto, those battling cancer with chemotherapy will not be allowed to recklessly relieve their nausea and pain with cannabis. Such allowance of personal medical freedom by state government, according to Pawlenty and his law enforcement advisers, could cause a wave “expanded drug use” in the state.

As Governor Tim Pawlenty is a conservative Republican, this must be an example of compassionate conservatism?  The Governor assures us he is , “very sympathetic to those dealing with end-of-life illnesses and accompanying pain.”

  • Gee, Tim in what way are you being sympathetic? With the stroke of your pen, you deny dying Minnesotans medical treatment they, and their doctors so choose? Is this supposed to be Republican “small government” dogma or is it big government run amok, 1984 style, with the police and bureaucrats deciding the most personal medical choices, even at the end of our lives?

Perhaps the Governor should visit a dying Minnesotan to whom he is denying their personal right to choose their own medical treatment, if that includes cannabis. He could explain to them how their unrelieved pain and nausea is their contribution to keeping Minnesota safe from this new wave of drug abuse among those near death. The governor could expound his Republican philosophy of small goverment, perhaps providing some solace to the dying.

Extra: THC, the main cannabis cannabinoid kills brain cancer, but still has no medical value.

New Spanish research confirms earlier studies that THC, the main cannabinoid in cannabis (marijuana) kills brain cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact. Researchers in Spain’s Complutense University have for years been studying the anti-cancer properties of cannabis. They have published dozens of papers on how the cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, and also those made by our own bodies, can help prevent and treat different types of cancer.

  • Among the Spanish researchers’ most impressive results have been in attacking some of the fastest-growing and most fatal cancers, those of the brain. Gliomas, or recurrent glioblastoma multiforme, often kill quickly. These were they type studied in the Spanish research. Treatment with THC for a month caused the glioma cells to die while normal brain cells thrived.

American universities and research organizations over the past 30 years of the drug war have obeyed an anti-cannabis political correctness. A generation of medical research on cannabinoids has been lost in the USA. Clear indicators of potential anti-cancer properties of cannabis surfaced in research out of the Virginia Medical College in 1974. These findings were scarcely reported in the press, ignored by researchers and discouraged by the government. Tragically, cannabinoid anti-cancer research soon disappeared, at least in the USA.

  • Luckily researchers in other parts of the world were less guided by doctrine and more by science, so research in places such as Madrid, Salerno and, especially, Jerusalem, continued. Actually, major anti-cancer findings of cannabis were reported by this same Spanish university back in 2000, but again essentially ignored by the American press. Even today’s news may suffer the same fate.

The property of THC to kill brain cancer cells contrasts totally with the DEA’s Schedule I classification of the drug, claiming it has no medical uses.

  • Surely this is enough evidence alone to end the cruel charade that cannabis is without medical value.
  • Surely cannabis, THC and all the plant cannabinoids can be down scheduled to Schedule V without delay.