Tuesday, November 22, 2005

EFFECTS OF CANNABIS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES ON MY PERSONAL HEALTH

By Tom Bachman

Courtesy of Advanced Nutrients hydroponic plant food company, www.advancednutrientsmedical.ca

Copyright, 2005

It is interesting to read about the medical uses of cannabis. I have mostly used it recreationally, but I don’t know if there is all that much of a difference between recreational use and medical use, at least not for me.

My belief is that people use drugs so they can feel better. Maybe one definition of medicine is “something that makes you feel better.” By that definition, maybe all of us who use marijuana are using it medically, even if we don’t feel sick. Maybe all use of marijuana is a medical use. We're trying to medicate from the harshness of life sometimes, I guess.

I can compare the use of marijuana with the use of other drugs as it relates to my health. For example when I use alcohol, which I don’t do very often, I usually have predictable effects that include getting dizzy, talking loudly, feeling uncoordinated, and getting a headache. I guess I don’t tolerate alcohol very well, which is probably a good thing, because a lot of people I know who are able to tolerate it more than I can have a problem of becoming an alcoholic who cannot get through the day without a drink. I have known at least two people who were normal people but then they started drinking alcohol on a regular basis and they later on ended up on the street and homeless.

I also can compare the use of marijuana with the use of cigarettes. I tried smoking cigarettes when I was in junior high school and it was a major achievement just to get a puff of the stuff down my throat. I was trying to smoke cigarettes because I thought it was a hip thing to do. There was a lot of advertising of cigarettes at sporting events and in other places. When I look back on it, I realize that the idea of sucking on a burning tobacco cigarette is anything but cool. Smoking a marijuana cigarette is a totally different type of smoking, for several reasons, although I am sure that smoking a joint does transmit heat and carcinogens, it also transmits lots of other substances that are not contained in cigarettes and which have medical properties and which taste better than tobacco cigarettes. Also, I usually only have a puff or two off a joint; I rarely smoke an entire joint by myself. Lately, I have been smoking mostly from a glass pipe, so that I am not smoking any joint paper at all.

Before I got off on this tangent I was telling you that I tried cigarettes and felt sick to my stomach when I inhaled them. It was an ugly feeling that left me woozy and my mouth and hands smelling like crap. I am very glad that I never developed a liking for cigarettes, because it is obvious to me what a shitty habit they are. I mean- exactly what good do they do for anyone? They don’t get you high or provide a medical benefit. They are really a very strange product: you smoke them, you don’t get anything from them, then they addict you, and you have to keep smoking them so that you will not feel the ugly withdrawal effects that are related to being addicted to them. So they are like a medicine in that one way, in that they keep you from feeling the bad effects that you will experience when you try to quit using them. But what kind of “medicine” is that? It seems to me like a cruel hoax to sell people a product that is designed to addict them, so that they have to continue using the product or else they will get sick trying to give the product up. It is really a sinister and devious plot, don’t you think, to hook people on a product so that they suffer a lot of pain when they want to stop. It reminds me of the old government anti-marijuana advertising, which featured a shady-looking character lurking in the corner of a schoolyard cleverly luring little children into trying an “evil marijuana cigarette,” thereby to hook them and create more and more customers. It is unclear to me, but probably true, that few people in the marijuana world actually would try to “hook” kids on pot to create customers. Most people that I know who sell good pot, well, they don’t have to seek for customers, because they have so many customers coming to them, that they can’t keep up!

You know what, I also didn't like it that when I kissed a girl she told me that my mouth tasted like an ashtray!

The other substances that are probably relevant to this rambling blog discussion are things like over the counter medicines and prescription medicines. I have used them over the years for things like coughs, allergies, headaches, injuries. Without fail, these things have made me feel worse instead of better. They may even do what they are supposed to do, such as suppress a cough, or get rid of a headache, but there are other effects that come along with that relief, and those effects created their own problems that made it to me not worth it to have used the product in the first place. It’s not like I wanted to keep coughing or having a headache, but the stuff I took made me sleepy along with getting rid of my cough or headache, so it was a trade-off, and in most cases the trade-off wasn’t really worth it.

One thing I just thought of as another drug that people take is caffeine. Like, I can really feel it even when I drink a cup of coffee. It makes me so hyper, and it makes me have stomach acid. I see other people drinking gallons of coffee and I am like, wow, how can they do that? I also know that they are dependent on their coffee and that for some of them it’s almost like cigarettes; if they try to quit coffee they get really depressed, irritable and sad. Seems like there’s a coffee bar on every corner. Coffee is very useful for the ruling corporate people, because it’s a drug that doesn’t relax you and make you feel like listening to Bob Marley, it makes you hyper, so you can go work on an assembly line without falling asleep.

Marijuana makes me feel good in certain ways that nothing else does. It is hard to explain how it makes me feel. I have problems with my eyes that the doctors say are the beginning of glaucoma, and when I smoke marijuana I can feel those problems subside for about four hours. If I have a problem sleeping, I can smoke marijuana and it makes me relaxed and sleepy. If I want to eat a lot of food or go on a boat or airplane, I can take a puff of marijuana so that it makes my stomach able to handle what I am doing to it without it getting nauseated.

Marijuana makes me cough and it makes my mouth dry and my eyes red. It makes me tired the day after I use it. It makes me a bit depressed about two days after I use it, and I want to use it again. I suppose it is somewhat likely to cause me to be dependent on it, because it is such a comfort and is so easy to use. It is like a nice warm fire at the end of a long, cold day. We all need some kind of comfort, don't we?

I guess I haven’t exactly matched up my words to the title of this blog. The more I write, the more I realize that I know little about exactly why cannabis affects my health mostly for the good, instead of for the bad as prescription drugs do. I think it helps me be a happier person, and that is good for my health. I don’t think that it hurts my health. When I have used cannabis in moderate amounts, like once a week, it has no measurable negative effects that I can see. I have had a lot worse experiences with drugs I bought at the drug store. So if I have to use any drug at all, it’s going to be cannabis. That’s my healthy choice.

Monday, November 21, 2005

MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN THE TREATMENT OF DIGESTIVE DISORDERS

COPYRIGHT, 2005, TOTAL HEALTH NETWORK, a public service of Advanced Nutrients, the world's leading hydroponic plant food company.

Licensed users and growers of medical marijuana know that the plant can be used to treat a variety of diseases and symptoms related to the gastrointestinal system. This isn't a bunch of stupid stoners trying to find a medical excuse to get high, folks, this is the real deal- the herb heals! The use of medical marijuana to treat digestive system problems is time-tested, and is usually a safer intervention than the use of pharmaceutical drugs or surgery.

Chron’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), ulcers, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, anorexia, bulimia, acid reflux, and appetite loss are some of the diseases and conditions that medical marijuana patients have treated using medical marijuana.

Studies indicate that cannabinoids in marijuana bind with cannabinoid receptors in the digestive tract, especially the small and large intestine, causing muscle relaxation, reduction of inflammation, analgesia, increased nerve-muscle coordination, anti-emesis, and relief of spasms such as those that cause nausea.

Cannabis is also an adaptogenic immune system modulator that can increase or decrease immune systems function in ways that almost always contribute to healthier outcomes.

Cannabis is unique among medicines because it has a comprehensive range of actions that can alleviate several symptoms by altering how the body and brain communicate, and how the self perceives its internal organs and systems.

The self-feedback loop that produces nausea in some circumstances, which includes a feeling of dizziness that circles back on itself to produce fear, tension and more dizziness, is often defeated by cannabis.

Indeed, research shows that cannabis can relieve symptoms in unique ways that no other medicine can duplicate.

Medical benefits of marijuana for people with gastrointestinal disorders were backed up by the United States Institute of Medicine medical marijuana study. According to the Institute, “For patients who suffer simultaneously from severe pain, nausea, and appetite loss, cannabinoid drugs might offer broad-spectrum relief not found in any other single medication."

Medical cannabis has been a blessing for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. These diseases cause diarrhea or constipation, nausea, and intestinal inflammation, pain and the inability of the digestive system to absorb nutrients.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can cause pain, bloating, flatulence, cramps, spasms, motility loss, constipation, and diarrhea.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a term that describes Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease. Ulcerative colitis inflames the lining of the large intestine. Crohn's disease causes inflammation of the lining and wall of the large and/or small intestine. The typical symptoms of Crohn's are diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding and fever. Crohn’s can cause intestinal blockages and ulcerations that might require surgery. Ulcerative Colitis can cause abdominal cramps, sharp pain, low energy, weight loss, arthritic symptoms, eye problems, and liver disease.

These disorders can be crippling. In extreme cases, they may result in long-term hospitalization or surgery. The unique ability of medical cannabis to alleviate most of these symptoms is becoming more widely known in the medical community.

Recreational and medical marijuana users have long known that cannabis has an effect of appetite. The increase in appetite that often accompanies cannabis use has been called “the munchies.”

Scientists studying this phenomenon note that it probably involves blood sugar levels and other physiological markers affected by cannabis.

Many professional studies have shown that cannabis stimulates appetite and weight gain. Researchers say that medical cannabis users have to be careful to moderate their intake of carbohydrates and sugars when they are responding to the munchies. It is best to eat less carbos and sugars and eat more organic vegetables, fruits and protein, rather than to pig out on candy or ice cream.

Cannabis helps combat cramping that accompanies many GI disorders because cannabinoids relax contractions of the smooth muscle of the intestines. Research shows that the body’s own cannabinoids, known as anandamides, affect neurological systems that control the gastrointestinal system. External and internal cannabinoids strongly control gastrointestinal motility and inflammation. They also have the ability to decrease gastrointestinal fluid secretion and inflammation. This means that cannabis can be useful to stop ulcers and other syndromes.

The chronic pain and spasms that accompany many gastrointestinal disorders are a life hindrance to those who suffer from IBS and other diseases. Medical cannabis is a very effective pain reliever. It blocks spinal, peripheral and gastrointestinal mechanisms that promote pain in IBS and related disorders. It also can be used against gastroesophageal reflux disease (acid reflux). When acid reflux occurs, gastric acids attack the esophagus. The pharmaceutical medicines that doctors prescribe for this condition are in some ways as bad as the condition itself. They prescribe drugs like atropine, for example, which have severe side-effects.

Pharmaceutical drugs commonly prescribed to combat GI disorders include:
Megestrol acetate (Megace), an anticachectic. This substance can cause high blood pressure, diabetes, inflammation of the blood vessels, congestive heart failure, seizures, and pneumonia. Less serious side effects of this medicine include diarrhea, flatulence, nausea, vomiting, constipation, heartburn, dry mouth, increased salivation, and thrush; impotence, decreased libido, urinary frequency, urinary incontinence, urinary tract infection, vaginal bleeding and discharge; disease of the heart, palpitation, chest pain, chest pressure, and edema; pharyngitis, lung disorders, and rapid breathing; insomnia, headache, weakness, numbness, seizures, depression, and abnormal thinking.
Metronidazole (Flagyl) is carcinogenic. Patients treated with Metronidazole have reported convulsive seizures and peripheral neuropathy. Ironically, this medicine causes problems in the gastrointestinal tract; nausea is reported by about 12% of patients, and is sometimes accompanied by headache, anorexia, and occasionally vomiting; diarrhea; epigastric distress, and abdominal cramping. Constipation has also been reported.
Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine) -Common adverse reactions associated with sulfasalazine are anorexia, headache, nausea, vomiting, gastric distress, and apparently reversible oligospermia. These occur in about one-third of the patients. Less frequent adverse reactions are pruritus, urticaria, fever, Heinz body anemia, hemolytic anemia and cyanosis, which may occur at a frequency of one in every thirty patients or less.
Chlordiazepoxide/Clidinium (Librax) - Drowsiness, ataxia and confusion have been reported in some patients, particularly the elderly and debilitated. Adverse effects reported with use of Librax are those typical of anticholinergic agents, i.e., dryness of the mouth, blurring of vision, urinary hesitancy and constipation. Withdrawal symptoms, similar in character to those noted with barbiturates and alcohol (convulsions, tremor, abdominal and muscle cramps, vomiting and sweating), have occurred following abrupt discontinuance of chlordiazepoxide.
Hyoscyamine Sulfate (Levsin) - Adverse reactions may include dryness of the mouth; urinary hesitancy and retention; blurred vision; tachycardia; palpitations; mydriasis; cycloplegia; increased ocular tension; loss of taste; headache; nervousness; drowsiness; weakness; dizziness; insomnia; nausea; vomiting; impotence; suppression of lactation; constipation; bloated feeling; allergic reactions or drug idiosyncrasies; urticaria and other dermal manifestations; ataxia; speech disturbance; some degree of mental confusion and/or excitement (especially in elderly persons); and decreased sweating.
Mesalamine CR (Pentasa) - Common side effects are diarrhea, headache, nausea, abdominal pain, dyspepsia, vomiting, and rash.
Phosphorated carbohydrate (Emetrol) - Side effects include: fainting; swelling of face, arms, and legs; unusual bleeding; vomiting; weight loss; yellow eyes or skin. Less common-more common with large doses: Diarrhea; stomach or abdominal pain.
Dicyclomine (Bentyl) – Can cause blurred vision, dry mouth, heart problems, seizures, impotence, and difficulty in urinating, among other effects.
Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) - The most frequent side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, rash, headache, and restlessness. Rare allergic reactions have been described, such as hives and anaphylaxis (shock).
Methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall) – Is very toxic, depending on dose. The most frequent reactions include mouth sores, stomach upset, and low white blood counts. Methotrexate can cause severe toxicity
of the liver and bone marrow, which require regular monitoring with blood testing. It can cause headache and drowsiness, which may resolve if the dose is lowered. Methotrexate can cause itching, skin rash, dizziness, and hair loss.
Diphenoxylate and atropine (Lotomil) – Bad effects include drowsiness, dizziness, and headache, nausea or vomiting, and dry mouth. Euphoria, depression, lethargy, restlessness, numbness of extremities, loss of
appetite, and abdominal pain or discomfort has been reported less frequently. Although the dose of atropine in Lomotil is too low to cause side effects when taken in the recommended doses, side effects of atropine (including dryness of the skin and mucous membranes, increased heart rate, urinary retention, and increased body temperature) have been reported, particularly in children under 2.
Prednisone (Delatasone). This is a steroid drug that can have serious adverse musculoskeletal,
gastrointestinal, dermatologic, neurological, endocrine, and ophthalmic side effects. These include: congestive heart failure in susceptible patients, potassium loss, hypokalemic alkalosis, sodium retention, and hypertension. Muscle weakness, steroid myopathy, loss of muscle mass, osteoporosis, tendon rupture, vertebral compression fractures, aseptic necrosis of femoral and humeral heads, and pathologic fracture of long bones. Peptic ulcer with possible perforation and hemorrhage; pancreatitis; abdominal distention; ulcerative esophagitis. Impaired wound healing, thin fragile skin, petechiae and ecchymoses, facial erythema. Increased intracranial pressure, usually after treatment, convulsions, vertigo, and headache. Menstrual irregularities; development of Cushingoid state; secondary adrenocortical and pituitary
unresponsiveness; decreased carbohydrate tolerance; manifestations of latent diabetes mellitus. Posterior subcapsular cataracts, increased intraocular pressure, glaucoma, and exophthalmos.

Given this verified list of problems that can be created by prescription drugs used to treat gastrointestinal disorders, and the lack of such problems caused by medical marijuana which provides better relief, it’s amazing that medical marijuana is not already the most popularly prescribed medication for such disorders.

The overall opinion of enlightened people in the medical community is that medical cannabis can interact with the endogenous cannabinoid system to reduce problems associated with nausea, vomiting, gastric ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, secretory diarrhea, paralytic ileus and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

It is true that cannabis has to be used intelligently. Some people are disconcerted by spiritual, psychological, physiological and emotional changes they experience after using cannabis. Cannabis in rare cases increases schizophrenic symptoms in people who already have a predisposition for schizophrenia. Cannabis can interfere with cognitive function and body coordination, although the impairment is relatively minor and is temporary. Tachycardia and hypotension often occur with cannabis use. Ingesting cannabis as a smoked substance can cause negative effects on the respiratory system. Some people develop a tolerance to cannabis and have to use more and more of it to achieve the same results. Others develop a psychological dependence on it.

As you can see, none of these side effects come close to being as severe as the ones cited for the prescription drugs that cannabis competes with.

Licensed medical marijuana grower-patients who grow medical marijuana using organic ingredients and properly engineered synthetic ingredients have told us that cannabis provides a wide range of relief, without severe side-effects, in ways that other drugs, treatment and surgery do not.

Medical cannabis patients also report that other interventions are useful during the cannabis regimen. These interventions include detoxifying and cleansing the internal body with herbs, vitamins and supplements, eating only pure, living foods, completely abstaining from junk foods, coffee, caffeine and alcohol, doing yoga and meditation, exercise, nature experiences, and various types of bodywork such as cranial-sacral therapy.

Advanced Nutrients is dedicated to making the highest quality products so licensed medical cannabis growers can produce the best medicine for their condition. Our products contain superior source materials and manufacturing processes that create pure, potent plants with zero pathogens, pollutants, heavy metals, and other problematic substances and issues.

If you have gastrointestinal disorders and live in a place where you can legally grow medical marijuana, contact Advanced Nutrients to find out how our products can help you grow the best legal medical marijuana in the world.

FROM THE TOTAL HEALTH NEWS SERVICE

Arthritis is a painful disease that used to be thought of only as a consequence of old age. Today, we know that arthritis is occurring with more frequency across age groups, and that sufferers can benefit from a variety of interventions, including medical marijuana.


Arthritis is a worldwide affliction, more common than cancer and heart disease. It's the world's leading cause of pain, and generates billions of dollars worth of sales of pain relief medication per year.


The disease has plagued humans for thousands of years; the famous ancient Roman baths were created not only to promote good hygiene, but to help Romans ease aches and pains caused by arthritis.


Arthritis focuses its fury on body joints. The joint lining, or cartilage, acts as a shock absorber. It consists of water and protein fibers called collagen. The collagen matrix that gives cartilage its shape and strength is insulated by a net of "proteglucans." These are filled with water to protect and nourish the cartilage tissue.


Proteglucans are long molecular chains that include chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine. Glucosamine is absolutely essential to the production of water-binding proteins in cartilage; chondroitin sulfates attract fluids that facilitate ease of movement and attract nutrients necessary for cartilage repair. Injury, wear, or corrosive enzymes can weaken this protection so cartilage loses its ability to repair itself. It slowly deteriorates and forms crevices that impede movement and cause arthritis pain.


There are an estimated 34 million people with arthritis in the US and Canada who are afflicted with either of two types of arthritis. One type is rheumatoid arthritis; the other type is osteoarthritis.


Rheumatoid arthritis is a complex disease that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks a joint's "synovial membrane," which is crucial to joint movement. As rheumatoid arthritis becomes more severe, it destroys cartilage and weakens the skeleton. It is most common among people whose immune systems are compromised.


Osteoarthritis primarily attacks cartilage and bones, and is most often seen in older people. It can occur due to the mechanics of ongoing use of the body.


Musculoskeletal injury or immune system deficiency are often indicators of arthritis or co-existent with it. The most persistent symptom of arthritis is inflammation of joints, and pain caused by that inflammation.


Arthritis interferes with many facets of life. It can keep people from being totally ambulatory, which in turn prevents them from working, exercising, shopping, and enjoying family and social life. People with arthritis might lose muscle tone, jobs, and the ability to take care of themselves. They might also suffer from stress-related depression and anxiety, as the inexorable pain and lack of full body flexibility caused by arthritis grinds on their spirit.


The disease can cause a person to be unable to move without a wheelchair, and can gradually twist a person's limbs into painful configurations.


Women get rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at a higher rate than men. It is interesting to note that women's arthritis often goes into remission when they get pregnant. Women develop RA more frequently in the year after pregnancy; pre-existing symptoms can increase after a baby is born. These facts lead researchers to believe that gender and the female hormone system might play a role in the development and progression of RA.


Other researchers are looking into genetic causes of RA. The specific genetic marker associated with RA, HLA-DR4, is found in more than two-thirds of Caucasians with RA; it is only found in 20 percent of the general population.


Although people with this genetic marker have an increased risk of developing RA, its presence alone is not a diagnostic tool to predict or detect RA. Many people who have the marker either don't have or will never get RA. While this marker can be passed from parent to child, it is not definite that if you have RA your child will too.


Medical marijuana, meditation, bodywork, herbal therapy, hot springs, mineral baths, acupuncture, exercise, supplements, Far Infrared saunas, topical ointments, and other therapies have been used to treat arthritis without the use of surgery and chemical medicines. Standard allopathic doctors heavily rely on prescription drugs and surgery to treat arthritis, but the success rate of these interventions is not high, and the dangers of these approaches are substantial.


Most doctors will try to treat arthritis with medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen and other oral or topical analgesics. The most commonly used analgesic, acetaminophen (found in aspirin-free Anacin, Excedrin, Panadol, Tylenol) does not cause severe side effects with moderate usage, but long-term use of acetaminophen is thought to cause kidney disease.


Doses of these medicines are often large. Some patients take thousands of milligrams of aspirin per day in continuous doses, which can cause stomach pain and damage; aspirin causes at least 1,000 deaths annually in the United States. Doctors worried about aspirin side-effects often prescribe aspirin alternatives that are called "nonacetylated salicylates," which are sold as CMT, Tricosal, and Trilisate. These medicines can cause deafness or ringing in the ears.


Stronger pain killers prescribed against arthritis pain include codeine (Dolacet, Hydrocet, Lorcet, Lortab); morphine (Avinza, Oramorph); oxycodone (Vicodin, Oxycontin, Roxicodone); propoxyphene (Percocet, Darvon, Darvocet) and tramadol (Ultram, Ultracet). These medicines are serious drugs with severe side-effects. Problems include psychological and physical dependence, addiction, constipation, dizziness, lightheadedness, mood changes, nausea, sedation, shortness of breath, vomiting, depression, and death.


People who take overdoses of these drugs, or who use them while also using alcohol, can suffer fatal consequences.


As with many standard medical approaches, the use of pain-killers doesn't actually solve the underlying causes of arthritis, it just masks the pain. It is joint and bone deterioration, along with joint inflammation, that causes arthritis pain.


To treat arthritis inflammation, standard allopathic doctors prescribe anti-inflammatories such as steroids, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and COX-2 inhibitors. All these substances can cause serious side-effects. Corticosteroids (Cortisone), prednisone and similar medications cause bruising, cataracts, elevated blood sugar, hypertension, increased appetite, indigestion, insomnia, mood swings, muscle weakness, nervousness or restlessness, osteoporosis, infection and thin skin.


In an effort to avoid use of chemical painkillers and anti-inflammatories, and to avoid undergoing surgery, some patients have turned to natural medicines such as cannabis. It is interesting to note that the use of cannabis as medicine arose many centuries ago in parts of China and India, and has long been a part of time-tested natural healing systems that deal with diseases such as arthritis.


The Indian health system known as Ayurveda includes cannabis as one of many herbs and plants that have medical efficacy. Herbs like ginger, turmeric, ashwaganda and frankincense have also been used to fight arthritis and similar ailments, such as fibromyalgia.


Ginger root inhibits production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which are partially responsible for pain and inflammation. Turmeric inhibits prostaglandin production and stimulates creation of cortisol, which relieves inflammation. It has similarities to capsaicin (an active ingredient in cayenne pepper), which depletes nerve endings of the neurotransmitter substance P, which is a component of neural pain transmission. When turmeric was taken internally along with cayenne pepper, it significantly lowered inflammation. Capsaicin is usually used in ointments that are applied externally to arthritic joints. Topical ointments containing carrier oils, cannabis extracts, turmeric, ginger root, and ashwaganda can deliver healing herbs into the skin efficiently.


Frankincense comes from a tree that yields gum when its bark is peeled away; studies show frankincense inhibits production of leukotrienes which cause inflammation. Ashwaganda is an Asian plant of the potato family. Its roots have long been used to treat rheumatism, high blood pressure, immune dysfunctions, male sexual performance problems; it also decreases inflammation. Ashwaganda is sometimes called "Indian ginseng."


Cannabis is an important anti-arthritis medicine because it is an analgesic, anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant that inhibits the release of "cytokines." Cytokines are part of the mechanism that causes the inflammation that accompanies arthritis. Release of some cytokines is impaired by cannabis, but research shows that effects of cannabis differ by cell type, experimental conditions, and especially the concentration and type of cannabinoids studied.

A non-psychoactive cannabinoid, ajulemic acid, was found to reduce joint tissue damage in rats with arthritis. Tests on human tissue done in vitro showed a 50% suppression of one of the body chemicals (interleukin-1beta) central to the progression of inflammation and joint tissue injury in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.


There's plenty of research evidence suggesting that cannabis therapies limit arthritis and other rheumatic and degenerative disorders of the hip, joint and connective tissues. One of the most important functions of cannabis in this regard is as a pain reliever.


Cannabis has immune-modulation and anti-inflammatory properties. It doesn't just mask pain- it may be working to reduce the actual causes of chronic inflammatory diseases. Research on cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, found it suppresses the immune response responsible for arthritis, protecting test subjects from more severe damage to their joints and markedly improving their condition.


Human studies have shown cannabis is effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, which is one of the diseases listed by the many government agencies that allow medical use of cannabis. Cannabis improves mobility and reduces morning stiffness and inflammation.


Patients who use cannabis often report that they are able to reduce their use of potentially harmful Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Medical researchers at Jerusalem's Hebrew University found that cannabidiol breaks down in the body to become an acid with potent anti-inflammatory action comparable to the drug indomethacin, but without the considerable gastrointestinal side effects associated with that indomethacin.


When the body metabolizes tetra-hydrocannibinol (THC), which is one of the primary components in cannabis and is responsible for much of its psychoactive effects, it produces metabolites that have anti-inflammatory and pain-killing effects.


By modifying this metabolite, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center have produced a synthetic carboxylic acid known as CT-3, which is more powerful than the natural metabolite and can be given in smaller doses.


Animal tests found CT-3 effective against both chronic and acute inflammation; it also prevented destruction of joint tissue from chronic inflammation.


Canada recently gave approval to a pharmaceutical grade extract made from whole, organic cannabis. The product is called Sativex, and is effective in pain relief and muscle disorders. The efficacy of natural organic cannabis extracts has been proven by the process that the Sativex manufacturer used when qualifying the drug for Canadian pharmaceutical regulators.


The long safety record of marijuana (no one has ever died of an overdose) and the fact that a metabolite with the desired anti-inflammatory effect is produced in the body when marijuana is used, strongly suggest that marijuana and its derivatives are safe, effective anti-inflammatory drugs.


In addition, CT3, THC, and other cannabinoids have proven analgesic effects in animals. In some cases the dose-dependent beneficial effect of THC was equivalent to that of morphine, but with a much greater duration of action and far less side effects when compared to morphine.


In contrast to the NSAIDs commonly prescribed arthritis sufferers, CT3 does not cause ulcers at therapeutically relevant doses. Moreover, it does not depress respiration, create dependence, induce weight loss, or cause mutations, as some arthritis pharmaceutical drugs do.
Studies on CT3's mechanism of action are currently underway, with cytokine synthesis one of the pathways being studied.


Scientists at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology in London tested both injections and oral doses of the cannabinoid CBD in mice with collagen-induced arthritis, a joint disease that mimics human rheumatoid arthritis. CBD is a precursor of THC. The studies found that moderate doses of CBD prevent joint damage in arthritic test subjects. CBD also suppressed activity of immune cells and reduced inflammation in joint tissue by reducing tumor necrosis factor, which is a chemical cause of swelling.


Cannabis helps combat rheumatoid arthritis because it functions as an immune system modulator. Rheumatoid arthritis can be caused by disruption of normal immune system function in response to an initial infection or trauma.


Cannabis and other herbs are called adaptogens because they can help the immune system maintain normal function and fight off the effects of disease and infection.


Arthritis sufferers are advised to use cannabis intelligent as part of a comprehensive approach to regaining full function.


The common medical paradigm emphasizes symptom relief without seeking to address the causes of dysfunction. A holistic paradigm involving medical cannabis helps patients take control of their own bodies to determine what is causing dysfunction and remediate those causes.


Medical marijuana's ability to reduce inflammation, interfere with pain transmission, and regulate the immune system make it an ideal part of a holistic program. Arthritis sufferers can use cannabis to increase their mobility and reduce pain. After they have medicated with cannabis, they can exercise, do physical therapy, enjoy bodywork, and engage in heat therapy using Far Infrared saunas and mineral baths.


They can do total internal body cleanse programs that remove toxins that often contribute to immune disorders and related problems that can manifest themselves as arthritis.


Other anti-arthritis tactics include making nutrient-rich fresh juices from organic fruits and vegetables such as ginger, citrus, beets, celery, peppers, and cucumbers. The plant-produced phytochemicals in fresh juices are especially useful for cleansing, detoxifying, and restoring body tissue. Proper diet and nutrition, with an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables and an avoidance of caffeine, chemicals and junk food, are essential for people trying to reduce the impact of arthritis on their lives.


It is also useful to use cartilage-building supplements such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin. Another helpful supplement is methyl-sulfonyl-methane (MSM), which helps relieve arthritis pain and inflammation in joints and muscles. MSM boosts the blood supply to tissues, reduces muscle spasms, and softens scar tissue.


Intelligent users of medical cannabis experiment with various types of cannabis, as well as various methods for using it. Some varieties of cannabis contain higher percentages of CBD, which has shown promise as an effective anti-arthritis substance. Instead of smoking cannabis in a marijuana cigarette, some patients prefer to use water pipes, bongs, vaporizers and other methods for inhaling active ingredients from heated cannabis. The oral use of cannabis as tinctures, extracts or food products produces different effects that the smoking of cannabis because the digestive tract metabolizes the cannabis and causes a variety of effects that are not experienced when cannabis is smoked. The topical use of cannabis is also an interesting route of administration; the effects are more subtle than when cannabis is smoked, eaten or used as an extract, but can often be quite substantial.


Although medical cannabis has few if any severe side effects, especially when compared to prescription pharmaceuticals, it is not without its detractors.


Some people have a hard time handling the psychological effects of cannabis, which may include euphoria, forgetfulness, loss of concentration, mood swings, and depression.
Others find that cannabis interferes with coordination, motor skills, energy levels, motivation, eyesight, balance, hearing, and other body functions.


These effects are relatively minor, and are most often experienced by novice users who haven't properly regulated their dose level.


Patients who experience these effects can usually avoid cannabis discomfort by using different varieties, smaller doses, and different methods of administration.


Many medical marijuana patients have said that medical marijuana properly grown with products made by a Canadian company called Advanced Nutrients has given them increased ability to enjoy life by allowing them to utilize clean, potent marijuana that defeats their arthritis in ways that are superior to those of prescription drugs and other methods of treatment.

There is no magic pill or plant that can miraculously take away all pain all the time, but the interventions listed above can be helpful when utilized in an intelligent manner.