Monday, July 21, 2014

Medical Marijuana: Friend or Foe

Since I shared out loud, opening myself up to friends and strangers about my diagnosis, I have been inundated with suggestions about adding cannabis to my protocol. Sometimes it's been under the cloak of privacy, other times it has been aggressively splattered on my old Facebook page. It is a divisive subject with loyal believers of its' healing properties, conversely others remain afraid of the psychoactive effects, fearful that it deteriorates lives. The first time I ever smoked pot was in high school. I think I was 15. Growing up on San Juan Island, we were taught in our fifth grade drug class that Marijuana grew naturally in our environment. We were taught how to spot it, and that we were to find an adult to remove and destroy it. As a kid, I was fearful of drugs, but marijuana seemed different. I never grew a liking toward it, though I experimented, and throughout the years would still play around every several years with friends. The pot made me unable to do my favorite things, though, like talk a lot, be quick witted, or harness my boundless energy. I still have friends that are regular pot users (which seems like such a lame way to describe it), and they're great. They're brilliant, and hilarious, and successful in their careers, but for me, it was like a rolling haze throughout my brain, shutting doors along the hallway of Thought Process. It was a bad fit.

With that being said, when people shared anecdotal stories of shrinking tumors, the alleviation of pain, or of enhanced sleep, I listened (or read the emails) with the same skepticism I hold toward anti-seizure medications, or standard of care. I would analyze their words and feel my throat ache with the memory of my old cigarette smoking ways (gross - still can't believe I ever lit up). I thought, Man, maybe it could help but at what cost? Smoking causes cancer too, remember? So I tabled it. I have two brain tumor fighting friends who use cannabis as a treatment. One smokes a puff before bed, and the other uses a resin of 1:1 (THC:CBD) orally on a cracker at night. Until recently I had only seen said anecdotal accounts - no scientific evidence to verify cannabis as a viable glioma fighting tool. I shy from believing third, fourth or linearly further removed stories. But, Stephen of AO and I have been scouring, researching, reading, discussing, and we've found information to support the use of medical marijuana for glioma. There's a trick, though, a caveat; there are things to know.

Now, this is not an exhaustive post to teach you everything you need to know about medical marijuana, this is just a basic overview of why I think you should acknowledge the relevance of the treatment. And I'm including a few things you should know as a brain tumor fighter, or as a discerning individual who reads this blog for fun.

Marijuana/Cannabis

  • There are over 80 cannabinoids in each plant (THC is the most known, CBD is second most prominent)
  • THC is known for its psychoactive effects
  • CBD is not psychoactive
  • CBD balances THC's psychoactive effects
  • CBD has shown impressive results in alleviating seizures, insomnia, anxiety, and tumors
  • There are plants that have been bred to have only trace amounts of THC (causing zero psychoactive effects) but up to 18% CBD (the good stuff)
  • Industrial hemp which will not get you high, naturally contains a CBD of 3-4% which for a non-bred strain is considered high CBD. 
  • The way to ingest CBD is not by smoking. You need to take it as an oil, a resin, by juicing leaves or buds, or turning it into a smoothie.
  • THC has been shown in studies to lower immune response (the extent of which is unknown)
CBD & Adult Seizures
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7413719

CBD & Childhood Epilepsy
http://www.gwpharm.com/Clinical%20Use.aspx

CBD & Sleep Inducing and Anti-Epileptic Activity
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7028792

Like I mentioned, this is not intended to be exhaustive. I just wanted to give a starting point for others. This is merely a little introduction so that you can research for yourself and decide if it's something you may want to use in your cancer fighting. And for those who don't have cancer, I hope this helps open your eyes, and your mind to medicinal marijuana - it certainly did for me. The benefits, and merits of the plant are not debatable. It is proven. The sticky part (ha!) is that it gets a shady (double ha!) rap because of the recreational use which upsets many. Luckily, in my state, marijuana is legal. It's still cost prohibitive to get the doses I need, though. If I purchase the CBD it would cost $56 a day for me to cut seizures, stabilize my infamous sleep issues and copy the proven dosing to fight my glioma tumor cells. I can't afford that. It is frustrating to see something that could help me so much, but I can't attain it, not in the quantities I need. And all of those benefits without any psychotropic effects. Isn't that amazing? CBD could increase my quality of life 100 fold, let alone extend it.

I read, while doing research, that the Washington state House passed a bill (1888) in February to legalize the farming, processing, and sale of raw industrial hemp and related  products. As far as I can tell the bill was stuck in the world of revisions and rereading in the state Senate, now WSU is conducting a feasibility study with an end point of January 2015. The point of argument in the Senate is whether the WSDA should be the sole source of seed or just certify the seed. Hopefully they can figure that out.

The most ironic part of this whole issue, this whole post, is that a major portion of my parents business has until recently been comprised of industrialized hemp imported from (at times Hungary, Romania, and Poland) other countries. It was in the form of hemp twine, cord, thread, even fabric. With sweaty brows, and dust covering my clothes, I have literally heaved shipping containers worth of the stuff, never knowing the amazing power hidden in my arms. I'm coming around, though. Things are changing. I hope this information helps you see the benefits we can harness from this amazing plant.

The Earth has so many secrets still. Lets keep our minds open.


2 comments:

  1. Hey Jess, we talked about this already, but from my research the CBD is great for seizures and pain but to really attack tumors you need all of the cannabinoids, including the THC. If you just juice the leaves you will only get CBDA and THCA, you can only get the CBD and THC-the medicinal properties, by heating the cannabis. You can still get an oil with high CBD and lower THC, but you should have some of both. Prices can range so don't let that stop you and it can also be cheaper to grow and make your own oil. Here in CA if you have a "prescription" you are allowed to have six mature plants or 12 baby plants growing. From what I've learned hemp does not kill cancer or help with seizures. Love ya!

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    Replies
    1. Hey Katie,

      Thanks for the comment! Here's a excerpt from the linked study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3579246/?report=classic):

      "Besides cell growth, CBD reduced glioma cell migration [43] and invasiveness in a Boyden chamber test [39], at concentrations lower than those required to inhibit cell proliferation."

      Probably, I wasn't clear, but I do think that THC has a synergistic effect with CBD, to a certain extent, but I don't think it's the necessary component to fight cancer. Not alone, or even the most important compound. That's just based off of the research studies (not articles or anecdotal accounts) that I've read. Please send me some, though, I would love to read them! I'm really enjoying learning about this whole world.

      I get it about the THC-A and CBD-A which is the acid form of the compounds in the raw plant. As far as that goes, I just did a cursory search and found this: (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/22963825/)

      "CBDA offers potential therapeutic modality in the abrogation of cancer cell migration, including aggressive breast cancers."

      I should say that I didn't go too crazy into the whole in vivo/in vitro issue in the study, but just those basic searches found some great leads on whether or not raw plant matter and CBD are valuable in cancer fighting. Which, it looks like it is, and that's really exciting stuff!

      I should also say that as for the immunity issues with THC, I'm not saying that people should avoid THC, it's just something to be aware of. There are tons of immunomodulators that can help boost your system (supplements), which is what I would do if I was ingesting any significant amount of THC, just to cover my bases. And I felt I would be remiss if I didn't mention the issue.

      Thanks again for the comment, and I'd love any studies you've found helpful! (If you get the chance.)

      Jess

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