Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Science in Ganga for Autoimmune Arthritis

These were one month of meds not including supplememnts.
This was one month of meds not including supplements.

Everyday we are exposed to tons of information that we have no way of telling how accurate that information is.  I also observed (through my own processes and creepily observing others),  that while the education is getting out there – the process in which people absorb that information is painfully slow.  When someone is told that cannabis has medical benefits, they don’t automatically erase all the propaganda that was forcefully stuffed into their head.  Instead, they replace the one fact but all other false information remains.  Unfortunately, aside from glaucoma and nausea, most people aren’t told about all of these wonderful properties that grace cannabinoids.  So, this is for those a little more scientifically minded and the skeptical.  Here is how ganga can be used to help autoimmune arthritis diseases.  Keep in mind, we overlap with MS and many other illnesses as well.

Cannabis relieves pain

“Cannabinoid agonists produce many effects beyond those mediated directly on receptors, including anti-inflammatory effects and interactions with various other neurotransmitter systems (previously reviewed (Russo 2006a). Briefly stated, THC effects in serotonergic systems are widespread, including its ability to decrease 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) release from platelets (Volfe et al 1985), increase its cerebral production and decrease synaptosomal uptake (Spadone 1991). THC may affect many mechanisms of the trigeminovascular system in migraine (Akerman et al 2003; Akerman et al 2004; Akerman et al 2007; Russo 1998; Russo 2001). Dopaminergic blocking actions of THC (Müller-Vahl et al 1999) may also contribute to analgesic benefits.”

(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/)

Everyone has heard about the psychoactive effects of cannabis.  Unmotivated stoners couch-locked watching E! TV, right?  Well, turns out we make our own cannabinoids like anandamide  and 2-AG.  These actually help modulate a multitude of mechanisms in our immune system, like pain perception, healing/regeneration, and inflammation.  So, what if cannabis could help those with cannabinoid deficiencies?  Often times, introduction of cannabinoids into areas of inflammation and pain, result not just with a pain block – but an overall healing response.    This is exciting because cannabinoid therapy has a significant potential to be used in conjunction with other treatments, or eventually as a treatment itself for autoimmune arthritis diseases!

“In a paper published … in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, researchers examined the interaction between cannabinoids and opiates in the first human study of its kind. They found the combination of the two components reduced pain more than using opiates alone, similar to results previously found in animal studies.”

(http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2011/12/11077/ucsf-study-finds-medical-marijuana-could-help-patients-reduce-pain-opiates)

So what that means is that many autoimmune arthritis patients that need stronger anagelsic relief, may be able to delay or avoid the use of dangerous opiates! (Which often require more pills to combat side effects like constipation.)  While there is a valid use and need for opiates and barbituates in treating RA and diseases like it, being able to delay that need is an amazing thing for the body.  (Especially considering HOW it relieves pain!)  While THC and CBD to have pain relieving properties on their own, part of the overwhelming success of patients is that cannabis has immunosupressive properties similar to Enbrel and DMARDS like methotrexate.

Most of our endocannabinoid system lives within our immune system cells.  They help to regulate our homeostasis, but don’t govern over vital systems like breathing and heart beat.  One of the most employed techniques of treating autoimmune arthritis diseases, is to supress the immune system, therefore helping to regulate inflammation.  There are 2 known receptors and it is suspected more, but one of the things that cannabinoids have been shown to inhibit are ERK-1 and ERK-2, which are known inflammatory agents.

“CB1 and CB2 protein and RNA were present in the synovia of OA and RA patients. Cannabinoid receptor stimulation of fibroblast-like cells from OA and RA patients produced a time-dependent phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)-1 and ERK-2 which was significantly blocked by the CB1 antagonist SR141716A. The endocannabinoids anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonyl glycerol (2-AG) were identified in the synovial fluid of OA and RA patients. However, neither AEA nor 2-AG was detected in synovial fluid from normal volunteers. FAAH was active in the synovia of OA and RA patients and was sensitive to inhibition by URB597 (3′-(aminocarbonyl) [1,1′-biphenyl]-3-yl)-cyclohexylcarbamate).”

(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18416822)

This statement above also illustrates that when our body is inflamed, it sends our natural endocannabinoids to those sites in an attempt to not only regulate the inflammation, but to start regeneration.  These were not found in normal joints!    This suggests that cannabinoids may be vital to regulating our immune systems properly!

The other thing to note evident in all of this – cannabinoids interact with our systems using multiple pathways, which also suggests multiple functions for them!  I would much rather take one medicine for 10 issues than 10 meds for one.  Even more exciting is the fact that we have just touched the surface of what cannabinoid therapy can do for Autoimmuners!

“The anti-inflammatory contributions of THC are also extensive, including inhibition of PGE-2 synthesis (Burstein et al 1973), decreased platelet aggregation (Schaefer et al 1979), and stimulation of lipooxygenase (Fimiani et al 1999). THC has twenty times the anti-inflammatory potency of aspirin and twice that of hydrocortisone (Evans 1991), but in contrast to all nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), demonstrates no cyclo-oxygenase (COX) inhibition at physiological concentrations (Stott et al 2005a).”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/

What?  No, I didn’t read that right – 2 times stronger anti-inflammatory than PREDNISONE?  Nice.  For me, the question is:  Why are so many of us allowed to go into adrenal failure when there is a safer option we needed to try first?  Also, all that COX stuff means it doesn’t screw with your stomach.  For all you autoimmuners, I am so sorry if you have NSAID induced ulcers and IBS now.

This is great, but can cannabinoids actually stop the progression of autoimmune arthritis diseases?  Well, current research suggests that it can, but not by inhaling it!  The current dosing needed to see that type of result comes from juicing at least half a high CBD (and what THC you want) pant, or using your tolerance worth of Rick Simpson style oil.  Perhaps this is why some of these benefits are just now being noticed!  Most consumers will either smoke or vaporize cannabis, and there is no way possible to get the amount of cannabinoids you need to be disease modifying.  The good news is that you can either grow or make this if you live in a legal state.  If you don’t live in one, we need to fight so you do.   So far the science is really amazing when it comes to disease modifying benefits, and GW Pharmaceuticals is already using Sativex for RA in human clinical trials.  They are trying to establish dosing, but I think they will find they need a new formulation.  The current formulation is used in Europe to treat MS.   According to NORML, ” Preclinical data also indicates that cannabinoids can moderate the progression of RA. Writing in the August 2000 issue of the Journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, investigators at London’s Kennedy Institute for Rheumatology reported that cannabidiol (CBD) administration suppressed progression of arthritis in vitro and in animals.[5] Administration of CBD after the onset of clinical symptoms protected joints against severe damage and “effectively blocked [the] progression of arthritis,” investigators concluded. Daily administration of the synthetic cannabinoid agonist HU-320 has also been reported to protect joints from damage and to ameliorate arthritis in animals.[6]” (http://norml.org/library/item/rheumatoid-arthritis)  I believe in time, we will see a good deal of cannabinoid based therapies for autoimmune diseases in the form of DMARDS.  Cannabis is showing promising effects on cancer as well, which makes sense considering that autoimmuners and cancer patients often take the same treatments.

In closing this part of our cannabis science, I am going to leave you with a video of Dr. Courtney and his wife.  This is purely anecdotal, but then again – everything starts that way.

The Many Methods of Medical Marijuana: edibles

Here are several edibles:  Gaia's Garden White Chocolate Raspberry Bar, The Growing Kitchen's Indica Chill Pills, and Apothecanna's Pain Spray
Here are several edibles: Gaia’s Garden White Chocolate Raspberry Bar, The Growing Kitchen’s Indica Chill Pills, and Apothecanna’s Pain Spray

One of the more popular ways to medicate with cannabis is through edibles.  Basically, edibles are anything you can eat that has active cannabinoids in it.   There are as many different kinds of edibles as there are foods, but there are a few basic truths to all edibles that apply whether it is a pot brownie or cannabis stroganoff.

  • Edibles do not give you the same feeling that inhaling cannabis does.  For you to get relief from eaten cannabis, it needs to be processed by your body.  This usually ends up being longer and stronger.  Think of the relief you get from edibles more like an extended release pain med.
  • Relief can be up to 2 hours away to start, and peak relief could be 3-4.  This is not a bad thing, but an edible is not what you want to take if you need immediate symptom relief.
  • The first few times you use edible cannabis, start with 10mg THC dose.  Resist the urge to take more, even after a couple of hours.  Often, that second dose compounds on the other and can cause unpleasant feelings.  Next time, take more when it is time and work up to your dose.  While you cannot die from a cannabis overdose, it is possible to use too much for your comfort level.  Always ease into cannabis, so you know what to expect from your body!
  • If you buy edibles, make sure that they are lab tested and are labeled with the amount of THC.  There have been some issues here with edibles not being labeled properly, some with more and some with less.  Research the company who makes yours if you choose to buy premade edibles!
  • Don’t get hooked on sugar!  Many edibles are candy.  Diabetes is not something you want to add to an autoimmune illness – or anything really.  Consider using the base edibles in your recipes at home.
  • Most companies use one of these base forms of edible cannabis: canna oil, cannabutter, cannahoney, or butane hash oil.   You can always make these at home, or buy lab tested base products to use in your own recipes to avoid the sugar!  Cannabis is actually a fantastic savory spice!  Try it in anything Italian!

I find edibles are fantastic for deep pains, strong neuropathic issues, and any symptom that is moderate or above.  They also have the benefit of being discreet.  Fourth of July, I had a 10mg edible to help with any nausea or pain from walking.  No one knew a thing because it looked like a piece of chocolate.  Edibles (unless left in a hot car) are a lot easier to travel with as well.  No vaporizer, no extra accessories, etc.

My happy dose is about 15mg of a high CBD/THC edible.  After about an hour, I start feeling my muscles relax, my mood lightens, and the edible takes effect.  For me, this dose doesn’t cause too much of a head buzz, and allows  me to finish out my day.  The relief from my ingested cannabis has lasted as long as 14 hours before.  I absolutely love edibles when I am having serious nerve issues because when the cannabis kicks in, the neuropathy is kicked out!  Everyone is different though, so definitely ease into edibles!

Matanuska Thunderfuck – Strain Review

Type:  Matanuska Thunderfuck, hybrid

Uses: insomnia, nausea, moderate pain

Medicine Replaced: zoldipam, ondansteron, hydrocodone

Smell:  MTF smells a bit like a hay barn with a large pile of hay.

Commentary:  This is a strong one with strong sativa effects.  It does make you tired, so only use this when you have nothing to do but eat bon bons and watch 300, or at night.  I would not recommend this one for muscle spasms or spasticity, but it does work well with some kind of pain.   I often mix this with a strain like LSD or a kush for a heavy sleep effect.  This is not an energy sativa for me!

 

White Widow – Strain Review

Type:  White Widow, hybrid

Uses: moderate nausea, moderate pain, muscle spasms, spasticity, nerve issues

Medicine Replaced:  ondansetron, oxycodone, cyclobenzaprine, gabapentin

Smell:  White Widow smells pretty astringent with culinary herb and new cardboard box mixed in.

Commentary:  This one is a bit headier than most, so only use White Widow when you don’t have important things to do like driving or interacting with people.  I would actually use this strain as my go-to for muscle spasticity and seizures, then for nerve issues second.  The high on this is not so bad you couldn’t function or interact with your family, but again – it takes things that stun elephants to make a dent for me.  White Widow instantly relaxes the body, so any muscle strain seems to disappear.

Sweet Kush – Strain Review

Type: Sweet Kush, indica

Uses: moderate to severe pain, nausea, spasticity, muscle spasms, neuropathy, insomnia

Medicine Replaced:  hydrocodone, low dose oxycodone, zoldipam, gabapentin, ondansetron

Smell:  This strain smells a bit more earthy with undertones of crushed pine needle.  It smells like walking in a pine forest on a day it just rained and you can smell the earth too.

Commentary:  I love Sweet Kush.  It makes those tougher days more bearable and has the ability to stop neuropathy quickly.  It mostly gets used on days we have storms come in and I need more relief from both the pain and neuropathy.  It also has helped with insomnia on several occasions, but not as reliably as a stronger strain.