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momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
Cannabinoids for Autoimmune Disease

Posted on:
Thursday, June 8th 2017 at 7:15 pm
Written By:

Ali Le Vere, B.S., B.S.

This unjustly demonized plant is about to change the scope of medicine and disease management as we know it.

Historical Maligning of Marijuana
Although legalizing recreational marijuana is a polarizing political issue, the ceremonial and medicinal use of this botanical agent dates back thousands of years (1). Paleobotanical, anthropological, and ethnographic records date the first human interactions with marijuana to 11,000 years ago, in the Holocene era, when human groups in the Eurasian continent used the seeds and stalks as sources of food and fiber, and the resin-laden female flowers within spiritual contexts (2, 3, 4). According to Wei and colleagues (2017), the medicinal actions, as well as the heightened euphoria, modified time perception, intensified sensation, and sense of tranquility produced by consuming the flowers or inhaling their smoke was “intimately woven into religious ritual” (p. 1). Marijuana was likewise used to cement social bonding during weddings, funerals, supernatural rites, and festivals, from cultures ranging to the Scythians inhabiting the Eurasian steppe to the Hindus of the Himalayan mountains (5).

Nonetheless, the plant has been embroiled in a miasma of mythology and its reputation tarnished by its affiliation with counterculture, a segment of the population to which policymakers have harbored historical animus. According to Schafer (1972),

“Many see the drug as fostering a counterculture which conflicts with basic moral precepts as well as with the operating functions of our society….Marihuana becomes more than a drug; it becomes a symbol of the rejection of cherished values” (p. 9).

Despite its extensive medical use in the United States into the twentieth century, marijuana became entangled with negative cultural connotations and hyperbolic rhetoric after Nixon passed the Controlled Substances Act, which exiled the plant to Schedule One status alongside heroin, mescaline, psilocybin, and LSD, with the implication that marijuana was devoid of medicinal properties, fraught with high abuse potential, and would be inaccessible for clinical research trials (7, 8). The Shafer Commission, appointed to perform a non-partisan, independent appraisal of marijuana, made a formal recommendation that its Schedule One status be repealed, but this was rejected by President Nixon, and future appeals in the matter by independent agencies, advocacy groups, and political leaders have likewise been denied (9).

Prior to the mid-twentieth century, marijuana use was, “…mainly confined to underprivileged socioeconomic groups in our cities and to certain insulated social groups, such as jazz musicians and artists,” such that marijuana became conflated with cohorts marginalized by society (6, p.7). However, in the mid-1960s, marijuana use began to encompass mainstream sectors, and became emblematic of a broader social movement, a symbolic rite of protest, challenge to authority, and political demonstration for those involved in anti-war and civil rights efforts (6). Marijuana was adopted as both an “agent of group solidarity” and an instrument of political activism, and became equated with intergenerational and cultural divide as well as “disaffection with traditional society,” “political radicalism,” and “defiance of the established order” (6, p.10).

Due to its demonization by the Nixon administration during their infamous war on drugs, marijuana was relegated to the realm of street crime, and became ensnared with legal penalties, affixed with false stereotypes, and had its side effects sensationalized. False propaganda surrounding its use lingered after the federal prohibition of marijuana in 1937, such that marijuana instilled fear in the public (6). The erroneous narrative surrounding its side effects included aggressive behavior, juvenile delinquency, crime, addiction, insanity, and lethality (6, p. 9). In fact, the independent research panel appointed by Nixon described, “Although based much more on fantasy than on proven fact, the marihuana ‘evils’ took root in the public mind, and now continue to color the public reaction to the marijuana phenomenon” (6, p. 9).

The Schafer Report, submitted to Nixon to repeal its Class One status, chronicles how the association between marijuana and the undermining of the prevailing social hierarchy led to the plant’s fall from grace, as “Such mass deviance was a problem and the scope of the problem was augmented by frequent publicity” (6, p. 8). Thus, when interpreted against the backdrop of institutional defiance, sociopolitical turbulence, campus unrest, communal living, and abdication of traditional moral values, the historical origins of the vitriol against marijuana use by more conservative segments of the population can be contextualized.

The Endocannabinoid System Rekindles Scientific Interest
The early 1990s, however, heralded the discovery of the mammalian endocannabinoid system, comprised of two heterotrimeric G-protein coupled cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, along with their endogenous lipid-derived ligands, the most important of which were arachidonylethanolamide (anandamide) and 2-arachidonyl glycerol (2-AG) (10). This lipid-signaling regulatory system was based on endocannabinoids derived from arachidonic acid metabolites, which are generated on demand in response to escalating levels of intracellular calcium from phospholipids residing in the lipid bilayer of cell membranes (11).

The revolutionary insight that humans have an endocannabinoid system, which controls executive function, mood, social behavior, and pain, is conserved from invertebrates to high mammals, and can be activated by cannabinoids in marijuana, renewed interest in its medicinal applications (5, 52). Advances in this field of study engendered a platform for the examination of the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids (11).

Marijuana primarily refers to the species Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis, whereas Cannabis species lacking psychoactive cannabinoids are classified as hemp, which has been used historically for industrial production of ropes and textiles (7, 6, 8). Approximately one hundred pharmacologically active cannabinoids have been isolated; however, the bulk of scientific research has revolved around two, ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), to which the ‘high’ is attributed, and cannabidiol (CBD), which does not produce this psychoactive effect and may, in fact, counteract it (12).

It was discovered that CB1 cannabinoid receptors are heterogeneously expressed in the central and peripheral nervous systems, and are particularly enriched in areas of the brain such as the cerebellum, cerebral cortex, caudate-putamen, hippocampus, substantia nigra pars reticulata, entopeduncular nucleus, and globus pallidus (10). CB1 receptors are particularly concentrated in regions of the brain that modulate nociception, motor function, and higher executive functions such as memory and cognition (13).

On the other hand, CB2 cannabinoid receptors are primarily localized in non-neuronal tissues, especially immune cells, where they mediate immunosuppressive effects and inhibit pain transmission (13, 10). However, both CB1 and CB2 receptors have been found on immune cells, supporting the notion that cannabinoids contribute to immunoregulation (11). Whereas CBD lacks significant agonist activity at CB1 receptors, which explains its non-psychotropic effects, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana, exhibits comparable activity at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors (10).

Although the endocannabinoid system regulates the autonomic nervous system, microcirculation, and immunity in the periphery, “Studies to date indicate that the main pharmacological function of the endocannabinoid system is in neuromodulation: controlling motor functions, cognition, emotional responses, homeostasis and motivation” (11, p. 2).

Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Cannabinoids
Cannabinoids have been demonstrated to have immunomodulatory effects, and are now being re-conceived as novel anti-inflammatory drugs (11). Although cannabinoids are pleiotropic, functioning through multiple mechanisms, recent studies have elucidated that cannabinoids induce apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in immune cell populations, a process involving molecular and morphological changes required for physiological equilibrium and immunosuppression (14).

In vitro studies have elucidated that THC provokes apoptosis in macrophages and T cells by activating caspases and the apoptosis regulator Bcl-2 (15). Likewise, ex vivo studies have shown that THC is capable of inducing apoptosis in T cell, B cell, and macrophage lineages (51). Importantly, THC has been shown to precipitate apoptosis in dendritic cells, the foremost professional antigen presenting cells that modulate maturation of naive T lymphocytes into effector T cells such as Th1, Th2, or Th17 cells, which can elicit the immune imbalances implicated in autoimmunity (11). CBD also leads to apoptosis of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells by promoting reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and up-regulating activity of caspases, which are integral to the execution phases of apoptosis (16).

On the other hand, “Cannabinoids can protect from apoptosis in nontransformed cells of the CNS, which can play a protective role in autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis” (11, p. 3). Specifically, cannabinoids enhance signaling through the PI3K/AKT pathway, which regulates the cell cycle and promotes brain growth and differentiation (11, 2009). Cannabinoids also inhibit apoptosis of oligodendrocytes, a subset of neuroglial cells injured in multiple sclerosis, which are responsible for producing the myelin sheath, or the fatty insulation of nerves that allows for conduction of electrochemical signals (17, 11).

In addition, although results are highly variable depending on cell population and cannabinoid concentration, cannabinoids have been demonstrated to reduce synthesis of inflammatory intercellular messenger molecules known as cytokines and chemokines, which contribute to the pathogenesis of autoimmune disease. THC, for instance, has been observed to suppress the expression of pro-inflammatory interleukins (ILs) IL-1α, IL-1β, and IL-6, as well as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) in cultured rat microglial cells exposed to lipolysaccharide (LPS), the outer cell wall component of Gram-negative bacteria that is implicated in autoimmune and cardiometabolic disorders (18). In similar fashion, synthetic cannabinoids WIN55,212-2 and HU210 reduce synthesis of pro-inflammatory TNF-α and IL-12 while increasing levels of anti-inflammatory IL-10 in a rodent model of LPS challenge (19).

In other studies, CBD blocks the LPS-induced increase in TNF-α in mouse models (20). Moreover, synthetic cannabinoids such as AjA, CP55,940 and WIN55,212-2 have been shown to reduce secretion of IL-6, an inflammatory cytokine that contributes to tissue injury (11). Thus, researchers suggest that these cannabinoid compounds “may have a value for treatment of joint inflammation in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis” (11, p. 4).

Importantly, some studies have shown that cannabinoids up-regulate activity of FOXP3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs), a subset of immune cells depleted in autoimmunity which promote peripheral immune tolerance, and restore equilibrium between the Th1, Th2, and Th17 arms of the immune system (11). For instance, in response to low-level stimulation of T cells, CBD up-regulates IL-2 production, which is essential for induction of Treg activity along with TGF-β1 (21). Dhital and colleagues (2017) illustrated that CBD increases populations of Tregs, which results in immunosuppression via robust inhibition of T cell proliferation, effectively protracting the production of lymphocyte populations underlying autoimmune etiology (21).

Lastly, CBD has been shown to inhibit nuclear factor kappa beta (NFκB), a pathway that can be over-active in autoimmune disease (22). NFκB is a master transcription factor that controls hundreds of genes for innate immunity and leads to the expression of downstream pro-inflammatory products (22).

Therapeutic Application to Autoimmune Disease
Cannabinoids are effective in combating many of the hallmark symptoms that accompany autoimmune disease, such as mood disturbance. For example, a double-blind human study revealed that CBD modulates neural activity in the limbic and paralimbic systems to significantly reduce subjective anxiety (23). Likewise, CBD may improve motivation and reduce clinical depression and anhedonia (53). Case series and a meta-analysis of eighteen studies have highlighted a role for cannabis in improvement of chronic pain and sleep as well (24, 25). In addition, cannabinoids may improve an array of organ- and tissue-specific autoimmune disorders.

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Potent anti-arthritic properties of cannabinoids have been demonstrated such that their use may be indicated for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disorder where immune complexes are deposited in the joints, leading to progressive joint pain, stiffness, and deformity. In particular, CBD has been shown to prevent disease progression and protect joints against severe damage in rodent collagen-induced arthritis (20). Ex vivo studies of animal models of rheumatoid arthritis have demonstrated attenuation of immunoproliferative responses in draining lymph nodes with CBD, as well as a reduction in interferon gamma (IFN-γ) production, and diminished release of TNF by knee synovial cells (20). Mitogen-stimulated and antigen-specific clonal expansion of lymphocyte populations was also suppressed by CBD in vivo (20).

In addition, synthetic cannabinoids such as AjA have been shown to reduce secretion of IL-6, and to protect against osteoclastogenesis, or the creation of cells associated with bone resorption (26, 27). AjA also suppresses production of an inflammatory cytokine, IL-1β, in peripheral blood monocytes (PBMs) and synovial fluid monocytes (SFMs) extracted from patients with RA (28).

Type 1 Diabetes
Another autoimmune condition where cannabinoids hold therapeutic promise is type 1 diabetes mellitus (TIDM), or insulin-dependent diabetes, where autoimmune processes result in loss of insulin-producing pancreatic β cells. In rodent models of T1D induced by streptozotocin, it was found that THC mitigated the severity of the immune response, transiently prevented hyperglycemia and loss of pancreatic insulin, and decreased expression of pro-inflammatory elements including CD3+ T cells, IL-12, IFN-γ and TNF-α (50).

Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Further, data support that cannabinoids confer protection in two forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that generally involves the ileum and colon and can be accompanied by intestinal fistulas, granulomas, and strictures, while ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation in the colonic mucosa and submucosa (29, 30). According to Nagarkatti et al. (2009), “Cannabinoids have been shown to regulate the tissue response to excessive inflammation in the colon, mediated by both dampening smooth-muscular irritation caused by inflammation and suppressing proinflammatory cytokines, thus controlling the cellular pathways leading to inflammatory responses” (p. 7).

CB1 receptors, for instance, are expressed in the colon and ileum and are increased upon inflammation as a protective mechanism (31). Genetic ablation of CB1 receptors enhances sensitivity to inflammatory stimuli in mice (11). In oral dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced rodent models of colitis, pharmacological antagonists, which block stimulation of CB1 receptors, exacerbated colitis, whereas pharmacological activation of cannabinoid receptors with the agonist HU210 ameliorated colitis (11). Likewise, oil of mustard (OM)-induced colitis and sequelae including inflammatory and histological damage, diarrhea, and colonic weight gain were reduced by CB1- and CB2- selective agonists, ACEA and JWH-133, respectively (32). In addition, mice with genetic deletion of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), the enzyme that degrades anandamide, have significant protection against 2,4-dinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (DNBS)-induced Crohn’s due to longer half-life of this endogenous cannabinoid, likely leading to increased cannabinoid receptor stimulation (33).

Ocular Manifestations of Autoimmune Disease
In an in vivo model of experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU), which is an animal model of human autoimmune ocular disorders, JWH-133, a CB2-selective agonist, elicited an immunosuppressive effect (34, 35). This cannabinoid agonist appeared to work through down-regulation of antigen presentation and T cell proliferation and favorable alterations in cytokine profiles (35, 36). For instance, JWH-133 improved levels of IL-10, which prevents EAU development, and decreased levels of IL-12p40, a cytokine pivotal to EAU pathogenesis (36).



Psoriasis
Cannabinoids are likewise useful in arresting two primary steps in the pathogenesis of psoriasis, an autoimmune skin disease characterized by plaques and lesions. A synthetic cannabinoid JWH-133 is able to suppress angiogenic growth factors and inflammatory cytokines including hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), angiopoitin-2, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), cellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), IL-8,IL-17, and IL-2, all of which are etiological factors in psoriasis development (37).

Multiple Sclerosis
Finally, cannabinoids exert neuroprotective and immunosuppressive effects in multiple sclerosis (MS), a neurological autoimmune disorder wherein nerve fibers and axons are progressively demyelinated (11). At least eight clinical studies have illuminated the benefits of cannabis, THC, and the cannabinoid receptor agonist Nabilone for improving pain, spasticity, tremor, ataxia, and bladder control in MS (38, 39). A survey of 112 MS patients similarly showed that using cannabis improved these symptoms, as well as depression, in 90% of individuals (11).

At a molecular level, activation of the CB1 receptor suppresses myelin-specific T cells which infiltrate the brain and spinal cord and are responsible for myelin sheath destruction (40). CB2 cannabinoid agonists such as WIN55,212-2 inhibit experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of MS, by mediating apoptosis of the encephalitogenic cells that induce brain inflammation (41). The same cannabinoid agonist works through the nuclear receptor nuclear receptor PPAR-γ to reduce endothelial and vascular cell adhesion molecules expression, which effectively inhibits migration of pathogenic CD4+ T cells into the central nervous system (CNS) (42).

Cannabinoids such as AEA also reduce antigen presentation by microglial cells, the macrophages of the CNS, which drive myelin sheath elimination via production of glutamate, nitric oxide, and inflammatory interleukins (11). AEA further functions via CB2 receptors to suppress production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-12 and IL-23, which promote Th1 proliferation and maintain destructive Th17 cell populations, respectively (43). The vital immunomodulatory role played by the endocannabinoid system in preventing or mitigating MS is underscored by a study where CB2 knockout mice had exacerbated EAE and robust infiltration of myeloid progenitor cells into neuroinflamed tissue (44). Aberrant trafficking of myeloid progenitors, which can be prevented by cannabinoids, replenishes microglia populations, the cell subset which contributes to myelin sheath damage (44). Lastly, because astrocytes harbor CB1 and CB2 receptors, cannabinoids contribute to immunosuppression of these brain cells, which are responsible for augmenting the inflammatory response in MS via nitric oxide, chemokine, and cytokine production (11).

The Future of Medical Marijuana
Grassroots lobbying efforts, activism, and ballot initiatives have mobilized to repeal draconian laws, reclassify marijuana, and decriminalize its use, resulting in unprecedented medical and recreational access to marijuana in approximately half of the states in the United States (8).

However, in many states, markets are saturated with products unregulated with regard to potency and quality, lacking standardization of their active constituents. Due to cross-breeding, hybridization, and variable cultivation methods, marijuana tends to contain high levels of THC relative to CBD, and unpredictable levels of other cannabinoids (8).



There are several methods of delivery, each of which vary in their onset of action, time to peak effects, and duration of effect (8). Smoking, which “releases the cannabinoid substances into a volatile mixture that is introduced into the lungs via smoke and absorbed though the alveolar membrane and into the pulmonary circulation,” enables compounds to readily translocate across the blood-brain barrier and exert systemic central and peripheral effects (8, p. 241). Although it produces rapid effects and simplifies titration of dose, smoking exposes the user to tar, microbial contaminants, heavy metals, pesticides, and other toxicants, as well as increases the risk of myocardial infarction secondary to coronary artery spasm in susceptible individuals (8). Further, long-term sequelae of marijuana smoking likely include chronic cough, wheezing, increased sputum production, respiratory tract inflammation, and obstruction of air flow (45, 46).

With vaporization, on the other hand, marijuana leaves are heated just below combustion point, liberating the cannabinoids into vapor and eliciting fast acting effects without the concomitant production of airway-damaging smoke (47). In contrast, edibles, which incorporate marijuana into food products such as baked goods, teas, oils, and lozenges, are convenient to administer but are accompanied by a delay between when the product is ingested and when peak drug effects occur, due to first-pass metabolism in the liver before absorption into the nervous system and systemic circulation (12, 48). Tinctures and sprays of plant extract negate this problem due to their absorption through the oral mucosal membranes, which bypasses the liver, generating relatively rapid peak-effects (8).

For those who live in states where medical marijuana is prohibited, or for individuals wanting to avoid psychotropic effects of marijuana, isolated hemp-derived CBD extracts may be a viable option. As summarized by Kogan and Mechoulam (2007), “The therapeutic value of cannabinoids is too high to be put aside…In view of the very low toxicity and the generally benign side effects of this group of compounds, neglecting or denying their clinical potential is unacceptable” (49, p. 413
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
Medical Marijuana Treatments for Lupus; How Cannabis Helps Lupus

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which your body can’t tell the difference between viruses, germs and bacteria and your body’s own healthy tissue. This leads to your immune system creating antibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue, leading to inflammation, pain and damage to body parts. Lupus is characterized by flares, where symptoms worsen, and remissions, when symptoms improve. Unlike HIV or AIDS, where the immune system is under-active, the immune system is overactive in lupus.

Between 1.5 and 2 million Americans live with lupus, and most are women between the age of 15-45. The most severe cases of lupus are found in Asians and African-Americans. The most common type of lupus is system lupus erythematosus, which attacks several body organs. Drug-induced lupus is caused by using one of over 400 legal prescription drugs. Other types of lupus include cutaneous lupus, which mainly attacks skin and forms a butterfly-shaped rash across the nose, lupus nephritis, which attacks the kidneys, and neonatal lupus, which occurs in babies born to mothers with lupus.

Symptoms of lupus include pain all over but focused in hands, fingers, wrists, andknees, skin rashes, mouth sores, fatigue, mood changes, swelling of hands and feet, nausea, vomiting, depression, anxiety, seizures, fevers, weight loss, chest pain, hair loss, ulcers, swollen lymph nodes, anemia and abnormal heart rate.

How is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) Disrupted in Lupus?

This is an area of medicine lacking in research. One day genetic studies will see if mutations in ECS genes are correlated with lupus. Because the immune system contains cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2), endocannabinoids directly influence the immune system.

How Does Cannabis Help Lupus?

Pain and inflammation are two major symptoms of lupus, and cannabis helps relieve both, without nasty side effects that prescription medications have. Cannabis increases

the levels of anti-inflammatory protein interleukin-10 and decreases the levels of pro-inflammatory protein interleukin-2. Cannabis has also been shown to suppress the immune system by activating myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). MDSCs may help dampen the hyperactive immune system found in lupus.

Cannabis also helps treat symptoms of nausea and abdominal cramping that are often severe side effects of commonly prescribed drug for lupus, such as Plaquenil and corticosteroids.

How Can I Take Cannabis to Treat Lupus?

For patents who are not ready to quit taking their prescription medications yet, vaporizing cannabis is a great way to quickly ease pain, reduce inflammation and

decrease the severity of side effects from prescription drugs given to lupus patients. Vaporizing cannabis is better than smoking cannabis in a joint, pipe, or bong because it doesn’t burn the cannabis. Smoking cannabis releases toxins similar to cigarettes, can cause lung irritation and often disintegrates cannabinoids with healing properties. Vaporizing cannabis heats the air around the cannabis, releasing a range of cannabinoids, each with unique health benefit.

Eating large doses of cannabis oil daily is essential if you want to make the switch from pills to cannabis only. Cannabis oil made from high-CBD strains work for some patients, but others do best with high THC & THCA extracts.. You can purchase cannabis oil in capsules to make it easier to swallow and remember dosing. If capsules are not available in your area, you can also purchase preloaded syringe of oil that you squirt into your mouth, or take cannabis tincture drops that you put under your tongue.

If you have sleep issues, eating an edible (brownie, candy, etc.) at night can help. Cannabis topicals, in the form of creams or lotions you put on your skin, can help with joint pain and swelling during the day.

A new way to get cannabis into your body is via a transdermal patch, similar to the birth control patch or the nicotine patch. This discrete method provides extended release medication for up to ten hours and is perfect for people who feel uncomfortable with other methods such as smoking cannabis. Patches on the market currently come in CBD, THC, 1:1 CBD:THC, and THCA varieties.

Juicing raw cannabis may reduce pain and inflammation associated with lupus, without that high you get from heated cannabis. That’s because raw cannabis has THCA and CBDA, the non-psychoactive forms of THC and CBD. Juice strains of cannabis with high levels of CBD(A) for best results.

What Strains Are Best For Patients with Lupus?

Finding the right strain for you sometimes takes trial and error. For some patients, strains with high levels of CBD are optimal for lupus. These include Cannatonic, which has close to 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD, Charlotte’s Web, Harlequin, and Sour Tsunami. For other patients, strains with high THC work.

Let’s Make This Easy

  1. Use cannabis cream on your achy joints during the day. Don’t worry, it won’t get you high.
  2. Vape cannabis whenever you need pain or other symptom relief. Be safe and don’t drive immediately after using your vaporizer if using a strain that has THC in it as well, you could get a chemical DUI in most states.
  3. Eat an edible at night to help you sleep and relieve pain and inflammation. If you eat it during the day you may not be able to drive or work.
  4. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where raw cannabis juice is available, drink it as often as you can afford to buy it. If not, try taking an extract with THC and THCA.
References

Lupus Foundation of America: What is Lupus?

Cannabinoid receptor activation leads to massive mobilization of myeloid-derived suppressor cells with potent immunosuppressive properties. Hegde VL, Nagarkatti M, Nagarkatti PS. European Journal of Immunology (2010).



 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
Autoimmune Diseases: How Does Cannabis Help?
Cannabis is famous for providing consumers with a happy, trippy good time. Yet, when it comes to the immune system, the herb is all business. Not only is the plant effective at relieving some of the pain and uncomfortable symptoms of autoimmune disease, but it is showing a lot of potential as a powerful immunomodulator. Perhaps the most important question here is, when it comes to cannabis and autoimmune diseases, does the herb actually work?

What is an autoimmune disease?

An autoimmune disease arises when a hyperactive immune system mistakes your own cells for a foreign invader. If your immune system is healthy, it seeks out and defends your body against pathogens.

Each time they encounter one of these pathogens, the immune system creates a special protein called an antibody in response.

These antibodies help the body take down very specific threats. In autoimmune disease, your body develops and produces these antibodies in response to very specific organ tissues.

These antibodies act as signals to let the immune system know that these are tissues to be targeted. Once something is flagged with an antibody, special cells called T-Cells do the dirty work and destroy whatever has been marked.

These antibodies can be made in response to all sorts of things. In some autoimmune diseases, antibodies against neurons in the brain are abundant. In others, you may find antibodies against specific types of cell receptors or enzymes.

Some of the most common autoimmune diseases include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (immune system attacks the cartilage in joints)
  • Systemic lupus (affects a wide variety of organs, including kidneys, skin, joints, and brain)
  • Celiac disease (immune system begins to kill off tissue in the small intestine in response to gluten)
  • Psoriasis (immune dysfunction in the skin)
  • Hashimoto’s disease (immune system attacks the thyroid gland)
  • Type 1 diabetes (immune system attacks insulin-producing glands in the pancreas)
  • Multiple sclerosis (immune system attacks the myelin which surrounds neurons)
Unfortunately, there are no cures for autoimmune diseases.

How does cannabis engage the immune system?

When most people think of cannabis, the psychoactivity of the herb is one of the first things brought to mind. However, the plant’s effect on the immune system is a major reason the herb has so much therapeutic potential.

It’s a misconception to think that cannabis simply provides a distraction from a serious illness. Compounds in the herb directly engage with immune cells, creating real and valuable changes in the body.

This gives the herb the potential to fight cancer, ease neurological disorders, combat autoimmune diseases, and calm swelling.

But, what makes this possible? It’s all thanks to the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The endocannabinoid system and immune function

Cannabis compounds like psychoactive THC connect with special sites on cells called cannabinoid receptors.

These receptors provide a way for your cells to receive messages and respond to the communication. In this case, messages come in the form of endocannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids are the human version of THC. When you consume cannabis, active chemicals in the plant replace endocannabinoids at these receptor sites. Turns out, these receptors and chemicals help the immune system communicate with the rest of the body.

Thus far, scientists have found two primary types of cannabinoid receptors, cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). CB1 receptors are most abundant in the brain, but they are also found on immune cells. CB2 receptors are most abundant in immune cells.

The presence of these receptor sites is a good indication that the ECS plays an important role in immune regulation. Research has discovered that endocannabinoids are immunomodulators.

Endocannabinoid levels rise when there is a pathogen threat. They also have been described as negative modulators of the immune system. Simply stated, this means that the compounds help the immune system “turn off”.

Cannabis can suppress a hyperactive immune system

When plant cannabinoids engage these sites in autoimmune cells, they have a suppressant effect on the immune system. This suppression raises some concerns for medical professionals, as having a repressed immune system can create vulnerability to illness and certain types of cancers.

Though, research goes both ways on the cancer topic. Plus, animal and cellular research found that cannabis can kill some forms of cancer cells as well.

However, these immunosuppressant effects can be extremely therapeutic in autoimmune disease. After acknowledging the potentially deleterious impacts of reduced immune function, Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti from the University of South Carolina explains,

[…] Further research of these compounds could provide opportunities to treat a large number of clinical disorders where suppressing the immune response is actually beneficial.

Why is inflammation a problem?


If your immune system is hyperactive, chances are you’re experiencing quite a lot of inflammation. Inflammation happens when something causes damage to tissue. This could be a direct injury, bacteria, toxins and a variety of other causes.

In response to the trauma, cells start to secrete a variety of compounds which trigger blood vessels to leak fluid into the damaged area. This swelling keeps the foreign invader or toxin from spreading to other areas of the body. They also act as immune signals, triggering immune cells to rush to the area.

The problem with chronic inflammation is that it prevents your body from functioning normally. When your joint is inflamed, it becomes stiff and difficult to move.

When inflammation happens in an organ or another part of your body, it simply cannot work very well. It can also cause serious damage over time. Losing the functionality of any body part is disastrous to long-term health, can contribute to a cascade of other symptoms, and can even cost you your life.

In autoimmune disease, your immune system continues to target and attack the same areas repeatedly. It’s like you have an infection that will never heal. In order to regain and maintain function in whatever tissue is being attacked, you need to calm the immune response and cut down inflammation.

Cannabis and inflammation

Research from 2014 made the groundbreaking discovery that cannabis can make changes to specific molecules called histones. Histones help control gene expression. The research found that THC can cause changes to histones in a way that suppresses inflammation.

Further, studies have shown that cannabinoids downregulate certain inflammatory proteins called cytokines. In 2008, researchers used animal models to test the effects ofnonpsychoactive CBD on type 1 diabetes.

They found that CBD treatment caused levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines to decrease, while levels of anti-inflammatory proteins increased.

The immune imbalance was tentatively corrected by CBD.

Cannabis is such a powerful anti-inflammatory that it has been shown to aid in remission of Crohn’s Disease. Crohn’s is a bowel disease in which inflammation in the gut runs rampant.

In a 2014 placebo-controlled trial, researchers treated 21 Crohn’s patients with either cannabis or a placebo. 11 patients were given cannabis. Out of the 11, five patients were in full remission by the end of the trial. 10 of the 11 patients showed improvements in their Crohn’s symptoms, compared to only 4 of 10 placebo controls.

Specific autoimmune conditions

We still have a lot to learn about cannabis and autoimmune disease. We do know is that active compounds in the herb can modulate immune function and reduce inflammatory response.

Autoimmune diseases and the endocannabinoid connection is a complicated topic, but here’s are a few brief summaries on the herb’s impact on three common conditions.

1. Type 1 diabetes

Cannabis seems to help those with type 1 diabetes in an interesting way. As mentioned earlier, the herb can calm inflammatory proteins in the pancreas.

Yet, back in 2001 researchers put THC to the test in rodents with autoimmune diabetes. After treatment, the researchers found that the mice had lower incidences of hypoglycemia.

The rodents also had a significant decrease in the loss of insulin. Additional studies show that cannabis treatment may help manage some of the symptoms of diabetes, including neuropathy and retinopathy.

For a larger look into how cannabis helps diabetes, check out our article here.

2. Rheumatoid arthritis

In 2013, researchers discovered something interesting about Rheumatoid arthritis. Cells taken from RA patients had more CB2 receptors in their immune cells.

In a sense, the increased number of receptor sites is a sign that the cells are calling out for more endocannabinoids.

For some reason, the cells need an increased amount of endocannabinoid stimulation to function properly.

Earlier research from 2003 found tested the effects of CBD on rodents with laboratory-induced arthritis. After injecting an inflammatory compound, they treated the creatures with CBD. The cannabinoid decreased inflammation in a dose-dependent fashion. The inflammatory markers continued to decrease with consecutive treatment.

For more information on how cannabis eases arthritis pain and inflammation, take a look at the article here.

3. Crohn’s Disease

Though CB2 receptors are most commonly associated with the immune system, a research review has cited evidence that Crohn’s (CD) patients have increased expression of CB1 receptors in both the brain and the gut. High levels of endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG have also been found in the intestines of those with CD.

Similarly to arthritis, the overexpression of these receptors is a sign that the cells are calling out for more cannabinoids. This is a good sign that cannabinoid therapies hold therapeutic promise for the disease. The review also explained that cannabinoid treatment has been shown to reduce inflammation in the gut.

For more information on cannabis and Crohn’s disease, check out the full article.

A personal account


Angie was diagnosed with lupus in December of 2010. She had been on the standard drugs steroids and low doses of chemotherapy drug methotrexate. Methotrexate is an immune suppressant, which is why it is used in cancer treatment and serious autoimmune disease.

After developing serious infections on these drugs, she made the switch to cannabis. She began using high CBD cannabis oil and juicing the raw leaves of high-CBD cannabis plants.

Upon beginning this herbal treatment, her condition improved dramatically. On her YouTube channel, Angie on YouTube, she explains how cannabis treats her lupus,

Cannabis oil that is high in CBD helps lupus in a lot of ways. For one, it helps reduce inflammation. It helps with nausea, it helps with energy levels, with the exhaustion that you feel from lupus, it helps with that. It helps with better sleep, longer rest, more sound rest.

It definitely helps with keeping things like the lichen planus [skin rash], which is something I deal with from lupus. I haven’t delt with it since I’ve been on cannabis oil. Also vasuclitis [inflammation of blood vessels]. I haven’t even had a mylar rash for more than two days since I have been on the oil.

It really does keep the lupus in remission. It really does help keep the immune system in check.

All in all, this simple article barely scratches the surface on cannabis and autoimmune disease. It’s clear that the endocannabinoid system is a key aspect of immune function.

Yet, we’ve still got a long way to go when it comes to learning just how the herb impacts immune function.

For now, it’s safe to say that there seems to be a very good reason why autoimmune patients are turning to the herb for relief.
 

ataxian

In a BLACK HOLE!
Autoimmune Diseases: How Does Cannabis Help?
Cannabis is famous for providing consumers with a happy, trippy good time. Yet, when it comes to the immune system, the herb is all business. Not only is the plant effective at relieving some of the pain and uncomfortable symptoms of autoimmune disease, but it is showing a lot of potential as a powerful immunomodulator. Perhaps the most important question here is, when it comes to cannabis and autoimmune diseases, does the herb actually work?

What is an autoimmune disease?

An autoimmune disease arises when a hyperactive immune system mistakes your own cells for a foreign invader. If your immune system is healthy, it seeks out and defends your body against pathogens.

Each time they encounter one of these pathogens, the immune system creates a special protein called an antibody in response.

These antibodies help the body take down very specific threats. In autoimmune disease, your body develops and produces these antibodies in response to very specific organ tissues.

These antibodies act as signals to let the immune system know that these are tissues to be targeted. Once something is flagged with an antibody, special cells called T-Cells do the dirty work and destroy whatever has been marked.

These antibodies can be made in response to all sorts of things. In some autoimmune diseases, antibodies against neurons in the brain are abundant. In others, you may find antibodies against specific types of cell receptors or enzymes.

Some of the most common autoimmune diseases include:




    • Systemic lupus (affects a wide variety of organs, including kidneys, skin, joints, and brain)
    • Celiac disease (immune system begins to kill off tissue in the small intestine in response to gluten)
    • Hashimoto’s disease (immune system attacks the thyroid gland)
    • Type 1 diabetes (immune system attacks insulin-producing glands in the pancreas)
Unfortunately, there are no cures for autoimmune diseases.

How does cannabis engage the immune system?

When most people think of cannabis, the psychoactivity of the herb is one of the first things brought to mind. However, the plant’s effect on the immune system is a major reason the herb has so much therapeutic potential.

It’s a misconception to think that cannabis simply provides a distraction from a serious illness. Compounds in the herb directly engage with immune cells, creating real and valuable changes in the body.

This gives the herb the potential to fight cancer, ease neurological disorders, combat autoimmune diseases, and calm swelling.

But, what makes this possible? It’s all thanks to the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The endocannabinoid system and immune function

Cannabis compounds like psychoactive THC connect with special sites on cells called cannabinoid receptors.

These receptors provide a way for your cells to receive messages and respond to the communication. In this case, messages come in the form of endocannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids are the human version of THC. When you consume cannabis, active chemicals in the plant replace endocannabinoids at these receptor sites. Turns out, these receptors and chemicals help the immune system communicate with the rest of the body.

Thus far, scientists have found two primary types of cannabinoid receptors, cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). CB1 receptors are most abundant in the brain, but they are also found on immune cells. CB2 receptors are most abundant in immune cells.

The presence of these receptor sites is a good indication that the ECS plays an important role in immune regulation. Research has discovered that endocannabinoids are immunomodulators.

Endocannabinoid levels rise when there is a pathogen threat. They also have been described as negative modulators of the immune system. Simply stated, this means that the compounds help the immune system “turn off”.

Cannabis can suppress a hyperactive immune system

When plant cannabinoids engage these sites in autoimmune cells, they have a suppressant effect on the immune system. This suppression raises some concerns for medical professionals, as having a repressed immune system can create vulnerability to illness and certain types of cancers.

Though, research goes both ways on the cancer topic. Plus, animal and cellular research found that cannabis can kill some forms of cancer cells as well.

However, these immunosuppressant effects can be extremely therapeutic in autoimmune disease. After acknowledging the potentially deleterious impacts of reduced immune function, Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti from the University of South Carolina explains,

[…] Further research of these compounds could provide opportunities to treat a large number of clinical disorders where suppressing the immune response is actually beneficial.

Why is inflammation a problem?


If your immune system is hyperactive, chances are you’re experiencing quite a lot of inflammation. Inflammation happens when something causes damage to tissue. This could be a direct injury, bacteria, toxins and a variety of other causes.

In response to the trauma, cells start to secrete a variety of compounds which trigger blood vessels to leak fluid into the damaged area. This swelling keeps the foreign invader or toxin from spreading to other areas of the body. They also act as immune signals, triggering immune cells to rush to the area.

The problem with chronic inflammation is that it prevents your body from functioning normally. When your joint is inflamed, it becomes stiff and difficult to move.

When inflammation happens in an organ or another part of your body, it simply cannot work very well. It can also cause serious damage over time. Losing the functionality of any body part is disastrous to long-term health, can contribute to a cascade of other symptoms, and can even cost you your life.

In autoimmune disease, your immune system continues to target and attack the same areas repeatedly. It’s like you have an infection that will never heal. In order to regain and maintain function in whatever tissue is being attacked, you need to calm the immune response and cut down inflammation.

Cannabis and inflammation

Research from 2014 made the groundbreaking discovery that cannabis can make changes to specific molecules called histones. Histones help control gene expression. The research found that THC can cause changes to histones in a way that suppresses inflammation.

Further, studies have shown that cannabinoids downregulate certain inflammatory proteins called cytokines. In 2008, researchers used animal models to test the effects ofnonpsychoactive CBD on type 1 diabetes.

They found that CBD treatment caused levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines to decrease, while levels of anti-inflammatory proteins increased.

The immune imbalance was tentatively corrected by CBD.

Cannabis is such a powerful anti-inflammatory that it has been shown to aid in remission of Crohn’s Disease. Crohn’s is a bowel disease in which inflammation in the gut runs rampant.

In a 2014 placebo-controlled trial, researchers treated 21 Crohn’s patients with either cannabis or a placebo. 11 patients were given cannabis. Out of the 11, five patients were in full remission by the end of the trial. 10 of the 11 patients showed improvements in their Crohn’s symptoms, compared to only 4 of 10 placebo controls.

Specific autoimmune conditions

We still have a lot to learn about cannabis and autoimmune disease. We do know is that active compounds in the herb can modulate immune function and reduce inflammatory response.

Autoimmune diseases and the endocannabinoid connection is a complicated topic, but here’s are a few brief summaries on the herb’s impact on three common conditions.

1. Type 1 diabetes

Cannabis seems to help those with type 1 diabetes in an interesting way. As mentioned earlier, the herb can calm inflammatory proteins in the pancreas.

Yet, back in 2001 researchers put THC to the test in rodents with autoimmune diabetes. After treatment, the researchers found that the mice had lower incidences of hypoglycemia.

The rodents also had a significant decrease in the loss of insulin. Additional studies show that cannabis treatment may help manage some of the symptoms of diabetes, including neuropathy and retinopathy.

For a larger look into how cannabis helps diabetes, check out our article here.

2. Rheumatoid arthritis

In 2013, researchers discovered something interesting about Rheumatoid arthritis. Cells taken from RA patients had more CB2 receptors in their immune cells.

In a sense, the increased number of receptor sites is a sign that the cells are calling out for more endocannabinoids.

For some reason, the cells need an increased amount of endocannabinoid stimulation to function properly.

Earlier research from 2003 found tested the effects of CBD on rodents with laboratory-induced arthritis. After injecting an inflammatory compound, they treated the creatures with CBD. The cannabinoid decreased inflammation in a dose-dependent fashion. The inflammatory markers continued to decrease with consecutive treatment.

For more information on how cannabis eases arthritis pain and inflammation, take a look at the article here.

3. Crohn’s Disease

Though CB2 receptors are most commonly associated with the immune system, a research review has cited evidence that Crohn’s (CD) patients have increased expression of CB1 receptors in both the brain and the gut. High levels of endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG have also been found in the intestines of those with CD.

Similarly to arthritis, the overexpression of these receptors is a sign that the cells are calling out for more cannabinoids. This is a good sign that cannabinoid therapies hold therapeutic promise for the disease. The review also explained that cannabinoid treatment has been shown to reduce inflammation in the gut.

For more information on cannabis and Crohn’s disease, check out the full article.

A personal account


Angie was diagnosed with lupus in December of 2010. She had been on the standard drugs steroids and low doses of chemotherapy drug methotrexate. Methotrexate is an immune suppressant, which is why it is used in cancer treatment and serious autoimmune disease.

After developing serious infections on these drugs, she made the switch to cannabis. She began using high CBD cannabis oil and juicing the raw leaves of high-CBD cannabis plants.

Upon beginning this herbal treatment, her condition improved dramatically. On her YouTube channel, Angie on YouTube, she explains how cannabis treats her lupus,

Cannabis oil that is high in CBD helps lupus in a lot of ways. For one, it helps reduce inflammation. It helps with nausea, it helps with energy levels, with the exhaustion that you feel from lupus, it helps with that. It helps with better sleep, longer rest, more sound rest.

It definitely helps with keeping things like the lichen planus [skin rash], which is something I deal with from lupus. I haven’t delt with it since I’ve been on cannabis oil. Also vasuclitis [inflammation of blood vessels]. I haven’t even had a mylar rash for more than two days since I have been on the oil.

It really does keep the lupus in remission. It really does help keep the immune system in check.

All in all, this simple article barely scratches the surface on cannabis and autoimmune disease. It’s clear that the endocannabinoid system is a key aspect of immune function.

Yet, we’ve still got a long way to go when it comes to learning just how the herb impacts immune function.

For now, it’s safe to say that there seems to be a very good reason why autoimmune patients are turning to the herb for relief.

Most of these MEDICAL professional's that treat auto diseases are missing the benefits of CANNABIS?
Self dosing is survival!
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
Does Cannabis Help With Diabetes Treatment?

Delilah Butterfield 06 September, 2016


Does cannabis help with diabetes treatment? Type 1 and type 2 diabetes have two completely different causes. Yet, the same herb may be helpful for both of the conditions. Though research is in its early stages, there have even been some small human trials of cannabinoid therapies as a diabetes treatment. While evidence that that the herb may improve insulin sensitivity and help autoimmunity is still under review, cannabis may help patients cope with difficult diabetes symptoms.

Type 1 diabetes

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Cannabis has a lot of potential in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, type 1 diabetesincluded. In type 1 diabetes, an overactive immune system decides to attack the pancreas. The pancreas is responsible for producing insulin, a hormone which moves sugar out of the blood and into cells.

When the immune system attacks these cells, they can no longer produce the insulin needed to regulate blood sugar. Unfortunately, type 1 diabetics are usually on life-long insulin. When the pancreas becomes too damaged, there is not much you can do other than replace the hormone that the organ makes.

While cannabis therapy cannot create more insulin, the herb may be helpful for another reason. Active compounds in the plant called cannabinoids may help calm the immune system in type 1 diabetes. Calming the immune system stops your body from attacking itself, decreasing harm to the pancreas. Here’s how the herb seems to work:

Cannabis and autoimmune diabetes

Photo credit
Back in 2001, researchers put psychoactive THC to the test in mice with autoimmune diabetes. The mice were treated with 150mg/kg of THC. The scientists found that the mice had much lower instances of hyperglycemia and a significant decrease in loss of pancreatic insulin.

They also found lower inflammatory markers in the mice. Low inflammation is a sign that the immune system is suppressed, decreasing destruction of the pancreas.

Yet, 150mg/kg of THC is a lot. Fortunately, nonpsychoactive CBD also has potential. A 2008 study found that CBD delayed insulitis, the term for when immune cells attack insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The same study also found decreased inflammatory markers.

In fact, CBD treatment seemed to shift immune response to from pro-inflammatory to anti-inflammatory. This tentatively corrects an immune imbalance that contributes to autoimmune disease in animal models.

Human trials in type 1 diabetes sorely needed. But, rodent models do show that cannabis is not something to be overlooked.

The herb is far from a cure for type 1 diabetes, but the potent anti-inflammatory and immune modulating properties of the herb may be highly beneficial for delaying the condition and improving the overall quality of life for type 1 diabetics.

Type 2 diabetes

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Type 2 diabetes is a different beast. While type 1 is an autoimmune condition, type 2 is linked to poor carbohydrate metabolism. The body has become so inundated with sugars that the pancreas has to continue to pump out insulin to remove high levels of sugars in the blood. These sugars are stored in fat cells.

Eventually, cells are so bombarded with insulin carrying sugar that they no longer respond to the hormone. This fatigues the pancreas. The organ has to keep producing more and more insulin to get your fat cells to respond. It just can’t keep up. The result is skyrocketing blood sugar levels.

Sugars come from carbohydrates. Not just candy, soda, and ice cream, but simple, refined grains like pasta, breakfast cereals, and fruit juices. Carbohydrates in these foods are broken down into glucose in the body, creating blood sugar.

This is why low carbohydrate diets are so effective in those with type 2 diabetes. With a low-carb diet, you drastically limit overall sugar intake. Though, you may still need to take insulin depending on your individual condition.

Here’s where cannabis comes in. Interestingly enough, cannabis aids type 2 diabetics in an entirely different way than it does in type 1. While the anti-inflammatory properties of the herb are useful in this version as well, it’s the plant’s impact on metabolism that is most beneficial in type 2 diabetes.

As it turns out, compounds in cannabis may improve insulin sensitivity.

Cannabis and insulin

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There’s a lot of potential for future cannabis-based diabetes drugs. Thus far, animal models have been quite positive. A 2012 study found that CBD effectively decreased feeding in rats. The research tested three different cannabinoids, CBD, CBN, and CBG.

CBG had no effect on appetite, CBN caused the rats to eat more. But CBD seemed to decrease appetite. The rats consumed less when they were treated with the compound.

While overeating is far from the primary contribution to diabetes, appetite-suppressing qualities may be beneficial for those trying to majorly transform their diets as a part of diabetes treatment.

CBD has also shown potential in reducing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. When combined with THCV, the cannabinoid cocktail successfully decreased fat buildup in the liver.

The fatty liver study looked at cells cultured outside of the body, obese mice, and zebrafish. Fatty liver disease is one of the possible complications of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is the umbrella term for a range of conditions, including diabetes, high-cholesterol, high blood pressure, fatty liver, and heart disease.

All of these conditions, including fatty liver, are prevalent in those with type 2 diabetes.

But, that’s not all. In two mouse models of obesity, THCV decreased glucose intolerance, improved insulin sensitivity, and increased energy expenditure. Basically, THCV kickstarted the rodents’ metabolism. This research also found that THCV restored insulin signaling in cells that were once resistant to the hormone.

This collection of strong animal evidence led British researchers to put cannabis to the test in humans. Here are the details:

A clinical trial

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In 2012, British pharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals tested two cannabinoids in type 2 diabetes. They gave 62 diabetes patients nonpsychoactive tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and CBD.

The results were positive. The patients had improved insulin response and greater pancreatic cell function. Blood glucose levels dropped, fasting insulin increased, blood pressure was reduced, and inflammation markers declined.

The trial was double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled. The creme-of-the-crop as far as studies go. GW Pharma’s study used a drug that contained both THCV and CBDin specific ratios. The success of this trial has inspired GW Pharma to move forward with a larger placebo-controlled study.

The second study began in 2014, and we are currently awaiting results.

Additional symptoms

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There’s good evidence that cannabis can actually improve metabolic function and ease autoimmunity in both types of diabetes. But, that’s not all the herb can do. The plant may help patients manage some of the uncomfortable side effects of either condition. Here’s how:

Neuropathy

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Neuropathy is nerve damage. High levels of blood sugar can cause nerve damage over time, leading to painful conditions. Diabetic neuropathy can manifest in different forms, though it most commonly causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hands, arms, feet, and legs.

Both autoimmune and type 2 diabetes patients can experience neuropathy. In fact, 60 to 70% of those with diabetes experience neuropathy.

A 2015 study tested 16 diabetic patients with neuropathy of the feet. Each patient received four testing doses. They each tried a placebo, low THC, moderate THC, and high THC. Patients took a two-week break before changing doses. The results? Patients felt a dose-dependent relief from neuropathic pain with cannabis treatment.

Yet, another 2009 study found something different. The clinical trial tested 30 neuropathy patients with Sativex, a GW Pharmaceuticals drug created for multiple sclerosis patients. Sativex contains a 1 to 1 ratio of THC to CBD. In this trial, the Sativex was not effective in reducing neuropathic pain.

Both of these studies provide conflicting results, indicating that there is a lot we still need to learn about cannabis treatments. In animal models of diabetic neuropathy, cannabis has effectively improved nerve response.

In fact, treatment with cannabis extract restored thermal pain perception in rats without worsening blood sugar levels. But, as always, more human research is needed.

Retinopathy

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Diabetes can also damage your eyes. Diabetic retinopathy occurs from damage to the small blood vessels behind the retina. It can eventually lead to blindness, and is the leading cause of blindness in people aged 20 to 64. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to suffer from this form of ocular degeneration.

Fortunately, cannabis may be able to help this complication as well. 2006 research found that CBD may protect the eye from “a growing plethora of leaky blood vessels”. In diabetes, it’s not uncommon to experience ischemia, where different organs in your body are not receiving enough oxygen.

This lack of oxygen causes blood vessels in your eyes to try to create new blood vessels to solve the problem. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out so well for them. Very simply explained, under all of this stress, special pumps that help regulate communication between nerve cells in your eyes begin to fail. This leads to eye troubles.

Lead study author Dr. Gregory I. Liou explains

Cannabinoids are trying to ease the situation on both sides. They help save the neuron and, at the same time, make sure the microglial cells [an immune cell of the central nervous system] stay in microglial form. How good do you want a drug to be?

Liou and his team later published a paper suggesting that CBD may provide a novel therapeutic approach to treating inflammation and degeneration in diabetic retinopathy. The cannabinoid’s strong antioxidant properties help reduce damage from stress which causes ocular nerve cells to fail.

Depression

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As with any chronic illness, depression is a major concern for those with diabetes. Luckily, the most abundant cannabinoids in cannabis have antidepressant effects. Recent research from the University of Buffalo found that chronic stress reduced the levels of endocannabinoids in rodents. Endocannabinoids are like our body’s own THC.

Lead researcher Dr. Samir Haj-Dahmane explains,

Chronic stress is one of the major causes of depression. Using compounds derived from cannabis – marijuana – to restore normal endocannabinoid function could potentially help stabilize moods and ease depression.

Yet, Dr. Haj-Dahmane isn’t the only scientist to find that cannabis eases depression. Research published in April of 2016 found that CBD had extremely rapid antidepressant effects in rodents. Pharmaceutical antidepressants can take as long as 6 weeks to fully kick in.

This new rodent study suggests that those with depression may benefit from the mood-lifting effects of CBD right away.

Potential strains for diabetes

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Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find cannabis products high in both THCV and CBD. Yet, there are some strains out there that you might want to consider. Until we either have strains bred specifically for those with diabetes or we have a cannabis-based drug, canna-curious patients are left with a handful of herbal options.

Here is a brief list of high THCV and high CBD cannabis strains:

  • Charlotte’s Web Hemp Oil (this is a high CBD product legally available for any U.S. resident to purchase online, though the providers make no medical claims.)
  • Harlequin (high CBD)
  • Durban Poison (high THCV)
  • Blue Dream (high THCV, but check testing data as there are two common phenotypes for this strain.)
For a few more “skinny weed” recommendations, check out our article here.

An anecdotal example


Catrina Coleman has a Monday appointment to get her stomach stapled. She called and canceled the Friday before. Instead, she picked up some cannabis and went to the gym. As a result, she lost around 80 lbs.

While cannabis alone did not help her lose weight or completely reverse her diabetes, it certainly helped her throughout the recovery process. She says,

The friend that introduced me to cannabis talked me out of getting the surgery, and said “you can do it. You can go to the gym, you can do it the right way. You can do it the old-fashioned way, just give it a try and if it doesn’t work there is always the surgery.” And… he was right. And I did it. And I did it with cannabis.

I did it with going to the gym and eating right. But, I didn’t have the courage and I didn’t have the energy. And people are always really surprised to hear that I got high and had energy. They think that you get high and are just sitting around and doing nothing, and it’s the complete opposite.

To conclude, cannabis has a lot of potential for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In type 1, the herb’s immunomodulatory effects may help turn off inflammation and activate the body’s anti-inflammatory response.

This helps save the pancreas from a constant assault. In type 2 diabetes, cannabis shows potential as a supplement that improves insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.

Though cannabis is no replacement for a healthy (perhaps preferably low-carb) diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management, the herb has therapeutic potential. Fortunately, clinical trials testing cannabis as diabetes treatment are currently underway. We look forward to their results.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
image-590x265.jpg


7 Ways That Cannabis Manages Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Cannabis is one of the best treatment options for those with the auto-immune disease Multiple Sclerosis (MS). For those who are unfamiliar with MS, the immune system mistakenly attacks the myelin as a foreign invader. Myelin is the coating around nerves that allows the transmission of messages from the brain to the body. When the myelin sheath is destroyed, nerves and muscles are affected, resulting in muscle atrophy, loss of coordination and loss of motor control. Testing for MS shows lesions in the brain and in other areas of the body. It affects the brain, spinal cord and the optic nerve. The cause of MS is unknown and the severity of symptoms varies greatly from one person to the next. There are 4 types of MS. There does not seem to be a genetic link.

Symptoms include pain, neuropathy, numbness and tingling, vision problems, impaired coordination, bowel and bladder problems and fatigue. Cannabis can improve the brain function of those with MS, thereby easing many of the symptoms associated with the disease.

There are 7 ways that cannabis can help:
1. Neurogenesis and Brain Protection


When the immune system goes into overdrive, as it does with all auto-immune diseases, it releases cytokines, pro-inflammatory proteins which cause excessive inflammation in the brain. This inflammation results in “unnecessary cell death” and the destruction of neurons. Cannabinoids have been proven to be potent anti-inflammatories which calm the immune system and stop the attacks on the central nervous system. They also aid in neurogenesis which is the formation of new brain neurons. Here is the link to an article I wrote about the Neuroprotective Properties of Cannabis.

2. Reduces Pain

Cannabis has been shown to be a powerful analgesic which blocks the pain receptors in the body. With inflammation and swelling comes pain, so when inflammation is reduced, so is pain. A study conducted at the University of California in San Diego held clinical trials to test the effects of smoking cannabis on physical pain. Within 45 minutes of smoking cannabis, participants who had smoked medium to large quantities of the medicine experienced a significant reduction in pain.

3. Stops Muscle Stiffness and Spasms

20% of those with MS experience spasticity which is uncontrollable muscle stiffness and twitching. This occurs when inflammation in the brain and spine damage nerve cells responsible for movement. The anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties of cannabis reduce the loss of muscular control and relieve spasticity. This finding was corroborated by a 2012 University of Plymouth study that cannabis was twice as effective in relieving stiffness and spasms. After 12 weeks of regular cannabis usage, participants experienced a significant reduction in spasticity compared to those who received the placebo.

4. Helps Digestion

Gastrointestinal problem are very common symptoms of MS. These include constipation, bladder and bowel control and digestive difficulties. With 70% of immune cells in the digestive system, cannabinoids interact with these cells via CB1 receptors to reduce bowel inflammation. THC is well-known as an appetite stimulant for those who have problems with appetite due to nausea and gastric distress. It also boosts the metabolism and stimulates hunger hormones. Cannabinoids also bind to receptors which helps to relax the muscles, reduces nausea and vomiting and relieves diarrhea.

5. Sleep Aid

Cannabis has been proven to be a great sleep aid. Those with MS often have serious sleep problems due to spasticity and pain. THC, in particular, helps you get to sleep faster, sleep more deeply and sleep for longer periods. Deep sleep is necessary to repair muscles, bones and the immune system.

6. Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Those with MS often deal with anxiety and depression which accompanies having an incurable, chronic, debilitating disease. Flooding your brain with endocannabinoids reduces rates of stress-related anxiety and depression. It allows your brain to calm down and relax, providing a sense of well-being. A study at the University of Buffalo, using rats, found that when they were put under chronic stress, they produced fewer endocannabinoids. After cannabis compounds were injected into their brains, the rats demonstrated fewer symptoms of depression.

7. Protects Your Eyes

Some common symptoms of MS are blurred vision, uncontrolled eye movements and even temporary blindness, due to inflammation. Some people experience inflammation of the optic nerve which can cause swelling and impair their vision. Chronic optic nerve inflammation can be degenerative and can result in glaucoma and retinal degeneration. The neuroprotective qualities of cannabis can actually reduce the damage of these eye diseases.

 

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