Medical marijuana

News and developments on the medicinal properties of marijuana

For thousands of years, marijuana has been used worldwide as a medicinal plant, taking advantage of the numerous therapeutic properties of cannabinoids (THC, CBD …) together with aromatic molecules (terpenes) found in cannabis.
Here, we present several articles on the therapeutic use of marijuana, as well as a monthly or bi-monthly compilation of news related to the world of medical cannabis, highlighting advances and scientific studies conducted internationally.

How cannabis can help during your period

A large proportion of women have several symptoms before and during their period, no matter their age, physical condition or medical record. Furthermore, the days before the start of menstruation are sometimes the hardest for most of them, with a group of symptoms commonly called PMS or premenstrual syndrome. For centuries, medical marijuana has been used across the world for its therapeutic potential, and menstrual cramps are not an exception. In this article we’ll focus on how cannabis can help relieve these symptoms, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know if you decide to use marijuana to treat them.

Cannabis may be useful to treat menstrual cramps

Cannabis may be useful to treat menstrual cramps

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Juanita la Lagrimosa, the origins of CBD

The birth of CBD-rich cannabis strains

Today, one can find a myriad of cannabis genetics with high CBD content on the seed market, with diverse cannabinoid ratios and thus medicinal effects. From 1:1 THC:CBD varieties to those with awesome 1:20 (even higher) ratios, breeders and seed producers have relentlessly bred new CBD strains over the past years. But where do all these new varieties come from?

According to an article published by Soft Secrets, and as our friend Jimi from Reggae Seeds confirms, it all started with the creation of Juanita la Lagrimosa (Reina Madre x NYCD), the flagship strain of this seed company.

Juanita la Lagrimosa, the first CBD strain

Juanita la Lagrimosa, the first CBD strain

In this case, the parent transmitting the CBD trait was a New York City Diesel plant selected by Jimi from a pack of Soma Seeds purchased at 2004 Spannabis. 3 nice males were selected, one of them being particularly outstanding in terms of aroma. Continue reading

The effects of cannabis on sleep

Many users – both medicinal and recreational – use cannabis right before going to sleep because of the effects on this important phase of our life. While many of them get a more restful sleep, one of the side effects reported by users is not dreaming or, at least, not remembering any dream. But, why does it happen?

Why do we sleep?

Before understanding what are the effects of cannabis on sleep, we should start with the basics…why do we sleep? The research about sleep is still at a very early stage, in fact until recently it was thought to be a passive state of the body. Today, and with all the information that we can get from brain waves, heart beat and blood pressure, breath frequency, hormone segregation and some other biomarkers, is it believed to be as active as the waking stage.

Sleeping properly is essential

Sleeping properly is essential (Photo: Alissa L. Miller)

Sleeping is a regeneration state. In studies of sleep deprivation it has been observed that if we shorten the sleeping hours, then the body will try to catch up on sleep in the next sleeping period. Moreover, if we deprive our sleep of one of its phases, our organism will try to recover this phase in the next sleep. Pushing the limits of sleep deprivation may lead to death. Continue reading

Medicinal properties of CBD

What is CBD?

CBD is a cannabinoid present in cannabis plants with a very similar molecular structure to THC but without any kind of psychoactive effect. Indeed, CBD does not cause any effect on the user, no paranoia, euphoria or intoxication, which are usually associated with THC and the recreational use of marijuana.

Cannabidiol (CBD) has several therapeutical properties that we’ll present in this post. As mentioned, some of the most interesting aspects of this cannabinoid are its low toxicity and few side effects associated with its use: in the worst case, an over-dose of CBD would simply put you to bed. It has been demonstrated that CBD has low affinity with the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, but it does act on other receptors of the human body like GPR55 or 5-HT1A.

CBD acts on several receptors of the human body

CBD acts on several receptors of the human body

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History of the medicinal use of cannabis

Cannabis or marijuana has been accompanying mankind for more than 10,000 years, which has found the myriad of uses of this plant, either at recreational, medicinal or industrial level. The first evidences of cannabis were found in Asia, so it is not strange that the first written references we have about cannabis come from this area, especially from China and India.

Although the first traces of the use of hemp date back to about ten thousand years before Christ, the first written reference to its medicinal use is found quite later, around the year 2737 BC. Still, it isn’t difficult to imagine that the therapeutic traits of cannabis had been discovered discovered rather earlier.

Ivory statue of Shen Nung

Ivory statue representing Shen Nung (Photo:Wellcome Images)

First medicinal uses of cannabis

As we mentioned about the therapeutic use of hemp, we know that it was already contained in the pharmacopoeia of Shen Nung, Chinese emperor and father of the Chinese medicine, who compiled his knowledge of medicinal plants in a book written in 2737 BC. The legend says that, apart from discovering the medicinal properties of cannabis, Shen Nung also investigated the properties of ginseng and ephedra. The first written reference of the medicinal use of cannabis is also found in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, the Rh-Ya, in 1500 BC.

From this point, we found a series of cases in which this plant is recognized as an effective remedy for many ailments. The Ebers Papyrus, dated about 1500 BC and written by the Egyptians, mentions the medicinal properties of marijuana, for example, describing how to use it on a suppository to relieve hemorrhoids. In 1450 BC, in the Book of Exodus, a sacred ointment made of Kaneh-Bosem – a word that numerous and reputable specialists have identified as hemp – is mentioned. But, back to Egypt, traces of cannabis pollen have been also found in the tomb of Ramses II, who died in 1213 BC. We also know that Bhang was used in India since the year 1000 BC, a drink made of milk and marijuana used as anesthetic or anti-phlegmatic.

The medicinal use of hemp soon spread westwards, leaving clear evidence of this fact: in the Middle East, the Persian prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra) wrote the Zend-Avesta in the 7th century BC, a religious text strongly influenced by the Vedas, in which Bhang is mentioned and cannabis is classified as the most important among 10,000 medicinal plants in one of its volumes, the Venidad. The first detailed written work explaining the properties of the hemp in India dates back to 600 BC, the Treatise of Ayurveda medicine in Sushruta Samhita.
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Benefits of Cannabis for Alzheimer’s disease

What is Alzheimer?

Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative pathology that causes progressive and total loss of the cerebral functions in elderly people, especially memory. This disease affects about 30 million people worldwide, a number that will double in the following 20 years due to the aging of the popolation in the industrialized world. Alzheimer affects more women than men, especially because women live longer and this disease development is closely linked with aging.

Alzheimer's disease damages brain cells

Alzheimer’s disease damages brain cells

Today, in Spain, more than 600.000 people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, with 40.000 new cases every year. Once the disease starts affecting the person, life expectancy greatly depends on patients (from 3 to 20 years), with an average of 8,5 years. Patient associations estimate that we’ll have around 1,5 million people suffering from Alzheimer in Spain by 2050. (Source: Spanish Society of Neurology). Continue reading

Release from the Spanish Observatory of Medicinal Cannabis

Spanish Observatory of Medicinal Cannabis

Spanish Observatory of Medicinal Cannabis

On the occasion of the sad news published yesterday in France, in which cannabis was falsely indicated as cause of one death and five severe cases among the patients of a clinical trial, the Spanish Observatory of Medicinal Cannabis states:

  1. The French Ministry Health of France has officially confirmed  that the drug used in this trial does not contain any cannabinoid, neither natural nor synthetic. Therefore, users of medicinal cannabis can be completely confident.
  2. The wrong mention of cannabis in the news published has generated a situation of alarm completely unnecessary and unfair.  For this reason, we stress the need for truthful, accurate and scientific information on cannabis and its therapeutic purposes.
  3. Bial laboratories (responsible for the drug used in this trial) informed that this drug is an inhibitor compound of the FAAH protein (fatty acid amide hydrolase). Continue reading

Medical marijuana news, December 2015

Australia will allow to grow cannabis for medical studies

Australian health minister Sussan Ley announced on October 17th that a new legislation will allow to cultivate marijuana for scientific research and medical trials, thus ending a prohibition coming from 1967.

The three most populated Australian States (Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland) promised to organize studies on the efficiency of cannabis to alleviate terminally ill patients, controlling severe epilepsy in children, as well as for the treatment of side effects of chemotherapy.

Medical Marijuana comes to Australia

The Australian Government will allow to grow medical marijuana

The assistant of the health minister, Stephen Jones, stated: “We need to put in place, by working with the states and territories, uniform criminal laws to exempt people from the fear of prosecution if they’ve got legitimate access to medicinal cannabis for an approved purpose”. (Source: The Guardian)
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Cannabis against epilepsy

Epilepsy, a neurological disorder that can be very difficult to cure

According to the World Health Organization, epilepsy is a neurological disease which affects around 50 million people worldwide, 30% of which won’t find a suitable treatment. We must keep in mind that anyone can be affected by epilepsy at any time.

Some forms of epilepsy affect children from an early age

Some forms of epilepsy affect children from an early age

Some forms of epilepsy are especially serious and difficult to treat, especially in kids: for example, the West syndrome or the Dravet syndrome affect children from the first year of life, while the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome usually appears at age 3-5.

Cannabis: the return of a natural remedy for epilepsy

The cannabis plant has been used for thousands of years to treat different medical conditions, including epilepsy. Actually, around 1.100 years before Christ, Arab writer al-Mayusi already described its use to control his epileptic seizures. Only when the USA started the cannabis prohibition one century ago this natural treatment for epilepsy was replaced by modern Western medicine.

Still, during the last years lots of parents of children suffering from severe forms of this disease have gradually re-discovered the therapeutical properties of the cannabis plant, especially when compared to different medicines used to treat these diseases. Today we can find lots of testimonies of people who are successfully using marijuana as medicine, especially in the USA where it is legal in some States. Continue reading

How to make a cannabinoid analysis

How to make a thin-layer chromatography

Probably, many of you wonder what kind of test is performed to determine if a marijuana strain has significant rates of the main cannabinoids, as well as the method used to know the precentatge (more or less accurate, as we will see) of each cannabinoid contained in the tested sample. In this post we will explain step by step how to do a thin-layer chromatography (TLC), an analisis that will show us the approximate percentages of the main cannabinoids detected in each sample. To do this, we used eight different samples of the marijuana strain Fruity Jack / Jack el Frutero from Philosopher Seeds, with the simple purpose, in this case, to know which of the analyzed phenotypes have high amounts of the cannabinoid CBD.

The medical use of marijuana is constantly gaining ground in the past few years, as well as the interest from breeders and consumers to know the exact amounts of cannabinoids present in their favourite cannabis strains. That’s why expressions such as “thin-layer chromatography” or “gas chromatography” are becoming more and more familiar for the cannabis community. To learn more about these analysis systems, we met with a good friend and collaborator who explained us a system based on the thin-layer chromatography with which we get reliable results quickly and safely for our health.

TLC Plates

TLC Plates

Needed Materials

We will need the following materials for the analysis process of the samples:

  • Plates for thin layer chromatography, which can be made of aluminum, glass or plastic, always coated with a solid and adsorbent material (silica gel or alumina)
  • Solvent, we used Hexane for this post
  • Laboratory Micro-Pipettes
  • Distilled water
  • Reagent, in this case “Fast Blue B”
  • Eluent. We used Chloroform in this analysis
  • Blotting Paper, Eppendorf tubes, glass jar, Pyrex tray, pasteur pipette , graphite pencil

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