Fourteen. The Future of Medicine
Cannabis, Miracle Drug of the 21st
Left Image: Cannabis plant photograph, courtesy
of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
Although cannabis (marijuana) was a medicinal plant
for thousands of years, its use was suppressed and banned throughout most of
the 20th century. Banned in England,
Canada and the US in the 1930's, medical cannabis represents the first casualty
in the war against natural medicine waged by the pharmaceutical industry. While banned in the US, there have been major
scientific breakthroughs in Israel, Spain, Italy and Brazil over the last two
decades. These breakthroughs have made
cannabis "the wonder drug of the 21st century".
Father of Medical Cannabis Research
The greatest cannabis researcher is unquestionably
Raphael Mechoulam from Israel.(76) In
1964, Mechoulam discovered the active ingredient in cannabis, THC
(Tetra-Hydro-Cannabinol). (2) In 1992,
he discovered the first endogenous endo-cannabinoid, Anandamide, a sanskrit
word translated as "bliss".(78)
Endo-Cannabinoids are marijuana-like compounds made by our own brain,
and circulate normally in your body.
Treasure Trove Waiting for Discovery
When asked why he devoted his entire lifetime
studying the biochemistry of cannabis, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam said the
three major illicit drugs derived from plants were then (at the beginning of my
career), and still are, opium, coca and cannabis. Morphine had been isolated
from opium early in the 19th century and structure elucidated in the 1920s by
Robert Robinson. Cocaine was isolated from coca leaves in the middle of the
19th century and structure described by Richard Willstatter in the last decade
of the 19th century. I believe that the cannabinoids represented a medicinal
treasure trove which waits to be discovered."(79-82)
Like the Opiate Receptor Story
In a story very similar to the discovery of opiate
receptors in the brain, cannabinoid receptors have been discovered along with
their endogenous cannabinoids, representing the largest neurotransmitter system
in the brain and immune system. This
neurotransmitter system went undetected for decades because it involves an unheard
of concept, retrograde transmission, or reversed flow of information from the
post synapse to the pre-synapse.
A List of the
Medical Uses of Cannabinoid Drugs:
Reduces need for narcotics in chronic pain or Narcotics Addiction
Relieves Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Phobias
Relieves Nausea and Vomiting associated with Chemotherapy
Improves Appetite in Wasting Syndromes
Relieves Migraine Headache
Relieves Bladder incontinence
Used as Anti-convulsant
Used as Anti-depressant
Used as Atypical anti-psychotic
Used for Bi-Polar Syndrome
Used for Multiple Sclerosis, ALS
The Cannabinoid Receptor Story
In the 1970s, Morphine was isolated from the poppy
plant and found to bind to opiate receptors in the brain. Scientists eventually discovered that people
make their own opioids, called enkephalins and endorphins. Morphine simply
hijacks the receptors for the brain's opioids.
It seemed likely that something similar was happening with THC and the
cannabinoid receptors in the brain and the immune system. The health implications of the
endo-cannabinoid system are staggering.
Cannabinoids act as a bioregulatory mechanism for most life processes
Cannabinoids and Receptor System
2,000 BC to 1,800 AD Medicinal
Cannabis used in Ancient China, Egypt, India, ancient Greeks.
800 AD to 1,800 AD Medical
Cannabis was used extensively in the medieval Islamic World.
1800-1900 Medical Cannabis
commonly used entire world as primary pain reliever until the invention of
1925 England bans cannabis with Dangerous Drugs
Act, and non-medicinal cannabis made illegal in Britain.
1927 Canada bans all forms of
1937 Even though there are 28
cannabis pharmaceuticals on the American market, Cannabis banned in US with
federal law, the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act.
1964 THC, tetra hydro cannabinol,
the psycho-active component of cannabis, isolated by Raphael Mechoulam at
Weizmann Institute in Israel.
1970 Marijuana fully outlawed in
US by Controlled Substances Act of 1970.
1975 Munson shows anti cancer
effects of cannabis in Lewis Lung Tumors.
1980-2000 Cannabis research banned
in US (de facto).
1985 FDA approves Marinol drug, a
pure THC drug.
1992 First endo-cannabinoid isolated by Hanuš and Devane in Raphael
Mechoulam's lab at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. This new substance is
1992 endo-cannabinoid CB1
receptors cloned and found in brain
1993 endo-cannabinoid CB2
receptors cloned and found in the immune system.
1998 Di Marzo's in Naples Italy
group found that cannabinoids (anandamide) inhibit breast cancer cell
1999 Marinol (THC) was rescheduled
from Schedule II to III of the Controlled Substances Act,
2000 Guzman's group in Spain found
that cannabinoids inhibit the growth of C6 glioma cells.
2005 Sativex approved in Canada.
Sativex is a whole cannabis plant extract, mouth spray approved for multiple
sclerosis patients to alleviate neuropathic pain and muscle spasticity.
2006 Cannabindiol found useful as
anti-psychotic drug São Paulo, Brasil.
2007 Sean D. McAllister -
Cannabidiol inhibits aggressive breast cancer cells.
2008 Acomplia, Rimonabant (also
known as SR141716) first CB1 receptor blocker suspended from the UK market
because of adverse effects of suicidality, depression. This agent blocks the
2009 Two components of cannabis
plant identified. THC which is psychoactive, and the non-psychoactive
Cannabidiol "CBD" represents up to 40% of extracts of the medical
cannabis plant. Cannabidiol relieves convulsion, inflammation, anxiety,
nausea, and inhibits cancer cell growth.
Cannabidiol as effective as atypical antipsychotics in treating
2010 - 10 million people have been
arrested for marijuana possession since 1967. In the US, 13 states have
approved medical use of cannabis.
Safety of Marijuana:
There has never been a documented human fatality
from marijuana. The respiratory depression from opiates does not happen with
cannabinoids. The active ingredient in
cannabis is Cannabidiol, a Schedule I drug in the USA, despite having no
psychoactive effects and no known abuse potential. Cannabidiol kills cancer cells, relieves
pain, serves as an anti-depressant, and has numerous other medical uses. In the
US, 13 states that have passed laws legalizing medicinal cannabis. You can join
the movement to legalize the medicinal use of cannabis by calling, emailing or writing
your congressman today.
Marijuana is an illegal drug in many US states and
other countries. It is illegal to grow or possess the marijuana plant, also
known as the hemp plant. Even when used
as a prescribed medicine, marijuana use may result in arrest, fines or
imprisonment. Only use marijuana as a
drug if it has been legally prescribed by a licensed physician in a state or
country that has legalized the use of medical marijuana.
For references and links, see web site: www.bioidenticalhormones101.com
References for Chapter 52.
Cannabinoids, Miracle Drug of the 21st Century
Video filmed in 2006, Dr. Robert Melamede, Professor of Biology at the University
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