Grow Hack: What Is Cannabigerol [CBG]?

By Sirius J · Fri Mar 13, 2015

 

Here’s a bite-sized primer on cannabigerol, commonly known as CBG, and its place on the forefront of cannabinoid research.

What is CBG?

IMG_20140810_003225

Scientists first discovered cannabigerol, or CBG, in 1964 as a constituent of hashish. In 1975, researchers found out CBGA (the acid form of CBG) is the first cannabinoid formed in the plant; the first expression of cannabis’ unique class of constituents. From there, CBGA gets transformed into THCA, CBDA or CBCA by the action of enzymes. CBGA is the essential precursor for all the cannabinoids we know and love.

Does CBG get you high?
While mostly regarded as a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, technically the jury is still out on this one. Until someone dabs purified CBG, we won’t know what ingesting significant amounts of it actually does. CBG needs higher temperatures to vaporize.

What does the medical research say about CBG?
Just recently in January 2015, researchers discovered that CBG had neuroprotective effects in mice with Huntington’s Disease, a disease characterized by the degeneration of nerve cells in the brain. CBG slowed down progression of colon cancer in mice, a promising result that may soon lead to a new treatment method. Evidence suggests CBG is a highly potent alpha-2-adrenoceptor agonist and moderately potent 5-HT1A-receptor antagonist, giving it a wide range of potential therapeutic potential as an antidepressant, for the treatment of psoriasis, and as an analgesic.

In spite of all the good research, in one study CBG reversed CBD’s antiemetic properties by interacting with it at the 5-HT1A-receptor site.

Where do I find CBG?
CBG is minor cannabinoid in pretty much all varieties of Cannabis, generally less than 1%. Nevertheless, narrow-leafleted drug strains from the Indian-subcontinent, were found to have slightly higher levels of CBG than others. Without becoming a landrace strain hunter, relatively high amounts of CBG can be extracted from budding plants about three-quarters of the way through flowering. Information on CBG content throughout flowering can be gathered from an analysis done on Bediol®, a medicinal strain produced by Bedrocan BV Medicinal Cannabis, a Dutch supplier of research grade pot. They flowered the Bediol® for eight weeks and analyzed the content of different cannabinoids every week; CBG was the highest at week 6.

What is the future for CBG?
Another puzzle piece in the story of medical cannabis, research on CBG is certain to continue. As consumer interest in CBG rises as well, breeders will soon be on the case of making a high-CBG strain.

CONTINUE READING…

High levels of Formaldehyde Hidden in E-Cigs

 

 

 

Formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen found in cigarette smoke, also dwells in the vaporized liquid of popular electronic or e-cigarettes, researchers said Wednesday.

E-cigarette sales are booming in the United States and many hoped so- called “vaping” would replace tobacco smoking and be a panacea for the nearly 160,000 lung cancer deaths associated with conventional cigarettes.

But according to an analysis published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, the exposure to formaldehyde from e-cigarettes, based on similar chronic use as tobacco, could be five to 15 times higher than from smoking cigarettes.

“It’s way too early now from an epidemiological point of view to say how bad they are,” said co-author James F. Pankow, professor of chemistry and engineering at Portland State University in Oregon. “But the bottom line is, there are toxins and some are more than in regular cigarettes. And if you are vaping, you probably shouldn’t be using it at a high-voltage setting.”

5 facts about e-cigarettes

Pankow and his colleagues analyzed aerosolized e-liquid in “tank system” e-cigarettes to detect formaldehyde-releasing agents in “hidden” form at various voltages.

They found that vaping 3 milligrams of e-cigarette liquid at a high voltage can generate 14 milligrams of loosely affiliated or “hidden” formaldehyde. Researchers estimated a tobacco smoker would get .15 milligrams of formaldehyde per cigarette or 3 milligrams in a 20-pack.

Pankow told NBC News those numbers “may be conservative.”

“We are not saying e-cigarettes are more hazardous than cigarettes,” he said. “We are only looking at one chemical. … The jury is really out on how safe these drugs are.”

There are more than 8,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, so it’s hard to pinpoint whether formaldehyde is the main culprit in cigarette-related cancers.

“A lot of people make the assumption that e-cigarettes are safe and they are perfectly fine after using for a year,” said Pankow. “The hazards of e-cigarettes, if there are any, will be seen 10 to 15 years from now when they start to appear in chronic users.”

E-cigarettes were first invented in China in 2003, but they started appearing in the United States around 2006. A five-pack of flavor cartridges costs about the same as a pack of cigarettes and starter kits can cost between $30 and $100.

A cartridge or tank contains a liquid of propylene glycol, glycerol, or both, as well as nicotine and flavoring. These chemicals are heated to the boiling point with a battery-operated atomizer, creating a smokeless vapor that is inhaled.

But formaldehyde-containing chemical compounds can be released during the “vaping” process as the liquid is heated. Pankow said some e-cigarettes can burn hotter than 1,000 degrees fahrenheit.

“The difference in e-cigarettes is the material that is heated and turns into hot gas as it cools is not tobacco, but two main chemicals,” he said. “When it gets really hot, unwanted reactions occur.”

Pankow said the same risks likely do not occur when vaping dry marijuana or hash oil, which typically does not use those chemicals. “But it’s totally likely that some people dilute hash oil with propylene glycol and glycerol, which we know can form formaldehyde,” he said.

Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling gas used in embalming fluid, building materials and some medicines and cosmetics. It can also be produced as a byproduct of cooking and smoking.

According to the American Cancer Society, exposure to formaldehyde has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals and has also been linked to some cancers in humans.

When gaseous formaldehyde, found in funeral homes and other occupational settings, is inhaled, it breaks down in the mouth, nose, throat, and airways. Exposure has been linked to throat and nasal cancers and leukemias.

First published January 21st 2015, 4:32 pm

Kentucky heart patient relocates to Michigan, receives medical marijuana legally and then an experimental pacemaker … it gets worse from there!

Kentucky – January 19, 2015

 

Erin Vu - pacemaker no leads

Above:  Nanostim™ Leadless Pacemaker

Ms. Erin Grossman Vu, a legal resident of Kentucky who has been disabled for some years with congenital heart disease, relocated on 10-5-2013 to Michigan where she was living with relatives when she was accepted into a Medical Marijuana Program.

“I was first diagnosed with Supraventricular tachycardia. My first event happened when I was still working as a nurse. My heart rate popped up to 250’s & sustained. I’ve been shocked by the paddles. Have been seen in every ER in Metro Louisville for the SVT I was having. I had three cardiac ablations done here in Louisville and the fourth was done in Lansing by Dr. Ip.  After the 4th ablation, I began having slow heart rate events where my heart would drop to 32 bpm no warning & have to sit down or will pass out. Blood can clot at 32 bpm.”

She is one of less than 350 souls in the Nation to have this type of experimental device implanted directly into the heart on 7-10-14. 

She said that her new heart problem arose before moving and Sick Sinus Syndrome occurred when she was unable to use her CPAP machine during an ice storm and electric was down.

She was selected to participate in this St. Jude Medical study by the Nation’s leading device implant Cardiologist, Dr. John Ip of Lansing, MI.

In December she returned to Kentucky and re-established her citizenship here.  She had been referred to a Cardiologist in Lexington Kentucky for follow up care.   However, after the Lexington Cardiologist received her records he refused to treat her and she has yet to be evaluated by him.

In December she was treated for sustained bradycardia, a slow heart rate, at Louisville’s Norton Surburban Hospital on 12-17-14.

Pacemakers are supposed to prevent slow heart rates however she still continues to have cardiac events, chest pain, and shortness of air.

St. Jude Medical and the Lexington Cardiologist (who shall remain unnamed)  have refused to answer why the patient had a slow heart rate with a pacemaker and have refused to give her care at this point.
St. Jude Medical has refused to investigate as to why a cardiologist would refuse to see a pacemaker patient under their study. The FDA has been contacted about the product manufacturer, St. Jude Medical.

 

“I’m supposed to be interrogated by February 6th.  I don’t have access to the technology needed to communicate with my device.  St. Jude Medical, the manufacturer set  me up to have care assumed by a very specific cardiologist in Lexington. Only about fifteen people in Kentucky have this device.  I’ve had no resolution, I’ve called all the proper places.”

“The Lexington Cardiologist won’t see me, period, as patient or study participant.  The Lexington study nurse told me I can’t have two cardiologists. The ONLY reason I’ve been verbally given, doesn’t make sense for a “study”, I would have had to cancel a cardiac stress test I had done six days ago. I’ve been in chest pain since 12-17-14 when I had a sustained low heart rate with a pacemaker.”

At this time it seems that Ms. Grossman Vu is a seriously ill Heart Patient without a Doctor to care for her.  The question remains whether or not this is due to the Medical Marijuana designation she received in Michigan, or the fact that the “leadless pacemaker’s” is in experimental status.  That being said, she was set up with a Lexington Physician who specialized in this according to her Physician in Lansing Michigan.  So what IS THE REAL REASON why she is being rejected by this Cardiologist?

This issue will be followed up.

Erin Grossman Vu can be reached at Stjudemedicalpatient@yahoo.com

 

smk

DEA Ratifies Spike in Marijuana for Research

 

 

Production is going from 46.3 pounds to 1,433 pounds – but it’s unclear where the extra pot is going.

Marijuana is seen in this 1999 photo at the University of Mississippi. The school cultivates and supplies research-grade cannabis in cooperation with the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Marijuana is seen in this 1999 photo at the University of Mississippi. The school cultivates and supplies research-grade cannabis in partnership with the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

By Steven Nelson Aug. 26, 2014

The federal government affirmed Tuesday a large increase in the amount of marijuana it plans to grow for research this year.

The Drug Enforcement Administration offered the production bump – from 46.3 pounds to 1,433 pounds – for public comment on May 5.

One person submitted a comment, which was supportive.

“The DEA appreciates the support for this adjusted 2014 aggregate production quota for marijuana which will provide for the estimated scientific, research and industrial needs of the United States,” a Tuesday notice in the Federal Register says.

“The DEA has taken into consideration the one comment received during the 30-day period and the administrator has determined,” the notice says, the increase is appropriate.

[READ: Former Republican Governor Looks to Build the ‘Microsoft of Marijuana’]

The DEA gave preapproval to the increase in late April, citing urgent need for National Institute on Drug Abuse-facilitated research. But, the DEA said in a May notice, all comments from the public would be taken into consideration.

NIDA, part of the National Institutes of Health, grows marijuana for approved research in partnership with the University of Mississippi.

The increase was necessary because the DEA underestimated researchers’ need when it calculated the initial annual quota in September.

In its May notice the DEA said it simply couldn’t wait for public comment before making the correction.

“Due to the manufacturing process unique to marijuana, including the length of time and conditions necessary to propagate and process the substance for distribution in 2014, it is necessary to adjust the initial, established 2014 aggregate production quota for marijuana as soon as practicable,” the DEA said. “Accordingly, the administrator finds good cause to adjust the aggregate production quota for marijuana before accepting written comments from interested persons or holding a public hearing.”

A spokesman for the DEA referred questions about the increase to NIDA. The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the uptick in demand. It’s unclear how much marijuana has been produced to date this year.

A NIDA official told The Washington Post in May the agency was funding more than 100 grants for marijuana research, including 30 studies of the plant’s “therapeutic uses.” Critics say the agency disproportionately funds research into the downside of pot use.

DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, who signed the Tuesday notice, is a critic of liberalizing marijuana laws. Leonhart refused to say during a June 2012 congressional hearing if marijuana is less harmful than crack or heroin. In January she criticized President Barack Obama for saying smoking pot is less harmful than drinking alcohol.

“Marijuana is so popular these days with voters, lawmakers and researchers that even the DEA can’t continue to ignore it,” says Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell.

But Kris Hermes, a spokesman for the pro-medical marijuana group Americans for Safe Access, isn’t cheering. He finds the increase “very fishy” and says he cannot recall a previous time the quota was offered for public comment.

[RELATED: House Votes to Protect Medical Pot From Feds]

Hermes also notes the annual pot-production quota was once higher.

In fact, throughout the Bush administration the quota was much higher. From 2005-2009 the annual quota was about 9,920 pounds, according to DEA fact sheets. Before that, from 2002-2004, the quota was about 1,852 pounds and in 2001 it was 1,100 pounds.

The quota hovered at 46.3 pounds beginning in 2010. Hermes says he doesn’t know why the quota dropped so dramatically that year.

Editorial cartoon on pot

See Photos

Editorial Cartoons on Pot Legalization

“They still aren’t divulging why the quota is increasing and why it’s not increasing how much it has in the past,” Hermes says. “It’s shrouded in secrecy.”

About half of U.S. states currently allow marijuana for medical use. Two states, Colorado and Washington, have established regulated recreational marijuana markets. Alaska and Oregon voters may legalize pot under state law in November and Florida voters may adopt medical marijuana. Despite liberalizing state laws, marijuana remains an illegal Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

TAGS:

marijuana

medical marijuana

Drug Enforcement Administration

National Institute on Drug Abuse

CONTINUE READING…

Marijuana compound may slow, halt progression of Alzheimer’s

 

 

Neuroscientists found that extremely low doses of a compound found in marijuana may slow or halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reported that neuroscientists using a cellular model of Alzheimer’s found low doses of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) reduced the production of amyloid beta, and prevented abnormal accumulation, which is one of the early signs of the memory-loss disease.

“Decreased levels of amyloid beta means less aggregation, which may protect against the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Since THC is a natural and relatively safe amyloid inhibitor, THC or its analogs may help us develop an effective treatment in the future,” said lead author Chuanhai Cao, a neuroscientist and PhD at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute and the University of South Florida College of Pharmacy.

Neuroscientists also found THC enhanced mitochondrial function which is needed to supply energy, transmit signals and maintain a healthy brain.

“THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation, and enhancing mitochondrial function,” Cao said.

The research noted that the therapeutic benefits of THC at low doses appear greater than the associated risks of toxicity and memory impairment.  

“Are we advocating that people use illicit drugs to prevent the disease? No,” study co-author Neel Nabar said. “However, these findings may lead to the development of related compounds that are safe, legal, and useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.”

As many as 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, with the numbers projected to reach 14 million by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CONTINUE READING…

Why Synthetic Marijuana Is More Toxic To The Brain Than Pot

 

 

One of the original chemists who designed synthetic cannabis for research purposes, John W. Huffman, PhD once said that he couldn’t imagine why anyone would try it recreationally. Because of its deadly toxicity, he likened it to playing Russian roulette, and said that those who tried it must be “idiots.” Whether that’s the case or not, the numbers of users is certainly rising, and so are overdoses. New Hampshire has declared a state of emergency, and the number of emergency room visits for overdose from the synthetic drug has jumped. One teen died earlier this month after slipping into a coma, reportedly from using the drug.

Synthetic pot also goes by hundreds of names: Spice, K-2, fake weed, Yucatan Fire, Bliss, Blaze, Skunk, Moon Rocks, and JWH-018, -073 (and other numerical suffixes), after Huffman’s initials. Synthetic cannabis, unlike pot, however, can cause a huge variety of symptoms, which can be severe: Agitation, vomiting, hallucination, paranoia, tremor, seizure, tachycardia, hypokalemia, chest pain, cardiac problems, stroke, kidney damage, acute psychosis, brain damage, and death.

Why are the effects of synthetic cannabis so varied and so toxic? Researchers are starting to understand more about the drugs, and finding that synthetic cannabis is not even close to being the same drug as pot. Its name, which is utterly misleading, is where the similarity ends. Here’s what we know about what synthetic cannabis is doing to the brain, and why it can be deadly.

English: The so called "incense blend&quo...

The so-called “incense blend”: Spice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. It’s much more efficient at binding and acting in the brain

One reason that synthetic cannabis can trigger everything from seizures to psychosis is how it acts in the brain. Like the active ingredient in pot, THC, synthetic cannabis binds the CB1 receptor. But when it binds, it acts as a full agonist, rather than a partial agonist, meaning that it can activate a CB1 receptor on a brain cell with maximum efficacy, rather than only partially, as with THC. “The first rule of toxicology is, the dose makes the poison,” says Jeff Lapoint, MD, an emergency room doctor and medical toxicologist. “I drink a cup of water, and I’m fine. I drink gallons of it in some college contest, and I could have a seizure and die. Synthetic cannabinoids are tailor-made to hit cannabinoid receptors – and hit it hard. This is NOT marijuana. Its action in the brain may be similar but the physical effect is so different.”

Another issue with synthetic is its potency, which huge. “Its potency can be up to one hundred or more times greater than THC – that’s how much drug it takes to produce an effect,” says Paul Prather, PhD, professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “So it takes much less of them to produce maximal effects in the brain. So these things have higher efficacy and potency…These things are clearly very different from THC and thus not surprising that their use may result in development of life-threatening adverse effects.”

2. CB1 receptors are EVERYWHERE in the brain

A central reason that synthetic cannabis can produce such an enormous variety of side effects is likely because CB1 receptors are present in just about every brain region there is. When you have a strong-binding and long-lasting compound going to lots of different areas of the brain, you’re going to get some very bad effects.

Yasmin Hurd, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics, and Neuroscience at Mount Sinai Medical Center, says that the wide distribution of CB1 receptors in the brain is exactly why they’re so toxic. “Where they’re located is important – their presence in the hippocampus would be behind their memory effects; their presence in seizure initiation areas in the temporal cortex is why they lead to seizures. And in the prefrontal cortex, this is probably why you see stronger psychosis with synthetic cannabinoids.” The cardiac, respiratory, and gastrointestinal effects probably come from the CB1 receptors in the brain stem. It might be any one of these that produces the greatest risk of death.

3. A synthetic cannabis overdose looks totally different from a pot “overdose”

The clearest proof that synthetic cannabis is a different thing all together is that overdose with the drug looks totally different from an “overdose” with natural marijuana. “Clinically, they just don’t look like people who smoke marijuana,” says Lewis Nelson, MD, at NYU’s Department of Emergency Medicine, Division of Medical Toxicology. “Pot users are usually interactive, mellow, funny. Everyone once in a while we see a bad trip with natural marijuana. But it goes away quickly. With people using synthetic, they look like people who are using amphetamines: they’re angry, sweaty, agitated.”

Whatever’s happening, he says, it may be more than just the replacement of THC with JWH. “It’s almost hard to imagine that it could be related to the partial vs. full agonist aspect of the drug.”

4. The body doesn’t know how to deactivate synthetic

One possibility is that the metabolites of synthetic cannabis are also doing damage to the brain. Usually our bodies deactivate a drug as it metabolizes it, but this may not be the case with synthetic. “What we’re finding from our research,” says Prather, “is that some of the metabolites of synthetic cannabis bind to the receptor just as well as the drug itself – this isn’t the case with THC. The synthetic metabolites seem to retain full activity relative to the parent compound. So the ability of our bodies to deactivate them may be decreased.”
He also points out that what’s lacking in synthetic cannabis is cannabidiol, which is present in natural marijuana and appears to blunt some of the adverse actions of the THC. But if it’s not there in synthetic cannabis, then this is one more way the drug’s toxicity may act unchecked.

English: Half a gram of JWH-018.

Half a gram of JWH-018. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5. Quality control is nonexistent

Synthetic cannabis is made in underground labs, often in China, and probably elsewhere. The only consistent thing is that there’s no quality control in the formulation process. “Is Crazy Monkey today the same as Crazy Monkey tomorrow?” Prather asks. “No way. The makers take some random herb, and spray it with cannabinoid. They’re probably using some cheap sprayer to spray it by hand. How MUCH synthetic cannabis is in there? You have no idea how much you’re getting.” He adds that there are almost always “hot spots” present in the drug – places where the drug is way more concentrated than others. “Plus, there’s almost always more than one synthetic cannabinoid present in these things – usually four or five different ones.” The bottom line: There’s no telling what you’re getting in a bag of Spice or K-2.

6. The drugs are always evolving

“Someone’s just kind of riffing off JWH,” says Lapoint. There are hundreds of different forms of JWH, and of other synthetic cannabinoids designed by different labs, and the next one is always waiting to go. “It only takes a grad school chemist level to pull it off,” he says. “The first JWH in incense blends was found in Germany around 2008 – it was the JWH-018 in Spice. It took months for the local authorities to figure out what was in it and regulate it. The next week incense blends with another compound, JWH-073, came out. They already had it ready to go – and they’re making something that’s not even illegal yet. Since we started the conversation 10 minutes ago, we’re already behind.”

* * *

Would legalizing marijuana kill the synthetic industry?

The demand for a “legal high” has been so great in recent history that it’s set the stage for the synthetic market to take off, says Lapoint. “It’s like the perfect storm. First we created black market by making marijuana illegal. Then there are all these loopholes in the legislation, so you can feed synthetics through when you change one molecule and call it a different drug.” As mentioned, it takes so long for the FDA to catch up – a year or more – that by the time one drug is made illegal, dozens of other iterations of the synthetic are already formulated and poised for release into the market.

His solution is a three-pronged: Changing the laws, by moving form a rule-based to a standards-based system, is the first step. “Right now, you either apply analog act to a new drug or make a new law. There will always be a loophole. So you have to move to standards-base. We really need good designer drug legislation reform.”

The second step is that get the public health message across that synthetic cannabinoids can kill. “Science has a poor understanding of how these drugs will effect you,” says Lapoint, “and the public has an even poorer understanding. People think ‘oh it’s just weed, just fake marijuana.’ Clearly the safety perception is way off. Let parents know, let kids know – this is not the same thing. You are experimenting with unknown compounds. You’re being a guinea pig. It’s not the same chemical, even among same brand. Medically, these drugs are a world of difference from THC.”

The last step, he says, is to continue the legalization discussion. Some states are leading the way. “You have to ask if you’re pushing people towards the scarier thing? The answer is ‘yes.’ It’s like prohibition where people made bathtub gin with methanol. We know people are going to use it. No athlete, soldier, student, or parolee wants to test positive for THC. So they just go to the head shop and get the ‘legal’ kind.”

Of course, it’s not legal at all, and it can lead to irreversible health problems and death. Whether legalization of natural marijuana is the solution isn’t totally clear. But remind your friends or kids that being a human subject in an uncontrolled synthetic drug experiment is just stupid. “This was never intended to be used in people,” says Lapoint. “It even says on the label, ‘Not for human consumption.’ Ironically, that’s the only accurate thing on the label. This is not marijuana. It should not be thought of like marijuana. We have to get this out there: Its effects are serious. It’s a totally different drug.”

Follow me @alicewalton or find me on Facebook.

CONTINUE READING…

Potential for heart attack, stroke risk seen with marijuana use

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By Melissa Healy

April 23, 2014, 4:35 p.m.

Over a five-year period, a government-mandated tracking system in France showed that physicians in that country treated 1,979 patients for serious health problems associated with the use of marijuana, and nearly 2% of those encounters were with patients suffering from cardiovascular problems, including heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia and stroke, and circulation problems in the arms and legs. In roughly a quarter of those cases, the study found, the patient died.

In the United States, when young and otherwise healthy patients show up in emergency departments with symptoms of heart attack, stroke, cardiomyopathy and cardiac arrhythmia, physicians have frequently noted in case reports that these unusual patients are regular marijuana users.

Such reporting is hardly the basis for declaring marijuana use an outright cause of cardiovascular disease. But on Wednesday, cardiologists writing in the Journal of the American Heart Assn. warned that “clinical evidence … suggests the potential for serious cardiovascular risks associated with marijuana use.” And with a growing movement to decriminalize marijuana use, they called for data-collection efforts capable of detecting and measuring marijuana’s cardiovascular impact among American users of cannibis setiva.

“There is now compelling evidence on the growing risk of marijuana-associated adverse cardiovascular effects, especially in young people,” said Emilie Jouanjus, lead author of the French study, which was also published in the Journal of the American Heart Assn. That evidence, Jouanjus added, should prompt cardiologists to consider marijuana use a potential cause of cardiovascular disease in patients they see.

In an editorial published Wednesday in the AHA journal, Drs. Sherief Rezkalla and Robert A. Kloner asked, “Do we really know enough about the cardiovascular effects of marijuana to feel comfortable about its use in patients with known cardiovascular disease or patients with cardiovascular risk factors,” including obesity, sedentary behavior, high blood pressure and worrisome cholesterol numbers. 

Rezkalla and Kloner combed the recent medical literature for animal experiments, observational studies and case reports linking marijuana use in close temporal proximity with cardiovascular events. They cited evidence that marijuana use probably increases clotting factors in the blood and that heavy marijuana use may lead to significant changes in the tiny vessels carrying blood to the heart and brain, such that even after clearance of a major blockage, blood flow remains impeded.

Aside from heart attacks and strokes, case studies linked recent marijuana use in patients seeking care for increased angina, ischemic ulcers and gangrene associated with blocked blood flow to extremities and transcient ischemic attacks, sometimes called “mini-strokes.” Notably these complaints often came from patients who were young and had no previous evidence of cardiovascular disease.

“We think the time has come to stop and think about what is the best way to protect our communities from the potential danger of widespread marijuana use in the absence of safety studies,” added Rezkalla, a cardiologist at the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin, and Kloner, a cardiologist at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. “It is the responsibility of the medical community to determine the safety of the drug before it is widely legalized for recreational use.”

CONTINUE READING…

Biotech giants sue Hawaiian island for passing legislation to restrict GMOs

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: Monsanto, Hawaiian island, GMO legislation

Hawaiian island

(NaturalNews) The "big dogs" in chemical agriculture are on a witch hunt to reverse a bill passed by the Kauai County Council back in November that sets reasonable restrictions on the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on the Hawaiian island. According to the Huffington Post, an unholy trinity represented by DuPont, Syngenta and Agrigenetics Inc. (an affiliate of Dow AgroSciences) has filed a federal lawsuit arguing against Measure 2491, which is intended to set buffer zones between schools and fields sprayed with pesticide, for instance, and requires companies to disclose when and where they are spraying their poisonous concoctions, as well as report genetically modified crops.

As it currently stands in Kauai, chemical companies have very few restrictions on where they are allowed to plant GM crops and how often they are allowed to spray undisclosed chemicals on fields. Because of this, many areas of the island have become toxic hotbeds, with local residents reporting allergies, neurological damage and other major afflictions stemming from exposure to GMOs and crop chemicals, one of the many issues that stands to be addressed by Measure 2491.

For more details about Measure 2491, be sure to read this earlier analysis by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger:
http://www.naturalnews.com.

But the biotechnology industry is fighting tooth and nail to destroy Measure 2491, which will presumably expose the massive environmental damage being caused by the industry’s nefarious activities on the otherwise pristine island. According to reports, the chemical industry is now claiming that Measure 2491 is somehow unconstitutional because it interferes with state and federal laws governing GMO cultivation, a desperate attempt by Big Biotech to conceal its evil deeds.

"They chose to use their money and legal power to bully us in court," stated Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser, who co-introduced the bill, about this latest threat to the democratic process. "These companies do not want our county to set a precedent that other communities are going to follow."

Chemical companies don’t want public to know what chemicals they’re spraying

The irony of the industry claiming that its rights are somehow being violated by Measure 2491, which is set to take effect in August, is that these same chemical companies have never had to prove the safety of their chemical solutions to regulators. Instead, they have repeatedly been allowed to violate the rights of the very public they are now attempting to sue by their indiscriminate use of proprietary and undisclosed chemicals.
"We do not know and cannot properly research and evaluate these impacts because the companies will not tell us what chemicals they are using," added Hooser, as quoted by the Huffington Post. "Instead, they choose to ignore the decision of our local community and take us to court."

Since its announcement, the lawsuit has generated a groundswell of support from outside organizations in support of Kauai and Measure 2491. Multiple law firms and various environmental lawyers have already offered to fight the triple lawsuit pro bono, or free of charge.

"You’ve got three very big corporations all ganging up to bring this lawsuit," noted Paul Achitoff, an attorney at Earthjustice, an organization supportive of Measure 2491. "If it costs them a little more money to beef up their security, rather than using secrecy, that’s what they need to do."

If successful in their malevolent endeavor, DuPont, Syngenta and Agrigenetics Inc. will have Measure 2491 declared invalid under the constitutions of both the U.S. and Hawaii, as well as have their own legal fees for filing the lawsuit reimbursed by the county. A scheduling conference for the lawsuit is set for April 14 in the U.S. District Court in Honolulu, according to the Huffington Post.

Sources for this article include:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com
http://online.wsj.com
http://www.naturalnews.com
http://science.naturalnews.com

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/043600_Monsanto_Hawaiian_island_GMO_legislation.html#ixzz2riUfVu1D

One night in 1839….

 

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One night in 1839, a woman knocked at the door of a British Army doctor named William O’Shaughnessy who was stationed in India.

The woman’s infant was having seizures and needed help. The doctor tried several 19th-century remedies, including opium and leeches, but the convulsions grew worse over several days until the baby stopped eating and was convulsing almost constantly.

Not knowing what else to do, the doctor tried hemp, which the locals used as medicine.
A few drops of a cannabis tincture under the child’s tongue stopped the seizures almost immediately. Regular doses over the next few weeks brought the convulsions to an end.
"The child is now in enjoyment of robust health and regained her natural plump and happy appearance," O’Shaughnessy later wrote in a medical journal article, titled "On the preparation of Indian Hemp or Gunjah."
He concluded that, "In Hemp the profession has gained an anti-convulsive remedy of the greatest value."
When a few Colorado Springs families started treating their epileptic children with marijuana oil in 2012, the treatment was unknown to the modern medical establishment and the parents thought they were making the discovery for the first time. In fact, they were uncovering once widespread knowledge that had been lost or ignored during the decades-long nearly global prohibition against using marijuana as medicine.

Historical documents show that people have known for centuries that cannabis could quell seizures. In modern times, scientific studies have repeatedly shown its potential as treatment for epilepsy. But a combination of restrictive drug laws, stigma in the medical establishment and lack of funding for research caused findings to be stifled or dismissed for decades, cannabis researchers say.
The potential human cost of ignoring the evidence for so long is hard to overstate. Of the 3 million people in the United States with epilepsy, an estimated 500,000 are not helped by current medications, according to The American Epilepsy Society. About 50,000 die each year from seizures.
"Imagine if people could have had access to this in the ’50s, or the ’70s, when studies suggested it worked. Imagine how many people could have been helped," said Paige Figi, the first mother in Colorado Springs to treat her epileptic daughter with locally grown strain of marijuana. Five-year-old Charlotte had hundreds of seizures per day and had tried every available seizure drug without success. She was not expected to live long. The Figis had read some decades-old studies suggesting a compound in cannabis called cannabidiol could help. Desperate, they started giving Charlotte a local marijuana strain high in the compound. It reduced her seizures by 99.9 percent. She is now thriving.

Charlotte’s success sparked a small movement, with dozens of families who have not been helped by trying traditional treatments moving to Colorado, where the oil is produced.
Media reports featuring the Figis were the first most of these families had heard of treating seizures with cannabis, but, in fact, reports of treating seizures with cannabis stretch back more than 500 years.
"I’m a mom, I don’t have a Ph.D. Why did we have to stumble onto this?" Paige Figi said. "We feel like science has failed us. I think it’s unfortunate it has to be parents figuring this out, and science has to catch up."

Cannabis is very useful
The first known reference to the anti-seizure potential of cannabis, according to a number of academic papers, comes from an Arabic treatise from 1464 that describes how the epileptic son of a high-ranking official in Baghdad was cured by regular administration of hashish.

After returning from India, Dr. O’Shaughnassy lectured extensively in Great Britain in the 1840s on the properties of hemp and its use as a medicine in Europe became widespread.
Sir John Russell Reynolds, the personal physician to Queen Victoria, wrote in The Lancet in 1890 on the many therapeutic uses of cannabis, saying "I have found hemp very useful" for treating epilepsy.
In America, a publication called the Philadelphia Medical Times ran an article titled "Cannabis indica in the treatment of epilepsy" in 1878.
By 1900, cannabis extracts were commonly found in American pharmacies.

But, as the 20th century progressed, cannabis fell out of favor, according to the book "Cannabis in Medical Practice." Unlike opium and cocaine, the active ingredients in cannabis were harder to parse, and were not isolated until the middle of the 20th century. Pharmacists were left with a whole plant extract that could vary greatly in makeup and potency. At the same time, states were increasingly passing laws tightening control on recreational use of the plant. It was effectively banned federally by the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act.

That year, during hearings in front of the House Committee on Ways and Means, the American Medical Association spoke against criminalizing cannabis, saying many of its members prescribed it. But the committee was swayed by the testimony of the assistant commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, Harry Anslinger, who said, "Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind. Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes."

Medical advances stunted
The passage of the act ended the use of medical cannabis and led to a decades-long suppression of medical marijuana research that only started to lift with California’s first-in-the-nation medical marijuana law in 1996.

"Looking back, a lot of this reefer madness stuff seems ridiculous but it is also one of the great tragedies of modern medicine," said Martin Lee, author of the book "Smoke Signals, a social history of marijuana." "It impeded all kinds of medical advances. Think of all the knowledge we lost. Think of all the time we lost. We have been forced to rediscover things that were there all along. And in the meantime, these poor kids."
Even in the most restrictive years of marijuana laws, scientific studies continued to show cannabis could treat epilepsy – especially cannabidiol.
In 1949, two doctors tested marijuana compounds with six severely epileptic children. The substance controlled seizures as well as traditional drugs with three of the children, and stopped or nearly stopped all seizures in two.

"The Future for epileptics appears very bright," an article about the findings in the Salt Lake City Telegram said. "Because of not only one new drug, but a whole field of new compounds to combat epileptic seizures."

But the research went nowhere.
Similar studies in 1974, ’79, ’80, ’81, ’82 and several times since showed cannabidiol’s promising properties for regulating seizures, but each time they failed to bridge the gap from laboratory to medicine cabinet.
"There are a number of barriers to research," said Jeffrey Hergenrather, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, who studies the anti-cancer properties of cannabis.
First, he said, money is lacking because most research is funded by pharmaceutical companies, which have little to gain from a plant that can’t be patented.
Second, because cannabis is a tightly controlled substance, he said, research involves extra regulatory steps, including having the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency inspections that discourage many researchers.
Third, the medical establishment long had a dismissive attitude toward the research, he said.
"It is seen by some as not serious. There is a stigma. It is difficult to get your findings published," he said.
In addition, he said, doctors are hesitant to recommend cannabis because many have little knowledge of how it interacts with the human body.
"There is a whole system of chemical receptors in the human body that interacts with cannabis, and they are not taught it in medical school at all," Hergenrather said. "That shows the profound effect prohibition has had."

Cannabis now drawing attention
Now that 20 states have some kind of legalized medical marijuana, anecdotal evidence of people using cannabis to treat a number of ailments is getting the attention of mainstream medicine, and attitudes toward cannabis are starting to change, he said.

Orrin Devinsky, a New York University neurologist who specializes in epilepsy, illustrates that.
In his 2012 book "Alternative therapies for epilepsy," he wrote marijuana was "not recommended to treat epilepsy." But in late 2013, after increasing anecdotal evidence of the therapeutic potential of cannabis coming out of Colorado Springs, he held a symposium in New York on the potential of cannabidiol and began a Food and Drug Administration-approved study of the treatment of epilepsy in children with the cannabis compound cannabidiol.

"At this time, medical marijuana products show great potential for helping patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy," Devinsky told The Gazette. "However, at the current time, we lack either good safety or effectiveness data on any product. Our focus should be to obtain scientifically valid data and to remain very humble about what we do and do not know."

Follow Dave Philipps on Twitter: @David_Philipps

1464: Arab historian Ibn al-Badri writes that when "the epileptic son of the caliph’s chamberlain" in Baghdad was treated with cannabis "it cured him completely."
1839: British doctor Dr. William O’Shaughnessy, left, says experiments with cannabis in India "led me to the belief that in Hemp the profession has gained an anti-convulsive remedy of the greatest value."
1890: The personal physician to Queen Victoria, writes in The Lancet in 1890 on the medical uses of cannabis, saying "I have found hemp very useful" for treating epilepsy.
1900: Tincture of cannabis becomes a common medicine in American pharmacies.
1937: Medical cannabis effectively outlawed by Marihuana Tax Act.

1949: Two doctors give cannabis to five epileptic children. Three did as well as on other drugs. One had significant improvement, and one had seizures disappear entirely.
1977: Study of rats shows cannabidiol works as well as other anti-seizure drugs.
1980: Double blind study shows seven of eight human epileptics helped by cannibidiol, with seizures stopping entirely in half.
2003: British company GW Pharamaceuticals announces it plans to market a marijuana-based cannabidiol drug for epilepsy, with hopes of quick approval by the FDA. It has yet to be approved.
2012: Colorado Springs mom Paige Figi begins treating her 5-year-old daughter, Charlotte, with a marijuana oil rich in cannadidiol, sparking a small movement to make the treatment available to all epileptics.

– Colorado Springs-area mom Paige Figi on mission for medical marijuana

– ‘Face of Cannabis’ project aims to raise awareness, facilitate change

Read more at http://gazette.com/now-popular-in-colorado-marijuana-oil-has-long-success-history-thats-often-been-ignored/article/1513431#toEswLSou20ppmPH.99

 

 

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RIA awarded five NIH grants totaling more than $6 million

RIA building

UB’s Research Institute on Addictions is located on Main Street in downtown Buffalo.

 

By SARA R. SALDI

Published August 22, 2013

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“Given the current funding climate, only the most outstanding research projects are being funded.”

Kenneth Leonard, director

Research Institute on Addictions

UB’s Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) recently was awarded more than $6 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health to fund five innovative studies that will expand knowledge on societal ramifications of drug and alcohol use.

The studies cover a wide range of alcohol- and drug-related topics. Three studies focus on youth issues, including bullying and its relationship to substance use, energy drinks mixed with alcohol and their connection to risky sexual practices, and the effects of parental drinking on children of alcoholics.

The remaining grants focus on marijuana-induced aggression and partner violence, and understanding physical craving in substance abuse recovery.

RIA Director Kenneth Leonard is extremely pleased that RIA has been recognized for its hard work and excellence in research.

“The number and size of these grants represent a remarkable achievement for RIA and our talented researchers,” Leonard says. “Given the current funding climate, only the most outstanding research projects are being funded.”

Jennifer Livingston

Jennifer Livingston

Jennifer Livingston, RIA senior research scientist, was awarded $1.8 million over five years from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) to study “Peer Victimization as a Pathway to Adolescent Substance Use.”

Livingston says that although there is clearly the potential of peer victimization (PV) (bullying and sexual harassment) to cause harm, not all adolescents suffer serious effects from such experiences. Little is known about the conditions under which PV causes harm.

“This study aims to discover the conditions under which PV contributes to emotional distress and substance use among adolescents, both immediately and over time” says Livingston. “We’re also seeking to identify the circumstances that might curb the long-term effects of PV, particularly as they relate to the development of emotional distress and substance-use problems.”

Kathleen Miller

Kathleen Miller

The NIAAA also awarded $1.37 million to Kathleen Miller, RIA senior research scientist, to fund her study, “Alcohol and Energy Drink Use, Expectancies and Sexual Risk Taking.”

Miller, a nationally renowned expert on the subject of alcohol mixed with energy drinks, says that although energy drinks have been widely available in the U.S. for more than a decade, their effects remain significantly understudied.

“This study will collect the first detailed, nationally representative data on the prevalence of energy drinks (ED) and alcohol mixed with energy drink (AED) use by youth,” says Miller, “and will map the differences in use across gender, race/ethnicity, age, college-enrollment status and sports involvement, as well as examine the links between AED use and sexual risk taking. We will then seek to understand how gender differences affect these relationships.”

Rina Das Eiden

Rina Das Eiden

Rina Das Eiden, RIA senior research scientist, received more than $400,000 from the NIAAA for a two-year study, “Early Childhood Predictors of Adolescent Substance Use in a High Risk Sample.”

Eiden, an expert on the prenatal effects of substance use, says that though children of alcoholics (COAs) are a large and critical component of the underage drinking population, little is known about how alcohol affects parenting and what the predictive risks are for underage drinking and substance use among COAs.

“Knowledge about predictors of substance use—beginning in infancy—is crucial for determining and developing early intervention to address substance-use risk among COAs,” she says.

Maria Testa

Maria Testa

A $1.86 million grant was made by the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) to Maria Testa, RIA senior research scientist, for her study titled “Proximal Effects of Marijuana in Understanding Intimate Partner Violence.” The study will take place over four years.

Testa says that despite the commonly held belief that marijuana suppresses aggression, many studies have found a positive association between marijuana use and intimate-partner violence.

“Although marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States—with increases in rates of usage over the past few years—there is a lack of research regarding marijuana use and aggression,” says Testa. “Understanding the contribution of marijuana to the occurrence of domestic violence has important public health implications.”

Her research will address this gap in knowledge by examining the effects of marijuana use in couples and the consequences for their relationships.

Robert Schlauch

Robert Schlauch

Robert Schlauch, senior research scientist, received nearly $600,000 from the NIAAA for his project, “Ambivalence Model of Craving: Re-Examining the Craving-Drinking Relationship.”

This five-year study aims to improve understanding of the ways in which craving impacts positive treatment outcomes. The research specifically will examine how craving processes change over the course of recovery, including their influence on starting and maintaining treatment.

“Greater understanding of craving processes during the course of recovery has the potential to inform current treatment strategies,” he says. “Craving is a complex experience requiring consideration of many factors, including both desires to use (approach) and desires not to use (avoidance).”

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