Chemical in Pot Provides Some Relief
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Chemical in Pot Provides Some Relief
Posted by CN Staff on September 30, 2010 at 18:12:04 PT
By Stacey M. Kerr M.D.
Source: Press Democrat
California -- Naomi was three days out from her breast cancer chemotherapy treatment. She knew this was when side effects would begin to take over her life — nausea, severe anxiety, intestinal cramping and diarrhea. As grateful as she was for the chemo, she dreaded these “lost days.”Naomi was skilled at choosing the best drugs to help her get through the hard times. She had plenty of prescriptions, and they did help somewhat, but this time she had agreed to try something new. She plugged in a small vaporizer that had been readied with a tiny bit of cannabis, and she slowly inhaled the resulting vapor. She was pleased that there was no irritating smoke to deal with, but that is not what brought tears of gratitude to her eyes.
Within seconds of inhaling the vapor, her symptoms melted away. She had never experienced such rapid and complete relief, and although the effects did not last very long, she knew she had found good medicine.Naomi had been given some “High CBD” cannabis. She has lived with metastatic breast cancer for more than four years and has avoided cannabis most of that time — unwilling to tolerate the psychoactive side effects of marijuana. She did not like the feeling of being stoned. But cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, different from THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in that it does not confer a high.Cannabis has over 420 chemical compounds, including more than 80 cannabinoids that are not found in any other plant. Only a few are psychoactive — like THC — and for years the plant has been bred for increasingly concentrated levels of THC. There are numerous medical benefits to THC, but the psychoactive side effects limit its use in many situations.The discovery of the therapeutic qualities in CBD began more than 20 years ago. In 1988, scientists first identified cannabinoid receptors in the human brain. Over the next 10 years, receptors would be discovered in the immune system, gut, liver, heart, kidneys, bones and blood vessels.But the body only has receptors for naturally occurring internal substances, so scientists suspected there must be a THC-like compound occurring innately in the human body. In 1992, the first of these “endocannabinoids” was identified and the International Cannabinoid Research Society was formed.Studies on cannabinoids are being done by reputable scientists in many countries, including Israel, Italy, Spain, the U.S. and Britain. These labs are uncovering therapeutic effects of previously unknown or ignored chemical compounds in cannabis — chemicals like CBD, the substance Naomi found so helpful.CBD-rich cannabis has exciting potential for breast cancer patients. Clinical studies show it to be safe, nontoxic and effective for many medical uses including chronic pain, anxiety and side effects of cancer treatments. But there is more to the CBD cannabinoid than symptom relief.In the lab, CBD has a direct effect on cancer cells. Pre-clinical studies have shown it to reduce the aggressiveness of breast cancer cells. In addition, by affecting an active gene found only in metastatic cancer, CBD can also inhibit the progression of metastatic breast cancer.Scientists believe that the Id-1 gene is one of the genes responsible for the metastatic spread of breast cancer. This gene is appropriately active when humans are developing embryos. Then it becomes silent, and it should stay silent. But in metastatic breast cancer, this gene wakes up and stimulates cancer cells to multiply and invade healthy tissue. If scientists could find a way to turn it off again, they could block the progress of metastatic breast cancer.In 2007, a research lab at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco found CBD to be the first known nontoxic agent that can significantly inhibit the Id-1 gene.Breast cancer, when localized, is treatable. It is only when it recurs and spreads throughout the body that it becomes deadly. The development of new treatments to prevent and treat metastatic breast cancer is essential to finding a cure, and the cannabinoid CBD may be a valuable tool in this quest.Some medical marijuana dispensaries in California are beginning to test and label the relative percentages of THC and CBD in their products. CBD-rich strains are becoming available in some of these more reputable dispensaries. Outside the US, a mouth spray developed by GW Pharmaceuticals, made of whole plant extracts, is obtainable. Available by prescription in over 22 countries, Sativex contains equal parts THC and CBD. The CBD balances out some of the psychoactive effects of THC, making Sativex more palatable to the general public.Medical cannabis can be good medicine for patients going through breast cancer therapy, but many — like Naomi — are uncomfortable with the unwanted side effects. High-CBD strains of cannabis hold promise for providing relief and possible tumor suppression, without toxicity.Dr. Stacey Kerr, a longtime Sonoma County family physician, graduated from UC Davis Medical School and has been certified in her specialty by the American Board of Family Medicine. Her columns are not intended as a substitute for hand-on medical advice or treatment. Consult your health care provider before adhering to any recommendations in this column. E-mail comments to:  drkerr the-doctors-inn.comSource: Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA)Author: Stacey M. Kerr M.D. Published: Thursday, September 30, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Press DemocratContact: letters pressdemo.comWebsite:  Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #10 posted by The GCW on September 30, 2010 at 23:27:13 PT
The US government is just plain wrong.
Cannabis is found to help cancer patients more and more every week -it seems.So what does the US government do? They use tax money from cancer patients to attempt to exterminate the plant.
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on September 30, 2010 at 21:51:36 PT
Happy anniversary to the Flintstones...
Saw that on Google today and now Ferguson is doing a funny routine about the show.
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on September 30, 2010 at 21:47:56 PT
Craig Ferguson
is on. He's so funny.
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on September 30, 2010 at 21:42:15 PT
"I very happy" ...
I am.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on September 30, 2010 at 21:40:20 PT
I'm so happy for Naomi. I am. That's truly wonderful, her finding that relief! It's a hard row to hoe, this cancer business... and she's been at it four years. I very happy, thrilled even, that she has the relief she's getting.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on September 30, 2010 at 21:35:06 PT
My African walking stick.
Remember the old SNL routine where everything was something "You could keep your weed in!"Well, one person asked me that, jokingly. It does look like you should be able to "Keep your weed in it".:0)That's cool, really. A happier, smile creating, walking stick.I think it's beautiful. It helped me, too. A lot.But no... no place to keep weed in it. It's a good un though. It's dapper, and dandy, and strong, and somehow, sweet and pretty and not overly masculine... though a man could use it. I think I might could learn to twirl it a bit.
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on September 30, 2010 at 20:43:33 PT
David Letterman 
is funny tonight.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on September 30, 2010 at 20:41:35 PT
We,re going to fix it?
Lol! Chemo brain, or fingers, or just tired! I proofread at least five times... but missed that somehow. Too long.Let me restate that though. Let me fix that punctuation... a low apostrophe. Lol!Understand. Punctuation corrected.We're going to fix it. We are going to fix it. We are going to stop the terrible injustice of cannabis prohibition.WE ARE GOING TO FIX IT.
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on September 30, 2010 at 20:29:26 PT
But this is wonderful!
Thank you Steve Tuck, and thank you Dr. Kerr. Thank you Press Democrat. And thank you, FoM! You're all fixing something that is very wrong with this country... very wrong with most of the world.It's going to be ok. I'm one of the "treatable ones", I'm stage three... and I can tell you that there are an amazing amount of stage fours walking about that really need this help. Many of those people are walking. Smiling. Laughing even. But they're getting beat up... terribly beat up... from the inside, mostly. They need all the relief they can get to be stronger to fight this thing. To live past the poisoning that is also poisoning and killing, hopefully, the cancer, the dreaded disease, that would kill us if it can.This "recurring" thing could happen to me down the line... and maybe by then... surely by then... things will be better... more sane... for everyone. I'm planning on recovering and I'm hoping I don't have a recurrence. But if that happens, I'm sure things will be better here in this state, and all states, by then. They should be better now. But what can we do but keep pushing back against the injustice? Of course... there are many people that need the relief from the amazing herb, the amazing non poisonous... illegal herb, much worse than I... in many states... and they have to be criminals... because of a bunch of mean ass, ignorant, superstitious, authoritarian, messed up in the head and soul,... busy bodies, politicians, and prohibitionists... er... preventionists.Preventionist. Yes... you're preventionists alright. Preventionists. Self named.Ooops. Lost it. It's going to get better though... for everyone... in every state. Lots and lots of people really need it. I see a lot of them these days. I am one of them. The horse's asses have screwed up bad with cannabis prohibition. We,re going to fix it. Fix it right and fix it soundly. Steve Tuck is helping fix it. Dr. Orr is helping fix it. FoM is helping to fix it. All of us and all of you are helping to fix it.PUSH! LIFT IT UP!Ooops. Steroids kicked in.:0)That's a serious true thing about chemo. It seems sort of quiet for days after the infusions or injections, and then jumps all over you, hard, and suddenly, seemingly out of the blue days, even eight or nine days after one particular one.... and it hits hard. Really hard. Pain. Aaargh. One injection seemed to be the one that had me using a walking stick. It's all hard though. The one I'm on now, Taxol, waits about two or three days and it hurts. Crazy hurts. Like getting beaten from the inside. Weird, rolling, powerful, powerful muscle spasms. Aarggh. Sometimes t's like someone is hitting you from inside with a broom stick handle. Literally. Poking you. You can't help but look to see if there's a bruise. Sometimes it's like invisible tourniquets of varying widths tightening up on an arm or leg. It's weird!About walking sticks, I told you about using my hiking staff, at first, that my husband made me years ago. Using it around the house and visiting friends and family made me look like an ancient prophet coming in from the wilderness. He collects walking sticks but all he had were all too short and strange for me. He looked on E-bay and ordered a beautiful and unique walking stick made in Africa. Well it's probably not that unique over here. But I see a lot of walking sticks these days and it's unique around here. It's light and strong and beautiful. I could bust into a Zumba routine with that thing ... someday. It's cool. I wasn't using it for looks or a dance prop though. I needed something to hold on to and lean on and catch my balance on. Whew. It was rough. I survived it. Though I fell three times, I think. Maybe twice completely and once or twice nearly, and maybe one of the falls had something to do with the blood clots and having that first port removed. I haven't had to use the walking stick for a couple of weeks though. Yay!I have to lay down more than I did though. I have to. Aaargh.Another good thing. You know those strange rigors and chills, physical fear... I got when the first "shells" started landing around me. My veteran friends that experienced something similar when they found themselves in battle were right. You get used to them in a strange way... but it's better than those hideous, strange, waves of chills and rigors. Much better. 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on September 30, 2010 at 18:15:32 PT
Sometimes An Article Gets Me Upset
I get so angry when I read an article like this and know our very own dearly loved Hope can't get any benefit from Cannabis. It's a down right sin in my book.
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