What are the most active ingredients in hemp and cannabis?

Delta-9 THC is the most common active ingredient in cannabis. And CBD is the second most common on the market today. But are THC and CBD the first and second most active ingredients in cannabis? Two cannabis ingredients more active than D9-THC CBN (cannabinol) and delta-8 THC, byproducts of THC-acid or CBD, lightly agonize CB1 […]

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RIP Olivia Newton-John: Medical Cannabis Advocate

Olivia Newton-John, the Grammy Award-winning singer, died this week at 73 years old after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. While she was known as one of the stars of Grease, the Australian singer/actress was also a medical cannabis advocate. And her use of medical cannabis may have extended his life. Diagnosed in 1992, Olivia battled […]

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Doug Chloupek of Juva Life on the Coining of a New Cannabis Molecule

Due to the regulations on cannabis that are still in place thanks to its Schedule I listing, there is still so much we don’t understand about the plant and all its mysteries. Through their research, the team at Juva Life discovered two molecules coined JUVA-019 and JUVA-041, that hold enormous power to help heal inflammation. Doug Chloupek of Juva Life gave us the inside scoop on what his company has been learning about cannabis compounds and how it can change the landscape of cannabis.

Can you give me some background on the research you all have been doing on cannabis compounds?

I realized back in about 2013 that there were some fundamental flaws in the cannabis industry. I’ve been commercially running cannabis businesses since 2010 In California, including getting the first permit there for the first licensed research and manufacturing center in the state of California. Through the years, I have seen how, as much as you would have thought the industry has progressed, it’s really been somewhat stagnant.

The industry has had not been able to progress much because of regulatory issues and the federal government’s impedance on accessing cannabinoids. We have not really had the level or the caliber of non-cannabis people doing pharmacology and true scientific research at a level that’s really needed.

While we all know cannabis holds a therapeutic value, while we know anecdotally from working with patients for 15 years, we know cannabis can work well for neurologic issues, shakes, and Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, but these have all been anecdotal assessments. And so the real question that I never asked until some of my scientists came in with this outside, Big Pharma kind of perspective was: is there something in cannabis that is the mode of action or driver? What is the mode of action behind this?

So we started off and gave it one of the deepest dives in industry research, spent a couple years logging every compound in the cannabis plant, all the cannabinoids, flavonoids, all the acidic compounds, in order to learn more. We know with THC and CBD, while we think they have a high affinity for anti-inflammation and pain, on their own, they hold little to no therapeutic value. We wanted to find the mechanism that was making it all work.

Courtesy of Juva Life

A lot of cannabis folks are wary of pharmaceutical drugs because of the misinformation against cannabis and the greed of the industry. And then folks who rely on Western medicine are often wary of cannabis and other alternative medicine sources that have not been FDA-approved. How do you plan to bridge that gap?

To be perfectly honest, coming from my background, I am somewhat anti-Pharma, even though we eventually plan to sell our company so that the pharmaceutical industry can make medicine. The reason I say that is, we don’t have a healthcare state. Our pharmaceutical industry and our government have neglected human health in our society. We are a disease care state because sick people create disease, which creates a monetary monopoly over people’s bodily autonomy.

We need to get to a place where we have a healthcare system, and if we really cared about people’s health as a country, then we would be more active in encouraging people to be healthy. I come from the perspective of, we want to treat people at their root, so we can either prevent or remediate the diseases from happening instead of just waiting until it happens.

It’s always been a mission of mine to ensure that we can kind of bridge that gap because there is massive mistrust of Big Pharma from huge sections of our population, and there’s massive mistrust of this anecdotal, witch doctor feeling cannabis can sometimes have where it’s supposed to be able to fix everything.

What would you like the pharmaceutical industry to look like in the future?

I’d like to see the level of toxicity in pills that humans are either forced to take or need to take dramatically reduced so that when we have to take something, it is still natural or plant-based, whether it is synthetically made or naturally derived. That way, we can live healthier lifestyles on a day-to-day basis.

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5 Reasons to Celebrate National CBD Day 

August 8 is National CBD Day! This day is to celebrate one of our favourite cannabinoids and spread awareness about its benefits. And here are five reasons to celebrate it! CBD stands for Cannabidiol, the second most active ingredient in cannabis. CBD is also present in the hemp plant. Hemp and “marijuana” are technically the […]

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Health Canada: CBD Safe and Tolerable

Health Canada has reviewed cannabidiol (CBD) and deemed it “safe and tolerable” for short-term use. Health Canada’s report looked at dosages ranging from 20 milligrams to up to 200 mg per day. As of now, all CBD products must go through a heavily regulated cannabis supply chain. One can only sell CBD in cannabis stores. […]

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Study Shows Cannabis Users 55% Less Likely to Develop Common Liver Cancer

Cannabis is already being used as a medicinal treatment for symptoms of cancer and cancer treatments, like radiation and chemotherapy. However, a recent study has found that cannabis use could actually curb the chances of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), one of the most common malignancies worldwide.

The association between HCC and cannabis has previously been identified in mice, though, to the knowledge of researchers, not yet in humans, which prompted the investigation.

HCC accounts for the majority of primary liver cancers. The study notes that the World Health Organization expects the incidence of HCC to increase until 2030, with overestimates in excess of 1 million deaths from liver cancer. The United States has seen a 43% increase in death rates from liver cancer between 2000 and 2016.

Researchers from Georgetown University Hospital and the Cleveland Clinic used data from the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database between 2002 to 2014, identifying patients with HCC and cannabis use diagnosis. The researchers then identified patients without cannabis use as a control group, adjusting for multiple potential confounders and performing a multivariable logistic regression analysis to determine the potential association between cannabis use and HCC.

To the knowledge of researchers, it was the largest study evaluating the relationship between cannabis use and HCC.

The study included a staggering total of 101,231,026 patients. From that group, 996,290 patients had the diagnosis of “cannabis abuse” versus the 100,234,746 in the control group without it. Researchers also noted cannabis-using patients were younger (34 versus 48 years of age on average), had more men (61.7% versus 41.4%) and more African Americans (29.9% versus 14.2%), compared to the control group.

Authors also observed that cannabis users had a higher tendency to engage in higher-risk behaviors, including alcohol abuse (28% versus 3%) and smoking (44% versus 9%). Viral hepatitis was also more prevalent among cannabis users, which researchers presumed was related to high-risk behaviors like intravenous drug use.

Though the study noted that patients using cannabis were 55% less likely to have HCC, compared to the control group, they cited that this only confirms correlation. Essentially, researchers were unable to confirm a definite, direct causation.

In their discussion of the results, researchers explain that CBD offers one explanation to their observations, “by providing protection against HCC or at least deceleration of disease progression. Furthermore, pharmaceutical development of compounds exerting the dual effect of CB1 antagonism and CB2 agonism can play a major role in the management of liver diseases.”

The authors disclose that the NIS is an administrative database, meant for financial and administrative management rather than for research. That said, they say that the data could vary in the degree of detail and accuracy.

They also say that, among patients with a history of cannabis use, “we cannot determine whether they are actively using cannabis or merely have a remote history of use.”

They also note the limitations of the cross-sectional study design, with potential recall bias in reporting exposures. This model also didn’t allow researchers to draw direct causation effects.

“Hence, we suggest prospective clinical studies to further understand the mechanism by which various active ingredients, particularly CBD in cannabis, may possibly regulate hepatocellular carcinoma development,” they conclude.

Other recent studies have demonstrated that cannabinoid-based therapies can stop liver cancer growth. Moving beyond the liver, studies have also shown the efficacy of cannabis treatments to kill colon, pancreatic, and breast cancer cells.

Will the future offer an array of preventative cannabis and CBD treatments for those more likely to develop HCC and similar cancers? Of course, this early research is only scratching the surface of the topic and potential cannabis has to offer, but it offers a solid foundation for future research and hopefully opens the door to more breakthroughs.

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This is not your grandparents’ marijuana

This is not your grandparents’ marijuana. You’re going to hear that a lot if you haven’t already. Substitute grandparents for parents, and the meaning is the same. In the “good ole days,” like the 1960s and 70s, cannabis contained no more than 2% THC. By the 1990s, it was 4%. But now, in the legal […]

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Can this terpene prevent damage from nicotine?

Nicotine promotes focus and, unfortunately, cardiovascular stress. A recent study discovered that a terpene known as beta-caryophyllene prevents aortic damage caused by nicotine. And it did so by activating a cannabinoid receptor. Nature provides solutions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should roll a spliff. The study exposed mice to vaporized nicotine. (1) Researchers sacrificed […]

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Higher Profile: Dr. Rebecca Siegel, Author, The Brain on Cannabis

Dr. Rebecca Siegel’s book opens to her admission that as a teenager in the 1980s, she was raised on the stereotype of “marijuana,” believing it was only used by unproductive and underachieving “potheads.”

The good doctor said she had to be hit over the head with a frying pan with the knowledge of the benefits of cannabis after listening to her patients’ success stories, prompting her to write her first book, The Brain on Cannabis.

“My life changed while in private practice when one of my patients, I call her Patient 0, opened my mind to cannabis as medicine,” she shared. “After that experience, I was more apt to listening to other patients with similar success in using cannabis for real ailments and disorders.”

As detailed in her introduction, insomnia, depression, ADD, PTSD, and aiding symptoms from treatments for cancer, were just a few of the disorders and symptoms her patients were helped with using cannabis, either by smoking and/or ingesting concentrates.

And while Dr. Siegel still must adhere to the unknown, specifically dealing with the cause and effects of today’s high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cultivars, she’s been enlightened to the plant as a superfood, able to treat a wide range of ailments and disorders.

“We still do not know enough about the effects on the brain of long term THC use for recreation,” she began, setting the tone for the interview and the book. “But I’m still listening and observing my patients, and have taken deep dives myself in research all I can to understand. My work has become an evolving education on this plant.”

Path to Enlightenment

Growing up in what she refers to as the suburbs of New York in New Jersey, Dr. Siegel’s father was a doctor, and she shared she had always dreamed of becoming a doctor herself. But it wasn’t until after she had a family of her own, at 29 years of age, that she went back to school to study psychiatry at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Today Dr. Siegel is certified as a Diplomate by both the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. In 2004, she won the Women in Psychiatry award from the Mount Sinai Department of Psychiatry.

Her focus is on adult and child psychiatry, and she’s on staff at the Amen Clinic in New York City. The Amen Clinics are a group of mental and physical health clinics that work on the treatment of mood and behavior disorders, founded in 1989 by Daniel G. Amen, a self-help guru and psychiatrist.

Dr. Siegel became a licensed prescriber of medical cannabis in New York State. She has a particular interest in research on the therapeutic effects, risks, and benefits of cannabis treatment, overall.

“My focus in therapy is on adolescent and adult women,” she said. “I believe in treating the whole person with a range of therapeutic techniques and approaches, and if one of my patients is successfully using cannabis to treat a particular disorder, I want to know how and why it works for them.”

Myths & Facts in Real Time

Until the U.S. Federal Government addresses the use of cannabis as medicine and removes it from the Department of Health Services’ Schedule 1, denoting no medicinal value, the myriad of healing stories of successful cannabis use around the world are referred to as “anecdotal.”

As said, Dr. Siegel listened to her patient’s stories of healing with an open mind, prompting her to write The Brain on Cannabis, but the restrictions, along with the decades old negative stigma of the plant, stop doctors like Siegel from fully accepting the plant as 100% beneficial—leaving more questions than answers.

As is common with cannabis studies, the caution given for adolescents and teen use due to the assumed damage to the developing frontal lobes, often comes from narrowly conducted studies, using high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) formulations on lab rats and mice. To date, long-term use in real time with real kids or adults has never been done.

The highly controversial Patent #6630507 filed and accepted by the U.S. Patent Office naming cannabinoids as neuroprotectants makes it tough for those in the cannabis caregiving community to take contradictory studies citing damage to the frontal lobe seriously, particularly with children. Especially since many in the cannabis community have smoked weed consistently for 30 or 40 years—many starting in adolescents or teens, with nary a smidgen of neurosis or psychosis in sight.

The THC Dilema

The plant didn’t start out with high THC counts. In fact, the original God plant—the plant said to have been included in the formulation of Holy Anointing Oil from the Bible—only registered with upwards of 5% or less THC.

We as a species caused the controversy of high THC cultivars. We upped the levels of THC to the heights we have today via hybridization, and now we must defend the compound and educate on how to dose properly and effectively.

Taking a non-therapeutic dose of a high THC cultivar, either by smoking or ingesting, will most certainly cause an uncomfortable reaction. Using high THC formulations in studies meant to show cause and effect for mental disorders is controversial in itself.

Courtesy of Sharon Letts

Got Studies?

Taking the summation of a study at face value doesn’t always work when it comes to cannabis. Questions to be asked are, who funded the study, what outcome were they looking for, what were the perimeters of said study—for example, what formulation/strength and dosing were used and for how long?

For decades the National Institute on Drug Abuse funded studies outside of the U.S., looking for negative outcomes on the abuse of cannabis. That’s been its goal, to find and define the abuse.

One such study funded by NIDA in Jamaica in the 1970s, observing pregnant women and their children drinking cannabis tea, was slatted to last 20 years. But when both the pregnancy phase, and the follow-up observation of the children at five years of age showed positive outcomes, NIDA shut it down.

The five year olds drinking cannabis tea each morning didn’t show signs of psychosis or neurosis or any kind of mental disorders. On the contrary, they were far more alert, with stronger immune systems than their fellow students. The mother’s were also healthier through the pregnancies, with no edema or swelling, nausea, or other complications often associated with pregnancy.

Using Granny Storm Crow’s List as a reference tool (see Higher Profile: Granny Storm Crow), the modes of delivery and formulations used in many studies, as well as the duration and scope of said studies on cannabis and the brain vary widely.

Lab rats injected with a high THC formulation right into their frontal lobe cortex are mentioned in one such study showing an unsurprising negative outcome of severe psychosis.

In dosing my dogs I’m painfully aware of their size in correlation to my own, and dose accordingly by weight. Would an observational study of a high THC formulation show negative cognitive results in a small animal? Would summation of said study make a good headline for NIDA, feeding the myth of neurosis and psychosis with the use of cannabis?

The larger question is, what came first, the mental disorder or a dose of THC that goes far beyond a therapeutic level? Cannabis is an enhancer, with the ability to enhance or aggravate an existing disorder. Since many young people aren’t diagnosed with mental disorders until their early 20s, it’s a grand assumption to think the plant caused the disorder.

We in the cannabis caregiving community have witnessed more success stories than not of kids on the Autistic Spectrum, or those diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, helped with focus merely by smoking at a young age—either in adolescents or as teenagers. And they continue to use it because it works, they just don’t understand how or why.

Anecdotal Open Minds

As Dr. Siegel continues her personal and professional journey in listening to her patients use the plant with successes and failures, she continues to learn, as many of us have, that the more we know about this plant, the more we don’t know—or the more we need to know.

The book is a good primer on some of the effects of cannabis on the brain. The fact Dr. Siegel had the courage and the wherewithal to pen such a work in the first place is admirable.

Doctors listening to patients brave enough to share has historically been the way most medical professionals find out about cannabis and plant-based medicine in general, as they are just not taught about the way plants work with us biologically in medical school.

Dr. Siegel’s willingness to listen and learn is appreciated beyond measure. Her first effort is a good one. We can’t wait to see what she does next.

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Pharmacies in Canada may sell over the counter CBD, but not gas stations

A committee representing Health Canada released a review on the safety and efficacy of CBD. Comprised of nine volunteers, the committee was established in 2019 with four objectives regarding cannabis. Pharmacies in Canada may sell over the counter CBD packaged in a box. But don’t expect Canadian gas stations to sell CBD anytime soon. Canadian […]

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