Tag: cbd

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta Talks Truth, Immorality, Opioids and “Weed” 4

“I’m here to tell you, as a doctor, that despite all the talk about the medical benefits of marijuana, smoking the stuff is not going to do your health any good.”

Those are the words of Dr. Sanjay Gupta in a column he wrote for Time magazine eight years ago.

It seems hard to believe now as Dr. Gupta has become almost synonymous with cannabis as a result of his “Weed” documentary series on CNN (although he begs to differ about the synonymous part, but more on that later).

He was emphatic in the Time piece, surmising of those voting to legalize marijuana in 2009 in Nevada and Colorado that “many of them just want to get stoned legally. That’s why I, like many other doctors, am unimpressed with the proposed legislation, which would legalize marijuana irrespective of any medical condition.”

Three “Weed” documentaries later (2013, 2014 and 2015) and with a fourth on the way later this year, having clearly changed his stance, Dr. Gupta is, today, just as emphatic about the medicinal and healing value of cannabis.

Dr. Staci Gruber, director of Boston's McClean Hospital's Brain Imaging Center, appears in Dr. Gupta's 2013 "Weed" documentary to discuss the effects of marijuana on the brain.

Dr. Staci Gruber, director of Boston’s McClean Hospital’s Brain Imaging Center, appears in Dr. Gupta’s 2013 “Weed” documentary to discuss the effects of marijuana on the brain.

“Not only can it be of benefit, but sometimes it can be the only thing that is of benefit as we saw with the very refractory epilepsy and, maybe, even some of these cases of neuropathic pain. That’s powerful, that’s really really powerful to me. And forget that I am doctor, it’s probably immoral to not allow people to have relief from something — especially when they can’t find it in any of the existing modalities that are being prescribed to them. I think it probably borders on immoral, or maybe it just is immoral,” he concludes.

When the neurosurgeon reflects on his journey with cannabis from non-believer to someone who’s “goal is to keep this very important conversation going,” Dr. Gupta is disconcerted by the idea that initially he didn’t take cannabis seriously as a medicine.

“The idea that the substance could be a medicine was the most surprising, and it sounds silly to almost say that, because to me, now that I have spent years really looking into this, I am a little embarrassed to have had that realization because — what the hell was I doing before?,” he candidly wonders. “But I do think that there is a culture inflection with science in the sense that even if you are learning about the cannabinoid system and learning about the substance and the various neurotransmitters, it is still done under the context of this as a substance that is demonized and disparaged and I fell into that camp.”

Dr. Gupta reasons he fell into that camp because U.S. studies were never designed to find the benefits of cannabis. “The system was designed to find the harm and those were the studies getting funded, not studies that were designed to look for the benefit. But the point is you had a distorted picture of what marijuana could do. When you start looking at labs that aren’t dependent on some sort of state or federal funding or labs that are outside of the U.S., a very different picture emerged.”

Even with a lack of particularly compelling research, the premise behind the first “Weed,” which took 18 months to create, was to put a spotlight on medical marijuana because it was increasingly finding its way onto state ballots, and so as CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Gupta believed people should be informed.

Surprising and, yet, not surprisingly there was no detailed framework laid out before Dr. Gupta began filming the first “Weed.” “Frankly, when we first started thinking about “Weed” 1, I thought it was going to be looking at the science and the science still wasn’t particularly compelling. I did not have a real preconceived notion other than what I had learned before about medicinal marijuana and I was not particularly impressed by the literature at that point. It was more of an eyes-wide-open experience, certainly for the first documentary.”

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Charlotte Figi, who Charlotte’s Web is named for, started using CBD oil to treat Dravet Syndrome when she was five years old and was featured in Dr. Gupta’s 2013 “Weed” documentary.

He didn’t foresee the story of Charlotte Figi, who Charlotte’s Web is named for, would dominate both the first “Weed” documentary and the ensuing national conversation about medicinal cannabis. “We were following these people along with some of the scientists. Some of the studies were ongoing and some of the data came back even during the filming of our documentary so there was a lot we didn’t know other than the biggest, sort of broadest brushstroke of what we wanted to pursue,” Dr. Gupta further explains. “Even with the other ones (“Weed” 2 and 3), I didn’t know how the stories of these cannabis refugees were going to play out. I didn’t know if people were actually going to move, leave their homes and go to a different state.”

When “Weed” first came out, Dr. Gupta thought people would “challenge, criticize and ridicule it,” he also believed at the time “that there would be some people who would get something important out of this. My thinking was maybe it influences somebody with a child with Dravet syndrome and all hope is not lost and that, maybe, there is something else.”

Although Dr. Gupta was prepared for criticism, he didn’t foresee how quickly the dark shadow of stigmatization would begin to fade after the first “Weed” aired in 2013. “I didn’t think we would start to see the political movement around it and, to be fair, there was already political movement around it — it wasn’t like I started it by any means. But I do think that the acceptance of states in the south, like Georgia and Alabama, where I would not have ever thought that this would remotely pass, or that it would even be on the ballot, has been pleasantly surprisingly.”

As for the content of the fourth “Weed” documentary slated to come out later this year, Dr. Gupta is still working on it but thinks the fact that eight states passed some form of legalized cannabis during the November presidential election will definitely factor in. “Our bend is going to be changed because of this election, but still very much predicated on evidence-based science.

“You can’t completely disentangle those two issues, they are entangled. But, if anything, I think we are still going to be leaning toward more of the evidence-based science behind this issue to the extent that evidence-based science can and should inform policy. I think that’s going to be a big part of what we talk about and whether or not that is presenting things to the cabinet or elected officials and seeing what happens with the CARERS Act (The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act introduced in March 2015) will be really important.”

Moving away from cannabis policy, which can be exasperating on its own, Dr. Gupta continues to be flummoxed by the lack of research in the field, especially for queries as simple as: is cannabis a preventative medicine?

After a long pause considering the question, he works his way to an answer. “I struggle with these questions a little bit and it’s frustrating because we, I, should be able to answer that question without hesitation. This plant has been around a long time and we have had decades to be able to answer this question, but because of the system we have not been able to do those sorts of studies.

“Yet, the idea of healthy people using it,” he pauses again thoughtfully, “…it’s a Schedule I substance so how do you go from saying it’s a Schedule I substance to, by the way, we would love to try this in healthy people? It’s totally doable but, again, there’s not enough evidence.”

The problem with research, though, is finding scientists and researchers who will put up with the hassles of cannabis’ classification as a Schedule I drug. “I think there’s a lot of really smart young scientists who are trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives, where they want to make their mark in terms of scientific progress who are very interested in this topic, but are probably not going to do it because they will get looked at sideways from their professors or worried that they can’t get the funding to get it done.”

Dr. Sanjay Gupta meets with pharmacologist Mahmoud ElSohly, who runs the federal government's marijuana farm at the University of Mississippi, for "Weed."

Dr. Sanjay Gupta meets with pharmacologist Mahmoud ElSohly, who runs the federal government’s marijuana farm at the University of Mississippi, for “Weed.”

However, once federal prohibition gets lifted, which Dr. Gupta estimates a five-year timeline as being realistic, the culture will shift. “When the signal comes, in terms of an end to federal prohibition, I think there will be a lot of obvious things that happen in terms of access and research dollars. I think there will be some less intuitive things that will happen as well and I think a lot of that will happen among my colleagues in the scientific community who will be much more likely to study this and progress it.”

One of the areas in most dire need of research is the nation’s opioid epidemic. New statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released in December show that overdose deaths rose 11 percent in 2015, to 52,404, which is the most ever.

“It’s a horrifying statistic to think about the number of people who die from opioid overdoses. It’s the number one cause of unintentional death, of which 60 percent are made up from prescription opioids,” Dr. Gupta incredulously points out. He continues, “At some point, somebody is going to come to us from another planet and look at us and say, ‘Let me get this straight, you guys are literally killing yourselves, accidentally, using a medication that is supposed to relieve suffering and pain?’ It makes no sense.”

Also senseless to Dr. Gupta are the moral implications of keeping cannabis illegal. “In none of my documentaries did I ever get into the concept of moral equivalence because I thought it was too easy, too cheap, right?,” he questions. “I wanted everything to stand on its own merits. But in the back of my mind, I couldn’t believe we have this substance out there that kills somebody every 19 minutes, and, yet, something that could have real benefit for people, and we could not find evidence of deadly overdose from, could not even be studied. That just wasn’t right.

“I think the fact that there was data from other places around the world — and there was certainly a lot of anecdotal data within the United States — and the alternatives people were left with were opioids or even, frankly, the anti-seizure medications, which can also be very toxic, were so accepted and, yet, this was not even allowed to be studied. That didn’t sit well.”

Dr. Gupta sees a benefit to using medicinal marijuana for those patients caught up in the opioid epidemic. “Sometimes it’s a result of an injured nerve and that’s very hard pain to treat and opioids aren’t particularly good at treating that kind of pain. Not only do I think that medical marijuana can be helpful in reducing opioid dependence and aiding first time users, but I also think it can actually be helpful in treating a type of pain that opioids just aren’t that good at treating. It’s doing something that the existing ladder of treatments doesn’t do very well.”

Cannabis has the potential to be a game changer for opioid abusers, however, it will be up to leaders like Sanjay Gupta to get the message out into the world. He just has to figure out how to get people to open their minds. But it’s not like he doesn’t have firsthand experience with that.

“I think the idea of being synonymous with something is in a way being synonymous with the ability to, first, admit that I made a mistake in not digging deeper earlier and, also, synonymous with the idea that I am open-minded.”

This article was originally published in the January 2017 edition of elevate Nevada.

 

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Trade Group Sues DEA Over Attempted Hemp Regulations

In 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the DEA may not, in perpetuity, attempt to regulate hemp or its byproducts, including stalks, fibers, sterilized seeds, or oils, as these components are excluded from the Controlled Substances Act’s definition of marijuana. The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), the preeminent trade group of hemp farmers […]

 

Start a Marijuana Business Today: CertificationClinics.com™ offers a comprehensive business model for recommending Medical Marijuana Certifications and/or Dispensary Ownership in your area. The CertificationClinics.com™ Business Support staff will educate you in every of the growing medical marijuana industry, providing you a fully operational and profitable enterprise. Learn More »

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Is CBD Crystalline the Most Effective Cannabis Medicine?

This crystalline is 99% pure CBD but is it the most effective medicine cannabis has to offer?

cbd-crystalline

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett

Ever since CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, broke the internet three years ago when he admitted, “We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States,” the U.S. has been on a CBD craze. His 2013 documentary “Weed” was one of the first mainstream attempts at exposing a suspicious audience to the seemingly miraculous effects of cannabis-derived CBD.

While Gupta’s first documentary touched the tip of the iceberg, his coverage of four-year-old Charlotte Figi stole the hearts of people all over the world — it caused parents of children suffering from equally traumatic and consistent epileptic seizures to wonder if CBD was the answer they had been desperate to find.

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Internationally, scientists are light-years ahead of the U.S. in terms of medical marijuana research. Macro image of CBD Crystalline. Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett.

CBD provides no psychoactive effects when ingested, but being that it is derived from cannabis, the potential life-saving compound is still considered a Schedule 1 substance with “no medicinal value.” This obstacle blocks many professional research facilities from conducting experiments with CBD to truly put its healing abilities to the test, at least in the United States.

Internationally, scientists are light-years ahead of the U.S. in terms of medical marijuana research. In fact, the annual International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) conference where countries meet to share new findings about the medical benefits of cannabis will be going on its 27th year in 2017.

Yet, over a quarter of a century later and we still haven’t adopted cannabis treatment into mainstream healthcare. Why is that? Is medical marijuana’s ability to replace thousands of expensive prescriptions too big a threat to the powerhouses of Big Pharma?

Just take a look at all the conditions cannabinoids have been shown to benefit:

Addiction / Substance Abuse
AIDS
ALS
Alzheimers
Antibiotic-resistant infections
Anxiety, Depression, and other Mood Disorders
Autism
Cancer
Cardiovascular and Heart Disease
Chronic pain
Crohn’s Disease
Diabetes
Epilepsy and Seizures
Fibromyalgia
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Kidney Disease
Liver Disease
Multiple Sclerosis
Neuropathic Pain
Osteoporosis
PTSD
Rheumatism
Rheumatoid arthritis
Schizophrenia
Sickle Cell Anemia
Tumor Growth

In 2014, Americans spent $374 billion on prescription medicine. Those are big numbers we’re talking; the pharmaceutical industry isn’t about to let that revenue wither away because of one little plant, at least not without a fight.

But after people watched Charlotte Figi, who was suffering 300 seizures a week while on seven different pharmaceutical medications, drop down to an astonishing two or three seizures a month after CBD treatment, the demand for CBD cannabis products skyrocketed despite the federal illegality.

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Everyone watched in astonishment as Charlotte Figi dropped down to an astounding two or three seizures a month after CBD treatment. Macro image of CBD Crystalline. Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett.

The year after Gupta’s “Weed” documentary aired, 11 states passed CBD-only laws — allowing their citizens access to cannabis-derived CBD. Many are named after children who, like Charlotte, also suffer from debilitating epileptic conditions; Alabama has “Carly’s Law,” Delaware enacted “Rylie’s Law,” Mississippi established “Harper Grace’s Law,” South Carolina initiated “Julian’s Law,” and Utah sanctioned “Charlee’s Law.” In 2015, five additional states followed and legalized CBD-only oil. Each of these 16 states maintains limits on the amount of THC that can be present in the oil — the maximum THC limit varies from 7% to 0.5%, with many states opting for the federal THC ceiling of 0.5%.

There is no doubt that isolated cannabidiol (CBD) has power on its own. As seen in multiple videos, including the one below, CBD oil has proven its ability to stop an epileptic seizure in its tracks. 

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For many states that fear the federal repercussions of legalizing marijuana entirely, passing CBD-only laws is a great first step. But it’s important we touch upon something that is well-known in the intimate cannabis community but less understood in mainstream society, and that is the Entourage Effect.

The Entourage Effect

The Entourage Effect is a phrase coined and discovered in 1999 by Raphael Mechoulam, a decorated Israeli scientist who has made studying medical marijuana his life’s mission. Let’s start from the beginning: in 1963, he was the first scientist to discover the structure of and isolate cannabidiol (CBD) from the whole marijuana flower. Shortly after, he and his team were able to isolate delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). And they kept going, isolating the various compounds of cannabis to study each one individually. From cannabigerol, to cannabichromene, to cannabicyclol, to cannabielsoin, to cannabitriol … the list goes on and on. Incredibly, Mechoulam and his team have discovered over 480 unique natural compounds within the cannabis plant.  

Even though CBD has received a sizeable boost in public awareness because of its medicinal value and lack of psychoactive effects, what Raphael Mechoulam discovered after 40+ years of research is that all of the compounds of cannabis work most effectively together, rather than when individually isolated. In particular, research has shown that THC actually enhances CBD’s therapeutic effects and vice versa. Amazingly, scientists have found that CBD enhances THC’s anti-cancer and painkilling abilities while also decreasing THC’s psychoactive effects.  

Is Pure CBD the Most Effective Cannabis Medicine?

According to Raphael Mechoulam’s research, probably not. That doesn’t mean isolated CBD isn’t remarkably effective, especially when weighed against the damage caused by harsh pharmaceuticals and many other traditional treatment options. But 40+ years of research has proven that the most effective cannabis therapies involve the whole cannabis plant, including its cannabinoids, terpenoids and flavonoids.

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40+ years of research has proven that the most effective cannabis therapy involves all of the plant’s unique compounds working together. Macro image of CBD Crystalline. Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett.

With a purity of 99%, CBD Crystalline is a perfect treatment option for patients nervous about the “high” related with cannabis therapy. Pure CBD could be ideal for younger patients who may not be developmentally ready to ingest large amounts of THC. CBD Crystalline may also be the only option for working patients who are subject to company-wide drug tests, as most company policies have not adapted to state legalization laws.

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Pure CBD could be ideal for younger patients who may not be developmentally ready to ingest high amounts of THC. Macro image of CBD Crystalline. Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett.

When reduced to its purest form, CBD, just like THC, is isolated to a natural crystal structure. Most crystalline is extracted during the second round of purification; the CBD compound is isolated from extracted oil rather than straight from the flower itself.

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When reduced to its purest form, CBD, just like THC, is isolated to a natural crystalline structure. Macro image of CBD Crystalline. Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett.

CBD Crystalline is so pure that there is primarily one molecule present, CBD. This is what causes the unique crystalline appearance rather than the honey or shatter consistency that is typically found on shelves at your local dispensary.

By itself, or combined with your favorite concentrate, the medicinal benefits of CBD are almost instantaneous and truly unparalleled. Crystalline is rare and genuine treat, if you can get your hands on it.

Photography courtesy of Allie Beckett.


Want More? Check out these Marijuana.com articles on CBD:

New Research: THC and CBD Helpful in Treatment of Dementia

The Top Ten CBD Strains

Largest Study to Date Finds CBD Cannabinoid Helpful for Children with Epilepsy

New Research Discovers CBD May Prevent Broken Bones 

 

Start a Marijuana Business Today: CertificationClinics.com™ offers a comprehensive business model for recommending Medical Marijuana Certifications and/or Dispensary Ownership in your area. The CertificationClinics.com™ Business Support staff will educate you in every of the growing medical marijuana industry, providing you a fully operational and profitable enterprise. Learn More »