Tag: Health & Medicine

Five-Year-Old Gavin’s Cannabis Success Story Will Move You to Tears

Gavin’s Story

An patient story excerpt from Cannabis Revealed: How the World’s Most Misunderstood Plant is Healing Everything from Chronic Pain to Epilepsy


I sensed true desperation almost immediately when Rebecca brought her son Gavin in to see me. The despair was nearly palpable, even in Gavin’s two grandmothers who had accompanied them to the office. Gavin himself appeared oblivious to his surroundings, made little to no eye contact and was very hyperactive and distracted, moving around the office the entire time.  A cute child wearing a little fedora and glasses, his face showed little affect and we made no connection. “We need help so badly,” the small group said to me, “we can no longer live like this.”

Rebecca is a stay at home mother with a special education degree whose first child Gavin was born six weeks early.  While he had low muscle tone, something you’d expect from a preemie, he also didn’t reach his early milestones, and at around age two, Gavin’s health and development began to really fall apart.  He was nearly two when he walked and had little to no language at age three. Ultimately diagnosed with complex partial seizures, cerebral palsy and an unknown genetic anomaly, as well as cyclical vomiting and autism, Gavin was prescribed the anticonvulsant Keppra for his seizures. He was three years old, and the effects were immediate. While the seizures stopped, Gavin’s autistic behaviors increased, and within two months his meltdowns became uncontrollable.  Rebecca and her husband had read about “Keppra rage,” a well-documented side effect, but they wanted to control the seizures and were hesitant to take him off of the drug or add another one.  During this time, Rebecca saw the CNN documentary “Weed” and began to explore cannabis as a possible treatment.  When she asked Gavin’s neurologist about trying cannabis, he ignorantly asked her if she was going to “blow smoke in his face”.  She was discouraged by this response but kept searching online for information and found support on Facebook.  She eventually brought Gavin to my office in early 2014. With his behavior out of control, life with Gavin had become a daily struggle.

I started Gavin on CBD-rich cannabis oil, given by mouth.  The effects were immediate. Within 10 days, Gavin, previously non-verbal, began speaking.  The change was so dramatic that Rebecca wanted to try weaning him off the Keppra to see if his seizures might also be controlled. She switched neurologists and found a supportive partner who helped her to wean Gavin off Keppra over five months.  When he was completely off the drug, an initial EEG showed some seizure activity, but Rebecca asked for three months to adjust the dosage of CBD before trying other pharmaceuticals. The subsequent 48-hour EEG showed no seizure activity, and Gavin hasn’t needed any further antiepileptic medications.

Although the use of CBD-rich oil for a number of months resulted in seizure freedom, improved verbal ability and improved behavior, Gavin continued to have some unwanted behaviors related to his autism.  It was at this point that we added THC-rich oil in the mornings and afternoons to help him to be calm and focused.  As we hoped, his behavior improved significantly.

Rebecca still marvels at the dramatic turnaround in Gavin due to cannabis medicine. In addition to seizure control, Gavin’s incredible improvements in speech and autistic behaviors thrill her the most.  Although everyone who knew Gavin saw that he was quite intelligent (even the speech pathologist had given him an iPad with communication apps because they knew his capabilities), he had no real language or any imaginary play. One afternoon soon after Gavin began taking CBD oil, Rebecca was in her bedroom folding laundry.  She looked up to see Gavin walking in with the laundry basket. He placed it on the floor, stepped into it and declared, “Look, Mom! I’m an astronaut!”

Rebecca has had to experiment with the dose and ratio of CBD and THC, and has ultimately found that an overall CBD:THC ratio of 1:1 is giving him the best results.  Despite a relatively high dose of THC, Gavin has no adverse side effects from cannabis use.  He does not experience any psychoactivity.  He is able to make connections in his kindergarten class, to fit in with his peers and to transition throughout the day with ease. He is happy and thriving, and reports from school are outstanding. The speech pathologist has even taken away the iPad with the communication apps because he doesn’t need it anymore!

Gavin is now five years old, and his story moves me as both physician and mother. When Rebecca sent me a video recently of him reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and breaking into “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” I was moved to tears.  Although not every patient has this level of improvement, Gavin’s story is an example of why cannabis treatment must be an available option for all children with severe medical conditions.  His quality of life has been improved so significantly that he is able to participate in his life fully as all children deserve.


Dr. Bonni is offering a special 4/20 discount on her recently published book, Cannabis Revealed: How the World’s Most Misunderstood Plant is Healing Everything from Chronic Pain to Epilepsy. Pick up a copy today for $19.99 at Create Space.

 

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CBN: The Sleepy Cannabinoid in Old Weed

Have you ever wondered why really old weed makes you sleepy? I know from personal experience, my dad is always asking me for my old buds because he says nothing works better to knock him out cold. My dad’s unique preference made me wonder, what is it about old weed that does the trick for insomniacs?

Let’s just say what I found is that old weed is not bad weed! It’s just misunderstood. 😉

The cannabis flower is a sensitive herb; proper drying, curing, and storing play a huge role in the quality of the final buds. If improperly dried, cured, or stored, the chemical composition of the flower will change over time.

When THC is exposed to air, wind, or light over a period of time, those precious and potent cannabinoids slowly begin to change into something else … that’s right, they change into CBN.

CBN (cannabinol) is quite a mysterious cannabinoid, much like all cannabis cannabinoids that haven’t been researched adequately in the United States due to federal prohibition. But thanks to international cannabis researchers as well as some pioneering U.S. scientists, we have learned that CBN is a fascinating compound with extraordinary medicinal qualities similar to our beloved CBD.

So far, the discovered benefits of CBN include:

  • Anti-Insomnia
  • Pain Relief
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Anti-Convulsive
  • Appetite Stimulant
  • Bone Cell Growth Stimulant

Similar to CBD, the CBN cannabinoid does not have the psychoactive effects as its cousin compound THC does. However, CBN is difficult to find in high doses as it is often viewed as “degradation.” Let’s just say growers aren’t searching for those high-CBN strains, but 10 years ago CBD was barely present in popular cannabis strains and look at it now!

Currently, most cannabis contains less than 1% CBN, but a little does go a long way. The great thing about CBN is that it develops over time, like a fine wine getting better with age. If you can’t find high-CBN cannabis at your local dispensary, simply throw some weed into a pop-top or bag (non-airtight container) and come back to it in a couple weeks or months for a potent sleep medicine.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime conducted a study in 1999 to test the potency loss of cannabis over time. The study showed that after four years, the THC content in the flower dropped to half of its original potency. This study also showed that as the THC dissipated and oxidized, it was actually converting to CBN; the sample of cannabis started at 0% of CBN and after four years significantly increased. The UNODC also found that THC levels degraded fastest during the first two years of improper storage. The study concluded, “A relationship between the concentration ratio of CBN to THC and the storage time was developed and could serve as a guide in determining the approximate age of a given marijuana sample stored at room temperature.”

What are the Medicinal Benefits of CBN?

Our partners at Steep Hill Labs have shown that only 5 mg of CBN can be just as effective as a 10 mg dose of diazepam, a popular pharmaceutical sedative from the “benzo” family that is used to treat anxiety, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, muscle spasms, and seizures.

Medical Jane breaks down the biological process of how CBN is created, “cannabinol (CBN) stems from cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) in cannabis. The [cannabis] plant naturally produces enzymes that convert CBGA to one of 3 major cannabinoids: cannabichromene carboxylic acid (CBCA), cannabidiol carboxylic acid (CBDA), and tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (THCA).” Once that initial conversion occurs, there is a plethora of THCA filling the cannabis flower. As that THCA is exposed to oxygen over time, it loses hydrogen molecules which converts it into CBNA. Just like any other acidic cannabinoids, CBNA converts to CBN when exposed to heat or light.

So we now know the CBN in our buds is responsible for making us sleepy, but CBN has some other incredible qualities as well. A 2008 study conducted in Italy tested the antibacterial properties of cannabis which showed CBN has the ability to actively fight methicillin-resistant staph infections (MRSA) when applied topically as a lotion or salve. On top of fighting bacterial infections, CBN can also treat burns and psoriasis when applied topically.

CBN, when combined with THC, has shown promise in treating asthma as well. On a study conducted with mice in 2005, after given a blend of CBN and THC, there was a significant improvement in lung function, a reduction in immunoglobulin E (IgE), and a decline in the overproduction of mucus in the lungs.

Similar to THC, research has shown that CBN has similar benefits to patients suffering from glaucoma, except CBN doesn’t carry the same psychoactive effects as THC. Both cannabinoids have the ability to reduce intraocular pressure inside the eye, working as an anti-inflammatory and relieving pain from the intense pressure.

While a great amount of cannabis and cancer research remains untapped, there is huge promise from international studies. One study in mice shows the effectiveness of cannabis in treating specific types of tumors. When Delta-9 THC and Delta-8 THC were combined with CBN, they were found to attack and prevent the growth of a specific cancerous lung tumor by the name Lewis Carcinoma. CBN has also shown to halt cancer cell growth in a variety of other cancerous tumors.

Where Can You Find CBN?

As mentioned earlier in this article, it is difficult to find flower that is high in CBN for sale at your local dispensary. However, if you have an old stash you have forgotten about laying around the house — that’s a gold mine for CBN. And while not the most immediate, you can always purchase high-THC cannabis and let it sit around for awhile until a significant portion of that THC converts to CBN.  

While very low in CBN percentage, there are some strains naturally higher in CBN content that you can look out for: Strawberry Haze, Jorge’s Diamonds, A-Dub, Amsterdam Flame,Death Star, Cataract Kush, Kosher Kush, Pineapple Chunk, Purple Sour Diesel, Red Dragon, and Shark Shock.

If you’re lucky enough to cultivate your own medicine, a quick trick for high-CBN is to harvest about 7-10 days after the harvest sweet spot — essentially over-ripening the flower right on the vine.

Also, making your own sleep meds via CBN capsules is easy and inexpensive; all you have to do is low simmer some old weed into coconut oil until fully infused (about 5-7 hours), then place into a capsule maker than can be purchased on amazon without breaking the bank. Some users have noted, if taking capsules, the sedative effects of CBN are stronger when taken with food.

While CBN products are still a rarity, more and more companies are isolating this precious cannabinoid and developing products to provide it to the masses. Mary’s Medicinals in Colorado, California, and Washington have CBN-specific capsules and topical patches available.

Learn more about the diverse spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes in the articles below:

THCV: Learn About the Cannabinoid Helping Veterans with PTSD

New Study: CBG Cannabinoid Works As Appetite Stimulant

The Powerful Cannabinoid Fighting Prostate and Breast Cancer

Pots’ Stinky Terpenes Give a Heads Up on High

 

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 »

Medical Marijuana Trials for Children and Teens with Mental Illness

In another bold move to forward medical cannabis to the benefit of humanity, Australia has announced clinical trials to study the effects of cannabis on children and teens suffering from mental illness. This is the latest in a growing history of benchmarks for the country.

As early as 2013, researchers were calling for the legalization of cannabis to reduce binge drinking. One year later, Australia’s first clinical trials for medical marijuana began.

The fall of 2015 proved very newsworthy when the Australian Government announced actions to make medical cannabis a reality for its people. By the summer of 2016, the country was conducting groundbreaking trials for children suffering from epilepsy.

In January of this year, Australian clinical research showed promising results in a study conducted for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Three days ago, the government announced that it was fast-tracking imported medical marijuana treatments for 29 children with severe epilepsy.

So Australia, it’s already March 3rd, what have you done for us lately?

In a first-of-its-kind trial, children as young as 12 who suffer from anxiety-related disorders will be treated with cannabis to study its effects on young people. The study is being lead by the 2010 Australian of the Year, psychiatrist Patrick McGorry.

During the research, participants will receive 2-4 daily powder capsules of CBD for a period of 12 weeks. Participants of the study group range from 12-15 years old and suffer from anxiety-related behavior.

In an interview with the media, Professor McGorry stated that the trial is for patients who have not seen success with traditional therapy. He added that “we need to get innovative and look at alternative therapies to help reduce this burden that is growing among our youth.” The study is scheduled to begin in June.

As another day ends, we can only imagine what the next announcements out of Australia will be. This one-time penal colony is quickly becoming a world leader in finding incredible uses for a formerly illegal medicine.

 

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 »