Canadians Living With Crohn’s Disease Benefit From Using Medical Marijuana

Marijuana, cannabis, marijuana, pot, weed – no matter what it is called, marijuana has been demonized for years as being an evil drug. Despite positive research from institutes of study in many countries, medical marijuana (not to be confused with cannabis for recreational use) is still a matter of strong debate. Oddly enough, the debate is hottest not between the general citizens of a country, but between the medical community and the respective governments.

In places where using medical marijuana is legal, studies are ongoing and often produce results that surprise many in the medical community. Others feel the results only serve to enforce the belief that marijuana is not the demon plant propaganda has said it is.

Canadians and Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (related to Crohn’s disease) are serious problems for more over 170,000 Canadians. In fact, Canada has one of the highest rates of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in the world. Sufferers may have persistent diarrhea, fever, cramping and abdominal pain, and rectal bleeding. Many lose their appetite, which can cause unhealthy weight loss, while some are plagued by nausea and vomiting. Crohn’s disease can affect the joints, liver, skin and eyes, as well, and commonly causes great fatigue.

Crohn’s disease is chronic; periods of remission are mixed with periods of intense activeness. Unfortunately, the medical community has been unable to find the cause of this disease, although they believe it has to do with an overactive immune system, initially triggered by outside influences. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) states:

“Many scientists now believe that the interaction of an outside agent (such as a virus or bacterium) with the body’s immune system may trigger the disease, or that such an agent may cause damage to the intestinal wall, initiating or accelerating the disease process.”

They further state that, “Because there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, the goal of medical treatment is to suppress the inflammatory response. This step accomplishes two important goals: It allows the intestinal tissue to heal and it also relieves the symptoms of fever, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Once the symptoms are brought under control (this is known as inducing remission), medical therapy is used to decrease the frequency of disease flares (this is known as maintaining remission, or maintenance).” – CCFA

Medicinal Therapy for Crohn’s Disease

Much of the traditional medication (the medical therapy mentioned by CCFA) used to treat Crohn’s disease includes a mixture of anti-inflammatory, antibodies, immune modifiers/suppressants and corticosteroids. Indeed, traditional medical treatments become a cornucopia of pharmaceutical concoctions.

As with most man-made medicinal products, each treatment also causes its own symptoms. For instance, the immunosuppressive medicines can cause nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting. Steroids also cause these symptoms, with the addition of anxiety and depression, as well as bone thinning, peptic ulcers and other issues with prolonged usage.

Mesalamine, an anti-inflammatory, can cause mild side effects like hair loss, headaches and itching. However, it can also cause severe side effects such as pancreatitis, blood disorders, fatigue and tremors. Kidney dysfunction and IBD-like symptoms are also possible.

Medical Marijuana for Canadian Crohn’s Disease Sufferers

Thanks to a number of organizations, medical institutes and studies, Canada has relaxed the laws on medical marijuana. It is legal for Canadian Crohn’s disease suffers to have a medical marijuana excemption with a written doctor’s prescription.

Many studies have proven that medical marijuana helps as an anti-inflammatory. Users of medical marijuana for Crohn’s disease found themselves able to reduce – if not eliminate – the need for steroid treatment and to reduce the immunosuppressive medications, as well as Mesalamine.

A study in 2005 by the University of Bath in England noted that “some extracts from cannabis, known as cannabinoids, closely resemble molecules that occur naturally in our body, and by developing treatments that target this system, we can help the body recover from some of the effects of these diseases.” Although the University doesn’t condone or support the use of medical marijuana, they are focusing on more research to narrow down the actual effects of cannabinoids on Crohn’s disease.

For actual Crohn’s disease sufferers, however, the evidence is overwhelming. A pilot study by the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, reported at the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine with the following results:

“For all signs and symptoms [of Crohn’s disease] evaluated in the study, the patients described marked improvements with the use of cannabis. Beneficial effects were reported for appetite, pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, activity, and depression. Patients also reported that cannabis use resulted in weight gain, fewer stools per day and fewer flare-ups of less severity.”

Medical marijuana has been used to increase appetite, decrease depression, anxiety, vomiting and weight loss, as well as used as a pain suppressant for many individuals with other diseases. Multiple sclerosis, chronic pain sufferers and cancer patients have all found these benefits with the use of medical marijuana. Therefore, it is no surprise that cannabis is also being used by Canadians who suffer from Crohn’s disease for the same symptoms.

Source by Bonnie Pranger

Proven Facts on the Benefits of Marijuana For Arthritis Patients

Proven Facts on the Benefits of Marijuana for Arthritis Patients

Any number of marijuana users, whether medicinal or recreational, will tell you that “Mary J” is great for relaxation. In fact, you would probably receive a list of problems the drug has helped relieve or alleviate all together.

As an arthritis patient looking for alternatives to synthesized medicines, unable to use traditional medications or physically unreceptive to traditional medication, you may be skeptical. You may be disbelieving. You may, in fact, consider marijuana users to be a little lacking in the intelligence quotient, merely trying to make their drug use acceptable.

However, as the title of this article indicates, there is scientifically proven evidence that medicinal marijuana can, indeed, provide relief from arthritic pain.

What is Medicinal Marijuana?

First, it must be noted that there are two major differences between medicinal marijuana and commercial or “street” marijuana.

1. Commercial marijuana can come from any number of cannabis strains. Different strains have varying pain relieving, anti-inflammatory, etc. potencies. The potency of commercial marijuana can’t be guaranteed. Medicinal marijuana strains, on the other hand, are chosen for specifically for their potency and effects.

2. Some commercial marijuana has been fertilized with unsafe fertilizers. These fertilizers may contain metal derivatives and other toxic substances or by-products. Medicinal marijuana is fertilized carefully, with the health of the patient in mind, with nontoxic fertilizers.

It is not recommended that one buy commercial marijuana (or marihuana) to replace a prescription for medicinal marijuana.

Proven Benefits of Marijuana for Arthritis Patients

Although the legal aspects in many countries, funding and other issues inhibit the number of studies on the therapeutic aspects of marijuana, there is still a surprising amounts of information available. The facts so far are clear:

– Marijuana has shown to be an anti-inflammatory

– The potential for cannabis use to help inflammation and muscle spasms have been proven for several illnesses

– Marijuana has been used as a pain treatment for hundreds of years, if not thousands (some records date back to B.C.)

– Studies suggest that marijuana may not only help inflammation, but may lower the actual growth of the disease itself

Dr. Tom Mikuriya, a member of Mensa and several well-known organizations studying medicinal marijuana, wrote in 2002:

“Clinical interviews of over 6500 members at cannabis buyers clubs and patients in my office practice lead to this generalization: Many illnesses or conditions present with both inflammation and muscle spasm. Cannabis is both an antispasmodic and anti inflammatory.”

Well known and respected as an authority on the therapeutic uses of marijuana, Dr Mikuriya also states “Chronic inflammatory conditions like arthritis and lumbosacral disease responds well to cannabis compared with other analgesics.”

In 2005, Rheumatology Advance Access online published a study by Dr. Blake et al of the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath. Noted as “the first controlled trial of a CBM [cannabis based medicine] in the symptomatic treatment of RA in humans”, the study was based on several facts:

– Marijuana has historically been used as a pain treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, although its therapeutic potential has never been evaluated in a clinical study.

– THC and CBD, the two main components of marijuana, have been recognized as “key therapeutic constituents that act synergistically together and with other plant constituents.”

– THC has shown pain relieving abilities for both nociceptive and neropathic pain.

– CBD has shown the ability to block the progression of rheumatoid arthritis, while both THC and CBD have anti-inflammatory effects.

“In comparison with placebo, the CBM produced statistically significant improvements in pain on movement, pain at rest, quality of sleep, DAS28 and the SF-MPQ pain at present component. There was no effect on morning stiffness but baseline scores were low. The large majority of adverse effects were mild or moderate, and there were no adverse effect-related withdrawals or serious adverse effects in the active treatment group.”

Due to the surprising responses, the researchers ended the study with a call for more studies. “We believe this to be the first controlled study of a CBM in rheumatoid arthritis, and the results are encouraging. The beneficial effects occurred in the context of a dosing regime restricted to evening dosing in order to minimize any possible intoxication-type reactions. However, 24-h dosing with this CBM (Sativex) using a self-titration regime in the context of multiple sclerosis resulted in only minimal intoxication scores [9]. Larger, more prolonged studies of CBM in rheumatoid arthritis are indicated.”

In 2006, the Center of Drug Discovery in Boston, Massachusetts published a study entitled The Cannabinergic System as a Target for Anti-inflammatory Therapies. With habitual cannabis use proven to affect the immune system, endocannabinoid research has helped to understand the effects through cell-based or in vivo animal testing.

According to the study, these tests “suggest that regulation of the endocannabinoid circuitry can impact almost every major function associated with the immune system…. the results suggest therapeutic opportunities for a variety of inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, atherosclerosis, allergic asthma, and autoimmune diabetes through modulation of the endocannabinoid system.”

Although many a naysayer mentions the potentials for overdose, it must be noted that there has never been one documented case of someone overdosing on marijuana, whether through recreational or medicinal use. As well, many are concerned about cancer-causing agents through inhaling the smoke, but a comprehensive study in 2006 could show no proof of marijuana causing lung cancer.

Finally, remember that medical marijuana should not be smoked. Using it in baking or with a vaporizer will offer the therapeutic benefits needed to alleviate arthritis symptoms.

Source by Bonnie Pranger

How To Grow Herbs

Herbs are very easy and effortless to grow. Simply place the seeds in the ground and sit back and watch the fruits of your “labor”. If only it were that easy, but it’s not far from the truth. While you do have to put plenty of attention and energy into any type of gardening, growing herbs is one of the easier tasks.

Most people associate herbs primarily with spices and seasonings for foods. However, herbs serve many other purposes. They have been used for medicinal purposes and as scents in cosmetics and fragrances. Dried herbs are made into potpourris and sachets.

how to grow an herb garden

When deciding to grow your own herbs, you much first choose a good location. Most herbs thrive on the sun and need plenty of sunlight to grow. There are a few herbs, however, that do better in partial sunlight. Certain oils that are produced to create the herbs’ flavor do better in proper sunlight.

Most good garden soils are sufficient for growing herbs. The soil should not be too fertile as it will produce excessive foliage that will likely have a poorer flavor. Choose a neutral soil with a pH reading 6.5 and 7.0. adding plenty of peat moss or compost will keep the soil moist. You don’t, however, want the soil to be too wet, so choose a location with proper drainage.

Herb gardening require you to Cultivate the soil 12 to 18 inches, then level it and add organic matter. You don’t have to worry much about insects or disease as they are not typically a threat to herbs.

If you want to plant herbs seeds, you have to grow herbs indoors in late winter around February then transplant them in the herb garden later. If you choose to plant them directly in the garden, be sure there is no longer a threat of frost. Some herbs do not transplant well such as anise, coriander, dill and fennel, so you will need to plant them directly into the garden. If you are starting with pots or flats indoors, be sure they are in a location that they have plenty of sunlight and are in a cool place.

Once the herb plants have developed and are healthy, you can cut leaves anytime from late spring through summer. Now you have your herbs and can enjoy them all season long. Try them in new recipes or for a sweet fragrance for your home. Enjoy your gardening hobby and remember that you don’t have to have a green thumb to try your hand at gardening.

Source by Tracy Ballisager

Lemon Balm Vs Lemon Verbena Herbal Teas – A Comparison

Lemon balm and lemon verbena are two naturally lemon-scented herbs. These herbs are quite remarkable in that they naturally smell like lemons, even though neither is closely related to the lemon plant. This article compares the two herbs, which are quite similar to each other, exploring their similarities and differences in terms of flavor, aroma, growth requirements, availability, and other qualities.

Commonalities between the two herbs:

There are a number of common attributes that both lemon balm and lemon verbena share in common. Both are naturally caffeine free, and both are in the Lamiales order, a large grouping of plants that includes the entire mint family and the verbena or vervaine family, as well as many other aromatic plants such as jasmine and sesame. Their flavor and aroma are both lemony, and more similar to each other than to other lemony herbs or to actual lemons.

Both herbs share some similar medicinal uses, reflecting a chemical composition not only similar to each other, but to some of the other naturally lemon-scented herbs, such as lemon myrtle and lemongrass. These health and medicinal properties include antimicrobial effects and antioxidant activity.

Differences in flavor:

Descriptions of taste are somewhat subjective, especially when subtle distinctions are concerned. My personal experience with these two herbs is that the two herbs are most similar when fresh and are more different when dried. Especially when dried, but also when fresh, lemon verbena seems to have a more “gingerbready” quality to it. Lemon balm, on the other hand, is more vegetal. Overall though they are quite similar, with a gentle flavor.

Both herbs dry easily; verbena has tougher leaves, however.

Differences in growth habit and cultivation:

The growing requirements of lemon balm and lemon verbena overlap somewhat although their growth habits differ. Lemon balm, thriving in temperate climates, tolerating partial shade, and hardy even in quite cold climates, grows in clumps, and does not form perennial woody stems, but rather, resprouts from the roots each spring after dying down during winter. Lemon verbena, on the other hand, is a woody plant or shrub, preferring slightly warmer, sunnier, and drier conditions. The suitable conditions for growing the two plants overlap in warmer temperate regions.

Differences in price and availability:

Of these two herbs, lemon verbena tends to be the more widely available among tea and bulk herb companies. Lemon balm is usually only available from bulk herb companies, and it also is less common as an ingredient in commercially blended herbal teas. However, it is more common at garden and nursery centers, and tends to be more widely cultivated (and is also more likely to escape cultivation), so in terms of fresh harvesting, it tends to be the more available of the two plants.

In summary:

Lemon balm and lemon verbena are two very similar plants, both used to brew caffeine-free lemony herbal teas. Both are easy to grow, relatively hard to obtain as dry herbs, and their flavor and growing requirements differer only slightly.

Source by Alex Zorach