Many patients use cannabis to improve their quality of life. When used correctly cannabis provides pain relief, fights depression, and improves blood circulation among numerous other things. Millions of people worldwide will testify to the fact that cannabis is a powerful medicine that helps sick people lead more productive lives. But what if it was more than that? Some very credible studies have shown that cannabis may be more than just a symptom reliever. Lately the conversation has shifted to a whole new use of cannabis, and there are many who believe concentrated marijuana can actually cure certain diseases.
These claims did not just appear out of thin air, but out of diligent scientific research. It began with a study from Harvard. To oversimplify a complex experiment, scientists found that a considerable number of mice who had tumors showed major tumor reduction after being treated with high levels of the active ingredients in cannabis. Later scientists picked up on the idea that cannabis might be a valuable tool in the fight against cancer. (If you have a scientific mind, check out some of the published research here and here.)
Considering the damage that cancer incurs on the human population each year, one would think that this would make some major news. But unfortunately old reputations don’t go away easily, and there are those in the world who simply will not allow the idea of cannabis as a beneficial thing to humans. With adequate funding and the best scientists in the world working on it, cannabis could be fully explored as a treatment and a cure. However, while the studies showed promising results, there is a huge discrepancy between the isolated ingredients used by scientists and the normal way that a cannabis patient uses their medicine.
Up until the last few decades, the majority of cannabis options available to patients lacked 3 vital things- purity, potency and accurate dosage information. While small amounts of high-grade medicine may instantly relieve problems like pain and nausea, it would not be near enough to replicate what was found to work on the tumors in mice. In fact, the dosage determined in the laboratory needed to fight cancerous cells in the body is so great that a patient would have great difficulty ingesting the required amount in the course of a day. And for the desired “saturation” of cells in the body to be reached, one would have to ingest this large amount daily.
For example, one of the more popular 4 dose edibles that we provide at the PCC is a chocolate bar that has measurement of 60 mg cannabanoid content. In order to get the amount of medicine in your system needed for saturation, you would have to eat well over 16 whole bars, and you would have to do that every day! Obviously this is not realistic (or at all healthy) for anyone, so a much more powerful cannabis product is needed. In the past few years providers have been inspired to make a product that could meet the necessary requirements of being ultra pure, ultra high grade, and easily ingested by people who may already be suffering from health problems.
We now have this special medicine on our shelf at the PCC, and it is different from anything we have ever carried before! It comes in a 3.5 gram amount, packaged in a large plastic syringe specially designed for easy measuring of dosage. The concentrated hash oil inside boasts levels of 63.2% THC, 3.1% CBD, as well as a 1.1% CBN. The oil is decarboxylated and intended for oral consumption or topical application. Unlike many of the products we carry, the idea behind this method of treatment is to build up a tolerance- counterintuitive to the average cannabis patient and our usual recommendation, “less is more”. In order for the medicine to do its work, the patient must be able to ingest large amounts of the oil and NOT be overmedicated. This is accomplished by gradually increasing the dosage each day, starting with .1 grams a day and eventually reaching a much larger target, perhaps as much as agram a day, depending on each individual’s needs. Once the target is reached, the medicinal properties of the oil can go to work on the root of the patient’s illness.
Rick Simpson, founder of Phoenix Tears, an organization which studies and promotes the medical use of cannabis oil, has become a leading spokesperson for the medicinal value of cannabis oil, after effectively treating himself with the oil to help heal from a serious head injury in 1997. For years, Simpson has been supplying the valuable oil to medical marijuana patients free of charge. According to Simpson, many of the cancer patients who have used his oil were cured or vastly improved, and that many other illnesses have been effectively treated with the oil as well.
Already we have had a lot of good feedback from our patients regarding the effectiveness of the oil. Admittedly it is not the most pleasant tasting substance, but we have found that the syringe style applicator makes it easy to fill empty medicinal gelcaps (available at Whole Foods), allowing most patients to medicate in pill form. We have been encouraging patients interested in this method of treatment to follow the guidelines regarding dosage, avoiding over-medicating and maximizing the medicinal value of the oil. The promising reports from our patients and those on the internet are encouraging, and we look forward to learning more about the science surrounding high grade hash oil and how it can be used to treat serious diseases such as cancer. If you have further questions or would like more information regarding full extract cannabis oil and its use, ask any of our staff the next time you are at the PCC.
Science Daily Article: American Association for Cancer Research. “Marijuana Cuts Lung Cancer Tumor Growth In Half, Study Shows.” ScienceDaily, 17 Apr. 2007. Web. 17 Oct. 2011.