Archive for the ‘Marijuana’ Category

Largest Brain Study of 62,454 Scans Identifies Drivers of Brain Aging – Cannabis is One

https://www.amenclinics.com/blog/largest-brain-study-of-62454-scans-identifies-drivers-of-brain-aging/

Sample brain scans of a 20, 50 and 80 year old persons

LARGEST BRAIN STUDY OF 62,454 SCANS IDENTIFIES DRIVERS OF BRAIN AGING

Schizophrenia, cannabis use, and alcohol abuse are just several disorders that are related to accelerated brain aging.

COSTA MESA, CA, August 21, 2018 – In the largest known brain imaging study, scientists from Amen Clinics (Costa Mesa, CA), Google, John’s Hopkins University, University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, San Francisco evaluated 62,454 brain SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) scans of more than 30,000 individuals from 9 months old to 105 years of age to investigate factors that accelerate brain aging. SPECT tomography) evaluates regional cerebral blood flow in the brain that is reduced in various disorders.

Lead author, psychiatrist Daniel G. Amen, MD, founder of Amen Clinics, commented,

“Based on one of the largest brain imaging studies ever done, we can now track common disorders and behaviors that prematurely age the brain. Better treatment of these disorders can slow or even halt the process of brain aging. The cannabis abuse finding was especially important, as our culture is starting to see marijuana as an innocuous substance. This study should give us pause about it.”

The current study used brain SPECT imaging to determine aging trajectories in the brain and which common brain disorders predict abnormally accelerated aging. It examined these functional neuroimaging scans from a large multi-site psychiatric clinic from patients who had many different psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Researchers studied 128 brain regions to predict the chronological age of the patient. Older age predicted from the scan compared to the actual chronological age was interpreted as accelerated aging. The study found that a number of brain disorders and behaviors predicted accelerated aging, especially schizophrenia, which showed an average of 4 years of premature aging, cannabis abuse (2.8 years of accelerated aging), bipolar disorder (1.6 years accelerated aging), ADHD (1.4 years accelerated aging) and alcohol abuse (0.6 years accelerated aging). Interestingly, the researchers did not observe accelerated aging in depression and aging, which they hypothesize may be due to different types of brain patterns for these disorders.

Commenting on the study, George Perry, PhD, Chief Scientist at the Brain Health Consortium from the University of Texas at San Antonio, said,

“This is one of the first population-based imaging studies, and these large studies are essential to answer how to maintain brain structure and function during aging. The effect of modifiable and non-modifiable factors of brain aging will further guide advice to maintain cognitive function.”

Co-investigator Sachit Egan, Google Inc. (Mountain View, CA), said, “This paper represents an important step forward in our understanding of how the brain operates throughout the lifespan. The results indicate that we can predict an individual’s age based on patterns of cerebral blood flow. Additionally, groundwork has been laid to further explore how common psychiatric disorders can influence healthy patterns of cerebral blood flow.”

DRIVERS OF BRAIN AGING

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or depression, Amen Clinics can help. We will help you learn more about your brain and assist with early diagnosis and intervention. Call us today at (855) 978-1363 or visit our website to schedule a visit.

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For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/02/05/marijuana-mental-illness-violence/

 

Marijuana, Mental Illness, & Violence

https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/marijuana-mental-illness-violence/?

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on January 15, 2019, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C.

By Alex Berenson
Author, Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence

Seventy miles northwest of New York City is a hospital that looks like a prison, its drab brick buildings wrapped in layers of fencing and barbed wire. This grim facility is called the Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Institute. It’s one of three places the state of New York sends the criminally mentally ill—defendants judged not guilty by reason of insanity.

Until recently, my wife Jackie —Dr. Jacqueline Berenson—was a senior psychiatrist there. Many of Mid-Hudson’s 300 patients are killers and arsonists. At least one is a cannibal. Most have been diagnosed with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia that provoked them to violence against family members or strangers.

A couple of years ago, Jackie was telling me about a patient. In passing, she said something like, Of course he’d been smoking pot his whole life.

Of course? I said.

Yes, they all smoke.

So marijuana causes schizophrenia?

I was surprised, to say the least. I tended to be a libertarian on drugs. Years before, I’d covered the pharmaceutical industry for The New York Times. I was aware of the claims about marijuana as medicine, and I’d watched the slow spread of legalized cannabis without much interest.

Jackie would have been within her rights to say, I know what I’m talking about, unlike you. Instead she offered something neutral like, I think that’s what the big studies say. You should read them.

So I did. The big studies, the little ones, and all the rest. I read everything I could find. I talked to every psychiatrist and brain scientist who would talk to me. And I soon realized that in all my years as a journalist I had never seen a story where the gap between insider and outsider knowledge was so great, or the stakes so high.

I began to wonder why—with the stocks of cannabis companies soaring and politicians promoting legalization as a low-risk way to raise tax revenue and reduce crime—I had never heard the truth about marijuana, mental illness, and violence.

***

Over the last 30 years, psychiatrists and epidemiologists have turned speculation about marijuana’s dangers into science. Yet over the same period, a shrewd and expensive lobbying campaign has pushed public attitudes about marijuana the other way. And the effects are now becoming apparent.

Almost everything you think you know about the health effects of cannabis, almost everything advocates and the media have told you for a generation, is wrong.

They’ve told you marijuana has many different medical uses. In reality marijuana and THC, its active ingredient, have been shown to work only in a few narrow conditions. They are most commonly prescribed for pain relief. But they are rarely tested against other pain relief drugs like ibuprofen—and in July, a large four-year study of patients with chronic pain in Australia showed cannabis use was associated with greater pain over time.

They’ve told you cannabis can stem opioid use—“Two new studies show how marijuana can help fight the opioid epidemic,” according to Wonkblog, a Washington Post website, in April 2018— and that marijuana’s effects as a painkiller make it a potential substitute for opiates. In reality, like alcohol, marijuana is too weak as a painkiller to work for most people who truly need opiates, such as terminal cancer patients. Even cannabis advocates, like Rob Kampia, the co-founder of the Marijuana Policy Project, acknowledge that they have always viewed medical marijuana laws primarily as a way to protect recreational users.

As for the marijuana-reduces-opiate-use theory, it is based largely on a single paper comparing overdose deaths by state before 2010 to the spread of medical marijuana laws— and the paper’s finding is probably a result of simple geographic coincidence. The opiate epidemic began in Appalachia, while the first states to legalize medical marijuana were in the West. Since 2010, as both the epidemic and medical marijuana laws have spread nationally, the finding has vanished. And the United States, the Western country with the most cannabis use, also has by far the worst problem with opioids.

Research on individual users—a better way to trace cause and effect than looking at aggregate state-level data—consistently shows that marijuana use leads to other drug use. For example, a January 2018 paper in the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that people who used cannabis in 2001 were almost three times as likely to use opiates three years later, even after adjusting for other potential risks.

Most of all, advocates have told you that marijuana is not just safe for people with psychiatric problems like depression, but that it is a potential treatment for those patients. On its website, the cannabis delivery service Eaze offers the “Best Marijuana Strains and Products for Treating Anxiety.” “How Does Cannabis Help Depression?” is the topic of an article on Leafly, the largest cannabis website. But a mountain of peer-reviewed research in top medical journals shows that marijuana can cause or worsen severe mental illness, especially psychosis, the medical term for a break from reality. Teenagers who smoke marijuana regularly are about three times as likely to develop schizophrenia, the most devastating psychotic disorder.

After an exhaustive review, the National Academy of Medicine found in 2017 that “cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk.” Also that “regular cannabis use is likely to increase the risk for developing social anxiety disorder.”

***

Over the past decade, as legalization has spread, patterns of marijuana use—and the drug itself—have changed in dangerous ways.

Legalization has not led to a huge increase in people using the drug casually. About 15 percent of Americans used cannabis at least once in 2017, up from ten percent in 2006, according to a large federal study called the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. (By contrast, about 65 percent of Americans had a drink in the last year.) But the number of Americans who use cannabis heavily is soaring. In 2006, about three million Americans reported using cannabis at least 300 times a year, the standard for daily use. By 2017, that number had nearly tripled, to eight million, approaching the twelve million Americans who drank alcohol every day. Put another way, one in 15 drinkers consumed alcohol daily; about one in five marijuana users used cannabis that often.

Cannabis users today are also consuming a drug that is far more potent than ever before, as measured by the amount of THC—delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical in cannabis responsible for its psychoactive effects—it contains. In the 1970s, the last time this many Americans used cannabis, most marijuana contained less than two percent THC. Today, marijuana routinely contains 20 to 25 percent THC, thanks to sophisticated farming and cloning techniques—as well as to a demand by users for cannabis that produces a stronger high more quickly. In states where cannabis is legal, many users prefer extracts that are nearly pure THC. Think of the difference between near-beer and a martini, or even grain alcohol, to understand the difference.

These new patterns of use have caused problems with the drug to soar. In 2014, people who had diagnosable cannabis use disorder, the medical term for marijuana abuse or addiction, made up about 1.5 percent of Americans. But they accounted for eleven percent of all the psychosis cases in emergency rooms—90,000 cases, 250 a day, triple the number in 2006. In states like Colorado, emergency room physicians have become experts on dealing with cannabis-induced psychosis.

Cannabis advocates often argue that the drug can’t be as neurotoxic as studies suggest, because otherwise Western countries would have seen population-wide increases in psychosis alongside rising use. In reality, accurately tracking psychosis cases is impossible in the United States. The government carefully tracks diseases like cancer with central registries, but no such registry exists for schizophrenia or other severe mental illnesses.

On the other hand, research from Finland and Denmark, two countries that track mental illness more comprehensively, shows a significant increase in psychosis since 2000, following an increase in cannabis use. And in September of last year, a large federal survey found a rise in serious mental illness in the United States as well, especially among young adults, the heaviest users of cannabis.

According to this latter study, 7.5 percent of adults age 18-25 met the criteria for serious mental illness in 2017, double the rate in 2008. What’s especially striking is that adolescents age 12-17 don’t show these increases in cannabis use and severe mental illness.

A caveat: this federal survey doesn’t count individual cases, and it lumps psychosis with other severe mental illness. So it isn’t as accurate as the Finnish or Danish studies. Nor do any of these studies prove that rising cannabis use has caused population-wide increases in psychosis or other mental illness. The most that can be said is that they offer intriguing evidence of a link.

Advocates for people with mental illness do not like discussing the link between schizophrenia and crime. They fear it will stigmatize people with the disease. “Most people with mental illness are not violent,” the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) explains on its website. But wishing away the link can’t make it disappear. In truth, psychosis is a shockingly high risk factor for violence. The best analysis came in a 2009 paper in PLOS Medicine by Dr. Seena Fazel, an Oxford University psychiatrist and epidemiologist. Drawing on earlier studies, the paper found that people with schizophrenia are five times as likely to commit violent crimes as healthy people, and almost 20 times as likely to commit homicide.

NAMI’s statement that most people with mental illness are not violent is of course accurate, given that “most” simply means “more than half”; but it is deeply misleading. Schizophrenia is rare. But people with the disorder commit an appreciable fraction of all murders, in the range of six to nine percent.

“The best way to deal with the stigma is to reduce the violence,” says Dr. Sheilagh Hodgins, a professor at the University of Montreal who has studied mental illness and violence for more than 30 years.

The marijuana-psychosis-violence connection is even stronger than those figures suggest. People with schizophrenia are only moderately more likely to become violent than healthy people when they are taking antipsychotic medicine and avoiding recreational drugs. But when they use drugs, their risk of violence skyrockets. “You don’t just have an increased risk of one thing—these things occur in clusters,” Dr. Fazel told me.

Along with alcohol, the drug that psychotic patients use more than any other is cannabis: a 2010 review of earlier studies in Schizophrenia Bulletin found that 27 percent of people with schizophrenia had been diagnosed with cannabis use disorder in their lives. And unfortunately—despite its reputation for making users relaxed and calm—cannabis appears to provoke many of them to violence.

A Swiss study of 265 psychotic patients published in Frontiers of Forensic Psychiatry last June found that over a three-year period, young men with psychosis who used cannabis had a 50 percent chance of becoming violent. That risk was four times higher than for those with psychosis who didn’t use, even after adjusting for factors such as alcohol use. Other researchers have produced similar findings. A 2013 paper in an Italian psychiatric journal examined almost 1,600 psychiatric patients in southern Italy and found that cannabis use was associated with a ten-fold increase in violence.

The most obvious way that cannabis fuels violence in psychotic people is through its tendency to cause paranoia—something even cannabis advocates acknowledge the drug can cause. The risk is so obvious that users joke about it and dispensaries advertise certain strains as less likely to induce paranoia. And for people with psychotic disorders, paranoia can fuel extreme violence. A 2007 paper in the Medical Journal of Australia on 88 defendants who had committed homicide during psychotic episodes found that most believed they were in danger from the victim, and almost two-thirds reported misusing cannabis—more than alcohol and amphetamines combined.

Yet the link between marijuana and violence doesn’t appear limited to people with preexisting psychosis. Researchers have studied alcohol and violence for generations, proving that alcohol is a risk factor for domestic abuse, assault, and even murder. Far less work has been done on marijuana, in part because advocates have stigmatized anyone who raises the issue. But studies showing that marijuana use is a significant risk factor for violence have quietly piled up. Many of them weren’t even designed to catch the link, but they did. Dozens of such studies exist, covering everything from bullying by high school students to fighting among vacationers in Spain.

In most cases, studies find that the risk is at least as significant as with alcohol. A 2012 paper in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence examined a federal survey of more than 9,000 adolescents and found that marijuana use was associated with a doubling of domestic violence; a 2017 paper in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology examined drivers of violence among 6,000 British and Chinese men and found that drug use—the drug nearly always being cannabis—translated into a five-fold increase in violence.

Today that risk is translating into real-world impacts. Before states legalized recreational cannabis, advocates said that legalization would let police focus on hardened criminals rather than marijuana smokers and thus reduce violent crime. Some advocates go so far as to claim that legalization has reduced violent crime. In a 2017 speech calling for federal legalization, U.S. Senator Cory Booker said that “states [that have legalized marijuana] are seeing decreases in violent crime.” He was wrong.

The first four states to legalize marijuana for recreational use were Colorado and Washington in 2014 and Alaska and Oregon in 2015. Combined, those four states had about 450 murders and 30,300 aggravated assaults in 2013. Last year, they had almost 620 murders and 38,000 aggravated assaults—an increase of 37 percent for murders and 25 percent for aggravated assaults, far greater than the national increase, even after accounting for differences in population growth.

Knowing exactly how much of the increase is related to cannabis is impossible without researching every crime. But police reports, news stories, and arrest warrants suggest a close link in many cases. For example, last September, police in Longmont, Colorado, arrested Daniel Lopez for stabbing his brother Thomas to death as a neighbor watched. Daniel Lopez had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was “self-medicating” with marijuana, according to an arrest affidavit.

In every state, not just those where marijuana is legal, cases like Lopez’s are far more common than either cannabis or mental illness advocates acknowledge. Cannabis is also associated with a disturbing number of child deaths from abuse and neglect—many more than alcohol, and more than cocaine, methamphetamines, and opioids combined—according to reports from Texas, one of the few states to provide detailed information on drug use by perpetrators.

These crimes rarely receive more than local attention. Psychosis-induced violence takes particularly ugly forms and is frequently directed at helpless family members. The elite national media prefers to ignore the crimes as tabloid fodder. Even police departments, which see this violence up close, have been slow to recognize the trend, in part because the epidemic of opioid overdose deaths has overwhelmed them.

So the black tide of psychosis and the red tide of violence are rising steadily, almost unnoticed, on a slow green wave.

For centuries, people worldwide have understood that cannabis causes mental illness and violence—just as they’ve known that opiates cause addiction and overdose. Hard data on the relationship between marijuana and madness dates back 150 years, to British asylum registers in India. Yet 20 years ago, the United States moved to encourage wider use of cannabis and opiates.

In both cases, we decided we could outsmart these drugs—that we could have their benefits without their costs. And in both cases we were wrong. Opiates are riskier, and the overdose deaths they cause a more imminent crisis, so we have focused on those. But soon enough the mental illness and violence that follow cannabis use will also be too widespread to ignore.

Whether to use cannabis, or any drug, is a personal decision. Whether cannabis should be legal is a political issue. But its precise legal status is far less important than making sure that anyone who uses it is aware of its risks. Most cigarette smokers don’t die of lung cancer. But we have made it widely known that cigarettes cause cancer, full stop. Most people who drink and drive don’t have fatal accidents. But we have highlighted the cases of those who do.

We need equally unambiguous and well-funded advertising campaigns on the risks of cannabis. Instead, we are now in the worst of all worlds. Marijuana is legal in some states, illegal in others, dangerously potent, and sold without warnings everywhere.

But before we can do anything, we—especially cannabis advocates and those in the elite media who have for too long credulously accepted their claims—need to come to terms with the truth about the science on marijuana. That adjustment may be painful. But the alternative is far worse, as the patients at Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Institute—and their victims—know.

Alex Berenson is a graduate of Yale University with degrees in history and economics. He began his career in journalism in 1994 as a business reporter for the Denver Post, joined the financial news website TheStreet.com in 1996, and worked as an investigative reporter for The New York Times from 1999 to 2010, during which time he also served two stints as an Iraq War correspondent. In 2006 he published The Faithful Spy, which won the 2007 Edgar Award for best first novel from the Mystery Writers of America. He has published ten additional novels and two nonfiction books, The Number: How the Drive for Quarterly Earnings Corrupted Wall Street and Corporate Americaand Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence.

Oklahoma Legalizes Medical Marijuana

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/6/26/17506548/oklahoma-medical-marijuana-legalization-question-788

Oklahoma voted to legalize medical marijuana

A big win for medical marijuana advocates in Tuesday’s elections.

By German Lopez, Jun 27, 2018

Voters in Oklahoma on Tuesday elected to legalize medical marijuana, which makes the state the 30th to allow the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Oklahoma State Question 788 allows individuals 18 and older to obtain a medical marijuana license with a board-certified physician’s signature. Minors can get a license but will require the approval of two physicians and their parent or legal guardian. A new office in the Oklahoma State Department of Health will enforce regulations, including licensing for dispensaries, growers, and processors.

The measure is also relatively unique in that it doesn’t tie medical marijuana to any specific qualifying conditions, which will likely make it easier, compared to other states, to obtain pot for medicinal uses.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, 56 percent of voters supported medical marijuana, while 43 percent opposed it.

A 2017 review of the research, from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, found that marijuana is a promising treatment for chronic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and multiple sclerosis.

The evidence of marijuana’s efficacy for other medical conditions is weak. That’s not necessarily because pot is ineffective for treating those conditions, but because supporting research is simply nonexistent or lacking. One big reason: federally, marijuana remains illegal for any purpose. For years, the federal ban has imposed harsh regulatory hurdles on research about pot — in large part allowing studies about marijuana’s risks but not its benefits. That’s made it difficult for researchers to gain a better grasp of the drug’s potential medical benefits.

Despite the limited research, 30 states, including Oklahoma, have now moved forward with medical marijuana, buoyed by popular support for cannabis’s medical use and growing evidence that it provides at least some relief for patients.

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For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/06/14/caffeine-more-dangerous-than-cannabis/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2015/05/19/marijuana-the-miracle-herb/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/01/24/medical-marijuana-for-lyme-a-doctors-perspective/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/10/05/marijuana-chronic-pain-q-a-with-dr-david-barton/

The FDA Approved a Pot-derived Drug For Seizures – Will the DEA Allow it to be Sold?

https://www.theverge.com/2018/6/25/17501618/fda-cannabis-drug-epidiolex-dea-scheduling-science

The FDA approved a pot-derived drug for seizures — will the DEA allow it to be sold?

Epidiolex is made from a chemical that comes from cannabis but doesn’t create a high

By Angela Chen, @chengela,  Jun 25, 2018,

For the first time, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug made from cannabis. Epidiolex treats severe forms of childhood epilepsy — but the Drug Enforcement Administration will need to reclassify this form of cannabis before the drug can be put on the market.

For almost half a century, the DEA has classified cannabis as a Schedule I drug, along with heroin and LSD. (For context, cocaine and meth are Schedule II drugs.) Schedule I drugs are considered to have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”  As a result, it is extremely difficult for scientists to research the substance and pharmaceutical companies aren’t allowed to use it.

But now the FDA has approved Epidiolex as a medical drug. Epidiolex contains cannabidiol, or CBD — a chemical that comes from the cannabis plant but does not have psychoactive effects — and is administered as an oil. According to DEA spokesperson Melvin Patterson, the administration had been considering reclassifying CBD and “the FDA’s findings on something like Epidiolex will weigh heavily on the decision-making process.”  Still, there’s no update on whether the approval will change the timeline of the proposed reclassification. The DEA could also reclassify CBD, but leave cannabis itself at Schedule I.

Epidiolex treats two forms of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, which rarely respond to treatment. It is manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals and clinical trials have shown that kids taking Epidiolex had nearly 40 percent fewer seizures per month.

The scope of the drug is limited, and the approval is for “a single compound that comes from the plant and is approved for two very specific forms of epilepsy,” said Daniel Friedman, an associate professor of neurology at NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center who co-authored a study investigating Epidiolex to treat Dravet syndrome. But doctors could prescribe it off-label for other forms of epilepsy, and FDA approval could be the domino effect that leads to DEA reclassification and a renaissance of cannabis research.

We have reached out to GW Pharmaceuticals for comment and will update the post if the company responds.

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For more on Cannabis:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/06/14/caffeine-more-dangerous-than-cannabis/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2015/05/19/marijuana-the-miracle-herb/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/01/24/medical-marijuana-for-lyme-a-doctors-perspective/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/10/05/marijuana-chronic-pain-q-a-with-dr-david-barton/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/01/23/nasem-report-on-cannabis/

For a helpful website with all sorts of links and research showing how Cannabis can help alcoholism, the opioid epidemic, drug abuse, and more:  http://lecuanmmcpmcabpetitions.blogspot.com/2017/03/petition-requesting-inclusion-of-new_61.html

Caffeine More Dangerous Than Cannabis

 Approx. 2:30

According to Dr. David Bearman, in 1988 after a two rescheduling hearing, the DEA’s chief administrative law judge recommended rescheduling Cannabis to a schedule II substance.  He also said it was one of the safest therapeutic agents known to man & that it was safer than eating 10 potatoes.

According to two well-known addictionologists, Dr. Jack E. Henningfield (National Institute on Drug Abuse) and Dr. Neal L. Benowitz (University of California at San Francisco), Cannabis is less dangerous than caffeine.  http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/basicfax5.htm

 They ranked six psychoactive substances on the following five criteria:
  • Withdrawal — The severity of withdrawal symptoms produced by stopping the use of the drug.
  • Reinforcement — The drug’s tendency to induce users to take it again and again.
  • Tolerance — The user’s need to have ever-increasing doses to get the same effect.
  • Dependence — The difficulty in quitting, or staying off the drug, the number of users who eventually become dependent
  • Intoxication — The degree of intoxication produced by the drug in typical use.
The tables listed below show the rankings given for each of the drugs. Overall, their evaluations for the drugs are very consistent. It is notable that marijuana ranks below caffeine in most addictive criteria, while alcohol and tobacco are near the top of the scale in many areas.

 

The rating scale is from 1 to 6. 1 denotes the drug with the strongest addictive tendencies, while 6 denotes the drug with the least addictive tendencies.

HENNINGFIELD RATINGS

Substance   Withdrawal   Reinforcement   Tolerance   Dependence   Intoxication

Nicotine           3                         4                       2                     1                   5

Heroin             2                          2                       1                     2                  2

Cocaine          4                          1                       4                     3                   3

Alcohol           1                           3                       3                     4                  1

Caffeine          5                          6                       5                     5                  6

Marijuana      6                          5                        6                     6                 4

 

BENOWITZ RATINGS

Substance   Withdrawal   Reinforcement   Tolerance   Dependence   Intoxication

Nicotine             3*                       4                     4                        1                6

Heroin                2                        2                      2                        2               2

Cocaine              3*                      1                      1                        3               3

Alcohol               1                        3                      4                        4               1

Caffeine              4                        5                     3                         5               5

Marijuana          5                        6                     5                        6                4

*equal ratings

A neurobiologist shows the under explored potential of cannabis to address opioid addiction:  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170202141322.htm

Excerpt:

For example, previous research shows that cannabinoids have a stronger effect on inflammation-based chronic pain, while opioids are particularly good at relieving acute pain. Problematically, opioids can quickly lead to a deadly addiction.

“If you look at both drugs and where their receptors are, opioids are much more dangerous in part because of the potential for overdose. The opioid receptors are very abundant in the brainstem area that regulates our respiration so they shut down the breathing center if opioid doses are high,” says Dr. Hurd. “Cannabinoids do not do that. They have a much wider window of therapeutic benefit without causing an overdose in adults. However, children have overdosed from consuming edible marijuana so that’s something to consider when making decisions regarding medical use.”

…..Accumulating evidence suggests that cannabinoids could have long-lasting therapeutic effects.

 

You may not be aware that medical cannabis is legal in 28 states and the District of Columbia, yet the DEA classifies cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance, the same category as heroin, yet there is no toxic or lethal overdose effects of cannabis.  No one has ever died from cannabis.

You may also be surprised to learn the United States Department of Health Services owns a patent on cannabis:  https://patents.google.com/patent/US6630507B1/en.

The Patent covers the use of cannabinoids for treating a wide range of diseases. Yet under U.S. federal law, cannabis is defined as having no medical use. The patent (US6630507) is titled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants”. It was awarded to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in October 2003. It was filed in 1999, by a group of scientists from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), also part of the National Institutes of Health.

Even the U.S. government’s own NIH researchers concluded:  “Based on evidence currently available the Schedule 1 classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3358713/

For a video guide on the science of cannabis & opioid information: https://healer.com/cannabis-and-opioids-video-guide-the-science/

If you want to learn more on the medicinal uses of cannabis:

Airing FREE June 20-27, 2018 Register here: http://bit.ly/2sGRiuY The Sacred Plant: Healing Secrets Examined is a groundbreaking 7-part documentary series centered on the most powerful and potent healing plant on earth.

The Persistent Spiral – The Ancient History of Lyme Disease and Tick-Borne Infections

borrelia_burgdorferi

Looking through history with knowledgable eyes, historian M.M. Drymon underscores how tick-borne illness has been with us since the beginning of time, and that many prominent historical figures showed signs of it in her latest book, The Persistent Spiral – The Ancient History of Lyme Disease and Tick-borne Infections.

First, she gives details of Ozti, the ancient man discovered in 1991 who represents the earliest documented case of Lyme Disease. Evidently, Ozti was carrying mushrooms with antibiotic qualities. He walked the forested area now located between Italy and Austria – one of the highest rates of modern LD in Europe. They even know he died in the Spring due to the intact pollen cells in his stomach.

Interestingly, from many standpoints, he had 57 tattoos – many in places that coincide with acupuncture points used to treat Lyme and pain relief – some 2,000 years before their documented use in China.  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/26/otzi-iceman-new-tattoo_n_6546884.html

And while all these intimate details of a fellow sufferer are intriguing, the recent discovery of what Drymon calls the pot smoking, dispersed living, individualistic Bronze Age Cowboys, enlightens for sure. The discovery of the Yamnaya helps explain old Chinese books describing people of great height, deep-set blue or green eyes, long noses, full beards,and red or blonde hair. These nomadic horse breeding and cattle and sheep herding people contributed to many ancestries and very well may relate to how modern patients handle Lyme Disease (LD).  For more on the Yamnaya:  https://dna-explained.com/2015/06/15/yamnaya-light-skinned-brown-eyed-ancestors/

Drymon and many others believe genetics to be one reason some become so ill with tick-borne illnesses.

The Yamnaya were grassland inhabiters who eventually migrated into Northern Europe and may be the reason most of us can tolerate lactose, which was rare previously. They also might be a reason we don’t handle tick illness well. Since they lived outside tick infested areas, they most probably had immune systems inexperienced with Tick borne illness (TBI’s) and when exposed suffered with autoimmune illness.

Drymon states the Chinese had more experience treating LD due to historically inhabiting temperate forests which harbor ticks. Traditional Chinese medicine indicates this fact by having treatments for spirochetal diseases and specific herbs for Bell’s palsy, joint pain, inflammation, heart problems, fever and skin diseases, and convulsions – all of which are TBI symptoms.

Fast forward to the Crusades and the fact both King Richard I and Philippe Augustus II became ill and nearly succumbed to Trench Mouth which is caused by Bacillus fasiformis & Borrelia vincenti (a strain of borrelia, and also a spirochete). Richard apparently became ill again later with Autumnal Fever which has a relapsing nature and is proposed to be tick-borne.

Then there’s Catherine of Aragon, lover of the hunt, who after staying at a hunting lodge, survived The Sweat and was periodically ill from that point on. A physician of the time described The Sweat as a pestilence with copious sweating, stinking, redness of face and body, continual thirst, with a great headache.  Symptoms followed a pattern – sudden flu-like symptoms, apprehension, headaches, shivering, with muscle aches, and fatigue. Then came gut pain, vomiting, a hot and sweaty stage followed by headaches and delirium. There were also chest pains and difficulty breathing with great fatigue. (Sound familiar?)  If patients didn’t die, they were repeatedly afflicted. It seemed to be a summer illness found in rural families.  It also made many chronically affected for life.

There is no record of The Sweat until the landing of Henry Tudor’s soldiers in Wales after camping in forest edge environments. After that there were periodic outbreaks and two hundred and fifty years later an identical illness appeared in the exact same region. Another physician noted that black marks were sometimes on the skin.

Drymon lists the symptoms of numerous tick borne infections and how they look precisely like The Sweat. Symptoms of Borrelia miyamotoi cause high relapsing fevers, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, heart problems, shortness of breath, and a whole slew of neurological symptoms. Babesia is known to cause drenching sweats, anxiety, fatigue, headache, muscle, chest, and hip pain, and the ever lovely shortness of breath.

Poor Catherine struggled through seven pregnancies and her confessor reported that one knee pained her. If the babies weren’t still-born, they all died young except one daughter who became Queen Mary I. After Catherine was put to death by Henry, his next wife, Anne Boleyn battled The Sweat as well, and after marrying Henry also had a series of miscarriages with the only surviving heir being a daughter who became Queen Elizabeth I.  Catherine and Anne had a lot in common, including the same husband, and while Drymon didn’t go over the probability of sexual transmission, there is evidence:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/02/24/pcos-lyme-my-story/ and https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/02/06/lyme-in-the-southern-hemisphere-sexual-transmission/

Regarding pregnancy and TBI’s, fertility problems, miscarriages, birth defects and still births, are all possibilities.  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/10/15/pregnancy-in-lyme-dr-ann-corson/  Autopsy’s have revealed borrelia in the placenta, spleen, fetal myocardium, kidneys, liver, arachnoid space of fetal mid brain, and bone marrow.  https://durayresearch.wordpress.com/about-2/seven-provocative-p2/

After Anne was put to death by Henry, and all likenesses of her were ordered to be destroyed, one of the few surviving pictures show a protruding lymph node below her jaw – another common TBI symptom.

Drymon goes through the various theories of what caused The Sweat, and logically refutes them all except for tick-borne illness. One telling quote by John Josselyn in the early seventeenth century states,

“there be infinite numbers of tikes hanging upon the bushes in summer time that will cleave to a man’s garments and creep into his breeches eating themselves in a short time into the very flesh of a man. I have seen the stockins of those that have gone through the woods covered with them.”

Evidently ticks were a problem then too.

Dr. John Caius who treated patients with The Sweat recommended regular burnings of fields and forest understory, as well as insect repellents and herbal treatments such as enula root and wormwood, herbs that are known even today to have action against borrelia and Babesia.

Drymon also discusses burnings in her other book, Disguised as the Devil,
https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/10/08/did-lyme-create-witches/, another fascinating read about TBI’s and the witchcraft hysteria. She draws a connection between the fact that burnings were often abandoned in times of war due to upheaval and the absence of men to do the job. This in turn allowed ticks to propagate which in turn probably meant more people got infected – particularly women of that era who wore long dresses that essentially became tick drags.

Unfortunately, this effective method of reducing the tick population is frowned upon today due to the fear of pollution. Drymon states the ramifications of burning should quantified to determine its seriousness and if accommodations could be made.

While the entire book is fascinating, and frankly a lot of fun to read, one of the most important take-aways for me is the ever present issue of reducing ticks safely, effectively, and economically.

Burning is such a simple yet brilliant method that it begs to be used.

Being a Lyme patient and advocate, I’ve read about burning before. In fact, when I asked an older Wisconsin Representative who has lived here his whole life why this practice was abandoned, he repeated precisely what Drymon said about folks being concerned about pollution. He also said burnings worked and he wished they were still being done.

When I asked well known and respected entomologists in Integrated Pest Management, they assured me that burnings weren’t successful and gave me a 1998 study conducted in Connecticut using a single controlled burn on two different days with varying burn intensities. The results state that in both burns ticks were reduced substantially (74% and 97%). What the authors felt made it unsuccessful was an abundance of ticks in the fall – meaning, they felt it was temporary.  

I detect much more excitement from those in the field when you mention releasing GMO mice, lacing pellets with pesticides for rodents to eat, and high powered acaricides.  All things that cost a lot of money and have significant blow-back to the environment and humans.  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/06/21/first-frankenbugs-now-frankinmice/ and https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/07/10/wolbachia-the-next-frankenstein/

I was thankful for Drymon’s usage of a 2014 burn study performed in Georgia and Florida over a two year time period that indicates regular prescribed burning is an effective tool for reducing ticks and probably reduces disease as well.
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0112174

I think we need to seriously revisit burning.

Drymon’s book reminds us that tick borne illness is as old as time and if we are going to get well it would behoove us to learn from the past.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medical Marijuana For Lyme – A Doctor’s Perspective

https://www.lymedisease.org/med-marijuana-lyme-kinderlehrer/

Medical marijuana for Lyme symptoms? A doctor’s perspective.

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by Daniel A. Kinderlehrer, M.D.

I have a confession to make. I proposed a talk on medical marijuana at ILADS because it would force me to learn everything I could on the topic. I live in Colorado where it seems there is a dispensary on every corner, and many of my patients have been using medical cannabis. But the huge assortment of products is confusing, and I wanted to give specific recommendations to help patients get the most benefit. Here is what I learned.

Marijuana has 483 phytocannabanoids, which are naturally occurring compounds that can affect many body processes such as appetite, mood and sleep. Most people have heard of one of them—THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol—the psychoactive component of marijuana. THC can make you high, giddy, or euphoric, and provide seemingly awesome universal insights that may appear quite trivial the next day.

Some strains of marijuana now available are not your father’s weed—they have a much higher THC content. It’s important to choose the appropriate strain for your needs, and some people may want to avoid THC entirely. However, it has been clearly established that THC is quite beneficial for pain, sleep, nausea, appetite, and PTSD, so there are medically valid reasons for choosing it.

Most of the non-THC phytocannabanoids fall into the category of cannabidiols, or CBDs. CBDs were once considered to be physiologically inactive unless paired with THC, but it turns out that is not the case. There is compelling scientific research documenting its independent activity, and now there is extensive clinical experience as well.

Did you know that we make our own CBDs? All vertebrates going back 600 million years on the evolutionary tree have an endocannabanoid system, which modulates immune and nervous system function. CBDs are potent anti-inflammatory agents, they regulate neurotransmitters, and they may enhance immune competence. CBDs decrease neuroinflammation and are neuroprotective. They can significantly reduce pain and anxiety.

Marijuana is not the only product that supplies CBDs. Hemp, a variety of cannabis that is used to make rope, fabric and paper, contains CBDs. Hemp has less than 0.3% THC, and is not psychoactive.

There are two strains of cannabis: indica and sativa. Indica has a high proportion of THC to CBD. It is great for pain but is sedating, so it is best used at night. Sativa is CBD-dominant. It is activating, can increase energy, and is better suited for daytime use. There are also a number of hybrid strains now available that essentially cross categories.

If your problem is pain, consider taking CBDs in the form of hemp oil in the daytime. My patients have had excellent responses to a liposomal sublingual extract (taken under the tongue), and it is activating, not sedating. In the evening, you can take a marijuana extract with equal parts THC and CBD, since these together will have additive pain-relieving effects. There are a number of delivery systems available, including smoking, vaping, edibles and sublingual extracts. I recommend the extracts since the onset is reasonably quick, usually in about 30 minutes, and the dose can be easily titrated by adjusting the number of drops under the tongue.

Both hemp-derived CBD and marijuana are available as balms that can be applied topically to relieve pain. Whether taken systemically or applied locally, these products can help many patients significantly decrease their need for pain medication. In fact, states that have legalized medical marijuana have experienced a 25% decrease in opiate overdose deaths. That’s right. This scourge, which took 42,000 lives in 2016 (66,000 including all drug overdose deaths), was significantly reduced by the availability of marijuana.

For sleep, take a THC-dominant indica strain. THC is not only sedating, it increases the time spent in the deeper stages of sleep, so sleep is more restorative. If your problem is difficulty falling asleep, use a short-acting vehicle like vaping, which kicks in within 15 minutes. Vaping is high-tech smoking without the ill effects of the smoke. Alternatively, use a sublingual extract, which has an onset within 30 minutes. Both of these will hang around for up to an hour.

If your problem is staying asleep, then take an edible. It takes 60-90 minutes to get into the circulation, and hangs around for an average of 3-4 hours. I don’t recommend cookies or candy, as they usually have a lot of junk in them—you can take pure THC tablets. The average dose is 10mg, but start with 2.5mg to see how well you tolerate it.

If you have problems with both sleep initiation and maintenance, you can take sublingual extract or vape to fall asleep, and a THC tablet to stay asleep. The table below includes some considerations for choosing among the available options.

TIMING 

  • Daytime CBD from hemp oil  for pain, anxiety, energy – because THC can cause sedation & alter cognition
  • Evening Marijuana with THC:CBD ratio around 1:1 for pain & relaxation – because
    THC and CBD combination yield optimal analgesic benefits
  • Night THC dominant indica strain or edible THC for sedation, improved sleep, architecture – Vape or SL extract for sleep initiation; Edible for sleep maintenance

While THC is only available in states that have legalized medical marijuana, CBD from hemp oil is available everywhere—although the attorney general in Nebraska seems to be confused about that. You can buy it on the Internet, travel across state lines, and I have even taken it out of the country when I traveled to Israel to visit my daughter.

**My note:  Hemp Oil has little THC.  Go here to read about the differences** https://healthyhempoil.com/hemp-oil-vs-cannabis-oil/

CBD can lessen anxiety, without any of the psychoactive giddiness of THC. CBD is anti-inflammatory—it not only decreases pain, it can improve energy, cognitive function and general well being. When I started selling it in my office, it went flying off the shelf. The full effects of CBD from hemp oil do not kick in for two to three weeks.

While properly administered marijuana has been extremely effective in helping people with PTSD, in some people it will make anxiety worse. Similarly, THC can help depression in some people, but in others can make depression worse, particularly if it is abused by chronic users. If you develop tolerance to the benefits of cannabis because of chronic use, it is important to take a drug holiday. Pregnant women should not take marijuana.

The legal status of marijuana is dicey. It is unjustifiably classified as a Class I controlled substance by the Food and Drug Administration, in the same category as heroin, and the Obama administration declined to enforce federal laws regarding marijuana in states where it was legalized and properly regulated. The current administration is trying to change that, but I predict it will be like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube.

The analgesic, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties of cannabis make it extremely valuable as an adjunct to the treatment of tick-borne diseases. There is a lot of research available on the medical uses of cannabis. A couple of good resources are listed below.

Kowal MA et al. Review on clinical studies with cannabis and cannabinoids 2010-2014. Cannabinoids 2016;11(special issue):1-18

Project CBD, User’s Manual: https://www.projectcbd.org/guidance/cbd-users-manual

Dr. Daniel Kinderlehrer specializes in the treatment of tick-borne disease in Denver, Colorado. He has found that properly administered medical marijuana and CBD from hemp oil have been extremely beneficial for many of his patients.

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**Comment**

Helpful and practical article by Dr. Kinderlehrer.  Recently, I posted an article by Dr. Amen that serves as a caution in regards to the THC in marijuana:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/does-cbd-oil-cause-brain-damage-dr-daniel-amen/ “Although marijuana doesn’t necessarily pose the same immediate, life-threatening dangers as alcohol, we have seen that chronic, long-term use does cause significant brain changes—chiefly, slowed activity in the frontal and temporal lobes; areas of the brain involved with focus, concentration, motivation, memory, learning, and mood stability.

Just published in the most recent Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease,  https://www.j-alz.com/content/new-study-shows-marijuana-users-have-low-blood-flow-brain the research finds that, after studying imaging of 1,000 cannabis users’ brains, there were signs of noticeable deficiencies of blood flow. The study, which included 25,168 non-cannabis users, and 100 healthy controls, shows a scary and obvious difference in blood flow levels for those that used cannabis.

Additionally, those that used marijuana showed a significant lack of blood flow in the right hippocampus, the area of the brain that helps with memory formation. This part of the brain is severely affected with those that suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.”

The Amen Clinic Uses SPECT imaging and as they say, “A Picture’s worth a thousand words.”  http://www.amenclinics.com/blog/amen-research-marijuana-affects-blood-flow-brain/

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Like everything else it’s important to read all around an issue, particularly when you are considering it as a treatment and it’s going into your body.  As always one must weigh the risk vs the benefit.  I know folks who swear by medical cannabis and that they wouldn’t be alive without it.  I also know of folks who swear by Hemp CBD oil as well.

For more on Cannabis:

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/01/23/nasem-report-on-cannabis/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/10/05/marijuana-chronic-pain-q-a-with-dr-david-barton/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2015/05/19/marijuana-the-miracle-herb/

For more on Hemp-derived CBD:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/09/28/cbd-for-pain/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/10/19/november-madison-lyme-support-group-meeting/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/11/14/hemp-oil-presentation/

If you are having trouble sleeping, immune dysfunction, inflammation, & PTSD,  read about LDN:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/?s=LDN

Trouble with your gut, detoxing, inflammation/pain, and allergies?  Read about MSM:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/01/03/the-invisible-universe-of-the-human-microbiome-msm/