“Can Cannabis Help with Inflammation for Athletes?”
By Gage Peake
Athletes today are bigger, stronger, and faster than they were just a decade or so ago. Men and women are becoming more competitive thanks in part to technological advancements designed to improve workouts and recovery time, as well as a better understanding of athlete physiology and the advent of new training exercises designed to maximize an athlete’s potential. (more…)
There’s something about the aroma of cannabis that soothes the mind and body. Whether it’s the sweet fruity taste of Pineapple Trainwreck or that skunky smell that bursts from a cracked bud of Sour Diesel, we know there’s something going on under their complex and flavorful bouquets.
Terpenes are what you smell, and knowing what they are will deepen your appreciation of cannabis whether you’re a medical patient or recreational consumer.
Secreted in the same glands that produce cannabinoids like THC and CBD, terpenes are the pungent oils that color cannabis varieties with distinctive flavors like citrus, berry, mint, and pine.
Not unlike other strong-smelling plants and flowers, the development of terpenes in cannabis began for adaptive purposes: to repel predators and lure pollinators. There are many factors that influence a plant’s development of terpenes, including climate, weather, age and maturation, fertilizers, soil type, and even the time of day.
Over 100 different terpenes have been identified in the cannabis plant, and every strain tends toward a unique terpene type and composition. In other words, a strain like Cheese and its descendants will likely have a discernible cheese-like smell, and Blueberry offspring often inherit the smell of berries.
The diverse palate of cannabis flavors is impressive enough, but arguably the most fascinating characteristic of terpenes is their ability to interact synergistically with other compounds in the plant, like cannabinoids. In the past few decades, most cannabis varieties have been bred to contain high levels of THC, and as a result, other cannabinoids like CBD have fallen to just trace amounts. This has led many to believe that terpenes may play a key role in differentiating the effects of various cannabis strains.
THC binds to cannabinoid receptors concentrated heavily in the brain where psychoactive effects are produced. Some terpenes also bind to these receptor sites and affect their chemical output. Others can modify how much THC passes through the blood-brain barrier. Their hand of influence even reaches to neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin by altering their rate of production and destruction, their movement, and availability of receptors.
The effects these mechanisms produce vary from terpene to terpene; some are especially successful in relieving stress, while others promote focus and acuity. Myrcene, for example, induces sleep whereas limonene elevates mood. There are also effects that are imperceptible, like the gastroprotective properties of caryophyllene.
Their differences can be subtle, but terpenes can add great depth to the horticultural art and connoisseurship of cannabis. Most importantly, terpenes may offer additional medical value as they mediate our body’s interaction with therapeutic cannabinoids. Many cannabis analysis labs now test terpene content, so any consumer can have a better idea of what effects their strain might produce. With their unlimited combinations of synergistic effects, terpenes will likely open up new scientific and medical terrains for cannabis research.
Most Common Cannabis Terpenes
Effects: Alertness, memory retention, counteracts some THC effects
Medical Value: Asthma, antiseptic
Also Found In: Pine needles, rosemary, basil, parsley, dill
*High Pinene Cannabis Strains: Jack Herer, Chemdawg, Bubba Kush, Trainwreck, Super Silver Haze
Aroma: Musky, cloves, earthy, herbal with notes of citrus and tropical fruit
Effects: Sedating “couchlock” effect, relaxing
Medical Value: Antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic; good for muscle tension, sleeplessness, pain, inflammation, depression
Also Found In: Mango, lemongrass, thyme, hops
*High Myrcene Cannabis Strains: Pure Kush, El Nino, Himalayan Gold, Skunk #1, White Widow
Effects: Elevated mood, stress relief
Medical Value: Antifungal, anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, dissolves gallstones, mood-enhancer; may treat gastrointestinal complications, heartburn, depression
Also Found In: Fruit rinds, rosemary, juniper, peppermint
*High Limonene Cannabis Strains: OG Kush, Super Lemon Haze, Jack the Ripper, Lemon Skunk
Aroma: Pepper, spicy, woody, cloves
Effects: No detectable physical effects
Medical Value: Gastroprotective, anti-inflammatory; good for arthritis, ulcers, autoimmune disorders, and other gastrointestinal complications
Also Found In: Black pepper, cloves, cotton
*High Caryophyllene Cannabis Strains: Hash Plant
Pressed vegetable juices are growing in popularity on a global level, so it should be no surprise that medical marijuana patients, caregivers and health care professionals are now looking into the health benefits of juicing marijuana plants as well.
Vegetables are typically defined as a “herbaceous plant grown for an edible part, usually eaten as part of a meal.” This typically refers to the leaf, stem, flower, or root of a plant. In 1967, the meaning of vegetables changed to, “any plant cultivated for food, edible herb or root.” Some vegetables may be eaten raw, while others must be cooked in order to be edible. When certain fruits and vegetables are heated, they lose a majority of their beneficial enzymes and nutrients. Cannabis is no different. Aside from the fact that cannabis is technically a vegetable with many of the same nutrients as other leafy greens (like fiber, iron and calcium), it is jam-packed with beneficial cannabinoids that are unique to the cannabis plant. As such, juiced cannabis is a nutritionally-dense, very potent medicine without the psychoactive components one would normally experience when heating the plant.
The high concentration of raw cannabinoid acids in juiced cannabis coupled with the perfect balance of fatty acids could help improve cell function and reduce damage caused by free radicals. Additional benefits of raw, juiced cannabis include reduced inflammation and the facilitation of two-way cellular communication. Many cannabinoids also have anti-tumor properties which are readily available through the consumption of raw marijuana.
Juicing Health Benefits
While smoked or vaporized cannabis can in fact be used as a medicinal therapy, juicing raw cannabis can help prevent health issues from arising altogether. Some call cannabis the “most important vegetable on the planet” because it can assist the function of your immune system, provide anti-inflammatory benefits, and improve bone metabolism and neural function. In fact, research has shown medical marijuana is even capable of inhibiting cancer cell growth.
Only when you decarboxylate THCA, turning it into THC, does it cause psychoactive effects or “the high” most associated with smoking cannabis.
According to Dr. William Courtney, a dietary raw cannabis specialist and a strong believer in the plants healing powers, “you are actually walking away from 99% of the benefits cannabis provides when you cook or smoke cannabis.” However, in its raw form, the cannabis plant contains bothTHCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic-acid) and CBDA (Cannabidiolic-acid), two cannabinoids known for their medicinal benefits; each of which must be heated in order to produce THC and CBD, respectively. Only when you decarboxylate THCA, turning it into THC, does it cause psychoactive effects or “the high” most associated with smoking cannabis. Additionally, the body is able to tolerate larger dosages of cannabinoids when cannabis is consumed in the raw form. This is because when you smoke cannabis, the THC actually acts as a CB1 receptor agonist and your body can only absorb ~10 mg at a time.
According to Dr. William Courtney, “If you don’t heat marijuana, you can go up to five or six hundred milligrams and use the plant strictly as a dietary supplement by upping the anti-oxidant and neuro-protective levels which come into play at hundreds of milligrams of CBDA and THCA. It is this dramatic increase in dose from 10 mg of psychoactive THC to the 500 mg – 1,000 mg of non-psychoactive THCA, CBDA, and CBGA that comprises the primary difference between traditional medical marijuana treatments and using cannabis as a dietary supplement.”
The FDA has actually approved a tolerable CBD dose of 600 mg/day as a new investigative drug. This makes the medical potential of drinking the juice containing 600mg of CBDA, far greater than when you heat the cannabis. Considering CBD percentages are typically below 1% in most strains available in dispensaries across the nation, it is nearly impossible to smoke enough in one day to ingest a 600mg dosage of CBD.
The Science of Juicing Cannabis
Two-Way Communication With Nerve Cells
One-way traffic to nerves is the main cause of inflammation in the body. Under this scenario, immune cells are being continuously attacked and nothing is communicating with the nerves to tell them to calm down. However, studies show that when you add cannabinoids to the equation, a two-way communication is made possible, resulting in reduced inflammation. The cannabinoids work to prevent and fight symptoms by providing nerves with this two-way communication.
We all have cannabinoids in our bodies; these are known as endocannabinoids. These endocannabinoids bind to different receptors throughout our bodies and are very effective at regulating immune functions, nerve functions, and even bone functions. The endocannabinoid system acts as a modulator in fine-tuning a lot of these systems. If something is deranged biochemically in a person’s body, it may well be that a cannabinoid system can bring things back into balance.
How to Juice Raw Cannabis
DO NOT go to your local dispensary, obtain dried cannabis and throw your buds in the juicer thinking your about to make a magic healing potion. Juicing requires raw, freshly-picked and properly grown cannabis rid of any pesticides or other microbiological contaminants. Here are a few key recommendations to consider when juicing raw cannabis:
- When it comes to juicing, as with any vegetable, fresher is better.
- Cannabis that has been dried and prepared for smoking is not suitable for juicing.
- Do not be surprised if your local dispensary does not have a fresh supply of raw cannabis available. Many patients and caregivers are required to grow their own medicine to get access to quality starting material.
- Dr. William Courtney recommends that patients juice 15 leaves, and 2 large (2 to 4 inches long) raw buds per day.
- Raw buds are flowers harvested when the THC glands are clear (rather than amber).
- It is recommended that you mix in another vegetable juice to cut the bitterness of the raw cannabis.
- A popular choice is carrot juice, and a ratio of 1 part cannabis juice to 10 parts carrot juice is a good rule of thumb.
- Split the juice drink into 3 parts and drink with each meal, or store for up to 3 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
Cannabinoids (CBD) can come from medical marijuana plants or from industrially grown hemp plants. Both are varieties of Cannabis (Cannabis sativa), but they are grown for different purposes, and each one comes with its own legal status. CBD extracts, which are produced directly from cannabis flowers, are up to 15 percent CBD (150,000 ppm). CBD extracts can be produced indirectly from hemp manufacture as a by-product of the flowers and leaves that are mixed in with the stalks during hemp stalk processing for fiber. CBD from hemp plants are usually only 25 ppm (vs. 150,000 ppm from cannabis flowers).
Cannabinoids from Industrial Hemp
CBD is not a product or component of hemp seeds, and labeling to that effect is misleading and motivated by the desire to take advantage of the legal gray area of CBD under federal law.1
Most CBD in products mislabeled as “hemp oil” are a product of large-scale hemp stalk and fiber processing facilities in Europe where the fiber is the primary material produced at a large scale.
But, as mentioned above, a small amount of CBD may be in industrial hemp if flowers and leaves and mixed in with the stalks during hemp stalk processing for fiber.
Cannabinoids and Skin Health
First isolated from cannabis in 1940 by Roger Adams, the structure of CBD was not completely understood until 1963. Early studies resulted in the accepted view that THC was the “active” principle of cannabis and research then focused primarily on it to the virtual exclusion of CBD. This was no doubt due to the belief that activity meant psycho-activity that was shown by THC and not by CBD. In retrospect, this was unfortunate since a number of actions of CBD with potential therapeutic benefit were downplayed for many years.
Cannabinoids are almost exclusively found in cannabis, and have been shown to have a significant effect on chronic skin conditions. Cannabinoids are well-known to play a role in regulating inflammation, and this may be the key to their ability to treat eczema and psoriasis.2
It is well-documented that the gastrointestinal tract, which, like the skin, is one of the primary physical barriers of the immune system, has abundant cannabinoid receptor sites. Now, research has shown that the skin also has an endocannabinoid system of its own, which helps to regulate the production of various hormones and proteins, including cytokine, which is also involved in the immune response. The skin’s endocannabinoid system also helps to regulate various cellular processes including proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis or cell death. Thus, imbalance of this system may also be responsible for the occurrence of chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, and developing targeted cannabinoid therapies may help to control them.3
Human tissues have at least two types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, each coupled with a protein. CB1 receptors are expressed predominantly at nerve terminals where they mediate inhibition of neurotransmitter release. CB2 receptors are found mainly on immune cells, one of their roles being to modulate cytokine release. Endogenous ligands for these receptors, endocannabinoids, also exist, and examples include the molecule anandamide. These discoveries have led to the development of CB1- and CB2-selective agonists and antagonists and of bioassays for characterizing such ligands. So in the future we can have much more targeted cannabinoid therapies.4
Mauro Maccarrone’s Italian study demonstrated that human skin cells or keratinocytes are part of the peripheral endocannabinoid system and showed a unique signaling mechanism of CB1 receptors, which may have important implications in epidermal differentiation and skin development.5
A study published in 2007 demonstrated THC, CBD and the other cannabinoids CBN, CBG and anandamide all demonstrated some level of effectiveness in inhibiting the production of skin cells or keratinocytes in the top layer of the skin. Because over-production of keratinocytes is involved in psoriasis, these results should lead to further investigation into cannabinoid therapies to treat psoriasis. Cannabinoid receptors have been found in even the smallest nerve fibers controlling hair follicles, and keratinocytes have also been shown to bind and metabolize anandamide, the most abundant endocannabinoid.6
Wilkinson investigated the plant cannabinoids Δ-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol, cannabinol and cannabigerol (CBG) for their ability to inhibit the proliferation of a hyper-proliferating human keratinocyte cell line and for any involvement of cannabinoid receptors.7
The results confirmed cannabinoids have a role in inhibiting keratinocyte proliferation, and therefore supported a potential role for cannabinoids in the treatment of psoriasis.
In other research, published in The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal, it was shown that cannabinoids produce lipids that can regulate skin conditions such as acne vulgaris, seborrhea and dry skin. They suggested further exploration of cannabinoids as “novel therapeutic tools” to treat dry skin.
Another study took seven phytocannabinoids representative of the major structural types of classic cannabinoids and their corresponding cannabivarins and investigated them for topical anti-inflammatory activity in a mouse ear dermatitis assay. Results suggested that the involvement not only of cannabinoid receptors, but also of other inflammatory end-points targeted by phytocannabinoids, were important in the regulation of dermatitis in mice.8
In summary, we have many studies documenting the contributory nature of cannabinoids, their receptors, and the skin’s endocannabinoid system in the metabolism of psoriasis and eczema and other inflammatory diseases,9 of which aging of the skin is considered one. In the coming years there is great hope for the use of targeted cannabinoid therapies to better control these chronic skin changes.
Jeanette Jacknin, M.D., is a board-certified dermatologist, author, national speaker and consultant with expertise in holistic dermatology and natural cosmeceuticals.
- Burstein S. “Cannabidiol (CBD) and its analogs: a review of their effects on inflammation.” Bioorg Med Chem. 2015 Apr 1;23(7):1377-85.
- Maccarrone M et al. “Endogenous cannabinoids in neuronal and immune cells: toxic effects, levels and degradation.” Funct Neurol. 2001;16(4 Suppl):53-60.
- Maccarrone M, Di Rienzo M, Battista N. “The Endocannabinoid System in Human Keratinocytes EVIDENCE THAT ANANDAMIDE INHIBITS EPIDERMAL DIFFERENTIATION THROUGH CB1 RECEPTOR-DEPENDENT INHIBITION OF PROTEIN KINASE C, ACTIVATING PROTEIN-1, AND TRANSGLUTAMINASE.” Journal of Biologic Chemisty. 2003 Sep 5;278(36).
- Wilkinson JD, Williamson EM. “Cannabinoids inhibit human keratinocyte proliferation through a non-CB1/CB2 mechanism and have a potential therapeutic value in the treatment of psoriasis.” Journal of Dermatologic Science. February 2007;45(2):87-92.
- Tubaro A, Giangaspero A, Sosa S. “Comparative topical anti-inflammatory activity of cannabinoids and cannabivarins” Fitoterapia. 2010 Oct;81(7):816-9
- Pertwee RG. “Pharmacological actions of cannabinoids.” Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2005;(168):1-51.
To read the original artical CLICK HERE
“Tapping the keg of America’s never-ending violence, ‘intoxicated aggression’ spikes precipitously among drinkers, while marijuana snuffs out those same aggressive tendencies.”
Participants were regular users of both alcohol and cannabis who on average consumed 24 units of alcohol a week and used cannabis products 4.8 times a week. For the analysis, scientists measured participants’ testosterone and cortisol levels while under the influence of either substance or placebo to determine the intensity of their aggression.
According to the researchers, “Alcohol intoxication increased subjective aggression in the alcohol group. The cannabis group, in contrast, experienced a reduction in subjective aggression during cannabis intoxication.”
This new study serves as important news for those who suffer from the negative consequences of alcohol. Cannabis can be a great tool to calm nerves.
Read the full study published in Psychopharmacology entitled “Subjective aggression during alcohol and cannabis intoxication before and after aggression exposure.”
THE INVENTION OF THE FREEZER IS UP THERE WITH SOME OF THE BEST, EXTENDING THE LIFE OF OUR FOOD AND GIVING US ICE-COLD DELECTABLE MUNCHIES. BUT WHEN IT COMES TO STORING YOUR PRIZED PLANTS, IS FREEZING YOUR WEED A GOOD IDEA?
DISPELLING THE MYTH
So you’ve found yourself with too much bud (as if that’s possible), and want to keep it fresh and potent for as long as you can, and you’ve probably heard that too much humidity could lead to mold and mildew destroying your crop.
In order to combat high humidity, throwing your bud in the freezer seems like a reasonable and logical step to take! I mean it works for food right? Unfortunately, the simple answer to whether or not you should freeze your weed is a resounding no.
After working long and hard to grow and harvest your weed, improper storage can quickly become a nightmare leading to a fouling of your product. Similar to the dangers of heat and humidity, cold temperatures also have their own negative affects on marijuana.
1. LOWER TEMPERATURES AFFECT DECARBOXYLATION
What the hell does that mean, you might ask? Put simply, decarboxylation is a chemical process that occurs naturally during the drying/curing of your bud. Raw cannabis contains a lot of THC-A, which is non-psychoactive, and through the process of decarboxylation it turns into THC– the chemical compound that gets you high.
The process can be accelerated when using marijuana for your cooking, but by storing your marijuana at temperatures that are too low (like in the freezer) you can literally stop decarboxylation in its tracks, leading to a less potent product.
You may have noticed the fine white hair-like particles that cover your bud? These resin glands are known as trichomes,and in the case of your own harvest, you’ve probably watched them closely as they developed from clear to milky or amber coloured.
These glands are not only responsible for giving each strain its unique taste and smell, they are also where cannabinoids like THC and CBD are most prevalent, and therefore responsible for how high you can get.
Freezing your weed literally causes these trichomes to crystalize like small ice particles, and your subsequent handling of the bud will cause them to break off into what ever storage container you’re using. Most storage containers/bags will also be affected by static charge, so even if your handling is kept to a minimum, the container will do the damage for you.
After all the care taken with your bud up to this point, losing your trichomes can be devastating, making your smoke taste worse, harsher, and less psychoactive, so keep it out of the freezer.
SO HOW SHOULD I STORE MY WEED?
We have put out a wealth of information about better storage techniques, so I won’t go into too much detail, but there are some simple steps to follow which can lead to a longer lasting, fuller flavoured, and better smoking bud.
- Store it in a cool, dark place. Whilst controlling humidity will help prevent mould and mildew on your bud, overexposure to UV rays has proven to be the ‘greatest single factor’ in the breakdown of cannabinoids.
- Go glass. Glass not only possesses a neutral charge, you can ensure an airtight seal for your product.
- Vacuum seal and dehumidify. If you’re looking to store long term, you’ll want to ensure the right amount of oxygen is stored with your bud. This can allow your bud to finish curing in storage without adversely affecting humidity levels, keeping your product fresher for longer.
Do you have your own storage methods for marijuana? What works best for you? Let us know on social media or in thecomments below.