Where is the truth? Is marijuana good or bad?
I'm a little nervous sharing about this topic at all. Not because it's highly controversial, you probably know by now that that doesn't scare me, ha! But because running around in my own mind are thoughts of those who “smoke dope” being referred to as “pot heads” and “losers”. However, I'm thankful that these days I have more of an open mind, not so open that my brains fall out, but open enough to consider that what I used to “know” just might be wrong, or at least only part of the story. I've already learned how wrong I was on many topics over the years, and my thoughts on medical marijuana have already started to come around, especially when my Mom had so much nausea from her cancer treatment. Before she died we had just started looking into it, hoping to find a way to help her keep food down. THEN I read the story from this Mom, which opened my eyes even more: Be Ready When YOU Need to Make Cancer Decisions: Conventional, Holistic, or THIS Treatment Option?
|By the way, be sure to click here to check out the Truth About Cancer series for SO much information that I wish I'd known when my Mom was diagnosed! If it's not live right now, register anyway so you'll be notified when it's live again later, they replay this fairly often.|
So hang with me, and see what this ex-police narcotics investigator has to say — here's Bob…
In the first place, I should tell you that I have experience with cannabis, or what the government renamed as marijuana.
I am a Reformed Baptist pastor, a former police narcotics investigator, a current researcher and published writer, and a Weston Price chapter leader.
More on my background…
I spent six years working undercover as a police narcotics detective and executed over 300 search warrants for the arrest and prosecution of sales and distribution of all types of drugs. I have located and destroyed many acres of marijuana grows and have arrested hundreds of persons for distribution of illegal drugs. Many of those served lengthy prison terms. The majority of those imprisoned returned to illicit drug use when released from prison. When I was promoted to police management, I oversaw the day to day operations of the narcotics drug task force. I lectured at schools about the dangers of drugs, including the use of marijuana. When I retired from law enforcement, I operated a construction company and conducted random drug testing on my employees. I fired many employees for the use of drugs, mainly marijuana.
As a narcotics investigator who bought and sold marijuana as an undercover agent, I can tell you that the majority of people who I investigated were largely unemployed and many in their early twenties, and they were on Social Security Disability for back pain or back problems. I investigated some who were employed and good workers, but the majority were not. Marijuana was not limited to use by these types of people, as it was and is used by many college professors, doctors, and lawyers.
What do you think of when you think of a marijuana user?
I will tell you what came to my mind as a cop. We had various names for marijuana users; pot smokers, stoners, dopers, pot-heads, losers, and lazy tokers. These names aptly describe the group of lazy people who smoke pot all through the day and into the night, but primarily because they don't work. These are people who live off of a relative or the government and wouldn't work even if they didn't have marijuana to smoke. These names don't describe the millions of people who smoke marijuana, but work full time jobs like doctors, dentists, lawyers, nurses, and yes, even cops. The bottom line is that the names we call people who smoke marijuana, only apply to the non-employed lazy people who smoke marijuana, and as mentioned above, would be unemployed whether they had access to marijuana or not. It doesn't apply to the productive members of society who smoke marijuana, because they are employed and don't sleep or lay around all day, and we usually don't even know they smoke marijuana.
The use of marijuana does not affect one's ability to work or to do a good job.
I confirmed this in our construction company employees. This is not exactly true with other illicit drugs, because they function differently in the body. For example, a person who has ingested heroin or methamphetamines will be greatly affected in his ability to perform good work, for the worse, but a person who smokes or ingests marijuana will be able to perform normally on the job. But, one may object, “I have seen people do stupid things after smoking pot”. I would answer, “Yes, as have I, but those same people do stupid things before they smoke pot, as well, because stupid people do stupid things.” This is confirmed in the book of Job: Job 11:12(ESV) “But a stupid man will get understanding when a wild donkey’s colt is born a man!”
Smoking marijuana does not make people violent as do other drugs.
A person on PCP can be and usually is, extremely violent. A person on meth can be extremely violent. A person on many of the antipsychotic prescribed drugs are or become extremely violent, as confirmed by the fact that all of the ‘school shooters' were on prescribed antipsychotic medication. (1) Alcohol, an approved drug, can make people extremely violent. In fact, in my days as a cop, the only people I ever had to physically fight, were people who were drunk on alcohol or high on PCP.
Difference between marijuana and other drugs
Marijuana rarely causes a hallucinogenic effect as do other drugs, but it can if too much is used. The primary effect of smoking marijuana is described as being very relaxing and sometimes as just feeling very good. If a person smokes too much, he or she will be sleepy or groggy the next day, but a marijuana hangover is nothing like an alcohol hangover. Another important difference with marijuana is that there are no significant withdrawal symptoms, as there are with other illicit drugs, alcohol, and many antipsychotic antidepressant pharmaceuticals. Marijuana is not addictive like other drugs or even alcohol, but a person can become addicted to it in the same way they do with coffee, chocolate, and sugar.
As a police investigator, my training led me to be against the use of marijuana in any form, but I was in favor of legislation making it legal. I had two reasons for this; first of all, anything illegal is more appealing to sinful human nature than anything legal, and secondly, taxpayers spend billions of dollars trying to stop something that will never stop. It is a complete waste of police and court resources to investigate and jail people for possession and distribution of marijuana. Marijuana has been and is hailed as a ‘gateway' drug, but it is not. People who use crank, coke, and heroin, also use marijuana, but not because they want to go on a trip, but because they want to relax or sleep, and a large percentage of people who use marijuana never use other drugs, except pharmaceuticals.
My experience and belief about marijuana was reflected in the section I wrote for our church constitution, forbidding the usage of it. I have been an adamant spokesman against the use of marijuana, including supposed healing benefits of it.
The catalyst for change
All of this changed about a year and a half ago. I have a Christian brother who owns a heating and air-conditioning business. I had not seen him for four or five years, but met with him for an hour when I called him for a bid to install a propane generator. In the course of our conversation, he mentioned his beloved dog, a Jack Russell Terrier, who is now eight years old. He credits the dog for saving his life when he was under a house. The dog went with him and confronted and killed a rattlesnake. Since that day, the dog has gone everywhere with him.
He related to me that the dog contracted cancer two years ago, and finally was sent to a cancer treatment center for dogs in Boise, Idaho. The dog was in the intensive care unit and underwent three separate chemotherapy and radiation treatments for the cancer. At the end of the three month treatment, the facility called my friend and told him that the dog was about two weeks away from death, because the treatments weren't successful in dealing with the cancer. They would either euthanize the dog or he could pick it up to die at home.
At the same time, my friend was installing a climate control system for a legal and State certified indoor marijuana grow. While there, he related the story about his dog to the grower. The grower suggested to my friend that he give the dog drops of a 50/50 combination of THC/CBD in cannabis oil. My friend legally purchased a bottle of the oil, 50% THC and 50% CBD. He picked the dog up from the treatment center in Boise and took it home. The dog could not eat or drink without throwing up and was being watered and fed through IVs. He laid the dog down in its bed and placed two drops of the oil in the dog's mouth. Within three hours, the dog drank some water from his bowl and did not throw up. The next morning, my friend repeated the two drops, and several hours later, the dog got up and ate food and did not throw up. My friend repeated the two drops three times a day, and by the second day, the feeding tubes were removed and the dog was returning to normal and showing no signs of illness.
By the end of the week, the dog was full of energy, eating, drinking, playing like normal.
My friend took the dog to the vet who originally diagnosed him. The vet checked the dog and said there appeared to be no signs of cancer and advised my friend to continue two drops three times a day for another week, which my friend did. This was two years ago and my friend reported that the dog is completely normal in all respects.
A skeptic's research
If you are like me, you would be skeptical of this report as I was. I am a very skeptical person, but my skepticism is of some benefit, because it leads me to do a lot of intense research. Although I had always denied any medical benefit of cannabis, I began to research antidotal claims made by cannabis users.
These claims led me to investigate peer-reviewed studies, and those studies led me to interview experts in the use of cannabis for medical purposes. I interviewed cannabis growers, cannabis users who smoked it for the ‘high', and people who currently use it for intense pain management and curtailment of debilitating autoimmune diseases. I interviewed people who used it for making clothing 30 years ago, and many who were imprisoned for growing and selling it illegally. I have read many interviews and testimonials of people who were cured of cancer, autoimmune diseases, and children with epileptic seizures, by taking small amounts of cannabis for periods of 30-90 days.
As a result of my past year of research, my position has changed on cannabis. There are very important considerations when researching cannabis. The considerations are five-fold:
- First, the majority of people who use cannabis for recreational purposes, use it to get ‘high', much in the way most people use alcohol. For the most part, these types of users know nothing about the medicinal benefits of cannabis, nor do they care. They look for the highest amount of THC they can find, and due to genetic strains and reducing to a paste, they can purchase products containing 230% THC, where cannabis has always contained between 10 and 13% THC and very low amounts of CBD.
- The second thing you should consider is that many of the peer-reviewed studies don't actually use real cannabis; they use a synthetic made THC, called Marinol (Dronabinol), which comes in gelatin capsule form and is taken orally. They also use a synthetic form of THC called Cesamet (Nabilone), which is also a capsule medication taken orally. This is important to know, because the synthetic equivalents are less effective than the actual cannabis plant and they come with a host of negative side-effects not associated with or experienced by users of the whole plant.
- The third consideration is the fact that the plant works most effectively when it is taken as a whole plant, or at least when all of its parts, THC, CBD, CBN, and Terpines are present. Numerous studies have shown that each part of the plant is synergistic, as God created it, and works together. Isolating specific compounds of the plant are less effective than taking them in their natural combination.
- Fourth, smoking the plant is the least effective way to take it medicinally. Many studies are based on smoking, which produces side-effects similar to smoking tobacco, although it has never been shown to cause lung cancer.
- Fifth, cannabis, marijuana, and hemp refer to the same plant. The difference between hemp and what is known as marijuana, is that hemp is a legal cannabis strain, has some medicinal benefits, but is very low in THC. Most hemp must have less than 1% THC in order to qualify as hemp. What is commonly referred to as marijuana is higher in THC, the psychoactive component, than it is in CBD. Normal marijuana contains usually less than 3% CBD. There are now medical strains, only a few, but increasing, with ratios of close to one to one, THC to CBD. The reason for this is that CBD tends to lessen the psychoactive effects of THC, but not the medicinal benefits. In fact, the combination of one to one ratios has been found to have the greatest medicinal effectiveness if ingested and not smoked.
- Cannabis strains are divided into two types; Sativa and Indica. Sativa strains are for daytime use, increasing energy and alertness, while Indica strains are for nighttime use, causing sleepiness and feeling relaxed.
When you do your own research, as I hope you do, take these things into consideration, because they will make a difference in the end result.
Primary means of use
There are four ways to use cannabis:
- Smoking it and inhaling into the lungs
- Vaporizing it, (without burning it) and inhaling it into the lungs
- Sublingual, placing the concentrate or tincture under the tongue
- And finally, taking it gastro intestinally by eating it.
Obviously, the pot smokers smoke or inhale it. Inhaled cannabis smoke produces a 3 or 4 hour high, while taking it sublingual or eating it produces a 7 or 8 hour effect. Notice, I said effect instead of high, because the majority of people who eat it in an edible form are not taking it to get high, nor do they get high, but purely for the medicinal benefits of it.
Smoking or vaporizing cannabis does provide for immediate pain relief, where eating it does not produce pain relief for an hour or so, until it goes throughout the system and makes contact with the cannabinoid receptors in the body. I will share more about the use of it later.
But, it is a Schedule I drug!
Let's visit about this. I don't blame you for not already knowing what I am going to share with you, because you have had no need to know it. You, as did I, believed the government when they said it was a very violent and dangerous drug and had no medicinal benefits. You believed the government, as I did, when they said it should be called marijuana instead of cannabis.
So yes, to this day, the federal government's position is that it is a dangerous drug, has no medicinal benefits, which is why it is still listed as a Schedule I drug along with heroin and LSD. Our current attorney general is adamant about getting rid of it altogether. How did it come to be listed as a dangerous drug? First a little history on the plant itself…
The history of Cannabis
Just last week, I saw a picture and an accompanying article of a cannabis plant in perfect condition excavated from an archeological dig site. The plant was dated at 2700 years old. In 2900 BC, the Chinese Emperor Fu Hsi references cannabis as a popular medicine. (2)
“Holy anointing oil, as described in the original Hebrew version of the recipe in Exodus (30:22-23), contained over six pounds of kaneh-bosem, a substance identified by respected etymologists, linguists, anthropologists, botanists and other researchers as cannabis, extracted into about six quarts of olive oil, along with a variety of other fragrant herbs. The ancient anointed ones were literally drenched in this potent mixture.” (3)
“Cannabis use for medicinal purposes dates back at least 3,000 years.[1-5] It was introduced into Western medicine in 1839 by W.B. O’Shaughnessy, a surgeon who learned of its medicinal properties while working in India for the British East India Company. Its use was promoted for reported analgesic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and anticonvulsant effects.” (4)
“Pliny the Elder, an ancient Roman nobleman, scientist, and historian, author of Naturalis Historia (79 AD), [writes] that ‘The roots [of the cannabis plant] boiled in water ease cramped joints, gout too and similar violent pain.” (5)
“The Jamestown settlers brought the marijuana plant, commonly known as hemp, to North America in 1611, and throughout the colonial period, hemp fiber was an important export. Indeed, in 1762, ‘Virginia awarded bounties for hemp culture and manufacture, and imposed penalties on those who did not produce it.” (6)
“[George] Washington's diary entries indicate that he grew hemp at Mount Vernon, his plantation, for about 30 years [approximately 1745-1775]. According to his agricultural ledgers, he had a particular interest in the medicinal use of Cannabis, and several of his diary entries indicate that he indeed was growing Cannabis with a high Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content – marijuana.” (7)
“In the 19th Century, marijuana emerged as a mainstream medicine in the West. Studies in the 1840s by a French doctor by the name of Jacques-Joseph Moreau [a French psychiatrist] found that marijuana suppressed headaches, increased appetites, and aided people to sleep.” (8)
I think you get the idea that cannabis has been around for a long time. But there are some other considerations that led to its being placed as a Schedule I drug, as revealed in the following quotes.
The seeds of illegalization…
“[O]n 30 June 1906 President Roosevelt signed the Food and Drugs Act, known simply as the Wiley Act… The basis of the law rested on the regulation of product labeling rather than pre-market approval.”
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “FDA History – Part I,” FDA website (accessed Dec. 28, 2011)
“An Act for preventing the manufacture, sale, or transportation of adulterated or misbranded or poisonous or deleterious foods, drugs, medicines, and liquors, and for regulating traffic therein, and for other purposes…
That for the purposes of this Act an article shall also be deemed to be misbranded… if the package fail to bear a statement on the label of the quantity or proportion of any alcohol, morphine, opium, cocaine, heroin, alpha or beta eucaine, chloroform, cannabis indica, chloral hydrate, or acetanilide, or any derivative or preparation of any such substances contained therein.” (9)
“Bolstered by Progressive Era faith in big government, the 1910s marked a high tide of prohibitionist sentiment in America. In 1914 and 1916, alcohol prohibition initiatives would make the state ballot. Meanwhile, the legislature was tackling such morals issues as prostitution, racetrack gambling, prizefighting, liquor, and oral sex. Amidst this profusion of vices, Indian hemp [aka cannabis] was but a minor afterthought… states banned cannabis in the 1910s: Massachusetts in 1911 (150 KB); Maine, Wyoming and Indiana in 1913; New York City in 1914; Utah and Vermont in 1915; Colorado and Nevada in 1917. As in California, these laws were passed not due to any widespread use or concern about cannabis, but as regulatory initiatives to discourage future use.” (10)
The Federal income tax was ratified on February 3, 1913 in the 16th amendment, and it established Congress's right to impose a Federal income tax. During that time, the Federal government received about one third of its income from the sale of liquor. Prohibition ended those tax receipts from 1920 through 1930, but taxation and taxing products was a proven way for the Federal government to fund its operation.
“In 1937, the U.S. Treasury Department introduced the Marihuana Tax Act. This Act imposed a levy of $1 per ounce for medicinal use of Cannabis and $100 per ounce for non-medical use. Physicians in the United States were the principal opponents of the Act. The American Medical Association (AMA) opposed the Act because physicians were required to pay a special tax for prescribing Cannabis, use special order forms to procure it, and keep special records concerning its professional use. In addition, the AMA believed that objective evidence that Cannabis was harmful was lacking and that passage of the Act would impede further research into its medicinal worth. In 1942, Cannabis was removed from the U.S. Pharmacopoeia because of persistent concerns about its potential to cause harm.[2,3]” (11)
As with all things government, there was much work behind the scenes during this time.
For one, Randolph Hearst, the newspaper magnate, held vast timber holdings consistent with his need for paper for newsprint. Hemp was used in the production of paper manufacturing and competed strongly with timber, although timber yielded a better paper. But, timber harvesting is much more costly than hemp harvesting. Hearst was an avid supporter for the illegalization of cannabis and funded lobbying against it.
From 1928 through 1937, DuPont worked on the invention of nylon for rope and fabric. The strongest competitor was cannabis/hemp, because it had superior strength and was not only used in the clothing industry with a pair of hemp made jeans lasting thirty years, but also in all ropes, especially ropes used by the Navy to secure their ships in port. DuPont lobbied extensively against cannabis/hemp. (2,13)
Now, I must tell you that many today believe that the idea of Hearst and DuPont having anything to do with the illegalization of cannabis is false and that it is nothing more than a conspiracy theory. Personally, I believe it, because I see actions like this everyday where members of our Congress are given huge amounts of money to their PACS by pharmaceutical and chemical companies in exchange for votes that are beneficial to the industry. Here is an article to read that confirms my belief in the Hearst/DuPont efforts: How Marijuana Became Illegal.
In case you believe that Hearst and DuPont had nothing to do with the illegalization of cannabis, there are additional factors that are historically recorded and that greatly helped to reschedule cannabis. The social factor was a huge one, as was the name change, from cannabis, a name that everyone was familiar with, to marijuana, a name that no one had ever heard of, and one not associated with cannabis. Before you read this, I should tell you that opium was made a Schedule I drug, in part, to make it easier to deport and deal with problem Chinese immigrants, because all of them possessed some amount of opium. Dealing with problem Mexican immigrants was dealt with in the same way, because cannabis was used and possessed by Mexicans.
The following quote is lengthy, but it provides accurate information, because it is taken from the paper entitled, Debunking The Hemp Conspiracy Theory, although it confirms facts from the ‘conspiracy theory' articles.
“New York City made cannabis prescription-only in 1914, part to pre-empt users of over-the-counter opium, morphine and cocaine medicines from switching to cannabis preparations, but with allusions to hashish use by Middle Eastern immigrants. In the West and Southwest, anti-Mexican sentiment quickly came into play. California's first marijuana arrests came in a Mexican neighborhood in Los Angeles in 1914, according to Gieringer, and the Los Angeles Times said “sinister legends of murder, suicide and disaster” surrounded the drug. The city of El Paso, Texas, outlawed reefer in 1915, two years after a Mexican thug, “allegedly crazed by habitual marijuana use,” killed a cop. By the time Prohibition was repealed in 1933, 30 states had some form of pot law.
The campaign against cannabis heated up after Repeal. “I wish I could show you what a small marihuana cigaret can do to one of our degenerate Spanish-speaking residents,” a Colorado newspaper editor wrote in 1936. “The fatal marihuana cigarette must be recognized as a DEADLY DRUG, and American children must be PROTECTED AGAINST IT,” the Hearst newspapers editorialized.
Harry Anslinger, head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, headed the charge. “If the hideous monster Frankenstein came face to face with the monster marihuana, he would drop dead of fright,” he thundered in 1937.
An ambitious racist (a 1934 memo described an informant as a “ginger-colored nigger”) who had previously been federal assistant Prohibition commissioner, Anslinger railed against reefer in magazine articles like 1937's “Marihuana: Assassin of Youth.” It featured gory stories like that of Victor Licata, a once “sane, rather quiet young man” from Tampa, Fla., who'd killed his family with an axe in 1933, after becoming “pitifully crazed” from smoking “muggles.” (Actually, the Tampa police had tried to have Licata committed to a mental hospital before he started smoking pot.)
Anslinger's other theme was that white girls would be ruined once they'd experienced the lurid pleasures of having a black man's joint in their mouth. “Colored students at the Univ. of Minn. partying with female students (white) smoking and getting their sympathy with stories of racial persecution,” he noted. “Result, pregnancy.”
In 1937, after a very cursory debate, Congress enacted the Marihuana Tax Act, levying a prohibitive $100-an-ounce tax on cannabis. “I believe in some cases one cigarette might develop a homicidal mania,” Anslinger testified in a hearing on the bill.” (12)
Additional government action
Since the relegation of cannabis to Schedule I status, many, including Congressmen, have tried to get it moved from Schedule I, although unsuccessfully.
“During hearings on marijuana law in the 1930’s, claims were made about marijuana’s ability to cause men of color to become violent and solicit sex from white women. This imagery became the backdrop for the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 which effectively banned its use and sales.
While the Act was ruled unconstitutional years later, it was replaced with the Controlled Substances Act in the 1970’s which established Schedules for ranking substances according to their dangerousness and potential for addiction. Cannabis was placed in the most restrictive category, Schedule I, supposedly as a placeholder while then President Nixon commissioned a report to give a final recommendation.
The Schafer Commission, as it was called, declared that marijuana should not be in Schedule I and even doubted its designation as an illicit substance. However, Nixon discounted the recommendations of the commission, and marijuana remains a Schedule I substance.” (13)
Lack of knowledge results in remaining bias
The statements made by Anslinger and Nixon's actions were not supported by the facts. Many doctors and scientists, who at one time were against the medicinal use of cannabis, are now in full support of it. Few doctors know the history of it, but more and more are becoming aware. This is not surprising, because few medical doctors know anything about nutrition, since they receive no training in medical school, but more and more doctors are coming to the fact that all disease begins in the gut and that our gut microbiome is critical to our health.
Fortunately, there are many medical doctors who have become knowledgeable about cannabis and dosing for various forms of cancer, autoimmune diseases, and other ailments, and are actively supporting and prescribing the real thing, not the synthetic versions of it.
They are seeing amazing results, not a cure-all, but amazing results.
One such doctor who made the switch is Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Here is what he said in a letter:
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Source: Hamilton Nolan, “New Surgeon General: Dr. Sanjay Gupta,” gawker.com, Jan. 6, 2009
“I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a Schedule I substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have ‘no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.' They didn't have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn't have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications… We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.” (14)
Other plants at risk for assignment to Schedule I classification or private ownership
I am only going to list a few, because there are too many others to list. Pharmaceutical companies and chemical companies like Bayer, who recently purchased Monsanto, cannot patent natural substances. A patent gives its owner exclusive rights to sell its unique product. A natural substance, like a plant or a seed, cannot be patented, since it belongs to all. In order to patent something, it has to be genetically altered in a way that sets it apart from its natural counterpart. (15) This is exactly what Monsanto did with corn, soy, and cotton. They inserted a gene into the plant and then got a patent for the seeds of the new genetically altered plant, so that you have to pay them for use of the seeds. It is illegal to save the seeds from the harvest for the next year, and most of these plants have been genetically altered so that saved seeds will not germinate or grow another crop.
Interestingly, Bayer and Scott's, the company that makes Miracle Grow, are reported to be buying up legitimate marijuana grows and are working to genetically modify cannabis so that it can be patented and grown only by those companies. They stand to make billions if they are successful.
There is another herb-like plant called Kratom. ” Kratom is not a drug. Kratom is not an opiate. Kratom is not a synthetic substance. Naturally occurring Kratom is a safe herbal supplement that’s more akin to tea and coffee than any other substances. Kratom behaves as a partial mu-opioid receptor agonist and is used for pain management, energy, even depression and anxiety that are so common among Americans. Kratom contains no opiates, but it does bind to the same receptor sites in the brain. Chocolate, coffee, exercise and even human breast milk hit these receptor sites in a similar fashion.” (16)
There has never been a documented death from the use of cannabis.
This is also true of Kratom, yet six States have made it a Schedule I drug, even though it is not a drug. There have been thousands of deaths from the use of prescription drugs, as much documentation proves. “Prescription drugs kill over 100,000 people each year.” (17) According to the Center For Disease Control, 88,000 people died each year between 2006 and 2010, from excessive consumption of alcohol. (18) Alcohol is not a Schedule I substance and remains a legal product. I am not suggesting a conspiracy and I do not believe that alcohol should be illegal, but I think you will agree that politics and greed play a big part in determining what is legal and what is not.
Synthetic vs. Natural
Many of the natural plants we eat or use do not require further processing in order to experience their benefits. Eating raw cannabis will not produce a ‘high', since it must be heated to transform THCA into THC, which is why it is smoked by those seeking a ‘high'. The transformation of THCA into THC takes place around 380 degrees when smoked, and at about the same temperature when vaporized. In order to make edibles for ingestion, raw cannabis must be heated, decarboxylated, at a temperature of 250 degrees for about 30 minutes. This is accomplished in baking when cannabis is used for brownies or other baked goods.
Wine is made from grapes and ferments naturally. Whiskey is a distilled product made from various grains. Cocaine is made from a natural plant, but petroleum diesel is used in the process and its conversion into a damaging substance. PCP and Meth are made entirely from dangerous chemicals, as are most of the newer Schedule I drugs. The point is, that man-made chemically created foods and drinks have adverse side-effects much the same as synthetically produced drugs that try to mimic natural herbs and plants. Every edible and beneficial plant that God created, was created to be used in whole form, because different parts of the plant work in perfect synergy with other parts of the plant to provide a benefit.
The components of the cannabis plant
The cannabis plant is made up of hundreds of natural compounds, over four-hundred. (19) There are thirteen primary compounds that have been identified with definite and specific beneficial properties. Here is a link to a pie chart showing eleven of these. As you can see from the chart, some of the benefits overlap, but all of the benefits are realized when the whole plant is utilized as opposed to separating specific parts of the plant.
Two of the most widely known and talked about cannabinoids of the cannabis plant are THC and CBD. THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is the compound people are most familiar with and the one that makes people feel ‘high' or ‘relaxed'. It is also the compound that induces deep sleep at night. CBD or Cannabidiol, is a compound in Cannabis that has medical effects but does not make people feel “high” and actually counters some of the effects of THC. Higher amounts of CBD in relation to THC are used for epilepsy and pain relief.
This next quote from one of the most experienced and reliable sources on cannabis strains, and provides a more detailed look at cannabis compounds:
“One hefty word that belongs in every medical marijuana patient’s vocabulary is cannabinoid. Cannabinoids (e.g., THC and CBD) are the chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers that provide relief to an array of symptoms including pain, nausea, anxiety, and inflammation. These work their medicinal magic by imitating compounds our bodies naturally produce, called endocannabinoids, which activate to maintain internal stability and health. To put a complex system simply, they mediate communication between cells, and when there is a deficiency or problem with our endocannabinoid system, unpleasant symptoms and physical complications occur. When cannabis is consumed, cannabinoids bind to receptor sites throughout our brain (receptors called CB-1) and body (CB-2). Different cannabinoids have different effects depending on which receptors they bind to. For example, THC binds to receptors in the brain whereas CBN (cannabinol) has a strong affinity for CB-2 receptors located throughout the body. Depending on a cannabis product’s cannabinoid profile, different types of relief are achievable.” (20)
God equipped the human body with cannabinoid receptors
One of the most unique things about cannabis and its cannabinoids, is that our body has an endocannabinoid system. Our body doesn't have receptors for most Schedule I drugs, but it has receptors for cannabis. Consider this statement from the government pubmed:
“The endocannabinoid system has been recently recognized as an important modulatory system in the function of brain, endocrine, and immune tissues. It appears to play a very important regulatory role in the secretion of hormones related to reproductive functions and response to stress…………….. It is therefore possible to speculate about a future clinical use of CB1 antagonists, as a means of improving gonadotrophin pulsatility and fertilization capacity as well as the prevention of cardiovasculary disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus.” (21)
Cannabis is not the only plant that contains cannabinoids, because there are several others, including black pepper, but as of this writing, cannabis is the only plant to contain THC.
The significance of the endocannabinoid system in the body, the significance of the cannabinoid receptors, is that the body is designed to receive the cannabis plant, unlike the toxic and man-made synthetics and chemicals found in most pharmaceutical drugs. I find this to be very fascinating.
Another unique benefit of cannabinoids is that they cause apoptosis to cancer cells without destroying surrounding good cells or tissue. (22) Apoptosis is the induced death of a cell, any cell, but cannabis targets cancer cells specifically, for destruction.
It is not my goal or desire that you begin using cannabis.
In fact, if it is illegal in your State, you shouldn't use it if you have to break the law to do so. As of this writing, 29 States have legalized cannabis for at least medicinal use. It may be true that the motive behind this is to increase revenue for the State coffers, because most States add a 20% tax to the purchase of any cannabis for recreational use. The tax in most States is not added if the cannabis is purchased for medicinal use, but the purchaser must hold a valid State issued medical marijuana card.
State licensed dispensaries are the safest places to purchase cannabis, because even though black market sales are strong and less expensive, black market growers often have little regard for chemicals used as pesticides and fertilizers, which can and do negatively taint the product. All dispensary cannabis is lab tested, which is a good thing.
My goal is for you is to see cannabis for what it is; a God-created and a God-given plant. It can be abused, just like alcohol, but unlike alcohol, it doesn't kill people, and unlike alcohol, it heals people.
Most people seem to be trusting of synthetic and toxic chemical based pharmaceuticals, but don't often read the huge list of side-effects not printed on the label, due to insufficient space. These side-effects are not the result of overdosing, but can be the result of taking the medicine as prescribed.
Consider this example: Keytruda is a new pharmaceutical drug for advanced non-small cell lung cancer. The drug comes with packet information that instructs the recipient to immediately notify the doctor if any of these symptoms present: (23)
1. Lung problems (pneumonitis), 2. Intestinal problems (colitis) that can lead to tears or hole in your intestine, 3. Liver problems (hepatitis), 4. Hormone gland problems (especially the thyroid, pituitary, adrenal glands, and pancreas), 5. Kidney problems, including nephritis and kidney failure, 6. Problems in other organs, 7. Infusion reactions that can sometimes be severe and life-threatening.
It is interesting to note that these are listed under ‘warning', because there is a separate page listing the negative side-effects. The cannabis plant does not present with either these warnings or side-effects!
In fact, I recently heard the testimony of an elderly man who had been given all of the pharmaceutical medications for Stage IV lung cancer to no avail. He was given a few months to live and sent home to die. With nothing to lose, he ingested a small piece of cannabis edible every night and within several weeks, his lung cancer was gone, and has been gone, not in remission, but gone, for eight years.
Final note about cannabis
As I have already stated, cannabis is not a cure-all. Some folks benefit and some don't. Some cancers are cured, and some are not. One size does not fit all and dosing is something that should be guided by a doctor who is familiar with cannabis and knows your personal medical history. There are some people who shouldn't use cannabis, because of specific medical issues, but a good doctor will know what those issues are.
In an article about the benefits of cannabis for those who suffer with arthritis, the writer acknowledges that it will be some time before physicians learn the science behind it.
“Similar to other ailments, a gap exists between physician knowledge base about cannabis and patient interest. Some patients and physicians will wait until there is irrefutable evidence before trying cannabis as an alternative therapy. Others will not wait for more information and seek to improve their quality of life with cannabis now.” (24)
In an article entitled, Hypertension, the author, based on his research of studies, states that human cannabinoid system plays a role in the regulation of blood pressure and is positively affected by the cannabinoids in cannabis.
“Emerging research indicates that the endogenous cannabinoid system plays a role in regulating blood pressure, though its mechanism of action is not well understood. Animal studies demonstrate that anandamide and other endocannabinoids profoundly suppress cardiac contractility in hypertension and can normalize blood pressure,[2-3] leading some experts to speculate that the manipulation of the endocannabinoid system “may offer novel therapeutic approaches in a variety of cardiovascular disorders.“” (25)
A note of interest is that the government has studies that show the benefits of cannabis, because they have been testing the synthetic form of THC for several years, yet it remains listed as a dangerous drug. In a study entitled, Cumulative Lifetime Marijuana Use and Incident Cardiovascular Disease in Middle Age: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study, the conclusion states:
“Neither cumulative lifetime nor recent use of marijuana is associated with the incidence of CVD in middle age.” (26)
In another study entitled, Associations Between Cannabis Use and Physical Health Problems in Early Midlife: A Longitudinal Comparison of Persistent Cannabis vs Tobacco Users, the abstract conclusion states:
“Cannabis use for up to 20 years is associated with periodontal disease but is not associated with other physical health problems in early midlife.” (27)
Many players in the National Football League are plagued with pain and many are addicted to toxic and debilitating pain medications. Players are increasingly turning to medical marijuana for pain relief, because it works and doesn't have the negative side effects of prescription pain medications.
In an article entitled, NFL players fight pain with medical marijuana: ‘Managing it with pills was slowly killing me’, the Washington Post quotes Eugene Monroe:
“This pain is never going away. My body is damaged,” said Eugene Monroe, 30, who was released by the Baltimore Ravens last year three weeks after becoming the first active player to publicly call on the league to permit medical marijuana. “I have to manage it somehow. Managing it with pills was slowly killing me. Now I’m able to function and be extremely efficient by figuring out how to use different formulations of cannabis.” (28)
This is good news, considering that the long-term use of prescription pain medications is devastating. Although proven to have negative side effects and highly addictive, prescriptive pain medications like meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet), and fentanyl (Sublimaze, Duragesic), continue to be prescribed by doctors. We have an epidemic of deaths from abuse of OxyContin and fentanyl right now in this country and many legislators are trying to create laws to curb the abuse of these drugs, yet these drugs are listed as Schedule II, while marijuana is still listed as more dangerous under a Schedule I classification.
My hope is that your view of cannabis is changed based on your own research, and that you consider it as the healing plant that it is. I want to leave you with two links, both of which are unbiased, and both of which list beneficial medicinal uses of the cannabis plant — please visit these links as part of your research:
Now tell us what YOU think?
Is marijuana Good or bad?
If you've read all the way to the end, then you must be hardcore! In that case, you may want to look through these posts too:
- Vaccinations are another biggy that comes to mind when it comes to topics I realized that I was SO wrong about. Click here to peruse my posts about vaccine decisions.
- I'm Not Normal
- Where Focus on the Family is WRONG
- Is Buying Organic Food Worth it? Does it even Matter? A Point-by-Point Response to this Burning Question
- WE Can Help Ban Glyphosate — Real Foodies UNITE and Big Brother Be Gone!
- Benefits of CBD Oil and Do the Medicinal Properties of Marijuana Make You High?
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This was shared with permission: Valley Reformed Church, Bob Martin, Copyright 2017. Email: va[email protected]. Website: valleyreformedchurch.org.