Have you ever wondered what the big deal is about marijuana? Does it really have enough of a beneficial effect to consider it a “medicinal” plant? Well, yes. Doctors are discovering every day that in many cases, medical marijuana or cannabis is the best remedy they can give their patients. But here’s the point. We don’t necessarily have to use marijuana to get many of the same benefits that it offers. There are a few other ways to get similar effects.
Scientists at the National Centre of Competence in Research at Germany’s University of Bern have been investigating the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system refers to molecules that our bodies make called endocannabinoids that have the same healing effects that doctors see from medical marijuana. These scientists were looking to see how this system affects our brains and immune systems. And they also wanted to know how tapping into this system can relieve issues such as anxiety and inflammation.
Specifically, the researchers are investigating how to activate the endocannabinoid system so that it produces more endocannabinoids. So far, they’ve been able to do exactly that in mice. And they’re seeing the same kind of anti-inflammatory, pain-killing, and anti-anxiety effects that we see when we prescribe cannabis to our patients.
Of course, it’s easier to manipulate mice than humans. So the researchers are now looking for safe, natural ways to activate our own endocannabinoid systems. One method they’re experimenting with is using Echinacea purpurea, or the purple coneflower. If you’ve ever experienced relief from a cold thanks to Echinacea, it could be because the plant was stimulating your endocannabinoid system. This is definitely an interesting avenue for further research.
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However, Echinacea and marijuana aren’t the only ways to harness the power of the endocannabinoid system. Cannabis contains two active components: THC (tetra-hydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is the substance that can make people high or drugged. But CBD has none of these effects. And CBD, not THC, is often the active substance in cannabis that provides the medical benefits.
Marijuana isn’t the only plant source of CDB. I’ve written before about the hemp plant – which does not contain THC and therefore won't get you high. I mentioned that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced a new code for marijuana extract in December. The announcement effectively said that all compounds, whether they get you high or not, are considered Schedule I drugs, rendering them illegal in the United States. I think this is ridiculous. The good news is, the DEA isn't enforcing this rule, so you can still buy CBD. And many states have legalized it for medical purposes.
You can use CBD to safely treat a wide variety of symptoms, including pain, anxiety, cancer, seizures, epilepsy, migraines, and nausea. You can get the CBD that I use in the clinic and have good success with at www.fullspectrumhemp.com or by calling 833-355-4325. It's called CBD Gel With Turmeric. Start with 1 ml of the gel taken orally three times daily. Within a week, you should feel the effects. At that point, adjust the dose accordingly. And keep an eye out for more developments about endocannabinoid research. I think this is a very promising field of study.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD