Kanebosem/Cannabis: Tree of Life, Herb of Renown, Burning Bush

by Glen Swartwout

: Cannabis sativa:
One of the most important medicines


  • Over 5000 year medical history in China
  • In the world’s oldest pharmacology text, the Shen-Nung Pen-tshao
  • The only other member of the Cannabacea family is hops
  • The beer of the working class in India
  • The wine of the upper class in India
  • Sacramental use in Hindu, Mohammedan & other spiritual ceremonies
  • Major homeopathic remedy, the leading form of medicine in the world
  • Illegal in non-psychoactive potencies
  • Illegal even in purely energetic potencies with no cannabinoids (> 26 X)
  • The #2 prescribed herbal medicine until 1937
  • Best topical antibiotic of 2000 herbs studied
  • Ban opposed by AMA
  • Cannabinoids treat addiction (e.g. alcohol, opiates)
  • Ban promotes covert profit on hard drugs
  • The only botanical source of cannabinoids
  • Only legal source of cannabinoids is now petrochemical monopoly
  • Cannabinoids occur naturally in the human body
  • One of the most efficient sources of protein
  • The best single source of essential fatty acids
  • Diesel engine was designed to run on hemp seed oil
  • The best source of fiber for paper, cloth, rope
  • Constitution written on hemp by hemp growers
  • Levi jeans originally made of hemp fiber
  • Local hemp currency being developed
  • Elimination of industrial (non-medicinal) hemp caused deforestation
  • Randolph Hearst (media monopoly) owned timber rights
  • Commercial growing needs no pesticides
  • Grows in almost any soil and climate conditions
  • The only plant resistant to UV: survival food for ozone depletion
  • Essential for food, medicine, shelter, transportation, communication
  • Creating a ‘crime’ with no injured party is a criminal act
  • America incarcerates more of its citizens than any government in history
  • A ban on Cannabis sativa is an act of genocide and apartheid
  • Language technology exists for the correction of the laws
  • Law requires that we stop and correct all wrongs

The World Health Organization has acknowledged that traditional herbal medicines are absolutely essential to the health care of the world’s population. There is no question of caring for worldwide health needs without herbal medicine. There is no question regarding the sustainability and ecological wisdom of such an approach. What is in question in America in the latter portion of the 20th Century is the health and medical freedom to access a God-given source of healing.

Cannabis sativa in Botanical Medicine

Genesis 1:29 states that God has given us every herb bearing seed to use for food and medicine. Cannabis is one of the most important herbs for both food and medicine, historically, today, and for a sustainable future. In fact, with its unique immunity to ultraviolet radiation, it is one of the few plants that will survive if mankind destroys the ozone layer.

Cannabis sativa was historically, and is still, a major herbal and homeopathic medicine. The world’s oldest pharmacology text, the Chinese Shen-Nung Pen-tshao, from the reign of Emperor Shen Nung notes Cannabis’ usefulness in treatment of rheumatic pains, digestive problems, malaria, absentmindedness, female disorders and as an analgesic for surgery. It is referred to in Homer’s Odyssy (as it is a key component of the herbal combination: nepenthe) and reports by Marco Polo. With such therapeutic uses dating back 5000 years, it was eventually introduced into most parts of the world. In Ayurvedic (Hindu) medicine in India it was used to improve the mind, reduce fevers, improve sleep, treat dysentery, stimulate appetite, improve digestion, relieve headaches, and treat venereal disease. In Egypt, in the 20th century B.C., cannabis was used to treat sore eyes. Additional medical usage was not reported until much later. In African medicine it became known for its effects on malaria, fevers, snakebites, dysentery, restoration of appetite, tetanus, hydrophobia, delirium tremens, infantile convulsions, neuralgia and other nervous disorders, cholera, menorrhagia, rheumatism, hay fever, asthma, skin diseases as an antiseptic, and for pain relief with hemorrhoids and during childbirth. (O’Shaughnessy, 1842: 431). Cannabis was eventually introduced to modern European medicine after the invasion of Egypt by Napoleon. In Europe it was used initially for skin inflammation, coughs, venereal disease, and incontinence. Queen Victoria’s personal physician, Sir John Russell Reynolds, prescribed it for appetite stimulation, insomnia, and headaches. He wrote “When pure and administered carefully, it is one of the most valuable medicines we possess.”

In Greece, Cannabis was used for earache, edema, and inflammation. Galen, one of the founding fathers of medicine, wrote in the second century that it was customary to promote hilarity and happiness at banquets by giving the guests hemp. Cannabis has historically been a popular intoxicant and spiritual herb in cultures such as the Mohammedan and in the high Hindu castes, which forbade the use of alcohol. Known in India as the “giver of life” this hardy plant, which is easy and inexpensive to grow, is used around the world as a substitute for alcohol and even as a treatment for alcoholism. Its easy accessibility as a home-grown product makes it difficult to profit from, unless it is controlled and made illegal.

Three strengths of Cannabis preparations are used in India: bhang (an extract of leaves and stems of uncultivated plants in a pleasant tasting liquid form); ganja (which is more potent, derived from the flowering tops of cultivated plants) and charas (the most potent, like hashish, obtained by scraping the resin from the leaves of cultivated plants for smoking).

Religious use of Cannabis, known as the sacred grass during the Vedic period in India (Fort, 1969: 15) may have led to later discovery of medical uses (Blum and Associates, II, 1969: 73; Snyder, 1970: 125). Religious use of Cannabis helps “the user to free his mind from worldly distractions and to concentrate on the Supreme Being” (Barber, 1970: 80). Cannabis is used in Hindu and Sikh temples as well as Mohammedan shrines to assist with meditation and fasting. In Nepal, Cannabis is given out on specific feast days at Shiva temples (Blum & Associates, 1969, 11: 63).

According to Hindu scriptures, the Cannabis plant is holy. Bhang is “the joy giver, the sky flier, the heavenly guide, the poor man’s heaven, the soother of grief.…” The students of the scriptures of Benares are given bhang before they sit to study. At Benares, Ujjain and other holy places, yogis take deep draughts of Mang that they may center their thoughts on the Eternal.… By the help of Mang ascetics pass days without food or drink. The supporting power of Mang has brought many a Hindu family safely through the miseries of famine (Snyder, 1970: 125).


Cannabis is “still used extensively in the Ayruvedic, Unani and Tibbi systems of medicine of the Indian-Pakastani subcontinent” (“The Cannabis Problem, 1962: 27). In India “the medical systems . . . make much use of cannabis as a sedative, hypnotic, analgesic, anti-spasmodic and anti-hemorrhoidal” (Bulletin on Narcotics, 1962: 27). Cannabis reduces the secondary symptoms and suffering caused by the flu and the common cold.

Very little research attention has been given to the possibility that marihuana might protect some people from psychosis. Among users of the drug, the proportion of people with neuroses or personality disorders is usually higher than in the general population; one might therefore expect the incidence of psychoses also to be higher in this group. The fact that it is not suggests that for some mentally disturbed people, the escape provided by the drug may serve to prevent a psychotic breakdown (Grinspoon , 1969: 24).

Analgesic-hypnotic, appetite stimulant, antiepileptic, antispasmodic, prophylactic and treatment of the neuralgias, including migraine and tic douloureaux, antidepressant-tranquillizer, anti-asthmatic, oxytocic, anti-tussive, topical anesthetic, withdrawal agent for opiate and alcohol addiction, child birth analgesic, and antibiotic (Mikuriya . “Marihuana in Medicine: Past, Present and Future.” 1968: 39).

19th Century

Documents of the 19th century report on the use of cannabis to control diarrhea in cholera and to stimulate appetite. In his reports of the late 1830’s and early 1840’s, O’Shaughnessy (1842: 431) stated that tetanus could be arrested and cured when treated with extra large doses of cannabis.

John Bell, M.D., Boston, reported enthusiastically in 1857, about the effects of cannabis in the control of mental and emotional disorders as opposed to the use of “moral discipline” to restrain the mentally ill. Similarly, in 1858, Moureau. de Tours reported several case histories of manic and depressive disorders treated with hashish (Walton, 1938: 3).

The Ohio State Medical Society’s Committee on Cannabis Indica, convened in 1860, reported that their respondents claimed cannabis successfully treated neuralgic pain, dysmenorhea, uterine hemorrhage, hysteria, delirium tremens, mania, palsy, whooping cough, infantile convulsions, asthma, gonorrhea, nervous rheumatism, chronic bronchitis, muscular spasms, tetanus, epilepsy and appetite stimulation (McMeens, 1860: 1).

The India Hemp Commission (1894: 174) likewise was informed of similar medicinal uses for cannabis. Specific reports included the use of cannabis as an analgesic, a restorer of energy, a hemostat, an ecbolic, and an antidiaretic. Cannabis was also mentioned as an aid in treating hay fever, cholera, dysentery, gonorrhea, diabetes, impotence, urinary incontinence, swelling of the testicles, granulation of open sores, and chronic ulcers. Other beneficial effects attributed to cannabis were prevention of insomnia, relief of anxiety, protection against cholera, alleviation of hunger and as an aid to concentration of attention.

20th Century

Antibiotic activity is acknowledged in modern medicine. Cannabis is “active against gram positive organisms at 1/100,000 dilution [equivalent to a 5X homeopathic potency], but to be largely inactivated by plasma, so that prospects for its use appear to be confined to E. N. T. (ear, nose and throat) and skin infections.”

Dr. J. Kabelikovi (1952: 500-503) and his coworkers carried out tests on rats, which were similar to tests carried out with penicillin in vitro. The alcohol extract of cannabis was bacterially effective against many gram-positive and one gram-negative micro-organisms. It was also found that a paste form of external application was successful. According to Kabelikovi, “from a study of 2,000 herbs by Czechoslovakian scientists it was found that Cannabis indica (the Indian Hemp) was the most promising in the realm of antibiotics.”

In a 1959 publication of Pharmacie, Krejci stated: “From the flowering tips and leaves of hemp, cannabis sativa var indica bred in Middle Europe, were extracted a phenol and an acid fraction. From the acid fraction, two acids were obtained, of which one preserved its antibiotic properties” (p. 349). In another Czechoslovakian publication, Krejci (1961: 1351-1353) referred to two additional samples with antibiotic activity.

Both cannabidiolic acid and cannabidiol show antibiotic activity. The antibacterial action of Cannabis sativa is not identical to the effect found in tetrahydrocannabinol. Cannabis sativa is effective as an antibiotic for local infections.

Kabelik, Krejci, and Santavy (1960: 13) include in “Cannabis as a Medicant” the microorganisms against which cannabis is effective: staphylococcus pyogenes aureus, steptococcus alpha haemolyticus, streptococcus beta haemolyticus, enterococcus, diplococcus pneumonia, B. anthracis, and corynebacterium diptheriae i.e., all of them gram-positive microorganisms. Noteworthy is the effect upon staphylococcus aureaus strains, which are resistant to penicillin and to other antibiotics.

These authors also mentioned that E. coli (gram negative bacteria) were tested and found to be resistant to the cannabis extract. One of the conclusions was “the possibility of utilizing the antibiotics locally without any danger of producing resistant strains to other antibiotics administered at the same time throughout treatment” (Kabelik, et al., 1960: 13).

Veliky and Genest in “Suspension Culture of Cannabis Sativa,” (1970) reported that “the ethanol extract of cultured cells exhibited antibiotic activity against Bacillus megatherium, staphlococcus aureaus and escherichia coli” (p. 493).

Other reports said that “a pronounced antibiotic effect has been observed in South America, where fresh leaves, after being ground, are used as a poultice for furuncles, and in folk medicine in Europe for treatment of erysipelas” (Kabelik, et al., 1960: 8).

This section on the -antibiotic uses of cannabis concludes with a summary of several reports from various countries. In Pharmacopee Arabe: “The ground-up seeds are mixed with bread for people with tuberculosis” (Andrews and Vinkenoog, 1967: 145). In Czechoslovakia: “A preparation from seed pulp was . . . introduced by Sirek to act as a roborant diet in treatment of tuberculosis” (Kabelik, 1960: 8). “In Southern Rhodesia the plant is used as an African remedy for malaria, anthrax, sepsis, black water fever, dysentery, blood-poisoning, tropical quinine-malarial haemoglobinuria, and a wart medicine” (Watt, 1961: 13).

In Argentina: Cannabis is considered a real panacea for tetanus, colic, gastralgia, swelling of the liver, gonorrhoea, sterility, impotency, abortion, tuberculosis of the lungs and asthma … even the root-bark has been collected in spring, and employed as a febrifuge, tonic, for treatment of dysentery and gastralgia, either pulverized or in form of decoctions. The root when ground and applied to burns is said to relieve pain. Oil from the seeds has been frequently used even in treatment of cancer . . . (Kabelik, 1960: 8).

In 1949, Davis and Ramsey reported a study of the effect of THC on epileptic children. “The demonstration of anticonvulsant activity of the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) congeners by laboratory tests (Loewe and Goodman, Federation Proc., 6: 3521 1947) prompted clinical trial in five institutionalized epileptic children” (David and Ramsey, 1949: 284-285). Of these five children, all had severe symptomatic grand mal epilepsy with mental retardation; three also had cerebral palsy; and three had focal seizure activity. The EEG tracings were reported to be grossly abnormal in all five children. The results after treatment with homologues of THC, were reported as follows:

Three children-responded at least as well as to previous therapy.

Fourth child-almost completely seizure free. Fifth child-entirely seizure free.

As a result of their study, David and Ramsey (1949: 284-285) felt that “the cannabinols herein reported deserve further trial in non-institutionalized epileptics.”

Dr. Vansim of Edgewood Arsenal has written in a recently published book “Psychotomimetic Drugs,” that the synthetic preparations of cannabis are of interest. There are three areas where they may be of definite use in medicine (Efron, 1969: 333-334). One concerns the use of a cannabis analogue which Dr. Walter S. Loewe reported very effective in preventing grand mal seizures if given in small doses.

The second use refers to cannabis as an antidepressant. Straub (Walton, 1938: 3), Adams (1942: 726-727), and Stockings (1947, 920-922) point to the possible use of cannabis and cannabis analogues in relieving dysphoria in depressed patients. Other authors (Parker and Wrigley, 1950: 278-279) had lesser success but recommended further research in this field.

The third use is described by Douthwaite, who used hashish in 1947 “for reducing of anxiety and tension in patients with duodenal ulcer” (Pond, 1948: 279).

A report in a 1965 issue of Medical News (“Cardiac Glycocides,” p. 6) suggests cannabis as treatment for a specific form of malignancy.

Cannabis is recognized as an appetite stimulant, which suggests that the drug might be useful in the treatment of pathological loss of appetite known as anorexia nervosa (Grinspoon, 1969: 21). Similar symptoms exist in terminal cancer patients who, when treated with cannabis over a short period of time, demonstrated stimulation of appetite, euphoria, increased sense of well-being, mild analgesia and an indifference to pain which reduced the need for opiates (DHEW, 1971: 11).

Cannabis has been recently proposed as an adjunct in the treatment of alcoholics and drug addicts. Roger Adams (1942: 726-727) and Todd Mikuriya (1970a: 187-191) noted that the substitution of smoked cannabis for alcohol may have rehabilitative value for certain alcoholics.

Regarding the use of cannabis analogue in the treatment of drug, alcohol and depressive state withdrawal, Thompson and Proctor (1953: 520523) report the following:

Depressive States:
20 cases of neurotic depression-4 improved (20%)
6 cases of psychotic depression-none improved (00%)

Post-Alcoholic Cases:
70 cases–59 reported clinical alleviation of symptoms (84%)

Drug Cases:
6 cases of barbiturate addiction-4 reported amelioration of symptoms (66%)
4 cases of dilaudid addiction-3 reported alleviation (75%)
2 cases of pantopan and one paregoric addiction-all reported smooth withdrawal (100%)
12 cases of Demerol addiction-10 withdrawals in one week (83%)
6 cases of morphine addiction-2 withdrawals without unpleasant symptoms (33%)

The doctors concluded that “Pyrahexyl (a synthetic cannabis-like drug) and related compounds are beneficial in the treatment of withdrawal symptoms from the use of alcohol to a marked degree, and in the treatment of withdrawal symptoms from the use of opiates to a less marked, but still significant degree” (Thompson & Proctor, 1953:520-523).

Drs. Allentuck and Bowman (1942) undertook a study of the use of marihuana in the morphine abstinence syndrome. They stated:

A series of cases were selected from among drug addicts undergoing treatment. . . . Comparative results were charted for the gradual withdrawal, total withdrawal, and THC substitution, as methods of treatment. . . . 49 subjects were studied. The results in general, although still inconclusive, suggest that the marihuana substitution method ameliorated or eliminated (the symptoms) sooner, the patient was in a better frame of mind, his spirits elevated, his physical condition was more rapidly rehabilitated, and he expressed a wish to resume his occupation sooner (p. 250).

In his study of the medical application of cannabis for Mayor LaGuardia’s committee, Dr. Samuel Allentuck reported “favorable results in treating withdrawal of opiate addicts with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a powerful purified product of the hemp plants” (Mikuriya, 1969: 38).

Roger Adams’ detailed studies, as reported by Dr. C. K. Himmelsbach in his 1944 article “Treatment of the Morphine Abstinence Syndrome with a Synthetic Cannabis-Like Compound” (1944:26), indicated that “withdrawal manifestations were considered to be mild. The reported therapeutic value of marihuana was attributed to improved appetite, greater sleep, euphoria, and a reduction of the intensity or elimination of abstinence phenomena.”

The New York City Mayor LaGuardia’s Committee on Marihuana (1944: 147-148) reported two possible therapeutic applications of marihuana:

The first is the typical euphoria-producing action, which might be applicable in the treatment of various types of mental depression; the second is the rather unique property which results in the stimulation of appetite. In the light of this evidence and in view of the fact that there is a lack of any substantial Indication of dependence on the drug, It was reasoned that marihuana might be useful in alleviating the withdrawal symptoms in drug addicts. However, the studies here described were not sufficiently complete to establish the value of such treatment . . . .

A study was then undertaken at Riker’s Island (N.Y.) Penitentiary involving 56 morphine or heroin addicted inmates. Two groups were equally matched according to age, physical condition, length and intensity of habit, etc. One group received no treatment or Magendie’s solution, and the other received 15 mg. of THC and/or placebo.

“The impression was gained that those who received tetrahydrocannabinol had less severe withdrawal symptoms than those who received no treatment or who were treated with Magendie’s solution” the report stated. However, the report further said that this alleged therapeutic use of marihuana should be “investigated under completely controlled conditions” before meaningful conclusions can be developed (New York City Mayor, AU: 147-148).

Some reports indicate that cannabis helps relieve labor pains. Such uses are reported among native tribes in South Africa and Southern Rhodesia: “The Suto tribe fumigates the parturient woman to relieve pain;”the Sotho women of Basutoland “are reported as smoking cannabis to stupefy themselves during childbirth,” and have also been known to “administer the ground-up achene with bread or mealiepap to a child during weaning” (Watt, 1962:13).

The use of cannabis in the treatment of leprosy has been described in a 1939 dictionary of Malayan medicine: “Seeds of Hydnocarpus anthelmintim … form the basis of the Tai Foon Chee treatment of leprosy. After crushing and sieving, they are mixed with cannabis indica in the proportion of two parts of the seeds to one of Indian hemp” (Andrews and Vinkenoog, 1967: 146). Likewise, Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk quote Pappe that “the early colonist employed a decoction in the treatment of chronic cutaneous eruptions, possibly in leprosy (Andrews and Vinkenoog, 1967: 146).

Kabelik, Krejci, and Santavy have reported favorable results “in stornatitis aphtosa, gingivitis, and in paradentoses with a mouthwash of the following composition: Tinct. Cannabis 20.0, Tinct. Chamomillae, Tinct. jernmarum populi (or another tan for example, Tinct. Gallarum) aa 10.0 to be applied in the form of sprays or linaments to the inside of the mouth” (Kabelik et al., 1960: 13).

In reference to the use of cannabis, Chopra and Chopra (1957: 12-13) listed some preparations used in the practice of indigenous medicine in India in 1957. They summarize their article “The Use of the Cannabis Drugs in India” (1957: 12-13) by saying: “. . . with regard to the use of cannabis in Indian indigenous medicine at the present time, it may be said that It was and still is fairly extensively used in both the Ayurvedic (Hindu) and Tibbi (Mohammedan) systems of medicine as an anodyne, hypnotic, analgesic and antispasmodic, and as a remedy for external application to piles. It is also used in the treatment of dysmennorhoea, rheumatism, chronic diarrhoea of the sprue type, gonorrhoea, malaria and mental diseases on the advice of itinerant practitioners of Indigenous medicine as well as quacks who roam about the country. For medicinal purposes the drug is administered by mouth and hardly ever by smoking.”

Dr. R. N. Chopra (1940: 361) reports the following medicinal household uses of Indian Hemp: “The hemp drugs are popularly used as household remedies in the amelioration of many minor ailments. A mild beverage made from bhang leaves is believed to sharpen appetite and to help digestion. Indian hemp Is commonly used as a smoke and as a drink for its supposed prophylactic value against marihuana in malarious tracts. Bhang beverages form one of the popular household remedies for gonorrhoea and dysuria. On account of their mild diuretic and sedative properties these drinks probably give a certain amount of symptomatic relief. Likewise, the use of bhang for dysmenorrhea, asthma, and other spasmodic conditions is not uncommon. A poultice made from fresh leaves is a common household remedy for painful affections of the eyes, conjunctivitis, swollen joints, orchitis, and other acute inflammatory conditions.
Tuberculosis, anthrax, tetanus, and menstrual cramps are among the miscellaneous medical uses of cannabis reported. Reports from Mexico indicate the use of marihuana smoking “to relax and to endure heat and fatigue” (Mikuriya, 1969: 37).

Kabelik et al. (1960: 13) also discuss other varied uses of cannabis. In human therapy the best results have been obtained with the following medicaments combined with substances derived from cannabis: dusting powder together with boric acid (otitis), ointment (staphylococcus infected wounds, staphylodermia and so on), ear drops (otitis chron.), alcohol solutions with glycerine (treatment of rhagades on the nipples of nursing women-prevention of staphylococcic mastitis,) aqueous emulsions (sinusitis), dentin powder with the IRC (Isolated Resin from Cannabis) (caries). The preparations mentioned above have been already tested clinically.

In veterinary medicine for preventive medicine for anthropozoonoses.

Murphy (1963: 20) refers to an article by Lang, “Treatment of Acute Appendicitis with a Mixture of Ma Jen,” which says “the drug has apparently been used in China for the treatment of appendicitis.” The Xosa tribe in South Africa “employs it for treatment of inflammation of the feet” (Kabelik et al., 1960: 7), while the Mfengu and Hottentot use the plant as a snake-bite remedy (Watt, 1962: 13).

Other therapeutic uses attributed to marihuana are for the treatment of migraine headaches, as an analgesic, and as a hypnotic. Hollister (1971: 28) stated that “other uses which have been proposed for marihuana include the treatment of epilepsy, as prophylaxis for attacks of migraine or facial neuralgia, or as a sexual stimulant.”

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In American medicine between 1840 and 1890, more than 100 articles were published validating many of the traditional uses of Cannabis with new research. The field of psychotherapy became interested in the use of Cannabis for opening the mind and assisting with the resolution of emotional problems. By the 1890’s, most large pharmaceutical companies, including Eli Lilly and Parke-Davis, carried pharmaceutical Cannabis.

King’s American Dispensatory lists the effects of as “anodyne, hypnotic, antispasmodic and phrenic, producing sleep even where morphine has failed, and without impairing the appetite, repressing the secretions, or causing constipation like opium and its preparations. It frequently allays pain, and has been found of great benefit in hysteria, chorea, and other nervous affections.” In moderate doses, it “lessens pain, checks spasmodic action, improves the appetite, causes sleep, [and] exhilaration of spirits.” “Medicinally, in small doses, its effects are less intense than those of opium, and the excretions are not so much suppressed by it; it does not disturb digestion, rather increases the appetite, seldom induces sickness of the stomach, never causes congestion, and disturbs the expectoration far less than opium, also effects [s.i.c.] the nervous system much less, and produces a more natural sleep without interfering with the actions of the internal organs. Cannabis is one of the most important of our remedies [emphasis added], but like our best agents, it must not be used indiscriminately, but its cases should be specifically selected. The great indication for cannabis (the keynote) is marked nervous depression. With this indication present it will fulfil a multitude of uses. Specifically selected it has been efficient in delirium tremens, wakefulness in fevers, neuralgia, gout, rheumatism, infantile convulsions, low mental conditions, insanity, etc., and in inflammatory conditions in cases where opium disagrees, and is often preferable to opium. Acute mania and dementia, epilepsy, hysterical catalepsy, cerebral softening (with potassium bromide), anemia of the cerebral cortex, paralysis agitans and senile tremors, traumatic or idiopathic tetanus, and irritable reflexes, are among the nervous disorders in which it exerts a positively beneficial and soothing action, when depression is the guide to its selection. In mental disturbances the guides to its use are mental oppression, a dull, drowsy, or stupid countenance (a dreamy condition), with dizziness and violent throbbings in the head, and a morbid fear of becoming insane. The patient sometimes has an “exaggerated idea of time and space” (Webster). The drug is a useful hypnotic for the insane. As a remedy for pain, it ranks among the first; the more spasmodic the pain the better it acts. The neuralgic pains of depression are those most quickly relieved. It should be administered in painful states of the stomach, as gastric neuralgia, nervous gastralgia, in gastric ulcers, where opium is inadmissible, and in pain due to indigestion. The pains attending lientery, after-pains, the passage of renal and hepatic calculi, gout, neuralgia of the uterus, cancer, locomotor ataxia, are all met by it, and, added to purgatives, it mitigates their griping effects. It relieves the itching of cutaneous disorders, particularly that of senile pruritis and eczematous affections. Migraine, nervous headache, facial, and other neuralgias, whether due to catamenial wrongs or attending the menopause, as well as those depending upon fatigue, are relieved when nervous depression is the most marked symptom. Head-pains, due to tumors, have been asserted to yield to cannabis. The pains of chronic rheumatism, sciatica, spinal meningitis, dysmenorrhea, endometritis, subinvolution, and the vague pains of amenorrhea, with depression, call for cannabis. Owing to a special action upon the reproductive apparatus, it is accredited with averting threatened abortion. It is a prominent remedy for certain spasmodic conditions and especially in the choreic states of weak women and children. It mitigates whooping-cough and other convulsive coughs; alleviates palpitation of the heart, with stitching pain in the part; quiets hysterical manifestations, and allays the distressing symptoms of spasmodic asthma, and periodic hyperaesthetic rhinitis. It is a valuable remedy in senile catarrh, with harrassing cough and profuse mucous expectoration, and, both internally and by inhalation, it has afforded relief in the painful cough of consumptives.”

“Cannabis is said in many cases to increase the strength of the uterine contractions during parturition, in atonic conditions, without the unpleasant consequences of ergot, and for which purpose it should be used in the form of tincture (see below), 30 drops, or specific cannabis, 10 drops, in sweetened water or mucilage, as often as required. In menorrhagia, the tincture in doses of 5 or 10 drops, 3 or 4 times a day, has checked the discharge in 24 to 48 hours.”

“The greatest reputation of cannabis has been acquired from its prompt results in certain disorders of the genito-urinary tract. In fact, its second great keynote or indication is irritation of the genito-urinary tract, and the indication is even of more value when associated with general nervous depression.”

“It is, therefore, useful in gonorrhea, chronic irritation of the bladder, in chronic cystitis, with painful micturition, and in painful urinary affections generally. It makes no difference whether a urethritis be specific or not, or whether it is acute or chronic, the irritation is a sufficient guide to the selection of cannabis. Use it in gonorrhea to relieve the ardor urinae, and to prevent urethral spasm and avert chordee, and in gleet, to relieve the irritation and discharge; employ it also in spasm of the vesical sphincter, in dysuria and in strangury, when spasmodic. Burning and scalding in passing urine, with frequent desire to micturate, are always relieved by cannabis. The following is said to be a certain cure for gonorrhea: Take, while in blossom, equal parts of the tops of the male and female hemp (Cannabis sativa), bruise them in a mortar, and express the juice; to this add an equal portion of alcohol. Dose, from 1 to 3 drops every 2 to 3 hours. It should be remembered that the American hemp has the same properties as the Indian hemp, but is a much feebler product – the difference, therefore, not being, as some have indicated, in action, but merely in degree. Cannabis has been recommended in diabetes and hematuria, and in Bright’s disease, with painful voiding of bloody urine, it is strongly endorsed. By its control over the mental functions, it controls lascivious thoughts, dreams and desires, and is, therefore, of some value in nocturnal seminal emissions. Probably its control over urethral irritation contributes to its value here. In this manner impotence is said to have been cured by it. Cannabis has some reputation as a remedy for chronic alcoholism, and for the cure of the opium habit.”

“Externally, the resin may be applied endermically or in embrocation with oils, ointments, chloroform, etc., in inflammatory and neuralgic affections. It may also be used in injections. The green plant collected in the spring, and 2 or 3 twigs placed in or between beds, will, it is asserted, certainly and effectually cause bedbugs to remove from the room in which they are used. Hemp seed, in infusion, has been found very useful in after-pains, and in the bearing-down sensation accompanying prolapsus uteri. A combination of cannabis, collodion, and salicylic acid has been used to destroy corns, the extract of the hemp acting as an anodyne.”

“A tincture may be made by dissolving 24 grains of the resinous extract in a fluid ounce of rectified spirit; for ordinary purposes, its dose is from 10 to 30 drops. The extract varies in strength, which will require a variation in the doses. When well prepared, the dose is from 1/2 grain to 1 grain; but this may vary from 1 grain to 20 grains, depending entirely on the quality of the article. The English extract is a good preparation, and of all extracts, the smaller dose is said to be an efficient hypnotic, though many declare it inefficient for this purpose. The best preparation is the specific cannabis, which may be given in doses of a fraction of a drop to 10 drops. The ordinary prescription for its specific effects is: Rx Specific cannabis, gtt. v to xxx; aqua, fl oz iv. Mix. Dose, a teaspoonful every 1/2 to 2 or 3 hours.”

“Specific indications and Uses. – Great nervous depression; irritation of the genito-urinary tract; painful micturition, with tenesmus; ardor urinae, scalding, burning, frequent micturition; low mental conditions; wakefulness; insomnia, with unpleasant dreams during momentary sleep; spasmodic and painful conditions, with nervous depression; mental illusions; menstrual headache; palpitation of the heart, with sharp stitching pains in the heart; hallucinations; cerebral anemia, from spasm of cerebral vessels.”

When, without the knowledge of America’s physicians, medical access to Cannabis was politically threatened, Dr. William C. Woodward, Legislative Counsel to the AMA, the only physician to be a witness at the Taxation of Marihuana hearings, despite the fact that he opposed cannabis use, stated:

“There are exceptions in treatment in which cannabis cannot apparently be successfully subsituted for. The work of Pascal seems to show that Indian Hemp has remarkable properties in revealing the subconscious; hence, it can be used for psychological, psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic research.” (Hearings, House of Representatives, 1937: 91)

Cannabis sativa in Homeopathic Medicine

According to Clarke,Cannabis sativa was generally prescribed by homeopathic physicians as a tincture of the male and female flowering tops for conditions including ascites, asthma, cataract, cystitis, corneal opacity, contractions in the fingers, gonorrhea, headache, hysteria, infantile leucorrhea, nephritis, nose-bleed, palpitation, phimosis, pleurisy, pneumonia, post-partum hemorrhage, priapism, stammering, tetanus, mucus in the trachea and urethral caruncle.

Some of the general therapeutic effects of the tincture include the relief of “acute drawing, and contractive, pressive pains, with sensation of paralysis, or shocks and deep shootings in different parts, or else a sensation as if pinched with the fingers. – Rheumatic pulling during movement, apparently in the periosteum. – General dejection, with tottering and soreness of knees. – Great fatigue, from having spoken or written. – Tetanus, chiefly in the upper limbs, and in the trunk…” etcetera

In addition, Clarke lists many specific symptoms that this remedy allieviates, affecting the mind, head, eyes, ears, nose, face, mouth, stomach, abdomen, stool and anus, urinary organs, male sexual organs, female sexual organs, respiratory organs, chest, heart, neck and back, upper limbs, lower limbs, sleep and fever.

Cannabis sativa in Modern Medicine

Cannabis was only removed from the United States pharmacopeia by the political interference of The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Spokesmen of the American Medical Association (AMA) testified against the bill, as it would compromise physicians’ and patients’ access to an important and well-established medicine.

Specifically in my field of specialty, more recent research has explored the possible use of the herb Cannabis sativa (hemp), either topically on the eye or systemically, to reduce IOP (Intra Ocular Pressure) in glaucoma. With the potential to decrease eye pressure by 51%, it is the most effective agent known for IOP reduction. Smoking this herb unfortunately can result in numerous side effects including tachycardia (speeding heart rate by 22 to 65%, the opposite of beta blockers), low blood pressure, a false sense of euphoria, photophobia, blepharospasm, dry eyes, and loss of short term memory.

Extracts of this herb were used widely in medicine until early in this century, when the economics of the paper industry resulted in political action against its abuse as a recreational drug. Now, hemp oil and a variety of hemp seed products are becoming more available, providing an excellent source of essential fatty acids to nourish the nerves of the eye. Tinctures and homeopathics, however, remain unavailable, even high potency homeopathics that contain absolutely no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The herb was banned even for medical purposes in 1992. More recently, an increasing number of states are approving lawful medical uses of the therapeutic herb for glaucoma and other medical conditions.

Cannabis contains over 60 compounds referred to as cannabinoids. The only other member of the Cannabaceae family is hops (Humulus lupulus), which contains no cannabinoids, but is an important ingredient in beer. Since cannabinoids are also found naturally in the human brain, it is likely that Cannabis sativa produces them specifically for interaction with our human species, Homo sapien. The cannabinoid D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is generally considered to be the most active chemical of cannabis, but other cannabinoids may also have therapeutic properties and/or affect the activity of THC. THC, cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids dissolve only in fats or fat-like materials. Cannabinoids are weak acids in the fresh plant, but are converted to their neutral form when they are aged, dried and heated. In their acid forms, cannabinoids have minimal psychological and medical effects; they become much more active after conversion to neutral forms.


Group Abbreviation # Variants
D9-Tetrahydrocannabinol D9-THC 9
D8-Tetrahydrocannabinol D8-THC 2
Cannabichromene CBC 5
Cannabicyclol CBL 3
Cannabidiol CBD 7
Cannabielsoin CBE 5
Cannabigerol CBG 6
Cannabinidiol CBND 2
Cannabinol CBN 7
Cannabinol CBT 9
Miscellaneous — 11

The pharmacology of many cannabinoids is unknown, except the one that is synthesized as a drug and sold for profit by the world’s most lucrative industry today. THC communicates with two receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors in the brain produce psychoactive effects. CB2 receptors are mainly located in the immune system and are normally activated by the compound anandamide produced in the body. Anandamide has a weaker effect than THC.

Cannabidiol (CBD) does not have a direct psychoactive effect on the brain but does affect brain synthesis of THC. CBD seems to either reduce euphoria or delay and possibly prolong the euphoria of THC.

Synthetic THC

Marinol is an expensive synthetic petrochemical analog of one component of THC (plus 5% of an impurity: delta-8 THC), which is only one of over 400 compounds in Cannabis sativa, which contains about 5% THC, the psychoactive drug in marijuana. THC, or Delta-9-THC is actually a generic term for four separate cannabinol compounds and two mixtures of such compounds, that is, four stereochemical variants of the parent substance and two racemates. One of these stereochemical variants, the (-) delta-9-trans-THC isomer, is presently considered the principle psychoactive ingredient of Cannabis sativa. This isomer is also the active ingredient of a pharmaceutical product shown safe and effective as an anti-emetic for patients on chemotherapy. It’s chemical identification is (6aR-trans)-6a,7,8,10a-tetrahydro-6,6,9-trimethyl-3-pentyl-6H-dibenzo[b,d]-pyran-1-ol. The International Nonproprietary Name (INN) and the U.S. Adopted Name (USAN) for this isomer of delta-9-THC is dronabinol. It is manufactured at Norac Industries in California by reacting olivitol (made by Carl Nocka for Sandoz) and paramenthadianol from Sandoz (a Swiss company) in New Jersey. For weight gain, Unimed has been granted a monopoly on production as an orphan drug. There has never been a death or an overdose of THC in any form.

The bottom line is that 95% synthetic THC is a legally monopolized Schedule 2 drug (since 1985), with profits going to foreign drug pushers, while 5% THC which you can grow in America is supposedly illegal as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, somehow considered more dangerous than the more pure, less natural source. This is the equivalent of saying that synthetic Vitamin C is legal, but rose hips are one of the most dangerous substances. Dangerous to whom? A precursor of a drug, such as Cannabis is for natural THC, cannot be in a higher schedule than the drug itself, so the only way this backwards situation can be maintained is that the drug is synthesized from petrochemicals rather than extracted from the plant itself.

Cannabis…a unique medicine

A 1996 poll conducted for the ACLU found that 83% of American voters agreed with the statement: “People who find that marijuana is effective for their medical needs like treating glaucoma and relieving nausea from chemotherapy, should be able to use it legally.” Only 11% disagreed.

A large body of clinical research exists concerning the use of cannabis and cannabinoids for chemotherapy- induced nausea and vomiting. A review of the medical literature reveals at least 31 human clinical trials examining the effects of cannabis or synthetic cannabinoids on nausea, not including several U.S. state trails that took place between 1978 and 1986. (1)In reviewing this literature, Hall et al. concluded that “… THC delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is superior to placebo, and equivalent in effectiveness to other widely-used anti-emetic drugs, in its capacity to reduce the nausea and vomiting caused by some chemotharapy regimens in some cancer patients.” (2)

In addition, inhaled cannabis was shown to be an effective anti-nausea agent in a series of FDA-approved state board of health studies, often outperforming oral THC. For example, the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy found “an approximately 23 percent higher success rate among those patients smoking than among those patients administered THC capsules.” (3)The New Mexico Health Department noted similar results in their study (4): “Overall, with both routes of administration combined, 74.83 percent of the patients showed a positive response, which is significant statistically,” they wrote. “When the routes of administration were analyzed separately; it was found that inhalation was far superior to ingestion: 90.39 percent of the patients in the group that inhaled marijuana showed improvement while only 59.65 percent of the patients in the group that orally ingested the delta-9-THC showed improvement.” (4) Results of Michigan’s trial found that patients responded better to inhaled cannabis than standard anti-emetic drugs. (5) Cannabis was also found to be a safe an effective anti-nauseant in studies performed in California, Georgia, and New York. (6) A 1988 study conducted in New York also found inhaled cannabis to be “moderately to very effective” and preferable to oral THC. (7)

Authors of the 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base,” said that some patients already experiencing severe nausea or vomiting likely prefer inhaling cannabis over pills because pills take effect slowly and may be difficult to digest. “Thus an inhalation … cannabinoid drug delivery system would be advantageous for treating chemotherapy induced nausea,” they determined. (8)

Moreover, the IOM acknowledged that there are certain cancer patients for whom cannabis should be a valid medical option. They maintain: “Until the development of a rapid onset anti-emetic delivery device, there will likely remain a subpopulation of patients for whom standard anti-emetic therapy is ineffective and who suffer from debilitating emesis. It is possible that the harmful effects of smoking marijuana for a limited period of time might be outweighed by the anti-emetic benefits of marijuana, at least for patients for whom standard anti-emetic therapy is ineffective and who suffer from debilitating emesis.” (9) Not surprisingly, many oncologists recommend cannabis to their patients despite its prohibition. (10)

Additionally, the IOM noted that cannabinoids seem to stimulate appetite in some cancer patients (11) and alleviate pain associated with the disease. (12). A double-blind placebo-controlled study by Drs. Noyes et al. found that THC produced significant analgesia, enhanced appetite, and anti-emesis in patients with cancer pain. (13) A follow up study also reported that THC ameliorated cancer pain, and also improved mood and a sense of well being among cancer patients. (14) Presently, oral synthetic THC, known as Dronabinol (a.k.a. Marinol), is approved by the FDA for treatment of nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy.

It appears evident that many patients suffering from the pain, appetite loss, and emesis associated with cancer and chemotherapy can find therapeutic benefits from cannabis-based medicines.

“Review of the Human Studies on the Medical Use of Marijuana,” Dale Gieringer, Ph.D. (1996).
W. Hall, et al., The Health and Psychological Consequences of Cannabis Use, Canberra, Australian Government Publishing Service (1994): 189.
Annual Report: Evaluation of Marijuana and Tetrahydrocannabinol in Treatment of Nausea and/or Vomiting Associated with Cancer Chemotherapy Unresponsive to Conventional Anti-Emetic Therapy: Efficacy and Toxicity, Board of Pharmacy, State of Tennessee (1983) 5;
R. McNeill, The Lynn Pierson Therapeutic Research Program: A Report on Progress to Date, Behavioral Health Services Division, Health and Environment Department, State of New Mexico (1983), 4;
“Michigan Department of Public Health Marijuana Therapeutic research Project, Trial A 1980-81,” Department of Social Oncology, Evaluation Unit, Michigan Cancer Foundation (1982).
K. Zeese, “Marijuana: Medical Effectiveness Is Proven By Research,” Falls Church, VA: Common Sense for Drug Policy (1997).
V. Vinciguerra et al., “Inhalation marijuana as an anti-emetic for cancer chemotherapy,” New York Journal of Medicine (1988): 525-527.
J. Joy et al., “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base”, Washington D.C.: National Academy Press (1999), Chapter 4, Section 4.17 (uncorrected proofs copy).
R. Doblin et al., “Marijuana as an anti-emetic medicine: a survey of oncologists’ attitudes and experiences,” Journal of Clinical Oncology 9 (1991): 1275-1290.
J. Joy et al., “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base”, Chapter 4, Section 4.21 (uncorrected proofs copy).
Ibid., Section 4.6.
R. Noyes et al., “Analgesic effect of delta-9-tertahydrocannabinol,” Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 15 (1975): 139-143.
R. Noyes et al., “The analgesic properties of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and codeine,” Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 18 (1975): 84-89.

A majority of voters favors making Cannabis sativa legally available for medical use even in the absence of medical research. In response to the statement: “Conclusive tests on the possible medical uses of marijuana have not been completed. Would you favor or oppose making marijuana legally available for medical uses, even though testing has not be complete?,” 55% were in favor, while 42% were opposed. The survey was designed with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1%.

One of Marinol’s main uses is for cancer patients suffering from current medical treatments: nausea caused by barbaric chemotherapy and radiation. What do oncologists think about natural versus synthetic source THC?

Researchers at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government conducted a survey of 10% of America’s oncologists. The results were published in the July 1st issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, 44% of them said they had already prescribed smoking natural-source THC despite the possibility of prosecution. About two-thirds agreed that marijuana was an effective anti-emetic, while 77% of those who expressed a preference said that smoking marijuana is more effective than oral (synthetic) THC. The only obvious reason for keeping natural THC in Schedule 1, which means there is no medical use, versus Schedule 2 (with some medical use, but with potential for addiction), like cocaine and their source, coca leaves, is money, not medicine.

Research shows several areas of promise for THC as a modern drug. THC is a safe and effective anti-emetic (anti-nausea). In one study, 78% of patients who failed to respond to standard drugs became symptom-free. Smoking natural THC is more effective than the oral synthetic pills. In studies where cancer patients were given a choice between using inhaled marijuana and oral THC, they chose Cannabis overwhelmingly.

For patients at risk for cancer, a possible side benefit of Cannabinoids is reduction in the size of tumors by 25 to 82% with a corresponding increase in survival time. A study by the U.S. National Toxicology Program shows that mice and rats given high doses of THC over long periods of time have a dose dependent reduction in benign and malignant neoplasms relative to controls. These and other animal studies show that THC and other cannabinoids have anti-cancer effects.

Human studies are just beginning. The naturally occuring endocannabinoid anandamide, of which Cannabis is the only natural source of analog compounds, “potently and selectively inhibits the proliferation of human breast cancer cells in vitro” through interference with their production of DNA. Non-mammary tumors were not affected by anandamide in this study. Much more research is needed, but illegal, on the most potent cannabinoids: those found in Cannabis sativa.

THC reduces intraocular pressure (IOP) in glaucoma. In a 94-day study, no tolerance was developed to the IOP-lowering effect.

Glaucoma is a disorder that results from an imbalance of pressure within the eye. The condition is characterized by an increase in intraocular pressure (IOP) that progressively impairs vision and may lead to permanent blindness. Glaucoma remains second leading cause of blindness in the United States, afflicting some one million Americans.

The aim of glaucoma treatment is to reduce interocular pressure. Several human studies demonstrate that inhaled cannabis lowers IOP in subjects with normal IOP and glaucoma. (1) Some animal studies indicate that cannabis can also be effective when administered topically (e.g. as an eye drop.) (2) Two of the eight legal U.S. medical marijuana patients have used government cannabis to effectively maintain their eyesight for more than a decade.

After reviewing the existing evidence, the Australian National Task Force on Cannabis determined that cannabinoid therapy should be a legal option for glaucoma patients. The Task Force concluded: “There is reasonable evidence for the potential efficacy of THC in the treatment of glaucoma, especially in cases which have proven resistant to existing anti-glaucoma agents. Further research is clearly required, but this should not prevent its use under medical supervision.” (8)

The 1999 [Institute of Medicine] report also acknowledged cannabis’ ability to temporarily lower IOP, but cautioned against long-term marijuana use because of potential side effects inherent to lifelong smoking. They determined: “High intraocular pressure (IOP) is a known risk factor for glaucoma and can, indeed, be reduced by cannabinoids and marijuana. However, the effect is … short lived and … the potential harmful effects of chronic marijuana smoking outweigh its modest benefits in the treatment of glaucoma.” (9)

An earlier National Institutes of Health (NIH) Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana noted similar concerns but added that “further studies … to determine the efficacy of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and marijuana in the treatment of glaucoma are justified.” (10)

A potential concern for glaucoma patients considering cannabis therapy aside from the risks associated with long-term smoking (which may be ameliorated by ingesting cannabis, as some patients report doing [11] is that scientists remain unaware how cannabinoids reduce IOP. (12) Dr. Linda Growing et al., write in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review that: “The potential for cannabis [as a treatment for glaucoma] depends, in part, on whether it acts via the same mechanism as current therapies or by a different one. If the mechanism is unique, cannabis may be useful to provide an additive effect where the response to standard therapies is incomplete. If the mechanism is identical to existing therapies, the benefit/risk ratio is probably unfavorable.” (13)

National Institutes of Health, “Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana, Report to the Director,” Washington, D.C. (1997).
L. Grinspoon et al., “Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine” (second edition) New haven, CT: Yale University Press (1997), 47.
R. Hepler et al., “Marijuana smoking and intraocular pressure,” Journal of the American Medical Association 217 (1971): 1392.
R. Hepler et al., “Ocular Effects of Marijuana Smoking,” in The Pharmacology of Marijuana, ed. M. Braude et al., 2 vols., New York: Raven Press (1976), 2: 815-824 as cited by L. Grinspoon et al., “Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine” (second edition), 47.
National Institutes of Health, “Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana, Report to the Director.”
“Review Of Human Studies On Medical Use Of Marijuana,” Dale Gieringer, Ph.D. (1996).
K. Zeese, “Marijuana: Medical Effectiveness Is Proven By Research,” Falls Church, VA: Common Sense for Drug Policy (1997), 5-6.
W. Hall, et al., The Health and Psychological Consequences of Cannabis Use, Canberra, Australian Government Publishing Service (1994): 199.
Joy et al., “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base”, Washington D.C.: National Academy Press (1999), 177
National Institutes of Health, “Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana, Report to the Director.”
B. Zimmerman et al., “Is Marijuana the Right Medicine for You”? A Factual Guide to the Medical Uses of Marijuana, New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing (1998), 67.
L. Growing et al., “Therapeutic uses of cannabis: clarifying the debate,” Drug and Alcohol Review 17 (1998): 445-452

In addition, cannabinoids, especially THC and cannabidiol (CBD) are neuroprotective, with research at the National Institutes for Mental Health (NIMH) showing potent anti-oxidant effects. Head injury, stroke and glaucoma are associated with excess buildup of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate which irreversibly damages neurons. CBD, only available from Cannabis, is non-psychoactive, fast acting, and nontoxic. CBD protects rat neurons against glutamate better than vitamin C or E.


High blood pressure, or hypertension, afflicts between 10 and 20 percent of adults in Western societies. This condition puts a strain on the heart and blood vessels and greatly increases the risk of stroke and heart disease.

Research is currently being conducted at the University of Nottingham Medical School (U.K.) to better determine the effects of endocannabinoids, cannabis-like chemicals produced naturally by the body, on circulation. (1) Scientists recently discovered that the endocannabinoid anandamide relaxes blood vessels, which can reduce blood pressure by allowing blood to flow more freely, but do not yet comprehend how they are produced or cause changes in the body. (2)

Lead researcher Dr. David Kendall of the Queen’s Medical Centre says: “This research should tell us a great deal more about how these substances affect our circulation. This is a new and exciting area of research which could ultimately lead to better treatments for a range of cardiovascular diseases.” (3)

In his book Marihuana the Forbidden Medicine, Dr. Lester Grinspoon (with James Bakalar) recounts one patient’s account of using cannabis to successfully treat hypertension. “Cannabis is … the first drug that has been effective in controlling my high blood pressure,” the patient writes. “I have taken so many others that I can’t remember their names, but the result was always the same: they either didn’t work or caused such horrible side effects that I needed more drugs, which only raised my blood pressure again. Since I began smoking cannabis, my blood pressure has remained relatively constant at 130 over 80.” (4)

Former California gubernatorial candidate Steve Kubby also gives strong anecdotal evidence of cannabis’ ability to control hypertension. Kubby has used inhaled marijuana to control hypertension associated with malignant pheochromocytoma, a usually fatal cancer he contracted 15 years ago. (5) Several of Kubby’s phsysicians, including Dr. Vincent DeQuattro of the hypertension diagnostic laboratory at the University of Southern California Medical School, speculate that his marijuana therapy may have extended his life. “In some amazing fashion, this medication has not only controlled the symptoms of the disease, but in my view, has arrested growth,” DeQuattro says. He adds that he knows of no other patient who has survived as long with the disease. (6)

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report on medical cannabis acknowledged that smoking cannabis can lower blood pressure, but warns that it may also increase heart rate in some users (7). They concluded that the latter effect may pose a health risk for patients with a history of angina or other cardiovascular disease, and recommend that they be excluded from any clinical trials of cannabis-based medicines. (8)

Similarly, a 1982 Institute of Medicine report, “Marijuana and Health,” also warned of cannabis’ acute effects on circulation. Researchers wrote “human blood pressure usually increases moderately on acute administration of delta-9-THC,” but noted that it typically slows heart rate in non-human mammals. (9)

While cannabis may potentially be beneficial in reducing blood pressure, specific studies have not been conducted to determine how safely and effectively it controls this condition. Studies on anandamide and hypertension should provide clues as to how cannabis affects blood pressure; however these studies are still in their initial stages. Therefore, patients suffering from high blood pressure should approach the idea of medical cannabis cautiously, and should likely consider alternative therapies until further research is completed.

“Body’s ‘cannabis’ could hold blood pressure key,” BBC, December 29, 1998.
“Science: Research on the properties of endocannabinoids to reduce blood pressure,” ACM Bulletin, January 10, 1999.
L. Grinspoon et al., “Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine” (second edition), New Haven, CT: Yale University Press (1997), 171.
W. Wilson, “Medical Marijuana Advocate Hails Trial,” Sacramento (CA) Bee, August 9, 1999.
“California Pot Law Author Charged Along With Spouse,” Washington Times, February 21, 1999.
House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, “Ninth Report,” London: United Kingdom (1998), Chapter 4: Section 4.4.
National Academy of Sciences, “Marijuana and Health”, Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press (1982), 66.

When taken following a stroke CBD from Cannabis could reduce the resulting brain damage. According to lead researcher Dr. Aiden Hampson, “We have something that passes the brain barrier easily, has low toxicity, and appears to be working in animal trials; so I think we have a good chance to also help human patients.”

A synthetic drug similar to CBD (Dexanabinol) reduces mortality and decreases intracranial pressure in severe head injury. A U.S. Army nerve gas study on rats shows this drug reduces brain damage significantly when given within five minutes of the first seizure. This drug modeled after CBD also protects against brain damage from some types of seizures. The United States Institute of Medicine (IOM) hails cannabinoids’ medicinal effects as anti-oxidants in “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base.” Researchers claim “THC and CBD can be neuroprotective through their antioxidative activity; that is, they can reduce toxic forms of oxygen that are released when cells are under stress.”

Multiple sclerosis has shown benefits from THC in a number of case studies, including the treatment of resistant, disabling tremor, as well as motor and sexual handicaps. THC increased survival in a placebo-controlled experimental model of MS from 2% to 95% leading to hope that it may be able to prevent progression of MS. In another study, with MS patients suffering from spacticity (common also in stroke, cerebral palsy and spinal cord injuries), 10 mg THC significantly reduced spasticity by clinical measurement (P less than 0.01). Three out of three on-MS patients in this same study who had tonic spasms also improved. In an MS population that failed to respond to medical treatment, spasticity decreased significantly at doses above 7.5 mg of THC. THC can also improve motor coordination in about 25% of MS patients seriously disabled by tremor and ataxia.

Ischemia: Stroke & T.B.I.

Cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound in Cannabis, is protective against brain injury in animals, according to a study published in Neuroscience Letters. Researchers in Italy reported that administration of CBD in gerbils prevented brain damage caused by ischemia, a reduction of blood flow to the brain that can cause cell death. “These findings suggest a potential therapeutic role of cannabidiol in cerebral ischemia, though the clear mechanism of action remains to be elucidated,” authors concluded.

Federal law prohibits the medical use of any cannabinoid other than synthetic THC even though they are made by God and no science exists to show potential harm except perhaps lost opportunity to drug manufacturers.

A 1998 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (P.N.A.S.) found that CBD protects rat brain cells from injury
better than other anti-oxidants. A 1999 report by the National Academy
of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (I.O.M.) concludes that the
neuroprotective qualities of Cannabis are the “most prominent” of its potential therapeutic applications.

The Israeli pharmaceutical company Pharmos announces the
commencement of the first ever Phase III U.S. study on the effectiveness of the synthetic marijuana derivative Dexanabinol to treat brain damage
resulting from Traumatic Brain Injury (T.B.I.) and/or stroke.

Multiple sclerosis MS is a disease affecting the central nervous system. MS exacerbations appear to be caused by abnormal immune activity that causes inflammation and the destruction of myelin (the protective covering of nerve fibers) in the brain, brain stem or spinal cord. Common symptoms of MS include muscle spasms, depression, and incontinence (involuntary loss of urine) or urinary retention.

In a 1998 review article published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review, Drs. Linda Growing et al. observed that the distribution of cannabinoid receptors in the brain suggests that they may play a role in movement control.(1) The authors hypothesized that cannabinoids might modify the autoimmune cause of the disease.(1) If so, it is possible that cannabis may both relieve symptoms of MS and retard its progression.

Abundant references in the medical literature indicate that cannabis and cannabinoids may relieve symptoms of MS. Accordingly, the 1998 House of Lords Science and Technology Committee endorsed cannabis’ ability to mitigate symptoms of MS. After reviewing the available data, committee chairman Lord Perry of Walton stated, “We have seen enough evidence to convince us that a doctor might legitimately want to prescribe cannabis to relieve … the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and that the criminal law ought not to stand in the way.” (2)

Researchers from the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) and the 1997 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana also endorsed the potential usefulness of cannabinoids in MS, concluding that “survey results suggest that it would be useful to investigate the therapeutic value of cannabinoids in relieving symptoms associated with MS” using objective measures of spasticity. (3) NIH researchers added that cannabis’ potential to treat spasticity and neuropathic pain (pain resulting from nerve damage) (4) could play an adjunctive role in future treatments for the disease. (5)

Several clinical trials on cannabis and cannabinoids indicate that they help mitigate MS symptoms. A study conducted in 1981 by Dr. Dennis Petro demonstrated beneficial effects of cannabinoids on symptoms of MS. (6)Dr. Petro subsequently described two patients suffering from MS-related muscle spasms who experienced symptomatic relief after smoking cannabis. (7)

A controlled study conducted in 1983 on the effects of THC on eight MS patients observed subjective benefits in five patients and objective evidence of improved motor coordination in two participants. (8)

A 1988 double-blind placebo-controlled crossover clinical trial by Drs. J. Ungerlieder et al. of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in 13 subjects with clinical MS and spasticity also yielded favorable results. “At doses greater than 7.5 mg there was significant improvement in patient ratings of spasticity compared to placebo,” researchers reported. “These positive findings in a treatment failure population suggest a role for THC in the treatment of spasticity in multiple sclerosis.” (9)

A 1989 study on a 30-year old MS patients found that his condition “acutely improved” after smoking a cannabis cigarette. These investigators concluded that “cannabinoids may have powerful beneficial effects on both spasticity and ataxia [loss of coordination and balance] that warrant further investigation.” (10) A 1995 single case study also reported that administration of the synthetic THC drug Naboline alleviated spasticity. (11)

More recently, a 1997 survey of U.K. and U.S. MS patients found that between 30 and 97 percent experienced relief in symptoms with cannabis, depending on the specific symptoms. (12) In descending order of improvement, these symptoms were: spascticity, chronic pain of extremities, acute paroxysmal phenomenon, tremor, emotional dysfunction, anorexia/weight loss, fatigue states, double vision, sexual dysfunction, bowel and bladder dysfunctions, vision dimness, dysfunctions of walking and balance, and memory loss.” (12)

A March 2000 study by Layward at al. found that cannabinoids quantitatively ameliorated both tremor and spasticity in mice suffering from experimental allergic encephalomyelitits (CRAEA), an animal model for MS. (13) Authors announced that their study for the first time scientifically demonstrated the link between cannabis and the suppression of MS symptoms. (14) Earlier this year, the Journal of Neuroimmunology published results of a pre-clinical study demonstrating that synthetic cannabinoid derivatives suppressed MS symptoms in an animal model. (15)

[In addition, a case study published in the June 2000 issue of Neurology reported positive effects of inhaled cannabis on a patient suffering from MS. (16).

Anecdotal evidence implies that cannabis may also help MS patients who experience bladder dysfunction, a condition that can affect up to 90 percent of those afflicted with the disease. (17) Historical references indicate the use of cannabis to treat urinary incontinence, as do several modern case histories reported by Dr. Lester Grinspoon in the book “Marihuana The Forbidden Medicine” (with James Bakalar). (18) The 1997 survey by Drs. P. Consroe et al. also finds some MS patients reporting that cannabis mitigates bladder dysfunctions.

Collectively, these studies indicates that cannabis may substantially control the symptoms of MS, including muscle spasms, ataxia, and bladder dysfunction, and may also play a role in halting the progression of the disease.

L. Growing et al., “Therapeutic use of cannabis: clarifying the debate,” Drug and Alcohol Review 17 (1998): 445-452.
House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, Press Release, November 11, 1998.
J. Joy et al., “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base” Washington D.C.: National Academy Press (1999), Chapter 4, Section 4.26 (uncorrected proofs copy).
See “pain,” citations 15-18.
National Institutes of Health, “Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana: Report to the Director,” Washington, D.C. (1997).
D. Petro et al., “Treatment of Human Spasticity with Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol,” Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 21 (1981): 413-416.
D. Petro, “Marihuana as a therapeutic agent for muscle spasm and spasticity,” Psychosomatics 21 (1980): 81-85.
D. Clifford, “Tetrahydrocannabinol for Tremors in Multiple Sclerosis,” Annals of Neurology 13 (1983): 669-671.
J. Ungerleider et al., “Delat-9-THC in the treatment of Spasticity Associated with Multiple Sclerosis,” Advances in Alcohol and Substnace Abuse 7 (1988): 39-50.
H. Meinck et al., “Effects of cannabinoids on spasticity and ataxia in multiple sclerosis,” Journal of Neurology 226 (1989): 120-122.
C. Martyn et al., “Naboline in the treatment of multiple sclerosis,” The Lancet 345 (1995): 579 as cited by J. Joy et al., Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base, Chapter 4, Section 4.23 (uncorrected proofs copy).
P. Consroe et al., “The Perceived Effects of Smoked Cannabis on Patients with Multiple Sclerosis,” European Neurology 38 (1997): 44-48.
D. Baker et al. “Cannabinoids control spasticity and tremor in a multiple sclerosis model,” Nature 404 (2000): 84-87.
Reuters News Service. “UK Scientists back medicinal benefits of cannabis,” March 1, 2000.
A. Achiron et al. “Dexanabinol (HU-211) effect on experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis: implications for the treatment of acute relapses of multiple sclerosis.” Journal of Neuroimmunology 102 (2000): 26-31.
L. Dell’Osso et al. “Suppression of pendular nystagmus by smoking cannabis in a patient with multiple sclerosis.” Neurology 54 (2000): 2190-2193.
L. Grinspoon et al, “Marihuana the Forbidden medicine” (second edition), New Haven, CT: Yale University Press (1997), 91.
Ibid., 80-94.


Nail Patella Syndrome (NPS) is a rare, neurological disease that affects the joints, limits mobility, and causes brittle bones. Victims suffering from NPS also endure muscle cramps, spasms and chronic pain. This genetic disorder is estimated to affect several hundred people in the United States.

Iowa patient George McMahon uses federally approved medical cannabis to treat symptoms of NPS. He is one of only eight U.S. patients certified by the government to smoke marijuana medicinally. (1) McMahon has been legally smoking an ounce of cannabis daily since March 1990 to help alleviate the constant pain associated with his disease. (2) He maintains that inhaling cannabis abates his pain and discomfort more effectively than any prescription drug or combination of drugs.

“Unlike other individuals who get giggly and high after smoking marijuana, I just feel better,” McMahon testifies. “My muscles stop going into spasms, the unbearable pain leaves, and my body relax[es.]” (3)

Although other members of McMahon’s family also suffer from NPS, they may not use cannabis legally because the federal program that provides it to McMahon is no longer open to new applicants.

L. Grinspoon et al., “Marihuana as Medicine: A Plea for Reconsideration,” Journal of the American Medical Association 273 (1995): 1875-1876.
Homepage of “George McMahon: 5th Legal Medical Marijuana Patient.”
Homepage of “George McMahon’s Medical History.”

AIDS patients and others with wasting diseases benefit from THC’s well-known ability to promote appetite and weight gain, although the weight gained is primarily water and fat. Predigested protein supplements such as SeaCure, Cardiovascular Protein, One Step, UltraBalance and Medipro may be useful adjuncts to support protein metabolism. 25% of HIV positive patients in Australia use Cannabis therapeutically. 88% of Australian AIDS specialists know of patients who used Cannabis to alleviate symptoms associated with AIDS, and a majority would feel comfortable recommending the use of cannabis to all patients willing to try it.

Migraines may respond to THC based on anecdotal reports.

Migraine is a type of episodic, recurrent, severe headache lasting hours to days. Migraine is typically accompanied sensitivity to light, intolerance to loud noises, and nausea or vomiting. Surveys indicate that 15 to 25 percent of women and five to 10 percent of men suffer from migraine. (1)

A century ago, physicians commonly prescribed cannabis for migraine. (2) Famed physician William Osler wrote that it was “probably the most satisfactory remedy” for migraine in his textbook, The Principles and Practice of Medicine. (3)

Some patients and physicians are once again showing interest in examining cannabis’ potential to treat symptoms of migraine. A recent article in the medical journal Pain (Journal of the Association for the Study of Pain) concluded that “cannabis delivered … in the form of a marijuana cigarette, or ‘joint,’ presents the hypothetical potential for quick, effective, parenteral [non-orally administered] treatment of acute migraine.” The author called cannabis a “far safer alternative” than many prescription anti-migraine drugs, and reported that a large percentage of migraine sufferers fail to respond or can not tolerate standard therapies. (4)

Cannabis’ analgesic and anti-emetic effects are well documented and likely provide some relief to migraine sufferers. One study indicates that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but not cannabidiol (CBD), may inhibit the release of serotonin from normal platelets when incubated with plasma from migraine patients. (5) Several new drugs prescribed to treat migraines work by influencing serotonin. (6)

Most recently, the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) wrote “there is clearly a need for improved migraine medications,” and acknowledged that “marijuana has been proposed numerous times as a treatment.” Researchers added that “recent results indicating that both cannabinoid receptor subtypes are involved in controlling peripheral pain suggest that” cannabinoids may work toward alleviating migraine. (7)

Because of cannabis’ known analgesic effects and rapid action, marijuana inhalation may be a reasonable alternative for migraine sufferers unresponsive to traditional therapies.

B. Zimmerman et al., “Is Marijuana the Right Medicine for You”? A Factual Guide to Medical Uses of Marijuana, New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing (1998), 110.
W. Osler, “The Principles and Practice of Medicine”, 8th Edition. New York: Appelton (1913): 1089 as cited by B. Zimmerman et al., Is Marijuana the Right Medicine for You? A Factual Guide to Medical Uses of Marijuana, 110.
E. Russo, “Cannabis for migraine: the once and future prescription? An historical and scientific review,” Pain 76 (1998): 3-8.
Z. Volfe et al., “Cannabinoids Block Release of Serotonin From Platelets Induced By Plasma From Migraine Patients,” International Journal of Clinical and Pharmacological Research 5 (1985): 243-246.
B. Zimmerman et al., “Is Marijuana the Right Medicine for You”? A Factual Guide to Medical Uses of Marijuana, 111.
J. Joy et al., “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base”, Washington D.C.: National Academy Press (1999), Section 4.7 (uncorrected proofs copy).

Muscle spasms may respond to THC as half of patients surveyed report this effect. Antispastic and analgesic effects have been confirmed in double-blind research, with efficacy comparable to that of codeine, only with greater reduction of muscle spasms. Labor pains are another traditional and potential modern use. Muscle spasms of tetanus and rabies were shown to respond to Cannabis by the surgeon William B. O’Shaughnessy who brought the telegraph to India for the British East India Company.

THC can produce analgesia for the relief of pain, such as that in advanced cancer, with just 20 mg of THC about as effective as 120 mg of codeine. One of the advantages of THC in pain relief over many other drugs is that not only doesn’t tolerance develop, but the analgesic effect is actually greater with continued use.

Pain is a sensation of physical discomfort, mental anguish, or suffering caused by aggravation of the sensory nerves. It remains the most common symptom for which patients seek therapeutic relief. (1) Cannabis has historically been used as an analgesic, and was commonly prescribed by physicians in England and America in the 19th and 20th centuries. (2) Many researchers now believe that cannabinoids hold promise as safe and effective pain reducers with no physical-dependence-inducing properties.

Authors of the 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, “Marijuana as Medicine: Assessing the Science Base,” describe three types of pain that may be ameliorated by cannabinoids: somatic pain, visceral pain, and neuropathic pain. Researchers appear most interested in examining cannabis’ ability to relieve neuropathic pain, which results from injury to nerves, peripheral receptors, or the central nervous system, because it is often resistant to standard opioids. (3)

Medical literature cites evidence of cannabinoids’ ability to reduce traditional pain, but few human studies have been performed to date. Some of the most encouraging clinical data on effects of cannabinoids on chronic pain are from studies of cancer pain, which is often resistant to standard treatment. (4) One double-blind controlled cross over study by Noyes and colleagues found that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol had analgesic effects equivalent to codeine. (5) A second study by Noyes determined that THC produced significant analgesia, anti-emesis, and enhanced appetite in patients with cancer pain. (6)

After reviewing this and other clinical data, IOM researchers concluded that cannabinoids reduce painful stimuli to an extent comparable to opiates in potency and efficacy. “In conclusion, the available evidence from animal and human studies indicate that cannabinoids can have a substantial analgesic effect,” they affirmed.

A study by Staquet and colleagues on the effects of a THC nitrogen analogue on cancer pain yielded similar results. Authors found the THC analogue equivalent to 50 mg of codeine and superior to both placebo and 50 mg of secobarbital in subjects with mild, moderate and severe pain. (7)

Many case reports document the analgesic effects of cannabinoids. A 1974 article, Noyes and Baram reported that cannabis induced headache relief in three patients comparable or superior to ergotamine tartrate and aspirin. (8) Petro subsequently reported that cannabis inhalation alleviated perceived pain in two patients suffering from muscle spasticity disorders. (9) Three case studies reported by El-Mallakh in 1987 found that abrupt cessation of daily cannabis inhalation was followed by migraine attacks. (10) A 1990 double-blind study by Maurer et al. reported that single doses of THC produced analgesia in one paraplegic patient suffering from painful spasms in his leg. (11) A 1997 placebo-controlled study by Holdcroft et al. measured pain relief of gastrointestinal origin by cannabis oil capsules in one patient. (12) Authors reported that the subject’s demand for morphine was substantially lower during cannabis treatment than when administered placebo.

Researchers are just beginning to understand how cannabis and cannabinoids function as analgesics. (13) A 1998 University of California at San Francisco rat study explained that THC taps circuitry at the base of the brain, modulating pain signals in a fashion similar to morphine and other opiates. (14) “These results show that analgesia produced by cannabinoids and opioids involves similar brain stem circuitry and that cannabinoids are indeed centrally acting analgesics with a new mechanism of action,” lead researcher Dr. Ian Meng determined. (14) Earlier animal studies examining the effects of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids (naturally occurring compounds that bind to the same receptors as cannabis) on pain also documented a definite analgesic effect. After reviewing a series of trials in 1997, the U.S. Society for Neuroscience concluded that “substances similar to or derived from marijuana … could benefit the more than 97 million Americans who experience some form of pain each year.” (15)

New research also demonstrates that the endocannabinoid anandamide helps control pain. Scientists at the University of Naples in Italy demonstrated in 1998 that rats release anandamide when cells are damaged. The chemical produces effects in the pain-processing areas of the brain and spinal cord that appear to ease the sensation of pain. Rats in the study treated with a synthetic agent that blocked the action of anandamide demonstrated a longer and greater reaction to pain. (16) Moreover, anandamide in conjunction with the endogenous compound PEA (Palmitylethanolamide) has been observed to reduced pain 100-fold. (17)

Emerging evidence implies that cannabis may potentially relieve neuropathic pain. The 1997 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Workshop on medical cannabis concluded: “Neuropathic pain represents a treatment problem for which currently available analgesics are, at best, marginally effective. Since delta-9-THC is not acting by the same mechanism as either opioids or NSAIDs [nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs], it may be useful in this inadequately treated type of pain.” (18)

Writing in Drug and Alcohol Review, Drs. Linda Growing et al. concluded that cannabis could hold potential as a treatment for neuropathic pain. They noted: “A few animal studies support the idea that cannabinoids may have analgesic action in neuropathic pain. Given that this is the type of pain for which current treatments are least satisfactory, this would appear to be an area of greatest potential for cannabis, perhaps as an adjuvant to a regime of standard analgesics.” (19) Growing and colleagues also found that cannabis has psychoactive, anti-convulsant, and cardiovascular effects similar to those drugs currently recommended for neuropathic pain. They speculated that “cannabis might act in similar ways to these drugs in producing analgesia for neuropathic pain.” (20)

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee described cannabis’ ability to treat both traditional and neuropathic pain, (21) noting that it’s analgesic effects justified rescheduling the drug so physicians could legally prescribe it. (22) They concluded that “there is scientific evidence that cannabinoids possess pain-relieving properties, and some clinical evidence to support their medical use in this indication.” (23) Similarly, the British Medical Association (BMA) concluded that “the prescription of … THC and other cannabinoids … should be permitted for patients with intractable pain.” (24)

Evidence indicates that inhaled cannabis and cannabinoids appears to be suitable alternatives for patients suffering from various types of chronic pain, especially those suffering from neuropathic pain that is unresponsive to traditional analgesics like opioids and NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). In addition, cannabis may offer fewer negative side effects than opioids, which can be addictive, and NSAIDS, which can induce stomach ulcers, bleeding, and kidney failure. Another potential benefit of cannabis as a pain reliever is that patients can precisely control the dose they take into their bodies by titration, and experience more rapid relief than they can with oral medications.

J. Joy et al., “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base”, Washington D.C.: National Academy Press (1999), Chapter 4, Section 4.4 (uncorrected proofs copy). http://bob.nap.edu/books/0309071550/html/
B. Zimmerman et al., Is Marijuana the Right Medicine for You: A Factual Guide to Medical Uses of Marijuana, New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing (1998), 102.
National Institutes of Health, “Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana: Report to the Director,” Washington, D.C. (1997). http://www.medmjscience.org/Pages/reports/nihpt3.html
W. Hall, et al., The Health and Psychological Consequences of Cannabis Use, Canberra, Australian Government Publishing Service (1994): 194. http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/medical/home.htm
R. Noyes et al., “The analgesic properties of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and codeine,” Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 18 (1975): 84-89.
R. Noyes et al., “Analgesic effect of delta-9-tertahydrocannabinol,” Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 15 (1975): 139-143.
M. Staquet et al., “Effect of a nitrogen analog of tetrahydrocannabinol on cancer pain.” Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 23 (1978): 397-401.
R. Noyes, D. Baram. “Cannabis analgesia” Compr. Psychiatry 15 (1974): 531.
D. Petro. “Marihuana as a therapeutic agent for muscle spasm and spasticity.” Psychosomatics 21 (1980): 81-85.
R. El-Mallakh. “Marijuana and migraine.” Headache 27 (1987): 442-443.
M. Maurer et al. “Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol shows antispastic and analgesic effects in a single case double-blind trial.” European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience 240 (1990): 1-4.
A. Holdcroft et al. “Pain relief with oral cannabinoids in familial Mediterranean fever.” Anasthesia 5 (1997): 483-486.
R. Callahan, “How Does Marijuana Kill Pain?” Associated Press, October 4, 1998. http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98/n868/a07.html
I. Meng et al. “An analgesic circuit activated by cannabinoids.” Nature 395 (1998): 381-383. http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v395/n670…/395381a0_r.htm
Society for Neuroscience Press Conference, October 26, 1997. http://www.calyx.com/%7Eolsen/MEDICAL/POT/analgesia.html
A. Calignano et al., “Control of pain by endogenous cannabinoids,” Nature 394 (1998): 277-281.
“Science: Cannabinoid/anandamide-receptor systems involved in peripheral control of pain,” ACM Bulletin, July 26, 1998. http://www.acmed.org/english/bulletin260798.html
National Institutes of Health, “Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana: Report to the Director. http://www.medmjscience.org/Pages/reports/nihpt3.html
L. Growing et al., “Therapeutic use of cannabis: clarifying the debate,” Drug and Alcohol Review 17 (1998): 445-452.
House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, “Ninth Report,” London: United Kingdom (1998): Chapter 5, Section 5.26-5.30. http://www.parliament.thestationeryoffice.co.uk/pa/ld199798/ldselect/ldsctech/151/15101.htm
House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, Press Release, November 11, 1998. http://www.parliament.thestationeryoffice.co.uk/pa/ld199798/ldselect/ldsctech/151/151p01.htm
House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, “Ninth Report,” Chapter 5, Section 5.30.
Ibid., Section 5.26.

Neuropathy pain…

Neuropathic pain (pain from nerve damage) and severe, uncontrollable muscle spasms are typical results of spinal cord illness or injury. Growing evidence indicates that cannabis may ameliorate both of these symptoms in patients suffering from spinal cord injuries.

A review of the medical literature finds at least four references to the use of cannabis and cannabinoids for this condition. A 1974 study examined cannabis’ perceived effects on several common symptoms of spinal cord injury on ten patients who admitted using cannabis after they had been injured. It found that “the perceived decrease in pain and spasticity shown by this survey indicates that better controlled studies would be worthwhile.” (1)

A 1982 survey of spinal cord injury patients in VA hospitals found that 56 percent of respondents smoked cannabis and 88 percent of them reported it reduced their muscle spasms. (2) A 1986 study of five patients with traumatic paraplegia (a weakening or paralysis of muscles in the lower body caused by disease or injury in the lower part of the spinal cord) found the administration of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) “clinically beneficial” in controlling two of the patients’ intractable spasticity. (3) In 1990, three Swiss neurologists reported on the treatment of a paraplegic patient suffering from painful spasms in his leg. Researchers wrote: “A double-blind study was performed comparing 5 mg of THC, 50 mg of codeine, and a placebo in a patient with spasticity and pain due to spinal cord injury. The three conditions were applied 18 times each in a randomized and balanced order. Delta-9-THC and codeine both had an analgesic effect in comparison with placebo. Only delta-9-THC showed a significant beneficial effect on spasticity.” (4) Researchers also noted that the dosages of THC used in the study did not induce euphoria. (5) They concluded that the drug’s efficacy in treating spasticity was so strong that it should be considered in the treatment of paraplegics. (6)

In their 1999 report, “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base,” researchers at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) acknowledged that anecdotal evidence and animal studies imply that cannabis may help spinal cord injury patients. They wrote, “There are numerous anecdotal reports that marijuana can relieve the spasticity associated with spinal cord injury, and animal studies have shown that cannabinoids affect motor areas in the brain – areas that might influence spasticity.” (7)

M. Dunn et al., “The Perceived Effects of Marijuana on Spinal Cord Injured Males,” Paraplegia 12 (1974): 175.
J. Malec et al., “Cannabis Effect on Spasticity in Spinal Cord Injury,” Archives of Physical and Medical Rehabilitation 63 (1982): 116-118 as cited by Dale Gieringer Ph.D., “Review Of Human Studies On Medical Use Of Marijuana,” Dale Gieringer, Ph.D., (1996).
W. Hanigan et al., “The Effect of Delat-9-THC on Human Spasticity,” American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (1986): 198
M. Maurer, “Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Shows Antispastic and Analgesic Effects in a Single Case Double-blind Trial,” European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience 240 (1990): 1-4.
L. Grinspoon et al., “Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine” (second edition), New haven, CT: Yale University Press (1997): 100.
J. Joy et al., “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base”, Washington D.C.: National Academy Press (1999), 160.

Night Vision:

Administration of cannabis improves night vision in a dose-dependent manner, according to the findings of a case study to be published in the July, 2004 issue of the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Researchers administered oral THC to one individual; analogous field studies were performed on three separate subjects before and after smoking cannabis. All four subjects were field-tested for night vision with a Scotopic Sensitivity Tester.

“In both test situations, improvements in night vision measures were noted after THC or cannabis,” the authors found. “The current study supports the previous ethnobotanical observations that cannabis may improve night vision,” they concluded. “This effect seems to be dose-dependent and cannabinoid-mediated.” :Abstract.

Phantom limb pain…

Dr. Lester Grinspoon defines phantom limb pain in Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine the following way: “Almost everyone who has had a limb amputated experiences sensations that are interpreted by the brain as though they came from the missing (phantom) limb. In two-thirds of the cases these sensations include persistent pain, usually of a cutting, stabbing, or pricking nature.” (1) This condition afflicts roughly 30 percent of all amputees and is typically treated ineffectively by standard analgesics. The medical literature reveals one uncontrolled case study of a women effectively treating her phantom limb pain with 10 mg of oral THC (Dronabinol) twice a day. (2)

The analgesic properties on cannabis and cannabinoids are described in detail in the pain section. As noted there, neuropathic pain is particularly amenable to treatment with cannabis-based medicines.

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee acknowledged cannabis’ ability to treat symptoms of phantom limb pain. They determined: “Pain which originates from damaged nerves might respond to cannabinoids. An example of such pain is phantom limb pain following amputation. There is anecdotal evidence that cannabis can relieve this pain and trials of cannabis should be undertaken in such patients.” (3)

L. Grinspoon et al, “Marihuana the Forbidden Medicine” (second edition), New haven, CT: Yale University Press (1997), 200.
Ibid., 200-202.
House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, “Ninth Report,” London: United Kingdom (1998): Chapter 5, Section 5.27.

In addition to analgesia, three studies confirm anti-inflammatory properties as well. Patients with conditions such as rheumatoid or osteoarthritis should know that English researchers conclude “Our results would suggest that cultivation of Cannabis plants rich in CBD and other phenolic substances would be useful … for medicinal purposes in the treatment of certain inflammatory disorders” because these therapeutic benefits were linked to the cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) which is only available in the herb Cannabis sativa.


Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by generalized aching and specific joints that induce pain. Symptoms of the disease include stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and trunk that may be further aggravated by movement. Some sufferers of the disease also experience disrupted sleep patterns and morning fatigue. Fibromyalgia patients typically take anti-inflammatory drugs to treat symptoms of the disease. (1)

Although no specific clinical data exists on cannabis’ ability to combat symptoms of fibromyalgia, some patients report anecdotally that the drug benefits them. In Iowa, a court judge allowed fibromyalgia patient Allen Helmers to use cannabis while on probation to effectively treat his chronic pain. (2)

It is likely that cannabis alleviates some symptoms of fibromyalgia. Cannabis’ potential as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory (see “pain, arthritis” sections) have been documented by the Institutes of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, and others. Additionally, cannabis has a long history as a sleep-inducing drug. (3) One study of 15 insomniac patients reported that over a five week period “sleep quality was significantly influenced by 160 mg of cannabidiol [a non-psychoactive cannabinoid a.k.a. CBD] as two-thirds of the subjects slept more than seven hours [and] … most subjects had few interruptions of sleep.” (4) An Italian research team reported that subjects who inhaled cannabis within the last half hour had significantly higher melatonin levels than those who abstained. (5) Melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland, is widely used to treat insomnia.

“Use of Medical Marijuana Not a Probation Violation, Iowa judge affirms,” NORML Foundation News Release, September 4, 1997.
L. Grinspoon et al., “Marihuana: the Forbidden medicine” (second edition), New Haven, CT: Yale University Press (1997), 167-168.
E. Carlini et al., “Hypnotic and Antiepileptic Effects of Cannabidiol,” Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 21 (1981): 417S-427S.
“New Book Links Marijuana To Melatonin Production,” NORML Foundation News Release, August 28, 1997.

Crohn’s disease is a chronic, inflammatory condition in the gastro-intestinal tract associated with ulcers, bleeding, scarring, intestinal blockage, cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and weight. Medical management consists of anti-inflammatory drugs and surgery. Patients report relief from Cannabis, which has been shown to increase appetite, relieve nausea, relax spasms, and reduce inflammation. Similarly, a case study of ulcerative colitis documents the healing potential of Cannabis. Researchers state that in this case smoking Cannabis twice a day provides more effective relief than prescription medications. “She noted that smoking marijuana resulted in fewer stools, more stable body weight, and fewer, milder exacerbations.” Dexanabinol, a synthetic analog of the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) when given to rats with ulcerative colititis “significantly reduced the anorexia and the colonic inflammation associated with this condition compared with untreated rats.”

Eating disorders…

Survey data beginning in 1970 demonstrated a strong relationship between inhaling marijuana and increased appetite. (1) This data also found a majority of cannabis users reporting that “marijuana made them enjoy eating very much and that they consequently ate a lot more.” (2) Cannabis is also documented to enhance the sensory appeal of foods. (3)

Several human trials have established cannabis’ ability to stimulate food intake and weight gain in healthy volunteers. (4) Dr. Leo Hollister of the Veterans Administration Hospital in Palo Alto, California presided over two separate experiments that found “total food intake, as well as reports of hunger and appetite, are increased … after oral administration of marihuana.” (5) A later trial of 27 cannabis smokers and ten controls concluded that marijuana smokers ate more and gained more weight than non-smokers after 21 days in a hospital research ward. The cannabis smoking group immediately began eating less after ceasing their marijuana use. (6)

A pair of John Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland) studies conducted during the 1980s also illustrated cannabis’ profound affect on appetite. The first, by Dr. Richard Foltin et al. concluded that administering two or three marijuana cigarettes to nine volunteers residing in a residential laboratory increased their daily caloric intake. Foltin reported that “the increased intake was due to an augmentation of calories consumed as between-meal snack items rather than an increase in meal size.” (7) A 1988 study by Foltin et al. of six adult males living in a residential laboratory found that smoking cannabis increased their total daily caloric intake by 40 percent. Foltin also noted that “increases in body weight during periods of active marijuana smoking were greater than predicted by caloric intake alone.” (8)

Additional trials also demonstrated the effectiveness of oral THC (Marinol) as an appetite stimulant in patients suffering from AIDS-related appetite loss, including one study in which 70 percent of patients taking it gained weight. (9) These trials persuaded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve Marinol as an appetite stimulant in 1992.

It is likely that cannabis’ appetite enhancing and anti-anxiety properties may play a role in treating psychologically induced eating disorders like anorexia nervosa. However, the sole double-blind clinical trial performed on this patient population found that cannabis elicited a negative psychological reaction in three of the 11 participants (10). Researchers speculated that this reaction was because “THC increases appetite and thus intensifies the mental conflict between hunger and food refusal.” (11) However, because anorexia respond to standard treatments poorly and have high mortality rates, cannabis may still remain an option to patients suffering from this disorder.

National Institutes of Health, “Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana, Report to the Director,” Washington, D.C. (1997).
“Review of Human Studies on the Medical use of Marijuana,” Dale Gieringer, Ph.D. (1996).
L. Hollister, “Hunger and appetite after single doses of marihuana, alcohol, and dextroamphetamine,” Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 12 (1971): 44-49.
I. Greenberg et al., “Effects of marihuana use on body weight and caloric intake in humans”, Journal of Psychopharmacology (Berlin) 49 (1976): 79-84 as cited by L. Grinspoon, et al., in Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine (second edition), New Haven, CT: Yale University Press (1997), 102.
R. Foltin et al., Behavioral analysis of marijuana effects on food intake in humans, Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 25 (1986): 577-582.
R. Foltin et al., Effects of smoked marijuana on food intake and body weight of humans living in a residential laboratory, Appetite 11 (1988): 1-14.
T. Plasse et al., Recent clinical experience with Dronabinol, Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 40 (1991): 695-700 as cited by L. Grinspoon, et al., in “Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine” (second edition), 102.
H. Gross et al., A double-blind trial of delta-9-THC in primary anorexia nervosa, Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology 3 (1983): 165-171 as cited by J. Joy et al., “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base”, Washington D.C.: National Academy Press (1999), Section 4.21-.22 (uncorrected proofs copy).

THC may be useful in asthma as a bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory. According to the Australian National Task Force on Cannabis, “Smoked cannabis, and to a lesser extent oral THC, have an acute bronchodilatory effect in both normal persons and persons with asthma.” Several human studies show this, and even Cannabis low in THC produces bronchodilation similar to the drug isoproterenol. , In England, the House of Lords 1998 “Ninth Report” on Cannabis states that cannabinoids are as effective as conventional asthma drugs. Synthetic THC produces less bronchodilator effect and shows a substantial delay when taken orally, and when delivered as an aerosol produced bronchial irritation as well as a shorter duration than obtained by smoking botanical Cannabis. Only one study has evaluated Cannabis’ synergistic anti-inflammatory and anti-asthmatic properties. Cannabis vaporization delivers cannabinoids without the non-therapeutic irritants in smoke while aerosol inhalers and sublingual tinctures could provide similar benefits to asthmatics and others.

Epilepsy is yet another condition which may benefit from THC. In one study, 2 of 5 cases of severe drug-resistant grand mal epilepsy were controllable with THC. Cannabis can also be helpful as an adjunct to conventional drugs like phenytoin and Phenobarbital.

Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder that afflicts nearly 2.5 million Americans. Patients suffering from epilepsy experience periodic, recurrent seizures triggered by the misfiring of certain brain cells. These seizures occur in various forms, ranging from mild to severe convulsions and loss of consciousness.

Standard treatment for epilepsy involves anti-convulsants. While there are several studies and references by the Institute of Medicine, House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, Australian National Task Force on Cannabis, and others regarding cannabis’ anti-convulsant properties, there are few human studies specific to epilepsy. A 1975 case study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that cannabis inhalation in conjunction with prescription medication effectively controlled epileptic seizures in a 24-year-old patient. Researchers concluded that: “this case suggests that marihuana may possess an anti-convulsant effect in human epilepsy.” (1)

A subsequent, double-blind controlled study on the effects of the marijuana compound cannabidiol (CBD) on epilepsy yielded favorable results. “Fifteen patients suffering from secondary generalized epilepsy with temporal focus were randomly divided into two groups. Each patient received, in a double-blind procedure, 200-300 mg daily of CBD or placebo. … All patients and volunteers tolerated CBD very well and no signs of toxicity or serious side effects were detected on examination. Four of the eight CBD subjects remained almost free of convulsive crises throughout the experiment and three other patients demonstrated partial improvement on their clinical condition.” (2)

The IOM’s 1999 report, “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base,” cites a pair of additional double-blind, placebo-controlled studies on CBD and epilepsy that found the cannabinoid had no effect on seizure frequency. A third one-patient open trial cited by the IOM determined that the administration of 900-1,200 mg. of CBD per day reduced seizure frequency. (3) A 1990 survey of 308 epileptic patients found that “marijuana use appeared to delay the first onset of complex partial seizures.” (4)

The 1997 National Institutes of Health workshop on medical marijuana concluded that cannabinoids hold promise in the treatment of epilepsy. “Substantial experimental animal literature exists showing that various cannabinoids … have a substantial anticonvulsant effect in the control of various models of epilepsy, especially generalized and partial tonic-clonic seizures,” the determined. “This is an area of potential value, especially for cannabis therapies by other than the smoked route.” (5)

The 1998 House of Lords Science and Technology Committee expressed interest in the use of CBD to treat epilepsy, but refrained from recommending the drug because of the limited number of participants in controlled studies. (6) They noted that the British Medical Association determined that CBD “could possibly provide an adjunctive therapy for patients poorly controlled on presently available drugs.” The BMA did not believe that THC demonstrated potential as a treatment for epilepsy. (7)

Because the data remains limited, and in some cases conflicting, on the potential of cannabis and cannabinoids to control epilepsy, patients use caution when considering marijuana therapy. Some animal studies and human anecdotal reports show that high doses of THC can trigger seizures. (8) For this reason, some physicians do not regard oral THC (Marinol) as a proper treatment for epilepsy. (9)

P. Consroe et al., “Anticonvulsant Nature of Marihuana Smoking,” Journal of the American Medical Association 234 (1975): 306-307.
J. Cunha et al., “Chronic Administration of Cannabidiol to Healthy Volunteers and Epileptic Patients,” Pharmacology 21 (1980): 175-185.
J. Joy et al., “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base” Washington D.C.: National Academy Press (1999), Table 4.4: Clinical Trails of Cannabinoids in Epileptics.
S. Ng et al., “Illicit drug use and the risk of new-onset seizures,” American Journal of Epidemiology 132 (1990): 47-57.
National Institutes of Health, “Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana, Report to the Director,” Washington, D.C. (1997).
House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, “Ninth Report,” London: United Kingdom (1998): Chapter 5, Section 5.31.
B. Zimmerman et al., “Is Marijuana the Right Medicine for You?” A Factual Guide to the Medical Uses of Marijuana, New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing (1998), 100.

Depression and mental illness…

There are abundant historical references to the use of cannabis as a suggested treatment for mood disorders like depression. (1) However, human studies are scant and the results are mixed. A 1947 study of 50 depressed patients administered synthetic THC found the drug beneficial to 36 of the participants. (2) A double-blind controlled study conducted three years later on 57 patients reported that the administration of small doses of synthetic THC did not improve their symptoms. (3) A pair of more recent studies also yield conflicting results. One reported that cannabis helped relieve depression in cancer patients, while the other determined that THC failed to improve depression in eight hospitalised patients. (4)

A 1994 survey of 79 mental patients found that those who used cannabis reported relief from depression, anxiety, insomnia, and physical discomfort, as well as fewer hospitalizations. (5) Lastly, a 1996 study cited in the 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base,” found that Dronabinol (oral THC a.k.a. “Marinol”) significantly assuaged mood disturbances and anorexia in 11 Alzheimer’s patients. No side effects were observed. (6)

The conflicting data concerning cannabis and depression should caution patients considering experimenting with the drug therapeutically. Additionally, cannabis’ ability to occasionally produce paranoia and other dysphorias (typically among inexperienced users) could heighten some patient’s feelings of depression. Cannabis’ most promising potential to mitigate symptoms of depression likely lies with patients who have previous experience with it, and are failing to respond to traditional therapies.

B. Zimmerman et al., “Is Marijuana the Right Medicine for You?. A Factual Guide to the Medical Uses of Marijuana, New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing (1998), 138-139; L. Grinspoon et al., “Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine” (second edition) New haven, CT: Yale University Press (1997), 141.
G. Stockings, “A new euphoriant for depressive mental states,” British Medical Journal 1 (1947): 918-922 as cited by L. Grinspoon et al., “Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine” (second edition), 141.
C. Parker et al., “Synthetic cannabis preparations in psychiatry: I. Synhexyl,” Journal of Mental Science 96 (1950): 276-279 as cited by L. Grinspoon et al., Marihuana: “The Forbidden Medicine” (second edition), 141.
“Review Of Human Studies On Medical Use Of Marijuana,” Dale Gieringer, Ph.D., (1996).
R. Warner et al., “Substance Abuse Among the Mentally Ill,” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry (1994) as cited by Dale Gieringer, Ph.D. in “Review Of Human Studies On Medical Use Of Marijuana.”
L. Volicer et al., “Effects of dronabinol on anorexia and disturbed behavior in patients with Alzheimer’s disease,” International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 12 (1997): 913-919 as cited by J. Joy et al., Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base, Washington D.C.: National Academy Press (1999), Section 4.37 (uncorrected proofs edition).


Cannabis’ impact on patients suffering from schizophrenia is not well understood and often disputed. The Australian National Task Force on Cannabis cites anecdotal clinical evidence that “schizophrenic patients who use cannabis and other drugs experience exacerbations of symptoms, and have a worse clinical course, with more frequent psychotic episodes than those who do not.” (1) However, the researchers admit that “very few well controlled studies” have documented this relationship. (2)

In his book Marihuana The Forbidden Medicine, Dr. Lester Grinspoon (with James Bakalar) cites a pair of studies that found schizophrenic patients who used cannabis responded better to the disease than nonusers. One study reported that patients who smoked marijuana had “fewer delusions and, above all, fewer of the so-called negative symptoms, which include apathy, limited speech, and emotional unresponsiveness.” (3) The other study concluded that those who used cannabis had a “lower rate of hospital admissions than those who used no drugs at all. [Respondents] said that cannabis helped them with anxiety, depression, and insomnia.” (4) Grinspoon also notes that in his own clinical experience, schizophrenics who regularly use cannabis generally regard it as helpful. (5)

Emerging research on the endocannabinoid anandamide (a cannabis-like compound produced naturally by the brain) is allowing scientists to better understand the relationship between cannabis and schizophrenia. University of California at Irvine scientists found that anandamide acts as kind of a brake on neural activity in the brains of rats, and might be used to treat the side effects of diseases that cause uncontrollable movements. (6) Researchers reported that anandamide interferes with the effects of nerve cells that transmit dopamine, the message-carrying chemical responsible for stimulating movement and other motor behavior in the brain. Some scientists believe that uncontrolled dopamine production is responsible for some of the symptoms of schizophrenia. (7)

“Patients with schizophrenia and other diseases have reported that marijuana appears to relieve some of their symptoms, but scientists have never found a physiological reason why,” explains lead researcher Daniele Piomelli. “By understanding how the anandamide system works similarly to marijuana, we can explore new ways to treat these diseases more effectively.” (8)

Follow up research by Piomelli’s team on 10 schizophrenic patients and a control group found dramatically elevated levels of anandamide in those suffering from the disease. (9) This finding implies that the schizophrenics may produce extra anandamide to cope with or mediate excess dopamine production. “The implication is that if a drug could inject or stimulate anandamide production it might be more effective than dopamine blocking drugs used for 40 years to treat schizophrenia,” the Orange County (California) Register newspaper opined after reviewing Piomelli’s work. (10)

Given the fact that research regarding cannabis’ role in treating schizophrenia still remains in its infancy, prudence demands that patients suffering from the disease proceed cautiously before deciding whether to use medical cannabis for treatment.

W. Hall, et al., The health and Psychological Consequences of Cannabis Use, Canberra, Australian Government Publishing service (1994): Chapter 7: Section 6.4.2 (online edition).
V. Peralta et al., “Influence of Cannabis Abuse on Schizophrenic Psychopathology,” Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 85 (1992): 127-130 as cited by L. Grinspoon, et al., in “Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine” (second edition), New Haven, CT: Yale University Press (1997), 178.
R. Warner et al., “Substance Abuse Among the Mentally Ill: Prevalence, Reasons for Use, and Effects on Illness,” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 64 (1994): 30-39 as cited by L. Grinspoon, et al., in “Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine” (second edition), 178.
L. Grinspoon, et al., in “Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine” (second edition), New Haven, CT: Yale University Press (1999), 178.
“Marijuana-Like Chemicals Could Treat Disease,” Reuters News Service, March 26, 1999.
“A Breakthrough Against Schizophrenia?” Orange County Register, May 20, 1999.

Tourette’s syndrome…

Tourette’s Syndrome is a complex neuropsychiatric disorder that is characterized by sudden spasms, so called “tics” that occur especially in the facial muscles, neck, shoulders, and extremities. It is accompanied by grunts and other noises. This disease typically begins in late childhood and affects mostly males. A handful of documented case studies suggest inhaling cannabis produces beneficial effects on this syndrome. (1,2,3)

A German research team recently documented the successful treatment of Tourette’s syndrome with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in an open, uncontrolled clinical trial. (4) Researchers reported that a 25-year old patient treated with 10 mg of THC experienced marked improvement of both vocal and motor tics associated with the disease. The patients total tic severity fell from 41 before treatment to 7 just two hours after consuming THC. “The improvement began 30 minutes after treatment and lasted for about seven hours,” they wrote. “No adverse effects were reported.” (5) The research team is planning to confirm their preliminary results in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study.

Researchers at the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) write in their 1999 report that “No clear link has been established between symptoms of Tourette’s and cannabinoid sites or mechanism of action.” They added, however, that: “The abundance of CB1 receptors in the basal ganglia and animal studies showing the involvement of cannabinoids in the control of movement suggest that cannabinoids might be useful in treating movement disorders in humans. Marijuana or CB1 receptor agonists might provide symptomatic relief from chorea, dystonia, some aspect of parkinsonism, and tics.” (6)

Current research at the University of California at Irvine on the naturally occurring cannabis-like substance anandamide also indicates that cannabis may play a role in alleviating symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome. UCI researchers found that anandamide interferes with the effects of nerve cells that transmit dopamine, the message-carrying chemical responsible for stimulating movement and other motor behavior in the brain. (7) Researchers believe that uncontrolled dopamine production may be responsible for the nervous tics and outbursts associated with Tourette’s syndrome. (8)

“Patients with schizophrenia and other diseases have reported that marijuana appears to relieve some of their symptoms, but scientists have never found a physiological reason why,” explains lead researcher Daniele Piomelli. “By understanding how the anandamide system works similarly to marijuana, we can explore new ways to treat these diseases more effectively.” (9)

Piomelli did caution, however, that he found the regulatory effects of natural cannabis on dopamine production in the brain inadequate. Regardless, most preliminary research in this field implies that patients suffering from Tourette’s syndrome or other dystonias may benefit from cannabis. If these findings are corroborated in better controlled trials it will be of great significance, since current drugs prescribed to treat these ailments are often inadequate. (10)

R. Sandyk et al., “Marijuana and Tourette’s Syndrome,” Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology 8 (1988): 445-445.
M. Hemming et al., “Effective treatment of Tourette’s syndrome with marijuana,” Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 7 (1993): 389-391.
K. Muller-Vahl et al., “Gilles de la Tourette-Syndrom: Einflub von Nikotin, Alkohol und marihuana auf die linkische Symptomatikt,” Nervenarz 68 (1997): 985-989.
K. Muller-Vahl et al., “Treatment of Tourette’s Syndrome With Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol,” American Journal of Psychiatry 156 (1999): 495.
J. Joy et al., “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base”, Washington D.C.: National Academy Press (1999), Section 4.32-4.33 (uncorrected proofs copy).
“Pot-Like Substance May Offer Tic, Shaking Relief,” Orange County Register, March 25, 1999.
B. Zimmerman et al., Is “Marijuana the Right Medicine for You”? A Factual Guide to Medical Uses of Marijuana, New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing (1998), 136-137.

It is impossible to say what other therapeutic and medicinal uses Cannabis sativa may yet prove to have in store for us, especially as it continues to be illegal for researchers to obtain and use it in research.

Cannabis sativa in Environmental Health

Throughout history, cannabis and flax fibers are the dominant fibers for making paper. These fibers can be recycled approximately 8 times, compared with a maximum of 3 cycles for inferior wood fibers. For environmental health, industrial hemp fiber is also superior because it is a prolific annual crop requiring no toxic chemicals for commercial production, and preserves our dwindling forests. Increasing the use of hemp fiber in paper and textiles will contribute to reforestation of the planet, a crucial element in the restoration of the earth’s oxygen atmosphere. Hemp fiber makes the most prized clothing because of its extreme durability and increasing comfort with prolonged wear. The original Levi’s jeans, upon which the company built its reputation, were made of hemp fiber.

In 1937, with passage of the Marihuana Tax Act in Congress, Randolph Hearst won a coup for his monopoly of the newspaper industry in America. Prior to this, he monopolized the ownership of the newspapers. He invested his profits heavily in cornering the timber rights to America’s great Northwest woods, a huge reservoir of plant fiber that, while it was inferior in quality for paper and difficult to replace as a natural resource, was the only real alternative to hemp fiber. After making hemp, even industrial hemp, with no connection to the supposed drug problem, illegal, the Hearsts now monopolized the raw material even for their rivals in the print media, the dominant media of the day. It appears that Hearst agreed with his crony, John D. Rockefeller that “competition is a sin.” This is very similar to the way Rockefeller took control of the railroads that transported the oil of his competitors.

Hemp seed oil is another health marvel. The diesel engine was originally designed to run on hemp oil. Today, we also know that hemp seed oil is one of the richest and most balanced source of essential fatty acids (EFA).

Hemp seeds, besides their rich content of health-promoting oil, are one of nature’s most productive and nutritious sources of protein. Hulled hemp seeds are one of the most delicious and easily digestible protein rich snacks just by the handful, and make an exceptional condiment when added to sauces, sprinkled on yogurt or alternative ice creams such as Rice Dream, over cereals, salads, or many other creative uses.

Modalities for the use of the Cannabis-sativa

There are many alternative routes for self-administration of THC besides synthetic gelatin capsules. They all utilize the plant Cannabis sativa as the natural source of the (legal) drug THC. Each route of administration has its own advantages and drawbacks, so it is important to find the right one for your needs.

Smoking Cannabis sativa leaves or flower-buds provides a means of rapid systemic absorption. This provides rapid feedback for monitoring the appropriate dosage. As with all medicines, dosage is key.

The minimum dose for achieving the desired result is best, so take several small doses rather than one large one to avoid excess and its attendant side effects. If you are highly sensitive, try smoking leaves rather than buds to better regulate dosage.

Smoking puts active ingredients into the systemic circulation which is felt strongly in the central nervous system. To minimize unwanted elements of smoke and heat, a filtration through water in a water pipe is highly recommended. This is especially important since Cannabis smoke contains 30 to 40% more tar than tobacco smoke. Still, according to the American Cancer Institute, the risk of lung cancer begins to rise at about 4 cigarettes a day, which is more than most users smoke.

Eating Cannabis sativa is another route of administration. Cannabis sativa can be mixed directly into baked goods such as cookies or first extracted into an oil such as butter or ghee that is then used in the preparation of various foods.

When ingesting Cannabis sativa orally, it must first be absorbed in the digestive tract and passed through the liver before it appears in the systemic circulation. This means that subjective effects take longer to notice, making initial determination of the minimum effective dosage somewhat more challenging, as some patience is required. Also, more of the effect centers on generalized physical relaxation of the body and less on central nervous system effects.

Leaf flour may be prepared by straining leaves several times through a sieve to remove any stems. Leaves can first be crushed in a large zip lock bag using a rolling pin. You can then grind the leaves into a flour in a seed mill (coffee grinder) blender or food processor. Sauté up to 2 cups or 1/2 pound of fine leaf flour mixed into a pound of melted butter in a frying pan for 30 minutes on very low heat, stirring constantly so as not to burn it. A ceramic crock pot can be used if it will be dedicated for this purpose.

You can then add some of this butter and 2 whipped egg whites to any cookie recipe, by reducing the amount of flour in the recipe, since you have added the leaf flour. Other baked goods and a variety of other recipes can be used as well. If starting with a package mix for baking, add the butter, an extra egg and a little extra water if needed.

Leaf butter is made by filling a large pot (on an electric stove) or crock pot with a gallon of water. Bring the water to a boil and add a pound of butter plus a half pound of leaf. Lower the heat to a simmer and continue simmering for several hours, adding a total of 5-7 gallons over a 48 hour period. The last gallon of water is added during the final 5 hours of cooking. Then press the leaf matter to the bottom of the pot using a steamer basket. Let the pot cool and then scrape the butter off the top. Mulch the water and the leaf.

Tea is made by steeping leaves or a flower bud, perhaps combined with other therapeutic or flavorful herbs, for anywhere from a few minutes up to a couple hours in hot water, milk (e.g. whole cow’s milk), goat milk, soy milk, a seed milk (sunflower), nut milk (e.g. almond) or rice milk as a base. Since the active ingredients are oil soluble, you may notice an oil layer floating on the top of the tea. Buds may be used efficiently by saving them to make a second batch of tea. The potency or strength of the tea can be reduced by dilution if too strong, or increased by adding tincture (see below) if too weak.

Milk is made by simmering 2 heaping tablespoons of leaf flour (see above) in a cup of any milk, such as goat milk or a seed, nut or grain milk for 2 or more hours in a crock pot on low heat.

Tincture is made by extracting the medicinal properties of leaf or bud with vodka (potato is best for those with grain sensitivity) or Tequilla (100% blue agave). For fresh plant material, use 5 parts to 1 part alcohol. For dry material, use 10 parts to 1 part alcohol. Keep the mixture well sealed in a cool, dark place, preferably in an amber glass bottle, and shake it vigorously each day for at least 14 days. Tincture is useful for application topically, sublingually or internally. It can be added to a tea, mixed with other herbal tinctures or diluted in other drinks.

A compress for topical applications such as pain relief can be made by soaking a cotton cloth with tea or tincture. Leave the compress on for at least a half hour.

Proven : Cannabis is Safe Medicine

By Ian Williams Goddard:

The journal PHARMACOLOGICAL REVIEWS reports that decades of research prove that, “Compared with legal drugs…marijuana does not pose greater risks.” Yet based upon mortality statistics, we can safely conclude that cannabis is one of the safest medical drugs known, for, while prescription drugs, defined as safe by the FDA, kill up to 27,000 and aspirin up to 1,000 Americans per year, cannabis kills 0 per year. [Figures published recently in the medical literature conservatively estimate that over 100,000 Americans die each year from FDA-approved prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.]

When we know the facts we can understand why in 1988, after extensive review of the scientific literature, the DEA’s own administrative judge Frances Young concluded that “Marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substances know to man.”

Opponents of legal cannabis access would have us believe that there is not enough research available to determine its safety. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cannabis is one of the most thoroughly researched drugs in history, and the evidence gathered over the centuries clearly proves that it is safe:

The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report (1894): an exhaustive seven-volume, 3,281-page report that concludes: “Moderate [cannabis] use produces practically no ill effects.” , ,

The Panama Canal Military Study (1916-1929), amassing extensive data on the health impact of cannabis smoking upon American soldiers stationed in Panama, recommends “No steps be taken by the Canal Zone authorities to prevent the sale or use of Marihuana.” The research also concludes that, “There is no evidence that Marihuana…is…’habit-forming.'” ,

The LaGuardia Report (1939-1944), commissioned by New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, which included evidence gathered over thousands of years, concluded that “Smoking marihuana does not lead to addiction… does not lead to morphine, heroin, or cocaine addiction” and that “the publicity concerning the catastrophic effects of marihuana smoking in New York City is unfounded.” ,

The Baroness Wootton Report (1968), commissioned by the Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence of the United Kingdom Home Office, concluded, “There is no evidence that…serious physical dangers are directly associated with the smoking of cannabis.” The report also noted that “Cannabis use does not lead to heroin addiction” and that “there is no evidence that [cannabis]…is producing in otherwise normal people conditions of dependence or psychosis, requiring medical treatment.” ,

The HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL MENTAL HEALTH LETTER reports the findings of other major cannabis studies:

In three major studies conducted in Jamaica, Costa Rica, and Greece, researchers have compared heavy long-term cannabis users with non-users and found no evidence of intellectual or neurological damage, no changes in personality, and no loss of the will to work or participate in society. The Jamaican study states that, even as cannabis use in Jamaica “is pervasive” and is used “in heavier quantities with greater THC potency than in the U.S.,” its use is “without deleterious social or psychological consequences.”

What’s more, the three studies cited, the largest human cannabis studies to date, also revealed that heavy long term cannabis users scored slightly higher on IQ tests, had slightly lower rates of illness and cancer, and lived longer on average than non-users. Users also proved to be more relaxed and sociable than non-users. , , The best evidence indicates, contrary to GovtMedia disinformation, that cannabis is safe and good for you.

In line with the findings of the Panama Canal study and the LaGuardia Report, current research confirms that the addictive potential of cannabis is very low. The journal TRENDS IN PHARMACOLOGICAL SCIENCES states that research shows cannabis has “limited potential for development of…psychological dependence due to the weak reinforcing properties of Delta-9-THC.” BRAIN RESEARCH journal observes, “cannabinoid dependence and withdrawal phenomena are minimal.”

Research proves that cannabis is nontoxic. For example, in the journal FUNDAMENTAL AND APPLIED TOXICOLOGY, Dr. William Slikker, director of the Neurotoxicology Division of the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR), described the health of monkeys exposed to very high levels of cannabis for an extended period:

The general health of the monkeys was not compromised by a year of marijuana exposure as indicated by weight gain, carboxyhemoglobin and clinical chemistry/hematology values. When THE ARKANSAS TIMES asked Dr. Merle Paule of NCTR about evidence of cannabis toxicity and the health of the monkeys in the study, Dr. Paule said, “There’s just nothing there. They were all fine.”

The journal TOXICOLOGY LETTERS published a study that found no link between cannabis smoking and lung cancer. The seven researchers in the study concluded:

It has been suggested that marijuana smoking is a proximal cause of respiratory cancer. However, these intimations have not been borne out by epidemiological investigation. Not only is the evidence linking cannabis smoking to cancer negative, the largest human studies cited indicated that cannabis users had lower rates of cancer than nonusers. What’s more, those who smoked both cannabis and tobacco had lower rates of lung cancer than those who smoked only tobacco — a strong indication of chemo-prevention , , Even more, in 1975 researchers at the Medical College of Virginia found that cannabis showed powerful anti-tumor activity against both benign and malignant tumors (the government then banned all future cannabis/cancer research). In fact, the NEW ENGLISH DISPENSATORY of 1764 recommends boiled cannabis roots for the elimination of tumors. Powerful evidence that cannabis not only does not cause cancer, but that it may prevent and even cure cancer.

The few studies that the GovtMedia drums into the public mind over and over, which claim to show that cannabis is a harmful drug, are almost all the work of the government’s top hired gun, Dr. Gabriel Nahas. The NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE described Nahas’s work as “psychopharmacological McCarthyism that compels him to use half-truths, innuendo and unverified assertions.” The JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION also condemned his work, stating, “Examples of biased selection and…omissions of facts abound in every chapter.”


Not only does the best scientific research overwhelmingly confirm that cannabis is both an effective medicine and a safe drug, but that it may be both chemo-preventive and therapeutic and generally beneficial to health. What this shows us most clearly, in light of the consensus to the contrary, is the enormous power of a Big Lie.

With its vast resources, the “GovtMedia elite” is able to fabricate and fob off a pharmacological fraud against both cannabis and the public interest. Through sheer repetition and consistent suppression of contrary information, they are able to construct an edifice of public consensus, which even the hardest scientific facts fail to topple.

The truth is no stronger than the ability of true information to surpass the public distribution of false and misleading information. The GovtMedia has a greater ability to distribute a Big Lie than any other sector of society has to distribute the truth. However, this report right here contains copious quantities of carefully referenced scientific facts that consistently and conclusively confirm that cannabis is safe –thereby exploding the GovtMedia’s Big Lie.

As truth is only as powerful as it is known, do all that is in your power to make these powerful facts known, that we might put an end to the destructive and illogical prohibition of the proven safe and effective drug cannabis, for possession of which 10 million Americans have been arrested since 1965.


The modern American culture incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than any other in history. Most of these individuals who help to make up a vast market of near-slave labor for private money interests, have committed acts which historically have never been classified as crimes, such as the medicinal or other personal use of a plant provided by God through nature. In true, classical law, a crime demands an injured party. In most crimes today, the injured party is the ‘criminal’. As laws multiply, including outrageous tomes with thousands of pages, such as NAFTA and GATT, which no member of Congress or President even read before voting in and signing into law, ultimately there are so many laws, especially those with crimes contrived where no party is injured, that everyone is a criminal, and only the arbitrary and capricious use of power against those segments of society who are in disfavor determine who lands in prison and who remains ‘free’ in a society largely composed of wage-slaves.

As an example, consider Peter McWilliams. Peter was on a number of prescription medications for a life-threatening illness, and in order to keep them down, the only solution that worked was the use of Cannabis together with adequate rest and other stress reduction measures. Then, when confined to jail by Federal Judge George King who failed to allow him access to an effective anti-emetic, Peter was found choked to death in a state where the voters had passed a law specifically for seriously ill people like Peter to have access to medical Cannabis. Through negligence to stop and correct wrongs such as these, many government officials are betraying the public trust by perjuring their sacred oaths of office and committing heinous acts of genocide and apartheid for which they will have to be held accountable through the world court system.

References: (see print version for footnotes)

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