arthritis

Why medical cannabis makes sense

Why medical cannabis makes sense

Today is a fascinating time with the emergence of new science in the field of medical cannabis.  Two of the plant’s most exciting features are its extreme low toxicity, as well as its broad effectiveness for many different types of medical conditions.  How is it that cannabis can help such a wide range of symptoms and health issues ranging from PTSD to cancer and arthritis, MS to Crohn’s disease and epilepsy, as well as insomnia, pain and muscle spasm?  The answer lies in our body’s endocannabinoid system, which acts like the internet of our body to help cells coordinate our immune response.   The endocannabinoid system helps our body organize itself by helping cells communicate better to create physiologic balance.acc-feature-cancer-patient

Unlike conventional drugs which can have very serious toxicity issues for patients, cannabis possesses very low toxicity.  Cannabis is far less toxic than aspirin or Tylenol for example.  No patient or recreational user has ever died from an overdose of cannabis.  In fact, cannabis is the least toxic of any pain reliever, which makes it an excellent option for folks who have chronic pain and are on long-term medications such as opiates.  Emerging science shows that folks using medical cannabis for their chronic conditions actually are able to reduce the amount of their more toxic medications.

Medical cannabis patients in chronic pain can use cannabis together along with their opiate based painkillers, and cannabis has the special ability to help pain medications work more effectively without adding toxic risk.  This translates to fewer accidental deaths from prescription medications.  In fact, states with legal medical cannabis show a 25% reduction in accidental opiate prescription deaths.  The low toxicity of cannabis can save lives by reducing patient dependence on more toxic medications.  This is an intelligent approach to medicine and allows patients to safely control their pain and reduce their risk of toxicity to the liver, stomach, and kidneys.

medmarijuanaNot all cannabis is the same, in fact there are more different types of cannabis than there are types of dogs.  The reduced psychoactivity of CBD-rich cannabis strains for example, makes these strains a terrific treatment option for patients seeking pain relief, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety and anti-spasm effects of cannabis without the sedation or head-high of other types.

Medical cannabis patients do not have to get high to experience pain relief, nor do they have to smoke cannabis to use it as medicine.  Delivery methods besides smoking include topical creams, edibles, raw juiced cannabis, and vaporization.  These methods provide patients a variety of options to tailor cannabis to their own special situations.

The healing power of cannabis gives patients a low-toxic alternative for many of their chronic medical conditions.  Because of its complexity, a proper medical cannabis recommendation requires more than just a few minutes of a doctor’s time, and includes information on cannabinoid content, strain selection, and delivery methods. If you’re not getting this information from your doctor, you’re not getting a real cannabis consultation and are missing information on the full value and healing potential of the plant.

70-DrJake-Office20110408-2197Yours in health – Dr. Jake Felice, ND, LMP

Seattle and Woodinville, WA

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Dr. Jake Felice speaks to NPR listeners about cannabis on 90.7 FM KSER

Dr. Jake Felice speaks to NPR listeners about cannabis on 90.7 FM KSER

Click on the player below to play the show! This radio show is a great learning opportunity for those interested in more detail regarding medical cannabis.  Check out Dr. Jake Felice discussing cannabis during the evening commute on NPR 90.7 FM KSER.  Topics include cannabis for PTSD, the use of topical cannabis, cannabis edibles, cannabis for arthritis, MS, Parkinson’s disease, as well as an in depth discussion of terpenes, CBD, cannabis delivery methods, and how to find pure, properly labeled cannabis.  Thanks to the shows host, Dr. Rebecca Dirks, as well as to Dr. Kasra Pournadaeli and KSER 90.7 FM Marysville.

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Raw juiced cannabis provides green healing without smoke or sedation

Raw juiced cannabis provides green healing without smoke or sedation

The juice of raw cannabis provides unique healing benefits. Plant chemicals known as cannabinoid acids such as CBD-acids, and THC-acids break down quickly after harvest, so these compounds are not available in traditional preparations such as cooked ‘medibles’, smoking, or vaporizing.

The healing benefits of cannabinoid-acids are only present for a short period of time before the chemicals break down, so juicing needs to be done quickly after harvest. Fan leaves should make up the majority of the juice, and adding a small amount of cannabis flowers can be beneficial. Cannabis roots can also be added to the mixture as cannabis roots contain CBD, even in non-CBD producing plants!

Cannabinoid acids have amazing properties including anti-inflammatory properties, nerve protecting properties, and pain relieving properties. In raw preparations, the THC has not been heat-activated so there is not the intense sedation that is found in conventional edibles such as pot brownies. This allows for patients to take much higher doses of cannabinoids without the overly sedating effects that would otherwise be a concern. Raw cannabis shows promise for patients with neurological diseases such as MS, as well as for chronic pain suffers, cancer patients, and patients with autoimmune disease such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, Lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.

My patients are having fabulous success with raw juiced cannabis. The juice can be frozen to save preparation time. The freezing is typically done in ice cube trays, though it can also be blended with other juices such as apple juice and made into popsicles. Though it’s not yet being done, there is also potential to get the healing benefits of cannabinoid-acids from fresh freeze-dried preparations in capsule form. Topical application of a raw cannabis poultice is also very effective for pain from neuropathy, as well as musculoskeletal pain including arthritis pain.

Plants with high CBD content are best for juicing as they contain more CBD-acids than non-CBD producing strains.

Because of Washington state’s medical cannabis law, patients are allowed to grow up to 15 cannabis plants for their medical use. This means that patients in Seattle and throughout the state can have affordable, safe, and effective medicine for their own personal use without relying on more costly drugs with higher toxicity and side-effect profiles.

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