Cannabis

Low-toxic cannabis helps folks using more dangerous opiate pain killers

Low-toxic cannabis helps folks using more dangerous opiate pain killers

Opioid prescription deathsMedical cannabis not only helps patients using opiate painkillers to get better pain relief, it also helps them reduce their use of this very dangerous type of medication. Cannabis is low toxic, and does not have to cause a head high for patients to experience relief. Also medical cannabis does not have to be smoked and there are plenty of good non-smoking options available for folks who prefer alternative methods to smoking. Low-toxic cannabis is an intelligent low cost option for folks in chronic pain, as it helps patients get off of their far more toxic opiate pain killers.  These facts are supported by sound science.  I have compiled a list of science from peer reviewed journals supporting below the video.  Because of its safety and effectiveness for pain, our legislators have a moral, ethical obligation to make sure that cannabis is legally available to patients who suffer from chronic pain.

More science below to help combat the lack of quality information about medical cannabis in today’s media

One of the big criticisms of proposed cannabis legalization is the idea that legal cannabis might increase teen use.  These claims are not based in science.  The most up to date science from the great states of Washington and Colorado show that teen use rates for cannabis have not increased with cannabis legalization.  Basically, the prohibitionists’ non-scientific argument is that young folks are so dumb that they’ll be tempted to use cannabis unless we spend millions of dollars locking them up and destroying their lives.  Young people have been very effectively messaged that tobacco use is a bad choice without making tobacco illegal and there’s no reason to believe that cannabis would be different in this regard.  Prohibition is not the best tool for informing people about how to make intelligent choices.

120926092633Below are several peer reviewed studies showing that medical cannabis helps opiate pain medications work better

Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Analgesic Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1999-2010. JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Aug 25. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.4005. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25154332.  “…States allowing the medical use of cannabis have lower rates of deaths resulting from opioid analgesic overdoses than states without such laws”.   

—Did you know that there are 25% fewer overdose deaths from opiate pain killers in states with legal medical cannabis? That’s right folks, the science has been clear for a long time.  And now there’s even more evidence that low-toxic medical cannabis saves lives for folks in chronic pain.  This time it’s the heavy hitting Journal of the American Medical Association stating “states allowing the medical use of cannabis have lower rates of deaths resulting from opioid analgesic overdoses than states without such laws”.  Below are a few more of the many, many, many studies on cannabis and chronic pain:

Cannabis as an Adjunct to or Substitute for Opiates in the Treatment of Chronic Pain, Lucas, P., Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 44 (2), 125–133, 2012  “When used in conjunction with opiates, cannabinoids lead to a greater cumulative relief of pain, resulting in a reduction in the use of opiates (and associated side-effects)”….

Cannabis in Palliative Medicine: Improving Care and Reducing Opioid-Related Morbidity, Gregory T. Carter, MD, MS1, Aaron M. Flanagan, MD2, Mitchell Earleywine, PhD3, Donald I. Abrams, MD4, Sunil K. Aggarwal, MD, PhD5, and Lester Grinspoon, MD, American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine 000(00) 1-7, 2011  “…long-term drug safety is an important issue in palliative medicine. Opioids may produce significant morbidity. Cannabis is a safer alternative with broad applicability….”

Multicenter, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study of the Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of THC:CBD Extract and THC Extract in Patients with Intractable Cancer-Related Pain, Johnson, JR, Burnell-Nugent, M, Lossignol, D, Ganae-Motan, ED, Potts, R and Fallon, MT,MB Journal of Pain and Symptom Management Vol. 39 No. 2 February 2010 167-179  “This study shows that THC:CBD extract is efficacious for relief of pain in patients with advanced cancer pain not fully relieved by strong opioids.”

Cannabis as an Adjunct to or Substitute for Opiates in the Treatment of Chronic Pain, Lucas, P., Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 44 (2), 125–133, 2012  “Novel research suggests that cannabis may be useful in the treatment of problematic substance use. These findings suggest that increasing safe access to medical cannabis may reduce the personal and social harms associated with addiction, particularly in relation to the growing problematic use of pharmaceutical opiates. “

Cannabinoids against pain. Efficacy and strategies to reduce psychoactivity: a clinical perspective.  Karst, M and Wippermann, S (2009).  Expert Opin Investig Drugs, Feb. 18, No. 2,125-133

“There is a growing body of evidence to support the use of medical cannabis as an adjunct to or substitute for prescription opiates in the treatment of chronic pain. When used in conjunction with opiates, cannabinoids lead to a greater cumulative relief of pain, resulting in a reduction in the use of opiates (and associated side-effects) by patients in a clinical setting. Additionally, cannabinoids can prevent the development of tolerance to and withdrawal from opiates, and can even rekindle opiate analgesia after a prior dosage has become ineffective. Novel research suggests that cannabis may be useful in the treatment of problematic substance use. These findings suggest that increasing safe access to medical cannabis may reduce the personal and social harms associated with addiction, particularly in relation to the growing problematic use of pharmaceutical opiates.”

Cannabinoid–Opioid Interaction in Chronic Pain, Abrams, DI, Couey, P, Shade, SB, Kelly, ME and Benowitz, NL, Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 90 (6) 2011, 844-851  “We therefore concluded that vaporized cannabis augments the analgesic effects of opioids without significantly altering plasma opioid levels. The combination may allow for opioid treatment at lower doses with fewer side effects.”

Multicenter, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study of the Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of THC:CBD Extract and THC Extract in Patients with Intractable Cancer-Related Pain, Johnson, JR, Burnell-Nugent, M, Lossignol, D, Ganae-Motan, ED, Potts, R and Fallon, MT,MB Journal of Pain and Symptom Management Vol. 39 No. 2 February 2010 167-179  “This study shows that THC:CBD extract is efficacious for relief of pain in patients with advanced cancer pain not fully relieved by strong opioids.”

Patients and Caregivers Report Using Medical Marijuana to Decrease Prescription Narcotics Use, Peters, D.C., Humboldt Journal of Social Relations, 35, 2013, 25-40  “All patients and producers who were taking opiate pain killers claimed they reduced overall drug use, especially opiates, by using medical marijuana. Patients and caregivers also claimed medical marijuana was preferred over opiates, eased withdrawal from opiates, and in some cases was perceived as more effective at relieving pain.”

Cannabinergic Pain Medicine A Concise Clinical Primer and Survey of Randomized-controlled Trial Results, Aggarwal, SK, Clin J Pain  Volume 29, Number 2, February 2013, 162-171  “Cannabis and other cannabinergic medicines’ efficacies for relieving pain have been studied in RCTs, most of which have demonstrated a beneficial effect for this indication, although most trials are short-term. Adverse effects are generally nonserious and well tolerated. Incorporating cannabinergic medicine topics into pain medicine education seems warranted and continuing clinical research and empiric treatment trials are appropriate.”

Cannabinoid-opioid interactions during neuropathic pain and analgesia, Bushlin, I, Rozenfeld, R and Devi, LA, Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2010, 10(1): 80.

Impact of Cannabis Use during Stabilization on Methadone Maintenance Treatment. Scavone JL, Sterling RC, Weinstein SP, Van Bockstaele EJ.  Am J Addict 2013;22(4):344-51.

Cancer PatientBelow are more peer reviewed references demonstrating that medical cannabis helps patients use less of their prescription opiate pain killers

Cannabis not only helps opiate medications work better, it also helps patients use less of this highly toxic class of drugs. There is positive synergy between opiate medications and cannabis.

Cannabinoid–Opioid Interaction in Chronic Pain, Abrams, DI, Couey, P, Shade, SB, Kelly, ME and Benowitz, NL, Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 90 (6) 2011, 844-851 “We therefore concluded that vaporized cannabis augments the analgesic effects of opioids without significantly altering plasma opioid levels. The combination may allow for opioid treatment at lower doses with fewer side effects.”

Synergistic interactions between cannabinoid and opioid analgesics

Life Sci. 2004 Jan 30;74(11):1317-24. Review. PubMed PMID: 14706563. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14706563

Synergy between THC and morphine in the arthritic rat

Eur J Pharmacol. 2007 Jul 12;567(1-2):125-30. Epub
2007 Apr 20. PubMed PMID: 17498686. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17498686

Cannabis reduces opiate use in the treatment of non-cancer pain

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2003 Jun;25(6):496-8. PubMed PMID:
12782429.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12782429

Synergistic and additive interactions of the cannabinoid agonist CP55,940 with mu opioid receptor and alpha2-adrenoceptor agonists in acute pain models in mice.

Br J Pharmacol. 2005 Mar;144(6):875-84. PubMed PMID: 15778704; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1576059. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15778704

Cannabinoid-opioid interactions during neuropathic pain and analgesia, Bushlin, I, Rozenfeld, R and Devi, LA, Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2010, 10(1): 80.

Additionally, there is a lot of good science showing synergistic effects between the molecule CBD and THC.

Feel free to comment at CannabisMatrix.com or email me at DrJake@DrJakeFelice if you have any questions regarding these synergistic effects.

Jake w Hatch surf photoBelow is essential data for citizens to consider which puts into perspective the magnitude of the scope of drug toxicities for our citizens, and why low toxic cannabis can be such an excellent option for patients suffering from even mild to moderate chronic pain.  

 No other pain relieving medication is less toxic than cannabis, not even aspirin or Tylenol. If deaths from toxic effects from NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and Aleve were tabulated separately in the National Vital Statistics reports, these drug toxicities would constitute the 15th most common cause of death in the United States. This is why cannabis as medicine can be an excellent choice as a substitute for more toxic pain-killers such as opiates and NSAIDs.

The July 1998 issue of The American Journal of Medicine stated the following: “Conservative calculations estimate that approximately 107,000 patients are hospitalized annually for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-related gastrointestinal (GI) complications and at least 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur each year among arthritis patients alone. The figures of all NSAID users would be overwhelming, yet the scope of this problem is generally under-appreciated.”

And again in June 1999 the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine issued a similar statement:  ”It has been estimated conservatively that 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur among patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis every year in the United States. This figure is similar to the number of deaths from the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and considerably greater than the number of deaths from multiple myeloma, asthma, cervical cancer, or Hodgkin’s disease.

If deaths from gastrointestinal toxic effects from NSAIDs were tabulated separately in the National Vital Statistics reports, these effects would constitute the 15th most common cause of death in the United States. Yet these toxic effects remain mainly a “silent epidemic,” with many physicians and most patients unaware of the magnitude of the problem. Furthermore the mortality statistics do not include deaths ascribed to the use of over-the-counter NSAIDS.”

A recent study in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management notes that the number of deaths and hospitalizations from GI bleeding due to NSAIDs has remained unchanged since the 1999 study.  Again, medical cannabis has never killed a single patient.

Yours truly,

-Dr. Jake Felice

Seattle, WA

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Fear Factor host vs Ann Coulter on cannabis – it’s not pretty…

Fear Factor host vs Ann Coulter on cannabis – it’s not pretty…

In the video below, Ann Coulter is destroyed by Fear Factor’s Joe Rogan, and it’s not pretty.  Just one fact correction – About 2 minutes into the video, Joe Rogan says that CBD’s must be extracted, as in they must be extracted by laboratory techniques.  Luckily, this is not true.  The truth is that you don’t even need a lab to get high quality CBD medicine.  CBD’s are present in whole plant cannabis including many cannabis strains, as well as hemp based products.

That’s right, HEMP!  The CBD in hemp can be extracted directly into olive or coconut oils for medical use utilizing simple kitchen tools and a heat source such as a crock pot.  And this is legal in all 50 states.  If it sounds like too much trouble to do yourself, hemp creams and oils are available for sale in all 50 states and can be used by patients topically for pain relief.  High CBD hemp oil can even add benefit to topical cannabis creams as many topical cannabis lotions do not have CBD’s in them.  Botanically speaking, hemp is cannabis too.  Ooooh yeah…!  -Dr. Jake

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Cannabis modulates the immune system and is NOT an immune suppressant

Cannabis modulates the immune system and is NOT an immune suppressant

Many media outlets bash cannabis as lowering our immune system.  The use of these words misleads patients and is a sophisticated form of reefer madness.

immunesysThe word “immune suppression” scares patients and its use is a form of anti-cannabis propaganda.  The key thing to understand about cannabis is that it is an immune modulator, and NOT an immune suppressant.  Most cannabis shifts the immune system surveillance away from fighting bacteria, while at the same time stimulating the body’s ability to fight cancer, viruses, and auto-immune disease.  The latter are much more important in the case of chronic disease from which most patients suffer.

Cannabis certainly may not be beneficial in acute infection, or in immune compromised or in those patients taking immune suppressing medication such as prednisone.  Of great note, is that certain strains of cannabis possess antibacterial properties.  Thank goodness!

-Dr. Jake Felice

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Patients say ‘yes’ to cannabis for MS

Patients say ‘yes’ to cannabis for MS

The science supporting the use of cannabis for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is absolutely compelling.  Click here for a list of peer reviewed scientific references.

Patients everywhere should have the right to access the best medicine for their illness.  As of now, 20 states now have medical cannabis laws for patients who need safe non-toxic cannabis for their health conditions.

This video highlights the inspirational story of Gary Cooper, an MS patient.  His story, more than all of the scientific evidence referenced above makes a compelling case for the use of low-toxic medical cannabis.

Gary states about cannabis:  “It takes away my discomfort, it enhances my very being.”

Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks the central nervous system causing inflammation, muscle spasm and loss of motor coordination, as well as muscle weakness.  Over years, the disease progresses, and MS patients can become permanently disabled.  Multiple sclerosis is typically a progressive disease and it can be fatal.  Medical cannabis can be very helpful for MS.  According to the US National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 200 people are diagnosed every week with MS in the United States, and it most frequently targets those 20 to 40 years of age.  Multiple Sclerosis is particularly prevalent in the Pacific Northwest.

My patients with MS find remarkable benefits from it’s low toxic properties.  I hope that you enjoyed this post, please feel free to comment as I’d love to hear from you.  In health,  -Dr. Jake Felice

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Cannabis and CBD provide low toxic protection from seizures

Cannabis and CBD provide low toxic protection from seizures

Does cannabis help patients with seizures?  You bet it does!  And it frequently helps at concentrations that are so low that the cannabis that doesn’t give patients a head high.  Here is a 40-year list of peer reviewed scientific articles from 2013 back to 1973 showing the protective benefits of low toxic cannabis and CBD.

Cannabis is by far the least toxic medicine available and has the best side-effect profile of all medicines that benefit seizures.

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How and why cannabis could cure cancer

How and why cannabis could cure cancer


There’s a wealth of laboratory evidence that compounds in cannabis kill cancer cells in a variety of ways.  Even very low concentrations of cannabinoids have anti-cancer effects, and all cannabinoids have extremely low toxicity.  The doctors in this video discuss how it is whole plant cannabis and not pharmaceutical drugs based on the plant’s chemistry that will seize the day and out perform the patented products of pharmaceutical corporations.  Right now, federal laws and regulations prevent the study of cannabis in humans in the United States.  Let’s do what needs to be done and study this plant in humans – the lives of our loved ones are too short to have politics and religion interfering with our god given right to use this plant to help ourselves and those we love.  Here is some information from the National Cancer Institute that you might find interesting on the use of cannabis for helping cancer patients: http://goo.gl/XXsUf

A proper 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.

-Dr. Jake Felice

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