Suppression

Cannabis and marijuana

Category: Medicines - plant based

Type

Voluntary

Introduction and description

There would be many who disagree with my placing Cannabis within this section on medicines, citing its use as a recreational 'drug', its ability to cause brain damage if abused and used in excess, and its illegality.
On the other hand those same people will happily condone the use of Benzodiazepines, whose record for causing brain damage and long term distress is well known, far exceeds anything cannabis has ever achieved and these drugs are of course legal.
It may be helpful to read the section on Being mis-prescribed pharmaceuticals before you pass any judgements. 

Cannabis is also known as marijuana, the name often used to describe the typical herbal form of cannabis, which consists of the flowers and subtending leaves and stalks of mature pistillate of female plants.   The resinous form of the drug is known as hashish (or merely as 'hash').

Cannabis (Cán-na-bis) is a genus of flowering plants that includes three species, Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. These three are indigenous to Central Asia, and South Asia. According to Richard Rudgley in his book The Encyclopaedia of Psychoactive substances   “Of the three cannabis species….  C indica is said to be the most potent species whilst C. ruderalis comes in a poor third”.

Cannabis has long been used for fibre (hemp), for medicinal purposes, by religious sects and as a “recreational drug”. Industrial hemp products are made from Cannabis plants selected to produce an abundance of fiber and minimal levels of THC.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is also known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC),  and Δ1-THC (using an older chemical nomenclature).  Δ9-THC is responsible [according to Meyler] for the greater part of the pharmalogical effects of cannabis – the primary natural source of THC.  Δ8-THC is also active.  However the cannabis plant contains more than 400 chemicals, of which some 60 are chemically related to Δ9-THC.  For more details see the section on THC in the Science section.

One of my main interests in Cannabis is in its medical use.  It was used successfully in the past to treat Tetanus, Rabies, plus many more illnesses which are now considered untreatable or treated using far more powerful and dangerous pharmaceuticals.  I think we need to revisit this plant and reconsider it as a key medicinal herb.

Background

Cannabis has been used for thousands of years.  It was referred to in the Hindu Vedas between 2000 and 1400 BCE. By the 10 century AD, it was being referred to in India as "food of the gods". Cannabis use eventually became a ritual part of the Hindu festival of Holi.
In Buddhism, cannabis has been used in meditation and regarded as a holy plant since 500 BC. Shamanic use of Cannabis in China has been dated to at least 1000 BC. In ancient Germanic culture, Cannabis was associated with the Norse love goddess, Freya. An anointing oil mentioned in Exodus is, by some translators, said to contain Cannabis. Sufis have used Cannabis in a spiritual context since the thirteenth century AD.
The plant has been used for thousands of years by the peoples of Asia including those in Siberia and Mongolia.
In modern times the Rastafarian movement has embraced Cannabis as a sacrament. Elders of the modern religious movement known as the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church consider Cannabis to be the Eucharist. And like the Rastafari, some modern Gnostic Christian sects have asserted that Cannabis is path to God. Other organized religions founded in the 20th century that treat Cannabis as a sacrament are the THC Ministry, the Way of Infinite Harmony, Cantheism, the Cannabis Assembly and the Church of Cognizance.

Method

Cannabis can be smoked, made into a drink  - hash tea [which tastes repulsive according to my sources] or put into food [so called hash browns or space cakes or hash jam!].  It may also be found in resinous form [hash] or as an oil or as a tincture.  The resins, oils, tinctures etc are all far stronger than the smoking mixtures and teas, but have the advantage that often their strength is known.

Medicinally it is better to have teas or food, as you are not likely to overdose and the complex plant chemicals are all present - which appears to be key in medical settings.  I will provide a description of the other methods used for completeness so that you are aware of the terminology.

In general lie down, relax, do not drive or attempt anything requiring reason or memory and do not over dose.  If you are sick and need it for pain relief for example, then you may need to take it regularly until you find the cause of the pain.  Then you must stop.  If you overdose or use cannabis regularly you will send yourself out of balance and could lose your reason and memory. Like all chemicals overdosing causes the death of the very receptors that the body uses to give you these benefits, so by overdosing you could get the opposite effects.

Smoking

When cannabis is smoked the effects appear within minutes, reaching a maximum in about 30 minutes and lasting up to 4 hours.  Some of the motor and cognitive effects may last for 5 to 12 hours.

Cannabis duration chart when smoked – source EROWID

Eaten in food or drunk as a tea

I found a whole range of ingenious ways in which cannabis leaves and hash resin has been incorporated into dishes as a food.  According to Richard Rudgley in his book The Encyclopaedia of Psychoactive substances  “For both their psychoactive effects and flavour, hemp leaves are popular in the local cuisines of the region [Asia] , being variously used in soups, curries, fish fritters and other dishes”.   They do some very fine ‘hash browns’ and ‘hash muffins’ in the Netherlands.  I also found a number of ‘recipes’ for hash jam, hash paste, hash brownies, hash space cake, space paste, and so on.  For example

Theophile Gautier – Hashish
Hashish is an extract of flowers of hemp (Cannabis Indica), cooked with butter, pistachio nuts, almonds and honey, to form a kind of jam very similar to apricot conserve and with a taste which is by no means unpleasant

and

From a forum………..
Grind up some hash put it at the bottom of a mug, add tea bag/ball, add boiling water. (probably would be better to boil it in the water but I have a shared kitchen, so it wouldn't really have been a good idea). I have a cough so I didn't want to smoke but of course I still wanted to get high, so this was my only option. Turned out well....too well actually. I used too much……..

and

Internet cannabis forum site – Recipe for hash brownies and pot brownies

  • Butter
  • Brownie Mix
  • Eggs
  • Large Bowl to mix ingredients
  • Big Mixing Spoon
  • Water (very little, check instructions)
  • Marijuana or Hashish
  • A cooking pot, or 2 (one big, one small) if you are very scared of wasting the herb

*If you are not using kief or hashish, you do not have actual "hash brownies", but pot brownies. They still do the trick, but are not as strong as hash brownies on a gram-to-gram ratio.

Bhang

 

Bhang (Hindi: भांग) is an edible preparation of cannabis used in food and drink in India. Using mortar and pestle, the buds and leaves of cannabis are ground into a paste. To this mixture, milk (or buttermilk), ghee, and Indian spices are added. Bhang is also mixed with ghee and sugar to make a purple halva, and into “peppery, chewy little edible balls called 'golee'” (which in this context means candy or pill in Hindi).  “In some parts of rural India, , bhang is believed to cure fever, dysentery, sunstroke, clear phlegm, aid in digestion, appetite, cure speech imperfections and lisping, and give alertness to the body”.  According to Wikipedia “Bhang has been used in India since the Vedic period, as an integral part of Indian Hindu culture. Hindu monks make use of the amazing effects of bhang to boost meditation and to achieve transcendental states”.  In 1596, Dutchman Jan Huyghen van Linschoten wrote 3 pages on "Bangue" in a work documenting his journeys in the East, also mentioning the Turkish Boza, Turkish Bernavi, and Arabic Bursj forms of consumption.

Hash oil

Hash oil is an evaporated solution of tetrahydrocannabinol and various other compounds produced by a solvent extraction of cannabis. Despite the similarity in names, it does not resemble hashish. It can be a very potent medication due to its high THC concentration, which generally varies between 70 - 90 percent.
Hash oil is obtained via extraction of the psychoactive cannabinoids that are present in cannabis. A solvent capable of dissolving the desired extract is used to dissolve these chemicals from the physical plant material. The resulting mixture is then filtered to remove the remaining sediment, and evaporated to yield a concentrated extract of resins and essential oils.  Hash oil can be consumed in various ways

  • Adding it to the inner rim of a pipe bowl.
  • Mixed in food (such as space cakes).
  • Vaporized off a specialized glass oil dome and inhaled through a water pipe.
  • Vaporized off improvised devices; such as a an electric stove element, car cigarette lighter, or pressed between two heated knives (known as blades, spotting or hot knifing). The vapor can then be inhaled through a hollow tube, often an empty pen tube called a hooter.

The effects of extracted resin are comparable to smoking the same plant from which it was extracted, but often intensified due to its much higher potency.

Honey oil

Honey oil is a specific type of hash oil produced by certain solvents, most commonly butane, and isopropanol; however, both Naptha and Petroleum Ether have also been used.  Sometimes called butane hash oil or BHO, honey or simply "oil", it is traditionally a dark, viscous liquid made by solvent extraction of cannabis resin.   Several small drops can produce effects comparable to a much greater amount of plant material. This can sometimes cause overwhelming effects if the extract's high concentration of cannabinoids is not taken into account.

If you overdose

These days of course there are all the antagonist drugs available, but who in reality wants to take one drug to counteract another?  So this may be useful...

The Hasheesh Eater – Fitz Hugh Ludlow
To the first restaurant at hand we hastened.  Passing in, I called for that only material relief which I have ever found for these spiritual sufferings – something strongly acid.  In the east the form in use is sherbet; mine was very sour lemonade.  A glass of it was made ready and with a small glass tube I drew it up, not being able to bear the shock of a large swallow.  Relief came -  but very slightly, very slowly.  Before the first glass was exhausted I called most imperatively for another one to be prepared as quickly as possible, lest the flames should spread by waiting.  In this way I kept a man busy with the composition of lemonade after lemonade, plunging my tube over the edge of the drained tumbler into the full one with a precipitate haste for which there were mortal reasons, until six had been consumed

Effects

Practically all the effects of cannabis are mediated by THC.  Expect therefore one or more of the following;

  • A great desire to make babies, make love, bonk incessantly
  • Great relief from pain
  • Orgasmic pleasure - Feelings of bliss and peace
  • Great feelings of relaxation and lack of anxiety
  • A raging appetite
  • Improved health – relief from arthritis, rheumatism and other inflammatory diseases; better immune system responses to bacteria; improved ability to fight the cell proliferation that might lead to cancer
  • Short term - really awful cognition and  memory;  long term possibly improved perception recall and a better understanding of where memory and your learned functions are incorrect
  • Temperature control – uncontrollable inner heat or  inner cold
  • Relief from some eye problems – floaters, blurred vision, excessive fluid pressure
  • Some motor behaviour changes  – during the experience you may stagger like a drunk, and experience unsteadyness and inbalance, but for those with these problems already, you may find afterwards you regain lost ability
  • Enhanced  sensory abilities – usually,  greatly enhance sensory capability.  According to Meyler ‘enhanced sensory perception, a heightened appreciation of colour and sound, increased sensitivity to others and to stimuli.  Loss of sense of time

At  too high a dose there is no doubt that cannabis degenerates  into a poison, then you will get the nasty effects, sedation, dry mouth, hypotension [dizziness, disorientation] ,  you may be nauseous or even physicallly sick,  you will get tachycardia, vasidolation, eye flutter, possibly tremors, and so on, great temperature variations, and so on.    

 

There are always constant reports from users of the ‘disinhibitory effects’ of cannabis, but this is the by-product of the gradual loss of reason and memory.  You revert to an ‘innocent ‘ - a little endearing animal without guile or cunning.   Memory contains learned function and learned function provides us with inhibition.  We would have no worries about hugging others, or loving them indiscriminately, or kissing them profusely as children do, if we got rid of the learned function we get from religions, schools,  and ‘uptight’ parents that tell us this is WRONG.  Thus losing memory has its advantages in this context. Any really obstructive learned function may go, but we may find that we don’t always conform to social norms!

A note on the synthetics

The cannabis plant bears no relation chemically to all the synthetic variants being touted by dealers in drugs and the pharmaceutical companies.  The synthetic pharmaceuticals are known under the general heading of Synthetic cannabinoids.  If you take a look at the Science section and the decription of Spice and K2, you will see that not only are they not the same chemicals, they can contain completely different substances.  A great deal of abuse has been heaped upon cannabis over the years that would be far better aimed at these synthetic products.  Investigate the seriously ill cannabis user and you will often find they have never touched the plant in their lives but used the synthetics and substitutes. 

All of the papers I have been able to find on the healing properties of cannabis have been for the plant and not the pharmaceuticals derived from it.  It is clear that scientists do not understand [and may well never understand] the intricate balance of chemicals that exist in cannabis the plant.  The plant, for example, acts an an antiviral and has been successfully used in the fight against AIDs.  But it is not THC that helps in this, it is another chemical in the plant.  Use the plant.

How it works

The section on THC explains some of the receptors and actions of the chemicals, but its primary benefit is simply that it is really good invoker of the parasympathetic nervous system, and by relaxing and releasing all tension, we also help the immune system.

Advantages

Meyler does not list it as a toxin and lists no serious side effects.  It says ‘the adverse affects [from overdose] are usually mild and resolve rapidly on withdrawal of treatment’.  Notice that Meyler considers it a medicine.

It is interesting that Meyler – the authority on toxicology, used by doctors worldwide, stated that the only really serious toxilogical problem lay in the toxins produced from the smoke – inhalation of the carcinogenic hydrocarbons that are present in the leaf.

Disadvantages

There is a problem associated with the use of cannabis common to all plants.   You don’t know what dose you are getting.  

It is evident that the exact proportions in which the 400 chemicals contained in cannabis are present may vary considerably with the way in which the plant has been harvested, grown and prepared.  This means you actually have little idea what you are getting when you use cannabis in plant form – a grower in a Barnsley loft conversion may produce a weak innocuous plant, whereas a grower in the wilds of Afghanistan may produce an absolute zonker of a plant.  Be aware of your source and be careful of the differences.   

There are advantages in a sense with using the extracts, but given the choice between one drop of a glutinous brown goo in a glass of water or a nice spoonful of hash jam on a rice cake, or a delicious gluten free hash brown or hash brownie, or a hash omelette with a dash of cayenne pepper and perhaps a little truffle oil, which would you go for  - honestly!?

References and further reading

This is a genuine newspaper clip!

Meyler's side-effects of drugs

You can also get lots of help here too

 

 

 

 

 

Related observations