The Ultimate Guide to Cannabis Oil

(Last Updated On: June 28, 2019)

This is probably one of the most controversial topics to feud about in this century. Can cannabis oil have any health benefits. On the one hand it is said to help comfort terminally ill people and gives them comfort in their final hours. Then the other side is that today’s marijuana is processed with harmful chemicals that make marijuana so much stronger and deadly than it was 20 years ago. So, how can cannabis essential oil be healthy for you? This is a question we will try and answer in this article.

Many states have legalized marijuana some restrict it to solely medical use. Colorado legalized  marijuana so that people 21 years of age and over can smoke it anywhere like a person would smoke cigarettes. This author’s opinion is that nothing good can come out of cannabis oil or legalizing marijuana itself. From personal experience as a teenager marijuana never had any beneficial for this author. It turned him into a thief, and a very unmotivated human being. Ultimately, the drug became very addictive and landed this author in jail. The desire for cannabis became so strong that this author resorted to breaking into a house to acquire the money to feed his habit. So here is the author’s perspective on any form of cannabis. Let’s look at the perceived health benefits of cannabis oil. Anyway let’s check out the supposed health benefits of cannabis oil. 

History of Cannabis

Cannabis for thousands of years has been used in various cultures to help treat health conditions. Cannabis essential oil is a extremely powerful oil that takes only a few drops that can affect the mind and body. Cannabis (popularly known as marijuana) is used to describe a product of the cannabis sativa plant. The plant is grown for its potent, sticky glands which are known as trichomes. These trichomes contain tetrahydrocannabinol (called THC), which is the cannabinoid most known for its psychoactive properties.

Concerns about the dangers of marijuana abuse led to the ban of cannabinoids for medicinal use in the United States and many other countries in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Decades later cannabis oil is now being used for therapeutic uses but on a highly restricted basis. Cannabis originated in Central Asia, but today it is grown worldwide. In the United States, it is classified as a Schedule I agent, which means that it’s a drug with increased potential for abuse. The Cannabis plant produces resin-containing psychoactive compounds called cannabinoids which was mentioned above.

According to a 2007 scientific review published in “Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience”. Scientists agree that despite the mild addiction (for some people it is very addictive) cannabis has. Despite the fact that it can lead to addictive behavior to stronger drugs, that it is effective to combine cannabinoids with cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Many diseases including anorexia, emesis, pain, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, neurodegenerative disorders, epilepsy, glaucoma, osteoporosis, schizophrenia, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, obesity and metabolic syndrome-related disorders are being treated or have the potential to be treated with cannabis or cannabinoid treatment. Some supposed health benefits:

Reducer of Stress and Anxiety  

Stress

Chronic stress can ruin the quality of life for people. They want a way out of this harmful way of life and it seems like some are turning to cannabis to relieve the grinding stress. Cannabis has the ability to release both pleasure hormones and it can calm the mind. It calms the body and permeates the mind with a peaceful and calm feeling. Chemicals in cannabis called cannabinoids activate certain specific receptors found throughout the body to produce pharmacologic effects, (the science dealing with the preparation, uses, and especially the effects of drugs.) particularly in the central nervous system and the immune system.

A 2013 study conducted at “the University of Haifa in Israel” discovered that cannabinoid treatment after a traumatic experience could regulate the emotional response to the trauma and prevent stress-induced impairment. It was concluded that cannabinoid treatment minimized the stress receptors in the basolateral amygdala (the nuclei that receives that majority of sensory information) and hippocampus (the part of the brain that is thought to be the center of emotion).

Cannabis oil is able to help people with insomnia by helping them sleep calmly. Which helps to release feelings of nervousness and anxiety. A 2015 scientific review published in “the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy  asserts that cannabis oil can treat military veterans who have post traumatic stress disorder. (PTSD) Research may have found that cannabinoids,the psychoactive components of unrefined cannabis, regulates neurotransmitter release and produces a wide range central nervous effects, including increased pleasure and it will alter memory processes.    

Cross-sectional studies have found a direct correlation between more severe PTSD and symptomatology and increased motivation to use cannabis for coping purposes, specifically among subjects with difficulties in emotional regulation or stress tolerance. Military veterans said when using cannabis oil they had improvement with coping with reality. Their anxiety and stress were reduced as well.

Appetite Alteration    

Cannabis oil will definitely increased the weight of the person using it. So, people who have trouble gaining weight or want to gain weight may choose to use cannabis oil to achieve that goal. The oil will stimulate hunger and boost the digestive system. If the cannabis oil is inhaled or consumed hormones may be trigger to induce the above mentioned effects. On the other hand depending on which hormones are triggered cannabis can suppress appetite as well.

“The International Weekly Journal of Science” says that cannabis promotes the release of hunger promoting hormones and this is quite true. Nerve cells are crucial in this function. Neurons in the brain cells will either release a hunger-promoting hormone or a hunger suppressing hormone. This was touched upon before. Depending on which hormone is stimulated cannabis oil can release or suppress hunger. The person who is obese will benefit from the hunger suppressing hormone. This can benefit people who have trouble with their weight keep their weight in balance. The other side of the coin is people who suffer from anorexia or bulimia will benefit from hormones being released that enhance hunger. But the only ambiguous factor about this health benefit is which hormone is released when? Can those different hormones be released deliberately or does cannabis release them randomly? If it is an uncontrolled process then these appetite hormonal releases may be uncontrolled. If this is the case it will not help anyone struggling with weight issues.

Sharper Visual

cannabis oil can treat macular degeneration and glaucoma

The claim that cannabis oil can sharpen vision is really hard to grasp. Research claims that cannabis oil can treat macular degeneration and glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disease that affects the optic nerve and will result in vision loss and maybe lead to blindness. It’s caused by a buildup of fluid in the eye that puts pressure on the optic nerve, retina and lens. The pressure buildup may permanently damage the eye if not treated.  Even though many reasons contribute to the optic nerve damage in patients with glaucoma, it has been proven that the level of intraocular pressure (known as IOP) definitively is related.

“The American Glaucoma Society” claims that cannabis oil can lower the IOP in normal patients as well as glaucoma patients. Both for normal patients and patients with glaucoma, cannabis might be a natural glaucoma inhibitor. This may be a leap in the dark because there was no solid research evidence cited to verify that cannabis can help improve eyesight. The drawback to cannabis lowering IOP is that it works for only a short time. A patient would have to consume cannabis every three hours to experience any type of noticeable change. Most studies conducted for the purpose of this benefit are looking at potential lung damage from smoking marijuana. This benefit has not been proven and research on this still being conducted. Also cannabis oil and cannabis supplements are being tested.

Natural Pain Reliever

Cannabis has been used for thousands of years as a natural pain reliever

Cannabis has been used for thousands of years as a natural pain reliever. It is suggested that cannabinoids may be useful in controlling pain by inhibiting nueronal transmission in pain pathways. In simple terms it will block pain from reaching the brain. It is an unsettling thought to think that cannabis oil can numb the brain. This may affect a person’s normal brain functions. cannabis oil may cloud the brain retarding norma thinking processes. Would cannabis oil eventually lead to permanent brain damage. Is this a risk really worth taking?

A 2010 study published in the “Canadian Medical Association Journal” claims that cannabis oil may help people with chronic pain. In this study 23 adults with with post-traumatic or post-surgical neuropathic pain were randomly assigned doses of cannabis oil.The test lasted for 14 day periods in a crossover trial. Daily pain intensity was measured using a 11 point numeric rating scale. The patients inhaled cannabis oil three times a day for the 14 day period. The patients reported a reduction in chronic pain, improved sleep and their bodies tolerated the cannabis oil quite well.

Cancer patients have turned to cannabis oil to relieve their chronic pain and cannabis oil is being touted as a part of natural fibromyalgia treatment.

Heart Booster

They say the antioxidant properties in cannabis oil prevent heart disease. Animal studies predict that cannabis oil may help with a range of cardiovascular issues such as including hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, atherosclerosis and heart attacks. A study conducted, for the first time, “the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham”  declares that cannabinoids affect blood vessels by making them relax and widen. By relaxing blood vessels cannabis oil provides a natural way for better blood circulation. This will result in lower blood pressure. Because this is the first human study testing the efficiency of cannabis in treating conditions of the heart, there is still more research to be done to prove that this is a safe method of treatment. This may need a lot more studying to verify that cannabis oil is safe to treat the cardiovascular system with.  

Skin Shield

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Applying cannabis oil topically to the skin will help to kill dead skin cells leaving the skin glowing and looking healthy. Cannabinoids are said to be responsible for lipid production. Because of this supposed fact they can help treat dry skin or acne. You may add this to your home remedies for acne treatment.

Cell damage caused by oxidation accelerates the aging process that can lead to spots, wrinkles and other signs of aging. Cannabis oil is said to have high antioxidant properties which will help to fight free radical damage. Which will help fight the aging process.

Enemy of Cancer

This benefit is still under major scrutiny and it may be that cannabis oil causes cancer instead of preventing it. Cannabis oil is being considered as a natural treatment for cancer. It also may be a cancer preventer option because supposedly it may decrease the size of tumors and alleviate nausea, pain, lack of appetite and weakness. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved cannabis as a  medical cure for cancer or any other medical conditions, but research shows that it may have some anticancer properties.This should be a red flag that cannabis oil is still listed as a harmful drug by the United States. The FDA has not approved cannabis oil for any medicinal purposes.

Research has suggested that cannabis oil has certain health benefits but obviously the FDA is not convinced of the findings. It don’t seem feasible that cannabis oil can cure cancer when it is still be investigated for causing cancer.  Potentially, there may be no medicinal benefits attached to cannabis oil.

A Case Study      

In 2013 it was reported that a 14 year-old-girl, in Canada, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as ALL. She went through a standard bone marrow transplant, aggressive chemotherapy and radiation therapy which were revoked. The treatment was deemed a failure after 34 months.  

The family ran out of conventional treatment methods so they began to administer cannabinoid extracts orally.  The case report said the following: “it was charted by the girl’s oncologist that the patient “suffers from terminal malignant disease. She has been treated to the limits of available therapy … no further active intervention will be undertaken.” She was then placed in a palliative home care and told to prepare for her disease to overwhelm her body. She was expected to suffer a stroke within the next two months.”

The family needless to say was devastated by the news. But they researched cannabinoids and found that they had inhibited the growth of  tumor cells in culture and in animal models by signalling key cell-signalling pathways. Armed with this new hope the family tried this treatment on their daughter hoping for similar results. The family also found out that hat cannabinoids are usually well-tolerated and do not manufacture the generalized toxic effects of traditional chemotherapies. They found an organization that had treated cancer patients with cannabis oil.

The treatment of cannabis oil was given once a day eventually increasing to three times a day. The result was the girl decreased her dose of morphine for pain relief, she experienced euphoric states of mind, and she had disoriented memory all classic signs of cannabis oil use. She also had increased periods of panic, an enhanced appetite and fatigue. The treatment went on for 65 days and the family continually changed the strains of cannabis oil. Some increasing appetite and relieving pain more effectively than others.

This is the final excerpt of the case study:

“ The author of the case report suggests that cannabis oil needs to be explored further because there is potential that cannabinoids might show selectivity when attacking cancer cells, thereby reducing the widespread cytotoxic effects of conventional chemotherapeutic agents. Sadly, the young girl with ALL passed away due to gastrointestinal bleeding and a bowel perforation.The case study notes that advanced chemotherapeutic agents had failed to control the blast counts (cells in the blood and bone marrow) in the patient and had devastating side effects that ultimately resulted in death. The cannabinoid therapy, on the other hand, had no toxic side effects and only psychosomatic properties, with an increase in the patient’s vitality.It’s also noted that the possibility of bypassing the psychoactive properties of cannabis oil exists; this can be done by administering non-psychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol, that have demonstrated antiproliferative properties.”

Final Conclusion

cannabis oil just isn’t a safe alternative to be using for medicinal reasons

In summary cannabis oil just isn’t a safe alternative to be using for medicinal reasons. It seems the negatives within the health benefits outweigh the positive effects of the health benefits. Some of the health benefits suggested by studies are still being investigated and are in the preliminary stages of discovery. By no means are these studies conclusive. The FDA is not convinced that cannabis oil has any health benefits to offer. They have not approved it for any medicinal purposes. This should send a warning to the health world. Sadly, the cannabis oil extracts couldn’t help the young female cancer patient. She eventually passed away, It was noted in her case study that cannabis oil selectively fought cancer cells. There was no systematic attack of cancer cells by the cannabis oil extracts given to the young cancer patient. This could indicate that cannabis oil is not an effective natural treatment for cancer.

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.