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By Zulfikar Abbany
The search for a vaccine for the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, or indeed a medicinal drug to cure it, has taken researchers down both traditional and less traditional avenues.
Blocking Gateways<p>As with the research into nicotine's effect on the coronavirus, it is thought that some strains of cannabis reduce the virus' ability to enter the lungs, where it takes hold, reproduces and spreads.</p><p>In <a href="https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202004.0315/v1" target="_blank">a paper on preprints.org,</a> where scientists can publish non-peer-reviewed results, Kovalchuck and colleagues write that their specially developed strains of cannabis effectively stop the virus from entering the human body. </p><p>The study is one of many papers globally that have been shared on preprint websites, including preprints.org, in a bid to disseminate preliminary findings into potential COVID-19 treatments that have yet to undergo rigorous peer review. </p><p>The coronavirus needs a "receptor" to enter a human host. That receptor is known as an "<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angiotensin-converting_enzyme_2" target="_blank">angiotensin-converting enzyme II</a>," or ACE2.</p>
No Common or Garden Cannabis<p>Some in the science community say medicinal cannabis may help to treat a range of conditions from <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/why-humans-vomit-toxins-and-rodents-just-avoid-them/a-52420626" target="_blank">nausea</a> to <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/unique-cannabis-compound-reverses-brain-aging-in-mice/a-44401750" target="_blank">dementia.</a> But medicinal cannabis is not the same as what you might call recreational cannabis.</p><p>Those more "common or garden varieties" of cannabis — or street cannabis — are known for their <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrahydrocannabinol" target="_blank">Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)</a> content. That's the main psychoactive agent in the drug.</p><p>The Alberta-based researchers, meanwhile, have focused on strains of the plant, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_sativa" target="_blank">Cannabis sativa,</a> that are high in an anti-inflammatory cannabinoid, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabidiol" target="_blank">cannabidiol (CBD)</a> — one of the other main chemicals in cannabis, aside from THC. </p><p>They have developed more than 800 new Cannabis sativa variants, with high levels of CBD, and identified 13 extracts which they say modulate ACE2 levels in those humans gateways.</p><p>"Our varieties are high in CBD, or balanced CBD/THC, because you can give a higher dose and people will not be impaired due to the psychoactive properties of THC," said Kovalchuck. </p>
Low Funding, Low Knowledge<p>Kovalchuck also heads a company called <a href="https://inplantabiotechnology.com/" target="_blank">Inplanta BioTechnology,</a> with Dr. Darryl Hudson, who has a PHD from the University of Guelph — another Canadian institute where research is ongoing into the use of cannabinoids in medicine.</p><p>But funding for cannabinoid research is "still hard," he said. And that's the case in other countries, too.</p><p>Some researchers in the UK say that may be because there are misconceptions among the general public and politicians about medicinal cannabis, perhaps even a fear that people will become addicted or try to self-medicate, using just any old form of cannabis they can find.</p><p>Those researchers say themselves that it is vital to be clear about the information and to avoid sensationalism. </p><p>"Researchers have to be particularly careful when disseminating their results given the socio-political volatility of medicinal cannabis use," said <a href="https://www.kcl.ac.uk/people/chris-albertyn" target="_blank">Chris Albertyn,</a> a Research Portfolio Lead at King's College London, and an expert on cannabinoids and dementia. </p><p>The best way to get through that, says Albertyn, is to implement open, transparent research methods.</p><p>"In this instance, the current research from Canada has just unveiled a potential therapeutic 'mechanism of action' but that would need to be validated and tested in well-designed, robust clinical trials before any meaningful clinical conclusions can be drawn," he said.</p><p>That would include pre-registering clinical protocols and analysis methods, publishing in open access journals, double-blind placebo controlled trials, and strict, independent peer review by the clinical academic community, said Albertyn.</p>
A turning tide<p>The problem is that without sufficient funding and further research, there is too little knowledge about cannabinoids — whether it's positive or negative research results — some say we just won't know until we do the research.</p><p>"But there is ENORMOUS interest now," said Kovalchuk in his email. And that's his emphasis. "The tide is coming."</p><p>While he and his co-authors say even their most effective extracts require large-scale validation, they say they may be a "safe addition" to the treatment of COVID-19. An addition, mind, alongside other treatments.</p><p>So, large-scale verification pending, medicinal cannabis could be developed into "easy-to-use preventative treatments," such as a mouthwash or a throat gargle in both clinical and home use.</p>
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By James David Adams
Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states as of November 2018. Yet the federal government still insists marijuana has no legal use and is easy to abuse. In the meantime, medical marijuana dispensaries have an increasing array of products available for pain, anxiety, sex and more.
The glass counters and their jars of products in the dispensary resemble an 18th century pharmacy. Many strains for sale have evocative and magical names like Blue Dream, Bubba Kush and Chocolope. But what does it all mean? Are there really differences in the medical qualities of the various strains? Or, are the different strains with the fanciful names all just advertising gimmicks?
What are Cannabinoids?<p>New research is revealing that marijuana is more than just a source of cannabinoids, chemicals that may bind to cannabinoid receptors in our brains, which are used to get high. The most well-known is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Marijuana is a particularly rich source of medicinal compounds that we have only begun to explore. In order to harness the full potential of the compounds in this plant, society needs to overcome misconceptions about marijuana and look at what research clearly says about the medical value.</p><p><span></span>The FDA has already made some moves in this direction by approving prescription drugs that come from marijuana including dronabinol, nabilone, nabiximols and cannabidiol. Dronabinol and nabilone are cannabinoids that are used for nausea. Nabiximols — which contain THC, the compound most responsible for marijuana's high and cannabidiol, which does not induce a high — are used to treat <a href="https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Multiple-Sclerosis-Information-Page" target="_blank">multiple sclerosis</a>. Cannabidiol, or <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/cbd">CBD</a>, is also used to <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/06/26/fda-approves-first-cbd-oil-derived-marijuana-treat-epilepsy/733567002/" target="_blank">treat some types of epilepsy</a>.</p><p>Marijuana, originally from the Altai Mountains in Central and East Asia, contains at <a href="http://doi.org/10.1016/bs.apha.2017.03.004" target="_blank">least 85 cannabinoids</a> and <a href="http://doi.org/10.1016/bs.apha.2017.03.004" target="_blank">27 terpenes</a>, fragrant oils that are produced by many herbs and flowers that may be active, drug-like compounds. THC is the cannabinoid everyone wants in order to get high. It is produced from THC acid — which constitutes up to 25 percent of the plant's dry weight — by smoking or baking any part of the marijuana plant.</p><p>THC mimics a naturally occurring neurotransmitter called <a href="https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Anandamide" target="_blank">anandamide</a> that works as a signaling molecule in the brain. Anandamide attaches to proteins in the brain called cannabinoid receptors, which then send signals related to pleasure, memory, thinking, perception and coordination, to name a few. THC works by hijacking these natural cannabinoid receptors, triggering a profound high.</p><p>Tetrahydrocannabivarinic acid, another cannabinoid, can constitute up to 10 percent of the dry weight. It is converted to another compound that probably contributes to a high, <a href="https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/tetrahydrocannabivarin" target="_blank">tetrahydrocannabivarin</a>, when smoked or ingested in baked goods. Potent varieties like Doug's Varin and Tangie may contain even higher concentrations.</p>
Medical Properties of Marijuana<p>But not all cannabinoids make you high. Cannabidiol, a cannabinoid similar to THC, and its acid are also present in marijuana, especially in certain varieties. But these do not cause euphoria. The cannabidiol molecule interacts with a variety of receptors — including cannabinoid and serotonin receptors and transient receptor potential cation channels (TRP) – <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(15)00379-8" target="_blank">to reduce seizures</a>, combat anxiety and produce other effects.</p><p>Marijuana also contains several monoterpenoids — small, aromatic molecules — that have a wide range of activities <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/ph5101045" target="_blank">including pain</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2008.11.004" target="_blank">anxiety relief and that work by inhibiting TRP channels.</a></p><p>Myrcene is the most abundant monoterpenoid, a type or terpene, in marijuana. It <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12587690" target="_blank">can relax muscles</a>. Other terpenes such as pinene, linalool, limonene and the sesquiterpene, beta-caryophyllene are <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/1424-8247/5/10/1045" target="_blank">pain relievers, especially when applied directly to the skin</a> as a liniment. Some of these terpenes may add to the high when marijuana is smoked.</p>
What Do All These Varieties Do?<p>Many different varieties of marijuana are on the market and are alleged to treat a range of diseases. The FDA has no oversight for these claims, since the FDA does not recognize marijuana as a legal product.</p><p>Strains of marijuana are grown that produce more THC than cannadidiol or vice versa. Other varieties have abundant monoterpenoids. How do you know that the strain you choose is legitimate with probable medical benefits? Each strain should <a href="https://b2b.gocaliva.com/what-is-cannabis-certificate-of-analysis-coa-california/" target="_blank">have a certificate of analysis</a> that shows you how much of each active compound is present in the product you buy. Many states have a bureau of cannabis control that verifies these certificates of analysis. However, many certificates of analysis do not show the monoterpenoids present in the marijuana. The analysis of monoterpenoids is difficult since they evaporate from the plant material. If you are looking for a strain high in myrcene or linalool, ask for proof.</p><p>Marijuana can improve several conditions, but it can also make others worse and can have nasty side effects.</p><p>As recreational use has become more widespread, <a href="http://doi.org/10.14309/crj.2018.3" target="_blank">marijuana hyperemesis syndrome</a> is becoming more of a problem in our society. Some people vomit uncontrollably after smoking marijuana regularly. It can be <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28494183" target="_blank">treated</a> by rubbing a cream made from capsaicin, from chili peppers, on the abdomen. Capsaicin cream is available in pharmacies.</p><p>Also, high THC varieties of marijuana, such as Royal Gorilla and Fat Banana, can <a href="http://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.17r11839" target="_blank">cause anxiety and even psychosis</a> in some people.</p><p>Researchers have also shown that anxiety can be effectively treated with strains that have more cannabidiol and linalool. It may be best to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1017/S2045796018000239" target="_blank">rub a cannabidiol balm or lotion on your cheeks to relieve anxiety</a>.</p><p>Other conditions that studies have shown are improved by marijuana are: <a href="http://doi.org/10.2217/fon-2018-0530" target="_blank">cancer induced nausea</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.2337/dc12-2303" target="_blank">Type 2 diabetes</a>, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(15)00379-8" target="_blank">two forms of epilepsy</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2015.6358" target="_blank">HIV-induced weight gain</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0009" target="_blank">irritable bowel syndrome</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1002/phar.1673" target="_blank">migraines</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1517/14712598.2012.721765" target="_blank">multiple sclerosis</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1111/1756-185X.13146" target="_blank">osteoarthritis</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/kei183" target="_blank">rheumatoid arthritis</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2015.6358" target="_blank">pain</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2015.6358" target="_blank">chronic pain</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1007/s40261-014-0212-3" target="_blank">post-traumatic stress disorder</a>, <a href="http://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2015.6358" target="_blank">sleep disorders</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25264643" target="_blank">traumatic brain injury</a>.</p><p>For some of these conditions, studies show that eating or topically applying marijuana products rather than smoking is recommended.</p><p>Clearly, more research is needed from the scientific community to help guide the appropriate, safe use of marijuana. However, the FDA does not recognize the use of medical marijuana. This makes funding for research on marijuana difficult to find. Perhaps the cannabis industry should consider funding scientific research on marijuana. But conflicts of interest may become a concern as we have seen with drug company-sponsored studies.</p>
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Increased consumer interest in sustainability has largely driven the expansion of new organic product lines. It's this combination of consumer consciousness and evolved eco-friendly products that has people searching for the best organic mattress.
But there are many brands in this space. We wanted to take a closer look at the Avocado mattress and explore what makes it such a popular pick in the eco-market.
Avocado<ul><li>GOLS organic certified latex</li><li>GOTS organic certified cotton</li><li>1,000+ pocketed support coils </li><li>No polyurethane foams, polyester, or toxic fire retardants</li><li>Replaces all cotton with wool</li><li>Vegan certified</li><li>PETA-approved</li></ul>
Avocado<ul><li>Certified organic and natural materials</li><li>Natural alpaca and GOTS organic certified wool and cotton</li><li>Soft, plush feel that's more "luxurious" than most common products</li><li>Elastic straps to hold it in place</li></ul>
Avocado<ul><li>GOLS organic certified latex and GOTS organic certified kapok</li><li>Organic jersey cotton liner that's machine washable </li><li>GOTS organic certified quilted cotton cover</li><li>GREENGUARD Gold certified, vegan, and handmade in Los Angeles</li></ul>
Avocado<ul><li>GOTS organic certified Indian Suvin Cotton</li><li>1,000 thread count per inch weave </li><li>Sateen finish</li></ul>
By Dan Nosowitz
Marijuana regulation is well behind its legalization; there isn't really any alternative, given that research and consumer desires will shape what we know and want from the crop.
Facing Controversy and a Takeover, Canadian Cannabis Company Names Organic Products Mogul as Chairman
Daniel Brothers / Moment / Getty Images
Embattled Canadian cannabis company Aphria Inc. named a new, independent chairman in a press release on Dec. 27, 2018: Hain Celestial Group Inc. Founder Irwin D. Simon.
Let's start the new year off with a look at what's happening with Cannabis, a food politics topic because of its edibles.
This sponsored post was brought to you by Authority Health and written by Barrett Jones, PharmD
Cannabis oil is quickly gaining momentum in the health industry as it has become an appealing option for people who are looking for relief from pain and from other health issues.
In this article, we will be looking at what scientific studies show when it comes to how cannabis oil might treat a wide variety of common ailments.
By Daniel J. Mallinson and Lee Hannah
By Stephanie Garr
The topic of cannabis (marijuana) has become far less taboo in recent years, but there are still many misconceptions—and fears—about its use as a medicinal plant.
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With low grain prices and the loss of the soybean exports to China because of a trade war, Iowa's farmers face dark times. But one Iowa farmer sees a light of hope with a crop that fell out of favor, but may be poised for a big comeback. Ethan Vorhes, a farmer in Charles City, Iowa sees great potential for growing industrial hemp.
By Yewande Okuleye
There's plenty of anecdotal evidence that Cannabidiol (CBD) oil—a concentrated oily extract made from cannabis—can help treat a variety of ailments. It's said to help with everything from epileptic seizures to opioid addiction, PTSD to arthritis.
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By Dan Nosowitz
With it's increasing legality across the U.S., cannabis is going through growing pains.
By C. Michael White
On Jan. 4, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole memo, a 2013 document that limits federal enforcement of marijuana laws.
This opens the door for a crackdown in the nine states with legal recreational marijuana.