What is Acupuncture? 6 Ways It Can Improve Your Health!

Acupuncture Improves Health Title

Acupuncture is a holistic health technique that stems from Traditional Chinese Medicine practices in which trained practitioners stimulate specific points on the body by inserting thin needles into the skin.

Today acupuncture is one of the most popular practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in the West. TCM is a complimentary health approach that first originated in ancient China more than 2,500 years ago and has been evolving ever since.

To treat a wide variety of diseases, pain and stress-related symptoms, practitioners of TCM use holistic techniques that include acupuncture, herbal medicines, tai chi, qi gong, massage therapy, and various “mind and body practices.”

The use of acupuncture and other TCM techniques has risen steadily in the U.S and other Western countries over the past several decades. According to a large survey done on complementary health approaches by the National Institute of Health in 2007, in the U.S. alone at least 3.1 million people had tried acupuncture in 2007. The survey showed that the number of visits to acupuncturists tripled between 1997 and 2007. (1)

The first question most people ask me is, “Does acupuncture hurt?”

Surprisingly, although needles are used in acupuncture, treatments are relatively pain-free. In fact, one of the most popular uses of acupuncture is to reduce chronic pain throughout the body in a natural way, without the need for medications that can cause unwanted side effects.

Most of the studies investigating acupuncture to date have examined whether acupuncture can safely reduce pain. However, it’s expected that in the next several years, researchers will continue to study whether or not it might help with other conditions, too – including anxiety, depression, inflammation, hot flashes, side effects of chemotherapy and insomnia.


What Is Acupuncture Able to Treat?

Currently, acupuncture is used to treat conditions like:

  • muscle spasms and pain
  • chronic back problems and pain
  • headaches, including reducing the frequency and intensity of migraines
  • neck pain
  • osteoarthritis
  • knee pain
  • allergies
  • digestive problems
  • mood, depression

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services states that,

“… promising results have emerged showing efficacy of acupuncture in adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting, and in postoperative dental pain. There are other situations such as addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma, in which acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment.” (2)


Is Acupuncture Safe?

The National Institute of Health does consider acupuncture to be “generally considered safe when performed by an experienced, well-trained practitioner using sterile needles.” (3) However, it’s important to always go to a practitioner that is well-trained in acupuncture as well as to a facility that is very careful about using clean needles — improperly performed acupuncture and/or contaminated needles can pose a big risk.

The good news is that the FDA regulates acupuncture needles as medical devices and requires that the needles be “sterile, nontoxic, and labeled for single use by qualified practitioners only.” To date, there have been very few complications reported from the use of acupuncture needles, so the risk is thought to be very low. This doesn’t mean that risk doesn’t exist, however, because some serious side effects have occurred when non-sterile needles have been used.

As far as how much acupuncture is needed before seeing results, firm clinical guidelines have yet to be established. Acupuncture is usually recommended as a complimentary treatment method — as something to try in addition to other pain management techniques, such as physical therapy, exercise and reducing inflammation through a healthy diet.


Acupuncture Benefits

1. Helps Reduce Headaches and Migraines

In 2009, after researchers from the Center for Complementary Medicine at the University of Munich reviewed over 11 studies involving 2,137 acupuncture patients, they concluded that acupuncture “could be a valuable non-pharmacological tool in patients with frequent chronic tension-type headaches.”

The review looked at multiple clinical trials comparing the effects of acupuncture sessions to “sham” (placebo-type of acupuncture) sessions and to receiving no treatment at all for the relief of migraine headache pain. In particular, both the group that had needles randomly placed and the group that had strategically placed needles experienced a reduction in headache symptoms.  The control group did not experience any change.

However, in the followup survey, the group that had the real acupuncture treatment continued to have both a decrease in the number of headache days and headache pain intensity. (4)

2. Improves Chronic Pain, Including for the Back, Neck, Knee or Arthritis Pain

Acupuncture was proven to be more effective for improving chronic back pain than no acupuncture treatment in a 2006 study done by the University Medical Center of Berlin. In patients with chronic low back pain, there was a significant difference in pain reported between groups of patients receiving acupuncture over eight weeks versus those not receiving any treatment. (5)

Even more impressive is a 2012 study done by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics aimed to determine the effect of acupuncture for four chronic pain conditions: back and neck pain, arthritis, chronic headache and shoulder pain.

The researchers reviewed clinical trials involving over 17,000 patients, and the results showed that patients receiving acupuncture had less pain than patients in the placebo control group for back and neck muscle aches and pain, osteoarthritis, and chronic headaches. (6) The conclusion was that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is “more than just a placebo effect, therefore it’s a reasonable referral option for doctors.”

3. Helps Treat Insomnia

Continue reading “What is Acupuncture? 6 Ways It Can Improve Your Health!”

The Many Benefits of Community Gardens

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Greenleaf Communities believes that urban agriculture can be beneficial to the environment, and to the health and wellbeing of community members. The introduction of community gardens may be able to reduce the impact of food deserts in low-income areas and allow residents greater access to nutritious food that is necessary to live a healthy life.

Community gardens can mitigate some of the problems that plague urban areas. They can be a beneficial addition to many communities by increasing the availability of nutritious foods, strengthening community ties, reducing environmental hazards, reducing food miles and creating a more sustainable system.

Community gardens can help reduce negative environmental impacts by promoting sustainable agriculture; reducing food transportation costs and reducing water runoff. Humans, plants and animals can all benefit from urban agriculture since it creates habitats and improves the ecology of the area.

Community gardens:

  • Help improve air and soil quality [1]
  • Increase biodiversity of plants and animals
  • Reduce “food miles” that are required to transport nutritious food
  • Can replace impervious structures and improve water infiltration [2]
  • Can reduce neighborhood waste through composting [3]
  • Positively impact the urban micro-climate [4]

Poor nutrition and obesity are both challenges to low-income neighborhoods. Low accessibility to nutritious foods can cause health problems to residents located in food deserts. The addition of gardens to these areas may improve nutrition and increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Community gardens:

  • Increase access to fresh foods
  • Improve food security [1]
  • Increase physical activity through garden maintenance activities
  • Improve dietary habits through education
  • Increase fruit and vegetable intake
  • Reduce risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases
  • Improve mental health and promote relaxation [5]

Social ties are important to the wellbeing of people in a community since they can bring positive health effects and community involvement. Community gardens allow for the creation of social ties and build a greater feeling of community. These connections help reduce crime, empower residents and allow residents to feel safe in their neighborhoods.

  • Gardens in urban areas are positively correlated with decreased crime rates [5]
  • Vacant lands can lead to crime which can detrimentally impact the health of residents
  • Residents in areas with high crime rates may experience cardiovascular disease and mental health disorders
  • The consequences of vacant lands are decreased property values, drug use, and the illegal dumping of litter, tires and chemicals [6]
  • Gardens can improve economic opportunities by training volunteers and selling food at farmers’ markets [1]
  • Urban agriculture can teach residents useful skills in planning, food production and business
  • Improving vacant lots increased property values in New Kinsington, Philadelphia by 30% [3]

Gardens have been an important aspect of many cultures in history. In the past, community gardens were commonly used to provide food for families year-round. During WWII, victory gardens were an important source of food for American families. Recently, there has been a resurgence of community gardens to help mitigate the impacts of food deserts and as a use for the increased number of vacant lands present in urban areas. Community gardens can provide fresh, healthy produce for residents and allow them to reduce their food bills. [7]

Many cities and organizations provide opportunities for residents to become involved with community gardens. The USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service has implemented a grant program to help decrease the impact of food deserts in low-income communities. They strive to provide long-term food security by supporting local agriculture projects while also improving economic, social and environmental problems. For successful programs, it is important that the community becomes involved with the project and to work with the community to develop solutions. Soil contamination and acquiring land can become a challenge in implementing a community garden.

by 

Source: https://greenleafcommunities.org/the-many-benefits-of-community-gardens/

 

New Arizona Opioid Hotline Will Recommend Treatments — but Not Medical Marijuana

Cannabis might work as a treatment for opiate addiction. A state anti-opiate hotline won’t recommend it

Cannabis might work as a treatment for opiate addiction. A state anti-opiate hotline won't recommend it.

Using cannabis instead of opiates could save lives, studies say, but Arizona’s new opioid hotline for health care providers — and, soon, for the public — won’t recommend it as an alternative.

The free Arizona Opioid Assistance and Referral Line is set to go live in a few days. It will be “one of the nation’s first real-time, comprehensive hotlines for healthcare providers seeking consultation for complex patients with pain and opioid use disorder,” according to a state news release.

But one treatment option the health care providers and patients won’t hear about on the hotline is medical marijuana.

“It’s not part of the protocol,” said Dr. Dan Brooks, medical director for the Banner Poison and Drug Information Centers. “We don’t have any initial plans to talk about marijuana” as a treatment option.

The hotline is viewed as one possible piece to solving a crisis that has caused bodies to pile up at morgues around the country. More people than ever are dying from the abuse of heroin, pills like OxyContin, or synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Arizona alone had 942 suspected opioid deaths from June 15 to February 22, according to the state’s Opioid Epidemic web page.

“Preventing opioid overdoses and deaths in our state needs a multifaceted approach, and the new hotline is a major step forward as it will give medical providers immediate access to experts who can help to ensure safe prescribing and to identify treatment options for patients, which may or may not include opioids,” Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, says in the release.

“No two patients are the same and treatments vary based on individual needs, so we need to make sure we are providing tailored resources to our medical community.”

The state DHS and Poison and Drug Information Centers plan to create new advice for health care providers. Recommendations will include “specific opioid-related information for providers, such as safe prescribing limits for opioid-naive patients, identification of potentially dangerous drug combinations, and chronic pain treatment options,” the release says.

For some patients, the hotline experts may advise the use of drugs like methadone or Vivitrol but not marijuana

Not that the nurses, doctors, and pharmacists who answer the 24-hour hotline won’t talk about cannabis at all.

“If they have questions about marijuana, we’ll answer questions,” Brooks said.”I don’t know anyone who’s advising marijuana as an alternative.”

Yet cannabis, some experts point out, has been effective in treating pain, and could be considered an advisable substitute for opiates.

Studies show that states with medical-marijuana and adult-use legalization laws have seen sharp drop-offs in their opiate overdose deaths. (None of the studies have so far included a look at Arizona’s statistics, it seems.)

Will Humble, former state DHS director and executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, stopped short of saying the hotline should recommend cannabis as a specific treatment option for specific patients. But clearly, he said, the staff should talk about its potential benefits as an opiate alternative.

Continue reading “New Arizona Opioid Hotline Will Recommend Treatments — but Not Medical Marijuana”

3 Ways Cannabis Helps You Tap The Full Potential Of Yoga

Make sure your body and mind are ready in the first place to be connected, unlocked and upgraded to receive the full effects of this dynamic duo.

yoga

Weed during yoga (or Ganja Yoga/High Yoga), is another intriguing, relatively uncharted aspect of cannabis done right. Somewhat controversial among some in the yoga community, the one thing that most individuals agree on is that cannabis helps push mental and physical boundaries while practicing yoga.

Tapping the full potential of yoga and cannabis

5 reasons why women love weed exercise 3 Ways Cannabis Helps You Tap The Full Potential Of Yoga
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With this practice, two of this world’s greatest relaxing and calming practices are united, but some caution is recommended. If your body doesn’t react well to cannabis or doesn’t go well with yoga for that matter, you might want to try easing into it step by step.

Tapping the full potential of this dynamic duo can easily convert to being a classic Clash of the Titans. So, make sure your body and mind are ready in the first place to be connected, unlocked and upgraded.

Research has proven that the physical benefits of yoga are multiplied through the use of cannabis. Benefits like stress reduction, pain reduction, lowering of blood pressure etc. are all bundled with yoga.

Cannabis helps our body to kind of digest these benefits better and quicker. On the other hand, doing yoga while high can help digest (literally this time) cannabis more efficiently.

That optimal absorption of cannabis results in further increasing and lengthening the positive effects of CBD ad THC inside our system.

1. Body and mind boost

What Does Smoking hero 1 3 Ways Cannabis Helps You Tap The Full Potential Of Yoga
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Simply put, yoga promises relaxation, bliss, and spiritual awareness; cannabis helps our body react well to these virtues. The blend of a little bit of cannabis during yoga might boost the ability of our mind to make meaning out of the vacation that is yoga.

The initial toughness and difficulties of yoga positions and movements can be significantly eased through the trademark qualities of cannabis.

2. Short term vs long term

yoga 3 Ways Cannabis Helps You Tap The Full Potential Of Yoga
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We know however great weed’s effects are, they won’t last forever. But yoga is something that has the basic benefit of ensuring our physical capacity not only gets a short boost but a long-term improvement.

Therefore, people looking for the cure of health ailments, like scoliosis, for example, can make great use of this partnership.

3. Boosting your meditation as well

10 add adhd yoga 3 Ways Cannabis Helps You Tap The Full Potential Of Yoga
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Reportedly, cannabis has a great deal of impact in meditation as well. We know that weed can act as a broadcasting antenna wired directly to our brains. It kind of amplifies the quality and speed of feelings and thoughts inside of our brain.

Yoga is an excellent outlet to calm and clean our mind through meditation. And as cannabis also brings a whole lot of the good ‘cleansing’ of the brain with itself, the combination of weed and yoga might be the best joint-venture hitherto unseen.

With all these profits stemming from a pinch of weed in the recipe of yoga, it might be time you tried it yourself. And after you boost your mind and soul with this exercise, don’t forget to ‘boast’ about it in your social circle. Maybe they could also try a bit of the Dynamic Duo.

Source: https://herb.co/marijuana/news/cannabis-yoga

Contact Natural Healing Care Center (click) for more information on Cannabis as medicine, or for any other questions call 520-323-0069

 

Trump administration cautions against hemp expansion

The Trump administration doesn’t want to see hemp expanded nationwide in the next Farm Bill because of concerns about overproduction, an official said Wednesday.

Greg Ibach, undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said current hemp regulations are “fairly narrow” and that the Trump administration doesn’t necessarily want to see that change when the Farm Bill is rewritten this year.

The 2014 Farm Bill allowed hemp production for the first time in a generation – but only in states with authorized hemp research projects.

“Opening the door wide open nationwide, with no restrictions, may not be in the best interests of the hemp industry,” Ibach said, providing the most thorough comments yet from the Trump administration about hemp.

“One of the challenges we maybe have in the hemp industry is to make sure that demand and production coincide,” he told the media, including Marijuana Business Daily, after speaking at the Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture in Denver.

Asked how the USDA and Trump administration envision hemp being regulated, Ibach said there’s danger to opening up the market to all states.

“We need to be careful so that we don’t kill the market for hemp by overburdening the market with supply before there is demand for it,” Ibach added.

He said oversight of hemp should belong to the U.S. Department of Justice, which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration, not the USDA.

The DEA appeared in court last week to argue that CBD, a molecule derived from hemp and marijuana, is an illegal drug and not authorized by the Farm Bill.

To sign up for our weekly hemp business newsletter, click here.

Kristen Nichols can be reached at kristenn@mjbizdaily.com

Contact Natural Healing Care Center (click) for more information on Cannabis as medicine, or for any other questions call 520-323-0069

 

Source: https://mjbizdaily.com/worried-hemp-overproduction-trump-administration-cautions-expansion/

 

 

 

Businesswoman grows vegetables in shipping containers in Nigerian capital

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ANA / Maxwell Hall of the World Economic Forum interviews Oluwayimika Angel Adelaja, founder and CEO of Fresh Direct Produce and Agro-Allied Services at WEF Africa 2017 in Durban.

Meet The New Way To Farm!

This young Nigerian, a winner of the World Economic Forum’s Top Women Innovators Award, has turned adversity and a modern city’s hunger for imported vegetables into a thriving business.

In this age of Eat Local campaigns, one might be a little alarmed to encounter vegetables called rucola, petite-this and mange-that, on a plate in the Nigerian capital, but fear not, Oluwayimika Angel Adelaja told a briefing at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Africa meetings on Friday, these micro greens are not just grown near Abuja, they are grown within the teeming metropolis.

This young Nigerian, a winner of the World Economic Forum’s Top Women Innovators Award, has turned adversity and a modern city’s hunger for imported vegetables into a thriving business. Her business is growing micro greens in shipping containers in town, allowing her to add “hyper local” to the tag.

The founder and chief executive of Fresh Direct Produce and Agro-Allied Services in Nigeria said her business started with a regular farm, but making a success of that proved so challenging that she was forced to innovate.

How did it all Start?

The business started with 10 greenhouses on a leased 300 hectare farm. The green houses took up only a small part of the land, with the rest covered with trees. Beside the cost of clearing, which would have been exorbitant, Angel said, she had a problem with the idea of displacing forest.

An additional problem was that the farm was three hours from market

As any farmer will confirm, this business is not for the faint-hearted. Angel told the briefing on the last day of the WEF Africa meetings in Durban that small farmers like herself could expect to lose up to 50 percent of their crop before harvest. Lack of funds compounds problems around a shortage of information and lack of inputs and tools.

Access to finance would be a game changer for farmers, but bank loans are usually available only to landowners in Nigeria.

“First I need to be rich before I can get a loan,” Angel said.

Transporting often-delicate, perishable goods along bad roads and a lack of storage facilities added to problems which meant that, she added, another 25 percent of produce could be lost from farm to market.

Another challenge that forced a rethink of the business was when the fuel price increased from 87 Naira a litre to above 200 Naira in a short period of time.

It was these and other challenges that forced Fresh Direct to innovate and “pivot”, as she described it, and develop their genius plan to grow vegetables in town. The business now grows micro greens in containers stacked five high at two sites in Abuja.

Each 20-foot shipping container would fit a car – instead they take 4 000 plants per cycle, with a cycle lasting from seven days to a month.

The vegetables are produced using a hydroponic method where plants are grown in nutrient-filled water, rather than soil. The business is moving into aquaponics too, where fish are added to the system to enhance the cycle.

This is a long way away from fast food, but the vegetables can be delivered to customers 15 minutes after they are harvested and washed.

Fresh Direct’s customers are restaurants, hotels and grocery stores. “The nice thing with corporate customers is that they are consistent,” Angel said.

An outlet in Lagos will soon be added to the two already operating in Abuja. In Lagos, Angel said she expects to tap into an ever bigger demand for micro greens, niche foods that are a favourite of modern chefs, foodies and other hipster types.

Fresh Direct currently employs 10 people full-time and another 59 part-time, many of whom would find it hard to secure good jobs elsewhere. Angel told the WEF briefing that not one of her staff had gone to secondary school and just one has previous agricultural experience.

She said her staff call themselves “tech farmers” in a country where farming is sometimes looked down on as a less-than-dignified career.

Angel clearly doesn’t look down on traditional farming. In fact, she seemed pleased and relieved to say that doing the fancy vegetables, rather than staple foods, meant she was not competing with traditional rural farmers, rather they are providing vegetables that are otherwise imported.

Source: http://clubofmozambique.com/news/businesswoman-grows-vegetables-in-shipping-containers-in-nigerian-capital/

 

Why Did Cannabis Become Prohibited in the First Place?

Cannabis leaf and handcuffs
The history of cannabis prohibition is filled with bureaucratic betrayal, political scandal, corporate greed, and zero science.

 

Cannabis reform has been arguably the biggest public policy topic of this decade. Cannabis reform touches on law, social justice, economics, and a number of other areas in public policy.

You will be hard-pressed to find a public policy topic that is as dynamic as cannabis reform. A recent poll from April of this year found a record level of support for ending federal cannabis prohibition – 61%!

This record level of support is not surprising given cannabis’ ability to help treat a number of conditions, and the fact that cannabis is safer than many legal substances.

With so many obvious reasons to end cannabis prohibition in America, it begs the question, ‘why was cannabis ever prohibited in the first place?’

Racist origins

Harry Anslinger, the father of cannabis prohibition, was a well-known racist who built a career from outright lies.

Cannabis was legal in America for a long time. It was not uncommon for cannabis to be found in products that were in homes across America in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

Cannabis was a common ingredient in medicines that were widely distributed all over the country, and it was seen as being a safe substance to use.

That changed during the 1910’s and 1920’s when America saw an influx of immigrants from Mexico and the growing popularity of genres of music that were associated with minority communities.

Authorities were looking for a way to search, and/or detain and/or deport immigrants and people of color, and they found exactly what they were looking for via cannabis prohibition.

Harry Anslinger, the driving force behind federal cannabis prohibition in the 1930’s, was quoted as saying at the time, “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”

The Hearst and DuPont theory

Even today, corporations and entire industries benefit immensely from cannabis prohibition.

In his groundbreaking book The Emperor Wears No Clothes, legendary cannabis activist Jack Herer offered up the theory that cannabis prohibition was also driven by the financial interest of William Randolph Hearst and the DuPont company.

The theory certainly has some validity, as Hearst (newspapers made from timber) and DuPont (petrochemical products) definitely had a financial Continue reading “Why Did Cannabis Become Prohibited in the First Place?”

Why Is Cannabis Illegal? The Story of Cannabis Prohibition Will Shock You

gavel with cannabis buds
Ever ask yourself why cannabis was made illegal in the first place?

The real reason why cannabis is illegal is shocking.

Humans around the globe have cultivated the plant for thousands of years, yet it is only in the last 100 that cannabis prohibition has rocketed around the globe.

But, why the sudden change?

Here’s why cannabis is illegal:

Humans and cannabis have a long history

If you really want to know why this plant is illegal, you have to familiarize yourself with the history of cannabis.

Not just when cannabis was made illegal, but its long history leading up to prohibition…

Cannabis is thought the be one of the oldest agricultural crops.

Humans have used cannabis for over 10,000 years, dating our relationship to the plant at the start of the Neolithic era.

The Neolithic era marked the very beginnings of modern agriculture. However, some experts speculate that the cannabis-human connection began earlier than that.

The herb is one of a handful of plants that has been used for millennia in a variety of different ways, including as food, fiber, medicine, and as a spiritual aid.

It’s also thought to be one of the oldest plants traded for economic value.

Cannabis seeds dated as old as 10,000 years have been found in fossilized Japanese pottery relics, along with scraps of woven cannabis fabrics.

Yet, Japan isn’t the only prehistoric location to show evidence of cannabis remains and cultivation.

The multitude of uses for the plant meant that it was likely an extremely valuable herb to have handy.

The archeological evidence thus far suggests that cultivated cannabis likely originated in Central Asia, spreading to many different regions and continents with human migration.

Access to cannabis not only gave people the means to make durable housing materials and clothing, but nutrient-rich hemp seed provided a brain-healthy dose of essential omega fatty acids. Oils from the herb were possibly even used as some of the first cooking oils.

people harvesting hemp
Our ancestors valued cannabis as a staple crop and medicine.

In medical applications, some of the earliest records of cannabis as a healing aid come from ancient China.

Emperor Shen Nung Pen Ts’ao Ching was one of the first to write about the uses of cannabis as medicine. It’s estimated that he lived sometime between 3494 and 2857 BCE. His manuscripts are dated as early as an estimated 4700 years before present time.

According to these writings, cannabis was used to treat ailments like menstruation, constipation, rheumatism, and absentmindedness.

Throughout ancient history, the herb was also frequently used as a women’s medicine in many different cultures.

Other ancient uses of the plant include pain relief, an anesthetic, an antibiotic, migraine relief, antiparasitic, sedative, and many more.

Doctors used to prescribe cannabis

Fast forward several thousand years.

Cannabis continued to be used in the form of hemp in countries all over the world. The first U.S. President, George Washington, even grew hemp on his plantation, Mount Vernon.

Washington used the hemp for industrial purposes, particularly for fishing nets and perhaps rope and cloth sails for boats.

Several countries around the world, such as India, had fully integrated the cannabis plant into medical practice.

In Western countries, cannabis tinctures and preparations were frequently used and prescribed by doctors.

Continue reading “Why Is Cannabis Illegal? The Story of Cannabis Prohibition Will Shock You”

Patent No. 6,630,507: Why the U.S. government holds a patent on cannabis plant compounds

Marijuana proponents have been highlighting the government-owned Patent No. 6,630,507. But the issue and the patent itself aren’t black and white.

It may not have quite the same ring to it as a certain seven-digit number made famous in song in 1981, but 6,630,507 has been growing increasingly internet-famous since last week.

Following the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s inaction on rescheduling marijuana, legalization proponents have responded by taking to the internet to highlight Patent No. 6,630,507 — telling the DEA to “talk to the hand” by writing “6,630,507” on their palms, hashtagging the number and linking to past articles on the topic.

Since not all Americans are intimately familiar with patents — and because of the reams of misinformation out there regarding this patent in particular — here’s a handy explainer about Patent No. 6,630,507:

U.S. Patent No. 6,630,507 covers the potential use of non-psychoactive cannabinoids — chemical compounds found within the plant species cannabis sativa — to protect the brain from damage or degeneration caused by certain diseases, such as cirrhosis.

U.S. Patent No. 6,630,507 was granted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2003.

The recent social media flurry has consisted of posts varying in allegations and accuracy — some have claimed that the government patented the marijuana plant in its entirety. But the overall intent is one that is symbolic in nature, said Sam Mendez, an intellectual property and public policy lawyer who serves as the executive director of the University of Washington’s Cannabis Law & Policy Project.

“Naturally, it shows that there is a certain amount of hypocrisy that there is ‘no accepted medical use’ for cannabis according to federal law,” Mendez said. “And yet here you have the very same government owning a patent for, ostensibly a medical use for marijuana.

“It’s certainly hypocritical, but there’s no laws against doing so.”

Mendez, patent lawyers, the research arm of the HHS and the New York biopharmaceutical firm that’s working as an exclusive licensee under the patent also caution that the existence of Patent No. 6,630,507 isn’t necessarily so black and white.

“(The federal government is) a very large organization with hundreds of thousands of federal employees and innumerable number of departments,” he said. “It’s much more complicated than to think about them as a single organism. … The government is allowed to file and obtain patents, and that has no bearing on the Controlled Substances Act.”

More broadly, the existence of Patent No. 6,630,507 shines a light on what could result from legalization — an explosion of marijuana-related patents, he said.

No. 6,630,507’s inception

The National Institutes of Health has roughly 6,000 doctoral-level scientists in its employ, working mostly in Maryland, said Mark Rohrbaugh, who holds doctorates in biochemistry and law and is special adviser for technology transfer at the NIH. When one of those scientists invents a new technology or makes a new discovery, the NIH evaluates the result and determines whether to file for a patent.

In this case, the researchers discovered that non-psychoactive compounds in cannabis may potentially have antioxidant properties that could be beneficial in the treatment of certain neurological diseases, she said.

“This patent describes the therapeutic potential for cannabinoid chemical compounds that are structurally similar to THC, but without its psychoactive properties, thereby treating specific conditions without the adverse side effects associated with smoked marijuana,” Myles wrote via e-mail. “It should be noted that the patent is for the use of cannabinoid compounds similar to and including those that naturally occur in marijuana (cannabis), but not for the whole marijuana plant.”

The DEA’s decision has nothing to do with the NIH’s cannabis-related patent, Rohrbaugh said. The patent doesn’t yet prove the chemical compound is effective in the stated treatment, he said, adding that the compound would have to be purified, synthesized in a lab setting, subjected to extensive testing in animals and humans, and ultimately require U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to show that it’s safe and effective for the intended purpose.

The intent behind patenting and licensing NIH discoveries is to not have technology that could potentially benefit the public sit idle, he said.

To ensure this, it sometimes requires looping in the private sector, he said. Laws in the 1980s further established the technology-transfer capabilities of entities such as the federal government and universities to have discoveries accessible to others who are in a better position to progress research and potentially commercialize the developments. The entities behind the discoveries typically receive payments as part of the licensing agreement.

Willie Nelson holds up a container of his branded marijuana with "6630507" written on it. Following the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's inaction on rescheduling marijuana, legalization proponents have responded by taking to the internet to highlight Patent No. 6,630,507, which covers the potential use of non-psychoactive cannabinoids. (Photo courtesy of Willie's Reserve)
Willie Nelson holds up a container of his branded marijuana with “6630507” written on it. Following the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s inaction on rescheduling marijuana, legalization proponents have responded by taking to the internet to highlight Patent No. 6,630,507, which covers the potential use of non-psychoactive cannabinoids. (Photo courtesy of Willie’s Reserve)

Continue reading “Patent No. 6,630,507: Why the U.S. government holds a patent on cannabis plant compounds”

Got Low Back Pain? Massage Therapy May Rub It Out

Peggy O’Brien-Murphy receives a massage from therapist Loretta Lanz. O’Brien-Murphy was among the participants in a study that found both relaxation and deep tissue massage are effective treatments for lower back pain.

/Group Health Research Institute

Low back pain is second only to cold symptoms when it comes to complaints that send people to the doctor. Sooner or later, back pain seems to get most of us.

Summary For Patients

Read a summary of the findings and their implications from the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Now, a study in the July 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that massage is an effective treatment for lower back pain. In some cases, researchers report, the benefits of massage lasted for six months or longer.

Researchers headed by epidemiologist Daniel Cherkin, a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, enrolled 401 people with chronic low back pain and no identifiable reason for the pain.

Study participants were randomly assigned to one of three treatments. One group received full-body relaxation massage. A second received targeted deep tissue massage. The third group got the usual care — medication and physical therapy.

In relaxation massage, often referred to as Swedish massage, a variety of maneuvers are used to promote a feeling of relaxation throughout the body and muscles. Structural massage, commonly referred to as deep tissue massage, targets specific pain related tissues, ligaments and joints.

After 10 weeks, the results were dramatic: Nearly two-thirds of the patients who received either type of weekly massage said their back pain was significantly improved or gone altogether. Only about one-third of patients receiving the usual care experienced similar relief.

“We found that both types of massage were equally effective in helping people improve their function and diminish their symptoms,” Cherkin says. He says massage relieved the pain for six months or more.

Prior studies of massage for back pain had tested only structural forms of massage, not relaxation massage. But relaxation massage is more widely available, and it’s often less costly.

‘I’m So Very Lucky’

Peggy O’Brien-Murphy was among the study participants. In her late 60s, a retired state employee, O’Brien Murphy tried just about everything to get rid of the pain in her lower back. The massage therapy finally seemed to do the trick.

“I’m so very lucky,” she says.

Prior to the study, O’Brien-Murphy says she had found herself increasingly debilitated by back pain. At one point, she says she could hardly get out of a chair.

“It was really bad,” she says. “In fact, I was pulling myself up the stairs by the banister.” It was difficult getting into the car. And she could no longer walk the hills where she lives. For an active person, this was devastating.

So when she came upon an ad in her HMO’s newsletter, Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, she jumped at the chance to take part in the massage study.

After just two or three sessions with massage therapist Loretta Lanz, O’Brien-Murphy said she felt better. After each session she walked around the block, standing straighter and walking further each time. By the end, she felt “back to normal,” with a “spring to my walk and some energy in it!”

For O’Brien-Murphy, the massage-therapy experience has been life-changing: She has traveled to China, where she walked all over without problems, and she’s already planning her next trips.

No one knows exactly how massage works to relieve pain, says Dr. Richard Deyo of Oregon Health Sciences University, who also took part in the study.

“It may be that it helps with relaxation of muscles that are tense,” Deyo says. “But it may also be there are simply more generalized effects of relaxation — in the caring and attention and someone laying hands on — that may all be important.”

Researchers say future studies should look more closely at the benefits of massage and focus on cost-benefit analysis.

As for O’Brien-Murphy, she remains free of back pain, but not without some effort on her part. Other studies have shown that building strong and flexible muscles can help prevent back pain. O’Brien-Murphy never exercised before. But now she does weight training, muscle stretches and aerobic exercise — activities all shown to help prevent recurrence of lower back pain.

Contact Natural Healing Care Center (click) for more information on Massage Therapy for pain relief, or for any other questions,
call 520-323-0069