At 16, Kristen Peskuski was suffering from joint inflammation and an array of autoimmune conditions which made her organs and other tissues swell, including interstitial cystitis and lupus. She was prescribed over 40 different anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and painkilling medications to combat the symptoms. Still struggling to bring the symptoms under control, Kristen developed steroid toxicity. She was told that the most she could hope for was reduced discomfort, and with luck, she might make it to her 30th birthday. Seeking alternative treatments, she began juicing raw cannabis leaves every day, and within two months, Kristen’s back pain had been eliminated, and she had stopped using any other painkillers.
At two years old, she was diagnosed with terminal brain tumours. Her mother was told that with treatment, Amber had a 10 percentchance of survival. After surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, the tumours were still spreading. Her parents were advised to take their child home, make her comfortable, and prepare for the inevitable. A month later, her parents reported a startling change. The tumours had decreased in size and number. The family had been juicing cannabis leaves and feeding their baby a few ounces of the juice each day.
Up in smoke
A typical first reaction is to associate marijuana consumption with its psychoactive effects. However, THC only becomes psychoactive when heated, like when traditionally smoked or cooked. When used raw, cannabis isn’t psychoactive. The marijuana’s abilities as a painkiller are generally perceived to be the result of its psychoactivity – so much so that the intensity of a plant’s psychoactive effects is often used as a gauge of its medical potency. Contrary to intuition, this isn’t true! The medical properties of marijuana are actually destroyed when heated or aged, as it becomes psychoactive. Heating converts 600mg of non-psychoactive THC acid into 10mg of psychoactive THC. Here’s where the exchange for medical effects occurs. While the 10mg retain some medicinal effects, there is only a fraction of the THC left. In simplified terms, in the raw plant, THC acid isn’t psychoactive, but acts as a very powerful medicine, up to 400 times more powerful than when smoked.
Scientific American, in 2004, published an article called “The Brain’s Own Marijuana”, in which they asserted that the brain releases chemicals that are structurally and functionally similar to cannabinoids – the reactive property in marijuana. THC is the cannabinoid that people are most familiar with, but this is only one of 80. In normal synaptic nerve function, the signals are uni-directional, and the receiver forwards the signal, but never notifies the sender that the message has been received. Cannabinoids maintain communication with the original transmitter so that it is aware that the message has been received and is being worked on. For example, if a neuron sends a pain signal, normally it would just keep sending the message until the message becomes false. The cannabinoids turn every cell into a manager with increased oversight.