Here are seven cancer patients whose stories are changing the way we see cannabis:
1. Benton Mackenzie
Benton Mackenzie of Iowa was diagnosed with angiosarcoma — a rare blood cancer — in 2011. Having used cannabis in the past, Benton decided to see if it could slow the growth of his aggressive skin tumors. Despite the apparent effectiveness of the treatment, police raided Benton’s home in 2013 and put him in jail for growing cannabis. During his six weeks in jail without his homemade cannabis oil, his tumors grew so quickly that he was released from prison. The court reduced the charges and let him leave Iowa to find a legal source of cannabis in Portland. But the tumors had grown too large to control. Benton passed away shortly after. You can leave your condolences for his family on his Facebook group or on his Change.org profile.
2. Mykayla Comstock
Famous for her appearance on VICE’s “Stoned Kids,” the quirky and delightful Mykayla Comstock of Oregon was diagnosed with leukemia in 2012. Her parents use capsules filled with cannabis oil as part of her treatment. Keep up with Mykayla on her Facebook page.
3. Rick Simpson
Rick Simpson is a Canadian who was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma skin cancer in 2003. He set out to cure his condition with cannabis, which he had heard could slow down tumor growth in a radio program years earlier. He processed the dry flower into a highly concentrated oil which he applied directly to the skin lesions under some bandages. Within four days, the tumors were gone. Since then, he’s been an advocate for medical cannabis, treating people for free and traveling the world to speak out about it’s potential as a miracle medicine. If you aren’t familiar with Rick Simpson already, you should spend some time on his website.
4. Cash Hyde & his dad Mike Hyde
Cash, lovingly called Cashy, of Montana was diagnosed with a stage 4 brain tumor when he was just under two years old. Because of federal regulations, the Hydes had to sneak cannabis oil into their son’s feeding tube, a secret they didn’t reveal until after Cashy had returned from the hospital and a news team came to document Cashy’s miraculous improvement. Before trying cannabis oil, Cashy hadn’t eaten in 40 days and was throwing up 8 to 10 times a day. Within two weeks of receiving the oil, Cashy was eating, laughing, and enjoying life. Best of all, he was able to ween off the cocktail of toxic drugs that the hospital had prescribed to ineffectively manage his pain and nausea. Cashy survived 2 more years with the help of medical cannabis. Visit the Cash Hyde Foundation to learn how the Hydes are fighting cancer with smiles by giving emotional and spiritual support to families with sick children.
5. Patricia Crone
Patricia is an exceptionally well respected Islamic scholar at Princeton in New Jersey. She was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011, which spread to her brain. In 2012 Patricia, with the help of her sister Diana Frank, was able to get her hands on enough cannabis to make her own cannabis oil. Using the oil every day, she was able to delay whole brain radiation for 8 months. Diana, a seasoned filmmaker, documented their experience in her film, For the Life of Me: Between Science and the Law. Leave a note in the comments to the right and we’ll let you know when it’s available to the public.
6. Sam Simon
Sam Simon is loved and famed for his role in creating The Simpsons. He was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2012 and was told he had 3 to 6 months to live. With the help of his vegan cannabis chef and supportive girlfriend, he survived until March 2015 in his hometown of Los Angeles. You can check out his Twitter feed to see some of the items on his menu.
7. Dr. Lester Grinspoon
Dr. Grinspoon is famous for being a Harvard Medical professor who, in the 60s, set out to prove the detrimental effects of cannabis and instead became an advocate for its medical benefits. Dr. Grinspoon used cannabis to treat his son’s nausea when the child was diagnosed with cancer at age 10. He believes that cannabis can be powerful in improving patients’ quality of life, but cautions against regarding it as a cure. He says cannabis use has done nothing to prevent or slow down the growth of his own cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 2011. For more information on Dr. Grinspoon’s work, check out his website where he shares patient experiences.
Know of any patients we’ve left off the list? Comment below and let us know.
Five Ways Cannabis Affects Sleep
Medical patients often suffer from not sleeping well. We dug into recent studies to see if cannabis improves sleep. Here are five things you should know:
THC boosts melatonin
The psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, THC has been shown to dramatically increase melatonin production, causing a spike up to four thousand times that of baseline levels. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates circadian rhythm and sleep.
Increase slow-wave sleep
According to the Department of Psychiatry at the University of San Diego, THC increases the third and fourth stages of the sleep cycle, also known as ‘slow-wave sleep’ (SWS). Increased SWS has been linked to an increased reduction of beta-amyloid, the harmful neural protein associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, and other memory loss conditions.
While cannabis is known for increasing SWS, it also reduces the fifth phase of sleep, commonly known as rapid eye movement (REM). Less REM means having less dreams, but there is yet to be any evidence of negative effects.
Treat sleep apnea
Cannabis’ sleep-inducing properties are an excellent natural remedy for those suffering from sleep apnea. This helps them to fall and stay asleep easier and with less interruption.
Reduce RBD in Parkinson’s Disease
By using a high-CBD cannabis before bed, you can lessen REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD) effects such as tremors, violent movements, and nightmares. High-CBD cannabis has been found to be more effective than Levodopa, a prescription drug commonly prescribed to patients with Parkinson’s and onset-RBD.
Melatonin and marijuana (Lissoni, P., Resentini, M., and Fraschini, F. “Effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol on Melatonin Secretion in Man.”)
Cannabinoids for medical use (Journal of American Medical Association)
Effect of drugs on sleep (National Center for Biotechnology Information)
THC effects on sleep & sleep during withdrawal (Europe PMC)
How Cannabis can help RBD in Parkinson’s (Vanwinkles.com)
Has cannabis had an affect on your quality of sleep? Let us know in the comments section below.
Grow Medicinal Marijuana At Home With A Grow Box
Growing your own medicinal marijuana is a liberating experience. You control all the variables. You know exactly what is in the bud you are smoking. grow box is a discreet and easy way to grow marijuana indoors at home, freeing yourself from dependence on both doctor and dispensary.
Gain independence with a grow box
A grow box is like a tiny, camouflaged green house. It is a self-contained unit with soil or hydroponic growing medium, lights, filters and pumps. Just add seeds, electricity and voila! You are growing your own medicinal marijuana.
Choose the right marijuana strain for you
There are two important considerations when choosing a strain of medicinal marijuana to grow yourself:
Your Medical Requirements – Are you looking for a powerful sedative effect to help with your insomnia or a functional day-time smoke to relieve pain and lighten anxiety?
Your Growing Space – Choose small, bushy strains like Indica or hybrid seeds instead of a tall, leggy Sativa. For your first grow an auto-flowering marijuana variety is the best choice because they require very little care or expertise.
Grow enough marijuana to meet your needs
Grow boxes are available in all sizes. Several surveys in the UK, Canada and the US suggest that most medicinal marijuana patients use 1-3 grams per day, or about 2 ½ pounds per year.
Even the tiny PC Grow Box, which holds just two small plants, can produce two pounds of dried bud per year. The compact SuperBox allows you to grow 8 plants at once with annual yields of 7 pounds or more.
Grow your medicinal marijuana under lights
Marijuana grows best under lights that mimic natural sunlight. There are three common types of grow lights used in the cultivation of marijuana:
- Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)
- High Intensity Discharge Lights (HIDs)
- Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
Most grow boxes use either CFL or full spectrum LED grow lights. HIDs don’t work well in the enclosed space of a grow box because they get too hot.
While you can grow small amounts of marijuana successfully using CFLs, high quality LED grow lights save electricity and produce the highest yields.
Obtain higher yields using hydroponics
A hydroponic system doesn’t use soil. Growing hydroponic marijuana is not as complex as it may sound.
Many grow boxes come with a simple hydroponic system already set-up. You simply add nutrients, which often come with the grow box, and water. You can even choose to grow marijuana with organic nutrients.
Grow marijuana naturally in soil
Some people prefer to grow marijuana as naturally as possible. The Earth Cab grow box series is one style of grow box designed for soil.
Grow a continuous supply of medicinal marijuana
Once you get started you don’t need new seeds for each growing cycle. You can propagate new marijuana plants by taking cuttings, called clones, of your favorite existing plant.
A dual chamber grow box has a special space for making clones. These grow boxes allow you to produce a constant supply of fresh buds.
Find the perfect grow box for your situation
For the many medicinal growers discretion is essential. Look for a specially designed stealth grow box.
You can also choose a fully automated grow box that allows you to leave town for two weeks and come home to healthy plants.
Use this detailed review of the best grow boxes of 2015 to find the perfect set-up for you.
Grow medicinal marijuana at home with a grow box
Are you considering growing at home? Let us know why in the comments below!
How Edibles Are Made
Since there are so many manufacturers throughout the US, cannabis-infused foods are produced in a variety of different ways. Read up on how your favorite edibles are made and learn how to make your own medicinal treats:
They’re usually made with trim
Trim contains the leftover leaf matter from the cannabis flower that growers usually throw away. It’s less potent than bud, but it’s full of trichomes and can be used in large quantities to produce a stronger effect.
Cannabis is decarboxylated
Decarboxylation activates THC and other cannabinoids to result in a more potent product. To achieve this, cannabis needs to be heated either through smoking, vaping, or baking. The flower is typically cooked for a long time over low heat before it’s used to make edibles. Eating raw cannabis won’t have a very strong effect, and it won’t taste good.
Cannabinoids are extracted
Edibles are infused with highly concentrated cannabis extracts. Depending on the extraction method, edibles can contain either tinctures, canna oil, or cannabutter. If you’re wondering how a specific edible was made, ask your budtender or contact the manufacturer.
Canna oil and cannabutter are common
THC is fat soluble, so cannabis is often cooked with oil or butter. When heated, the activated cannabinoids absorb into these ingredients. Check out this recipe for cannabis cooking oil and this one for cannabis-infused butter. Or try making cannabis coconut oil.
Tinctures are used in hard candies
Some edibles don’t go through a baking or cooking process, so tinctures are added instead of flower. Tinctures are liquid cannabis extracts made from a solvent like alcohol, vinegar, or glycerol. Rather than passing through the digestive system like cannabinoids in most edibles, these are absorbed by the body and can result in a quicker effect.
Have you ever made your own edibles? Tell us in the comments below.
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