Todd Hirstein is a 63 year old man living in Springfield, Illinois. Todd was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2004. He has been using cannabis oil for 11 years to treat his cancer and improve his quality of life.
Todd Hirstein on treating Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma with cannabis oil:
Abbi: How did you come across medicinal cannabis?
Todd: I have been smoking recreationally since I was in my teens. It was always a form of relief. Instead of getting high and being able to relax, it became something that was beneficial.
Abbi: What made you decide to use medical cannabis?
Todd: In 2004 I was diagnosed with a very rare form of Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. They told me that this type of Lymphoma could never go into remission. My doctor told me I had about 18 months to live. I started treatment by participating in clinical trials at Barns Hospital in St. Louis, which helped me at first but ended up destroying my immune system. I had smoked pot when I was in my teens but after being diagnosed it became necessary for my condition.
Abbi: What did your doctor say when you mentioned using cannabis?
Todd: I have a personal relationship with my doctor of 40 years and he knows why I use it. We did share some things about it and he was aware that I used it. He told me that as a doctor he doesn’t advocate for it and he has been told that unless the patient asks not to bring it up.
Abbi: How has your condition improved with cannabis?
Todd: It’s helped me in two ways – physically and emotionally. Physically, by smoking it, ingesting it, and other forms, it has allowed me to remain mobile with less discomfort. In my case, the joint and bone pain went into my lower limb including my feet and ankles. Cannabis absolutely allowed me to compensate for those so that I can remain mobile. If it were not for the cannabis, I’d probably have to take more painkillers for relief. Emotionally, it’s always a form of relief. Instead of just getting high and being able to relax, it became something that was beneficial.
Abbi: How long did it take you to see improvements?
Todd: It helped instantly for the chemo induced nausea, physical discomfort, and the emotions of fear, sadness just from hearing the dreaded “C” word. My doctors saw that I was able to keep my red blood count consistent and I didn’t have to get any infusions.
Abbi: Is there anything you want to tell people who are thinking about or may be hesitant towards using medical cannabis?
Todd: I’m dedicated to getting the word out about this. Cannabis is a tool, not a crutch. I would recommend those interested in natural, holistic, and medicinal treatment consider marijuana and its many forms for relief of symptoms and side effects of conventional medicines. Research marijuana and its affect on the body and how it’s properties have been proven successfully for numerous conditions.
Do you have a patient story you would like to share with HealthMJ? Comment below and we’ll reach out to you.
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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