When the Rhode Island Natural Awakenings publisher asked me to write a spotlight on the Summit Medical Compassion Center, I eagerly complied, because the integration of medicinal cannabis in treating life-threatening diseases is becoming more noteworthy.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) was discovered in 1992 by scientists studying how cannabis interacts with the brain. This previously unknown molecular signaling system is involved in regulating a broad range of biological functions and maintaining homeostasis, a healthy equilibrium, within the body. Scientists realized that the ECS allows the body to send signals back and forth, rather than just one direction, allowing the body to communicate with itself, so that it could fix itself.
When our son Neil was diagnosed with cancer, we learned about the beneficial effects of CBD and THC, two key chemical compounds produced by the cannabis plant that are compatible with receptors in the ECS. While CBD and THC do not comprise a proven cure to cancer, they can help fight against the disease. They have demonstrated abilities to prevent cancer cells from reproducing, to prevent the formation of new blood vessels needed by a tumor to grow, to prevent cancer from spreading to other organs and to cause cancerous cells to kill themselves. There are documented cases of cannabis oil sending cancer patients into remission and cases of patients who took cannabis oil and still succumbed to the disease.
Due to his terminal condition, Neil’s medical marijuana card application was expedited and the compassion center he visited gave him some different products to try. Use is individualized and complex, and the process is exploratory. I wish there had been more hard research to guide us, because we sensed so much possibility in integrating cannabis with cancer therapy. This is why I felt so compelled to write about the topic now.
One of the gems I picked up while doing research for the medical marijuana article was this: Cannabis can prevent opioid use and can alleviate symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal. Award-winning neuroscientist, Adie Poe, explains how cannabis can help with opioid detox and replacement: “The evidence suggests it’s the opposite of a gateway drug. It’s an exit drug. This is one of the most exciting frontiers we have in cannabis science at the moment.”
A second gem is that Autism patients will be able to access medical marijuana here in Rhode Island. A third gem is the emergence of cannabis training for nurses.
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