Transdermal and Oral Cannabis

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Although medical marijuana is nontoxic, smoking it can be hazardous over the long term because toxic compounds are created in the combustion process. Fortunately there are options for the administration of cannabis but in general all different ways of administrating hemp oil or raw marijuana can be combined with no harmful side effects. Also there are vaporizers that allow for inhalation or what amounts to transdermal treatments into the lungs without burning the marijuana. It’s a cool clean smoke of powerful medicine.

Smoking marijuana has limited medical value when used exclusively, especially when it is inhaled through burning. It can reduce blood sugar; it can also help reduce ocular pressure for people with glaucoma. Most people know of marijuana’s ability to reduce nausea, and smoking marijuana will often reduce the pain associated with many medical conditions. Smoking “grass” does make a person relax, which in itself can be quite beneficial. Smoking does help reduce the symptoms of many conditions but in general it does not work on a curative level like oral consumption does.

Rick Simpson, the most courageous medical marijuana expert of them all, says, “Smoking is the least effective method of using hemp as a medicine. The power of hemp medicine is magnified many times when the concentrated essential oil of the hemp plant is produced. If you want to see the real medicinal magic in the hemp plant, start ingesting high-grade hemp oil. When one starts ingesting the raw, unburned THC and its associated cannabinoids, medical miracles often occur. When a person smokes a joint, over 90% of the medicinal aspect of the plant material goes up in smoke. It’s ironic to see people who have taken chemotherapy smoke hemp to reduce their nausea. They are smoking the very substance that, if taken properly, could cure them.”

Cannabis, or marijuana, has been utilized as an ingredient in food and drink for thousands of years. Recipes were often recorded in rhyme, assisting in the memorization process. One such recipe, Bhang (a milk-based drink), dates back to 800 B.C. when it was first concocted in India. The Chinese use of cannabis as a staple food source—for both humans and animals—dates back to the 7th century B.C. Gathered for their exceptional nutritional value, cannabis seeds provided an exceptional source of protein and nutrients.

Oral Cannabis

When we ingest marijuana it is absorbed via the intestines and then passes through the liver, which processes the THC into a byproduct called 11-hydroxy-THC, which then travels to the bloodstream and then on to our brains. 11-hydroxy THC is thought to be four to five times more potent than regular THC. This is one reason why edibles are known to be more potent when compared to inhaled cannabis. Edibles are also thought to be strong sedatives and many patients use them for treatment of insomnia.

Marijuana taken in edible form usually takes from 40 minutes to one hour to start working and the peak effect is at two hours. The effects last though from six to eight hours, which is very convenient for those patients who want to sleep or have longer control of pain.

The key to proper use of oral marijuana is to know how much to eat so as to get the best medicinal effect without taking too much. The general rule is, if you buy an edible product from a registered marijuana dispensary, cut the edible product into four pieces and eat one piece to start. Wait at least one hour. If you feel braver start with half! If you feel the effects of the medication, do not eat any more. If you do not feel the effects of the medication, you can eat another piece. There have been patients who unknowingly have ingested too much and have felt “too high,” nausea, vomiting, and very groggy, so it’s best to start out slow in the beginning. If you do not feel much at a full dose than try a dose and a half or even two doses.

Transdermal Marijuana

Marijuana is lipophilic, which means that it can be dissolved into a fat-soluble substance and readily enter cell membranes. In other words, it can be effective when applied topically on the skin. Marijuana can be used transdermally to relieve pain from many conditions. Medical marijuana can be a balm, lotion, ointment or rubbing alcohol solution. In the old days when people only had plants to use for medication, many patients would soak marijuana leaves in alcohol and apply them as a poultice to an arthritic or swollen joint.

Many substances pass easily through the skin and that is why transdermal medicine has been more evident in contemporary medicine. When it comes to marijuana’s anti-inflammatory effect people have long experienced this in action when they have applied marijuana to their skin. Patients with arthritis, muscle and joint pain can testify to the easing of the aches and pains that they feel on a regular basis. Topical marijuana preparations usually provide only local relief and do not have effect on the brain, meaning there is usually no high. This is helpful for those times when marijuana use is inappropriate (like when you have to drive your car) and you still need pain relief! Topical preparations can be purchased or made at home.

Transdermal medicine is ideal for pain management as well as sports and pediatric medicine. In fact it is one of the best ways to administer medicines quickly and effectively. Transdermal methods of delivery are widely used because they allow the absorption of medicine directly through the skin. Gels, emulsion creams, sprays and lip balm stick applicators are easy to use and are effective in getting medicine into the bloodstream quickly.

Traditional methods of administering medicine such as tablets or capsules get watered down and become much less effective due to stomach acids and digestive enzymes before they eventually get into the bloodstream. Bypassing the stomach and liver means a much greater percentage of the active ingredient goes straight into the bloodstream where it’s needed. In many cases, transdermal methods are used to help avoid potential side effects such as stomach upset or drowsiness. The full potential for transdermal medicine has not been explored by modern medicine though it has been practiced for thousands of years in hot springs around the world.

Of course the use of magnesium oil for these same effects is also recommended and using topical magnesium and marijuana together in combination is excellent for difficult, stubborn pain. One of the main points for everyone to understand is that when we are thrust back to simpler lives, having access to versatile medicines without cost is important. If the governments would get off their people’s backs, marijuana would be legal and virtually free because it’s so easily grown.

It is highly regrettable that the deficiency of such an inexpensive, low-toxicity nutrient like magnesium results in diseases that cause incalculable suffering and expense throughout the world. - Dr. Steven Johnson

Bottom line, when it comes to pain medications that work on the source of pain and disease, there is nothing like magnesium chloride and nothing like cannabinoid medicine. Together they are the Batman and Robin superhero medical team for the world of pain, heavy emotional upset, and the general treatment of disease. Add sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and iodine and you already have a full medical team at your fingertips.

Hemp Salves and Oils Offer Potent Solutions

One hospital pathologist cut his finger during an autopsy; bacteria resistant to antibiotics infected the wound and it seemed that an amputation was going to be inevitable. Then someone had the idea to ask Prof. Kabelik, who was known for his research on the medicinal use of cannabis, for help. He applied his hemp salve and two days later the wound was already healing and the amputation was avoided.

Topical Solution Uses

Arthritis

Pain

Dry/chapped skin

Rashes

Eczema

Rheumatism

Headaches or migraines

Swelling

Insect bites

Sunburns

Burns

Stiff neck

Muscle soreness

Tendonitis

Psoriasis

A Seattle company is reportedly developing a medical marijuana patch for pets, calling it a “question of quality of life.” Jim Alekson’s Medical Marijuana Delivery Systems, LLC has patented the patch, called Tetracan, and says it could be used on dogs, cats, and even horses. The patch would be available for human use as well. According to Alekson, “Dogs suffer from the same maladies that humans do,” and pets can suffer greatly from pain—everything from arthritis to cancer. He said that harsh pharmaceutical painkillers have proven harmful, sometimes fatal to animals.

In California an adult may grow, buy and smoke marijuana, all while remaining safely within the confines of state law. Dr. William Courtney tells his patients “Don’t smoke the stuff. Eat it!” It won’t get you high eaten raw, and juiced with a handful of carrots to cut the bitter taste, its leaves and buds may well offer an important contribution to getting people well.

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Courtney juices carrots to cut the harsh taste of the ingredients largely absent in the psychotropic variety of cannabis. Karl Vick for The Washington Post

Kristen Peskuski summarized her return to near-full health—including debilitating lupus, interstitial cystitis, rheumatoid arthritis and 40 medications a day—after juicing fresh pot leaves over a 30-month period. Courtney’s approach promotes marijuana as a good-for-you vegetable like spinach.

Raw bud has a high concentration of cannabinoids and is excellent for consumption. When consumed, raw marijuana generally does not make a person high. The main psychoactive compound in dried, aged cannabis is delta-9 THC, which is absent in the raw, fresh leaf. However, the other compounds, such as the terpenes, may have an effect on mood or energy levels. Raw leaf contains mainly THC acid (not THC) unless you are using a strain that is much higher in CBD. In that case, you will be getting some CBD from the leaf. Leaves are picked from a plant that is about three months of age. Buds should be at the state where the trichomes are fully present but not yet amber (i.e. cloudy).

Some of the benefits of raw cannabis include:

Immune modulating

Anti-diabetic

Anti-inflammatory

Neuroprotective

Antioxidant

Antispasmodic

Anti-tumor/anti-cancer

Anti-anxiety

Bone stimulation

Antibacterial

Pain-relieving

What are the “active” ingredients in raw cannabis if there is no delta-9 THC?

Terpenes

Cannabigerol (CBG)

Flavonoids

Cannabidivarin (CBDV)

Phytocannabinoids

Cannabichromene (CBC)

Cannabinol (CBN)

CBD Acid

Cannabidiol (CBD)

THC Acid

Cannabigerol (CBG)

There are more than 525 molecules found in raw cannabis, some with synergistic effects. According to Dr. Courtney it takes about 4-8 weeks before full clinical benefit is reached. It takes that long to fully saturate the fat tissue with phyto-cannabinoids. Phyto-cannabinoids are fat molecules that are stored in the adipose or fat tissue similar to the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. It appears that a wheat grass juicer is probably the best method of breaking up the cannabis plant cells. Mix with a minimal amount of organic fruit or vegetable juice—just enough to cut the bitter taste of the raw cannabis. Choose lower sugar juices to minimize your ingestion of simple sugars. Store leaves in a green bag in the refrigerator; do not rinse until immediately before using. Dr. Courtney recommends soaking leaves in water for five minutes before juicing.

Use organic cannabis that does not have any pesticides applied at any point in its life cycle. Dr. Courtney recommends using ten large fan leaves per day in juice, salsa, pesto, salad, etc. If you have access to fresh bud, he recommends one bud/day.

Cannabinoids and THCA are cleared rapidly from the blood, so frequent consumption of a small amount of juice is ideal. Split the juice into five parts for five divided doses per day.

Special Note: Part two of this essay Rick Simpson on Hemp Oil and Marijuana Tinctures is coming soon.

For questions pertaining to your own personal health issues or for specific dosing of Dr. Sircus's protocol items please seek a consultation. Please visit our knowledge base to see if your question may have been answered previously.

Comments:

  • Fred Filho

    Hi, Dr. Sircus. I’m from Brazil and my father has a very bad postherpetic neuralgia for almost a year. He’d tried a lot of different medicines, including topic capsaicine and lidocaine patches. I wonder if there’s some cannabinoid patch that could be suitable to treat him. We are worried because he is suffering too much. Thanks for your attention.

    • Maurice Guggisberg

      Dear Fred,
      I’m sorry to hear about your father’s situation.
      For that kind of advice, you need to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sircus.
      He is available to take patients via his online clinic.

      http://drsircus.com/consultations/

      Please let me know if I can be of further help.
      Best Regards,
      Maurice Guggisberg
      IMVA Support Team

  • Heather Swanson

    If anyone can shed light on this topic I would appreciate any help I can get. I have an 18 year old daughter who has Ehlers–Danlos syndrome (EDS). She was discharged from the hospital pain clinic today. She went in with a pain level of 10 and came out with a pain level of 9. I don’t consider this a success. She also has another condition called Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). Will Cannabis CBD cause her blood pressure to drop and put her life at risk? Can she take any form of cannabis treatment (Tincture, oil, pills orally??) I am desperate to get answers for her and give her somewhat of a quality of life back.

    • http://drsircus.com/ Claudia French

      Heather, it definitely sounds as if some form of CBD could help your daughter, or even medical marijuana if you live in a state where you can legally obtain that. This would help with the pain for sure and you should look into this. I’ve not heard of too many blood pressure or heart rate problems with the CBD products yet. But everyone is different and so you should proceed carefully.
      Another thing that would help a great deal with the pain would be the use of magnesium. This has been shown to reduce the need for other narcotic pain medicines and often makes a dramatic difference. As you probably already know Dr. Sircus recommends using Ancient Minerals Magnesium Oil and you can find that on our protocol page: http://drsircus.com/medicine/natural-allopathic-medicine-protocol-components
      These two together could make a dramatic difference for her but should be started at separate times. First start one product and give it enough time to guage her reaction….then about a week later start the other. Adjust as needed depending on her response. Magnesium has been shown to lower blood pressure but it also regulates arrythmias.
      I hope you will find some relief for her!!

      Claudia French
      IMVA

      • Heather Swanson

        Thank you Claudia for your advice. I appreciate you promptness in returning a message. Would Dr. Sircus know if P.O.T.S. patients respond positively to CBD or are there risks with using it with them. I feel she would respond very well to the CBD with the EDS. It is the P.O.T.S. that has me worried. We thankfully live in Michigan and I am a licensed Cannabis user for my MS. I use tinctures, oil and edibles. I have had great success and only want to see my daughter have similar success. Thanks so much for your help. I may post in the future if I have any other questions.
        Thanks,
        Heather

  • Michael L. Wallace Jr.

    I Think I’ve Found that I can Purchase a CBD oil. My mother has Tourettes Syndrome & Fears the effects of unknown Drugs. I was hoping you covered such a topic. I have no Fear of the Effects of Cannabis but it’s illegal where I live so this CBD oil would be all I can obtain. I suffer from Anxiety & insomnia amongst other things. I had wondered if I heated the CBD oil in a bed time Broth that the effects might be intensified.

  • Tags

    Will topical marijuana infused iol show up in drug tests?

    • http://drsircus.com/ Claudia French

      Tags,

      It probably will since it travels to the blood stream but it also depends on what type of “topical marijuana ” you are using. Is it high THC? or high CBD? and it also depends on what type of testing is used as some drug tests are more sensitive than others in detecting the various cannabidiols.
      Claudia French
      IMVA

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  • yinos

    how can I make use of a dried leave as these are the types found in my area?

  • http://-------- emilio

    Claudia; I have a confussion betwen HEMP and MARIJUANA. I should like to employ like transdermal medicine for Migrane pain. Is it possible to apply HEMP (diluted in Vodka, Rum.etc.) like a compress in the forefont to have some reduction of the pain? Is it possible to receive a same better effect with both of them or is preferible to do it with Marijuana? Sorry for my english. Emilio.

    • Claudia – IMVA Staff

      Dear Emilio,

      It’s worth a try…..and please let us know how well it works. Magnesium oil definitely will work to reduce the pain of a migraine headache. Try both and let us know which works better.

      Two sites I looked at regarding migraine and hemp suggested using hemp seed and/or hempseed oil taken orally to prevent the occurrance of migraines.

      .And there are many reports of how marijuana leaves soaked in alcohol and made into a poultice is used for relieving pain of many types.

  • http://cityseedandgrow.blogspot.com/ Dixie Howorth

    Wonderful Post. Thank you for your work on this site. I have been looking into this subject all over the web and yours was the most on-point!

  • emilio

    Claudia; Is it possible to transform (convert) the THC in 11-hydroxyTHC into an infusion of cannabis adding to it a bit of butter or olive oil?

    • Claudia – IMVA Staff

      Emilio,

      I believe that is possible as long as the product is also heated.

      Here you go: Cannabis can be extracted into oils, such as olive oil, or butter for use in cooking, baking and salad dressings. Olive oil is a good choice of a healthy oil to use in this manner.:
      Recipe: Extracting Cannabis into Oil or Butter
      http://www.chelseagreen.com/content/recipe-extracting-cannabis-into-oil-or-butter/

  • Jackie Maffei

    Do you sell cannabis oil????

    • Claudia – IMVA Staff

      Hi Jackie,

      No we do not sell the cannabis oil.

  • Eric

    Under Oral Cannabis you said “When we ingest marijuana it is absorbed via the intestines and then passes through the liver, which processes the THC into a byproduct called 11-hydroxy-THC, which then travels to the bloodstream and then on to our brains. 11-hydroxy THC is thought to be four to five times more potent than regular THC. This is one reason why edibles are known to be more potent when compared to inhaled cannabis. Edibles are also thought to be strong sedatives and many patients use them for treatment of insomnia.” but then later said “When consumed, raw marijuana generally does not make a person high” . . .Could you provide a better description as to what the difference is, and how the preparation is different?

    • Claudia – IMVA Staff

      Dear Eric,

      One of the other things that needs to happen to make the THC into 11-hydroxy THC is that some amount of fat and heat need to be available or mixed in with the cannabis to activate the THC. This readily happens in cooking, baking, smoking and other preparations. Eating raw weed is said to require eating a huge amount of marijuana raw to get even a moderate effect.

      • IanCBD

        I would suggest that your reply is misleading, if you are saying that a large quantity of leaves would be required to feel “high” then I agree but when you say “raw weed” then “weed” is generally considered to be bud. Eat only a few grams of pure bud and you will most certainly feel “high” after an hour or so.
        Marijuana with a high concentration of CBD which comes mainly from Indica strains is considered to be far more effective from a medical point of view than Sativa strains. I hope that the subject of strain selection is covered in part two, it is of great importance.

        • Claudia – IMVA Staff

          Ian,

          Thanks for clarifying and providing the information about CBD. I understand most Calfironia strains are now bred for higher THC content…..but for medicinal use the CBD (Cannabidiol) seems much more effective and sought after.

        • annualthc

          Eating non-carboxylated buds does not produce a high. I’ve eaten my share of dry buds, sometimes fully cured, other times not. And I have consumed raw cannabis in a juice form and it does not produce a high. Some people think if you actually heat the juiced form that would in fact produce a high. But, I have verified that heating the juiced material, prior to drinking it, would make a difference.