Cannabis and Cannabinoids in Pain Relief

Cannabis is a term that describes products derived from the Indian hemp, Cannabis sativa. It has its origins probably in India but now grows all over the world. The chemical compounds responsible for intoxication and medicinal effects are found mainly in a sticky golden resin exuded from the flowers of the female plants and surrounding leaves. Cannabis sativa contains a wide range of different chemicals including a family of compounds called “cannabinoids”. Of the cannabinoids delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is probably the main compound responsible for the psychotropic activities. Cannabis has been used as a medicine for thousands of years and is mentioned in a Chinese herbal dating back to 2700 BC. There are records of ’its medicinal use in Egyptian papyri of the sixteenth century BC. Much later, the plant is mentioned in Assyrian texts and in Greek and Roman sources as a medicinal agent. Early Experiences in the 19th Century Cannabis Tincture was used in the nineteenth century as an analgesic, as well as numerous other conditions and was considered milder and less dangerous than opium. W.B.O’Shaughnessy was the first of the western physicians to take an interest in cannabis as a medicine on account Read more […]

The Therapeutic Potential For Cannabis

«Cannabis Use and Abuse by Man: An Historical Perspective» of this site provides a fascinating, historical account of the use of cannabis across many cultures and centuries. Suffice it to say here that any natural substance with over 5000 years of medical history will have attached to it a heritage of hearsay and legend through which one must sift to identify areas of true therapeutic potential for us in the late twentieth century and beyond. A summary of conditions for which cannabis has been used, ranging through various shades of rationality, appears in Table Medicinal and quasi-medicinal uses for cannabis and its derivatives: Indications for which only anecdote or reports of traditional use exist: aphrodisiac muscular spasm in rabies / tetanus Huntingdon’s chorea jaundice toothache earache tumour growth cough hysteria insanity menstrual cramps rheumatism movement disorders gut spasm pyrexia inflammed tonsils migraine headache increasing uterine  contractions in childbirth urinary retention/ bladder spasm parasite infection fatigue allergy fever herpetic pain hypertension joint inflammation diarrhoea malaria forgetfulness Indications Read more […]

Ephedra Species

Botanically, Ephedra () is a member of the smallest and most problematic division of flowering plants, the Gnetopsida, and major questions remain unanswered about the taxonomy of the Gnetopsida and the evolutionary relationships of the different genera within the division. Ephedra is the largest and most widely distributed genus in the Gnetopsida, a subgroup of the gymnosperms. Many anatomical and reproductive characters of Ephedra are angiosperm-like. Recent molecular and chemical studies support the view that the Gnetopsida are the closest living relatives of the angiosperms but that the angiosperms are not derived from them. Pharmacologically, Ephedra has been the main botanical source of the active alkaloids l-ephedrine (E) and d-pseudoephedrine (PE) for thousands of years, with records of its medicinal use dating to 5000 years b.p.. The alkaloids E and PE remain important drugs today – the current world consumption of d-pseudoephedrine salts (PE-sulphate and PE-hydrochloride) stands at 1000-2000 tonnes per annum with a value of approximately $100-200 million. Powdered Ephedra stems are used in traditional herbal medicines as a hypertensive aid to treat asthma, nose and lung congestion, hay fever, and several Read more […]

Botanical Treatment Strategies for Herpes: Nervines

Herpes simplex virus outbreaks can be precipitated by stress. Nervines are therefore an important part of the treatment protocol in patients in whom stress is a chronic underlying factor. Not surprisingly, this may be the case for many individuals. Therefore, herbalists routinely include herbs that nourish the nervous system — nervous trophorestoratives (nervines) — with the aim of reducing stress, improving sleep, and promoting a sense of well-being in herbal protocol to prevent recurrent herpes simplex virus. Nervines work more directly on the nervous system than adaptogens, which improve stress response through their actions on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. A combination of adaptogens and nervines is excellent for both short- and long-term tonific-tion of the nervous system. The herbs in this section are discussed more thoroughly in chapters on anxiety and insomnia, as well as in Plant Profiles. A brief description to help differentiate when each nervine might be selected follows. California Poppy California poppy is the most sedating of the herbs in this section. Traditionally, it has been used to treat pain, neuralgia, anxiety, stress, depression, migraines, and to promote sleep. It was used by Read more […]

Traditional Medicine for Memory Enhancement

Keywords • Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors • Alzheimer’s disease • Anti-inflammatory • Antioxidant • Estrogenic • Memory • Traditional medicine In traditional practices of medicine, numerous plants have been used to alleviate memory impairment both in healthy individuals and those with disease states which are now recognised as specific cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. An ethnopharmacological approach has provided leads to identify plants and their compounds that may have potential to modulate cognitive abilities by different modes of action. A variety of therapeutic targets have been identified as relevant in the treatment of cognitive disorders, including modulation of the cholinergic system, which may be achieved by the inhibition of acetyl-cholinesterase, and neuroprotection against glutamate-induced overstimulation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, by the use of NMDA receptor modulators. Other activities considered to be relevant in the alleviation of cognitive impairment include anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and estrogenic activities. Two of the currently licensed drugs used to treat cognitive symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease, galantamine and rivastigmine, Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Ephedra

Ephedra sinica Stapf., Ephedra gerardiana Wall., Ephedra equisetina Bunge (Ephedraceae) Synonym(s) and related species Ma huang. Constituents The main active components of ephedra are the amines (sometimes referred to as alkaloids, or more properly pseudoalkaloids) ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, norephedrine, norpseudoephedrine, ALmethylephedrine, ephedroxane, maokonine, a series of ephedradines and others. Other constituents include the diterpenes ephedrannin A and mahuannin, catechins, and a trace of volatile oil containing terpinen-4-ol, alpha-terpineol, linalool and other monoterpenes. Use and indications Ephedra is used traditionally for asthma, bronchitis, hayfever and colds, but recently the herb has become liable to abuse as a stimulant and slimming aid. For this reason the herb has been banned by the FDA in the US. Its main active constituents are ephedrine and pseudoephedrine; however, ephedra herb is claimed to have many more effects than those ascribed to ephedrine and its derivatives. It is these compounds that also give rise to the toxic effects of ephedra. Pharmacokinetics No relevant pharmacokinetic data found. Interactions overview Ephedra herb contains ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, and Read more […]

St John’s wort: Clinical Use

Up until recently, most trials conducted with St John’s wort used a 0.3% hypericin water and alcohol extract known as LI 150. Subsequently, studies using different preparations, such as WS 5573 (standardised to hyperforin) or ZE 117 (a low concentration hyperforin preparation), have been tested. DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY Clinical note — The Hamilton Depression Scale The Hamilton Depression Scale is an observer-rated scale that focuses mainly on somatic symptoms of depression. Although the original version included 21 items, a similar version using 17 items is more commonly used in clinical trials. Most studies using the Hamilton Depression Scale report the number of ‘treatment responders’ (patients achieving a score less than 10 and/or less than 50% of the baseline score). Mild to moderate depression St John’s wort has shown efficacy as a successful treatment for mild to moderate depression in numerous double-blind placebo-controlled trials, confirmed by several meta-analyses. The most recent Cochrane review released in 2005 analysed data from 37 double-blind, randomised studies (n = 4925) that used monopreparations of St John’s wort over a treatment period of at least 4 weeks. It concluded that hypericum Read more […]