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 […]

Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis

The historical and contemporary, medicinal uses of cannabis have been reviewed on several occasions. Perhaps the earliest published report to contain at least some objectivity on the subject was that of O’Shaughnessy (1842), an Irish surgeon, working in India, who described the analgesic, anticonvulsant and muscle relaxant properties of the drug. This report triggered the appearance of over 100 publications on the medicinal use of cannabis in American and European medical journals over the next 60 years. One such use was to treat nausea and vomiting; but it was not until the advent of potent cancer chemotherapeutic drugs that the antiemetic properties of cannabis became more widely investigated and then employed. One can argue that the available clinical evidence of efficacy is stronger here than for any other application and that proponents of its use are most likely to be successful in arguing that cannabis should be re-scheduled (to permit its use as a medicine) because it has a “currently accepted medical use”. Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Use as an Antiemetic Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Glaucoma Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Multiple Sclerosis Spastic Conditions A discussion Read more […]

Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Use as an Antiemetic

Many agents used in cancer chemotherapy produce severe nausea and vomiting in most patients. Symptoms can last for hours or days and have a major impact on patient nutrition and electrolyte status, body weight and physical and mental resilience to both the disease and its treatment. The current choice of available anti-emetics is limited and most are only partially effective, which may lead patients to refuse therapy all together, or for clinicians to use chemotherapeutic regimens which are less than optimum. For these reasons, the search for more effective antiemetics continues. Cannabis In the late 1960s and early 1970s, patients receiving various cancer chemotherapy regimes (including mustine, vincristine, prednisone and procarbazine) noted that smoking cannabis from illicit sources, before and during chemotherapy, reduced the incidence of nausea and vomiting to a variable degree. Only since the isolation of THC have formal clinical trials on the safety and efficacy of cannabis derivatives been conducted. As far as crude cannabis is concerned, we have only anecdotal evidence that inhaling its smoke is effective in a variable percentage of patients who vomit, despite supposedly adequate doses of standard antiemetics. There Read more […]

Healing Powers of Aloes

Aloe is a medicinal plant that has maintained its popularity over the course of time. Three distinct preparations of aloe plants are mostly used in a medicinal capacity: aloe latex (=aloe); aloe gel (=aloe vera); and, aloe whole leaf (=aloe extract). Aloe latex is used for its laxative effect; aloe gel is used topically for skin ailments, such as wound healing, psoriasis, genital herpes and internally by oral administration in diabetic and hyperlipidaemic patients and to heal gastric ulcers; and, aloe extract is potentially useful for cancer and AIDS. The use of honey may make the aloe extract therapy palatable and more efficient. Aloe preparations, especially aloe gel, have been reported to be chemically unstable and may deteriorate over a short time period. In addition, hot water extracts may not contain adequate concentrations of active ingredients and purified fractions may be required in animal studies and clinical trials. Therefore it should be kept in mind that, in some cases, the accuracy of the listed actions may be uncertain and should be verified by further studies. There are at least 600 known species of Aloe (Family Liliaceae), many of which have been used as botanical medicines in many countries for Read more […]

Zingiber officinale Roscoe (Ginger)

The treatment of dyspepsia, flatulence, colic, vomiting, diarrhoea, spasms, and other stomach complaints. Morphology and Distribution Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) is a perennial plant with fleshy and bent finger-like rhizomes. The rhizomes branch usually up to the 4th order and show negative geotropism, and also possess oil cells. Zingiber officinale is believed to be native to tropical Asia. However, this plant is widely cultivated for the aromatic and pungent rhizomes in the tropical, subtropical and temperate regions, such as India, Ceylon, Indonesia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Jamaica and West Indies, Florida (USA), Queensland (Australia), China, and Japan. Zingiber officinale rhizomes are roughly classified into three categories, such as the fresh rhizome (Shinshoga in Japanese), the propagation rhizome (Taneshoga) and the 1-year-old rhizome (Oyashoga). These rhizomes are widely utilized not only as food, but also as medicine. Pharmacological studies show that ginger rhizomes are effective for intestinal disorders and salivary secretion, for stimulating the vasomotor and respiratory centres, for relaxing the tracheal and ileal smooth muscles, and for lowering serum and hepatic cholesterol levels. Read more […]

Geigeria aspera Harv.

Sesquiterpene lactones, of which more than 1000 are known, are a group of secondary products which are continually gaining in interest, not only because of their potential medicinal value but also for their insect feeding deterrent properties, the poisoning of vertebrates and as plant growth inhibitors. Many aspects of the sesquiterpene lactones have been reviewed, such as their distribution in the plant kingdom, their status in plant taxonomic biogenesis and their biological activity and chemistry. In his review on sesquiterpene lactones in the Asteraceae, Seaman provides a comprehensive list of the sesquiterpene lactones isolated from this family. The review also included the skeletal types for each of the compounds identified. This chapter deals with the in vitro culture studies on Geigeria aspera, and the importance and production of sesquiterpene lactones. Morphology and Distribution of Geigeria aspera Harv. Geigeria aspera Harv. (Asteraceae; vermeerbos, or vomiting bush) is a woody shrub with dense erected or spreading branching habit. The sessile leaves with alternate phyllotaxis are broadly linear, subacute with entire or callosodenticulate margins. The leaf surface is conspicuously gland dotted with rigidly Read more […]

Black Nightshade, Terong Meranti, Poison Berry

Solanum nigrum L. (Solanaceae) Solanum nigrum L. is a small herb, up to 1.5 m tall. Leaves are ovate, ovate-oblong, glabrous, hairy, 1-16 cm by 0.25-12 cm. Inflorescence of 2-10 in an extra-axillary cluster, with white or purple corolla and yellow central protrusion. Fruit is globose, black in colour but is green when immature, 0.5 cm in diameter, with many seeds. Origin Native to Southwest Asia, Europe, India and Japan. Phytoconstituents Solanidine, α-, β-, γ-chaconine, desgalactotigonin, α-, β-solamargine, diosgenin, solanadiol, α-, β-, γ-solanines, soladulcidine, solanocapsine, α-, β-solansodamine, solasodine, α-solasonine, tigogenin, tomatidenol, uttronins A and B, uttrosides A and B, solanigroside A-H and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses The stem, leaves and roots are used as a decoction for wounds, tumours and cancerous growths, sores and as an astringent. They are also used as a condiment, stimulant, tonic, for treatment of piles, dysentery, abdominal pain, inflammation of bladder, relief of asthma, bronchitis, coughs, eye ailments, itch, psoriasis, skin diseases, eczema, ulcer, relief of cramps, rheumatism, neuralgia and expulsion of excess fluids. The roots are used as an expectorant. The Read more […]

Yellow Oleander, Trumpet Flower

Thevetia peruviana (Pers.) K. Schum. (Apocynaceae) Thevetia peruviana (Pers.) K. Schum. is a shrub, up to 6 m tall. All parts contain highly poisonous milky latex. Leaves are simple, few, exstipulate and spirally arranged. Blade is linear, 7-13 cm by 0.5-1 cm and glossy. Flowers are large, yellow, 5 cm across, gathered in few flowered terminal cymes. Fruits are green, shiny, globose, 4-5.5 cm across with 4 or less poisonous seeds. Origin Native to Central and South America. Phytoconstituents Thevetins A and B, thevetosides, acetylperuvoside, epipemviol, perusitin, theveneriin, thevebioside, thevefolin, pervianoside I-III and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses Used as an abortifacient, to treat congestive heart failure, malaria, leprosy, indigestion, ringworm, venereal disease and even as a suicide instrument. Used in India as an astringent to the bowel, useful in urethral discharge, worms, skin diseases, wounds, piles, eye problems and itch. Used in continental Europe and is considered particularly useful in mild myocardial insufficiency and digitalis intolerance. Its bark is used as an emetic, febrifuge, insecticidal, poison and for reviving patients with heart failure. Pharmacological Activities Antiarrhythmic, Read more […]

Primary Dysmenorrhoea

Primary dysmenorrhoea is caused by uterine contractions which are too strong and occur too frequently. Between the contractions, the uterine muscle does not relax properly, and there is an abnormally high ‘resting tone’. The overall effect is a reduction in the amount of blood flowing through the uterine muscle (ischaemia) which causes the pain known as primary dysmenorrhoea. The most usual cause of primary dysmenorrhoea is an imbalance in the prostaglandins levels. Prostaglandins are complex hormone-like substances found in most body tissues. There are many different types of prostaglandins which control bodily functions by working together as an integrated team. When the different types of prostaglandins are present in normal ratios, menstruation proceeds normally. An imbalance in the ratios in favour of the type of prostaglandins which increase muscle spasm will cause period pain. Their role in menstruation is complex and is discussed in ‘Prostaglandins’. The uterine tonics The uterine tonics, Aletris farinosa, Caulophyllum thalictroides, Angelica sinensis and Rubus idaeus, are used to treat pain because they are believed to regulate the muscular activity of the uterus and help initiate contractions which are Read more […]

Pinellia tevnata Breit (Chinese name Banhsia)

Distribution and Importance of the Plant Pinellia ternata Breit (Chinese name Banhsia), a perennial grass belonging to the Araceae, is an important Chinese medicinal herb that has been used in clinical practice for over 2000 years. Tuber globulose about 1 cm in diameter with hairy roots, few leaves with small bulbils of 3-5 mm in diameter borne at the middle and on the uppermost part; petioles 15-20 cm long, leaflets 3, ovate -elliptic to oblong – elliptic, 3-10 cm long, 1-3 cm broad, accuminate to acute at apex, acute to obtuse at base. Peduncles 25-35 cm long, spathe 6-7 cm long, green or green white rounded at apex, the limb lanceolate, puberulent inside; Spadix – erect, 6-10 cm long, with a filiform exerted appendage. It is widely distributed in China, especially in the south province, except for Nei Mongolia, Xin Jiang, Qing Hai, and Tibet. The altitude of these areas is below 2500 m. Pinellia ternata is one of the weeds in nonirrigated farm land (dry land), commonly seen in grassland, uncultivated land, corn fields, and/or under sparse woods. The species is also distributed in Japan and the Korean Peninsular. The plant grows well in warmer and more humid places and withstands damp or less sunshine. It is usually Read more […]