December “Weed to the Wise: The Best of 2019!”
Welcome to the December edition of the curated Grass for Geezers Newsletter! This month we will take a look back at the research of most promise or interest that we have uncovered this year. We will also take another opportunity to remind ourselves to soften our eyes and hearts to the sacredness of nature which can be lost in the cultural blinders of separation. From those of us at Grass for Geezers, may you all have a warm and blessed holiday season!
The MOST INTERESTING NEW RESEARCH from 2019
• April •
Cannabinoid therapy in long-term care: Using cannabinoid therapy in long-term care, participants could reduce 2-3 other medications and improve their quality of life as well as the quality of the workplace for the staff. Article on Weedmaps.
Therapeutic use of cannabis for the elderly: This study (n=2700 age 65+, 2018) finds that the therapeutic use of cannabis is safe and efficacious in the elderly population. Cannabis use may decrease the use of other prescription medicines, including opioids. Article from the European Journal of Internal Medicine.
• June •
Cognitive benefits of THC: This study (n=100, 2018) found that THC reversed the cognitive decline in patients, increased ACH, reduced plaques, and reduced inflammation and cell death (helping them sleep and feel less pain…my mother needed this!). Article from the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
• August •
Cannabis extracts as anti-tumor agents: From The Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Cannabinoid Research, Israel Institute of Technology (2019): “Our overall findings indicate that the effect of a Cannabis extract on a specific cancer cell line (2 types of breast cancer and 2 types of prostate cancer) relies on the extract’s composition as well as on certain characteristics of the targeted cells.” Article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Also see the article from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology.
At this point, none of this cannabis research is randomized, double-blind, or peer-reviewed. In other words, we have a long way to go! This is what happens when we use a reductionist approach to research by measuring and going increasingly smaller in focus. The whole plant has been used for healing for thousands of years, yet we put cancer cells in a test tube and separate the cannabinoids into extracts and then wonder why the results aren’t definitive! It’s a far cry from singing to the plant and the plant singing back to tell us if it can help. But it leads us to understand that at some point, researchers will put cells from our biopsy into a test tube and run it against a profile of different cannabinoids to determine which strain, terpenes, or cannabinoids will help the oncologist’s treatment plan.
• September •
Anti-microbial antioxidant activity of medicinal cannabis: The aim of this study was to evaluate the antimicrobial and antioxidant ability of extracts from high potent Cannabis sativa chemotypes. The six extracts were tested by standard microdilution method against Staphylococcus aureus (three strains), Streptococcus pyogenes, and the yeast Candidaalbicans. All tested extracts demonstrated high antimicrobial activity against two strains of S. aureus and S. pyogenes, moreover high antioxidant capacity was observed. The results indicate that cannabis has a high potential to be used in ointments and other material for wound healing. However, further research on the identification of the active components is needed. Article from Thieme. (I’m alert to any evidence that cannabis can have a positive effect on Candida Auris, one of the newest and most antibiotic-resistant of the new bacterias.)
The MOST CURIOUS NATURE LEARNINGS from 2019
• June •
Stephen Harrod Buhner
“Plants that contain cannabinoids, most especially cannabis, are hooked into ecosystems wherever they grow. They affect the neural networks in those systems just as they do in us. Cannabinoids act to provide pain relieving functions in ecosystems, for every organism in the network, for the ecosystem itself. Ecosystems feel pain, just as we do.” From Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm (2014, p. 223).
• August •
“The nightingale’s song is not the emotional expression of a musical individual but of the conditions of existence. It does not refer to personal challenges but to the drama of being alive. Its themes are the tides of the organism, the rising and ebbing of the life force, the flourishing in springtime and the end, which always comes too quickly.” From The Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling, and the Metamorphosis of Science (2016).
Song, Hartley Coleridge
“Tis sweet to hear the merry lark,
That bids a blithe good-morrow;
But sweeter to hark, in the twinkling dark,
To the soothing song of sorrow.
Oh nightingale! What doth she ail?
And is she sad or jolly?
For ne’er on earth was sound of mirth
So like to melancholy.”
• October •
“The words of your prayers do matter to you: they give shape to your thoughts; they warm and give color to your soul and spur you to a focused listening. The most appropriate prayers are words and gestures of surrender, praise, gratitude, and awe.”
The BEST LIVING WELL IDEAS to TAKE into 2020
• April •
Things that go well while high: electronic music, basic concepts of new pieces, details of orchestration, playing well studied familiar pieces, improvisations of two minutes or less. Things that go poorly: complex counterpoint, pulling together of the whole project, sight-reading unfamiliar music, solving technical computer problems, memorizing. From Herb Garden.
• May •
WARNING TO SENIORS: Edibles are popular with seniors who don’t want to smoke and want longer lasting relaxation for sleep. Edibles are also very difficult to dose, especially if you or someone else is making them (i.e. brownies or at-home gummies) and they can take as long as 1-2 hrs to feel the psychoactivity. Also, edibles are the high-risk product for seniors because they taste good and people eat a second too soon, not realizing that the first just hasn’t manifested yet, then they end up over-dosed and in the ER with heart palpitations and anxiety. GO LOW, GO SLOW!
Dr. Dale Bredesen has developed an experimental program and practical plan for preventing cognitive decline (that does not include cannabis). Some suggestions are:
–Get more sleep
–Have less stress
–Get sufficient vitamin D and magnesium
–Eat a gluten-free diet
–Avoid air, food, and water toxins.
From The End of Alzheimer’s (2017).
• August •
Smarter pot policies for senior living: “Don’t be afraid to tackle this issue,” said Gabriela Sanchez, a shareholder and co-chair with the senior living and long-term care team at Seattle-based law firm Lane Powell PC. “Whether you’re going to allow marijuana or not, medicinal or recreational, it’s really important that you have robust policies that talk about how you’re going to manage it in your communities.” Article on Senior Housing News. You’ll find a list of legal policy suggestions in this article, some of which are rather humorous (e.g., having insurance for accidents with wheelchairs and walkers when high, etc.).
• November •
Amid the climate crisis, a parent commits an act of hope. By Rebecca Heisman: “Nothing else in my life is quite as effective as a walk in the woods for calming the clamor of my anxieties or quieting the never-ending To-Do list in my brain…I want my [grand]son to see that part of me, and I hope that a sense of kinship with the natural world might enrich his life as it has mine…but I’m afraid that by teaching him to love streams full of salmon and woods fun of songbirds, I’m betraying him, dooming him to a bitter, grieving adulthood when the streams are empty and the woods are silent…Taking our son camping has become my stubborn way of hanging onto hope that a beautiful future is still possible…How can I help my son build a strong relationship with something that is changing before his eyes? How can I tell him to build his sense of self on something that won’t be there for him in the same way in 5 years, 10, or 50? But change and loss are part of [grand]parenthood too. My son is changing every day, and all I can do is try to take good care of him, advocate for him, love him and teach him how to hope.” Article on High Country News.
And Happy New Year to You!