Cancer and Sexual Health

sexual-health-hpv

Sexuality is a complex characteristic that involves the physical, psychological, interpersonal, and behavioral aspects of a person. Recognizing that “normal” sexual functioning covers a wide range is important. Ultimately, sexuality is defined by each patient and his/her partner according to sex, age, personal attitudes, and religious and cultural values.

Many types of cancer and cancer therapies can cause sexual dysfunction. Research shows that approximately 50% of women who have been treated for breast and gynecologic cancers experience long-term sexual dysfunction. Nearly 70% of men who have been treated for prostate cancer experience long-term sexual dysfunction.

An individual’s sexual response can be affected in many ways. The causes of sexual dysfunction are often both physical and psychological. The most common sexual problems for people who have cancer are loss of desire for sexual activity in both men and women, problems achieving and maintaining an erection in men, and pain with intercourse in women. Men may also experience inability to ejaculate, ejaculation going backward into the bladder, or the inability to reach orgasm. Women may experience a change in genital sensations due to pain, loss of sensation and numbness, or decreased ability to reach orgasm. Most often, both men and women are still able to reach orgasm, however, it may be delayed due to medications and/or anxiety.

Unlike many other physical side effects of cancer treatment, sexual problems may not resolve within the first year or two of disease-free survival and can interfere with the return to a normal life. Patients recovering from cancer should discuss their concerns about sexual problems with a health care professional.

Factors Affecting Sexual Function in People With Cancer

Both physical and psychological factors contribute to the development of sexual dysfunction. Physical factors include loss of function due to the effects of cancer therapies, fatigue, and pain. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy may have a direct physical impact on sexual function. Other factors that may contribute to sexual dysfunction include pain medications, depression, feelings of guilt from misbeliefs about the origin of the cancer, changes in body image after surgery, and stresses due to personal relationships. Getting older is often associated with a decrease in sexual desire and performance, however, sex may be important to the older person’s quality of life and the loss of sexual function can be distressing.

Surgery-Related Factors

Surgery can directly affect sexual function. Factors that help predict a patient’s sexual function after surgery include age, sexual and bladder function before surgery, tumor location and size, and how much tissue was removed during surgery. Surgeries that affect sexual function include breast cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, and other pelvic tumors.

Breast Cancer

Sexual function after breast cancer surgery has been the subject of much research. Surgery to save or reconstruct the breast appears to have little effect on sexual function compared with surgery to remove the whole breast. Women who have surgery to save the breast are more likely to continue to enjoy breast caressing, but there is no difference in areas such as how often women have sex, the ease of reaching orgasm, or overall sexual satisfaction.

Colorectal Cancer

Sexual and bladder dysfunctions are common complications of surgery for rectal cancer. The main cause of problems with erection, ejaculation, and orgasm is injury to nerves in the pelvic cavity. Nerves can be damaged when their blood supply is disrupted or when the nerves are cut.

Prostate Cancer

Newer nerve-sparing techniques for radical prostatectomy are being debated as a more successful approach for preserving erectile function than radiation therapy for prostate cancer. Long-term follow-up is needed to compare the effects of surgery with the effects of radiation therapy. Recovery of erectile function usually occurs within a year after having a radical prostatectomy. The effects of radiation therapy on erectile function are very slow and gradual occurring for two or three years after treatment. The cause of loss of erectile function differs between surgery and radiation therapy. Radical prostatectomy damages nerves that make blood vessels open wider to allow more blood into the penis. Eventually the tissue does not get enough oxygen, cells die, and scar tissue forms that interferes with erectile function. Radiation therapy appears to damage the arteries that bring blood to the penis.

Other Pelvic Tumors

Men who have surgery to remove the bladder, colon, and/or rectum may improve recovery of erectile function if nerve-sparing surgical techniques are used. The sexual side effects of radiation therapy for pelvic tumors are similar to those after prostate cancer treatment. Women who have surgery to remove the uterus, ovaries, bladder, or other organs in the abdomen or pelvis may experience pain and loss of sexual function depending on the amount of tissue/organ removed. With counseling and other medical treatments, these patients may regain normal sensation in the vagina and genital areas and be able to have pain-free intercourse and reach orgasm.

Chemotherapy-Related Factors

Chemotherapy is associated with a loss of desire and decreased frequency of intercourse for both men and women. The common side effects of chemotherapy such as nausea, vomiting, diarrheaconstipation, mucositis, weight loss or gain, and loss of hair can affect an individual’s sexual self-image and make him or her feel unattractive.

For women, chemotherapy may cause vaginal dryness, pain with intercourse, and decreased ability to reach orgasm. In older women, chemotherapy may increase the risk of ovarian cancer. Chemotherapy may also cause a sudden loss of estrogen production from the ovaries. The loss of estrogen can cause shrinking, thinning, and loss of elasticity of the vagina, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, urinary tract infections, mood swings, fatigue, and irritability. Young women who have breast cancer and have had surgeries such as removal of one or both ovaries, may experience symptoms related to loss of estrogen. These women experience high rates of sexual problems since there is a concern that estrogen replacement therapy, which may decrease these symptoms, could cause the breast cancer to return. For women with other types of cancer, however, estrogen replacement therapy can usually resolve many sexual problems. Also, women who have graft-versus-host disease (a reaction of donated bone marrow or peripheral stem cells against a person’s tissue) following bone marrow transplantation may develop scar tissue and narrowing of the vagina that can interfere with intercourse.

For men, sexual problems such as loss of desire and erectile dysfunction are more common after a bone marrow transplant because of graft-versus-host disease or nerve damage. Occasionally chemotherapy may interfere with testosterone production in the testicles. Testosterone replacement may be necessary to regain sexual function.

Radiation Therapy-Related Factors

Like chemotherapy, radiation therapy can cause side effects such as fatigue, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms that can decrease feelings of sexuality. In women, radiation therapy to the pelvis can cause changes in the lining of the vagina. These changes eventually cause a narrowing of the vagina and formation of scar tissue that results in pain with intercourse, infertility and other long term sexual problems. Women should discuss concerns about these side effects with their doctor and ask about the use of a vaginal dilator.

For men, radiation therapy can cause problems with getting and keeping an erection. The exact cause of sexual problems after radiation therapy is unknown. Possible causes are nerve injury, a blockage of blood supply to the penis, or decreased levels of testosterone. Sexual changes occur very slowly over a period of six months to one year after radiation therapy. Men who had problems with erectile dysfunction before getting cancer have a greater risk of developing sexual problems after cancer diagnosis and treatment. Other risk factors that can contribute to a greater risk of sexual problems in men are cigarette smoking, history of heart diseasehigh blood pressure, and diabetes.

Hormone Therapy-Related Factors

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer can decrease normal hormone levels and cause a decrease in sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, and problems reaching orgasm. Younger men do not always experience the same degree of sexual dysfunction. Some treatment centers are experimenting with delayed or intermittent hormone therapy to prevent sexual problems. It is not yet known if these modified treatments affect the long-term survival of younger men.

The effects of tamoxifen on the sexuality and mood of women who have breast cancer are not clearly understood.

Psychological Factors

Patients recovering from cancer often have anxiety or guilt that previous sexual activities may have caused their cancer. Some patients believe that sexual activity may cause the cancer to return or pass the cancer to their partner. Discussing their feelings and concerns with a health care professional is important for patients. Misbeliefs can be corrected and patients can be reassured that cancer is not passed on through sexual contact.

Loss of sexual desire and a decrease in sexual pleasure are common symptoms of depression. Depression is more common in patients with cancer than in the general healthy population. It is important that patients discuss their feelings with their doctor. Getting treatment for depression may be helpful in relieving sexual problems.

Cancer treatments may cause physical changes that affect how an individual sees his or her physical appearance. This view can make a man or woman feel sexually unattractive. It is important that patients discuss these feelings and concerns with a health care professional. Patients can learn how to deal effectively with these problems.

The stress of being diagnosed with cancer and undergoing treatment for cancer can make existing problems in relationships even worse. The sexual relationship can also be affected. Patients who do not have a committed relationship may stop dating because they fear being rejected by a potential new partner who learns about their history of cancer. One of the most important factors in adjusting after cancer treatment is the patient’s feeling about his or her sexuality before being diagnosed with cancer. If patients had positive feelings about sexuality, they may be more likely to resume sexual activity after treatment for cancer.

Assessment of Sexual Function in People with Cancer

Sexual function is an important factor that adds to quality of life. Patients should discuss their problems and concerns about sexual function with their doctor. Some doctors may not have the appropriate training to discuss sexual problems. Patients should ask for other information resources or for a referral to a health care professional who is comfortable with discussing sexuality issues.

General Factors Affecting Sexual Functioning

When a possible sexual problem is identified, the health care professional will do a detailed interview either with the patient alone or with the patient and his or her partner. The patient may be asked any of the following questions about his or her current and past sexual functioning:

  • How often do you feel a spontaneous desire to have sex?
  • Do you enjoy sex?
  • Do you become sexually aroused (for men, are you able to get and keep an erection, or for women, does your vagina expand and become lubricated)?
  • Are you able to reach orgasm during sex? What types of stimulation can trigger an orgasm (for example, self-touch, use of a vibrator, shower massage, partner caressing, oral stimulation, or intercourse)?
  • Do you have any pain during sex? Where do you feel the pain? What does the pain feel like? What kinds of sexual activity trigger the pain? Does this cause pain every time? How long does the pain last?
  • When did your sexual problems begin? Was it around the same time that you were diagnosed with cancer or received treatment for cancer?
  • Are you taking any medications? Did you start taking any new medications or did the doctor change the dose of any medications around the time that these sexual problems began?
  • What was your sexual functioning like before you were diagnosed with cancer? Did you have any sexual problems before you were diagnosed with cancer?

Psychosocial Aspects of Sexuality

Patients may also be asked about the significance of sexuality and relationships whether or not they have a partner. Patients who have a partner may be asked about the length and stability of the relationship before being diagnosed with cancer. They may also be asked about their partner’s response to the diagnosis of cancer and if they have any concerns about how their partner may be affected by their treatment. It is important that patients and their partners discuss their sexual problems and concerns and fears about their relationship with a health care professional with whom they feel comfortable.

Medical Aspects of Sexuality

Patients may be asked about current and past medical history since many medical illnesses can affect sexual function. Lifestyle risk factors such as smoking and high alcohol intake can also affect sexual function as well as prescribed and over-the-counter medications. Patients may be asked to fill out questionnaires to help identify sexual problems and may undergo a variety of physical examinations, blood tests, ultrasound studies, measurement of nighttime erections, and hormone tests.

Treatment of Sexual Problems in People with Cancer

Many patients are fearful or anxious about their first sexual experience after cancer treatment. Fear and anxiety can cause patients to avoid intimacy, touch, and sexual activity. The partner may also feel fearful or anxious about initiating any activity that might be thought of as pressuring to be intimate or that might cause physical discomfort. Patients and their partners should discuss concerns with their doctor or other qualified health professional. Honest communication of feelings, concerns, and preferences is important.

In general, a wide variety of treatment modalities are available for patients with sexual dysfunction after cancer. Patients can learn to adapt to changes in sexual function through reading books, pamphlets, and Internet resources or listening to and watching videos and CD-ROMs. Health professionals who specialize in sexual dysfunction can provide patients with these resources as well as information on national organizations that may provide support. Some patients may need medical intervention such as hormone replacement, medications, or surgery. Patients who have more serious problems may need sexual counseling on an individual basis, with his or her partner, or in a group. Further testing and research is needed to compare the effectiveness of various treatment programs that combine medical and psychological approaches for people who have had cancer.

Fertility Issues

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy treatments may cause temporary or permanent infertility. These side effects are related to a number of factors including the patient’s sex, age at time of treatment, the specific type and dose of radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy, the use of single therapy or many therapies, and length of time since treatment.

Chemotherapy

For patients receiving chemotherapy, age is an important factor and recovery improves the longer the patient is off chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs that have been shown to affect fertility include: busulfan, melphalan, cyclophosphamide, cisplatin, chlorambucil, mustine, carmustine, lomustine, cytarabine, and procarbazine.

Radiation

For men and women receiving radiation therapy to the abdomen or pelvis, the amount of radiation directly to the testes or ovaries is an important factor. Fertility may be preserved by the use of modern radiation therapy techniques and the use of lead shields to protect the testes. Women may undergo surgery to protect the ovaries by moving them out of the field of radiation.

Procreative Alternatives

Patients who are concerned about the effects of cancer treatment on their ability to have children should discuss this with their doctor before treatment. The doctor can recommend a counselor or fertility specialist who can discuss available options and help patients and their partners through the decision-making process.

Cannabis can help in countless ways.

Source: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=21642&page=3

Male Breast Cancer

What is male breast cancer?

Men possess a small amount of nonfunctioning breast tissue (breast tissue that cannot produce milk) that is concentrated in the area directly behind the nipple on the chest wall. Like breast cancer in women, cancer of the male breast is the uncontrolled growth of the abnormal cells of this breast tissue.

Breast tissue in both young boys and girls consists of tubular structures known as ducts. At puberty, a girl’s ovaries produce female hormones (estrogen) that cause the ducts to grow and milk glands (lobules) to develop at the ends of the ducts. The amount of fat and connective tissue in the breast also increases as girls reach puberty. On the other hand, male hormones (such as testosterone) secreted by the testes suppress the growth of breast tissue and the development of lobules. The male breast, therefore, is made up of predominantly small, undeveloped ducts and a small amount of fat and connective tissue.

 

How common is male breast cancer?

Male breast cancer is a rare condition, accounting for only about 1% of all breast cancers. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2010, about 1,970 new cases of breast cancer in men would be diagnosed and that breast cancer would cause approximately 390 deaths in men (in comparison, almost 40,000 women die of breast cancer each year). Breast cancer is 100 times more common in women than in men. Most cases of male breast cancer are detected in men between the ages of 60 and 70, although the condition can develop in men of any age. A man’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is about 1/10 of 1%, or one in 1,000.

15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore

What are male breast cancer symptoms and signs?

By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Feature

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Some men are notorious foot-draggers, especially when it comes to scheduling doctor visits. That’s unfortunate. Routine preventive care can find cancerin men and other diseases in the early stages, when there are more options for treatment and better chances of a cure. Some men, though, would never go to the doctor except for the women in their life. According to Leonard Lichtenfeld, MD, deputy chief medical officer for the national office of the American Cancer Society, women are often the ones who push men to get screened for cancer.

Experts say that men could benefit greatly by being alert to certain cancer symptoms that indicate a trip to the doctor’s office sooner rather than later. Some of those cancer symptoms in men are specific. They involve certain body parts and may even point directly to the possibility of cancer. Other symptoms are more vague. For instance, pain that affects many body parts could have dozens of explanations and may not be cancer. But that doesn’t mean you can rule out cancer without seeing a doctor.

If you’re like most men, you’ve probably never considered the possibility of having breast cancer. Although it’s not common, it is possible. “Any new mass in the breast area of a man needs to be checked out by a physician,” Lichtenfeld says.

In addition, the American Cancer Society identifies several other worrisome signs involving the breast that men as well as women should take note of. They include:

  • Skin dimpling or puckering
  • Nipple retraction
  • Redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin
  • Nipple discharge

When you consult your physician about any of these signs, expect him to take a careful history and do a physical exam. Then, depending on the findings, the doctor may order a mammogram, a biopsy, or other tests.

Reviewed by Dennis Lee, MD on 3/7/2011
 

 

Women’s Health: Breast cancer surgery women ‘risk more operations’

JULY 14, 2012 BY 

BBC News Health

One in five women with breast cancer who has part of the breast removed, rather than the whole breast, ends up having another operation, a BMJ study suggests.

The reoperation rate increases to one in three for women whose early-stage cancer is difficult to detect.

In England, 58% of women with breast cancer have breast-conserving surgery.

Women should be told of the risk of further operations when choosing surgery, researchers say.

The study, led by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and published in the British Medical Journal, looked at data collected on 55,297 women with breast cancer in England.

They all underwent breast-conserving surgery, rather than a mastectomy, on the NHS between 2005 and 2008. All the women were aged 16 or over.

They then looked at procedures carried out in the three months following the first breast operation.

The researchers took tumour type, age, socio-economic deprivation and other health problems into account.

When combined with radiotherapy, the study says that breast-conserving surgery is as effective as mastectomy, particularly for patients with an obvious, invasive tumour.

‘Emotional distress’

However, because some pre-invasive cancers called ‘carcinoma in situ’ are difficult to detect, because they don’t form a lump, breast conserving-surgery may not remove the cancer completely.

This could result in another operation.

The study says that additional operations put women’s lives on hold while they wait for more surgery. It can delay their return to work, cause emotional distress and result in the need for reconstructive surgery to the breast.

Out of the 55,297 women who underwent breast-conserving surgery, 45,793 (82%) were suffering from isolated invasive cancer, 6,622 (12%) had isolated carcinoma in situ (pre-cancerous disease), and 2,882 (6%) had both types of cancer.

Another operation was more likely among women with pre-cancerous disease (29.5%) compared with those with isolated invasive disease (18%).

Around 40% of women who had a reoperation underwent a mastectomy.

Further results suggest that a repeat operation is less likely in older women and women from more deprived areas.

‘Empowering patients’

Prof Jerome Pereira, study author and consultant breast surgeon at James Paget University Hospitals in Great Yarmouth, said the findings would help women to make decisions about their treatment.

“Patients should feel reassured that clinicians can now advise them more clearly.

“We all have a different attitude to risk but this is empowering patients to make the right decision for themselves.”

Prof Pereira said the study results would help surgeons too.

“This research focuses surgeons and challenges us to try and reduce reoperation rates.

“We need to refine imaging techniques to make this happen – and this opens up more areas for more research.”

‘Increase survival’

Ramsey Cutress, Cancer Research UK breast cancer surgeon at the University of Southampton, said it was standard practice to discuss the possibility of further surgery with patients.

“It’s important for patients to fully understand the pros and cons of surgery. The ultimate aim of these repeat operations after breast-conserving surgery is to reduce the chance that breast cancer will return in the breast, and increase survival from the disease.

“Rates of breast cancer recurrence are also reduced by other treatments such as radiotherapy, hormone therapy and chemotherapy where appropriate.

“There’s an ongoing need to better identify those at high risk of breast cancer recurrence, and to carefully select those who would benefit the most from further surgery.”

Women’s Health – LadyRomp.

 

The Cannabinoid System

Dr. Robert J. Melamede Ph.D. Chairman of the Biology Department of the University of Colorado:
Conducting Scientific research on Cannabinoids

The Cannabinoid System has been around for over 600 million years. Before the Dinosaurs. The Cannabinoid System is continuously evolutioning and has been retained by all new species. Food and feeding is at the heart of the Cannabinoid System.

1. Cannabinoids are in every living animal on the planet above Hydra and Mollusks, with the exception of insects. Bodies are homeostatically maintained by the Cannabinoid System.

2. Mothers give their babies a booster shot of cannabinoids in mothers milk to give them the munchies because they have to learn to eat. (they’ve been fed thru the umbilical cord and did not have to know how to eat.)

3. Mice lacking the CB1 receptors don’t like any changes. If they are moved to another part of the cage they act upset and when they are put back to the original spot in the cage they relax, but if then put into another part of the cage they get upset again. Comment: I wonder if people, especially drug warriors, had their CB1 receptors blocked then they would resist change and the ones of us that have unblocked CB1 receptors enjoy the benefits of cannabinoids are a lot more relaxed and not paranoid about or over change. Interesting thought. It turns out that that thought is absolutely correct. Many people’ brains are not capable of a good connection to the CB1 CB2 receptors.

4. All new species utilize cannabinoids.

5. By being alive and breathing air our bodies produce “free radicals”. Cannabinoids help to reverse this action.

6. Cannabinoids do kill brain cells, but the brain cells they kill are called “Glioma” or Cancer of the brain (Tumor). All other brain cells are protected and healed by cannabinoids. (Glioma cells cannot tolerate the action of cannabinoids)

7. Cannabinoids protect against sunburn and skin cancer because of the CB1 receptors in our skin.

8. Cannabinoids slow down the aging process. Mice that their brains respond to cannabinoids live longer and mice that have brains that block the CB1 receptors die younger.

9. Activity in the evolutionary advanced areas of the brain is increased in cannabinoids receptors and promotes higher consciousness levels.

10. Cannabinoids are even found in the white blood cells (CB2 receptors). The CB2 receptors are found predominantly on immunological cells and regulate the shift in the immune system to the anti-inflammatory mode.

11. Cannabinoids protect the heart against Arythmia.

12. The way it works on pain is there is specific nerves that deal with pain. They are called vanilloid-Receptors. Anandamide (sanscript word for “Blissful Amide”), the bodies internally produced marijuana binds with the nerve endings, reducing pain. Anandamides are produced internally by our bodies in response to a whole variety of conditions. As an example, Aspirin prevents the breakdown of Anandamide, the internally produced marijuana to activate & start working at easing pain. How many old lady’s say they “WOULD NEVER” use marijuana & are actually using the equivalent of marijuana that their bodies produce as a natural activity, & don’t even realize it. And how many politicians and citizens of the US do this also & aren’t even aware they are condemning something that their bodies make naturally. Anecdotal evidence is valid because when a person smokes marijuana & it relieves their pain, then they smoke it again & it relieves their pain again it becomes a fact known only to that person, but nonetheless true.

13. In the case of most autoimmune diseases, the bodies immune cells produces free radicals & is destroying it’s own body as a foreign object. Cannabis pushes the immune system into anti inflammatory mode & helps slow the progression of that disease, thereby slowing down the aging process.

14. Seizures are controlled by marijuana not only THC, but non-psychoactive cannabidiol.(CBD) The exact mechanism is not known, however HEMP is high in CBD’s & can cancel out the psychoactive high of THC & at the same time benefits the user or smoker. Cannabinoids control everything in our bodies including our minds.

15. There are many other things that Cannabinoids do in the body, besides attaching to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, the main cannabinoid receptors in the higher part of our brain. Cannabinoids affect our skin and other parts of our bodies.

16. Pharmaceutical companies are working at sythesizing different cannabinoid components and different types of strains of marijuana. If they can succeed, then there will be more choices for you and I to choose from and we will be able to use what works best for our particular bodies.

17. The natural course for mankind, because of the location of our CB1 CB2 the brains main receptors, is to be more stoned.

18. Drug warriors are not doing what they are doing to us because they are intentionally evil, but because they are more primitive (obtuse comes to mind). They look at the world with fear and hostility not cooperativity and understanding.

19. According to a brain function study of 150 depressed people Cannabis protects the brain against healthy cell death and it also protects Neurons.

20. Cannabinoids dilate our brochial tubes and help asthsma sufferers to breath both in and out. Because of the balance that is maintained in our bodies for good health there are instances where it works backwards, where death is possible, if too much is smoked. This goes back to the effects of cannabinoids on individuals and if it doesn’t work for you, you should not use it. There was some old studies that were done back in 1977 where “AEROSOLIZED THC” was used on patients. This is not what the government tells us when they say it’s not medicine, but we are all familiar with the 7 government patients that are supplied marijuana to be used as medicine and we know the government is lying.

21. Natural pain eradication by cannabinol used by our receptors.

22. Cannabinoids control how we view the future. If you’re loaded with bad experiences you’re going to be fearful of the future. Lots of smoking of cannabinoids makes you want to be in the future. Lack of change vs embracing the future and changes. Conservative people might die prematurely, stressed, uptight and fearful (genocide). Open minded people and mice are able to change, whereas; people with defective receptors and knock-out mice (mice that have had their receptors removed) will keep going to the platform after it has been removed. They will be fearful of change.

23. Cannabinoids prevent and treat certain types of Cancer. Glioma (Brain Cancer) along with pheochromocytoma, skin cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, Lymphoma and Leukemia. Cannabinoids may prevent or cure cancer. Cannabinoids have a way of killing the bad cells and protecting the good ones.

24. Cannabis gives relief to Liver Disease & constant uncontrollable itching. Also, lack of sleep and depression and has been doing so for 600 million years.

25. THC in low doses relieves anxiety, while huge doses promote anxiety. (It’s too strong like Marinol) Smoking marijuana relieves anxiety. Marijuana promotes sleeping better and normal persons when they are deprived of marijuana would have difficulty sleeping. (One other thing I’d like to add: When ingested, delta 9 THC, on the first pass thru the liver, changes into delta 11 THC. Five times as psychoactive and much longer lasting. I don’t know how many people understand that. Ralph)

26. Cannabis protects nerve cells from dying thus protects against Altzheimers Disease.

27. Our bodies make up marijuana like compounds to make us hungry. (gives us the munchies) Then turn off those compounds & we don’t have the munchies anymore when it has had enough food. The cannabinoid system first appeared 600 million years ago. Food & feeding is at the heart of evolution & the development of new species.

28. Head injuries cause the body to produce Endo-cannabinoids to protect itself as well as protecting the body against Nerve Gas. Marijuana turns on the bodies Protective Mode, because when you’re hungry the body makes Cannabinoids to turn on your hunger. Cannabinoids turn on the expression of a Particular Gene (at the same time it prevents the expression of other Genes). How the Marijuana Receptors change the Integral Bio-Chemistry. Some of the Molecules that are involved or been studied in a Model Organism. There is a worm that people study alot. They have very simple Nervous Systems so you can define what exactly is going on. It turns out this one Particular Molecule regulates what is known as a Transcription Factor (It turns on the Expression of Genes.) It turns out that when you turn on the Expression of this Particular Gene of the Worm Model it actually promotes Mimicking a condition that actually Promotes Longevity of these worms. This Parallels what we’ve seen in mice. Because Marijuana exhibits Free Radicals so people who’ve been using Cannabis, Long Term, tend to Live Longer & Look Younger. Marijuana Promotes your Health by affecting your Nerve Cells, by Balancing your Immune System, by Reducing Fat Deposition in your Cardio-Vascular System. It looks as if it helps Burn the Synthesis of things like Cholesterol.

29. New research shows that the argument over outlawing cannabis because it “Causes Cancer” is no longer valid. There are Nicotine Receptors in your throat. There are no Cannabinoid Receptors in your throat. Cells have a Bio-chemical Program known as “APOPTOSIS”. This Bio-chemical Program is activated when cells too damaged to repair themselves commit suicide. There is a Bio-chemical Pathway that controls that. Nicotine activates a path that protects the cells from dying. Smoking anything puts Carcinogens into your Air Passage-ways and Cardio-Vascular system. Cells that get damaged by smoke die and that’s what you want to happen. Cells to die before they become Cancer Cells.

30. Cannabinoids modulate pain peripherally. In our bodies there are special kinds of pain receptors, known as Vanaloid receptors & they are sensitive to things like heat & excessive pressure & they are responsible for pain. It turns out that a natural regulator of that that down-regulates pain. The endocannabinoid known as Anandamide, the blissful amide, when you combine Sanskrit for ananda & amide for the chemical type. It’s clearly known that cannabis can regulate pain, that’s been done in numerous studies, but recently , as we learn more about the molecular mechanisms of pain & cannabinoid action what we have now learned is that there is a lot of crosstalk between the cannabinoid system & the morphine, the opioid system. The name of an article that just came out is called Chronic morphine modulates the contents of the endocannabinoid tuorachidonalglycerol in the rat brain. So, tuorachidonalglycerol is another endocannabinoid. We feel pain thru the sensory nerves that are telling us that we’re in a painful situation & on the other hand we feel it within our minds because certain areas of our brain subsequently get tickled. What we are seeing now is that the cannabinoid system works both peripherally & centrally & what we are gonna talk about here is this new work that links the cannabinoids more with the opioids in that opioids & cannabinoids are among the most widely consumed drugs of abuse in humans & phenomena of cross-tolerations or mutual potentiation demonstrated between these two drugs. Some of the recent work on pain has come out of England as a result of work done by G.W. Pharmaceuticals which is a company that specializes in producing cannabis plants. They’ve developed different strains that have different ratios of the cannabinoids & those different plants have different properties. In the past I’ve mentioned Bi-Polar disorder. Some people who are Bi-Polar & are depressive find Sativa’s are good to help elevate them & if they’re in an elevated mood & in a manic state they have to be brought down alittle & the Indica’s seem to be better for that & likewise they’re different ratio’s of these cannabinoids that are thought to benefit for example pain, more than others, that are thought to benefit auto-immune diseases. This is being worked out, but what I’d like to go into now is that some of the new links that seem to be occurring in this particular study that I just mentioned, what they are finding is that chronic administration of Opioids is in fact down-regulating the tuorachidonalglycerol which as mentioned, is one of the endo-cannabinoids. Interestingly the Anandamide level seem to be remaining the same, but this other one, tuorachidonalglycerol seems to be down-regulated. In knock-out mice, these are mice where a particular gene is missing, it turns out that you can eliminate alot of the withdrawal systems associated with opium if you have knocked out the receptors. When people go thru withdrawal, they get terribly nauseous & feel horribly sick, well, what we do know cannabinoids control nausea. That’s why it’s being used by people who are receiving Chemo-therapy or disorders where they are chronically nauseous. Cannabinoids can be very effective for that. So what we are seeing is that morphine turns down the Endogenous cannabinoid Arachidonic acid & that seems to be involved in some of the addictive behavior & this is kind of interesting because we know that cannabinoids themselves other than very twisted circumstances do not show addictive behavior. On the one hand we have the cannabinoid potentiating the morphine, in that people who need morphine for pain can often use 50% of what they normally use by including cannabinoids & on the other hand, we’re seeing that the cannabinoid receptor system is involved in addiction & I mentioned a long time ago, that cannabinoids can be beneficial for some people in their attempt to withdraw & now we’re seeing support for that in that chronic morphine administration is turning off one of the cannabinoids that’s in turn, turning on some of the withdrawal systems.

31. Cannabinoids represent a general class of chemicals, not just cannabis & THC in plants, but rather also cannabinoids that are produced in our bodies. These happen to be Lipid compounds that result from burning & making fats. The thing that is so unique about this system represents how it works so broadly for various health reasons. That is that every single system in our bodies & by system I mean our nervous system or digestive system or reproductive system or immunological system or endocrine system, you name it & the cannabinoids are involved in maintaining what’s known as homostasis balance. We need to have the right amount of these components of this system which includes the compounds like THC which is better known as Lygan. They bind to specific receptors & then they are broken down by another enzyme that breaks down these things. So, we have a whole network of bio-chemistry that’s influencing everything in our bodies. The question that arises is that the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. The system, the cannabinoid system influencing everything in our bodies & the question is what are the nature of the wholes? What are the greater pictures that emerge out of this cannabinoid systems activity. So we see, for example, regulating reproductive system, digestive system, immune system & when they are all working together in a way that is concertedly modulated by the cannabinoid system what can we expect to see, & I would suggest that what’s represented by the influences of cannabinoids & cannabis on our mind, in that it opens up our minds to new ways of thinking, it free’s us from being stuck in a single track of thinking & that’s exactly the kind of thought processes that are required as we move into the future which is generally composed of the unknown. What the cannabinoid system is doing is giving us a way to peacefully & lovingly adapt to change & be open to change. We see in these mice that we can knock-out the cannabinoid system that they are afraid of change. The implications of this are really profound if in fact we have people that are shifted one way or the other in terms of their ability to modulate & accept change that is of profound importance because we see people that are afraid to look forward, happily embracing the future. There are health ramifications for all of this. The cannabinoid system can help us with cardio-vascular disease where it reduces infarctsize with auto-immune diseases where it helps ameliorate & prevent the development of a whole variety of auto-immune diseases including things like arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, crones disease & it’s also involved with, as a natural regulator of our pain. So we have this holistic medicine that’s influencing so many things & I forgot to mention that it regulates our memories & mental pains & in fact, regulates alot of life/death decisions in our cells, nerve cells in particular, which is why it’s so beneficial for neurological disorders often associated with the aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease. What we’re seeing is a holistic medicine & again it has to be used appropriately, too little is no good, & we may be making enough. Individuals may be making enough, but there could be many many people who are not making enough or their system is not active enough who will be able to benefit from the use of cannabis & other cannabinoids. To regulate all of the things we’ve mentioned that it regulates. So, we’ve got a holistic health program. To find the balance that’s required for our optimum health is something that’s totally built into the cannabinoid system. Therefore, it should be readily available to use wisely.