Every single day at Dark City Compassion Club we talk to people who are not well; every single day we talk to people who are lost confused and scared. We do our best with the knowledge, resources and skills we have to illuminate peoples paths so they can see that bit more clearly where they are and what steps can be taken to move forward. We wonder everyday how did we end up here? Are we really the one for this? Why has this work fallen to us, in a country where we all pay National Insurance? This money is paid so that when we are ill, and feeling lost and confused, we have somewhere to go for our paths to be illuminated again and to get back to our normal life, to get back to feeling healthy and happy. We should be able to feel happy with our treatment and to live our lives without fear of persecution. As it stands, here in the UK, we can’t. However, we have it pretty mild in the UK compared to some countries e.g. the Philippines, where the death penalty is still in place for cannabis possession!
To a lot of people we speak to, cannabis medicines can be a matter of life or death, or the difference between living or simply existing. We have spoken to people with Crohn’s disease who have used cannabis oil for the first time, and the difference in quality of life is totally amazing, most immediately due to its mood-lifting effects. For the first time in a very long time people feel happy, more positive and are able to get relief from the harsh symptoms suffered for so long. Once the mood is lifted the body is then able to move more into its healing phase.
On a biological level, stress is a major factor in many illnesses. The constant cycle of stress and anxiety can cause an excess release of adrenaline, a fight or flight reaction, making it very difficult for the patient to rest and to heal as the body diverts its resources to cope with the perceived danger. Once this is eased the gut is better able to digest and absorb nutrients into the body, which is already a problem in conditions like Crohn’s without the added stress; people with severely inflamed guts don’t often feel like eating! Additionally, people with these conditions often suffer from depression, which in itself can cause problems with eating and the absorption of nutrients. Further, and even more worryingly, reduced nutrient levels have been shown to cause depression (1). Proper nutrition is vital for our bodies to be able to carry out all the processes which sustain our health, emotional and physical!
Inflammation is another issue which is worsened by constant stress and can be helped by the oil. This can, in turn, reduce soreness, enabling the tissue to start the healing process. A Crohn’s patient recently reported that, after a short course of a low dose oil, a sore which had troubled them for years had finally started to heal.
Other great relief for patients is sleep. After taking the oil, they say things like “it’s the best night’s sleep I have had in years”. Just like proper nutrition, sleep allows the body to heal. Lack of sleep leads to stress, which in turn leads to lack of nutrients, lack of sleep, fight or flight mode… It can become a vicious cycle, with the body not able to get the resources and energy it needs to allow healing and rejuvenation. The ideal state is deep relaxation, meaning more energy can be used where needed, to repair damage and re-establish nutrient levels.
One of the most famous side effects of cannabis, even leading to jokes like “cannabis is a gate way to the fridge”, is the fact it’s an appetite stimulator. So not only are you able to get more nutrients, you are able to eat more. Cramps is another thing Crohn’s patients can suffer from which, lo and behold, cannabis also reduces. So where’s the harm here? OK, its use can sometimes cause anxiety, especially when patients are already feeling lost or confused. But there are ways to reduce or eliminate this, including proper choice of strain or using the cannabis as suppositories (it is less psychoactive via this route of administration). Patients can also make use of black peppercorns, which can be chewed for their content of α-Pinene, a terpene found also in cannabis. Chewing peppercorns doesn’t sound too pleasant, so I would suggest 2 drops of therapeutic grade essential oil in a capsule.
Of course, the biggest help for relieving the anxiety this medicine can cause would be a change in the law, to allow people to medicate themselves as they see fit!
Also important for cannabis’ effects as a medicine, is its ability to regular some aspects of homeostasis (meaning “unchanged”), the name given to the processes for maintaining a constant, healthy internal state in the body. In other words keeping your temperature, water concentrations, pH, sugar levels, oxygen and carbon levels, blood pressure and more within a healthy range . This helps to bring about better functioning and healing within the body. This is part of the reason why cannabis is such a good preventative medicine.
We are happy to carry on sharing and gathering as much knowledge as possible, while also working with an ever-increasing number of inspiring people. We are doing it, so let’s get the info out there so others can follow a safe and healthy protocol which suits their particular condition. We are here because there is a niche for us to fill and that’s what we are doing: encouraging people to take responsibility for their own health and to work out the basics on a nutritional level, then to grow the cannabis and to make and use the oil, if it is suitable. We Do not advocate turning your your back on conventional medicine either, but what we are saying is to take care of the basics. This means proper nutrition, rest and emotional wellbeing, all of which cannabis can help with!
We had a great show on Crohn’s, here’s the link
By Sarah Dougan
Dark City Comapassion Club Science Adviser
(1) Perinatal Depression: Prevalence, Risks, and the Nutrition Link—A Review of the Literature
Brenda M.Y. Leung, ND, MSccorrespondenceemail
Bonnie J. Kaplan, PhD
— Written by Sarah edited by Sean