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A Guide To Hiring A Top-notch Brain Injury Compensation Lawyer

Sometimes people are negligent and it leads to the injuries of others. As you should already know, some of these damages are far worse than others. Having a traumatic brain injury can change the entire course of someone's life. As a result, it is important to have a brain injury compensation lawyer around to help you get all that you deserve.

One problem that many people face is trying to determine which brain injury compensation lawyers to choose when there are so many out there. The solution is not one that is simple, yet it does not have to be the most complicated process in the world. The best place to start would be the Internet. With the sheer number of people who log on every day, it will not be hard to spot a few candidates right away.

You cannot meet with every lawyer out there, so it is best to narrow it down to about 3-5 options. You should meet with each of them in person and discuss your case. They will let you know if they feel like they are qualified to handle this type of claim. You should always take notes so that you can carefully weigh all of the pros and cons before making a choice.

There are some lawyers that try to attract clients by being very flashy. They have TV and print ads that are splashy and designed to garner attention. This is not the kind of person that you want to hire your case. Your case is supposed to be the center of attention and it should not have to battle with a sub-par lawyer to get the spotlight.

When meeting with any lawyer, make sure that you ask them about the fees that will be expected of you. This includes the standard fees, any fees for clerical work done and travel expenses. You should ask for everything in writing in the event that there is a problem at some point and you and your lawyer are having a dispute about money.

Ask any lawyer you are considering about the number of brain injury cases they have worked on in the past. This is an area of law that is very specific and you want to make sure that you are dealing with someone who is familiar with all of the case law. Sure, a general attorney can go and read a few books to brush up on the subject, but your best bet is to hire someone that has experience. Ideally, they should have handled at least 25-50 cases that are similar to this.

Sustaining a brain injury is something that will have a profound effect on the lives of all who are involved. This is why you need to have someone come in and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. While there are countless lawyers that are out there, the advice here will lead you to the right one.

How To Let Go Of Thinking During Meditation

As we live in the world which does not appreciate patience and everything we do has to be done in time or someone elses time we forget the spontaneity and intuitive way of our being. Time and space are actually, the concepts of our mind. We shift from one idea to another. We are in a constant battle of ideas. People see each other through illusory ideas: they have to look like this or that, walk and talk in this or that way, believe in the same things we do, they have to be real this or that and so on. I talk a lot more about this on my website called Relax Me Online.

We will never stop thinking. It is a part of our mind. Are we going to be a part of an excessive minds chatter or to observe and acknowledge it as it is? How are we going to use our thoughts? By following them unconsciously? But, the true fact is that we can be aware of how we use our thinking. Before that, we can simply be aware of our thinking process. Meditation helps us in all of this.

We are usually unaware that we follow our ideas which are made of limiting thoughts and perceptions. But, we never ask ourselves where our thoughts come from. What is beyond thinking?

At this point, we can meditate on our thoughts in a Zen koan style. The koans are paradoxical statements, questions, verbal or non-verbal expressions or puzzles used in Zen practice in order to expand persons awareness. We sit with our back straight in a comfortable position and with our eyes closed. We are aware of our breaths. Then, our attention goes to everything that pops in our mind. Be aware of every thought as it comes and goes. Observe it as if it shifts at the some kind of stage. After that, we ask ourselves the question: Whats the next thought that will come in my mind? Another questions we can also use are: Whos observing this thought? Where does this thought come from?

We observe what happens after asking our question. We start to notice the gap between the thoughts. We notice the stillness and peace. When the next thought comes up we repeat our question and observe the answer. We will notice after a while that our thoughts come from nowhere, no one is observing them and their source is nothing! As the thoughts vanish away bit by bit, the gap of silence lengthens more and more. So does our awareness. We slowly open our eyes. We feel the deep rest. The stillness is always within us. We open our life to true understanding, happiness, joy and freedom.

Assessing Brain Injury Compensation Lawyers

If you are looking for brain injury compensation lawyers, the hiring process can be pretty tiresome. It is necessary to make all of the right moves when you are seeking legal representation since the outcome of your case depends on that. Here is a list of DOs and DON'Ts that should prepare you for the hiring process.

DO hire brain injury compensation lawyers who have been in business for quite some time. There are many new lawyers who are perfectly capable of handling this type of case, but it is better to err on the side of caution and look for someone who has been in this arena for much longer. This is a much better decision than being a test case for someone who has only been practicing law for a short time.

DON'T hire anyone without meeting them in person. These days, it is common for attorneys to advertise on the Internet, which is filled with valuable information about each candidate. As a result, some people feel comfortable hiring them sight unseen. Experience and skill are not the only factors to consider when looking for an attorney, so this is a huge mistake.

The way that you get along with an attorney makes a huge difference, especially considering the fact that you will have to work closely with them. Hiring an unseen attorney means that you may end up represented by someone who you have a difficult time meshing with.

DO ask about other cases potential attorneys may be working on. A great lawyer has the ability to handle many cases at once, but this depends on the complexity of each one. For example, if there is a high profile case being worked on where someone is suing a multi-million dollar company, an attorney hired to handle this case would probably drop everything and give this all of their focus.

You don't want to have someone push your case to the back burner because they have tried to bite off more than they can chew. Even if they are not able to give you 100% of their time, the amount they have available should be more than sufficient.

DON'T hire a lawyer without asking about their win-loss ratio. Just because a lawyer loses a case here and there, this does not mean that they are totally incompetent. With that said, there is something very wrong with hiring someone who loses far more often than they win. Ask about this when you are interviewing lawyers and make sure that you consider this when trying to narrow down the candidates.

Hiring a lawyer is not the simplest thing in the world, but it does not have to be the most difficult either. Keeping all of this advice in mind when you are in the selection process will ensure that you find a great attorney to handle your case. It may take some time to find the perfect representation, but be patient and choose wisely.

What Common Ailments Can Be Combated By Taking Cordyceps Sinensis Supplement?

Cordyceps Sinensis is a wonderful medicinal fungus that has many medicinal uses. In fact, it has been used in this capacity for over 2000 years in China. However, Western medicine has not always been that welcoming to Eastern or traditional medicine. The recent discovery of the medicinal benefits of this herbal medicine has led to the popularity of Cordyceps Sinensis in the Western world.

The Different Varieties

There are two different varieties of Cordyceps Sinensis, and these varieties are called Summer Grass and Winter Worm. There are certain types that grow parasitically on moth caterpillars. It is called Winter Worm because after killing the caterpillar, it begins to feed and grow on the mummified caterpillar.

These mushrooms are endangered and only grow in the mountains of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. The good news is that it can also be grown in a domesticated capacity by using rice as a substrate. Researchers have discovered that this variety contains the same health benefits as the variety that is grown in the wild.

As stated, Cordyceps Sinensis has many healing properties that can be used to treat a variety of modern health ailments. If you are suffering with a chronic or acute health condition, you may want to consider this herbal medicine.

Glucose Metabolism

There have been several animal studies that have shown in preventing type 1 and type 2 hyperglycemia. It also aids in insulin sensitivity. It also offers benefits for:

  • Insulin secretion improvement
  • Reduction of oxidation stress
  • Promotes gradual absorption of glucose

More research will be needed to determine how effective Cordyceps Sinensis supplementation is for people who are diabetic and pre-diabetic.

Cognition And Moods

Cognition decreases and memory related disorders such as dementia increase as people get older. The area of the brain known as the hippocampus improved with Cordyceps Sinensis supplementation. The hippocampus is the part of the brain where degenerative changes happen. It has been shown that this supplement can help keep the brain healthy as a person gets older. It promotes health on a functional level and structural level.

Celiac Disease

Over the past decade, more people have been diagnosed with celiac disease. The only cure for this health ailment is to eat a diet that is completely void of gluten. Those with the disease but have not been diagnosed can suffer with serious complications before they are aware they have the condition. Cordyceps Sinensis has been shown to react positively in people who suffer with the disorder.

If you are not sure whether you have intolerance to gluten, you should consider a gluten intolerance test. If the test is positive for gluten intolerance, you will need to get tested further to determine if you have Celiac disease.

Cardiovascular Health

There are several components in Cordyceps that may explain why it offers so many benefits for cardiovascular health. It supports:

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Regular heart beat
  • Prevents blood clots
  • Lower hypertension
  • Improved blood flow

These are just a few of the many health ailments that can be alleviated or eliminated via Cordyceps Sinensis. The medicinal herb helps to improve overall health and wellness.

Is There An Onnit Scam Surrounding Their Nootropic?

Onnit Labs offers an Alpha Brain supplement which is used to help with concentration and memory.

The supplement, which is a nootropic, is used to enhance the firing mechanisms of the neurons in the brain. Using the proper nootropic can help prevent any disturbances when it comes to learning behaviors and in the context of memory retention.

With the growing numbers of brain enhancement supplements on the market today, it can be difficult to discern which is the right nootropic to take from an individual standpoint. However, the research and the act of being fully informed is necessary for any enhancement that a person wishes to begin taking on a regular basis.

Onnit Labs is based in Austin, Texas and works diligently to provide excellent customer care. Not only are they concerned with quality customer service, they also endeavor for their clients to reach their unique health and fitness goals.

The nootropic they offer, which is called Alpha Brain supplement, is used by an enormous customer base. They are also quick to respond to any questions and concerns that are presented to them as a company.

Is Onnit's Nootropic Legitimate?

As with any supplement that a consumer happens to take, there are certain side effects that are to be expected. However, Onnit's Alpha Brain supplement has a wide variety of benefits and those side effects are comparatively less.

Being rated one of the best nootropics on the market, the Alpha Brain supplement is well balanced and uses natural ingredients to lessen the occurrence of side effects. In fact, the nootropic offered by Onnit Labs is caffeine-free which sets them apart from the others.

In Onnit's Alpha Brain, there are 11 main ingredients:


2. Vitamin B6

3. Oat Straws

4. Bacopa Monneiri

5. Serrata

6. Pterostilbene

7. Alpha-GPC Choline

8. Huperzine A

9. Vinpocetine

10. AC-11

11. Mucuna Pruriens

The aforementioned ingredients cause very little side effects, aside from headaches and a sense of restlessness. However, given appropriate time, the body can normally adjust to these new ingredients and the benefits will become more apparent.

For a nootropic to be accurately labeled as such, the chances of toxicity or side effects must be considerably low. Onnit's Alpha Brain supplement more than meets those requirements and, therefore, is legitimate method for the consumer to enhance their memory and have an improved attention span.

The natural ingredients used as well as the company's dedication to their product proves that there is no onnit scam.

The nootropic offered will ensure that certain brain abilities are optimized. As these enhancements caused by the supplement are realized, the consumer will be notice that they are able to get more work completed and have additional vigor to perform the activities which matters the most to them.

Unparalleled Motivation To Stopping Smoking

There are undeniable advantages to quitting smoking. There can be specific restrictions that you possibly have to obtain over, like the investment of time necessary to plan. Devotion paired with honest initiative needs to ultimately much better place you to obtain healthier.

One more benefit of quitting smoking is that it develops your planning abilities since you would certainly have to prepare just how you can relocate ahead to truly get healthier. When you choose to quit smoking, you would certainly learn rather a piece concerning planning combined with remaining focused.

trying to stop

Quitting smoking is a task where any person can continuously a lot better themselves with the duration of prep work. Even though training can be up to a timeframe that suits one's personal requirements, it implies that you might probably need to educate continuously for a term of time. Quitting smoking could make you become stronger as well as far better outfitted for your day-to-day challenges.

People that were tossing away all cigarettes possibly recognize small changes in their psychological wellness. Those people a lot more significantly really feel geared up to take on more points in life. Priming in breakthrough permits you to be more powerful as compared to exactly what you were previously. It permits you to tackle greater than you possibly had previously, and not lose power as quickly. This all benefits you, and it a lot more significantly helps you in your day-to-day life.

Is Quitting Smoking Right For You?

If quitting smoking is suitable for you, this might offer you substantial idea to set up. Definitely, quitting smoking requires one to be wise, thrifty and diligent. When you see on your own as the type of person with these attributes, you would certainly be entirely willing to obtain more healthy.

Individuals who decide to quit smoking are truly steadfast. You could not phony quitting smoking. You simply could not quit smoking without some planning.

Whenever you quit smoking cigarettes, there are normally some vital activities that you need to do. Those three activities do not solely aid people out with quitting smoking, they more importantly bring various other additional benefits to life.

There are even much more advantages of quitting smoking and also the top one is that it might offer you a feeling of satisfaction and also success. Quitting smoking needs one to be smart, thrifty and also conscientious. People that have already quit smoking comprehend just how much commitment is required. You require to regard your inner voice, which would certainly lead you via the actions to quitting smoking.

Quitting smoking should be rather thrilling and also supplies a feeling of success that you could possibly value for perpetuity. Quitting smoking is a challenge. Whether you are simply beginning or are totally skilled, there are constant benefits and drawbacks of quitting smoking.

There are also a lot more advantages of quitting smoking as well as the top one is that it might supply you a feeling of satisfaction as well as success. Stopping smoking is a life-altering task. Quitting smoking is something that would constantly remind you of your commitment as well as supply you a feeling of fulfillment for merely attempting this task.

Home Remedies For Anxiety

Anxiety is a serious condition that can continuously plague the life of an individual unless remedied before it becomes a serious problem. The issue with anxiety however, is that it's not easily determinable as people grow anxious when confronted with different situations.

That doesn't mean it's hopeless however! The following home remedies should help you get started on your fight against anxiety.


Exercise is the least utilized anti-anxiety treatment because very few people actually want to go through physical work. You will find however that it's also the most effective anti-anxiety treatment there is. Exercise helps the muscles loosen up and produces happy hormones that can relieve stress and make you feel better about yourself. Of course, the fact that it helps you lose weight is an added bonus.

Lavender Scented Candles

The scent of lavender typically has a calming effect on the body. This is especially true if you light lavender candles during a relaxing bath or perhaps right before going to bed. Once you're relaxed, you will find that it becomes infinitely easier to fall asleep. Of course, lavender candles aren't the only ones you can try out. There are also lavender oil or even lavender shampoo and bath salts that can be added to your tub for a truly satisfying wash.

Avoid Unhealthy Substances

If you drink, smoke, or binge in coffee it's probably time to tone it down a notch. Quitting altogether is even better, but this is not always possible for some people. In fact, the process of quitting itself causes anxiety for some. This is why if you're going to quit you have to do it slowly, allowing your body to wean itself out of the harmful chemicals. Coffee in particular has been known to trigger attacks of anxiety and nervousness. Also, steer clear of any other stimulants.


Meditation is also an excellent anti-anxiety technique. It's a little harder to perfect but by doing the exercise every day, you will slowly learn focus and understand that there are less things to worry about in life. You can check out how a proper meditation is done through different online videos. An added bonus of this technique is that meditation helps with insomnia, lowers blood pressure, and keeps your mind sharp.

Sleep Right

Anxiety may also be stimulated by the fact that you're lacking in sleep. Make sure you get roughly 8 hours each day, ensuring that your body has gone through sufficient recharging period so that it is completely relaxed for the next day.

Make Time with Friends

Anxiety may be triggered by being constantly exposed to pressure or anxious situations. This is typically connected with work or studies for most people. Hence, give yourself some me time or perhaps, go out with friends and just concentrate on having fun. Laughter is often the best way to keep anxiety at bay. Sure, the cause of your anxiety might still be present after meeting with your friends, but your spirit will be better at this point so facing the problem wouldn't be as bad.

Write It Out

Writing your emotions down is also a good way to handle stress not to mention it helps you narrow down exactly why you're feeling anxious. Try to keep a diary wherein you can write or type what you're feeling at the moment, how it manifests, and where do you think it stems from. The act of writing is often a way to purge these emotions plus you can easily review what you've written and have a better grasp of why you are feeling this way.

You will find more natural home remedies for reducing anxiety here.

You should also consider the source. For some people, anxiety can easily be connected with specific events such as work, an electric bill, and problems with the car or any other condition that needs fixing. In others however, the cause of anxiety is a little vague because although there doesn't seem to be any cause for concern, they still feel anxious. Take note of the following items because if you are taking or engaged in any one of them, this can be the cause of your anxiety: diet pills, heart disorder, diabetes, PMS, and hyperthyroidism. If unsure, consult the doctor as to your anxiety problems.

Of course, those are just few of the home remedies for anxiety. It's advisable that you try each and every one of them separately and see what works best for you. Only resort to professional help if none of the natural remedies you're using is providing the effects you want.

What To Check In For An Assisted Living Community In Scottsdale

As your loved ones grow older, they will depend more on those who love them to fulfill their needs even the basic ones. Even the simple motor functions like walking or standing up is a difficult task to perform. That is why finding the right assisted living Scottsdale is very important. Evaluating which of these communities will be best suited for your ageing loved one will depend on their needs and preferences. The decision making process is mostly done by the more able bodied loved ones with some help from the elderly person. There are things that one needs to check when choosing for the right assisted living community.

One of the first things a concerned loved one must check is whether the assisted living Scottsdale that their elderly are moving in is clean and tidy. Check for the general cleanliness of the compound. One can also look deeper and check for the tidiness of the corners, edges, and other less visible areas. One can inquire whether regular clean ups are conducted and how often. One must be highly critical of the bathroom since all the washing and tidying of the elderly will happen there. If any of these regions are dirty, it indicates negligence on the part of the maintenance personnel.

Check for the staffs competence and friendliness Your elderly loved ones deserve to live their final days in peace. The last thing that they need in an assisted living Scottsdale community is rude and unfriendly staff assisting them daily. One must check if the staff are courteous to their residents and give them respect. Know if they socialize with their residents or if they give them only the professional care required. One must also check for the competence of the staff when giving service and assistance. Inquire about their managerial skills and look if they handle their staff properly.

Check if the place is safe and secure To make the final decision that your aged loved ones should be in an assisted living Scottsdale community, make sure that they will live in a place that is safe and secure. Check if the nursing staff is always available when called in for help. Ask about how they chose their staff especially the medical personnel. Look for safety features in the community like handle bars and anti-slip features.

Once all of these factors are carefully checked and adhered to, moving your aged loved one to an assisted living Scottsdale is a wonderful decision for everyone.

Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Sick And Tired?

Do you go to bed tired only to wake up tired?

No matter what your doctor tells you to do, you hurt all the time. And those pills the doctor prescribed for you have done nothing to help.

Nobody wants to feel this way, yet many do despite the best of the medical care thay are offered. So what is up anyway.

Let me tell you about the Sickness Care Industry.

Consider for a moment what would happen to all the huge earnings of the pharmaceutical and food manufacturers if 80 pct of people simply quit needing their products. That's right, if people got healthy without the meds and processed foods, how would the world be different?

Consider the last time you sat down to watch the news or your favorite TV program. Chances are you saw more than one pharmaceutical company promoting a brand-new wonder drug (with not too many side effects) and all you needed to do was go ask your doctor if it was right for you.

Exactly what's wrong with this image? Big Pharm constantly asking us to see a doctor to purchase their products? The advertising works, yet many people at some point discover a lot of the medicines are designed to conceal or suppress the symptoms, do not cure anything. This produces a devastating cycle of great handfuls of pills for chronic disease with no end in sight.

It absolutely looks like these business design a number of the medicines to mask symptoms as well as therefore count on us acquiring an increasing number of their product over time, which makings them in Sickness Care Industry.

In all fairness, there are some miraculous drugs readily available today that provide incredible benefits to people needing important life altering illnesses. That little percentage of the ones who going through life saving procedures, dealing with major genetic disorders or fighting life threatening disease or injury. Modern drugs in this case can be life savers. But drugs are also responsible for injury, illness, and death on their own.

People don't want to be sick, but the current sickness care industry only makes more sick people. Western health care teaches us to find a pill based solution to migraines, allergies, tummy as well as digestive system distress, physical body discomfort, fatigue, arthritis, and thousands of other usual disorders. Here's a prescription, just take these miracle pills and all will be better, the signs and symptoms are unpreventable symptoms that impact a worried and also aging population, yet for over 80 percent of us, it's not always so.

It is well proved that the vast majority of chronic illness comes from the food we eat. Modern food is an illness delivery system.

Consider that processed food and Big Pharma provide the majority of advertising messages we and our kids see each day.

So how did we get in this shape?

So Just what Has Changed

At the beginning of the 20th century, dining out was a rarity. Most people ate meals cooked at home using locally sourced food. That food was of high quality, rich in key nutrients. As a result diabetes and heart disease was rare.

As the population shifted from rural to urban, the food environment also changed. Big Agriculture replace family farms. Big Government funded cheap, more abumdant but less nutritious food. As a result, today a fast food burger is cheaper than a salad. You can 500 calories for a dollar at fast food places.

Grains, sugar, and meat production is supported by price supports from the government, and it also funds the majority of food and nutrition research (along with Big Ag)

So who is left to tell you about food based illnesses?

FACT: Great nutrition is basic to health as well as wellness.

Actually, from my personal experience, my education and also the results of my countless clients, all have actually enhanced their health and also wellness via the aspects of a fresh food diet reduced in processed foods of any sort of kind.

Everybody could profit from nutrient dense food selections as well as premium nutritional supplements.

Health Does not Need to Be Complex, Difficult or Monotonous!

DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this article is intended to be used as a substitute for advice of a physician. Do not modify your diet, exercises, or medications without first seeking the advice of a physician. Information on this site is for information purposes only. No claims have been approved by the FDA unless otherwise indicated.

Brain Injury Claims Lawyers

In this day and age, we are beginning to learn a lot about brain injuries and the potentially detrimental affects that they can have on a person's life. Will Smith is starring in a movie called Concussion, professional sports leagues like the NFL are dealing with a number of lawsuits pertaining to brain injuries and scientists are continuously having breakthroughs in research regarding these injuries. With that in mind, you will need to understand the nature of such injuries and protect yourself in a court of law if you feel that you have suffered an injury and need legal recourse. Follow the tips below and hire a brain injury claims lawyer who can help you out.

What should I know about brain injuries?

First and foremost, don't think that you need to be a professional athlete to have a brain injury claim. For instance, did you know that more than 1.4 million people on an annual basis suffer some sort of brain injury? These numbers are staggering and further proof that brain injury claims lawyers are very much needed. Some examples of brain injuries you may have suffered include concussions, trauma from accidents and blunt force brain trauma.

The issue with brain injuries is that they are not always obvious. Signs and symptoms of concussions, acquired brain injuries and other problems can take days, weeks and years to even manifest. Because of this, you will need to be sure that you reach out to medical professionals who can help you out with a proper diagnosis and ongoing care. Not only can these medical professionals help you to heal, they can also provide you with court testimony and a monetary trail that helps you put together your case. These medical professionals will work hand in hand with your attorney, so that you are able to win your brain injury legal claim on your own terms.

What should I know about my legal case?

When you are attempting to assert that another party is responsible for your brain injuries, you will need to be sure that you are able to furnish proof that they are negligent. You'll need to prove that they did not take the necessary steps of preventing the incident from happening. Your attorney can help you prove the duty of care and can also substantiate the level of trauma that you experienced throughout the course of being injured.

How can I hire the right lawyer?

The best thing you can do is seek referrals from other people who have hired certain attorneys in your area. They will be able to sit down with you for a consultation, to go over the nature of your case, your medical history and more. These attorneys will be able to help you out and will charge you specific fees, so ask for an itemized breakdown of their rates and charges.

When you follow these pieces of advice, you will be able to get help for your brain injury legal case. Follow these tips and reach out to a lawyer.

The Progress and Pitfalls of Medical Marijuana

“Cannabis is like a medicine cabinet,” says Roger Pertwee, who was instrumental in some of the early cannabis trials for multiple sclerosis. “It has a lot of compounds in it that are novel and unique to cannabis. We have discovered 104 so far, but there are others. There are many potential uses that we have to investigate.”
Pertwee is Professor of Neuropharmacology at the University of Aberdeen and also GW’s Director of Pharmacology (some of his research at the university is funded by the company). His work, alongside that of other researchers including Raphael Mechoulam and Vincenzo Di Marzo, is instrumental in our understanding of the endocannabinoid system, a network of lipids and receptors involved in a wide array of bodily processes, including appetite, memory, pain and mood.
We have two types of cannabinoid receptor: CB1, which is mostly found in the brain and spinal cord, and CB2, which is found mainly on cells in the immune system. These receptors are activated by cannabinoids made by the body (endocannabinoids) as well as synthetic cannabinoids and those present in plants.
Where should medical research focus its efforts exploring medical cannabis? Many prominent researchers, including Pertwee, believe that the individual components of cannabis are more effective than using the whole plant. Focusing on components would also obviate the need for a patient to smoke.
Areas of interest to researchers across the world include the possible therapeutic use of THC (the main psychoactive component of cannabis), CBD and other cannabinoids to treat autoimmune diseases, diabetes, cancer, inflammation, seizures and even psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia.
Cannabis for Cancer
At the medical school at St George’s, University of London, Dr Wai Liu and his team have shown that cannabinoids target the signalling pathways that are mutated in cancer cells, which, effectively, tell cells to keep growing. THC and CBD can turn these signals off, which may reverse the process of cancer in the cells. The compounds also enhance the action of radiotherapy.
But Liu, too, is skeptical of a whole-plant approach. “We have an amazing chance to use a drug derived from the cannabis plant which seems to be anti-cancerous. Let’s research it, and combine it with other cancer drugs. Let’s not waste time.
“If you truly believe that anti-cancer is the argument, don’t talk about cannabis any more, in the same way that we don’t talk about white willow any more because we have aspirin… We don’t need to be hijacked by other motives, like whether or not to legalize cannabis.”
The apparently encouraging results of this kind of work have led some patients to buy cannabis oil online, which is illegal in the UK. Liu is concerned that patients could be self-medicating with oil that could be contaminated. Another problem, he says, is that other chemicals within cannabis (minor cannabinoids) could actually counteract the beneficial effects of THC and CBD. He is now asking the many medical cannabis users who email him if he can collect their data, as a potential precursor to a full clinical trial. “We need to understand the drugs being sold on the internet,” he says.
These minor cannabinoids could be helpful too. Pertwee explains: “We were looking at the history of tincture of cannabis in the past. We found it contains tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)”. The researchers have since found that THCV blocks the CB1 receptor but partially activates the CB2 receptor. “This might be good for treating stroke and it might be good for drug dependence,” he says. Other potential uses are being investigated, including for Parkinson’s and schizophrenia.
Evidence for Medical Marijuana
But it’s still early days. While some cannabis enthusiasts see it as a panacea – especially appealing when so many conditions aren’t well treated by other drugs – as yet, evidence across the board just isn’t there.
In summer 2015, a review of the efficacy of medical cannabis for a number of conditions was published. Examining 28 databases, the authors found moderate evidence that medical cannabis may help with spasticity in multiple sclerosis and with neuropathic and chronic pain. But evidence for other conditions was weaker.
One major charity, Cancer Research UK, has faced a particularly prominent backlash after voicing caution about cannabis. Its Science Communications Manager, Dr Kat Arney, showed me her bulging folder of research papers about cannabis, embellished with a sticker of Bob Marley. “Cannabinoids are really interesting molecules with potential for human health,” she says. “I read the literature regularly. Nothing tells me that cannabis is a cure for cancer.”
This cautious stance has led to the charity getting flamed on social media. Arney wants case studies to be gathered, saying that the way cannabis in its whole-plant form is discussed by the online community, uncritically, as a cure-all is unhelpful. “At the moment it sounds like – for want of a better word – snake oil, and that’s how it is marketed.”
Legalization Patchwork
Canada, Uruguay, Israel and Jamaica are among the countries that have ruled cannabis legal for medical use. Alongside these sit 23 American states and the District of Columbia, five of which, at the time of writing, have gone as far as legalizing recreational use too.
But what do we mean by medical use? Steve Rolles, from the international think-tank Transform, which campaigns for the legal regulation of drugs globally, sets out some of the options: “Do we want a standardized herbal product like Bedrocan [from specially grown plants], or a tincture like Sativex, or a single-content pharmaceutical product… or a combination of products?
“Would we allow people to ‘grow their own’, as some jurisdictions do, or be provided by ‘compassion clubs’? Who would regulate this activity?”
The stated purpose of most of the American state laws is based on the Californian law: “to ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes where that medical use is deemed appropriate.” But there is conflict with federal law, under which cannabis is still illegal, and models vary widely across state lines. Alice O’Leary-Randall, one of the earliest American pioneers in the medical cannabis field, says this variation has scattered the movement and dubs it “medical cannabis by zip code.”
Most of these states require the patient to have some form of license to acquire medical cannabis but not all require state residency. Although almost all states have a list of conditions that qualify for medical cannabis, these differ, with some states permitting it for chronic conditions and others only for specified illnesses such as cancer.
Data collected in some states suggests that many medical users receive cannabis for chronic or severe pain, a catch-all, rather than for the conditions on which the first activists campaigned: glaucoma, AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis. Certified users in Arizona, for example, are mostly young and male and use the drug for pain relief.
From Medical to Recreational
This, opponents argue, is evidence that medical cannabis has become a first step on the road to recreational legalization, rather than an end in itself. Kevin Sabet, who advised the Obama administration on drug policy, now works as a consultant with Smart Approaches to Marijuana, an organization that opposes legalization. “In the US we are seeing that medical cannabis is being misused to legitimize recreational use,” he says.
“We know that the political movement on medical marijuana is tied to legalization… they have rebranded cannabis, from being about 30-year-old stoners to medical use.” Successfully, too: a 2013 Fox News poll found that 85 percent of Americans – and 80 percent of self-identified Republicans – approve of the medical use of cannabis if prescribed by a medical doctor. But you don’t even need a doctor in some states, as homeopaths and naturopaths can issue licenses.
The amount of cannabis allowed varies. Some states allow patients to grow their own. Others have restrictive medical cannabis agreements, allowing only high-CBD strains (for particular conditions such as epilepsy) – so restrictive, in fact, that patients argue that they are unworkable. The Drug Enforcement Administration has also raided cannabis dispensaries countrywide, saying that they are not just serving medical users.
“There are serious impediments to medical cannabis use within our healthcare system,” O’Leary-Randall says. “There is no consistent education of our healthcare professionals around using medical cannabis, or the endocannabinoid system.” She sits on the board of the American Cannabis Nurses’ Association, which was set up formally in 2012 to give nurses advice on how to assist patients and dispense safely, without violating federal law or their license.
Pharmacists, too, walk a tightrope. Nearly 20 years after the legalization of medical cannabis, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (an official body for the profession) encourages research into, but not distribution of, medical cannabis, so qualified pharmacists have historically been unwilling to get involved. Recent discussions by the body, however, suggest a softening of attitude towards medical cannabis. A new body, the National Association of Cannabis Pharmacy, was launched last year.
O’Leary-Randall wants more qualified pharmacists to be involved in dispensing cannabis, though she acknowledges the difficulties: “Cannabis is so unique… It’s rather daunting for elderly people to go into a dispensary and look at names like Purple Haze and Skunk Weed and pick out what is their medicine. I would love to see pharmacists more active in this so we can standardize this and get people more comfortable.”