SchwartzReport: Nobel-Level Break-Through on Back Pain and 10 Health Benefits of Marijuana

07 Health, 11 Society

schwartz report

Phi Beta Iota:  Both articles are posted in full below for our viewers that prefer not to click through.

Here is an extraordinary breakthrough in medicine. It reminds me of the work done by by Dr. Barry Marshall and Dr. Robin Warren of Perth, Western Australia in the late 70s and early 80s that established a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a major cause of peptic ulcers.  If you have low back pain you might discuss this with your physician. This is very good news.

Antibiotics Could Cure 40% of Chronic Back Pain Patients
IAN SAMPLE, Science Correspondent – The Guardian (U.K.)

Up to 40% of patients with chronic back pain could be cured with a course of antibiotics rather than surgery, in a medical breakthrough that one spinal surgeon says is worthy of a Nobel prize.

Surgeons in the UK and elsewhere are reviewing how they treat patients with chronic back pain after scientists discovered that many of the worst cases were due to bacterial infections.

The shock finding means that scores of patients with unrelenting lower back pain will no longer face major operations but can instead be cured with courses of antibiotics costing around £114.

One of the UK’s most eminent spinal surgeons said the discovery was the greatest he had witnessed in his professional life, and that its impact on medicine was worthy of a Nobel prize.

“This is vast. We are talking about probably half of all spinal surgery for back pain being replaced by taking antibiotics,” said Peter Hamlyn, a consultant neurological and spinal surgeon at University College London hospital.

Hamlyn recently operated on rugby player Tom Croft, who was called up for the British and Irish Lions summer tour last month after missing most of the season with a broken neck.

Specialists who deal with back pain have long known that infections are sometimes to blame, but these cases were thought to be exceptional. That thinking has been overturned by scientists at the University of Southern Denmark who found that 20% to 40% of chronic lower back pain was caused by bacterial infections.

In Britain today, around 4 million people can expect to suffer from chronic lower back pain at some point in their lives. The latest work suggests that more than half a million of them would benefit from antibiotics.

“This will not help people with normal back pain, those with acute, or sub-acute pain – only those with chronic lower back pain,” Dr Hanne Albert, of the Danish research team, told the Guardian. “These are people who live a life on the edge because they are so handicapped with pain. We are returning them to a form of normality they would never have expected.”

Claus Manniche, a senior researcher in the group, said the discovery was the culmination of 10 years of hard work. “It’s been tough. There have been ups and downs. This is one those questions that a lot of our colleagues did not understand at the beginning. To find bacteria really confronts all we have thought up to this date as back pain researchers,” he said.

The Danish team describe their work in two papers published in the European Spine Journal. In the first report, they explain how bacterial infections inside slipped discs can cause painful inflammation and tiny fractures in the surrounding vertebrae.

Working with doctors in Birmingham, the Danish team examined tissue removed from patients for signs of infection. Nearly half tested positive, and of these, more than 80% carried bugs called Propionibacterium acnes.

The microbes are better known for causing acne. They lurk around hair roots and in the crevices in our teeth, but can get into the bloodstream during tooth brushing. Normally they cause no harm, but the situation may change when a person suffers a slipped disc. To heal the damage, the body grows small blood vessels into the disc. Rather than helping, though, they ferry bacteria inside, where they grow and cause serious inflammation and damage to neighbouring vertebrae that shows up on an MRI scan.

In the second paper, the scientists proved they could cure chronic back pain with a 100-day course of antibiotics. In a randomised trial, the drugs reduced pain in 80% of patients who had suffered for more than six months and had signs of damaged vertebra under MRI scans.

Albert stressed that antibiotics would not work for all back pain. Over-use of the drugs could lead to more antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which are already a major problem in hospitals. But she also warned that many patients will be having ineffective surgery instead of antibiotics that could alleviate their pain.

“We have to spread the word to the public, and to educate the clinicians, so the right people get the right treatment, and in five years’ time are not having unnecessary surgery,” she said.

Hamlyn said future research should aim to increase the number of patients that respond to antibiotics, and speed up the time it takes them to feel an improvement, perhaps by using more targeted drugs.

The NHS spends £480m on spinal surgery each year, the majority of which is for back pain. A minor operation can fix a slipped disc, which happens when one of the soft cushions of tissue between the bones in the spine pops out and presses on nearby nerves. The surgeons simply cut off the protruding part of the disc. But patients who suffer pain all day and night can be offered major operations to fuse damaged vertebrae or have artificial discs implanted.

“It may be that we can save £250m from the NHS budget by doing away with unnecessary operations. The price of the antibiotic treatment is only £114. It is spectacularly different to surgery. I genuinely believe they deserve a Nobel prize,” said Hamlyn. Other spinal surgeons have met Albert and are reviewing the procedures they offer for patients.

There is a real shift in in consciousness going on in terms of marijuana. This trend is moving towards the compassionate and life-affirming. Here is a very good compilation of the health benefits that are now recognized.

Still Believe Nature Got It Wrong? Top 10 Health Benefits of Marijuana
MARCO TORRES – True Activist

There is no plant on Earth more condemned than marijuana. We’re talking about a living organism which governments have taken upon themselves to designate as an illegal substance. Despite no existing evidence of anyone ever dying of a marijuana overdose, possession of this plant is still illegal in many parts.

Marijuana has been found to suppress cancer, reduce blood pressure, treat glaucoma, alleviate pain and even inhibit HIV. It is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective. Can you understand more now why it’s illegal?

Cannabis is one of the most powerful healing plants on the planet. Dozens of studies have made pseudoscientific attempts to indicate that young people who use cannabis tend to experience psychological, social problems and mental decline. However, there is no evidence that marijuana use is directly linked with such problems, according to the results of a study published in The Lancet.

‘Currently, there is no strong evidence that use of cannabis of itself causes psychological or social problems,” such as mental illness or school failure, lead study author Dr. John Macleod of the University of Birmingham in the UK told Reuters Health.

‘There is a great deal of evidence that cannabis use is associated with these things, but this association could have several explanations,” he said, citing factors such as adversity in early life, which may itself be associated with cannabis use and psychosocial problems.

Macleod and his team reviewed 48 long-term studies, 16 of which provided the highest quality information about the association between illicit drug use reported by people 25 years old or younger and later psychological or social problems. Most of the drug-specific results involved cannabis use.

Cannabis use was not consistently associated with violent or antisocial behavior, or with psychological problems.

In another study, Scientists from King’s College, London, found occasional pot use could actually improve concentration levels.

The study, carried in the American Journal of Epidemiology, tested the mental function and memory of nearly 9,000 Britons at age 50 and found that those who had used illegal drugs as recently as in their 40s did just as well, or slightly better, on the tests than peers who had never used drugs.

‘Overall, at the population level, the results seem to suggest that past or even current illicit drug use is not necessarily associated with impaired cognitive functioning in early middle age,’ said lead researcher Dr Alex Dregan.

Dr Dregan’s team used data on 8,992 42-year-olds participating in a UK national health study, who were asked if they had ever used any of 12 illegal drugs. Then, at the age of 50, they took standard tests of memory, attention and other cognitive abilities.

Overall, the study found, there was no evidence that current or past drug users had poorer mental performance. In fact, when current and past users were lumped together, their test scores tended to be higher.

The Age of Deception is Ending

In 2003, the U.S. Government as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services filed for, and was awarded a patent on cannabinoids. The reason? Because research into cannabinoids allowed pharmaceutical companies to acquire practical knowledge on one of the most powerful antioxidants and neuroprotectants known to the natural world.

The U.S. Patent 6630507 was specifically initiated when researchers found that cannabinoids had specific antioxidant properties making them useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidoil, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention.

In a historic and significant moment in American history, last November, Colorado became the first US state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The impact of the decision could ripple across the entire country with vast opportunities to educate millions on the top health benefits of marijuana.

With the passage of I-502 in the 2012 Washington State election, marijuana also became legal in Washington–not just for medical use, but also for recreational use. Weed is still illegal as far as the United States government is concerned, but Washington and Colorado both have yet to figure out how that will work. It’s certain that this issue will continue to evolve and smooth out as time goes by, but the remaining states will eventually follow suit or be left behind with outdated laws.

Top Health Benefits

It’s no surprise that the United States has decreed that marijuana has no accepted medical use use and should remain classified as a highly dangerous drug like heroin. Accepting and promoting the powerful health benefits of marijuana would instantly cut huge profits geared towards cancer treatment and the U.S. would have to admit it imprisons the population for no cause. Nearly half of all drug arrests in the United States are for marijuana.

According to MarijuanaNews.com editor Richard Cowan, the answer is because it is a threat to cannabis prohibition ‘…there really is massive proof that the suppression of medical cannabis represents the greatest failure of the institutions of a free society, medicine, journalism, science, and our fundamental values,” Cowan notes.

Besides the top 10 health benefits below, findings published in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers have now have now discovered that marijuana-like chemicals trigger receptors on human immune cells that can directly inhibit a type of human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) found in late-stage AIDS.

Recent studies have even shown it to be an effective atypical anti-psychotic in treating schizophrenia, a disease many other studies have inconsistently found it causing.

1. Cancer
Cannabinoids, the active components of marijuana, inhibit tumor growth in laboratory animals and also kill cancer cells. Western governments have known this for a long time yet they continued to suppress the information so that cannabis prohibition and the profits generated by the drug industry proliferated.

THC that targets cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 is similar in function to endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body and activate these receptors. The researchers suggest that THC or other designer agents that activate these receptors might be used in a targeted fashion to treat lung cancer.

2. Tourette’s Syndrome
Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological condition characterized by uncontrollable facial grimaces, tics, and involuntary grunts, snorts and shouts.

Dr. Kirsten Mueller-Vahl of the Hanover Medical College in Germany led a team that investigated the effects of chemicals called cannabinols in 12 adult Tourette’s patients. A single dose of the cannabinol produced a significant reduction in symptoms for several hours compared to placebo, the researchers reported.

3. Seizures
Marijuana is a muscle relaxant and has ‘antispasmodic” qualities that have proven to be a very effective treatment for seizures. There are actually countless cases of people suffering from seizures that have only been able to function better through the use of marijuana.

4. Migraines
Since medicinal marijuana was legalized in California, doctors have reported that they have been able to treat more than 300,000 cases of migraines that conventional medicine couldn’t through marijuana.

5. Glaucoma
Marijuana’s treatment of glaucoma has been one of the best documented. There isn’t a single valid study that exists that disproves marijuana’s very powerful and popular effects on glaucoma patients.

6. Multiple Sclerosis
Marijuana’s effects on multiple sclerosis patients became better documented when former talk-show host, Montel Williams began to use pot to treat his MS. Marijuana works to stop the neurological effects and muscle spasms that come from the fatal disease.

7. ADD and ADHD
A well documented USC study done about a year ago showed that marijuana is not only a perfect alternative for Ritalin but treats the disorder without any of the negative side effects of the pharmaceutical.

8. IBS and Crohn’s
Marijuana has shown that it can help with symptoms of the chronic diseases as it stops nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

9. Alzheimer’s
Despite what you may have heard about marijuana’s effects on the brain, the Scripps Institute, in 2006, proved that the THC found in marijuana works to prevent Alzheimer’s by blocking the deposits in the brain that cause the disease.

10. Premenstrual Syndrome
Just like marijuana is used to treat IBS, it can be used to treat the cramps and discomfort that causes PMS symptoms. Using marijuana for PMS actually goes all the way back to Queen Victoria.

Mounting Evidence Suggests Raw Cannabis is Best

Cannabinoids can prevent cancer, reduce heart attacks by 66% and insulin dependent diabetes by 58%. Cannabis clinician Dr. William Courtney recommends drinking 4 – 8 ounces of raw flower and leaf juice from any Hemp plant, 5 mg of Cannabidiol (CBD) per kg of body weight, a salad of Hemp seed sprouts and 50 mg of THC taken in 5 daily doses.

Why raw? Heat destroys certain enzymes and nutrients in plants. Incorporating raw cannabis allows for a greater availability of those elements. Those who require large amounts of cannabinoids without the psychoactive effects need to look no further than raw cannabis. In this capacity, it can be used at 60 times more tolerance than if it were heated.

Raw cannabis is considered by many experts as a dietary essential. As a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, raw cannabis may be right u there with garlic and tumeric.