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Colorectal Cancer: Scientists halt growth with cannabinoid compounds

Scientists have identified several cannabinoid compounds that could potentially treat colorectal cancer. A team at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey tested hundreds of cannabinoids on various types of human colorectal cancer cells in the laboratory. Of these, 10 synthetic cannabinoids showed the ability to stop cancer cell growth. The well-known cannabis compounds tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) showed negligible ability to do the same.

The researchers see their findings as a starting point for further studies to better understand the anticancer effects that they observed, and to evaluate the compounds’ potential for drug development. They report their results in a paper that features in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. “Now that we’ve identified the compounds that we think have this activity,” says senior study author Prof. Kent E. Vrana, who is chair of the Department of Pharmacology, “we can take these compounds and start trying to alter them to make them more potent against cancer cells.” “And then, eventually, we can explore the potential for using these compounds to develop drugs for treating cancer,” he adds.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund, colorectal cancer is the “third most common cancer worldwide.” This is also the case in the United States, where a national surveillance program has estimated that colorectal cancer accounted for 8.1 percent of all new cancer incidences in 2018.

For several decades, overall rates of colorectal cancer diagnoses and deaths have been falling steadily in the U.S. Experts attribute this largely to changes in risk factors, more widespread screening, and better treatments. However, this overall decline masks an opposite trend in that rates and deaths to colorectal cancer are rising among those of 50 years of age and under. The reasons for this remain unclear, although some suggest that obesity, changes in diet, and an increase in sedentary lifestyles may be involved.

Cannabinoids is a term that scientists use to refer to a large group of compounds that mostly exert their effect through cannabinoid receptors. There are three main categories of cannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are those that occur naturally in the cannabis, or marijuana, plant; endocannabinoids are those that arise within the body; while synthetic cannabinoids are those that scientists create in the laboratory. Research on the medical uses of cannabinoids has tended to focus on the treatment of pain and conditions such as anxiety and depression. However, more recently, scientists have shown growing interest in the potential anticancer effects of cannabinoids.

The 10 compounds belong to three different classes of synthetic cannabinoid. The classes have many similarities, but they also have some small differences. Prof. Vrana says there is a need for further research to understand better how the compounds work, and how to make them more potent and effective against colorectal cancer. “We also found that the most potent and effective compounds don’t seem to work through traditional marijuana receptors, although we’re not sure of the exact mechanism yet.”

My Take:
This is the kind of research that could have been done years ago if marijuana was not classified as a Class 1 drug, without any potential medical benefit. Fortunately, as state laws have changed, so have attitudes about this herb and the needed research is beginning.

Bottom Line:
Federal laws classifying marijuana as a Class 1 drug need to be changed to promote research.

Source: February 13, 2019 NIH

“FRESH” Just some simple recipes :)

Hoping that you are all still on track with those New Year Resolutions and sticking with some healthy habits. It is tough, even for me (a 30 year non-meat eater and wellness professional) to eat well every meal ever day. I have a weakness for

Organic Berries & Coconut Smoothie:

Select a handful of any fresh or frozen berries and toss into blender. Add Unsweetened Coconut water or milk (fresh if possible – I try to prep several at a time and freeze the juice and meat for future use so it is always ready for use), ice and blend to desired smoothness. Add Organic Vegan Protein powder if you desire. Pour into a fancy glass to make your creation special and enjoy. This is about as simple as it gets and your body will enjoy the healthful benefits.

Grilled Salmon & Asparagus with Quinoa & Lentils:

-1lb Alaskan Salmon -Organic Olive Oil -Bourbon -Brown Sugar -Seasoning Mix

-Fresh Asparagus -Tri-Color Quinoa -Lentils

Rinse Salon Filet and remove any pin bones with pliers then pat dry with paper towel. Place Salmon skin side down on plate and drizzle with Bourbon and Olive Oil. Sprinkle a pinch of Brown Sugar over salmon then add any of your favorite seasonings (we used garlic granules, cracked pepper, paprika, orange zest and a bit of crushed red pepper flakes). Refrigerate until grill is ready. Wash asparagus and season with Olive Oil, pepper and garlic. Cook quinoa and lentils according to directions and drizzle with Olive Oil (I used my own Rosemary infused oil to add a spark of flavor). Grill Salmon & Asparagus on medium indirect then direct heat heat until cooked (about 5-7 minutes each side). Plate and chow down. 🙂

Quick & Easy Anytime Salad:

-Organic Kale -Organic Tomatoes -Organic Dried Apricots -Organic Cabbage Mix

-Shredded Carrots -Infused Organic Olive Oil (I used basil infused today) -Seasoning (salt/pepper/garlic)

Really, does this actually need directions ??? 😉

Wash dice and mix veggies then toss with dried fruit, oil and seasoning. Crunch away and then don not forget to floss and brush after eating for bright and clean teeth. You mom and your dentist will be proud.

I will try to update recipes with Nutritional Content soon

Yoga & Arthritis

New research, published in the journal Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, finds that an 8-week regimen of intensive yoga eases both the physical symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and the psychological distress that usually accompanies the condition.

Dr. Rima Dada, Ph.D., who is a professor in the Department of Anatomy at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, led the new research.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects approximately 1.3 million people in the United States. The disease is most likely autoimmune, which means that the immune system mistakes the body’s own tissues and cartilage as foreign and attacks them. While there is no cure for RA, there are a variety of medications available. However, as Dr. Dada and her colleagues explain in their paper, recovery depends on various factors, some of which are psychological. Depression, for instance, often occurs alongside RA, and it can negatively affect a person’s outcome.

In this context, Dr. Dada and team wondered if a yoga-based mind-body intervention could ease depressive symptoms in RA and help achieve remission of this chronic disease. To find out, Dr. Dada and colleagues examined the effects of practicing yoga intensively in 72 people with RA.

The scientists divided the study participants into two groups. Both groups continued to take disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), which are the drugs doctors typically prescribe for this condition. Also, one group engaged in 120-minute sessions of yoga five times a week, for 8 weeks. The two main outcomes the researchers assessed were disease activity and depression severity. After the intervention, improvements in markers of neuroplasticity, inflammation, cellular health, and cellular aging — such as oxidative stress — showed that yoga had a positive effect on those who practiced it.

Dr. Dada and colleagues conclude, “Yoga, a mind-body intervention reestablished immunological tolerance by aiding remission at molecular and cellular level along with significant reduction in depression.” “Thus in this inflammatory arthritis with a major psychosomatic component, yoga can be used as a complementary/adjunct therapy.” The study’s lead author reports, “Our findings show measurable improvements for the patients in the test group, suggesting an immune-regulatory role of yoga practice in the treatment of RA.”

“An intensive yoga regimen,” she continued, “concurrent with routine drug therapy induced molecular remission and re-established immunological tolerance. In addition, it reduced the severity of depression by promoting neuroplasticity.”

My Take:
While this study was primarily looking at the psychological benefits of yoga for RA, they also found “remission at molecular and cellular level, suggesting an immune-regulatory role of yoga practice in RA.”

Clinically, I often see gait mechanisms resolve when a patient practices yoga. Gait mechanisms are compensatory adaptations that are reinforced neurologically with chronic musculoskeletal issues. A patient that limps because of back pain will compromise other joints, usually in the lower extremities, to compensate for that pain. With time, the nervous system accepts these altered patterns of movement as normal and they can become permanent even if the pain resolves. Yoga is one method to “reboot the nervous system” to return to normal.

There is a yoga center across the parking lot from my office. I have had the privilege of treating many of the instructors over the course of the past 30 years. These women, now in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s are amazingly fit and healthy. They move with grace, maintaining a posture that is enviable by all who see them. Typically, they are a breeze to treat as they heal quickly with minimal care.

Bottom Line:
I’m not surprised that yoga, practiced on a regular basis, helps reverse the course of an autoimmune disease like RA. I encourage you to practice yoga, you will be amazed by the health benefits.

Source: National Institutes of Health

Aromatherapy’s Effect on Moods and Minds

Aromatherapy’s Effect on Moods and Minds Researchers have shown that lavender and rosemary administered through aromatherapy positively affect psychological and physiological functioning. In a study conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School, first published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, researchers assessed the effect of lavender and rosemary on alertness, mood and the brain’s electrical activity, and on subjects’ ability to perform math computations.

In the study, 40 adult faculty and staff members of the University of Miami Medical School were randomly placed into one of two groups, and were asked to inhale the scent of either lavender or rosemary essential oil for three minutes. Those in the lavender group were expected to show an increase in alpha and beta band activity, suggesting relaxation. Those in the rosemary group were expected to have a decrease in alpha and beta band activity, suggesting greater alertness.

Results showed that study expectations were correct: Participants in the lavender group experienced an increase in beta band activity, suggesting drowsiness; an improvement in mood; a feeling of greater relaxation; and better performance on math computations. The rosemary group showed a decrease in alpha and beta power, suggesting alertness and lower levels of anxiety; and were faster but not more accurate at performing math computations.

Subjects first took three assessment tests: an anxiety-inventory questionnaire, a profile-of-mood-states questionnaire and a series of timed math computations. While seated in a massage chair, each subject was then given a vial containing a dental swab soaked in a grapeseed-oil base with three drops of either lavender or rosemary essential oil. The subjects were instructed to sit quietly and breathe normally through the nose with their eyes closed. After three minutes of aromatherapy, the subjects again took the two self-report tests and did the math computations. For three minutes before, during and after the aromatherapy, EEG readings were taken through a cap worn on participants’ heads to measure the electrical activity of their brains.

Results of the self-assessment test data indicated that both the lavender and rosemary groups experienced lower levels of anxiety and felt more relaxed after the aromatherapy. Only the lavender group reported a significantly better mood. The rosemary group reported feeling more alert.

Math test results showed that the lavender group experienced an increase in drowsiness, while the rosemary group showed EEG patterns that reflected a greater state of alertness.

 – Source: Touch Research Institute, Originally reported in the International Journal of Neuroscience

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