I get it, you’re the consummate stoner. You know your strains, you know your costs. You know how much it’ll take to get blasted, and you know how much it’ll take to get mangled. The dabbler in you has sampled a vast variety of what is out there, like a sommelier honing his craft. You enthusiastically recommend cannabis strains to your friends and colleagues as if each was a fine wine, and they love you for it.
But at the end of the day how much do you really know about this wonderful herb? The weed-fix life isn’t a celebration, or an industry. Nor is it just an economy. It’s a crucible of invention and talent; a lifestyle born of love and determination and bravado. It’s a rising tide of excited people with a can-do attitude who are constantly pushing the envelope and changing the world. They are scientists, farmers, and devotees doing some amazing things with marijuana, some almost too crazy to believe.
An enterprising Frenchman who goes by the pseudonym of Nicolas Trainerbees has trained bees to make honey… out of weed. The bees collect the resin as they would normally collect pollen and nectar, and then when they get back to the hive the resin is transformed into honey by the bee’s natural processes. The bees ingest the resin and pass it along to their co-hivers until it reaches the thick consistency of honey, where it is then placed in a honeycomb. According to Trainerbees, if a person were to eat some of this powerful stuff, they would experience effects similar to ingesting or smoking marijuana. However, if I was one of these bees, I would ingest this resin and become totally useless to the entire hive. I would forget all about my day job, and exactly zero weed-honey would be made. So how is it that these bees are able to keep buzzing without buzzing? The bees lack an endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors throughout the bodies of mammals that allow for our bodies to bind with cannabinoids. That’s right, humans, apes, cats, dogs, hyenas, giraffes, and all other mammals are hard wired with receptors specifically for cannabinoids such as THC and Cannabinol (CBN). There are two types of endocannabinoid receptors in the human body: CB1, located mostly in the brain, and CB2, located mostly throughout the body. The Weed Bees don’t have a system like this, so therefore they are unaffected by the consumption of cannabinoids, and I would hazard a guess that the hive-wide horror caused by such an immunity to weed is the true cause of worldwide bee mass death. We mammals being naturally equipped with a system like this are lucky, especially for humans who are smart enough to take advantage of magnificent medical opportunities. Scientists have been able to figure out what physiological effect the various cannabinoids have on different parts of the body, and increasingly, different strains are being grown that aim for specific relief. A whole host of medical issues can be mitigated due to the fantastic effects of marijuana. There is even mounting evidence to suggest that certain cannabinoids can kill cancer.
Generations have suffered through it. Few people are untouched by it. Billions of dollars have been invested into the fight against it. But nothing consistent has been able to solve perhaps the most pressing medical issue of our time: cancer. Many people have relied on the effects of marijuana to help them deal with the bullshit nausea and lack of appetite associated with radiation and chemotherapy, but new more in depth research is revealing that cannabis can be even more beneficial to cancer patients. A recent study by the American Association for Cancer Research claims that Cannabidiol, or CBD, can cause programmed cell death (PCD) in breast cancer cells. This means that when this cannabinoid enters the breast, it can cause the breast cancer cells it comes into contact with to die like bees realizing they can’t smoke weed. Chemotherapy and other similar treatments available to patients today are meant to cause a similar reaction, but with the side effect of causing severe damage to the surrounding breast tissue. CBD ignores the surrounding tissue, focusing only on the cancer cells. Of course more research needs to be done, but the potential to replace traditional therapies with much less intrusive CBD based ones is high.
Cancer isn’t the only thug CBD has been rounding up and sending to the gallows. CBD is quickly being recognized as a cannabinoid workhorse, capable of taking care of a large number of afflictions without making the user traditionally stoned. In many cases it has been known to reduce and eliminate a variety of mental afflictions, including: post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and stress. As well it has benefits to the nervous system, reducing instances of epileptic seizure and convulsions. It has also been lauded for its anti-inflammatory properties, which give it a wide range of applications, from reducing acne in morally bankrupt teenagers, to reducing the effects of multiple sclerosis, to reducing inflammation in the livers of alcoholics, to reducing instances of rheumatoid arthritis… the list goes on. It is hard to downplay exactly how much of a positive effect CBD can potentially have on medicine. If it were discovered tomorrow, it would be like discovering penicillin or the polio vaccine. It’s that powerful.
When something as ancient as the use of marijuana makes its way under the light of modern scientific inquiry, it is a cause for celebration. Perhaps more than any other fact about marijuana, it finally being seriously looked at as a source of medical discovery is the most exciting. We are on the threshold of a world where our favorite herb will be used to solve most of our pressing medical problems, and that is something even the bees might write home about.
Until next time, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.