Interview with Dr. García de Palau from THC Terapéutico
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Philosopher seeds - with its different marijuana strains - has always strived to meet the demands of the therapeutic users of cannabis. For this reason, among our genetic lines you can find strains with high CBD content, like the Spicy CBD marijuana , reaching up to 10% of this cannabinoid. The medicinal research of cannabis is advancing very fast, so it is crucial being aware of all the advances in this field all over the world. Our team wanted to collaborate with a new project headed by Dr. Mariano Garía de Palau and his blog THC Terapéutico, where he attends every day those medicinal users who have difficulties to find a specialized doctor being involved with this issue. He does not receive any kind of help nor funds from administrations, Hospitals or the State. Thanks to the passion of this Doctor for helping those who need a treatment with cannabis, his blog THC Terapéutico is becoming one of the most relevant medical advices specialized in marijuana in Spanish. His kindness allowed us to interview him, and we want to share this experience with you.
Philosopher seeds interviews THC Terapéutico
1- Besides collaborating with several magazines of the cannabis sector, you have created a new way to interact with medicinal cannabis users, your website THC Terapéutico, where you provide information on its medicinal use and its possible therapeutic applications. How many patients do you attend in your blog THC Terapéutico ?
At this moment we have about 200 users, and I personally follow-up some of these cases. In most of them, there's only one question, although a dialogue doctor-patient is always possible if needed.
2- We know that the illegal status of the plant limits the access to it and directly affects those who need a treatment with cannabis. Can you prescribe marijuana as a "Galenic" in Spain?
At this moment in Spain we can only prescribe Sativex. A different point is if we can recommend a treatment with cannabis, but we can not prescribe it in any case, since we can not forget its illegal status. An illegal product can never be prescribed.
3- Internationally, many countries today are changing their policies about the use,production and sale of cannabis. Which are the reasons why marijuana should be legal?
Cannabis was declared illegal, something that should have never happened. In 1937 the USA declared it illegal, and since then not even its therapeutic use has been legal. Nowadays, we could speak about a change of attitude in some countries, what should be an example for the normalization of the use of cannabis, both therapeutic and recreational. We must keep in mind that we are using a plant with different active substances, some of which have psychoactive properties that may lead to addiction depending on its use and the consumer himself/herself, just as any other drug of these characteristics. We use opiates and benzodiacepines - which are psychoactive drugs with a reachable lethal dose - and we make it with complete normality but, nevertheless, everything related to cannabis is raised in a negative way. Why?
Alcohol is a psychoactive drug, has a reachable lethal dose and, internationally, has more impact on health, work and family enviroments, and economy than any other drug. Cannabis, in contrast, does not have a reachable lethal dose and is much more safe than alcohol, not producing hepatotoxicity nor neurotoxicity. Every published study reveals that certain cannabinoids actually have neuro and hepatoprotective properties, as well as antioxidant. A lot of cannabinoids are being studied for their therapeutic properties - for treating several metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases, etc. - apart from several indications approved by the OMS such as the treatment of pains from any aetiology, vomits and nausea from chemotherapy, spasticity, and to increase the patient's appetite in case of cachexia from cancer or AIDS.
If alcohol is a legal drug, then cannabis shoul also be legal, since it is much safer and less damaging for our health as a recreational drug. We must keep in mind the dose, the frequency of use and the duration of it, which may determine a habit or an excessive consumption. Normalizing marijuana should be a scientific desition; the problem here is that this desition has to be made by politicians, and I personally believe that politicians are light years away from science. They have other worries, and our healt is none of them.
4- Does their illegal status benefit the education of the new generations on the use and knowledge of drugs?
I believe that giving appropiate information on the use of drugs is an inevitable question. But we find the first problem here: what is objective and reliable information? Consider, for example, what happens with the newspapers in our country: if you read the same new in some of them, you soon realize that, even if they all write about the same fact, the result is clear: variety of analyses. But when the results have scientific backing, when the clinic studies prove the efficiency of a drug, there can not be any kind of variety of analyses. Regarding cannabis, this is one of my main concerns as a doctor. We need much more clinic studies that scientifically confirm which pathologies need cannabinoids and which cannabinoids are to be used - as well as the correct dose. We do know that cannabis has therapeutic properties since it has been used for thousands of years for curative purposes. And also because nowadays it is being used as a medicine with objective results in multiple diseases, although in an illegal way in most countries.
5- How do you see the future of medicinal cannabis in Spain?
I think it is subordinated to its legal or illegal status. Having access to an illegal drug - even for research - is very difficult. In this country we have very competent researchers in this field, but their work is seriously difficulted by this issue. I will personally keep on striving to show the reality of the therapeutic use of marijuana.
6- Do you think that the recently appeared cannabis clubs meet the demands of the therapeutic users of marijuana?
No, from a certain moment these clubs were out of control in many aspects. We all know that their initial philosophy was not followed at all in many cases. As I said, we need much more information on medicinal cannabis, its correct dosage, or which are the suitable strains for each pathology. We have to carefully deal with a product that is going to be consumed by people, either with therapeutic or recreational purposes.
7- Some therapeutic properties have been attributed to the family of terpenes found in the cannabis plant. Do they really have proved medicinal properties?
I actually state that cannabinoids are terpene-phenols. They both have a very similar molecular structure. Probably, we can find from 120 to 130 different terpenes in a single marijuana plant, each of them with its particular organoleptic properties. In Haze strains - like the Easy Haze marihuana - the main terpene is Borneol, while in Skunk varieties is Pinene. Both strains have very characteristic and different smell and taste. It is the proportion of terpenes what determines the final effect of a cannabis strain. Every small variation on the effect of the plant - creative, socializing, uplifting, physical, relaxing, narcotic, etc. - is caused by terpenes, or preferably, by their proportion. We all know that most Indicas usually have a more physical, relaxing, narcotic effect than Sativas. Well, this is caused by the presence of Myrcene, a terpene that can be found in a proportion of up to 60% and that has relaxing and analgesic properties. I really believe that the final effect of any marijuana strain is directly determined by the proportion of all its active substances, mainly terpenes and cannabinoids.
8- There is a lot of talk lately on consuming fresh, non-decarboxylated marijuana. Do the acid form of cannabinoids have therapeutic potential?
We know that THCA - or the acid form of THC - does not have psychoactive effects. This effects should be mediated by the CB1 or GPR55 receptors for the case of THC, since it is agonist of both receptors, it activates them. These receptors are found in the Central Nervous System , and THC expresses throught them. If there is no psychoactive effect, then it would be logical to deduce that there is no activation of these receptors found in the CNS.
It would be also logical to assume that the rest of CB1 and GPR55 receptors of the rest of the organism - they are found on several tissues - are neither activated, since they are identical than the ones found in the CNS. Therefore, we could propose the hypothesis that they can actually act throught some receptors which are still unidentified.
On the other hand, we can not forget that endocannabinoids are fatty acids, acid molecules. Maybe it could also be a dosage issue, and that the acid forms of cannabinoids are only effective with higher doses than in their neutral or decarboxylated form. What it is sure is that further research is required, as we could avoid the psychoactive effects of THC and other cannabinoids without losing other desirable effects.
9- Which is the function of THCV and how hard is to find it in commercial marijuana strains?
A very interesting cannabinoid, it is antagonist of THC, that is to say, it deactivates it - at least, partially. Among its therapeutic properties, it reverses the feeling of hunger caused by THC, and also modifies its psychoactive effect. It is currently being studied to treat neurodegenerative pathologies, cerebral ischaemia, sleep disorders, diabetes, liver diseases, etc. associated with CBD. It is not very abundant, but it can be found in Southafrican strains - and also in some varieties from Eastern Asia - in some Thais, Durban Poison, Ripped Bubba and Fruity Jack , which are strains that under optimal growing conditions offer high percentages of THCV.
10- We want to thank you for your time, and particularly for the great task done with all cannabis users, either medicinal or recreational consumers. Doubtless, it is a true pleasure for our team to collaborate with you. Finally, would you like to say anything else to close this interview?
It is also a pleasure for me collaborating with your team, those who know me also know that they can count on me for advancing in the field of the therapeutic use of cannabis.
We are facing a crucial moment from the scientific point of view, because in a short period of time we will have available clinic studies that will confirm in an empirical way which cannabinoids, in which doses and in which treatment cycles they may be useful for the different studied pathologies.
The number of cannabinoids studied by researchers is increasing day by day, and more therapeutic properties for several diseases are being found in cannabinoids which are found in very small percentages in most known cannabis strains. It must also be said that we really haven't analyzed many strains, and the terpene and cannabinoid profile of the vast majority of marijuana varieties remains unknown. I will also insist on the idea that the effect of any cannabis variety is determined by its complex mix of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, etc, and that terpenes are highly decisive regarding the final result.
A final claim for the normalization of cannabis, for both its therapeutic and recreational uses.
CANNABIS LEGAL – consume responsibly, do not mix it with other drugs.
Dr M. García de Palau