Nature's (Legal) Cannabinoids

Where Do You Get ‘It’ From?
Author: Publius*
Most patients don’t get asked where they get their medicine. That’s because everyone knows people get their medicine from a pharmacy. But I have to get my medicine otherwise. I have to safeguard my “source” because my medicine is cannabinoid based – and that makes it almost illegal.  – But not today.  Today I can answer the source question openly because it is my local pharmacy – with drive-thru service and open to dispense medicine 24 hours a day. I drive up and push a big, yellow smiley-faced button to gain access – a soft automated voice comes over the speaker to verify that I am in the right place in order to pick up my prescription. Next, the typical professional looking person – white coat with badge – slides open the window asking my name and what I need.
“I’m picking up a prescription for Publius.”
They return with a baggie and bottle containing 30 synthetic cannabinoid capsules dosed at 5mg each – that’s right, legal cannabinoids!
What are cannabinoids? Well, here is where things get interesting. As one learns in biology, the human body has many systems – the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems to name a few. Each system has parts: for example, the nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. By the late 1980s, science identified a new human system – the endocannabinoid system (ECS) – also referred to as the cannabinoid system. There is a cannabinoid system present in all mammals – to include humans and 15,000 other species.  A mammal is any vertebrate animal distinguished by self-regulating body temperature, hair, and milk-producing females – as mammal means “breast” or of the breast.
The ECS has two main parts: cannabinoids, which are chemical neurotransmitters, and two receptors called “CB1” and “CB2.” Cannabinoids activate receptors found throughout the body – in all organs, for example. In fact, all systems in our bodies are modulated by the cannabinoid system. This means that as a body system changes, it uses the ECS to do so.

Science and popular search sites like Wikipedia use three classifications of cannabinoids:
1.  Endogenous cannabinoids (also referred to as endocannabinoids), which are produced by the human body
2.  Herbal cannabinoids, the kind found in the cannabis sativa plant
3.  Synthetic cannabinoids, produced and distributed by pharmaceutical companies

The third kind is what I am picking up from the pharmacy – 30 Marinol (Dronabinol) capsules. Marinol is a prescribed cannabinoid from my doctor – and I am going to test it against the herbal cannabinoids I have been baking into my brownies for five years now.
The pharmacist hands me a white paper bag containing the Marinol prescribed for my Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Stapled to the top is a typical handout with cautionary medical information. The small amount (150mg) of the synthetic cannabinoid THC costs $370 – or more than $69,000 per ounce!
I sign my name on a distribution sheet and pay my $3 Medicare co-pay. The government, meaning our tax dollars, pays the other $367 for my medicine.  Now I am ready to go – but not before my ‘synthetic cannabinoid’ dealer informs me of possible side effects. She warns me to be on the lookout for – “dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, feeling ‘high,’ an exaggerated sense of well-being, lightheadedness, headache, red eyes, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, clumsiness, or unsteadiness.”
Geez – sounds like a lot of potential adversity on my chemically sensitive body.  From personal experience, I know that the herbal cannabinoids do not cause these side effects in my body. The pharmacist did mention one noticeable side effect that I have had with eating cannabis brownies: dry mouth – which is hardly a problem when considering the overall benefits of the medicine.
When I get home I open the bag to take a look at the Marinol. The pills are a deep maroon color and perfectly round. They remind me of Boston Baked Beans – as they look exactly like those candies. One thing is for sure: synthetic cannabinoids do not look anything like herbal cannabinoids – the ones from the plant itself. The distinct medical difference of popping pills versus the variations and qualities of consuming natural cannabis cannot be understated – and surely won’t be by me. After a week of taking one pill a night before bed, as the doctor prescribed, I do not notice any positive effects from the Marinol. It makes me hungry – but that was never a problem in the first place. However, it is my first legal cannabinoid and that is what counts, right? – Not whether it works, just whether it is legal, right?
Here is what I know.  I have been self-medicating with herbal cannabinoids for five years to provide relief from MS, which I have had for 23 years.  During that time I went through the long list of prescribed pharmaceuticals.  The relief was minimal. The problem was (and is) the side effects, which became unbearable over time. I felt like a slave, dependent on a cycle of pharmaceutical use which abused my body and left me in the most depressed, hopeless, and flattened state.

I finally said enough of the pharma-tinkering with my body and the MS and tried baking herbal cannabinoids into brownies. In doing so, my alternative treatment made me a criminal. I began to eat a small cube of cannabis brownie three times a day. Within the first month my insomnia disappeared, my bladder issues calmed, nerve tingles of the arms, legs, and feet stilled. I was no longer breaking out in upper body tremors after being out in the world of loud noises, traffic, and the everyday racing of life.  The MS was quieter. I found I wasn’t contemplating suicide and I felt hopeful about my life again – but realized I had become a chronic criminal.
Cannabinoids are clearly medicinal to our bodies. But there is a strange distinction between which cannabinoids are effective and which ones are legal.  In the case of my MS, appetite stimulation has not been a problem – which is what the Marinol is usually prescribed for. Marinol simply did not work for me. There are other pharmaceutical cannabinoids – such as Nabilone and Sativex – available in other countries, but they remain expensive and less effective than herbal cannabinoids.  Nature created cannabis and the mammalian ECS, not you or me – and it was through the use of herbal cannabinoids that I was able to wean myself from a life of pharma-cocktails and move toward a healthier life. – Just as nature designed.
This is the first chapter of book in progress titled The Cannabis Papers being published by Illinois NORML.
More chapters are available for review here.
*Publius is Bryan Brickner, Julie Falco, Dianna Lynn Meyer, Stephen Young, William Abens, Danielle Schumacher, Derek Rea (1954-2008), David Nott, Dan Linn, Dan S. Wang, Brian Allemana, and many others.

0 thoughts

  1. “The only way we as people of the United States Of America will get anything done for this cause, is not by signing online petitions that nobody will ever mind, or wait for years with false hopes, whenever things had to get done, people organized on macro (mass) level, and marched in Washington DC, until with the help of the media, the world’s eyes would be upon us, and the crooked could not afford to ignore us anymore. Until we march in masses that we really are, we will never see any change. “

  2. I’ve recently been diagnosed with Occipital neuralgia.
    Occipital neuralgia is a term used to describe a cycle of pain-spasm-pain originating from the suboccipital area (base) of the skull that often radiates to the back, front, and side of the head, as well as behind the eyes.
    The occipital nerves are two pairs of nerves that originate in the area of the second and third vertebrae of the neck. While most people’s nerve roots originate in similar places on the spine, cadaver studies show a wide variety of differences between individuals as to the course of the nerves once they leave the spinal column. Often the nerves follow a curving course that passes through various muscles in the upper back, neck and head. Also causes extreme vomiting.
    The pain is absolutely excrutiating at times. Two to four hits from my pipe and the pain is gone. I have tried many, many prescription and over the counter drugs, spent thousands, and none of them help. Cannabis is the only thing that helps.

  3. Great article. Funny how “fiscal conservatives” in government so often side with law enforcement and state that there are “other alternatives” to raw cannabis. The costs alone are enough of a consideration, -let alone the superior efficacy of raw cannabis. Clearly, these all-knowing legislators have never had to take a cocktail of pharma meds and suffer the side effects. Peoples’ exhausting of “traditional” pharma drugs is precisely what brings them to try cannabis in seeking medicine without horrible side effects, or that actually WORKS! It can also be a part of a treatment regimen that includes pharmaceuticals being it has no dangerous drug interactions. It quite literally is nature’s perfect drug. I would love to see articles about the past cannabinoid medicines that were on the AMA pharmacopoeia before it was outlawed.

  4. I have severe nerve damage in my leg’s. I too have been on the prescription road and developed a severe reaction to the prescription drug’s that were given for the nerve pain. Being a child-of-the-60’s I experimented with using marijuana as a teenager. Now I have been using marijuana and get more relief from my nerve pain than with the prescription drug’s that gave me a severe reaction. Personally I feel the use of natural marijuana is much better for my body than what the mighty drug compainies can offer. Since the FDA can not patent a plant that grows wild in nature they can not make $$$ off of it! This is the bottom-line why cannibis is still illegal in the United States. Eventually I HOPE the TRUTH will prevail and those seeking the use of medical marijuana will be able to obtain it without going to jail. I want the government to stop turning their deaf ear’s to the cries of those who can testify that the use of marijuana can be medicinal!

  5. “While most of our politicians increasingly resemble the Borg, resistance to their constant barrage of misinformation is not futile.
    Resistance is essential, especially in the face of endless sound bytes that are geared to incite and inflame. Frankly, I’m convinced these alien invader machines and their continuous effort to promote ignorance is really a dastardly plot to enslave us through stupidity. Be smarter.”

  6. To my fellow citizens of Kansas please gather close and read my words.
    One of our House of Representative has acted with uncommon bravery and introduced a comprehensive medical use of Cannabis legislation into the Committee on Health and Human Services of our Kansas State Congress. It is HB 2610, House Bill 2610 which will allow the medical use of Cannabis. Now I know those of you who live in Kansas under the oppressive foolish cannabis laws have been waiting and often jealous of other folks who live in states where the laws are more realistic, well kinda, anyway we have a crack in the door, this legislative crack doesn’t show itself everyday in Kansas so we must unit and push upon this crack with all our educated might. If there was ever a time for all us Kansan email and send letters requesting our jurisdiction’s legislator(s) support this HB 2610.
    I know I have talked about other approaches to changing the law in this State. Jury Nullification just to name one, but we would be so damm foolish as to pass up this opportunity presenting itself in our State Congress. So I call on all you Kansan who have waited for so long for this opportunity to force this crack further. I am like most of you, want the just thing right now, today, hell yesterday, and this medical use of cannabis is just a small baby step but better to make this small baby step into the light than stay in darkness. Look at this legislation as a baby step and help our congress make it happen. You and I know there will be a later, there will be a reckoning not to far off in the future. By supporting this bill HB 2610 we can bring about this baby step which will one day lead us to walk and run.
    It is time to step up to the plate, time to be counted.

  7. Legalize Recreational Use of Marijuana
    The war on drugs has been waged long enough, and more lives have been destroyed and families torn apart by the prison system than by marijuana itself. Legalization of marijuana would save countless time and money from being wasted by law enforcement and by our courts. It would save national and state governments an estimated $7.7 billion on law enforcement and generate an additional $2.2 billion in tax revenue, according to a report by Professor Jeffrey A. Miron and endorsed by 500 economists. This doesn’t include all the economic benefits of industrial hemp. Legalization also would have a “substitution” effect; some consumers would substitute marijuana for the more harmful legal drugs tobacco and alcohol, saving us money in health care costs. Drugs should be a public health issue, not a criminal justice issue. America demands action on this important issue NOW! No more lies and propaganda, let’s base our policies on reality and scientific findings.
    browse by criminal justice and vote

  8. Will anyone listen to me yet that talking about how marijuana will make the government millions and get this country out of the hole will work…THE GOVERNMENT DOESNT CARE ABOUT THE MONEY….THEY PRINT BILLS EVERYDAY,MARIJUANA MAKES YOU THINK THEY DONT WANT PEOPLE THINKING ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!TIME IS RUNNING OUT



  11. What’s up with response #29 from the editor?! I decided to look back at some other posts and every time Brian has anything resembling his own opinion the editor just can’t deal with it and makes childish trolls in response.
    Now you may have a problem with Ron Paul and Ron Paul supports editor, but as the most recognized republican candidates who openly supports ending the drug war why would you be in such a rush to fight off potential allies?! We don’t have to think the same to work together.
    [Editor’s note: NORML does not fight off potential political allies…NORML and Ron Paul have worked together for over 20 years, and he receives NORML PAC money. NORML is non-partisan and works with all stripes.
    What NORML does not promote and encourage is immature, naive or dead-end political advocacy that is conflated by some with necessarily non-partisan cannabis law reform advocacy.
    Ron Paul is a friend to NORML, a great American and political maverick.
    Should reformers support third party candidates who support for reform? Indeed, they should and do.
    However, analytically-speaking, he is not going to be elected president and cannabis law reformers should not waste their precious time or money deluding themselves that Ron Paul or so-called ‘liberty’ candidates are going to get elected in numbers sufficient, if at all, to impact federal legislation, let alone the executive branch.]

  12. If I control what you consume, you are my slave. If you allow me to control what you consume, you are my willing slave. In either case, I own you. Freedom and liberty were once highly valued in this country. Now most people are pathetic sheeple (sheep/people), slaves of a hypocritical prohibitionist government that wants you either enslaved, or dead.

  13. So they would rather use a synthetic, man-made substances over a natural one. “This response is directed to the marinol, first thing I read was synthetic, had to laugh”. Pretty sad when they have to make fake thc, or cbd, based medicine. And the stoner’s are the ones with bad morals? I wonder how many other chemicals are in those pills. Are morals worth a generation stuck on anti-depressants, anxiety, sleeping etc. pills filled with unneeded chemicals to make you more reliant, or make the exact same thing they are treating, worse and possibly add more and more mental disorders. That’s the future I see if things continue this way. You put the mass on mental health medications, they are to ignorant to see the negative effects, and that maybe its from the pills. So they just keep getting more and more. New and new side effects, they don’t think, maybe its my medication, no they think “I must be showing signs of something else.” Oh and only Now that I have wrote this. I’m thinking what does this have to do with the article I’m responding too? Well I was one of those people. Loosing 25+ pounds in less than a month from anti-depressants, or feeling worse from the side effects, almost a feeling of insanity. Now I’ve switched myself from the mainstream medicine, to natural medicine, with no unnecessary man-made substances added. Not just weed. To people that say, “Ohh well you were probably smoking on the pills and it didn’t mix.” Well I don’t believe that opinion. I consider weed a hallucinogenic plant. Hallucinating is not, oh woah did you see that dude!? No it is a euphoric, thoughtful ride. No you don’t really see things, but yes you see things in your mind. Hmm doesn’t weed bring a sense of euphoria, doesn’t it make you think? Yes it does.

  14. There was an article I read about spoiler candidates in the Presidential elections. Ross Perot was one of them and it’s my belief that Ron Paul is too. Surely he knows this. If memory serves me the spoiler candidates still get money from running their bogus campaign and that’s why they do it.
    Can’t remember the name of the article, Two Party System or something like that. When I read it it made a great deal of sense.
    Not belittling Ron Paul, he’s, from what I know, by all accounts a good man and I like him, however, the Editor comment is right, Ron Paul will not win.
    Umm, PleaseKeep: Go away, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Frakking Bozo.

  15. Lee raises an important question– the entrenched duopoly (two-party system, as warned against by President Washington) defeats true democracy by making a “spoiler” out of a Paul, Kucinich or Nader. That is because we now have a CAPTIVE PRIMARY where voters must declare their party preference, i.e. endorse a party, to get a right to vote. Instead, check out INSTANT RUNOFF (which would make primaries unnecesaary).
    Here’s my single-election scheme:
    1. Candidates (about a half-dozen ideally) who get enough nominating signatures are entitled to have their names presented, correctly spelled, on the ballot, but
    2. All votes are write-in, to be hand-lettered in rows of little boxes labeled First Choice, Second Choice etc. down to maybe five.
    3. Computer reads all the names and counts all first choice votes.
    4. The written-in candidate with fewest votes– say, Mickey Mouse with 7– is eliminated and his/her Second Choice votes distributed.
    5. Second lowest candidate– say, Elvis Presley with 13– likewise, and so on until
    6. There are only two candidaters left and one has more votes and is the winner. Fewer elections, less voter fatigue.
    So pro-legalizers who have ambitions for using the political system are encouraged to get firmly behind this or some comparable proposal before launching more doomed candidates and making us look stupid.

  16. It’s about time that we legalize marijuana and stop stigmatizing users, especially those who use it medicinally. We’ve come a long way but there’s more fighting to do. And we must acknowledge that synthetics will never equal natural cannabinoids.

  17. Quoting the bible to prove cannabis is a gift from god……
    yep… the bible is definitely a source for facts LOL

  18. god made all plants and animals for a reason. we all know why he made marijuana to help people. it’s natural and should be legal.

  19. #28 Kasado Says:
    February 22nd, 2010 at 3:24 am
    “…nothing more than an insect repellent that protects the plant’s…”

    RE: Kasado,
    – The same could be said of MANY other plants which people use for food, medicine
    and flavoring; The essential-oils found in wintergreen, thyme, rosemary, eucalyptus, cloves, oregano, sage and mint, (for example), ALL function as insect repellents,
    as well as having anti-microbial properties, (“kills bacteria on contact…”).
    – YET…they’re used for flavoring foods and confections…
    as cold-decongestants, for topical pain-relief and
    as the “active ingredients” in antiseptic mouthwashes… 😯
    – Are not ALL of THESE “Gifts from God / Nature”, created, custom-made for OUR
    sustenance and well-being, or are they just merely “insect-repellents”…??? 🙁
    (Subject to disapproval-for-human-consumption by the FDA, DEA &/or EPA…)


  20. Unfortunatly it is very very stupid to take anything that grows from the ground and injest it! If it wasnt synthetically processed you have no idea how dangerous it could be! The absolute smart thing to do is make 100% sure that anything you injest food or medicine is somehow chemically derived by a supersmart science guy! For this keeps this nation safe and very healthy! Just look at Avandia(diabetic medicine) responsible for only 500 deaths a month and some 83,000 all together! Just make sure if you do medicate with marijuana that your supplier is not profitting one bit.We need only companies like the maker of Avandia,bayer, pfizer and any other super smart drug providers to prosper! Thank You and just do what your told!:(

  21. gosh those pills are expensive thats crazy they know the goverment is picking up the tab but they are really screwing the taxpayers

  22. In response to 72.
    Vic says. (out of context)
    “Just look at Avandia(diabetic medicine) responsible for only 500 deaths a month and some 83,000 all together!”
    If we’re looking for safe track records how about cannabis- 0 deaths from ingestion every year/maybe 1 death?(probably not) total.
    side effects may include but not limited to-cottonmouth, feeling “high”, increased appetite, etc.
    Our species grew up smoking the plant, why should we all of a sudden not be allowed to by our “leaders” because of biased opinions?

  23. Well for any of us who can’t get a prescription because of no physical ailment, there are other legal options. I have been smoking spice for more than one year now, the problem is that it is not consistant. I mean I have smoked spice that is amazing and some that plain sucks. Finally, I decided to make my own batch. Yep!!! So I bought 1 gram and turned it into 50 grams of spice and the quality is the best I’ve had. Buying the pure JWH-018 is the key, I bought mine from They seem to have the best stuff. Anyway, once you make your own, you will never buy spice again. Trust me. 🙂
    And use coupon code L27MHJ1

  24. There are multiple avenues of profit available in the cannabis industries growing at exponential rates throughout the states where cannabis is legal. Prohibitionists have been placing their heads underground promoting ignorance and indifference. Patient rights used to be a primary fixture in democracies before profits from healthcare went from hospitals to prisons. Managing behavior through fear and institutional theft has bankrupted this nation and left it weak internally. A war against the american people under the auspices of child protection has left no foundation to stand upon.

  25. It makes me sick to know that the government made cannabis illegal. It makes me sick knowing that the government knows ALL about the medical benefits of cannabinoids and how basically without proper cannabinoids, our brains and body’s start having problems. Our government knows this. They know it so well actually that they decided to make the plant so illegal so that they can force “medicine” down our throats to make a profit. Like where else can we get cannabinoids? Screw Marinol, and the ones we produce in our bodies, our endocannabinoids, we don’t produce nearly enough as what cannabis gives us. Cannabinoids and our ECS was named after the plant Cannabis! Oh cmon, seriously? You’re going to ban a plant who’s name is used to call one of our systems in our body which is vital for some bodies to even function on a normal basis, but then go ahead and sell tobacco and alcohol at every gas station in the nation and wonder why so many of us Americans are hooked on pain killers. It’s all one big fucking trap that I REFUSE to get sucked into. Can’t wait until this prohibition is over and everyone starts realizing that we need cannabis in our lives to not only enhance it, but to treat it as a vegetable and eat on a daily basis to ensure a long healthy life.

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