Excerpted article follows // Emphasis added
Marijuana: The Super Antibiotic Of The Future
Even as late as the 19th century, cannabis was used by Western doctors to combat serious illnesses at home and abroad. An 1843 article in London’s Provincial Medical Journal, for example, chronicles an Irish doctor’s success in treating both tetanus and cholera in India by using cannabis in the form of crude hemp resin. Both these diseases are caused by bacteria and were major killers at the time.
A potent and commonly used medicine, cannabis was added to the official U.S. Pharmacopoeia in 1851, where it remained until it was removed in 1942. Coincidentally, the widespread manufacture and use of early commercial antibiotics — like penicillin, which was first isolated in 1929 but not mass produced until 1945 — happened at the same time as cannabis was taken out of medicinal use.
The next half a century saw the touting of antibiotics as miracle drugs while marijuana came to be almost completely associated with getting “high” — its potent medicinal properties obscured behind a cloud of fear and propaganda.
It is only in the last couple of decades that the failure of antibiotics and clinical medicine to address a fast growing number of serious illnesses has driven people to rediscover the miraculous healing powers of this ancient plant.
A Medicine For The Masses
It turns out that Shelley’s simple oil extract is possibly the most potent form of marijuana medicine on earth. Olive oil is actually the “optimal choice for preparation of Cannabis oils for self-medication,” states Biologist Dr. Arno Hazekamp of Leiden University in Holland in a 2013 study entitled Cannabis Oil: chemical evaluation of an upcoming cannabis-based medicine.
The study tested cannabis infused oil olive against several other extraction methods, including the popular solvent based “Rick Simpson” extraction method, which uses either naphtha or petroleum ether, and an ethanol extraction process.
While the naphtha method did result in a product with the highest THC levels, the olive oil extraction not only yielded the highest overall cannabinoid levels, but higher levels of terpenes than the other processes.
Terpenes are the essential oil compounds responsible for the distinctly pungent aroma of cannabis. Common strong smelling kitchen herbs like oregano are known for their powerful antibiotic properties, which is due to their terpene content. Volatile and delicate, terpenes can be quickly destroyed when heated too high.
“It can be concluded that it is not feasible to perform decarboxylation of cannabinoids, without significant loss of terpene components.” Dr. Hazekamp advises. The decarboxylation process, which heats marijuana to a point where the THC becomes psychoactive, happens automatically when cannabis is smoked, meaning tokers are not getting the full benefit of the herb’s medicinal power.
Likewise, expensive products that rely on processing marijuana, especially those that isolate certain cannabinoids, are also limiting its potential healing power. The terpene beta-Pinene for example, which has been found to be anti-fungal and to synergistically fight MRSA, was completely absent in the naphtha based “Rick Simpson” style cannabis oil tested, which tries to extract as much THC as possible. It remained at high levels in the olive oil extraction however.
“Retaining the full spectrum of terpenes present in fresh cannabis material should therefore be a major focus during optimal Cannabis oil production,” Dr. Hazekamp concludes. The wide array of cannabinoids and terpenes present in the plant in its natural state are what makes marijuana such a versatile remedy for a variety of conditions and an extremely potent antibiotic.