CBN & THCV: Cannabinoid Profile

Cannabinoids, as we’ve talked about in previous blogs, are chemical compounds unique to cannabis that bind with cell receptors in the brain and body and either get one ‘high’ or have some healing benefit. The two most popular cannabinoids of the over 80 so far discovered in marijuana, and the ones which have been researched the most are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).

THC, the psychoactive element in the herb, is a very effective pain reliever, appetite stimulant, reduces nausea and vomiting, calms asthma attacks, relieves intraocular pressure (Glaucoma), and is a sleep inducer.

CBD is non-psychoactive (doesn’t get you high) and has been shown to be an antioxidant, antiemetic (diminishes nausea and vomiting), antipsychotic, anti-tumor (fights cancer), and the most remarkable and most talked about remedial property of CBD is its very successful use in lessening the number of epileptic seizures people have.

These two stars of the cannabinoid universe have been rightly singled out as miracle workers because of all the things that they can do for human health. However, researchers are now shining the light of science on several other here-to-for unmentioned and unknown cannabinoids for their potential medicinal attributes.

CBN (Cannabinol) is a cannabinoid that is formed when the oxidation of THC occurs. It can happen because of poor storage or through extensive handling, any process that exposes THC to UV light (ultraviolet) and oxygen in the air. CBN will also be formed at a faster rate if it is subjected to higher than normal heat temperatures. Since CBN is created from THC it has some of the basic characteristics of that most famous cannabinoid. CBN is psychoactive but with a very low potency, about 10% the strength of its cousin THC. Still, it can lower the heart rate, cause dizziness fatigue and disorientation. CBN can also attenuate (lessen) the potency of THC along with the anxiety that THC may bring with it.

The many therapeutic benefits of CBN have surprised most researchers who have been ignoring these “minor league” cannabinoids for all these years. Some of the beneficial effects of CBN are:

• Pain reliever – more effective than THC and several times stronger than aspirin.

• Anti-inflammatory

• Antispasmodic – reduces convulsions and seizures.

• Stimulates bone growth

• Lessens symptoms of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)

• Immunosuppressant – helpful in organ transplants and for treating HIV.

The other cannabinoid that has sat quietly in the shadows until now is THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin). This cannabinoid, as its name suggests, is closely related to its big brother THC, but the effects it produces are a bit different. THCV is psychoactive and it enhances the euphoric effects of THC but for a much shorter duration. It is also gives one a burst of energy and a clear-headed buzz.

Some of THCV’s medical uses are:

• It is an appetite suppressant – no munchies here – but it is good for weight loss.

• THCV is being tested on diabetes and is showing very positive signs of being able

to reduce insulin levels and regulate blood sugar in patients.

• It also appears to be able to suppress emotions and is being tested on PTSD

patients who have anxiety attacks.

• THCV stimulates bone growth.

• THCV is being tested on Alzheimer’s sufferers and it is improving brain lesions,

motor control and tremors in patients.

While these are all positive and very promising test results, there is still much work to be done in the study of cannabinoids and marijuana in general. Scientists are also coming to the conclusion that even though individual cannabinoids demonstrate marvelous medical capabilities, they are almost always more effective when they work in conjunction with other cannabinoids in the marijuana plant. That is called the entourage effect. More on that later.

CBC (Cannabichromene): Emerging from the Shadows Into the Spotlight of Science

The more research that’s done on marijuana, the more interesting this wonderful plant becomes. We’ve all heard of the chemical compounds in cannabis known as cannabinoids, the therapeutic miracle workers, and we’ve also known that the two most talked about and most thoroughly studied cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol). Well, it appears it’s time for these two stars to move over and share the spotlight with another cannabinoid that is fast becoming the toast of the marijuana research laboratories: Cannabichromene, or CBC.

While there have been over a hundred cannabinoids isolated in the marijuana plant so far, many of their individual functions are still unknown to scientists. Cannabichromene, however, has demonstrated several distinctive traits that indicate potential medicinal properties.

One of the benefits cannabichromene has exhibited, is its ability (and perhaps its fundamental purpose) to augment and even intensify the effects of THC. Some researchers have theorized that higher levels of CBC can boost the potency of a dominant THC strain of cannabis. Since CBC isn’t psychoactive like its cousin cannabinoid THC, it acts in conjunction with the THC to enhance its overall effect. This synergistic bonding of the two cannabinoids (along with other cannabinoids and terpenes) is important medicinally because it creates an even more vigorous pain reliever than either one could produce on their own without the aid or the entourage effect of its helper.

CBC is also being looked at quite seriously in regard to cancer research. The way it interacts with anandamide, which is a naturally occurring chemical neurotransmitter or messenger in the brain, shows great promise in the battle against cancer because it increases the ability of the immune system to use its own chemical compounds (like anandamide) to fight cancer.

CBC is one of those cannabinoids that acts as a catalyst when it is combined with other cannabinoids. When it mixes with other compounds an entourage effect or synergistic effect takes place. Synergy and the entourage effect are extremely important concepts when dealing with the medicinal effects of marijuana because researchers are noticing more and more that the way to get the most out of one cannabinoid is to blend it with another, different cannabinoid. The terms synergy and entourage effect basically mean that when you combine two or more components together, the resulting effect is more than the sum of their individual effects. In general, cannabinoids need other cannabinoids to bring out their full potential and the full range of medicinal healing powers.

Besides being a helper of sorts with other cannabinoids, CBC has also been shown to be able to galvanize bone growth and decrease inflammation. However, its real value apparently lies in its potential to fight cancer. And that in itself is bringing this hitherto unknown cannabinoid out of the shadows and into the limelight of marijuana research. CBC may one day outshine both THC and CBD – if we’re lucky.

The Interesting Entourage Effects of Cannabis

Have you ever wondered why individual strains of cannabis affect you differently?

While some types of marijuana make you feeling lethargic and half asleep, others give you a burst of creative energy allowing you to be active all day or into the night. There are hundreds of other specific reactions to pot depending on which variety you consume. All of this is definitely not rocket science but it is actually very scientific.

Many of the hippies and cannabis entrepreneurs from the 1960s “turned on, tuned in and dropped out” back then and moved up to Washington, Oregon and Northern California, and other places to escape the prying eyes of law enforcement and those who have no empathy for marijuana users. They began their own cannabis plantations and many of them have been experimenting with marijuana for decades. And by experimenting we mean they have been scientifically mixing and matching marijuana plants to come up with their version of what the ideal bud breed is.

Most people, when they classify a marijuana strain simply tell you it’s either sativa, indica or a hybrid of the two. One strain may be sativa-dominant , which means that the effects will be uplifting and move you to be creative, or it will be indica-dominant, which is just the opposite, that is, relaxing and sedating – you may doze off a bit. However, just because the strain is heavy on one versus the other, doesn’t tell us what’s really going on inside that bud you’re about to grind down to pop in your bowl. There’s a lot more to it than indica and sativa.

We’ve talked about cannabinoids and terpenes previously in this blog. Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds in marijuana that interact with the endocannabinoid system in our brains and bodies and can produce feelings of euphoria along with providing healing properties such as stopping pain and reducing epileptic seizures. Laboratory research scientists have uncovered over 80 cannabinoids in marijuana so far and currently, the most famous cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).

Terpenes, the cannabinoid-like aromatic hydrocarbon compounds in marijuana, produce the unique fragrance of each marijuana plant. They also aid in the production of the plant’s resins, hormones, and pigments among other things. When certain terpenes are combined with specific cannabinoids, their focus and strength is much stronger than if they were operating alone.

The most famous terpene in marijuana is myrcene. It is found in a number of other plants such as mangos, lemon grass and hops. This terpene is a true medicinal element in cannabis because it’s not only an antiseptic and antimicrobial, but it is an antioxidant and anti-carcinogen also. Myrcene, by binding to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body, much like cannabinoids do, can regulate the permeable membranes of the cells, thus controlling the amount of THC, CBD and other cannabinoids that get into the cells. This terpene “helper” allows the effectiveness of the medicinal cannabinoid, whether it is the pain reliever THC or the epileptic seizure stopper CBD to do its job more powerfully than if the cannabinoid had to travel alone to the body’s receptors. This synergistic effectiveness between Cannabinoids and terpenes has been documented in several studies: GW Pharmaceuticals in 2008, The University of Jordan in 2007, and a 2011 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, “Taming THC: Potential Cannabis Synergy and Phytocannabinoid-terpenoid Entourage Effects.” The study concluded by saying, terpenes have been found to have medical efficacy typically considered to be delivered only by cannabinoids.

So, in the future, you may see cannabis strains labeled very specifically with all the things you could ever want for your medicinal and recreational needs. The pot strain may be sativa-dominant with a small amount of THC and a large helping of CBD, along with a high percentage of myrcene for added synergistic effect. That day may not be too far away because the government is getting close to decriminalizing cannabis, which means that there will be more research being done on developing the perfect bud just for you.

Anandamide: The Brain’s THC

Anandamide is an endogenous neurotransmitter, which simply means that it is a naturally occurring chemical messenger in the brain. This recently recognized neurotransmitter was named after the ancient Sanskrit word ananda, which means “bliss.”

Neurotransmitters are called messengers because they travel from neurons to the receptors of other neurons (nerve cells) with chemical “messages” that tell the neurons which body and brain tasks to regulate. The receptors have to be a perfect fit for the neurotransmitters to bind to or the message won’t be received; absolutely nothing will happen.

On the other hand, when there is a perfect fit between neurotransmitter and the receptor on the neuron, they will bind together and the message will be received and the instructed task will be achieved. It’s very similar to handheld radios. Both people holding the radios must be on the same wavelength, that is, their radio dials have to be set to the exact same number in order for one person to send a message and for the other one to receive it. If they are not on the same channel then there is no communication at all because there is not a perfect fit.

Naturally occurring neurotransmitters in the brain have specific jobs or tasks and each neurotransmitter regulates different functions in the body and the brain. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are two neurotransmitters that help the body manage stress. Dopamine plays the role of reward-giver to nerve cells and thus, to the body and the brain. Serotonin regulates learning, sleep, and mood. All of these neurotransmitters fit snuggly into their targeted receptors so they are successful in accomplishing their intended functions.

Anandamide is a neurotransmitter that is important in memory, appetite, pain and depression, along with fertility. This neurotransmitter is now understood to trigger the receptors that allow the cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in marijuana to bind with its receptors in the brain. Anandamide, by way of its streamlined structure, is also capable of passing through the blood/brain barrier on its own. Even though it is named after the word for “bliss” it doesn’t produce a very long or sustained euphoric mood or high because it is short-lived and quite delicate in its makeup.

Recent studies on animals and anandamide point to this neurotransmitter producing forgetfulness. That is not necessarily a bad thing, however, because it has pushed researchers forward into testing substances that might keep anandamide from targeting and binding to its receptors. That, of course, would be a huge breakthrough in the treatment of expanding human memory capability and treating the loss of memory.

Anandamide has also been discovered in dark chocolate! Yes, that is exciting and it explains a great deal. Our feelings of well-being and even elation when we eat dark chocolate are brought on by the release of the naturally occurring anandamide in the chocolate itself. Once the anandamide binds with its perfectly fitted receptor in the brain then we get a taste (no pun intended) of a THC high. We also get a rush from a dopamine release, which makes us a bit euphoric.

Based on this news you shouldn’t run out and buy a pound of dark chocolate to get high on. First of all, it won’t be good for your digestion and secondly, you would need over twenty pounds of that exotic treat to duplicate a real and sustained THC high. However, by the time you ate a pound of dark chocolate, which would be tasty for the first few bites, you would probably already be in the emergency room wishing you were somewhere else. So, listen to your neurotransmitters closely, and remember to always be moderate when searching for your bliss.

THC and CBD Are Synergistic Pain Relievers

Chronic pain can be quite debilitating and slow your life down to a crawl. As the opioid addiction problem in this country soars to epidemic proportions, doctors are prescribing less of the dangerously habit-forming painkillers and are seeking other avenues of pain relief for their patients. Since more data on the positive pain relieving effects of marijuana are becoming available more and more people who live with chronic pain are moving toward marijuana to mitigate their physical distress.

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that continues to confirm the efficacy of marijuana as a potent pain reliever. People who have back pain and other types of protracted discomfort have had great success in reducing and even alleviating the misery that the recurrent pain has brought to their lives. Cannabis is highly effective for hundreds of thousands of people and now that marijuana is legal in many states, more and more scientific studies are telling us why it works.

As we know from past blogs, the cannabinoids are the important elements in cannabis that affect the body. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are currently the two main cannabinoids and the ones that are the most focused on in clinical research studies.  THC has been the cannabinoid that has been researched the longest, since 1964, and it is the psychoactive compound in the herb. THC also has other medicinal qualities such as – pain relief, treatment of nausea and vomiting, the stimulation of appetite, improves breathing in asthmatics, relieves eye pressure in glaucoma patients and it induces sleep.

CBD is not psychoactive (you don’t get high when ingesting it), and it is an anti-inflammatory, stress reducer, anti-epileptic, anti-anxiety, anti-biotic, and is also used for treating pain, although it is not quite as effective as its cousin THC in fighting pain. Both THC and CBD are true marvels of natural medicine. They both have their purpose and each one works on different ailments in the body.

When used together, however, THC and CBD have a synergistic effect. The CBD actually cuts down on or subdues the potential high and psychoactive reaction one might get from a THC heavy tincture or bud. The combination of the two cannabinoids also produce a real calming effect, which may appeal to medical patients or older users who are averse to the side-effects or the paranoiac feelings that can come with too much THC. To put it simply, CBD helps balance out the stronger psychoactive attributes of THC, while providing pain relief and other very positive health benefits.

CBD and THC can now be isolated from other cannabinoids in the marijuana plant and are available in blends or can be purchased separately in oil or tincture form. There are also many strains of marijuana that are available that either have more THC or more CBD in them, whichever the user is more comfortable with. THC is the main pain reliever in marijuana but CBD is a wonderful compliment to it. So, if you are trying to reduce your pain, you may want to buy a strain or tincture or oil that is a 50/50 mixture of both cannabinoids or one that has slightly more THC in it. If, however, you don’t want to get high every time you medicate yourself with cannabis, start with a strain that has a higher percentage of CBD in it with just a small amount of THC. That will keep you in a euphoric mood as it cuts down on inflammation and pain. Whatever you do, don’t worry, because there is an ideal strain out there just for you and your pain.


Cannabigerol (CBG): Another Miracle Cannabinoid

There’s a new marshal in town and its name is CBG, otherwise known as cannabigerol. We’ve heard a lot about several of the more famous of the 80 or so other cannabinoids found in marijuana, but we seldom, if ever hear about CBG. That’s because THC and CBD have taken and maintained their positioning in the spotlight of the pantheon of healing cannabinoids found naturally in the cannabis plant.

THC, (tetrahydrocannabinol) of course, is the main psychoactive element in the pot plant and it has some enormous medical benefits, including pain relief, relieving PTSD symptoms such as flashbacks, emotional turmoil and nightmares. CBD, (cannabidiol), the most widely studied and reviewed cannabinoid, has surprised the world with its fantastic and almost unbelievable effects on epileptic patients and the amazing reduction of seizures in those sufferers. CBD also has been shown to have great anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety properties along with being quite useful in the treatment of multiple sclerosis and the lessening of cancer pain.

CBG, although it is found in lower concentrations in the marijuana plant than its cousins THC and CBD, it is much more plentiful in the hemp plant. Growers have  discovered, however, that if they harvest the marijuana buds earlier than usual the THC and CBD concentrations will be lower and the CBG extracts will be much greater. Don’t you just love those marijuana growers and their inquisitive minds and sense of experimentation?

CBG has been studied by a number of researchers including an Italian team in 2013 that identified several ways this cannabinoid can be helpful in the medical world. One major discovery was its anti-inflammatory effects, especially on patients afflicted with inflammatory bowel syndrome. They found that CBG markedly reduced the inflammation of the intestine and thus reduced the discomfort and pain of the person who was distressed by the malady. Another research project involving CBG was published in the Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics journal demonstrated stunning benefits for glaucoma sufferers. The CBG reduced internal pressure on the eye and allowed increased eye fluid drainage, which eased the symptoms and the pain of glaucoma.

CBG has also been found to reduce nausea and have anti-emetic effects, that is, it stops a person from vomiting. Research has also demonstrated that CBG can actually slow the growth and spread of skin tumor cells and the Italian researchers have seen indications that CBG could suppress the progression of colon cancer. Other studies on CBG reveal that it is an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, pain reliever, stimulates the growth of brain cells and promotes bone growth.

CBG will soon have the ability and the clout to take center stage as far as medical applications go in the cannabis plant. It has been ignored long enough and is on its way to being on an equal footing with THC and CBD. Its reputation as one of the most important curative ingredients in this most wonderful of all natural herbs is growing rapidly, to say the least. Keep your eyes peeled for more information and new findings on this awesome cannabinoid, CBG

Cannabinoids Explained (Part 3): Cannabigerol (CBG)

Cannabis Topicals

Cannabis seems to be the plant with the most innovative potential these days. Ever since the states began to decriminalize it, entrepreneurs have been coming up with new ways to market and use its healing properties. Smoking the medicinal herb has always been an option and adding it to your mom’s old-fashioned brownie recipe has been a staple for decades. But then there are those really creative cannabis connoisseurs cum impresarios who have concocted edible pieces of art that resemble the finest chocolates and sweets available at only the finest confectioners’ shops. Artistry at its finest. Just look around at your dispensary’s display shelves and you’ll usually see all types of food products with interesting names and colorful packing, all with some amount of marijuana in their list of ingredients.

Lately, besides all the yummy cannabis edibles that are at hand, a new way to benefit your body from this most wonderful herb has been storming the country: cannabis topicals.

As we’ve mentioned in other blogs, the cannabis plant contains more than 80 known cannabinoids, which are the chemical compounds in marijuana like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) that make medical marijuana such a healing plant. Research is ongoing for many of the cannabinoids and the two superstars just mentioned have been in the spotlight for the last few years because more research has been done on them than any other cannabinoid. THC is a proven pain remedy along with relieving pressure in glaucoma patients. It also makes breathing easier for asthma sufferers and stimulates the appetite in those that have HIV/AIDS and are undergoing chemotherapy. CBD is used for preventing seizures in epileptic patients, decreasing anxiety and reducing cancer pain.

CBD is now being used extensively in body-care products because of its anti-inflammatory, analgesic and cell-regenerative properties. According to Vogue Magazine, CBD in lotions and body creams “can bring localized benefits without detectable brain buzz,” brought on by the use of THC, which is the psychoactive element in cannabis. Many of those lotions and creams soothe painful spots on the body and fight eczema, aging skin and acne.

Another cannabinoid that manufacturers are infusing their body creams and salves with is CBG (Cannabigerol). This cannabinoid is non-psychoactive and is a great anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory that is used as a preventative and healing mouthwash.

One entrepreneur who has an Oregon-based body care company says that although she ships CBD-only products throughout the country, formulas that also contain THC are much more effective because of the entourage effect. That is, a synergistic effect occurs where the overall effect is greater that the sum of its parts. She can ship her products because the CBD comes from hemp, which is legal; it’s a federal offense to ship a schedule 1 drug, which is what marijuana is still classified.

Now that innovators, scientists and entrepreneurs are pushing the envelope a little more each day, who knows what the next cannabis-based products will be. Do you have any ideas?

Hashishene – The New Name For A New Terpene

One of the fun parts of writing is all the reading and research that has to be done in order to complete the blog or article. What?! Yes, I said that was the fun part, even though we know that a lot of people might think it’s a crazy thing to say. Okay, let’s rephrase it: One of the fun parts of writing is all the learning that comes with it. How’s that? Okay.

So, reading about terpenes, (we’ve written about them in some earlier blogs) has opened up new doors to our knowledge of how cannabis is structured and what effects they may have. We learned why different strains of marijuana taste and smell the way they do (because of terpenes) and that some terpenes have unique properties that have been shown to have highly medicinal benefits to them. Scientists have isolated over a hundred terpenes in cannabis, and their continuing research, there’s that word again, is turning up some very interesting results.

Without going too deep into the heavy scientific language that is used in sterile research laboratories, we’ll try to explain in layman’s terms what a certain study discovered and why they named a new terpene Hashishene.

Myrcene, also known as β-myrcene, (beta-myrcene), as we have posted about before, is one of the most abundant chemical elements and also one of the most important terpenes in cannabis. When ingested, it produces analgesic effects (pain relief) and sedative effects along with being a great anti-inflammatory. Myrcene is also found in hops, lemongrass and mangos, and that’s why pot and mangos as well as beer and weed go so well together. Drinking lemongrass tea can also take the edge off of bodily pain and inflamed joints and muscles because of the myrcene in it.

So, hashishene is what some French researchers have dubbed the new terpene that β-myrcene transforms into through the process of making hash. During the extraction and concentration of trichomes and terpenes from the bud of the cannabis plant, photo-oxidation occurs, that is, oxidation caused by light. This action changes β-myrcene into a brand new terpene that the scientists have dubbed hashishene.

The process of making hash from fresh or dried buds, produces clear differences in the terpene profile. The hash samples that were analyzed clearly showed the new terpene, hashishene, to be exclusive to the hash and not in the marijuana that it was derived from, even though the new terpene was definitely transformed from the source marijuana and its myrcene. It is as though a new species of terpene has developed or mutated through a man-made process of extracting, concentrating and then allowing the resins from the terpenes and trichomes to oxidize by immersing them in light. It sounds so simple and yet something new has been discovered.

The scientists are certainly happy with this discovery and they are now investigating the potential of this myrcene derivative to see what super medicinal qualities it may hold for us in the future. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why this new terpene has gotten a name for itself: hashishene.

A Step Into The World of Medicinal Mushrooms

Most of us, hopefully all of us, have been cautioned about picking and eating wild mushrooms when we’re out on a hike or just appreciating nature. The care and attention our guardians warned us of the dangers of some mushrooms, should be applauded and taken seriously because it may have save our lives. The only thing they left out when they lovingly told us about ‘bad’ wild mushrooms is that there are a great deal of ‘good’ mushrooms out there that taste great and enhance meals but that also have a multitude of health benefits.

There are over 10,000 mushroom species and what most people aren’t aware of is that only about 100 of those are toxic and should be avoided at all costs because of their virulent effects. That leaves over 9,900 or so species of mushrooms that are quite consumable and that possess a number of wonderful qualities for our bodies and taste buds. The most common mushroom consumed by Americans is the button mushroom. Steve Farrar, who is one of the country’s top mushroom experts, says that we devour around 900 million pounds of mushrooms each year. That’s a lot of mushrooms! And about 95% of those tasty little fungi are the button mushrooms, along with two of its cousins, the Portobello and the Crimini.

The button mushroom is a low-calorie food that contains protein, B vitamins, vitamin D2 and enzymes, while the Portobello has plenty of fiber, pantothenic acid, riboflavin and niacin, (B vitamins) potassium, iron, copper, phosphorus, and selenium. The Crimini mushrooms are a good source of vitamin B-12, which is hard to get in a vegetarian diet, and it also provides calcium, iron selenium and is a great source of protein and fiber.

Some other mushrooms, among many others, that are used in foods and ingestible not only for their unique taste but for medicinal qualities are Shitake, Reishi, Turkey Tail and Himematsutake mushroom. They can be eaten raw or cooked and these and other beneficial mushrooms are being used in concentrates and extracts for their pharmacological effects.

Shitake mushrooms can be found in gourmet kitchens and also in an herbologist’s medicine cabinet. Shitake contains lentinan, which is used to treat stomach and other cancers with its anti-tumor properties. It also fights anemia, ulcers, gallstones and has been discovered to protect the liver. Shitake is an antibacterial and antiviral, and can stabilize blood sugar and it contains eritadenine, which tends to lower cholesterol.

Reishi mushrooms have been around as a medicinal for thousands of years in Asia. In China, it is known as lingzhi, the ‘spirit plant.’ It can reduce prostate symptoms and regulate immune systems. The Reishi mushroom is an antiviral that has shown positive results with Herpes and Epstein-Barr viruses – along with being an antifungal, which works on Candida. Reishi has been used as an anti-inflammatory and has been shown to reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. This great mushroom also helps regulate and normalize blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

The Turkey Tail mushroom is also known as the “cloud mushroom” or Coriolis. This magnificent fungus is one of the most studied of all medicinal mushrooms and has been in many clinical trials. The NIH the National Institute of Health, an official United States government agency, poured several million dollars into clinical research of the Turkey tail in 2011 and found that the mushroom, when given daily to women with stage I-III breast cancer, actually improved their immune function. One of the polysaccharides in Turkey Tail, PSP, was shown to improve the immune system in 70 to 97 percent of cancer patients. This fantastic mushroom is being used to treat a host of other maladies, including, Herpes, E. coli, HIV, Candida and Pneumonia.

Himematsutake mushrooms are very popular in Japan and are used medicinally by hundreds of thousands of residents in that island nation. Scientists are just finding out how powerful this fungus is especially for its anti-cancer effects, along with protecting the body from the effects of chemotherapy and radiation. It is also being studied for the potential medicinal benefits of treating polio, improving skin and hair, regulating cholesterol and helping diabetics become less insulin resistant.

So, next time you walk through the produce department in your favorite health food store (they usually have a wider selection of mushrooms than supermarkets) reach out and take a risk – try a new mushroom once a week and see what happens. You might not only find that your taste buds will thank you, but maybe your immune system will be smiling too.