The extensively-studied phenomenon known as “Forest Bathing” in Japan and South Korea and as “Kneipp Therapy” in Germany involves exposure to high concentrations of naturally-occurring aerosolized phytochemicals in conifer & deciduous forests.
This natural treatment for conditions ranging from asthma to dermatitis has been documented and validated by a raft of high-quality medical and scientific research.
There is no question that “Forest Bathing” has therapeutic benefits. For example, positive effects on NK (Natural Killer) cell activity have been shown with in vitro treatment of tumor cell lines with monoterpenes released from trees (and of course present in Cannabis flowers) such as d-limonene and α-pinene, and also in forest bathing trips. The anti-tumor effects act by increasing intra-cellular levels of anti-tumor proteins such as perforin, granulysin, and granzymes A/B.
Haven’t heard of “Forest Bathing”? I hadn’t either until I ran across it during some intense research into naturally-occurring environmental Cannabis terpene aerosols. The ancient Japanese natural health practice called “Shinrin Yoku”, defined as “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing”, has a wide range of rigorously tested and proven health benefits.
In 2005 the Japanese government introduced a nationwide “Therapeutic Effects of Forests Plan” that pays “Forest Bathing” health benefits. The government says that it pays for this therapy because of the proven reduction in other health care costs across the spectrum.
South Korean scientists and public health researchers have documented a wide range of positive health benefits from exposure to terpenes in the air of coniferous forests, with variations among the terpenes in different species of trees at different locations accounting for differences in the health benefits of inhalation of forest air.
They have divided the country into numerous micro-climes where particular combinations of coniferous tree species co-exist and perfume the air, each location offering a particular healing, stimulating mix of terpenes and other phytochemicals.
Interestingly, the dominant terpenes in the air of these forests are the same terpenes that characterize different Cannabis strains and the same kinds of variability in Cannabis strains similarly account for their differing health benefits.
There is also a natural medicinal therapy in Germany called “Kneipp Therapy”, that involves a series of exercise routines done in a terpene-rich forest environment. Kneipp Therapy has been studied using quality clinical research protocols and the exercises have been found to be significantly more beneficial when performed in a forest environment compared to other kinds of locations.
So, it’s both very interesting and very significant for establishing the validity of the Cannabis “Entourage Effect” that the dominant terpene profiles of all of the therapeutic forests studied in the Japanese and Korean “Forest Bath” scientific literature (cited below) appear to be various combinations of myrcene, pinene, limonene, linelool, and a number of less-celebrated but still important Cannabis terpenes like cynene, terpinene and boneal. There are many other “minor” phytochemicals shared between the airborne perfumes of Cannabis flowers and therapeutic forests, and almost certainly many of these will ultimately be shown to play significant roles in both the Forest and the Cannabis “Entourage Effect”.
Bottom line – I believe that there is an inescapable argument in favor of the Cannabis “Entourage Effect” presented by the “Forest Entourage Effect”, which itself is definitively established in international, if not US, scientific and medical literature.
There has been extensive research in multiple advanced countries on the health benefits of exposure by inhalation and skin absorption to the airborne terpenes in forest environments – interestingly enough, these turn out to be the same terpenes that are inhaled in the vapors from Cannabis flowers.
“Forest Bathing” research establishes that inhaling a naturally-occurring mix of terpene emissions or vapors has far greater health benefits than exposure to or ingestion of any of the terpenes and other phytochemicals singularly, like in a pill or other oral or topical medication.
Cannabis visionaries have always known that the THC was only one element of the sensual pleasures and only one of the sources of health benefits from the sacred flower, just as wine lovers have always known that the alcohol is only a relatively small part of their total experience. Nobody drinks a bottle of Etude Pinot Noir or Chateau Pomerol Bordeaux for the alcohol, and nobody chooses which Cannabis flower to enjoy simply on the basis of THC content, although that approach seems to dominate much of today’s adolescent-style Cannabis marketing. Even the most dedicated couch-locked stoner knows very well that there is a world beyond THC and may spend a lot of time (if they’re not too ripped) thinking about taste and aroma options when they’re choosing between Durban Poison and Granddaddy Purple.
However, the concept of a Cannabis “Entourage Effect” has been universally ridiculed by anti-Cannabis forces who say that the supposed variety of effects of different Cannabis strains is simply a kind of mass delusion. They claim that there is no evidence that different phytochemical profiles of different Cannabis strains signal different health and well-being effects, and say that in their expert, informed scientific opinion such observations are imaginary. While their criticisms are couched in the careful, apparently rational language of science, and even rated a major article in Scientific American in 2017, all of the criticisms amount to a simple “It’s all in your head” dismissal.
In other words, the anti-Cannabis establishment says tough, there’s no scientific evidence to support your claim, and there’s not going to be any evidence either because we aren’t going to fund research.
Well, I’ve got some news for these die-hard prohibitionists.
OK, they have managed to impede research that could validate many of the medical benefits of the whole Cannabis Flower as opposed to plain old THC extract. With notable medical research exceptions, many of the health and sensual benefits ascribed to the Cannabis Flower are currently only validated by experience and consensus, both of which the scientists are fond of reminding us can be way off target. They point to the flat earth delusion, or to many other instances where “everybody knows” something that simply isn’t true, and smugly point out that nobody can prove all these marvelous things we’re saying about Cannabis.
It’s hard to find a reasonable explanation of why the Federal government has arrayed its dark-side powers against the Cannabis flower, but in this match between the Flower and the Power it’s beginning to look like the Power is going to lose this one because Forest Bathing research actually provides plenty of evidence . The research unequivocally supports the validity of the “Entourage Effect” by demonstrating that naturally-occurring environmental terpene and phytochemical aerosols do have measurable, verifiable positive impacts on overall health as well as on specific diseases and conditions, and do vary among forest tree species and environments in the same ways that Cannabis flowers vary among strains in response to environmental variables.
Forest Bathing research is directly applicable to validating the “Entourage Effect” of Cannabis terpenes and phytochemicals that are widely observed but, according to the Federal propagandists, not “scientifically verified”. As an example, there is solid research that says that terpene emissions from plants are directly correlated with the concentration of terpenes in the plant. The higher the concentration of terpenes, the greater the emissions from the plant. “Forest Bathing” research naturally focuses on terpene emissions from coniferous and to a lesser degree deciduous trees, but the relationship between terpene concentrations and emission rates has been widely replicated in studies with agricultural crops and seems to apply to all plants.
The bottom line is that clinical literature as well as popular wisdom in several countries points to the health benefits of inhaling and “bathing in” an atmosphere rich in terpenes and other phytochemicals. While the health benefits of many of the individual components of this phyto-soup are only recently becoming well-known, the benefits of exposure to the entire environmental complex of a pine/conifer forest are familiar to anyone who has ever walked outdoors that first morning in a forest campground.
A recent study concluded: “Exposure to natural environment is beneficial to human health. Among environmental exposures, the effects of forest have been emphasized in many studies. Recently, it has been shown that a short trip to forest environments has therapeutic effects in children with asthma and atopic dermatitis. Based on these studies, healthcare programs to use forest have been developed in several countries. Forest bathing has beneficial effects on human health via showering of forest aerosols. Terpenes that consist of multiple isoprene units are the largest class of organic compounds produced by various plants, and one of the major components of forest aerosols. Traditionally, terpene-containing plant oil has been used to treat various diseases without knowing the exact functions or the mechanisms of action of the individual bioactive compounds.”
So, it’s clear that relaxing for a few hours in a forest environment filled with terpenes can be beneficial and even therapeutic for people with a wide range of diseases and conditions from dermatitis to cancer. Do a simple internet search for “forest bathing’ and you’ll find books, resorts, videos and even classes. But enter “cannabis bathing” into a search and you’ll get bath salts, bubble bath, and a lot of fruit-flavored massage and lubricating oils.
For the past year or so I have been exclusively using a vaporizer to enjoy Cannabis flowers and I can add my experiences to the observations of many others that whole flower Cannabis vapor is a marvelous clean, natural high which, now that I realize it, is almost exactly like stepping out of my tent high in the pine forests of the Oregon Cascades and inhaling that first breath of vibrant, aromatic, high-energy mountain air.
So in my opinion all this research on “Forest Bathing” makes the smug “You can’t prove it and we’re not going to let you” chant of the anti-Cannabis “scientists” pretty much irrelevant. Sooner or later there will actually be research on every aspect of inhaled and absorbed Cannabis terpenes and other phytochemicals but until then the parallel research on Forest Bathing should be more than adequate scientific evidence for any reasonable person of the validity of the Cannabis “Entourage Effect”.
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Tsunetsugu Y, Park BJ, Miyazaki Y. Trends in research related to “Shinrin-yoku” (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing) in Japan. Environ Health Prev Med. 2010;15:27–37. doi: 10.1007/s12199-009-0091-z. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
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Park BJ, Tsunetsugu Y, Kasetani T, Kagawa T, Miyazaki Y. The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing): evidence from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan. Environ Health Prev Med. 2010;15:18–26. doi: 10.1007/s12199-009-0086-9. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
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I’ve just heard about a young doctor, a friend of our friend Hannah, who has devoted her life to working with poor people in medical clinics that she and others founded and ran in Austin, Texas. She has apparently just been diagnosed with MS, in her mid-30’s! All that dedicated work, and all that good heart, and all that caring for others looks like it will be cut short by this awful disease.
But what has really got me going is that she lives in Texas, as I do, where ignorant, self-serving, “religious” hypocrites have managed to keep Cannabis out of the hands of people who could have benefitted from self-medication for decades. Many, many people have suffered and died needlessly as a result of the broad, punitive laws crafted by these Satanic beings. In fact, there are still people in prison in Texas who were sent there decades ago for the possession of a single joint.
Those who maintain and benefit from the system that does this should, in a just world, be put on trial for their blatant, deliberate, conspiratorial crimes against humanity, although they are so mired in illusion that even if they could be tried and convicted they would probably be genuinely confused about why.
The reason that I am particularly incensed is that I’ve been seeing so much of this kind of evil hypocrisy lately. For the past few months I have been gathering research for a newsletter I intend to begin publishing soon that will be titled Straight Talk On Medical Cannabis™, in which I will review and comment on research published in peer-reviewed medical journals worldwide on the therapeutic use of Cannabis.
My purpose in doing this is to show, largely by inference, that the medical research community is fully aware of the wide-ranging therapeutic properties of Cannabis, and also that they are completely in the iron grip of governments and corporations that are directing their work in very specific directions – away from any research into the Cannabis flower itself and focusing on only two things – (1) how “harmful” the use of the natural flower is and how joyful people should be that they are being protected from this harm by vigilant governments, and (2) how confident people should be that Pig Pharma is working overtime to develop actual, real pharmaceuticals “based on” Cannabis that people can use “safely”.
Just this morning I was looking at an especially interesting article that, like most, is more relevant for what it does not say than what it does. However, the author is, unlike many of his peers, at least willing to admit the well-established fact that generations of people have recognized the value of Cannabis in treating a wide range of diseases, including neurological diseases like MS and Parkinson’s.
So I would like to share the information on this bit of research, including a link to its PubMed abstract, along with my own observations. This is an example of what is coming soon in Straight Talk On Medical Cannabis™, which I plan to publish twice a week.
Curr Clin Pharmacol. 2016;11(2):110-7.
Endocannabinoid System: A Multi-Facet Therapeutic Target
This research discusses drugs based on Cannabis, not the therapeutic value of the Cannabis flower itself, nor does it cite any well-designed, peer-reviewed research (probably because there is almost none) on the relative therapeutic value of specific Cannabis strains in neurological disease. This is typical of officially sanctioned and funded research. Pig Pharma and governments, working together, do not want to look into whether plain old Cannabis flowers that anyone can grow will do the job. They want to find a laboratory pharmaceutical they can patent, control, sell and tax at huge profit.
But in spite of this well-hidden bias, the importance of research like this lies in what it does NOT say, and the true implications of what it DOES say, for people with neurological diseases. Reading between the lines of all such research it is clear that people currently suffering the devastation of neurological disease need to strongly consider self-medicating rather than waiting for Pig Pharma to develop a pharmaceutical “based on” Cannabis.
As the author confesses “Study of cannabinoids was at bay for very long time and its therapeutic value could not be adequately harnessed due to its legal status as proscribed drug in most countries. The research of drugs acting on endocannabinoid system has seen many ups and downs in the recent past.”
He continues “ Presently, it is known that endocannabinoids have a role in pathology of many disorders and they also serve “protective role” in many medical conditions. Several diseases like emesis, pain, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, anorexia, epilepsy, glaucoma, schizophrenia, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, obesity, metabolic syndrome related diseases, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Tourette’s syndrome could possibly be treated by drugs modulating endocannabinoid system.”
“Could possibly be treated” – duh.
There are a lot of other research articles like this one, published in India in an Indian medical journal that, taken together, confirm obliquely what many people in Cannabis-legal states already know – that the Cannabis flower itself, without any pharmaceutical manipulation or intervention, is an amazing natural medicine that works extremely well for many people who suffer from all of the diseases that the author mentions above, and many more.
The only real issue is that only people who live in “Cannabis-legal” states have access to this natural medicine without risking prison, while people who are trapped in “illegal” states like Texas like this brave young doctor with MS would, if they were caught self-medicating, quite likely die behind bars. I hope that she can escape to Colorado, or Oregon, or California … anywhere but Texas.
From time to time I find it useful to read the US Constitution, especially when the United States government is attempting to assert a claim to its power to enforce any law passed by Congress that infringes unconstitutionally on the rights of the People and the States. So please bear with me as I explore what appears to be a renewed attack by the United States on the rights of the States and the People with regard to Cannabis.
I do understand that dissertations on Constitutional law by “jailhouse lawyers” can be tedious, so I’ll do my best to make this relevant to the Cannabis community and the challenges we appear to be facing from Daffy Don and his gang that can’t shoot straight.
The Constitution gives the United States the power to make laws, which must in every case be consistent with all provisions of the Constitution. This power to make laws is given to the US Congress, which has a long history of making laws that ultimately, when challenged, do not meet the test of Constitutionality. They are, after all, largely a band of fools.
However, all Federal (United States) agencies operate under the cover of laws passed by the Congress, which is why we have agencies like the DEA and FDA exercising powers and creating regulations that are not specifically authorized by the Constitution, but which are permitted by the enabling legislation passed by Congress – which they have a right to do as long as those powers and regulations, along with the enabling legislation, do not violate the Constitution.
This is where I would argue that attempts by agencies operating under laws passed by Congress to prohibit medicinal and recreational Cannabis violate the Constitution and are egregiously illegal and therefore are not enforceable.
Under Article 10, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
So according to Article 10, since the power to regulate natural substances with medicinal or recreational value is not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor is it prohibited by those States that have legalized either or both medicinal and recreational Cannabis, then any such powers of regulation of natural substances with medicinal and/or recreational value including Cannabis are “…reserved to the States respectively, or to the People”.
Now, if it weren’t for the 18th Amendment there would be absolutely no precedent for Congress trying to regulate substances. But they did pass the 18th amendment, asserting that the People did not have a right to consume “intoxicating liquors”, and that the United States had the right to regulate those particular substances (intoxicating liquors) and proceeded to enforce that assertion by the creation of police and judicial powers.
Merriam Webster defines “liquors” as
- Alcoholic drink, especially distilled spirits.
Merriam Webster defined intoxicating as
- of (alcoholic drink or a drug) liable to cause intoxication.
And, Merriam Webster defines intoxication as
- an abnormal state that is essentially a poisoning (carbon monoxide intoxication; the condition of having physical or mental control markedly diminished by the effects of alcohol or drugs (drank to the point of intoxication), (cocaine intoxication)
It is obvious that there is no basis in scientific or medical literature to classify Cannabis as an “intoxicating” substance, and it is of course not a “liquor”, nor is there any basis for claiming that the effects of Cannabis can be defined as intoxication. Alcohol of course is an intoxicating drug and does operate through selective poisoning (intoxication) of the body.
Clearly the Constitution is focused on intoxicating liquids or substances that produce intoxication. And, there is overwhelming scientific and medical evidence that Cannabis does not operate on the human body or mind through the process of intoxication.
However, even with all that, under the 21st (Repeal) Amendment, the US government admitted that it did not have the authority to prohibit the People’s right to possess and consume “intoxicating liquors”, except in those states that themselves prohibited that possession and consumption. (Think of “Wet” and “Dry” counties in some States, and the reservation of the right to sell beer and alcohol by the State to itself, as in “State Stores” in Pennsylvania.)
Taking the above arguments into full account, it is clear that the only way that Congress can Constitutionally pass laws that empower United States agencies to enact regulations that prohibit the States and the People from possessing, growing, buying and selling, transporting and consuming Cannabis is by making an Amendment to the Constitution. Good luck with that, assholes.
So what the Cannabis community should be doing right now is working with the Attorneys General of those States that have legalized Cannabis to ensure that they are fully prepared to defend the Constitution when Daffy Don’s gangsters come calling, to the point of ordering State Police and the State National Guard to arrest and deport beyond State borders (preferably doing the Perp Walk in cuffs across the State line) any United States agents who attempt to violate the Constitutional rights of the People who it is their sworn duty to defend. The AG’s should also lock all offices of these Federal agencies in the state and seize all weapons. They might go further and issue arrest warrants for any Congressmen who passed the enabling legislation, as well as any officials of any of the agencies who are attempting to enforce these unconstitutional laws if they should ever set foot in the State. That would include the President.