CBD Oil Mold Illness By Mary Ackerley MD, MD(H) | 2018-01-04T22:09:46+07:00 March 22nd, 2014 | Featured | This is a transcript of a talk I gave recently describing how neuroinflammation can In uneasy news for medical marijuana users, UC Davis researchers have identified potentially lethal bacteria and mold on samples from 20 Northern California pot growers and dispensaries, leading the doctors to warn patients with weakened immune systems to avoid smoking, vaping or inhaling aerosolized cannabis. In the second part of this series, Emerald investigates toxic mold illness, detoxing and why sufferers are turning to alternatives like CBD.
CBD Oil Mold Illness
By Mary Ackerley MD, MD(H) | 2018-01-04T22:09:46+07:00 March 22nd, 2014 | Featured |
This is a transcript of a talk I gave recently describing how neuroinflammation can trigger psychiatric symptoms. It was published on the Paradigm Change website. This a website [. ]
- Brains on Fire: The Sequel
- The Importance of Copper
- When a Tick Bites a Mold Patient
- Clean Air Resources
- Respiratory Health Tools
- PSYCHOBIOTICS – HOW THE BACTERIA IN YOUR GUT INFLUENCE MOOD – AHIMA on Psychobiotics – How the Bacteria in Your Gut Influence Mood
- Natalie on Psychobiotics – How the Bacteria in Your Gut Influence Mood
- Carol Saia on Inflammation Precedes Depression
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UC Davis study identifies potentially lethal bacteria and mold in cannabis grown in northern California
In uneasy news for medical marijuana users, UC Davis researchers have identified potentially lethal bacteria and mold on samples from 20 Northern California pot growers and dispensaries, leading the doctors to warn patients with weakened immune systems to avoid smoking, vaping or inhaling aerosolized cannabis.
“For the vast majority of cannabis users, this is not of great concern,” said Dr. George Thompson, professor in the UC Davis Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. But those with weakened immune systems – such as from leukemia, lymphoma, AIDS or cancer treatments – could unwittingly be exposing themselves to serious lung infections when they smoke or vape medical marijuana.
“We strongly advise them to avoid it,” Thompson said.
The study’s findings were published online in a research letter in the journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection.
It comes as and a majority of U.S. doctors support the use of medical marijuana to relieve patients’ symptoms, such as pain, nausea and loss of appetite during chemotherapy and other treatments.
Typically, patients with lower-functioning immune systems are advised to avoid unwashed fruits or vegetables and cut flowers because they may harbor potentially harmful bacteria and mold, or fungi. Marijuana belongs in that same risk category, according to Thompson.
“Cannabis is not on that list and it’s a big oversight, in our opinion,” Thompson said. “It’s basically dead vegetative material and always covered in fungi.”
The study began several years ago after Dr. Joseph Tuscano, a UC Davis blood cancer specialist, began seeing leukemia patients who were developing rare, very severe lung infections. One patient died.
Suspecting there might be a link between the infections and his patients’ use of medical marijuana, Tuscano teamed with Thompson to study whether soil-borne pathogens might be hiding in medical marijuana samples.
The marijuana was gathered from 20 Northern California growers and dispensaries by Steep Hill Labs, a cannabis testing company in Berkeley. It was distilled into DNA samples and sent to UC Davis for analysis, which found multiple kinds of bacteria and fungi, some of which are linked to serious lung infections.
There was a “surprisingly” large number of bacteria and mold, said Donald Land, a UC Davis chemistry professor who is chief scientific consultant for Steep Hill Labs.
The analysis found numerous types of bacteria and fungi, including organic pathogens that can lead to a particularly deadly infection known as Mucor.
“There’s a misconception by people who think that because it’s from a dispensary, then it must be safe. That’s not the case,” said UC Davis’ Tuscano. “This is potentially a direct inoculation into the lungs of these contaminated organisms, especially if you use a bong or vaporization technique.”
Patients with compromised immune systems are especially susceptible to infections, usually acquired in their environment or in the hospital. But given the testing results, Tuscano said, it’s possible that even some of the more common infections, such as aspergillus, could also be attributed to contaminated medical marijuana.
Tuscano emphasized that until more research is done, he can’t be 100 percent assured that contaminated cannabis caused the infections, but “it’s highly suspicious.”
Under , the voter-approved initiative that eased restrictions on , the state is expected to have cannabis testing regulations in place for medical marijuana by Jan. 1.
“Patient safety is one of our chief concerns in this process,” said Alex Traverso, spokesman for the state, in an email. He said the state’s new medical-marijuana testing standards will soon be available for public review. “We welcome everyone’s input to ensure that testing standards are as strong as we need them to be.”
Until then, consumers are largely on their own.
The vast majority of cannabis sold in California is not tested, according to Land.
“You can’t tell what’s in (a marijuana product) by looking at it, smelling it, feeling it, or a person in a dispensary telling you it’s safe or clean,” he said. “The only way to ensure you have a safe, clean product is to test it and be sure it’s handled according to good manufacturing practices.”
Some medical marijuana clinics already do voluntary testing of their products. Kimberly Cargile, director of A Therapeutic Alternative, a medical marijuana clinic in Sacramento, said a sample from every incoming pound of pot is sent to a local, independent testing lab.
“It’s for consumer protection. It’s a healthy first step,” Cargile said.
To avoid the risk of exposure to severe lung infections, Thompson and Tuscano advise cancer patients and others with hampered immune systems to avoid smoking, vaping or inhaling aerosolized cannabis altogether. Cannabis edibles, such as baked cookies or brownies, could be a safer alternative.
Theoretically, Thompson said, the consumption of cooked edibles seems safer than smoking or vaping, but it’s not scientifically proven.
“I give that advice with a caveat: We don’t know it’s safer; we think it probably is,” he said.
For patients heeding the UC Davis advice to avoid smoking or vaping medical marijuana, “it’s always better to err on the side of caution,” said medical marijuana advocate Cargile. There are plenty of alternatives, she noted, including cannabis salves, lotions, sprays, tinctures and suppositories.
“It was Traumatic:” Detoxing From Toxic Environments, and Turning to Clean Cannabis (PART 2)
Millions of Americans are living and working in toxic environments. In the second part of this two-part series, the Emerald investigates the prevalent, and severely under-diagnosed set of environmentally acquired illness caused by exposure to toxic fungi, and why sufferers are turning to alternatives. Read the first part here.
“It was Traumatic”
Kelly Desmore’s had just moved into a newly remodeled house right before she began experiencing the initial symptoms of toxic mold poisoning.
That year, she remembers, “there were unusually heavy rains [in Chico],” and aspects of the building she was living in did not properly dry.
It was only after her diagnosis that she discovered mold in her home. Since then, she says, her life dramatically changed.
She’s experienced depression in addition to skin, memory, sinus and digestive issues. Her menstrual cycle became unbearable. She also developed hypersensitivity—orally, visually, physically—and rage, she explains. “It ruined my life, my relationship.”
Desmore developed skin issues on her face, and throughout her body.
Mold poisoning is a spectrum, she says, “I’m on the extreme end.”
For three years, Desmore was bedridden, she explains. “The pain levels were indescribable. I couldn’t sleep, eat, or walk […].”
The hormonal imbalances, and mood swings were like “manopause to the extreme,” she adds. “That was almost harder than anything else. It was traumatic.”
Desmore lost her ability to have children, her job, her home, and many of her possessions. She says that, like survivors of the Camp Fire are experiencing, she had to start over.
Many moldies—a term Desmore and others use to describe sufferers of the illness—have to start over from scratch, leaving their home and belongings behind as items like clothing and furniture can carry to mycotoxins, therefore inhibiting a full recovery.
However, the worst part about the experience, Desmore says, was not being believed.
Misunderstood and Under-Diagnosed
Mycotoxins are well understood by scientists. However, environmentally acquired illnesses—like those caused by excessive indoor dampness—are not.
In fact, there’s no official record of just how many suffer from these illnesses, or fungal infections.
But, based on WHO estimates and U.S. Census Bureau information, it’s safe to say millions of Americans are affected.
For example, the WHO finds that between 10%-50% of buildings in affluent countries have microbial pollution. Rates are much higher in developing nations, and in low income populations.
In the U.S., there are more than 138 million housing units . Each unit has an average of 2.6 inhabitants.
That means that, at the very least, 13.8 million (10%) households nationwide—and their 35 million inhabitants—are currently exposed to toxic indoor conditions.
Despite this, doctors aren’t looking for such environmental illnesses, explains Dr. Hope. “And [physicians] can’t diagnose something they don’t consider.”
Keeping Doctors in the Dark
Historically, information available to doctors was intentionally misleading, or attacked. That caused confusion, and doubt among medical professionals.
For example, Hope says, “a lot of patients told their doctor what was going on, and were challenged.”
Lawsuits are a major incentive to keep doctors in the dark. “The reality is that there’s motivation and incentive to keep doctors from getting properly educated on this,” she says. “It’s a very, very expensive problem [to address]—for homeowners, for employers, for insurance companies.”
She continues, “Wishing it away isn’t going to change the problem. Ignoring it, covering it up, or distracting from it—none of those things work for a person’s health.”
Just an Allergy?
Mold toxicity is commonly downplayed in seriousness, or misunderstood as an allergy.
Allergies involve our immune system’s interaction to outside agents—like mold spores, or dust and dust mites, which are commonly found in water damaged buildings.
However, unlike allergens—mycotoxins cause direct injury to cells.
Water damaged conditions can make you sick a lot more ways than an allergy. For awhile, however, it was the only thing acknowledged, says Dr. Hope.
Though that’s starting to change—effects of toxigenic molds are still minimized by health organizations like the CDC.
The CDC’s Basic Facts on Mold and Dampness acknowledges the prevalence of fungal infections, but stops just shy of recognizing the seriousness of exposure. For example:
“Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma , may have more intense reactions. “
—CDC, Basic Facts on Mold and Dampness
The CDC cites severe reactions as, “fever and shortness of breath.” However, they fail to attribute other adverse health effects, such as hemorrhaging, memory loss, lethargy—or cancer—to toxic mold.
Contrary to the CDC’s position, several existing studies show mycotoxins’ more serious, long term effects.
As J. W. Bennett , and M. Klich , authors of Mycotoxins , explain, “There’s vast literature on mycotoxins.”
The major mycotoxin, aflatoxin, for instance, is extensively studied, and known as one of the most potent natural carcinogen s, according to Klich and Bennett.
“The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified aflatoxin B1 as a group I carcinogen,” they wrote. “There’s no other natural product for which the data on human carcinogenicity are so compelling.”
Detoxing From Toxic Environments
For Kelly Desmore, the recovery process has been decades-long. It’s a battle she’s still waging.
“You can spend one year in a house with toxic mold, and five years recovering from it,” she explains.
Avoidance is the most critical factor; and why the first step toward recovery is to get away from the source of exposure.
As Dr. Hope puts it, “No more can we heal a burn while someone stands in a fire, than we can detox a patient while they are taking in more toxins.”
That’s a struggle because most patients experience a degree of depression, lethargy and anxiety.
“One of my patients called it the mold spell,” says Hope. “It kept her in the building until she finally found her way out.”
In some ways, it serves to keep people in environments that are problematic for them, explains Hope. “They lack motivation and energy to take action.”
Beyond avoidance, there are few ways to support recovery. Those include use of therapies— such as glutathione or binders like activated charcoal—which help the body excrete toxins. Sweating and exercise is integral to the detox, or excretion process.
Additionally, treatment usually involves dietary changes, or taking supplements, as exposure to toxins often leads to nutritional deficiencies.
Turning to Alternatives
Desmore visited her doctor nine times before she received a diagnosis.
Dr. Hope was hospitalized twice. She had eight organs biopsied.
Neither of their experiences are exceptional. Many patients report similar stories of mystery, misdiagnosis, and failed treatments. Others are told there’s no such thing as mold illness .
As a result, people get sicker for months, or years.
Due to a lack of confidence in the medical system, and a lack of treatments that specifically treat mold illness, many moldies are turning to alternative treatments—including cannabis.
Several of Hope’s patients use cannabis based products with much success.
CBD oil in particular is beneficial for her patients, she explains, primarily due it it’s anti-inflammatory, and anti anxiety properties.
Dr. Hope believes there’s a role for medical cannabis.
In the meantime, she emphasizes use of high quality products without mycotoxins, fungicides or pesticides. Otherwise, it can make the situation worse.
For instance, Hope explains, “I had one patient—the plastics from his vape pen melted, and caused problems.”
Contaminants like heavy metals are a major concern for cannabis consumers, and state regulators.
In 2017, a University of California, Davis, study found evidence of mold and bacterial contamination in 20 samples collected from Northern California dispensaries.
Currently, all products sold from licensed retailers in legal states must undergo testing by a series of labs , reports Leafly . “Lab tests primarily screen for potency and levels of THC and CBD, residual pesticides, unwanted contaminants, and the presence of mycotoxins like mold and mildew.”
State standards vary. Now three years into legalization California regulators have developed some of the strictest testing standards in the nation—allowing for some of the cleanest cannabis on earth.
For example, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), “requires all cannabis to be tested for cannabinoids, terpene content, mycotoxins and heavy metals in addition to moisture content, residual solvents, pesticides and microbial impurities,” finds the Cannabis Testing Regulations: A State-by-State Guide by Leafly .
Desmore emphasizes the use of high quality, clean cannabis products. “If you take in the wrong pot, talk about problems—you will end up in ER […],” she says, citing personal experience with tainted herb.
Now, she uses only 100% organic cannabis oil. Her daily regimen includes topicals, and ingesting oils orally with things like green tea.
She was first introduced to cannabis as a treatment for toxic mold illness more than 15 years ago after a friend gifted her a jar of oil.
“I started to heal immediately,” she says. “For the first time in three years, I got up, walked down to my office, and worked for 4-6 hours.”
“My eyes were white for the first time [in awhile]. My tongue was clean, and my throat was no longer inflamed,” she explains. “That’s a big revelation for any human. I will never forget that woman, just handing it to me—it changed my life.”
Desmore continues, “I know for sure I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t use this oil.”
It would have been a good article had you interviewed someone that truly suffers from Toxic Mold and has medical records to verify their condition.
Emerald Media Group says
High Hannah! We sure did! We interviewed a reader just like you (that’s where we got the topic from)! Did you catch PART 1 of this story?
Anita Bruss says
I just read your articles 1 and 2 and I’m still crying! I’ve been sick since 2007 from toxic mold
Sally Hall says
Toxic Mold ad Chronic Pain patient. Would love a good recommendation of clean oils.
Darlene Thompson says
Can you give information on which oils are best for Mold Toxicity. I’m suffering and I need all the help I can get.
Melissa Hutsell says
Hi Darlene, thank you for reaching out! I am not a medical expert, but my exploration and interview with sources for this series on Toxic Mold Illness suggests that its important that sufferers interested in cannabis or CBD look for lab-tested products that are free of pesticides, molds, and other toxins.
Lauren wilguess says
I have black mold in my apt, have been very, very sick, don’t have money to move,what can I take
Been very ill from black mold in my home for 9 months don’t have money to fix and it’s my mom’s home and she won’t take it seriously . And help what to take to feel any better. I feel like I am dying