Untitled Document


Wladislaw Ellis


Over the last several years it has become apparent that cannabis (marijuana) applied topically in various solutions could seriously help people suffering from a wide variety of pains. The results are largely anecdotal from patients reporting to me individually but are corroborated by a few larger, controlled studies (1) as well as many clinical reports (2).

Experience with my own patients and family led to my using olive oil as the best medium for the extraction of maximally effective substances and their subsequent application. On searching the literature, it turned out that olive oil had already been shown to be the best substance for extraction of whole cannabis plant with no risk of organic solute residues in 2013 (3). However, this remained an unused fact, presumably because it was too cheap, unpatentable, and too effective.

This brings upon some very important points: 1- cannabis contains more than 130 cannabinoids and 400 other physiologically active substances, most of which have undetermined actions; 2- with decades of work, thousands of papers, and intense industrial, pharmacological interest, whole plant (minus the stems and roots) was still more effective clinically than any single substance isolated from the plant; 3- olive oil gives the best extraction of benevolent substances in terms of results from patients with long lasting, severe neuropathic pain.

The first point gives credence to the wide variety of symptoms (besides pain) treatable with cannabis previously dismissed as made up, or at best, placebo. There is a history of over 3000 years of medicinal use of cannabis by serious and famous physicians for a wide variety of disorders (4). Given our current knowledge, this implies that many compounds can be selectively important and active in specific disorders and not in others. The huge amount of potentially active substances, many acting synergistically, explains how one plant can heal such a wide variety of diseases ranging from multiple sclerosis to glaucoma and even, possibly, some cancers. The nerve (neurogenic) pain that accompanies many of these disorders is also helped, often dramatically (5).

Clinical research has used, largely,THC and CBD finding that the combination if often synergistic but even then not as effective as the whole plant (dried leaf and bud) (6). This underscores the importance of recognizing that multiple components acting synergistically produce the most effective outcome. The pharmacology industry is based on the reductionistic isolation of (a la Ehrlich) a “silver bullet” and running with it. That’s obviously not the most effective approach to cannabis. The reductionistic approach, given some 400 active components and a wide variety of concentrations possible, many of them biphasic, could be productive given the new generations of chemico-physiologic modeling and artificial intelligence (e.g. Deep Mind-Alphafold). Don’t hold your breath.

This brings us to the last point and the reason for my writing this article: olive oil extraction of dried green leaf and bud provides a topical infusion with often dramatic pain relief, especially in chronic neuropathic varieties. It is also absurdly cheap if you grow it yourself or have friends who do, and then follow the simple directions given below ("Preparation of: Dr Ellis’ Cannabis Infusion").

I have asked many of my patients to compare the effectiveness of the olive oil infusion (OOI) with other topical cannabis products. OOI is consistently much better than anything else applied topically or taken orally by prescription. Proving this will be very difficult if not impossible for a host of reasons starting with lack of a standardized product. However, practically, I have used four separate strains of high quality seedlings (15$/seedling) with comparable, excellent results. I expect that any other cloned strains would do as well. There have been no reports of allergic reactions- they are possible and need to be watched for, but the incidence will be less because of its topical, rather than oral or pulmonary application (6).

Patients apply a very thin film (otherwise it will drip) covering the skin of the affected area, letting it absorb. This can be done as needed. Overdosage is not a problem.

In summary, if you have chronic nerve pain growing, harvesting and minimally processing one cannabis plant will give you several years worth of very effective pain medication for less than fifty dollars. For additional benefits and generally current information consult: “Handbook of Cannabis” ed by Roger Pertwee, Oxford, 2016 paperback.


Preparation of: Dr. Ellis' Cannabis Infusion

Take 200 grams (about 7 oz.) of dried green (no yellow) leaves and buds (roughly one cannabis plant). Put in crockpot and compress.

Add about 2.25 liters (about 2.4 quarts) of quality olive oil - enough to cover the compressed cannabis by 1/2 inch, cover, and set at low heat for 24 hours. Lesser amounts of cannabis require proportionally less olive oil.

Filter the obtained mixture through a large funnel lined with gauze and then bottle. I get 1.5 liters of dark, olive-green liquid. It seems to keep indefinitely at room temperature.

Most patients with chronic pain use about 50 milliliters per month.

This infusion is useful for most kinds of pain, applied topically several times per day. A number of patients have reported benefits after taking small amounts orally for gastrointestinal pain and dysfunction.

If you have any further questions, call me at my office: (510) 849-4703.


1) Nurmikko, et al “Sativex successfully treats neuropathic disorders and allodynia: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial”, PAIN, 133-210, 2007.

2) Russo, “Medicinal cannabis and cannabinoids: Clinical data.” in “Handbook of Cannabis”, ed. R. Pertwee, Oxford, 2014.

3) Romano, et al. “Cannabis oil, chemical evaluation of upcoming cannabis- based medicine” in CANNABINOIDS, #1(1), 1-11, 2013

4) Russo, “The pharmacological history of cannabis” in “Handbook of Cannabis”, ed. R. Pertwee, Oxford, 2014.

5) Worth, “Unpicking the entourage effect - Do cannabis compounds act in synergy?”, NATURE, 572, S12-13, 2019.

6) Torres, et al. “A combined pre-clinical therapy of cannabinoids and Temozolomide against glaucoma”, MOLECULAR CANCER THERAPY, 10, 90-103, 2011.