Monday, April 30, 2018

Program Participants Should Be Able To Use Medical Cannabis At Schools


We've come a long way since cannabis was first decriminalized in Oregon in 1973 and then in New Mexico; medical cannabis history started in 1978, after public hearings the legislature enacted H.B. 329, the nation’s first law recognizing the medical value of cannabis…the first law. Safe Access for those patients who will benefit most from medical cannabis treatments; still need to overcome political, social and legal barriers with advocacy by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients - and that means at school too!

A total of 30 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico now allow for comprehensive public medical cannabis programs. Americans For Safe Access has a series of legal manuals describes the law on medical cannabis as it applies to patients and caregivers in various states. This series of publications was created by Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a non-profit advocacy organization, to help individuals and their families better navigate the medical cannabis programs in their states. ASA has been developing information resources about medical cannabis for patients, their families, doctors, and elected officials for over a decade.
Click the state below to view that states legal manual or state department of health site for that program:
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida*, HawaiiIllinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota*, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York*, North Dakota, Ohio*, Oregon, Pennsylvania*,Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia* (also, Washington, DC)
* no smoking allowed

Medical Cannabis Legalization - CBD Oil Only (17): Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana. Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.



Safe Access For Those Who Can Benefit The Most From Medical Cannabis

New Jersey
in November 2015 became the first state to do so. Governor Christie signed a bill directing all school districts in New Jersey to adopt rules that permit children with developmental disabilities to consume cannabis oil or another edible cannabis product.

The law and the policy were inspired by Genny Barbour, a 16-year-old girl from Maple Shade and a Larc student. Her family unsuccessfully sued in 2014 for the right to allow their daughter to take her lunchtime dose of cannabis oil her mother makes because it has worked better than any traditional pharmaceutical remedies to control her seizures. The policy says a parent and child who are registered with the New Jersey medicinal cannabis program must show their identification cards. The school will keep a copy on file. The parent and registered caregiver may enter the school and administer the medicine in a private room with a staff member present.

Colorado in 2016 when Gov. John Hickenlooper signed “Jack’s Law” on June 6. The law stipulates that school district personnel are not required to administer the medication. It includes a provision that medical cannabis may not be administered on school buses or school-sponsored events that wind up on federal property or “any other location that prohibits cannabis on its property.”
“Jack’s Law” allows a school district to opt out if it can “reasonably demonstrate that it lost federal funding as a result of implementing” the policy.

“Jack’s Law” offers two alternatives for the state’s 179 school districts. They can write policies limiting where on campus the treatments can take place or what forms of cannabis can be administered. If the district doesn’t create a policy, parents or a designated private caregiver would have no limitations on where they could administer the treatment.

Medical Cannabis Oil Capsules 

Maine passed its law in 2015 and stands out from these two above because policymakers worked from the state’s existing medical cannabis framework and simply expanded the locations in which medical cannabis use is permissible. In Maine; “A child who holds a written certification for the medical use of cannabis under Title 22, section 2423-B may not be denied eligibility to attend school solely because the child requires medical cannabis in a non-smokeable form as a reasonable accommodation necessary for the child to attend school.” Link to full text: http://legislature.maine.gov/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0381&item=5&snum=127

In Washington State, July 1st 2016, state law says schools are not legally required to permit on-site medical cannabis use; instead, schools can decide themselves.

Pennsylvania in 2017: The Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Education support the administration of medical cannabis under a Safe Harbor Letter to students with serious medical conditions and the maintenance of a safe environment for other students while on school property. The below guidance provides information to school administrators to assist them in developing policies for the administration of medical cannabis on school property.
Recommended Guidance: A parent, legal guardian or caregiver may administer medical cannabis to their child/student on school premises provided that the parent, legal guardian or caregiver: (1) provides the school principal with a copy of the Safe Harbor Letter; and (2) notifies the school principal, in advance, of each instance in which the parent or caregiver will administer the medical cannabis to the child/student. The school principal shall provide notification to the school nurse in each instance a parent or caregiver will be administering medical cannabis to the child/student as well. The parent/caregiver shall follow all school protocols applicable to visitors to the school during the school day. A parent, legal guardian or caregiver shall bring to the school and administer the medical cannabis to their child/student without creating a distraction, and shall promptly remove any excess medical cannabis and related materials from the school premises after the administration of medical cannabis is complete. The school shall provide a secure and private location for the parent/legal guardian/caregiver to administer the medical cannabis to the student. Students themselves shall not be permitted to possess any form of medical cannabis at any time on school property or during any school activities on school property.
Expiration: The recommended guidance will remain in effect until the Pennsylvania Department of Education promulgates regulations regarding the possession and use of medical cannabis in the commonwealth’s schools. https://www.pa.gov/guides/pennsylvania-medical-cannabis-program/#SafeHarbor

Illinois in 2018 by order of a Judge. Ashley Surin is the sole exemption. She overcame a leukemia diagnosis at 2 years old with extensive chemotherapy, but some of her treatments eventually led to having semi regular seizures. Her parents filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday, January 10th 2018, against Schaumburg School District 54 and the State of Illinois, claiming that the state's ban on taking the drug at school violates the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Ashley uses a medical cannabis patch on her foot and an medical cannabis oil extract on her wrists. "No one's saying she wants to fire up a bong in math class," the judge said, reported the Chicago Tribune.
Link to Lawsuit filed by the parents: http://cdn.cnn.com/cnn/2018/images/01/18/complaint.medical.cannabis.pdf



New Mexico
In New Mexico, we have families unjustly being denied to allow their child to use medical cannabis while at school.

In Estancia, the  parent of a 10 year who has his medical cannabis card for treatment of undifferentiated schizophrenia, PTSD and ADHD. His mom said she had to pull him out of school last fall when the administration told her she would no longer be able to administer his much-needed medication while on campus. In a letter, the superintendent points to a state law saying that, despite Anthony's medical card, cannabis is now allowed on school grounds. Link to Anthony’s Story: http://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/mother-wants-access-to-medical-cannabis-in-the-classroom/4886110/

Today the New Mexico medical cannabis program has over 50,000 registered participants with 35 licensed (non-profit) producers growing 14,550 medical cannabis plants, as the program hits the midpoint of its 10th year. The Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) was created in 2007, as the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, under chapter 210 Senate Bill 523. The purpose of this Act is to allow the beneficial use of medical cannabis in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments.

The State’s Medical Cannabis Program expansion is now “Medically Necessary”; the State needs to allow the Department of Health to open the application process to add more licensed non-profit producers, in conjunction with other measures to ensure safe access to medicine, like allowing children to be treated with their medicine at school.

New Mexico’s medical cannabis history started in 1978. Lynn Pierson, a 26 year old cancer patient, brought the value of medical cannabis to the New Mexico legislature. After public hearings the legislature enacted H.B. 329, the nation’s first law recognizing the medical value of cannabis. Later renamed The Lynn Pierson Marijuana & Research Act set forth a program that had over 250 New Mexicans receiving medical cannabis through the University of New Mexico until 1986. Federal opposition and state bureaucratic opposition developed thus ending the program in 1986.
Then in the early 2000’s, Erin Armstrong, a medical cannabis advocate who suffered from thyroid cancer, began to lobby the state legislature to pass a medical cannabis law. Armstrong, a Santa Fe High and UNM grad, spent three years tirelessly advocating for the medical cannabis program we have today. The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, 2007, passed under Governor Bill Richardson.

“Medically Necessary” is defined as “health-care services or supplies needed to prevent, diagnose, or treat an illness, injury, condition, disease, or its symptoms and that meet accepted standards of medicine.” Medical necessity is a United States legal doctrine, related to activities which may be justified as reasonable, necessary, and/or appropriate, based on evidence-based clinical standards of care.



Use of Medicine in Schools

Schools allow children to use all kinds of psychotropic medications—from Ritalin to opioid painkillers—when prescribed by a physician. But they tend to take a much harder stance on cannabis, even in the case of non-psychoactive oils. Even if state law allows minors to use medical cannabis, local school districts can prohibit its use on campus and suspend or expel students for possession or showing a positive result on a random drug test.

According to the CDC’s most recent School Health Policies and Practices Study (SHPPS), 29.6 percent of school districts that contain middle or high schools nationwide have adopted a drug-testing policy. In 65.1 percent of these districts, the tests are performed when a student is suspected to be using drugs at school, and another 59.1 percent are performed randomly among members of specific groups of students (athletes, extracurricular activity participants, etc.).

The ruling in the landmark 2002 Supreme Court case Board of Education v. Earls upheld the right of schools to randomly drug-test students, and the number of districts that perform random tests is growing, despite studies showing that the policy is ineffective.



The “Adolescents should not be drug tested without their knowledge and consent. Recent US Supreme Court decisions and market forces have resulted in recommendations for drug testing of adolescents at school and products for parents to use to test adolescents at home. The American Academy of Pediatrics has strong reservations about testing adolescents at school or at home and believes that more research is needed on both safety and efficacy before school-based testing programs are implemented.”


What Are the Drug Policies at My Child’s School?

Drug policies vary widely from district to district. If your child uses medical cannabis and needs to administer it throughout the day, you should familiarize yourself with the school’s policies. Contact your local school district and ask:
  • Does the district allow medical cannabis use with a doctor’s recommendation?
  • What are the district’s policies on possession and use of cannabis?
  • What are the district’s policies on for-cause and random drug testing?
If your district has anti-medical cannabis policies, don’t give up. You can fight for change! The ACLU has a helpful list of ideas for changing policies including speaking at school board meetings, enlisting sympathetic educators, and speaking with the media. Many school districts adopted blanket policies long before medical cannabis was legalized, and the rules haven’t been updated simply because no one pushed for change. You could be the one to change your local district for the better!


What Have Other Parents Done to Fight Back?

The fight for medical cannabis rights is a difficult one, but we are frequently amazed by the strength and determination shown by patients and their loved ones. You may not be eager to take on your local school district, but sharing your child’s story can be the key to changing minds and hearts.

Take the story of spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and dystonia. His personal nurse administered a non-psychoactive high-CBD patch to help with his spasms, and the school administrators ripped it off his arm and told them never to return with it again.

When the story came out, Colorado legislators quickly wrote and passed “Jack’s Amendment,” which allows children to use high-CBD medicine in schools.

“Jack’s Amendment will assure that children don’t have to choose between going to school and taking their medicine,” says Representative Jonathan Singer, the bill’s sponsor.

A number of parents in Maine pushed for the passage of a bill to allow medical cannabis use in schools. Melissa Burnham told the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee the story of her son, Noah, who had to be pulled from school and tutored at home because cannabis is the only medicine that helps his epilepsy. Susan Meehan testified that she reluctantly home-schooled her 12-year-old daughter, Cyndimae, because the only way to stop her Dravet syndrome seizures is to administer cannabis oil.

On the education committee’s recommendation, the Maine legislature created a bill allowing smokeless cannabis use on school grounds by qualifying patients. When the governor vetoed the bill, the legislature overrode his veto by a single vote.

These brave families show that fighting for your child’s right to use medical cannabis can work. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be instant, but you can do it—and we can help.


How Do I Get My Child’s Story Out There?

Do you live in a state that allows medical cannabis use by minors? Does your local school district prohibit medical cannabis use? If yes, you’re in the perfect position to affect policy. You can and should speak up at school board meetings, write to your state legislators, and get other influencers on your side. But the best way to affect change is to draw attention to the issue by harnessing the power of social media and other online channels to get the attention of the media.

There are many pediatric conditions that can be treated with cannabis, most notably epileptic seizures. According to Dr. Francis Jensen,
“In cases of unrelenting epilepsy in very small children, we look for anything that will block these seizures. It turns out that there is a group of children with early life epilepsy such as Dravet and a couple of other of these disorders that actually appear to be positively responding to cannabidiol compound.”

But it turns out that epilepsy is just one of the uses for pediatric medical cannabis. Other conditions include pediatric cancers, autism, motor disorders, developmental disabilities and cystic fibrosis.

If you’re ready to share the story of your child’s need to use medical cannabis at school, sharing it with us will help spread the word. Contact us to share your story. This will be a fight, but you’re not in it alone.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

UC San Diego Receives $4.7M Gift for Medical Cannabis Research




Funding will support first of its kind, multi-disciplinary research
 on autism spectrum disorders at the
 Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research
 at UC San Diego School of Medicine

Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that affects an estimated 1 in 68 children in the United States, yet treatment options are limited. Could cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, hold clues for developing effective therapies? Thanks to a major gift from the Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation, researchers at the University of California San Diego will embark on a multidisciplinary study to investigate the potential of cannabidiol as a treatment for severe autism. The award was given in partnership with and based on recommendations the Noorda Foundation received from the Wholistic Research and Education Foundation.  
The $4.7 million gift to the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) at UC San Diego School of Medicine is the largest private gift to date for medicinal cannabis research in the United States. The funding will support translational research to investigate whether medicinal cannabinoid therapies can alleviate symptoms in children with severe autism—and if so, how.   The groundbreaking study spans clinical, basic science, advanced mathematics and genetic techniques across the same cohort of patients, offering a comprehensive and systematic exploration of CBD efficacy on autism.
“UC San Diego is pleased to partner with the Noorda and Wholistic foundations to advance understanding of when and how medicinal cannabis works, and to use this information to transform the lives of the many people for whom medicinal cannabis may make a meaningful difference in their quality of life,” said David A. Brenner, MD, vice chancellor of UC San Diego Health Sciences. “We believe that by working together using evidence-based data, we can make the greatest impact on the field, our community and policy decision-makers.”
While the causes of autism are still not fully understood, a number of abnormalities have been identified in the brains of individuals with autism, including lower levels of available serotonin, a brain chemical associated with mood regulation; an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters; and irregular organization of brain networks.  Cannabidiol or CBD has a number of effects on the central nervous system which may be relevant to autism, including correcting imbalances in certain neurotransmitters, enhancing activity of endocannabinoids (neurotransmitters that modulate mood, memory and a variety of cognitive processes), modifying neural network signaling and protecting against neuroinflammation.
“The more severe manifestations of autism are difficult to treat, causing parents to look for non-traditional remedies,” said Igor Grant, MD, professor of psychiatry and CMCR director. “There are unconfirmed reports that cannabidiol could be helpful, but there are no careful studies to document either its benefits or its safety. This gift will enable our researchers to develop and implement a translational program of research that pairs a clinical trial with detailed neurobehavioral observation, as well as basic science studies to determine if cannabidiol holds therapeutic promise, and if so, via what mechanisms.”
The clinical study will be led by Doris Trauner, MD, a professor in the departments of Pediatrics and Neurosciences at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Basic and translational research will be headed by Gabriel A. Silva, PhD, professor of bioengineering in the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and professor of neurosciences, and Alysson Muotri, PhD, professor in the UC San Diego School of Medicine departments of Pediatrics and Cellular and Molecular Medicine.
“Given numerous anecdotal reports from parents suggesting CBD may be improving their child’s functioning, we are thrilled to partner with UC San Diego to understand under what circumstances CBD may be effective for autism, and why it seems to help certain individuals and not others”, said Pelin Thorogood, president and co-founder of Wholistic Research and Education Foundation.   “This is especially exciting since the multi-disciplinary approach employed by UC San Diego, combining clinical, basic and translational data across the same group of children, has the best chance of helping us understand the role of the endocannabinoid system in the treatment of autism.”
The CMCR at UC San Diego has been at the forefront of science and policy related to medicinal cannabis for nearly two decades. The center was established in 2000 after passage of California Senate Bill 847, which called for a program to oversee objective, high-quality medical research to advance understanding of the therapeutic value of marijuana. Its first studies looked at the potential benefits of cannabis for easing certain types of chronic pain, as well as severe muscle spasticity. Ongoing studies continue examining cannabinoids in pain management, as well as their effects on bipolar disorder and driving performance.
The gift from the Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation contributes to the Campaign for UC San Diego, a comprehensive $2 billion fundraising effort to transform the student experience, the campus and, ultimately, the way humanity approaches problems and develops solutions. Learn more at campaign.ucsd.edu.
About The Campaign for UC San Diego
At the University of California San Diego, challenging convention is our most cherished tradition. As one of the top 15 research universities in the world, UC San Diego is blazing a path to a better future. The Campaign for UC San Diego is a $2 billion comprehensive fundraising effort to transform the student experience, our campus, and ultimately the world. With philanthropic partnership, we will continue the nontradition as we impact lives here and across the globe. #GiveUCSD. #ContinueTheNonTradition. Learn more at campaign.ucsd.edu.
About Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation
The Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation (RTNF) is a philanthropic foundation based in Lindon, Utah. Began by its founders, Ray and Tye Noorda, over ten years ago, the RTNF board now continues to honor their legacy by making grants to impactful charitable organizations aligned with its mission to help all people enjoy equal opportunities to achieve health, purpose, and happiness. RTNF's main focus areas include providing opportunity to disenfranchised individuals, relieving suffering, and climate change mitigation, justice, and adaptation, with a special emphasis on systems change and evidence-based work. Learn more at RTNF.org
About Wholistic Research and Education Foundation
Wholistic Research and Education Foundation is a California-based nonprofit dedicated to exploring the health benefits of CBD-rich therapeutics through funding clinical and scientific research as well as increasing safe and legal access to those in need via advocacy and education.  With an emphasis on multi-disciplinary approach, the Wholistic Medical Advisory Committee includes some of the most distinguished MDs, scientists and policy experts in the country.  Learn more at Wholistic.org

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Post Concussion Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury and Medical Cannabis



Currently, there is no effective drug for the treatment of traumatic brain injury and concussions. In the U.S., there are nearly 52,000 deaths and roughly 80,000 cases of severe disability related to traumatic brain injury every year. There are more than 5.3 million people in the U.S. living with disabilities related to traumatic brain injury — numbers far greater than those for multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.

What is the most common sport causing head injury?
Football accounted for 47,000 of those head injuries, and baseball played a role in 38,394. Cycling was also the leading cause of sports-related head injuries in children under 14, causing 40,272 injuries, roughly double the number related to football (21,878).

At the November 2017 medical cannabis Advisory Board Hearing, Doctors recommended to add Post-Concussion Syndrome & TBI into the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program with 5-0 Vote. The final decision rest with Secretary Lynn Gallagher at the Department of Health and is expected at the next hearing on May 11th 2018. View the Petition Here: http://lecuanmmcpmcabpetitions.blogspot.com/2017/09/petition-post-concussion-syndrome.html



Overview of Post-Concussion Syndrome and TBI
Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a variety of symptoms, including headaches and dizziness, that continue for weeks and sometimes months following a concussion. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that typically occurs after a direct blow to the head. Not all concussions lead to post-concussion syndrome, which doesn’t seem to be correlated to the severity of the initial blow. What causes post-concussion symptoms to develop following certain concussions is yet to be identified. According to Mayo Clinic, some experts believe the symptoms come from structural damage to the brain or the disruption of neurotransmitter systems. Others believe that psychological factors may contribute. In addition to headaches and dizziness, post-concussion syndrome commonly causes fatigue, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, loss of concentration and memory, and noise and light sensitivity. Typically, symptoms associated with PCS develop within the first seven to 10 days after a concussion and eventually alleviate within a three-month period. In some cases, however, the symptoms can persist for a year or longer. Treatment for post-concussion syndrome depends on individual symptoms. Headaches are commonly treated with medications. Time, however, is often the best therapy for treating memory and thinking problems.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a disruption of the normal function of the brain caused by a bump or blow to the head. A mild brain injury, or concussion, can cause temporary brain cell dysfunction, while a more serious injury can cause the brain tissue to bruise, tear or bleed and result in long-term complications or death.

In a TBI, the blow to the head causes damage to the brain cells. The damage can be isolated to the point of impact or can be more widespread if the impact causes the brain to moves back and forth within the skull. In addition, bleeding in the brain, or swelling, can cause greater damage to brain cells.

According to Mayo Clinic, additional complications can arise from TBI’s, including altered consciousness (coma, vegetative state, locked-in syndrome, brain death, etc…), seizures, fluid buildup, blood vessel damage, nerve damage, and intellectual, communication, sensory and behavioral problems.

The physical and psychological symptoms of a TBI can vary significantly and can arise immediately after the traumatic blow or even weeks later. Physical symptoms include a loss of consciousness or being dazed, headache, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, sleeping difficulties, sleeping more than usual and dizziness. It’s not uncommon for sensory problems, like blurred vision or ear ringing to occur. Also, memory and concentration problems, mood changes and a feeling of depression are cognitive symptoms of a TBI.

For mild brain injuries, rest and over-the-counter pain relievers for headaches are often adequate for recovery. More severe brain injuries require emergency care procedures to ensure oxygen, blood levels and blood pressure remain at adequate levels. Medications may be used to help limit secondary damage caused by fluid buildup. In some cases, surgery is required to repair skull fractures or to relief pressure by draining fluid.



Findings: Effects 
of Medical Cannabis on Post-Concussion Syndrome and TBI 
Preclinical findings have shown that cannabis offers therapeutic benefits following brain injuries. Studies have shown that the cannabinoids found in cannabis, most specifically cannabidiol (CBD), activate the body’s cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), though evidence also suggests that the neuroprotective effects from CBD come from the cannabinoid’s activation of the 5-hydroxytriptamine1A (5-HT1A) receptor (Mishima, et al., 2005). When these receptors are activated, they provide protection against neural damage following acute and chronic brain damage (Lopez-Rodriguez, et al., 2013). For example, in one study, the administration of cannabinoids following a traumatic brain injury decreased brain swelling and inflammation and was shown to improve recovery (Shohami, et al., 2011). Another showed that CBD alone provided neuroprotection and limited brain cell death in newborn mice following a hypoxic-ischemic event (Castillo, et al., 2010). Others have showed that cannabinoids, through the activation of the endocannabinoid system, prevent glutamate excitotoxicity, intracellular calcium accumulation, activation of cell death pathways, microglia activation, neurovascular reactivity and circulating leukocytes following a brain injury. Researchers concluded that modulating the endocannabinoid system is an effective way to provide neuroprotection and prevent and reduce brain injury (Fernandez-Lopez, Lizasoain, Moro & Orgado, 2013). Addition research has shown that cannabis’ cannabinoids provide brain and neuroprotection caused by disorders. One found that CBD reduces the oxidative stress and Alzheimer’s hallmark protein (β-amyloid), thus limiting nerve damage caused by the disorder and improving cell viability (Harvey, et al., 2012). An animal study showed that CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) treatments were effective at delaying and limiting neural damage caused by Huntington’s disease (Sagredo, et al., 2011). Another found that CBD, in addition to providing neuroprotective effects and reducing long-term brain injury, also helped restore neurobehavioral function following a hypoxia-ischemia event (Pazos, et al., 2012). Studies have also shown that cannabis can help post-concussion syndrome patients manage the symptoms associated with the disorder. CBD can lower stress, help combat depression, improve sleep and reduce pain (Abush & Akirav, 2013) (Campos, et al., 2012) (Chagas, et al., 2013) (Russo, Guy & Robson, 2007) (Baron, 2015).

Following the blow that leads to TBI’s, the body releases harmful mediators that lead to excitotoxicity, oxidative stress and inflammation and causes secondary, delayed neuronal death (Biegon, 2004). Cannabis, however, has been shown to offer protection to the neural system, thus reducing the amount of brain damage (Mechoulam, Spatz & Shohami, 2002) (Mechoulam & Shohami, 2007) (Mechoulam, Panikashvili & Shohami, 2002) (Biegon, 2004).

It’s cannabis’ two major cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) that are responsible for these beneficial effects following TBI’s. Cannabinoids have been shown to act on the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system, which in turn prevents the release of proinflammatory cytokines that are released after brain drama and cause damage (Panikashvili, et al., 2006). Activating of the CB1 and CB2 receptors also has been shown to stimulate the release of minocycline, which reduces brain swelling and neurological impairment, and diffuses further injuries to the brain’s axons (Lopez-Rodriguez, et al., 2015) (Biegon, 2004).

In one study, cannabinoid administered to mice with brain injuries caused a significant reduction of brain swelling, as well as better clinical recovery, reduced infarct volume, and reduced brain cell death compared to the control group (Panikashvili, et al., 2001). In another, CBD was found to reduce acute and apoptotic brain damage (Castillo, et al., 2010). Piglets with brain injuries given CBD experienced less excitotoxicity, oxidative stress and inflammation (Pazos, et al., 2013). Mice that had suffered an impact brain injury showed marked recovery in object recognition and in performing a specific task after CB1 receptors were activated (Arain, Khan, Craig & Nakanishi, 2015). Cannabinoids have even shown to be effective at offering neuroprotection in newborn babies that have experienced a brain injury (Fernandez-Lopez, Lizasoain, Moro & Martinez-Orgado, 2013).

One study found that patients that had detectable levels of THC in their bodies were less likely to die as a result of a traumatic brain injury than those who didn’t (Nguyen, et al., 2014). Just recently, researchers from the University of Arizona found that trauma patients who tested positive for cannabis upon hospital admission were less likely to die during hospitalization (Singer, et al., 2017).


States that have Approved Medical Cannabis for Post-Concussion Syndrome
 And TBI
 
Currently, the state of Illinois has approved medical cannabis for the treatment of post-concussion syndrome. Currently, Illinois, New Hampshire, Washington have approved medical cannabis specifically for the treatment of traumatic brain injuries.



Recent Studies on Medical Cannabis' Effect on Post-Concussion Syndrome And Traumatic Brain Injury



Beneficial Cannabinoids and Terpenes Useful for Treating Post Concussion Syndrome And TBI

The cannabis plant offers a plethora of therapeutic benefits and contains cannabinoids and terpenoid compounds that are useful for managing symptoms with Post Concussion Syndrome And TBI. Although much of the scientific research surrounding cannabis has been focused on both Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) for their ability to be potent Analgesics and Anti-Nausea (Anti-Emetic) medicines, the following list denotes which cannabinoids and terpenoids also work synergistically with each other for possible therapeutic benefit:


References
Understanding medical cannabis.Elemental Wellness Center, 2014 Jul.


New Mexico’s medical cannabis history started in 1978. After public hearings the legislature enacted H.B. 329, the nation’s first law recognizing the medical value of cannabis...the first law.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Dr. Sanjay Gupta WEED 4: Pot Vs Pills



A CNN SPECIAL REPORT: Dr. Sanjay Gupta WEED 4: Pot Vs Pills
Politicians promise to lead the country out of the worst drug crisis in its history, but opioid abuse continues to kill Americans in record numbers. Are our leaders ignoring a lifesaving solution? Over 115 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses, more than those killed in car accidents, from breast cancer or even guns. Nearly 2.5 million Americans struggle with opioid addiction, and though controversial, some people believe a potentially lifesaving solution may lie in medical marijuana. In the fourth installment of his groundbreaking series, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes an in-depth look at marijuana’s potential as both an alternative to opioids in treating pain and in ending opioid addiction. WEED 4: POT VERSUS PILLS will air on CNN, Sunday, April 29th at 8pm ET.


In the special, Gupta meets pioneers in the field of pain management as well as addiction research who believe that marijuana is the next best hope for treating both. He also speaks with those who have struggled with addiction including an exclusive interview with NFL running back Mike James. In 2013 James suffered a devastating leg injury during a Monday night football game. He was given opioids after surgery to treat his pain, and months later he found himself addicted. Scared and worried, his wife suggested he try marijuana, a drug that is banned by the NFL and could cost any player their careers. Today, James is making history as the first player to file for a therapeutic use exemption for cannabis with the NFL.

Many states have begun to take steps toward cannabis as a possible alternative in stopping the opioid crisis that has crippled their areas. Gupta visits Maine where lawmakers and residents are committed to cannabis as a way to get people off opioids. He speaks with a woman who is opening a rehab center where she will use cannabis to wean patients off of opioids. He also talks with several state legislators who are working to change the laws and allow those addicted to have access to medical marijuana.

As the state of Maine looks to cannabis as a possible solution, many lawmakers, as well as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, continue to fight changing the scheduling of marijuana, which would allow for further access and research. Gupta delves into the history of how marijuana became a Schedule I drug, considered equal to heroin, LSD and ecstasy, while cocaine, methamphetamines, and many opioids including OxyContin, fentanyl, Dilaudid and Vicodin are Schedule II drugs. He talks to several advocates and critics about research behind their positions.

“Weed”, which grabbed global headlines, along with his editorial ‘Why I changed my mind on weed’. Previously Dr. Gupta had been opposed to medical cannabis, suggesting that it had no value. He apologized for not having researched the topic better, explaining that his year of work on the documentary had opened his eyes after traveling around the world to interview growers, patients and experts.

Since Weed, which focused on the potential of CBD to treat seizures in children with rare forms of epilepsy, debuted in August 2013, CNN and Gupta have released two additional episodes, neither of which attracted quite the same attention. ‘Weed 2: Cannabis Madness’, which debuted in March 2014, looked at the politics involved U.S. federal laws. ‘Weed 3: The Marijuana Revolution’, which debuted on April 19, 2015, included conversations with President Obama, Dr. Sue Sisley and Rick Doblin and explored the stories of patients with conditions like PTSD and chronic pain.

After a three-year hiatus, Gupta returns with ‘Weed 4: Pot vs. Pills’, which will debut on Sunday April 29th. The trailer for 'Weed 4: Pot vs. Pills' can be viewed here. 


WEED 4: POT VS PILLS will stream live for subscribers on Sunday April 29th via CNNgo (at CNN.com/go and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Samsung Smart TV and Android TV) and on the CNN mobile apps for iOS and Android. The documentary will also be available the day after the broadcast premiere on demand via cable/satellite systems, CNNgo platforms and CNN mobile apps. Weed 1-3 is now also available for subscribers via CNNgo (at CNN.com/go and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Samsung Smart TV and Android TV) and on the CNN mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Full CNN Documentary 'Weed' Parts 1-3 (2013-2015)

CNN's award-winning chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a chief neurosurgeon, puts medical marijuana under the microscope. All three (3) of CNN's current "Weed" documentaries compiled into one video. 

Gupta to Jeff Sessions: Medical Cannabis Could Save Many Addicted To Opioids


(CNN)- "Dear Honorable Jeff Sessions,
I feel obligated to share the results of my five-year-long investigation into the medical benefits of the cannabis plant. Before I started this worldwide, in-depth investigation, I was not particularly impressed by the results of medical marijuana research, but a few years later, as I started to dedicate time with patients and scientists in various countries, I came to a different conclusion.

Not only can cannabis work for a variety of conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and pain, sometimes, it is the only thing that works. I changed my mind, and I am certain you can, as well. It is time for safe and regulated medical marijuana to be made available nationally. I realize this is an unconventional way to reach you, but your office declined numerous requests for an interview, and as a journalist, a doctor and a citizen, I felt it imperative to make sure you had access to our findings.

Mr. Sessions, there is an added urgency, as we are in the middle of a deadly opioid epidemic that has been described as the worst self-inflicted epidemic in the history of our country.
The drug overdose scourge claimed about 68,000 US lives in 2017, just over 45,000 of them from opioids alone. Every day, 115 Americans die from opioid overdoses. It has fueled a decline in an entire country's life expectancy and will be remembered as a sad and tragic chapter in our collective history.

These are desperate times, and while some may consider making medical marijuana widely available to be a desperate measure, the evidence has become increasingly clear of the important role cannabis can have.

We have seen real-world clues of medical marijuana's benefits. Researchers from the Rand Corp., supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, conducted "the most detailed examination of medical marijuana and opioid deaths to date" and found something few initially expected. The analysis showed an approximately 20% decline in opioid overdose deaths between 1999 and 2010 in states with legalized medical marijuana and functioning dispensaries.

It's not the first time this association between medical marijuana and opioid overdose has been found. Though it is too early to draw a cause-effect relationship, these data suggest that medicinal marijuana could save up to 10,000 lives every year.

At the November 2017 medical cannabis Advisory Board Hearing, Doctors recommended to add Substance Abuse Disorders into the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program with 5-0 Vote. The final decision rest with Secretary Lynn Gallagher at the Department of Health and is expected at the next hearing on May 11th 2018. View the Petition Here

The science of weed
Cannabis and its compounds show potential to save lives in three important ways.

Cannabis can help treat pain, reducing the initial need for opioids. Cannabis is also effective at easing opioid withdrawal symptoms, much like it does for cancer patients, ill from chemotherapy side effects. Finally, and perhaps most important, the compounds found in cannabis can heal the diseased addict's brain, helping them break the cycle of addiction.

Mr. Sessions, there is no other known substance that can accomplish all this. If we had to start from scratch and design a medicine to help lead us out of the opioid epidemic, it would likely look very much like cannabis.

A better, and safer, way to treat pain
The consensus is clear: Cannabis can effectively treat pain. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine arrived at this conclusion last year after what it described as the "most comprehensive studies of recent research" on the health effects of cannabis.

Furthermore, opioids target the breathing centers in the brain, putting their users at real risk of dying from overdose. In stark contrast, with cannabis, there is virtually no risk of overdose or sudden death. Even more remarkable, cannabis treats pain in a way opioids cannot. Though both drugs target receptors that interfere with pain signals to the brain, cannabis does something more: It targets another receptor that decreases inflammation -- and does it fast.

I have seen this firsthand. All over the country, I have met patients who have weaned themselves off opioids using cannabis. Ten years ago, attorney Marc Schechter developed a sudden painful condition known as transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord. After visiting doctors in several states, he was prescribed opioids and, according to our calculations, consumed approximately 40,000 pills over the next decade. Despite that, his pain scores remained an eight out of 10. He also suffered significant side effects from the pain medication, including nausea, lethargy and depression.

Desperate and out of options, Schechter saw Dr. Mark Wallace, head of University of California, San Diego Health's Center for Pain Medicine, where he was recommended cannabis. Minutes after he took it for the first time, Schechter's pain was reduced to a score of two out of 10, with hardly any side effects. One dose of cannabis had provided relief that 40,000 pills over 10 years could not.

Using marijuana to get off opioids
For Schechter, as with so many others, the seemingly insurmountable barrier to ending his opioid use was the terrible withdrawal symptoms he suffered each time he tried. When a patient stops opioids, their pain is often magnified, accompanied by rapid heart rate, persistent nausea and vomiting, excessive sweating, anorexia and terrible anxiety.

Here again, cannabis is proven to offer relief. As many know, there is longstanding evidence that cannabis helps chemotherapy-induced symptoms in cancer patients, and those symptoms are very similar to opioid withdrawal. In fact, for some patients, cannabis is the only agent that subdues nausea while increasing appetite.



Why we can't 'just say no' to opioids
Finally, when someone is addicted to opioids, they are often described as having a brain disease. Yasmin Hurd, director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai in New York City, showed me what this looks like in autopsy specimens of those who had overdosed on opioids. Within the prefrontal cortex of the brain, she found damage to the glutamatergic system, which makes it difficult for neural signals to be transmitted. This is an area of the brain responsible for judgment, decision-making, learning and memory.

Hurd told me that when an individual's brain is "fundamentally changed" and diseased in this manner, they lose the ability to regulate opioid consumption, unable to quit despite their best efforts -- unable to "just say no."

It is no surprise, then, that abstinence-only programs have pitiful results when it comes to opioid addiction. Even the current gold standard of medication-assisted treatment, which is far more effective, still relies on less-addictive opioids such as methadone and buprenorphine. That continued opioid use, Hurd worries, can cause ongoing disruption to the glutamatergic system, never allowing the brain to fully heal. It may help explain the tragic tales of those who succeed in stopping opioids for a short time, only to relapse again and again.

This is precisely why Hurd started to look to other substances to help and settled on nonpsychoactive cannabidiol or CBD, one of the primary components in cannabis. Hurd and her team discovered that CBD actually helped "restructure and normalize" the brain at the "cellular level, at the molecular level." It was CBD that healed the glutamatergic system and improved the workings of the brain's frontal lobes.

This new science sheds lights on stories like the one I heard from Doug Campbell of Yarmouth, Maine. He told me he had been in and out of drug rehab 32 times over 25 years, with no success. But soon after starting cannabis, he no longer has "craving, desire and has not thought about (opioids) at all, period."

For the past 40 years, we have been told that cannabis turns the brain into a fried egg, and now there is scientific evidence that it can do just the opposite, as it did for Campbell. It can heal the brain when nothing else does.

I know it sounds too good to be true. I initially thought so, as well. Make no mistake, though: Marc Schechter and Doug Campbell are emblematic of thousands of patients who have successfully traded their pills for a plant.

These patients often live in the shadows, afraid to come forward to share their stories. They fear stigma. They fear prosecution. They fear that someone will take away what they believe is a lifesaving medication.

Where do we go from here?
Mr. Sessions, Dr. Mark Wallace has invited you to spend a day seeing these patients in his San Diego clinic and witness their outcomes for yourself. Dr. Dustin Sulak could do the same for you in Portland, Maine, as could Dr. Sue Sisley in Phoenix. Staci Gruber in Boston could show you the brain scans of those who tried cannabis for the first time and were then able to quit opioids. Dr. Julie Holland in New York City could walk you through the latest research. All over the country, you will find the scientists who write the books and papers, advance the science and grow our collective knowledge. These are the women and men to whom you should listen. They are the ones, free of rhetoric and conjecture, full of facts and truth, who are our best chance at halting the deadly opioid epidemic.

Making medicinal marijuana available should come with certain obligations and mandates, just as with any other medicine. It should be regulated to ensure its safety, free of contamination and consistent in dosing. It should be kept out of the hands of children, pregnant women and those who are at risk for worse side effects. Any responsible person wants to make sure this is a medicine that helps people, not harms.

Recently, your fellow conservative John Boehner changed his mind after being "unalterably opposed" to marijuana in the past. If you do the same, Mr. Attorney General, thousands of lives could be improved and saved. There is no time to lose."

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent | Tue April 24, 2018


Watch Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta's CNN Special Report
 "Weed 4: Pot vs. Pills" on Sunday, April 29, at 8 p.m. ET.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Assessing How Medical Cannabis Affects Behavioral Health



In a first-of-a-kind study, Washington State University scientists examined how peoples’ self-reported levels of stress, anxiety and depression were affected by smoking different strains and quantities of cannabis at home.

Their work, published this month in the Journal of Affective Disorders, suggests smoking cannabis can significantly reduce short-term levels of depression, anxiety, and stress but may contribute to worse overall feelings of depression over time.

It marks one of the first attempts by U.S. scientists to assess how cannabis with varying concentrations of the chemical compounds tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) affect medicinal cannabis users’ feelings of wellbeing when smoked outside of a laboratory.

“Existing research on the effects of cannabis on depression, anxiety and stress are very rare and have almost exclusively been done with orally administered THC pills in a laboratory,” said Carrie Cuttler, clinical assistant professor of psychology at WSU and lead author of the study. “What is unique about our study is that we looked at actual inhaled cannabis by medical marijuana patients who were using it in the comfort of their own homes as opposed to a laboratory.”

For example, the WSU research team found that one puff of cannabis high in CBD and low in THC was optimal for reducing symptoms of depression, two puffs of any type of cannabis was sufficient to reduce symptoms of anxiety, while 10 or more puffs of cannabis high in CBD and high in THC produced the largest reductions in stress.

“A lot of consumers seem to be under the false assumption that more THC is always better,” Cuttler said. “Our study shows that CBD is also a very important ingredient in cannabis and may augment some of the positive effects of THC.”

The researchers also found that while both sexes reported decreases in all three symptoms after using cannabis, women reported a significantly greater reduction in anxiety following cannabis use.



Data for the study were taken from the trademarked app Strainprint, which provides medical cannabis users a means of tracking how different doses and types of cannabis affect a wide variety of symptoms of well-being.

Strainprint users rate the symptoms they are experiencing before using cannabis on a scale of 1-10 and then input information about the type of cannabis they are using. Twenty minutes after smoking, they are prompted to report how many puffs they took and to rerate the severity of their symptoms.

Cuttler and WSU colleagues Alexander Spradlin and Ryan McLaughlin used a form of statistical analysis called multilevel modeling to analyze around 12,000 anonymous Strainprint entries for depression, anxiety and stress. The researchers did not receive any of the Strainprint users personally identifying information for their work.

“This is to my knowledge one of the first scientific studies to provide guidance on the strains and quantities of cannabis people should be seeking out for reducing stress, anxiety and depression,” Cuttler said. “Currently, medical and recreational cannabis users rely on the advice of bud tenders whose recommendations are based off of anecdotal not scientific evidence.”

The study is among several cannabis-related research projects currently underway at WSU, all of which are consistent with federal law and many of which are funded with Washington state cannabis taxes and liquor license fees.

A list of those research projects is available at https://news.wsu.edu/2018/04/18/wsu-researchers-focusing-range-cannabis-health-issues/.


Media contacts:
Carrie Cuttler, WSU Department of Psychology, 509-335-0681, carrie.cuttler@wsu.edu
Will Ferguson, WSU News, 509-954-2912, will.ferguson@wsu.edu


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Is Cannabis The New Wonder Drug?


Israeli scientists are exploring cannabis as a treatment, or even cure, for conditions ranging from cancer to Parkinson’s, asthma, insomnia, PTSD, epilepsy and IBS.


Cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy, asthma, insomnia, autism, PTSD, inflammatory bowel disease, Parkinson’s – the list of conditions that can be improved, and possibly cured, by medical cannabis keeps growing longer.

The powerful plant used to make cannabis and hashish may prove to be the wonder drug of the century. Israeli researchers have long been at the forefront of discovering which of its many components — and in what quantity and form of delivery –- are effective for which ailments.

Already since the 1990s, medical cannabis has been permitted in Israel and currently is dispensed by prescription to about 33,000 people for relief of pain associated with diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Crohn’s, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Now, academic and corporate research is more intensive than ever. The Israeli government is formulating rules for exporting medical cannabis products such as capsules and oils, and the first government-sponsored international conference on medical cannabis will take place April 23-26 near Tel Aviv.

We spoke to conference organizer Hinanit Koltai, PhD, senior research scientist at the government’s Agricultural Research Organization – Volcani Institute. She works with the Agriculture and Health ministries to promote medicalization of cannabis by determining proper growth conditions and building a national cannabis gene bank for the use of authorized growers, scientists and breeders.
“With cancer, we’re starting to talk about curing. This is revolutionary in relation to medical cannabis.”

Individual strains or cultivars could be optimized for certain medical indications, Koltai explains.

“We can grow cannabis plants for research purposes and manipulate the growth conditions in a way that forms whatever composition we prefer and then we can give future guidelines to growers,” Koltai tells ISRAEL21c.

Her lab developed new extraction methods and bio-assays, and collaborates with physicians, scientists and commercial companies to develop cannabis-based treatments for specific conditions.

IBD and cancer
For research on inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) including Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, Koltai’s lab partnered with Israeli-Canadian PlantEXT, a subsidiary of Israel Plant Sciences.

They’re examining the effect of cannabis extracts and compounds on tissue from colon biopsies provided by Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba and will soon start clinical trials. Next they’ll turn their attention to colon cancer.

“Until now, even with IBD we talked about treating symptoms rather than curing. With cancer, we’re starting to talk about curing. This is revolutionary in relation to medical cannabis,” Koltai reveals.

“I do not want to raise false hopes but we see it as a mission to try and establish cannabis as an anti-cancer treatment. We have exciting results that have to be verified in clinical trials and that can take years,” she adds.

From left, PlantEXT Chairman Joe Oliver with Dr. Hinanit Koltai and Prof. Eli Finerman of the Volcani Institute. Photo by Shlomo Pazner

Cannabis will one day be an important tool in curing cancer, agrees Prof. David “Dedi” Meiri, head of the Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Cannabanoid Research at the Technion-Israeli Institute of Technology.

However, a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work. Each type of cancer has unique characteristics and cannabis contains 142 known cannabinoids (active components).

Matching the most effective cannabis compounds (possibly a cocktail of them) to specific cancers is a complex process that Meiri’s lab is mapping out on mice, Meiri told ISRAEL21c at the fourth annual CannaTech conference in Tel Aviv earlier this year.

Even the compound extraction method makes a difference, Meiri said, “but we don’t know yet which is better, just that there’s a difference.”

Parkinson’s, insomnia
Nearly 70 Israeli companies are actively focusing on medical cannabis in sectors such as agriculture, life-sciences and medical devices, according to a 2018 report from Tel Aviv-based IVC Research Center.

Some of the life-sciences companies developing medicines or treatments are ICD Pharma, Intec Pharma, Talent Biotechs (acquired in 2017 by Kalytera Therapeutics), Therapix Biosciences, Bazelet and Izun Pharma subsidiary CannRx.

“Cannabis is very different from traditional pharma because the initial evidence for relevant indications is coming from patients themselves rather than from basic research,” says Shimon Lecht, PhD, the R&D manager for CannRx.

The medical indications in the CannRx pipeline are insomnia, neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease; and pain (with a delivery system suitable for the elderly and other populations having difficulty with administration).

“The most advanced formulas are for insomnia and pain. We expect during this year to have some announcements of clinical trial results,” says Lecht.

CannRx also develops unique drug-delivery products for the cannabis molecule such as a novel vapor capture technology (VCT) method to extract the oil of the plant for the most beneficial medical effects.

CannRx’s VCT vapor capture technology device. Photo: courtesy

Autism, epilepsy, fractures, diabetes
Dr. Adi Aran, director of neuropediatrics at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem and a consultant to the Health Ministry for medical cannabis, explores the effects of medical cannabis on epilepsy and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

“The dramatic clinical effect seen in some cases has led me to further explore the potential benefits, and possible risks, of cannabinoids, particularly in children,” said Aran.

In 2016, he led the world’s first open-label trial studying the effect of cannabidiol (CBD) oil on symptoms in 60 subjects aged 5 to 21.

Nearly half the subjects’ parents said their children’s core ASD symptoms were reduced by the treatment. Almost one-third said their previously uncommunicative children started speaking or communicating nonverbally – including one who said “I love you” to his mother for the first time.

Encouraged by those results, Aran led a large-scale double-blind controlled trial on the efficacy and safety of cannabis for autism, involving 150 severely autistic children and adults aged 5 to 29.

“The follow-up will continue till November,” he tells ISRAEL21c, “and then the publication process will take several months.”

Tikun Olam, the first grower and supplier of medical cannabis to be licensed by the Israeli Health Ministry, in 2005, recently tested its oral CBD oil drops to lessen symptoms associated with severe ASD.

In the study at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center involving 53 children and young adults aged 4 to 22, the Tikun Olam drops caused a significant improvement in social communication skills and decrease in self-injury and rage attacks, hyperactivity, sleep disturbances and anxiety. The overall rate of improvement in symptoms was 74.5 percent, although in some participants the symptoms stayed the same or worsened.
“Cannabidiol appears to be effective in improving ASD symptoms; however, long-term effects should be evaluated in large-scale studies,” the study authors concluded.

Regarding other medical conditions, scientists from Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem showed that CBD significantly enhanced healing in lab rats with thigh bone fractures; and Ananda Scientific is investigating how CBD may control and even prevent diabetes.

Pain, PTSD, asthma
The opioid addiction crisis is driving increased interest in medical cannabis as an alternative to other pain-relief medications.

Israeli research published in the March 2018 issue of European Journal of Internal Medicine showed the effectiveness and safety of a six-month regimen of cannabis treatment for pain in 2,736 patients aged 65 and older.

Overall improvement was noted by 93.7% of respondents. They reported significantly fewer falls and less use of prescription pain medicines including opioids.
“Gathering more evidence-based data, including data from double-blind randomized-controlled trials, in this special population is imperative,” concluded the authors, who include Ran Abuhasira, Victor Novack and Lihi Bar-Lev Schleider of the Cannabis Clinical Research Institute at Soroka University Medical Center and Ben-Gurion University in Beersheva (Schleider also heads research at Tikun Olam) and Prof. Raphael Mechoulam from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Mechoulam, the first to successfully isolate the THC (psychoactive) component of cannabis back in 1964, is leading a team at the Hebrew University’s Multidisciplinary Center on Cannabis Research investigating the benefits of non-psychoactive cannabis components for treating asthma and other respiratory conditions, a study commissioned by UK-Israeli biotech startup CiiTech.

Bazelet’s booth at the 2017 CannaTech event in Tel Aviv. Photo by Miriam Alster/FLASH90

Bazelet, the largest medical cannabis company in Israel,has developed proprietary technology to isolate and utilize specific cannabis components to treat chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), neurodegenerative diseases, epilepsy and autism. Clinical trials are in progress for pain relief and PTSD.

Therapix Biosciences of Tel Aviv recently received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for its investigational synthetic cannabinoid drug THX-110, paving the way for a Phase IIa clinical trial of THX-110 for chronic low back pain.

Tourette and sleep apnea
Therapix also has a clinical development program for THX-110 in the treatment of Tourette syndrome (TS) and obstructive sleep apnea.

A Phase IIa study at Yale University for TS suggests that THX-110 significantly improved symptoms over time in adult subjects. Complete results will be presented at the 2018 European Society for the Study of Tourette Syndrome meeting in Copenhagen this June.

“These results are of particular interest as the pharmacology of THX-110 appears to be distinct from existing medications for TS and may offer a unique option for treating these patients,” said Therapix CTO Adi Zuloff-Shani.

“Based on these study results, we intend to initiate a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study to evaluate the safety, tolerability and efficacy of daily oral THX-110 in treating adults with Tourette syndrome.”

There is more on the horizon: Therapix is testing a different cannabis compound, THX-130, for the treatment of mild cognitive impairment and traumatic brain injury; THX-150 for the treatment of infectious diseases; and THX-ULD01 for treating mild cognitive impairment.

By Abigail Klein Leichman - APRIL 18, 2018, 8:51 AM - Israel21c