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ALS & Medical Marijuana

Lou Gherig’s Disease Survivors Getting Are Relief

Just as the man lived, with grace, he also suffered the ravages of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Lou Gherig was diagnosed at the height of his legendary baseball career, at the age of 36. The prognosis was bleak: rapidly progressing paralysis, difficulty in eating and speaking, and a life expectancy less than three years.

So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for — Thank you.” Lou Gherig’s Baseball ‘Gettysburg Address’

He died two years later, but left us with his gentle and elegant legacy.

ALS has also taken Stephen Hawking, Hall of Fame pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Senator Jacob Javits, actor David Niven, “Sesame Street” creator Jon Stone, boxing champion Ezzard Charles, NBA Hall of Fame basketball player George Yardley, golf caddie Bruce Edwards, musician Lead Belly (Huddie Ledbetter), photographer Eddie Adams, entertainer Dennis Day, jazz musician Charles Mingus, former vice president of the United States Henry A. Wallace, U.S. Army General Maxwell Taylor, and NFL football players Steve Gleason, O.J. Brigance and Tim Shaw. (Source ALS Association)

A lot of bright, shining stars taken too soon. We were honored by their presence and it is that same elevated energy that propels research ahead in the Medical Marijuana movement.


What Is ALS?

ALS affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord and it progresses as a result of nerve degeneration. This is also known as neurodegeneration — a term that comes up often in the realm of Medical Cannabis (or Marijuana) research.. It causes muscles to waste away as they are no longer receiving nerve impulses and other electrical nourishment.

Brain

  • We have an intricate system of nerves that reach from our brains to our spinal cords and then throughout our bodies to every muscle. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. People may lose the ability to speak, eat, move and breathe
  • Approximately 5,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year
  • It is estimated there are more than 20,000 Americans may be living with ALS at any given time
  • ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries and can affect anyone
  • Military veterans are approximately twice as likely to develop ALS
  • The early stages of ALS often involve muscle weakness or stiffness. Increasing weakness, wasting and paralysis of the muscles of the limbs and trunk as well as those that control vital functions such as speech, swallowing and later breathing generally follows

There are no effective treatments to halt or reverse the progression of ALS. However, there are treatments that help control symptoms and prevent unnecessary complications. One in particular, Riluzole, reduces damage to nerves by decreasing levels of glutamate — an amino acid that plays a key role in the neural pathways associated with learning and memory. This treatment prolongs survival by a few months but does not reverse any damage already done to motor neurons prior to a patient taking the medicine.

The Medical Cannabis Connection:

Cannabis Fights Neurodegeneration:

THC and CBD are both potent antioxidants, according to the U.S. government, which filed a patent on the antioxidant and neuroprotective properties of cannabinoids based on research from 1998. Once again, we encounter the hypocrisies of federal drug policy, which steadfastly maintains that cannabis has no medical value.

In another study entitled, Cannabidiol: a promising drug for neurodegenerative disorders? — done in 2009 by the Department of Experimental Pharmacology at the University of Naples, Italy and sponsored by the NIH, the scientists concluded:

“Nevertheless, among Cannabis compounds, cannabidiol (CBD), which lacks any unwanted psychotropic effect, may represent a very promising agent with the highest prospect for therapeutic use.”

Let’s explore how Cannabis affects neurodegeneration:

Oxidative stress and the creation of free radicals begins in the powerhouses of cells, known as the Mitochndria. Mitochondrial dysfunction is involved in virtually all disease, especially age-related neurodegeneration.

An estimated fifteen percent of all CB1 receptors in neurons exist on the mitochondria.

According to a 2016 report in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (London):

“Cannabinoids as regulators of mitochondrial activity, as anti-oxidants and as modulators of clearance processes protect neurons on the molecular level… Neuroinflammatory processes contributing to the progression of normal brain ageing and to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases are suppressed by cannabinoids, suggesting that they may also influence the aging process on the system level.”

Another study found:

Cannabinoid CB1 Receptors Are Localized in Striated Muscle Mitochondria and Regulate Mitochondrial Respiration (Frontiers in Physiology, Oct. 2016)

In conclusion, CB1 receptors are localized in the mitochondria of striated muscles in a similar proportion to brain tissue.”

And finally, in promising new research out of Israel, where the endocannabinoid system was first discovered in 1963, scientists found that in people affected by the disease, the muscle secretes toxic free radicals and that in people with ALS, not only was the level of free radical toxicity higher, but there was also an increase in the number of receptors.

In addition, the researchers found that this higher toxicity occurred when there were reduced levels of one specific microRNA (miRs): the miR-126–5p, in ALS models. MicroRNAs are small molecules that regulate the translation of proteins and play an important role in many other cellular processes.

We demonstrated in lab work and on mouse models that we can successfully ameliorate ALS symptoms using this miR as a potential drug,” Dr Eran Perlson of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, said in the statement. “We further demonstrated that muscle tissue — not only motor neurons — are undoubtedly involved in the progression of ALS.”


In a study, Cannabinoid neuroimmune modulation of SIV disease, scientists linked cannabinoids to these same microRNA’s. (Molina, P.E., Amedee, A., LeCapitaine, N.J. et al. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol (2011) 6: 516.)

Cannabinoids could also be modulating the expression of miRNAs, a novel class of endogenous, small, noncoding RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression via degradation or translational inhibition of their target mRNAs. MicroRNAs are important regulators of cell differentiation, proliferation/growth, mobility, and apoptosis.” (Zhang, 2008)

In Conclusion:

We now know, through rigorous government sponsored testing as well as cutting edge research from Israel, that Cannabis has neurodegenerative properties and affects cell respiration, fights free radicals and keeps cells from dying. Also, the existence of Cannabinoid receptors has been shown on striated muscle tissues. Putting these important discoveries together with the new thoughts on the synergies of microRNA and Cannabis has huge implications in treating and possibly even curing diseases such as ALS.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CALL US AT 833-MMJ-EASY OR CLICK TO SCHEDULE YOUR VISIT WITH THE FLORIDA MEDICAL MARIJUANA DOCTOR NEAREST YOU.

Glaucoma & Medical Marijuana: Gaining Clarity and Guiding Visionary Research

Glaucoma is an eye disease which damages the retina and can cause vision loss and blindness. Eye pressure (Intraocular Pressure or IOP) is a major risk factor, and lowering IOP results in reduced risk of progression of the disorder.

There are two types of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. The first type is the most common, and the slower of the two. In the second type, angle-closure glaucoma, fluid builds up close to the iris. This can lead to rapid blindness and needs medical attention immediately.

Related: Find Your Florida Medical Marijuana Doctor

Conventional Glaucoma Treatment

The goal of glaucoma treatment is to lower pressure in your eye. Depending on your situation, your options may include eyedrops, laser treatment or surgery. All of which can be effective, but often come with debilitating synthetic side effects. Read them and decide for yourself if it’s worth the risk.

Eyedrops:

Glaucoma treatment often starts with prescription eyedrops. These can help decrease eye pressure by improving how fluid drains from your eye or by decreasing the amount of fluid your eye makes.

  • Prostaglandins. These increase the outflow of the fluid in your eye and reduce pressure in your eye. Examples include latanoprost (Xalatan) and bimatoprost (Lumigan). 
    • Possible side effects include mild reddening and stinging of the eyes, darkening of the iris, changes in the pigment of the eyelashes or eyelid skin, and blurred vision.
  • Beta blockers. These reduce the production of fluid in your eye, thereby lowering the pressure in your eye. Examples include timolol (Betimol, Timoptic) and betaxolol (Betoptic).
    • Possible side effects include difficulty breathing, slowed heart rate, lower blood pressure, impotence and fatigue.
  • Alpha-adrenergic agonists. These reduce the production of aqueous humor and increase outflow of the fluid in your eye. Examples include apraclonidine (Iopidine) and brimonidine (Alphagan).
    • Possible side effects include an irregular heart rate; high blood pressure; fatigue; red, itchy or swollen eyes; and dry mouth.
  • Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. Rarely used for glaucoma, these drugs may reduce the production of fluid in your eye. Examples include dorzolamide (Trusopt) and brinzolamide (Azopt).
    • Possible side effects include a metallic taste, frequent urination, and tingling in the fingers and toes.
  • Miotic or cholinergic agents. These increase the outflow of fluid from your eye. An example is pilocarpine (Isopto Carpine).
    • Side effects include smaller pupils, possible blurred or dim vision, and nearsightedness.

Oral Medications:

If eyedrops alone don’t bring your eye pressure down to the desired level, your doctor may also prescribe an oral medication, usually a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor (also used as an anticonvulsant in Epilepsy medication). Possible side effects include frequent urination, tingling in the fingers and toes, depression, stomach upset, and kidney stones.

Related: CBD Endorsed by The FDA for Epilepsy

Surgery and Other Therapies:

Conventional surgery makes a new opening for the fluid to leave the eye.

Other treatment options include laser therapy and various surgical procedures. Possible complications include pain, redness, infection, inflammation, bleeding, abnormally high or low eye pressure, and loss of vision.

A New Perspective on Glaucoma and Medical Marijuana:

my florida green, medical, marijuana, cannabis, mmj, card, doctor, endocannabinoid system, glaucomaThe endocannabinoid system (ECS) has attracted considerable attention as a potential target for the treatment of glaucoma, largely due to the observed retinal pressure lowering effects seen after administration of cannabinoids. And, recent evidence has suggested that modulation of the ECS may also be neuroprotective. (Source: US Library of Medicine).

Cannabinoid receptors are prominent in ocular tissues responsible for regulating intraocular pressure (IOP). A promising area of research would be to develop cannabinoid-derived medications that target these tissues. Cannabinoid-derived medications could be developed that serve two roles: lowering IOP and protecting retinal cells.

A 2016 study, The Endocannabinoid System as a Therapeutic Target in Glaucoma implemented the use of an electroretinogram, which functions to record the electrical response of the eye to light.

This Neural Plasticity study found that manipulating the cannabinoid receptors modifies the way that electroretinographic (the electrical responses of various cell types in the retina, including the photoreceptors, inner retinal cells, and the ganglion cells), waves move through the retina. (The Endocannabinoid System as a Therapeutic Target in Glaucoma Neural Plasticity, 2016).

The Medical Marijuana & Glaucoma Study Concluded:

“Increasing evidence suggests that modulation of the endocannabinoid system may show potential for the treatment of glaucoma. Administration of cannabinoids in experimental models can lower IOP and reduce RGC loss, possibly by independent mechanisms. Novel therapeutic strategies, including allosteric modulation and inhibition of endocannabinoid breakdown, may enhance the therapeutic effects seen with direct administration of cannabinoids. However, a better understanding of the components of the ECS, their tissue-specific expression, and the functional role of the ocular ECS is still lacking. This information remains essential in order to move forward with the identification of novel ECS drug targets to prevent retinal neuron loss.”

Related: The My Florida Green blog

Animal Studies Show Promise of Cannabis Eye Drops:

In another recent study, Cannabinoid Receptors CB1 and CB2 Modulate the Electroretinographic Waves in Vervet Monkeys (Neural Plasticity, 2016), researchers at The University of British Columbia found that:

“Manipulating the endocannabinoid system might therefore serve as a therapy to restore normal vision and protect the retina.”

Eye drops developed by UBC researchers could one day treat glaucoma while you sleep — helping to heal this condition that is one of the leading causes of blindness around the world. It is estimated that 60 million suffer from glaucoma globally.

“Medicated eye drops are commonly used to treat glaucoma but they’re often poorly absorbed. Less than five per cent of the drug stays in the eye because most of the drops just roll off the eye,” said lead researcher Vikramaditya Yadav, a professor of chemical and biological engineering, and biomedical engineering at UBC.

“Even when the drug is absorbed, it may fail to reach the back of the eye, where it can start repairing damaged neurons and relieving the pressure that characterizes glaucoma.”

To solve these problems, the UBC team developed a hydrogel that was then filled with thousands of nanoparticles containing cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), a cannabis compound that has shown promise in relieving glaucoma symptoms.

They applied the drops on donated pig corneas, which are similar to human corneas, and found that the drug was absorbed quickly and reached the back of the eye.

“You would apply the eye drops just before bedtime, and they would form a lens upon contact with the eye. The nanoparticles slowly dissolve during the night and penetrate the cornea. By morning, the lens will have completely dissolved,” said Yadav.

Previous research shows that cannabinoids like CBGA are effective in relieving glaucoma symptoms, but no cannabis-based eye drops have so far been developed because cannabinoids don’t easily dissolve in water, according to the researchers.

“By suspending CBGA in a nanoparticle-hydrogel composite, we have developed what we believe is the first cannabinoid-based eye drops that effectively penetrate through the eye to treat glaucoma. This composite could also potentially be used for other drugs designed to treat eye disorders like infections or macular degeneration,” said study co-author Syed Haider Kamal, a research associate in Yadav’s lab.

Further research still needs to be conducted to have a full understanding of how Cannabis can impact one’s eyesight, but the results of the 2016 study are a good basis for future endeavors regarding the relationship between cannabis and vision. The same study cited above also indicates that the psychoactive compound of the plant, known as THC, can increase an individual’s ability to see at night. (University of British Columbia. “New glaucoma treatment could ease symptoms while you sleep.” (ScienceDaily, 11 April 2018.)

Pioneers in Jamaica for Medical Marijuana and Glaucoma Treatment

In 1983, after ten years of research, Professor Manley West and ophthalmologist, Dr. Albert Lockhart developed an eye drop, Canasol, specifically to treat glaucoma. Glaucoma is estimated to affect 3% of the Jamaican population.

Professor Manley West, who died in 2012, was an emeritus Professor of Pharmacology in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, UWI, Mona and the recipient of the Order of Merit from the Government of Jamaica and the Gold Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica for the development of Canasol. He also received the Order of Merit from the Government of Canada for cardiovascular research.

Dr. Albert Lockhart received the Order of Merit from the Government of Jamaica and the Gold Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica for the development of Canasol.

The drug was an important breakthrough, because it is derived from ganja, Cannabis sativa, and was the first eye medication in the Caribbean to be developed at UWI, Mona for this disease. Canasol has an important benefit since it does not induce the negative side effects that are associated with synthetic glaucoma therapies.

“It was a breakthrough,” West explained. “I had long been interested in finding therapeutic compounds derived from natural origins. Glaucoma hits blacks sooner in life, progresses faster, and more often results in blindness. About 100,000 of our 3 million island population has it. Other glaucoma medications produced side effects, and the only other treatment was surgery, which is also risky. We wanted a safer, more affordable medicine for Jamaicans. Canasol appears to be the answer. It works within minutes to lower pressure, even in patients who have rare forms of glaucoma or have not responded well to other treatments.”

OBSERVATIONAL DISCOVERIES:

Professor West became interested in studying the ganja plant because he had observed that locals who used an eye wash made up of ganja in water, always reported to him that it made them see better. The fishermen who drank ganja ‘tea’ made the same claim and also claimed that their vision at night was markedly better.

Dr. Albert Lockhart noted that his Rastafarian patients who used ganja had a low incidence of glaucoma. More recently, he discovered that the eye drop, Canasol, improves the integrity of the optic nerve, the nerve which causes us to see, thus preventing blindness. Submicron (something smaller than a millionth of a micron) emulsions and cyclodextrine derivatives (sugar molecules which form a ring) are being used to increase the solubility in water it is thought.

“Everybody wants to find out how we got rid of the psychoactive components and isolated the active principles,” Lockhart explained. “They even went to our manufacturer and government officials, trying to get information. They are confused by a mindset that holds that THC is the only active principle. But there is more than one variety of this plant, and many different combinations. We have tested these principles on every part of the body, including injecting into the brain. We have reams and reams of data on how this works. We have had no reports that these therapies have a systemic affect on patients in a way that would be described as psychoactive.”

The FDA is Standing In The Way of Medical Marijuana for Glaucoma

“The FDA doesn’t recognize foreign experiments. It doesn’t consider our dogs, rats, cats and people as valid test subjects, because they are not American test subjects,” Lockhart quipped. “They seemed interested in having us hand it over to a big corporation. It was actually quite funny, when some companies wanted to pay us a pittance for our work, to give up all our rights to it. An insult really. And the FDA policy was to deny the medical value of any natural derivative of cannabis, but they allowed the synthetic derivative, Marinol, and that derivative was of very limited application. US medical journals also discriminate against research done outside the United States. We are two little guys from a third world country. We do this for knowledge and to help people. We test our discoveries and find those that work safely, then we publish the results. But we do not have enough money to challenge the US authorities.”

New Horizons for Medical Marijuana and Glaucoma

Evidence increasingly suggests glaucoma (now widely considered to be a neurodegenerative condition), has a connection to other neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown one out of four Alzheimer’s patients also likely has a diagnosis of glaucoma. In fact, glaucoma appears to be a significant predictor of AD. The root cause of glaucoma, however, remains a mystery and continues to elude scientists.

The research currently underway with Alzheimer’s and Medical Cannabis shows promise in possibly reversing the disease. The synergies and balancing aspects of Medical Cannabis are widely known. Is there a connection between the two conditions?

We have great hope that as the veils of deception lift and this mighty Medical Cannabis movement continues to offer healing alternatives for suffering individuals, communities, and even our precious earth, it will continue to gain the support and momentum it deserves.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CALL US AT 833-MMJ-EASY OR CLICK TO SCHEDULE YOUR VISIT WITH THE FLORIDA MEDICAL MARIJUANA DOCTOR NEAREST YOU.

Medical Marijuana for Epilepsy Can’t Be Denied

The FDA’s Recent Endorsement of CBD for Epilepsy Supports Historical Record.

The effectiveness of CBD and Medical Marijuana for Epilepsy can no longer be denied. The Federal Drug Administration has officially approved Epidiolex as an “investigational treatment” for Epilepsy.

This is significant because Epidiolex is an extract of cannabis and CBD, and as you may know,  the Federal Government states that cannabis “has no medical value” and deserves to be a Schedule 1 drug.

The approval of Medical Marijuana for Epilepsy was made possible with the significant financial support of the U.K. company, GW Pharmaceuticals. GW sponsored the May 2018 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine where  a double-blind, placebo-controlled study  conclusively found:

“This study clearly establishes cannabidiol as an effective anti-seizure drug for this disorder and this age group,” says principal investigator Orrin Devinsky, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at New York University Langone Medical Center. “It certainly deserves to be studied in other types of epilepsy.”

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A total of 120 children and teenagers with Dravet syndrome — a rare disorder marked by drug-resistant seizures that can be nearly continuous in some cases — were part of the study. They were divided into an experimental group, which received the test drug, and a placebo group, which was given a medically inactive compound.

Over the course of 14 weeks the youngsters receiving CBD experienced a median number of 5.9 convulsive seizures per month (down from 12.4) compared with 14.1 convulsions per month (down from 14.9) for the placebo group.

These are life-changing results.

It should be noted, that Cannabis has played a role in treating epilepsy and seizure disorders for a long time. Unfortunately the government, due to cannabis’ “Schedule 1” drug designation, has put a stop to the required double-blind, placebo-controlled studies.

As you may already know, these studies have also been hurt by lack of funding and poor quality plants provided by the only approved cannabis farming facility at the University of Mississippi.

But, of course, something changes when Big Money and Big Pharma get involved…and surprise! (not really) They found that cannabis for epilepsy works wonders.

Related: Find Your Florida Medical Marijuana Doctor

Medical Cannabis: A History of Healing

Cannabis has been used for millennia for medical, recreational, and manufacturing purposes. Around 2900 BCE, the Chinese Emperor Fu Hsi characterized cannabis as having sacred feminine (yin) and masculine (yang) features, suggesting that it could restore homeostasis to an unbalanced body. Early documented uses of cannabis to treat seizures include a Sumerian text from 2900 BCE and an Arabian document from the twelfth century.


In the mid-1800s, the British surgeon William O’Shaughnessy reported cannabis therapy for the treatment of epilepsy. He had traveled widely in India and brought back much knowledge of Cannabis and other plant medicines.

He recounted that Cannabis provided an “alleviation of pain in most, a remarkable increase of appetite in all, unequivocal aphrodisia, and great mental cheerfulness”.

Two of England’s most prominent mid-to-late nineteenth century neurologists, J.R. Reynolds and W. Gowers, also noted the benefits of cannabis in epilepsy.

The healing benefits of Cannabis in treating Epilepsy are well-documented and time-tested. For a long time, epilepsy patients have been leading Medical Cannabis research and advocacy. In particular, brave parents willing to do anything to help their children.

The Story of Charlotte’s Web and Epilepsy

In studying Medical Cannabis research, you will find a common theme. It has continued despite the obstacles and stigma because of one powerful force: Love.

And in the case of Epilepsy, it was a parent’s love for their child which built the groundswell of activism, risk-taking, and independent research that has carried us to where we are today.

Charlotte’s Web is named after Charlotte Figi, a young girl who developed Dravet syndrome (a more severe form of epilepsy) as a baby. Figi, by age three was severely disabled and having 300 grand mal seizures a week despite treatment. Her parents heard of another child with Dravet Syndrome, who used Medical Marijuana since June 2011. They decided to try it.

Her parents and physicians said that she improved immediately. She now follows a regular regimen that uses a solution of the high-CBD marijuana extract in olive oil. She is given the oil under her tongue or in her food. Her parents said in 2013 that her epilepsy had improved so that she had only about four seizures per month, and she was able to engage in normal childhood activities.

Her story has led to her being described as “the girl who is changing medical marijuana laws across America,” as well as the “most famous example of medicinal hemp use”.

Related: Crohn’s Disease, Gut Disorders, & Medical Marijuana

How Cannabis Helps Epilepsy Patients:

If you want the science, here it is, according to GW Pharmaceuticals:

“Cannabidiol is a structurally novel anti-convulsant. Cannabidiol does not exert its anti-convulsant effects through CB1 receptors, nor through voltage-gated sodium channels. CBD may exert a cumulative anti-convulsant effect, modulating a number of endogenous systems including, but not limited to neuronal inhibition (synaptic and extrasynaptic GABA channels), modulation of intracellular calcium (TRPV, VDAC, GPR55), and possible anti-inflammatory effects (adenosine).

CBD does not directly bind to, nor activate, CB1 and CB2 receptors at concentrations pharmacologically relevant to its anticonvulsant effect. Among the likely mechanisms of action, modulation of intra-cellular calcium via GPR-55, TRPV, and VDAC is under active investigation in our research laboratories. Additional mechanisms under exploration by our researchers include adenosine modulation, glycine and GABAergic modulation, and serotonin agonism.”

“These are exciting times for research in cannabinoids. After almost four millennia of their documented medical use in the treatment of seizure disorders, we are very close to obtaining conclusive evidence of their efficacy in some severe epilepsy syndromes. The era of evidence-based prescription of a cannabis product is within our sight.” Orrin Devinsky, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at New York University Langone Medical Center (June, 2018)

Related: Cannabis vs. Cancer, Therapeuric Relief or Cancer Killer?

What’s Next For Medical Marijuana for Epilepsy?

Dr. Orrin Devinsky, who led the G.W. Pharmaceuticals clinical trials, hopes these latest findings will persuade the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to change its classification of marijuana as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

“To put CBD as a Schedule I drug violates scientific data and common sense…They have to de-schedule this drug. It’s just not fair to the research and clinical communities, or to the patients. It’s medieval.”

And here is a comparative cost of treatment according to Scientific American (2107):

Heather Jackson, CEO of Realm of Caring, a charitable group affiliated with Colorado-based CW Hemp, one of nation’s largest CBD companies, estimates the typical family using CBD to treat childhood epilepsy spends about $1,800 per year on the substance.

A GW Pharmaceuticals spokeswoman said the company would not immediately announce a price for the drug, which it expects to launch in the fall. Wall Street analysts have previously predicted it could cost $25,000 per year, with annual sales eventually reaching $1 billion.

For their part, GW Pharmaceuticals executives say they are not trying to disrupt products already on the market. The company has pushed legislation in several states to make sure its drug can be legally sold and prescribed.

“There are neuroscientists who are drooling to work on cannabinoids,” said Elizabeth Thiele, director of the pediatric epilepsy program at Massachusetts General Hospital and one of the lead investigators in the GW trials. Once the DEA reschedules Epidiolex, they finally will be able to.

Before sales of Epidiolex can begin, the Drug Enforcement Administration must formally reclassify CBD into a different category of drugs that have federal medical approval. That decision is expected within 90 days. This is the FDA’s statement:

“This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies. And, the FDA is committed to this kind of careful scientific research and drug development,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.

“Controlled clinical trials testing the safety and efficacy of a drug, along with careful review through the FDA’s drug approval process, is the most appropriate way to bring marijuana-derived treatments to patients. Because of the adequate and well-controlled clinical studies that supported this approval, prescribers can have confidence in the drug’s uniform strength and consistent delivery that support appropriate dosing needed for treating patients with these complex and serious epilepsy syndromes.

We’ll continue to support rigorous scientific research on the potential medical uses of marijuana-derived products and work with product developers who are interested in bringing patients safe and effective, high quality products.”

G.W. Pharmaceuticals Pipeline:

  1. GWP42006 — an anti-epileptic utilizing the cannabinoid CBDV.
  2. Cannabinoids for treating Autism Spectrum Disorder
  3. A proprietary THC:CBD product for the treatment of Glioma
  4. An intravenous CBD formulation for Neonatal and Perinatal Hypoxia

Related: Medical Cannabis for Sleep Relief

Medical Marijuana for Epilepsy: Protocols, Dosages, and Suggestions

High quality, properly sourced CBD oil is essential and your options should be discussed with your Florida Medical Marijuana Doctor. There are many products currently available that are held to even higher standards, are more effective, and more affordable than pharmaceutical company products.

With access to truth, wisdom and powered by love, many more breakthroughs will finally be revealed.

Here is an example of a typical dosing protocol:

Low dose initiation (in children):

  • 0.5 mg/kg/day divided into two daily doses (AM / PM).
    Increase every 1–2 weeks by 0.5–1 mg/kg/day, as long as side effects do not interfere.
    Target dose 2–10 mg/kg/day, or stop sooner if seizures stop or side effects prevent further dose increases.

Low dose in adults:

  • 25 mg twice daily
    Increase every 1–2 weeks by 25 mg/dose
    Target dose 100–300 mg twice daily if tolerated, or stop sooner if seizures stop or side effects prevent further dose increases.

Higher dose initiation (in children):

  • 1 mg/kg/day divided into two daily doses (AM / PM).
    Increase every 1–2 weeks by 1 mg/kg/day, as long as side effects do not interfere.
    Target dose 2–10 mg/kg/day, or stop sooner if seizures stop or side effects prevent further dose increases.

Higher dose in adults:

  • 50 mg twice daily
    Increase every 1–2 weeks by 50 mg/dose
    Target dose 100–300 mg twice daily if tolerated, or stop sooner if seizures stop or side effects prevent further dose increases.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CALL US AT 833-MMJ-EASY OR CLICK TO SCHEDULE YOUR VISIT WITH THE FLORIDA MEDICAL MARIJUANA DOCTOR NEAREST YOU.

Yes, fellow Floridians, we no longer need to bury our heads in the sand over our state’s often confusing Medical Marijuana stance.

Despite our challenges, we can boast about the new research currently underway at the University of Florida (go Gators!) where researchers have received a $3.2 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to explore the health effects of marijuana on people living with HIV.

In what is heralded to be the largest and most comprehensive research on the topic, researchers will be studying how Cannabis can effectively treat many major issues that plague AIDS survivors and society in general. These include a ‘big five’ of: Pain, Chronic Inflammation, Viral Suppression, Stress, and Sleep. This article will explain how the incredible cannabis plant can provide relief for all of these ailments.

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Robert Cook, MD, MPH, Professor of Epidemiology at The University of Florida

In addition, researchers will study and gather information about how to best utilize this medicinal plant.

“Many persons using marijuana for specific health indications may have identified specific strategies to use marijuana that they find to be most effective, and we can learn from their experience,” Said the study’s chief investigator, Robert Cook, MD, MPH, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at UF Health. “This information can help to inform clinical care and identify specific types and patterns of marijuana use to be studied in future randomized clinical trials.”

The five-year study will follow 400 HIV-positive Floridians who use marijuana.

“Marijuana use is increasingly common in persons living with HIV infection,” said Cook in the press release. “Yet, past findings regarding the health impact of marijuana use on HIV have been limited and inconclusive. The long-term goal of this research is to provide patients, clinicians and public health authorities with information to guide clinical and safety recommendations for marijuana use.”

Our Sunshine State is ground zero for the research. We have the dubious ranking of having the highest rate of new HIV cases in the country. And we are ranked third in the country for the number of people living with the virus.

In fact, in what has been termed an “unusually severe HIV/AIDS problem,” Miami had the highest new infection rate per capita of any U.S. city: 47 per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s more than twice as many as San Francisco, New York City, or Los Angeles.

The Science Behind HIV/AIDS and Medical Marijuana

Patients living with HIV typically take antiretroviral drugs to prolong the onset of AIDS. But side effects of antiretroviral therapy — which include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and severe pain in the nerve endings (polyneuropathies) — are often excruciating. Other side effects of HIV/AIDS include wasting syndrome or cachexia and intractable pain. Many patients use medical marijuana to help manage their symptoms.

Let’s first address the issues that the researchers at University of Florida will be focusing on concerning HIV/AIDS:

Pain

The benefits of Medical Marijuana in treating pain are widely gaining traction for a multitude of conditions. HIV/AIDS is no different. Here are the most relevant clinical trials published by the National Institute of Health in the last two decades:

Medical Marijuana and Chronic Pain: a Review of Basic Science and Clinical Evidence (Center for Pain Medicine, University of California San Diego, Oct 2015, NIH)

“Gold standard clinical trials are limited; however, some studies have thus far shown evidence to support the use of cannabinoids for some cancer, neuropathic, spasticity, acute pain, and chronic pain conditions.”

Smoked cannabis for chronic neuropathic pain: a randomized controlled trial (CMAJ, Oct., 2010, NIH) A single inhalation of 25 mg of 9.4% tetrahydrocannabinol herbal cannabis three times daily for five days reduced the intensity of pain, improved sleep and was well tolerated.

“Smoked cannabis was well tolerated and effectively relieved chronic neuropathic pain from HIV-associated neuropathy [in a manner] similar to oral drugs used for chronic neuropathic pain.”

Smoked Medicinal Cannabis for Neuropathic Pain in HIV: A Randomized, Crossover Clinical Trial (Neuropsychopharmacology, Feb, 2009, NIH) Among the respondents, pain relief was greater with cannabis than placebo, with over half of the subjects reporting at least a 30% reduction in neuropathic pain.

Cannabis was associated with an average reduction of pain intensity from ‘strong’ to ‘mild’ to ‘moderate.’ Mood disturbance, physical disability, and quality of life all improved significantly for subjects during study treatments, regardless of treatment order.

Cannabis use in HIV for pain and other medical symptoms (Journal of Pain Symptom Management, Apr, 2005, NIH) HIV-positive individuals attending a large clinic were recruited into an anonymous cross-sectional questionnaire study. Patients reported improved appetite (97%), muscle pain (94%), nausea (93%), anxiety (93%), nerve pain (90%), depression (86%), and paresthesia (85%).

Researchers at the University of California at San Diego have reported similar findings. Writing in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, they concluded:

“Smoked cannabis … significantly reduced neuropathic pain intensity in HIV-associated … polyneuropathy compared to placebo, when added to stable concomitant analgesics. … Mood disturbance, physical disability and quality of life all improved significantly during study treatment. … Our findings suggest that cannabinoid therapy may be an effective option for pain relief in patients with medically intractable pain due to HIV.”

Chronic Inflammation

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Chronic HIV infection is associated with excessive levels of inflammation and activation of the immune system. Researchers are concerned that chronic HIV-related inflammation and immune activation may, over the long-term, contribute to an increased risk for the following conditions:

  • Cardiovascular disease (including heart attack and stroke)
  • Degenerative conditions of the brain (such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Inflammatory diseases of the digestive tract (such as Crohn’s disease)
  • Arthritis
  • Lung injury
  • Thinner bones
  • Psoriasis

The evidence that medical marijuana is effective in treating inflammation is irrefutable and so bountiful that it warrants its own blog. Here are a few key points in relation to HIV/AIDS:

In 2007, NORML (National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws) cited a study done at The University of Bonn, Germany, published in the June, 2007 Journal of Science where scientists found that cannabinoids significantly reduce skin inflammation and may be ideal topical agents for treating various skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis (NORML, June, 2007).

“These results demonstrate a protective role of the endocannabinoid system in [treating] contact allergy in the skin and suggest a target for therapeutic intervention.”

Cannabis-based ointments were historically used to treat inflammation up until the early part of the 20th century.

Research from the University of South Carolina in 2009, Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs (Future Medicinal Chemistry, Oct, 2009, NIH) found that the existence of both CB1 and CB2 receptors on immune cells suggests that cannabinoids play an important role in the regulation of the immune system. The administration of THC into mice triggered marked apoptosis in T cells and dendritic cells, resulting in immunosuppression.

“In addition, several studies showed that cannabinoids downregulate cytokine and chemokine production and, in some models, upregulate T-regulatory cells (Tregs) as a mechanism to suppress inflammatory responses.”

In human trials, lab experiments with cells of the immune system from both HIV-positive and HIV-negative people have found that cannabinoids can reduce immune activation. In other experiments, researchers confirmed the dampening effect of marijuana or its extracts (particularly THC) on the activities of the immune system. Altogether, the results of these laboratory experiments suggest that marijuana or its extracts have the potential to be used in reducing immune activation and inflammation in HIV-positive people.

Most recent pertinent Gold Standard research:

Heavy Cannabis Use Associated With Reduction in Activated and Inflammatory Immune Cell Frequencies in Antiretroviral Therapy–Treated Human Immunodeficiency Virus–Infected Individuals (Clinical Infectious Diseases, June 2018) Heavy cannabis users had decreased frequencies of human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR+CD38+CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell frequencies, compared to frequencies of these cells in non-cannabis-using individuals. Heavy cannabis users had decreased frequencies of intermediate and nonclassical monocyte subsets, as well as decreased frequencies of interleukin 23– and tumor necrosis factor-α–producing antigen-presenting cells.

“These findings have clinical implications, as cannabinoids may have an immunological benefit and nonpsychoactive cannabis derivatives could be investigated as novel therapeutics to be used in conjunction with ART to aid in the reduction of persistent inflammation,”

Stress

medical, marijuana, naples, sarasota, st. petersburg, davie, card, doctor

Many with HIV/AIDS report feeling increased stress and anxiety levels. We know that Medical Marijuana is approved to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but what about the stress associated with HIV?

There are few clinical research studies currently available, however, with the DEA’s militant stance on cannabis. But many leading medical doctor’s advocate for its use in treating HIV/AIDS and stress.

Dr. Dustin Sulak, a renowned cannabis treatment expert suggested that Marijuana treatment can work for many people suffering from AIDS.

“Cannabis releases endocannabinoids in the body which attach to receptors in the brain. This can decrease inflammation and help in balancing the immune system while relieving stress for patients.”

Kate Scannell, the Co-Director at the Kaiser-Permanente Northern California Ethics Department wrote,

“I have observed that marijuana can be of great help for patients suffering from cancer and AIDS. The drug helps improve appetite, removes fatigue, cures vomiting and nausea caused by other medication and help patients recover from weight loss.”

Margaret Haney, associate professor of Clinical Neuroscience at Columbia University observed,

“In a trial comparing the effects of Marijuana, Dronabinol and a placebo on HIV-positive group, Marijuana appeared to give the best results. A dose of Marijuana helped improve the calorie intake of patients and also had a bigger improvement on sleep.”

And finally, a study done in Canada, where marijuana is now legal:

Patterns and correlates of cannabis use among individuals with HIV/AIDS in Maritime Canada (Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology, Spring, 2014, NIH) Overall, 80.5% (70 of 87) of the cannabis-using participants reported a symptom-relieving benefit, mostly for relief of stress, anorexia or pain.

Sleep

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The American Sleep Association estimates that 50 million people nationwide suffer from sleep disorders, with insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, sleep deprivation and snoring the most common. Ambien, a sleep aid, is the fourth most prescribed pharmaceutical in the country.

Cannabis is emerging as a safer, natural alternative for sleep disorders, including those associated with HIV/AIDS.

Almost every clinical study that’s looked at cannabis-based medicines has shown an improvement in sleep,” said Dr. Ethan Russo, one of the world’s leading cannabis researchers. To say otherwise, he said, is “to be staring in a deep hole — a deep hole of ignorance.”

Indeed, a review of all cannabis sleep research to date, published in the April 2017 issue of Current Psychiatry Reports, noted, among other things, that cannabis is useful for reducing nightmares of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder by subduing rapid eye movement sleep, or the REM sleep that occurs during the dream cycle. And a clinical trial at Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Chicago showed that a synthetic cannabis called Dronabinol reduced obstructive sleep apnea by 32 percent by targeting the brain and neurotransmitters that control upper airway muscles, according to findings published in December, 2017 in the journal SLEEP.

One study, financed by GW Pharmaceuticals, found impressive results with a cannabis based medicine developed by the company:

Cannabis, Pain, and Sleep: Lessons from Therapeutic Clinical Trials of Sativex, a Cannabis-Based Medicine (Chemistry and Biodiversity, Vol 4, 2007), wherein 40– 50% of subjects attained good or very good sleep quality.

Viral Suppression

The precursor study undertaken at UF in 2017, Marijuana Use and Viral Suppression in Persons Receiving Medical Care for HIV-Infection (American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Jan, 2017), found that there was no statistically significant association between marijuana use and viral suppression. The findings did suggest, however, the possibility of a “clinical important effect,” and indicated a need for additional evidence from other samples and settings that include more marijuana users. Hence the newly funded research underway.

This study, however, contradicted two previous studies that were recruited from regions that have legalized Medical Marijuana. The authors also state that there were great variables in terms of the marijuana consumed, including THC/CBD ratios, than the low dose strain provided by the Federal Government for the UF study.

These studies, high-intensity cannabis use associated with lower plasma HIV-1 RNA viral load among recently-infected people who use injection drugs (Drug Alcohol Rev, Mar, 2015, NIH) and Combined Effects of HIV and Marijuana Use on Neurocognitive Functioning and Immune Status (AidsCare, May, 2016, NIH) found that HIV positive marijuana users evidenced higher plasma CD4 and lower viral load than HIV+ non-users, suggesting healthier immune functioning. The results also pointed to a possibly beneficial effect for cannabinoids on HIV progression among humans.

In Conclusion

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Not only does Medical Marijuana address five of the most pressing issues associated with HIV/AIDS, but other studies point to its efficacy in appetite stimulation, improved immune response, ART compliance, and possibly even decreasing replication and slowing the progression of the disease.

Overall, patients living with HIV/AIDS most frequently report using cannabis to counter symptoms of anxiety, appetite loss and nausea. At least one study has reported that patients who use cannabis therapeutically are more than three times more likely to adhere to their antiretroviral therapy regimens than non-cannabis users. (Marijuana use and its association with adherence to antiretroviral therapy among HIV-infected persons with moderate to severe nausea, JAIDS, Jan 2005)

We believe that Medical Marijuana represents an invaluable treatment option in the health management of patients with HIV/AIDS and that cannabinoids could potentially be used synergistically with existing antiretroviral drugs, opening the gates to an era of new drug possibilities for HIV/AIDS.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CALL US AT 833-MMJ-EASY OR CLICK TO SCHEDULE YOUR VISIT WITH THE FLORIDA MEDICAL MARIJUANA DOCTOR NEAREST YOU.

Marijuana is Relieving Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms and Offering Hope

The evidence is overwhelming, marijuana relieves certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other issues caused by multiple sclerosis, and also cancer and AIDS or by the toxic drugs sometimes used to treat them. And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeed, cannabis is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe daily.“ — Joycelyn Elders MD, former US Surgeon General

Okay, that’s straight from a former federally employed Surgeon General. But wait…doesn’t the Federal Government say that Marijuana has no medical value? Welcome to the grey area of what should be the green revolution. So what if there are multitudes of anecdotal accounts of the relief found with Cannabis? Or that there are new discoveries made every day about how hundreds of synergistic compounds within the whole plant act on specific conditions?

A perfect example is the current thinking around using Cannabis to treat Multiple Sclerosis. You will find out from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society that their stance is one of caution:

“There are uncertainties about the benefits of marijuana relative to its side effects. The Society supports the rights of people with MS to work with their MS health care providers to access marijuana for medical purposes in accordance with legal regulations in those states where such use has been approved. In addition, the Society supports advancing research to better understand the benefits and potential risks of marijuana and its derivatives as a treatment for MS.”

The recommendation was based on the findings of five research studies, four of which used questionable methodologies, low quality Cannabis (street weed) and one funded by Big Pharma — specifically GW Pharmaceuticals, makers of Sativex (a cannabis derived oral spray with a 1:1 THC/CBD ratio and touted “entourage effect” of a wide spectrum of terpenes).

Of the five, four of the studies reported neutral or negative findings and the one funded by GW Pharmaceuticals reported significantly positive results. See how they are starting to steer the wagon? There is already knowledge about optimal ratios of THC/CBD, dosage and terpene profiles, yet they still want to control access as if we are incapable of freely discovering our own specific protocol.

Related: Find Your Nearest Florida Medical Marijuana Doctor

Multiple Sclerosis is an immune-mediated condition that causes damage to the Central Nervous System (CNS). It affects the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. In MS, the immune system causes inflammation and destroys myelin, the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers. This disrupts the signals that affect your brain and the rest of your body. It can cause the nerves themselves to deteriorate or become permanently damaged.

 

 It is an incurable condition for now but does respond to treatment, which can alleviate a number of the symptoms: fatigue, spasticity, muscle stiffness, depression and pain.

Traditional medications to treat MS include a dozen or so FDA approved drugs aimed at slowing the progression of the disease and reducing relapse. Unfortunately, none of these drugs have clear mechanisms of action and there is an extensive list of side-effects for each one. Depression? Suicide? Skin rashes? Basil Cell Carcinoma! What?

The drugs prescribed for symptom relief include your usual suspects: Dilantin, Percocet, Kolonopin, Neurontin, Prozac, Provigil, Elavil, Effexor, Kolonopin again. Meh. Questionably effective and chock full of side effects.

It is no wonder that Cannabis is highly favored for symptom relief by almost 66% of PwMS (People with MS), most without a medical card and scientific guidance. The extensive anecdotal accounts report relief of nerve pain, muscle pain and cramps, depression, anxiety and insomnia. There is also research showing some promise in its slowing or stopping the progression of the disease.

Related: Cannabis vs. Cancer: Therapeutic Relief or Cancer Killer?

But this is where we run into a bit of a problem. Research.

It’s very helpful when doing Cannabis research, to be able to hold conflicting viewpoints in your mind simultaneously. You will be struck by two realizations:

1. The Federal Government, underwritten by Big Pharma, has denied us one of human kind’s most beneficial medicinal plants in the name of Big Profit. They built so many bureaucratic barriers around it that it has been almost impossible for scientists to research it.

2. You are entering unchartered territory. There have been many exciting discoveries about beneficial ways in which Cannabis reacts with humans. We are just scratching the surface of the many possibilities, but we are decades behind where we should be because of the stalwart defensive stance of PTB (Powers That Be).

A defensive stance implies that they consider what they are defending valuable — hiding behind the Schedule 1 smokescreen that the people’s best interest is being served. Protecting us from a dangerous narcotic with zero redeeming medical value. Oh please.

When a governing body knowingly suppresses a substance that could affordably alleviate suffering for millions — by controlling research, supply and manipulating public opinion — you wake up to the fact we are living with a healthcare system that values profit over people’s wellbeing.

It’s just never been this crystal clear before, I guess.

Thankfully, there have been a host of passionate advocates and scientists who have conducted their own research about the relevance of treating conditions such as MS with Cannabis.

A good place to start is Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana by Michael Backes with a forward by Andrew Weil, MD.

You will be treated to a brief history of Cannabis as a medicine, with its origin dating back 27.8 million years ago upon the northeastern Tibetan Plateau in Central Asia where it diverged from hops — another medicinal, inebriating plant.

In China, 4,700 years ago cannabis was used as an important herbal remedy that expanded through oral tradition to cover over 100 medical conditions. It then spread throughout the Mediterrean region, Egypt, Greece and India. In ancient Persia (now Iraq), cannabis was ranked as the most important of all known medicinal plants.

In Western medicine, between 1840 and 1900, more than 100 articles citing marijuana’s therapeutic qualities were published in American and European medical journals.

Just to be clear…Cannabis is a plant of Tibetan origin millions of years old that has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years in many diverse places to treat hundreds of medical conditions.

Hmm, it seems intriguing and worthy of at least some research, doesn’t it? “Nah,” say the feds. Mind-boggling.

Fast forward to today where new discoveries have opened up an enlightened understanding of how Cannabis interacts with the human body. The human Endocannabinoid System (ECS), discovered in 1964 by Raphael Mechoulam at Israel University, is a system of receptors located in the brain and throughout the body that regulate sleep, appetite, mood, inflammation and balance.

Related: Medical Cannabis for Sleep Relief

And wouldn’t you know that the complex substances in cannabis (cannabinoids) — THC, CBD, terpenes, anandamide and hundreds of others — fit into many of those empty receptors like balance-restoring keys. Endocannabinoids effectively modulate the flow of neurotransmitters, keeping the nervous system running smoothly.

Dr. Eric Downer is an Assistant Professor at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, where he also leads an active research group focused on patient-orientated research. Eric’s research interest is in Neuroscience and Immunology, with emphasis on the role of the immune system in MS. He has a particular interest in the human endocannabinoid system, and its therapeutic potential in MS.

MS is often described as the nervous system coming under attack, with the front line of attack being orchestrated by immune cells passing from the blood into the brain. Cannabinoids have been shown to mute this attack. By locking into receptors they block the movement of damaging immune cells into the nervous system.

Cannabinoids have a wide range of effects on the functioning of cells and organs of our immune and nervous systems, the systems involved in MS progression. This is because the mechanisms by which cannabinoids function, the cannabinoid receptors, are distributed throughout the cells of our immune and nervous systems. From the brain to the gut, cannabinoids find and fill voids at receptor sites, reinstating homeostasis, or balance.

Eric Downer feels that the large body of research evidence has made it clear: cannabinoids can control the survival and death of nerve cells. But what, he asks, exactly does this mean for MS?

• As potent neuroprotectors, cannabinoids have intricate effects on pain pathways in the nervous system.

• Due to their impact on the nervous system, cannabinoids have potent pain relieving properties.

• Cannabinoids possess anti-inflammatory properties, and can thus regulate networks of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in immune cells and brain cells.

In the most recent study (March 2018), Medical cannabis was found to safely and significantly reduce chronic pain in older patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and a wide range of other conditions.

Related: Why Chronic Pain Stops with Medical Marijuana

Led by scientists at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the Cannabis Clinical Research Institute at Soroka University Medical Center, the study was published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine under the title “Epidemiological characteristics, safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in the elderly.”

Data showed that after six months of medical cannabis treatment, the vast majority of patients reported moderate to significant improvements in their condition, with more than 93.7 percent — of 901 respondents — reporting a significant decrease in pain levels (declining from a median of eight on a 10-point scale to four). Approximately 60 percent of these respondents also reported an improved quality of life.

Medical cannabis was also found to lead to a decrease in the use of prescription medicines, including opioids — about 18.1 percent of patients stopped using opioid analgesics or reduced their dose.

These findings — that Cannabis is safe, effective and can replace dangerous opioids, for PwMS, is hugely significant.

In Cannabis Pharmacy, Backes makes specific dose, strain and delivery recommendations for a number of MS symptoms ranging from insomnia, spasticity, and pain to disease modification.

For example, it is known that cannabis strains, containing CBD levels equal or higher than THC, have positive effects on muscle spasticity and pain in PwMS. These positive effects of cannabis on spasticity and pain and its safety have also been emphasized by the American Academy of Neurology.

So for the management of pain and spasticity, 2 to 6 mg each of THC and CBD every three to four hours is recommended. For anxiety, an 18:1 CBD to THC tincture in 5 mg doses as needed is indicated. Disease modification (slowing the progression, preventing relapse) is addressed and recommendations are also made in this regard.

The future looks extremely bright for the treatment of MS with Cannabis. Make sure to stay current with research and talk openly and honestly with your doctor.

 

Medical Marijuana for Parkinson’s Disease is Breaking Through

Patients seeking Medical Marijuana for Parkinson’s Disease research, testimonials, and hope will find the following article highly information.

Pandemics are usually equated with infectious diseases such as Zika, influenza, and HIV. However, an imminent noninfectious pandemic, Parkinson’s Disease (PD), requires immediate action.

Ray Dorsey, MD, JAMA Neurology, January 2018 (The Parkinson Pandemic — Call To Action).

As Dr. Dorsey says, now is the time of action. To make that action effective and meaningful, we must start by being AWARE of the current state of our broken perspective on health and the healthcare system.

The recent forecasting estimates for Parkinson’s disease (PD) are staggering. Back in 2013, Dr. Michael Okun, National Medical Director of the Parkinson’s Foundation said:

“If accurate, the numbers suggest an urgent need to WAKE UP and recognize that we are on the cusp of an emerging pandemic.”

Well, the pandemic has emerged. Unlike an “epidemic” — a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease — it is, rather, a high occurrence of a disease spread over a large area. It’s not contagious yet it is escalating far more rapidly than we’d like. Can Medical Marijuana for Parkinson’s Disease be the solution?

Related: Find the Florida Medical Marijuana Doctor Near You

 

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association,

Between 1990 and 2015, the prevalence of Parkinson’s more than doubled and it is estimated that 6.9 million people across the globe have the disease. By 2040, researchers believe that the number of people with Parkinson’s will grow to 14.2 million as the population ages and the rate of growth [of Parkinson’s] will outpace Alzheimer’s.

Ray Dorsey, MD, and colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, pointed out in the January 2018 issue of JAMA Neurology that neurological disorders are now the leading cause of disability worldwide. The fastest growing disorder is Parkinson’s disease.

We must become champions for better research to save ourselves, family members, and planet from this disease.

Dr. Todd Sherer, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, said:

‘Too many people have Parkinson’s today and more will face diagnoses tomorrow. We all — government, patient organizations, researchers, doctors and patients — must work together for better care for those living with this disease and research toward a future without Parkinson’s.”

Related: Medical Marijuana for MS Relief

What Is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative (damaging to nerves) disorder that affects predominately dopamine-producing (“dopaminergic”) neurons in a specific area of the brain called the substantia nigra.

Symptoms generally develop slowly over years. The progression of symptoms is often a bit different from one person to another due to the diversity of the disease. People with Parkinson’s may experience:

• Tremors
• Bradykinesia (slowness of movement)
• Limb rigidity
• Gait and balance problems

The cause remains largely unknown. Although there is no cure, treatment options vary and include medications such as Levodopa and Carbidopa (Sinemet). Levodopa (also called L-dopa) is the most commonly prescribed medicine for Parkinson’s. It’s also the best at controlling the symptoms of the condition, particularly slow movements and stiff, rigid body parts. Unfortunately, as you may have experienced, it also comes with a long list of side effects ranging from nausea and insomnia to hallucinations and compulsive addictions.

Dopamine agonists are also important. These drugs act like dopamine in the brain. They include ropinirole (Requip), pramipexole (Mirapex), and rotigotine (Neupro). All of these medications have a host of side-effects and their efficacy fades over time.

Long-term exposure to dopamine medications, especially dopamine agonists (DAs), can cause a hypersensitivity to dopamine. The body overreacts to this imbalance, and this in turn can lead to an impulse control disorder (ICD) — a group of behaviors that includes gambling, uncontrollable shopping, compulsive eating, a sudden obsession with sex, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Those are some pretty significant behavioral side-effects.

So we know there’s a problem, and we know the the conventional “solution” often comes with awful side effects. What do we do?

We choose wisdom over fear and propaganda and read what the patients and science proves: Medical Marijuana for Parkinson’s is a safe and effective treatment option.

 

Medical Marijuana for Parkinson’s Disease is Restoring Hope!

The researchers and Medical Marijuana Doctors studying Parkinson’s have the proof:

1. The Parkinson’s Foundation offers the very latest research from Benzi M. Kluger, MD, MS, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, Director of Movement Disorders Section at University of Colorado Denver. In his latest (April 2018) “Expert Briefings” webinar sponsored by the foundation, he explained the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and how it relates to PD:

“Endocannabinoids decrease neurotransmitter release at CB1 receptors and tend to increase GABA and decrease Glutamate and Dopamine release in the basal ganglia, which holds huge promise for PD.”

2. In one study conducted at the Tel Aviv University in Israel (2017), 47 PD patients were observed. During a period of few months, participants used medical marijuana and 82% reported improvement in their symptoms like stiffness and tremor. They also noticed an improvement in non-motor symptoms such as pain, mood, and sleep. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29059132)

3. The Michael J. Fox Foundation sites these studies as well as a 2014, 22 person study from the Department of Neurology at Tel Aviv University, which found a significant improvement on the motor Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale, relief from tremor, rigidity and bradykinesia. There was also significant improvement of sleep and pain scores. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24614667).

4. Also, in other research in Brazil in 2014, CBD has been shown to help the brain recover from memory deficits caused by excessive iron levels. A 2014 study conducted by researchers from the Pontifical Catholic University of Brazil looked at the impact of CBD and neurodegenerative diseases.

Their results suggest that iron affects mitochondrial (the engines of cells) dynamics, possibly triggering cell death and indicate that CBD should offer memory-rescuing and neuroprotective properties to be used in the treatment of cognitive deficits observed in neurodegenerative disorders. (link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12035–013–8514–7)

5. Additionally, a 2015 study published in Toxicology In Vitro titled,”The neuroprotection of cannabidiol against MPP+-induced toxicity in PC12 cells involves trkA receptors, upregulation of axonal and synaptic proteins, neuritogenesis, and might be relevant to Parkinson’s disease,” found that cannabidiol protects against the neurotoxin known as MPP(+), which is linked to the damage to the dopamine-producing cells in the substania nigra of Parkinson’s patients. The study concluded that CBD’s neuroprotective properties might be of benefit to Parkinson’s disease patients.
(www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0887233315300047)

6. Then in 2014, research scientists in Brazil selected 21 PD patients and split them into 3 groups of 7 participants who were treated with placebo, CBD 75 mg/day or CBD 300 mg/day. Increases in well-being and quality of life were observed in the 300 mg/day groups versus the placebo groups. The researchers hypothesized that these improvements may have been due to cannabidiol’s “anxiolytic,” “antidepressant,” “anti-psychotic,” and “sedative” properties. The findings pointed to a possible effect of CBD in improving quality of life measures in PD patients with no psychiatric conditions. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25237116)

7. Back in 2004, Katerina Venderova (Movement Disorders Journal) conducted a survey of Parkinson’s disease patients on Medical Marijuana and reported the results of 339 respondents with PD.
• 45% experienced a relief of bradykinesia (slowness of movement);
• 38% reported relief of muscle rigidity
• 31% reported fewer tremors at rest
• 14% said they had an improvement in levodopa-induced dyskinesias (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25237116)

Related: Cannabis vs. Cancer: Therapeutic Relief or Cancer Killer?

 

 

What’s Next? Parkinson’s, The Gut, and The Endocannabinoid Miracle

There is growing evidence showing a connection between Parkinson’s disease and your gut health. Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birminghamshow that Parkinson’s disease, and medications to treat Parkinson’s, have distinct effects on the bacteria that make up the gut microbiome.

 

The findings were published in February (2018) in Movement Disorders, the journal of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society. UAB’s team is led by Haydeh Payami, Ph.D. Payami’s team studied 197 patients with Parkinson’s and 130 controls.

“This paper shows for the first time a way in which one of the key players in Parkinson’s, the protein alpha-synuclein, may have its actions in the brain modified by gut bacteria. Therapies that regulate the imbalance in the microbiome may prove to be helpful in treating or preventing the disease before it affects neurologic function.” (www.uab.edu/news/research/item/8079-uab-study-shows-link-between-microbiome-in-the-gut-and-parkinson-s).

The Endocannabinoid System is very active in the human gut with many CB1 and CB2 receptors. As the research is proving, Medical Marijuana for Parkinson’s restores gut health homeostasis in many cases. The results of that fact are wide ranging and profound. As the gates of truth continue to creak open and more research is allowed, the possibilities of synergies and treatment are endless.

Join The Movement – Get Your Florida Medical Marijuana Card

If you’ve found the research compelling and you’re ready to get your Florida Medical Marijuana Card, just click here to find the My Florida Green Medical Marijuana Doctor nearest you or call 833-MMJ-EASY.

 

Under Amendment 2 in Florida, a cancer diagnosis officially qualifies you for medical cannabis. This is largely because cannabis for cancer has been proven as a therapeutic medicine for cancer-related inflammation, nausea, and pain.

Relief from these ailments is often miraculous for patients. But what if therapeutic relief is just scratching the surface of cannabis for cancer treatment? What if the CBD and THC within cannabis can do far more to help cancer fighters? The below article summarizes the history of cannibinoid research, cannabis-assisted cancer survivor testimonies, and current science.

RelatedHarvard Endorses Medical Cannabis

Dr. Mark Hashim on Cannabis for Cancer

Check out the below conversation with My Florida Green’s Dr. Mark Hashim and Nick Garulay for details on how cannabis, THC, and CBD interact with your body to kill cancer cells without harming healthy issue–another endocannabinoid miracle!

 

Leading Cannabis Cancer Researchers

Raphael Mechoulam, PhD: The Godfather of Cannabis Research

Raphael Mechoulam is an Israeli researcher and member of The Israeli Medical Hall of Fame who has been at the forefront of cannabis research for decades.

Among many discoveries, he was the first to identify the internal human cannabinoids of Anandamide and 2AG. The discovery of these compounds, their relationship to CBD and THC, and the ability to stimulate natural healing with external plant-based cannabinoids could be Nobel-worthy accomplishments.

His presentation at Colorado State University below is an in-depth look in cannabis science, health, and history.

 

 

Mara Gordon: Cannabis for Cancer’s Matriarch

Mara Gordon is a global authority on the subject of cannabis and cancer. Through her non-profit Aunt Zelda’s (named after her cancer-fighting aunt) she has treated over 600 cancer patients with cannabis.

At her center in California, Mara treats her cancer-fighting patients using high doses of THC and CBD. The below interview discusses her views on therapeutic and cancer-fighting cannabis treatment protocols.

 

Related: Feminine Flower Power: Cannabis for Women’s Health

Rick Simpson: The Famous Cannabis Oil Man

If you’ve recently become aware of the ability of cannabis to treat cancer, you probably have Rick Simpson to thank for it.

His “Phoenix Tears” oil or “Rick Simpson Oil” is a highly concentrated cannabis product that is claimed to kill cancer. A youtube search for “Rick Simpson oil testimonial” produces a long list of results.

The below documentary, “Run From The Cure” provides a detailed history of Rick’s personal victory over skin cancer, his research into cannabis as cancer treatment, and the lives he has impacted with his activism.

 

The University of London Supports Cannabis as Cancer Treatment

“We’ve shown that cannabinoids could play a role in treating one of the most aggressive cancers [glioma] in adults,” wrote lead researcher Dr. Wai Liu from the University of London.

“The results are promising…it [cannabis for cancer] could provide a way of breaking through glioma [tumors] and saving more lives.”

Science backs up these cannabis-based products as having an effect in patients with cancer.

Conventional Treatment Options

There is no cure for Crohn’s disease. The goals for treatment are:

  • to reduce inflammation
  • to relieve symptoms of pain, diarrhea, and bleeding
  • to eliminate nutritional deficiencies

Conventional treatment involve corticosteroid drugs like prednisone, synthetic anti-inflammatories like mesalamine, immunosuppresants like methotrexate, surgery, or a combination. As you may already know too well, these conventional treatments often come with long lists of side effects. To name a few: glaucoma, osteoporosis, impaired liver function, fetal abnormalities, and increased infection risks.

Knowing the risks of conventional treatment, we have to ask ourselves:

Is there a better treatment option? Could a Florida Medical Marijuana Card for Crohn’s be the answer?

Sanjay Gupta Endorses Medical Cannabis for Cancer

CNN’s famous doctor’s recent change of heart on medical cannabis for cancer has helped swayed the opinion of millions. The below video provides great details as to why cannabis cured his cynicism.

 

 

The National Cancer Institute Supports Cannabis for Cancer?!

In the NCI’s recent report, Cannabis and Cannabinoids, they admit to two profound points:

“Cannabis and cannabinoids may have benefits in treating the symptoms of cancer or the side effects of cancer therapies.”

 

“Cannabis has been shown to kill cancer cells in the laboratory.”

Later in the document they backtrack and say that, “There is not enough evidence to recommend that patients inhale or ingest Cannabis as a treatment for cancer-related symptoms or side effects of cancer therapy.”

So the NCI says cannabis is not recommended, but its “kills cancer cells” and has “benefits in treating symptoms of cancer.”

Make your own conclusion about that advice….

RelatedMedical Cannabis Entourage Effects

https://myfloridagreen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Kelly-Hauf.jpg

“After establishing residency in San Francisco, I was able to get a medical marijuana card. The card was for cancer treatment but, amazingly, the cannabis oil has helped me with my fibromyalgia pain, joint pain, and chronic headaches.

 

“I literally have no pain now. I have not taken any other medication except the cannabis oil, supplements, and good clean healthy food over the last 8 months.

 

“In August, eight months after beginning the cannabis treatment, my MRI was reviewed by a leading Radiologist, my Neuro Oncologist, and my world renowned Brain Surgeon, and it was concluded that all that was remaining of the tumor regrowth was scar tissue.”

 

“I’ve started to become evangelical about it!”

 

 

Cancer survivor Linda Coxon states, “I’ve started to become evangelical about it! To shrink [the cancer] by two thirds…in five weeks was just amazing! I’ve just had a CT scan which shows the tumor is still shrinking. We need trials, proper trials on people.”

Tommy Chong Discusses His Cancer Fight

The iconic cannabis advocate details his use of cannabis oil in his victory against prostate cancer. An excellent interview with the man.

 

Why Does Cannabis Kill Cancer?

Dr. Christine Sanchez from Compultense University in Madrid, Spain, has spent over ten years researching cannabis and cancer.

Her insights and interview below is an excellent introduction about why cannabis kills cancer.

 

 

 

“With THC and CBD you have a 1-2 punch to kill the cancer cells and halt their growth.” -Dennis Hill, Biochemist and Cancer Survivor

 

 

Dennis Hill’s credibility as a scientist and cancer-survivor is hard to question. He has a degree in biochemistry from the University of Houston and a career working at University of Texas’ M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Writing at cureyourowncancer.org, Mr. Hill details his story of survival by treating his cancer with cannabis.

“I was completely clear. Cannabis had killed all the cancer…It doesn’t matter what kind of cancer, it’ll kill everything. This is because the endocannabinoid system works hand in hand with the immune system.

 

“The immune system is able to recognize cancer cells, it has a system for destroying the dead and dying cells. When THC meets the endocannabinoid receptor on the cancer cell…it increases ceramide production…ceramide shreds the mitochondria and the cell cannot create energy and it dies.

 

“CBD shuts down the L1 gene which allows the cancer cells to metastisize (multiply).”

Ceramide: The Catalyst to Cancer Cell Death

“Very simply, when THC connects to the CB1 or CB2 cannabinoid receptor site on the cancer cell, it causes an increase in ceramide synthesis which drives cell death. A normal healthy cell does not produce ceramide in the presence of THC, thus is not affected by the cannabinoid.

 

“The key to the cancer killing process is the accumulation of ceramide in the system. This means that by taking any amount of CBD and THC, at a steady rate over a period of time, the patient will keep metabolic pressure on these cancer cell death pathways.

 

“Simply put, when THC connects to the CB1 or CB2 cannabinoid receptor site on the cancer cell, it induces an increase in ceramide synthesis that leads to cell death. A normal cell does not produce ceramide when it is near THC; therefore it is not affected by the cannabinoid.

 

“The reason the cancer cell dies is not because of the chemicals, but because there of a small shift in the mitochondria. The purpose of the mitochondria within a cell is to produce energy for the cell to use. As the ceramide is produced, it turns up the sphingolipid rheostat.

 

“This production [ceramide] increases the mitochondrial membrane permeability to cytochrome c, which is vital protein in energy synthesis. The cytochrome c is then pushed out of the mitochondria, which ultimately kills the source of energy for that particular cell.

 

“The presence of ceramide leaves no possibility of cancer cell survival. This is because it causes genotoxic stress in the cancer cell that generates a protein call p53, which disrupts the calcium metabolism in the mitochondria. Ceramide also disrupts the cell’s digestive system that produces nutrients for all cell function, and actively inhibits pro-survival pathways.”

Summary of Recent Studies

If you’re not yet convinced in cannabis for cancer treatment, what would it take to satisfy your skepticism? If you’d like a list of peer-reviewed studies, here are many that supports cannabis for cancer treatment.

  • “The combination of cannabidiol and ?9-tetrahydrocannabinol enhances the anticancer effects of radiation in an orthotopic murine glioma model” (Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 2014)
  • “Cannabinoids inhibit the vascular endothelial growth factor pathway in gliomas (aka that halt their growth)” (The Journal of Cancer Research & American Journal of Cancer, 2004)
  • “Cannabidiolic acid, a major cannabinoid in fibre-type cannabis, is an inhibitor of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell migration” (Toxicology Letters, 2012)
  • “Cannabidiol inhibits lung cancer cell invasion and metastasis via intercellular adhesion molecule-1” (The FASEB Journal, 2012)
  • “Cannabinoids Induce Apoptosis of Pancreatic Tumour Cells via Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress–Related Genes” (Cancer Research, 2006)
  • “Cannabis-based medicine reduces multiple pathological processes in A?PP/PS1 [cancerous] mice” (Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2015)
  • “Inhibition of skin tumour growth and angiogenis in vivo by action of cannabinoid receptors” (Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2003)

With this proof in mind, the time is now to evolve our thinking, accept the science, and open our hearts to a natural solution. To find the doctor nearest you just click here, to see if you qualify click this link. If you have any questions please call 833-MMJ-EASY.

Originally published at health.hardvard.edu.

Peter Grinspoon, MD, Contributing Editor

There are few subjects that can stir up stronger emotions among doctors, scientists, researchers, policy makers, and the public than medical marijuana.

Is it safe? Should it be legal? Decriminalized? Has its effectiveness been proven? What conditions is it useful for? Is it addictive? How do we keep it out of the hands of teenagers? Is it really the “wonder drug” that people claim it is? Is medical marijuana just a ploy to legalize marijuana in general?

These are just a few of the excellent questions around this subject, questions that I am going to studiously avoid so we can focus on two specific areas: why do patients find it useful, and how can they discuss it with their doctor? Marijuana is currently legal, on the state level, in 29 states, and in Washington, DC. It is still illegal from the federal government’s perspective. The Obama administration did not make prosecuting medical marijuana even a minor priority.

President Donald Trump promised not to interfere with people who use medical marijuana, though his administration is currently threatening to reverse this policy. About 85% of Americans support legalizing medical marijuana, and it is estimated that at least several million Americans currently use it.

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Least controversial is the extract from the hemp plant known as CBD (which stands for cannabidiol) because this component of marijuana has little, if any, intoxicating properties. Marijuana itself has more than 100 active components. THC (which stands for tetrahydrocannabinol) is the chemical that causes the “high” that goes along with marijuana consumption.

CBD-dominant strains have little or no THC, so patients report very little if any alteration in consciousness. Patients do, however, report many benefits of CBD, from relieving insomnia, anxiety, spasticity, and pain to treating potentially life-threatening conditions such as epilepsy.

One particular form of childhood epilepsy called Dravet syndrome is almost impossible to control, but responds dramatically to a CBD-dominant strain of marijuana called Charlotte’s Web. The videos of this are dramatic.

Uses of medical marijuana

The most common use for medical marijuana in the United States is for pain control. While marijuana isn’t strong enough for severe pain (for example, post-surgical pain or a broken bone), it is quite effective for the chronic pain that plagues millions of Americans, especially as they age. Part of its allure is that it is clearly safer than opiates (it is impossible to overdose on and far less addictive) and it can take the place of NSAIDs such as Advil or Aleve, if people can’t take them due to problems with their kidneys or ulcers or GERD.

Related: Medical Cannabis Entourage Effects

In particular, marijuana appears to ease the pain of multiple sclerosis, and nerve pain in general. This is an area where few other options exist, and those that do, such as Neurontin, Lyrica, or opiates are highly sedating. Patients claim that marijuana allows them to resume their previous activities without feeling completely out of it and disengaged.

Along these lines, marijuana is said to be a fantastic muscle relaxant, and people swear by its ability to lessen tremors in Parkinson’s disease. I have also heard of its use quite successfully for fibromyalgia, endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, and most other conditions where the final common pathway is chronic pain.

Marijuana is also used to manage nausea and weight loss, and can be used to treat glaucoma. A highly promising area of research is its use for PTSD in veterans who are returning from combat zones. Many veterans and their therapists report drastic improvement and clamor for more studies, and for a loosening of governmental restrictions on its study. Medical marijuana is also reported to help patients suffering from pain and wasting syndrome associated with HIV, as well as irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease.

RelatedPTSD, Medical Marijuana, and You

This is not intended to be an inclusive list, but rather to give a brief survey of the types of conditions for which medical marijuana can provide relief. As with all remedies, claims of effectiveness should be critically evaluated and treated with caution.

Talking with your doctor

Many patients find themselves in the situation of wanting to learn more about medical marijuana, but feel embarrassed to bring this up with their doctor. This is in part because the medical community has been, as a whole, overly dismissive of this issue. Doctors are now playing catch-up, and trying to keep ahead of their patients’ knowledge on this issue. Other patients are already using medical marijuana, but don’t know how to tell their doctors about this for fear of being chided or criticized.

My advice for patients is to be entirely open and honest with your physicians and to have high expectations of them. Tell them that you consider this to be part of your care and that you expect them to be educated about it, and to be able to at least point you in the direction of the information you need.

RelatedMicrodosing Medical Marijuana: It’s Not About Getting High

My advice for doctors is that whether you are pro, neutral, or against medical marijuana, patients are embracing it, and although we don’t have rigorous studies and “gold standard” proof of the benefits and risks of medical marijuana, we need to learn about it, be open-minded, and above all, be non-judgmental. Otherwise, our patients will seek out other, less reliable sources of information; they will continue to use it, they just won’t tell us, and there will be that much less trust and strength in our doctor-patient relationship.

I often hear complaints from other doctors that there isn’t adequate evidence to recommend medical marijuana, but there is even less scientific evidence for sticking our heads in the sand.

All over the planet, scientists, doctors, and patients are recognizing the healing power of Medical Cannabis, aka “Marijuana”. We are honored to join these pioneers to help patients access Medical Marijuana for Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or other gut health challenges.

As these researchers and open-minded patients are finding, Medical Marijuana for Crohn’s is proving to be an effective treatment option. This article brings you verifiable scientific studies, doctor’s opinions, and patient experiences.

There is no hype, overstating or false claims. Just facts. Isn’t that refreshing?

My Florida Green’s Dr. Mark Hashim on Cannabis and Crohn’s

The below video of My Florida Green’s Dr. Mark Hashim and Nick Garulay should encourage anyone suffering from debilitating gut health disorders. Once again, the incredible endocannabinoid system comes to the rescue.

 

What Is Crohn’s Disease?

Image result for crohn's disease

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammation condition that can start from your mouth and continue down through the entire digestive tract. It is most common to experience inflammation in the small intestine, but can affect the entire gut. This inflammation and swelling causes raw areas within the lining of ones intestines, which bleed. The intestinal wall can also experience a thickening that results in blockages.

Crohn’s is often confused with ulcerative colitis (like in the above image) which appears only in the large intestine, but it is not the same thing. Crohn’s disease often has patches of good intestine between infected tissue. Ulcerative colitis is a continuous section of disease.

In Crohn’s disease the immune system attacks foods and substances that are beneficial to the body. During this attack the white blood cells build up in the lining of the gut. The accumulation of the white blood cells in this manner triggers further inflammation which leads to painful ulcerations.

Related: Find your Florida Medical Marijuana Doctor

The symptoms of Crohn’s disease are painful and reoccurring. They include:

Related image

Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition. This means that there are times when the symptoms flare up and times when it appears to go away. Yet, the disease often lingers without being noticed. Alcohol and certain irritating foods are contraindicated.

Conventional Treatment Options

There is no cure for Crohn’s disease. The goals for treatment are:

  • to reduce inflammation
  • to relieve symptoms of pain, diarrhea, and bleeding
  • to eliminate nutritional deficiencies

Conventional treatment involve corticosteroid drugs like prednisone, synthetic anti-inflammatories like mesalamine, immunosuppresants like methotrexate, surgery, or a combination. As you may already know too well, these conventional treatments often come with long lists of side effects. To name a few: glaucoma, osteoporosis, impaired liver function, fetal abnormalities, and increased infection risks.

Knowing the risks of conventional treatment, we have to ask ourselves:

Is there a better treatment option? Could a Florida Medical Marijuana Card for Crohn’s be the answer?

A New Dawn — The Rise of Medical Marijuana for Treating Crohn’s

Research into the human Endocannabinoid System is bringing fresh perspectives on not only better ways to treat many gut health conditions, but also intriguing possibilities about how to prevent them in the first place.

Ailments such as inflammation, nerve damage, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune reactions and much new research points to gut health playing a key role in many seemingly unrelated conditions .  Parkinson’s, heart disease, poor immune system, mental health disorders, and various skin problems are all showing connections to gut health and the Endocannabinoid System.

RelatedCannabis vs. Cancer: Therapeutic Relief or Cancer Killer?

Did you know that the microbiome, an intelligent bacterial ecosystem in your gut, actually makes up the majority of your immune system?

And guess where there are a multitude of cannabinoid receptors?

Many conventional Crohn’s drugs seek to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system, which is continually attacking the gut.

Researchers think that this is where cannabis can help. Cannabinoids have “immunomodulatory” effects. This means they can prevent the immune system from releasing pro-inflammatory proteins and trigger anti-inflammatory compounds instead.

Scientists are far from pinpointing exactly how the endocannabinoid system is implicated in Crohn’s. Yet, the current discoveries on the subject hint that cannabinoid therapies are serious contenders in the treatment of the disease.

In a 2013 review, authors Rudolf Schicho and Martin Storr explain that patients with irritable bowel diseases such as Crohn’s, produce fewer endocannabinoids, the body’s natural THC.

They also state that certain cannabinoid receptors are overexpressed (upregulated). Upregulation is a sign that the intestinal tract is calling out for more cannabinoid inputs.

When your endocannabinoid system’s CB2 receptors are activated, the amount of programmed cell death (apoptosis) increases for T-cells and the number of T-cells decreases. Additionally, fewer white blood cells, including T-cells, neutrophils, and macrophages, are called to the site of damage or potential damage. Therefore, damaging inflammation is reduced! This is a big deal.

“There is evidence that THC may be helpful in reducing permeability of the epithelial lining, thus helping to reduce damage and decrease inflammation.”

When the epithelial lining of the GI tract becomes leaky (commonly known as “leaky gut”), it allows substances from the interior GI space, including bacteria, to travel into the surrounding tissues and find their way to other areas of the body, where they don’t belong. This can lead to overload of liver detoxification mechanisms and immune system issues, which can compromise normal and healthy body functions.

Additionally, inflammation caused by “leaky gut” stimulates further inflammation of and damage to the epithelial lining of the GI tract, creating a dysfunctional cycle. Therefore, increased leakiness of the epithelial lining can cause an increase in Crohn’s symptoms, as well as damage to other body systems. It’s a vicious and debilitating cycle.

RelatedPTSD, Medical Marijuana, and You

An Israeli study in 2013 in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, involved the effects of Cannabis Sativa on patients and their symptoms of Crohn’s disease and Irritable Bowel Disorder (IBD).

It included 21 patients (13 men and 8 women) suffering from Crohn’s disease and other intestinal disorders in a controlled setting. The average age of the participants was 40-years-old. Every single person involved in this study had previously tried treating their disorder with steroidal therapy, immunomodulators, or anti-tumor agents with no meaningful results.

The researchers and Medical Marijuana Doctors split the patients into two groups, eleven of them were given rolled cannabis to smoke that contained 115 mg of THC, two times daily. The remaining group acting as the placebo group were also given rolled cannabis to smoke, only this time it contained no THC.

The Findings Were As Follows:

  • Complete remission in 5 of the 11 subjects in the THC cannabis group
  • Clinical responses in 10 of the 11 subjects in the Cannabis THC group, meaning their Crohn’s Disease Activity Index went from >200 to >100
  • 3 out of the 11 subjects in the cannabis THC group were weaned form steroid dependency
  • Every one of the 11 participants in the THC group reported having improved sleeps and appetite, with no notable side effects.

Anecdotal Evidence Supporting Medical Marijuana for Crohn’s

In this day and age of misinformation, hype and fake news, it is often shared personal experiences that begin to organically rise up into greater demands for more research and access.

Here are just a few of the thousands of testimonials and personal experiences shared throughout forums, private chat rooms and videos:

“Hey there. I am new to this forum, but I do have experience with conventional medication and cannabis use. I have been on prednisone, immuran, humara, remacade, methotrexate, and more pain killers then you couldn’t ever imagine. I had so many side effects that I was so sick for years.

The pain can be absolutely unbearable, abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, constipation and malnutrition. I have tried everything that is out there, nothing made me feel pain free then cannabis. As soon as I tried it over a year ago i actually found something that made me feel normal again. The extreme pain was gone and I could eat again.

Through all of this I had lost 60 pounds, and was ready for a new start in life I was never able to make plans or follow through-with them. Things have changed so much in my life I can’t imagine life with out cannabis.” McKillup -medicaljane.com

Matthew Lonsdale: Lonsdale, a longtime Crohn’s sufferer, is off of all pharmaceutical medications. After getting his Medical Marijuana Card he became an advocate for Medical Marijuana for Crohn’s with passion.

 

Shonda Banda: Six years ago, Banda self-published a book titled Live Free Or Die. She wrote the book after discovering that cannabis oil was the life-saving medicine that she needed to overcome Crohn’s Disease.

She had been bedridden, had multiple surgeries, and had taken copious pharmaceutical drugs. Her Crohn’s progressed to terminal stages, where she began to drastically lose weight. She explains,

“My body was starving because any food that I ate was gone within minutes. My body was just unable to absorb any of the nutrition that I was trying to give it.”

After discovering Rick Simpson’s video, Run From The Cure, she began experimenting with cannabis oil. The oil transformed her whole life.

“I was just so sick for so long, that as soon as I tried the oil and started feeling way better [I knew] that there was no turning back. That was it. No medication that any doctor had ever given me had worked that well, for any reason.”

Within three days of trying cannabis oil, Shonda no longer needed to use her cane. She could stand upright and her life changed forever.

 

Here at My Florida Green our Florida Medical Marijuana Doctors help patients achieve these profound “healings” and improvements to quality of life..

If you, or someone you care about is struggling with Crohn’s, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ulcerative Colitis or any of the symptoms of gut distress, just click here to find the nearest Florida Medical Marijuana Doctor to you or call 833-MMJ-EASY with any questions.

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