Medical marijuana news, May 2015
Marijuana is 114 times less dangerous than alcohol
Recently, in a study published in the Scientific Reports journal (which belongs to Nature), researchers compared the risk of death associated with the use of different psychoactive substances. On the top of this list we find alcohol, followed by heroin, cocaine and tobacco. On the last position we find cannabis , the use of which is - according to this study - 114 times less dangerous than that of alcohol.
The study concludes that "results confirm that the risks associated with cannabis use have been overestimated on the past". On the other hand, it also states that "the risks derived from alcohol use could have been underestimated". (Source: NCBI).
Cannabidiol CBD legalisation in Brazil
Brazil's National Health Surveillance Agency has just legalised the therapeutical use of cannabidiol CBD in January, 2015. For the first time, the medicinal effect of this substance - extracted from cannabis plants - is recognised by this agency. Now, patients will be able to use CBD on their treatments, and new scientific researches on this cannabinoid are being started. Julio Américo, President of the Association of users of Medicinal Cannabis (Amame) expresses his joy on this subject: "it is a historic contribution to relieve the pain of our patients".
The directors of the agency stated that, according to the studies, CBD - especially when administered orally - has neither addictive nor side effects. Patient associations and families with kids suffering from epilepsy celebrated this new law. Indeed, there was a great social mobilisation supporting this law, such as the online request for Lorenzo, a 9 year old boy who suffers from epilepsy, that reached more than 77.000 signatures. (Source: Folha de S.Paulo)
Regarding this last issue, a hospìtal in Colorado has received $500.000 from the State to perform a research during 3 years in more than 150 kids suffering from epilepsy and using medicinal marijuana. This money comes from a $10 million Fund allocated by the Colorado State in 2013 in order to investigate and research on the field of medicinal marijuana. (Source: 9Neews)
No, the Skunk does not cause psychosis!
A study published in February by the Lancet Psychiatry magazine tried to link the use of the Skunk marijuana variety with psychotic episodes. Several "journalists" quickly spreaded the conslusions of this study in their quest for sensational news, of course without trying to verify what they were claiming.
This study compares two types of marijuana: the Skunk, which is defined as "high potency marijuana" and Hashish, a "low quality marijuana or resin". Anyone interested on this subject immediately realises that these words just don't make any sense.
The Skunk#1 is one of the oldest marijuana hybrids ever developed, created in the USA back in the 70's and brought to the Netherlands during the 80's. Despite being one of the most renowned cannabis strains, many other varieties with higher THC content have been developed since the creation of the Skunk, such as the Og Kush or the Amnesia Haze.
On the other hand, hashish is a resin concentrate made from the trichomes of the plant, so it is obvious that true Hashish will always have higher THC concentration than marijuana buds. As we can see, perhaps those "journalists" and "researchers" should have studied a bit before writing.
The main researcher of this study, Marta Di Forti, already published another study last year on the same subject, in which we find the same exact definition and protocol mistakes. Meanwhile, we guess her "work" is inspiring many journalists specialised on misinformation. (Source: The Leaf Online)
The United States Ministry of Health claims that marijuana may be useful
Doctor Vivek Murthy - U.S. Surgeon General - stated that marijuana could be beneficial for some patients. He specifies that "we have preliminar data that show that marijuana may be useful in certain diseases and symptoms" and adds that "we believe that we must use this data to establish new policies". (Source: CBD News)
For its part, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated a few weeks later that cannabis could be of help for some kids, recognizing that "cannabinoid administration is an option for disabled child, for those suffering from debilitating diseases or for those who don't respond to current therapies". (Source: UPI)
Medicinal marijuana will be soon available in Germany
Health Minister Hermann Gröle announced in February that a proposal of law amendment regarding cannabis was about to be submitted to the Bundestag - the German Parliament - so medical patients can use it. He states that his desire is that "people who are really sick and that can only alleviate their symptoms with cannabis should be properly cared for".
Marlene Mortler, from the federal government commision on drugs, also announced that "it is my aim that, in the near future, more people can access marijuana as a medicine". We must remember that the Court of Justice of Cologne authorised three patients to grow their own medicinal marijuana in July, 2014, although it should also be noted that this desition must be confirmed by the Supreme Administrative Court. (source: Die Welt)
Combining cannabinoids and conventional treatments to combat cancer
On the February 2015 issue of the Leaf Online magazine, Doctor Jahan Marcu tells us how cannabinoids can improve the efficiency of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, acting synergically. Research and animal tests have shown that chemotherapy and radiations act together with THC and CBD to debilitate cancer cells.
Both THC and CBD were studied in combination with other conventional treatments against cancer. The combined effect of cannabinoids and radiations have shown promising results on mice, almost eliminating brain tumours. Here you have a list of cannabinoids and cancer treatments that showed significant results on experimental models:
- Brain Cancer: THC and Temozolomide (Torres, 2011)
- Pancreas Cancer: THC and Gemcitabine (Donadelli, 2011)
- Stomach Cancer: Anandamide and Paclitaxel (Miyato, 2009)
- Bowel Cancer: HU-210 and Fluorouracil (5-FU) (Pertwee, 2009) (Gustafsson, 2009)
This combination of conventional treatments and cannabinoids is especially efficient in cases were cancer cells are extremely resistant to cell death induced by THC and/or CBD. Cancer cells adapt, evolve and mutate. It has been recently demonstrated that an abnormal activity of Amphiregulin and Midkine may block the anti-cancer properties of cannabinoids. Both chemotherapy and radiation therapies can eliminate this abnormal activity so cannabinoids can act efficiently.
It also seems that the combination of THC and CBD is always more efficient that just CBD. In this way, the best option for patients is combining the benefitial properties of THC and CBD with conventional treatments against cancer. (Source: Dr. Jahan Marcu, Leaf Online, February 2015)
Medical Cannabis Bike Tour finances a clinical trial to treat Glioma
Luc Krol - from Paradise Seeds seedbank - and Matej Munej, founders of the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour, announced a ?100.000 donation for the first independent clinical trial ever. From 30 to 40 glioma - brain cancer - patients from different hospitals in Spain will participate on this trial, that should begin around September 2015.
The total cost of this clinical trial is ?280.000, so Luc and Matej wish they will be able to raise the remaining ?180.000 with the funds from the next edition of the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour, which will take place during June 2015 between Maastricht and Amsterdam. (Source: Medical Cannabis Bike Tour)
CBD is more efficient when combined with other cannabinoids
A recent study performed by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and published in the Pharmacology and Pharmacy magazine (February 2015) shows that cannabidiol CBD is much more efficient to treat pains and inflammations when combined with other cannabinoids found in marijuana plants.
Researchers compared the efficiency of pure CBD - synthetically manufactured - with a CBD oil extracted from a cannabis strain called Avidekel (clone 202) which contains 17,9% CBD, 1,1% THC, 1,1% CBC, 0,2% CBG and CBN and THCV traces.
Results are conclusive: CBD is much more efficient when used together with other cannabinoids, directly reducing pains, inflammations and the production of tumour necrosis factors.
Furthermore, researchers have concluded that a cannabis oil with low CBD concentration is even more efficient than pure CBD, which would require a much higher concentration. The efficiency of CBD oil compared to pure CBD is explained by the interactions between CBD and the dozens of phytocannabinoids found in marijuana plants. (Source: Pharmacology and Pharmacy)
For further information on the medicinal use of cannabis please read our previous article, medical marijuana news February 2015 .