Gov't approves study of marijuana smoking to treat PTSD in military veterans
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, March, 19th 2014 by THCFinder
Could marijuana help treat post-traumatic stress disorder in military veterans? New research aims to find out.
The U.S. government has signed off on a long-delayed study looking at marijuana as a treatment for military veterans with PTSD, a development that drug researchers are hailing as a major shift in U.S. policy.
The study will measure the effects of five different potencies of smoked or vaporized marijuana in treating symptoms of PTSD in 50 veterans.
The Department of Health and Human Services' decision surprised marijuana advocates who have struggled for decades to secure federal approval for research into the drug's medical uses.
The proposal from the University of Arizona was long ago cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, but researchers had been unable to purchase marijuana from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The agency's Mississippi research farm is the only federally-sanctioned source of the drug.
In a letter last week, HHS cleared the purchase of medical marijuana by the studies' chief financial backer, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which supports medical research and legalization of marijuana and other drugs.
"MAPS has been working for over 22 years to start marijuana drug development research, and this is the first time we've been granted permission to purchase marijuana from NIDA," the Boston-based group said in a statement. The federal government has never before approved medical research involving smoked or vaporized marijuana, according to MAPS.
A spokesman for the group said organizers have called off a protest over the stalled study that was planned for later this year.
While more than 1 million Americans take medical marijuana -- usually for chronic pain -- rigorous medical research into the drug's effects has been limited, in part due to federal restrictions.
Marijuana remains a Schedule I substance under the federal government's Controlled Substance Act, meaning it has no medical use and has high potential for abuse.
Medical marijuana bill advances in Maryland
The Maryland House of Delegates approved legislation Monday intended to make it possible for patients to use medical marijuana, which was legalized last year but remains unavailable in the state.
Delegates voted 127 to 9 to allow “certified physicians” to discuss the option of medical marijuana with patients and then recommend its use. Those patients or their caregivers could obtain a 30-day supply from a licensed grower. The legislation now heads to the Senate, where approval is expected.
The bill was one of dozens approved by the House on Monday during a marathon meeting ahead of a “crossover” deadline, after which legislation that has not been approved by either the House or the Senate has longer odds of being passed before the legislative session ends in early April.
Delegates also voted in favor of expanding pre-kindergarten classes to include more children, providing more oversight of the implementation of new education standards and “shielding” certain criminal records from the public record with the aim of making it easier for former convicts to get jobs.
The Senate convened Monday evening with its own full agenda that included bills that would boost annual tax credits given to movie and television companies that film in the state and require restaurants to urge patrons to alert their servers about any known food allergies the customers have before their orders are taken.
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com
Inhaled Marijuana Mitigates Parkinsons Disease Symptoms
By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
Inhaling whole-plant cannabis provides symptomatic relief in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), according to observational trial data published in the March/April edition of the journal Clinical Neuropharmacology. Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system that results in tremor, slowed movement, and muscle rigidity.
Investigators at Tel Aviv University, Department of Neurology evaluated Parkinson’s disease symptoms in 22 patients at baseline and 30-minutes after inhaling cannabis.
Researchers reported that inhaled cannabis was associated with “significant improvement after treatment in tremor, rigidity, and bradykinsea (slowness of movement). There was also significant improvement of sleep and pain scores. No significant adverse effects of the drug were observed.”
They concluded: “[T]his observational study is the first to report an amelioration of both motor and non-motor symptoms in patients with PD treated with cannabis. The study opens new venues for treatment strategies in PD especially in patients refractory to current medications.”
Israel has formally allowed for the licensed production and distribution of the substance for therapeutic purposes since 2011.
Read more: http://www.theweedblog.com
Medical marijuana research for PTSD clears major hurdle
A researcher at the University of Arizona is a step closer to studying how medical marijuana affects veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Although there is a "mountain of anecdotal evidence" that marijuana helps with PTSD, there has been no controlled trial to test how marijuana suppresses the symptoms, including flashbacks, insomnia and anxiety, said Suzanne Sisley, the study's lead researcher.
Sisley's study proposal has wound its way through the federal government for three years. In 2011, she received approval by the Food and Drug Administration. On Friday, the study cleared a major hurdle when the Public Health Service, part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, gave its approval.
Now Sisley is waiting on approval from a third and final agency — the Drug Enforcement Administration — before she can start her research. It's unclear how long the DEA will take. The DEA has not immediately responded to USA TODAY Network for comment.
Sisley's 10-week study will examine 50 veterans with moderate to severe symptoms of PTSD, using marijuana from the federal government's only marijuana farm at the University of Mississippi.
The study participants will receive marijuana with five varying amounts of the active ingredient, THC — anywhere from the placebo of no THC to 12% THC. The study will also examine the differences between smoking the drug versus vaporizing it.
"It's hopefully a great starting point to begin to uncover some innovative ways of treating PTSD," Sisley told USA TODAY Network.
The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates 11-20% of troops who served in Iraq or Afghanistan have PTSD. About 7.7 million Americans are estimated to have the disorder, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Sisley's study could open the way to the development of a prescription drug based on the whole marijuana plant, said Brad Burge, spokesman for Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which is funding the study.
Read more: http://www.usatoday.com
Iowans Strongly Support Marijuana for Medicinal Purposes
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, March, 17th 2014 by THCFinder
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Iowans overwhelmingly support allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana for medical use, according to poll results released this morning.
By an 87 to 17 percent majority with the support of 68 percent or more of every party, gender and age groups, Iowans support legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, Quinnipiac University Poll found.
That level of support is comparable to other states, according to Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
“Iowans overwhelmingly think marijuana should be legal for medical purposes, but most voters oppose legalizing personal recreational use,” Brown said. On the other hand, “Opposition to personal marijuana is higher in Iowa than in any state we’ve surveyed so far on this subject.”
Despite that level of support, efforts in the Iowa Legislature to legalize medicinal marijuana have failed to gain broad support this year.
Both Republican and Democratic legislative leaders say there is more interest and discussion about medicinal marijuana, but more education and research is needed before the issue can be considered further.
Among those leery of medicinal marijuana is Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican seeking a sixth term.
Although he sympathizes with families who say medicinal marijuana would offer them relief from a variety of conditions, Branstad said officials must keep in mind the “unintended consequences” that could lead to abusing the system.
“I think we have to be careful about drafting our laws just for a few people that have a particular problem or ailment,” Branstad said.
By a 55 to 41 percent margin, Quinnipiac found Iowans oppose allowing marijuana for personal use. Democrats support personal marijuana use 54 to 44 percent and voters 18 to 29 years old support it 62 to 35 percent. Quinnipiac found all other groups are opposed to legalizing recreational use, with men opposed 51 to 45 percent and women opposed 59 to 37 percent.
Read more: http://www.kcrg.com/
Feds approve University of Arizona study on pot and PTSD
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, March, 17th 2014 by THCFinder
The federal government has given a green light to a University of Arizona researcher who plans to look at whether marijuana helps veterans with post-traumatic stress, The Los Angeles Times reports.
The feds' approval is a major development, given that research into marijuana's potential benefits has been stymied by the government's prohibition of the drug. The Times reports that the move by the government may open the door to additional research into cannabis.
"This is a great day," said the Arizona researcher, Suzanne A. Sisley, clinical assistant professor of psychology at the university's medical school, who has been trying to get the green light for her study for three years. "The merits of a rigorous scientific trial have finally trumped politics.
"We never relented," Sisley said. "But most other scientists have chosen not to even apply. The process is so onerous. With the implementation of this study and the data generated, this could lead to other crucial research projects."
Backers of medical marijuana hailed the news as an indication that the government had started coming to terms with one of the more striking paradoxes of federal drug policy: Even as about 1 million Americans are using marijuana legally to treat ailments, scientists have had difficulty getting approval to study how the drug might be employed more effectively.
Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com
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