Medical Marijuana for Neurologic Diseases
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, May, 23rd 2014 by THCFinder
Dr. Wilner: Dr. Koppel, we just had a press conference during which you and Dr. Gary Gronseth summarized the findings of the new AAN systematic review of medical marijuana for selected neurologic disease. What did you find?
Dr. Koppel: We found that certain forms of marijuana -- pills and oral spray, primarily -- were useful in treating some systems of multiple sclerosis, especially spasticity, pain, central pain and painful spasms, and overactive bladder. Medical marijuana was not found to help tremor in multiple sclerosis, nor did it reduce other bladder symptoms. There wasn't enough information to comment on whether smoked marijuana was useful. There were only 2 studies, and no conclusions could be reached from them.
Dr. Wilner: There has been a lot in the news about medical marijuana for epilepsy. What did you find in your review of the published research?
Dr. Koppel: Marijuana didn't reduce the number of seizures in the 2 very small, old studies that we looked at. The new information coming out on epilepsy is usually from patient support groups or patient testimonials, and these are not the kind of studies that we could use for this type of analysis. However, they do bring attention to the fact that more research needs to be done in that field.
Dr. Wilner: Some studies have begun, isn't that right?
Dr. Koppel: Yes. Various epilepsy centers are taking a look at the cannabinoid-enhanced oral spray.
Dr. Wilner: What about side effects?
Dr. Koppel: Side effects were present in all of the studies, and if they were mentioned in at least 2 studies, we brought special attention to them. They included such effects as you would expect: behavioral changes, fatigue, nausea, and weakness. There were some serious side effects such as suicidal thoughts and hallucinations, but these were rare. The other serious side effect was seizures, occurring in 2 patients with multiple sclerosis.
Dr. Wilner: Because many of these neurologic illnesses are chronic diseases, was any attention paid to adverse events from medical marijuana that might occur with chronic use?
Dr. Koppel: Most of the studies were fairly brief. A few long-term studies had higher dropout rates, but it turns out that some people dropped out because it wasn't working rather than because of side effects. These were carefully controlled in terms of how much tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabinoid content the formulations included, so we didn't see the kind of long-term cognitive effects that are being reported from recreational marijuana. This was a separate kind of study.
We found that dropout rates were higher in the treated groups than in the placebo groups, but in the long-term studies (one of which lasted a year), we are still talking approximately 12% dropout in the treatment group compared with 6% in the placebo group.
Dr. Wilner: Some patients with Parkinson disease have also tried medical marijuana. What did you find?
Dr. Koppel: The studies looked at the drug-induced dyskinesias that patients with late-stage Parkinson disease get from their levodopa. Marijuana didn't help that, but in terms of treating Parkinson disease itself, it hasn't been studied.
Medical marijuana helps MS patient deal with pain
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, May, 20th 2014 by THCFinder
DENVER, Colo. —Marc Peterson said his future didn't look bright more than a decade ago when doctors diagnosed him with multiple sclerosis.
"I was in bad shape; I was going downhill fast," he said.
Peterson, living in Minnesota at the time, said his muscles would tighten to the point his entire body would freeze.
"My right leg was not working to the point where I needed to use a crane," he said. "And when you're 26 or 27 years old, walking with a crane is not an option."
After living with MS for nine years, Peterson made the difficult decision to leave family and friends, embarking on a journey to Colorado in search of medical marijuana.
Peterson, who now lives in Denver, said smoking marijuana helps loosen his muscles.
"It's an almost instant release," Peterson told WPBF 25 News' Chris McGrath. "It's an instant letting go, your grip releases from the muscles."
Peterson now spends his weekends hiking in the Rocky Mountains, something he could never imagine doing after his diagnosis.
Minnesota's Legislature OKs Medical Marijuana
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, May, 16th 2014 by THCFinder
Minnesota has approved the sale and use of medical marijuana and Gov. Mark Dayton has said he will sign the legislation.
The state is poised to become the 22nd to legalize the drug for medical purposes.
Minnesota Public Radio says, "Under the agreement, the state will authorize two medical cannabis manufacturers to set up operations in Minnesota and distribute the product in pill or liquid form to qualified patients at up to eight distribution centers by July 1, 2015."
However, smoking marijuana would still not be legal. Instead, patients would be allowed to vaporize "whole plant extracts," but not dried leaves, MPR says.
The Associated Press says the deal is "a major victory to severely ill children and adults whose emotional appeals for help propelled a major policy change that once appeared dead for the session."
The AP says: "Some patients lamented that the agreement doesn't allow them to use actual plant material - they instead can use the drug in oil, pill and vapor form - but others were overjoyed."
Dr. Oz Backs Medical Marijuana, Says It's 'Hugely Beneficial'
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, May, 15th 2014 by THCFinder
Medical marijuana just got another celebrity doctor's public support.
During an interview Monday with Dr. Mehmet Oz on "Larry King Live", King asked Oz if he'd changed his views on marijuana.
"I have," Oz responded, and went on to explain just how far he's come from his early beliefs about the plant. "I grew up like most of my generation believing that marijuana was something Satan was throwing at Americans, a communist plot. But I think most of us have come around to the believe that marijuana is hugely beneficial when used correctly for medicinal purposes," Oz said.
Oz joins the ranks of other TV medical experts who have come out in support of medical marijuana in recent years, including CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who recently "doubled down" on his support, and ABC News' chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser.
A vast majority of Americans now believe that marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes. According to a recent CBS News poll, 86 percent of Americans think that doctors should be able to legally prescribe medical cannabis to patients suffering from serious illnesses.
Oz -- who in addition to hosting his own show is a cardiothoracic surgeon, author, and teaching professor at Columbia University -- stopped short of supporting recreational marijuana, citing use by children as a main concern.
"We pervert its use at times," Oz added. "I don't think it should be widely used, certainly by kids, because that creates a dependence that is unhealthy in any setting. But it absolutely should be widely available in America [for medical use]."
Currently, 21 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, but the drug remains illegal under federal law, classified as a Schedule I substance, which the federal government considers to be of "the most dangerous" variety "with no currently accepted medical use."
Could medical marijuana be a 7-year-old's cure?
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, May, 13th 2014 by THCFinder
PITTSFORD, Vt. —A Vermont mother believes medical marijuana could be the remedy her daughter, who suffers from epilepsy, needs to stop seizing.
Seven-year-old Lexi’s beaming smile suggests she is just like every other little girl.
“She was born fine,” said mother, Allison Rodgers. “She was born the day before her due date and there were no issues.”
But at 18 months, things changed. Allison found Lexi with a 103-degree fever. She was suffering from a grand mal seizure.
More than a half-decade later, doctors still are not sure exactly what triggers her seizures.
“Every specialist we see is completely baffled and sends us on to another one,” Allison said.
Lexi has never had another grand mal seizure, but doctors said she is constantly seizing while she sleeps. She has lost her ability to speak and functions at the cognitive level of a 2-year-old, Allison said.
Lexi takes three different medications and the nighttime seizures have not stopped.
That’s led Allison to explore other options. Talking with parents across the country, she discovered the Realm of Caring, a Colorado-based dispensary claiming to have developed a marijuana strain benefiting children with epilepsy.
WPTZ was there when the Realm of Caring’s founders visited the University of Vermont in November 2013. In that talk, one of the strain’s creators, Josh Stanley, said it has a nearly 90 percent effective rate in epileptic children.
“She’s not getting high on it. That's the main key. She's not getting high,” Allison said.
This type of marijuana is not smoked. Instead, droppers filled with the plant’s oil are put in food. The strain also does not make children high, as the psychoactive part of the cannabis, THC, is low.
Allison is not giving the strain to her daughter, but she would like to. She hopes some Vermont dispensaries engineer something similar. Federal law prohibits the transfer of marijuana or plant seeds across state lines.
“She's been on all these other medications. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work,” Allison said. “It's just something else we've tried for her.”
“We are talking to several parents in the state at this point,” said Shayne Lynn, executive director at Champlain Valley Dispensary in Burlington. Lynn runs a second medical marijuana dispensary in Brattleboro.
He said he will not dispense to children, pointing to a federal Department of Justice memo stating the first priority in the department’s marijuana enforcement initiative is to prevent “the distribution of marijuana to minors.”
VA parents push for access to medical marijuana for kids
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, May, 12th 2014 by THCFinder
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -
Some Virginia parents are making the heartbreaking decision to split up the family, so their sick child can get access to medical marijuana.
It may sound unorthodox, but these families say they are desperate and it's the only treatment making a difference.
Three little Virginia girls, Haley, Jennifer, and Lucy, share three different stories of families in the fight of their life. Haley is a curious 13-year-old, who shakes uncontrollably through the night. She had more than 800 major seizures last year alone.
"I'll get compliments, or when we go out in public they'll think, 'well you keep her nice' or 'she seems so happy.' Well, it's like, 'You don't see her in this state,'" said Lisa Smith, Haley's mother.
The Smith family lives in the Northern Neck. Haley started having seizures at 5-months-old. She has Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy with no clear treatment. Haley functions at the level of a 3 to 5-year-old. She's been through 21 different medications.
"These are life threatening seizures and one day one of them will take her life," said Smith.
Jennifer Collins, 14, has a different form of epilepsy, and she's been through 13 different drugs. Some of them aren't even approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
"We have no other options in terms of existing medications. One of them she's on now is clearly experimental," said Jennifer's father, Patrick Collins.
The side effects of her pharmaceutical drugs leave her fighting, "depression, suicidal thoughts, waking cognitive issues, anger, hair loss," said her mother, Beth Collins.
These symptoms from legally prescribed medication can be just as bad as her 300 seizures each day. She was falling behind in school.
"She's going to go one of two ways," her father said. "If we stick with where we are now, she'll never be the person that she could be."
The Collins' made the painful decision to split up the family. Patrick and his other daughter stayed behind in Fairfax. Beth and Jennifer moved 1,700 miles away to Colorado, where medical marijuana is legal.
"It was terrible. It was terrible," Patrick said, choking back tears.
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