Colorado: Lawmakers Approve Funding For Medical Marijuana Research
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, May, 23rd 2014 by THCFinder
State lawmakers have approved legislation, Senate Bill 155, to fund observational and clinical research assessing the safety and therapeutic efficacy of cannabis. Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill into law.
The measure establishes a subaccount of up to $10 million within the state’s medical marijuana program fund to be utilized specifically for the purpose of conducting state-sponsored cannabis research. The intent of this new research program is to “gather objective scientific research regarding the efficacy of administering marijuana and its component parts as part of medical treatment.” The law also establishes a ‘scientific advisory council,’ which may include expert participants from around the nation, to evaluate research proposals and make recommendations in regards to funding requests.
“SB 155 invests the dollars collected from medical marijuana fees into a meaningful effort to study the therapeutic and medical benefits of the drug,” stated Democrat Rep. Crisanta Duran, a co-sponsor of the bill, told The Huffington Post. “Patients will benefit from this investment and Colorado will become a national leader in developing medical marijuana research.”
In recent years, only one state — California — has previously earmarked state funding to explicitly sponsor clinical cannabis research. That program, established at various universities statewide, funded numerous clinical trials over the past decade evaluating the efficacy of whole-plant cannabis for a variety of conditions, including multiple sclerosis and neuropathic pain. A review of these trials published in The Open Neurology Journal concluded, “Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking.”
Earlier this month, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) publicly announced in the Federal Register that it is increasing its marijuana production quota from 21 kilograms to 650 kilograms (about 1,443 pounds) in order to meet increasing demand for the plant from clinical investigators.
Federal regulations permit a farm at the University of Mississippi to cultivate set quantities of cannabis for use in federally approved clinical trials. Regulators at the DEA, the US Food and Drug Administration, PHS (Public Health Service), and the US National Institute on Drug Abuse must approve any clinical protocol seeking to study the plant’s effects in human subjects — including those trials that are either state or privately funded.
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.”
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