WeedWorthy News Network

Hot off the press cannabis, marijuana, cbd and hemp news from around the world on the WeedWorthy News Network.

An issue that has constantly plagued athletes, regular gym-goers or even normal folks is the problem of pain and inflammation associated with muscle recovery. When the muscle is really exercised during workout sessions or pushed to the limit during regular sports activity or daily routine tasks, a lot of tension and ache around the area being stressed occurs which results in inflammation that causes soreness and pain. The inflammation and soreness are the body’s mechanism of initiating and promoting healing around the affected region.

To avoid muscle damage, reduce the pain, and manage the excess inflammation, numerous means have been used over time ranging from the use of ice baths to the use of analgesics such as NSAIDs and opioids. The goal of such modes of treatment however can also be achieved with cannabis or CBD to be more precise. Cannabis has long been posited to be of immense benefits medicinally and one of such ways with promise is the use of CBD to assist muscle recovery.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is present in the cannabis plant alongside numerous numbers of other cannabinoids. CBD is special among the cannabinoids present in cannabis because it interacts with the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors without psychoactive effects in the endocannabinoid system. CBD has been incorporated into oils and lotions by producers in the industry which has seen it being applied by numerous therapists for relief of pain and to manage inflammation.

It has also been shown that CBD might have the potential to play a significant role in dealing with the edema, hyperalgesia and numerous other medical  conditions. Extensive works of research are still ongoing to fully ascertain just how much of an impact the use of CBD can have in dealing with these health conditions.

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Researchers found children whose moms used marijuana while pregnant suffered from somnolence symptoms — or excessive sleepiness.

Using cannabis while pregnant could cause your child sleeping problems later in life, according to a new study by University of Colorado Boulder researchers. The research doesn’t establish a causality between prenatal marijuana exposure and developmental sleep problems, but it does represent another possible development issue caused by pregnant women consuming marijuana.

“As a society, it took us a while to understand that smoking and drinking alcohol are not advisable during pregnancy, but it is now seen as common sense,” senior author John Hewitt, director of the Institute for Behavioral Genetics at CU Boulder, said in a statement. “Studies like this suggest that it is prudent to extend that common sense advice to cannabis, even if use is now legal.”

The study, published in Sleep Health: The Journal of The National Sleep Foundation, analyzed data compiled for the landmark Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, which has followed 11,750 children since they were 9 or 10 years old. The ABCD study launched in 2015 and will become the largest long-term study to explore early brain development in the United States.

Participants’ mothers were given an exhaustive questionnaire upon entrance into the ABCD study. One query was whether moms had consumed cannabis while pregnant. And if so, how much did they use? They weren’t asked about consumption method, meaning we don’t know if they smoked cannabis, ate edibles, or used tinctures. About 700 of the moms admitted to using marijuana while pregnant — 184 used daily, 262 did so twice or more per day.

Marijuana Use While Pregnant Leads To Children's Sleeping Problems, Study Finds

As the National Cannabis Industry Association celebrates its 10th anniversary, CEO Aaron Smith tells MCN about the evolution of cannabis in the US.

Aaron Smith is the CEO and co-founder of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), the USA’s largest trade organisation for legal cannabis businesses. The NCIA was founded in 2010 with the goals of advocating for policy reform, providing educational resources and acting as a voice for the burgeoning legal cannabis sector in the US.

Smith tells MCN about the evolution of the association, its current policy priorities, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry.

The NCIA celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2020. How has the cannabis industry evolved since 2010? How do you see the industry developing in the next 10 years?

The changes we have seen in the cannabis industry in the last decade have been momentous. In 2010, there were only a handful of states with medical cannabis laws, many of which did not explicitly allow legal commercial production and distribution. Violent raids by federal, state, and local law enforcement were fairly common, though the 2009 Ogden Memo had started to decrease federal involvement in enforcement against businesses in compliance with state laws. No state had yet passed an adult use law. Public support for legalisation was just over 50%.

The evolution that has taken place since then can be witnessed through the history of NCIA itself. Almost every state now allows cannabis in some form; a majority have effective medical cannabis law; and eleven states and several territories have made cannabis use legal for adults. Two thirds of Americans support legalisation and this sentiment is growing in nearly every demographic imaginable. Support for allowing medical cannabis is almost universal. Department of Justice policy is to not enforce federal prohibition against state-legal businesses. The international cannabis industry, which was nonexistent a decade ago, is flourishing.

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A landmark court hearing is set to decide whether the NHS should cover the cost of a patient’s cannabis medicine.

Charlotte Caldwell, whose son Billy relies upon medicinal cannabis to keep him alive, has a landmark court hearing in Belfast Crown Court on September 7, 2020 to decide whether the NHS will cover the cost of his cannabis medication. This case could have groundbreaking implications for Billy and other UK patients who rely on medicinal cannabis.

Billy, who suffers from severe childhood epilepsy, helped change the laws concerning medicinal cannabis two years ago after a successful media campaign. However, since medicinal cannabis was downgraded to allow for it to be prescribed, Billy’s original NHS prescription was withdrawn. The result was that Billy can now only get his medicine privately.

A life changing court case

Before gaining access to medicinal cannabis four years ago Billy suffered hundreds of attacks throughout the day and night.

“I was told by doctors that we had exhausted all options. My heart was shattered. I remember lying in bed holding a drugged up Billy counting his seizures in an attempt to stay awake,” recalls Charlotte. “Billy would be turning blue and suffocating. I was holding him, not knowing if I fell asleep whether he would still be alive the next day.”

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New Jersey medical cannabis companies are developing delivery plans in order to better serve their customers who can’t easily get to dispensaries themselves as the state gears up for the next phase in medical legalization. 

Home delivery legalization in New Jersey dates back to before the COVID-19 pandemic made progressive changes to cannabis business necessary. Jake Honig’s law, passed last summer after requests by medical marijuana patients in the state, expanded access to cannabis patients, raised purchase limits, and legalized delivery so that sick patients wouldn’t have to wait in line when they need medicine.

Currently, of the nine medical cannabis companies in the state that are active and in business, four are planning to begin delivering cannabis. Those four companies are waiting to hear back from the Department of Health on whether or not their plans are approved. Many of the companies hoping to develop a legal cannabis business are excited about the range of how far they can deliver and the prospects of the new venture. 

“We are, as a group, allowed to deliver anywhere in the state that you have a registered patient,” said Devra Karlebach, CEO of GTI cannabis company. “A lot of it will depend on the demand as well.”

However, some dispensaries are opting not to try and get approved at this time, claiming the program may not really be worth it due to all the current setbacks. 

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After months of controversy, scientists are settling on the idea that the anti-inflammatory properties of major cannabinoids can be used to treat Covid-19.

One of the most promising statistics related to the coronavirus pandemic is that the number of deaths is decreasing, which is due in large part to a better understanding of how to treat the illness at its various stages.

Recent reports indicate that an infected host undergoes a cytokine explosion, a burst of immune-system proteins that cause a host of inflammatory symptoms in the lungs. In severe cases, this immune response can be so potent that it can become deadly to its host.

Major cannabinoids THC and CBD have been identified for their anti-inflammatory properties in the past, but doubt had been cast on their ability to treat the disease due to concerns of increased viral loads.

However, a new study from researchers at the University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute is further solidifying cannabis as a strong treatment option, and in particular its mom-marketed derivative CBD.

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State Regulators in Ohio voted on Wednesday to reject petitions that would have added autism and anxiety as conditions that qualify a patient to use medical marijuana. The Ohio State Medical Board voted to approve, however, a request to add patients diagnosed with a chronic wasting syndrome known as cachexia to the state’s medicinal cannabis program.

Wednesday’s votes are consistent with the recommendations of a medical board committee issued last month. The board also voted not to include autism and anxiety when they first considered petitions to add the conditions to the state program last year.

The board received a total of 136 public comments on the proposals to include the three conditions, including requests to reject the addition of anxiety and autism submitted by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, and the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association.

“The inclusion of autism and anxiety as conditions has the potential to negatively impact the health and well being of thousands of children in Ohio,” wrote Sarah Kincaid of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association. “There is little rigorous evidence that marijuana or its derivatives is of benefit for patients with autism and anxiety, but there is a substantial association between cannabis use and the onset or worsening of several psychiatric conditions.”

Carrie Taylor, an Ohio mom who has twin sons with autism, was disappointed last year when the medical board rejected the petition to add the condition to the state’s medical marijuana program. She has since redirected her efforts to the legalization of recreational cannabis in Ohio, saying she does not believe the board will ever add autism.

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We discussed several conditions where CBD is showing amazing results, but when it comes to CBD for tinnitus, available research is somewhat puzzling. 

Tinnitus is a symptom of a potentially more serious problem, and it manifests as noise or ringing in one’s ears. According to Mayo Clinic, it affects 15-20 of the population.

It’s important to mention that as of yet no human studies have been performed on CBD for tinnitus, mainly because of the atypical and complex legal status of both hemp and cannabis. 

Despite that, the scientific community is showing great interest in the relationship between this ear condition and CBD, and more conclusive results are hopefully on the way. 

Let’s check out what is known so far. 

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CBD anti-inflammatory properties and mental health treatment capabilities demand further investigation for coronavirus patients, according to a new study.

As researchers and doctors rush to understand the novel coronavirus, sometimes new evidence contradicts old claims. Cannabis represents a main topic where scientists have spun 180 degrees in discussing how the plant interacts with COVID-19. Public health officials announced back in March that marijuana smokers and vapers were more at risk to contract and spread the coronavirus.

Lung health experts still don’t recommend inhaling any combustible material like tobacco or marijuana, due to the inflammation caused in your airways. However, cannabis has emerged as an unlikely candidate in preventing and treating COVID-19 symptoms.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute now believe CBD could reduce the lethal lung inflammation caused by COVID-19. In a peer-reviewed article published in this month’s issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, the researchers called for more studies into cannabinoids for their anti-viral and anti-inflammatory capabilities to combat the coronavirus.

“Acute infection is associated with a cytokine superstorm, which contributes to the symptoms of fever, cough, muscle pain,” researchers wrote. In severe cases, lung inflammation could lead to pneumonia, making it difficult to breathe for patients who already have weakened immune systems.

What Lung Experts Say About Coronavirus Risk To Marijuana Smokers

Telehealth services that were made available to Florida’s medical marijuana patients due to the coronavirus pandemic may become a permanent option. 

That’s according to the web publication Florida Politics, which reported this week that the temporary provision first established at the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak—and then extended in May—might become a fixture in the state’s medical cannabis program.

The state’s Department of Health unveiled emergency rules back in March that allowed licensed physicians in Florida to see their patients and issue prescriptions remotely. The state’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis extended telehealth services for medical marijuana patients another 60 days in May. Now, with the provision set to expire this week—and the coronavirus experiencing a resurgence in states such as Florida—some advocates think it needs to be extended indefinitely.

“It’s excellent for the patients, convenience-wise, safety-wise and in a lot of other ways,” Barry Gordon,  a former physician in Ohio who now owns a cannabis clinic in Venice, Florida, told Florida Politics. “The majority of the patients can find that they can integrate it into their lifestyle in an appropriate way and don’t need a lot of further medical advice.”

Gordon continued: “Those types of things are easily done in a [telehealth] consultation. I like to call it being a 2020 doctor and not adopting a 1980 philosophy. We don’t know how long this COVID-19 crisis is going to last…. . It just makes sense. It’s a different society now.”

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The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority is finally ready to enforce laboratory testing months after it became legal.

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana officials said in April that they would require medical marijuana products sold by a processor or grower to be tested by a licensed laboratory.

“All medical marijuana products had required testing for a very long time now, but the requirement that it goes to a lab that’s licensed by OMMA is a new enforcement,” said Kelly Williams, deputy director of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority.

Williams said the OMMA extended that deadline from April to July to ensure there were enough labs meeting the licensing and accreditation requirements.

“Having OMMA oversight over those labs is important to make sure they’re getting quality testing results that we can ensure product safety,” Williams said.

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As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, researchers have started to look for solutions in an unlikely place - the cannabis plant. Cannabis’ active compounds have a number of properties that make it appealing as a potential adjunct treatment for infections from the novel coronavirus, and recently scientists have begun looking at its potential for reducing susceptibility to the disease, and even discussed whether it could be used as an antiviral medication

This month, researchers from the University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute are recommending more research into how cannabis-derived CBD might help treat dangerous lung inflammation from the novel coronavirus. The authors detailed the evidence for how cannabis’ anti-inflammatory powers may help in a peer reviewed article in this month's issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

In the article, researchers explain that “recent reports have suggested that acute infection is associated with a cytokine superstorm, which contributes to the symptoms of fever, cough, muscle pain.” These extreme instances of inflammation can lead to severe pneumonia which clog up the lungs, make breathing difficult or impossible. So, one of the important strategies  that scientists are studying in the fight against COVID-19 is reducing inflammation. 

In particular, researchers are looking at drugs which reduce IL-6 cytokine activity. In a recent study, one such drug, Tocilizumab, was able to clear out patients' lungs, and resulted in recovery for 90% of the patients treated. Unfortunately, it also produced serious negative side effects like inflammation of the pancreas and hypertriglyceridemia (a risk factor for coronary artery disease). This has led researchers to continue the search for anti-inflammatory strategies - preferably ones that aren’t as harsh on these already critically ill patients. 

That’s where cannabis comes in. The authors explain that several cannabinoids in the cannabis plant have anti-inflammatory properties. In particular, they point to CBD as the most likely candidate for treating COVID-19 related inflammation. CBD has shown serious anti-inflammatory properties in previous studies, it doesn't create the disorienting psychotropic effects associated with cannabis’ most common chemical THC, and it has already been approved by the FDA as safe for children with intractable epilepsy. If successful at reducing inflammation for COVID-19 patients, it could be a safer alternative to other anti-inflammatory options. 

Dry cannabis leaves, cannabis plant and cannabis oil on table

Beyond the 2.3 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S and the more than 120,000 coronavirus deaths, as of mid-June, there exists an urgent medical situation. The treatment of medical personnel is an additional pandemic element, complicated by the rapid spread of the virus in the population.

Burnout has hit many professionals, but most of all, the medical communities from doctors and nurses to emergency medical technicians. Despite all of the pre-planning, there was little contingency planning for the sudden influx of new patients.

Understanding burnout

Patients are being treated during current pressing conditions by professionals who are having to work with masks and protective gear. Both patients and medical personnel have limited access to their families. And many medical professionals have become sick, too. That makes for a perfect storm for clinical burnout.

Medical alert fatigue and the critical need for health professionals to prioritize a high level of both data and respondent care are among the priorities. Dr. Noor Najid el Mehiri, a family physician and the head of the Ministry of Health and Prevention of the UAE, pointed to several challenges.

“The sheer volume of information that is generated and the fact that it is changing very rapidly makes it a challenge for clinicians to digest. We needed to make sure that the processes we put in place, in terms of information management, were practical and efficient for our physicians and nurses,” she mentioned.

Israeli pharma-tech company Syqe Medical recently conducted a clinical trial in which they found evidence that inhaling "extremely low and precise doses" of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the principal psychoactive component in cannabis products - can be used as an effective pain reliever while avoiding the "common [psychoactive] side effects" normally associated with cannabis use.

The research team published their findings in the European Journal of Pain, providing the scientific community with the first research-based evidence that microdosing - "the process of using extremely low doses of active drug compounds to treat various conditions" - can actually be applied to medical cannabis solutions.

"The study shows that an optimally effective dose to relieve pain is just 500 micrograms of THC. Syqe patients consume 3-4 inhalations per day, each up to 500 micrograms," according to a statement by the Israeli investment platform OurCrowd. "A typical medical cannabis patient consumes 1 gram of 15% THC cannabis per day, which contains 150,000 micrograms of THC. This illustrates a key finding from the study that patients can benefit from dramatically lower doses."

The Syqe Selective-Dose Inhaler, marketed by Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva, is the world’s first marijuana inhaler capable of delivering botanicals with the same level of safety and precision as conventional drugs. It is "presumed" that the Syqe platform's bioavailability-enhancing technologies and selective dosing capabilities are behind the success of the trials.

In addition, Syqe believes that the new study can give the pharma-tech company a strong backing to earn FDA and CE approval within the coming months, so that they may be able to market the product across the United States and the European Union. Its CE approval is currently pending, and a request for FDA approval is noted as "planned."

A recent study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology made major headlines already this week, as it reveals that cannabis could help with lung inflammation and respiratory issues caused by conditions like COVID-19. 

So far, this has only been tested on mice, but the viewed effects have been positive and incredibly encouraging. Respiratory issues are a common concern for folks worldwide, but even more so since the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the entire world and made folks extremely concerned about inflammation. Conditions like COVID-19 can cause ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome), which manifests in a shortness of breath and blue skin. Up to 50 percent of those with ARDS die each year, and it’s an even bigger concern this year. This is related to a phenomenon called a cytokine storm, a term many have been hearing in association with COVID-19. 

Cytokine Storms and Cannabis

“In patients with respiratory disease, the lethal symptoms associated with ARDS usually follow a surge of signals in the lungs called a cytokine storm,” reports IFL Science. “Cytokines are small messengers released in the body and are important in the immune system when the body is under attack from infection. They can either be pro-inflammatory, where they tell the body to react to the site of infection with immune cells, or anti-inflammatory, where they slow the reaction down and stop immune cells damaging the area too much. In respiratory diseases, sometimes the immune system overreacts and releases too many pro-inflammatory cytokines, causing hyperinflammation and possible death. This is a cytokine storm.”

“In the current study, we investigated if THC would induce anti-inflammatory Tregs and MDSCs in mice exposed to SEB and if their induction was regulated by miR,” the study’s abstract explains. “Our data demonstrated that THC decreased the expression of two key miRs, let7a-5p and miR-34-5p which targeted the expression of several signaling molecules that targeted the induction or functions of Tregs and MDSCs.”

In layman’s terms, in order to look at how cannabis could impact inflammation, a research team at the University of South Carolina led by Amira Mohammed used THC to treat mice with ARDS symptoms to see how their inflammation would react. They noticed that by blocking the cytokines that cause inflammation and damage to the lungs, THC was actually protecting the mice against lethal symptoms from cytokine storms and improving their chances of survival. The THC slowed the inflammation and stopped any extreme damage from being caused by the storms.  

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Millions of veterans across the country have sacrificed their mental and physical health for our safety.

Unfortunately, a majority of them still struggle with debilitating conditions well after they retire from active duty. While the VA health care system has taken painstaking measures to provide relief to these veteran communities, many veterans still do not respond to conventional medications and therapies for life-altering conditions such as PTSD and chronic pain. 

As a cannabis doctor in Florida, I have seen firsthand how veterans can benefit both physically and psychologically from medical marijuana use. However, VA doctors are currently barred by federal law from prescribing or even making consultations about medical cannabis. Considering how Florida is home to the third-largest veteran population in the country, this leaves thousands of veterans who are eligible to use medical cannabis having to navigate a myriad of regulations and misinformation on their own. 

Despite its federal status, medical cannabis is a legitimate treatment for any veteran with a qualifying condition under state law. Having a chronic ailment can be an agonizing and isolating experience, and my colleagues and I are well aware of the stigmas and concerns that come with using medical cannabis within the veteran community. It is more important than ever for veterans to receive the support they need from the medical community and have a comprehensive understanding of the services they are entitled to when they begin their medical cannabis journeys.

Your VA benefits will not be jeopardized

One of the main reasons veterans hesitate to use medical cannabis is because they are afraid of losing their hard-earned VA benefits. This mentality may have carried over from their time in active duty when they were strictly prohibited from consuming recreational and medical cannabis products. However, once service members are discharged from the military, they should be free to consume cannabis products as civilians as long as they are not government employees or on military property.

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The lion’s share of people with symptoms of depression who consumed common and commercially available cannabis to cope reported anti-depressant effects, at least in the short term, notes a new study out of the United States.

In fact, “95.8 per cent of users experienced symptom relief following consumption with an average symptom intensity reduction of -3.76 points on a 0-10 visual analogue scale,” reports the study published last month in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine.

Researchers sought to explore the real-time effects of consuming flower as a treatment for depression symptoms. To find an answer to how weed affects low mood and behavioural motivations, they observed 1,819 people who completed 5,876 cannabis self-administration sessions using the ReleafApp between July 6, 2016 and Aug. 7, 2019.

The patent-pending app allows users to anonymously track their real-time and historic uses of specific cannabis and CBD products, including the product itself, where it was bought, why it is being used, how much was used, symptom relief and any side-effects.

The immediate relief experienced seems not to be associated with labelled plant phenotypes — such as whether it was indica, sativa or hybrid — or the combustion method, the study states.

The Schedule I status of marijuana stunts America’s ability to contribute to worldwide cannabis research. In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, these limitations became that much more apparent. 

Today, much of the world remains in the dark when it comes to understanding cannabis, according to Dr. Laszlo Mechtler, Medical Director of the Dent Neurological Institute in Buffalo, NY. Dr. Mechtler told High Times that most people, at best, have a rudimentary understanding of the plant and its benefits. 

The medical professional, whose roles include chief of neuro-oncology at the Roswell Park Center Institute, credits media outlets like High Times for disseminating information. However, he said that a lack of research prohibits a robust flow of information to the public.

”It is my opinion that much of this lack of understanding stems from the lack of research that has been done on cannabis, which is rooted in marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I controlled substance by the federal government,” said Dr. Mechtler. 

The Impact of Marijuana’s Schedule I Classification

The doctor’s sentiment is shared by much of the cannabis community, and those seeking to legitimize a burgeoning industry and medication further. 

Sleep is easily disrupted by the state of our mental health. That being the case, it makes sense that people are reporting increased issues with their sleep habits, having more vivid dreams, having less restful sleep and experiencing more insomnia during the past couple of months.

People usually struggle with their sleep habits. According to Donn Posner, president of Sleepwell Associates, an adjunct clinical associate professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine, about 35 per cent of people struggle with recurring bouts of insomnia. Now that people are coping with potential dangers posed to their health with COVID-19, the economy and social distancing pressures, the world’s current situation is a perfect recipe for sleep disorders.

When it comes to health workers, recent statistics show that the pandemic has affected both their sleep and health dramatically. A survey conducted by Sleep Standards found that, on average, healthcare workers are sleeping five hours a night. Forty-one per cent of those polled are experiencing insomnia, 27 per cent are dealing with nightmares, and only 21 per cent report no sleep issues.

Could cannabis help manage these symptoms of insomnia? Studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that it could.

A recent study from the University of Western Australia found that cannabis could provide an effective treatment for those who suffer from acute insomnia, specifically when the type of weed consumed is made up of a blend of THC and CBD. Patients treated with this kind of cannabis reported sleeping for more hours, falling asleep more quickly and getting back to sleep with more ease after waking up in the middle of the night.

A survey of more than 1,000 people with multiple sclerosis has found extensive use of complementary and alternative medicine – including the use of cannabis.

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University conducted the survey of MS patients in Oregon and Southwest Washington in 2018, with the results published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

Around 30% reported they had used cannabis in a variety of forms and of those people, close to 71% found it “very beneficial”.

The survey followed up on a similar study back in 2001 in the same regions. Other key findings:

81% used dietary supplements including vitamins, minerals and herbs, up from 65% in the earlier survey.39% used mind-body therapies such as mindfulness and massage, up from 14%.81% used exercise to help manage their symptoms – an increase from 67%.Cannabis wasn’t specifically listed on the previous survey, so there were no comparative figures.

Lead author of the study, Elizabeth Silbermann, M.D., said more research is needed so neurologists can discuss with patients what does and doesn’t work. Dr. Silbermann recognised the change in patient-doctor dynamics that will make this possible.

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