WeedLife News Network

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

Cannabis Oil Effective for UK Chronic Pain Patients

Medical cannabis has been legal in the United Kingdom since 2018, but we’re only now getting the first evidence on the effectiveness of cannabis oil for UK chronic pain patients.

One hundred ten patients enrolled in the UK Medical Cannabis Registry reported significant improvements in their pain, discomfort and sleep quality after one, three and six months of treatment with cannabis oil. There was also statistically significant improvement in their health-related quality of life.

Due to strict rules, it is difficult to get a prescription for medical cannabis from the UK’s National Health Service. Patients can only be prescribed cannabis when conventional therapy has not provided adequate relief for conditions such as pain, anxiety and multiple sclerosis.

Most of the patients (65%) in the study had never used cannabis before. Their most common primary diagnosis was chronic non-cancer pain (48%), followed by neuropathic pain (24%) and fibromyalgia (16%).

“With the increasing number of prescriptions for medical cannabis in the UK, capturing patient outcomes and real-world evidence is essential for wider understanding and appropriate access for eligible patients,” Dr. Simon Erridge, head of research at Sapphire Medical Clinics, said in a statement.

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Cannabis Use Disorder Diagnosis Associated with Greater Risk of COVID Breakthrough Infections

 Fully vaccinated persons with a clinical diagnosis of cannabis use disorder (CUD) possess a greater risk of COVID breakthrough infections as compared to similar controls, according to data published in the journal World Psychiatry.

Commenting on the paper’s findings, NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said that study “raises more questions than it answers,” but also cautioned that its findings should not yet be extrapolated to the cannabis consuming population as a whole. “Those subjects with this clinical diagnosis represent a very small and distinct subset of the cannabis consuming community and it is possible that they may possess certain behavioral traits or characteristics that place them at higher risk,” he said. “Arguably tens of thousands of cannabis consumers who did not have this diagnosis were also included in this cohort of over half a million people and they were classified as controls (subjects without a substance abuse disorder). Therefore, we have no idea from these findings what elevated risks, if any, these non-classified consumers – who comprise the overwhelming majority of marijuana users – possess.”

Researchers with the US National Institutes of Health and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland evaluated whether those with a diagnosis of a substance abuse disorder (SUD) were at increased risk of breakthrough COVID infections in a cohort of 579,372 fully vaccinated individuals. Subjects’ substance abuse status was based on the ICD (International Classification of Diseases)-10 diagnosis code of “mental and behavioral disorders due to psychoactive substance use.” Subjects in the study designated with SUD tended to be older and possessed overall poorer health than did controls. Just over 2,000 persons in the cohort met the criteria for cannabis use disorder.

Overall, authors reported that those with a SUD diagnosis were more likely to suffer from breakthrough COVID infections compared to controls as well as from poorer COVID outcomes (e.g., hospitalization and death). This risk was no longer significant for most SUD subjects once authors adjusted for confounding variables. By contrast, cannabis use disorder subjects continued to possess an elevated risk of infection compared to controls (HR=1.55), even after investigators adjusted for confounders.

Authors reported: “Patients with cannabis use disorder, who were younger and had less comorbidities than the other SUD subtypes, had higher risk for breakthrough infection even after they were matched for adverse socioeconomic determinants of health and comorbid medical conditions with non-SUD patients (HR=1.55). This may indicate that additional variables, such as behavioral factors or adverse effects of cannabis on pulmonary and immune function, could contribute to the higher risk for breakthrough infection in this group.”

Within the SUD population, the risk of breakthrough infections was highest for those who had “recent medical encounters for the SUD diagnosis.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, NORML has issued guidance with respect to how cannabis consumers may be able to mitigate their risks of either COVID exposure and/or adverse health outcomes due to the disease.

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Florida Officials Go Undercover to Investigate Cannabis Doc

A Florida physician is fighting the state after its Department of Health sent undercover agents to visit his medical cannabis clinic and documented questionable practices, according to reports and public records. Joseph Dorn, MD, who runs the Tallahassee-based Medical Marijuana Treatment Clinics of Florida, is the subject of a health department complaint alleging he falsified or exaggerated assessments, and failed to conduct substantial patient evaluations when the agents visited. His license may be at stake.

Presenting themselves as patients, two agents visited Dorn for medical cannabis consultations over 2017 and 2018. They claimed to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and back pain, among other conditions. Dorn did not ask for medical records or question the patients in disguise, according to a department complaint. But he still wrote the prescriptions they needed to secure medical cannabis.

The Department of Health formally opened an investigation of Dorn in August 2019, the complaint noted. A hearing was held in September, according to a News Service of Florida report.

In the wake of that hearing, Dorn's lawyer, Ryan Andrews, JD, is ripping the health department, arguing that it may have violated federal law and attempted to defraud Dorn. Dorn is being targeted in part because he was the medical director for Surterra Wellness, one of the state's medical cannabis operators. State law bans doctors employed by these entities from ordering cannabis for treatment. Dorn has not been employed there since before the sting operation.

 

The sting is among the state's first major actions against doctors prescribing cannabis after this practice was legalized in Florida in 2016, according to the News Service.

Dorn has had an active Florida medical license since June 1994, with no disciplinary history, according to a state database; it expires Jan. 31, 2022. He earned a doctorate in medicine and dentistry from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, according to his bio on his site and state records.

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CBD Science Group aiming to show the value of real-world data as it develops pioneering cannabis-derived pain relief for people with cancer

Researchers will look at a ‘more holistic data set’ than the simple pain scores used in traditional clinical trials when putting together its final submissions. The goal is to provide a more thorough assessment of the use of cannabis-based analgesics

 
If the pandemic has turned the world on its head, the transformation hasn’t entirely been for the worse.

The balance between work and home has been redressed (a little), our carbon footprint has shrunk (a tad), and a communications revolution has been spawned (thank-you Zoom).

Necessity was the mother of invention when it came to finding vaccines in a matter of months rather than years, and the UK led the way in this regard.

That the timeline was shortened so radically owed a lot to the new approach as regulators relied on real-world evidence when approving the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab on December 2, 2020.

Had the vaccine been forced down the traditional three-phase route of randomised clinical trials it may have taken up to a decade and cost hundreds of millions of pounds to bring the new drug to market.

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Medical marijuana in Illinois: 5 things to know about increase in cannabis registrations

Through the first nine months of this year Illinois has already far exceeded the more than $669 million it did in adult-use recreational cannabis sales in 2020.

September sales totaled $121,717,709.51, compared to the $67,648,362.14 in statewide sales in September 2020.

The monthly report the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation released this week shows $997,067,100.34 in recreational cannabis sales through the first nine months of this year.

Illinois driver's licenses: 5 things to know about Illinois driver’s licenses, Real ID cards and the digital future

In addition to the significant increase in recreational cannabis sales over the last year, the number of Illinoisans registered for medical marijuana has also continued to grow by a large margin each year.

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Eight-year-old rushed to hospital after consuming cannabis edibles

An eight-year-old Woodstock child ate a large quantity of cannabis gummies over the weekend. The child was rushed to hospital and was in stable condition. Woodstock police wanted to remind people who consume cannabis, particularly edibles such as gummies or other sweets, to be mindful of safe storage away from children. Police encourage adults to safely store any alcohol and cannabis products out of reach or behind locked doors to ensure children do not consume them by mistake.

In the summer of 2020, Health Canada issued an advisory that children are being harmed after consuming illegal cannabis edibles that are not subject to safety and quality controls, do not have childproof packaging and have been stored by parents in places too easily accessible to kids. The caution was issued following several cases of children having been hospitalized after ingesting illegal weed edibles that looked like regular candies or treats.

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New Research on Genetically Susceptible Mice Shows THC/Cannabis Causes Birth Defects

Cannabis, also known as weed or marijuana, is used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Although restricted in most countries, the increasing legalization of cannabis for recreational and medicinal consumption means that cannabis use is rising. Cannabis is also the most common illicit drug used by pregnant women, but the effects of cannabis on embryonic development are not well understood. It is also important to understand the effects of cannabis on individuals with a genetic predisposition, which means they carry genetic mutations that increase the risk of environmental conditions triggering a defect or disease.

A new study from scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, USA, has now revealed that THC, the chemical in cannabis that causes the sensation of feeling ‘high’, can cause birth defects in genetically predisposed mice. In this case, the researchers investigated whether THC could exacerbate a mutation that affects a mechanism that cells use to communicate with each other, called Hedgehog signaling. “Several years ago, it was reported that THC could inhibit Hedgehog signaling in cells grown in a dish,” said the study’s lead author Robert Krauss, PhD, Professor of Cell, Developmental and Regenerative Biology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “We reasoned that THC might be an environmental risk factor for birth defects, but that it would require additional risk factors, such as specific mutations in the genes required for Hedgehog signaling, to induce these defects in mice.”

To address this hypothesis, Dr. Krauss and colleagues administered a single dose of THC, equivalent to exposures achieved when humans smoke cannabis, to pregnant mice about a week after conception. They then studied the embryonic development of their pups, some of which carried a mutation that meant Hedgehog signaling was not functioning at full efficiency. The scientists found that pups without the mutation developed normally, even when exposed to THC, as did pups that carried the mutation but were not exposed to the drug. However, pups that were exposed to THC and carried the mutation developed a brain and face defect called holoprosencephaly, a common birth defect seen in 1 in 250 human conceptions that includes the failure of the forebrain to divide into two distinct segments.

The researchers showed that the defect occurs because THC can interfere with Hedgehog signaling in the embryo. THC alone is not sufficient to disrupt Hedgehog signaling and cause defects but, in animals where Hedgehog signaling is already weakened through genetic mutation, it has significant effects. “THC directly inhibits Hedgehog signaling in mice, but it is not a very powerful inhibitor; this is presumably why a genetic predisposition is required for it to cause holoprosencephaly in mice,” explained Dr. Krauss.

These first studies in mice have important implications for human health, highlighting the need for more research into the effects of cannabis use during pregnancy in humans. “The THC concentration in cannabis is now very high, so it is important to perform epidemiology studies looking at whether cannabis consumption is associated with developmental defects. Women are already advised not to consume cannabis while pregnant, but our results show that embryos are sensitive at a very early period, before many women know they are pregnant. Cannabis consumption may therefore be inadvisable even when women are trying to get pregnant,” Dr. Krauss warned.

Although this study focussed on one chemical in cannabis and one genetic mutation, further research could reveal other combinations that cause similar effects. “Many of the mutations found in human holoprosencephaly patients could conceivably synergize with THC,” said Dr. Krauss. “We would also like to test the related chemical CBD in genetically predisposed mice. Like THC, CBD inhibits Hedgehog signaling in cells grown in a dish, but CBD appears to work differently. As CBD is widely available and often viewed as beneficial – or at least innocuous – it would be worth investigating this as well,” he added.

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Study provides new insights into how cannabis extracts may work to treat epilepsy

Research from pharmacologists at the University of Sydney provides new insights into how cannabis extracts may work to treat epilepsy.

The study for the first time reports that three acidic cannabinoids found in cannabis reduced seizures in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome, an intractable form of childhood epilepsy.

The study has been published in the British Journal of Pharmacology.

"From the early nineteenth century cannabis extracts were used in Western medicine to treat seizures but cannabis prohibition got in the way of advancing the science," said Associate Professor Jonathon Arnold from the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics and the Sydney Pharmacy School.

"Now we are able to explore how the compounds in this plant can be adapted for modern therapeutic treatments."

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Analysis from CBD Oracle suggests most CBD manufacturers make effort at transparency

CBD Oracle (Tustin, CA), a cannabis review and news site, has published an analysis of 520 CBD companies, representing over 20,000 products. The study sought to uncover issues with transparency in the unregulated CBD marketplace, which can threaten consumer trust. According to a survey from Consumer Brands Association, 92% of American consumers either incorrectly assume or have no idea if CBD is federally regulated. Upon being informed that there are no federal agencies that regulate CBD products, 84% of respondents expressed concern about the safety of CBD products. 

CBD Oracle’s study offers an optimistic view of the industry. According to its findings, 89.4% of companies test their CBD products through accredited third-party labs, demonstrating a transparent industry. “Despite consumer apprehension being a huge problem, our analysis suggests an industry so conscious of its regulatory shortcomings it’s taking appropriate steps to fix them,” said Alisdair Mans Cornwell, senior editor at CBD Oracle, in a statement.

Additional findings showed that 89% of companies fully disclose their hemp source and cultivation practices. Most of U.S. hemp sourced for CBD products came from Colorado (30.1%), followed by Oregon (13.4%), then Kentucky and California (tied for 5.1%). Eight percent of hemp was source from Europe, according to the study. The most popular European sources of hemp were Holland, Lithuania, Switzerland, and Spain.

When it came to the most common type of CBD products offered, the majority of companies (72%) sell some type of CBD tincture. The second most popular option sold was topical CBD, offered by 65% of the companies in the analysis. The third and fourth most popular options were capsules and gummies, sold by 42% and 40% of companies, respectively. Unfortunately, 43% of CBD companies in the study did not disclose extraction methods used for their products. Of those that did disclose extraction methods, CO2 extraction was used by 42% of CBD companies, with ethanol extraction being the second most popular method (11%).

CBD Oracle also collected data about minor cannabinoids. According to its analysis, the most popular minor cannabinoid present in the marketplace is cannabigerol (CBG), sold by 20% of the 520 companies. This was followed by cannabinol (CBN), sold by 12% of the companies, and delta-8 THC, sold by 10% of the companies. CBD Oracle expected more companies to sell delta-8 THC. It cites data from New Fronteir Data that states sales of delta-8 THC has reached $10 million across the U.S. in 2020. Despite the exponential market growth of delta-8, CBD Oracle believes that restrictions on the sale of the minor cannabinoid across 19 states is likely contributing to relatively low adoption of delta-8 by manufacturers.

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The best CBD for cats

 

It’s not always easy to tell when your feline is stressed, but cats can be as anxiety-prone as people. Additionally, many aging cats start to experience joint pain and overall discomfort caused by conditions such as arthritis.

CBD products can offer a plethora of benefits to your furry friend. If you're looking for a great CBD product to soothe your cat, Cornbread CBD Oil for Pets works excellently for calming anxious behaviors. What to know before you buy CBD for cats

Effectiveness

Many humans have begun turning to CBD to relieve joint and back pain, anxiety, sleeplessness and various inflammatory issues. As such, it isn't surprising that the market for pets has grown significantly. There aren't many conclusive studies about the effects of CBD, but one 2016 Israeli study linked CBD oil to a decrease in seizure frequency for children. Animals can be prone to seizures too, so the study bodes well for epileptic pets.

Illness 

CBD for cats can treat a number of physical and emotional conditions. Inflammatory conditions like arthritis can be eased with CBD. The same may be true for cats with seizures and cats recovering from surgical procedures. CBD can even work for digestive issues, as it can reduce swelling in a cat’s digestive tract and improve overall discomfort. CBD is equally as popular for treating behavioral issues, the two major ones being anxiety and aggression. Since CBD interacts with endocannabinoids, which affect mood, CBD can help regulate and stabilize mood.

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Why Does Marijuana Make Some People Faint?

While most people can use marijuana without experiencing any issues whatsoever, fainting is a side effect that has been known to happen. Some medical experts say these blackout moments can occur since THC decreases blood pressure in the body.(As Originally Seen On Benzinga)

One second you’re at a party, laughing it up with friends like you’ve done a thousand times before when a joint makes its way into your hands. Nothing out of the ordinary here, except for the fact that by smoking with others, you are about to contract the germs of everyone else in the room, but that’s another story for another time. In this particular scenario, however, you take a hit off the joint, pass it to the left and continue to bask in the conversation going on around you.  

But then all of a sudden, things start to get weird.

You might feel at first as if you are going to vomit, and your senses might start going a bit haywire. You might even have some trouble catching your breath, saying something to the person next to you, like “Dang, what was in that weed.” You even consider excusing yourself for a minute to regain your faculties, but before you have any chance to make it to the bathroom, everything goes black. You are told later that you just dropped out completely after taking that hit of weed. 

Unfortunately, while most people can use marijuana without experiencing any issues whatsoever, fainting is a side effect that has been known to happen. Some medical experts say these blackout moments can sometimes occur since tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid that produces the herb’s stoned effects, expands the blood vessels, which decreases blood pressure in the body. When this happens, the heart rate increases, and it can cause people to lose consciousness.  

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The Best Time Of Day To Take Hemp Oil Might Not Be When You Think

 

Hemp oil, which contains multiple calming plant compounds (including hemp-derived CBD), can be a helpful tool for managing stress, promoting relaxation, and balancing mood.* And since it doesn't contain concentrated psychoactive components of marijuana (a unique Cannabis plant varietal), hemp oil won't make you feel "high" and is safe to take at any hour.* Which raises the question: Is there a best hour to take it?

Here's when experts recommend taking hemp oil, based on your needs.

 

If you're taking it to get ready for sleep.

As we all know, stress can be a huge barrier to deep, restorative sleep. Hemp oil can help ease some of it before bed and put you into a more positive mindset as you get ready to snooze.*

If you're looking to use hemp extract to unwind from the day, board-certified practitioner of family medicine Rob Rountree, M.D., recommends taking it about one hour before bedtime (and maybe following it up with a sleep-supporting supplement, too).*

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Illinois Women in Cannabis to Host a Breast Cancer and Cannabis Conversation

Illinois Women in Cannabis to Host a Breast Cancer and Cannabis Conversation; Virtual Forum Contributes to October’s Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month  Free Oct. 6 Webinar Features Midwest Cancer & Cannabis Clinicians and Patients, and is sponsored by NuEra Cannabis, in honor of its “Pre-Rolls for a Cause” Campaign

Illinois Women in Cannabis (IWC), the state’s leading cannabis industry networking organization, will host a virtual breast cancer and cannabis conversation in honor of October’s annual breast cancer awareness month. 

“Breast Cancer and Cannabis: Considerations. Cautions. And Case Studies” will be a live webinar held Wednesday, October 6, from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.. The free forum will feature a panel of multi-state Midwest women experienced with both breast cancer and cannabis, including leading Missouri cannabis patient advocates and product formulation experts. Breast cancer patients who are registered medical marijuana patients in their respective states, and receive guidance from one of the panel presenters will also join the conversation, sharing their valued perspectives and experiences. 

nuEra Cannabis, the Illinois owned and operated vertically integrated cannabis company, is sponsoring the educational event to complement nuEra’s “Pre-Rolls for a Cause” product and retail promotion. nuEra’s campaign commemorates breast cancer awareness month; it will donate proceeds from the promotion to Illinois cancer charities. Learn how you can support its initiative: nuEra Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser. 

“Illinois Women in Cannabis values being able to organize and host important conversations like this upcoming breast cancer awareness forum,” said the Executive Director of Illinois Women in Cannabis, Amor Montes de Oca. “IWC was founded the year Illinois approved medical use, so we’ve grown and evolved in tandem with the state’s cannabis program. Over these past seven years we’ve been able to expand our educational offerings, advocacy initiatives and community partnerships thanks to having active members and loyal support from cannabis businesses, like nuEra. This upcoming webinar reflects the important work IWC is able to do, thanks to its members and corporate sponsors,” Amor said. 

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Can You Use Medical Marijuana for Arthritis Pain?

The cannabis plant contains more than 540 chemicals, including more than 100 active chemicals known as cannabinoids that are only found in the world in the cannabis plant. The two most abundant cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

Products that contain significant amounts of the intoxicating ingredient THC are often referred to as “marijuana” which is a slang term. In this article, we use the proper scientific term “cannabis” throughout to refer to any products derived from the cannabis plant.

Many people anecdotally report cannabis helping them manage their arthritis pain, but most of the scientific evidence so far comes from animal or lab studies. Researchers are continuing to examine the potential benefits of cannabis for treating pain and other conditions such as anxiety and sleep disorders.

Keep reading as we dig deeper into the latest research examining the link between medical cannabis and arthritis pain. We also examine potential side effects and the best ways to take cannabis.

Medical cannabis is any cannabis or cannabis product used to treat a medical condition. Many people use cannabis to treat medical conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, and sleep disorders. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t yet approved cannabis to treat any of these conditions.

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Terminally Ill Californians Will Have Access To Medical Marijuana In Hospitals

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill on Tuesday requiring hospitals and other health care facilities to allow terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana, Marijuana Moment reported.

The governor approved the legislation, also known as “Ryan’s Law,” sponsored by State Sen. Ben Hueso (D), who had been pushing for this measure for years.

“It is inconceivable to me that, in a state where medical cannabis was legalized more than 25 years ago, those in deepest suffering receiving treatment in our state’s healthcare facilities cannot access this proven, effective and prescribed treatment,” Hueso disclosed in a press release. “Instead, terminally-ill patients in California healthcare facilities are given heavy opiates that rob them of their precious last moments with family and friends. This is a simple, yet critical, move that will provide relief, compassion, and dignity to terminally-ill Californians.”
In 2019, an earlier version of the bill was vetoed by Newsom due to confusion related to possible implications connected to allowing cannabis consumption in health facilities.

The issue arose over whether medical facilities in legal marijuana states can legally allow certain patients to use medical cannabis without jeopardizing the facility’s federal funding.

Hueso recently asked the head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to clarify the subject.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) responded in a letter to Hueso that there are no federal regulations that specifically address the issue and that the agency was not aware of any cases where funding had been pulled due to a hospital or long-term facility allowing patients to use medical marijuana.

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Cannabis Provides Immediate Relief For Symptoms Of Depression, Other Mental Health Issues

According to a research study published by the University Of New Mexico and Releaf App in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, cannabis flower may be effective in providing immediate relief for the symptoms of depression — a condition affecting roughly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S., and often leading to other ailments like cancer, substance use disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, dementia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic pain. “The findings suggest that, at least in the short term, the vast majority of patients that use cannabis experience antidepressant effects, although the magnitude of the effect and extent of side effect experiences vary with chemotypic properties of the plant,” the paper reads.

The Research

The study, titled “The Effectiveness of Cannabis Flower for Immediate Relief from Symptoms of Depression,” was led by the founders of University of New Mexico’s Marijuana Research Fund, Jacob Vigil, Psychology Associate Professor at UNM, and Sarah See Stith, Economics Assistant Professor at UNM.

After reviewing 5,876 outcomes reported anonymously by 1,819 individuals tracking their cannabis use for treating depression through the Releaf App, the researchers concluded that, on average, patients reported an improvement in symptoms of nearly 4 points on a scale of 0 to 10, just moments after consuming whole, dried, natural cannabis flower – widely known as cannabis buds.

By means of comparison, readers should know that conventional pharmaceuticals used for the treatment of the symptoms of depression (like monoamine oxidase inhibitors, tricyclics antidepressants, selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, and selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) normally take several weeks, or even months, to start causing significant relief. Furthermore, the study notes that the potential side effects associated with these traditional pharma products include sedation, agitation, anxiety, anorgasmia, demotivation, and suicidal ideation.

“One of the more interesting findings from this study is that cannabis flower with relatively high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is particularly associated with immediate reductions in the intensity of depressive feelings,” said Jacob Miguel Vigil. “The differences in time-to-effect and relative side effect prevalence across products and users could arise from other antidepressant and synergistic compounds in the plant beyond THC or cannabidiol (CBD), including minor cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.”

Further Detail

Per the study, most of the patients using natural cannabis flower products to treat their depression symptoms reported antidepressant effects. However, the magnitude of these effects and extent of experienced side effects varied alongside the properties of each plant.

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Cannabis products are being sold as sleep remedies — here’s the evidence about their effectiveness

Problems with sleep are common. In recent research, 48 per cent of UK adults said sleeping badly had a negative effect on their mental health. For teenagers, this proportion was significantly higher — 66 per cent.The large number of people experiencing sleep problems makes for an attractive market. Some companies have seized the opportunity to provide remedies, including several manufacturers of cannabis products.

Changes to the way cannabis is regulated in many countries, including the UK, have helped the boom in cannabis products, with more people able to access these types of offerings — even if the cannabis compounds that can be used in sleep products in some countries are more limited than in others. In the U.S., where cannabis is fully legal in many states, California-based Ganja Goddess reported more than a sevenfold increase in revenue for its cannabis sleep products during the first year of the COVID pandemic.

But what is the evidence that cannabis products can help people get a better night’s sleep?

 

Cannabis and sleep

Sleep disturbance is a common feature of withdrawal from cannabis use, indicating there may well be a relationship between cannabis use and sleep. But we still don’t have a clear understanding of the mechanisms in the brain involved in this relationship.

The effects of cannabis are due to a group of chemicals in the drug called cannabinoids. These include cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the psychoactive substance in cannabis. CBN and CBD don’t cause you to get high in the same way.

In the UK, CBD products are available legally, providing they don’t contain more than 0.2 per cent THC. Retailers and suppliers make all kinds of assertions about the benefits of CBD products, including how CBD can improve sleep. There is some evidence to support these claims, but this is mainly based on animal and human observational studies rather than randomised control trials, where comparisons can be made between CBD and a placebo.

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Find a Competent Care Team to Discuss Cannabis in Cancer Care

Cannabis can help manage side effects from cancer treatments, though it is important for patients to discuss marijuana use with their health care team – and even seek out the advice from specialists, said Eloise Theisen, president of the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA).

Find Quality Cannabis Information

Theisen has been involved in cannabis care since 2013, and said that attitudes have drastically changed regarding cannabis, though stigma still exists.

“There are still some that really struggle with the stigma; they're afraid that their health care provider will judge them or potentially no longer treat them if they are using it or want to use it. And we've found that, in some states, oncology providers are more favorable to their patients using cannabis, but many of them are unsure of dosages or side effects, or even different profiles to recommend to their patient,” Theisen said in an interview with Oncology Nursing News, a sister publication of CURE®.

Theisen advocated that instead of turning to “Dr. Google” or friends or family first, patients should start the discussion about cannabis use with their health care teams. If their current care team feels unqualified to help guide patients in their use of marijuana, patients can also seek out the help of experts, like those associated with the ACNA, or even from verified online resources, Theisen said.

“Look for qualified health care professionals in their area that are knowledgeable in cannabis and the endocannabinoid system,” she said. “I would really discourage them from using the internet to try to figure out what they need. There are some trusted sources out there, some nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to helping patients specifically like leaf411.org, and projectcbd.org. These are organizations that are consumer-facing that are trying to help patients navigate the space, and they do it free of charge.”

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Is CBD Addictive?

If you still haven’t used a cannabidiol (“CBD”) product, I bet you know someone who has. CBD became legal more than two years ago when the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation and sale of industrial hemp and its derivatives. It is one of more than 100 chemical compounds called cannabinoids that are produced by plants in the cannabis family. But unlike marijuana, hemp has minimal amounts of THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), the main chemical agent that makes marijuana intoxicating.

As such, CBD is nonpsychoactive, meaning it will not intoxicate you. However, the hemp extract has become incredibly popular within quite a short period for a reason; it is claimed to be full of potent medical properties. People from all over the country have since been using CBD to treat chronic pain, alleviate anxiety and depression, and treat skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis. Furthermore, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has approved the use of a CBD formulation called Epidiolex to treat Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, two rare types of pediatric epilepsy that are extremely hard to treat.

But as CBD becomes more accessible to the public and more people turn to the cannabinoid to address several health issues, one question has echoed in the minds of the public and experts alike: is CBD addictive? With a whopping 33% of Americans claiming to have used CBD at least once in the past, how likely are regular CBD users to get addicted?

According to the limited resources available, it looks like CBD may not be addictive partly due to the fact that it does not have intoxicating effects. A small 2016 study found that, unlike THC, CBD does not produce significant physical and psychological effects such as euphoria and rapid heart rate. When the study participants reported about feelings of intoxication, CBD performed similarly to a placebo.

In fact, studies have found that cannabidiol works contrary to addiction, helping individuals with drug addiction to kick their drug habits. Preliminary studies have found that rather than being an addictive substance, such as alcohol or nicotine, CBD may be able to actually reduce the likelihood of developing a methamphetamine or cocaine-use disorder.

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Federal Grant Approved to Study Medical Marijuana Impact in Arkansas

A federal grant will help fund a study on the medical cannabis program in Arkansas. 

Thanks to $1.3 million courtesy of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, researchers affiliated with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and Arkansas Center for Health Improvement will conduct what is being described as “a first-of-its-kind population health analysis of the medical marijuana program, combining eligible consumers’ cannabis purchase information with insurance claims records and other data sources to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the effects of cannabis on consumers’ medical care.”

The study, titled “Population-Based Analyses of Healthcare Utilization and Outcomes in Users of Medical Marijuana,” will “also examine the impact of COVID-19 on the Arkansas medical marijuana program, including changes in cardholder requests, product purchases, healthcare utilization and adverse events,” according to a press release from the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, which is “a nonpartisan, independent health policy center that serves as a catalyst for improving the health of all Arkansans through evidence-based research, public issue advocacy and collaborative program development.”

“This is an exciting and unique opportunity for not only our state, but also the country, to investigate the effectiveness of cannabis for therapeutic use,” said Dr. Joe Thompson, co-principal investigator on this study, and the president and CEO of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement. “While researchers have gathered scientific evidence on the use of cannabis for the alleviation of symptoms such as pain and anxiety, there is little evidence on how the amount, strain, potency and method of use affect a person’s health experience.”

Additionally, the study will also “incorporate six Arkansas-based data sources, including the Arkansas Healthcare Transparency Initiative’s Arkansas All-Payer Claims Database (APCD), Arkansas Department of Health medical marijuana patient registry data, medical marijuana dispensary purchase data, vital records, emergency department records and Arkansas State Police motor vehicle crash data,” with all the data being “de-identified with linkages utilizing the unique capabilities of the Transparency Initiative.”

The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement said that by “examining data for Arkansans who have qualified for medicinal use, this research will help inform the potential role of cannabis in medical therapy.”

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