September 18, 2014

New Study on Marijuana or Synthetic Cannabinoids Treating Headaches

wikimedia - cluster headache

7/17/2011 – Dr. Uri Napchan was lead author on a commentary published by the American Headache Society, which discussed the possibility of using synthetic cannabinoids or natural Cannabis for the treatment of headaches. Given what scientists know about how Cannabis works, marijuana-like compounds or synthetic cannabinoids may be a promising treatment for acute, refractory, or cluster headaches.

The authors warn that it is premature to make strong clinical recommendations as there are only a small number of case reports and surveys suggesting a possible benefit from Cannabis for headache treatment. The authors do point out that Cannabis is a Schedule I drug and there is dispute over its value in different medical conditions among experts. Therefore, the authors imply that synthesizing a new cannabinoid specifically for headaches could be the best approach. This new chemical drug would not have anything from the natural Cannabis plant.

In a strange turn of events these scientists (and others like them) could see their research on a collision course with politicians in the United States. Ironically, the compounds that have the best possibilities are being swiftly prohibited. Under an “emergency” measure the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) moved several synthetic cannabinoids into the Schedule I category under federal laws.

Over the last year synthetic cannabinoids have been demonized in this country because of a new fad drug on the streets marketed as “K2″ or “Spice.” Although these packages sold as “incense” just as often contain synthetic opiates (that are still perfectly legal by the way), the cannabinoids are what public officials seem to rant about.

The compounds already targeted for prohibition, called JWH cannabinoids, were supposed to be the building blocks of a variety of promising research that should be explored further. They were regularly used in academic laboratories but are now much more difficult to obtain for legitimate research.

The authors of this study present a well-found notion of creating a non-psychotropic synthetic cannabinoid that could treat headaches. But while more states approve laws for whole-plant medical marijuana, even more are passing local laws banning synthetic cannabinoids. Politics alone could prove to be the most significant barrier for developing the science in this headache study.

Read more Science at Freedomisgreen.com

Jahan Marcu is currently investigating the pharmacology of cannabinoid receptors. He was working at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute when exciting discoveries were made showing enhanced anti-cancer effects with THC and CBD from the Cannabis plant. The findings were published in the Journal of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. In 2009 he received the Billy Martin Award from the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS). Jahan is currently the vice-chair the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board at Americans for Safe Access (ASA). Questions?   Contact    science@freedomisgreen.com

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent any University, business or affiliates. While the information provided in this blog is from published scientific studies it is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.

 

 

Live from ICRS: Cannabinoid Scientists Discuss Cancer, Pain, Arthritis

ICRS logo

7/7/2011  by Jahan Marcu – The annual International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) meeting is taking place this week in Chicago. I’m here with over 250 researchers to take in 55 presentations on the subject of Cannabis and cannabinoids. This year I’m also honored to be presenting some of my recent work. The ICRS meeting is a unique and concentrated pool of cannabinoid science showcasing the latest breakthroughs.

The morning presentations on the opening day were devoted to the study of cannabinoids in learning and memory. [Read more...]

THC May Improve Driving Ability in Patients with Neurological Diseases

dronabinol delta 9 - THC

6/21/2011 by Jahan Marcu - Since 2001, Dr. Kirsten Muller-Vahl and colleagues have published research articles demonstrating the safety of Delta9-THC in patients with Tourette’s Syndrome. This is a disease characterized by involuntary movement and vocalizations (a.k.a. tics).  In 2003, the authors showed that, “Delta9-THC causes neither acute nor long-term cognitive deficits” in patients suffering from Tourette’s.

Recently this group of clinical researchers published a Letter to the Editor of Psychiatry Research outlining their findings in a Tourette’s patient given 15mg of delta9-THC per day.  The authors measured the patient’s driving ability with a computerized test and compared it to the patients performance with and without delta9-THC. The author’s state, “In comparison with the drug-free phase (of the treatment), there was a clear improvement in concentration and visual perception during THC therapy.”

The patient, a 42 year old truck driver referred to as Mr.H, first displayed symptoms of this disease at age 6. When he appeared at the clinic for this study he was suffering from multiple tics of the head, arm and leg: Not good symptoms to have for a truck driver. Furthermore, Mr.H’s medical history showed that all available drug treatments were ineffective including dopamine blocking agents, alpha-2 drugs, clonazepam, and terabenazine. Within 2 weeks of delta9-THC treatment Mr.H’s symptoms were reduced by 75%.

The authors call for more research on driving ability in patient’s with Tourette’s while they are under the effect of delta9-THC . The authors do not discuss the possibilities of Cannabis or delta9-THC on the driving ability of patients with other neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.

It is safe to assume that if you can stop chronic muscle spasms and involuntary jerking motions in a patient then you have made them a better driver. This new patient data comes after the DMV in California changed its policy on Medical Cannabis patients when it was successfully sued by American’s for Safe Access. CA DMV refused to renew the license of a medical cannabis patient, despite a “sparkling clean driving record.”

The implications for these findings adds to the on going argument regarding THC levels in the blood and driving ability. While there is still a great debate on the effects of Cannabis and driving in healthy subjects, it appears that persons suffering neurological disorders may have an improved ability to drive.

Despite the remarkable effects delta9-THC can have on the driving ability in a patient with Tourette’s, don’t expect law enforcement or the DMV to treat medical cannabis patients any differently from recreational users.

Read more Science at Freedomisgreen.com

Jahan Marcu is currently investigating the pharmacology of cannabinoid receptors. He was working at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute when exciting discoveries were made showing enhanced anti-cancer effects with THC and CBD from the Cannabis plant. The findings were published in the Journal of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. In 2009 he received the Billy Martin Award from the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS). Jahan is currently the vice-chair the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board at Americans for Safe Access (ASA). Questions?   Contact    science@freedomisgreen.com

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent any University, business or affiliates. While the information provided in this blog is from published scientific studies it is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.

 

THC Tunnel Vision Limits Therapeutic Cannabis Variety

Medical marijuana growing in CA

6/2/2011 - The most common plant varieties of Cannabis in North America are THC-rich strains. These have have dominated the underground market for 100 years because THC is the main cause of the euphoric effect or ‘high.’  But the Cannabis plant is more than just tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); it is a treasure trove of potentially therapeutic compounds (Mechoulam 2005).

‘THC tunnel vision’  in America has prevented the identification and capitalization of the other, extremely valuable cannabinoids. Scientists are now taking on more research to look closer at the mechanics of these no-high cannabinoids.

The Cannabis plant can produce a rich mixture of active ingredients, these unique compounds are called cannabinoids. Everyone knows THC, but it is important to be aware of some other 3-letter compounds that are showing great promise for medical applications. These include: cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC) and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), to name only a few. Many of these compounds have been shown in laboratory studies to produce greater therapeutic effects than THC, without unwanted side effects (Russo-Guy 2006).

CBD varieties possess many ancient and unique genetics required to produce medically relevant cannabinoids. Plants containing a high amount of CBD have also become the second most popular choice in the supply of medical cannabis. A recent surge in demand for CBD-rich medical cannabis has also spurred an even greater interest in the identification and exploration of other cannabinoid varieties.

CBG has been shown to have pain-relieving and anti-depressant effects that are greater than THC (Evans 1991, Musty-Deyo 2006). CBG does not interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors like THC but instead interacts with different receptors, some that multi-billion dollar drugs target. These include adrenoreceptors and serotonin (5-HT1A) receptors (Cascio 2010).

Even though CBG was first isolated in 1964, the first report of a high CBG-producing plant wasn’t until the 1980’s, when it was discovered in a French hemp population. In 2005, a team of researchers identified a CBG plant in Italy.

They crossed this CBG plant with other THC and CBD plants of “good breeding value.” With the help of genetic analysis and chromatography, they were crossbred with different varieties and cultivars, until they identified a strain that produced high amounts of CBG, with little to no THC (de Meijer et al.2005).

Today, the only known high-yielding CBG variety is presently in the greenhouses of GW Pharmaceuticals, where CBG makes up a small but consistent portion of Sativex, a cannabinoid mouth spray. So while CBG and other varieties exist, they’re current exploration and usage seem to be sparse or under lock and key.

In America, there is a proliferation of cultivars (clones) of THC varieties given many different names (e.g., Skunk, Silver Haze, White Widow). Patients are given the illusion of variety where there may be none.

Fortunately, CBG, THCV and other unique strains may organically surface, either directly from the natural proliferation of CBD varieties or due to the plant’s “hypermorphic genetics” which can jump around spontaneously – Cannabis is a weed after all.

Potency testing may be able to identify cannabinoid compounds post-harvest, but only genetics and careful selection will allow the medical cannabis industry to track heritability. This will greatly enhance the generation of new and therapeutically useful strains of Cannabis, just like those that have been created over the last 20 years in Europe.

Read more Science at Freedomisgreen.com

Jahan Marcu is currently investigating the pharmacology of cannabinoid receptors. He was working at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute when exciting discoveries were made showing enhanced anti-cancer effects with THC and CBD from the Cannabis plant. The findings were published in the Journal of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. In 2009 he received the Billy Martin Award from the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS). Jahan is currently the vice-chair the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board at Americans for Safe Access (ASA). Questions?   Contact    science@freedomisgreen.com

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent any University, business or affiliates. While the information provided in this blog is from published scientific studies it is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.

Scientists Uncover How CBD Treats MS, Alters Cholesterol Metabolism

Cannabidiol

5/25/2011 - Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychotropic compound found in the Cannabis plant that is currently being exploited by researchers for its therapeutic properties. CBD is usually the second most abundant compound found in the plant.

A research team devoted to studying the effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) on the immune system has made a series of breakthroughs that may have uncovered a mechanism of CBD’s actions (Kozela 2009, Rimmerman 2011, Juknat 2011). The team may have discovered the specific genes responsible for some of CBD’s therapeutic effects. This type of research could be a big leap forward. [Read more...]

Cannabis Laboratories: The Testing Landscape in America

Gas chromatography equipment - WikiMedia Commons

[Note - This guest blog was submitted by Samantha Miller of Pure Analytics.]

5/23/2011 – The testing of commercially available cannabis for cannabinoid profile and potency is becoming more prevalent. This is important information for patients and dispensaries who increasingly seek out these profiles.  The availability of cannabis testing promotes better access to medically important cannabis options such as CBD-rich cannabis, through identification. Laboratory testing is also key for strategic breeding programs and promotes the overall legitimization of cannabis for therapeutic use.  Right now the cannabis testing industry is unregulated.

An easy-to-read cannabinoid profile helps medical cannabis patients choose the strains that best suit the therapy requirements for their ailment.  The cannabinoid potency information provides guidance in determining an individual’s dosage through self-experimentation, often called “self-titration”.  Reliable cannabinoid profiles also support the ability for patients to achieve a repeat of therapeutic benefits without experiencing unwanted intoxication. [Read more...]

10 Questions To Ask Your Cannabis Scientist

Guest blog by Samantha Miller - The current cannabis laboratory environment is unregulated so consumers have to be savvy. Knowing what questions to ask a prospective cannabis lab is key.  To help the process a group of laboratory service providers* from various states along with an international advisor compiled a list of 10 questions to ask a cannabis scientist. This can act as a quick reference guide for those looking for a qualified laboratory partner.

10 Questions to ask your cannabis scientist [Read more...]

Inhaled Marijuana May Keep Brain Cancer in Remission

3/16/2011 – A recent medical case-report highlights a striking association between inhaled Cannabis and anti-tumor effects in young adults with brain cancer. This gives scientists new evidence that the chemical compounds from the Cannabis plant (known as cannabinoids) may have significant anti-cancer effects in humans.

Mansoor Foroughi PhD is the lead author of a new paper that suggests the possibility of Cannabis inhalation in the spontaneous regression of gliomas. The MRI images provided in his study demonstrate that the tumors of two patients (11 and 13 years old) did not increase in size after treatment, constituting a state of remission. (To be in remission, a tumor simply must not increase in size.) [Read more...]

Review on clinical studies with cannabis and cannabinoids

Cannabidiol

In 2006 an excellent review on cannabis and cannabinoid clinical trials was published by Ben Amar. However, there have been at least 37 new clinical trials evaluating medical applications of cannabis and cannabinoids since 2005. The new review of clinical trials was published by Dr. Arno Hazekamp and Dr.Franjo Grotenhermen.

[Read more...]