By Steve Elliott
Researchers have tried for years to enhance the fear extinction learning that lies at the heart of exposure-based therapies for post-traumatic stress disorder. Those approaches are considered the best we have for anxiety disorders, yet they often fall short. A group at the University of Michigan is trying to get at the mechanics of learning to see if cannabinoids like THC can help with PTSD, since cannabinoid receptors are present in areas of the brain crucial for emotional learning and memory.
"Our work is driven by the discovery that endocannabinoids are existing modulators in regular memory processes," Israel Liberzon, M.D., told Aaron Levin at Psychiatric News.
Work on the role of cannabinoids is relatively new, noted research fellow Christine Rabinak, Ph.D. The first paper showing how cannabinoid receptors affect fear learning in rats appeared in the scientific journal Nature only in 2002.
The work of Rabinak, Liberzon, and others has now expanded cannabinoid research from rodents into human subjects.
They and several colleagues report in a paper published in Neuropharmacology in January the results of a study in which they gave 14 healthy volunteers THC orally prior to extinction learning and compared them to 15 others who received a placebo.
By Steve Elliott
The pulmonary impact of smoking marijuana regularly is far less than that of smoking tobacco, according to a comprehensive new review of the published evidence conducted by Dr. Donald P. Tashkin, emeritus professor of medicine and medical director of the pulmonary function laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Habitual marijuana use alone doesn't appear to lead to significant abnormalities in lung function, according to the report, nor does it increase the risks of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or either lung cancer or upper airway cancer, reports Bruce Jancin at The Oncology Report.
Smoking marijuana is, however, associated with an increase in symptoms of chronic bronchitis (due to inhaling the smoke); but these symptoms go away upon discontinuation of use, according to Dr. Tashkin (Ann. Am. Thorac. Soc. 2013;10:239-47).
"The accumulated weight of evidence implies far lower risks for pulmonary complications of even regular heavy use of marijuana, compared with the grave pulmonary consequences of tobacco," Dr. Tashkin concluded.
Dr. Tashkin's article is "the most comprehensive and authoritative review of the subject ever published," according to an accompanying editorial by Dr. Mark A. Ware.
By Steve Elliott
A new study from Stanford University suggests that marijuana can be helpful and therapeutic not only to older people with conditions like cancer, glaucoma, and AIDS, but also to younger people with autism.
The study shows that mutations associated with autism block the action of endocannabinoids, naturally occurring brain molecules that act on the same receptors that marijuana's active chemical, THC, acts on, reports Autism Daily Newscast (ADN).
According to the findings, cannabis could be used as a treatment to autism, since the phytocannabinoids found in it can unblock that disruption in the body's cannabinoid receptors.
That cannabis affects autism in a possibly therapeutic way adds to the chorus of parents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) who have suggested that the mild sedative properties of marijuana can supplement or even negate the need for stimulant, speed-like drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall currently used to treat the condition, reports The Inquisitr.
By Steve Elliott
Sativex, the 50:50 combination of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) in oral spray form, made by GW Pharmaceuticals, is now available in Italy, GW's partner company Almirall announced on Monday.
Sativex is available in Italy as a prescription medicine for treatment of moderate to severe spasticity in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who have not responded to other anti-spasticity medicines. The launch follows full marketing authorization for Sativex by Italian health authorities in May.
The medication is reimbursed by Italian authorities as a Class H (hospital dispensed) medicine. The reimbursed price of Sativex granted by government authorities in Italy is consistent with the reimbursed price of Sativex in Spain, according to GW.
"As one of the largest markets in Europe, the launch of Sativex in Italy is a key milestone in the commercialization of this important new medicine," said Justin Gover, chief executive officer of GW. "Italy represents yet another addition to the growing number of countries in Europe in which Sativex is now available to treat MS spasticity, a particularly debilitating symptom of MS that is not adequately treated with currently available medications.
By Steve Elliott
In a first-of-its-kind study on the biochemical impact of psychological trauma, researchers have discovered a connection between the amount of cannabinoid receptors in the human brain and the chronic, disabling condition post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The findings, from New York University Langone Medical Center, appeared online Tuesday in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, reports Science Daily. They will also be presented this week at the annual meeting of the Society of Biological Psychiatry in San Francisco.
There are a number of treatments using psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy for PTSD patients, but these methods aren't always available, reports Loren Grush at Fox News.
No pharmaceutical treatments have yet been developed to specifically target PTSD.
The NYU Langone Center researchers utilized brain imaging technology to highlight the connection between the number of cannabinoid receptors in the brain and PTSD. The cannabinoid receptors, known as CB1 receptors, are activated in the brain when a person uses marijuana, which can lead to impaired short-term memory and reduced anxiety.
By Czech News Agency
Prague - Czech-born chemistry professor Lumir Ondrej Hanus was Thursday presented with the Czech Addiction Science Award for his discovery of cannabinoids proper to the human body with which he has opened the door to further research into and use of hemp for treatment.
Hanus, who left for Jerusalem after 1989 and is active at the Hebrew University, "is a world-recognised capacity and a pioneer of the use of a substance that was primarily considered a substance abused as a drug," Jindrich Voboril, Czech national anti-drug coordinator, told CTK.
Hanus considers hemp one of the safest medicines. He is against its legalisation for recreational purposes and he disagrees with that hemp can be used for prevention of diseases.
During his recent stay in the Czech Republic Hanus explained his discovery saying there are bonding points in the brain to which cannabinoids produced by the body are bound. If the system is disrupted, the person concerned falls ill. The balance of the system is restored if hemp-based substances are administered and the health condition improves.
On this principle hemp alleviates strong pains and improves the condition of cancer and multiple sclerosis patients.
Thanks to Hanus' discoveries, Israel has changed the relevant law allowing hemp to be used as a medicine and it is covered by health insurance.
With more states opting to legalize the sale of medical marijuana, researchers are taking a closer look at the use of cannabis to treat chronic illnesses.
Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor of FoxNews.com, recently sat down with the Medicine Hunter, Chris Kilham, to find out how it’s being studied.
Dr. Manny: Now from the medical marijuana perspective, as far as the treatment of chronic illnesses, what is it about cannabis that makes it that special?
Medicine Hunter: Well, it seems that there are primarily two things – there's the THC, that's what people associated with getting high. And that appears to have a saliatory effect on the eyes in case of glaucoma. For people who are suffering from chemotherapy and can't eat, it helps to get their appetite back. And we also know that it is a potent pain reliever – and science on that goes back to the 1890s.
But there’s another agent in cannabis that is getting more attention now, and that is called cannabidiol. And this is something that you can swallow by the bucket-full, and it won't get you high at all. But it appears to have profound nerve-protective and brain-enhancing properties. And interestingly enough, it also induces an anti-anxiety effect.
A UCSF study suggests patients with chronic pain may experience greater relief if their doctors add cannabinoids – the main ingredient in cannabis or medical marijuana – to an opiates-only treatment. The findings, from a small-scale study, also suggest that a combined therapy could result in reduced opiate dosages.
By UCSF Staff
More than 76 million Americans suffer from chronic pain – more people than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined, according to the National Centers for Health Statistics.
"Pain is a big problem in America and chronic pain is a reason many people utilize the health care system," said the paper's lead author, Donald Abrams, MD, professor of clinical medicine at UCSF and chief of the Hematology-Oncology Division at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (SFGH). "And chronic pain is, unfortunately, one of the problems we’re least capable of managing effectively."
In a paper published this month in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, researchers examined the interaction between cannabinoids and opiates in the first human study of its kind. They found the combination of the two components reduced pain more than using opiates alone, similar to results previously found in animal studies.
By Stephanie Bishop, Hemp News Correspondent
I was born in 1974, the year Nixon left office. Somewhere in my late teens, I realized my Kraft Macaroni and Cheese was toxic and the Smurfette Big Wheel, which I loved, was made by a little Kid is Asia for 2 cents a day. I don’t think they make much more 35 years later. Since then, you wouldn’t believe the amount of information I have taken in and processed. Governments are spending more money on guns, missiles and warplanes than basic services for their people. Our food is toxic on purpose. Corporations focus on the bottom line, destroying lives and entire eco-systems to see it grow. The really rich continue to violate the really poor. All of our financial systems are non-sustainable. Our air and water, the very things we need to survive are polluted. The list goes on and I haven’t scratched the surface. It’s enough to drive a person mad.
I learned to build up my filters and decipher truth from subtle lies. I joined anti war groups and attended rallies, marching with thousands of individuals dedicated to ending commodity wars fought on our dime and in our name. Eventually, I had to look for solutions or be lost in the vastness of problems humans face today. I had to focus on something with the potential to save the World. I found this solution in the Cannabis Plant.
United States: Sunil Aggarwal, PhD – Removal of Cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances ActSubmitted by restore on Tue, 12/21/2010 - 06:57
The Pharmaceuticalization of Cannabis: Rescheduling proponents suggest cannabis doesn't meet the Controlled Substances Act's extensive criteria for placement in Schedule I. The U.S. Government clings to the stance that cannabis merit’s Schedule I status.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
Sunil Aggarwal, PhD, represents a new generation of scientific-minded doctors, leaving cannabis’ negative propaganda behind and fighting for it as a valuable, medicinal plant. His credentials include the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), Health Professionals for Responsible Drug Scheduling, service on the Board of Directors for the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine and he is a Seattle Hempfest Core Staff Member.
By Liina Flynn, Echo
Klara Marosszeky has a vision for the future that involves revamping of the local farming industry to produce industrial hemp crops. Working with farmers, she has just harvested her first commercial crop of industrial hemp and is looking for innovators who want to utilise the product.
(Tetrahydrocannabinol) content and produces the longest, strongest plant fibres in the world. It is used in many countries in the manufacture of plastics, fiberglass, fabrics, food and building materials.
“In the UK, a major car manufacturer, Lotus, is making whole cars out of hemp,” Klara said. “Everything but the engine is hemp. Henry Ford would be grinning in his grave.”
Klara currently teaches sustainability courses at TAFE and envisions hemp as the solution to many of the sustainability issues that are affecting Australia today. Not only is she trying to create a hemp industry in NSW and open the way to using hemp seed as a food product, but she is out to make housing materials affordable. After looking around for alternative products to replace our current dependence on timber, Klara spent years experimenting with hemp masonry as a building material, with very successful results. Two years ago, she was a finalist for the Northern Rivers Regional Development Board’s innovation award for her hemp masonry.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Staff
Raphael Mechoulam is an Israeli professor for Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. While working on research at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Michoulam succeeded in the isolation, structure elucidation and total synthesis of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main active principle of cannabis. He and his research group have also succeeded in the total synthesis of the major plant cannabinoids delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, cannabigerol and multiple others. Another research project initiated by him led to the isolation of the first described endocannabinoid anandamide which was isolated and characterized by two of his postdoctoral researchers, Lumír Hanuš and William Devane.
Over the past few years, Professor Mechoulam, has become a great inspiration to activists, doctors, scientists and citizens worldwide for his dedication and continual striving to find cures to devastating human ailments, such as PTSD and chronic pain.
Although Research Shows Medical Mariuana Works, Critics Say California Center's Research Is Flawed
By Kathleen Doheny, WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Marijuana can be a promising treatment for some specific, pain-related medical conditions, according to California researchers who presented an update of their findings Wednesday to the California Legislature and also released them to the public.
"I think the evidence is getting better and better that marijuana, or the constituents of cannabis, are useful at least in the adjunctive treatment of neuropathy," Igor Grant, MD, executive vice-chairman of the department of psychiatry at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California, tells WebMD.
"We don't know if it's a front-line treatment. I'm hoping the results of our studies will prompt larger-scale studies that involve a much more varied population."
"This [report given to the Legislature] sets the stage of larger-scale studies,'' he says.
Some experts who reviewed the report say some of the studies are flawed and that they worry about the long-term health effects of marijuana smoke.
Perspective: Medical Marijuana Research