Rates of marijuana, prescription opioid use higher among patients with cancer

Photo Credit: Health Mil

Photo Credit: Health Mil

A new study published in the journal Cancer has found rates of marijuana use have increased significantly among cancer patients, likely as a result of expanding cannabis access. The study looked at data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to study self-reported marijuana and prescription use trends between 2005 and 2014 among cancer patients and those without cancer, who were the controls. The survey involved 19,604 respondents between 20-60 years old. The 826 patients with cancer averaged 47.4 years old and were 66.7% women, and the 1,652 patients noncancer controls with similar propensity scores averaged 46.7 years old and 66% were women. Compared to controls, more patients with cancer reported using marijuana in the past year (40.3% in cancer patients vs 38% in controls) and current marijuana use (8.7% in cancer patients vs 6.6% in controls). Between the 2005 and 20014, marijuana use among cancer patients increased 118%, while there was only a 12.5% increase among the controls. It’s important to note that while opioid use increased among both cancer patients and controls, researchers calculated opioid use based on prescription access and did not account for potential abuse.

Those with cancer were also more likely to use prescription opioids than those without. Chief of the central nervous system tumor and liver tumor services at UC San Diego Health Jona Hattangadi-Gluth explains, “Medical marijuana legalization has previously been associated with a reduction in hospitalizations related to opioid dependence or abuse, suggesting that if patients are, in fact, substituting marijuana for opioids, this may introduce an opportunity for reducing opioid-related morbidity and mortality… Of course, it will also be important to identify risks and adverse effects of marijuana, which has not previously been studied in large randomized clinical trials, given it’s scheduling as a class 1 controlled substance.” He continues, “These data provide the first insight into marijuana and opioid use over time in people with cancer across the United States… Prospective clinical trials are needed to quantify the efficacy of marijuana in cancer-specific pain as well as the risk [for] opioid misuse in this patient population.”

This information has been provided by Healio and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Can Cannabis Treat Lyme Disease?

Photo Credit: High Times Magazine

Photo Credit: High Times Magazine

Lyme disease develops out of a tick bite, and infects the body with an intractable bacteria. The disease can cause headaches, fever, fatigue, rashes, joint and nerve damage, and damage to the circulatory systems. It can also impact mental health. Because medical cannabis is known to act as an antiseptic and antibiotic, there are questions as to whether or not medical marijuana could be used to treat Lyme disease. There is little research on marijuana for Lyme disease, but one study from 2008 which was published in the Journal of Natural Products found cannabinoids were effective against antibiotic-resistant strains of MRSA, and researchers attested to the plant’s “powerful antibacterial agents.” Cannabis may also have the ability to treat the symptoms associated with the condition.

This information has been provided by High Times and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

More Than 20 Percent of Military Veterans Use Medical Marijuana

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

The American Legion recently conducted a study that stated 22% of veterans used medical marijuana to treat a mental or physical condition, and 39% know someone who uses medical cannabis for those purposes. Additionally, 81% of veterans support federal medical marijuana legalization. This information supports previous surveys which found veterans are more likely to use medical marijuana than the general public. This survey suggests that veterans are actively treating their conditions with medical marijuana, and that they would like medical marijuana access at a time when opioid prescriptions are too easily available.

This information has been brought to you in part by Civilized and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Delving Into The Science Of How Cannabis Can Treat Migraines

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

Migraines are severe headaches that are thought to be produced by inflammation in the dura mater, or the brain’s outer casing. This inflammation may result from activation of the trigeminovascular system. MIgraines are also associated with dilated blood vessels, caused by neuropeptides and gas nitric oxide. The endocannabinoid is a key player in regulating the trigeminovascular system, and too few endocannabinoids are thought to increase the chance of developing a migraine. THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, may be able to reducing trigeminovascular activity and reducing the presence of neuropeptides and nitric oxide.

In one rodent model, in which researchers induced migraines in rats, THC effectively reduced symptoms if administered before their onset. In the study, researchers observed that the rats drastically reduced their time spent running on a wheel when in pain from migraine. However, when given THC, they spent more time on the wheel after the migraine was stimulated. If THC was administered after the onset of symptoms, it was not as effective. In a human study from 2016 which was published in Pharmacotherpy, 121 migraine sufferers averaging 10.4 migraines a month began using medical cannabis therapy. Within one to three years, the average migraine frequency was reduced to 4.6 a month, and over 10% actually eliminated their migraines with the therapy. Because of its fast onset of relief, smoking marijuana was considered the best vehicle of administration. Forty-eight percent of participants experienced relief, and side effects were minimal.

This information has been provided by Civilized and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Marijuana for Autism

Photo Credit: PlusLexia.com

Photo Credit: PlusLexia.com

Autism is a developmental disability that may benefit from medical marijuana use. Although research surrounding medical cannabis for autism is lacking, interest is growing within the medical community, anecdotal evidence, and preclinical trials suggest medical marijuana may be able to help.

One 2017 study found the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in regulating neuroinflammation, something that would have a large impact on autism spectrum disorder. Researchers explain, “We postulate that modulation of the ES in ASD could prove a valuable tool to prevent or delay the progression of disease.” Because marijuana has the ability to interact with the endocannabinoid system and bind with its receptors, it could be a way to target the system and help those with autism. Another study found, specifically, that the CB2 receptor could be a potential target for pharmacological care for autism. Another study from Stanford University found altering the endocannabinoid system could contribute to autism pathophysiology. That said, these studies have been conducted on animal models, and so there should be caution before implementing medical marijuana as part of your treatment regimen until there ave been trials translating these effects to human models.

To try medical marijuana for autism, the dosing method is extremely important. Too large of a dose can exacerbate symptoms, while too little may not provide relief. Parents who have anecdotally attested to marijuana’s powers in autism treatment often start with high-CBD low-THC strains, and then titrate from there. Cannabis may also produce negative side effects in those with sub-diagnoses of autism that involve streptococcal infections and/or gastrointestinal and bacterial gut issues. Our journaling tool can make finding the right dose easy! With our app, you can enter the information of your dose, including the ratio of cannabinoids, the amount, how often you take it and the methods of intake, and then keep track of the results, so that you can monitor which combinations provide the best relief! Journaling daily is the most accurate way of keeping track of your regimen.

This information has been provided in part by Leaf Science, and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. This does not represent an endorsement on behalf of Leaf Science for our product.

Cannabis Use Does Not Negatively Impact Survival Rates in Transplantation Subjects

Photo Credit: The Daily Chronic

Photo Credit: The Daily Chronic

A new study from the University of Michigan and published in the journal Current Psychiatry Reports suggests cannabis use would not cause harm for those undergoing organ transplants. Researchers looked at how cannabis use affects transplant patients after surgery, and found, “..sStudies suggest that the overall survival rates in kidney, liver, lung, and heart transplant patients using marijuana are equivalent to non-users… Transplant teams should not de facto exclude marijuana users from transplant listing. … Appropriate stewardship over donor organs, a limited and precious resource, … require[s] a balance of high-clinical standards with inclusive efforts to treat as many patients as possible.”

This information has been brought to you by the Daily Chronic and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Canadian Scientists Are Using Marijuana to Help People With Crack Cocaine Addictions

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

A new study coming from researchers in Canada suggests marijuana may be able to help curb crack cocaine addiction. The study looked at 100 people addicted to crack cocaine who had used another drug in an attempt to stop use. Of those involved, marijuana was substance that was most successful in decreasing the rate of crack usage. This study supports another study coming from Brazil, in which 68% of the 25 participants involved were able to cease crack usage with the help of marijuana.

This information has been provided by Civilized and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Two Thirds Of Pain Patients In A New Study Used Cannabis To Get Off Opioids

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

According to a new survey of 400 patients and 500 pharmacists conducted by Aclara Research, two thirds of pain patients successfully weened off of opioids with the help of cannabis. Of those polled, 67% ceased use of opioids once enrolled in state regulated medical cannabis programs, and 29% able to reduce their use of opioids with cannabis, leaving only 4% with opioid use unaffected by cannabis access. Additionally, 30% of patients stopped using all prescription medications with the use of medical cannabis. Of the pharmacists polled, 87% supported legalized medical marijuana access, and 69% pharmacists should dispense the medication and provide guidance for its use. With the current situation, only 15% of patients discussed cannabis with their pharmacists, with 40% of users learning about the medication online. This survey supports findings from previous studies, and further illustrates how medical cannabis could be a powerful player in the fight against the opioid epidemic that is gripping the nation.

This information has been provided by Civilized and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

American Legion Says One in Five Veterans Use Marijuana To Alleviate A Medical Or Physical Condition

Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Michel Sauret (https://bit.ly/2Pt2Flc)

Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Michel Sauret (https://bit.ly/2Pt2Flc)

The American Legion recently conducted a poll revealing one in five US Service Veterans use medical marijuana to provide relief for symptoms related to medical or physical conditions. Other notable data points include 81% of respondents who support federally regulated treatment, 60% of respondents did not live in states where medical marijuana is available, and that support for legal medical cannabis was not tied to political affiliations (across, the board, between 70-88% supported federally legalized medical cannabis regardless of political views). Of the respondents aged 18-30 years old, 100% supported federally legalized medical cannabis.

This information has been provided by NORML and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

CBD for Back Pain

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a powerful analgesic that could provided relief for those who suffer from back pain. While the severity of back pain has a wide range, it is one of the most common ailments people suffer, with 80% of adults experiencing back pain at least once in their lives. Research has found CBD provides pain relief by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a system responsible for regulating pain and immune response, among other things. CBD can also relieve neuropathic pain by encouraging the release of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating pain processing. CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties make it effective in treating a wide variety of pain. Cannabidiol can elicit these analgesic effects without producing unwanted negative side effects, which many find preferable to pharmaceutical medications. CBD has been found effective for treating pain both on its own and in mixtures containing both CBD and THC. Although studies for CBD and back pain are not explicit, its powers to treat other types of pain suggest it could be an effective treatment option for those who suffer from the condition.

This information has been provided by Medical Marijuana Inc. and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Research of Medical Marijuana Use in Illinois, Published and Peer-Reviewed

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

A new open-ended interview based study from researchers at DePaul and Rush Universities in Illinois, suggests medical marijuana may supplement or replace pharmaceutical medications. The researchers interviewed 30 daily medical marijuana users with a mean age of 44 in Illinois, and then sifted through the data to find patterns and themes throughout medical marijuana patients in the state. The patients all suffered from conditions approved by the state for medical marijuana use, which include rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, spinal cord injury/disease, and cancer. Patients either used medical marijuana as an alternative to prescription or over-the-counter medications, as a way to wean off current medications, or as a supplement to their treatment regimen.

Authors write, “Motives reported for reducing or eliminating prescription medications included concerns regarding toxicity, dependence, and tolerance, and perceptions that [medical cannabis] improves management of certain symptoms and has quicker action and longer lasting effects... Legal access to cannabis may reduce the use of multiple classes of dangerous prescription medications in certain patient populations… [A] shift from prescriptions for other scheduled drugs to cannabis may result in less frequent interactions with our conventional healthcare system and potentially improved patient health.”

This study supports previous studies surrounding medical marijuana and its effects on prescription medication use. This information has been provided by Medical Marijuana Inc. and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

The Differences Between THC and CBD

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Of the more than 100 cannabinoids found in marijuana, the cannabinoids most commonly associated with the plant are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). These cannabinoids interact with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a system which is known to regulate pain, appetite, mood, memory, immune response, sleep, and cellular level life cycles. THC will bind directly to CB1 and CB2 receptors in the ECS, with a higher affinity for CB1 receptors, while CBD acts as an indirect antagonist of cannabinoid receptor agonists, and even binds with non-cannabinoid receptors.

Many medical marijuana patients opt for CBD in their routines due to the fact it does not produce psychoactive or euphoric effects like THC. In fact, for those who desire the therapeutic relief that THC offers, CBD can actually buffer against its psychoactive effects, so that the patient can experience symptom relief without unwanted side effects. THC may produce side effects like memory impairment, lowered reaction time, increased heart rate, coordination problems, dry mouth, and red eye. One can’t overdose from THC, but adolescence who consume high amounts of THC may experience long-term psychiatric side effects. CBD, on the other hand, is considered all around well-tolerated and safe, and the only potential mild side effects include dry mouth, light-headedness, and drowsiness. Producers can produce medical marijuana strains with different cannabinoid compositions tailored to the specific needs of patients. That said, many marijuana strains, especially in today’s world of high potency marijuana, contain higher amounts of THC while hemp contains very little THC and strong concentrations of CBD.

This information has been brought to you by Medical Marijuana Inc. and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

CBD And Its Effects On The Human Body

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the more prominent and well known cannabinoids in cannabis. Many patients find CBD preferable for its ability to enhance health and wellness without producing the psychoactive high associated with THC and cannabis. To produce therapeutic benefits, CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating mood, memory, appetite, pain, immune response, and temperature. Many scientists believe that CBD works best synergistically alongside other cannabinoids and terpenes, even in trace amounts, in what is known as the entourage effect. The amount of time it takes for CBD to begin to take effect is fully dependent on the dose, the vehicle of administration, and other factors that influence the rate of absorption. This can range from minutes to hours. When CBD is ingested, it must be digested before taking effect. Sublingual absorption, however, allows the cannabinoid to bypass digestion and take effect faster. Vaping CBD oil takes effect almost immediately because it is absorbed through the lungs’ alveoli. Topical applications allow for targeted and localized relief that does not rely on entering the blood stream.

This information has been brought to you by Medical Marijuana Inc. and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

All About Cannabinoids - Part 2

Photo Credit: Toomaj F. Bungs | pexels (https://bit.ly/2I6rtyq)

Photo Credit: Toomaj F. Bungs | pexels (https://bit.ly/2I6rtyq)

In the previous post, we introduced the powerful chemicals in cannabis known as cannabinoids. Now, we will discuss in detail the unique properties found in cannabis.

Most people are aware of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is a cannabinoid that binds with the CB1 receptor in the brain and is responsible for producing the psychoactive effect of feeling “high.” THC is one of the more prevalent cannabinoids in marijuana, and it may be beneficial for patients who need to reduce nausea and vomiting, and pain. Although THC can offer therapeutic benefits, side effects include rapid heart rate, bloodshot eyes, dry mouth, dizziness, sedation, short-term memory, impaired concentration, and in severe cases, panic attack, hallucinations, and vomiting when consumed in large amounts. The other most well known cannabinoid is cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is popular for medicinal purposes because it does not produce a psychoactive effect, and can even buffer against the psychoactive effects of THC. CBD can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia, and most famously, pediatric epilepsy. It provides neuroprotective benefits and is known reduce pain and inflammation.

The cannabinoids cannabinol (CBN) is known for its antibacterial and analgesic properties, anticonvulsant and sedative effects, and appetite stimulation. Cannabichromene (CBC), like CBD, does not produce psychoactive effects. CBC acts as an analgesic, an antidepressant, and has antibacterial and antifungal properties. The cannabinoid could help treat those with acne or diarrhea. Cannabigerol (CBG) is a building block for all other cannabinoids, and it is known for providing pain relief, antifungal and antibacterial effects, reduce inflammation, and neuroprotective effects.

This concludes our short series on the cannabinoids in marijuana. To learn more, visit the Leaf Science website. This information has been approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

All About Cannabinoids - Part 1

Photo Credit: Toomaj F. Bungs | pexels (https://bit.ly/2I6rtyq)

Photo Credit: Toomaj F. Bungs | pexels (https://bit.ly/2I6rtyq)

There are 113 known cannabinoids found in marijuana. Cannabinoids are the chemicals in marijuana that interact with cannabinoid receptors within the body’s endocannabinoid system in ways that mimic the body’s naturally produced endocannabinoids, which allows them to produce medicinal and recreational benefits. Because the endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating appetite, sleep, pain, mood, and memory, medical marijuana is capable of producing a wide range of therapeutic benefits. Most people are familiar with the two most popular and well known cannabinoids, THC and CBD, but there are so many more cannabinoids that also offer medicinal benefits. In the following post, we will discuss in more detail what makes these cannabinoids unique and powerful.

This information has been brought to you by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Parkinson’s Patients Report Long-Term Benefits from Medical Marijuana

Photo Credit:  Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance

Photo Credit: Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance

Researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel have found patients with Parkinson’s disease who use medical marijuana daily may experience long-term therapeutic. The retrospective assessment, which was published in Clinical Neuropharmacology, assessed the effects of daily cannabis use over the course of several months in 47 patients who suffered from the condition. Eighty-two percent of the patients experienced improved overall symptoms, specifically regarding reductions in pain, stiffness, tremors, and the likelihood of falling, while also experiencing improvements in mood and quality of sleep. Authors write, “[T]he results of our study demonstrate that most of the users had found MC (medical cannabis) to improve their condition, and that MC treatment was safe, without major side effects.”

This information has been provided by the Daily Chronic and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Marijuana and Chronic Pain

Photo Credit: Jurassic Blueberries / Flickr (https://bit.ly/2OAkcaF)

Photo Credit: Jurassic Blueberries / Flickr (https://bit.ly/2OAkcaF)

Medical marijuana is recognized for its analgesic properties, which makes it beneficial for those who suffer from chronic pain or other pain producing conditions, and which could have significant implications in the fight against the opioid epidemic. One study published in 2015 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that analyzed six trials involving a total of 325 patients with chronic pain and six trials involving 396 patients with neuropathic pain found both THC and CBD provided effective analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Many find marijuana preferable to pharmaceutical medications because it is not only effective, but also has little habit-forming risk, has few side effects, and cannot cause a fatal overdose. States that have enacted medical marijuana laws have witnessed a 15-35% reduction in substance abuse admissions and opiate overdoses, according to public health records. Marijuana may provided an appropriate substitute for opioid medications and may also help with the withdrawal process from such medications.

To read about some of the studies to support these claims, visit the original post on Leaf Science’s website. This information has been approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Is It Safe To Take CBD Oil?w

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid praised for its ability to treat a myriad of symptoms while being well tolerated and producing few side effects. The cannabinoid is recognized for its high safety profile, but what exactly does that mean?

CBD is recognized as safe because it is non-toxic for humans and animals, even when administered in high doses, making it next to impossible to overdose on the cannabinoid. One study from the Department of Clinical, Toxicological and Food Sciences Analysis at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, found even doses as high as 1,500 mg/day of CBD were well tolerated. Unlike the cannabinoid THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, making it applicable in treatment regimens where patients desire relief without feeling “high.” CBD also produces few side effects that are generally considered to be mild. Some of these include dry mouth, low blood pressure, wakefulness (except when taken in high doses, in which drowsiness can occur), and inhibition of hepatic drug metabolism, which means it can interfere with the metabolization of certain pharmaceutical medications.

This information has been provided by Medical Marijuana Inc. and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Study: Minors With Seizures, Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea May Benefit From Cannabis

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

A new study from Harvard’s Department of Psychiatry suggests medical marijuana may be able to help children and teenagers who suffer from seizures or chemotherapy-induced nausea. In the meta-analysis, which looked through 22 studies involving medical marijuana administration to children and teens, it was found THC improved nausea and vomiting in young chemotherapy patients, and CBD helped reduce seizures. Researchers point to proper dosing in order to avoid concerns that cannabis could hinder motor skills and memory function or produce psychoactive effects. Lead author Dr. Shane Shucheng explains, “Our research supports the AAP’s concerns that cannabis can be harmful to children’s brains… Studies of children and adolescents who use recreational cannabis, particularly frequent use of high potency cannabis over longer periods of time, suggest negative effects on learning, memory, attention, and problem-solving ability.”

This information has been provided by Civilized and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.


Marijuana And Sleep - Part 3

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

In our previous post, we discussed the ways marijuana affects sleep and what to look for when beginning to use marijuana for sleep. While marijuana can provide a myriad of benefits as a sleep aid, patients should use caution when using marijuana, as there are negative effects to come with it as well. Chronic or daily use of marijuana can actually impact sleep in a negative way. In a 2016 study, daily marijuana users experienced higher rates of insomnia and sleep disturbances than occasional marijuana users. That said, the correlation between an increase in sleep disturbances and marijuana use has not been established, and it is uncertain as to whether or not marijuana increases sleep disturbances or as to whether or not those who suffer from sleep disturbances tend to used marijuana more frequently. Studies have found, however, that those who use marijuana early on in life are at greater risk of sleep disturbances later, and 42% of daily marijuana users experienced sleep disturbances upon withdrawal. Additionally, the sleep-inducing effects of marijuana may persist into the morning if used before bedtime.

As was mentioned in the last post, our app can help you keep track of your dosing regimen, so that you can keep track of what works and what doesn’t. This information has been provided in part by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. This post does not represent an endorsement by Leaf Science for our app.