New Mexico Study Finds Medical Marijuana May Help Reduce Opioid Addiction

Photo Credit:  Flickr / frankieleon / CC BY 2.0

Photo Credit: Flickr / frankieleon / CC BY 2.0

A new study coming from New Mexico and published in the journal PLOS ONE can be added to the mounting support suggesting medical marijuana can combat the opioid epidemic. The study led by Dr. Jacob Miguel Vigil and Dr. Sarah See Stith looked at 37 chronic pain patients who used opioids habitually and enrolled in New Mexico’s medical marijuana program between 2010 and 2015, and found cannabis helped reduce opioid addiction in these patients. The researchers simultaneously looked at 29 patients who did not enroll in the medical marijuana program. Using the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program, the researchers compared opioid record between the two groups over a 21 month period. Those who used medical marijuana were 17 times more likely to stop opioid use, and 5 times more likely to reduce their daily opioid intake. Daily dosage averaged at a 47% reduction through medical marijuana use. Those who chose not to enroll in the state’s program experienced a 10% increase in dosage. The researchers hope for more in depth, randomized, and placebo-based clinical trials moving forward.

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

Study: Canadian Patients Substituting Marijuana for Prescription Drugs

Photo Credit: Marijuana Industry News

Photo Credit: Marijuana Industry News

A recent study from the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria which was published in the International Journal of Drug Policy revealed patients in Canada suffering mental health conditions and pain substitute marijuana for opioids, benzodiazepines, and antidepressants. Researchers surveyed 271 patients registered with the cannabis producer Tilray and found 63% of respondents substituted marijuana for their prescription medication to treat pain-related conditions, including chronic pain and arthritis, mental health conditions, eating disorders, PTSD, and psychiatric disorder. The survey consisted of 107 questions that took into account demographics, use patterns, and marijuana as a substitution for medications. Authors noted that in the midst of the opioid epidemic, "cannabis could play a significant role in reducing the health burden of problematic prescription drug use.”

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Review: MMJ Holds Potential in Treating Mental Health

Photo Credit: Flickr / Dank Depot / CC BY-NC 2.0

Photo Credit: Flickr / Dank Depot / CC BY-NC 2.0

A new clinical review led by associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia Zach Walsh suggests cannabis may actually treat mental health issues, as opposed to the long held belief that it causes it. Researchers examined the connection between medical marijuana use and mental health by looking at all available studies on both medical and recreational marijuana use. They found that medical marijuana may be able to treat mental health conditions like depression, social anxiety, and PTSD, and that the medication could be substituted for other potentially problematic substances. Walsh said, "In reviewing the limited evidence on medical cannabis, it appears that patients and others who have advocated for cannabis as a tool for harm reduction and mental health have some valid points."

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Study: THC May Help Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

Photo Credit: Marijuana Industry News

Photo Credit: Marijuana Industry News

New research suggests the cannabinoid THC may be able to help prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease. The study, conducted by the Salk Institute, found THC facilitates the removal of amyloid beta proteins, which are toxic and contribute to the development of Alzheimer's. Senior author of the paper, Professor David Schubert, said this study is the first of its kind to "demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells." When nerve cells were exposed to THC, amyloid beta protein levels decreased and the resulting inflammation was eliminated. This preliminary study is a good first step towards researching the effects of cannabis on Alzheimer's disease.

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Survey: Majority of Americans Support Medical Marijuana Legalization

A recent survey from Prevention magazine revealed 75% of Americans support medical marijuana legalization. These results are likely due to the fact many Americans are becoming more aware about the potential dangers of prescription medications, as Dr. Holly Phillips mentioned on CBS This Morning, "Every 19 minutes, someone overdoses from prescription drugs. With medical marijuana, while we can't say definitively that it works for everything, we can say it is a safer option for the treatment of pain than those prescription drugs." In the the above segment, Dr. Phillips identifies the conditions medical marijuana has been used to treat and the efficacy of the medication, as well as discusses the need for more research when it comes to understanding how and why marijuana works. 

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Report: Minnesota’s Medical Cannabis Program Benefitting Patients

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Photo Credit: Marijuana Industry News

After legalizing medical marijuana, the Minnesota Department of Health reported that the majority of the state's medical marijuana patients benefited from the use of the legal medication. Of the 238 patients who completed the survey, 88% reported significant benefits from medical cannabis. The top three conditions that qualified for medical marijuana use in Minnesota included cancer, muscle spasms, and seizures, of which the survey suggested cancer patients benefited the most. These results are still preliminary, but MDH plans to release reports in the future polling larger numbers of patients and looking at broader sources of data.

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

Israeli Study of Medical Marijuana Shows Improvements in Users

Photo Credit: Marijuana Industry News

Photo Credit: Marijuana Industry News

One study coming from one of the more advanced countries when it comes to medical marijuana research has revealed patients undergoing medical marijuana treatment experience less pain and are better able to function. The Israeli study led by Professor Pesach Shvartzman from Ben-Gurion University followed medical cannabis patients for two years. Of those who participated in the study, 99.6 percent requested access to medical marijuana due to the fact their prescribed medications were ineffective. Additionally, 55.6 percent of participants said they experienced negative side effects with their prescribed medications.

Most of the patients, about three-quarters, chose to medicate via smoking herbal cannabis. Twenty-one percent of users chose to use oil extracts. At the conclusion of the study, most users reported improvements in pain, anxiety, nausea, appetite, and mood, but 77 percent also experienced minor side effects, like dry mouth, mood alteration or hunger. Only six percent of users reported cannabis as ineffective. 

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

Study: Long Term Marijuana Use Has Little Effect on Health

Photo Credit: Marijuana Industry News

Photo Credit: Marijuana Industry News

Many patients who suffer from debilitating ailments and do not experience relief from traditional treatment programs often want to try medical marijuana, but might be concerned about the long term effect this could have on their health. Now, the results of one study published in JAMA Psychiatry might be able to ease these concerns, suggesting frequent use of marijuana might have a minimal effect on long term health. The study analyzed the health of over 1,000 New Zealanders from birth to age 38, and researchers found little difference between the health of marijuana users and those who abstained from marijuana use. The only difference noted was that marijuana users over the age of 20 were more likely to suffer from gum disease, something in which the researchers still can't determine a cause-effect relationship after ruling out for external factors. Co-author of the study Avshalom Caspi admits cannabis may be harmful, but not in every way possible. He says, "We need to recognize that heavy recreational cannabis use does have some adverse consequences, but overall damage to physical health is not apparent in this study."

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

 

Swiss Researchers Approve ‘Therapeutic Cannavaping’

Photo Credit: Marijuana Industry News

Photo Credit: Marijuana Industry News

Many medical marijuana patients who choose to medicate via inhalation may choose to vaporize due to its less harmful effects on the lungs. Now researchers from the University of Lusanne in Switzerland back these claims, reporting cannabis oil in electronic cigarettes is a safe alternative to smoking medical marijuana. The scientists extracted their own cannabis oil, but used electronic cigarettes that are already available in the marketplace. Researchers reported in Scientific Reports that those who partook in the study were able to experience therapeutic relief without getting high in a gentle, efficient, safe, and user-friendly way. One researcher, Vincent Varlet, noted that this is the goal of medicating with medicinal cannabis, saying, "This could be a great approach to using these kinds of cannabinoids. The aim is not to get high, the aim is to get cured." 

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Early Results: Epidiolex Decreases Seizure Frequency and Severity

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Photo Credit: Marijuana Industry News

Two years ago, the University of Utah's Division of Pediatric Neurology and Primary Children's Medical Center embarked on their journey to study the effects of the CBD-based drug Epidiolex on the treatment of intractable epilepsy in children and young adults. This trial is to be the first of three clinical trials analyzing the effects of this GW Pharmaceuticals drug, one being an observational-trial in which everyone receives Epidiolex, and two being controlled trials focused on specific forms of epilepsy and administering both Epidiolex and placebo. About 30 individuals with treatment-resistant epilepsy will have participated in the three trials at some point. 

According to one of the authors and neurologist Francis Filloux, early results revealed participants reduced the frequency and severity of their seizures by 40 percent, with one participant even becoming completely seizure free. Families also noticed improved alertness and better sleep patterns. Some children experienced minor negative side effects, however, like nausea, diarrhea, or appetite changes. Because the results are generally very positive, GW Pharmaceuticals' next step will be filing a new drug application with the Food and Drug Administration, and then continuing with the next trials which, according to Filloux, should be complete within the next few years. 

This information has been brought to you by Marijuana Industry News and the Salt Lake City Tribune and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.