Neurologist Dr. Carlos Aguirre's Survey Demonstrates CBD's Powerful Effects on Seizures

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Pediatric neurologist Dr. Carlos G. Aguirre-Velazquez has released continuing results from his clinical study involving the use of CBD oil for seizures relating to tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). Dr. Aguirre measured the frequency, intensity, and duration of convulsive crises in TSC patient, as well as studied their quality of life, use of prescription drugs, and the long-term sustainability of CBD treatment. The results of his study are positive, with 60% of participants exhibiting clinically significant (60-80%) reductions in the frequency of their seizures with the use of CBD products. Additionally, patients using CBD experienced an improvement in mood, appetite, cognition, and overall quality of life, without experiencing adverse side effects, suggesting CBD can be used consistently while maintaining a high safety profile. Minor side effects like drowsiness and appetite increase existed, but they could improve or dissipate with adjusted doses. Researchers explained, “The experience of parents and patients with medicinal cannabis (CBD), as reported in our survey, suggests that CBD reduced the frequency, intensity, and duration of convulsive crises secondary to TSC.”

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

Treating Autism With Cannabis Now Has Scientific Support

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

A new study has found CBD extract may be able to provide support for those diagnosed with autism. Many researchers attribute the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which include problems in communication, odd social interactions, restricted or repetitive movements, to reduced inhibition in the brain. Now, in a breakthrough study, a team of researchers from the University of Washington has sought to use CBD as a way of restoring inhibition in the brain. Scientists used a genetic mouse model, in which the genes have been mutated in order to produce the symptoms of Dravet Syndrome, which includes inducing spontaneous seizures and exhibiting autism-like behaviors, to determine the effects of CBD on autism, specifically. In the model, mice were offered a choice between interacting with other mice or objects. While mice would usually prefer to spend time with other mice, the autistic-like mice usually have no preference and will split their time equally between the two. Upon receiving small amounts of CBD (about 10-20% of the anti-epileptic dose), the autistic-like mice significantly increased the amount of time they spent with other mice. Additionally, CBD reduced the urge autistic-like mice felt in escaping these social situations, and they exhibited improved performance in regards to the quality of their social interactions.

To understand these results, the researchers recorded electrical signals within the brains of the individual mice. They found CBD blocked the brain receptor GPR55 from interfering with how the brain cells communicated, thereby restoring balance and brain inhibition. The next steps will involve breaking down the barriers that exist as a result of cannabis’ Schedule I status so that researchers can test the effects of CBD on autism in large-scale human models. This information has been provided by Civilized and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Study: Colorado’s Adult Use Cannabis Access Law Associated With Reductions In Opioid Deaths

Photo Credit: NORML

Photo Credit: NORML

There are various studies suggesting that the implementation of statewide medical marijuana programs can have a major impact in combatting the opioid crisis, but now studies suggest that even adult use access to recreational marijuana can also make a dent in the epidemic. The study, which was published in The American Journal of Public Health, involved a team of researchers from the University of North Texas School of Public Health, the University of Florida, and Emory University. By looking at the number of monthly opioid-related deaths that preceded Colorado’s adult use retailers against monthly opioid-related deaths after, they found that Colorado’s cannabis retail effectively reduced deaths related to opioid use. The researchers concluded, “Colorado’s legalization of recreational cannabis sales and use resulted in a 0.7 deaths per month reduction in opioid-related deaths. This reduction represents a reversal of the upward trend in opioid-related deaths in Colorado… Legalization of cannabis in Colorado was associated with short-term reductions in opioid-related deaths.”

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

Discussing the Health Benefits of Marijuana - Part 3.

Photo Credit: Max Pixel (https://bit.ly/2StCkIo)

Photo Credit: Max Pixel (https://bit.ly/2StCkIo)

It is now time to conclude our discussion of the health benefits of medical marijuana in the third post of our series.

While medical marijuana is know for its internal benefits, it can also benefit the body topically as well. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD have antioxidant properties that make them able to protect the body from oxidative stress, and thereby prevent skin damage and aging. Through vaping or using topical applications, medical marijuana can provide various skin benefits. There are now a wide range of products available to help women relieve the aches and pains that come along with menstruation. There aren’t many studies regarding cannabis and menstruation specifically, but women have been attesting to the benefits of the plant, and studies have found cannabis reduces nausea, relieves pain, and reduces muscle spasms, suggesting it could have powerful benefits for the symptoms that coincide with periods.

Marijuana has often been associated with unhealthy habits like increasing appetite and falling for cravings known as the “munchies.” Contrary to the belief that marijuana may cause weight gain, it may actually do the opposite and help users maintain a healthy weight. In one study, 13,000 adults who used marijuana consistently had smaller waists and 3% lower BMI than those who abstained, even in spite of their higher caloric consumption. Some researchers suggest marijuana may produce these results by helping our bodies digest blood sugar more quickly and efficiently. Marijuana may also help relieve the digestive system of disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This may be because marijuana can interact with the endocannabinoid system, which in turn can help treat the condition and control the movement of food within the gut.

This information has been provided by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer, and this concludes our post on the many ways marijuana may contribute to better overall health.

Discussing the Health Benefits of Marijuana - Part 2.

Photo Credit: Max Pixel (https://bit.ly/2StCkIo)

Photo Credit: Max Pixel (https://bit.ly/2StCkIo)

In our last post, we began our discussion of the different health benefits of medical marijuana, but let’s continue and discover more ways the plant can enhance one’s life.

Although medical marijuana has garnered the reputation as a gateway drug by prohibitionists and anti-marijuana activists, studies have shown marijuana can actually help ween people off of those harmful and addictive substances. One study from 2009 found people used marijuana as a replacement for alcohol, prescription, and illegal drugs, mostly due to the fact that marijuana effectively manages health issues while producing few adverse side effects, and leaving little risk for withdrawal symptoms. This is an especially important benefit in light of the opioid epidemic currently ravaging the country. Not only is marijuana a healthy alternative to harmful substances like cigarettes, but it may even benefit the lungs and improve lung capacity. One study from the Journal of the American Medical Association involving 5000 participants over the course of 20 years linked marijuana users with a higher overall lung capacity than non-users. Additionally, marijuana’s ability to act as a bronchodilator makes it a powerful tool for asthma sufferers.

Medical marijuana also acts as a sleep aid for those who suffer with insomnia or other sleep disorders. Studies have found THC reduces the time it needed to fall asleep in healthy volunteers and insomniacs, so consuming marijuana prior to sleeping can help induce sleep. That said, some studies suggest cannabis can interfere with the deeper stages of sleep where dreaming occurs, known as REM sleep. Another use for medical marijuana is in enhancing sexual health. One study from 2017 found small doses of marijuana increases sexual drive and libido, and consumers report it increases orgasms and sexual enjoyment. That said, consumers shouldn’t go overboard: some studies have linked heavy long-term use to negative side effects like lack of sexual interest, erectile dysfunction, and reduced testosterone levels.

Stay tuned for the third and final installment of our discussion on the overall health benefits of medical marijuana. This information has been provided by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Discussing the Health Benefits of Marijuana - Part 1.

Photo Credit: Max Pixel (https://bit.ly/2StCkIo)

Photo Credit: Max Pixel (https://bit.ly/2StCkIo)

As research surrounding medical marijuana increases, we are becoming more aware of the various conditions it is capable of treating. Additionally, medical marijuana can provide a myriad of health benefits to contribute to an improved quality of daily life. In this three part series, we will discuss the many ways medical marijuana can therapeutically enhance one’s health.

One of the ways medical marijuana is therapeutically beneficial is through its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Although THC can increase anxiety under certain circumstances, new evidence suggests medical marijuana can actually relieve stress. In our previous post, we discussed how medical marijuana provided stress relief and buffered against heightened levels of cortisol in stressful situations. Another study from Canada found 40% of medical marijuana patients prescribed benzodiazepines for anxiety were able to cease use of their pharmaceutical medications within 90 days of beginning a cannabis regimen. Medical marijuana can also enhance one’s mood by increasing the release of dopamine neurons in the pleasure center of the brain.

Follow up with our next post, where we will continue our discussion of how medical marijuana can provide therapeutic health benefits in different aspects of one’s life. This information has been provided by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Cannabis as an Anti-Anxiety Medication

Photo Credit: Leafly

Photo Credit: Leafly

A new study published in Psychopharmacology has found regular cannabis use can, over time, reduce the risk of anxiety and blunt stress responses in stressful situations, including when a person is sober. In the study, which involved 40 regular cannabis users and 42 people who had little to no experience with cannabis, non-cannabis users reported feeling anxious and exhibited high levels of cortisol in stressful scenarios, while cannabis users reported less anxiety, and exhibited no change in cortisol levels. Prior to the study, all participants abstained from use for 12-18 hours. Results also found that patients did not exhibit heightened cannabis cravings when stressed.

Co-author, researcher, and clinical assistant professor at Washington State University explains, “Based on our findings, the potential effects of cannabis on stress do appear to extend beyond the period of intoxication… But we’re not yet comfortable saying whether that muted stress response is a good thing or a bad thing.” Both too much and too little cortisol can prove problematic, with too much resulting in negative side effects and leading to various conditions, and too little preventing a person from producing an appropriate stress response. More research is necessary in order to determine whether reduced cortisol levels are beneficial or detrimental.

Learn more about this study by reading this article on Leafly. This information has been reviewed and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Medical Marijuana Patients Reduce Their Prescription Drug Use, Study Finds

Photo Credit: the Daily Chronic

Photo Credit: the Daily Chronic

A new study conducted by researchers from DePaul University and Rush University, College of Nursing and published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Care has determined patients registered in state medical marijuana programs tend to reduce their use of prescription medications. In the study, which involved 34 registered medical marijuana patients in Illinois, respondents claimed the onset of medical cannabis relief was quicker than other medications, and they found it had fewer side effects. Most patients used medical cannabis as a replacement for opioids, anticonvulsants, anti-inflammatories, and over-the-counter analgesics. The authors explained, “[O]ur results indicate that MC (medical cannabis) may be used intentionally to taper off prescription medications. These findings align with previous research that has reported substitution or alternative use of cannabis for prescription pain medications due to concerns regarding addiction and better side-effect and symptom management, as well as complementary use to help manage side-effects of prescription medication.”

This data supports previous studies with similar findings. This information has been provided by the Daily Chronic and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Can Lead to Decrease in Painkiller Abuse: Study

Photo Credit: The Daily Chronic

Photo Credit: The Daily Chronic

According to a new study conducted by a University of Georgia economics professor and published on SSRN.com, cannabis dispensaries coincide with a drop in opioid-related treatment admissions and drug mortality. The study analyzed the effect of medical cannabis dispensaries on drug treatment admissions, and found within two years of opening such businesses, there was a 20% relative decrease in painkiller treatments, and fewer drug-related deaths per 100,000 people. The author writes, “[T]he unintended beneficial effects of allowing for marijuana dispensary operations should be considered by policymakers as they aim to curtail narcotic abuse and limit the impact of the opioid epidemic.”

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

Australian Biotech Company Wants to Treat Autism Symptoms With Cannabis

Photo Credit: Leafly

Photo Credit: Leafly

In 2017, the Australian biotech company Zelda completed observational trials in Chile suggesting medical cannabis extracts may be effective for treating the core symptoms of Autism, including difficulties in social interactions, language, and repetitive behaviors. The study involved 21 patients, with the median age around 9 years old, who were treated with medical cannabis extracts over the course 12 weeks. The patients were then examined by EEG, neuropsychological analysis, metabolism, and genetic tests. Of those treated with the extracts, 71.4% showed improvements in at least one of their core symptoms, and 66.7% improved overall. Additionally, cannabis extracts were more effective than the more traditional medications.Since then, Zelda has initiated the recruitment for observational trials in the USA, with 15 patients already formally enrolled for trials beginning this year. They hope this will lead to future clinical trials.

This information has been provided by Leafly and Proactive Investors, and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

The Science and Benefits of Terpenes - Part 2

Photo Credit: Leaf Science

Photo Credit: Leaf Science

We will followup our previous post that provided a brief overview of cannabis terpenes by going into a deeper discussion of the major cannabinoids found in cannabis and seeing how they can contribute to your medical marijuana regimen. One of the terpenes found in cannabis is myrcene, which can be identified by spicy and woody tastes and scents with just a hint of citrus. Myrcene may provide anti-inflammatory relief, pain relief, and sedation, while also inducing sleep and providing muscle relaxation. Pinene is a woody and earthy terpene reminiscent of pine. It can provide antibacterial effects, act as an analgesic and a bronchodilator, reduce inflammation, and support memory.

Another cannabis terpene is limonene, which is known for its citrus, lemon, and orange profile. Limonene can enhance mood and relaxation, reduce anxiety and depression, and produce anticancer and anti-inflammatory effects. Terpinolene is a sedative and relaxing terpene, which can also act as an antibacterial and antioxidant agent, and can be identified by its woody, sweet, pine, and citrus profile. Caryophyllene is known for its peppery spicy, woody, and clove profile. It acts as an analgesic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent, while also reducing anxiety and depression. Lastly, linalool is a floral, woody, and spicy terpene which can help reduce inflammation and pain, and induce sedation and relaxation.

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

The Science and Benefits of Terpenes - Part 1

Photo Credit: Leaf Science

Photo Credit: Leaf Science

In this two part series, we will talk about cannabis terpenes and discuss how they might be a powerful actor to consider in your medical marijuana regimen. Terpenes are generally known for their contribution to the flavor and scent of different plants, including cannabis. In fact, there have been over 200 terpenes identified in cannabis. But while people are generally focused on cannabinoids for therapeutic relief, they often don’t realize that terpenes can be a powerful component for relief as well. Researchers have found terpenes may reduce inflammation, relief pain, and act as a sleep aid.

Terpenes can work alone, while also enhancing the effects of cannabinoids by influencing when and how they activate their receptors. They can also bind with cannabinoid receptors to buffer against some of the more intense effects of cannabinoids, preventing THC from producing anxiety and depression while enhancing its benefits. To enjoy the benefits of terpenes, patients should opt for vaporization or using live resin. This is because of the fact terpenes can become damaged as a result of coming into contact with direct heat through combustion.

Now that we have discussed a brief overview of cannabis terpenes, we will continue our discussion in the following post by examining the major terpenes found in cannabis, and reveal how they may be powerful agents in your therapeutic regimen. This information has been provided by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy

Photo Credit: Leaf Science/ShutterStock

Photo Credit: Leaf Science/ShutterStock

There is growing evidence suggesting medical marijuana could be a powerful agent in combatting epilepsy, even in its most severe and treatment-resistant forms, and its symptoms. Marijuana acts as an anticonvulsant, and produces antiepileptic effects through its interactions with both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. In recent years, GW Pharmaceuticals has been conducting experiments that have proven their pure CBD extract effectively reduces the frequency and severity of seizures in severe treatment-resistant forms of epilepsy.

Most researcher attribute cannabis’ therapeutic effects for epilepsy to the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is a non-psychoactive, making it appropriate for use in pediatric care, and it produces very few mild side effects, like dry mouth, diarrhea, sleepiness, and fatigue. CBD can work on its own or work as a powerful supplement to other epilepsy medications, but it may interfere with the processing of other medications in the liver, so patients who choose to use the medication should research its interactions with other medications before beginning a CBD regimen. There is less information regarding the use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for epilepsy, which is a cannabinoid known for its psychocactive activity, and some reports suggest it may exacerbate symptoms. That said, THC may also act as an anticonvulsant, so some researchers think including some amounts of it in one’s regimen may provide optimal relief. In one study, ratios of 20:1 CBD to THC produced maximum seizure relief in patients. More research is needed to better understand which cannabinoids and the amount of each can produce the best relief with the lowest side effects.

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

THCA Shows Promise for Huntington’s Disease, Study Finds

Photo Credit: Leafly

Photo Credit: Leafly

In a new study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, researchers have found THCA reduced inflammation, served as a neuroprotectant, improved motor function, and prevented brain degeneration in animals. THCA is the acidic precursor to THC, and is found in cannabis that has not yet undergone the heating process decarboxylation. THCA has the a lot of the same beneficial properties offered by THC, but without any psychoactive side effects. One thing that distinguishes THCA from other cannabinoids is its ability to positively affect the PPARy brain receptor, which is responsible for lipid metabolism and glucose homeostasis. This has led the study’s authors to believe THCA may serve “as a lead structure for the development of novel drugs for the management of (Huntington’s) and, possibly, other neurodegenerative and inflammatory diseases.” The authors find their study unique in that they are actively researching the acidic forms of cannabinoids, something that other studies often neglect. They explain most studies “have used neutral cannabinoids, especially THC and CBD… with little attention to the genuine phytocannabinoids of the plant, namely their acidic forms. We provide evidence that these compounds hold significant pharmacological potential.”

This information has been provided by Leafly and approve by our Chief Medical Officer.

Cancer Patients in Seattle Effectively Treat Symptoms with Cannabis

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

Information coming from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle has found of 926 patients at the Seattle Cancer Centre Alliance in Washington State, nearly a quarter self medicate with cannabis to treat symptoms like physical pain, nausea, stress, insomnia, and depression. In the study, which was published in the journal Cancer, 24% of patients used cannabis within the year, and 21% within the month. Around 66% had used it at some time in their lives. Three-quarters of those surveyed also expressed interest in learning about cannabis from reliable sources like healthcare professionals.

Investigators also found most patients were not receiving their information from healthcare professionals, leading researcher Dr. Steven Pergam to state, “Cancer patients desire but are not receiving information from their cancer doctors about marijuana use during their treatment, so many of them are seeking information from alternate non-scientific sources… We hope that this study helps to open up the door for more studies aimed at evaluating the risks and benefits of marijuana in this population ... This is important, because if we do not educate our patients about marijuana, they will continue to get their information elsewhere.”

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

Survey Finds Coloradans Use Marijuana For Sleep and Pain Relief, Not Partying

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

With the wave of legalization gaining popularity in various states across the nation, it is interesting to see the motivations behind marijuana use. In Colorado, where both recreational and medical marijuana are legal, it seems even the recreational users are using marijuana to self medicate, as opposed to using it for fun. The organization Consumer Research Around Cannabis surveyed over 1,200 marijuana users in Denver and it surroundings, and found 47.2% used cannabis as a sleep aid. Another 47.2% used it for pain relief. Falling closely behind, 45.7% used marijuana for anxiety and depression. Only 28.5% used marijuana for recreational fun, and 32.8% responded they used marijuana for expanding creativity and thought processes.

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

Study: Medical Cannabis Registrants Reduce Their Prescription Drug Use

Photo Credit: NORML

Photo Credit: NORML

Investigators from the University of New Mexico have recently published data suggesting chronic pain patients enrolled in a medical marijuana program are better able to reduce their use of prescription drugs than those who abstain from cannabis use. The study, which was published in the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, analyzed the drug use patterns of 83 pain patients enrolled in a medical cannabis program and 42 patients who were not enrolled over the course of 24 months. Of those enrolled in the statewide medical marijuana program, 34% eliminated their prescription use by the end of the study, and 36% reduced their use of other medications. On average, registered medical marijuana patients significantly reduced their prescription medication intake, while non-registrants did not.

Authors concluded, “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 similar findings from previous studies.

This study has been brought to you by NORML and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. You can also find the abstract here.

New Study: Marijuana with CBD Has Less Long-Term Risks Than Other Forms

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

Many people may desire the use of medical cannabis but fear any negative side effects. With cannabidiol (CBD) gaining in popularity for its high-safety profile and lack of psychoactive side effects, people wonder whether or not the cannabinoid is worth the hype. According to a new study, led by Dr. Ken Mackie from Indiana University, the answer is yes. In the study, scientists injected two groups of mice with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), with one group only receiving the THC and the other also receiving CBD. Mice who received only THC experienced greater memory impairment and anxiety over the long term, while those who also received CBD did not experience these effects.

Previous studies surrounding THC and CBD have been mixed, but Mackie believes his study is more accurate because “this is the first study in a rigorously controlled animal model to find that CBD appears to protect the brain against the negative effects of chronic THC.” He continues to explain that this experiment "suggests that strains of cannabis with similar levels of CBD and THC would pose significantly less long-term risk due to CBD's protective effect against THC."

More research is left to be desired to understand how CBD is able to exhibit these effects. This information has been provided by Civilized and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Study: Trauma Patients Report Marijuana Helps Reduce Opioid Use

Photo Credit: the Daily Chronic

Photo Credit: the Daily Chronic

According to a new study from Harvard Medical School which was published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma, patients who experience a musculoskeletal injury can effectively relieve pain symptoms and reduce their opioid use through the use of medical cannabis. In the survey, which involved 500 patients from a pair of orthopedic outpatient clinics, 90% of patients who reported using cannabis for recuperation within the past six months effectively reduced their pain, and 81% were able to reduce their use of opioids. Authors explained, “[I]n the subset of patients who used marijuana during their recovery, a majority indicated that it helped alleviate symptoms of pain and reduced their level of opioid intake.”

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

Marijuana Exposure Associated With Improved Immunity in HIV Patients

Photo Credit: the Daily Chronic

Photo Credit: the Daily Chronic

A new study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence has determined patients with HIV who have tested positive for past cannabis exposure possess higher levels of CD4+ and CD8+, which are a subtype of white blood cells that can aid the immune process. Researchers from Virginia State University and the University of Florida Center for AIDS/HIV Research looked at differences in lymphocyte count among HIV patients who tested positive or negative for THC in urinalysis. Authors found, after adjusting for demographic and HIV-related covariates, those who tested positive for THC had significantly higher counts of CD4+ and CD8+. Authors conclude, “This preliminary study shows THC positive patients having better HIV-related immune levels than their negative counterparts, despite not being statistically different on various demographic HIV-related covariates. … The current findings suggest a potentially beneficial role to marijuana, additional to symptom palliation.”

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