Cannabis May Prevent and Treat Non-Alcohol Related Fatty Liver Disease

Cannabis May Prevent and Treat Non-Alcohol Related Fatty Liver Disease

Cannabis may treat as well as prevent non-alcohol related fatty liver disease, according to a study published this month in the Journal of Hepatology, and published online by the National Institute of Health.

According to researchers; “Obesity and associated metabolic syndrome have quickly become a pandemic and a major detriment to human health globally. The presence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD; hepatosteatosis) in obesity has been linked to the worsening of the metabolic syndrome, including the development of insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease.”

They continue; “Currently, there are few options to treat NAFLD, including life style changes and insulin sensitizers. Recent evidence suggests that the cannabinoids Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and cannabidiol (CBD) improve insulin sensitivity; we aimed at studying their effects on lipid levels.”

After examining the effects THCV and CBD on lipid levels using “a variety of in vitro and in vivo systems, with special emphasis on models of hepatosteatosis”, it was found that “THCV and CBD directly reduce accumulated lipid levels in vitro in a hepatosteatosis model and adipocytes. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance- (NMR) based metabolomics confirmed these results and further identified specific metabolic changes in THCV and CBD-treated hepatocytes.”

Researchers note that; “Treatment also induced post-translational changes in a variety of proteins such as CREB, PRAS40, AMPKa2 and several STATs indicating increased lipid metabolism and, possibly, mitochondrial activity. These results are supported by in vivo data from zebrafish and obese mice indicating that these cannabinoids are able to increase yolk lipid mobilization and inhibit the development of hepatosteatosis respectively.”

The study concludes; “Our results suggest that THCV and CBD might be used as new therapeutic agents for the pharmacological treatment of obesity- and metabolic syndrome-related NAFLD/hepatosteatosis.”

Source: Cannabis May Prevent and Treat Non-Alcohol Related Fatty Liver Disease

Indian Oncologists Demand Cannabis Ban Lift

Indian Oncologists Demand Cannabis Ban Lift

Top oncologists of Bengaluru want to see the current ban on cannabis lifted so they and others can conduct scientific research regarding the plant’s medicinal effectiveness in treating or possibly even curing those stricken with cancer.

These same oncologists have vowed to lobby with the Centre with hopes of lifting the prohibition on cannabis, which in turn would permit them to fully investigate the plant. They’re quick to point out that a number of states in the United States have passed laws that permit the use of cannabis for both medicinal and recreational dedications, following numerous anecdotal and scientific confirmations that the plant’s derivatives do indeed offer a healing touch to individuals that are suffering with cancer.

The oncologist’s interest in cannabis research was aroused during recent debates on tobacco farming. They feel that the government’s persuading of farmers to cultivate tobacco crops is obtuse, especially considering the fact that its use is the primary basis of a range of different types of cancer.

Dr. Vishal Rao, surgical oncologist, HCG Enterprises, would like to see the government shift their focus to a plant genus that can actually help people as opposed to making them ill.

“We are encouraging cultivation of tobacco that causes various types of cancer. At the other end, we are ignoring the medicinal properties of a plant that can help cancer patients. We are not even able to take up research as procurement of the plant is illegal in India, whereas oncologists in 21 states of the US are prescribing derivatives of cannabis for cancer treatment,” Dr. Rao affirmed.

In addition, Dr. Rao elucidated to how published research has shown that treatments involving highly-concentrated forms of isolated cannabinoids have the ability to stop the blood supply to cancerous tumors, which will cause them to stop growing or even reduce in size.

“Cancer cells are hungry cells, once there is break in the blood supply, they shrink due to lack of glucose. It is also helpful in reducing nausea and vomiting sensation for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy,” Dr. Rao explained.

Dr. B S Ajai Kumar, chairman of HCG Enterprises, says that although he and his colleagues are eager to examine the medicinal values of cannabis, India is way behind in regards to researching the medicinal benefits that the cannabis plant has to offer in comparison to other countries around the globe, and he’d like to see the government rectify the situation by legalizing the plant for the purpose of scientific research and medicinal use.

“We want to take up research on medicinal benefits of cannabis derivatives. But to take it up we need the plants, which is not available in India. We are approaching the government with a proposal to legalize medicinal use of cannabis,” Dr. Kumar avowed.

And even though they’re ready to support the legalization of cannabis for medical research purposes and medicinal dedications, the oncologists make it clear-cut that they are not for encouraging recreational use of marijuana.

“Isolated compounds in cannabis have medicinal properties. In the US, it is also used for treating Alzheimer’s, Glaucoma and multiple sclerosis. Currently, there is a lack of understanding of the topic even among the medical fraternity, and even speaking about it is avoided. We have to overcome that,” Dr. Rao said.

I’m looking forward to the day when cannabis is no longer taboo and is as common as aspirin. Lord knows it safer!



GW Pharma Stocks Fall

GW Pharma Stocks Fall

Stocks for GW Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of cannabinoid-based medicines, has fallen sharply after a clinical study failed to show their product Sativex was effective in relieving pain directly associated with cancer.

GW Pharmaceuticals is a British biopharmaceutical company best-known for its cannabis-based product Sativex, which is the original natural cannabis plant derivative to achieve complete market support in any country.

In July 2007, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. teamed up with GW Pharmaceutical signing a three year term in which they agreed to a global cannabinoid research collaboration involving research of a variety of GW’s isolated cannabinoids as potential new drug candidates in the field of Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders and oncology.

Researchers at Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. were so pleased with the results they were witnessing during the first three years of the global cannabinoid research collaboration with GW Pharmaceuticals that they agreed to sign an extension to their research relationship with the company in 2010.

The collaboration’s purpose is to select the most hopeful drug candidates for full clinical development, regulatory approval and global commercialization. The products selected for full development would be the subject of a license from GW Pharmaceuticals.

Under the terms of each product license, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. would fund the global development and commercialization of such products, and GW Pharmaceuticals would receive license fees, milestone payments and a long term commercial supply price and royalty. The financial terms of each license are to be agreed at the time of selection of each product for global development.

The initial target suggestion for Sativex in the United States is as a treatment of pain in patients with advanced cancer, who experience insufficient pain relief during optimized chronic opioid therapy. But results from the first of three late-stage trials involving the abovementioned drug as a treatment to alleviate pain in cancer patients found no statistically noteworthy differentiation between subjects using it and those participants that were given a placebo.

GW Pharmaceuticals Chief Executive Justin Gover claimed that the findings were both disappointing and surprising, given heartening results in previous tests, but the company’s scientists are not giving up hope as of yet.

There are still the results from two further Phase III trials which are due later this year and, if encouraging, could still allow the drug to be submitted for treating pain in patients with advanced cancer, where it is designed to be given ahead of opioids.

“Although we missed the primary endpoint in this trial, based upon the positive data seen in the Phase II program, we remain confident in the ability for Sativex to relieve cancer pain in this patient population,” Gover avowed.

News of the results sent shares for GW Pharmaceuticals plummeting by as much as 21 percent, which is surprising considering that the company’s stock was on a roll on hopes for its so-called cannabinoid medicines since the firm listed on NASDAQ in 2013.

Sativex, which is administered as a sublingual spray, is already approved for treating spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis in 27 countries, although not yet in the United States.

Marijuana-based Medicine to be Trialed for Children in Scotland

Marijuana-based Medicine to be Trialed for Children in Scotland

A new treatment derived from cannabis is to go on trial in Scotland in a bid to help sick children.

Doctors have been given the go-ahead to test Epidiolex, a treatment based on cannabidiol (CBD) a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant.

And medical experts are hoping the treatment – which has had success in studies on the treatment of epilepsy in the US – will help Scottish children whose seizures cannot be controlled with existing medications.

‘Many children with serious forms of epilepsy do not respond to the medications that we currently have available,’ said Dr Richard Chin, director of the Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre.

‘We need new means of treating these conditions so that we can give back some quality of life to these children and their families.

The initial focus of the trial will be children with Dravet Syndrome, a rare type of epilepsy that is notoriously difficult to treat. Some children will be given the Epidiolex treatment while others will receive a placebo.

In a later phase of the trial, researchers will study the effect on children with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.

British biotechnology company GW Pharmaceuticals is sponsoring and funding the trial.

Terminal Cancer Patient Dies Amid Medical Marijuana Fight

Terminal Cancer Patient Dies Amid Medical Marijuana Fight

An eastern Iowa man has died of cancer just months after he was convicted for growing medicinal marijuana for personal use.

Dottie Mackenzie confirmed Tuesday that her 49-year-old son, Benton Mackenzie, died Monday at his home in Long Grove, near Davenport.

Benton Mackenzie had been growing marijuana to create medicinal oil to consume and apply to his tumors. He was sentenced in September 2014 to three years of probation for conspiring to grow marijuana.

Iowa has legalized the use of medical marijuana only for intractable epilepsy.

The Quad-City Times reports that the entire family has faced prosecution in the case. Misdemeanor counts against his parents for hosting a drug house were eventually dropped.

Dottie MacKenzie says she has found peace with the situation and her son’s death.

Source: Terminal cancer patient dies amid medical marijuana fight

January 1979: Cannabis Does Little Harm, Say Advisors to Government

January 1979: Cannabis Does Little Harm, Say Advisors to Government

Tentative proposals to make slight cuts in cannabis penalties are being presented to the Home Secretary by his advisers this week. Behind the proposals lies the opinion of an expert sub-committee, which in an as yet unpublished report, says in effect that smoking cannabis does no particular harm.

Professor J.P.D. Graham, Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Wales, told the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs: “On consideration, the technical sub-committee concluded that there was no compelling evidence that occasional moderate use of cannabis was likely to have detrimental effects on individual users.”

However the experts said that driving seemed to be impaired by cannabis smoking. It also seemed quite likely that heavy smoking would damage lungs much as cigarettes did.

The report says: “The available reports on the health of the individual of what is deemed to be long continued, heavy use of cannabis contain no evidence of consequential harmful effects on physical health. A casual relation between chronic use of cannabis and mental impairment was by no means proven…there appeared to be many compounding factors involved.”

These conclusions, in line with claims by the Legalise Cannabis Campaign and the move by American states which have reduced marijuana possession to a non-criminal “ticket” offence, led to a row in the full council.

It eventually voted to downgrade cannabis to Category C – the least dangerous group in British dangerous drug laws – and proposed by 16 votes to 11 that magistrates: should no longer have the power to imprison for simple cannabis possession; the maximum penalty in crown courts should fall from five years’ imprisonment to two; and the maximum penalty for trafficking from 14 years to seven. Cannabis possession would no longer be an arrestable offence.

The committee also proposed to upgrade Mandrax, an addictive sleeping pill, from Category C to Category B.

The full council, chaired by Sir Robert Bradlaw, submitted a report which added that there was a “world-wide conflict of views among experts.” Some people found the sub-committee’s conclusions “unacceptable.”

“In their opinion, cannabis could undoubtedly cause an acute psychotic reaction…whether cannabis was free from dependence potential (non-addictive) was now open to debate. The long-term risks of cannabis were “an open but worrying question.”

The council said that “social damage” caused by cannabis smoking might not be obvious.

The Legalise Cannabis campaign said yesterday that the proposed reforms would have little practical effect. Mr Tim Malyon of the campaign said: “Other foreign reports have laid out the pharmacological evidence so that a public debate can begin. This report does not do that, and is inconsistent in what it says. We want criminal penalties lifted.”

Source: January 1979: Cannabis Does Little Harm, Say Advisors to Government

STUDY: THC May Limit Damage Caused By Heart Attack

STUDY: THC May Limit Damage Caused By Heart Attack

A recent study conducted by the Felsenstein Medical Research Center in Israel offered some new evidence of the medical value of Cannabis. The study, published in the Journal of Biochemical Pharmacology, was conducted to determine what effect small amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has on heart protection. In order to do so, they conducted an experiment using mice as the subjects.

Researchers administered small amounts of THC (4 times less than the intoxicating amount) to mice before simulating a heart attack by restricting their blood flow.

The THC was administered on three different schedules in reference to the “heart attack”: 2 hours prior, 48 hours prior, and 3 weeks prior of continuous treatment.

In order to gauge the effect of THC in this study, researchers observed a number of common signs and/or residual effects of heart attacks. In each schedule of THC administration the study reported an improvement in each of the categories.

THC Has The Upper Hand On Cardiac Damage

Fractional Shortening is a ratio used to objectively rate the level of efficiency that a ventricle is working with. In observing this ratio, researchers found that THC treatment resulted in a 4.7% increase.

Troponin T is a regulatory protein found in cardiac muscle that leaks into the bloodstream in the case of cardiovascular damage. High volumes of it in the blood is often used to diagnose heart attacks. Researchers found that THC treatment reduced the amount of Troponin T by an average of 4 nano grams per milliliter.

The area of dead tissue caused by insufficient blood flow decreased by 6% after THC treatment.

In cases where blood is unable to reach a specific area, an infarction can form. This is an area in which the tissue dies, due to a process called necrosis. The researchers measured the size of these infarctions and found they decreased 6% after THC treatment.

Better heart health undoubtedly results in a longer lifespan. The study above suggests an ultra-low dose of THC can be beneficial in preparation for cardiac surgery. It could limit the damage incurred by the patient and possibly aid in the recovery.

Source: STUDY: THC May Limit Damage Caused By Heart Attack

Dad Faces Jail for Giving Dying Daughter Cannabis Oil

Dad Faces Jail for Giving Dying Daughter Cannabis Oil

Nearly 50,000 people have signed a petition calling on politicians to help a dad who faces criminal charges after giving his dying daughter cannabis oil.

Australian Adam Koessler was arrested and charged earlier this month after giving two-year-old Rumer Rose the oil to relieve her symptoms of late-stage cancer – something he claims led to a “miraculous” improvement in her condition.

But his bail conditions mean he cannot have contact with his sick daughter, who is now in intensive care after her condition deteriorated.

By this evening, almost 50,000 people had signed a petition calling for Queensland premier Campbell Newman and justice minister Jarrod Bleijie to intervene, saying “it is inhumane and unjust to keep a parent, who acted out of love for his child [and] wanting to prolong her life, away from her during such severe illness”.

The petition adds: “Medical cannabis has been legalised in many countries and jurisdictions around the globe. There is ample evidence to show that it has many beneficial effects for cancer patients without the harmful side effects and other associated risks of current drug treatments. In fact working in conjunction with the recommended treatment regime, medical cannabis has also been proven to alleviate these adverse side effects.

“Adam Koessler deserves to have his parental rights to see his child reinstated, the charges against him dismissed by a court, and the right to decide the treatment options for his own child.”

A further 30,000 people have supported a Facebook page highlighting Mr Koessler’s plight, and thousands of dollars have been pledged to meet the cost of his legal fees and Rumer’s treatment.

More than $14,000 have been raised to help Rumer’s ongoing “Natural Cancer Protocol”, which provides “organic, gluten free home cooked food, alkaline water, essential oils , energetic, chiropractic, [and] naturopathic healing” remedies for the toddler.

And a further $3,000 have been raised for Mr Koessler’s legal expenses.

Little Rumer has stage 4 neuroblastoma – a cancer which forms in the nerve tissue and has left her with just a 50% chance of survival.

But after giving her the cannabis oil mixed with coconut Mr Koessler, who is separated from Rumer’s mum, says his daughter showed “miraculous” signs of improvement.

He told Australian newspaper the Newcastle Herald: “Her cancer-ridden little body was alive again – Rumer had almost instant quality of life.

“She would say ‘Daddy, tummy’s not sore and she would be able to eat like a champion and began to gain weight.

“Her energy was up and she wanted to go outside with me instead of lay on her back with her legs curled up.

“Her skin colour came back, her eyes were sparkling again and we just looked at each other in complete amazement.”

But after travelling to Brisbane for his daughter to have further treatment on January 2, Mr Koessler was arrested in hospital and has since been charged with supplying dangerous drugs to a person under 16 and possessing dangerous drugs.

He is due before the courts on Tuesday next week.

Source: Dad Faces Jail for Giving Dying Daughter Cannabis Oil

Mexico Could Legalize Marijuana: UN Ambassador

Mexico Could Legalize Marijuana: UN Ambassador

Mexico’s Ambassador to the UN has raised hopes that the country could explore legalizing marijuana in the not so distant future.

Speaking to Excelsior Ambassador Jorge Montaño said: “What we are also raising (at the UN) … [is] we will regulate the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.”

Montaño stated that this issue will be raised, at the earliest, at the 2016 UNGASS on drugs that the governments of Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia successfully pushed for in 2012.

The ambassador cited the decision of a number of US states to legalize marijuana as a primary reason for Mexico considering this push, and emphasized that cooperation is needed between countries when exploring regulation. “For us, it’s very important for Mexico to take appropriate action in the face of [decisions] of this nature, the US being our neighbor with more than 3,000 km of [shared] border.”

In line with Montaño’s words, President Enrique Peña Nieto has said in the past that he is in favor of debating the issue despite personal misgivings about legalizing cannabis, and lawmakers say Mexico cannot be out of step forever with the United States, the principal buyer of illicit drugs that cross the border.

In an interview with Spanish newspaper El País in 2014, Peña Nieto said legalization of marijuana was a “growing phenomenon” and that the policies followed in the last 30-40 years had only led to more drug use and more production of drugs, adding that they were failed policies.

In 2009, Mexico decriminalized possession of up to 5 grams of marijuana, 500 milligrams of cocaine and small amounts of heroin and methamphetamines. However, advocates of reform say this measure has done little, if anything, to cut the number of people arrested for simple drug use, and has done nothing to address crime levels in the country.

Source: Mexico Could Legalize Marijuana: UN Ambassador

Calls for Compassion in Cannabis Debate

Calls for Compassion in Cannabis Debate

The desperate parents of terminally ill children are calling on the Queensland government to show compassion and legalise medicinal cannabis.

Mothers who have surveyed Brisbane residents on the issue gathered outside the Queensland Health building on Monday.

Rozanne Burley told how medicinal cannabis had improved the quality of life for her teenage son Adam, who has a rare form of intractable epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome.

She said pharmaceutical drugs triggered horrific side effects amid Adam’s irreversible brain damage, uncontrolled seizures and eating disorder.

Brittle bones from anti-convulsants have also caused him to fracture his hip.

Ms Burley introduced Adam to medicinal cannabis a year and a half ago.

“Within about a month, he started eating again,” she told AAP.

“I took him off a couple of the pharmaceuticals as well and that … along with the medicinal cannabis definitely caused him to be a bit more alert and responsive.”

Ms Burley was visited by police officers who knew about the cannabis.

“They found out about his story and his condition and they actually apologised,” she said.

“They thought I was just a mum giving him cannabis. They sort of turned a blind eye.”

But she’s torn between the risk of criminal charges and wanting to do the right thing as a parent.

“As a mum all I want is quality of life for my child because the drugs have just done nothing for him.”

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has said he was “sympathetic” to the idea of medicinal cannabis, but any decision should be based on information from the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Lanai Carter said both the Liberal National and Labor parties were taking a back seat on the issue.

“It is incredibly frustrating for us,” she said.

New South Wales has planned a $9 million trial for medical cannabis which could potentially treat children with severe epilepsy, terminally ill adults and those undergoing chemotherapy.

But Ms Carter, who has travelled to the US with her son four times for treatment for a brain tumour and epilepsy, said clinical trials were not good enough.

“These children and terminally ill and chronically ill patients are suffering right now. They need that relief now,” she said.

“People are compassionate and it’s time that the government becomes compassionate too.”

The renewed push comes after the court appearance of a 30-year-old Cairns father who was charged with using cannabis oil to treat his cancer-stricken daughter on Friday.

A spokesman for Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg later told AAP there had been no change in the government’s position.

The NSW trial came about after all participants of the Standing Committee on Health acknowledged “the very serious side effects of unsupervised use of marijuana”, he said.

“There are many well documented risks posed by cannabis consumption.”

Source: Calls for Compassion in Cannabis Debate