Is medical marijuana an effective treatment for childhood epilepsy?

Is medical marijuana an effective treatment for childhood epilepsy?

Following media reports of children with epilepsy allegedly benefiting from medical marijuana (or cannabis-based medicinal products) obtained abroad, the UK government granted clinicians the authority to prescribe these products. A review published in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology investigates the science behind cannabis-based medicinal products in pediatric epilepsies and identifies areas that require further investigation.

The authors also looked into the prescribing environment for these products. They discovered that the main barrier to prescribing is a lack of high-quality evidence for efficacy and safety.

They emphasize that unlicensed cannabis-based medicinal products should not be prescribed unless they meet standard regulatory requirements. They are also concerned that children with epilepsy may be used as a “Trojan horse” for the cannabis industry, with widespread acceptance of medicinal cannabis hastening the legalization of marijuana and opening up a lucrative commercial market.

Is medical marijuana an effective treatment for childhood epilepsy?

Cannabis intoxication and accidental ingestion rates in young children rise after legalization, according to a new study.

Cannabis intoxication and accidental ingestion rates in young children rise after legalization, according to a new study.

Following the drug’s legalization in Canada, there has been a significant increase in the number of children admitted to intensive care for unintentional cannabis poisonings.

In the first two years after cannabis legalization, researchers from The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto discovered a four-fold increase in unintentional poisonings in children under the age of 12 and a three-fold increase in intensive care admissions for severe cannabis poisoning.

When comparing the pre- and post-legalization periods, the overall number of visits per month for cannabis intoxications to the SickKids Emergency Department (ED) remained consistent. Clinical Toxicology, a peer-reviewed journal, published the findings.

The study compared cannabis-related ED visits, hospitalizations, and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions at SickKids during pre- and post-legalization periods to analyze the unintended consequences of the legislation, led by Dr. Yaron Finkelstein, Staff Physician, Paediatric Emergency Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology at SickKids.

“While cannabis intoxication is uncommon in adults, it can have serious consequences for young children, including behavioral changes, seizures, respiratory depression, coordination and balance problems, and even coma. As various cannabis formulations become legal, it is critical for everyone who has cannabis in their home to be aware of the potential harms to children and to ensure cannabis products are safely stored “Finkelstein, SickKids’ Senior Scientist, Child Health Evaluative Sciences.

Measuring admissions for cannabis intoxication to SickKids over a 12-year period, from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2019, the study discovered that after legalization, a higher proportion of children were admitted to the ICU (13.6 percent vs. 4.7 percent , respectively).

The study determined that the rise in severe cannabis intoxications was primarily due to young children’s exposure to cannabis edibles, which have become increasingly accessible and popular. Because edible cannabis products are both highly concentrated and visually appealing to young children, ingestion is the most significant route of paediatric exposure. Inconsistencies and difficulties in determining the precise formulation and potency of the edible consumed can also make it difficult for health-care providers to predict the severity and duration of the effects of cannabis exposure.

The study team, which included researchers and trainees from across SickKids, hopes that by raising awareness of the potential dangers of unintentional cannabis poisonings, the findings will encourage the public to be even more cautious when storing cannabis products at home, particularly edibles, which are frequently mistaken for regular food and candy by children.

“Because the COVID-19 pandemic has provided more opportunities for families to stay at home, it is even more important to keep substances like cannabis out of the reach of young children. There are simple steps that everyone can take to help prevent unintentional poisonings and keep children safe, such as storing cannabis products in a locked container separate from other food and drinks “Finkelstein, who is also a Professor at the University of Toronto’s Departments of Paediatrics, Pharmacology, and Toxicology, adds.

Cannabis intoxication and accidental ingestion rates in young children rise after legalization, according to a new study.

Is there a new high for migraine treatment? The trial investigates the efficacy of THC and CBD.

Is there a new high for migraine treatment? The trial investigates the efficacy of THC and CBD.

Allison Knigge began having migraines when she was in elementary school. They became progressively worse over time, particularly after the birth of her son.

“My migraines are described as piercing pain. It’s as if my mind is being squeezed. It causes extreme sensitivity to light and sound, as well as horrendous nausea “Knigge stated. “I’ve experienced pain levels of 6 or higher for approximately 25 days out of the month. They have an impact on my quality of life.”

Migraines cause symptoms that are frequently severe and incapacitating. They cause severe throbbing or pulsating headaches, usually on one side of the head, and are frequently accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and/or extreme sensitivity to light and sound. A migraine attack can last for hours, days, or even weeks.

Knigge claims she has tried a number of medications over the years, but none have been able to completely relieve her migraines.

“The weather, stress, and a lack of sleep all contribute to my migraines. When the pain becomes unbearable, I spend the entire day in bed, with the lights turned off “Knigge stated. “When I have a migraine, I am completely incapacitated, which is difficult as a mother.”

Despite the fact that there are numerous FDA-approved treatments on the market, experts say that many patients are turning to cannabis products containing THC and/or CBD, a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, to treat their migraines.

“Many migraine patients have been suffering from them for many years but have never discussed them with their doctors. They are, instead, self-medicate with various treatments such as cannabis “said Nathaniel Schuster, MD, UC San Diego Health’s pain management specialist and headache neurologist, and investigator at the UC San Diego Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. “Right now, we don’t have evidence-based data to answer patients’ questions about whether cannabis works for migraines.”

Schuster and his colleagues at UC San Diego Health are conducting the first known randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of cannabis as a potential treatment for acute migraines.

A total of 20 people are currently enrolled in the clinical trial. Knigge is among them.

“I decided to take part in the trial after hearing about it from Dr. Schuster. I had reached a point where I was willing to try anything to help me manage my migraines “Knigge stated.

The goal is to enroll 90 participants who will be randomized to receive four different treatments for four separate migraine attacks: one with THC, one with CBD, one with a combination of the two, and one with a placebo. A vaporizer is used to administer the products.

“Vaporized cannabis may be more effective for patients who have nausea or gastrointestinal issues with their migraines,” said Shuster, an assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of California, San Diego.

To be eligible for the clinical trial, patients must have migraines at least once a month, be a non-regular cannabis user, not use opioids, and be between the ages of 21 and 65.

“I am proud and grateful to be a part of a study that may result in more tools in the toolbox for those of us who suffer from migraines,” Knigge said. “It could mean that you have one more option if all of your other options have failed. This is extremely important for patients whose lives are regularly disrupted by migraines.”

Schuster stated that future research would compare different cannabinoid doses.

Is there a new high for migraine treatment? The trial investigates the efficacy of THC and CBD.

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Medical cannabis can alleviate essential tremor by activating previously unnoticed cells in the central nervous system.

Medical cannabis can alleviate essential tremor by activating previously unnoticed cells in the central nervous system.

Medical cannabis is a hotly debated topic. There is still much we don’t know about cannabis, but researchers from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences’ Department of Neuroscience have made a new discovery that could be critical to future medical cannabis research and treatment.

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in cannabis as well as the central nervous system. The researchers used a mouse model to show that a specific synthetic cannabinoid (cannabinoid WIN55,212-2) reduces essential tremor by activating spinal cord and brain support cells known as astrocytes. Previous research into medical cannabis has concentrated on nerve cells, or neurons.

“We concentrated on the disease essential tremor. It causes involuntary shaking, which can be extremely inhibiting and have a serious impact on the patient’s quality of life. However, the cannabinoid may have a beneficial effect on multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries, both of which cause involuntary shaking “According to the project’s leader, Associate Professor Jean-François Perrier of the Department of Neuroscience.

“We discovered that injecting the cannabinoid WIN55,212-2 into the spinal cord activates the astrocytes and causes them to release the substance adenosine, which reduces nerve activity and thus the unwanted shaking.”

Treatment that is specific and does not have any negative side effects

The discovery that astrocytes are involved in the explanation for cannabis’s effect is a completely novel approach to understanding cannabis’s medical effects, and it may help improve the treatment of patients suffering from involuntary shaking.

The spinal cord is in charge of the majority of our movements. When the motor neurons in the spinal cord are activated, both voluntary and spontaneous movements are elicited. Motor neurons connect the spinal cord to the muscles, and when a motor neuron sends an impulse to the muscles, it causes contraction and thus movement. When motor neurons send out conflicting signals at the same time, involuntary shaking occurs. That is why the researchers have concentrated their efforts on the spinal cord.

“One could imagine a new approach to medical cannabis for shaking, where you—during the development of cannabis-based medicinal products—target the treatment either at the spinal cord or the astrocytes—or, at best, the astrocytes of the spinal cord,” says Postdoc Eva Carlsen, who performed the majority of the tests during her Ph.D. and postdoc projects.

“By taking this approach, we will avoid affecting the neurons in the brain that are responsible for our memory and cognitive abilities, and we will be able to offer effective treatment to patients suffering from involuntary shaking without exposing them to any of the most problematic side effects of medical cannabis.”

The next step will be to conduct clinical trials on patients suffering from essential tremor to see if the new approach has the same effect in humans.

The study, titled Spinal astroglial cannabinoid receptors regulate pathological tremor, was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Medical cannabis can alleviate essential tremor by activating previously unnoticed cells in the central nervous system.

More than half of Parkinson's disease patients who use cannabis report clinical benefits.

More than half of Parkinson’s disease patients who use cannabis report clinical benefits.

With the legalization of medicinal cannabis in many parts of the world, there is growing interest in its use to treat symptoms of a variety of illnesses, including Parkinson’s disease (PD). According to the results of a survey of PD patients in Germany published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, more than 8% of PD patients used cannabis products, and more than half of those users (54%) reported a beneficial clinical effect.

“Medical cannabis was legally approved in Germany in 2017 for therapy-resistant symptoms in severely affected patients independent of diagnosis and without clinical evidence-based data,” said lead investigator Prof. Dr. med. Carsten Buhmann of the Department of Neurology at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Hamburg, Germany. “Patients with Parkinson’s disease who meet these criteria are eligible for medical cannabis, but there is little data on which type of cannabinoid and route of administration might be promising for which PD patient and which symptoms. We also don’t know how well the PD community is informed about medicinal cannabis, if they’ve tried it, and if so, how well it worked for them.”

The researchers wanted to assess patients’ perceptions of medicinal cannabis as well as the experiences of patients who were already using cannabis products. They conducted a nationwide, cross-sectional, questionnaire-based survey among members of the German Parkinson Association (Deutsche Parkinson Vereinigung e.V.), which has nearly 21,000 members and is the largest consortium of PD patients in German-speaking countries. Questionnaires were distributed in the investigators’ clinic and sent out with the association’s membership journal in April 2019.

Over 1,300 questionnaires were analyzed; the results revealed that the PD community was interested in medical cannabis, but knowledge about different types of products was limited. Only 51% of respondents were aware of the legality of medicinal cannabis, and 28% were aware of the various routes of administration (inhaling versus oral administration), but only 9% were aware of the distinction between THC and CBD.


According to one study, using cannabis

According to one study, using cannabis while trying to conceive may reduce your chances of getting pregnant.

Reproduction in Humans According to a study conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, women who use marijuana may have a more difficult time conceiving a child than women who do not use marijuana. Marijuana use among the women’s partners was not investigated, which could have influenced conception rates. Sunni L. Mumford, Ph.D., of the Epidemiology Branch at the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, led the team. The research was published in the journal Human Reproduction.

The women were part of a larger group of women who were attempting to conceive after one or two previous miscarriages. Women who reported using cannabis products—marijuana or hashish—in the weeks preceding pregnancy, or who had positive urine tests for cannabis use, were approximately 40% less likely to conceive per monthly cycle than women who did not use cannabis. Although the findings suggest that cannabis may affect women’s fertility, the authors cautioned that they should be interpreted with caution because the study only included a small number of cannabis users. However, the authors state that their findings suggest that women who are trying to conceive should use cannabis with caution until more conclusive evidence is available.

The researchers examined data from a larger study of over 1,200 women ages 18 to 40 who had one or two miscarriages. The women took part in the study for up to six monthly cycles while attempting to conceive and for the duration of the pregnancy if conception occurred. Following enrollment in the study, the women completed a questionnaire in which they were asked if they had used marijuana, pot, or hashish in the previous 12 months, with responses ranging from never, rarely, occasionally, sometimes, frequently, to daily. Each woman also provided urine samples for analysis when she first entered the study, six months later if she did not conceive, and at the time of a positive pregnancy test if she did conceive.

For each monthly cycle, women who had used cannabis while trying to conceive were 41% less likely to conceive than non-users. Similarly, a smaller proportion of cannabis users than non-users became pregnant during the study—42% versus 66%. The authors found no differences in miscarriage rates between users and non-users who had achieved pregnancy.

The authors noted that, compared to non-users, cannabis users also had differences in reproductive hormones involved in ovulation. These differences could potentially have influenced their likelihood of conception. Specifically, users had higher levels of luteinizing hormone and a higher proportion of luteinizing hormone to follicle stimulating hormone.

The authors also mentioned that animal studies had revealed that cannabis use could alter the uterine lining, making it less likely that an embryo would implant and establish a pregnancy. Women trying to conceive should be aware that cannabis may have an effect on their pregnancy chances until more research is available, according to the authors.

According to one study, using cannabis

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Medical cannabis reduces seizures in children with epilepsy.

Medical cannabis reduces seizures in children with epilepsy.

A review found that while medicinal cannabis could provide significant relief for patients suffering from intractable epilepsy, cost and access barriers still exist.

According to evidence from a small number of patients, cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) can provide significant relief from intractable epilepsy.

Prof. David Nutt and Rayyan Zafar of Imperial College London examined the impact of combined CBD and THC-based products on the frequency of epileptic seizures in a study of ten cases of severe childhood-onset epilepsy.

They discovered that when patients received whole plant extract cannabis treatments—which are not currently licensed in the UK—caregivers reported a 97 percent reduction in monthly frequency of seizures, indicating a clear benefit among this group. Despite the clinical benefit, they point to the high cost of the treatments and the difficulty in obtaining them in the UK.

“Patients and their families deserve better,” said Zafar, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Brain Sciences. “We implore policymakers, regulators, and public health bodies to prioritize the health of these individuals and help them access medicines that are making a dramatic improvement in their lives.”

The full study is available in Drug Science, Policy, and Law.

Medical cannabis reduces seizures in children with epilepsy.

Two companies are the first in Latin America to export medicinal marijuana to Europe.

Two companies are the first in Latin America to export medicinal marijuana to Europe.

Under agreements announced Wednesday, two Uruguayan and Colombian companies will become the first in Latin America to export medical marijuana products to Europe.

Fotmer Life Sciences of Uruguay and Clever Leaves of Colombia will export cannabis extract and dried marijuana flowers to Germany, which they describe as Europe’s largest market, with an estimated 700,000 people using marijuana-derived medicinal products.

Uruguay became the first country in the world in December 2013 to legalize a national cannabis market, from growing to purchasing for personal use, and the government later legalized the export of medical marijuana products to countries where it is legal, sparking a surge of investment. Colombia has legalized medical marijuana products after decriminalizing marijuana use.

The announcements of the deals did not specify a monetary value or a start date.

“This puts Uruguay on the map” in terms of pharmaceutical cannabis, according to Fotmer CEO Jordan Lewis, an American who moved to Uruguay to participate in the cannabis industry following its legalization.

Clever Leaves CEO Andrés Fajardo said in a press release from Germany that the export deal demonstrates “that the Colombian market can reach international standards and produce high quality medicinal cannabis.”

Cansativa GmbH, the German company that will import the products, stated that this is the first time a European company has purchased medicinal cannabis from Latin America. Cansativa co-founder and director Benedikt Sons stated in a statement that trade with Latin America will ensure better prices in Germany by expanding supply sources beyond the Netherlands and Canada.

Fotmer, based in the small town of Nueva Helvecia, employs 80 people and plans to invest $7 million in laboratories and 10 tons of marijuana crops for export. It offers dried cannabis flowers for sale.

Clever Leaves manufactures marijuana flower extract oil, which is used in pills, creams, ointments, patches, and other products for the treatment of epilepsy and chronic pain, among other things. It intends to produce 32 tons of dried marijuana flowers this year and 85 tons by 2020.

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