Tag: Health & Medicine

Study: Cannabinoid Spray Helps Calm Spasticity in Spinal Cord Injuries

New research indicates Sativex – a cannabis-derived pharmaceutical – can mitigate spasticity associated with prolonged spinal cord injury.

Conducted by a group of Spanish doctors from the Hospital Universitario y Politécnico, La Fe, Valencia, Spain, a six-month study revealed that Sativex (a cannabinoid-based spray) may provide relief where Western medicine has failed.

Sativex Study

A comparatively small observational study, 15 patients participated in the “orally administered drug delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-cannabidiol” research. The study found that patients diagnosed with chronic spinal cord injuries with refractory spasticity benefited from the cannabis-based medicine.  

According to the abstract published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the analyzed variables were measured by utilizing four different scales: “modified Ashworth scale, Penn spasm frequency scale, Numeric Rating Scale, and Visual Analogue Scale for pain. Additionally, clinical variables and side effects of the treatment were also collected.”

Sativex Research Results

“Fifteen patients took part in this study. A significant improvement was observed on three of the scales recorded: modified Ashworth scale (z = -2.97; p = 0.003), Penn spasm frequency scale (z = -2.76; p = 0.006) and Numeric Rating Scale (z = -3.21; p = 0.001). The use of the drug was withdrawn in two patients due to side effects.”

While the study concluded Sativex benefits those suffering from spasticity associated with chronic spinal cord injury, and for whom therapeutic measures have been inadequate, it also noted that “further studies need to be conducted before the use of this drug can be recommended.”

Manufactured and distributed by GW Pharmaceuticals, the cannabinoid-based spray was found to be effectual in a 2014 study at quelling spasticity suffered by multiple sclerosis patients.

 

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American Legion to Head of VA: Support MMJ/PTSD Research

On Wednesday, the nation’s largest and most conservative military veterans organization called out the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – asking VA Secretary David Shulkin to support Dr. Sue Sisley’s FDA-approved research into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the medicinal efficacy of cannabis.

Denise Rohan, the American Legion national commander, sent a letter to the secretary of the VA “urging” Shulkin and his department “to support an FDA-Approved Marijuana/PTSD research study.”

Conducted by Dr. Sue Sisley in conjunction with the National Institute of Health and the California-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the collaborative study is currently underway at the Scottsdale Institute in Arizona.

Made possible by a $2.16 million grant from the Colorado Health Department, the study has so far enrolled only 22 of the required 76 volunteers, after screening over 4,000 potential candidates. The Military Times reported in August the Veterans Administration was blocking research into the potential benefits of marijuana for vets suffering from PTSD.

Sisley believes many vets who would otherwise qualify for the study are just out of reach. Sequestered among the thousands of military veterans at the nearby Phoenix VA Medical Center, Dr. Sisley has lobbied the VA and their physicians for access to PTSD patients – to no avail.

With her appeals long ignored by the Veterans Administration and Secretary David Shulkin, Dr. Sisley has worried — if no new participants step forward soon, the study would either need to “shut down,” or the parameters would have to change to include “non-veterans.”

Rohan’s letter to Secretary Shulkin underscored the VA’s obligation to forge ahead with all medical research that could potentially help America’s vets. “The VA is a national scientific research leader with a statutory obligation to care for and improve the lives of our nation’s veterans. The American Legion calls on the Department of Veterans Affairs to assist the Scottsdale Institute, in accordance with the VA’s existing policies and regulations.”

As published on Legion.org, the following letter was sent by the national commander of the American Legion to VA Secretary David Shulkin:

“Dr. Mr. Secretary:

For more than a year, The American Legion has called on the federal government to support and enable scientific research to clinically confirm the medicinal value of cannabis. The National Academy of Medicine recently reviewed 10,000 scientific abstracts on the therapeutic value of cannabis and reached nearly 100 conclusions in a report issued earlier this year. As a two million member strong veteran service organization, our primary interest and advocacy is grounded in the wellbeing and improved health of our veterans, and specifically our service disabled veterans.

The Scottsdale Research Institute, outside of Phoenix Arizona, is currently in phase one of an FDA-Approved Marijuana/PTSD research study, being conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Health (NIH) National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). This study is a Placebo-Controlled, Triple-Blind, Randomized Crossover Pilot Study of the Safety and Efficacy of Four Different Potencies of Smoked Marijuana in 76 Veterans with Chronic, Treatment-Resistant Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The American Legion is a strong, vocal proponent of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and has published several books, pamphlets, and magazines that help showcase VA’s value to The United States of America. Our members have long been a ferocious advocate for evidence-based, complementary and alternative medicines and therapies. For decades, we have supported increased funding and research in such therapies as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, Quantitative Electroencephalography (QEEG), animal therapy, recreational therapy, meditation, and mindfulness therapies, just to name a few, to improve outcomes for veterans confronted with PTSD.

The American Legion supports VA’s statutory medical research mission and has donated millions of dollars toward expanding VA’s scientific research. VA innovation is widely championed for their breakthrough discoveries in medicine and has been recognized over the years with three Nobel Prizes for scientific work that has benefited the world over.

The research being conducted by the Scottsdale Institute is the first cannabis based research of its kind in The United States and could potentially produce scientific evidence that will enhance, improve, and save the lives of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many veterans have approached us to tell us that access to cannabis has materially improved their health and well-being. While their stories are very compelling, we need clinical evidence to have a fact-based discussion on the future of cannabis policy.

As a scientific research leader in this country with a statutory obligation to care for and improve the lives of our nation’s veterans, The American Legion calls on the Department of Veterans Affairs to assist the Scottsdale Institute, in accordance with VA’s existing policies and regulations (VHA Directive 1200 §2.b and §5.tt VHA Handbook 1200.01 §8.g and §10.a(1) VHA Handbook 1200.05 §3.xxx(note)) that states, in part;

“NOTE: This guidance does not preclude VA clinicians, in the normal course of their clinical duties, from discussing specific research studies with their patients where appropriate, and referring them to a non-VA investigator for more information about a non-VA study. However, VA personnel should not provide the non-VA investigator with the names or contact information of Veterans who might be eligible for the study. Instead, the VA clinician should provide the Veteran with the contact information for the non-VA investigator so the Veteran may initiate contact if he/she is interested in participating in the non-VA study.”

The Carl T. Hayden Phoenix VA Health Care System is ideally geographically located to assist with this effort and should enthusiastically take the lead in assisting with this research study. There is an overwhelming body of evidence suggests that cannabis is effective in treating a number of service connected related illnesses, including PTSD and chronic pain, the two most persistent and widespread illnesses and injuries plaguing our veteran community. Without the assistance of the Department, this study is in jeopardy of failing due to lack of viable test participants. Project scientists have screened thousands of applicants, but due to the strict requirements of the study which is required to produce reliable scientific data, nearly 99 percent of these applicants are eliminated for a variety of screening reasons. This study needs 50 more participants and the Phoenix VA is in the best possible position to assist by simply allowing principle investigators to brief VAMC medical staff on the progress of the study, and by allowing clinicians to reveal the existence of the study to potential participants.

Your immediate attention in this important matter is greatly appreciated. We ask for your direct involvement to ensure this critical research is fully enabled.

Sincerely,

Denise H. Rohan”

Photo courtesy of Veteran’s View

Weedmaps has long supported veterans’ access to medical marijuana. In this 2012 Veterans Day video, Patrick, who suffers from PTSD and a traumatic brain injury, shares how medical marijuana has helped make the activities of daily living more tolerable for those with PTSD.

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Study: National Medical Marijuana Could Save Thousands of Lives Annually

A new study published by the University of Indiana (IU) indicates that medical marijuana, if legalized nationally, could be a true lifesaver.

Per the Indiana study, approximately 47,500 American lives could be saved annually if medical marijuana were legalized nationally.

Authored by Dr. Thomas M. Clark, the IU research scrutinized studies published since 2000 and evaluated the impact of legalized medical marijuana on potentially fatal diseases and American “mortality.”

Research methodology:

“The effects of Cannabis use on mortality from effects on organ systems and disease states considered most likely to be influenced by Cannabis were investigated. These were cancer, appetite and metabolism, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, lung disease, and brain injury. Then, data on changes in mortality rates or harmful behaviors following legalization of medical marijuana were sought and analyzed.”

For the study researchers examined the effects of:

Thought to be responsible for an estimated 6,100 to 9,000 deaths annually, the study concluded prohibition is as deadly to the American public as drunk driving, homicide, or a fatal addiction to opioids. Conversely, the study noted, “cannabis use appears to prevent approximately 17,400 to 38,500 premature deaths annually.”

Cannabis use and substantial reduction in premature deaths in the United States. by Monterey Bud on Scribd

 

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