With Jeff Sessions Days Being Numbered His Replacements Aren’t Much Better

Derek Thomas Political Analyst

As recently covered by Technical420, Trump’s and Sessions’ relationship continues to degrade and the possibility that Sessions will either soon quit or be fired begins to look like more and more of a reality. Initially, cannabis supporters may feel the urge to rejoice in the thought of the prohibitionist fuddy-dud losing his job. A win-win maybe? Sessions has to tuck tail and run back to Alabama to rethink his career, and the vacancy he leaves may be filled by a more level-headed individual.

Unfortunately, the potential replacements may be just as harsh on cannabis and may find new power and boldness with their fresh start at the Department of Justice.

The two candidates with the best possibility of being appointed to the newly vacant Attorney General position are Rudy Giuliani and Ted Cruz – neither of which have a favorable track record when it comes to marijuana policy.

During Rudy Giuliani’s reign of terror as mayor of New York City more than 50,000 people were arrested for possession of marijuana. According to NORML, Marijuana Arrests in New York City exploded under Giuliani – going from roughly 1,000 per year to 40,000 in a single year. The rise in arrests was in spite of loosening regulation around the state. Where it would have been well within officer’s abilities to issue simple written arrests, Giuliani saw to it to ensure criminal charges were pressed, often ruining the careers and lives of other-wise upstanding citizens.

Alberto Willmore was a beloved public-school teacher who taught art and mentored students. He was a servant of his community and had a long and distinguished career. Instead of simply issuing Mr. Willmore a civil fine for possessing a small amount of cannabis, New York City continues to disrespect state laws governing cannabis possession by arresting, detaining, prosecuting and forcing Mr. Willmore to lose his dream job as an art teacher for what law enforcement – and Giuliani – deem a ‘serious crime’

Ted Cruz has equally of a repressive, and probably not surprising, opinion towards marijuana. In 2014, he criticized president Obama when he delivered the keynote address at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Policy Orientation for not cracking down on ‘rogue’ states like Colorado.

“A whole lot of folks now are talking about legalizing pot,” Cruz told the crowd. “The brownies you had this morning, provided by the state of Colorado.”

After the laughter subsided, he continued with “You can make reasonable arguments on that issue. The president earlier this past year announced the Department of Justice is going to stop prosecuting certain drug crimes. He didn’t change the law.”

“You could go to Congress, you can get a conversation, you could get Democrats and Republicans who would say, ‘We ought to change our drug policy in some way,’ and you could have a real conversation, you could have hearings, you could look at the problem, you could discuss commonsense changes that maybe should happen or shouldn’t happen,” Cruz continued. “This president didn’t do that. He just said, ‘The laws say one thing’ — and mind you these are criminal laws, these are laws that say if you do ‘X, Y, and Z’ you will go to prison. The president announced, ‘No, you won’t.’”

But it’s important to see through this political rhetoric into the real anti-marijuana Ted Cruz. Cruz knows marijuana policy and popularity is a rapidly changing landscape. Rather than expose his true anti-marijuana sentiments, he would mask his prohibitionist ways in favor of claiming the importance of having the debate take place in congress, rather in the Oval office and subsequently the Department of Justice. But can you imagine Cruz voting in favor of any pro-marijuana legislation? Can you imagine Cruz’s evangelical base being appeased by any change in his past policies? Me either.

Jeff Sessions power as Attorney general has been incredibly weakened by multiple factors since being sworn into the position. His entanglement in the Russian collusion scandal, followed by multiple spats and an almost father-like disownment from Trump have left him with little room to pursue an agenda that would stir more controversy.

I’m shocked to be typing these words, but perhaps a weakened Jeff Sessions is better than an emboldened Giuliani or Cruz.


Federal lawsuit against Sessions and DEA says marijuana’s Schedule I status unconstitutional

Plaintiffs claim the classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance is so “irrational” that it violates the U.S. Constitution

A diverse cadre of cannabis advocates filed a federal lawsuit Monday challenging the constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as it pertains to marijuana.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Drug Enforcement Administration acting administrator Charles Rosenberg were named as defendants in the lawsuit brought by a former NFL player, two children using medical marijuana, an Iraq War vet with post-traumatic stress disorder and a social justice nonprofit organization.

The CSA’s classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance — a designation reserved for the most dangerous substances including heroin, LSD and mescaline — is so “irrational” that it violates the U.S. Constitution, plaintiffs claim.

The 89-page complaint, filed in the Southern District of New York by attorney Michael S. Hiller, further claims that the federal government does not believe and never has believed that cannabis meets or ever met the three Schedule I requirements: high potential for abuse, no medical use in treatment, and no ability to be used or tested safely, even under medical supervision.

“Indeed, the Federal Government has admitted repeatedly in writing and implemented national policy reflecting that Cannabis does in fact, have medical uses and can be used and tested safely under medical supervision,” the complaint states. “On that basis, the federal government has exploited cannabis economically for more than a decade by securing a medical cannabis patent and entering into license agreements with medical licensees.”

The lawsuit goes on to state that the 1970 CSA as it pertains to cannabis was enacted and subsequently implemented not to stop the spread of a dangerous drug, but instead to suppress the rights of African Americans and Vietnam War protesters.

“The Nixon Administration ushered the CSA through Congress and insisted that cannabis be included on Schedule I so that African Americans and war protesters could be raided, prosecuted and incarcerated without identifying the actual and unconstitutional basis for the government’s actions,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit seeks a declaration that the CSA is unconstitutional; a ruling in the plaintiff’s favor would not nullify the law, but instead put a permanent injunction against enforcement of the law as it pertains to marijuana.

The five plaintiffs in the case are a diverse group of cannabis advocates from around the country.

Immagine correlata

Retired NFL defensive end Marvin Washington of Dallas, a long-time cannabis legalization proponent, is suing because the CSA makes him ineligible to obtain grants under the Federal Minority Business Enterprise program to start a medical marijuana business.

Alexis Bortell, young medical cannabis patient
Alexis Bortell, age 11, gets a kiss from her father, Dean Bortell, as the two wait to testify during a Colorado House committee hearing on marijuana legislation March 6, 2017, in Denver. The Bortell family moved from Texas to Colorado to treat Alexis’ seizures with medical cannabis. (David Zalubowski, The Associated Press)

Alexis Bortell, 11, uses medical cannabis to treat her intractable epilepsy. Her parents — both military veterans — moved their family from Texas to Larkspur, Colo., so that she could access the medicine that her family says drastically improved her seizure condition. She is suing because the CSA restricts her ability to travel freely with her medicine and also because the federal illegality of cannabis forbids her from fully accessing the benefits due her as the child of a military veteran.

When he was just 1, Jagger Cotte of DeKalb County, Ga., was put in hospice care, diagnosed with deadly Leigh’s Disease. His parents turned to medical cannabis with hopes of relieving his near constant pain and believe it has extended his life. Now 6, Jagger relies on medical cannabis and, like Alexis, is suing because the CSA takes away his right to travel by airplane or travel to or through states in which medical cannabis is illegal.

Jose Balen, 34, of Seminole County, Fla., served in the U.S. Army and was deployed to Iraq for 14 months starting in May 2003. Today, he uses medical cannabis to treat PTSD, and is suing for the right to safely enter a military base, travel by airplane, and travel to states where medical cannabis is illegal.

New York’s Cannabis Cultural Association is a 501(c)3 nonprofit helping marginalized and underrepresented communities engage in the legal cannabis industry; fighting for criminal justice reform; improving access to medical cannabis; and advocating for adult use legalization. The group contends that the CSA was enacted and enforced in a discriminatory manner historically targeting populations of color and today prevents them from participating in the legal cannabis industry.


Read the text of the suit

Cannabis Might Be Helping Low-functioning Autistic Children Write

An Israeli doctor who never smoked pot is conducting the first study in the world that’s examining the effects of cannabis on autism – and he’s optimistic about the results.

Talking to: Dr. Adi Aran, 47, director, neuro-pediatric unit, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, who’s studying the effects of cannabis oil on autism. Where: In his office. When: Thursday at 11 A.M.

Minutes before I entered, a child who’s a candidate for research you’re working on left the office. Tell me about that child.

He’s 9 years old, suffers from autism and doesn’t get along in school. It’s hard for him to sit, he has outbursts, bites himself, bites others, hits children. His parents think he has a lot of potential, and that was my impression too. He also seems to understand more than he would appear to externally. His mother relates that when he watches movies, he laughs at the right places, and when he’s told the family is going to the beach, he goes and brings his bag.

When you say “school,” you mean special education.

Of course. It’s a school with eight children and four staff members. Every morning, when the school bus comes, he throws his bag around, bites his mother, bites himself, bursts out. He gets medication, of course, and behaves that way despite the drugs.

What medication does he get?

Antipsychotic drugs. About half the autistic children have behavioral problems that antipsychotic drugs have been found helpful in treating. The most popular medications are the ones given to most schizophrenic patients – Risperdal [risperidone] and Abilify [aripriprazole]. This boy is on medication, but his behavior hasn’t become moderated.

The parents say that it’s very hard for them. The boy is not calm. He wants to be at his mother’s side all the time, even when she’s in the shower, and even if the father is with him, he can’t cope with it. He’s very much afraid of heights, of people, of noise.

And you are considering adding this boy to the research you’re conducting – the first of its kind in the world – on treatment of children with autism with cannabis.

It is indeed the first study in the world that’s examining the effects of cannabis on autism. The research is still ongoing, and I want to be very careful about what I say, but as of now we are seeing very good results – we see an improvement in behavioral problems.

You’re referring, undoubtedly, to cannabis oil.

Yes. Oil that’s placed under the tongue. We start with one drop and go on from there.

Can I try it?

Yes. It probably won’t have an effect on you; it doesn’t have the effect for which people generally use cannabis. It doesn’t cause a high.

Yes, it doesn’t have THC [the principal mind-altering ingredient in the cannabis plant].

I’ll have a taste, too. The truth is that I haven’t tried it until now.

It doesn’t make you high, but the bottle says “dangerous drug.” Why’s that?

Because as far as the Health Ministry is concerned, cannabis is cannabis, and they don’t take into account the different types or the different levels of active substances in the plant. I find that to be a problem, because when I get a permit to give cannabis to a child, they don’t actually care what I give him, and there’s no supervision. Personally, I don’t like giving THC to children. We had a case here in which the parents of a patient insisted that we give her a compound containing THC, and she had a psychotic attack. We’re still traumatized by that case.

The Dangerous Drugs Ordinance is sweeping with regard to cannabis.

Right, and it makes no difference to the authorities that what we give here is no stronger than Acamol [the analgesic paracetamol], for this purpose.

Maybe you should explain about CBD and THC.

When we talk about cannabis, we’re actually referring to the specific type that has a certain effect, because every type affects the brain differently, according to the levels of active ingredients it contains. The compounds distinctive to cannabis are called cannabinoids. There are more than a hundred of them, but the main and most familiar ones are CBD [cannabidiol] and THC. People who smoke cannabis for pleasure are seeking THC.

The psychoactive element.

Yes. It’s responsible for the feeling of being high. Most of the medical types of cannabis also include mainly THC – that’s what people want. That’s also what probably helps treat people who are suffering from pain, nausea, lack of appetite, Tourette’s and so forth. We don’t like to give THC to children, because there’s evidence that at a young age it can cause addiction, aggravate anxiety, sometimes even induce psychotic events.

What about CBD?

The studies done with cannabis showed that the more CBD it contains, the more it interferes with the feeling of the high. CBD affects the brain but it’s not psychoactive. On the contrary: It lowers the high, reduces anxiety, diminishes psychosis; it’s generally anti-inflammatory, it protects the brain, and is therefore its use is increasing, particularly with epilepsy. There’s evidence that as long ago as 5,000 years ago, it was used to treat epilepsy.

In recent years, we are seeing cannabis used as medical treatment for a whole range of problems and diseases. How did this all begin?

It is still an illegal substance, and until not long ago it wasn’t on the medical agenda. The process actually started because of parental pressure. Parents of children with serious diseases are constantly looking for answers, and one of the things they asked to try was cannabis. The medical establishment didn’t support that. The parents were told that if they wanted to try treatments like that, they needed to apply to their governmental authorities. In the end, various states acceded, and permitted it. The first was Canada. In Israel, too, it was allowed relatively quickly, in 2008. But there were still a lot of reservations. Physicians refrained from prescribing it.

The difficulty the system has is that the information is anecdotal. There’s no proof.

There is no proof, only the testimony of people who say it helps them. Of course, there are also people who say that holy water helps them. And people whose children are sick will grasp at anything, which is understandable. In the end, it became possible, in terms of regulations, because of parental pressure. Physicians then began to examine it, and they conducted studies. More and more evidence accumulated suggesting that it really helps. Just last month, the New England Journal of Medicine, which is the most highly regarded medical journal, published the results of a study conducted on about 300 children. It found that the effects of cannabis in treating epilepsy last longer than those of other medications.

Where did the idea of trying cannabis on autistic children originate?

Again, from the parents. These are families that are living in isolation, with tremendous difficulties. They have a child with whom they can’t leave the house, the medications don’t help, and they are simply desperate for a solution. Parents began coming to me four years ago to ask about treatment with cannabis. I told them we had no proof that it works. But the truth is that it’s very difficult to say no in the face of the parents’ immense distress, and we had already seen that it really does help in treating epilepsy. So we said we’d give it a try.

Was it tough to convince you?

At first, yes, but the more time that passed, and the more cases I saw in which it helped, the less skeptical I became. I’m still cautious.

Have you ever used cannabis?


That’s an interesting stance from which to launch a study like this.

True. I never tried smoking street cannabis. I was in situations where it was offered, but I didn’t want to. I also only tasted this substance now, because of you. I’m really not afraid of CBD.

And THC?

At my age, no. But I would prefer if my children don’t touch it. Maybe it’s conservatism on my part. Could be.

So, how did you manage to get this study going?

First, we had to cross the barrier of the Ministry of Health, which did not permit the use of cannabis for autism, but only for cancer and chronic pain and the like. We tried to persuade them. We explained that there are serious problems, that there are cases with strong children who hit their parents, and that the [existing] medications don’t help.

They decided to approve it in very exceptional cases, and at first we worked only with truly difficult cases. We administered the oil in addition to regular medications, and most of the parents reported that it helped.

What did they say?

For example, that children whom the school-bus drivers had refused to take – because they were very wild even when they had someone accompanying them – started to use the bus. They sat nicely in the classroom. High-functioning children who received the oil were able to move to a better school framework, such as a regular class in combination [with special education]. Children who suffered from serious anxiety reported lower anxiety. In the light of these reports, we decided to conduct a large-scale controlled study. There is no other way to test new things in medicine.

Placebo conundrum

In a controlled study, some of the participants receive a placebo. Isn’t that somewhat problematic in this situation?

That truly is an issue. There was a great deal of discussion about it. I was asked how I allowed myself to give autistic children a placebo. It truly is very problematic to introduce a placebo into a study in which all the participants are in such a delicate condition. But in the end, it was decided that it we want to reach a situation of use in regular treatment, there was simply no choice. It’s true that it’s very difficult to give a suffering child a placebo, after it was seen that the first period of the treatment helped him. But we are thinking about the long term, and there was no choice.

Do you think there’s a placebo effect in the case of children with autism?

There are children who understand that they are taking a medicine that is supposed to help them, and then the brain activates a neural track that is beneficial, even though the medication did nothing. That of course depends on how much the child understands, and it’s not relevant for low-functioning children.

How many children are taking part in the study?

We decided on 120.

How did you select them? What’s the profile of a child who’s suitable for this kind of study?

We are still accepting children for the experiment. There’s a waiting list. There are now 53 children, with autism and behavioral problems, who are participating. Also taking part are children in regular education who have behavioral problems and who have a caregiver, because we see that it helps them, too.

Describe behavioral problems.

Behavioral problems aren’t necessarily what people think. Parents often come to me and say their child has problems with behavior. I ask what they are, and they’ll reply, for example, that he doesn’t speak. That is not a behavioral problem, from my point of view. It’s one of the core symptoms of autism, which of course we cannot cure. I am referring to outbursts, difficulties in school and the like. Children who are stabilized, with or without medication, are not suitable for this study.

I imagine that you have to deal with quite a lot of preconceived notions.

Definitely. Not long ago I was called to intensive care here in the hospital, to see an epileptic child in serious condition. I wanted to give him a little of the oil. The director of the ICU simply held her ground and said that it would not enter her department under any circumstances. Yet behind her there was a cabinet full of medicines two drops of which could paralyze a horse. But they were afraid of the oil. There is a lot of fear.

You are examining effectiveness on three levels: with behavioral problems, with communication difficulties and with anxiety. Are they interrelated? When anxiety is moderated, are behavioral problems also moderated? When there is less anxiety and fewer behavioral problems, is there also less frustration, in which case resources can be diverted in order to communicate?

Yes. We think that that’s what happens. We have observed a link between behavioral problems and anxiety, and in fact every element in this equation affects the others. The parents say that the child is less preoccupied. Previously he was constantly occupied with biting himself. They need a deep stimulus, you know, and now they are biting themselves less and turning to other things. Including communication. We are also examining how this affects the attitude of those around the child, because clearly, when he’s calmer it’s easier to work with him.

How do the parents describe the change?

In the controlled experiment, we don’t know whether the child received medication or a placebo, but the parents definitely say it helped. They say that the child is more present, he’s there, they speak to him and it’s not like talking to the wall, they ask something of him and he understands. There are fewer outbursts, and that improves the quality of life for everyone. There are some truly amazing stories. For example, a 20 year-old who opened the door for his sister, spoke her name and hugged her, after 20 years.

Astounding. What do the children who are able to speak say?

They feel that it’s doing something for them. One child said it makes his blood flow really fast. Words of autistic children are something complex, especially in high-functioning cases. They have a language of their own.

As a doctor who’s been dealing with this for as long as you have, do you think you have any sort of understanding of the autistic experience?

Look, it really is a very wide spectrum, but still, every day I encounter something new that amazes me.

Such as?

The writing phenomenon.

What’s that?

Low-functioning autistic children who don’t speak, who shut themselves in their room. There’s no real way to communicate with them. Ask such a child if he wants water, and he won’t be able to answer. And suddenly, parents told me that the children are writing. At first, the doctors said, “Nonsense, the child can’t speak a word, how can he possibly write?” We thought that perhaps the parents were helping them write, like in a séance, where it’s not clear who’s moving the glass. When they showed me what they wrote, I couldn’t believe it.

Can you show me?

I can read it to you. I have it here on WhatsApp. “The day that at last happiness arrived on which a bouquet of roses is intertwined on my head, you came together beloved family members put on tallit [prayer shawl] say amen to tzitzit [ritual fringes] songs and prayers that are said again by me that I separately dream that the day will come when the words of piyut [liturgical poetry] from my throat will break through that I will call by their name my mother and my father.” He wrote that for his bar mitzvah.

That’s a text written by a low-functioning boy?

Yes, after he received cannabis treatment. This is a boy who generally doesn’t speak. He only roars, and it looks as though he doesn’t understand anything.

That is truly shocking. How do you explain it?

We don’t entirely know. These children not only don’t speak, they don’t want to speak, and suddenly they are writing and a whole world opens up. Until a few months ago, I was dubious, but then I saw it with my own eyes. A boy who hadn’t spoken a word, and it turned out that the teacher had insulted him in school, took a sheet of paper and wrote: “May the name of the person who did that to me be despised.” There are parents who push the child to a regular school in combination [with special education] all the time, and we tell them to leave him be, what can the child do there other than play on the swing – he’s not learning anything. And suddenly you discover that these children, who sat in the classes and seemed not to be there, learned something, after all.

It’s amazing how little we know what people are thinking. A low-functioning child who doesn’t speak. I saw how a number is shown to his mother from behind his back and he writes it. That really is a phenomenon I can’t explain. I don’t think that he himself understands that he’s mind-reading. The team in the preschool discovered that he answers questions and knows things that there’s no [rational] way he could have known. I am just astounded by all these phenomena. We really know and understand so little about autism.




A phase 3 trial reported Monday found that the drug, Epidiolex, was more effective at reducing the number of seizures in patients with a type of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. The drug reduced the number of seizures in a month by 44%, compared with those taking a placebo medication that reduced seizures by 22%. Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome is a rare form of childhood-onset epilepsy that’s associated with multiple types of seizures.

In March, a phase 3 trial also showed positive results of the drug in children with Dravet syndrome, a rare, lifelong form of epilepsy that begins in infancy.

GW Pharmaceuticals, the company developing Epidiolex, saw its stock rise by more than 10% on Monday.

If approved, the drug would be the first of its kind to win approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of rare forms of childhood epilepsy. Epidiolex contains cannabidiol, one of the active chemical compounds found in marijuana. Unlike marijuana’s main psychoactive ingredient, THC, cannabidiol, or CBD, does not cause feelings of euphoria or intoxication, the characteristic “high” that is associated with pot. Cannabidiol has been linked for years with different kinds of pain relief, and it was even studied in several clinical studies.

Epilepsy affects roughly 4.3 million people, but the types of epilepsy and kinds of seizures that people with the illness may experience vary. That means not every person with epilepsy will respond to certain treatments, including those with cannabidiol. In addition to seeking approval for the treatment of Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, GW is also exploring cannabidiol for use in people with tuberous sclerosis complex (a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form in various organs that can lead to seizures) and infantile spasms.

(A marijuana leaf displayed at Canna Pi medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle.Thomson Reuters)
GW is still exploring how well Epidiolex works in other types of epilepsy.

The hope is that eventually someone taking the drug would be able to reduce the number of seizures they have or even stop them entirely.

But with marijuana (and even just the cannabidiol component of the drug) available on a consumer market in states like Colorado, what’s the point of having a prescription version?

Steve Schultz, GW’s vice president of investor relations, said the difference would be in the uniformity of the product. “The products that people are using, and purchasing, they’re artisanal products,” he said. That means they can vary by batch and can be influenced by different fertilizers or pesticides. GW’s version wouldn’t.

“It will have the hallmarks of a true pharmaceutical medicine,” he said.


Medical marijuana today is legalized on a state-by-state basis. Getting it approved by the FDA as a prescription drug would require the DEA to reschedule it, since marijuana is now considered a Schedule 1 drug with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” The DEA is expected to make a decision regarding rescheduling by mid-2016.

Epidiolex is not the first cannabis-derived drug that the company has brought to market outside the US. Sativex, a treatment for multiple sclerosis and pain related to some cancers, has been approved in at least 27 countries outside the US, but attempts to bring it to the US have fallen flat — the data wasn’t good enough to persuade the FDA to give it approval. Schultz said the drug’s future in the US was still up in the air.

GW plans to file for approval with the FDA by the end of the year.


Tutto quello che bisogna sapere sulla riabilitazione del bambino con tumore cerebrale

MetropoliZ blog

Articolo di Chiara Bullo

riabilitazione-tumore-cervelloUn nuovo ebook gratuito dell’IRCCS Medea aiuta medici, terapisti e genitori a conoscere ed affrontare consapevolmente la riabilitazione dei bambini con tumore al cervello

Affrontare la malattia del proprio figlio è certamente una delle prove più dure per un genitore, è una processo lungo e faticoso che parte dalla diagnosi, prosegue con le cure e il processo riabilitativo.
In particolare, quando la malattia che colpisce è un tumore al cervello, ed il piccolo non ha ancora concluso il proprio processo di crescita, le domande che ci si pone sono ancora più complesse.

Quali saranno le conseguenze delle cure e delle operazioni sul sistema motorio e cognitivo del mio bambino? Come si possono affrontare le eventuali conseguenze neuropsicologiche e psicologiche della malattia? Come avviene il processo riabilitativo?

LA RIABILITAZIONE – In seguito ad un tumore cerebrale nel bambino la riabilitazione è un processo fondamentale

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Why cannabis can help even with difficult diseases like parkinson’s

Scientists at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky have identified a previously unknown molecular target of cannabidiol (CBD), which may have significant therapeutic implications for Parkinson’s Disease (PD).

A poster by Zhao-Hui Song and Alyssa S. Laun at the 2017 meeting of the International Cannabinoid Research Society in Montreal disclosed that CBD activates a G-coupled protein receptor called “GPR6” that is highly expressed in the basal ganglia region of the brain. GPR6 is considered an “orphan receptor” because researchers have yet to find the primary endogenous compound that binds to this receptor.(1)

It has been shown that a depletion of GPR6 causes an increase of dopamine, a critical neurotransmitter, in the brain. This finding suggests GPR6 could have a role in the treatment of Parkinson’s, a chronic, neurodegenerative disease that entails the progressive loss of dopaminergic (dopamine-producing) neurons and consequent impairment of motor control. By acting as an “inverse agonist” at the GPR6receptor, CBD boosts dopamine levels in preclinical studies.

Parkinson’s affects an estimated 10 million people worldwide, including one million Americans. It is the second most common neurological disorder (after Alzheimer’s Disease). Over 96 percent of those diagnosed with PD are over 50 years old with men being one-and-a-half times more likely to have PDthan women. Uncontrolled PD significantly reduces the patient’s quality of life and can render a person unable to care for themselves, trapped in a body they cannot control.

Dopamine depletion

Parkinson’s Disease is most associated with compromised motor function after the loss of 60-80% of dopamine-producing neurons. As dopaminergic neurons become damaged or die and the brain is less able to produce adequate amounts of dopamine, patients may experience any one or combination of these classic PD motor symptoms: tremor of the hands, arms, legs or jaw; muscle rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; slowness of movement (bradykinesia); and /or impaired balance and coordination (postural instability).

Additional symptoms include decreased facial expressions, dementia or confusion, fatigue, sleep disturbances, depression, constipation, cognitive changes, fear, anxiety, and urinary problems. Pesticide exposure and traumatic brain injury are linked to increased risk for PD. Paraquat, an herbicide sprayed by the DEA in anti-marijuana defoliant operations in the United States and other countries, resembles a toxicant MPTP [methyl-phenyl-tetrahydropyridien], which is used to simulate animal models of Parkinson’s for research purposes.(2)

Within the PD brain there are an inordinate number of Lewy bodies – intracellular aggregates of difficult to break down protein clusters – that cause dysfunction and demise of neurons.(3) This pathological process results in difficulties with thinking, movement, mood and behavior. The excessive presence of Lewy bodies, coupled with the deterioration of dopaminergic neurons, are considered to be hallmarks of Parkinson’s. But mounting evidence suggests that these aberrations are actually advanced-stage manifestations of a slowly evolving pathology.

It appears that non-motor symptoms occur for years before the disease progresses to the brain, and that PD is actually a multi-system disorder, not just a neurological ailment, which develops over a long period of time. According to the National Parkinson’s Foundation, motor symptoms of PD only begin to manifest when most of the brain’s dopamine-producing cells are already damaged.

Patients whose PD is diagnosed at an early stage have a better chance of slowing disease progression. The most common approach to treating PD is with oral intake of L-dopa, the chemical precursor to dopamine. But in some patients, long-term use of L-dopa will exacerbate PD symptoms. Unfortunately, there is no cure – yet.

Gut-brain axis

What causes Parkinson’s? One theory that is gaining favor among medical scientists traces the earliest signs of PD to the enteric nervous system (the gut), the medulla (the brainstem), and the olfactory bulb in the brain, which controls one’s sense of smell. New research shows that the quality of bacteria in the gut – the microbiome – is strongly implicated in the advancement of Parkinson’s, the severity of symptoms, and related mitochondrial dysfunction.

Defined as “the collection of all the microorganisms living in association with the human body,” the microbiome consists of “a variety of microorganisms including eukaryotes, archaea, bacteria and viruses.” Bacteria, both good and bad, influence mood, gut motility, and brain health. There is a strong connection between the microbiome and the endocannabinoid system: Gut microbiota modulate intestinal endocannabinoid tone, and endocannabinoid signaling mediates communication between the central and the enteric nervous systems, which comprise the gut-brain axis.

Viewed as “the second brain,” the enteric nervous system consists of a mesh-like web of neurons that covers the lining of the digestive tract – from mouth to anus and everything in between. The enteric nervous system generates neurotransmitters and nutrients, sends signals to the brain, and regulates gastrointestinal activity. It also plays a major role in inflammation.

The mix of microorganisms that inhabit the gut and the integrity of the gut lining are fundamental to overall health and the ability of the gut-brain axis to function properly. If the lining of the gut is weak or unhealthy, it becomes more permeable and allows things to get into the blood supply that should not be there, negatively impacting the immune system. This is referred to as “leaky gut.” Factor in an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and a paucity of beneficial bacteria and you have a recipe for a health disaster.

The importance of a beneficial bacteria in the gut and a well-balanced microbiome cannot be overstated. Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, for example, has been associated with worsening PD motor function. In a 2017 article in the European Journal of Pharmacology, titled “The gut-brain axis in Parkinson’s disease: Possibilities for food-based therapies,” Peres-Pardo et al examine the interplay between gut dysbiosis and Parkinson’s. The authors note that “PD pathogenesis may be caused or exacerbated by dysbiotic microbiota-induced inflammatory responses … in the intestine and the brain.”(4)

Mitochondria, microbiota and marijuana

The microbiome also plays an important role in the health of our mitochondria, which are present in every cell in the brain and body (except red blood cells). Mitochondria function not only as the cell’s power plant; they also are involved in regulating cell repair and cell death. Dysfunction of the mitochondria, resulting in high levels of oxidative stress, is intrinsic to PD neurodegeneration. Microbes produce inflammatory chemicals in the gut that seep into the bloodstream and damage mitochondria, contributing to disease pathogenesis not only in PD but many neurological and metabolic disorders, including obesity, type-2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.

The evidence that gut dysbiosis can foster the development of PD raises the possibility that those with the disease could benefit by manipulating their intestinal bacteria and improving their microbiome. Enhancing one’s diet with fermented foods and probiotic supplements may improve gut health and relieve constipation, while also reducing anxiety, depression and memory problems that afflict PD patients.

Cannabis therapeutics may also help to manage PD symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Acclaimed neurologist Sir William Gowers was the first to mention cannabis as a treatment for tremors in 1888. In his Manual of Diseases of the Nervous System, Grower noted that oral consumption of an “Indian hemp” extract quieted tremors temporarily, and after a year of chronic use the patient’s tremors nearly ceased.

Modern scientific research supports the notion that cannabis could be beneficial in reducing inflammation and assuaging symptoms of PD, as well as mitigating disease progression to a degree. Federally-funded preclinical probes have documented the robust antioxidant and neuroprotective properties of CBD and THC with “particular application … in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.” Published in 1998, these findings formed the basis of a U.S. government patent on cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.

Pot for Parkinson’s

Although clinical studies focusing specifically on the use of plant cannabinoids to treat PD are limited (because of marijuana prohibition) and convey conflicting results, in aggregate they provide insight into how cannabis may aid those with Parkinson’s. Cannabidiol, THC, and especially THCV all showed sufficient therapeutic promise for PD in preclinical studies to warrant further investigation. Additional research might shed light on which plant cannabinoids, or combination thereof, is most appropriate for different stages of Parkinson’s.

Anecdotal accounts from PD patients using artisanal cannabis preparations indicate that cannabinoid acids (present in unheated whole plant cannabis products) may reduce PD tremor and other motor symptoms. Raw cannabinoid acids (such as CBDA and THCA) are the chemical precursors to neutral, “activated” cannabinoids (CBD, THC). Cannabinoid acids become neutral cannabinoid compounds through a process called decarboxylation, where they lose their carboxyl group through aging or heat. Minimal research has focused on cannabinoid acids, but the evidence thus far suggests that THCA and CBDA have powerful therapeutic attributes, including anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, anti-cancer, and anti-seizure properties. In a 2004 survey of cannabis use among patients at the Prague Movement Disorder Centre in the Czech Republic, 45 percent of respondents reported improvement in PD motor symptoms.

Cannabis clinicians are finding that dosage regimens for medical marijuana patients with PD don’t conform to a one-size-fits-all approach. In her book Cannabis Revealed (2016), Dr. Bonni Goldstein discussed how varied a PD patient’s response to cannabis and cannabis therapeutics can be:

“A number of my patients with PD have reported the benefits of using different methods of delivery and different cannabinoid profiles. Some patients have found relief of tremors with inhaled THC and other have not. A few patients have found relief with high doses of CBD-rich cannabis taken sublingually. Some patients are using a combination of CBD and THC … Trial and error is needed to find what cannabinoid profile and method will work best. Starting a low-dose and titrating up is recommended, particularly with THC-rich cannabis. Unfortunately, THCV-rich varieties are not readily available.”

Juan Sanchez-Ramos M.D., PhD, a leader in the field of movement disorders and the Medical Director for the Parkinson Research Foundation, told Project CBD that he encourages his patients to begin with a 1:1 THC:CBD ratio product if they can get it. In a book chapter on “Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Movement Disorders,” he and coauthor Briony Catlow, PhD, describe the dosage protocol used for various research studies that provided statistically positive results and a dosing baseline for PD. This data was included in a summary of dosing regimens from various studies compiled by Dr. Ethan Russo:

300 mg/day of CBD significantly improved quality of life but had no positive effect on the Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale. (Lotan I, 2014)
0.5 g of smoked cannabis resulted in significant improvement in tremor and bradykinesia as well as sleep. (Venderová K, 2004)
150 mg of CBD oil titrated up over four weeks resulted in decreased psychotic symptoms. (Chagas MH, 2014)
75-300 mg of oral CBD improved REM-behavior sleep disorder. (Zuardi AW, 2009)

A threshold dose

Of course, each patient is different, and cannabis therapeutics is personalized medicine. Generally speaking, an optimal therapeutic combination will include a synergistic mix of varying amounts of CBDand THC – although PD patients with sleep disturbances may benefit from a higher THC ratio at night.

Dr. Russo offers cogent advice for patients with PD and other chronic conditions who are considering cannabis therapy. “In general,” he suggests, “2.5 mg of THC is a threshold dose for most patients without prior tolerance to its effects, while 5 mg is a dose that may be clinically effective at a single administration and is generally acceptable, and 10 mg is a prominent dose, that may be too high for naïve and even some experienced subjects. These figures may be revised upward slightly if the preparation contains significant CBD content … It is always advisable to start at a very low dose and titrate upwards slowly.”

For information about nutritional supplementation to help manage PD, visit the Life Extension Foundation Parkinson’s page.

Lifestyle Modifications for PD Patients

It is important to treat the patient as a whole – mind, body and soul. The following are a few lifestyle modifications that may provide relief from PD symptoms and improve quality of life.

Do cardio aerobic exercise: This benefits the body in so many ways, including stimulating the production of one’s endocannabinoids, increasing oxygen in the blood supply, mitigating the negative impact of oxidative stress, and boosting the production of BDNF, a brain-protecting chemical found to be low in PD patients.
Eat more fruits and vegetables: The old saying “garbage in, garbage out” is so true. The majority of PD patients suffer from chronic constipation. A high fiber diet can be helpful in improving gut motility and facilitating daily bowel movements.
Get restful sleep: Not getting good sleep can undermine one’s immune function, cognition and quality of life. The importance of adequate restful sleep cannot be over emphasized.
Reduce protein intake – This may help reduce the accumulation of protein bodies that result in Lewy bodies that appear in the enteric nervous system and the central nervous system and increase the uptake of L-dopa.
Practice meditation, yoga or Tai Chi: The focus on the integration of movement and breath not only improve mobility but it also improves cognition and immunity. One study showed an increase in grey matter density in the areas of the brain associated with PD. Another showed that yoga improved balance, flexibility, posture and gait in PD patients. Research shows that tai chi can improve balance, gait, functional mobility, and overall well being.
Consume probiotic food and supplements: Probiotic foods — raw garlic, raw onions, bananas, asparagus, yams, sauerkraut, etc.— are a great source for the good bacteria in your large intestine. Augmenting your diet with probiotic supplements, especially after taking antibiotics, can support the immune system by helping to repopulate the upper digestive tract with beneficial bacteria. Consult your doctor regarding a recommendation for a quality probiotic.
Drink coffee: The risk of PD is considerably lower for men who consume coffee daily.


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Barbara A. Pickut, W. V. (2013). Mindfulness based intervention in Parkinson’s disease leads to structural brain changes on MRI A randomized longitudinal study. Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery, 2419-2425.
Birony Catlow, J. S.-R. (2015). Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Movement Disorders. Current Treatment Options in Neurology.
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Chagas MH, Z. A.-P. (2014). Effects of cannabidiol in the treatment of patients with Parkinson’s disease: an exploratory double-blind trial. Journal of Phsychopharmacology, 1088-98.
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L. Klingelhoefer, H. R. (2017). Hypothesis of Ascension in Idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease. Neurology Intereatnional,E28-35.
Leonard L. Sokol, M. J. (2016). Letter to the Editor: Cautionary optimism: caffeine and Parkinson’s disease risk. Journal of Clinical Movement Disorders, pp. 3-7.
Lisa Klingelhoefer, H. R. (2015). Pahtogenesis of Parkinson disease—the gut-brain axis and environmental factors. Nature, 625-636.
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Madeleine E. Hackney1 and Gammon M. Earhart1, 2. (2008). Tai Chi Improves Balance and Mobility in People with Parkinson Disease. Gait and Posture, 456-460.
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Paula Perez-Pardo, T. K. (2017). The gut-brain axis in Parkinson’s disease: Possibilities for food -based therapies. European Journal of Pharmacology, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014299917303734.
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Russo, E. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British Journal of Pharmacology, 1344-64.
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(1) An inverse agonist binds directly to a receptor and modifies it in a way that causes the receptor to have the opposite effects of activating it normally.

(2) MPTP was found in an underground meperidine (Demerol) synthesis that caused a small epidemic of Parkinson syndrome in i.v. drug abusers in the San Francisco area in the mid-1980s.

The presence of Lewy bodies (a-synuclein protein clusters) in other parts of the body could potentially serve as an early detection marker for PD, especially in the olfactory bulb and the enteric nervous system.

(4) Peres-Prado et al analyzed gut microbiota in PD patients compared to controls and found the following:

Prevotellaceae, a bacterium which supports the production of health-promoting short chain fatty acids (SCFA), biosynthesis of thiamine and folate, and is thought to be associated with increased gut permeability, was 78% lower in the feces of PD patients versus that of their sex-matched and age-matched controls.
Biopsies of colonic tissue retrieved from PD patients indicate high levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and other inflammatory agents.
A lower abundance of SCFA-producing and anti-inflammatory bacteria from the class of Blautia, Coprococcus, and Roseburia were found in fecal samples of PD patients. (Paula Perez-Pardo, 2017)
Gastric abnormalities may increase small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO is prevalent in PD patients and correlates directly to worse motor dysfunction.
Gut-derived lipopolysaccharide (LPS – an inflammatory toxin produce by bacteria) promotes the disruption of the blood-brain barrier.
Impaired gherlin, a gut hormone known as the hunger hormone, is thought to be associated with maintenance and protection of dopamine function in the nigrostriatal pathway which is one of four major dopamine pathways and is particularly involved in movement. Impaired gherlin has been reported in PD patients.


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Psoriasis patients receive Brazilian government permission to be treated

Medical Marijuana, Inc. (MJNA) è la prima azienda quotidiana di cannabis in commercio negli Stati Uniti. La sua controllata HempMeds® Brasil ha annunciato oggi che il prodotto petrolifero cannabidiolo cannabidiolo (CBD) della società è stato prescritto da medici nel paese per il trattamento dei pazienti affetti da sclerosi laterale amyotrofica (ALS) e psoriasi.


Questo segna la prima volta che i medici brasiliani prescrivono RSHO ™ per aiutare specificamente i pazienti affetti da effetti debilitanti di una di queste due malattie. Ciò avviene due anni dopo che HempMeds® Brasil è divenuto la prima azienda a offrire prodotti medicinali di cannabis medicinali ai pazienti del paese.

“Il governo brasiliano ha dimostrato ancora una volta che la salute e il benessere del loro popolo sono qualcosa che sono interessati a sostenere continuando a dare loro l’accesso ai prodotti petroliferi di canapa del CBD per pazienti affetti da condizioni senza cure conosciute o opzioni di trattamento limitate, “Ha detto il dottor Stuart Titus, Chief Executive Officer della Medical Marijuana, Inc.” L’ALS è una condizione deliberante che fino ad oggi non ha trattamenti disponibili e la psoriasi è una condizione molto comune che colpisce milioni e siamo entusiasti del futuro per CBD- Per accedere alle sperimentazioni cliniche per queste due condizioni “.

Secondo la relazione globale sulla psoriasi dell’Organizzazione mondiale della sanità , il numero di persone in tutto il mondo con la psoriasi è in aumento, con circa 125 milioni di persone colpite in tutto il mondo, ovvero circa il 2% al 3% della popolazione mondiale. Solo in Brasile, si stima che oltre 2 milioni di persone hanno la malattia e più di 7,5 milioni negli Stati Uniti. Secondo la ricerca sul mercato della trasparenza , il mercato globale per il trattamento della psoriasi è stato di 7,8 miliardi di dollari nel 2015 e si prevede di crescere a 12,1 miliardi di dollari entro il 2024.

La sclerosi laterale amiotrofica (ALS), nota anche come malattia di Lou Gehrig o malattia del motoneurone (MND), è una malattia specifica che causa la morte dei neuroni che controllano i muscoli volontari. È una malattia neurodegenerativa progressiva che colpisce le cellule nervose del cervello e del midollo spinale. La malattia colpisce circa 30.000 negli Stati Uniti e oltre 450.000 in tutto il mondo senza alcuna cura nota disponibile finora.

A proposito di HempMeds ® Brasil
HempMeds® Brasil ha attualmente tre prodotti di cannabis autorizzati per l’importazione nella Brasile come una prescrizione di farmaci per molteplici condizioni tra cui; Epilessia, Parkinson, dolore cronico, psoriasi, cancro, Alzheimer, diabete, sclerosi laterale amyotrofica, sclerosi multipla e emicranie. L’azienda ha ottenuto il primo prodotto di cannabis per l’importazione in Brasile ei suoi prodotti sono attualmente sovvenzionati dal governo brasiliano, sotto il loro sistema sanitario, per tutte e tre le indicazioni mediche sopra elencate. HempMeds® Brasil sta lavorando ad approvazioni aggiuntive per più indicazioni.

A proposito di Medical Marijuana, Inc.
La nostra missione è quella di essere premier innovatori del settore cannabis e canapa, sfruttando il nostro team di professionisti per la fonte, la valutazione e l’acquisto di aziende e prodotti a valore aggiunto, consentendo loro di mantenere la loro integrità e spirito imprenditoriale. Ci sforziamo di creare consapevolezza all’interno del nostro settore, sviluppare le imprese ecocompatibili e economicamente sostenibili, aumentando il valore degli azionisti. Per ulteriori informazioni sul portafoglio e sulle società di investimento di Medical Marijuana, Inc., visitare il sito http://www.medicalmarijuanainc.com .



Legal cannabis sales begin in Uruguay under landmark 2013 law

“Uruguay is at the forefront of the world on this”: Marijuana can now be purchased at 16 pharmacies across the country

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Marijuana aficionados lined up at pharmacies across Uruguay on Wednesday to be among the first in the South American nation to legally buy pot as a law regulating its sale took full effect.

Customers sniffed pungent green buds and grinned as they showed off blue-and-white envelopes containing the plant, which is now available as part a 2013 measure that made Uruguay the first nation to legalize a pot market covering the entire chain from plants to purchase.

Related: Inside story on Uruguay, where the government is your weed dealer

Santiago Pinatares, a 35-year-old construction worker, braved freezing temperatures in the capital, Montevideo, as he waited outside one of the 16 pharmacies authorized to sell marijuana. He said he has been smoking pot since age 14 but had no choice but to buy on the black market until now.

“To be able to buy it legally is a huge breakthrough,” he told The Associated Press. “Uruguay is at the forefront of the world on this.”

Story continues below photo gallery 

People line up outside a pharmacy selling legal marijuana in downtown Montevideo, Uruguay, Wednesday, July 19, 2017. Marijuana is going on sale at 16 pharmacies in Uruguay, the final step in applying a 2013 law that made the South American nation the first to legalize a pot market covering the entire chain from plants to purchase. (Matilde Campodonico, The Associated Press)

Some customers declined to comment saying they didn’t want their families or employers to know they were buying marijuana.

Authorities say nearly 5,000 people have registered as consumersallowing them to buy up to 40 grams per month using fingerprint recognition. About two-thirds of them live in Montevideo.

The price is set at the equivalent of $1.30 per gram, with 90 cents of that going to the two businesses chosen to cultivate marijuana.

The rest is split between the pharmacies and the government, which will use its share to fund prevention programs. The marijuana comes in packages emblazoned with a seal of authenticity and warnings about the drug’s effects.

Uruguay became the first country to regulate a national marijuana marketplace in an effort to fight rising homicide and crime rates associated with drug trafficking. The law also lets licensed individuals grow marijuana plants and form clubs.

The country’s marijuana plan was widely applauded globally and seen as going beyond marijuana legislation in the U.S. states of Colorado and Washington, but polls showed that most Uruguayans opposed it.

Most of the country’s estimated 1,200 pharmacies also decided not to register to sell, stoking a debate over how the drug should be distributed. Experts attributed delays in the implementation of the pioneering plan to the fact that no other country had attempted such an ambitious endeavor.

“There was a lot of hard work to finally come to this day,” Drug czar Diego Olivera said. “It is a challenging and complex project, and today we have taken a step forward.”






Israeli Doctor Launching Clinical Trial On Medical Marijuana And Autism – Dr. Adi Eran, is heading up the autism and medical marijuana clinical trial. The study is in the process of getting permits from the Israeli Health Ministry for the study. The study will involve 120 autistic individuals, male and female, aged 4 to 30, low to medium on the spectrum of functioning.
The study will administer CBD (cannabidiol) oil with trace amounts of THC.
Eran, head of the pediatrics neurology department at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, has obtained the authorization in principle from the Israel Health Ministry for his tests. He is finding subjects from local hospitals, and psychiatric facilities and centers dealing with childhood development.


The participants will be divided into two groups: the test group that actually ingests the oil, and the control subjects who will be given placebos. After a test period during which the effects on the patients will be recorded, treatment will be halted for a month, then the groups will be reversed – the test group will become the control group and vice versa. Again, as is typical in such research, at no point will subjects or their families know whether the patient is receiving CBD or a placebo.

The study will focus specifically on a certain segment of behavioral symptoms typical of certain autistic individuals, including physical aggression toward themselves and others, attacks that can be accompanied by acute anxiety.


and how it could be prescribed to treat autism – a process that includes defining the “severe behavioral problems” that would require use of the substance.
As of right now cannabis oil is not recognized as a form of treatment for autism, Dr. Eran explains, several dozen Israelis who suffer from the disorder have received approved prescriptions for the drug because of the severity of their symptoms and behavior – mainly because nothing else helped them. The families know cannabis isn’t a recognized treatment but had nothing to lose, the specialist says, although he stresses that its merit has yet to be tested under rigorous conditions. Now it will be.


Naama Saban, a pediatric nurse, says treatment with CBD oil three times a day made the patients significantly calmer and less violent.

“It isn’t that they’re stoned because the oil has no psycho-active component,” Saban says. “Their parents say the quality of life has completely changed. That for the first time, their little kids can have friends over and the big brother doesn’t go wild.”