Treating Pediatric Epilepsy with Medical Cannabis: A Brief History

There has been a relatively recent surge of interest in using medical cannabis to treat pediatric epilepsy, which has created a firestorm between U.S. lawmakers and parents and caregivers, who are demanding access for their children. But the promise of cannabis treatment for epilepsy is nothing new – in fact, using cannabis to treat pediatric epilepsy was first brought to light thousands of years ago. Reflecting on this history may help understand the situation we’ve ended up in today.

Medical cannabis in ancient times

Cannabis was first used for medicinal purposes in China around 2700 BCE. Following suit, people in the Middle East, India, and Egypt also began incorporating cannabis into medical remedies. However, an Arabic physician named al-Mayusi is first credited with advocating for the use of cannabis to treat epilepsy in the 11th century.

East to West

Sir William Brooke O’Shaughnessy, considered the founder of medicinal marijuana, brought cannabis to Europe in the 19th century following his studies in India. He published a case report of a 40-day-old infant who he successfully treated with a cannabis tincture.

Following O’Shaughnessy’s findings, Sir William Gowers and Sir John Russel Reynolds treated epilepsy patients with cannabis as an adjunctive treatment to bromide, an anticonvulsant used at the time.

By the 20th century, cannabis had made its way to North America, and, in the 1930s and 1940s, researchers began studying cannabis compounds and isolating them for pharmaceuticals. However, in 1970, the US Controlled Substance Act prohibited cannabis use and production in response to a troubled sociocultural climate. So while science was making breakthroughs in understanding the molecular structure of cannabis compounds, those who could potentially benefit from the drug were prohibited from taking it.

However, science persisted, and a few clinical trials were conducted to test the safety and efficacy of cannabis for epilepsy. Sidney Cohen published the first study on cannabis and epilepsy in 1976.

Where we stand today

In the 1990s, researchers discovered how cannabis receptors work in the brain, a tremendous advancement in our understanding of how cannabis can be used to treat epilepsy. Additional research also showed that cannabidiol (CBD) was effective in reducing seizures in animal models as well as in human clinical trials.

But now it’s 2017, nearly 30 thirty years later. As a fallout from the infamous Drug War, medical cannabis use remains prohibited in many U.S. states; even in states where medical cannabis is legal, there are different rules and regulations that may limit access to the drug.

We are closer than ever to getting a clinically proven cannabis treatment approved by the FDA — which is its own potential controversy — but at least there are now several trials underway testing the effects of cannabis on pediatric epilepsy.

A doctor’s tools of the trade. Photo Credit: Andrew Malone
Fighting for their children
For some parents and caretakers, waiting a year or several years until drugs are FDA-approved is simply not good enough for their children who need help right now. Several anecdotal stories have emerged in the media in which parents and caretakers have traveled thousands of miles and risked legal consequences to obtain medical cannabis for their children.

A recent statement from the American Epilepsy Society (AES) offers the following for parents and caregivers: “The anecdotal reports of positive effects of the marijuana derivative CBD for some individuals with treatment-resistant epilepsy give reason for hope. However, we must remember that anecdotal reports alone are not sufficient to support treatment decisions…AES urges all people touched by epilepsy to consult with an epilepsy specialist and explore the many existing treatment options, so that they can make informed decisions with their specialist that weighs the risks and benefits of the different treatment options.”

Hopefully, in a year or two, we will realize a future of cannabis and pediatric epilepsy following the approval of new, cannabinoid-based therapies.

5 Diseases Marijuana Treats Better Than Prescription Drugs

We can all pretty much agree at this point that big pharama isn’t interested in curing people but interested in making money and having more customers. Our goal is to educated the world on the many great benefits marijuana has to offer. Here is a list of 5 diseases marijuana will actually treat more efficiently then the poison made by big pharma.

1. Epilepsy – The side effects of commonly prescribed epilepsy medications are enough to cause concern and seek alternative treatment in and of themselves.

Loss of appetite, exhaustion and depression are all related to popular prescription drugs like Clonazepam, Felbamate, Phenobarbital, Primidone and Tiagabine.

New studies are even revealing links between these prescriptions and psychoses. Marijuana however, can increase deteriorating appetites and aid restless users.

Also, depression is one of the commonly treated conditions marijuana  is known to enhance, so there’s lesser fear of increased risks.

2. Cancer – Not only does marijuana actually kill cancer cells, it inhibits the growth of cancerous tumors from the start. Cannabinoids actively attack these diseased cells, protecting users from experiencing more and more complications due to the illness.

Research has discovered that marijuana can actually deactivate the gene responsible for metastasizing cells into cancer, effectively ending the need for harsh radiation or chemotherapy treatments.

While marijuana might not be an end-all solution to cancer, scientists are positive its proactive properties slow and deteriorate any abnormal growths.

3. ADHD/ADD – The treatments for ADHD and ADD are extremely addictive and habit forming. The chances of prescription drug abuse are much higher than most other medical treatments.

Methamphetamines like Adderall, Ritalin and Vyvanse are dosed out to help quell the added stimulation and increase attention spans.

Adderall and Ritalin are commonly sold on the street as alternative forms of speed. If users do not truly need the medication, it gives them a jolt of energy that can last anywhere from six to eight hours.

Aside from the potential for abuse, these stimulant drugs have shown an increased risk of psychosis, including hallucinations. Marijuana can help to free up excess dopamine that causes the brain to be overstimulated, resulting in the ADHD/ADD diagnosis, without any harmful side effects or the potential for abuse.

4. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – Prescription drugs used to treat multiple sclerosis are increasingly dangerous. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement to patients using the drug Gilenya, stating that the medication led to a substantially increased risk of brain infection.

The problem with many MS treatments is they are designed to block white blood cells from attacking nerves. Normally, white blood cells protect the body from infection and disease.

When they are being blocked by these prescription drugs, they leave users at a much higher risk of developing serious illnesses that could ultimately cause more damage than the MS.

A 50/50 mixture of CBD and THC extracts has been approved in the UK and more than 20 other countries as a safer, more effective treatment of the spasticity and pain associated with MS.

5. Fibromyalgia (FM) – Marijuana has been found to be more effective at relieving Fibromyalgia symptoms than all of the leading prescription drugs.

In a study conducted by The National Pain Foundation and, 1,300 FM patients were asked about their medical treatments. 379 participants admitted to using Marijuana therapy, and of that 379, 62% said the medication was “very effective” at reducing symptoms.

Compare that to the 10% of “very effective” results from Lyrica and Savella, and just 8% from Cymbalta.

Sorgente: 5 Diseases Marijuana Treats Better Than Prescription Drugs

6 Amazing Ways Marijuana Affects Your Body


1. Marijuana Modulates Neurotransmitters – Chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters help brain cells (neurons) communicate with each other. Compounds in the marijuana plant engage these neurotransmitters and alter the chemical signaling in your brain.

Psychoactive THC impacts several different neurotransmitters in the brain. However, it’s most famous for producing a spike in feel-good chemical dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for focus, attention, pleasure, pain, and reward.

Non-psychoactive Cannabidiol (CBD) works a bit differently. It modulates the release of a variety of different neurotransmitters. When you have a little too much of something, it can calm the brain down. If you’re too low, it can restore balance and lift your mood.


2. Marijuana affects your blood pressure – THC is a vasodilator. This means that it opens up your blood vessels and allows more blood flow. In doing this, it lowers your blood pressure. In fact, this is why you often get red eyes when you consume the herb.

Blood vessels in your eyes have opened up, allowing more blood to flow into the area. This can be highly beneficial for anyone with eye pressure troubles, like glaucoma patients.

3. Sexual under performance in men is possible – In men, marijuana use is associated with delay or trouble with orgasm. This may also be partly caused by the interaction between marijuana compound and male sex hormones like testosterone.

Some animal research has shown that testosterone spikes and dips while you’re high and then returns to normal later on.

Similarly to women, there are many things that can throw male sex hormones out of wack. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can help ensure that you have the right hormonal balance for you prior to the effects of marijuana.

It’s also important to not that there are a lot of men out there who fully enjoy weed-induced sex. Just make sure not to smoke so much you wind up stuck on the sofa.


4. Marijuana heightens your senses – After consuming a little herb, have you noticed that colors look a little brighter? That the smell of food became a little more irresistible? The same blood pressure effects trigger pupil dilation, which makes colors seem a little more vivid than usual.

Animal studies have also shown that THC stimulates the olfactory bulb. This is the scent sensing area of the brain. In mice, these enhanced smelling powers led them directly to food. So, expect heightened visceral awareness from the psychoactive herb.

5. Marijuana makes you really love eating – Ever wonder where the munchies come from? THC binds to the same location as compounds that control appetite and metabolism. When you take in THC, it kicks your metabolism into overdrive.

It jump starts the production of the hunger hormone ghrelin and another hormone called leptin. Incidentally, leptin is responsible for telling your brain when to stop storing calories as fat.

At the same time, the dopamine spike from marijuana makes eating feel absolutely awesome. Dopamine is already released when we eat, but marijuana enhances the whole experience. This makes food taste awesome and wonderful to eat.

6. Marijuana increases your heart rate – Doctors often advise against using marijuana if you have a heart condition. The herb increases your heart rate for up to 3 hours after consumption. Cannabis increases heart rate a little more than sex, and about as much as strenuous exercises. But, speeding up your heart when your blood pressure is lowered can make for a bad time.

Though the plant has not caused any deaths to date, it is thought that your risk of heart attack increases when you consume marijuana. So, be mindful of heart complications when you toke up.

Marijuana is an amazing herb with ample therapeutic potential. These 7 facts are far from a complete representation of the plant.

Yet, for those who are a little canna-curious or are trying to make sense of your experiences, these are the most basic things you need to know.

Sorgente: 6 Amazing Ways Marijuana Affects Your Body

44 in Congress support effort to keep DOJ handcuffed in medical cannabis states

A bipartisan collection of nearly four-dozen U.S. House members want the feds to maintain their hands-off enforcement position toward states that have legalized medical marijuana.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican lawmaker from California, has spearheaded spending bill amendments that prevent the Justice Department from meddling in medical marijuana states. On Monday, he announced that he is urging the Commerce, Justice and Science committee chiefs to continue that path.

In a letter co-signed by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, and 42 other House of Representatives members, Rohrabacher asked the chair and ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies to include the following language in the fiscal year 2018 spending bill:


None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used to enforce federal prohibitions involving the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes that are permitted by the laws of the state, the District of Columbia, or U.S. territory where the act was committed, or to prevent states, the District of Columbia, or U.S. territories from implementing their own laws that permit the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes.


Sorgente: 44 in Congress support effort to keep DOJ handcuffed in medical cannabis states

Sessions’ DOJ Reviewing Marijuana Enforcement Policies, Governors…


  • United States Attorney General Jeff “Marijuana Consumers Aren’t Good People” Sessions has issued a formal memorandum calling on members of the Justice Department’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety to “undertake a review of existing policies,” including federal enforcement policies with regard to cannabis.


The memo was sent on April 5 to 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and Department of Justice component heads.

  • The Attorney General has requested a report back from task force members by no later than July 27th. You can read the full memo here.The release of this memorandum provides us with a general time frame during which to expect any formal announcements from the new administration with regard to addressing marijuana policy — specifically whether the Justice Department will respect state legalization laws.

    In the interim, members of Congress can remove all of the bite from Jeff Sessions’ bark by approving the bipartisan Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, which prevents the federal government from criminally prosecuting individuals and/or businesses who are engaging in state-sanctioned activities specific to the possession, use, production, and distribution of marijuana.

    Speaking recently before Congress, Attorney General Sessions said that his job is to enforce federal law. Let’s change federal law to ensure that our reform victories remain in place, and so that we can build upon these victories in the future.


    But while the Justice Department contemplates its next move, state politicians are taking action. In recent days, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) and Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) issued a letter to the new U.S. Attorney General and to Secretary of Treasury Mnuchin calling on them to uphold the Obama Administration’s largely ‘hands off’ policies toward marijuana legalization, as outlined in the Cole Memo.

    “Overhauling the Cole Memo is sure to produce unintended and harmful consequences,” the governors wrote. “Changes that hurt the regulated market would divert existing marijuana product into the black market and increase dangerous activity in both our states and our neighboring states.”

    Political and social change rarely comes from the top on down, it comes from the bottom up. That is why it is imperative for you to not only contact your federal officials in support of changing policy, but also to continue to push for change at the local and state level.

    Click HERE to view pending federal and state legislation and easily contact your elected officials in support of them.

    Click HERE to find a local NORML chapter in your area and get involved. NORML Kansas City this week successfully placed marijuana decriminalization on their municipal ballot and saw it pass with 71% support. This is the kind of positive change a group of committed volunteer citizens can bring to their communities.

    A people united will never be defeated and together we WILL end marijuana prohibition nationwide.

    2 Responses to “Sessions’ DOJ Reviewing Marijuana Enforcement Policies, Governors Fight Back”

    1. Frederick Oppido says:

      We need the courage of our elected officials to undo the travesty known as the War on Drugs that has been unleashed on the American people. It is time to end a policy whose very foundation is based on lies, fear, intimidation, and deceit not scientific credibility. How many more lives will be destroyed for the Crime of Feeling Good? The Crimes Against Humanity that have been unleashed on the American people are no closer to achieving their goals than when this Draconian policy became the law nearly 80 some years ago. It is time for our elected officials to step up and put an end to this American nightmare.
      The only solution is for sensible legislation that ends criminal penalties for the personal or medical use of cannabis where no crimes are committed. Legalize, Regulate, Tax it just like Alcohol and allow citizens the right to make their own decisions in regards too consumption.

    2. Julian says:

      Indeed: how about legalize marijuana worldwide:

      How ironic that Mexico is importing marijuana from Colorado for their case studies on epilepsy. The Government farm in Mississipi and cartel brick weed have become obsolete as the quality state legal supply from Colorado and soon California floods the market…
      …unless of course youre Dr Sue Sisley who has been fighting to clear the legal hurdles to provide FDA approved cannabis to veterans with PTSD:

      Sisley has to use the governments “medical” marijuana to comply with Federal law even though it fails a lead test, a mold and a yeast test.

      Perhaps Sessions is kicking the can to US attorneys in July to see if the Rorhabacher-Farr amendment gets renewed this month: or for FDA approval of synthetic marijuana to pay Congress? …or maybe its because he admits keeping the Cole memo is the only option the DOJ can afford regardless?

      Either way, this Disadministration needs to get their message straight.

      Take the recent blunder by the TSA for example:

      They posted it was legal to carry weed on carry-on yesterday then abruptly took it off, said “NO” to marijuana on carry-on or checked-in luggage, then told Duke London at that they “have no regulations on marijuana.” (Right… Which is why you have marijuana regulations written on the TSA website? …)
      For the Love of all that is GREEN and HOLY! Call and write Congress to DO their JOB, stop this insanity and pass the Respect State Marijuana Laws ACT.

Report: Canada to legalize marijuana by July 2018

David Taylor, a spokesman for Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, declined to comment on the reported timelines. He reiterated a government pledge to unveil a proposed law by spring

By Jen Skerritt and Aoyon Ashraf, Bloomberg News

The frenzy surrounding Canada’s marijuana market intensified Monday after a report the government will unveil plans to legalize sales for recreational use in April.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government will introduce legislation the week of April 10 to legalize marijuana by July 1, 2018, according to a report from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. David Taylor, a spokesman for Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, declined to comment on the reported timelines. He reiterated a government pledge to unveil a proposed law by spring.

Shares of Canopy Growth Corp., the first Canadian company with a market value of C$1 billion, making it a marijuana unicorn, rose as much as 11 percent intraday in Toronto, the biggest gain since November 2016. Aurora Cannabis Inc. gained as much as 11 percent, Aphria Inc. rose 6.5 percent, and OrganiGram Holdings Inc. jumped 10 percent.

The value of Canada’s pot stocks have soared amid investor optimism that recreational sales, which Canaccord Genunity Group Inc. said in November could reach C$6 billion in sales annually by 2021, may start as early as 2018. Canopy Growth has seen its share price rise more than 300 percent in the past 12 months, while Aurora has climbed more than 400 percent.

In December, the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation issued a report that recommends the Canadian government regulate the production of marijuana while the provinces control distribution and retail sales.


la #cannabis,risulta a tutt’oggi,essere uno dei fitoterapici ad azione chemioterapica e antineoplastica naturale piu’potenti in assoluto.esplica varie azioni che possiamo sintetizzare come segue:

3-citotossica selettiva
11-immunostimolante e immunosoppressiva (azione duale svolta da alcune singole sostanze,innalzando la concentrazione delle quali,prevale una o l’altra azione)
14-stimola la produzione di cellule NK (natural killer)
19-anti-colesterolo cattivo
ecc ecc.

i principali componenti ad esplicare le azioni terapeutiche sono il #thc,(responsabile anche dell’effetto psicoattivo-psicotropo),i #cbd,(che svolgono attivita’sinergica per certi azioni specialmente antineoplastiche e antibiotiche,ma anche di contrasto,come nel caso dell’effetto mentale provocato dal thc,in parte azzerato dai cbd),e i #terpeni,presenti negli olii essenziali di molte piante,spezie e in alcuni frutti (guarda caso dalla spiccata azione antitumorale).
a seconda delle due varieta’principali,la #indica e la #sativa,e in base al luogo di coltivazione e ad altri fattori quali esposizione alla luce solare ecc,la concentrazione delle tre categorie di componenti principali della cannabis,subisce notevoli cambiamenti.

la indica,e’solitamente piu’ricca in thc e piu’povera in cbd,viceversa,la sativa,anche se ultimamente,grazie alle moderne tecniche di incrocio,si hanno varieta’dalle caratteristiche miste e non piu’distinguibili come la botanica imporrebbe.mi sto riferendo alle varieta’medicinali (bedrocan,bediol,bedica,bedrolite,bedrobinol),che richiedono ricetta medica,ma esiste ancora una netta differenza tra le varieta’utilizzate a livello terapeutico e quelle impiegate nell’industria tessile,alimentare e cosmetica.queste ultime,sono definite varieta’sativa industriale,e per legge,la loro concentrazione di thc,non deve superare un limite ben preciso,che solitamente si attesta attorno allo 0.2%;tanto per fare un paragone,la varieta’medicinale a piu’alto tenore di thc (bedrocan),ha concentrazioni vicine al 22% di thc.sappiamo che il thc,svolge le principali azioni terapeutiche ascritte alla cannabis,tuttavia lo fa meglio se abbinato ai cbd (effetto entourage),coi quali agisce in parte in sinergia come visto,nell’esplicare azioni antineoplastiche,alcune delle quali tipiche proprio dei cbd.or bene,la legge non impone vincoli alla concentrazione di cbd nelle varieta’industriali,poiche’non sono psicoattivi (o meglio,sono leggermente euforizzanti e sadativi).anche sul terreno terpenico la legge non pone obblighi da rispettare,e anche i terpeni esplicano azioni antitumorali degnissime di nota!

come potete vedere dall’analisi del terreno terpenico dell’olio essenziale,ottenuto da fiori della varieta’fotografata (#futura75) di #canapa sativa,la concentrazione di alcuni terpeni terapeutici e’assai apprezzabile.
la canapa sativa,(varieta futura75),contiene #myrcene,presente anche nel mango,nella verbena e nell’erba cipollina.svolge azioni quali quella antimicrobica,antisettica,analgesica,antinfiammatoria,antiossidante,antitumorale (blocca l’azione dei citocromi,le aflatossine-B ed altri promutageni imolicati nella carcinogenesi).il #mircene e’un valido antidepressivo,e agendo sulla permeabilita’della membrana cellulare,permette al thc di raggiungere prima le cellule cerebrali,potenziandone gli mircene e’contenuto sia nella varieta’medicinale bedica (indica al 14% di thc),che nella bedrolite (thc basso).proseguendo nell’analisi del terreno terpenico della canapa industriale,troviamo il
#caryophillene,dal tipico odore di limone e balsamo,terpene che ricercano i cani antidroga delle varie unita’cinofile della GDF nell’annusare persone,indumenti e oggetti al vaglio della loro analisi #cariofillene e’antinfiammatorio,degno di apprezzabili proprieta’antalgiche e anch’esso antitumorale!!
il #terpinolene,e’antinfiammatorio,antiossidante e antiproliferativo.esplica azione sedativa.
l’#humulene,che rappresenta ben il 40% dell’olio essenziale di luppolo,e’un ottimo antinfiammatorio.
e veniamo al #limonene,terpene candidato ad una varieta’infinita di applicazioni terapeutiche,dalla cura dell’aids a quella del limonene,incrementa i livelli epatici implicati nella neutralizzazione dei metaboliti cancerogeni e promuove l’enzima #glutation-s-tranferasi,potente detossicante e chelante,preposto all’eliminazione dei metaboliti tossici e cancerogeni.distrugge le cellule tumorali.gli spray al limonene sono utilizzati contro la depressione.anch’esso,come il mircene,agisce aumentando la permeabilita’della membrana cellulare,permettendo al poco o tanto thc presente nella varieta’,di poter raggiunger prima il cervello.
ovviamente nella cannabis medicinale,vi sono ben oltre 15 terpeni ad azione antitumorale,ma anche il terreno terpenico della varieta’industriale e’interessante.
i cbd,si sono dimostrati in grado di esplicare i seguenti effetti:analgesico,antidiabetico-ipoglicemizzante,antiepilettico,antimicrobico,antibiotico,ansiolitico,tonico,sedativo,antispastico,antinfiammatorio,immunosoppressivo,neuroprotettivo,vasodilatatore,antiproliferativo e proapototico in sinergia al thc e ai terpeni.
il costo delle varieta’industriali di canapa,e’risibile se confrontato alle cugine medicinali,e si possono acquistare liberamente,senza ricetta medica,presso i canapai (nel caso della varieta’illustrata in foto,”azienda canapa delle marche”di Matteo Venturini, 328 8181791),o presso alcune erboristerie quali “l’arcobaleno”di schio di vc,della dottoressa Cristina Gentilin.
specifico che entrambi spediscono i prodotti su tutto il territorio nazionale.
la canapa industriale puo’esser fumata,utilizzata per prepararne tisane,oleoliti,tinture madri,e pietanze.mangiando canapa industriale,si convertono i cbd in thc a livello intestinale,particolare degnissimo di nota!!inoltre,anche la preparazione di oleoliti e resine puo’permettere di estrarre percentuali piu’ alte di thc,rispetto quelle indicate sulla confezione.
laddove i costi elevati delle varieta’medicinali,fossero proibitivi per alcuni malati,la canapa industriale (fiori e/o oleoliti o olio essenziale prodotti con essa),rimane un valido ripiego,come testimoniano i documenti del secolo scorso relativi all’opera del farmacista carlo erba.e’consigliabile sinergizzarne l’azione a quella di altri chemioterapici naturali quali:curcuma,whitania somnifera,aloe,mirra,liquerizia,noce moscata

Colorado lawmakers push PTSD bill to address pleas for medical marijuana

2017 brings with it renewed pushes — legislatively and legally — to allow those diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder to seek a doctor’s recommendation for medical cannabis

PUBLISHED: JAN 25, 2017,
By Alicia Wallace, The Cannabist Staff

Efforts over the years to add PTSD as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana in Colorado have been met with failure.

The Colorado Board of Health denied multiple petitions for the inclusion, citing the need for more scientific evidence; bills’ trips through the General Assembly have been short-lived; and veterans and PTSD-sufferers’ legal bids were quashed.



2017 brings with it renewed pushes — both legislatively and legally — to establish PTSD as a qualifying condition.

“I’ve met a number of veterans who really feel like it improved their quality of life,” said Sen. Irene Aguilar, a Denver Democrat and physician who co-sponsored a bill to have PTSD and acute stress disorders be considered “debilitating medical conditions” under the state’s medical marijuana law.

In a time when concern is heightened about veterans’ increased risk of suicide, there should be consideration for all potential options to help prevent that, Aguilar said.

Senate Bill 17, co-sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, is expected to go before the Senate’s State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee next week. The initial committee hearing scheduled for Tuesday was postponed as lawmakers evaluate whether there is a legislative mechanism to add a qualifying condition or if that is limited to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Aguilar said.

Some of the initial opposition to the bill has come from members of the medical community, including the Colorado Psychiatric Society.

“Our main concern is really the risk of harm to the individual,” said Dr. Jennifer Hagman, representing the Colorado Psychiatric Society.

And the physicians’ edict of “first, do no harm” is accomplished with knowledge from rigorous studies, research and evidence, she said.

“I would hope that we continue to wait until there’s adequate scientific support for using marijuana for this condition,” she said. “I think it’s premature and the data isn’t there.”


The limited data people are working with around veterans with PTSD and marijuana, she said, has shown negative correlations. She noted a longitudinal study of veterans over a period of 30 years that showed some who started using marijuana following treatment had increased incidences of violent behavior.

Hagman noted that more research is ongoing and that the state of Colorado has put money toward research on marijuana’s effects on those with PTSD. The study, in the works since 2010, received federal approval in 2016, a year and a half after Colorado awarded the grant.

“I think the best thing that could happen is for the federal government to remove marijuana from Schedule I so that research is much easier to do,” she said.

Happening in the background of this latest play from lawmakers is an ongoing appeals case in state court that challenges the board of health’s 2015 decision on PTSD. And nationally, an increasingly growing slate of medical marijuana states — nearly 20 of them — have looked favorably on PTSD as a qualifying condition.

“It’s just an area that they need to permit us to catch up with other states,” said C. Adam Foster, an attorney with Denver’s Hoban Law Group. Foster represents the Colorado residents and military veterans who challenged the board of health’s position on PTSD in district court and subsequently appealed the district court’s denial.

Colorado’s board of health has remained firm on not including PTSD as a qualifying condition, stating that more scientific evidence is required. The board made a similar move in regards to a 2010 petition to add Tourette’s syndrome.

“The board has made this policy decision that they want to see the same type of evidence the (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) looks at to approve new pharmaceutical medicines,” Foster said. “I firmly believe that they have set a standard that just cannot be met in the real world.”

Research related to the potential benefits and detrimental effects of marijuana has been limited, stifled in part by marijuana’s federal listing as a Schedule I substance, researchers and scientists have said.

“You want (veterans and other people diagnosed with PTSD) to be getting treatment from an experienced health care provider and a doctor who understands PTSD and can recommend a treatment plan — that probably will include talk therapy, some pharmaceutical medications — you want those medical providers to be able to have an honest conversation with their patients about medical marijuana,” Foster said.

Earlier this month, the Colorado Appeals Court case wrapped up the briefings stage and — barring any call for oral arguments from the judges — now is awaiting an opinion from the court. That opinion could take anywhere from three to six months, Foster said.

Can marijuana treat MS symptoms? One Colorado researcher makes it his mission to find out

If these studies can demonstrate that cannabis effectively relieves and treats MS symptoms, they could help establish the medicinal value of cannabis

PUBLISHED: JAN 18, 2017, 8:00 AM
By Thorsten Rudroff, Colorado State University

Story via The Conversation

An estimated 400,000 Americans are currently living with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune cells attack a fatty substance called myelin in the nerves. Common symptoms are gait and balance disorders, cognitive dysfunction, fatigue, pain and muscle spasticity.


Colorado has the highest proportion of people living with MS in the United States. It is estimated that one in 550 people living in the state has MS, compared to one in 750 nationally. The reason for this is unknown, but could be related to several factors, such as vitamin D deficiency or environment.

Currently available therapies do not sufficiently relieve MS symptoms. As a result many people with the condition are trying alternative therapies, like cannabis. Based on several studies, the American Association of Neurology states that there is strong evidence that cannabis is effective for treatment of pain and spasticity.

Although there are many anecdotal reports indicating cannabis’ beneficial effects for treatment of MS symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness, anxiety and sleep deprivation, they have not been scientifically verified. This is because clinical trials – where patients are given cannabis – are difficult to do because of how the substance is regulated at the federal level.

To learn more, Integrative Neurophysiology Laboratory at Colorado State University is studying people with MS in the state who are already using medical cannabis as a treatment to investigate what MS symptoms the drug can effectively treat.

Medical marijuana isn’t a prescription drug. Marijuana, or cannabis, contains over 100 compounds, but THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol) are believed to have the most medical relevance.

However, there is currently no information about the most effective ratio of THC and CBD, which form of ingestion (smoking or eating, for instance) is best, or how often people with MS should use cannabis products.

The main reason for the limited scientific evidence about how well cannabis can treat MS symptoms is because it is a Schedule 1 substance. This means that it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” This classification makes it very difficult to study cannabis in clinical trials.

Because cannabis is on Schedule 1, doctors can’t prescribe it, even in the states with medical marijuana laws, like Colorado. In those states doctors can provide patients with a “permission slip” for cannabis, which has to be approved by a state agency.

Because of the lack of scientific evidence, doctors can’t recommend a specific strain and dosage of cannabis to patients. Patients are left to choose on their own. Moreover, a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that out of 75 cannabis products, only 17 percent were accurately labeled. And 23 percent contained significantly more THC than labeled, possibly placing patients at risk of experiencing adverse effects.

How we are studying cannabis and MSMy lab’s long-term goal is to determine whether cannabis can safely and effectively treat MS symptoms. But because of current federal regulations our lab can conduct only observational studies at this time. To conduct clinical trials with a Schedule 1 substance, investigators much have a special license, which my lab is in the process of applying for. At the moment, this means we study only people who are or are about to use cannabis and we do not provide cannabis to anyone for our studies.

We recently completed an online survey of 139 MS patients currently using cannabis to learn what types of products they used, how often they used those products and for how long.

Our results, which have not yet been published, found that 91 of our respondents (66 percent) reported that they currently use cannabis, and 56 percent of the cannabis users reported using either smoked or edible products. Seventy-eight percent of the cannabis users also indicated that they reduced or even stopped other medications as a result of their cannabis use.

The survey respondents who are using cannabis reported lower disability scores on the Guy’s Neurological Disability Scale, a clinical scale used to evaluate neurological disability in people with MS, and they seem less likely to be obese. However, these data are self-reported, which means objective longer clinical trials are required to confirm these results.

We are also conducting an ongoing observational study, set to be completed in mid-2017, on the effects of regular cannabis use on physical function and activity levels in people with MS. There are many studies on the influence of cannabis on cognitive function in healthy and diseased populations. However, no study to date has used objective measures of motor function in people with MS who are using cannabis, such as muscle strength and fatigue tasks, walking performance and postural stability tests.

Our preliminary results indicate that people with MS using cannabis have greater physical activity levels, leg strength and walking speed, while also having less spasticity, fatigue and a lower perceived risk of falling. It is of note that these individuals are rarely using only cannabis to help control their symptoms. They are often using cannabis alongside traditional medications.

Importantly, cannabis users did not perform worse than nonusers on any of our measurements. These are very promising results, and we are expecting significant positive effects of cannabis at the end of this observational study.

Randomized control trials are neededThe outcomes of these observational studies will be the foundation for larger randomized clinical trials, where some patients are treated with cannabis and others aren’t. These types are studies are needed to truly show the benefits and risks of consequences of cannabis use in this population.

Applying for the special license that investigators must have to conduct clinical research with a Schedule 1 substance is a lengthy process. Once granted, the DEA requires on-site inspections of the investigator’s facilities. Furthermore, it is also very difficult for these types of experiments to be approved and performed. These policies make conducting research on the medical benefits and side effects of cannabis in the United States extremely hard. As a sad result, top researchers are looking to export their ideas outside the country.

Assessing the scientific evidence: What is known about cannabis and health effects

We want to conduct clinical research to understand what cannabis products MS patients should use, in what dosage and in what form of ingestion. We also want to find out whether long-term cannabis use is safe, and if the effectiveness changes overtime due to increased tolerance. Fortunately, our first intervention study, which will investigate the effects of different marijuana strains on motor and cognitive function in people with MS, has been approved by the CSU Institutional Review Board. This means that my lab can begin this research once our license is approved.

The answers to these questions will provide guidelines for health care providers and people with MS on cannabis use. If these studies can demonstrate that cannabis effectively relieves and treats MS symptoms, they could help establish the medicinal value of cannabis. That could make a case for rescheduling cannabis, making it easier for physicians and researchers to establish cannabis’ true benefits and risks.


This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.