Tilray Announces Support Of Two New Clinical Research Studies In Australia And Canada

CANADA: Tilray, Inc., a global leader in cannabis research and production, today announced its support of two new clinical studies: a pilot study led by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) in Melbourne, to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a larger randomized placebo-controlled trial of cannabis extract as a form of treatment for reducing Severe Behavioral Problems (SBP) in pediatric patients with Intellectual Disabilities (ID); and a study with McGill University Health Centre’s Division of Infectious Diseases and Chronic Viral Illness, to examine the effectiveness of medical cannabis on immune activation in People Living with HIV.
 
Tilray_Logo“Tilray is at the forefront of clinical research in the medical cannabis field and we’re very proud to support two groundbreaking studies that have potential to identify more indications in which medical cannabis can benefit patients in-need,” says Philippe Lucas, VP of Global Patient Research and Access, Tilray. “We are committed to advancing cannabinoid-based science to further understand the potential benefits of medical cannabis as a treatment option among these critical patient populations. There is a serious need for more clinical data in our field, and we are proud to support research like this around the world.”
 
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia:  

Over 50,000 youth in Australia today have Intellectual Disability with Severe Behavioral Problems such as irritability, aggression, and self-injury. Anti-psychotic and other psychotropic medications are prescribed for half of these patients in Australia, despite limited evidence for their efficacy and a high risk of serious side-effects, including weight gain, metabolic syndrome and extrapyramidal movement disorders. Polypharmacy and off-label prescribing are common in these patients, and drugs are sometimes added to treat side effects. Novel interventions are urgently needed for this highly vulnerable patient group.
 
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians have highlighted the need for further research into the therapeutic uses of cannabinoids in youth. There is intense interest from parents and physicians in medical cannabis as a treatment for SBP in youth with ID. Research to date suggests that CBD and other cannabis extracts, have had fewer reported side-effects than anti-psychotic medications; however, there is currently insufficient evidence to inform its use in treating SBP. MCRI is among the first institutions to conduct research specifically testing the effectiveness of CBD on patients with intellectual disabilities to reduce severe behavioral problems.  
 
“We are committed to increasing the scientific understanding of cannabinoid-based medicine as treatment for pediatric patients with intellectual disability and associated severe behavioral problems through this study.” says Associate Professor Daryl Efron, senior researcher at MCRI and pediatrician.
 
The single site, double-blind, parallel group, randomized, placebo-controlled pilot study of 10 participants, compares CBD with a placebo in reducing Severe Behavioral Problems in pediatric patients aged eight to 16 years of age with Intellectual Disability. Participants are randomized 1:1 to receive either Tilray C100 oral solution or the placebo.
 
Tilray supplied the medical cannabis products used for this trial, which were successfully exported from Tilray’s Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certified facility in Nanaimo, British, Columbia, Canada to Australia in early 2019, with the trial commencing shortly thereafter.
 
The results from this trial are expected to be published by 2020.

8 Best Complementary Health Approaches For Chronic Pain

Complementary and integrative medicine, otherwise known as CIM, encompasses both Western medicine and complementary health approaches as a new combined strategy to treat many clinical conditions.

Chronic pain is, in fact, the leading indication for the use of CIM. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), about 33% of adults and 12% of children in the US have used CIM in this context.

“All of us that are thinking about the management of chronic pain are aware that, alongside the use of pharmaceuticals, we need other approaches,” said Josephine Briggs, the head of NCCIH.

Pain has both physical and mental components, which is why most types of chronic pain could be managed through approaches that are medication-free and have very few negative side effects.

Some of the strategies that seem to offer the best results for those with chronic pain include mindful meditation, CBT, acupuncture, deep breathing exercises, use of CBD oil, and so on. Continue reading to learn more about the said practices for treating chronic pain.

Mind over Matter

Mind Over Matter

Mindfulness is a modern complementary health approach for pain originated from ancient Eastern philosophy.

“It’s a practice designed to cultivate the cognitive state of mindfulness that is premised on nonjudgmental awareness of the present situation,” said Fadel Zeidan, a mindfulness and pain researcher at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, US.

Over the past few decades, thousands of studies have investigated the effects of mindfulness on both mental and physical health. A 1985 study showed that about a 10-week of mindfulness training gave significant benefits to patients with chronic pain, including lowering the amount of medication they took.

However, a recent analysis of studies showed evidence that mindfulness treatments can improve pain in people with a variety of conditions.

Mindful meditation focuses mainly on the present and emphasizes acceptance instead of focusing on the past or future. When it comes to meditating, a person will usually focus on a particular word, object, or breathing pattern.

Mindful medication doesn’t eliminate pain. But it has shown to improve the quality of life for those with chronic pain. The medication has also been found to release tension and reduce stress hormones.

Acupuncture

Long practiced in traditional Eastern medicine as a treatment; acupuncture is an alternative therapy which involves using needles to stimulate specific points on the body.

These points are said to connect with meridians – certain pathways that carry vital energy (or “chi”) throughout the body.

Blockages in the flow of chi disrupt well-being, which leads to illness. By stimulating acupuncture points, acupuncturists aim to clear up those blockages and restore the patient’s health and vitality.

Here are some of the pain conditions that showed to improve with the use of acupuncture:

  • Headaches and Migraines: A study suggests that acupuncture is more effective than medication in protecting against migraines. It’s also beneficial for those with frequent episodic or chronic tension headaches.
  • Low Back Pain: As already mentioned, acupuncture tends to focus on certain channels, some of which correspond to specific points on the body. There are a few acupuncture points — back of the knees, foot, lower back, hip, hand, and stomach — that can help you recover from lower back pain.
  • Arthritis: People with osteoarthritis can benefit from acupuncture. An intensive two- to four-week treatment regimen can offer significant short-term relief of osteoarthritis-related knee pain.

Acupuncture releases opioid-like chemicals in your body, which causes the body to release neurotransmitters that shut off your receptors to pain. It also triggers the electromagnetic impulses with the body, helping to speed up the release of endorphins. This allows your body to manage pain more easily.

Biofeedback

Biofeedback is another complementary health approach for chronic pain, such as low back pain. It involves becoming aware of physiological processes in the body and learning how to control a portion of them.

There are two common forms of biofeedback:

  • Neuromuscular biofeedback: This practice can be used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. It uses electromyography (EMG), which translates muscles contracting and relaxing on a graph or into numbers, or real-time ultrasound imaging (RTUS), which works similarly and muscles are displayed on a screen contracting and relaxing in real time.
  • Cardiovascular biofeedback: This technique involves tracking blood pressure, heart rate, and other cardiovascular functions. A therapist may often use an electrocardiogram to monitor HRV (heart rate variability), which measures the time between heartbeats. This practice usually focuses on learning to control breathing.

Biofeedback is often done in conjunction with CBT and relaxation exercises.

CBT – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The goal of CBT is to recognize negative thoughts and redirect them towards coping thoughts. This can ultimately make chronic pain a livable part of daily life. Generally, cognitive behavioral therapy is provided by a mind-body therapist or psychologist.

“CBT is a useful and empirically based method of treatment for pain disorders which can decrease reliance on the excessive use of opiates,” said Donna M. Sudak of Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, and Muhammad Hassan Majeed of Natchaug Hospital, Mansfield Center, Connecticut.

According to them, the use of CBT can avoid or reduce the use of opioids of chronic pain. It helps patients understand that pain is a stressor, and similar to other stressors, it is something they can adapt to and easily cope with.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

This practice involves tensing and relaxing certain muscle groups followed by a release of muscle tension. If practiced regularly, it can teach you to be more aware of where the pain is coming from as well as help you relieve muscle tension.

Deep Breathing Exercises

Chronic pain often leads to strained breathing, including taking shallow breaths. This can cause dizziness and chest pain. By taking deep breaths over a period of time, your body will consume more oxygen, improve lung function, and ultimately enhance the overall energy levels.

Guided Imagery

This one is a rather simple yet effective method. During pain flare-ups, consider focusing on a pleasant scene or soothing image. This will help distract attention from the discomfort.

CBD Oil

CBD Oil Pix

There are different compound levels found in the natural hemp. How people breed hemp affects CBD levels. CBD oil that comes from industrial hemp usually has a higher CBD content than cannabis.

Different methods are used to extract the compound, which is then added to a carrier oil called Cannabidiol or CBD oil. It comes in many different strengths and is used in various ways.

People have been using CBD traditionally for hundreds of years to treat various types of pain. One report found that short-term use of CBD oil can reduce the levels of spasticity a person feels. The same report studied the use of CBD oil for pain, especially chronic pain.

Researchers compiled the results of several systematic reviews covering dozens of studies and trials. Their research concluded that there’s substantial evidence of cannabis being an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults.

Another study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine suggests that using CBD oil can reduce pain and inflammation, supporting the above-mentioned results.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to chronic pain, some of us reach for a pain remedy — something that is quick and easy. Well, of course, popping a pill may offer you fast relief, but other options may actually offer you long-term better health. Consider the complementary health approaches mentioned in this article to help treat your chronic pain naturally.

How To Use CBD Oil For Fibromyalgia

According to the NFA (National Fibromyalgia Association), about 10 million people in the States suffer from fibromyalgia. This chronic condition is manifested through pains, aches, exhaustion, stiffness, tender areas, and sleeping issues.

The standard treatment for fibromyalgia includes several types of prescription medications including pain relievers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medications. However, these drugs are known to result in unwanted side effects or, in some cases, they prove to be completely inefficient.

For these reasons, many people suffering from fibromyalgia turn to alternative solutions such as CBD.

CBD for Firbro

What Exactly is Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition which manifests through pains in the bones and muscles, chronic fatigue, and tender areas. The symptoms of fibromyalgia are subjective and the causes are not yet clear and, for that reason, it is often incorrectly diagnosed as another disease.

Doctors and medical researchers still don’t know the exact cause of fibromyalgia, but they have been able to determine several factors that might work together to cause it: genetics, stress, trauma, infections, as well as certain diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Gender can be another risk factor since 80%-90% of all fibromyalgia patients are women.

Since there aren’t any objective, reproducible tests, many medical professionals deny the existence of fibromyalgia as a separate disease. Still, the number of doctors who accept it as a real disorder is growing and researchers are working actively to understand it and find a more effective treatment.

While there is still no pharmaceutical drug specifically made for fibromyalgia, the FDA has approved 3 pre-existing prescription drugs for treating moderate to severe fibromyalgia symptoms: the antidepressants duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella), as well as the anti-seizure medicine pregabalin (Lyrica).

Additionally, doctors may also write “off-label” prescriptions, which aren’t officially approved, but may treat specific fibromyalgia symptoms in certain patients.

While these often work as effective pain treatments, they still don’t always pinpoint patients’ symptoms. Plus, they often come with undesirable side effects, and patients might quickly build a tolerance to them.

Many doctors believe that certain lifestyle changes and natural supplements may be even more effective in treating fibromyalgia than prescription drugs. One of these alternative solutions is CBD oil. CBD oil is appealing to fibromyalgia patients because of their anti-inflammatory properties and less frequent occurrence of side effects.

What is CBD?

CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the 100+ compounds found in the cannabis plant. When used in very concentrated forms, like CBD oil, cannabidiol offers a number of health benefits.

Still, many people refuse to use CBD due to previous negative experiences with marijuana. It’s important to note that CBD is not psychoactive and won’t make users high. The compound that has mind-altering properties is actually THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), another compound found in the cannabis plant.

While THC triggers a release of dopamine, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate mood, pain sensitivity, and sleep.

Can CBD Help with Fibromyalgia?

Even though extensive research regarding the efficiency of CBD for treating fibromyalgia is lacking, the initial results are quite promising.

Research conducted in 2013 suggests that CBD can relieve pain caused by various conditions that involve chronic pain including fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, and arthritis.

The effectiveness of CBD in relieving pain is explained by its ability to interrupt the pathways that send pain signals to the brain. In addition, CBD binds with neurotransmitters in the human body called endocannabinoids, thus changing the way humans process pain.

CBD also has anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce swelling and heat caused by diseases or injuries which, in turn, alleviates pain.

These anti-inflammatory properties leave a huge connection between CBD and fibromyalgia, as it is generally regarded as an inflammatory disease and, as such, experts advise the use of treatments that specifically target inflammation.

Evidence proving CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties have spurred more research on how it affects symptoms of chronic and acute pain, as well as how it impacts inflammation and neuropathic pain. For instance, one 2012 study found that CBD reduces inflammation by turning off receptors that would sharpen pain sensitivity, while one 2009 review concluded that CBD was a strong enough source of pain relief that it could be used as a powerful adjunct to pain medications.

Plus, as chronic pain has become the biggest reason why people use CBD, quality brands are recognizing that this condition can refer to a variety of conditions by creating specialty CBD products. In this case, CBD specifically formulated for fibromyalgia is an option.

For example, Every Day Optimal offers Fibromyalgia Relief CBD Capsules, which are made with 25 mg pure CBD per capsule, along with 60 different vitamins and minerals proven to help the onset of fibromyalgia symptoms, including alpha lipoic acid, magnesium, and Acetyl L-Carnite.

This product is ingested in capsule form, making it a convenient way to naturally boost the endocannabinoid system with beneficial phytocannabinoids.

Still, more research is necessary to understand how CBD can help with fibromyalgia. Scientists are trying to understand why CBD works in some patients while it fails to help others. They’re also debating whether the compound should be used alone or in combination with THC in order to boost its health benefits.

How to Use CBD Oil for Fibromyalgia

Since the FDA hasn’t approved the use of CBD for medical purposes, there is no official RDA (recommended daily allowance) or prescribed dosage of CBD for fibromyalgia. The dosage depends on various factors including the person’s weight, age, metabolism, diet, genetics, as well as the severity of the condition and the consistency of the CBD oil itself.

As with any supplement or medication, it’s recommended to start with a small dosage and increase gradually.  Begin with a single drop of CBD oil on the first day of use to allow the body to adapt. Carefully observe if there are any negative reactions and, if that’s not the case, increase the dosage to two drops. Continue increasing every week or so until you notice the desired results.

It’s also recommended to discuss the use of CBD for fibromyalgia with a medical professional who is knowledgeable about both the condition and CBD.

Finally, make sure to obtain your CBD oil (or any other CBD product) from a quality source. Ideally, this would be your health provider but if you’re ordering online, look for brands that offer certificates of lab tests and list the amounts of CBD and THC on their label. This way, you’ll maximize the health benefits and minimize the side effects.

Are There Any Side Effects from CBD

Even though the side effects of CBD are rare, some people have reported the following:

  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • changes in appetite
  • anxiety
  • mood swings

Is the Use of CBD Legal?

Even though several US states have legalized the use of CBD, it’s still illegal at the federal level.

All CBD products derived from industrial hemp are legal in all 50 US states, whereas CBD products obtained from marijuana are legal for recreational use in only 8 US states.

Since CBD is considered a byproduct of marijuana (which is rich in psychoactive THC), it is legal only for medicinal use in forty-six US states. In Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota all CBD products are illegal.

If you’re considering CBD as a fibromyalgia treatment, make sure to check its legal status in your state. Taking CBD in a state where it is illegal can put you in legal jeopardy.

CBD Oil

In Conclusion

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition and CBD oil won’t cure it. However, it may be effective in mitigating and even eliminating its symptoms.

The efficiency of CBD depends on a number of factors including the severity of the condition, as well as the individual being treated. In some cases, CBD can be more effective when combined with prescription medication and/or other alternative remedies.

However, if you’re suffering from fibromyalgia, make sure to consult your doctor before you begin using CBD, especially if you’re already taking prescription medications, to avoid any negative reactions.

The legal status of CBD varies and it is advised that you check the local laws before buying any CBD products.


Every Day Optimal CBD is the nation’s leading supplier of USA made CBD products. Our Fibromyalgia product is Derived From Non-GMO, CBD-Rich Hemp and has 25mg of CBD and 17 essential vitamins in each recommended serving. Each bottle contains 60 capsules, 1 capsule per serving. This product is available in all 50 states. Order today!

Fibro_Relief_CBD

First US Clinical Study Assessing Hemp-Derived Cannabinoid Supplementation In Recovery From Traumatic Brain Injury Begins In Colorado

COLORADO:  The Flowering HOPE Foundation and Clover Leaf University have just announced sponsorship and collaboration on the first US clinical study to be approved to investigate plant-derived cannabinoid supplements in recovery from brain injury. 

The study will analyze quantitative EEG brain activity and a cannabinoid-sensitive salivary biomarker in 40 subjects with mild traumatic brain injury and controls who currently take hemp-derived botanical supplements on a regular basis (i.e. phytocannabinoids). The study is recruiting adults age 18 to 55 to participate in the year-long trial. 

Jason Cranford, Founder of the Flowering HOPE Foundation, a Colorado registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports the medicinal use of plant-derived cannabinoids, called phytocannabinoids, described the motivation for sponsoring the study: “We hope to provide scientific support for the benefits of the natural plant-based compounds contained in hemp and move a step closer towards the unrestricted availability of non synthetic cannabinoid therapeutics.”

Cranford is a pioneer in the emerging cannabis industry with more than 25 years experience in cultivation, extraction and formulations. His know-how allowed him to breed a unique hemp strain selected for a blend of phytoterpenes and phytocannabinoids designed to alleviate treatment-resistant epilepsy in children without psychoactive side effects. The resulting strain, called Haleigh’s Hope, was formulated into a supplement offered by the FHF (2013). 

The FHF has partnered with Clover Leaf University to study brain injury. The President and Founder, Chloe Villano, received accredited approval for CLU in 2013 by the Colorado Department of Higher Education’s Private Occupational School Board. Villano is a pioneer in the cannabis and hemp industry and prioritized brain injury for the study.

“This historic study is the first of its kind and it is a privilege to work with the Flowering HOPE Foundation to address the problem of brain injury and collaborate with a neuroscientist who understands the brain endocannabinoid system, such as Dr. Cooper. There are currently no effective treatments for traumatic brain injury or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, but phytocannabinoids may be a good candidate, based on the established science of anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective mechanisms. Clover Leaf University is excited to take the lead in clinical studies that will improve and save lives,” said Villano.

The lead neuroscientist responsible for the study,  Don Cooper, Ph.D, is President of Real-Time Diagnostics Ventures Inc. He has published 45 peer reviewed papers on neuronal memory formation/plasticity and has studied brain cannabinoids since 2000, when he received his first NIH grant. 

“I never thought it would take almost 20 years from when I started working on the brain cannabinoid system to have the first approved clinical study on phytocannabinoids and brain injury. We have convincing preclinical data showing that phytocannabinoids are neuroprotective and may be critically important for restoring neuronal function after brain injury,” stated Cooper.

For more information contact the study Clinical Coordinator at TBIstudy@protonmail.com.

Teens Living In US States Allowing Medical Marijuana Smoke Less Cannabis

MASSACHUSETTS: According to a large-scale study of American high school students, legalizing medicinal marijuana has actually led to a drop in cannabis use among teenagers.

The study, published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse used the results of an anonymous survey given to more than 800,000 high school students across 45 states to calculate the number of teens who smoke cannabis.

It found that the number of teenage cannabis smokers was 1.1% less in states that had enacted medical marijuana laws (MML) compared to those that hadn’t, even when accounting for other important variables such as tobacco and alcohol policies, economic trends, youth characteristics and state demographics.

“We found that for every group of 100 adolescents, one fewer will be a current user of marijuana following the enactment of medical marijuana laws,” says Dr Rebekah Levine Coley, a Professor of psychology at Boston College, who led the study.

“When we looked at particular subgroups of adolescents, this reduction became even more pronounced. For example 3.9% less Black and 2.7% less Hispanic youths now use marijuana in states with MML”.

As the survey was administered over a period of 16 years, the researchers were able to compare the changes in teenager’s marijuana use in states that adopted MML with those that hadn’t, allowing them to more precisely pinpoint the effects of the legislation. Intriguingly, the study found that the longer the laws had been in place, the greater the reduction in teen marijuana use.

The results shine a light on an important debate taking place in America about the relative benefits and risks of decriminalizing marijuana.

“Some people have argued that decriminalizing or legalizing medical marijuana could increase cannabis use amongst young people, either by making it easier for them to access, or by making it seem less harmful.” says Dr Rebekah Levine Coley.

“However, we saw the opposite effect. We were not able to determine why this is, but other research has suggested that after the enactment of medical marijuana laws, youths’ perceptions of the potential harm of marijuana use actually increased. Alternatively, another theory is that as marijuana laws are becoming more lenient, parents may be increasing their supervision of their children, or changing how they talk to them about drug use.”

Importantly the study found that unlike medical marijuana laws, decriminalizing recreational marijuana had no noticeable effect on adolescents’ cannabis use, except for a small decline in marijuana smoking among 14-year olds and people from Hispanic backgrounds, and an increase in use among white adolescents. Neither policies had any effect on frequent or heavy users of marijuana, suggesting that these students are not easily influenced by state laws.

Study: Majority Of Medical Cannabis Patients Are Seeking Pain Relief

MICHIGAN: Most US patients registered to access medical cannabis cite chronic pain as their primary qualifying condition, according to data published in the journal Health Affairs.

Investigators from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor reviewed patient registration data from the majority of states that provide medical cannabis access. (Some states, notably California and Maine, possess voluntary registries and therefore do not compile patient profile data.)

They reported that in 2016, chronic pain was the most common qualifying condition reported by patients (65 percent). They added, “Of all patient-reported qualifying conditions, 85 percent had either substantial or conclusive evidence of therapeutic efficacy,” as defined by the 2017 report published by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The authors of that report concluded that there exists conclusive or substantial evidence for the effectiveness of cannabis in the treatment of chronic pain, nausea and vomiting, and spasticity.

Separate studies indicate that legal cannabis access is typically associated with reduced rates of opioid use and abuse. Studies have also identified a reduction in the prevalence of opioid-related mortality following statewide marijuana access.

Authors concluded: “[O]ur data show that the number of medical cannabis patients has risen dramatically over time as more states have legalized medical cannabis. … [W]e believe not only that it is inappropriate for cannabis to remain a Schedule I substance, but also that state and federal policy makers should begin evaluating evidence-based ways for safely integrating cannabis research and products into the health care system.”


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Qualifying conditions of medical cannabis license holders in the United States,” appears in Health Affairs. Additional information is available in NORML’s fact-sheet, “Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids.”

NBC Miami Report: Potency Of Commercially Marketed CBD Products Questioned

FLORIDA: Independent testing reveals that many commercially marketed CBD-infused products contain lower percentages of cannabidiol than are advertised on the products’ label, according to an investigation conducted by NBC News in Miami.

Investigators submitted 35 commercially available products for third-party independent lab testing. “Of the 35 samples … tested, 20 of them had less than half of the amounts of CBD advertised on the label,” NBC reported. Some samples, such as a package of infused gummies claiming to contain 1,000 mg of CBD, contained no cannabidiol.

The NBC findings are consistent with those of prior studies — such as those hereherehere, and here — which similarly reported that many CBD-infused products are of variable potency. Another recent study identified the presence of the psychoactive adulterants DXM and 5F-ADM in a line of products marketed by the manufacturer Diamond CBD.

By contrast, recent third-party testing of a sampling of 29 leading CBD-infused products by Remedy Review reported that all but one product tested positive for the presence of CBD at levels similar to what was advertised. However, three of the products did test positive for the presence of either pesticides or fungicides. “These results … indicate the need for independent monitoring and testing,” the company stated in a press release.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Patients Frequently Substitute Cannabis For Anti-Anxiety Drugs

CANADA: Patients authorized to legally use medical cannabis frequently substitute it in place of benzodiazepines, according to a pair of new studies. Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs primarily used for treating anxiety. According to data compiled by the US Centers for Disease Control, benzodiazepines were attributed to over 11,500 overdose deaths in 2017.

In the first study, Canadian researchers assessed the relationship between cannabis and benzodiazepines in a cohort of 146 patients enrolled in the nation’s medical marijuana access program. They reported that 30 percent of participants discontinued their use of anti-anxiety medications within two months of initiating cannabis therapy and that 45 percent did so by six months.

“Patients initiated on medical cannabis therapy showed significant benzodiazepine discontinuation rates after their first follow-up visit to their medical cannabis prescriber, and continued to show significant discontinuation rates thereafter,” authors concluded.

In the second study, investigators at the University of Michigan surveyed over 1,300 state-registered medical cannabis patients with regard to their use of opioids and benzodiazepines. They reported that 53 percent of respondents acknowledged substituting marijuana for opioids, and 22 percent did so for benzodiazepines.

The studies’ findings are consistent with numerous other papers — such as those hereherehere, and here— documenting patients’ use of cannabis in place of a variety of prescription drugs, particularly opioids and anti-anxiety medications.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Reduction of benzodiazepine use in patients prescribed medical cannabis,” appears in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. Full text of the study, “Pills to pot: Observational analyses of cannabis substitution among medical cannabis users with chronic pain,” appears in The Journal of Pain. Additional information is available in NORML’s fact-sheet, “Relationship between marijuana and opioids.”

Survey: Three Of Four Military Veterans Would Consider Using Medical Cannabis

NEW YORK: Seventy-five percent of military veterans say that they would consider using either “cannabis or cannabinoid products as a treatment option,” according to member survey data compiled by the group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). The organization represents over 400,000 veterans nationwide.

Under existing federal regulations, physicians affiliated with the Department of Veteran Affairs are forbidden from providing medical cannabis recommendations, even in jurisdictions that legally permit private practitioners to do so.

Overall, 83 percent of respondents expressed support for legalizing medical cannabis access, and 68 percent believe that the Department of Veterans Affairs “should allow for research into cannabis as a treatment option.” Proposed federal legislation to direct the agency to conduct clinical trials on the use of cannabis for PTSD and for other conditions is currently pending in the US House and Senate.

Twenty percent of veterans surveyed acknowledged having previously used cannabis for medical purposes. Other studies have estimated that as many as 41 percent of veterans acknowledge having consumed cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Available data documents that cannabis is effective in the treatment of chronic pain and may potentially mitigate symptoms of post-traumatic stress, along with other conditions veterans commonly face.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at: (202) 483-5500. Additional information is available from the NORML fact-sheet, “Marijuana and Veterans Issues.”

Study: CBD-Dominant Cannabis Oil Safe And Effective In Autistic Patients

ISRAEL: The administration of plant-derived cannabis extracts is effective and well-tolerated in patients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), according to data published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Israeli investigators assessed the safety and efficacy of the daily administration of CBD-enriched cannabis oil (consisting of 30 percent CBD and 1.5 percent THC) in a cohort of 188 patients with ASD. Of those patients who continued treatment for six months and provided feedback to researchers, over 90 percent reported some level of symptomatic improvement — including reductions in restlessness, seizures, and rage attacks. Approximately one-third of respondents reported a reduction in their intake of other medications.

Authors concluded: “Cannabis as a treatment for autism spectrum disorders patients appears to be well-tolerated, safe and seemingly effective option to relieve symptoms, mainly: seizures, tics, depression, restlessness and rage attacks. … [W]e believe that double blind placebo-controlled trials are crucial for a better understanding of the cannabis effect on ASD patients.”

The results are consistent with those of a prior Israeli study which concluded that the daily administration of CBD-dominant extracts was associated with “overall improvement in behavior, anxiety, and communication” in autism patients.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Real life experience of medical cannabis treatment in autism: Analysis of safety and efficacy,” appears in Scientific Reports.