Long-Term Cannabis Use Associated With Lower BMI

ARIZONA: Lifetime cannabis exposure is associated with lower body mass index (BMI), according to longitudinal data published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

Researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Pittsburgh assessed the association between long-term cannabis exposure and cardiometabolic risk factors in a cohort of 253 men. They reported that greater marijuana exposure was associated with lower BMI as well as lower cholesterol levels and other risk factors.

“Cannabis use is associated with lower BMI and lower BMI is related to lower levels of risk on other cardiometabolic risk factors,” they concluded.

The findings are consistent with those of prior studies concluding that cannabis exposure is associated with lower BMIlower rates of obesity, and fewer incidences of type 2 diabetes.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Associations between cannabis use and cardiometabolic risk factors: A longitudinal study of men,” appears in Psychosomatic Medicine.

 

Study: Long-Term Cannabis Use Not Associated With Changes In Brain Morphology

AUSTRALIA: The use of cannabis, even long-term, is not associated with changes in the cortical surface of the brain, according to data published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology.

A team of investigators from Australia and the Netherlands assessed the relationship between cannabis use and brain morphology in a cohort of 261 subjects (141 cannabis users and 120 controls). Researchers reported “no significant effects on cortical surface morphology” that could be attributable to subjects’ cannabis use, dependence, or age of initiation.

Authors concluded, “Our lack of finding in a well-powered study suggests that cortical surface morphology may be less associated with cannabis use than previously assumed.”

The findings are consistent with other recent brain imaging studies – such as those herehere, and here – and are largely inconsistent with those of a well-publicized 2014 study purporting that even causal cannabis exposure was linked to changes in the brain in young people.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Cortical surface morphology in long-term cannabis users: A multi-site MRI study,” appears in European Neuropsychopharmacology. Further information is available from the NORML fact-sheet, “Marijuana Exposure and Cognitive Performance.”

Study: Patients With Tourette Syndrome Report Benefits From Cannabis

ISRAEL: Patients suffering from Tourette syndrome (TS) report symptomatic benefits following the use of medical cannabis, according to data published in the journal Parkinsonism and Related Disorders.

Israeli researchers surveyed 42 patients with TS who had approval from the Health Ministry to use medical marijuana. Subjects typically reported reduced tic severity, better sleep, and improved mood following cannabis administration. About 75 percent of total participants elected to continue using cannabis long-term. Those who ceased their use did so because of a lack of perceived efficacy or due to side-effects.

Authors concluded: “MC (medical cannabis) seems to hold promise in the treatment of GTS (Gilles de la Tourette syndrome) as it demonstrated high subjective satisfaction by most patients.”

Prior studies have consistently demonstrated that the administration of either whole-plant cannabis or oral THC is associated with reduced tic severity in TS patients.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Single center experience with medical cannabis in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome,” appears in Parkinsonism and Related Disorders. NORML’s literature review on cannabis and Tourette Syndrome is online.

 

Study: CBD Therapy Improves Autistic Symptoms

ISRAEL: The adjunctive use of high CBD oral extracts is associated with improvements in symptom management in children with autism-related behavioral issues, according to clinical data published online ahead of print in the journal Neurology.

Israeli researchers assessed the use of oral extracts containing a 20 to 1 ratio of CBD to THC in 60 adolescents with autism spectrum disorder.

Following treatment, behavioral outbreaks were “much improved or very much improved in 61 percent of patients.” Nearly half of all patients reported improvement in anxiety and in their communication skills, while 29 percent reported a decrease in disruptive behaviors.

Authors concluded, “This preliminary study supports the feasibility of CBD-based medical cannabis as a promising treatment option for refractory behavioral problems in children with ASD.”


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Cannabis-based medical cannabis in children with autism – A retrospective feasibility study,” appears in Neurology.

Clinical Trial: Use Of Herbal Cannabis Safe And Effective In Cancer Patients

ISRAEL: Cannabis administration is associated with the subjective improvement of symptoms in patients with cancer, according to clinical data published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine.

Israeli researchers assessed the safety and efficacy of cannabis in a cohort of over 1,200 cancer patients over a period of six months. Ninety-six percent of patients “reported an improvement in their condition.” Symptomatic improvements included: relief from nausea and vomiting (91 percent), improved sleep (86 percent), decreased anxiety (84 percent), and pain relief (over 50 percent). Nearly half of respondents reported either decreasing or eliminating their use of opioids during the treatment period.

Authors concluded, “Cannabis as a palliative treatment for cancer patients seems to be a well-tolerated, effective, and safe option to help patients cope with the malignancy related symptoms.”

An estimated 30,000 Israeli patients are approved to use medical cannabis, which was legalized by the Ministry of Health in 2007.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Prospective analysis of safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in a large unselected population of patients with cancer,” appears in the European Journal of Internal Medicine.

Front Range Biosciences Partners With University of California, Davis For Cannabis Genomics Research

Agricultural biotech company collaborates with world’s leading agriculture school for research

CALIFORNIA: Front Range Biosciences, a leading agricultural biotech company, has launched a genomics research initiative with the University of California, Davis, to advance understanding of cannabis for medical and nutraceutical uses.  The research team consists of Professor Dario Cantu in the Department of Viticulture and Enology, research scientists in the Cantu lab, and members of the FRB team.

“We have successfully applied cutting-edge DNA sequencing technologies and computational approaches to study challenging genomes of diverse crops and associated microorganisms. We are now excited to have the opportunity to study the genome of hemp. Decoding its genome will allow us to gain new insight into the genetic bases of complex pathways of secondary metabolism in plants,” said Dr. Cantu.

“UC Davis is renowned as the leading agriculture university in the world and we are excited to work with Dr. Cantu’s team to improve this crop to reduce pesticide residues and excessive application of fertilizers, in preparation for production targeting medically beneficial compounds,” said Dr. Jonathan Vaught, CEO of FRB.

During the project, FRB will isolate DNA from hemp cultivars that are low in THC and solely for industrial uses. The company will send these DNA samples to UC Davis for Next-Generation Sequencing and bioinformatic analysis to create a better genome reference for cannabis.

To fund the project, FRB pledged a gift, to be fulfilled over a one-year period, to The Regents of University of California to support UC Davis’ development and annotation of the cannabis genome. FRB gift will cover costs related to supplies, DNA and RNA sequencing, assembly and annotation of the cannabis genome.

Study: Cannabis Exposure Associated With Improved Immunity In HIV Patients

PENNSYLVANIA:Patients with HIV who test positive for past cannabis exposure possess significantly higher CD4+ and CD8+ counts than do those patients who test negative for the substance, according to data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. CD4+ and CD8+ cells are a subtype of white blood cells that assist in the immune process.

A team of investigators from Virginia State University and the University of Florida Center for AIDS/HIV Research assessed differences in the lymphocyte count among HIV patients whose urinalysis tested negative for THC and those who tested positive for THC.

Authors reported: “After adjusting for demographic and HIV-related covariates, THC-positive patients had significantly higher CD4+ and CD8+ counts than their THC-negative counterparts. … The current findings are in line with previous research, reporting daily marijuana users have higher CD4+ cell counts and lower viral load than their non-using and infrequent using counterparts.”

They concluded: “This preliminary study shows THC positive patients having better HIV-related immune levels than their negative counterparts, despite not being statistically different on various demographic HIV-related covariates. … The current findings suggest a potentially beneficial role to marijuana, additional to symptom palliation.”

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Confirmed marijuana use and lymphocyte count in black people living with HIV,” appears in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Review Identifies 140 Controlled Clinical Trials Related to Cannabis

GERMANY: Scientists have conducted over 140 controlled clinical trials since 1975 assessing the safety and efficacy of either whole-plant cannabis or specific cannabinoids, according to a literature review published in the journal Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences.

A pair of German researchers identified 140 clinical trials involving an estimated 8,000 participants. Of these, the largest body of literature focuses on the use of cannabis or cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic or neuropathic pain. Authors identified 35 controlled studies, involving 2,046 subjects, assessing the use of marijuana or cannabinoids in pain management. In January, the National Academy of Sciences acknowledged that “conclusive or substantial evidence” exists for cannabis’ efficacy in patients suffering from chronic pain.

Cannabinoids have also been well studied as anti-emetic agents and as appetite stimulants. Researchers identified 43 trials evaluating marijuana or its components for these purposes, involving a total of 2,498 patients. They identified an additional 14 trials examining the role of cannabis or cannabis-derived extracts for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Researchers also identified several additional trials evaluating the use of cannabis or cannabinoids for a number of other diseases, including Crohn’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, glaucoma, and epilepsy.

A 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that pharmaceutical drugs typically gain FDA approval on the basis of one or two pivotal clinical trials.

 

DRUGS Landmark Study Confirms Marijuana Extract Is An Amazing Aid To Prevent Seizures In Epileptic Children

The annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society took place in early December, where the largest study presented there confirmed the astounding benefits of medical cannabis to treat seizures.

Epilepsy affects one in 26 Americans during their lifetime, “with one-third having a form of the condition that resists treatment or effective management.” Children and young adults are particularly affected by this debilitating condition.

The findings of this study add to the growing body of evidence that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive extract of cannabis, can provide the best option for treatment-resistant epilepsy.

Of 261 patients given CBD treatment, 45% experienced a significant reduction in seizure frequency, and 9% were seizure-free at 3 months. Some children continued to experience benefits after the trial ended, even one year after.

Unprecedented Pot Study Planned at SF General

CALIFORNIA:  An unprecedented human trial of vaporized cannabis is set to begin this summer at San Francisco General Hospital, Legalization Nation has learned.

Pending final clearances, SF General Hospital Chief of Hematology and Oncology Dr. Donald Abrams will use government dollars and government-supplied weed to see if cannabis reduces the pain and inflammation associated with sickle-cell disease. Such scientific studies are extremely rare, because of the ongoing federal war on marijuana.

Scientists need government permission and government-grown grass to conduct any research deemed acceptable. Problem is: the US government doesn’t grant that permission, and it almost never coughs up the weed.