Thousands Of Peer-Reviewed Studies Specific To Medical Cannabis Have Been Published Over Past Decade

ISRAEL: The total number of peer-reviewed scientific papers dedicated to cannabis, and the therapeutic use of cannabis in particular, has increased exponentially in recent years, according to data published the journal Population Health Management.

Israeli researchers assessed trends in the number of scientific publications specific to cannabis as compared to all scientific publications during the years 2000 to 2017. They reported: “The overall annual number of scientific publications … increased 2.5 times between 2000–2017 from 531,664 to 1,282,229. In contrast, the corresponding number for publications on cannabis increased 4.5 times … and increased 9-fold for publications on medical cannabis.”

Overall, authors identified just over 29,000 cannabis-centric scientific papers published during the study period, with over 3,300 of those dedicated to the subject of medical marijuana. Papers specific to medical cannabis were most likely to address its use in the treatment of HIV, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, nausea, or epilepsy.

Over 60 percent of the papers were classified as “original research,” and 66 percent of all scientific papers originated from authors in the United States.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Trends in publications in medical cannabis from the year 2000,” appears in Population Health Management.

Study: Cannabis Leaves Possess Anti-Bacterial Activity Against MRSA

INDIA: Ethanol-based tinctures containing crushed cannabis leaves provide anti-bacterial effects against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), according to data published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine. Strains of the MRSA bacterium are often resistant to antibiotic treatment and can be associated with life-threatening infections, such as septic shock and severe pneumonia.

A team of researchers from India assessed the antimicrobial activities of cannabis leaf extracts, along with extracts from the leaves of the plants Thuja orientalis (a form of cypress) and Psidium guajava(lemon guava), against MRSA.

Authors reported that each of the individual extracts inhibited MRSA growth, but that these effects were more profound when cannabis was used in combination with Thuja orientalis. They concluded, “Ethanolic extract of C. sativa alone and in combination with T. orientalis provided two potential therapeutic agents for use against MRSA infections.”

Prior studies have demonstrated that constituents in the cannabis plant possess potent antibacterial and antifungal properties which are capable of halting of the spread of MRSA and malaria under controlled conditions.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.orgFull text of the study, “Antimicrobial activity of Cannabis sativa, Thuja orientalis, and Psidium guajava leaf extracts against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus,” appears in the Journal of Integrative Medicine.

Sproutly Closes Acquisition of Infusion Biosciences Canada And SSM

CANADA: Sproutly Canada has completed the acquisition of all of the issued and outstanding shares of Infusion Biosciences Canada, according to a company press release.

“We are extremely excited to finalize this Acquisition, enabling Sproutly to commercialize the APP Technology in major regulated markets around the world with innovative cannabis products that target the $50+ billion bottled water and functional beverage market with naturally water-soluble molecules from cannabis and hemp”, commented Keith Dolo, Chief Executive Officer of Sproutly. Mr. Dolo added, “APP Technology is a low-cost, gentle method to produce Infuz20, a ground-breaking discovery that delivers the total effects of the strain of cannabis from which it is made; on-set effects start within approximately 5 minutes and dissipate within approximately 90 minutes.”

Infusion Biosciences has discovered water soluble forms of cannabinoids and terpenes, that naturally exist in cannabis and hemp plants.

Infusion Biosciences has discovered water soluble forms of cannabinoids and terpenes, that naturally exist in cannabis and hemp plants.

“Combining with Sproutly allows Infusion Biosciences to produce and sell innovative consumer products in several countries where cannabis use is legal. Together, we are positioned to leverage our APP Technology to become a leader in the beverage industry and broaden the consumer base with products that will deliver controlled doses that meet expectations for cannabis experiences”, said Dr. Arup Sen, Chief Executive Officer of Infusion Biosciences Inc. (“Infusion Biosciences”). “As a natural water solution, Infuz2O is the best means to deliver the medicinal benefits of cannabis to patients suffering from symptoms associated with major chronic diseases like cancer and pain”, added Dr. Sen.

Acquisition Highlights

The Acquisition brings together a strategically located premium cultivation facility and a key technologic innovation in the cannabis industry. Some key Acquisition highlights are:

  • Significant Discovery and Recovery of Naturally Water-Soluble Cannabinoids – Infusion Biosciences has discovered and produced naturally water soluble bioactive molecules that deliver the full experience of cannabis paralleling the onset and offset profiles of smoking but, avoids the undesirable features that have kept a vast majority of consumers away.
  • Broadens Sproutly’s Management Team – The addition of Dr. Sen and Mr. Marcellino to Sproutly’s executive management team provides decades of experience in biopharmaceutical research, development, and technology commercialization. Dr. Arup Sen will also be joining the Board of Directors.
  • Positions Sproutly to Become a Leader in Beverages, Edibles and Tinctures –Sproutly is now positioned to fulfill its mission as a vertically integrated cannabis consumer products company focused on redefining the cannabis industry with a clear focus on beverage and additional consumer products by solving the technologic limitations associated with blending oils extracted by traditional means into water.
  • Exclusive License for Key Regulated Recreational and Medicinal Jurisdictions –Sproutly gains the exclusive rights for APP Technology in Canada, the European Union, Australia, Israel, and Jamaica.
  • Low Cost, Scalable, Gentle Process to Produce Bioactive Molecules as an Alternative to Current Oil Extraction Methods – APP Technology is a patent-pending process that uses proprietary combinations of common dietary ingredients to gently recover naturally water-soluble cannabinoids and also the free cannabis oils in natural oils. APP Technology recovers between 85% – 90% of the total bioactive cannabinoids in the plant, distributed between Infuz20 and Bio-Natural Oil.

Inside Science: Marijuana May Help Solve Skin Rash Sting

WASHINGTON: In a new video for Inside Science News Service, executive producer Karin Heineman interviews Robert Dellavalle from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, who explains how some compounds found in marijuana might help stop itching and pain in people suffering from skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis.

Eczema affects millions of people, causing an itchy, painful rash. There are medications, but they don’t always work for patients. Researchers now want to investigate if marijuana can offer some relief for some skin conditions.

The cannabis plant has anti-inflammatory properties that can help with inflammation, itching and pain. The plant produces chemical compounds called cannabinoids; THC and CBD are the most widely known and understood. CBD however, does not make users “high” — it is non-psychoactive. Researchers want to study whether a drug containing the CBD compounds can help with some skin diseases.

The video talks about ongoing clinical trials for testing marijuana for certain skin diseases and the regulatory hurdles that researchers have had to overcome for testing marijuana — a drug that is still considered a controlled substance, and under federal law is illegal, whether you live in a state that legalized it for medical or recreational use, or not.

Meta-Analysis: Studies Refute Claims That Medical Cannabis Access Encourages Teen Use

NEW YORK:  The enactment of statewide laws regulating the use and distribution of cannabis for medical purposes is not associated with increased marijuana use among young people, according to a review of relevant studies published online ahead of print in the journal Addiction.

Investigators from Columbia University, the RAND Corporation, the University of California at Davis, and the Boston School of Public Health reviewed 11 studies developed from four ongoing national surveys. The studies were published between the years 1991 and 2014. None of the studies identified any significant changes in youth use patterns that could be attributable to changes in marijuana’s legal status.

Authors concluded: “[A]ll estimates of pre-post changes in past-month marijuana use within MML (medical marijuana law) states from these studies were non-significant. … In summary, current evidence does not support the hypothesis that MML passage is associated with increased marijuana use prevalence among adolescents in states that have passed such laws.”

One of the study’s senior authors, Dr. Deborah Hasin, further stated in an accompanying press release, “For now, there appears to be no basis for the argument that legalizing medical marijuana has increased teens’ use of the drug.”

The findings are consistent with those of numerous prior studies, including a federally funded 2015 study published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry that assessed marijuana use patterns of over one-million adolescents in 48 states. That paper concluded, [C]oncerns that increased marijuana use is an unintended effect of state marijuana laws seem unfounded.”

Separate studies report that teens’ use of marijuana and access to cannabis have declined significantly over the better part of the past two decades – during the same time that the majority of states enacted medical marijuana access programs. Data from states that regulate the adult use and sale of cannabis similarly fail to report any associated uptick in either youth use or marijuana access.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Medical marijuana laws and adolescent marijuana use in the United States: A systematic review and meta-analysis,” appears in Addiction.

World Health Organization: CBD Should Not Be Subject To International Drug Controls

SWITZERLAND: Use of the naturally occurring cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) possesses no likely abuse potential and should not be subject to international drug scheduling restrictions, according to recommendations issued this week by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence.

Stated WHO: “Recent evidence from animal and human studies shows that its use could have some therapeutic value for seizures due to epilepsy and related conditions. Current evidence also shows that cannabidiol is not likely to be abused or create dependence as for other cannabinoids (such as Tetra Hydro Cannabinol (THC), for instance). The ECDD therefore concluded that current information does not justify scheduling of cannabidiol and postponed a fuller review of cannabidiol preparations to May 2018, when the committee will undertake a comprehensive review of cannabis and cannabis related substances.”

In September, NORML submitted written testimony to the US Food and Drug Administration in opposition to the imposition of new international restrictions regarding CBD access. The FDA is one of a number of agencies that advised WHO with their review.

preliminary report issued by the WHO in November affirmed that CBD was generally safe, well-tolerated, and that there “is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

Despite the international health agency’s acknowledgment that CBD is therapeutic, safe, and well-tolerated, it remains classified under US law as a schedule I controlled substance.

“The domestic classification and criminalization of cannabidiol as a schedule I controlled substance is out of step with both available science and common sense,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said. “It is yet another example of the US government placing ideology over evidence when it comes to issues related to the cannabis plant.”


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org.

Nanoparticle Drones To Target Lung Cancer with Radiosensitizers And Cannabinoids

imageWilfred Ngwa1,2*, imageRajiv Kumar1,3imageMichele Moreau1,2imageRaymond Dabney4 and imageAllen Herman4

1Department of Radiation Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States
2University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA, United States
3Northeastern University, Boston, MA, United States
4Cannabis Science Inc., Irvine, CA, United States
 
CALIFORNIA: Nanotechnology has opened up a new, previously unimaginable world in cancer diagnosis and therapy, leading to the emergence of cancer nanomedicine and nanoparticle-aided radiotherapy. Smart nanomaterials (nanoparticle drones) can now be constructed with capability to precisely target cancer cells and be remotely activated with radiation to emit micrometer-range missile-like electrons to destroy the tumor cells. These nanoparticle drones can also be programmed to deliver therapeutic payloads to tumor sites to achieve optimal therapeutic efficacy. In this article, we examine the state-of-the-art and potential of nanoparticle drones in targeting lung cancer. Inhalation (INH) (air) versus traditional intravenous (“sea”) routes of navigating physiological barriers using such drones is assessed. Results and analysis suggest that INH route may offer more promise for targeting tumor cells with radiosensitizers and cannabinoids from the perspective of maximizing damage to lung tumors cells while minimizing any collateral damage or side effects.

Introduction

Nanomedicine, the application of nanotechnology to medicine, has opened a new, previously unimaginable world in cancer diagnosis and therapy. Today new multifunctional nanoplatforms or smart nanomaterials (nanoparticle drones) can be constructed and endowed with image contrast enhancement capabilities for techniques such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (12) and can contain therapeutic payloads programmed for targeted delivery to disease sites (3). The vision of combining diagnostics and therapeutics, now being referred to as theranostics, was considered futuristic only a few years ago but is now clearly achievable—the future is almost now!

A) Cartoon showing both intravenous and inhalation (INH) delivery of nanoparticle drones; (B) TEM image of lung tumor targeted with drones; (C) absorption spectra of drone technology uniquely customized for INH delivery to lung tumors.

A) Cartoon showing both intravenous and inhalation (INH) delivery of nanoparticle drones; (B) TEM image of lung tumor targeted with drones; (C) absorption spectra of drone technology uniquely customized for INH delivery to lung tumors.

Recognizing the potential impact of nanomedicine, the National Cancer Institute created the Alliance for Cancer Nanotechnology to leverage the potential of nanotechnology toward transforming the way cancer is diagnosed, treated, or prevented. Projects funded by this Alliance have led to significant research breakthroughs and have even entered successful clinical trials (4). Today, cancer nanomedicine now includes burgeoning research and development in nanoparticle-aided radiotherapy (NRT). A recent article (5) provides a robust review of NRT developments for over a decade in NRT with gold nanoparticles (GNPs), highlighting emerging approaches, challenges, and opportunities for further research toward clinical translation. Beyond GNP, other research has highlighted the use of alternative nanoparticle platforms like gadolinium nanoparticles (67), hafnium nanoparticles (8), platinum-based chemotherapy drug platforms, and others with theranostic capability (910).

In general, the key goal for NRT and cancer drug development efforts is the same, which is to optimize therapeutic efficacy/ratio. To this end, recent advances in the design of smart nanomaterials proffer tremendous potential toward realizing this goal. Such smart materials (11) are specifically designed to be sensitive to a specific stimulus, such as temperature, magnetic field, ultrasound intensity, light or radiation, and pH, and to then respond in active ways including radiosensitization or changing their structure for drug delivery, or other functions that have the potential to cogently enhance treatment outcomes.

Gold nanoparticles provide an excellent template for building such nanoparticle drones. They are biocompatible radiosensitizers (5), proffering relatively no toxicity. They can readily interact with photons by the photoelectric effect, to emit missile-like photoelectrons or Auger electrons in the micrometer range, to substantially boost RT damage to cancer cells. In the photoelectric effect, photons interact with the nanomaterials, with the probability of photoelectric interaction inversely proportional to the cube of the photon energy (5). Once the photoelectron is emitted, this creates a vacancy that may be filled by an electron from a higher energy level. The resulting release of energy could then also knockout Auger electrons. The Auger electrons are shorter range and with high linear energy transfer, so can lead to highly localized damage. Such highly localized damage to tumor cells can allow minimization of the primary radiotherapy dose and hence normal tissue toxicity. Nanoplatforms such as GNPs are also particularly attractive for building nanoparticle drones because they can provide CT and photoacoustic imaging contrast and are suitable for drug loading and attaching targeting moieties. Depending on surface functionalization, type of drug, and desired application, GNPs can be easily loaded with drugs or other molecules through either non-covalent interactions or covalent conjugation. Loading of drugs onto GNPs may improve their stability and biodistribution in biological media since the drugs are protected in the carrier. In short, multifunctional nanoparticle drones based on GNPs hold great promise in cancer nanomedicine.

 

New Study Explores The Diversity of Phytocannabinoids of Different Botanical Origin

An international team of leading researchers have paved the way to exploring the biomedical potential of phytocannabinoids, going beyond the THC structural motif and their occurrence in cannabis.

SPAIN: In the first ever attempt to include phytocannabinoids from additional natural sources apart from those derived from C. sativa, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the University of Córdoba, the Universita` di Napoli Federico II, the Universita` del Piemonte Orientale and Phytoplant Research S.L. have created the first comprehensive, critical, integrated and unified inventory of phytocannabinoids of different botanical origin.

The article focuses on the remarkable chemical and structural diversity of phytocannabinoids. As a result of a modular biogenetic scheme, phytocannabinoids are elusive in terms of chemical definition, and chemists found themselves in the situation of the US judge that, when asked to define pornography, answered: “I do not know how to define it, but I can recognize it” as commented one of the authors of the article.  To solve this issue, the authors propose a definition of “cannabinoid” inspired by the way these compounds are formed in Nature.

Cannabinoids are very important for the study of brain function. “Using a musical metaphor, if neurotransmitters are notes, endocannabinoids are their overtones, what make the sound of a violin different from that of a flute or a car’s horn,” said Professor Giovanni Appendino at the Universita` del Piemonte Orientale, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Novara.

The study explores the relationships between phytocannabinoids from different sources like higher plants, liverworts, bacteria and fungi. It outlines the basic chemical and biological profile of the various structural types of phytocannabinoids, their biogenetic relationships, chemical interconversions and biomimetic synthesis from terpene derivatives and resorcinols. The paper also highlights the opportunities that the psychotropic constituents of marijuana (Δ9-THC, its isomer Δ8-THC and CBN) offer to access desirable drug-like space beyond those associated with cannabinoid receptors and narcotic targets CB1 and CB2.

Regarding the medical potential of cannabinoids, Professor Hanuš commented: “Man cannot beat nature and patients cannot be prohibited from taking medicines that help them.”

Twins Study Finds No Evidence That Marijuana Lowers IQ In Teens

UNITED KINGDOM: Roughly half of Americans use marijuana at some point in their lives, and many start as teenagers. Although some studies suggest the drug could harm the maturing adolescent brain, the true risk is controversial. Now, in the first study of its kind, scientists have analyzed long-term marijuana use in teens, comparing IQ changes in twin siblings who either used or abstained from marijuana for 10 years. After taking environmental factors into account, the scientists found no measurable link between marijuana use and lower IQ.

“This is a very well-conducted study … and a welcome addition to the literature,” says Valerie Curran, a psychopharmacologist at the University College London. She and her colleagues reached “broadly the same conclusions” in a separate, non-twin study of more than2000 British teenagers, published earlier this month in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, she says. But, warning that the study has important limitations, George Patton, a psychiatric epidemiologist at the University of Melbourne in Australia, adds that it in no way proves that marijuana—particularly heavy, or chronic use —is safe for teenagers.

Most studies that linked marijuana to cognitive deficits, such as memory loss and low IQ, looked at a single “snapshot” in time, says statistician Nicholas Jackson of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, lead author of the new work. That makes it impossible to tell which came first: drug use or poor cognitive performance. “It’s a classic chicken-egg scenario,” he says.

 

Five Major Types of Extraction 2.0 Clarified

By Fritz Chess, Founder/Chief Scientist, Eden Labs

WASHINGTON: I have been asked to respond to a recent article by Dr. Rien Havens in regards to the safety and efficiency of various Cannabis extraction methods. As the founder of Eden Labs, I have worked with all the methods in the article and our company builds extractors for all these solvents and more, for multiple botanicals. In responding, I hope to close a few loops (pun intended) in the issues raised.

For 20 years our goal has been to promote healthy extractions across every industry. Therefore we applaud Dr. Havens for offering some insight into the world of extraction as we can use all of the help we can get in helping the public, as well as governmental and legislative bodies understand the Pro’s and Con’s of differing methodologies for producing and processing any plant, not just Cannabis sativa L. in either of its cultivar’s.

The most controversial part of the article was the section dealing with the alleged toxicity of co2 extracts so I will address that first along with toxicity issues regarding the other methods mentioned.

The most controversial part of the article was the section dealing with the alleged toxicity of co2 extracts so I will address that first along with toxicity issues regarding the other methods mentioned.  It is absolutely true that water combines with co2 to form carbonic acid which can cause oils to turn rancid. This problem occurs frequently in co2 extractions done at very high pressures (over 5000 psi). However, Cannabis is usually extracted between 800-2,000 psi and at these lower pressures, the concern is that moisture will cause low oil yields and pull chlorophyll. Therefore Eden Labs suggests co2 operators reduce the moisture content of their herb below 10%.

As long as this important step is followed, no moisture issues will occur unless the co2 is “wet” when purchased. Most rancid oils have more to do with improper storage. I have been in many botanical extraction facilities (Kava Kava, Sandalwood, Echinacea, Cannabis etc.) and seen containers of extracted oils in open containers sitting on shelves at room temperature. Not good. Note: you’ll notice that Hemp seed oil is always in the refrigerated section of a store. Cannabis oil should be kept refrigerated.

The other toxicity issue was the ability of co2 to pull pesticides and other chemicals out of plant material. This is true as well. It is also true that all the solvents listed as better alternatives would also pull these chemicals. Co2, ethanol, butane, propane and ether are all non-polar solvents. Although they are all at different points on the polarity scale, they all are in the range where oil is soluble in them which means that most, if not all, of these other agricultural chemicals are also soluble in all of the listed solvents. Which brings up a point that should never go unsaid when this issue is raised…all consumable botanical products should be grown organically. That’s the bottom line.

The same pesticides that are in Cannabis products are ubiquitous throughout our food supply. It is hoped by many in the Cannabis industry that we will help lead the way towards a healthier future through better production methods. Any of the protocols listed in Dr. Havens article would be superior to the conventional hexane extraction that is common in the food industry.

Having said that, here are all the contamination issues with the solvents in the article: co2, as mentioned, can have water. Ethanol can have acetone and methanol that form during the fermentation process. Propane and butane can be contaminated with a host of impurities including, but not limited to, pentane, heptane, heavy metals, and what people call “mystery oil” which is pipeline lubricant. Steep Hill Labs has documented this. With proper research, all of these solvents can be procured in a pure form so contamination is avoided.

The final issue was the source of co2 and the other solvents. Unfortunately, every solvent in the article is mostly made from petrochemicals. Even ethanol is often synthesized from chemicals derived from crude oil. It is possible to source ethanol and co2 that is produced naturally by fermenting plant sugars. A wonderful addition to our industry would be a cellulosic ethanol plant that takes waste plant fiber from hemp and cannabis production and converts it to ethanol and co2 to be used for extraction.

It should also be noted that co2 and ethanol have the added benefit of being disinfectants. Bacteria, viruses and molds will be killed by these solvents although molds will not necessarily be rendered harmless. Propane and butane  extracts, on the other hand, will actually attract certain types of bacteria that feed on hydrocarbons. For this reason, it is always advisable to double wash these extracts with ethanol to sterilize and to purge the trace amounts of hydrocarbon that become trapped in the thick oil.

As to the notion that co2 is too costly and inefficient, my first thought was that it sounds like he is describing our competitors! Eden Labs has the fastest and most efficient co2 extractors on the market. While it is true that a first stage hydrocarbon extraction is far faster and cheaper than other methods, by the time you figure in the time of the residual solvent purge and the cost of meeting the safety requirements, all the perceived advantages disappear. In addition, it is clearly evident and more cost effective to build out a production facility with the gratitude of local governmental bodies and the medical sector. This is a nascent industry, it has challenges and we feel our responsibility is to offer a path of least resistance and efficacy for our clients.

In conclusion, we have found that on a cost/benefit comparison, ethanol is most efficient at small scale production. On larger scale commercial/industrial production co2 wins, which has been proven by the hops industry.