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Tag Archives: cannabis

Fired Arizona Professor Aims to Resume Research on Pot, PTSD

Click here for original article (Courtesy of The Daily Courier)

7/20/2014 6:00:00 AM

 Ted S. Warren/The Associated Press Small marijuana plants are kept in a continuous water bath until their roots develop.TUCSON (AP) – Veterans, medical marijuana activists and scientists welcomed the first federally approved research into pot as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

But their hopes for the research were dashed when the University of Arizona fired researcher Suzanne Sisley, who undertook the study after clearing four years of bureaucratic hurdles.

Sisley, a medical doctor who also taught and researched at the university, sought the project after years of treating military vets who told her that marijuana was the only drug that helped them improve symptoms of the disorder that affects up to 20 percent of those who served in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

The university said it let Sisley go on June 27. In a letter to Sisley, released Friday to The Associated Press, the university says she was fired because funding for part of the work she did with the medical school was running out and because the telemedicine program she worked with is shifting direction.

Chris Sigurdson, a spokesman for the university, said the school is committed to continuing the project and is looking to replace Sisley with another researcher who can raise more money.

Sisley says she lost the job because state legislators who opposed her work had put pressure on the university – a claim the school denies.

Her study would have measured the effects of five different potencies of smoked or vaporized marijuana in treating symptoms of PTSD in 50 veterans.

“Basically ours would have been the first and only controlled study looking at marijuana effects on PTSD. There are very few randomized control studies,” Sisley said.

Sisley says the battle is not over. She is asking the university to reinstate her. If she fails, she intends to try to get another university to take on the project.

Ricardo Pereyda, an Army veteran of the Iraq war, said the end of the study is a tremendous disservice to military vets.

Pereyda, of Tucson, said his symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder – anxiety, insomnia, depression – were eased when he smoked marijuana.

“It allowed me to get some much needed rest and sleep because I was suffering from insomnia,” Pereyda said. “It reduced my anxiety attacks. It just allowed me to regain something that I had lost overseas during my deployment and allowed to me reconnect with those around me.”

Getting federal approval to research marijuana is a laborious and long process. While the federal government approves and funds many studies that look into the negative effects of cannabis, it has been reluctant to approve those that consider its positive ones.

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance under the federal government’s Controlled Substance Act, meaning it is too high-risk for abuse and has no accepted medical applications.

“In regards to medical marijuana, the DEA of course recognizes the pain and suffering of individuals with serious illness and their need for medication,” DEA spokesman Matt Barden said. “However, the FDA has repeatedly concluded that marijuana has a high potential for addiction and has no acceptable level of medical use.”

Marijuana research advocates argue that if the federal government were to allow and fund medical marijuana research on a large scale, it would have the evidence it needs to reclassify the drug.

“It is unequivocally a situation you would describe as Catch-22,” said Malik Burnett of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Basically the Drug Enforcement Administration and the National Institute of Drug Abuse tandem to put tremendous amounts of barriers to conducting cannabis research.”

 

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Germany Allows Chronic Pain Sufferers to Grow Their Own Cannabis

This seems like a phenomenal idea. This allows the patient to put their care into their own hands. I wish America would follow suit on this. Cultivating your own medicine and regulating your dosage allows for a sense of control usually lost on patients who use medical marijuana for legitimate purposes.


Article courtesy of Fox News. Please click here for original article.

Published July 22, 2014
cannabis_growing_reuters.jpg

(REUTERS/Andres Stapff)

A German court ruled on Tuesday that some people suffering from chronic pain should be able to cultivate their own cannabis “for therapeutic purposes”.

Five people suffering from chronic pain brought the complaint to a court in Cologne after Germany’s Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) refused them permission to grow the plant at home.

The court said the BfArM had to reconsider three of the requests that it had rejected.

While the plaintiffs all had permits to buy and consume cannabis for therapeutic purposes, they wanted to cultivate their own because they could not afford to purchase the drug and their health insurance did not cover it.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Marijuana, Obesity, and Pain: A link?

This was definitely a fun read!


‘Cannabis’ receptor discovery may help understanding of obesity and pain

(Phys.org)—Researchers have discovered that a genetic difference in a ‘switch’, which causes over-activity in parts of the brain, may explain why some people could be more susceptible to conditions such as obesity and addiction, and may play a role in chronic pain and psychosis.

Aberdeen scientists believe that the findings—published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry—might help our understanding of these conditions and also be a step towards the development of personalised therapies to help treat them. The team from the University’s Kosterlitz Centre for Therapeutics studied genetic differences around the gene CNR1. This gene produces what are known as cannabinoid receptors, which are found in the brain, and which activate parts of the brain involved in memory, mood, appetite and pain. Cannabinoid receptors activate these areas of the brain when they are triggered by chemicals produced naturally in our bodies called endocannabinoids. Chemicals found in the drug cannabis mimic the action of these endocannabinoids and there is growing evidence that cannabis has pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties which can help treat diseases such as multiple sclerosis and arthritis.  However, developing drugs from cannabis to treat these conditions is hampered by the fact that such drugs will have psychoactive side effects, and smoked cannabis can cause addiction and psychosis in up to 12% of users. In order to understand more about these side effects and the genetic factors which determine how people respond, the scientists studied genetic differences around the CNR1 gene. Dr Alasdair MacKenzie, who helped lead the team, said: “We chose to look at one specific genetic difference in CNR1 because we know it is linked to obesity and addiction. What we found was a mutation that caused a change in the genetic switch for the gene itself—a switch that is very ancient and has remained relatively unchanged in overthree hundred million years of evolution, since before the time of the dinosaurs. “These genetic ‘switches’ regulate the gene itself, ensuring that it is turned on or off in the right place at the right time and in the right amount. “It is normally thought that mutations cause disease by reducing the function of the gene, or the switch that controls it. “In this case however, the mutation actually increased the activity of the switch in parts of the brain that control appetite and pain, and also—and most especially—in the part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is affected in psychosis. Dr Scott Davidson, who played a key role in the discovery of this genetic difference in the switch added: “Further analysis of this mutation will help us to understand many of the side effects which are associated with cannabis use such as addiction and psychosis.” Professor Ruth Ross, Head of the Kosterlitz Centre and an internationally recognised expert in cannabis pharmacology, added: “Previously in drug research, attempts to detect the causes of adverse drug reactions have focused on the genes themselves. “Our study is one of the first to explore the possibility that changes in gene switches are involved in causing side effects to drugs. We believe this approach will be crucially important in the future development of more effective personalised medicine, with fewer side effects.” One question that is intriguing the research team is why this overactive genetic switch evolved in the first place. Dr MacKenzie explains: “We know that this overactive switch is relatively rare in Europeans, but is quite common in African populations. But we were all once African, so something must have decreased it in our early ancestors who left Africa and migrated through Central Asia towards Europe and the north. “One possibility we are keen to explore is that once in Central Asia these early migrants came into contact with the cannabis plant, which we know was endemic across that area at that time. it is possible that the side effects of taking cannabis were such that people with the mutation were not so effective in producing and raising children. Therefore, over the generations the numbers of people with the mutation decreased. “This work is at a very early stage however, and there are likely to be more exciting discoveries—not only on how these differences came about, but also about the role of this genetic switch in health and disease.”

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-08-cannabis-receptor-discovery-obesity-pain.html#jCp

 

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