The number of clinical studies that have been conducted on the use of cannabis oil in the treatment of different forms of epilepsy and other seizure disorders far under-represents the public want and need for such research. Parents of children suffering from such conditions in the United States, South America and the rest of the world have even rallied to draw attention to this crime against humanity. Being granted cannabis research permission is the United States is nearly impossible due to the current classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Until the federal government removes cannabis from this classification all together, like alcohol, more people, including children, will continue to suffer.
Last year, a coalition of parents with children suffering from different forms of epilepsy and seizure disorders was able to convince legislators in Alabama to approve a bill allowing such research. The study is to be conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and now, the Food and Drug Administration is officially approving the study.
Permission for this research has been granted to the UAB Neurology department, and reportedly aims to test the effectiveness of the marijuana cannabinoid, known as cannabidiol (CBD), as a treatment for seizure disorders. This study will be different than others conducted because there will be no placebo group. All participants will receive the cannabidiol rich extract during clinical trials. However, there is a catch. A university representative told ABC 3340 that the FDA approved the study with a few alterations. These modifications are expected to be discussed by a review board in January 2015, and hopefully the study will be able to begin soon thereafter.
photo credit: dr-bonni.bitnamiapp
Over 100 desperate Chilean mothers started a support group called Mama Cultiva, or Mama Grows, to share information about medical marijuana in the treatment of epileptic children. The group of mothers host covert meetings to learn about the cultivation of marijuana as well as the extraction of the CBD known to treat epileptic conditions.
Though consumption of this life-saving medicine is permitted, the cultivation still remains highly illegal and carries up to a 15 year prison sentence. This hasn’t stopped this small group of Chilean mothers from taking actions to save their kids.
Paulina Bobadilla is just one of the many mothers who fights daily with the reality of severe epileptic conditions. Paulina told the Associated Press that her child was in such severe pain that she would tear out her own fingernails.
Another mother, Gabriela Reyes, is an active member of the group with a seven-month-old who was experiencing up to 300 seizures per day. After Gabriela began treating her infant with the extracted cannabis oil (with a few drops on the pacifier) the number of seizures dropped to just 12 per day.
The members of the group can undoubtedly relate in their sense of despair, and justly pay no attention to Chile’s cannabis laws. There are currently 15,000 children in Chile that could benefit from the still illegal cannabis oil.
In September, Chile’s government began planting 750 medical marijuana plants for use in medical research. Mama Cultiva was not permitted into the program due to their focus on children, a verdict that is somewhat counterintuitive.
Still, there remains hope for Chileans as the government tiptoes in to marijuana research and unwavering parents stand up for their ailing children.
The CannaMoms and CannaBabes landed back in Florida last night after spending two weeks in San Francisco, California on a mission for medical marijuana education and treatment.
These moms have been forced to seek medical marijuana treatments for their children outside of their home state because the plant is not currently legal in the state of Florida, even for medical use. The CannaMoms, along with many others, are hoping that will change after election day next week when Floridians have the opportunity to Vote Yes on Amendment 2. Amendment 2 will allow medical marijuana dispensaries to cultivate, produce and distribute medical marijuana to patients with qualifying medical conditions. These families just want safe, consistent access to medical marijuana for their children, and they want it to be available in their home state of Florida to avoid having to move or travel just to obtain medication.
The CannaMoms organization consists of a “group of passionate mothers advocating for the right and option to utilize cannabis in the care of their critically ill children.” The three strong moms who started the organization, Jacel Delgadillo, Moriah Barnhart and Renee Petro have children who suffer from severe medical conditions such as brain tumors and different types of epilepsy, and they are frustrated with the horrible side effects caused by the pharmaceutical medications prescribed by physicians to treat their children’s symptoms.
During an interview with 5KPIX San Francisco at the Steep Hill Lab, Renee Petro explains some of the harm caused by pharmaceutical medications given to her son, Brandon, who suffers from epilepsy. She explained that when Brandon is on the pharmaceutical benzo drugs he has bad side effects that make him want to commit suicide. He has asked her several times to kill him, but with the medical marijuana treatment, at night, he asks for a bag of Cheetos instead.
Back in Florida last night, at the Tampa airport, Petro shared the good news about Brandon (pictured below) with WFLA,
“He’s been seizure free for two weeks!”
Brandon has been using a mist spray form of medical marijuana that contains equal amounts of CBD and THC. Petro was filled with feelings of both thanks and anger because there is an injustice that no one realizes, which she explained to WFLA,
“It was very upsetting not knowing what I know now, that something could have possibly spared him the amount of pharmaceuticals he has taken and the horrible side effects. It angers me, why something that is available in other states, that is available and legal, is not legal here [in Florida].”
Moriah Barnhart and her young daughter, Dahlia, who has a brain tumor, were also on the trip to California for medical marijuana education and treatment. Dahlia has also seen success in using cannabis oil treatments while in California. After landing at the Tampa airport in Florida last night, Barnhart told WFLA that they have seen immediate results in Dahlia that include,
“Sleeping through the night, eating and she is no longer being threatened with a feeding tube.”
Floridians against medical marijuana fear that the risks are too high to vote yes on Amendment 2. For the CannaMoms and many others, the only risk associated with Amendment 2 is if it is not approved by voters next week. Not allowing the use of medical marijuana in the state of Florida risks a future filled with a good quality of life for these children and many others who suffer from debilitating medical conditions.
photo credit: steephilllab, Facebook/Cannamoms
The idea that gender differences can cause heightened sensitivity toward cannabis was, at first, considered a joke. Perhaps it is due to the way gender roles are enforced in popular culture that men were, of course, more tolerant to the marijuana that they were ingesting.
One researcher, from Washington State University, decided to put the idea to the test. By performing controlled experiments on male and female rats the researchers were able to come up with tangible differences to cannabis sensitivity. Obviously rats and humans are not the same but the experiment could still hold value to the cannabis community at large.
The research team at Washington State University gave controlled dosages of cannabis to two selections of rats, splitting them by gender. In the female rat the researchers found a few interesting results to their experiment. Female rats were almost 30 percent MORE sensitive to THC’s pain relieving qualities than male rates. Due to this reaction, female subjects were also more tolerant, quicker, than their male counterparts. Were this experiment to extend to human subjects and if those results were the same then this could have long lasting effects in the medical community–it’s a pretty big deal.
The study also went on to show that the female rats were also more likely to experience symptoms of withdrawal. These rats showed signs of reduced appetite, inability to sleep, and even general irritability. It’s true! Female rats were actually getting grumpy when pulled away from their cannabis fix. Females also showed no signs of disruption to pregnancy while ingesting THC and ovulating at the same time. The reason that the female rats have reacted differently is believed to be, at least in part, to the heightened levels of estrogen present in the female subjects.
For their part in the study, the male specimens were mostly unremarkable. The male rats had a higher, altered, appetite while ingesting THC as compared to the female rats. The male subjects were also more capable of being weaned off of the drug with fewer side effects, such as withdrawal.
Columbia University Medical Center has also done some interesting research on male versus female cannabis consumers. Columbia found that females had a higher rate of negative reactions than their male counterparts. This means that females saw an increase in paranoia, anxiety, and addiction when using the drug. Their studies also went on to conclude that females were more likely to get hooked on and abuse the drug with relapse always around the corner.
Cannabis research has always been sort of taboo in the medical research field. With the drug being at the center of the ‘illegal drug wars’ in America, research has been limited. With legalization a possibility all over the country, at least some point in the future, more and more studies will begin to pop up. As it pertains to effects on different genders, we believe the research to be both timely and important. THC has a place inside of the medical field and it will not make it there without being delved into.
photo credit: louisa_catlover