Back in November, Fox News 13 of Memphis, TN reported on a 3-year-old child that had exhausted her options in search of a treatment for her debilitating seizures. That is, except for one medicine that her family couldn’t get access to due to state and federal laws that block access to the medicine.
By age 3 Chloe had suffered from more than 75,000 seizures, affecting the development of muscles, coordination, and cognition. Suffering from around 100 seizures per day, doctors tried everything in the book to heal young Chloe, including multiple surgeries at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and 20 different types of medication. In November her family reported that she was taking 5 medications 3 times a day including medications like Methadone. One of the medications forced Chloe’s parents to sign a waiver due to a severe risk of blindness as a side effect.
Back in January Chloe’s grandmother, Gail Grauer, went in front of state legislators to ask for access to the non-psychoactive form of cannabis oil. Legislators soon passed a bill allowing clinical research from Vanderbilt University in conjunction with Tennessee Tech to grow and distribute the medicine to sick children in need. However, Federal regulations blocked this course of action putting Chloe and her family in a life-threatening bind.
In November, Chloe’s mother, Elizabeth Peden said, “You want to do anything, you would do anything, you would literally do anything to save the life of your child.” Her father Shea added, “One day we will be able to try it and we will be able to get those smiles and those little laughs that a lot of people to take for granted.” Tragically, that day never came for Chloe.
On December 10, Fox News Memphis reported that Chloe Grauer died waiting for the treatment she so desperately needed. Sadly, many parents around the country could be facing this life-threatening scenario with their hands tied by the Federal government. In the United States alone, around 3 million individuals suffer from epilepsy.
At the Federal level traction is picking up, but children who are dying for a cure can’t wait for the slow and politicized legislative process to creep along. In July, Pennsylvania Representative Scott Perry introduced a bill that would allow legalize the non-psychoactive CBD oil at the national level. The bill, H.R.5226 – Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014 has just begun to gain traction in Congress and will likely be subject to a vote in early 2015. So far there are a total of 38 cosponsors on the bill.
If you would like to take action you can find your district’s Representative here. Write your Congressional leaders and urge them to jump on board with the bill before another child’s life is shamelessly lost due to an inhumane and undignified Federal law.
via: Fox News 13
The findings of a recent survey, published last month, shows that 83 percent of general physicians, nurses and allied health professionals would recommend the use of cannabis therapy to treat patients with severe refractory epilepsy. However, only 48 percent of epilepsy specialists and general neurologists responded in support of it’s use because there is not enough sufficient clinical evidence on the subject. The goal of the survey was to collect “opinions about the use of medical marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD) for people with epilepsy.”
The study reported that 7 out of 10 people surveyed agree that cannabis does possess sufficient safety and efficacy in therapeutic uses. The majority of all participants, 78 percent, agreed that there should be a regulated cannabidiol (CBD) treatment available for epileptic patients. Almost every respondent from the patient and public category, 98 percent, reportedly would recommend the use of cannabis therapy in the treatment of epilepsy.
The survey was conducted by Epilepsia, a journal belonging to the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) from May 20 to September 1, 2014. A total of 776 people completed the survey. North American patients made up 58 percent of those surveyed. Epilepsy specialists and neurologists from Europe and North America made up 22 percent of the survey sample.
Eight total questions made up the survey. Half of those asked if the respondent thinks that there is sufficient safety and efficacy data, whether or not he or she would recommend the use of medical marijuana to treat epilepsy, and if “pharmacologic grade CBD compounds” should be available. Four questions addressed personal information about the participants.
Many of the studies conducted on the use of cannabis therapy to treat epilepsy have reported successful findings, but much more research and clinical trials need to be completed on the matter before most medical specialists will feel comfortable recommending this form of treatment.
photo credit: mlmedstaffing
A new study from St. George’s University of London has shown that cannabis is effective in the treatment of aggressive brain cancer. The research was recently published in the Molecular Cancer Therapeutics Journal as well as The International Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment.
Dr. Wai Liu, along with a team of researchers, conducted laboratory tests using a number of cannabinoids both in isolation, and in conjunction with radiation therapy to treat aggressive forms of cancer. Both THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) were tested for their effectiveness against the often untreatable form of cancer. Survival rate for patients diagnosed with brain cancer is just 10% within five years of diagnosis, and around 5,200 people lose their lives to the disease per year.
The study found that cannabinoids are able to interfere with the development of cancerous cells and even halt their growth completely, effectively stopping the cancer. In some cases with precise dosage patterns, the scientists even destroyed cancer cells completely.
Dr. Liu told Science Daily, “The benefits of the cannabis plant elements were known before but the drastic reduction of brain cancers if used with irradiation is something new and may well prove promising for patients who are in gravely serious situations with such cancers in the future.”
“This study is a critical step in unpicking the mysteries of cannabis as a source of medicine. The cannabinoids examined have minimal, if any, hallucinogenic side effects, and their properties as anti-cancer agents are promising,” Liu says.
The study is one of many being conducted by St. George that focuses on the treatment of cancer. Subsequent studies will likely focus on the combination of cannabis with more “traditional” forms of cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
A similar study was published in the Journal of Pharmacology back in 2004, showing results of the same nature. The study found that the combination of cannabidiol and the chemotherapy drug Temozolomide (TMZ) not only significantly inhibited cancer growth, but also reduced the size of tumors in lab rats.
Photo Credit: Jan Charles Ekenstam
The first FDA-authorized clinical trial for a cannabis therapy medication, Epidiolex, is recruiting children with Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy, to test the efficacy of the new drug. Epidiolex is a purified cannabis extract containing only the cannabinoid, Cannabibiol (CBD). It does not contain any amount of the psychoactive cannabinoid, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The trials, funded by Epidiolex producer, GW Pharmaceuticals, are being hosted by three different children’s hospitals in the United States. The first location is in Texas, center two is in Georgia, and the third is in Illinois. Each location is currently seeking to enroll ten participants between the ages of four and ten years old, for a total of thirty participants nationwide. In each set of ten participants, eight will be treated with Epidiolex, and two participants will be given a placebo instead. This phase of the trial will last for a total of twenty-one days. Out of thirty participants, twenty-four will be treated with one of three different dosage amounts of the CBD medication. The purpose of this phase of the study is to determine the ideal dosage for children suffering from Dravet Syndrome. This phase is anticipated to conclude before the end of the year.
Phase II of this clinical trial will be used to determine the safety and efficacy of long term use, once the appropriate dosage has been determined in Phase I. The second phase will increase participation from thirty to eighty children, and increase duration from three weeks to three months.
Texas Children’s Hospital was selected to be the trial location center in Texas, and Dr. Angus Wilfong, neurologist at the hospital, is the first physician in Texas certified to administer the medication, Epidiolex, to pediatric patients. Dr. Wilfong told KHOU11,
“As one of the largest epilepsy centers in the country, our focus has always been to find new and innovative ways to treat and cure children with various forms of epilepsy. Initial trials of Epidiolex have shown promising signals of efficacy in children with treatment- resistant epilepsy, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with GW Pharmaceuticals in the first worldwide trial for this group of patients with such a catastrophic form of epilepsy.”
One of the patients, enrolled in the trial last week to be treated at Texas Children’s Hospital is six year old, Izaiah Ruiz, pictured below with his grandmother, Lori Fountain. Izaiah has a confirmed case of Dravet Syndrome, and suffers from daily seizures as a result. These daily seizures have caused Izaiah to develop at a much slower pace than other children who do not suffer from epilepsy. Developmentally, Izaiah is only about two years old. His grandmother, Lori, is also hopeful that this CBD medication may improve Izaiah’s quality of life.
She told KHOU11 that she is does not care what other people think about Izaiah’s participation in the study because she would try anything to give him the chance to live the life that most children are able to live, and grow to have a better quality of life as a teenager and eventually a man.
photo credit: Celebstoner, Houston Chronicle