The amount of research that has been conducted on the efficacy and use of cannabis in the treatment of different forms of epilepsy and other seizure disorders far under-represents the public demand for such information. Although more research does need to be completed, cannabis therapy has proven to be quite successful in the treatment of many different forms of debilitating medical conditions, including childhood and adult forms of epilepsy.
It is the non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD), that has demonstrated the ability to lessen the frequency and severity of seizures in patients of all ages. Parents of children suffering from such conditions in the United States, South America and the rest of the world have organized many rallies to draw attention to the fact that medical marijuana should be available globally. In many cases, CBD oil has been the only treatment that has worked successfully for patients.
After a recent protest in South America’s largest country, the Brazilian government’s Health Surveillance Agency announced that legalizing medical marijuana will be discussed in January 2015. The small protest that sparked this response from the government was in support of legalizing CBD oil to treat epilepsy. This protest came after a decision made by the Federal Medical Council in early December, which approved neurologists and psychiatrists to recommend cannabidiol oil to treat children and teens suffering from epilepsy in Brazil. This authorization came with the stipulation that these patients must have been unsuccessfully treated with the more commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals. This change did not, however, come with any legislation to allow the production or distribution of such medication.
Most seeking cannabis therapy in Brazil obtain their medicine through a secret society of cultivators who make the cannabidiol oil, and then donate it to patients. According to one mom’s statement to the Associated Press, this band of kind, care-giving outlaws will not even allow for patients to cover the cost of shipping. All CBD oil is provided at no cost to the patient. Although these families of patients suffering from epilepsy are excited about the recent measure allowing doctors to prescribe CBD oil, they do not want to have to receive medicine illegally.
Several trials to study the efficacy of CBD in the treatment of epilepsy have just recently been approved in the United States, and the United Kingdom. If medical marijuana is legalized in Brazil, perhaps this will open doors to more medical studies and research on this subject in the future.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is being sued for allegedly over-collecting medical marijuana patient fees. The lawsuit was filed by a group of registered medical marijuana patients known as the Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project who claim that the medical registration fees are illegally being used to fund the marijuana research grants to be awarded by the Colorado State Board of Health.
The Colorado General Assembly approved $10 million to be used to fund marijuana research, last year under SB 14-155, and Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Scientific Advisory Council met this week to recommend grant recipients for eight different projects. The state received 57 applications looking for access to the total authorized $8.4 million. The grants are to go towards research in the following fields:
- Marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder
- Marijuana in the treatment irritable bowel syndrome in youth
- Marijuana for pain relief in children with brain tumors
- Efficacy of marijuana in the treatment of children with epileptic conditions
- Comparing marijuana to opiates for pain relief
These research projects are much needed, so that we can better understand the role that cannabis may play in the treatment of many different debilitating medical conditions. The Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project is filing for the Denver District Court to disallow the implementation of the Medical Marijuana Research Grant Program, and if these accusations are true, this research may never get off the ground.
photo credit: Dank Depot
A new study, published earlier this week, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was conducted by emergency room doctors at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora. The study, which aimed to provide a balanced perspective for other states to look at when considering marijuana legalization, began on this first day of 2014 when recreational marijuana sales became legal in the state of Colorado.
The published report begins with a brief history of marijuana in the state of Colorado, starting with the legalization of medical marijuana in the year 2000. Also included in the report is both the expected and unexpected health system effects of legalization, the positive results of medical marijuana use in treating many debilitating medical conditions, and the challenges presented by marijuana edibles.
The study reports both the positives and negatives seen by the doctors in this emergency room. Dr. Andrew Monte, lead study author and toxicologist told The Denver Channel, “The poison is always in the dose. We have to understand in the right circumstances, marijuana and its components can be very beneficial. However it can also have risks as well.”
The study confirms what many other studies have relayed about the benefits medical marijuana has had on such medical conditions as epilepsy and inflammatory bowl disease, acknowledging the anti-inflammatory properties in cannabis. The beneficial role medical marijuana has played in replacing patient need for pain relieving pharmaceuticals, resulting in a decrease in opioid-related deaths, is also covered. Most importantly, marijuana legalization has opened the door for honest conversation and research.
The negatives acknowledged in the study seemed to center around ingestible forms of marijuana. Approximately 2,000 patients are admitted to the emergency room at the University of Colorado Aurora each week. Of those 2,000 patients, 1 or 2 people may be admitted for marijuana intoxication. People suffering from marijuana intoxication may demonstrate such symptoms as panic attacks and anxiety, public intoxication or vomiting. The study reports that the majority of marijuana intoxication cases were the result of consuming marijuana edibles. Cases like these, caused by inexperience and lack of marijuana edible education will likely increase in the very near future, but decrease over the long term, as more research and studies are completed to, ultimately, educate the public.
More cannabis research and clinical studies must be completed. At least this is a step in the direction of openness and honesty in regards to marijuana research. As Dr. Monte pointed out, “The take away is that there are both positives and negatives for marijuana legalization and liberalization.”