Category Archives: Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana

Marijuana Compounds Can Kill Some Cancer Cells, According to Study

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Compounds derived from marijuana compounds are able to kill cancerous cells found in people with leukemia, a scientist from the United Kingdom has found. marijuana leaves

“Cannabinoids have a complex action; it hits a number of important processes that cancers need to survive,” Dr. Wai Liu, an oncologist at the University of London’s St. George medical school, told The Huffington Post. “For that reason, it has really good potential over other drugs that only have one function. I am impressed by its activity profile, and feel it has a great future, especially if used with standard chemotherapies.”

Liu is the head author of a study that was recently published in the journal Anticancer Research. The study was supported by funding from GW Pharmaceuticals, which makes a cannabis-derived drug used to treat spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis.

Liu’s study looked at the effects of six non-psychoactive cannabinoids when applied alone, and in combination, to leukemia cells. The non-psychoactive cannabinoids — meaning they do not produce the “high” that THC does – displayed a “diverse range of therapeutic qualities” that “target and switch off” pathways that allow cancers to grow, Liu told U.S. News & World Report.

Liu said his research was built around the testing of the six purified cannabinoid forms and not traditional cannabis oil, which generally contains 80-100 different cannabinoids. “We do not really know which are the ones that will be anticancer and those that may be harmful,” Liu said.

Liu and his team grew leukemia cells in a lab and cultured them with increasing doses six pure cannabinoids, both individually and in combination with each other. The six cannabinoids were:

  • CBD (Cannabidiol);
  • CBDA (Cannabidiolic acid);
  • CBG (Cannbigerol);
  • CBGA (Cannabigerolic acid);
  • CBGV (Cannabigevarin); and,
  • CBGVA (Cannabigevaric acid).

Liu and his team then assessed the viability of the leukemia cells and determined whether or not the cannabinoids destroyed the cells or stopped them from growing. Although the results are promising, Liu said that it is still unclear if the cannabinoid treatment would work on the 200-plus existing types of cancer.

“Cancer is an umbrella term for a range of diseases that fundamentally differ in their cellular makeup, [and] which occur as a result of disturbances to growth controls,” Liu said. “Chemotherapy works by disrupting these dysfunctional growth signals. Therefore, any cancers that have these profiles should respond to the chemotherapy. It just so happens that a number of cannabinoids can target these very same mechanisms that make cancer what it is, and so any cancer that exhibits these faults should respond well to cannabinoids. The flip side is, of course, that other cancers may not have these same genetic faults and so cannabinoids may not work as well.”

Liu also said that he doesn’t believe smoking marijuana would have the same effect on cancer cells as the lab results.

“Smoking cannabis introduces a number of potential problems,” Liu said. “First, the complex makeup of cannabis that contains about 80 bioactive substances means that the desired anticancer effect may be lost because these compounds may interfere with each other. Second, we see that delivering the drug either by injection or by a tablet would ensure the most effective doses are given. Smoking would be variable, and indeed the heat of the burning may actually destroy the useful nature of the compounds.”

Liu said he hopes to start clinical trials involving humans in 12 to 18 months.

Medical Marijuana

Cannabis Biotech Aims to Develop Nasal Medical Marijuana Delivery System

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medical marijuanaPuget Technologies (PUGE) has revealed that its subsidiary company, Cannabis Biotech, has entered into an agreement with a patent attorney as it launches its product research to develop a system for the delivery of medical marijuana that uses the body’s mucous membranes, such as the nasal passages.

Cannabis Biotech is developing the system to serve the growing medical marijuana patient base who want to use medical marijuana but do not want to smoke it.

Aside from smoking, eating products that contain THC is the only other viable way for many people to use medical marijuana, but it takes much longer to take effect when eaten.

“Nasal delivery for administration of therapeutic remedies has been used for thousands of years and is very popular today,” says Ken Morrow, prominent international marijuana authority and head of the research group for Cannabis Biotech. “The system offers the potential of appealing to a broader patient base due to being user-friendly, reliable and fast-acting.”

According to Research and Markets, a leading international source for international market research reports and market data, the global drug delivery market was worth $142.5 billion in 2012. It’s a market that President and CEO of Puget Technologies Ron Leyland says the company feels it can tap into with a nasal delivery system for medical marijuana, similar to some cold and allergy medications that are administered via the nasal passages.

“Cannabis Biotech will be filing a design patent for a unique delivery device to optimize administration of the medicine and improve effectiveness and outcomes,” Leyland says. “The intranasal system will position Cannabis Biotech to take advantage of market growth and play a significant role in the future of medical marijuana development and commercialization.”

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Poll: Most US Residents Say Yes to Legalizing Marijuana

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Amidst the numerous debates and discussions about marijuana legalization, a new public poll indicates that most of the U.S. population would like the infamous substance to be legalized.

marijuana plantResearch-based consulting company Gallup revealed that 58 percent of Americans gave an affirmative vote to the legal use of marijuana. This figure tops the 50 percent mark in 2011 from the same poll-giving body, as well as the 52 percent recorded in a similar public opinion poll handled by the Pew Research Center last April.

Gallup said that the results of its poll are expected to fuel more discussions to legalize pot in the country. “Whatever the reasons for Americans’ greater acceptance of marijuana, it is likely that this momentum will spur further legalization efforts across the United States,” according to a statement by Gallup.

The poll was conducted by random sampling of more than 1,000 adults contacted via phone on October 3 to 6. In the said voting exercise, 39 percent gave a negative vote, while the remaining 3 percent declined to give their opinion. Demographics of respondents who voted yes to pot legalization were skewed towards Democrats and independents between 18 and 49 years old.

The polling company further added that some of the factors that may have led to this rise in interest for legalizing marijuana include positive news about the wonders of medical marijuana, as well as the government’s call to respect the decision of states who have legalized the substance.

Medical Marijuana

Dalai Lama Gives Support to Marijuana for Medical Use

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Photo credit: Christopher Michel via Flickr

Photo credit: Christopher Michel via Flickr

The Dalai Lama is known worldwide to be a revered spiritual leader of Buddhism and a strong influence not only in Tibetan culture but also in global issues. Recently, the Tibetan leader has been linked to the marijuana issue.

Speaking in Mexico during a national debate on the legalization of pot in the country, the Dalai Lama was reported by AFP via Yahoo! News that he would be in favor of marijuana use only if it is used for medicinal purposes.

However, he is still not amenable to recreational use of cannabis. “If it’s just an issue of somebody (using the drug to have) a crazy mind, that’s not good,” said the Dalai Lama.

The revered guru answered a question raised during the marijuana legalization debate conducted in Guanajuato’s Fox Center and hosted by Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico. The ex-president laughed at the question, but the Dalai Lama was quick to give his two cents on the matter.

The former Mexican president has been a staunch advocate of legalizing marijuana in the country for national revenue purposes.

The Dalai Lama arrived in Mexico October 11 for a national tour. As expected, incumbent Mexico president Enrique Pena Nieto decided not to give a formal welcome to the exiled Tibetan leader because of the government’s plans to establish a good relationship with China. The Dalai Lama has been operating on a government in exile, while Tibet is under the jurisdiction of China.

Medical Marijuana

From Sweets To Weed: Old Hershey’s Plant To Be Turned Into Medical Marijuana Hub

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Willy Wonka on weed? An old Hershey’s production facility in Smiths Falls, Ontario is set to be converted into a medical marijuana facility, pending approval by Health Canada.

Credit: Adam Gerhard via FlickrTown mayor Dennis Staples revealed this information to the Ottawa Citizen September 25 about a medical marijuana production company by the name of Tweed Inc. planning to overhaul the old chocolate factory for its medical manufacturing operations. Tweed VP for community engagement and general counsel Mark Zekulin expressed his company’s enthusiasm in pursuing this project. “We’re excited to reinvigorate the former Hershey facility,” said Zekulin.

This particular Hershey’s factory closed shop in 2008, resulting to the loss of work of more than 1,500 people. For a town with a population below 9,000, this was hard-hitting news. The installation of a medical marijuana facility seems to provide hope for the small town of Smiths Falls. “It’s going to create jobs that we sorely need, and we hope that the remaining space continues to attract other tenants,” said Mayor Staples. Meanwhile, Zekulin added that once the approval is reached, “we’ll bring many jobs and hope to fill the rest of the space with other businesses that will in turn bring more potential employment to the community.”

Tweed has already purchased the dilapidated Hershey’s building, and already arranged the restructuring and revamping of the facility for its intended purpose.

This conversion is similar to a medical marijuana dispensary in South Carolina, which was once a KFC store.

Medical Marijuana

Anti-Drug Activist Warns Against Medical Marijuana Initiative in Florida

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Calvina Fay, Executive Director of Drug Free America Foundation, Inc. and Save Our Society From Drugs, says Florida could be overrun by marijuana dispensaries, much like its current problem with prescription drug “pill mills” if a medical marijuana initiative passes in 2014.cape_florida

“Floridians should definitely be aware that the medi-pot initiative that they could see on the Florida ballot next year would allow for dispensaries in our state,” Fay said. “These criminal enterprises, making millions and operating under the guise of non-profit businesses, are a severe threat to our communities, just like pill mills. Other problems with marijuana dispensaries include the level of accessibility and direct marketing of marijuana to children. This is very disturbing to me, especially since the Florida medi-pot initiative has no restrictions on age, nor does it require parental consent. Further, there is no accountability as to what’s in the marijuana being dispensed.”

Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

Boston Set To Inspect Planned Medical Marijuana Shops

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After receiving close to 200 applications for medical marijuana dispensaries last week, Massachusetts is now ready to review them one by one.

marijuana dispensaryBoston Public Health Commission, however, is not giving the ball entirely to state officials. The commission’s executive director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said that applications of marijuana shops to be placed in Boston will be reviewed locally prior to establishment. However, it has yet to be granted authority by the Boston Board of Health.

If they had it their way, the health commission wants to acquire the authority to give permission to cannabis shops to be erected, and inspect these dispensaries as the commission deems fit. “We need to support patient access as well as ensure that neighborhood and public health interests are met, and we believe that an additional local regulation can help accomplish that balance,” said Ferrer in a news release.

According to the Massachusetts medical marijuana law, the minimum distance of a dispensary from institutions that serve kids — community centers or schools — is 500 feet. On the side of Boston, its own zoning rules have already been altered so as to deter marijuana shops from entering residential communities.

The Massachusette Department of Public Health has received 181 applicants for a medical marijuana license. Boston is situated in Suffolk County, in which 21 applications were received.

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Pet Owners Turning to Medical Marijuana for Ailing Animals

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If you thought people were the only ones benefiting from medical marijuana, think again.

Pet owners have started dosing their dogs and cats with medical marijuana, The Vancouver Province newspaper reports.

play with your pet catThe owners of an 18-year-old cat named Garfield, whose health problems include thyroid and heart disease, severe arthritis, renal failure and chronic pancreatitis, dose him daily with a marijuana tincture and say much of the pain associated with his ailments seems to have ebbed and he has much more of an appetite now than he did before.

Dr. Kathy Kramer of the Vancouver Animal Wellness Hospital said she is asked by clients several times a week about trying medical marijuana as a treatment option for pets. However, due to lack of research on marijuana’s effects on animals, vets cannot recommend it as a therapy, she added.

While Kramer did assist Garfield’s owners with finding the right dose to give the cat, Kramer herself told his owners she could not professionally recommend medical marijuana. His owners decided to try it anyway.

“This is something that the owners were going to do with or without me,” she said. “I just helped adjust the dose for them.”

One of the very real dangers with giving pets medical marijuana is the risk of overdose.

Symptoms of overdose could include difficulty walking, dribbly urine and an irregular heartbeat.

Kramer has seen her fair share of pets suffering from accidental marijuana toxicity.

“Typically, they’re super stoned,” said Kramer. “If we get to them fast enough and make them vomit, the number of animals that actually die from it are quite low.”

Kramer said she hopes eventually that medical marijuana will become a viable option for pet pain management, as pain medication for animals is quite limited and expensive when compared to human medication and it also usually causes many side effects for the animal.