Ten 2016 studies that defy nz drug policy and the National Party’s determination to continue prohibition of the raw plant.
Ten 2016 studies that defy nz drug policy and the National Party’s determination to continue prohibition of the raw plant.
The key words of Peter Dunne’s speech at Vienna to do with medicinal cannabis are as follows:
“I have asked my officials in New Zealand’s Ministry of Health to look into the evidence and efficacy for cannabis as a medicinal or therapeutic relief.
The evidence, however, has been underwhelming.”
It is anyone’s guess what the evidence was and two OIA Requests have been placed to find out.
That it was “underwhelming” immediately assures me that the evidence from the MoH was scant, possibly outdated and confined to the New Zealand statistics to do with Sativex, since this is the only lawful means to assess its medicinal and therapeutic benefits in practice in NZ. I suspect the MoH did not look very hard in to the international studies and clinical trials going on.
Sativex, a Medsafe approved drug , may be prescribed for the following indications:
muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis
nausea, anorexia and wasting (cachexia) associated to cancer and AIDS;
chronic pain (including cancer pain) for which other pain relief treatments are ineffective or have significant/severe adverse side-effects;
neuropathic pain (associated with conditions including multiple-sclerosis, stroke, cancer, spinal cord injury, severe physical trauma, and peripheral neuropathy resulting from diabetes);
muscle spasm and spasticity associated with spinal cord injury.
In other words this one drug is approved and available to treat all of the above symptoms.
The number of medical conditions that include one or more of those symptoms is a very large group and I am seeking statistics on the numbers of people affected by one or more of these symptoms in NZ.
In addition to the above symptoms, we also know that it has been prescribed for at least one child with epilepsy who has had outstanding success.
Every Application for Sativex has been granted.
Few can afford it.
Those who have been able to afford it, have benefited.
The evidence may be slight in NZ if the MoH are looking for numbers only because of the condition attached to Sativex:
that every other standard treatment has been tried and has had no therapeutic effect.
Since Sativex has been around only since 2008 and approved in NZ only since 2010, it takes quite a while to get through all the other standard treatments. Usually at the cost of the patient.
Our GreenCross patient who has successfully trialled Sativex, went through his standard treatments fairly quickly, relatively speaking; and that took nearly three years. With CRPS, although the standard treatments are considered to be those for any sort of neuropathic pain, there are not really any effective standard treatments for CRPS; it’s said to be one of the most misunderstood diseases. It took over one year after his accident before CRPS was even diagnosed. The GreenCross patient is smart and did his research. He knew that the opiate medications had dangerous side effects if taken for too long and, being from Canada, he tried cannabis during a visit home, as his Specialist had said to him that cannabis was effective and had put Sativex in to his treatment plan. The standard treatments (14 in all) were obviously not helping his pain and causing him much grief (mental and physical).
The MoH rang him to ask about the therapeutic effects when they discovered his prescription for Sativex had been fulfilled. He waxed lyrical. He was sleeping through the night for the first time in three years. He had no nightmares. His vomiting 3-4 times per day ceased. He had no nausea. He had gained his appetite (he had lost about 30 kg in three years.) He was able to come off all his medications. He could move more easily. He could do things. His mood had significantly improved. He had lost his suicidal ideation.
The MoH rang another GreenCross patient about his Sativex use also. He told them it had completely halted his muscle spasms, had reduced the pain and got him off his opiate medication completely.
The evidence may be “underwhelming” in numbers in NZ due to the condition attached to Sativex making it difficult to prescribe and the cost further reducing the numbers of people able to use this medicine; but it is certainly overwhelming in its efficacy. There can be no doubt about that.
Note that Peter Dunne asked his advisers to report on the evidence and efficacy of medicinal cannabis. He says the evidence is underwhelming. He does not say the efficacy of it is underwhelming.
I suspect that this speech was carefully written to protect the government’s fixed negative position on cannabis but opens the possibility of decriminalisation. Although decriminalisation should be welcomed and encouraged, the government does not do its citizens any favours to keep this medicine from them and to deny the choice and use of this very safe medicine for the treatment and good health of its citizens.
According to a new survey out of Stanford University, a cannabidiol-rich cannabis extract may be widely effective for children with epilepsy. The survey, published in the December issue of Epilepsy & Behavior, compiled responses from 18 parents who had turned to a special form of cannabis to treat their child’s severe epilepsy. The work begins now to determine which types of epilepsy CBD is going to help, its side effects, and how it interacts with other anti-seizure drugs.
In some cases, parents reported a reduction in seizure frequency of up to 80% and 83% indicated a reduction in their child’s seizure frequency, with little to no side effects of cannabis treatment. Four of the children suffered from Doose syndrome, one had Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, one had idiopathic epilepsy, and thirteen had Dravet syndrome.
Catherine Jacobson, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow who lead the study believes that the results still support CBD-rich cannabis as an effective epilepsy medicine, in spite of the study’s big and obvious caveats and despite the trials of available anti-seizure drugs. Dr. Jacobson reviewed the literature after hearing that some parents were having success using CBD-rich cannabis and found research dating back to the 1970s that supported the anecdotes. She was inspired to conduct the study by her own search for a treatment that could help her epileptic son.
Now part of a team at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Dr. Jacobson is leading the clinical investigations on a high-grade CBD extract developed by GW Pharmaceuticals. The company announced that it had received FDA approval to begin experimental treatments with Epidiolex in epileptic children, just last month. Orrin Devinsky, MD at the NYU School of Medicine, and Roberta Cilio, MD, PhD at UCSF are the leading research. Initial results are expected early next year. (Via StT.org)
by Soumya Nala, December 2013
A recent ruling by Fair Work Australia has found that making employees submit to urine tests for drug use is “unjust and unreasonable” as the tests can detect drug usage from the weekend. This may have no bearing on an employee’s ability to do their job safely.
State-owned Endeavour Energy was seeking to introduce urine tests for drug use as part of their duty to provide a safe workplace to all employees. Safety is paramount when working with electricity and there is no margin for error. Even the smallest mistake can be fatal or cause severe and permanent injury.
Union members argued that employees could fail a urine test even if they are not still under the influence of a particular substance. Urine tests can show a positive result for cannabis, for example, even if it has been a few days since an individual smoked their last joint. THC, or Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, can remain in the body for up to 90 days. Cannabis takes longer to leave the body than most other drugs because it is fat soluble, rather than water soluble and is stored in an individual’s fat cells. Just how long depends on a number of factors including frequency of use, an individual’s metabolism, level of exercise and diet. While cannabis remains in the body during this time, it no longer has the same effects or impairments as when it was initially taken.
Fair Work Australia ruled in favour of the Union members who argued that oral swab tests should be used instead of urine tests. Oral swabs will only detect THC a few hours after consumption when the user is still impaired and when their ability to do their job will be most affected.
Drug testing of employees is becoming increasingly common in New Zealand in certain job sectors such as aviation and mining where the ability of employees to carry out their work safely is paramount. The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 requires employers to take all practicable steps to eliminate workplace hazards. The introduction of testing for drugs and alcohol in the workplace is one way in which employers can seek to meet these obligations.
In 2004, the Employment Court sanctioned drug and alcohol testing in the workplace in NZ. In relation to Air NZ’s policies in this area, the Court held that it was lawful for employees in “safety-sensitive” roles to be randomly tested and for all employees to be subjected to post incident and reasonable cause testing. Reasonable cause testing is where the employer has good grounds to suspect that an employee’s behaviour is an actual or potential cause or source of harm to others as a result of being affected by alcohol and/or drugs.
Workplace drug testing policies in New Zealand must take into account the Privacy Act 1993, the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, and the Human Rights Act 1993. Any testing should be done with the informed consent of the employees concerned. While employees cannot be forced to provide a sample or to consent to have a sample tested, it is usual for a company’s or organisation’s policy to state the consequences and disciplinary process following a refusal.
Unlike Australia, it appears that urine testing is still the preferred testing method for cannabis use in the workplace in New Zealand. In 2007, the Employment Court held that oral swab testing was not sensitive enough to reliably and accurately detect cannabis. Oral swab testing was criticised for returning more false positives or false negative results than urine testing. Oral swabs also do not reliably detect the presence of benzodiazepines. The Court stated that the fact that a test may pick up earlier cannabis use will have to be the subject of discussion between employee and employer so that the degree of significance of impairment can be assessed.
3 Steps to Controlling THC, CBD, and CBN levels in your marijuana buds
1.) Pick Your Strain (genetics play a big factor for THC and CBD)
If you’ve grown a few different strains before, you probably already realize that the genes of your plants plants play a big role in the results of your marijuana grow.
When it comes to influencing your levels of THC and CBD, the strain you start with is basically the most important factor.
Genetics largely determine the amounts of THC and CBD produced in your buds.
Remember: Unlike THC and CBD discussed in this step, the most practical way to control CBN levels is using the correct harvest, drying, and curing methods. We’ll discuss these in a moment.
Because genes determine many of the cannabinoids levels, for best results you must find a strain which has the effects you are seeking.
Looking for marijuana strains with high THC levels?
THC levels are commonly bragged about. THC is the most psychoactive component of marijuana buds.
Many of the more famous, “ultra-potent” strains are high-THC (low CBD) strains, as well as most pure Sativas.
Looking for marijuana strains with high CBD levels?
Strains with “Afghan” or “Afghani” lineage tend to have higher levels of CBD, as do most non-psychoactive varieties like Ruderalis (auto-flowering) and hemp.
Afghan strains are potent and easy to grow, generally have high CBD content and produce great yields. Therefore strains with Afghan lineage are usually a great choice for beginning growers looking for a marijuana strain with higher levels of CBD.
Ruderalis (auto-flowering) plants are high-CBD yet stay very tiny, so are only recommended for stealth grows or those looking for small amounts of medicine.
2.) Harvest At the Right Time (plays a factor for THC and CBN)
While you cannot control CBD levels with harvest methods, you can influence the the amount of THC and CBN in your buds by choosing the right time to harvest your plant.
CBD levels seem to remain relatively stable for most of the harvesting period.
Pick the right time to harvest by watching:
This is the simplest harvest method. Watch the pistols/hairs growing on the buds and harvest based on how many have darkened and curled in.
For the marijuana scientist, watching the trichomes gives you a bit more insight into what’s going on with your plant’s cannabinoinds.
Plus it’s really fun to look at trichomes through a jeweler’s loupe or microscope.
There is a lot of variation between strains and people’s preferences, so it is highly recommended you experiment with your plants to see what works best for you.
Important Tip: Exact harvest time isn’t as critical as we once thought.
Don’t stress too much, often buds have similar levels of cannabinoids even when harvested weeks apart.
How do I experiment with harvest time if I only grow 1 or 2 plants?
It is totally okay to harvest different parts of your plants at different times.
Just make sure there is enough green foliage left to support the plant.
Some growers say that harvesting different parts of the plant at different times is stressful for the plant, and that is true.
It’s also been shown that stress near harvest time actually causes an increase in resin/cannabinoid production, which most growers find beneficial.
While you’re in the harvest window, your plant puts all her effort into making the most awesome buds possible.
As long as you have a healthy plant, I highly recommend harvesting different parts of the plant at different times to (labeling them so you remember which one you harvested when!) and find out what works best for you.
3.) Dry and Cure Buds Properly
Most growers agree that drying buds slowly and then curing buds in an air-tight space improves the taste and smell of buds.
Many growers also agree that curing your marijuana buds for 2-4 weeks or longer actually seems to increase the subjective potency of buds.
Curing buds for a longer period causes some of the THC to turn into CBN, which happens as the THC is exposed to air.
Some people also speculate that having a bit of CBN helps “activate” THC effects.
Whether it’s because of this process or or something else, curing marijuana buds has an effect on potency, in addition to improving the taste and smell.
Curing for too long (over 6 months) does not continue to cause any increase in potency. Buds actually start getting less potent as much of the THC degrades.
You can safely store buds longer when marijuana is kept in a dark, cool, dry airtight environment.
Remember: marijuana buds should always be dry prior to any kind of long-term storage, and you may have dry them again if you store them somewhere that has high humidity.
When we consider the major cannabinoids, cannabichromene (CBC) is like the ugly duckling. It doesn’t get a lot of praise, or attention for that matter, but it has shown to have profound benefits. Similar to cannbidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBC stems from the all-important cannabigerolic acid (CBGA).
Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) is often referred to as the “stem cell” of cannabinoids. It is the precursor to THC, CBD, and CBC.
From there, enzymes cause it to convert into cannabidiol carboxylic acid (CBDA), tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (THCA), or cannabichrome carboxylic acid (CBCA). In this case of CBCA, it obviously passes through the CBC synthase, or the enzymes that get the specific process underway.
In order to get cannabichromene, decarboxylation must occur. Over time, or quickly if exposed to heat, the CBCA will lose a molecule of CO2; at this point it is considered CBC. The same process applies when developing THC and CBD.
Although cannabichromene isn’t the most popular cannabinoid, research suggests CBC could be very beneficial. According to Halent Labs, a top lab-testing facility, it’s believed to inhibit inflammation and pain. In addition, it is believed to stimulate bone growth.
Cannabichromene has been a successful remedy for migraines. It also has shown signs in minimizing pain and inflammation.
One of the most intriguing findings about cannabichromene is it’s relationship with cancer. CBC is believed to have anti-proliferative effects, meaning it inhibits the growth of cancerous tumors. This could be a result of its interaction with anandamide.
Anandamide is an endocannabinoid, which means our body produces it naturally. It effects the CB1 receptors, as well as the CB2 receptors, and has been found to fight against human breast cancer. CBC inhibits the uptake of anandamide, which allows it to stay in the blood stream longer.
Not only does CBC have benefits of its own, but it seems to work with the other cannabinoids to produce a synergistic effect; it gives merit to the saying, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Even though cannabichromene is found in much smaller concentrations than THC and CBD, its importance should not be overlooked.
As is the trend lately, a team of researchers from the Endocannbinoid Research Group in Italy investigated how cannabinoids affect the brain’s development. The group is funded by GW Pharmaceuticals, which is the manufacturer of Sativex. It seems as if they hope to grow their inventory of pharmaceuticals made from cannabinoids.
Sativex is derived from THC and CBD. It is currently approved in Spain, France, and UK.
This study, in particular, focused on the role cannabinoids play in developing adult brain cells. In order to do so, the researchers investigated neural progenitor stem cells (NPSC), which are vital in brain functioning.
Like the name suggests, NPSCs are the stem cells of the brain. They are the precursors to 3 types of cell in the brain: neurons, oligodendrocytes, and astrocytes. Because NPSCs are able to create each of these cells in the right conditions, they are being explored to help regenerate brain cells. This would be especially useful in the treatment of diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer‘s, and Multiple Sclerosis.
One type of NPSCs daughter cells is are called astrocytes. They are most prevalent cell in the brain and their role is to support and protect the neurons, which send signals throughout the nervous system. In the case of nerve injury, astrocytes repair the damaged area and replace any area that can’t be repaired. A lot of the interest about NPSCs is due to the potential of controlling the development of astrocytes; it could allow scientists to completely restore damaged nerves.
The Italian cannabinoid study, being published in Neurochemistry International, tested the effects of tetrahydrocannbinol (THC), cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabichromene (CBC). That being said, they seemed to place a particular importance on CBC specifically.
The Endocannabinoid Research Group said their results suggest CBC can help the growth and survival of NPSCs.
They found that CBC was related to higher concentrations of NPSCs. It also seemed to inhibit the creation of proteins that cause the NPSCs to convert to other brain cells. This suggested that CBC may interact with this process, it could be help decide what brain cells are being developed and when.
Although the researchers decided to focus on one cannabinoid in particular, it’s important to know that whole cannabis is generally more effective. There are over 80 cannabinoids in the cannabis, and they all seem to work together. It is simply not the same when we isolate specific cannabinoids, as the we no longer can experience the synergistic effects of whole cannabis.
You will find scientific information on most of the studies at Database on Clinical Studies and Case Reports