Posts Tagged ‘marijuana research’

The FDA Wants Your Feedback on CBD!

FDA_BuildingThe U.S. Food and Drug (FDA) is asking for input from patients who have experience using Cannabidiol (CBD) to treat medical conditions.

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis that’s proven therapeutic for treating pain, seizures and epilepsy. The FDA is putting together a recommendation for the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO) regarding CBD and several other substances, including ketamine.

The feedback will help WHO determine international drug restrictions under the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The treaty seeks to curb drug trafficking and abuse by restricting imports/exports, limiting use to scientific and medical settings, and compelling member nations to punish infractions of the treaty.

Here’s what the FDA had to say about CBD (emphasis added):

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the active cannabinoids identified in cannabis. CBD has been shown to be beneficial in experimental models of several neurological disorders, including those of seizure and epilepsy. In the United States, CBD-containing products are in human clinical testing in three therapeutic areas, but no such products are approved by FDA for marketing for medical purposes in the United States. CBD is a Schedule I controlled substance under the CSA. At the 37th (2015) meeting of the ECDD, the committee requested that the Secretariat prepare relevant documentation to conduct pre-reviews for several substances, including CBD.

Declaring CBD beneficial puts the FDA at odds with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), which ruled CBD to have no medicinal value, categorizing it as a Schedule I drug.

The FDA is asking for “interested persons to submit comments concerning abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking, and impact of scheduling changes on availability for medical use of 17 drug substances.”

The deadline for public comment is September 13.

Want to submit your comments to the FDA? Click here to go the Regulations.gov web site and click on the blue “Comment Now!” button.

 

Marijuana Boosts Memory in Aging Brains

According to a study released in Nature Medicine, marijuana may boost cognitive function and memory in elderly brains–at least in mice.

In past years, the focus of marijuana research has looked at effects of cannabis consumption in teenagers and young adults. Findings concluded that cannabis use in young brains is detrimental–and this most recent study did corroborate those findings.

However, when it comes to elderly brains and cannabis, it’s a completely different story.

Andreas Zimmer, a professor of molecular psychiatry at the University of Bonn in Germany, along with a team of researchers, found “a dramatic improvement in cognitive functions” in mice given daily, low doses of THC for a month.

Researchers included young, mature, and elderly mice in the study and performed a number of behavioral experiments. In some of the experiments, THC seemed to improve the memory in the older mice to such a degree that their cognitive function appeared to be as good as those of young mice.

In one of the tasks, mice were placed in a water maze with a hidden platform that allowed them to escape. In the control group, (mice who were not given THC) the mature and old mice took longer to climb out than the young mice. Among mature and elderly mice that had been given THC, they found the platform faster than the control mice in corresponding age groups. Young mice given THC took longer to learn where the platform was hidden.

The findings raise the possibility that cannabinoids might act as anti-aging molecules in the brain. “That is something we absolutely did not expect: the old animals [that received] THC looked most similar to the young, untreated control mice,” Zimmer said.

However, other scientists cautioned that extrapolating findings in mice to humans is premature. “This well-designed set of experiments shows that chronic THC pretreatment appears to restore a significant level of diminished cognitive performance in older mice, while corroborating the opposite effect among young mice,” Susan Weiss, director of the Division of Extramural Research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse who was not involved in the study, wrote in an e-mail to Scientific America. Nevertheless, she added, “While it would be tempting to presume the relevance of these findings [extends] to aging humans…further research will be critically needed.”

Zimmer and his colleagues have already been awarded funding to begin a clinical trial studying the effects of THC in elderly adults with mild cognitive impairments.

“If we can rejuvenate the brain so that everybody gets five to 10 more years without needing extra care, then that is more than we could have imagined,” study co-author Andras Bilkei-Gorzo told The Guardian.

Marijuana Grown on Federal Research Farm Full of Mold and Lead

Remember that scene in Half Baked when Thurgood, played by Dave Chappelle, discovers that the government lab he works at has a serious stash of marijuana?

Well, it turns out that cannabis used in government research isn’t all that great. Unlike commercial marijuana, the government product is stringy, light in color, and full of stems. If you’re used to the cannabis sold at dispensaries, chances are you wouldn’t even recognize the government product as weed.

Jake Browne, a marijuana critic for the Cannabist, called government cannabis unusable. “In two decades of smoking weed, I’ve never seen anything that looks like that,” Browne said. “People typically smoke the flower of the plant, but here you can clearly see stems and leaves in there as well, parts that should be discarded. Inhaling that would be like eating an apple, including the seeds inside it and the branch it grew on.”

Dr. Sue Sisley, a researcher studying medical marijuana for treating PTSD, told PBS NewsHour, “It doesn’t resemble cannabis. It doesn’t smell like cannabis.”

That’s a problem for researchers studying the effects and medical efficacy of cannabis. Since the marijuana researchers are using is so unlike commercially-available cannabis, it’s difficult to reach conclusions that are applicable to real-world use.

Since the late 1960s, all marijuana used in clinical research is required to come from a single government-run marijuana farm at the University of Mississippi.

Researchers have complained that government-grown marijuana isn’t subject to any federal testing standards and discrepancies in potency have created problems in some cannabis studies. Some samples even contained mold and lead.

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