#NORML #News
Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Tue, 09 Dec 2014 04:20:21 PST

Survey: Physicians Endorse Cannabis Therapy For Epilepsy

Los Angeles, CA: Most general physicians and nurses, but not a majority of epileptologists and general neurologists, support the option of cannabis therapy for patients with severe refractory epilepsy, according to survey data published in the journal Epilepsia.

Investigators from the University of California, Los Angeles reviewed survey responses from 776 participants from North America and Europe in regard to the use of medical marijuana and/or cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychotropic plant cannabinoid, for people with epilepsy. Authors reported that slightly fewer than half (48 percent) of epilepsy specialists and general neurologists would advise in favor of using medical marijuana in severe cases of epilepsy. By comparison, most (83 percent) general physicians, basic researchers, nurses, and allied health professions said that they would recommend cannabis therapy, with more than seven out of ten respondents acknowledging that the plant possesses sufficient safety and efficacy.

A majority (78%) of all respondents said there should be pharmacologic grade compounds containing CBD available as a epilepsy treatment option.

In recent months, numerous states have enacted or amended laws permitting doctors to recommend either the use of cannabis or cannabidiol extracts for various forms of treatment-resistant epilepsy. Survey data recently compiled by researchers at Stanford University shows promise that the administration of organic CBD extracts mitigates seizure activity in children with treatment-resistant forms of the disease. Controlled clinical trials assessing the use of CBD-rich extracts in subjects with pediatric epilepsy are ongoing.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at paul@norml.org. Full text of the survey, "Fewer specialists support using medical marijuana and CBD in treating epilepsy patients compared with other medical professionals and patients: Result of Epilepsia's survey," appears online in Epilepsia.

Colorado: Health Officials Recommend Grant Funding For Clinical Cannabis Trials

Denver, CO: State Public Health Department officials last week recommended over $7 million dollars in grant funding to pay for a series of state-sponsored clinical and observational trials to assess the safety and efficacy of cannabis and cannabinoids.

The proposed studies include a pair of trials to evaluate the use of cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychotropic plant cannabinoid, for patients with pediatric epilepsy. Two additional trials will assess the use of cannabis for patients suffering from post-traumatic stress. Other studies will assess the efficacy of either cannabis or CBD in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, brain tumors, ulcerative colitis, and pain management.

Grant funding for the proposed studies requires final approval by the state Board of Health later this month.

Once the funding for these studies is finalized, researchers will still be required to gain additional approval from various federal agencies, specifically the DEA and NIDA, in order to obtain access to research-grade cannabis or CBD necessary to carry out the randomized clinical trials. Investigators engaged in observational research protocols will not need to seek NIDA or DEA approval.

The state of California previously sponsored a similar series of clinical trials assessing the safety and efficacy of marijuana. Those studies evaluated the use of whole-plant cannabis in patients with neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, and autoimmune deficiencies. A summary of those trials, published in 2012, concluded, "Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking."

Members Of Congress Introduce Measure To Allow VA Docs To Recommend Medical Cannabis

Washington, DC: Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, along with eleven co-sponsors, has introduced legislation in Congress to allow physicians at the US Department of Veterans Affairs to recommend cannabis therapy.

H.R. 5762, the Veterans Equal Access Act, authorizes Department of Veterans Affairs health care practitioners to provide recommendations and opinions to veterans regarding participation in State marijuana programs. Under present federal law, VA doctors are prohibited from making such recommendations, even in instances where their patients reside in a state that permits the legal use of cannabis.

Six Republicans and six Democrats are sponsoring the bill, which has been referred to the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Subcommittee on Health.

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