Cannabis Effective Treatment For Cancer Patients

According to clinical data presented in January 2012 at a conference of the Israeli Oncologists Union, some two-thirds of Israeli cancer patients who were authorized to make use of cannabis have reported long-term, symptomatic improvement from the plant.

The efficacy of cannabis therapy was assessed by investigators at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, in conjunction with the Israeli Cancer Association over the course of one year in 264 patients with cancer.

It was reported by the researchers, “Some 61 percent of the respondents reported a significant improvement in their quality of life as a result of the medical marijuana, while 56 percent noted an improvement in their ability to manage pain. In general, 67 percent were in favor of the treatment, while 65 percent said they would recommend it to other patients.”

It was concluded by the study that cannabis is an “effective” form of treatment for specific symptoms of the disease cancer and recommended, “The treatment should be offered to the patients in earlier stages of cancer.”

The most common types of cancer for which medical marijuana was prescribed were lung cancer (21 percent), breast cancer (12 percent), and pancreatic cancer (10 percent). The study emphasized primarily on the use of cannabis for relieving different symptoms of cancer or cancer treatment, such as pain and nausea. The study, however, did not evaluate whether marijuana therapy may potentially suppress the proliferation of the disease.

Different cannabinoids — including THC and CBD (cannabidiol) — have been shown to selectively target and eliminate malignant cells and cancerous tumors in preclinical trials.

Marijuana And Multiple Sclerosis

A chronic degenerative disease of the central nervous system, multiple sclerosis (MS), causes inflammation, muscular weakness, and a loss of motor coordination. Over a period of time, patients afflicted with the disease typically become permanently disabled and the disease could be fatal in some cases. According to the US National Multiple Sclerosis Society, nearly 200 people are diagnosed every week with the disease that often strikes those 20 to 40 years of age.

Clinical and anecdotal reports of the ability of cannabinoids to minimize MS-related symptoms such as pain, spasticity, depression, fatigue, and incontinence are plentiful in the scientific literature. In 2008, investigators at the University of California at San Diego reported inhaled cannabis significantly reduced objective measures of pain intensity and spasticity in patients with MS in a placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial. Investigators concluded that “smoked cannabis was superior to placebo in reducing spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis and provided some benefit beyond currently prescribed treatment.”

It should therefore comes as no surprise that patients with multiple sclerosis typically report engaging in cannabis therapy, with one survey indicating that almost one in two MS patients use the drug therapeutically.

Investigators at the University College of London’s Institute of Neurology, writing in the July 2003 issue of the journal Brain, reported that administration of the synthetic cannabinoid agonist WIN 55,212-2 provided “significant neuroprotection” in an animal model of multiple sclerosis. “The results of this study are important because they suggest that in addition to symptom management, … cannabis may also slow the neurodegenerative processes that ultimately lead to chronic disability in multiple sclerosis and probably other disease,” researchers concluded.

Investigators at the Netherland’s Vrije University Medical Center, Department of Neurology, also reported that oral THC could boost immune function in patients with multiple sclerosis.

References:
[1] Chong et al. 2006. Cannabis use in patients with multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis 12: 646-651.
[2] Rog et al. 2005. Randomized, controlled trial of cannabis-based medicine in central pain in multiple sclerosis. Neurology 65: 812-819.
[3] Wade et al. 2004. Do cannabis-based medicinal extracts have general or specific effects on symptoms in multiple sclerosis? A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study on 160 patients. Multiple Sclerosis 10: 434-441.
[4] Brady et al. 2004. An open-label pilot study of cannabis-based extracts for bladder dysfunction in advanced multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis 10: 425-433.
[5] Vaney et al. 2004. Efficacy, safety and tolerability of an orally administered cannabis extract in the treatment of spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Multiple Sclerosis 10: 417-424.
[6] Zajicek et al. 2003. Cannabinoids for treatment of spasticity and other symptoms related to multiple sclerosis: multicentre randomized placebo-controlled trial [PDF]. The Lancet 362: 1517-1526.
[7] Page et al. 2003. Cannabis use as described by people with multiple sclerosis [PDF]. Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences 30: 201-205.
[8] Wade et al. 2003. A preliminary controlled study to determine whether whole-plant cannabis extracts can improve intractable neurogenic symptoms. Clinical Rehabilitation 17: 21-29.
[9] Consroe et al. 1997. The perceived effects of smoked cannabis on patients with multiple sclerosis. European Journal of Neurology 38: 44-48.
[10] Meinck et al. 1989. Effects of cannabinoids on spasticity and ataxia in multiple sclerosis. Journal of Neurology 236: 120-122.
[11] Ungerleider et al. 1987. Delta-9-THC in the treatment of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis. Advances in Alcohol and Substance Abuse 7: 39-50.
[12] Denis Petro. 1980. Marijuana as a therapeutic agent for muscle spasm or spasticity. Psychosomatics 21: 81-85.
[13] Jody Corey-Bloom. 2010. Short-term effects of cannabis therapy on spasticity in multiple sclerosis. In: University of San Diego Health Sciences, Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. Report to the Legislature and Governor of the State of California presenting findings pursuant to SB847 which created the CMCR and provided state funding. op. cit.
[14] Clark et al. 2004. Patterns of cannabis use among patients with multiple sclerosis. Neurology 62: 2098-2010.
[15] Reuters News Wire. August 19, 2002. “Marijuana helps MS patients alleviate pain, spasms.”
[16] Pryce et al. 2003. Cannabinoids inhibit neurodegeneration in models of multiple sclerosis. Brain 126: 2191-2202.
[17] Killestein et al. 2003. Immunomodulatory effects of orally administered cannabinoids in multiple sclerosis. Journal of Neuroimmunology 137: 140-143.
[18] Wade et al. 2006. Long-term use of a cannabis-based medicine in the treatment of spasticity and other symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis 12: 639-645.
[19] Rog et al. 2007. Oromucosal delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol/cannabidiol for neuropathic pain associated with multiple sclerosis: an uncontrolled, open-label, 2-year extension trial. Clinical Therapeutics 29: 2068-2079.
[20] Canada News Wire. June 20, 2005. “Sativex: Novel cannabis derived treatment for MS pain now available in Canada by prescription.”
[21] Daily Finance. June 22, 2010. “U.K. approves pot-based drug.”

[22] GW Pharmaceuticals press release. July 28, 2010. ” Spanish Sativex approval.”

[23] http://www.gwpharm.com/Sativex6.aspx

Life Expectancy Of Lou Gehrig’s Disease Patients May Extend With Marijuana

According to a scientific review published online last week by the American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, cannabis therapy may reduce symptoms and prolong survival in patients diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS aka Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Preclinical and anecdotal data was reviewed by investigators at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle and Temple University in Pennsylvania indicating that marijuana appears to treat symptoms of ALS as well as moderate the course of the disease.

Authors wrote: “Preclinical data indicate that cannabis has powerful antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects. … Cannabis also has properties applicable to symptom management of ALS, including analgesia, muscle relaxation, bronchodilation, saliva reduction, appetite stimulation, and sleep induction. … From a pharmacological perspective, cannabis is remarkably safe with realistically no possibility of overdose or frank physical addiction. There is a valid, logical, scientifically grounded rationale to support the use of cannabis in the pharmacological management of ALS.”

They added, “Based on the currently available scientific data, it is reasonable to think that cannabis might significantly slow the progression of ALS, potentially extending life expectancy and substantially reducing the overall burden of the disease.”

Investigators concluded, “There is an overwhelming amount of preclinical and clinical evidence to warrant initiating a multicenter randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of cannabis as a disease-modifying compound in ALS.”

Reference:
Cannabis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: hypothetical and practical applications, and a call for clinical trials-American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine.

Health Professionals Support Cannabis Legalization For Therapeutic Use

According to survey data published online in the Journal of Palliative Medicine, a majority of hospice health professionals favor allowing the legally regulated use of cannabis for terminally ill patients.

A 16-item questionnaire was utilized by investigators at the University of Pennsylvania for assessing the knowledge, experience, and views of hospice professionals regarding the use of marijuana in terminally ill patients.

Authors concluded, “The study results revealed that, like the general public, hospice health care providers are generally in favor of legalization of marijuana and, if legalized, would support its use in symptom management for their terminally ill patients.”

Many health professional organizations, including the American Nurses Association, and the American Public Health Association, have enacted resolutions in support of allowing patients the legal alternative to use cannabis therapy.

Cannabis Use Associated With Reduced Intake Of Prescription Drugs

Survey data collected from the members of prominent Berkeley, California medical marijuana collective indicates that most patients minimize their intake of conventional medications following their initiation of cannabis therapy.

Sixty-six percent of respondents said that they consumed cannabis as a prescription drug substitute, according to the results of an anonymous survey. Many respondents said they preferred cannabis as it possesses fewer health side effects than conventional medications.

Some 70 percent of the respondents said they made use of cannabis for treating a chronic condition, such as diabetes or arthritis. Just over half said that they used marijuana for pain relief, including arthritis, migraines, and accident-related injuries. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said that they possessed health insurance coverage.

Reference:
Berkeley Patients Group

Spasticity In Multiple Sclerosis Marijuana Treatment

Multiple-Sclerosis-MarijuanaAccording to recent clinical and anecdotal reports, cannabinoids have the ability to minimize symptoms of multiple sclerosis like pain, depression, fatigue, spasticity and incontinence.

The benefits of cannabis in treating multiple sclerosis (MS) are thoroughly discussed in the scientific literature since the last two decades. According to investigators at the University of California at San Diego, inhaled cannabis was useful in significantly reducing objective measures of pain intensity and spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis in a placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial.

It was concluded by the involved researchers that “smoked cannabis was superior to placebo in reducing spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis and provided some benefit beyond currently prescribed treatment.” The fact that patients with multiple sclerosis typically report engaging in cannabis therapy is therefore not surprising by any standards.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic degenerative disease of the central nervous system that leads to muscular weakness, inflammation, and loss of motor coordination. Patients suffering from this complication usually become permanently disabled and the disease can be fatal in some cases. It is worth a mention that about 200 people (mostly in the age group of 20-40 years) are diagnosed every week with the disease, according to the US National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Investigators at the University College of London’s Institute of Neurology reported in an issue of the journal Brain that cannabinoids could inhibit progression of the disease in addition to offering symptom management. Administration of the synthetic cannabinoid agonist WIN 55,212-2 provided “significant neuroprotection” in an animal model of multiple sclerosis. “The results of this study are important because they suggest that in addition to symptom management, … cannabis may also slow the neurodegenerative processes that ultimately lead to chronic disability in multiple sclerosis and probably other disease,” researchers concluded.

The administration of oral THC can boost immune function in patients with MS, according to investigators at the Netherland’s Vrije University Medical Center, Department of Neurology. “These results suggest pro-inflammatory disease-modifying potential of cannabinoids [for] MS,” they concluded.

Health regulators in Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, and New Zealand have approved the prescription use of plant cannabis extracts in recent years for treating symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Reference:

  • Chong et al. 2006. Cannabis use in patients with multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis 12: 646-651.
  • Rog et al. 2005. Randomized, controlled trial of cannabis-based medicine in central pain in multiple sclerosis. Neurology 65: 812-819.
  • Wade et al. 2004. Do cannabis-based medicinal extracts have general or specific effects on symptoms in multiple sclerosis? A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study on 160 patients. Multiple Sclerosis 10: 434-441.
  • Brady et al. 2004. An open-label pilot study of cannabis-based extracts for bladder dysfunction in advanced multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis 10: 425-433.
  • Vaney et al. 2004. Efficacy, safety and tolerability of an orally administered cannabis extract in the treatment of spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Multiple Sclerosis 10: 417-424.
  • Vaney et al. 2004. Efficacy, safety and tolerability of an orally administered cannabis extract in the treatment of spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Multiple Sclerosis 10: 417-424.