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Good news for the children with rare and severe forms of epilepsy

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EU has approved medicinal cannabis for the first time as a potential treatment for the patients suffering from two rare and severe forms of childhood epilepsy.  Doctors have been recommended the Epidiolex, plant-derived cannabis-based oral suspension as a long term treatment option for the children with Dravet syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. But not all the parents are satisfied with it and want an alternative consisting of a component not included in this drug.

CBD or cannabidiol is a chemical component of Cannabis sativa plant, commonly known as marijuana. CBD doesn’t cause euphoria or high in the consumers. Basically, it is the THC that is the main psychoactive component of Cannabis.

Epidiolex is 100% free of this psychoactive component, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Due to this, parents don’t find this drug as useful as with THC and come up with the observation that this treatment is not effective for the children because it doesn’t contain THC which is actually helpful in reducing the frequency of seizures in epilepsy.

The medication introduced by GW Pharmaceutical as a treatment for epilepsy would be used in combination with clobazam which is another epilepsy medication.

Is this medicinal cannabis approved worldwide or not?

The US Food and Drug Administration FDA approved the Epidiolex last year for the first time as the treatment for Dravet syndrome. It is a rare genetic disease with frequent fever-related seizures.

In a statement, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said, “This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies. And, the FDA is committed to this kind of careful scientific research and drug development.”

On the other hand, CHMP- the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA’s) Committee for Medicinal Products for Humans Use also has a positive opinion about the recommendation of this product.

The CHMP’s positive opinion depends on the results from 4 trials including 714 members suffering from either Dravet Syndrome or Lennox- Gastaut syndrome. The results demonstrated that the frequency of seizures can be effectively reduced with cannabidiol products instead of placebo.

The oral solution is also approved in the UK for use; however, NHS doesn’t recommend its use currently. A month ago, due to the absence of evidence of its long haul viability, the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence settled on an initiative decision about not recommending the prescription of Epidiolex.

Legal Medicinal Cannabis Products Containing THC

Many other cannabis products containing THC are legalized in the UK in 2018. But these medicines can only be prescribed by the specialist doctors only in the case if other medicines have failed to do the job.

Nabilone is a cannabis-based medicine, legal in the UK. It is available in the form of capsules and works in a similar way to tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. This drug may help people with nausea in the case of chemotherapy.

Sativex is also a drug derived from cannabis plant consisting of both THC and CBD. This drug is also legal in the UK to help people with multiple sclerosis.

Related- Use of cannabis oil to treat epilepsy is expensive, NIH says

Epidiolex is not a Magical Bullet

Extensive trials and clinical studies are carried out to prove the efficacy of this cannabis-derived drug. A Professor of Neurology at UCL and Medical Director at Epilepsy Society, Ley Sander said:

“This is good news for children with some of the most serious forms of epilepsy. Epidyolex has been clinically trialed to prove its efficacy and safety so, where appropriate, physicians will be able to prescribe it in the knowledge that there is evidence to support its use.”

“Epidyolex has been through extensive clinical trials and although not a magic bullet, we know that it may work for some children whose seizures do not respond to current treatment options. But like all anti-seizure drugs, it would seem that Epidyolex may work for some children but not for others.”

In short, this positive step made by the EU for the approval of Epidiolex as a treatment for epilepsy will bring hope among the people suffering from deadly disease. However, restorative cannabis, in any case, will remain a question mark and there are many obstacles ahead to approve its marketing authorization.

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Dangerous Effects of Cannabis During Pregnancy Explained by New Research

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Cannabis is a derivative of Cannabis sativa that affects the normal functioning of the brain and impairs motor coordination leading to hallucinating effect. This new study suggests that cannabis exposure has real-time devastating effects on the fetus and placental development during the gestation period in pregnancy.

The principal constituent in cannabis is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the researchers at Western University and Queens University find that regular exposure to THC has a great effect on the development of the placenta and fetus during gestation. Since recreational cannabis has been legalized in Canada, the effects of cannabis during pregnancy are beginning to be perceived.

This study published in Nature’s Scientific Reports and it is available online.

Researchers used a rat model and human placental cells to show that regular exposure to THC during pregnancy has a great impact on not only the development of the vital organs of the fetus but also on the gene expression that is extremely important for the proper functioning of the placenta.

Read more- First Pneumonia Related Death Reported in China

The researchers practically find an 8 percent deduction in birth weight and diminished growth of brain and liver by more than 20 percent during gestation in a rat model due to the regular exposure to a low-dose of THC that copies the daily use of cannabis.

An associate professor, Daniel B. Hardy at Westerns Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry and co-author on the paper suggests that the use of cannabis during pregnancy is highly linked with low birth weight babies.

Clinical data is hard to analyze because it is perplexed by other factors. The study is a definite way that supports that THC has a direct influence on the growth of the placenta and fetus.

Oxygen and nutrients cross the placenta into the developing fetus for nourishment and the research team characterizes how THC prevents oxygen and nutrients from crossing the placenta.

Read more- Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce announces GACC Certified™ testing

A decrease in a glucose transporter called GLUT-1 is caused by the exposure to THC that was found by studying the placental cells of humans. This shows that THC is stopping the transfer of key nutrient glucose through the placenta, from mother to the fetus. A reduction in placental vasculature was also found in the rat model and infers a reduced flow of blood from the mother to the fetus.

In the researcher’s opinion the restricted growth they observed in the offspring is likely caused by both of these factors and find that there are recently no proper guidelines from Health Canada on the use of cannabis during the gestation period.

To prevent morning sickness, for anxiety, depression or social issues up to one in five women are using cannabis during pregnancy according to some studies.

A Ph.D.,  Associate Professor, David Natale at Queens finds in Canada and many states of the US the use of marijuana has been legalized, but its use during gestation period has not been studied well. There are very real devastating risks associated with the regular exposure of cannabis during pregnancy.

 

 

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First Pneumonia Related Death Reported in China

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The first case of pneumonia-related death is reported this Saturday in China. It’s a 61 years old man who died with respiratory illness. This illness was caused by a new type of virus that belongs to the same family as that of SARS. Not to forget, SARS is the same virus that took hundreds of life some years ago.

Currently, forty-one people in Wuhan are diagnosed with this new pneumonia-like disease but it is not pneumonia. The experts believe it’s a new viral strain and a statement from the central Chinese city’s health commission on its official website has confirmed it.

After this first death, seven more cases are in critical condition. But two of them are discharged after recovering from the mysterious pneumonia-like disease. The emergence of this new virus has alarmed the health officials and scared the public due to the past SARS outbreak.

In 2002-2003, or Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) topped the headlines with hundreds of people dying with it in China, Hongkong and many other parts of the world. Only in China SARS killed nearly 349 people and some 299 confirmed death cases in Hong Kong. It affected the national economy of these countries at large and completely distorted the tourism industry.

Read more- Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce announces GACC Certified™ testing

Chinese scientists are investigating the root cause of this outbreak and they believe it’s a new strain from coronavirus. Coronavirus is a family of viruses that contain different mild and severe varieties of flu virus including common flu and SARS.

The researchers from Kong’s Department of Health in this death announcement on Saturday shared that genetic sequencing of this virus has been found in only one patient from the Wuhan region and is now available online. By going through its sequencing and comparing it with SARS shows that both of these viruses are 80% similar. However, it is too early to give a conclusion if it is SARS or something more deadly. They have warned the people and healthcare authorities to be vigilant this flu season.

Wong Ka-hin is the director at the department’s Health Protection Centre. He says that;

“We will remain alert as we believe the epidemic will continue to develop,”

Hong Kong authorities are trying to follow the necessary precautions to stop the spread of this new SARS-like virus. This includes disinfectant sprays in public transport i.e. trains and airplanes, checking of passengers and awareness campaigns on the new virus.

The Wuhan health commission further shares that this first person to die from the new viral disease bought eatables from a local seafood market. This seafood market was located in the city which is currently known to be the hub of this new flu outbreak in China and was cloves on January 1st for public safety.

The patient had the chronic liver disease but he died last Thursday due to “respiratory failure”. Ever since new cases are being detected nearly every day which shows that the evidence of this disease is contagious.

World health organization (WHO) said that there are no traveling restrictions necessary specific measures to follow during trade visits to China. It also expressed full confidence in Chinese health authorities to control the viral spread as soon as possible.

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Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce announces GACC Certified™ testing

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The Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce (GACC) provides policymakers and legislators with the guidance necessary to take the nascent cannabis industry from the gray market into a global provider of medical and adult-use cannabis products.

Recently, the Company announced the launch of a nationwide, voluntary industry certification standard for safety and purity in cannabis product testing. The aim of this program is to provide licensed sellers and consumer confidence that the legal products are safe and they meet the purity standards. By the end of 2020, this program will be available to all state-licensed cannabis operations.

The Executive Director at GACC, Randal John Meyer says that with the current laws it is impossible to make sure that there are uniform standards for purity. Furthermore, GACC President Rezwan Khan added, ”GACC wants to establish a means by which consumers can have confidence in the products they buy and to provide the industry the tools to give this assurance.”

GACC and the member of the companies believe in establishing standards for safety and purity, and in creating a serious and effective testing program. Nominations for membership on the Standards Committee (terms are two years) will be open to the public beginning on Thursday, December 5, 2019, and closing on January 30, 2020.

The Board of GACC will determine the initial composition. Future members will include public nominations and will be determined by the GACCAST Standards Committee and reviewed by the GACC Board of Directors. It is expected that the GACCAST Standards Committee will take approximately nine months to establish the initial standards and protocols so that implementation can begin in 2020.

Brands such as Raw Garden, DNA Genetics, Crockett Family Farms, Urbn Leaf, La Familia, and Team Elite Genetics, and all derivative cannabis products from DNA Genetics’ and Crockett Family Farms’ genetic have pledged to support the development of the standards setting protocol and to adopt and implement it as well when it is effective.

To accommodate the entire legal cannabis industry’s access to this program, GACC will be creating a membership class, the Standard Membership, which involves minimal costs for participation, and that will provide access to the GACC Certified™ Program. GACC is also planning to arrange for testing discounts for members who use the GACC network of laboratories. The GACC President Rezwan Khan added, “Our goal is to ensure this program isn’t cost-prohibitive for any cannabis companies of any size.”

Solo sciences will be offering GACC members a substantial discount on anti-counterfeiting, instant product recall solo*CODE™ technology as they have previously partnered with GACC to ensure that medical patients and adult consumers do not unwittingly purchase counterfeit or illicit vape products.

On this account, the Executive Director of GACC added, “The combination of the voluntary GACC Certified™ consumer safety standard, particularly when combined with members’ access to substantially discounted solo*CODE™ anticounterfeiting technology, allows GACC members to provide their consumers with the confidence they need that anywhere in the United States they legally purchase a participating cannabis product, our blue leaf means it’s safe and genuine.”

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