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Approval of Epidiolex, a Cannabis derived drug for the treatment of Seizures

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Epidiolex became the first cannabis-derived medication to be approved by the FDA in June of this year. It is used to treat two types of serious childhood epilepsy from the British organization GW Pharmaceuticals. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug for sale in the US on Monday. It will probably be available in pharmacies by prescription.

Epidiolex contains a chemical compound, cannabinoid otherwise called CBD. It is popular for its reported abilities to help relief from illnesses, for example, anxiety, joint pain, a sleeping disorder, and nausea.

Moreover, epidiolex is useful in treating an uncommon type of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) and a genetic brain dysfunction known as Dravet syndrome. According to CNN, the two disorders can cause seizures. In any case, Epidiolex, with its cannabis derivatives, has been found to reduce a particular kind of those seizures by as much as 25% to 28%.

FDA endorsed the medication back in April, but GW couldn’t sell it. The reason is the DEA has regarded cannabis a Schedule I drug alongside heroin, LSD, and cocaine. It means it is considered to have “no currently accepted restorative use and a high potential for abuse.” Now, Epidiolex specifically — however not CBD or cannabis — is Schedule V. “The DEA is stating, ‘if you’ve satisfied FDA, you’ve satisfied us,'” says Andrew Ittleman, a partner of the law firm Fuerst Ittleman David and Joseph. It’s appearing “considerable amount of deference” to the FDA.

The Cooperation of DEA with Researchers:

The Department for Drug Enforcement (DEA) says it will work with the researchers to help them in their research.

Marijuana and CBD got from cannabis stay unlawful in the United States except if they are in items endorsed by the FDA, for example, Epidiolex. Researchers are conducting more research into the medical benefits of cannabis.

“DEA will keep on supporting sound and logical research that advances legitimate therapeutic uses for FDA-approved components of cannabis, consistent with the federal law,” said Acting DEA Administrator Uttam Dhillon in a written proclamation. “DEA is focused on proceeding to work with our federal partners to look for approaches to make the procedure for research progressively proficient and effective.” The greatest unknown is how insurance agencies will choose to cover Epidiolex.

The double-blind, placebo-controlled trials required for FDA endorsement just covered two rare types of epilepsy—Dravet Syndrome and Lennox Gastaut Syndrome. Around 50,000 patients are suffered by these two diseases. However, there is evidence that Epidiolex could help with many distinctive kinds of seizures and epilepsy syndromes.

Without a doubt, 66% of the 1,756 patients who have attempted Epidiolex in the previous five years didn’t have Dravet or LGS. Epidiolex demand was so high among medication inert patients like Sam that GW permitted neurologists at almost four dozen hospitals that weren’t a part of the formal trials to direct their own so-called open-label trials. It helped GW to study more about how Epidiolex functioned in a more extensive population. It allowed many sick patients to gain access to medication that may help them.

That parallel research should make it simpler for specialists to suggest the medication for different diseases, a training known as “prescribing off label.”

To conclude, the expectation among CBD advocates is that the FDA’s endorsement could goad more investigation into medicinal cannabis items, however, weed itself stays illicit.

Although therapeutic or medical cannabis is accessible in about half of U.S. states. But federal regulations still characterize CBD as a Schedule 1 medicate, which implies it has no therapeutic value however it has a high potential for abuse since it is a chemical component of the cannabis plant.

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Cannabis

Scientists Use Computer Intelligence In Cannabis Research

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computers and researchers disprove scientific myths about cannabis

Just twenty years ago, computers couldn’t store more than a hundred characters on screen before running out of memory. We’ve made untold progress in tech since then, and every field stands to benefit. Where once scientists would struggle to plot everything out by hand, computers breeze through the data in seconds. And from time to time, we end up being the ones learning from our own creations.

A study out of the University of Colorado has led to shock from the international community when it poked holes in our knowledge. This happens all the time in science, though – Stephen Hawking spent a large part of his career correcting himself. But this incident stands out because advanced computer software was the one to burst our bubble this time. And boy, did it leave everyone stunned.

Cannabinoids are difficult to study

Let’s back up for a second. We spend a lot of time here advocating for cannabis usage, and that isn’t changing. However, we also advocate for scientific advancement, and that is why these findings are so relevant. To be clear, a lot of what we know about the effects of cannabis is still true. What has changed is the way we understand complex relationships between the myriad of chemicals in cannabis and how they lead to the experience we all love. And we have computer based learning to thank for that.

So let’s get right into it. For starters, ‘cannabis’ or the two widely known species of the plant, contains hundreds of different chemicals inside the leaves. Some of these, the ones that contribute to the high like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are well known. But aside from these, there are numerous other chemicals whose effects we aren’t really sure about. And even excluding those, these chemicals can react in such a way to produce even more chemicals after the fact. So it clearly is not easy to simply make a chart of the different chemicals and their effects. That’s why our conventional, experiment based methods won’t work, and why we need computer learning.

How computers are changing the field

Previously, scientists assumed that THC and CBD were different products of the same precursor chemical, Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). Scientists assumed before was under exposure to heat, certain chemical reactions take place that make CBGA turn into either one of the two, via a series of steps. What implies is that if any one between the two chemicals i.e. THC or CBD was high in concentration, the other had to be lower in order to balance out. That makes sense, because there’s a fixed amount of CBGA to start out with, and that has to be the same amount converted into both THC and CBD.

And that’s where these scientists made their mistake. Using computers, researchers divided different species of Cannabis by what their most common usage was, and compared the composition of each. This is a technique called “Dimensionality Grouping” and it sounds a lot easier than it is. For a proper study like this, you need to find the exact chemical makeup of each type of plant across a few hundred specimens to get rid of natural fluctuations in the compositions. Cutting out the jargon, that is a lot of work, but thankfully we have amazing computers that brute-force these problems for us instead.

So what does that all mean for me, the average cannabis user?

Frankly, it means nothing. But this opens up a large variety of uses in medicine, chemical engineering and other fields once we understand how these molecules interact. The applications come later; first comes the hard work. And without computers, we’d still be in the dark about how our favorite chemicals work.

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Major Canadian City Takes First Steps Towards Cannabis Legislation

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cannabis legalization in canada is a success

As the developed world pushes towards more open laws regarding the sale and distribution of cannabis, it’s wonderful to see the tide of public opinion sway the law. It is truly an emboldening sight to see the will of the many override the political agendas of the few. In this case, Ottawa city residents celebrate as recent polls show the majority of citizens are pro-cannabis legalization. Following such developments, the state has decided to investigate the effects of cannabis in the light of science.

This measure is a commendable step towards normalizing recreational drugs and creating a safer and more tolerant society. It’s no secret that cannabis usage is socially disapproved. That doesn’t mean, however, that there is any basis in fact for that negative reputation. Thankfully, Ottawa’s heads of state exist to serve, and aren’t shy of accepting when they’re wrong. Or learning to rethink their viewpoints, either.

Most people agree less regulation, more toleration is the way forward

As seen reflected in recent polls, more than 60 per cent of Ottawa residents are in favor of more broad-minded approaches to the cannabis issue. Riding the wave of acceptance the 2018 federal legalization of cannabis brought throughout Canada, legislators have begun rolling back restrictions. And that is honestly great news. It is a much needed reminder for North America that our democracy is worth fighting for.

Canadian legislators have begun the long work of making cannabis laws more open and tolerant. To this end, Health Canada has decided to take the help of scientists and health experts to inform their decisions. This is a very good approach, because it lessens the influence social factors have upon law forming. And when the science backs up the relative harmlessness of the drug, opinions are sure to change. As the federal healthcare provider, Health Canada has a serious responsibility to be the most well informed about every drug’s potential risks. So it is good to see them taking positive steps to evaluate the risks and outcomes cannabis has, however few they may be.

Canada’s laws on cannabis may need refinement

While it was a shock to the world when cannabis became federally legalized in 2018, it came with some drawbacks too. For one, the shift in public approval was extremely rapid – that meant there wasn’t enough time for proper discourse. People spent most of their time working to make cannabis legal, and not how that legalization should work. As a result, what we have in Canada is a flawed system made with the best of intentions.

Most young users report they have never tried the drug at all, according to the Canadian Center for Drug Use and Addiction. A concerning trend is that those who do try weed for the first time end up getting it from the wrong source: the black market. It is possible that illegal drug dealers might mix in powerful addictive substances just to get people hooked. But with such a large area, and so few retailers, the black market currently has much more reach than legal stores.

The hardest work is done, but there is still a ways to go

The countrywide legalization of cannabis is a powerful message to the world. In the US, we’re still quite far from that happening. The hardest part of the journey is done, but there is still a lot left to do. Canada can’t get away with ‘just average’ drug control: it needs to be the best to pave the way globally. And with steps like the one Ottawa’s government just took, it’s not hard to believe it will.

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How Michigan’s New Cannabis Social Equity Reforms Work

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Black & Brown Cannabis Guild compensates convicts

Cannabis regulations, when done right, can pave the way for an equal and prosperous society. Unfortunately, much of history, especially in the United States of America, reflects the opposite. The nation’s long standing so-called ‘War On Drugs‘ still leaves lasting scars on entire communities. That’s why when it comes to racial justice and activism, expungement of cannabis-related charges can bring a lot of good. And especially since studies show black and non-white minorities faced tremendously greater risk of arrest then white cannabis users. Enter the Black & Brown Cannabis Guild.

In Michigan, a state where recreational and medicinal marijuana received legal status in 2018, wrongs need righting. Over the past several decades, countless convictions subjected the innocent. And the punishments, disproportionately severe in relation to the offence, certainly didn’t fit the crime. Simple possession of cannabis could lead to misdemeanor charges, while usage often led to jail time. All of these criminal prosecutions led to permanent stains on records, leading to further marginalization for many.

The Black And Brown Cannabis Guild (BBCG) seeks to secure recompense for racial persecutions

Once Michigan legalized cannabis usage, the obvious question arose. What about those currently serving sentences over cannabis charges, and those with permanent strikes? After all, the countless African American, Latino and other people of color being punished should no longer face criminal records. That’s like prosecuting homosexual relationships, years after the practice got decriminalized. It certainly seemed like amnesty and a clean slate were sorely due.

Recently, the state of Vermont signed off on proposed bills that would try to improve social equity. The two main ways the bill seeks to do this included increased funding for small retailers and expungement. The former seeks to help out minority owners of cannabis stores get up on their feet and compete with bigger, more-privileged chains. And the latter measure would not only immediately release convicts but also wipe the slate clean for all with cannabis charges. Only with this, the bill says, will marginalized communities gain the tools to overcome decades of racism and prejudice.

The War On Drugs left many minority communities persecuted, and expungement is the only moral compensation

The United States at some point decided that drugs of any kind needed brutality to get rid of, at any cost. As a result, police raids, widespread arrests, convictions and wiretaps became all too common since the 1970s. The Nixon-era policy sought to curb increasing illegal drug use, despite not targeting the root causes behind drug usage. This means that instead of combatting poverty, addiction, gang influences and corruption the program simply punished the poor users. The BBCG therefore wants to assist the people of color, and anyone else, wrongfully persecuted.

People with cannabis charges on their permanent record simply face too much oppression. Even outside of jail, they bear reduced likelihoods of employment opportunities, security checks, prejudice and stigma. They carry the label the police wrongfully stuck to them. It doesn’t matter if the arrest was over a simple weed joint or crystal methamphetamine, the stigma remains the same. Furthermore, entire minority communities of former convicts often face discrimination.

The move comes as long overdue, but it is still a step in the right direction

Nothing the government does can magically erase decades of oppression. And it also cannot cure racism, bigotry or discrimination overnight. However, by issuing due apologies, absolving the convicted of charges and funding minority communities, something positive is carried out. These steps hopefully will go a long way for many marginalized groups, as the BBCG hopes.

We can only hope other states catch onto this much-needed policy. For the latest, stay tuned!

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