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Cannabis, A Potential Treatment for MRSA?

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A paper was recently published by researchers at McMaster University in Canada, describing how cannabigerol potentially killed various strains of MRSA – the antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria. The team of researchers led by Eric D. Brown had taken a step further from the petri dish and started testing CBD on rodents. Their results could potentially be the first step in an attempt to make CBG the newest antibiotic in the market.

MRSA in hospitals

MRSA is an infection of the skin and soft tissues, which causes red pus-filled bumps and sores. While MRSA is not an infamous problem in hospitals worldwide, staph bacteria ( Staphylococcus aureus) is carried by one in three people in their nose. Although a common bacteria, unless it enters an open wound – which could lead to a sometimes deadly infection, it is generally harmless.

Antibiotics can successfully treat most staph infections, but antibiotic-resistant staph, known as MRSA, has proven to be dangerous. MRSA can be carried by 5 in 100 people. Although they are generally mild infections, difficulty in treatment has been shown. MRSA could potentially prove to be fatal for people with suppressed immune systems in hospitals.

Cannabis – An antibacterial agent

Cannabis has been known for its antibacterial properties. While early researchers had some ambiguity regarding the active specific compounds, recent research has been able to recognize which cannabinoids are effective against which bacteria.

When 18 cannabinoids were tested against common strains of MRSA by the McMaster University team, almost all of them had shown some efficacy against the bacteria. Most effectiveness was shown by seven cannabinoids including CBG, CBD, CBN, CBCA, Δ9-THC, and Δ8-THC. They were able to kill the bacteria at concentrations that were low enough to warrant further investigation. Moreover, CBG showed efficacy at specifically low concentrations.

CBG to kill MRSA

The biofilm that bacterial cells develop for protection makes MRSA difficult to treat. However, it appears that CBG is able to strip away MRSA’s biofilm, also leaving our blood cells’ defenses intact.

CBG helps prevent the formation of the biofilm, while also being able to strip it away. That is probably the reason that even low concentrations of CBG are effective at killing MRSA.

The question, however, is, whether CBG would do the same to blood cells. Such reactions would be a major signal to halt further research. However, researchers have reported healthy human red blood cells even after the exposure to CBG.

Treatment of MRSA in Humans

Conventionally in drug evolution, a compound is tested on animals, only after it has shown efficacy in a petri dish. The McMaster researchers treated mice with CBG and concluded that it reduced the animals’ bacterial load by half.

100mg/kg of injected CBG was proven to be the most effective dose to kill bacteria. Scaling it to human size, it would be a hefty dose. It would roughly be a quarter-ounce of puer CBG for a 154-pound human. Additionally, the general medical applications of cannabinoids have been oral, oromucosal, or intranasal, and not injected.

The Balance of Efficacy and Safety

According to researcher Eric D. Brown, despite the generally high doses of antibiotics compared to other medications, the need for safety and tolerability has to be taken under consideration when talking about the need for high doses of antibiotics to achieve efficacy. He further added how this is one of the reasons for failure in antibiotic drug discovery and development. He believes the balance between efficacy and tolerability is hard to achieve and which is why MRSA remains a problem. However, it may not be too far-fetched to envision a day when we can use CBG for the treatment of MRSA.

 

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Health

COVID-19 And Influenza May Have Twin Pandemics This Year

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COVID-19 and influenza may have twin pandemics

Many times, just when a doctor congratulates themself on making a tricky diagnosis, disaster happens. Although most doctors maintain meticulous details and effort, even the best sometimes must face facts. And that sad truth is that often at times multiple diseases manifest with similar symptoms. A patient running in with chest pains may suffer from acid reflux (GERD) or a serious heart attack. Similarly, experts now agree that COVID-19 and influenza symptoms can be very difficult to distinguish.

Up until the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic this year, the leading respiratory virus was influenza. Ancient, commonplace, well-understood it was, and thus predictable in its outcomes. In fact, since the great flu pandemic in 1918, that eviscerated most of Europe and America, nothing came close. Experts since then, with new understandings of epidemiology and virology, were able to accurately map the influenza rise and falls over the years.

This year’s expected influenza patterns vary by hemisphere, and experts notice an interesting finding

Influenza, commonly called the “flu”, has a seasonal pattern. In the northern hemisphere, it tends to occur during the winter months. In the US, it generally starts mid-November and peters out by April. Despite its regular and predictable occurrence, the disease still claims thousands of lives every year. Flu cases often result in hospitalizations and disruptions to schools and workplaces.

In the southern hemisphere, nations like Australia experience peaks in the months of June till September. This inverse pattern is because of the reversed weather patterns; influenza generally thrives in colder climates. However, what astonished scientists this year is how the rise of COVID-19 seemingly led to a drop in influenza cases. In South America at the moment, the expected influenza cases appear missing, while COVID-19 cases increase daily.

Epidemiologists caution that influenza peaks and COVID-19 peaks could coincide, to catastrophic outcomes

In the northern hemisphere, where influenza awaits its winter season, COVID-19 already reigns supreme. Many nations, from the US to Italy experience its effects even now. However, so far influenza world wide had been flattened out due to what is suspected to be due to precautions towards COVID-19. The bans on travel, social distancing, mask wearing, disinfectants all contribute to curbing influenza spread too. However, despite this, as restrictions loosen and people tire of obeying WHO guidelines, and winter approaches, so should influenza. When that happens, both diseases may attack together.

What also bears mentioning is the statistical proof that COVID-19 indeed is at least thrice as infectious as influenza. In cases where both diseases coexist in the population, the number of new influenza cases pales in comparison to new COVID-19 cases. Furthermore, experts still can’t be sure what will happen when both epidemics coincide globally. Some patients in St. Joseph’s Hospital, New Jersey, already tested positive for both viruses. Whether both viruses will act together and worsen symptoms, or compete till one wins remains unclear.

It is imperative that both diseases be controlled before their twin pandemic occurs

Experts agree that nothing more than waiting will curb COVID-19. The vaccines, drugs and herd immunity for this disease all need time to work. Until then the best any individual can do is socially distance, wash hands frequently and try to quarantine at home. Likewise, for influenza, all that can be done is wait for vaccinations and build up one’s immune system.

For more news on the upcoming twin pandemics, stay tuned. Also, click here to read about China’s new vaccine that may one day inoculate for COVID-19, influenza and swine flu together.

 

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General News

Trump Claims COVID-19 Vaccine Ready By Next Month

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Trump claims COVID-19 vaccine coming next month

In a surprising new press conference, the POTUS Donald Trump has announced a vaccine for the novel coronavirus will be ready by mid-October. The news came as a shock to most, seeing that as of now, no vaccine has even been approved by the FDA. Nonetheless, the President, running for reelection this November, claims that all is running smoothly. The president did not shy from saying that his opposition would not be nearly as capable as his administration in fighting the virus.

It’s hard to take the President at his word. While it seems unlikely that he would make so huge an overstatement so close to the elections, we have reason to doubt him. This is still the same person who offhandedly suggested injecting disinfectants would cure the disease, after all. Let’s take a look at the situation in more depth, to help measure our expectations better.

America leads the world in COVID-19 cases at the moment, under Trump

The US has a huge lead in terms of the number of cases of COVID-19, and the death toll too. The situation is truly dire in many places with hospitals past capacity and things are only going to get worse. The number of uninsured Americans exceeded twenty seven million back in April, and following the large increase in unemployment since then, that number could have tripled. Without healthcare, the average person is already at a disadvantage against COVID-19.

Furthermore, Trump has increased resentment against the wearing of masks and preventative measures against the spread of the coronavirus. Anti-mask sentiment is a large contributor to the high infection rates in the US, and Trump personally ascribes to this mindset. He said so as much in the press conference, mocking Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden for wearing a mask. Trump suggested it had more to do with covering facial features out of shame than it did with stopping the spread of the virus.

Still, vaccines have made tremendous strides in recent months

The POTUS has a point, though. The COVID-19 vaccine that everyone is talking about has made more progress on a rushed schedule than any other vaccine ever. Scientists have pulled overtime to ensure the response to the virus be as quick as possible. And the results are promising, with more than one vaccine already having entered the final test phase. In Russia, a vaccine is already being distributed.

Another partial truth Trump spoke was saying that masks are nowhere near as effective as a vaccine. Which is obviously true, because if they were, why would we bother spending billions on a vaccine? However, to suggest that masks are useless is not logically sound. Mask wearing has led to countries like France and Italy come back from the brink of collapse. Where people are responsible in social distancing, the results speak for themselves.

What will happen in regards to vaccination in the next few months, even after Trump?

It’s most likely that Trump is over promising to farmer votes for the election. The head of the Center for Disease Control stated earlier that in no way would a vaccine program be possible nationally before next year. Yet Trump dismissed his expert advice, with typical Trump swagger.

It won’t be the first time a politician lied to the public to get votes, but the matter is complex. It technically might be possible for a vaccine to be out by October, but without insurance, most Americans likely won’t be able to afford it. And until October rolls around, how many will get sick because Trump supporters refuse to cover up? Wear a mask, stay safe at home.

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Cannabis

NHS Receives Backlash From Mothers Over Failing To Prescribe Cannabis For Epileptic Children

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Mothers Protest NHS Policy Over Cannabis For Epilepsy

In a recent viral internet video, a reporter walked across the streets of London for a social experiment. They asked passers-by about their opinions on the NHS (National Health Service). In addition, they casually asked people to guess how expensive medical services in the US seemed compared to the UK. The point of the video served to capture disbelief in how absurdly expensive American healthcare was, and gratitude for the NHS. The message comes across as poignant (affordable healthcare should certainly be available to all). However, the NHS still needs work to do.

The chief cause for concern is the NHS’s history of reluctance when dealing with unorthodox treatments. The healthcare provider may harbor several reservations against medicinal cannabis, namely. And this stance is deeply problematic as patients across England protest for a change in laws.

Mothers of epileptic children urge the permissibility of medicinal cannabis treatments

Medicinal cannabis, in the past few decades, rose to the top of epilepsy treatments. Epilepsy is a serious neurological disorder characterized by random tonic-clonic seizures. There is no set cure, but treatments often help deescalate the intensity of symptoms. Furthermore, in children with West Syndrome, and similar conditions, dozens of seizures often occur daily. These can often lead to eating disorders, mental handicaps, physical weakness and permanent brain trauma. Luckily, cannabis, a known anti-epileptic agent, may work wonders in such patients.

Mothers of long-suffering children currently protest this travesty of medical justice. They stand outside the headquarters of the NHS, Welsh Assembly building and the Scottish Parliament hall. Each protester seeks to challenge the terrible, only, option left for their dying babies: private healthcare. This would allow them the use of cannabis treatment, but cost thousands of pounds per month. For many, this could prove damning.

Affordable medicinal cannabis is not only the best treatment, but a national right to all citizens by the NHS

The costs of private healthcare simply cannot work for all families. Although marijuana legalization in the UK occurred years ago, the NHS holds the permit. This means only they can decide which case, if at all, qualifies for cannabis treatments. The NHS, shamefully enough, repeatedly used the supposed lack of evidence pointing to the health benefits. This stance dooms ineligible families to years of financial constraints just to treat their children.

Studies, numerous and diverse, world-wide almost all extol the positive effect cannabis has on epilepsy treatment. CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the two main chemicals in cannabis, both affect neurological function. Using the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates memory, immunity, mood and sleep, they alter the physiology. This effect leads to better sleep and restfulness as slow waves patterns increase. Hence, in epileptics, abnormal wave patterns in seizures can be avoided.

Cannabis treatment in the UK still remains choppy and not universal across the nation

Recently, the case of a young child’s family suing the NHS made its way to news. In that case, the family, wanting CBD oil to treat their epileptic child, challenged the NHS’s verdict. Click here for more on that case. Furthermore, in Scotland, the NHS was ruled to be obligated to allow medicinal cannabis in appropriate cases. This was a landmark victory for pro-cannabis advocates and healthcare experts. However, in England and Ireland, the matter remains murky as the NHS exerts the majority of its influence here.

So it seems the NHS needs to shape up and embrace modern science and reason. Despite their claims to the contrary, the medical consensus is cannabis doing more good than harm. Only then will the organization truly come into its own.

 

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