Australia was apprehensive about its health care system due to the approaching flu season amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike these negative expectations, the actual results have been very promising so far.
Flue season in Australia
Being located in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia generally experiences the flu season from April to October, with the peak taking place in August.
Cases of influenza are sometimes followed by hospitalizations, with deaths occurring in severe circumstances. Being respiratory diseases, both influenza and coronavirus present similar symptoms in patients, although coronavirus is about ten times more deadly.
This year authorities were fearing the ‘dreaded duo’ to affect a large proportion of the Australian population. The estimated numbers were expected to double every three to six days. This had put healthcare systems under tremendous pressure of an unknown amount hospitalizations and ICU admissions that would likely follow.
Contrary to these anticipations, cases of influenza infections have been unusually low in Australia. According to Ian Barr, deputy director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Influenza based in Melbourne, Australia, “It’s been a bit of a non-entity really. Since the end of March, the influenza season has virtually dropped off to baseline or negligible levels,”
As of August, the total number of influenza cases stood at 21,000 in the region. In contrast to this, there were about 247,000 cases reported around the same period last year.
Why have influenza cases seen a drastic decline in Australia?
According to experts, the measures that were put in place to inhibit the spread of COVID-19 helped to control influenza.
“All the measures which have been taken for COVID-19 — the social distancing, the low circulation of people, hand hygiene, now mask-wearing and one of the big ones I think is school closures,” Barr said.
In addition to this, an increased uptake of flue vaccines by the Australian population has also helped considerably. The record-breaking demand of flue vaccines from the public resulted in about 18 million vaccinations throughout the region. Earlier, in 2019, the numbers stood at 13 million only.
According to Mary-Louise McLaws, PhD, a member of the WHO Health Emergencies Program Experts Advisory Panel for Infection Prevention and Control Preparedness, Readiness and Response to COVID-19, ” It was a combination of luck during an adverse event and… Australians are now increasing their uptake of flu vaccine, which has helped considerably. We’ve been fortunate, really fortunate not to have had to deal with that, and I’m not sure that the public fully appreciates how lucky they’ve been that the uptake of vaccine has actually protected them,”
What does this mean for other countries?
Results in Australia have shown that increasing flue vaccinations can definitely help the reduce burden on the healthcare system.
According to the reports of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu vaccination will hold a major importance this year to curb the impact of respiratory illnesses and reduce infections among the population.
From here, the health care system is highly dependent on private manufacturers of the vaccines.“The manufacturers have produced more and shall continue to do so, and every professional organization is promoting influenza vaccine. I’ve even said that figuratively speaking I’m down on my knees begging people to get their flu shots,” said Dr. William Schaffner specialist in infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.
Dr. William Schaffner addresses the fact that the trends seen in Australia might not necessarily translate equally effectively for other regions. “What happens in the Southern Hemisphere does not always predict what happens in the subsequent winter in the Northern Hemisphere,” he said.
Despite of this he has stressed the need to get vaccinated and follow proper SOPs. “We would like in public health to promote more of that because we really think it’s effective in reducing the transmission of these respiratory viruses in the wintertime,” he added. “We’ll see if the American public cottons to that.”
He further added, ” We don’t need a double barrel flu season. There would be, of course, much confusion because the clinical presentations are entirely similar. There would be further stress on our testing program which still is not sufficient, and, of course, there would be a big strain on our healthcare system, which here and there is keeping up but struggling.”
Luxembourg: The First European Country To Legalize Marijuana
Many of the states of the USA have legalized recreational and medicinal marijuana, but in Europe, the laws are strict. Medicinal cannabis is limitedly legal. But Luxembourg will soon become the first country to decriminalize cannabis.
On Friday, the government of Luxembourg announced via a statement that it is legal to grow and use cannabis. As per the new legislation, individuals above 18 in the county will have permission to consume marijuana. Moreover, they can grow four cannabis plants.
One household can cultivate only four plants. With the new law in action, the county would become the only county that permits the production and use of the drug without any limitations.
What Changes Can Occur By Altering The Legislation Regarding Marijuana
Cannabis will become available. Its manufacturing, development, sale, and consumption will no longer be illegal. The decriminalization of marijuana will drastically reduce the rate of the current fine.
Currently, any person possessing three grams of cannabis can be subject to a pay fine between $29 and $581. Previously, individuals were to pay for drug possession, and amerce can vary from $291 to $2910.
The legislation of Luxembourg does permit marijuana use and cultivation but publically using the drug is still illegal. The new law allows the trading of cannabis seeds. Moreover, there are no limitations on the concentration or quantity of THC in the seeds undergoing the trading process. Tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive compound of weed that can make people high.
The change in the law regarding marijuana will enable the government to clear out cannabis relating drug crimes. Another aim of making the alterations in legislation is to clamp down the drugs trade in the black market. Under the new law, Ministers will be regulating the currently illegal marijuana market.
The new cannabis policy has the support of the government. But to make it official, a vote of parliament is essential. After the voting of parliament in favor, the new proposal will get confirmation.
Chances Of Relaxation In Cannabis Law Across Europe
Luxembourg is a beautiful county with political and communal stability. People are close to their culture, and it is the best place to do business. It has the highest living standards that make it worth living.
It has a population of over 600,000 individuals and is the first to move on the forefront in decriminalizing marijuana. Overall the European continent is moving towards relaxation of cannabis laws.
In a referendum in 2022, Italy will decide about its stand on the legalization of cannabis. Whether Italy will decriminalize pot or not depends upon the number of people in favor. Once the campaign groups become able to gather 500000 required signatures to force a vote, marijuana will become legal.
So far, Italian law permits the consumption of cannabis. Thus, no fine or punishment is inflicted upon its use. Usage of medical cannabis is also legal under the law of Italy. But, purchasing, selling, and cultivating weed on a large scale is against the legislation. Drug dealers can end up in prison for ten years if found guilty.
All the actions that can lead to imprisonment under current Italian law will become legal. But only when the people vote to legalize marijuana in the referendum. After the majority voted in favor, the sale, purchase, and cultivation of cannabis will become legal.
Other European countries are also considering changing their laws about the use, sale, purchase, cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution of marijuana. Rules and regulations regarding cannabis involving activities are likely to change in the near two to three years.
Also Covered on: CNN
NY Cannabis Board Permits Residential Medical Marijuana Production
The cannabis legalization and decriminalization bill are in practice in NY, rules for medical marijuana are set. The Cannabis Board is responsible for resolving matters involving medical and recreational weed. We are working efficiently to design regulations and procedures. The firm is determined to ensure cannabis-involved activities operate lawfully within the state.
The New York Cannabis board on Thursday issued rules to allow medical marijuana users to cultivate or produce these plants at home. Caregivers also have permission to grow medical hemp plants for their use at their residence.
NY Cannabis Board Proposal
A final decision regarding the cultivation of medical marijuana is yet to occur. Doing so will enable individuals to become self-sufficient in medical cannabis. According to the proposal of the board, they can grow several plants for personal use at home.
For now, the proposal is open for discussion to the public, and people can comment on it for a period of sixty days. The proposal permits the growth of up to six medical marijuana plants in residential space. After the closing of the commentary period of 60 days, the regulation will take effect. By the end of this period, the cannabis board will finalize the ordinance in its official language.
Since 2014, medical marijuana, despite being legal, was not available in the market. It was also not easy to access items that consisted of constituents of the cannabis plant.
People used to visit medical dispensaries and facilities to purchase cannabis for their treatment. These items are usually expensive, and there is no insurance policy that can help in paying the expenses on sales of cannabis. According to an observational finding, people purchase products from Vireo Health Company. According to the company, a patient, usually on the first visit to a nearby dispensary, spends between $100 and $350.
Residential medical marijuana growth will facilitate many patients and make it easy for them to access cannabis. Once the regulation becomes official, individuals can cultivate six plants in their private living area.
The state Senator Diane Savino also passed remarks on the rules and regulations regarding medical marijuana. According to Daine Savino, the NY Cannabis board proposes the best policy. Diane appreciates Governor Kathy Hochul and the entire team of the board in addressing the issue of medical pot.
According to Diane, the matter regarding cannabis issuance for caregivers and certified patients has been long-standing. Fortunately, the board members address the topic swiftly.
The Road To Medical Marijuana Cultivation At Residents
In NY, recreational pot legislation approval occurred in March 2021. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act was also approved. The decision by the Cannabis Board to legalize medical marijuana production is the first step to putting the Act in action.
The Act does give permission to cultivate pot for medical reasons once the Board puts rules and regulations in place. According to the previous decision, the board members were to provide practical policy within six months of recreational legalization. However, Governor Andrew Cuomo neglected to appoint the board members, so the deadline passed.
Things move forward in a better way after Hochul takes control of the office and assembles it. After taking office in August, till the present, two meetings have already occurred. The Board discusses and implements rules regarding medical marijuana and recreational cannabis legalization.
According to Tremaine Wright, due to the quick action of governor Hochul and lawmakers, the medical pot program will soon expand. The expansion will lead to many other benefits and help in building a new industry. These activities will help in operating the medical marijuana industry safely. The Cannabis Control Board chair, in a statement, highlights the importance of medical pot regulations.
Originally covered on: Gothamist
Cannabis Oil Effectively Reduces Chronic Pain
The use of cannabis oil and other medical items containing marijuana legal since 2018 in the UK. However, the evidence of marijuana being efficacious has come under light recently. Researchers are discovering the effectiveness of marijuana oil in chronic pain patients.
Multiple studies occurred to determine the effectiveness of cannabis oil. Patients receiving marijuana as part of their treatment feel much better and experience improvement in their health.
Gathering Evidence Of Cannabis Oil Being Effective For Chronic Pain Patients
The United Kingdom Medical Cannabis Registry enrolls one hundred and ten patients. The purpose of enrolling these patients was to observe the effectiveness of cannabis oil. Moreover, through these patients, the impact of marijuana on overall improving quality of life was determined.
The registry reports that enrolled patients feel much better after one, three, and six months of cannabis oil intake. They experience that their pain reduces after using medical pot. They experience comfort, and their sleep quality has improved hugely. According to the registry, there are significant improvements in patients’ health-associated quality of life.
The National Health Service of the United Kingdom has a strict cannabis oil prescription policy. It is hard for patients to get a marijuana prescription because of the strict rules of the NHS. Patients who don’t respond well to conventional therapy have access to medical marijuana. The conditions under which patients can access medical marijuana include pain sufferers, individuals with anxiety issues, and multiple sclerosis.
About sixty-five percent of the patients part of the study had never used cannabis oil or medical marijuana. The participants are primarily diagnosed with chronic non-cancer pain, neuropathic pain, and fibromyalgia.
16% of the participants suffered from fibromyalgia and 48% percent from chronic non-cancer pain. Twenty-four percent of the participants are suffering from neuropathic pain.
Experts Focus On Research
For the betterment of society and its safety, it is vital to gather research-based evidence. Doctors and scientists consider it essential to discover the realities of using cannabis before prescribing it.
Dr. Simon Erridge is the head of research at Sapphire Medical Clinics. In a statement, he said that the number of medical marijuana prescriptions is increasing quickly in the UK. In this situation, it is essential to determine the outcomes of patients. Collecting real-world practical evidence regarding cannabis oil consumption is vital.
According to Dr. Simon, this research that they conducted is one of a kind in Europe. His team will continuously review inpatients, outpatients, and marijuana products via the Medical Cannabis Registry UK. So far, the selection of observational data has occurred. In the future, more critical research, including randomized controlled investigations, will occur.
Sapphire Medical Clinics developed the registry. They survey patients suffering from various diseases receiving separate prescriptions depending upon their condition. Surveying these individuals enables us to reduce the knowledge gap.
Filling the blank space regarding medical marijuana and cannabis oil in scientific knowledge helps a lot. The study’s findings were published in the well-known scientific journal, the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.
The research does prove that medical marijuana is effective in improving multiple conditions of people. But researchers require more research to form guidelines, funders, and licensing agencies.
Adven is a subsidiary of Curaleaf International. It is one of the largest independent marijuana companies in Europe. Adven cannabis oil was used in studies such that the average CBD dose was 20mg per day. The average THC dose that participants get is 1mg per day. Administration of cannabis oil occurs in a ratio CBD/THC of 20 to 1.
More participants enrolled in the survey process. Sapphire Medical Clinic plans to continue its survey-based research.
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