Cannabinoids’ Effects on the Brain

University of Utah to Study Cannabinoids’ Effects on the Brain

University of Utah health researchers plan to look for trial participants in early 2019 for a new study of advanced brain-imaging technology to map out personalized effects of cannabinoids.

The study was funded through a $740,000 private donation in April 2018 by the Linden, Utah-based Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation and the San Diego, California-based Wholistic Research and Education Foundation. The two foundations also recently gave $4.7 million to the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine for a study that will look at whether cannabidiol (CBD) can help alleviate symptoms in severely autistic children.

“Our objective for Wholistic is to enable groundbreaking research to better understand the role of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in our wellbeing as well as explore if and how CBD can be beneficial in treating a multitude of conditions,” said Andy Noorda, chairman and co-founder of Wholistic Research and Education Foundation as well as an Noorda Foundation  trustee and board member.

About a dozen University of Utah Health study investigators with expertise inneuroimaging, neuropsychology, biostatistics, imaging physics, and psychiatry will work on the two-year study to examine how cannabinoids influence brain networks, and why cannabinoids affect people differently. Using molecular and advanced functional imaging, the researchers will compare effects among the brains of 40 healthy young adults given a placebo, THC or CBD. They will look at these effects on attention, memory, stress, pain, processing of new information, and processing change.

“The role of cannabinoids in medicine and society has been quickly evolving, and there are gaps in our understanding of many basic questions about how cannabinoids affect brain function,” said Dr. Jeff Anderson, associate professor of radiology at the University of Utah School of Medicine and one of the study’s principal investigators. “We are working with industry collaborators to test both purified THC and CBD preparations as well as a CBD extract that may more closely resemble extracts being used in the wider marketplace. We will be using two types of brain imaging: PET and MRI scans to study effects of these preparations on everything from specific receptors in the brain all the way through complex network behavior.”

He said the team will be looking for participants who are healthy, and are not regular cannabis users.

“We hope to have a much clearer understanding about the acute effects on the brain and mechanism of action of CBD and THC, and to test several hypotheses about why the effects differ from person to person,” said Anderson.

Pelin Thorogood, president and co-founder of Wholistic, said the foundation, which formed 10 months ago to support CBD research, education and advocacy, reached out to the University of Utah Health to propose a study that would help map the endocannabinoid system because the university is known for its imaging capabilities.

“We really believe nothing like this has ever been done to understand how the endocannabinoid system functions differently in different individuals,” Thorogood said of the study. “We expect the findings to be truly groundbreaking.”

The Noorda Foundation has funded these first two CBD studies Wholistic has recommended, but the plan is for Wholistic, as well other partner donors, to fund studies in the future. Wholistic has a Medical Advisory Committee made up of physicians, scientists, and other related experts who help provide guidelines, feedback, and approvals for the studies.

“We focus on funding multidisciplinary research that brings together clinical, basic science, advanced mathematics and genetics techniques to enable a comprehensive and systematic exploration of how CBD may benefit various conditions,” Thorogood said.

Noorda, who said his parents’ philanthropic foundation was created more than 10 years ago, became personally involved with CBD because of his son.

“The life-changing experiences CBD delivered for my son who has cerebral palsy has led me to co-found Wholistic Research and Education foundation with Pelin Thorogood and others who share our vision,” he said. “It is important to note that Wholistic is a public charity, which enables us to educate and advocate at the state and national level with research-driven, scientific data.”

Noorda said the University of Utah Health study has the potential to shape the developing field of cannabinoid therapy.

“The findings can be foundational for research into how cannabinoids may be therapeutic for different ailments, as well as how these therapies may have varying impact on individuals depending on the differences in their receptors,” he said. “Both the clinical and anecdotal data available show a lot of promise that CBD can be beneficial for many conditions, but not always or not for everyone. Therefore we don’t want to just explore if CBD works, but also how and why it works. We want the research we fund to uncover the mechanisms at work, and how genetic variations may lead [to]its efficacy or lack of efficacy for different individuals.”




Kansas Legalizes CBD for Adult-Use Sales

After navigating federal roadblocks and state-level cease and desist letters, health stores and head shops in the Sunflower State will now be able to sell CBD products, as long as they contain 0% THC.

Cannabis reform is coming to Kansas, but there won’t be any dispensaries or grow houses opening up in Topeka or Wichita. Instead of a restrictive medical marijuana program or all-out legalization, Kansas has legalized non-psychoactive, hemp-derived CBD products for adult-use across the Sunflower State.According to local public radio station KMUW, Kansas governor Jeff Colyer signed a piece of legislation allowing access to cannabidiol on Monday, reconciling more than a year of CBD policy confusion in the state.

As marijuana moves further into the mainstream, CBD-based oils, tinctures, topicals, and edibles have emerged as a nationwide trend in both the medical and larger health and wellness communities, lauded for its non-psychoactive treatment of childhood epilepsy, muscle pain, inflammation, and more.

Since CBD can be derived from industrial hemp plants, which are legal to grow under federally-approved university pilot programs, cannabidiol is often sold outside of medical and recreational cannabis dispensaries throughout the country.

But while industrial hemp is a legal crop regulated by the federal government, the DEA still considers CBD products to be Schedule I drugs, just like their THC-based cannabis cousins. This year, those inconsistencies in hemp classification reached a head, with attorney generals throughout prohibition states raiding health food stores to confiscate CBD products. In February, Kansas attorney general Derek Schmidt sent cease and desist letters to Sunflower State CBD sellers.

Now, less than four months since Kansas shop owners were told to take their hemp-derived CBD tinctures and topicals off of shelves, Governor Colyer has signed a bill legalizing the non-psychoactive cannabis products for all Kansas adults, allowing them to purchase CBD without a doctor’s prescription or recommendation.

CBD-specific legislation has also been enacted in Indiana, but unlike the Hoosier State, which allows CBD products with up to 0.3% THC, Kansas retailers will only be able to sell products with the cannabinoid if they are completely void of all THC.

With Goveror Colyer’s signature submitted Monday, industrial hemp-derived CBD products immediately became legal, with no lag time or regulatory waiting period.

Colorado Researchers Studying CBD Oil In Dogs

FORT COLLINS, Colo (CBS4) – Parents of children who suffer seizures swear by cannabinoid. They say it curbs the number and severity of the seizures that their children endure. Now, researchers at Colorado State University are studying whether it has the same effect in dogs with epilepsy.

“We’re really kind of looking for the ideal treatment,” said Dr. Stephanie McGrath, an assistant professor and veterinarian at the Colorado State University VeterinaryTeaching Hospital.

pot and pets 2 Colorado Researchers Studying CBD Oil In Dogs

Dr. Stephanie McGrath at CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital (credit CBS)

McGrath specializes in neurology and neurosurgery. Right now, she and other veterinarians have two or three good drugs for treating epilepsy, but they come with strong side effects that can sometimes be debilitating.

“The two drugs we most commonly use are phenobarbital and potassium bromide as first line drugs,” McGrath explained.

As parents talked publicly about how cannabinoids helped their children with seizures, it was natural to wondering if the same might be true for dogs with epilepsy.

“Well, if it’s potentially working for pediatric epilepsy, why not try it for canineepilepsy,” McGrath told CBS4.

LINK: CSU Study of Cannabidiol for Treatment of Epilepsy in Dogs

Now, she’s at the forefront of research into the effects of hemp-based cannabinoids on epileptic dogs.

“There certainly is a lot of interest with pet owners, with local vets, with family vets, and a lot of specialists across the county,” McGrath said.

The CBD oil used in the study is made by a Colorado company called Applied Basic Science. It is offered for sale to the public with general guidelines for how to dose your pet. Part of the research that McGrath is doing is figuring out what the proper dosing is for animals.

“He has about 2 to3 seizures a day,” said Pam Uhlenkamp.

Uhlenkamp’s precious pooch, Ferguson, suffers from epilepsy. She said that Ferguson would seize for 5 minutes at a time, and then it would take nearly an hour to recover.

“It was really scary because you think your dog is in total pain,” she told CBS4.

portrait of a white boxer in the nature

Uhlenkamp enrolled Ferguson in McGrath’s study as soon as she heard about it. Ferguson underwent an MRI, and a spinal tap, he took cannabinoid and a placebo, and Uhlenkamp kept a daily log of his progress.

“First of all, his seizures went down. It took about two weeks, maybe three, to like fully effect, and they went to about 2 to 3 a week,” Uhlenkamp said.

McGrath is now in her second study of CBD in dogs with epilepsy. She’s currently enrolling 60 dogs into the new study. And while, she can’t draw any definite conclusions about CBD oil right now, she is hopeful.

“We haven’t seen anything that’s been adversely affecting our dogs,” she said.

Uhlenkamp is already a believer.

“I just think it could help a lot of dogs.”



CBD vs. Full-Spectrum

Cannabis Study: Full-Spectrum Cannabis Extracts More Medically Effective than CBD Alone

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been the focus of many medical cannabis studies, and continues to prove itself as a powerful anti-inflammatory drug. What makes CBD even more desirable for some patients is that it does not cause the psychoactive effects associated with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

An extremely interesting study (Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol) was just published out of the Lautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology in Jerusalem. The study examines the effectiveness of administering isolated cannabinoid extracts (a CBD-only formula) versus whole plant extracts (which contain the full range of the plant’s cannabinoid content).

The Hadassah Medical School at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem sought to compare the effectiveness of a completely purified CBD extract versus a full-spectrum extract of cannabis flowers containing large quantities of CBD. The conclusion of the study was that the whole plant extract, which contained a large percentage of CBD but also contained traces of the other cannabinoids, proved far more effective than CBD-only solutions in alleviating inflammation and pain sensation. The study demonstrated that a whole plant extract, containing the entire range of cannabinoids present in raw cannabis, will continue to provide relief for inflammation as the dose is increased. When supplied as an isolated cannabinoid extract, CBD on its own yielded a bell-curve of effectiveness, which is not desirable for medical treatments seeking effective relief that corresponds with the dosage.

Materials Used: Plants, Animals, and Extracts

The purified CBD was acquired from THC Pharm. GmbH (Frankfurt, Germany) to act as the pharmaceutical grade isolated extract. For the whole plant extract, flowers from the clone 202 (proprietary strain: Avidekel) were supplied by the government-approved growers Tikun Olam Company. Bred to be rich in CBD, the raw flowers of this whole plant extract were ground up and cannabinoids were extracted using the solvent ethanol. The pure CBD extract and the full-spectrum extract were formulated for both injection and oral administration. The tests were performed on ethically-approved lab mice from Hadassah Medical School. In addition to a control group, the commercial drugs aspirin and tramadol were used on separate sets of mice to further compare the effectiveness of synthetic isolations versus whole plant extracts. The study was represented by 10-12 mice per treatment group, using known laboratory methods for measuring reductions in inflammation and pain sensation (described at length in the study). The results clearly show the medical benefit of extracting all the different compounds from the entirety of the raw cannabis flower, rather than extraction of a single cannabinoid.

Results Of CBD vs. Full-Spectrum on Inflammation and Pain

The data graphs below compare isolated cannabidiol (CBD) against a full-spectrum cannabis extract (from a CBD-rich strain). In all of the tests, the isolated CBD was ineffective both before and after a certain dosage, while the effectiveness of the full-spectrum solution continued to increase as higher doses were administered. The results all indicate that CBD is only effective against swelling and pain at a certain dose, and that cannabis solutions containing a full range of cannabinoids will continue to provide corresponding effects as the dosage is increased.

Injections: The isolated CBD injection was moderately effective at 5 mg/kg, but became less effective when the dose was higher. The shape of the graph resembles a bell-curve, indicating that the CBD-only formula lost effectiveness after a certain dose. The results from the cannabis flower extract showed that the synergy between the cannabinoids yielded greater relief as the dosage was increased, which is desirable in medicine.

Injections of CBD and clone 202 extract (mg/kg)

Injections of CBD and Clone 202 (Full-Spectrum) Extract (mg/kg) (source)

Oral Consumption: When the CBD and the full-spectrum extract where administered orally, the results were extremely similar to the injection test. Graph (c) shows CBD peaking at 25 mg/kg, and then losing any additional efficacy as the dose was increased. The whole plant extract provided more relief for inflammation and pain sensation as the dose was increased. It is important for the effects of the medication to reflect the dosage, as every patient is different and will require unique treatment based on aspects like tolerance.

CBD and Clone 202 Extract Administered Orally

CBD and Clone 202 (Full-Spectrum) Extract Administered Orally (source)

Measuring Levels of TNFα: Production of TNFα (tumor necrosis factor alpha) in the body leads to swelling from fluid accumulation in body tissues. The figure below represents the effectiveness of CBD and whole plant extract in suppressing TNFα production and reducing swelling. CBD proved effective only at a specific dose (25 mg/kg), while again the full-spectrum extract (concentrated from CBD-rich flowers) continued to suppress TNFα production to extremely low levels as dosage was increased.

Reduction in TNFα

Reduction in Levels of TNFα (source)

Comparing Cannabis and Commercial Drugs: The final graph shows the results of purified CBD and the full-spectrum extract when compared to the commercial drugs aspirin and tramadol. Aspirin had a moderate effect on tissue swelling, while tramadol had barely any effect. Both of the cannabis medicines prevented the swelling of the paw to a greater extent than either of the commercial drugs (a). Both of the commercial drugs did more for direct pain sensation (b), but CBD and the full-spectrum extract produced remarkable suppression of TNFα, while the commercial drugs did very little (c). Therefore, cannabis has medical properties not found in common inflammation drugs.

Comparing Commercial Drugs with CBD and Whole Plant Cannabis Extracts (source)

Comparing Commercial Drugs with CBD and Whole Plant Cannabis Extracts (source)

Conclusion: Cannabinoid Synergy More Effective Against Swelling

Cannabis studies continue to legitimize the medical relevance of the different cannabinoids. However, this study shows the importance of treating ailments using the full range of cannabinoids available. Gallily, Yekhtim, and Hanus, the authors of this study from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, conclude that cannabis extracts, specifically cannabidiol, can be more effective for anti-inflammation treatment than the familiar commercial drugs on pharmacy shelves.

Cannabis Flowers Contain a Variety of Cannabinoids (source)

Cannabis Flowers Contain a Variety of Cannabinoids that Work Together (source)

This study is important because it confirms the importance of cannabis as both medication and a natural plant. Many pharmaceutical companies have been trying to create synthetic derivatives of the different cannabinoids, but it turns out that the entirety of the raw cannabis plant is more beneficial than a single isolated cannabinoid. The results of this study are extremely promising for the future of cannabis science and medicine.


Source: Cannabis Reports

World Health Organization Report Finds No Public Health Risks Or Abuse Potential For CBD

A World Health Organization (WHO) report has found no adverse health outcomes but rather several medical applications for cannabidiol, a.k.a. CBD, despite U.S. federal policy on this cannabinoid chemical.

According to a preliminary WHO report published last month, naturally occurring CBD is safe and well tolerated in humans (and animals), and is not associated with any negative public health effects [PDF].

Experts further stated that CBD, a non-psychoactive chemical found in cannabis, does not induce physical dependence and is “not associated with abuse potential.” The WHO also wrote that, unlike THC, people aren’t getting high off of CBD, either.

 “To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD,” they wrote. In fact, evidence suggests that CBD mitigates the effects of THC (whether joyous or panicky), according to this and other reports.

The authors pointed out that research has officially confirmed some positive effects of the chemical, however.

The WHO team determined that CBD has “been demonstrated as an effective treatment for epilepsy” in adults, children, and even animals, and that there’s “preliminary evidence” that CBD could be useful in treating  Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, psychosis, Parkinson’s disease, and other serious conditions.

In acknowledgement of these kinds of discoveries in recent years, the report continued, “Several countries have modified their national controls to accommodate CBD as a medicinal product.”

But the U.S., the report noted, isn’t one of them. As a cannabis component, CBD remains classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has a “high potential for abuse” in the federal government’s view. Nevertheless, the “unsanctioned medical use” of CBD is fairly common, experts found.

For many CBD users in the U.S., the substance’s mostly unsanctioned and illegal state creates problems, especially as a wave of online (mostly hemp) and store-bought CBD oils and extracts have allowed patients to take the treatment process–and the risks involved in buying unregulated medicine–into their own hands and homes.

While CBD itself is safe and found to be helpful for many users, industry experts have warned that not all cannabis extracts are created equally, purely, or with the same methods of extraction.

And while reports of negative reactions to pure CBD are very few and far between, researchers are able to say that the cannabinoid wouldn’t be to blame alone. “Reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications,” they noted.

As the cannabis reform nonprofit NORML reported, the WHO is currently considering changing CBD’s place in its own drug scheduling code. In September, NORML submitted written testimony to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) opposing the enactment of international restrictions on access to CBD.

The FDA, which has repeatedly declined to update its position on cannabis products despite a large and ever-growing body of evidence on the subject, is one of a number of agencies that will be advising the WHO in its final review of CBD.

Perhaps this time around the FDA will listen, and learn something.

The report was presented by the WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, and drafted under the responsibility of the WHO Secretariat, Department of Essential Medicines and Health Products, Teams of Innovation, Access and Use and Policy, Governance and Knowledge.

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Cat Almost Lost All Of His 9 Lives After Developing Cancer On His Paw

A cat, who almost lost all of its nine lives after developing cancer, is purring again due to cannabis oil.

Ginge was close to being put down when he developed a large tumour on his paw.

His owner Jacek Matusiak, 35, from Burton, said: ‘Putting him to sleep was imminent. He had two strokes, an enlarged liver, significant weight loss and tumour growth to the front paw pad.’

Despite being prescribed antibiotics and steroids by his vet, nothing seemed to work, until Mr Matusiak started feeding his pet cannabis-oil laced food after reading about how a cancer patient used the drug to overcome the disease.

Within just two days of putting five drops of the oil in Ginge’s food, the cat’s tumour shrunk rapidly, as well as the skeletal feline friend gaining weight, regaining his balance and finding his voice again.

Mr Matusiak, who is speaking out to raise awareness of cannabis oil’s benefits, said: ‘Everything else didn’t work, but we believe it was the oil we gave him that helped him out.’

Ginge was given the nutritional supplement cannabidiol (CBD), which is derived from cannabis and is legal in the UK. It does not contain any THC, which is the psychoactive component of marijuana that makes users ‘high’.


Trump Makes Deal to Protect States with Legal Cannabis

Ending a stalemate with a prominent Senator, President Trump makes deal to protect states with legal cannabis. The Washington Post reported on Friday that the president had reached an agreement with Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican from Colorado.

In January, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo, a policy enacted by the Obama administration that directed U.S. Attorneys not to interfere in states with legalized pot. Under the Cole Memo, individuals and companies complying with state cannabis laws could operate with little fear of federal prosecution.

But when Sessions scrapped that directive, he allowed individual prosecutors to decide on enforcement of federal marijuana laws. That created a sense of panic among the legal cannabis industry nationwide.

Colorado voters legalized cannabis for medicinal use in 2000 with the passage of Amendment 20. Later, in 2012, the state approved the recreational use of marijuana by adults. The regulated adult-use cannabis market began in Colorado in 2014.

Senator Blocked DOJ Nominees

That move angered Gardner, who said it was contrary to assurances Trump made while running for office. Also, according to Gardner, Sessions had promised to respect states with legal pot during confirmation hearings for his post.

In retaliation, the Senator used his position to block about 20 nominees for positions in the Department of Justice (DOJ).

But in a phone call between the two politicians on Wednesday, they were able to come to an agreement. Trump told Gardner that despite Sessions’ announcement, legal pot businesses in Colorado will not be targeted by federal prosecutors.

“Since the campaign, President Trump has consistently supported states’ rights to decide for themselves how best to approach marijuana,” Gardner said. “Late Wednesday, I received a commitment from the President that the Department of Justice’s rescission of the Cole memo will not impact Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.”

Gardner also said the President had committed to changing federal law to give states the lead in cannabis regulation permanently. Consequently, the Senator will now allow DOJ nominations to proceed through the Senate.

“Furthermore, President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all. Because of these commitments, I have informed the Administration that I will be lifting my remaining holds on Department of Justice nominees.”

Final Hit: Trump Makes Deal to Protect States with Legal Cannabis

During an interview on Friday, White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said that the President “does respect Colorado’s right to decide for themselves how to best approach this issue.”

He also said that although the administration didn’t approve of Gardner’s tactics, they are happy the stalemate has ended.

“Clearly, we’ve expressed our frustration with the delay with a lot of our nominees and feel that too often, senators hijack a nominee for a policy solution. So we’re reluctant to reward that sort of behavior,” Short said. “But at the same time, we’re anxious to get our team at the Department of Justice.”


Source: High Times


Purp Surp

Mother of Special Needs Child Speaks Out about South Carolina Medical Cannabis Bill

Lawmakers are debating on the Senate floor as to whether or not medical marijuana should be legal in South Carolina.

Known as the ‘Compassionate Care Act’ authored by Sen. Tom Davis and Rep. Peter Mccoy, it would allow patients with debilitating medical conditions the chance to use medical cannabis.

In order to access the cannabis, the patient must have at least one qualifying medical condition as well as recommendation from a physician.

Mother, Judy Ghanem says right now she’s using organic hemp oil to help her 12 year old daughter Kira have less tantrums throughout the school day, but she says cannabis oil would be more effective.

“The reason I am looking to trying it as an alternative is because of her aggressive outbursts of violent behavior, to the point where  sheendangers herself and others.”Ghanem said.

Ghanem says Kira has autism, as well as a rare genetic duplication known as 16p+ and tethered cord syndrome. Ghanem says she has experienced terrible side effects from medication before.

“She had jerking movements in her mouth and she went through withdrawal symptoms when I took her off.” Ghanem

SLED Chief, Mark Keel told state senators that marijuana does not have any medical benefits and that law enforcement across the state has concerns with legistlation. News 13 reached out to him for an interview and he was not available for a comment.

Some lawmakers have also shared concerns that marijuana could get into the wrong hands, like Senator Kevin Johnson who represents Darlington and Florence. News 13 reached out to him and got no answer back.

Lawmakers have until April 10 to get the bill to the senate floor for a full vote, it would then land on the governor’s desk and he would have to sign it.

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