Ex-Cop Claims Cannabis Oil Has Allowed Her Son To Go Seizure-Free For 224 Days

By Amanda Froelich

Meet Lisa Quarrell, 38, a devoted mother and cannabis advocate. For months, she has been giving her son, who suffers from epilepsy, cannabis oil. Although she has faced a police rap, she says the natural remedy has allowed Cole Thomson, 7, to remain seizure-free for 224 days.

Before the 7-year-old received cannabis oil, he suffered up to 20 episodes a day. Now, he can play football every week and runs around often with his friends.

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Quarrel told The Scottish Sun:

“Cole went from a normal wee boy riding his bike to being in a wheelchair. He lost the power of speech and couldn’t lift his head — but cannabis oil has turned his life around. There were days when I could not stop crying.”

“Now, for almost the first time in his life, he has been free of seizures because of the cannabis oil. He is sharper and he’s aware of everything that is going on now.”

She continued, “He’s coming out of his shell. It was like I didn’t even know my son before.”

Cole has a form of drug-resistant epilepsy that causes seizures in one half of his brain. After a failed surgery, his mother became desperate. Frightened her son would be left paralyzed, she smuggled cannabis oil into the country and began treating him herself. The fits reportedly stopped within weeks.

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When cops launched a probe into her TV admission that she brought it into Scotland illegally, she risked prosecution. However, Quarrel was not charged. Afterward, she found a legal route of importing the whole plant oil prescribed in Holland.

The cost of the medicine is a whopping £800 every month and yields only five tiny 10 ml bottles. “It seems so unfair that we’ve found something that works but we’re being told we can’t have it,” said Quarrell.

Until cannabis oil is decriminalized, the ex-cop and mom will continue to fight health chiefs to allow Cole access to Bedrolite on the NHS. “The alternative is pumping him full of chemicals with awful side effects that didn’t work,” she explained.


Article source: Truth Theory

Amanda Froelich — I’m an RHN, chef, writer, activist, and entrepreneur who lives in Colorado. I share healthy plant-based recipes at Life in Bloom and cannabis-infused recipes at My Stoned Kitchen. Read More stories by Amanda Froelich

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10 Tips for Improving Fibromyalgia and Reducing Nerve Pain Naturally

By Amanda Froelich

Did you know? Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions in the world. According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, the disorder affects approximately 10 million people in the United States and an estimated 3-6% of the world population. Most of those affected are women (75-90 percent), but fibromyalgia is seen in men and children of all ethnic groups.

As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN), I believe that when the body is given the proper tools and support it needs, healing can occur. That is the premise of “holism.” Although the cause of fibromyalgia remains unknown and a “cure” does not yet exist, inflammation and nerve pain can be benefited by implementing some of the following recommendations. I hope they are beneficial to you and your families.

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by chronic, widespread pain. It can also encompass a variety of other symptoms, including tenderness, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. Over time, fibromyalgia can make it difficult to perform simple, everyday activities, including climbing stairs, light household tasks, and walking short distances.

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What causes fibromyalgia?

The cause of fibromyalgia is still being researched, but theories exist, of course. Two (of many) follow:

Theory #1

According to the American Chronic Pain Association, central nervous system defects are believed to play a role in the pathophysiology of the condition. Alterations in both the ascending and descending pain pathways in the central nervous system may also contribute to fibromyalgia.

Theory #2

Anthony Williams, the author of Medical Medium, believes that fibromyalgia is a result of stage four Epstein Bar Virus’ (EBV) neurotoxins creating chronic inflammation of both the central nervous system and nerves throughout the body. This can result in mild cracks, tears, and exposed root hairs that create sensitive spots on the nerves. In his book, Thyroid Healing, William adds that some varieties of EBV go as far as to bind to weak points, creating even more inflammation and pain.

10 tips for improving fibromyalgia and reducing nerve pain:

1. Support Your Immune System

When overcoming chronic illness, boosting the immune system is typically the first step. Elizabeth Wotton, N.D., a naturopathic doctor at Compass Family Health Center in Plymouth, Massachusetts, explained: “People with this condition often get laid out by colds and flu. They’re up, then they’re down. They just don’t have very good resistance.”

To support the immune system, Dr. Wotton prescribes the herb astragalus (in pill or liquid form), which is known as deep immune support. Some studies have found that it increases the activity of the protective cells and raises the level of antibodies in your immune system. Echinacea also helps to boost the immune system. The herb rallies or speeds infection-fighting white blood cells to the site of an infection.

2. Get plenty of sleep

To manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia, being well-rested is crucial. Getting enough sleep helps combat the fatigue that accompanies the condition. For better sleep, try the following:

  • Limit midday naps
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time
  • Avoid screen time just before sleeping
  • Avoid alcohol and coffee before sleeping
  • Leave 2-3 hours between a heavy meal and going to bed

As Medical News Today reports, a 2017 review found a solid link between fibromyalgia pain and poor sleep quality.

3. Supplementation Recommendations

In addition to eating a well-balanced and healthy diet (with an emphasis on natural, plant-based foods), proper supplementation can help improve the condition. Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, nicotine products, and illegal drugs are recommended to reduce stress and improve the mood.

Scientists at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) have been investigating the effects of dietary supplements. The following have been found to have the most effective in relieving fibromyalgia symptoms.

  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • Soy
  • S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe)
  • Creatine

Some people who suffer from fibromyalgia have found relief from using topical products containing capsaicin, which is the substance in chili peppers that makes them hot. More research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of this remedy, however. Furthermore, this treatment may not be ideal for those who have sensitive skin.

4. Get a lift with Ginseng

Deep weariness is one of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia. It’s brought on by frequent pain, stress, and a lack of energy. Fortunately, ginseng can help. The herb is a tonic that helps you feel less run-down.

The idea that ginseng is an energy booster is actually false. It’s an apoptogenic herb, rather than a stimulant. In the case of stress and fatigue, the adrenal glands may be functioning erratically. If they are working too hard, pumping out too many hormones, ginseng will reduce this action. If they aren’t functioning well and aren’t releasing enough hormones, ginseng can stimulate them to produce more.

“By supporting adrenal glands, ginseng increases endurance and strengthens a person’s ability to withstand stress,” said Dr. Wotton. “In that way, it can boost energy and bolster the immune system, even though it doesn’t have a direct effect on the immune system, even though it doesn’t have a direct effect on the immune system itself.”

Natures Medicines 1999

She continued: “People with fibromyalgia sometimes get in their situation because they don’t let up and either can’t or won’t give themselves and their bodies a break. Finally, their bodies just get worn down.”

5. Reduce Stress Levels

Many people who live with fibromyalgia report that high-stress levels exacerbate their symptoms. Studies have also identified links between psychological distress and fibromyalgia.

To stress less, try the following:

  • Walk, jog, or do yoga regularly (or all three!)
  • Journal (the good and the bad)
  • Keep in touch with friends and family members
  • Join a support group for people with fibromyalgia

Even the CDC states that reducing stress through yoga, massage, and meditation may help people with fibromyalgia.

6. Add Healthy Fats to Your Diet

In fibromyalgia, there is clearly inflammation in the muscles and likely in the intestinal tract. This is why consuming more anti-inflammatory foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E is essential. Healthy, fatty foods that help reduce inflammation include avocado, chia seeds, fax seeds, hemp seeds, fatty low-mercury fish, coconut oil, and olive oil.

7. Boost Enzymes and Stomach Acid

Sometimes, deficiencies are due to poor absorption of minerals and vitamins in the digestive tract. People with fibromyalgia often have low levels of stomach acid, which can lead to an incomplete breakdown of food and proteins.

To increase stomach acid (and possibly help flush the Epstein Barr Virus from your system), you can try drinking 16 oz of fresh celery juice on an empty stomach each morning. I did, and my health improved a bit (read more). You can also increase stomach acid by supplementing with betaine hydrochloride before each meal. Drinking 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar with water on an empty stomach in the morning may also improve stomach acid levels naturally.

Note: if you take betaine hydrochloride and notice a burning sensation, just take a capsule with one or two meals instead of three. You can do this for several months; eventually, your body should start producing enough hydrochloric acid to continue without supplementation.

8. Exercise

Although it may be difficult to muster up the energy to exercise, doing so may provide pain-relieving benefits. Furthermore, as muscle strength and endurance are built up over time, discomfort should decrease. Note: Before starting an exercise program, people with fibromyalgia should consult with their doctor. A physical therapist can help set up a suitable program.

According to a Cochrane systematic review, doing regular aerobic exercise – including swimming, cycling, or walking – is likely to improve health-related quality of life for people with fibromyalgia. It can also lead to better physical function and reduced pain, fatigue, and stiffness.

Furthermore, a neurological study found that a 15-week exercise program partly reversed a usual type of brain activity that affects people with fibromyalgia when the brain is at rest. Participants also reported a decrease in the severity of their symptoms.

9. Rest Up

When you’re feeling less than your best, it may be tempting to try and check off a lot of tasks. However, doing so can actually result in more of a setback.

Trying to do too much exercise or too many activities can increase pain and fatigue. For this reason, moderation is key. If you feel like you need a break, listen to your intuition. If you feel ready to take on the day, heed that feeling. Too many people feel as if they need to be productive 100% of the time, and this is neither healthy nor sustainable.

10. Massage Therapy, Chiropractic & Acupuncture

Alternative modalities that may provide relief include acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage therapy. Gentle manipulation can increase the range of motion, promote relaxation, and relieve pain.

In 2014, a systematic review found that 5 weeks or more of massage therapy led to significant improvements in pain, anxiety and depression in people with fibromyalgia. Furthermore, a review of studies found low-to-moderate evidence that acupuncture may provide some benefits for people with fibromyalgia, mainly the reduction of pain and stiffness. More research is necessary to confirm its effectiveness, however. Chiropractic may benefit fibromyalgia by reducing subluxation, improving nerve pain and overall wellness.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this article!

Health Disclaimer:

This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.

The opinions and views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, health practice or other institution.

Article source: Life in Bloom

Amanda Froelich — Mandy is a RHN, chef (vegan, paleo, live food), author, world traveler, artist, and business student. She lives in Colorado with her fiance, husky dog, and two cats. When she’s not working on new projects, she’s running, hiking, reading, or cooking healthy food.

Top image: Pixabay

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Microdsoing LSD Proves Safe For For Alzheimer’s Disease So Far After Phase 1 Clinical Trial

By Alanna Ketler

  • The Facts: There have been many therapeutic benefits of psychedelic substances discovered over the past decade for using them potentially as a medicinal tool.
  • Reflect On: Considering how promising a lot of this research is, should the laws be lifted in order to make it easier for scientists to study the potential of these psychedelic substances?

Over the course of the past decade or so, the study of psychedelic substances such as psilocybin (the active ingredient in ‘magic mushrooms’), MDMA, and LSD for treatment of various mental disorders has gained a lot of traction. As the stigma lifts and the laws slowly shift it leaves the door open for further studies into the potential of some of these substances. Recently, new results have been published in one of the first placebo-controlled clinical trials examining the therapeutic benefits of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) and whether or not it could be used as a treatment for those struggling with Alzheimer’s disease, for which there is no known cure.

The research is still in its infancy stage, but the Phase 1 trial discussed in this article is the first step towards testing whether psychedelic microdose methods are safe enough to garner a larger study down the road with direct treatment of Alzheimer’s using microdoses of LSD.

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The Study

The trial involved 48 healthy older adults with an average age of 63. They were randomly and blindly assigned to one of four different dosage groups which included 5, 10, and 20μg of LSD or a placebo. Over the course of three weeks subjects received a total of 6 doses. The doses were given every four days.

The results suggest a safe and promising path towards future research as no adverse effects were reported in any of the four groups, during the three-week trial and the follow up examinations one month later. They measured blood pressure, heart rate and ECG – no abnormalities were detected.

“The study provides reassuring safety data and opens the door for larger scale clinical trials to evaluate the potential therapeutic effects of LSD,” says Robin Carhart-Harris, head of the Center for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London.

There have already been numerous studies on the positive effects of psilocybin for the treatment of depression, the FDA even recently granted it a Breakthrough Therapy status twice this past year. Psilocybin and LSD work similarly in the brain, which is why some scientists are testing the therapeutic benefits of LSD as well.

These substances work by stimulating the serotonin 5-HT2A receptors in the brain. These brain receptors are responsible for mediating cognitive function and disruption of these neural processes have been implicated in early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. They have also been linked to symptoms of anxiety and depression.

“Our research with serotonin 5-HT2A receptor agonists, such as LSD, suggest that they may represent a new strategy to treat diseases associated with chronic inflammation,” explains Charles Nichols, co-author of the new study. “LSD’s unique polypharmacology may serve to enhance its capacity to simultaneously modulate multiple key pathological processes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease, including neuroinflammation, that are implicated in its progression from mild cognitive impairment.”

The question that is still unanswered in the field of psychedelic research is whether or not consistent microdoses of drugs such as LSD can actually improve mood and cognition. There are numerous anecdotal reports that support the broad evidence of psychedelic microdosing, but until now there hasn’t been any placebo-controlled clinical trials on the subject.

The new study reports findings from a trial which was conducted in the UK. The goals of this Phase 1 clinical trial were simply to determine the safety and tolerability of intermittent microdoses of LSD in healthy older adults. This trial was meant to be a precursor to a larger Phase 2 trial on the efficacy of treatment for Alzheimer’s using microdoses of LSD, so we will see what happens.

Final Thoughts

The results are certainly premature in discovering whether or not LSD can be a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, but at least there is some headway. The potential benefits of these psychedelic substances are largely unknown, but have provided some very promising results for multiple different ailments specifically involving the brain. The future is friendly for psychedelic substances as the stigma continues to be lifted and many scientists working in the field of treatment for mental health issues are starting to see how beneficial these drugs can be for medicinal use.

This article was sourced from Collective Evolution.

Hi, I’m Alanna! My journey really began in 2007 when I began to question what was being presented to me, my path led me to Collective Evolution and I joined the team in 2010. Wow, has it been an incredible journey so far! I am extremely passionate about learning new information! I aim to have a voice for animals and animal rights, I also enjoy writing about health, consciousness and I am very interested in psychedelics for healing purposes! I strongly believe that knowledge is power, and the first step to creating change on this planet is by raising awareness. “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” – Jack Kornfield Questions or comments? Email me alanna@collective-evolution.com

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Cost of Prescription Drugs Increases 9.5% Annually, Coordinated by Industry

Scripps Research analyzed pharmacy insurance claims from over 35 million Americans, finding ‘continual, marked, annual increases’ of popular brand-name drugs, with price jumps often timed with competitors.

After reviewing tens of millions of insurance claims for the country’s 49 most popular brand-name prescription drugs, a team from Scripps Research Translational Institute found that net prices rose by a median of 76 percent from January 2012 through December 2017—with most products going up once or twice per year.

The substantial price increases were not limited to drugs that recently entered the marketplace, as one might expect, or to those lacking generic equivalents. In addition, the increases often were “highly correlated” with price bumps by competitors.

The researchers concluded that the current rebate system, which incentivizes high list prices for drugs and relies heavily on privately-negotiated rebates to pharmacies, plays a central role driving up costs for consumers. The byzantine and secretive rebate system, they noted, prevents consumers from making informed decisions about purchasing medications.

The study appears in the latest issue of JAMA Network Open.

It’s no secret that health care prices are growing exponentially in the United States, but what has been less clear is the extent to which certain prescription drugs are contributing to that trend—especially when prices are clouded by a complicated rebate system,” says lead author Nathan Wineinger, PhD, director of biostatistics at Scripps Research Translational Institute and assistant professor in Scripps Research’s Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology. “By looking at price data for the most popular brand-name drugs, we found striking and consistent price increases occurring at regular intervals, regardless of competition in the marketplace.”

The Scripps Research team obtained the prescription data from a proprietary Blue Cross and Blue Shield data set known as BCBS Axis, which includes commercial insurance claims from more than 35 million Americans covered by independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies in the United States.

With a focus on the 49 most popular brand-name drugs with pharmacy claim data available for the entirety of their five-year research window, Wineinger and his team, led by Eric Topol, MD, conducted a high-dimensional data analysis to examine each claim’s total price. This was represented by the total out-of-pocket costs paid by the insured consumer and the amount paid by the insurer.

Researchers determined that prices of top-selling branded prescription drugs increased by a median of 9.5 percent annually, which equates to a doubling in price every seven to eight years. And they found that pairs of brand-name drug competitors that treat similar conditions—such as Humira and Enbrel, both for rheumatoid arthritis—demonstrated highly correlated price increases.

“It’s bad enough to see the relentless increase in drug prices, but this work underscores it is occurring without transparency or accountability,” says Topol, founder and director of Scripps Research Translational Institute and executive vice president of Scripps Research. “It is especially concerning to see drugs in the same class having increases that appear to be coordinated.”

Wineinger explains that a prescription drug’s list price is typically set by the pharmaceutical company that makes the drug, reflecting the payment shared by the insurer and the patient who buys the product at a pharmacy. However, drug companies increasingly offer rebates to organizations called pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, which negotiate with pharmacies and insurance companies to determine which drugs are offered as preferred “formulary” options to insurance plan members.

Those rebates are returned to the pharmacy at a later date, paid out by drug companies based on the total sales volume of their products, and cannot be linked directly to any individual purchase. This makes prices especially difficult to track.

Some drug companies have defended list price increases by reasoning that rebates have increased at a similar clip. However, the researchers found that is not the case, and concluded that increases in list prices and a greater reliance on rebates are making drugs more expensive overall.

“Accountability and transparency are essential to developing a better understanding of rising pharmacy costs,” said Maureen Sullivan, chief strategy and innovation officer for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA). “The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association developed the Alliance for Health Research to engage researchers in collaborative efforts to explore critical health care issues and enable valuable insights that can benefit consumers and the medical community.”

Article by Scripps Research. Authors of the study, “Trends in Prices of Popular Brand Name Drugs in the United States, 2012-2017,” are Nathan Wineinger, PhD; Eric Topol, MD; and Yunyue Zhang, all of Scripps Research.

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Cannabis Use Among Older Adults Rising Rapidly

Study is first state-wide investigation of cannabis use among older Americans and the outcomes they experience

Cannabis use among older adults is growing faster than any other age group but many report barriers to getting medical marijuana, a lack of communication with their doctors and a lingering stigma attached to the drug, according to researchers.

The study, the first to look at how older Americans use cannabis and the outcomes they experience, was published this month in the journal Drugs & Aging.

“Older Americans are using cannabis for a lot of different reasons,” said study co-author Hillary Lum, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “Some use it to manage pain while others use it for depression or anxiety.”

The 2016 National Survey of Drug Use and Health showed a ten-fold increase in cannabis use among adults over age 65.

The researchers set out to understand how older people perceived cannabis, how they used it and the positive and negative outcomes associated with it.

They conducted 17 focus groups in in senior centers, health clinics and cannabis dispensaries in 13 Colorado counties that included more than 136 people over the age of 60. Some were cannabis users, others were not.

“We identified five major themes,” Lum said.

These included: A lack of research and education about cannabis; A lack of provider communication about cannabis; A lack of access to medical cannabis; A lack of outcome information about cannabis use; A reluctance to discuss cannabis use.

Researchers found a general reluctance among some to ask their doctors for a red card to obtain medical marijuana. Instead, they chose to pay more for recreational cannabis.

Lum said this could be driven by feeling self-conscious about asking a doctor for cannabis. That, she said, points to a failure of communication between health care providers and their patients.

“I think [doctors can] be a lot more open to learning about it and discussing it with their patients,” said one focus group respondent. “Because at this point I have told my primary care I was using it on my shoulder. And that was the end of the conversation. He didn’t want to know why, he didn’t want to know about effects, didn’t want to know about side effects, didn’t want to know anything.”

Some said their doctors were unable or unwilling to provide a certificate, the document needed to obtain medical marijuana. They also said physicians need to educate themselves on the latest cannabis research.

Some older users reported positive outcomes when using cannabis for pain as opposed to taking highly addictive prescription opioids. They often differentiated between using cannabis for medical reasons and using it recreationally.

“Although study participants discussed recreational cannabis more negatively than medical cannabis, they felt it was more comparable to drinking alcohol, often asserting a preference for recreational cannabis over the negative effects of alcohol,” the study said.

The researchers also found that despite the legalization of cannabis in Colorado and other states, some older people still felt a stigma attached to it.

“Some participants, for example, referred to the movie `Reefer Madness’ (1936) and other anti-marijuana propaganda adverts that negatively framed cannabis as immoral and illegal,” the researchers said.

The study adds to the growing literature on the diversity of marijuana use patterns in older adults, said co-author Sara Honn Qualls, PhD, ABPP, professor of psychology and director of the Gerontology Center at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

“Older adults who use marijuana are ingesting it in a variety of ways for multiple purposes,” she said. “This and other papers from the same project show growing acceptance of marijuana use for medical purposes by older adults, and a clear desire to have their primary health providers involved in educating them about options and risks.

Lum agreed.

She said Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, provides a unique laboratory to gauge public attitudes toward cannabis.

“From a physician’s standpoint this study shows the need to talk to patients in a non-judgmental way about cannabis,” she said. “Doctors should also educate themselves about the risks and benefits of cannabis and be able to communicate that effectively to patients.”

Article by University of Colorado. The study co-authors include: Julie Bobitt; Melissa Schuchman; Robert Wickersham; Kanika Arora; Gary Milavetz and Brian Kaskie.

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73% of Oncology Providers See Benefit of Medical Marijuana

A University of Colorado Cancer Center study presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting 2019 shows that while 73 percent of surveyed oncology providers believe that medical marijuana provides benefits for cancer patients, only 46 percent are comfortable recommending it. Major concerns included uncertain dosing, limited knowledge of available products and where to get them, and possible interactions with other medications.

“I think in some cases we’re missing out on providing a useful tool. Providers think it has benefit, but aren’t comfortable recommending it,” says Ashley E. Glode, PharmD, assistant professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and the study’s first author.

Survey respondents included 48 specialized oncologists, 47 physicians, 53 registered nurses, 17 pharmacists, and 7 “other” oncology providers. Seventy-nine percent reported that educational programs both during training and as continuing medical education courses could increase their comfort level with medical marijuana prescribing. Interestingly, 68 percent of providers reported receiving information about medical marijuana from their patients – the next most common sources of information were news media (accessed by 55 percent of providers), and other providers (53 percent).

“We asked and most providers didn’t train in a state where medical marijuana was legal. We need to adapt our healthcare education to include this, and also offer trainings on medical marijuana to current providers,” Glode says.

Providers also reported legal and regulatory concerns, especially providers working in academic medical centers who expressed uncertainty whether recommending medical marijuana could jeopardize federal funding (marijuana remains a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Schedule 1 drug). Providers felt as if additional clinical data describing the effectiveness of medical marijuana and endorsed guidelines describing the conditions and situations in which it should be used would increase their comfort in prescribing.

“Still, the biggest issue that providers saw is the lack of certainty in dosing,” Glode says. “The issue is it’s not regulated – a dispensary might say a product has this much THC and this much CBD, but no one is testing that for sure. Limited data suggest that patients should start low and slow, no more than 10mg of THC in a dose, but we don’t know that’s what patients are really getting. Then from a consumption perspective, inhalation and smoking is the least preferred due to possible damage to the lung. So many doctors recommend edibles, oils, and tinctures, but we still don’t have good data comparing dosage across these forms.”

Glode and study colleagues including Stephen Leong, MD, hope to expand the survey to gather a more nationally representative sample.

“Knowledge is an issue,” Glode says. “If we could do a better job educating our healthcare providers, it might be used more often and potentially more safely.”

Article by University of Colorado.

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Manuka Honey Better at Killing Respiratory Infections Than Antibiotics

Manuka honey alone outperforms antibiotics in treating respiratory infections. Combined with antibiotics, Manuka honey killed 90% of the bacteria tested

Manuka honey could provide the key to a breakthrough treatment for cystic fibrosis patients following preliminary work by experts at Swansea University.

Dr Rowena Jenkins and Dr Aled Roberts have found that using Manuka honey could offer an antibiotic alternative to treat antimicrobial resistant respiratory infections, particularly deadly bacteria found in Cystic Fibrosis (CF) infections.

Using lung tissue from pigs, experts treated grown bacterial infections mimicking those seen in CF patients with Manuka honey. The results showed that it was effective in killing antimicrobial resistant bacteria by 39% compared to 29% for antibiotics, whilst improving the activity of some antibiotics that were unable to function effectively by themselves, honey and antibiotics combined killed 90% of the bacteria tested.

CF is one of the UK’s most common life-threatening inherited diseases, with around 10,400 people in the UK suffering according to the CF Trust. A government review led by Lord Jim O’Neill also highlighted the threat of antimicrobial resistance, estimating that a continued rise in resistance by 2050 would lead to 10 million people dying every year from antimicrobial resistant infections.

A problem that CF patients suffer from are chronic and long-lasting respiratory infections which often prove fatal due to the presence of certain bacteria that are resistant to many (if not all) the antibiotics that doctors currently have at their disposal.

Bacteria that cannot be removed from the lungs through antibiotic treatment can, as a last resort, be removed by providing patients with newly transplanted lungs. This has some associated risks, however, as the bacteria that caused the original infection can still be found in the upper airway, and migrate into the new lungs, thus making the transplant ineffective.

Some patients have a worse prognosis as they are infected with deadly types of bacteria, such as Pseudomonas and Burkholderia cepacia complex, which are difficult to kill (due to multiple antibiotic resistance) and cause extensive damage to the lungs. In some instances, merely their presence within a patient can prevent them from receiving life-saving lung transplants.

The effectiveness of antibiotics against these deadly infections is a huge concern, making the need to find suitable, non-toxic alternatives, which are effective at killing the bacteria a top priority.

Honey has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal product. More recently, research has shown that Manuka honey is capable of killing antibiotic resistant bacteria present in surface wounds. Funding from The Waterloo Foundation and The Hodge Foundation has allowed research to look at it as an antibiotic alternative in CF infections.

Dr Rowena Jenkins, Lecturer in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at Swansea University, said:

“The preliminary results are very promising and should these be replicated in the clinical setting then this could open up additional treatment options for those with cystic fibrosis infections.

“The synergy with antibiotics and absence of resistance seen in the laboratory has allowed us to move into the current clinical trial, investigating the potential for Manuka honey as part of a sinus rinse for alleviating infection in the upper airway.

Article and study by Swansea University.

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Researchers Hunt For Secret to Kratom’s Natural Pain-Relief Benefits

Kratom is a Southeast Asian tree with a long history of use in traditional medicine. In the region, the plant’s leaves are widely consumed for pain relief, treatment of opioid addiction and other uses.

Though its efficacy and safety are unproven, kratom use has spread to the U.S. and Europe. Now, researchers report in ACS Central Science that a metabolite of a kratom alkaloid could be responsible for the treatment’s therapeutic effects.

Currently, kratom is legal and available in the U.S. as a gray-market product, but it has an uncertain regulatory future. In the meantime, scientists are investigating the substance’s physiological effects.

Some prior research attributed these effects to mitragynine, the major active alkaloid in kratom, and its binding to an opioid receptor. However, 7-hydroxymitragynine (7-OH), another alkaloid present in the leaf at far lower concentrations, also interacts with that receptor.

To clear up the matter, Jonathan A. Javitch, Susruta Majumdar, Dalibor Sames and colleagues set out to probe the pharmacological and metabolic mechanisms behind kratom’s analgesic effects.

Through studies in cells and mice, the researchers showed that most of the analgesic effect is from 7-OH rather than mitragynine.

They also found that metabolism of mitragynine in mouse and human liver preparations actually produces much more 7-OH than is present naturally in kratom.

The team says that the results shed light on some of the seemingly contradictory reports on kratom, but more studies are still needed to see whether their findings in mice extend to humans.

Article by ACS.

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Mount Sinai Study Finds CBD Treats Opioid Addiction By Reducing Cravings and Anxiety

Mount Sinai study finds CBD is effective at treating opioid addiction by reducing cravings and anxiety without harmful side effects

Cannabidiol (CBD) reduced cue-induced craving and anxiety in individuals with a history of heroin abuse, suggesting a potential role for it in helping to break the cycle of addiction, according to research conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published May 21 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The study also revealed that CBD tended to reduce physiological measures of stress reactivity, such as increased heart rate and cortisol levels, that are induced by drug cues.

The wide availability and use of heroin and prescription opioid medications in the United States during the past decade has resulted in an unprecedented epidemic involving more than 300,000 deaths. Despite this staggering toll, limited non-opioid medication options have been developed. Two of the current options, methadone and buprenorphine, are opioid substitution therapies which work on the same opioid receptors (mu receptors) as heroin and other potent opioid agonists.

These medications, however, carry a stigma as well as their own addiction risk, are mired in tight governmental regulation, and therefore are underutilized by the millions of people diagnosed with opioid use disorder. Such a treatment gap highlights the urgent need to develop novel therapeutic strategies that do not target the mu opioid receptor.

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“To address the critical need for new treatment options for the millions of people and families who are being devastated by this epidemic, we initiated a study to assess the potential of a non-intoxicating cannabinoid on craving and anxiety in heroin-addicted individuals,” says Yasmin Hurd, PhD, the Ward-Coleman Chair of Translational Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai and first author of the study. “The specific effects of CBD on cue-induced drug craving and anxiety are particularly important in the development of addiction therapeutics because environmental cues are one of the strongest triggers for relapse and continued drug use.”

Previous preclinical work conducted by Dr. Hurd and her lab team at Mount Sinai, in animals with a history of heroin self-administration, demonstrated that CBD reduced the animals’ tendency to use heroin in response to a drug-associated cue. To determine whether the preclinical work could be translated to humans, her lab then conducted a series of clinical studies that demonstrated CBD was safe and tolerable in humans.

The current study used a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled design to explore the acute (one hour, two hours, and 24 hours), short-term (three consecutive days), and protracted (seven days after the last of three consecutive daily administrations) effects of CBD administration on drug cue-induced craving and anxiety in drug-abstinent individuals with heroin use disorder. Secondary measures assessed participants’ positive and negative affect, cognition, and physiological status.

Through the study, 42 drug-abstinent men and women were randomly assigned to receive either 400 mg or 800 mg of an oral CBD solution or a matching placebo. Participants were then exposed to neutral and drug-related cues during the course of three sessions: immediately following administration, 24 hours after CBD or placebo administration, and seven days after the third and final daily CBD or placebo administration. Neutral cues consisted of a three-minute video showing relaxing scenarios, such as scenes of nature, while drug-related cues included a three-minute video showing intravenous or intranasal drug use and exposure to heroin-related paraphernalia like syringes, rubber ties, and packets of powder resembling heroin. Measures of opioid craving, anxiety, positive and negative affect, and vital signs (skin temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation) were obtained at different times during the sessions.

The study team found that CBD, in contrast to placebo, significantly reduced both the craving and anxiety induced by drug cues compared with neutral cues in the acute term. CBD also showed significant protracted effects on these measures seven days after the final short-term exposure. In addition, CBD reduced the drug cue-induced physiological measures of heart rate and salivary cortisol levels. There were no significant effects on cognition, and there were no serious adverse events. The capacity of CBD to reduce craving and anxiety one week after the final administration mirrors the results of the original preclinical animal study, suggesting that the effects of CBD are long-lasting, even when the cannabinoid would not be expected to be present in the body.

Our findings indicate that CBD holds significant promise for treating individuals with heroin use disorder,” says Dr. Hurd. “A successful non-opioid medication would add significantly to the existing addiction medication toolbox to help reduce the growing death toll, enormous health care costs, and treatment limitations imposed by stringent government regulations amid this persistent opioid epidemic.”

Dr. Hurd’s research team is working on two follow-up studies: one delves into understanding the mechanisms of CBD’s effects on the brain; the second paves the way for the development of unique CBD medicinal formulations that are likely to become a significant part of the medical arsenal available to address the opioid epidemic.

Article published by Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

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Natural Compound in Broccoli Suppresses Cancer Tumor Growth

By Jacqueline Mitchell

Your mother was right; broccoli is good for you. Long associated with decreased risk of cancer, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables – the family of plants that also includes cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens, Brussels sprouts and kale – contain a molecule that inactivates a gene known to play a role in a variety of common human cancers. In a new paper published today in Science, researchers, led by Pier Paolo Pandolfi, MD, PhD, Director of the Cancer Center and Cancer Research Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, demonstrate that targeting the gene, known as WWP1, with the ingredient found in broccoli suppressed tumor growth in cancer-prone lab animals.

“We found a new important player that drives a pathway critical to the development of cancer, an enzyme that can be inhibited with a natural compound found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables,” said Pandolfi. “This pathway emerges not only as a regulator for tumor growth control, but also as an Achilles’ heel we can target with therapeutic options.”

A well-known and potent tumor suppressive gene, PTEN is one of the most frequently mutated, deleted, down-regulated or silenced tumor suppressor genes in human cancers. Certain inherited PTEN mutations can cause syndromes characterized by cancer susceptibility and developmental defects. But because complete loss of the gene triggers an irreversible and potent failsafe mechanism that halts proliferation of cancer cells, both copies of the gene (humans have two copies of each gene; one from each parent) are rarely affected. Instead, tumor cells exhibit lower levels of PTEN, raising the question whether restoring PTEN activity to normal levels in the cancer setting can unleash the gene’s tumor suppressive activity.

To find out, Pandolfi and colleagues identified the molecules and compounds regulating PTEN function and activation. Carrying out a series of experiments in cancer prone mice and human cells, the team revealed that a gene called WWP1 – which is also known to play a role in the development of cancer – produces an enzyme that inhibits PTEN’s tumor suppressive activity. How to disable this PTEN kryptonite? By analyzing the enzyme’s physical shape, the research team’s chemists recognized that a small molecule – formally named indole-3-carbinol (I3C), an ingredient in broccoli and its relatives – could be the key to quelling the cancer causing effects of WWP1.

When Pandolfi and colleagues tested this idea by administering I3C to cancer prone lab animals, the scientists found that the naturally occurring ingredient in broccoli inactivated WWP1, releasing the brakes on the PTEN’s tumor suppressive power.

But don’t head to the farmer’s market just yet; first author Yu-Ru Lee, PhD, a member of the Pandolfi lab, notes you’d have to eat nearly 6 pounds of Brussels sprouts a day – and uncooked ones at that – to reap their potential anti-cancer benefit. That’s why the Pandolfi team is seeking other ways to leverage this new knowledge. The team plans to further study the function of WWP1 with the ultimate goal of developing more potent WWP1 inhibitors.

“Either genetic or pharmacological inactivation of WWP1 with either CRISPR technology or I3C could restore PTEN function and further unleash its tumor suppressive activity,” said Pandolfi. “These findings pave the way toward a long-sought tumor suppressor reactivation approach to cancer treatment.”

Article published by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School and consistently ranks as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health funding.

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