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How medical cannabis could help treat rare skin conditions

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Leading dermatologists believe cannabis could have a promising role to play in treating rare and challenging skin conditions.

The UK’s first medical cannabis dermatology service was launched on Friday 11 September, for patients at Sapphire Medical Clinics.

Doctors will now be able to offer cannabis-based treatments to patients with rare skin conditions who have not responded to conventional therapies.

To date there is limited evidence to suggest that medical cannabis could be used to treat conditions such as atopic eczema, allergic contact dermatitis, genital psoriasis and generalised itching, as well as treating the symptoms of genital dysesthesia – which causes pain with no obvious explanation for it.

It is also thought it could have a role to play in reducing the inflammation caused by discoid lupus erythematosus and scarring alopecia, among other hard-to-treat diagnoses.

“In dermatology there are many skin conditions which are rare and don’t respond to first or second line treatments, meaning we sometimes we run out of options for patients,” said Dr Anastasia Therianou, consultant dermatologist at Sapphire, whose NHS practice is based at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

“This is a very exciting opportunity because evidence shows that cannabis does help as an anti-inflammatory agent and there are many conditions that this might be helpful for.”

Dr Therianou continued: “However, this is a new area and we still need more data.

“Our aim is not to give medical cannabis as a first line treatment, but to help patients who have tried other medications, or the medication available for their specific problem is not suitable for them.

She added: “This gives us the opportunity to offer them something new and through our patients we will be able to learn more and share our data to optimise the use of medical cannabis in dermatology in the coming years.”

Treatment for dermatological conditions may consist of either topical or systemic therapies and participating patients will be entered into a registry, where doctors will record their symptoms and any improvement in their conditions to help inform future studies.

Dr Richard Watchorn, a consultant dermatologist also based at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Sapphire, believes the findings could be groundbreaking in how serious skin conditions are treated.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of determining the efficacy cannabis has but there seems to be a phenomenal amount of potential,” he said.

“I’m very keen to realise that and help patients who have these types of conditions.

“As a dermatologist I often work with patients who have very resistant conditions or who don’t respond to anything, and these can have a devastating effect on every aspect of their lives.

Being able to access a new potential treatment is really important,” Dr Watchorn added.

“It’s a very exciting time and as the evidence base increases, these medicines could dramatically change the way we treat many different skin conditions.”

One patient who is hoping to benefit is 46-year-old Shane Pearce, who has struggled to find a treatment that works for his condition, he said: “I am pleased that patients who suffer from hard to treat skin problems such as mine now have an additional option in medical cannabis when standard therapies have not been effective.

“I have tried numerous natural balms and creams, but nothing worked so I welcome the opportunity to consider this treatment option at Sapphire Medical Clinics.”

Sapphire, the first medical cannabis clinic to be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), treats patients with cannabis-based medicines for all conditions where there is clinical evidence for efficacy.

Sapphire’s medical director, Dr Michael Platt, commented: “We pride ourselves on individualised patient treatment delivered in a safe and effective way and rigorously monitored treatment outcomes and are very excited to partner with leading dermatologists to launch this service.”

Find out more at: www.sapphireclinics.com

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Beckham-backed cannabis brand floats on LSE

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Cannabis firms MGC Pharma and Kanabo became the first two companies to list on the LSE

A UK cannabis company, backed by David Beckham, has been valued in excess of £25 million in its first day trading on the London stock market.

UK-based Cellular Goods has become the first provider of consumer products based on biosynthetic cannabinoids to join the London stock market.

The company has been admitted to the Official List following a significantly oversubscribed initial public offering that raised £13 million before expenses.

More than 6,000 valid applications for shares were received in respect of the IPO. 

Shares will commence trading on the main market of the LSE from 8am on Friday 26 February, under the ticker symbol CBX. 

A total of 260,000,000 ordinary shares have been issued at five pence each to institutional and retail investors, valuing Cellular Goods at a market capitalisation in excess of £25 million.

Cellular Goods was established in August 2018 to develop efficacy-led and research-backed cannabinoid products. 

The initial focus is on premium skincare and topical athletic recovery products to be launched from this autumn. 

Earlier this month it was revealed that former England footballer, David Beckham’s investment firm, DB Ventures had bought a stake in the company.

The firm follows European based MGC Pharma and Israeli firm Kanabo which made history as the first and second companies to list on the LSE this month.

The purpose of the flotation on the LSE is to raise the public profile and provide new funds for the company’s expansion and long-term growth. 

“Cellular  Goods’ debut on the London Stock Exchange is a major step in the company’s development and provides a strong foundation to execute our long-term growth strategy,”commented Alexis Abraham, chief executive officer

“We are delighted with the strong support from a wide range of institutional and retail investors to build premium consumer products based on biosynthetic cannabinoids under the Cellular Goods brand.” 

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First study of cannabis in veterans with PTSD

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Up to half a million US army veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD in the last 13 years

The first observational study to determine the efficacy of cannabis for veterans with PTSD has gained approval from regulators in the US.

US charity, The Battle Brothers Foundation has received approval to launch an observational study on the use of medical cannabis to help combat PTSD in veterans. 

In conjunction with NiaMedic, a medical data and research company, the study will determine if cannabis treatment will be beneficial in reducing symptoms in patients with treatment-resistant PTSD

The two groups received approval to proceed with the study from the national Independent Review Board (IRB), the independent committee that reviews the methods proposed for research to ensure that they are ethical.

“This news could not come at a better time,” Bryan Buckley, founder and president of the board for Battle Brothers Foundation.

“Every day, 22 veterans are dying due to effects of post-traumatic stress from opioid addiction to depression. Through anecdotal experiences, we know that cannabis can alleviate symptoms and provide relief. 

“We appreciate that the IRB recognises the validity of and the need for this study.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, the rate of PTSD among returning service members varies widely across wars and eras. 

In one major study of 60,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, 13.5 percent of deployed and non-deployed veterans screened positive for PTSD, while other studies show the rate to be as high as 20 to 30 percent. 

As many as 500,000 US troops who served in these wars over the past 13 years have been diagnosed with PTSD.

The study will enroll 60 California veterans, with moderate or severe PTSD over the next year.

Participants will dose and titrate individually purchased products under their own discretion and will be followed for 90 days to evaluate the safety and efficiency of cannabis on their symptoms. 

Results of the study will be documented and monitored at that time.

The Battle Brothers Foundation is the nonprofit arm of Helmand Valley Growers Company (HVGC), a cannabis company founded by disabled United States Special Operations veterans that donates 100 percent of its profits to fund research on the medical use of cannabis for veterans.

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Can CBD improve your fitness?

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Utilising CBD can help boost your fitness routine

The market is full of products which promise weight loss, muscle gain and recovery benefits, with glowing endorsements from all kinds of sportspeople. Here we explore what CBD has to offer.

From reducing risks of conditions such as heart disease to improving overall mood, getting the right amount and right kind of exercise provides numerous benefits for both physical and mental health.

With the likes of gyms, leisure centres and exercise classes closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us have resorted to home workouts for the first time and are looking for the perfect supplement to aid these sessions – could CBD be the one?

 

One of the most popular reasons for using CBD as part of your exercise routine is the effect it has on recovery and pain relief. Whether you’re suffering from a slight niggle or a long-term injury, the remedy has been proven to speed recovery and fight fatigue, with one study finding that by reducing oxidative damage – which is caused by physical stress – CBD can help us recover faster and perform better.

Topical CBD products such as creams can be particularly beneficial to those who are prone to joint pain, by providing highly targeted relief to ensure that those unavoidable twinges don’t negatively impact your overall workout.  

In addition, CBD may also be effective in relieving muscular aches and soreness thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. A 2009 study into the effects of cannabinoids on the body found that they can suppress inflammatory response, leading to less tension in the area and, in turn, less of a break needed between your workouts. 

One of the biggest pre-workout struggles is building enough motivation and momentum to get started and keep your routine going. While it hasn’t been shown to be a performance-enhancing product, the research into CBD’s effect on areas such as mental health and sleep quality leads us to believe that it can be a great supplement for breaking down mental barriers.

Several studies have linked CBD to overall improvement in mood, while it has also been well documented that the remedy can effectively ease symptoms of depression thanks to its positive effect on serotonin receptors in the brain. While CBD doesn’t necessarily boost these levels, its impact on the brain’s receptors may affect how we respond to the serotonin already in our systems.

Research backs up these claims, with a 2014 animal study finding that CBD’s effect on the receptors produced both antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects – both of which can be extremely helpful when gathering motivation to exercise. 

Too tired for a workout? A review of studies in 2017 found that CBD “may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia”, meaning it’s likely to improve sleep quality, allowing us to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on a workout. 

While research into certain areas is still ongoing, and it’s worth noting that effects will depend on external factors such as dosage, it would appear that CBD has several pre- and post-workout benefits.

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