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Parents swap alcohol for cannabis during COVID-19

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More than half of parents said they have increased their cannabis use since the start of the pandemic

Increasing numbers of adults have ditched alcohol and turned to cannabis since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to reports from the US. 

The online survey, run by The Harris Poll on behalf of Curaleaf Holdings, found that 42 percent of adults who have ever used cannabis have started or increased their consumption since the beginning of the pandemic.

This is one of a number of findings from the study which asked around 2,000 US citizens aged 21 and over about their cannabis habits.

Almost half (45 percent) say they have now reduced or replaced alcohol with cannabis, with a further 33 percent saying they prefer consuming the drug to hitting the bottle.

The demographic which recorded the biggest increase was parents, with 52 percent saying they have increased their cannabis use compared to only 33 percent of non-parents.

The survey also found that more than half (57 percent) of parents with children under 18 who have ever consumed cannabis have reduced or replaced their alcohol consumption with cannabis since the start of the pandemic.

They were also the group most likely to use cannabis for primarily medical purposes.

As the pandemic heaped pressure on people’s mental health, the majority (54 percent) of those who participated in the survey said they were using cannabis to reduce stress and anxiety. 

Helping people to relax was the second most common reason for consuming cannabis, with 50 percent of participants using it for this, followed by the 48 percent of people who said it helped them sleep better.

The similarities in this study were found regardless of educational level or marital status, according to its researchers.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen an increase in new consumers at our dispensaries with more people exploring cannabis,” said Joe Bayern, president of Curaleaf.

“The liberalisation of the plant — and the increasing diversity among consumers who enjoy it — will continue as the general public become more interested in incorporating cannabis into their health and wellness routines.”

Stacia Woodcock, dispensary manager for Curaleaf in New York, continued: “Educating consumers around cannabis consumption is so important.

“Curaleaf’s pharmacists and committed dispensary associates make it a priority to educate our patients and consumers and help them find the right products to make cannabis a part of their lives.”

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Australia lists first subsidised medical cannabis drug

Epidyolex has become the first medical cannabis product to be subsidised by the Australian Government.

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Epidyolex is the first medical cannabis product to be subsidised by the Australian Government

The epilepsy drug, Epidyolex has become the first medical cannabis product to be subsidised by the Australian Government.

Australians living with the rare form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome, will now have access to the cannabis-derived drug via the country’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for the first time.

As of 1 May, 2021, Epidyolex, which contains CBD, is listed on the PBS for patients with the treatment-resistant condition, to be used in combination with at least two other anti-epileptic medicines. 

Epidyolex is only the second medicinal cannabis drug registered for supply in Australia, and the first one to be subsidised by the Government on the PBS.

Dravet syndrome is a rare, genetic epileptic encephalopathy that gives rise to seizures which don’t respond well to the standard medications.

It is estimated that around 116 patients each year will benefit from the listing of Epidyolex, who might otherwise pay more than $24,000 per year for the treatment. 

They will now pay only $41.30 per script or $6.60 if they have a concession card.

According to a report by FreshLeaf Analytics published last year, there are now around 30,000 medical cannabis patients in Australia with “record-numbers” of doctors prescribing.

But as prescriptions are not covered under the PBS, they remain costly compared to conventional medicines and out of reach for many.

In a statement announcing the listing of Epidyolex, Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Government’s commitment to ensuring patients can access affordable medicines “remains rock solid”. 

 

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Experts to explore the role of medical cannabis in women’s health

A line-up of leading experts will discuss how cannabis medicines can play a vital role in women’s health.

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Many women are still unaware of female-specific health conditions such as pelvic inflammatory syndrome (PIS) or vulvodynia

Leading pain specialist, Dr Sally Ghazaleh will join a line-up of experts to discuss how cannabis medicines can play a vital role in women’s health.

The first of a four-part webinar series, taking place on Wednesday 12 May, will focus on the experience’s of women who have not felt supported by the current healthcare system – and how cannabis has helped them find relief from their conditions.

Dr Sally Ghazaleh, a pain specialist at Integro Medical Clinics, will join Sarah Higgins, clinical nurse specialist and women’s health lead at Cannabis Patient Advocacy Support Services (CPASS), alongside endometriosis patients Abby Hughes, outreach chair of PLEA (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) and Laura, author of The Endomonologues blog.

Dr Sally Ghazaleh

Dr Sally Ghazaleh is a pain management specialist

Aimed at patients, clinicians and the general public the webinar series, hosted by Cannabis Health, Integro Clinics and CPASS, aims to discuss the application of cannabis medicines in the management of complex female health conditions.

It will also highlight some of the wider issues and gender inequalities played out in the modern medical model.

Studies have shown that women’s pain is not acted on as quickly and is more likely to be dismissed than men’s, while many conditions can present differently in women than in men and therefore take longer to diagnose.

Many women are still unaware of female-specific health conditions such as pelvic inflammatory syndrome (PIS) or vulvodynia and can live with the symptoms for many years before they are correctly diagnosed and treated.

Some patients are now reporting that they have found cannabis medicines to be helpful in the management of their health conditions.

Dr Ghazaleh, a consultant at Whittington Hospital and the National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, joined Integro Clinics as a prescriber of medical cannabis in January. 

She specialises in managing patients with a wide range of pain conditions and has a particular interest in bladder and abdominal pain in women, and women’s health in general.

The free webinar will take place on Wednesday 12 May at 7pm.

The event is hosted by Cannabis Health, Integro Medical Clinics and CPASS, sign up for free here

If you would like further information, or to make an appointment for a medical consultation with Dr Sally Ghazaleh please contact Integro Clinics:  

Email: Contact@integroclinics.com

Twitter: @clinicsintegro

www.integroclinics.com

 

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Cannabis treatment to be trialled for common pet health issue

Trials of a synthetic cannabinoid treatment for common eye problems in dogs have been given the green light.

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Eye ulcers are one of the most common health problems in dogs

Trials of a cannabis-derived treatment which could rid dogs of common and potentially blinding eye ulcers, have been given the go-ahead.

Tetra Bio-Pharma will continue with clinical trials on its synthetic cannabinoid products in the hope of finding an easy-to-use medication for pets with the painful condition.

Eye ulcers are one of the most common health problems in dogs and, if left untreated, can lead to the loss of an eye.

The condition is particularly common among a number of breeds which have gained in popularity in recents years, including pugs, bulldogs and West Highland terriers.

Initial symptoms include a red and aggravated eye and the condition often needs to be treated by a vet.

Progress has been slowed due to the Covid-19 pandemic but now the company is looking to forge ahead with the first-of-its-kind trial after receiving authorisation from the Veterinary Drugs Directorate of Health Canada.

The company is also engage in developing a treatment for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) which could eventually be used to treat people suffering with the coronavirus.

The trials of PPP-003v, Tetra’s proprietary veterinary ocular formulation for treating ocular pain and inflammation in companion animals, could see Tetra find a way into a market expect to be worth over $220 million by 2026.

Dr Guy Chamberland, CEO and CRO of Tetra Bio-Pharma, said: “The PPP-003 program, including PPP-003v, represents a significant opportunity for Tetra since there is a substantial unmet medical need for painful inflammatory eye disease.”

He added: “We are pleased with this regulatory authorisation and the ability to re-activate the trial.

“While the active pharmaceutical ingredient used in the PPP-003v drug formulation is the same as the one used in ARDS-003, Tetra’s innovative immunomodulator drug concurrently being developed for Covid-19, there is a major difference with how the drug is delivered.

“PPP-003v is intended to be used as a topical medication and is delivered as a sterile eye drop and ointment, while ARDS-003 is a sterile injectable nano-emulsion finished drug product.”

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