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Cannabis reduces need for prescription drugs in MS patients

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Patients said cannabis offsets symptoms of MS and reduces their need for prescription medications

Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who consume medical cannabis say they were able to reduce their prescription medicines to manage symptoms of the disease.

The majority of patients who consume medical cannabis report that it offsets symptoms of the disease and reduces their need for prescription medications, according to Survey data published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

A team of investigators from the Yale University-Griffin Prevention Research Center surveyed 115 MS patients about their consumption of cannabis

Respondents were most likely to report that cannabis was effective in reducing symptoms of pain, insomnia, muscle cramps and spasms, as well as improving mood. 

Consistent with studies of other patient populations, “a significant proportion of respondents” reported having either “stopped or reduced” their use of prescription medications after finding cannabis to be more effective for symptom management. 

In particular, patients frequently reported reducing or ceasing their use of “opioids, benzodiazepines, muscle relaxers and other pain medications” – a finding that is also consistent with other studies

Authors concluded: “MCU [medical cannabis use] among PWMS [patients with MS] can lead to the reduction or discontinuation of several categories of prescription medications for symptoms of MS.”

In contrast to previous studies patients reporting the most benefits from cannabis tended to have a “milder form of MS with less disability”.  

They added: “This study confirms the benefit of cannabis in several common MS symptoms, extending these findings to show that benefit can be related to baseline severity of some symptoms.”

The medicinal use of cannabis is relatively common among people with MS, with an estimated one-in-five patients reporting current use. 

Cannabis derived oral extract drug, Sativex, is approved for the treatment of MS-related spasticity in a number of countries, including the UK. 

A recent US survey found that more than 40 percent of MS patients said they had used cannabis products in the past year, most likely to try them for help with chronic pain and sleep.

In a previous blog for Cannabis Health, Dr Anthony Ordman, senior clinical adviser and hon. clinical director at Integro Medical Cannabis Clinics said: “Over the years I have treated many MS patients in my clinics. Whilst they  generally receive excellent care for their MS, the secondary conditions such as chronic back pain can be neglected.

“Traditional pharmaceutical pain medicines often have unpleasant side effects such as brain fog and constipation and frequently stop working after a few weeks.

“Cannabis medicines can prove extremely helpful in the pain management of MS patients, because they reduce muscle spasm and inflammation.”

Full text of the study, “Patterns of medical cannabis use among patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis,” appears in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders

Mental health

Clinical trial will assess if CBD can be used to treat PTSD

A new clinical trial could be a breakthrough moment for the treatment of PTSD

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PTSD is particularly common among those who have served in the armed forces

US biotech firm Ananda Scientific has launched clinical trials of a cannabis-based treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The company has teamed up with New York University Grossman School of Medicine to carry out the eight-week study.

The Phase II double-blind, randomised trial will involve 120 patients in a large scale placebo-controlled experiment which could be a breakthrough moment for the drug.

If successful, the trial will be an important step on the journey to winning regulatory approval Ananda’s Nantheia treatment, a drug incorporating CBD into a liquid application.

PTSD is a common mental health disorder which occurs in people following a traumatic experience and is a particular problem among people who have served in the armed forces.

A 2014 study found as many as 12.9 percent of US soldiers who served in Iraq displayed some symptoms of PTSD.

Recent months have seen warnings health workers on the front line during the Covid-19 crisis could also be experiencing PTSD.

An increasing number of health workers have displayed PTSD symptoms during the pandemic.

A study in the British Medical Journal compiled earlier this year found 39.5 percent of staff on critical care wards ‘met the threshold for probable clinical significance’ when surveyed for PTSD symptoms.

The study will also evaluate its impact on patients with neurocognitive impairments resulting from a traumatic brain injury.

Sohail R. Zaidi, Ananda’s president, said: “This is an important milestone for Ananda’s clinical development program, and we look forward to continuing to work with the NYU Grossman School of Medicine.

“We are impressed by the scientific rigour and professionalism of the NYU team in getting a cutting-edge program in place to test the efficacy of our very promising drug.

“The initiation of patient enrolment in this study reinforces our commitment to our goal of improving health and wellness empowered by cannabinoid science.

“This is also an important step in our efforts to provide patients with PTSD with potentially improved therapeutic options.”

This trial is being led by Esther Blessing, assistant professor of psychiatry and Charles R. Marmar, chair of psychiatry.

Dr Marmar leads NYU’s PTSD research programme and is a leading expert in clinical trials for innovative treatments for PTSD and related conditions.

He said: “We are excited to get this important trial underway. Our collaboration with Ananda Scientific allows us to progress in the development of evidence-based CBD products for this debilitating condition.”

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Why are people using CBD?

New survey data reveals why people in the US are consuming CBD – here are some of the key findings.

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CBD oil
New survey data reveals how and why people in the US are consuming CBD

New survey data reveals how and why people in the US are consuming CBD – here are some of the key findings.

Data intelligence firm New Frontier has released two new reports providing in-depth analysis on CBD consumer groups in the US and the factors shaping their behaviours. 

For the survey, respondents were grouped into four cohorts based on their primary reason to consume CBD including; medical, pain management, unwinding and general wellness.

Just over half of those described as ‘unwinding’ consumers are under the age of 35, while most who use it to manage pain are aged 55 or older, according to the findings.

Medical and general wellness consumers are roughly evenly distributed across age groups.

A whopping 92 percent of medical users reported having a ‘positive impression’ of CBD and 71 percent have recommended it to someone they know.

Unsurprisingly, medical users were more likely to consume CBD on a daily basis and spent more on the supplement, with one in four claiming to be spending more than $100 per month on CBD products. 

The majority of those surveyed said they used CBD for pain management and were “highly satisfied” with CBD and most likely to believe that it has “valid medical uses”.

But in general this group was “uninformed” about the cannabis market, says the report, and only one in five weren’t  interested in learning more.

Those who consume CBD to unwind identified anxiety reduction, stress relief, sleep, relaxation and pain management as some of the common reasons for use.

This group was younger than the average and nearly three-quarters said they had discussed CBD with friends, while more than 90 percent have friends or family who also use it.

By contrast, general wellness consumers were among the least likely to have had a conversation about CBD (11 percent) and nearly 1 in 5 (17 percent) did not know any friends or family who consume it.

Oils and tinctures were the most popular consumption method, followed by topicals, edibles and drinks and vaping, with CBD in capsule and pill form the least common.

Concluding key takeaways from the survey, the authors write: “The deepening fragmentation of the CBD consumer market will continue as consumers become more familiar with the products, and more targeted in the ways by which they integrate CBD into their lives. 

“While medical consumers are most likely to be regimented in their use, more likely to be brand-loyal, and most focused on dosing, other consumers groups are far less entrenched in their product preferences or consumption habits.”

While 30 percent of surveyed consumers expected their CBD usage to increase in the next six months, just under half (49 percent) said they did not have a preferred brand.

New Frontier Data founder and executive chair, Giadha A DeCarcer, noted: “As the market is flooded with more product choices, CBD brands and retailers would be well-served to delineate and target their consumers as they would in any other mainstream product category.”

See the full report at New Frontier Data 

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Mental health

Friends and CBD founders donate profits to mental health charity

10 percent of the brand’s profits will go to the Mental Health Foundation this month

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Catherine Meardon (left) and Laura Walton co-founded Moi+Me

Two friends who co-founded a CBD brand after experiencing anxiety, are donating a percentage of the company’s profits to a mental health charity this month.

Best friends and CBD co-founders, Laura Walton and Catherine Meardon know the importance of looking after your mental health.

Both of them have experienced anxiety either personally, or through a loved one. 

This June, the pair who co-founded CBD brand Moi+Me, are donating 10 percent of their profits to the Mental Health Foundation to help raise awareness. 

The charity provides support for those experiencing mental health issues, as well as campaigning to raise awareness and reduce stigma.

The friends and former colleagues founded Moi+Me after Laura’s struggles with anxiety after losing her mum.

She says discovering CBD, along with other tools and being able to be open about her experience helped her find her “way out”.

As a friend, Catherine has found it difficult to know what to say and together they wanted to build a brand that could provide tools and support, as well as taking the confusion out of CBD.

“Both of us have been touched personally by anxiety, either through our own suffering or that of those we love,” said Laura.

“I used CBD along with other tools during her mental health journey and found them to be a great support, but I didn’t want to only create a brand or product, we want to help support as much as we can by encouraging people to take extra care of themselves and have self-love.” 

She added: “It is our mission to raise further awareness of mental health, we are fully aware it can still be hard to be open about mental health in fear of being judged so by supporting this charity who in turn helps others also suffering feels a perfect fit for our brand.”

The concept for Moi + Me came from the idea that our busy lifestyles leave us feeling pulled in different directions with little time for reflection and self-care.

The range includes CBD balm, temple roller, peppermint oil mist and massage candle to encourage customers to take time for themselves.

Catherine added: “We both understand the importance of getting your life balance right. If you don’t allow time in your life for reflection and relaxation, things can very quickly feel on top of you. 

“Our busy lifestyles can leave us feeling like you have one soul and two minds. One ‘Moi’ side of us is thriving externally while the other ‘Me’ side feels tired, worn out and has too much on.  

“We’ve designed our high-quality, pure CBD product range to help bring moments of calm into your daily routine through a combination of stimulating flavours and scents.”

 

Visit www.moiandme.com

Access mental health information and support via the Mental Health Foundation 

 

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