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Spain approves first cannabis based medicine

The approval for Epidyolex was based on the results of four randomised controlled Phase III trials

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Spain cannabis: A Spanish flag in the air with an old building behind it

Spain has approved the first cannabis based medicine, Epidyolex for patients with severe conditions such as epilepsy.

Epidyolex, an oral cannabis-based medicine, has been approved in Spain by the Ministry of Health after a large two-year trial. The approval for Epidyolex was based on the results of four randomised controlled Phase III trials. The clinical development of the therapy was spread over 10 different hospitals.

The trial involved over 700 participants with severe forms of epilepsy.

Until recently, there was no distinction between recreational and medicinal cannabis use in Spain which made it difficult to obtain products with higher quantities of 0.02 percent THC.

The medicine will only be available in hospital pharmacies for the treatment of seizures caused by Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) and Dravet Syndrome (DS).

Spain and medical cannabis

Speaking at a press conference, neurologist Vicente Villanueva, head of the Refractory Epilepsy Unit of the Hospital Universtiari i Politècnic La Fe de València said the trials have found a 40 percent reduction in seizures.  “As clinicians and researchers, we are satisfied to have these new options”, 

Antonio Gil-Nagel Rein, a neurologist and director of the Epilepsy Program of the Hospital Ruber Internacional de Madrid reported: “The potential improvement of the quality of life in an area where therapeutic options are very small is good news. Access to a new drug with a novel and clinically proven mechanism of action is a reason for hope for patients and satisfaction for specialists.”

Epidyolex received approval from the European Commission in September 2019. This made it the first cannabis-based prescription medicine to receive authorisation.

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Read more: Can cannabis reduce the side effects of anti-seizure medication?

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Rapper Lil’ Kim announces new cannabis brand ‘aphrodisiac’

The New York rapper becomes the latest celebrity to launch their own cannabis collection which is due in 2022.

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Image: Instagram/lilkimthequeenbee

The singer has announced the launch of her own cannabis brand, Aphrodisiac which is being produced in partnership with Superbad inc.

Lil Kim’s new products will be available across California in 2022, although there is no official launch date announced.

The brand is being produced in collaboration with the innovative cannabis brand, Superbad inc. Superbad was established in 2020 combining cutting edge technology and sleek design for cannabis consumers. They currently have seven acres of indoor grow and a “state-of-the-art facility” employing over 200 people.

Kimberly Denise Jones who goes by her stage name, Lil’ Kim has been working on the brand for two years. She has also partnered with the brand CampNova, which offer vertically integrated marketing and a distribution platform.

The rapper wants the cannabis line to reflect her personal style and says she has personally tested her own products. The collection is tailored to Lil’ Kim’s own preference in genetics and strains.

Lil' Kim: A banner advert for Always Pure Organics

Lil’ Kim collection

There are plans to expand the range to other legal states such as Michigan, New Jersey and New York. Originally from New York, Lil’ Kim hopes to be able to release the collection in her home state.

In an interview with Forbes magazine, she said: “I’ve actually been working on this for about two and a half to three years. This is something that didn’t just come overnight. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Lil’ Kim is the latest celebrity to enter the cannabis space with her own collection. Earlier this year, Justin Bieber announced he would be releasing a collection of pre-rolls called Peaches with premium brand Palms. The products are currently available in California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Florida.

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In a press release, he stated: “I’m a fan of Palms and what they are doing by making cannabis approachable and helping to destigmatise it — especially for the many people who find it helpful for their mental health.”

 

Image rights: Lil’ Kim

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Always Pure Organics: A day in the life with Chikako Yoshida

Regional Director of Asia, Chikako Yoshida, gives us a glimpse of her typical workday and discusses working in cannabis.

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Always Pure Organics: A man and a woman working on a laptop.

Chikako Yoshida, regional director of Asia for Always Pure Organics shares her experience of working in the cannabis industry.

Always Pure Organics is excited to give you a glimpse behind the curtain once again.

Join us for our latest episode of a Day in the Life, in which regional director of Asia, Chikako Yoshida discusses her experience working for Always Pure Organics and in the cannabis industry.

Always Pure Organics: A woman walking down a white and yellow hallway

In this episode, we follow our Regional Director of Asia, Chikako Yoshida, as she takes us through her typical workday. Having previously worked in counterterrorism for the United Nations, Chikako joined the APO team in May 2020. Chikako has such an interesting story to tell, we’re honoured to have her on the team as she embodies our mission to cultivate cannabis acceptance and accessibility worldwide. 

Chikako Yoshida said: “Upon learning about the power of cannabis and seeing the high potential growth of Always Pure Organics, I decided to change career from preventing illicit drugs to promoting cannabis to help people in need. I feel that by joining APO, I can help fulfil my life’s mission to support children and their families who fight against illness and sickness by providing them with cannabis products.”

Read more: Always Pure Organics achieves COSMO standard

Always Pure Organics: A banner explaining how the collaborative post works

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Epilepsy

CBGA may be ‘more potent’ than CBD against seizures in Dravet syndrome

Dr Lyndsey Anderson said there is more to explore when it comes to creating more treatment options for Dravet syndrome.

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Seizure: A row of test tubes containing CBGA oil with a doctors white gloved hand holding one up to the light

Scientists say they have found the ‘Mother of all cannabinoids’ which may help to reduce seizures in Dravet syndrome.

A new study on mice from the University of Sydney found that three acidic cannabinoids found in cannabis reduced seizures in Dravet syndrome, an intractable form of childhood epilepsy.

The three cannabinoids are cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA), cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA). All three but CBGA in particular “may contribute to the effects of cannabis-based products in childhood epilepsy” noted the researchers and were found to potentially have ‘anticonvulsant properties.”

The study marks the first time that three acidic cannabinoids were found to potentially help reduce seizures for Dravet syndrome.

Speaking with Cannabis Health News, the lead author of the study, Dr Lyndsey Anderson, said: “We found that CBGA exhibited both anticonvulsant and pro-convulsant effects. CBGA was more potent than CBD against febrile seizures in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome. We also found that a combination of CBGA and clobazam was more effective than either treatment alone. Additionally, we found that CBGA was anticonvulsant in the maximal electroshock acute seizure model, a model for generalized tonic-clonic seizures.”

She added: “CBGA did, however, present some proconvulsant effects. The frequency of spontaneous seizures in the mouse model of Dravet syndrome was increased with a high dose of CBGA. Also, CBGA was proconvulsant in the 6-Hz acute seizure model, a model of focal, psychomotor seizures.”

Although CBGA shows promise, Dr Anderson also stressed that it needs more research before it can replace CBD. She cautioned that Dravet syndrome patients may still need to proceed with caution.

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“Artisanal cannabis-based products are believed to reduce seizures in Dravet syndrome patients,” she said. “As these oils contain rare cannabinoids like CBGA, it is possible CBGA then contributes to the anticonvulsant effects of these artisanal cannabis oils. However, there were proconvulsant effects observed with CBGA, suggesting that Dravet syndrome patients may need to proceed with caution. The proconvulsant liability of CBGA would need to be addressed before it replaced CBD as an anticonvulsant.”

What is CBGA?

Sometimes referred to as ‘the mother of all cannabinoids,’ CBGA is the precursor molecule to many different cannabinioids including CBD and THC. It is thought to help some diseases such as colon cancer, metabolic disease and cardiovascular disease. It is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid much like CBD.

Dr Anderson explains that more research is needed to explain how the three cannabinoids work together.

“We don’t know how they work together yet,” she said. “We found that CBGA, CBDVA and CBGVA were all individually anticonvulsant against thermally induced seizures in the mouse model of Dravet syndrome. We did not investigate whether a combination of these three cannabinoids would result in a greater anticonvulsant effect than either cannabinoid alone. Future work will definitely explore this possibility.”  

CBGA future research

This isn’t the end of the research into CBGA for Dravet Syndrome. Dr Anderson said there is more to explore when it comes to creating more treatment options for Dravet syndrome.

 

She said: “Next on the horizon for this research is to explore whether the anticonvulsant properties of CBDVA and CBGVA translate to other seizure types including spontaneous seizures in the mouse model of Dravet syndrome. Additionally, we have extensively interrogated the anticonvulsant potential of individual cannabinoids and identified ten with anticonvulsant properties.”

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“We are now interested in investigating what happens when we combine these anticonvulsant properties. It remains an open possibility that greater anticonvulsant effects are achieved when the cannabinoids are administered in combination.”

The study was recently published in the British Journal of Pharmacology (DOI: 10.1111/bph.15661)

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