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“Smokeless tobacco addiction is a global health crisis” – how CBD may help with nicotine dependency

A new study shows that CBD may help with chewing tobacco addiction by controlling certain symptoms.

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Nicotine dependency
This may be the first study to focus on chewing tobacco

Speaking with Cannabis Health News, Dr Douglas McKay from CVScience explains how CBD may help with nicotine dependency and withdrawal symptoms.

A new study, published earlier this year, found that CBD may help to reduce withdrawal symptoms in those experiencing nicotine dependency.

The research, conducted by the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in collaboration with CV Sciences’ pharmaceutical diversion, focused on chewing tobacco rather than cigarettes as it’s an area where there are few treatments. 

Dr Douglas MacKay, senior vice president at CV Sciences explained the reason for the study.

“Smokeless tobacco addiction is a global health crisis. Treatment for smokeless tobacco addiction is a huge, unmet medical need representing a global market estimated at greater than $2billion. CV Sciences’ efforts to develop and commercialise the world’s first and only FDA-approved treatment for smokeless tobacco addiction aim to address the global health crisis.”

He added: “In May 2020, CV Sciences received its formal Notice of Issuance from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for its patent application for proprietary CBD and nicotine formulation for treating smokeless tobacco addiction. The patent covers methods of treating smokeless tobacco addiction by administering pharmaceutical formulations containing CBD and nicotine.”

 Nicotine study

In the study, rats dependent on nicotine and experiencing withdrawal symptoms were given products containing CBD.

The three groups of rats received CBD injections with doses of 7.5, 15 and 30 mg per day for two weeks starting one week into chronic nicotine infusion.

The control groups included rats with nicotine mini pumps that received vehicle injections of sesame oil instead of CBD. They also included rats implanted with saline mini-pumps that received sesame oil injections (double vehicle) or high doses of 30 mg CBD. 

Dr McKay explained that the science around CBD helping people with withdrawal is a new area.

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He said: “The scientific evidence that CBD can help with withdrawal symptoms is rapidly emerging. However, there are several more studies and FDA requirements to be completed before a CBD product can be marketed to treat withdrawal symptoms. Today if someone is trying to overcome withdrawal symptoms they can try a CBD dietary supplement, but this would be very different from the drug product being developed (CBD combined with nicotine), and there is limited scientific evidence to support CBD alone for withdrawal.”

He added: “In animal models, CBD has been shown to reduce the craving of alcohol and cocaine use and is known to modulate nicotinic receptor function. Millions of people use smokeless tobacco because they are addicted to nicotine. To quit, users must overcome nicotine cravings and the desire to have a chew, snuff, or pouch in their mouths. CV Sciences is working on a treatment solution for both.”

Throughout the experiment, serum was collected to determine the CBD and nicotine concentrations or mechanical sensitivity threshold. The withdrawal scores were measured and their body weight was recorded.

The results showed that CBD may prevent the animals from experiencing increased pain sensitivity and weight gain during long and short term restrictions.

Read more: Irish doctors may shun Medical Cannabis Access Programme

Nicotine dependency: Can CBD help? A pile of brown loose tobacco lies on a white background next to a green plant stem with yellow petals

Exciting results

The combination of CBD and nicotine could present an alternative quitting method for those who may not have had success with traditional methods such as gum or patches.

Dr McKay said: “CV Sciences drug development is more than just CBD. It is CBD combined with nicotine in an oral delivery pouch. Unlike Champix or patches, this drug satisfies both the physiological craving, as well as the mechanical desire that chewing tobacco users have to have something in their mouth to chew.”

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A previous study on nicotine dependency

This is not the first study to examine if CBD could be effective in helping people to reduce nicotine use. Although it may be the only one to focus on chewing tobacco. 

A study from the University College London’s Clinical Psychopharmacology unit in 2018 revealed that CBD may help people to quit smoking cigarettes. 

The study involved 30 cigarette smokers with nicotine dependency entering a lab after smoking normally or abstaining for 12 hours. The participants were then given CBD capsules or a placebo on separate occasions. 

The results found that after a single dose of CBD treatment, heavy smokers found smoking-related stimuli less visually attention-grabbing. These visual cues such as seeing friends smoking can lead to relapse. 

Researchers say their early results suggest that CBD is a promising candidate for reducing nicotine dependency.

Read more: Working 9 to 5: US study reveals 15% of remote workers used cannabis on the job

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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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Industry

New York regulators vote to allow home grow for medical cannabis patients

The new regulations would allow medical cannabis patients and carers in the state a safe, cost-effective way to access their medication

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New York: The statue of Liberty against a blue sky and the skyline of New York city

The proposed regulations would allow medical cannabis patients and carers in New York to grow up to six plants, indoors or outdoors, for therapeutic use.

New York cannabis regulators voted unanimously for the proposed regulations which would not only allow qualified patients to grow their own plants.

According to a slide from the Cannabis Control Board presentation, patients would be allowed six plants each but carers with more than one patient,  can “cultivate 1 additional cannabis plant for each subsequent patient.”

The new regulations would impose a duty on patients to ensure no one under the age of 21 can access the plants or any products cultivated from them.

Landlords would also have the option to prohibit their tenants from growing cannabis on their property if they chose. The products must not be processed using anything other than alcohol.

The regulations will now have a 60-day public commentary period before review.

Tremaine Wright, chair of the Cannabis Control Board (CCB) said: “We are proud to present those proposed regulations. The home cultivation of medical cannabis will provide certified patients with a cost-effective means of obtaining cannabis through personal cultivation while creating a set of standards governing the conduct and activities relating to the personal cultivation of cannabis.”

In a press release, the CCB also gave an update on the expungement of cannabis convictions. “Approximately 203,000 cannabis-related charges are presently being suppressed from criminal background searches and are in process of being expunged, adding to the approximately 198,000 records that were expunged as part of the first round of cannabis expungement following legislation enacted in 2019.”

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New York recreational market

Earlier this year, New York. It would become the 16th US state to legalise recreational cannabis creating thousands of jobs and tax revenue. The bill was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo in March.

The law would allow for possession of up to three ounces of marijuana for personal use. It would allow licensed dispensaries to sell cannabis products to those over 21.

Neighbouring states who have already legalised marijuana, including New Jersey and Massachusetts, meant that New York citizens were leaving to access cannabis losing tax revenue in the process.

It is expected that home grow for recreational users will follow the proposed regulations for medical cannabis patients but only after the new market is established.

Read more: California governor signs Ryan’s Law to allow medical cannabis use in hospitals

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CiiTECH announces new CPD-accredited training course

It aims to support and encourage UK pharmacists, physicians and nurses.

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Ciitech academy
The course aims to support and encourage UK pharmacists, physicians and nurses.

Cannabis healthcare company CiiTECH has been awarded CPD accreditation for its academy course, which aims to support and encourage UK pharmacists, physicians and nurses.

CiiTECH’s Cannabis Science and Therapeutics course has had tremendous success after launching the course earlier this year.

The new and innovative course offers an interactive digital platform with a 12 chapter syllabus comprising of medical cannabis, CBD knowledge and information, specifically catered for healthcare professionals in the UK.

Industry experts in the UK could potentially face serious challenges if the trainers in question who are both recommending, and dispensing information are not up to the required standards in the field.

People currently working in the industry, such as pharmacy professionals will feel more secure and confident after taking the course. With such an array of knowledge from the experts, they are better able to recommend, treat and understand benefits and causes of their patients.

Besides all the learning and comprehensive information, simple FAQ questions by patients can be simply downloaded to have at hand as an ongoing reference.

The CBD industry is an extremely fast growing market, people are becoming more and more aware of benefits and common usage. It’s said that by 2025 the market in the UK only will be worth over £3 billion.

This means that clinics and pharmacies must be sourcing trustworthy information to their customers.

This course is aimed at filling an education gap in the market, by covering several points in intricate detail, from plant history to dosing, and patient care. A lot of occupations in the UK require an on going learning process each year, with positive results overtime, leading to a greater service in the industry.

“Through years of experience serving UK customers with our portfolio of CBD brands it was abundantly clear that the level of misinformation was enormous and confusing for everyone involved,” says Clifton Flack, CEO and founder of CiiTECH.

“Formal education is always important but with little to no existence in the UK we could not see a better way to help lead the industry than to establish our own online academy and give healthcare professionals the opportunity to not only learn about cannabis therapeutics but to earn further education points at the same time.”

Flack adds: “With the rise in UK cannabis prescriptions and CiiTECH’s long awaited move into the THC medical cannabis arena, now is the time to increase professional education and it is exactly why we have embarked on this education journey. CiiTECH is fast becoming the UK’s one stop shop for all your cannabis needs; research, education, consumer brands.”

CiiTECH collaborated with Medical Cannabis Mentor to produce the course and prepare it for CPD certification.

Joe Dolce, founder and CEO of Medical Cannabis Mentor, comments: “The course synthesises the most up-to-date scientific research and clinical guidelines in an engaging format to help professionals make informed treatment decisions.”

The course can be found on https://cpduk.co.uk/ or for pricing and registration visit:  https://ciitech.academy

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Cannabis Health is a journalist-led news site. Any views expressed by interviewees or commentators do not reflect our own. All content on this site is intended for educational purposes, please seek professional medical advice if you are concerned about any of the issues raised.

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