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The importance of peer-to-peer learning in medical cannabis

Alex Fraser, patient access lead at Grow Pharma on the importance of peer-to-peer learning.

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GROW: A doctor writing a medical cannabis prescription with an open canister of cannabis beside their hand

The importance of peer-to-peer learning for healthcare professionals really cannot be exaggerated, writes Alex Fraser, patient access lead at Grow Pharma.

Doctors and nurses look to their peers for experienced guidance on how best to treat and manage their patients.

This is particularly pertinent in medical cannabis. CBMPs (cannabis-based medicinal products) are a family of medicines with a multitude of variables to consider when prescribing or managing patients. This is the reason we at Grow have brought together a broad range of CBMPs to ensure prescribers and patients have every option or tool they may require to manage symptoms.

Our portfolio now totals over 40 different CBMPs. Different THC: CBD ratios, different modes of administration, different strengths; understanding the implications of these differences is important.

At Grow we are dedicated to supporting HCPs and patients with CBMPs, utilising the wealth of experience and knowledge within our medical team, the cannabis-prescribing doctor’s and clinics we work alongside and the world-renowned producers whose medicines we distribute.

We’ve recently launched our HCP Portal, through which doctors can find out about upcoming educational events, see details of the medicines we supply and can access private secure forums to discuss the use of CBMPs with other HCPs.

There are already several online courses for healthcare professionals educating on cannabis medicines. In our view, these should be seen as an addition to peer-to-peer learning, not a replacement for it. Grow is pioneering peer-to-peer education in UK medical cannabis and, despite being a relatively new addition to the services we provide to HCPs, these sessions are already showing positive results with more and more prescribers entering the space having attended our first round of educational webinars.

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Nothing can replicate the high level of learning achieved when a group is able to work through new concepts and material with other individuals engaged in the same work. Rather than clicking through videos and text, so much can be gained from being able to teach and be taught by one another, expanding perspectives and fostering meaningful connections with other HCPs.

Grow educational seminars

This is the premise behind Grow Pharma’s recently launched series of educational webinars. Aimed at HCP’s and focusing on various areas of interest within the field of cannabis medicines, these sessions include presentations from international experts, supported by some of the most respected producers of CBMPs from around the world including Tilray, Aurora and Columbia Care. So far, these sessions have focused on pain, rheumatology and mental health, with more coming up later this month and next.

Alongside detailed educational presentations, these sessions provide the opportunity to ask questions and discuss case studies and best practices with peers.

GROW: An image advertising an event

Upcoming educational webinar on clinical management of psychiatric conditions with cannabinoid-based medicines with Blake Pearson MD

With guidance from medical bodies on CBMP’s being limited, even with the recent guidance published by the BMJ on the use of CBMP’s in chronic pain, there is still a long way to go to engage the many specialist doctors who might prescribe cannabis medicines as well as GP’s who can refer patients to the specialist “cannabis clinics”. Whilst these doctors are the focus of our educational webinars, they are of course open to any and all HCPs interested in attending.

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GROW: An image advertising an evening event with Dr Rosemary Mazanet

Upcoming educational webinar on benefits of different formulations in medical cannabis from Rosemary Mazanet MD, CSO of Columbia Care

As is the upcoming event at the Royal Society of Medicine. Hosted by Integro Medical Clinics, Grow is proud to sponsor this event. Engaging with institutions like the RSM, and having their support as we continue to reach out and educate HCPs, is enormously helpful.

GROW: An event at the Royal society of medicine

Pain and cannabis medicines: Everything you want to know (but were afraid to ask) – 11th October at the Royal Society of Medicine

Grow mission

At Grow our mission is to give CBMPs the role in everyday medical practice that they deserve and to ensure that patients benefit from them wherever possible. There is a lot of work to be done to achieve this mission, but with experienced clinicians, expert producers and the engagement and support of institutions like the RSM we feel that we are poised to really make a difference; to grow the understanding of these medicines and their potential and most importantly to improve patient’s lives.

Grow and Integro Medical Clinics invite you to join us at the RSM on 11th Oct for a day of education on CBMPs in the treatment of pain from experts in the field and experienced UK prescribers.

Growing Cannabis Education and Understanding

We urge anyone interested in learning more to join our HCP Portal to find out about our upcoming digital and RW events and speak to other HCPS or contact us directly to request a space on one of our educational webinars.

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Read more: GMC must address serious concerns over BPNA guidelines

 

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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

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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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