A new study on the effects of legalising cannabis for adult or therapeutic use shows no adverse effects on neonatal health outcomes at the population level.
The neonatal study was published in the Journal of Health Economics and shows that legalising cannabis for adult use is not associated with adverse effects on neonatal health outcomes.
The team of researchers from Columbia University, University of North Carolina and Indiana University assessed the influence of statewide cannabis liberalisation policies on newborn health over 12 years starting in 2007.
They discovered that the proportion of maternal hospitalisations from cannabis use disorder increased by 23 percent in the first three years of legalisation with larger percentages in states where commercial sales were allowed. This was accompanied by a decrease of 7 percent in tobacco use disorder hospitalisations.
Legalised cannabis was not associated with any significant changes in newborn health according to the study. Medical cannabis laws had no statistically significant effect on maternal substance use disorder hospitalisations or on newborn health.
The authors wrote: “There is no statistically significant effect of medical cannabis laws on the proportion of newborn hospitalisations with prenatal exposure to noxious substances, neonatal drug withdrawal syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, slow growth, respiratory conditions, feeding problems, congenital abnormalities, low gestational age, low birth weight, or very low birth weight. Likewise, recreational cannabis laws appear to have no effect on these outcomes.”
They concluded, “In absolute numbers, our findings implied modest or no adverse effects of cannabis liberalisation policies on the array of perinatal outcomes considered.” However, they cautioned, “Our null findings do not refute nor support an argument that prenatal exposure to cannabis has negative effects on newborn health outcomes, but rather that state cannabis liberalisation policies are not associated with net changes at the population-level that are statistically detectable or economically meaningful.”
Other studies assessing the potential effects of cannabis use during perinatal health are inconsistent. Some studies link cannabis use to lower birth weights but failed to adjust methods to account for contributing factors such as tobacco smoking.
A study conducted during the pandemic revealed that cannabis use among pregnant women has increased during lockdown.
Researchers from Kaiser Permanente analysed figures of pregnant women consuming cannabis in Northern California during the pandemic to the numbers from the previous year.
The study involved analysing urine toxicology tests of more than 95,000 women having their first prenatal visit in Northern California Kaiser Permanente. They collected the tests between January 2019 and December 2020 before comparing them to tests from 15 months prior to the start of the pandemic. The results showed a 25 percent increase in the rate of cannabis consumption. Prior to the pandemic, the rates of pregnant women using cannabis were at 6.75 percent. This rose to 8.14 percent during the lockdown.
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.
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.
“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.”
“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.”
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
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.”
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.
CiiTECH announces new CPD-accredited training course
It 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.”
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