A 20-year study with over 400 participants has found that cannabis use among teens, even chronic long-term use, is not associated with physical and mental health problems later in life.
“What we found was a little surprising,” says lead researcher Jordan Bechtold, a psychology research fellow at the University of Pittsburgh Medical...
In a major policy shift, Israel will move to allow pharmacies to dispense medical marijuana. The policy change is to alleviate over-crowded dispensaries.
Israel is making a big move in medical marijuana, with Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman announcing it will be made available in pharmacies. Rabbi Litzman, who serves as de facto health minister for the country, made the announcement at a Knesset Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse meeting Monday.
Israel is on the cutting edge of medical marijuana research, developing the world’s first metered-dose dispenser, as well as highly specialized strains of the plant. The country also has the highest per-capita rate of licensed medical users. Currently, however, while eight companies are authorized to grow it, only two bodies can legally dispense cannabis. Litzman aims to see that change.
“I am aware of the need to change the Health Ministry’s existing policy on the matter,” Litzman told the Knesset committee. “Medical marijuana will be sold by pharmacies under an arrangement process, contingent on a prescription written only by a senior physician who has been trained for this specific purpose by the Health Ministry.”
“Today there are pharmacies that dispense all kinds of other drugs like morphine, so since that has been organized, this can be organized as well.”
Litzman added that he would like to issue a tender to double the number of growers in the country, a move being fought by current licensees on technical grounds. The matter is currently before the High Court of Justice.
Litzman, 66, is the head of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism list. He admitted to having no personal experience with marijuana.
“The first time I saw marijuana was last week. I had never seen it before, and never touched it,” he said. However, he made the decision in response to enormous pressure on the few legal dispensaries and the challenges faced by the 21,000 patients legally permitted to use the substance.
“Under instructions of the High Court of Justice, I am taking action on the matter, after having made sure not to engage in it myself in the past.”
Litzman received resounding support for the upcoming change. Committee chairwoman Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) welcomed the news.
Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), says that cannabidiol (CBD) – a compound found in cannabis – is “a safe drug with no addictive effects.” The comments were made in an op-ed for The Huffington Post.
“[P]reliminary data suggest that [cannabidiol] may have therapeutic...
Thirty terminally ill people being cared for by Newcastle's Calvary Mater Hospital will take part in a new trial of medical cannabis, the government announced on Monday.
University of NSW researchers will work with the hospital patients to examine what effects vapourised cannabis leaves and a form of pharmaceutical cannabis medication will have on people who are dying of cancer and suffering symptoms including fatigue, nausea and insomnia.
Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Medical Research Pru Goward announced on Monday that the trial would be undertaken by palliative care specialist Meera Agar, who is also a conjoint associate professor at the University of NSW.
Associate Professor Agar said the trial was exciting because it would first of all examine whether vapourising cannabis leaf would allow the beneficial effects of cannabis on appetite to be very quickly felt by the body, but without some of the toxic side-effects of inhaling smoke.
"This is a question that is very important to the people that are providing clinical care, because consumers have said it is the clinical issue that really distresses them," she said. "It's such an important area of care for people with cancer - food is a social event, it's not just a clinical issue, so it's a much more far-reaching problem than the other clinical issues we deal with on a day-to-day basis".
Three trials, costing $9 million all up, were announced in December last year by Premier Mike Baird after the tireless campaigning of Dan Haslam, who died in February from bowel cancer, and his family, along with other people with medical conditions that could benefit from access to the drug.
Fairfax Media reported last month that a private donation to Sydney University of more than $30 million will allow further research into the medical applications of cannabis.
As well as the Newcastle trial for people with terminal cancer, the effects of the drug will be examined in children with severe, drug-resistant epilepsy and adults with nausea from chemotherapy.
Mr Baird said the trials would position NSW as a world-leader in research into cannabis and terminal illness as well as help alleviate suffering.
"We do not want patients or carers having to play pharmacist - that is why it is so important to explore the safest and most effective ways we can deliver compassionate care and improve the quality of life," he said.
Associate Professor Agar said her trial would comprise two parts. First, the group of 30 patients would be treated using the vapourised leaf to measure the effect on their symptoms.
Then the team would test between 250 and 300 people in a bigger trial that would also use a pharmaceutical cannabis medication in tablet or liquid form
It would also assess whether patients put off by the idea of using cannabis found it more acceptable.
"It wouldn't be every patient [who enquires about cannabis], but it is very common, especially for symptoms for which there aren't other treatments that are very efficacious," she said.
"But equally, there is a group of patients that will be very hesitant ... especially elderly people who might be just as troubled by appetite problems but might be less willing to give it a go".
"If it does actually work we want it to be accessible to everyone".
The cannabis drug could be developed by an existing medical cannabis drug manufacturer, based on the results of the first stage of the study, or the team might develop the product themselves, she said.