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CBD was effective in reducing seizures in children with epilepsy

In a study with 16 patients with epilepsy with an average age of 9 years old, a high-purity CBD preparation reduced the frequency of seizures. The study was conducted at Dana-Dwek Children’s Hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel. This prospective Phase II study was open to pediatric patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy at stable doses of antiepileptic drugs who suffered at least 4 seizures within 4 weeks. After a four-week observation period, patients began a two-week dose titration phase (up to 25mg/kg or 450mg, the lower of the two) followed by a ten-week maintenance treatment.

Of the 16 participants, 11 completed the entire treatment program. The average maintenance dose was 14 mg CBD per kilogram body weight. At the end of the treatment period, there was an average reduction in monthly seizure frequency of 73% compared to baseline. Two patients were completely free of seizures. 73% of the nurses stated that the condition was improved or greatly improved. The most frequently reported treatment-related adverse events were sleep disorders/insomnia (25% of patients), followed by drowsiness, increased seizure frequency, and restlessness (3 patients each (19%)). No side effect was serious or severe and all disappeared by themselves.

Mitelpunkt A, Kramer U, Hausman Kedem M, Zilbershot Fink E, Orbach R, Chernuha V, Fattal-Valevski A, Deutsch L, Heffetz D, Sacks H. The safety, tolerability, and effectiveness vom PTL-101, an oral cannabidiol formulation, in pediatric intractable epilepsy: A phase II, open-label, single-center study. Epilepsy Behav. 2019;98(Pt A):233-237.



Crohn’s disease patients may be able to reduce the risk of cancer with the use of medicinal cannabis

In a study conducted by Atlanta VA Medical Center in Decatur on patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC), cannabis use was associated with a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer, anemia and hospitalisation. Among patients with Crohn’s disease, the prevalence of colorectal cancer was 4 times higher among non-users than among cannabis users. The average hospital stay was also shorter (4.2 vs. 5.0 days) with lower hospital costs among cannabis users. In patients with UC, cannabis users experienced a higher incidence of fluid and electrolyte disorders (45% vs. 30%) and hypovolemia (2.7% vs. <11), but a relatively lower incidence of postoperative infections (<11 vs. 3.4%).



The cannabinoid cannabidivarin (CBDV) is to be tested on patients with autism

A new clinical trial at the Montefiore Medical Center has been put in place to test the effects of cannabidivarin (CBDV) on patients with autism.

Dr Eric Hollander, the lead researcher on this study, has stated that previous research has shown that CBDV could be a potential treatment for children on the spectrum as it has shown positive effects on social functioning and increased cognitive function in animal models.

Autism on the same continuum as Epilepsy

The FDA-approved medicinal cannabis, Epidiolex is mainly prescribed to treat children with epilepsy. It is manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals who will provide the CBDV for the study. Dr Geoffrey Guy, the founder of GW Pharmaceuticals, states that symptoms of epilepsy are similar to those of autism such as loss of cognitive function, poor socializing skills and poor language skills.

Hollander believes that the electrical activity which causes episodes in epilepsy is similar to those in autism. Using anticonvulsants makes disruptive behaviour becomes less frequent in epileptic patients. Thus, he hypothesises that CBDV should also improve aggression, or the self-injury and temper tantrums in autistic patients.

Opposingly, Dr Alexander Kolevzon, the clinical director of the Seaver Autism Center at Mount Sinai, who is not involved in the study, mentions that it might be too early to tell if it is an effective medication for people on the spectrum.



Legal Medicinal Cannabis in Europe

As the cannabis market has boomed and new scientific discoveries arise, legislation has become a topic in question which has put a lot of pressure on governments around Europe.

International Drug Policy Consortium Regulations

There are two main kinds of regulation that the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) have established in 2018. The first one comes from the government’s will to improve public health which has resulted into policy. In certain cases, recreational cannabis goes hand in hand with this as well, for example, Canada. The second one comes from the social pressures and the citizen’s initiative to fight for the legalisation which is essentially the case in the UK in which they offer a legal license to patients who comply with strict requirements.

The difficulty in legalising medicinal cannabis

Back in 1961, cannabis was under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs meaning it was internationally prohibited, essentially putting an end to medical and scientific research. From this ban, for countries to be able to adopt to the new regulations, there must be irrefutable evidence showcasing the therapeutic uses of the substance. Without the backing of a strong scientific foundation, legalising medicinal cannabis can become challenging.

A few European countries are close to regulating medicinal cannabis

• The United Kingdom

In the UK, the Department of Health was forced to grant emergency licences to two severe cases of epilepsy in children which consequently began a process to allow access to the medicine. However, this is only allowed in certain conditions such as refractory epilepsy, spasticity, multiple sclerosis and chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting. It is also necessary for the patients to have undergone all kinds of conventional treatments which have failed. After presenting all the necessary documents, only the Department of Health can determine if the patient can gain access.

• Germany

Medicinal cannabis was legalised in Germany in 2017 and is one of the first countries to regulate medicinal cannabis in public and private health sectors. To begin treatment, patients must go through a health insurance company, which will then be reimbursed by the government. Cannabis cultivation is also allowed if companies have enough experience.

• Italy

In 2015, the Italian Minister of Health released a legislation wherein physicians are able to prescribe patients with medicinal cannabis only if the condition can be backed by scientific literature. Similar to the UK, it is only available if previous treatment has failed.

• Denmark

In 2018, the Danish Parliament released a 4-year programme allowing doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis products only if standard treatments have failed.

• Netherlands

The Netherlands is the only country that does not have the stigma that other countries may have, and doctors’ reputations aren’t tarnished if they prescribe medicinal cannabis. Cannabis in the Netherlands is under a lower classification drug compared to other countries and can also be prescribed by doctors if previous standard treatments have failed.

Is medicinal cannabis a necessity?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) as well as the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) has recommended for cannabis to be removed from the highest classification of drugs and that its therapeutic importance should be recognised. The European Parliament has also made it known that cannabis is a medicinal necessity. On that, as many important entities have had similar statements, medicinal cannabis should be seen as a necessity by everyone.



The University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Health Research partners with MGC Pharmaceuticals to conduct the first ever clinical trial using cannabis as a treatment for dementia.

The actual trial is due to commence in early 2020 and will take place over 14 months and they are aiming to enrol 50 participants aged 65 and older with mild dementia or Alzheimer. The University of Notre Dame in Western Australia’s (UNDA)’s Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) approved all ethical concerns, ensuring the safety and well-being of the participants as well as bringing together medical experts, elder care practitioners and industry stakeholders. By partnering with MGC Pharmaceuticals, who have operations in Israel, Slovenia, Czech Rep, the UK and Australia, UNDA will be provided with a specially formulated medical cannabis product called CogniCann. According to MGC Pharmaceuticals, it is a specially blended CBD-THC oral-spray medication formulated to specifically treat dementia symptoms.

Is dementia treatment a national priority?

As 350,000 Australians are already living with some form of dementia, the number is to double in 40 years with an additional 1.5 million people currently involved in the care of someone with dementia. The Institute for Health Research’s director, Jim Codde, finds that dementia research should be “a national priority” to end the suffering of a disease that has no cure. In the end, finding a cure can improve that life of the patient, and more than anything, for families and caregivers too.


Literature reports the potential effects that cannabis can have in cardiovascular complications.

Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is more commonly known as a heart attack, which can lead to heart failure. In a multivariable analysis, it revealed that marijuana use can lead to an increased risk in AMI development, however, THC and CBD may have opposing effects. THC decreases in contractile force and coronary flow, while also inducing an increased frequency. On the other hand, CBD can increase contractile force and coronary flow, but it does not change the heart rate.

Investigations about mortality post AMI and medical cannabis

Moreover, a new study in 2018 was carried out on the relationship between patients who suffered a heart attack from 1994 – 2013 and the use of cannabis. The results showed a reduced mortality post AMI. An explanation to this can be a hint on the possible cardiac infarct preventative effects in cannabis. Although cannabis has this positive effect, consumers can still have an increased risk of mechanical ventilation after a heart attack.

Therefore, the results show clear evidence that cannabis is not associated with an increased risk, as opposed to the assumptions that it can cause unfavourable effects after a heart attack.



Will medical cannabis be legalised in the European Union?

As cannabis is on the rise in demand, EU governments still remain deeply divided in their attitudes to cannabis which is hindering the process of legalisation. Many patients, and even scientists, have pleaded for the use of cannabinoids to treat certain conditions which greatly benefit and improve the symptomologies of pathologies such as cancer pain, depression, sleep and neurological disorders. From this, a few countries have already allowed, or are in the process of allowing, medical cannabis for certain illnesses including the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and France. Some think that legalising cannabis production will be the best option in order to be able to regulate consumption, enable prevention and even create economic opportunities in agriculture.

Will recreational cannabis use be legalised?

Due to the stigma around the cannabis plant, the government is still divided because the people are divided. With appropriate legal framework, the legalisation of recreational use can benefit society by ensuring that safe products are sold to consumers and phase out black markets. In other words, complete legalisation may be the most efficient way to regulate cannabis, not leaving people at the mercy of the black market. A prime example of this is Canada, who have legalised and regulated and have greatly benefited from this decision.



In Germany, the sales of medicinal cannabis was at a steady increase until it boomed in the second quarter of 2019. By comparison to the second quarter of 2018, 74% more medical cannabis was reimbursed by German insurers this year. In May, it had surpassed the 10 million euro mark ever since this framework was implemented in 2017, however it dropped to 9.5 million euro in June.

The types of medicinal cannabis that were sold

This data which is published by the German National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds (GKV-Spitzenverband) includes all medical cannabis sold until June 2019. These categories include cannabis preparations such as dronabinol, ground flower and full spectrum extracts, finished pharmaceutical products such as Sativex and Canemes, and unprocessed cannabis flower. The unprocessed flowers and flowers used in preparations represent 55% of the total reimbursed cannabis products during the second quarter. However, more flower was sold using private prescriptions which wasn’t applied to the data. Nevertheless, reimbursement among all categories of products grew.



The World Anti-Doping Agency has officially removed cannabidiol from the 2020 list of prohibited substance

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has recently published the new list of prohibited substance for the new year. Even though it still states that all natural and synthetic cannabinoids are banned, cannabidiol (CBD) is an exception. Tetrahydrocannabinols (THCs) are still on the list whether natural or synthetic as it has been thought to cause respiratory illnesses due to vaping. However, under the US federal law, if CBD contains less than 0.3% THC, it is legal.

THC still under investigation

THC, the psychoactive compound, has raised certain concerns due to its relation to respiratory illnesses. THC, CBD and even nicotine, mixed with other chemical substances within e-liquids can be a possible factor to these illnesses. However, this is still under investigation.



It was always suspected that CBD can reverse the psychiatric side effects of THC, however, researchers at Western University has proven this by showing the molecular mechanisms at work in the hippocampus. 

It wasn’t known why high levels of THC and low levels of CBD caused psychiatric effects such as paranoia, anxiety and even addictive behaviours.  At Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Professor Steven Laviolette and his team were able to identify which cannabidiol may actually block the psychoactive THC by using rats to investigate a molecule in the brain’s hippocampus which triggers the effects of THC, the extra cellular-signal regulated kinase (ERK).

CBD can block THC psychoactive effects

In their study, rats which were given more THC showed higher levels of activated ERK causing higher anxiety like behaviours.  When given only CBD, it had no effect in the ERK pathway. However, with CBD and THC combined it showed normal levels of active ERK, leading to lower anxiety levels.  According to this study, it provides strong evidence that CBD can block the THC’s psychoactive effects, by avoiding overstimulation in the ERK.

This finding shows great importance for prescribing medicinal cannabis by assuring effective and safe THC formulations


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CanPharma has a pharmaceutical wholesale permission according to §52a of the German Medicines Act, as well as a license to handle narcotics in the meaning of §3 of the German narcotics legislation. Furthermore, CanPharma has a GDP-certified quality assurance system.




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