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04/Dec/2019

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.

Source: https://www.kalapa-clinic.com/en/use-medical-cannabis-legal-framework/


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30/Oct/2019

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.

Source: https://www.politico.eu/article/high-time-for-legal-cannabis-in-europe-weed-marijuana-health-care-eu-brussels/


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17/Oct/2019

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.

Source: https://sputniknews.com/sport/201910011076930256-cannabidiol-excluded-from-wadas-2020-prohibited-substances-list/


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28/Aug/2019

Research shows that CBD can be used to decrease the frequency of seizures without the psychoactive properties of medical cannabis.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that there medicinal and therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) and one of the pathologies which can be treated is epilepsy.

Epilepsy is when two or more unprovoked and unexpected seizures arise. Seizures are brief episodes of involuntary movement that may involve the entire body (generalized) or a part of the body (partial).

Medically, refractory epilepsy remains an area of scientific interest as up to 35% of patients continue to suffer from seizures despite current therapies. Recent evidence has focused on the benefit of cannabidiol (CBD), a marijuana plant-based product with no psychoactive properties, can be used to decrease seizure frequency.

Medical Research with Oral CBD

In 2019, a group of researchers analysed several published articles of this pure oral CBD extract as an additional therapy for treating refractory epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes, convulsive seizures decrease by 50%. Additionally, in patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy of multiple aetiologies, similar benefits were observed.

Furthermore, a stopped/decreased dose of anti-seizure medication was observed when taking the CBD oil.

The therapeutic potential of CBD in epilepsy exists, however, further studies are still needed to better understand the full mechanism of action.

Source:

https://www.kalapa-clinic.com/en/new-stance-cbd-who/

 


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23/Aug/2019

The Obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD) is a mental disorder marked by anxiety or distress, characterized by the presence of persistent thoughts (better known as obsessions). These recurrent thoughts are suppressed by new ones or actions, known as compulsions (acts performed in response to the obsession). The compulsions aim at preventing the anxiety or distress.

Around 60% of patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder do not respond to first-line treatment. Options in these cases include an increase of dosages or switching to another drug. In this sense, new evidence reported patients with treatment-resistant OCD who could respond better to an increase dosage of medications combined with medical cannabis.

Clinical studies confirm effective results using cannabinoids in patients with OCD

In 2008, researchers published an article in the American Journal of Psychiatry. In this article, the researchers presented the experiences of two refractory OCD patients after synthetic THC administration.

To the female subject, doctors had prescribed for 8 months an antidepressant and psychological therapy to treat her OCD and major depression, but without success. Interestingly, the woman reported that when she smoked cannabis, her symptoms were relieved. It was then decided to supplement her current treatment with synthetic THC. Her OCD symptoms were reduced, and her severity disease score improved by 50%. Regarding the male subject, after the addition of the synthetic THC to the ongoing medication, his symptoms were reduced within 2 weeks, and his severity disease score improved by 35%.

In 2010, a clinical study was subsequently published in the Journal Behavioral Pharmacology, describing the observation of CBD effects on rodents. In this study, the researchers found that Cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to have anxiolytic effects, both in animals and humans, could significantly reduce symptoms associated with stimulated compulsive animal behavior.

In general, these studies demonstrated a therapeutic potential of cannabinoids to reduce Refractory obsessive compulsive disorders. However, new studies are needed to definitively validate its utility or not.

Source:

https://www.kalapa-clinic.com/en/refractory-obsessive-compulsive-disorder/


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21/Aug/2019

Chronic pain (CP) is a long-lasting unpleasant sensorial and emotional experience without the acute warning signals of physiological nociception that persists past normal healing time and usually lasts or recurs for more than 3 months. It is a common and economically important health issue, affecting approximately 20% of people worldwide and accounting accordingly for 15-20% of medical consultations.

According to an exploratory analysis of anonymized 12-week open-label data provided by the German Pain e-Registry add-on treatment with the cannabis spray Sativex was effective and well-tolerated. Data were analyzed by scientists of the Institute of Neurological Sciences in Nuremberg, Germany, and other German institutions.
Among that 30.228 cases documented in the database in 2017, 800 (2.6%) received a treatment with Sativex containing THC and CBD in a ratio of about 1:1. Authors found a significant treatment effect.

Beneficial effects using CBD:THC oromucosal spray

Authors concluded that the Beneficial effects found for CP patients in this analysis clearly out weighted the potential risks of treatments and confirmed that THC:CBD oromucosal spray provides an effective add-on measure for patients suffering either from elsewhere refractory neuropathic pain conditions as well as those presenting with a pain phenotype suggestive for underlying neuropathic mechanisms.

Source:

Journal of Pain Research : Effectiveness and tolerability of THC:CBD oromucosal spray as add-on measure in patients with severe chronic pain


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