Category: Science (page 1 of 10)

CBD Shown to be Effective for Treating Schizophrenia in Randomized Controlled Trial

Cannabidiol has been shown to have beneficial effects for the treatment of schizophrenia in a study conducted by a wide variety of organizations. This is promising for sufferers of the condition and good news for cannabis, which has received a lot of negative press and coverage regarding THC and its possible effects on schizophrenia.

The study is: “Cannabidiol (CBD) as an Adjunctive Therapy in Schizophrenia: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial.”

The various organizations involved with the findings are:

The study, an “8-week, multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial was conducted at 15 hospital sites in the U.K., Romania, and Poland” where patients were either given 1,000 mg/day of CBD orally in two doses, or a placebo.

The results were clear that CBD was effective in the “Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale” or PANSS score:

CBD Showing Positive PANSS Results

CBD Shows Positive PANSS Results

The changes over the course of the treatment also clearly showed improvements for those taking CBD over a placebo in their Clinical Global Impressions severity scores:

CBD Better than Placebo in Clinical Global Impressions Severity Scores at End of Treatment

CBD Better than Placebo in Clinical Global Impressions Severity Scores at End of Treatment

There have been a number of studies on cannabis and schizophrenia over the years, with much attention paid to the possibly exacerbating effects of THC on the condition. This study doesn’t provide guidance to start using cannabis as treatment for schizophrenia, but it does show promise for CBD as a treatment.

“This is, to our knowledge, the first placebo-controlled trial of CBD in schizophrenia. The data indicate that 6 weeks of treatment adjunctive to antipsychotic medication was associated with significant effects both on positive psychotic symptoms and on the treating clinicians’ impressions of improvement and illness severity. There were also improvements in cognitive performance and in the level of overall functioning, although these fell short of statistical significance.”

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Government-Funded Cannabis PTSD Study Running into Hurdles in Colorado

Denied access to veterans and provided with subpar cannabis, Dr. Sue Sisley continues to pursue the first study of its kind on cannabis and PTSD.

Rocky Mountain PBS recently released a detailed report into what’s going on with Colorado’s desire to find out what cannabis can do for treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. There was enough evidence that the state of Colorado allotted $2,156,000 to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS, for research into cannabis for treating PTSD that was resistant to other types of treatment like pharmaceuticals or therapy.

While we currently list 22 studies on cannabis and PTSD, this study aimed to be a tightly controlled study on a specific population entitled: “Placebo-controlled, Triple-Blind, Randomized Crossover Pilot Study of the Safety and Efficacy of Four Potencies of Smoked Marijuana in 76 Veterans with Chronic, Treatment- Resistant Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).”

Unfortunately, the population that would benefit most from this has been made off limits to Dr. Sue Sisley and her team. The Phoenix VA hospital treats upwards of 91,000 patients. She says, they need to screen another five to six thousand veterans and most of them are right there.

“I worry that we won’t be able to complete this study because the absolute highest density of treatment-resistant PTSD patients is in that hospital.”

The other big issue, which has been brought to the government’s attention before, is that the quality of government-provided cannabis is dreadful and not comparable to what patients are actually using.

Cannabis from the United States Government

Cannabis from the United States Government

“It doesn’t necessarily represent the cannabis in the real world. Real world cannabis can be 20 to 30 percent THC. Ours is about 10 to 11 percent.”

Dr. Sisley also opened up about her initial reluctance to even consider cannabis medicine:

“I was highly judgmental because I didn’t believe that cannabis was a medicine. I’d never been trained to believe that cannabis was anything except a deeply dangerous, highly addictive drug.”

She stresses the importance of doing good science and studies like the one MAPS has received funding for:

“I certainly believe all these veterans when they tell me that their subjective experience is that cannabis helped them. But until we put it through the rigors of a controlled trial, I will never be able to fully embrace the idea that cannabis is a legitimate medication.”

When one of her patients became a victim of the opioid crisis, she realized something had to be done.

“He was in great shape when he was using the cannabis. And then, I had actively discouraged him. He was already getting a massive amount of opioids from the VA, and he graduated to heroin. And then, his mom called me when she found him the next morning with a needle in his arm and he was dead. And I couldn’t help but feel completely responsible for that.”

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Legalization of Cannabis in Colorado Associated with 6.5% Reduction in Opioid-Related Deaths

The American Public Health Association has released findings that show, yet again, how cannabis can have an effect on the opioid crisis that is currently sweeping the nation.

While the study acknowledges these are only initial results, it does call for additional follow-ups as more and more states adopt recreational cannabis laws.

The study is entitled “Recreational Cannabis Legalization and Opioid-Related Deaths in Colorado, 2000–2015” and can be found on their website here: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2017.304059

“After Colorado’s legalization of recreational cannabis sale and use, opioid-related deaths decreased more than 6% in the following 2 years. These findings extend Bachhuber et al.’s results on the potential protective effect of medical cannabis legalization on opioid-related deaths. Available data provide only an assessment of the short-term effects of Colorado’s recreational cannabis legalization. However, these initial results clearly show that continuing research is warranted as data become available, involving longer follow-ups and additional states that have legalized recreational cannabis.”

Reduction in Opioid-Related Deaths

Reduction in Opioid-Related Deaths

Following up on previous findings that showed a 25% decrease in opioid overdose mortality in states with medical marijuana laws, this study shines a beacon of hope on the crisis that kills dozens per day.

While the United States continues to figure out ways to tackle this deadly intrusion into the lives of everyday citizens, the cannabis community has been calling out for a reproducible and provable solution to at least help provide some relief.

“States and the US federal government continue to consider modifying cannabis policies, and more research is warranted to assess health effects of these policies across a diverse set of outcomes.”

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