Tag: research (page 1 of 16)

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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Patients Choosing Cannabis Over Opioids During Self-Funded Study

Dr. James Feeney is doing something incredible for cannabis medicine. He hopes to end the opiate epidemic by bluntly showing the effectiveness of cannabis over pharmaceutical alternatives.

Dr. Feeney is a surgeon and Director of Trauma Services at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford Connecticut. With his research partner Dr. David Shapiro, they approached the St. Francis administration, including the legal team and the chief of surgery with a proposal to test cannabis in direct competition with opioids.

No one objected, despite St. Francis being a Catholic hospital.

St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center: Hartford, CT.

So they took the proposal to St. Francis Hospital’s parent company, Trinity Health. According to Feeney, Trinity Health was supportive, and even wondered why they were not already conducting cannabis exams. Feeney describes the overall feelings revealed by those conversations: “Anybody that takes even a cursory look at the medical literature understands that this could be used to replace opiate pain medication.”

Dr. James Feeney (source)

Feeney first began seriously considering cannabis for his patients after multiple patients refused opioids, and said they would just use cannabis instead. After hearing this anecdotal information first-hand, and witnessing the positive reactions, Dr. Feeney felt the need to conduct a study.

Due to the current climate for cannabis in traditional medicine, Feeney had to secure external funding for the study. He proposed that he and his partner examine the effects of cannabis on acute pain, because a substantial amount of information already pointed to the efficacy of cannabis for chronic pain (15 studies).

An important aspect of Feeney’s study is that medical cannabis is already legal in Connecticut, meaning he and St. Francis can refrain from prescribing or distributing the Schedule I substance. This allows the doctors to conduct research without having to jump through the hoops of establishing approval for clinical trials.

Patients who already have their cards can elect to take place in the study, which allows them to choose opioids or cannabis to control their acute pain.

So far, every participant has chosen cannabis. Of course, all of the patients in the study have an existing familiarity with cannabis, but the fact that they choose cannabis over opioids when doctors give them the option is incredibly positive, and may change medical opinions across the country if the trend persists.

TheCannabis Reports database currently hosts 812 studies for 166 different medical conditions. Check it out!

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