#NORML #News
Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Tue, 13 Mar 2018 04:20:21 PST

Clinical Trial: Use Of Herbal Cannabis Safe And Effective In Cancer Patients

Jerusalem, Israel: Cannabis administration is associated with the subjective improvement of symptoms in patients with cancer, according to clinical data published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine.

Israeli researchers assessed the safety and efficacy of cannabis in a cohort of over 1,200 cancer patients over a period of six months. Ninety-six percent of patients "reported an improvement in their condition." Symptomatic improvements included: relief from nausea and vomiting (91 percent), improved sleep (86 percent), decreased anxiety (84 percent), and pain relief (over 50 percent). Nearly half of respondents reported either decreasing or eliminating their use of opioids during the treatment period.

Authors concluded, "Cannabis as a palliative treatment for cancer patients seems to be a well-tolerated, effective, and safe option to help patients cope with the malignancy related symptoms."

An estimated 30,000 Israeli patients are approved to use medical cannabis, which was legalized by the Ministry of Health in 2007.

Full text of the study, "Prospective analysis of safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in a large unselected population of patients with cancer," appears in the European Journal of Internal Medicine.

Study: Cannabis Effective At Treating Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia

Netanya, Israel: Cannabis therapy mitigates symptoms of the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia and is associated with a reduction in the use of other prescription drugs, according to clinical data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology. An estimated 3 to 6 million Americans are afflicted by fibromyalgia, which is often poorly controlled by standard pain medications.

Israeli investigators assessed the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabis in a cohort of 26 patients with fibromyalgia. They reported that medical cannabis treatment "was associated with significant favorable outcomes in every item evaluated," such as reductions in pain and increases in energy.

Most patients also reduced their use of conventional prescription drugs, such as opiates and benzodiazepines, during the trial period. Nearly half of the participants (46 percent) reduced their prescription drug intake by more than 50 percent during the study. Several patients were also able to return to work following the initiation of cannabis therapy.

Researchers concluded, "Medical cannabis treatment had a significant favorable effect on patients with fibromyalgia, with few adverse effects."

Prior trials evaluating the use of either whole-plant cannabis or synthetic cannabinoids have similarly shown efficacy in patients with the disease. A summary of these prior studies is available online.

Full text of the study, "Medical cannabis for the treatment of fibromyalgia," appears in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology.

Report: Opioid Use Declines Among Pain Patients Enrolled In State's Medical Cannabis Program

St. Paul, MN: Patients with intractable pain reduce their use of prescription opioids following cannabis therapy, according to data compiled by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Investigators assessed the prescription drug use patterns of 2,245 intractable pain patients participating in the state's medical cannabis access program. Among those patients known to be taking opiates for pain upon enrollment in the program, 63 percent "were able to reduce or eliminate their opioid use after six months."

The report's findings are similar to those of enrollees in other statewide cannabis access programs. For example, Michigan chronic pain patients experienced "a 64 percent decrease in opioid use, decreased number and side effects of medications, and an improved quality of life," following admission into the program. A 2017 assessment of medical cannabis patients in Illinois revealed that participants in the state-run program frequently reported using marijuana "as an alternative to other medications - most commonly opioids, but also anticonvulsants, anti-inflammatories, and over-the-counter analgesics." In New Mexico, compared to non-users, medical cannabis enrollees "were more likely either to reduce daily opioid prescription dosages between the beginning and end of the sample period (83.8 percent versus 44.8 percent) or to cease filling opioid prescriptions altogether (40.5 percent versus 3.4 percent)."

Full text of the report, "Intractable Pain Patients in the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program: Experience of Enrollees During the First Five Months," is online.

Maine: Lawmakers Moving Forward With Effort To Rewrite Voter-Approved Marijuana Law

Augusta, ME: State lawmakers are moving forward with a legislative proposal to significantly amend various provisions of the state's 2016 voter-approved cannabis law: The Marijuana Legalization Act.

Members of the Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee have voted 16 to 1 in favor of overhauling the law, which still has yet to be fully implemented. Lawmakers had initially voted last year to delay the enactment of provisions regulating the retail production and sale of cannabis. Then in November, Republican Gov. Paul LePage vetoed legislation that sought to license and regulate marijuana businesses and sales, stating: "Until I clearly understand how the federal government intends to treat states that seek to legalize marijuana, I cannot in good conscience support any scheme in state law to implement expansion of legal marijuana in Maine."

Lawmakers are pushing an alternative plan to amend and repeal numerous provisions of the law, including changing some provisions that have already taken effect. Specifically, language in the new proposal would limit the quantity of mature marijuana plants that an adult may legally grow in a private residence from six to three. NORML opposes this proposed amendment.

Other language in the new proposal would repeal language permitting the operation of state-licensed social use facilities, and would eliminate provisions redirecting portions of marijuana-related tax revenue to localities that explicitly permit such operations. Separate language in the bill seeks to impose a new 21.5 percent excise tax on wholesale marijuana transactions. The bill also makes it easier for communities that wish to ban adult use operations to do so.

A finalized version of the bill is anticipated to go before lawmakers in the House and Senate later this month.

Missouri: Medical Marijuana Initiative Effort Reaches Signature Milestone

Columbia, MO: Proponents of a Missouri voter initiative effort to legalize and regulate the therapeutic use and distribution of cannabis statewide have surpassed 200,000 signatures. Advocates must collect a total of 160,000 qualified signatures in six of Missouri's eight congressional districts by May 6, 2018 in order to qualify the measure for the 2018 electoral ballot.

The initiative permits patients, at the discretion of a physician, to cultivate limited quantities of marijuana or to obtain cannabis and cannabis-infused products from licensed facilities.

The group behind the effort, New Approach Missouri, includes members of both national NORML as well as its state and local affiliates.

Missouri is one of several states where voters this year are anticipated to decide on cannabis-related ballot measures. In November, members of Michigan NORML and other coalition members turned in 360,000 signatures in an effort to qualify the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act for the November ballot. (Just over 252,000 valid signatures from registered voters are necessary.) Also in November, grassroots activists in South Dakota turned in over 15,000 signatures in an effort to place the South Dakota Medical Marijuana Initiative on the ballot. (Over 13,800 valid signatures are necessary.) In Utah, advocates are well on their way to gathering the necessary quantity of signatures necessary to place The Utah Medical Cannabis Act on the 2018 ballot. In Oklahoma, voters will decide on June 26 whether or not to approve State Question 788 - a broad-based initiative that permits physicians to recommend medical cannabis to patients at their sole discretion. NORML endorsed State Question 788 in January.

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