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THE YEAR IN MEDICAL CANNABIS RESEARCH

by | Dec 19, 2016 | Research

December 19, 2016 – This morning the Medical Marijuana Association posted a blog discussing the various conditions medical marijuana can help treat. We did a quick search to refresh the various research studies performed over the past year to lend empirical data and contribute to the science on the issue. The studies include the impact of cannabis on pain, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, spasticity, spinal cord injury, bipolar disorders, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. Here is an overview:

  • Effect of medical cannabis on thermal quantitative measurements of pain in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Background: Cannabis can alleviate pain of various etiologies. This study assessed the effect of cannabis on motor symptoms and pain parameters in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Conclusions: Cannabis improved motor scores and pain symptoms in PD patients, together with a dissociate effect on heat and cold pain thresholds. Peripheral and central pathways are probably modulated by cannabis.
  • A preliminary evaluation of the relationship of cannabinoid blood concentrations with the analgesic response to vaporized cannabis. Background: A randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial utilizing vaporized cannabis containing placebo and 6.7% and 2.9% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was performed in 42 subjects with central neuropathic pain related to spinal cord injury and disease. Conclusion: Further high-quality studies are needed to assess the impact of different cannabinoids on the analgesic response as well as the interactions among cannabinoids.
  • Marijuana use in adults admitted to a Canadian epilepsy monitoring unit. Background: Epidemiologic evidence supporting antiseizure properties of cannabis is limited and controversial. We determined the prevalence of marijuana use and its perceived effects in patients with and without epilepsy. Conclusion: Patients with uncontrolled epilepsy or nonepileptic events had a high rate of marijuana use with associated perceived improvements in seizure control, stress, sleep, and drug side effects. Stress reduction may contribute to the perceived impact of marijuana on seizures and nonepileptic events in adults.
  • Effective treatment of spasticity using dronabinol in pediatric palliative care. Background: Cannabis extracts have a wide therapeutic potential but in many countries they have not been approved for treatment in children so far. Conclusion: In the majority of pediatric palliative patients the treatment with dronabinol showed promising effects in treatment resistant spasticity.
  • An Exploratory Human Laboratory Experiment Evaluating Vaporized Cannabis in the Treatment of Neuropathic Pain From Spinal Cord Injury and Disease. Using 8-hour human laboratory experiments, we evaluated the analgesic efficacy of vaporized cannabis in patients with neuropathic pain related to injury or disease of the spinal cord, most of whom were experiencing pain despite traditional treatment. A crossover, randomized, placebo-controlled human laboratory experiment involving administration of vaporized cannabis was performed in patients with neuropathic pain related to spinal cord injury and disease. This study supports consideration of future research that would include longer duration studies over weeks to months to evaluate the efficacy of medicinal cannabis in patients with central neuropathic pain.
  • Joint Effects: A Pilot Investigation of the Impact of Bipolar Disorder and Marijuana Use on Cognitive Function and Mood. Background: The current study aimed to determine the impact of marijuana on mood in bipolar patients and to examine whether marijuana confers an additional negative impact on cognitive function. Conclusion: Findings suggest that for some bipolar patients, marijuana may result in partial alleviation of clinical symptoms. Moreover, this improvement is not at the expense of additional cognitive impairment.
  • The effect of cannabinoids on the stretch reflex in multiple sclerosis spasticity. Background: The aim of this observational study was to assess the efficacy of a tetrahydrocannabinol-cannabidiol (THC : CBD) oromucosal spray on spasticity using the stretch reflex in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Conclusion: The present study confirms the efficacy of cannabinoids in reducing spasticity in patients with MS, suggesting a higher sensitivity and specificity of the stretch reflex compared with other measures. As an objective and quantitative measure of spasticity, the stretch reflex is particularly useful to assess the effects of cannabinoids on spinal excitability and may play a role in future pharmacological studies.
  • Prior Cannabis Use Is Associated with Outcome after Intracerebral Hemorrhage. Background: Recent evidence suggests that a potential harmful relationship exists between cannabis use and ischemic stroke. The purpose of this study was to determine the implications of cannabis use in intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) patients. Conclusion: In this multinational cohort, cannabis use was discovered in nearly 10% of patients with spontaneous ICH. Although there was no relationship between cannabis use and specific ICH characteristics, CB+ patients had milder ICH presentation and less disability at discharge.
  • CBD-enriched medical cannabis for intractable pediatric epilepsy: The current Israeli experience. Background: To describe the experience of five Israeli pediatric epilepsy clinics treating children and adolescents diagnosed as having intractable epilepsy with a regimen of medical cannabis oil. Conclusion: The results of this multicenter study on CBD treatment for intractable epilepsy in a population of children and adolescents are highly promising. Further prospective, well-designed clinical trials using enriched CBD medical cannabis are warranted.
  • Safety and Efficacy of Medical Cannabis Oil for Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia: An-Open Label, Add-On, Pilot Study. Background: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Conclusion: Adding MCO to AD patients’ pharmacotherapy is safe and a promising treatment option.
  • Effects of Medical Marijuana on Migraine Headache Frequency in an Adult Population. Background: No clinical trials are currently available that demonstrate the effects of marijuana on patients with migraine headache; however, the potential effects of cannabinoids on serotonin in the central nervous system indicate that marijuana may be a therapeutic alternative. Thus, the objective of this study was to describe the effects of medical marijuana on the monthly frequency of migraine headache. Conclusion: The frequency of migraine headache was decreased with medical marijuana use. Prospective studies should be conducted to explore a cause-and-effect relationship and the use of different strains, formulations, and doses of marijuana to better understand the effects of medical marijuana on migraine headache treatment and prophylaxis.

Industry Updates (Economics)

December 19, 2016 – For the week ended December 16, 2016, Cannabis Benchmarks reported:

  • The U.S. Cannabis Spot Index declined 1.9% to $1,465 per pound.
  • The simple average (non-volume weighted) price decreased $34 to $1,765 per pound with 68% of transactions in the $1,259 to $2,270 per pound range
  • deal size decreased 10% to 9.8 pounds for the week
  • Indoor flower ranged from $949 to $3,200 per pound (median price of $1,800)
  • Greenhouse flower spanned from $90-0 to $3,200 per pound (median price of $1,662)
  • Outdoor flower ranged from $500 to $2,250per pound (median price of $1,200)

High Times Spot Price Data

And for a fun, crowdsourced site for real-time, on-the-ground pricing, check out www.priceofweed.com.