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medical marijuana

Medical Marijuana for Epilepsy: What We Know

Earlier this year, the Virginia State Legislature voted to expand the medical cannabis oil program in the Commonwealth. I have patients ask me about medical marijuana during every clinic visit. Here are a few talking points that will help guide the discussion with your patients. Patients usually start the conversation by saying, “I read on my cousin’s Facebook wall that smoking marijuana can treat my epilepsy.” Let’s take a step back and talk about the clinically important compounds in marijuana. The first is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It exerts its effect through a pair of G protein-coupled cannabinoid receptors named, conveniently, CB1 and CB2. The effect of THC on synapses produces the typical “high” that allows you to tolerate 11-minute guitar solos...

Public faith in marijuana outpaces medical research, study finds

Despite limited evidence, Americans have an increasingly positive view of the health benefits of marijuana. Nearly two-thirds believe pot can reduce pain, while close to half say it improves symptoms of anxiety, depression, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis, according to a new online survey of 9,003 adults. Pennsylvania and New Jersey are among the 30 states, along with the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico, that have legalized medical marijuana. But scientists say hard data on the health effects of pot — both positive and negative — are largely missing. Because marijuana is considered an illicit drug by the federal government, research has been scant, though there are efforts underway in Pennsylvania and nationally to remedy that. “I am not surprised at all [by the survey]. At th...

Medical cannabis for epilepsy approved in FDA first

In the context of an ever-louder international debate on whether patients with severe forms of epilepsy should be allowed to use medical cannabis to manage their condition, the Food and Drug Administration have just officially approved one such drug.   The Food and Drug Administration have just approved a cannabis-based drug for the first time.  

Cannabis: Brain alterations may explain feelings of alienation

New research has revealed altered brain activity in young adults with cannabis addiction. The findings suggest a mechanism that may explain why the risk of depression and other mental health issues is higher among those who use the drug. Heavy cannabis use may lead to changes in brain function, suggests a new study.

Medical Marijuana Won’t Help Most Sick Kids

Medical marijuana appears to hold only limited promise for sick children and teenagers, a new review suggests. It can help kids fighting cancer with chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting, and it can control seizures somewhat in children with epilepsy, said study author Dr. Shane Shucheng Wong. He is a psychiatrist with Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston. But there’s not enough evidence to say that medical marijuana can help kids with any other medical conditions, such as neuropathic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or Tourette’s syndrome, Wong added.