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Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen, on of the world’s preeminent medical cannabis experts, has announced a hunger strike until Germany sufficiently opens up the medical cannabis program to all patients in need. –

franjo

German Cannabis Expert Announces Hunger Strike

Germany has made great strides improving its cannabis laws in recent years, but there is still so much work to be done, as too many patients are still without safe access to a safe medicine. There was understandably great hope that Germany would start treating marijuana the same as any other medicine, after the country implemented an expansion of the burgeoning medical program, but too many bureaucratic hurdles remain. Hoping to fulfill the practical notion that cannabis should be treated the same as any other prescribed medicine, Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen, on of the world’s preeminent medical cannabis experts, has announced a hunger strike until Germany sufficiently opens up the medical cannabis program to all patients in need.

I had the honor of meeting Dr. Grotenhermen when he spoke at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Berlin last year, and the man’s dedication to the cause, and expert knowledge, were evident to all in attendance. I hope when the ICBC returns to Berlin in 2018, that Dr. Grotenhermen can reflect on how his efforts have successfully brought medical cannabis fully into the medical mainstream.

Below is a press release sent out by Dr. Grotenhermen announcing his hunger strike: 

Cannabis expert starts hunger strike

Rüthen: On August 17, 2017, the German cannabis expert Franjo Grotenhermen entered an indefinite hunger strike. The objective of refusing to accept any food is to decriminalize all citizens who need cannabis to treat their serious diseases.

On March 10, 2017, a much-debated law on cannabis as a medicine went into effect in Germany. It was the declared aim of the legislature to allow all patients who need a therapy with cannabis medicines to do so. The law, however, proves itself in practice as too bureaucratic. Therefore, treatment with cannabis and cannabinoids is unattractive for doctors who in principle support such therapy. Many patients do not find a doctor who allows them legal access to the needed treatment.

“The legislature has taken a great step into the right direction,” explains Grotenhermen. “However, many patients are still dependent on a still as illegal regarded treatment. They face criminal sanctions. This is no longer acceptable. Therefore a basic clarification in the narcotics law must be established. The prosecution of patients to whom a doctor has certified the need for a therapy with cannabis must end. ”

Already today, the German Narcotics Law allows prosecutors to stop a criminal case in the case of a “minor debt”. This possibility is mainly applied in cases of possession of small amounts of cannabis. Grotenhermen urges that criminal proceedings should in principle also be stopped if accused citizens need cannabis for medical reasons. “The need for a cannabis therapy should not be judged by the judiciary, a government agency or a health insurance company, but, as with other medical treatments, also by a doctor,” explains Grotenhermen.

He also strongly supports the uncomplicated access of patients to standardized preparations from the pharmacy. In this respect, it is necessary to improve the existing law. However, the prosecution of the remaining losers of the legal situation must also be ended. “I am not aware of a convincing argument by which patients’ prosecution can be maintained,” adds Grotenhermen. A corresponding amendment to the Narcotics Act is, therefore, logical and unavoidable.

From 7 pm a 21-minute video will be presented on a special website (www.cannabis-hungerstrike.de), in which Grotenhermen explains in detail the background and goals of his hunger strike. On May 12, 2017, he had already begun a short 8-day “warning hunger strike”, by which he wanted to draw attention to a problem associated with the new law.

Franjo Grotenhermen, born in 1957, studied medicine in Cologne. Medical practice in Rüthen (NRW) with a focus on therapy with cannabis and cannabinoids. Grotenhermen is the chairman of the German Association for Cannabis as Medicine (ACM), Executive Director of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM) and
Chairman of the Medical Cannabis Declaration eV (MCD), as well as author of the IACM-Bulletin, which is available in several languages on the website of the IACM. Grotenhermen is an associate of the Cologne nova-Institut in the department of renewable resources and author of numerous articles and books on the therapeutic potential of the hemp plant and cannabinoids, their pharmacology and toxicology. Among others, since 2008 he has been an expert on debates in the
Health Committee of the German Bundestag on the medical use of cannabis products, most recently in September 2016.

Anthony Johnson

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon’s cannabis le 

http://marijuanapolitics.com/german-cannabis-expert-announces-hunger-strike/


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Canadian execs: What you need to know before taking your cannabis business global

(This is the fourth article of a four-part series examining how Canadian cannabis companies are expanding globally. Click to read Part IPart II and Part III.)

By Matt Lamers

There’s no denying the massive potential of the global medical marijuana market: A recent report pegged it at 180 billion Canadian dollars ($142 billion) over the next 15 years.

But going overseas is fraught with pitfalls, barriers and red tape. Canadian MMJ businesses, however, are export pioneers and can offer valuable guidance.

To capitalize on the global medical cannabis market, about a dozen Canadian MMJ companies are using exports as an avenue to strike local partnerships in foreign markets as well as establish licensing arrangements and distribution deals.

Six top executives at Canadian cannabis companies shared their insights with Marijuana Business Daily on where they look to expand their businesses, how they find local partners, and why they go overseas in the first place. They also talked about the contacts you need to expand abroad.

Neil Closner, MedReleaf CEO

Who: You need to find good people. Without that, any company will fail. Specifically in this space, there’s a lot of complexities – dealing with regulators, dealing with growing live plants, dealing with production process issues. You really need to trust and rely on your people. Otherwise you get tripped up. So anyone starting out should make sure they have the right complements of skills and staff.

Where: We look for markets where it’s regulated at a federal level. The fact that most of these markets are going medical only, and it’s even more strictly regulated from a medical standpoint than we are here in Canada, plays to our strength. As the only ISO- and ICH-GMP certified producer in North America, that level of rigour that we bring to the industry plays well for us.

We look at markets based on size, what the distribution’s going to look like, who the buyers are going to be, if there’s insurance coverage.

Aaron Keay, ABcann Global CEO

How: You’ve got to get on the ground over there and spend some time with the agencies and companies that are already there. That way you can build a relationship and start discussing things like collaborations and joint ventures first. We have a presence in (other) countries, but it didn’t happen overnight. We navigated through it with consultants and government officials over time before we got into a position where we now feel comfortable enough to say, “Okay, we can do some business here.”

Marc Lustig, CannaRoyalty CEO

When: Typically the math will end up being an indicator. We’ve seen management teams take on more than what is possible with time, resources and capital. A proper plan that is focused is essential. It’s very easy to build a bridge to the middle of a lake. Before you have grandiose designs on expanding into other markets, you would have to understand the compliance and licensing constraints in that market.

George Scorsis, Liberty Health Sciences CEO

Why: If we’re entering into a system, we need to ensure that we validate the rationale for why we’ve entered into the market, and that it’s to further enhance the medical system. Second, it also insulates us from potential federal interactions.

Strictly look at medical platforms prior to looking at anything recreational or adult use.

Who: Ensure that you partner with people that have great local knowledge.

Cam Battley, executive VP of Aurora Cannabis

Where: It has to be federally legal. We’ve got to make sure that everything we do it kosher with the (Toronto Stock Exchange). I’m very interested in the U.S. market, but I’m not going there until it’s federally legal.

Who: We’re looking for serious people. They have to bring a series of important things to the table. Pedanios (a German distributor) is a good example. They’ve already demonstrated they know what they’re doing through Pedanios’s role as a medical cannabis distributor.

Dooma Wendschuh, Province Brands CEO

Where: One thing we look for when we get to scale is: Let’s find one of the countries in Europe that have legalized medical marijuana and let’s find a suitable partner with whom we can work to build a brewery (the company makes alcohol-free beer using marijuana) in their country so that we don’t have to ship it across the Atlantic. Shipping costs are important to take into account.

The comments have been edited for length and clarity.

Matt Lamers can be reached at mattl@mjbizdaily.com

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Canadian exports of medical marijuana soar as producers seek overseas toehold

(This is the third article of a four-part series examining how Canadian cannabis companies are expanding globally. Part I was published Aug. 9 and Part II on Aug. 10. Part IV will publish Wednesday.)

By Matt Lamers

Canadian medical cannabis exports are surging, driven by licensed producers that are using overseas shipments as a way to establish local partnerships and gain a foothold in foreign markets.

In particular, exports of dried medical marijuana and MMJ oil products from Canada have soared since 2015.

And they are on pace to double this year from 2016 levels, according to data obtained by Marijuana Business Daily. Analysts expect this trend to continue in the near future as more countries legalize medical cannabis.

While exports remain a sliver of overall medical marijuana sales in Canada, licensed producers (LPs) have moved to capitalize on burgeoning overseas MMJ markets such as Germany, Australia and South America.

According to data from Health Canada, the government body responsible for issuing cannabis export permits:

  • Just over 45 kilograms (100.3 pounds) of dried cannabis and 94.7 kilograms of cannabis oil were exported through July 20 of this year.
  • For all of 2016, 44.8 kilograms of dried cannabis and 100.8 kilograms of cannabis oil were shipped overseas.

No medical marijuana was exported in 2015 under the former Conservative government, which did not share the pro-MJ views voiced by current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Cam Battley – a member of the board of directors of Cannabis Canada, the industry association for licensed producers – sees exports as a means to an end.

“We’re going to see exports to multiple new legal medical cannabis markets soar,” he said, “but ultimately the real game is going to be building and owning capacity in new markets.”

How it breaks down

Over the past two years, Canadian LPs have exported cannabis oil to Australia, the Cayman Islands, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic and New Zealand. Dried cannabis has been sent to Australia, Brazil, Germany, Israel and the Netherlands, according to Health Canada.

No cannabis export permits were issued in 2015, while 43 were handed out last year and 75 as of July 20 this year.

Of the 75 permits issued this year, 11 were for dried cannabis and 64 for cannabis oil products.

In total, 118 export permits were issued by Health Canada as of July 20 under federal guidelines established between 2013 and 2016.

The data also shows that most export applications were approved.

In 2016, Health Canada received 11 export applications for dried medical cannabis and issued nine permits.

So far this year, Health Canada has approved 11 of 13 export applications submitted for dried MMJ.

Though growing quickly, exports still represent a tiny fraction of overall MMJ sales by the country’s licensed producers.

In the first three months of 2017, slightly less than 6,000 kilograms of dried medical cannabis were sold to 129,876 registered clients across Canada for medical use, meaning exports accounted for less than 1% of all sales.

Examples of Canadian exporters

To give their marijuana sales a shot in the arm, several Canadian licensed producers have turned to the export market:

More export growth anticipated

Looking ahead, analysts expect exports will continue to rise as Canadian LPs service niche markets and establish localized operations abroad.

Khurram Malik, a partner with financial advisory firm Jacob Capital Management, sees exports spiking to certain nations and regions before coming back down once Canadian LPs set up operations in those markets.

“Exports will be larger from where they are today, but I don’t think they will be a large part of the revenue mix (for Canada’s LPs) going forward,” he said, owing to the high costs of growing cannabis in Canada. “Canada won’t be cost competitive with markets overseas for exports.”

Battley, the Cannabis Canada board member, sees exports climbing in response to new markets coming online. Twenty-three countries have active medical cannabis laws, while another 14 countries have pending laws, not counting the United States.

“What we’ve seen thus far is a trickle,” he added. “Germany’s intention, for example, is to have licensed producers from other jurisdictions supply the market until 2019, hoping that by then there will be sufficient domestic capacity. But building and licensing high-quality capacity takes time.”

Matt Lamers can be reached at mattl@mjbizdaily.com

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Canada’s medical marijuana market has experienced explosive growth, particularly for extracts. The amount of cannabis oil sold to clients registered with Health Canada rose 870% between the first quarter of 2016, when 584 kilograms were sold, and one year later, when 5,673 kilograms were sold.

Canada-recreational-marijuana-web-e1501023238758

 

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Banks versus pharmacists – first official extortion in the public drug scene – URUGUAY – by HANF JOURNAL .de

https://hanfjournal.de/2017/08/18/apotheken-in-uruguay-werden-aufgrund-legalen-hanfhandels-von-banken-verschmaeht/

uy

After moving forward in Uruguay in order to keep the own population of black market traders of illegal substances , unexpected hurdles seem to arise in the first country of the re-legalization of cannabis. The pharmacies in Uruguay are scorned by legitimate hemp trade by banks and have to fear their hitherto maintained money accounts. Either the cannabis sale would be discontinued, or abandoned to the formerly valued customer, it says on the side of the money institutions.

The President of the State Banco de la República, Jorge Polgar, said that no relations with pharmacies would have been accepted which would have received a license for the trade in marijuana . This is to prevent the international isolation of the bank which would actually be possible due to cross-border activities of the domestic financial institutions in the USA. According to international regulations, no accounts should be kept which are connected in any way to drug trafficking. Even if the government in Uruguay does not provide criminal prosecution for the public trade in cannabis – even behind the state’s distribution – the banks of the brave country feel their hands bound to international law.
In the absence of a solution to the surprising tangle mill in Uruguay, many of the twenty approved pharmacies would have to end their trade with the coveted and extremely affordable natural substance . A threatened blocking of his own bank account forced the medication-offering businessmen to the reluctant action, explained a lawyer of the pharmacist settlement of Uruguay.

Banks versus pharmacists – first official blackmail attempts in the public drug milieu!

 

 

 


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ALGAE DYNAMICS CORP ENTERS INTO A LETTER OF INTENT WITH BONIFY TO PRODUCE UNIQUE CANNABIS OIL PRODUCTS; ACCELERATES GO-TO-MARKET STRATEGY

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ALGAE DYNAMICS CORP ENTERS INTO A LETTER OF INTENT
WITH BONIFY TO PRODUCE UNIQUE CANNABIS OIL PRODUCTS;
ACCELERATES GO-TO-MARKET STRATEGY

TORONTO--August 16, 2017--ALGAE DYNAMICS CORP (OTCQB: ADYNF) (the "Company"), a
company focused on the development of unique health products and pharmaceuticals utilizing cannabis
and algae oils, today announced that it has further refined its relationship with 6779264 Manitoba Ltd dba
Bonify (“Bonify”) in a Letter of Intent (“LOI”) dated August 10, 2017. Bonify is a Licensed Producer,
pursuant to the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations in Canada, with the capability to
grow multiple strains of cannabis in its state-of-the-art 320,000 square foot facility.
The Company previously announced a Memorandum of Understanding with Bonify on May 9, 2017, in
which Bonify agreed to supply raw cannabis plant material for processing into cannabis oil for sale and
for use in research. In the recently completed LOI, the Company and Bonify have outlined the following:
1) The purchase and installation of cannabis oil extraction equipment by the Company in Bonify’s
facility;
2) The processing of cannabis material supplied by Bonify and other Licensed Producers in the oil
extraction facility;
3) The supply of cannabis oil and algae omega-3 oils to The University of Waterloo and University of
Western Ontario to support the Sponsored Research Agreements that the Company has in place with
the two universities; and
4) The sharing of direct expenses, and, after adjustment for the market value of cannabis material
supplied by Bonify and third parties, sharing of revenues from the sale of cannabis oil and algaecannabis
oil products.
The term of the agreement is for three years from the commencement of operations and is renewable by
mutual agreement. The Company and Bonify agree to use best efforts to complete formal documentation of
the agreement by September 30, 2017. Upon termination of the agreement, the Company agrees to transfer
title of the equipment to Bonify. The Company has engaged investment bankers to assist with the raising of
necessary capital to purchase and install the extraction equipment.
Given the favorable terms of this agreement, the Company does not anticipate moving forward with its
previously announced joint venture with ARA – Avanti Rx Analytics Inc. in which it was contemplated that
oil extraction would be done utilizing the latter’s facility.
Assuming that all regulatory approvals are in place, initial revenues are expected within six to nine months
following completion of financing,
Paul Ramsay, Chairman and President of Algae Dynamics Corp, stated, “We believe this Letter of Intent
gives us an improved pathway to early revenues as well as a reliable high-quality source of cannabis oil for
the universities to support our important algae-cannabis oil research. We look forward to expeditiously
completing this agreement.”
Jeff Peitsch, President and CEO of Bonify, commented, “Our team is pleased to be working with Algae
Dynamics Corp in support of the Company’s ongoing research and product development work with
universities. We see many benefits to working together with innovative companies such as Algae Dynamics
in this burgeoning cannabis market.”
About Bonify
Bonify is a Canadian-owned Licensed Producer and leading provider of medical cannabis. By maximizing
research findings and strictly adhering to best-in-class practices, quality standards and procedures, Bonify
produces medical cannabis products to help individuals get the most out of life each and every day. With
over 1,000,000 square feet of potential productive capacity at its present site in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada,
when at full scale, Bonify will be capable of growing over 100,000 kgs of cannabis annually.
About Algae Dynamics Corp
ADC is engaged in the development of unique health products and pharmaceuticals that utilize hemp,
cannabis and algae oils. We have engaged two Canadian universities to provide research into the use of
extracts from cannabis oil, which we plan to use to develop products that combine the significant health
benefits of Omega-3s derived from algae oil and extracts from cannabis oil. Our research is focused on the
use of cannabis oil in the context of cancer, and the use of cannabis derivatives for the development of novel
pharmacotherapies for mental health.
For more information, visit http://www.algaedynamics.com
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in Section 27A of the
Securities Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this press
release which are not purely historical are forward-looking statements and include any statements regarding
beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future. Such forward-looking statements include,
among other things, use of proceeds and the development, costs and results of current or future actions and
opportunitiesin the sector. Actual results could differfrom those projected in any forward-looking statements
due to numerous factors. Such factors include, among others, the inherent uncertainties associated with new
projects and development stage companies, our ability to raise the additional funding we will need to
continue to pursue our exploration and development program, and our ability to retain important members
of our management team and attract other qualified personnel. These forward-looking statements are made
as of the date of this news release, and we assume no obligation to update the forward-looking statements, or
to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements.
Although we believe that any beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are
reasonable, there can be no assurance that any such beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions will prove
to be accurate.
Investors should consult all the information set forth herein and should also refer to the risk factors disclosure
outlined in our annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year, our quarterly reports on Form
10-Q and other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
INVESTOR RELATIONS CONTACT:
Jack Eversull, President
The Eversull Group, Inc.
jack@theeversullgroup.com
972-571-1624
COMPANY
CONTACT:
Paul Ramsay, President
Algae Dynamics Corp
ramsay@algaedynamics.com
416-704-3040

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Cannabis And The Elderly: A Neurophysiological And Pharmacological Review

by Gaurav Dubey

The elderly population, a term which is generally agreed to mean any individual age 65 or older, is a uniquely diverse and often complex demographic to treat

The aging baby boomers now include many frail and elderly individuals, as Knickman and Snell put in their 2002 review discussing, among several items, “the potential burden an aging society will place on the care-giving system and public finances” (Knickman & Snell, 2002).

Devastating neurodegenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s disease, as well illnesses such as cancer and chronic pain are more prevalent in older populations and require a multimodal treatment approach. Such treatment can involve hospice care when patients are diagnosed as “prospectively dying” and are the often given very high doses of narcotics, such as morphine, to help ease this pain (Ber-sala et al., 2013) (Scitovsky, 2005).

However these powerful comfort drugs carry serious side effects that can be incredibly detrimental to one’s quality of life (Meier, 20111). A study by Ber-sala and colleagues, however, is one among several emerging studies that also indicate significant alleviation of symptoms in the elderly upon cannabis consumption (Ber-sala et al., 2013). I have discussed previously works that clearly demonstrate the efficacy of cannabis in the treatment of various disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Chronic Pain, conditions with a high prevalence in the elderly population. To this end, this article will focus on a new 2017 study by Katz and colleagues that demonstrably shows the utility and efficacy of cannabinoids in the elderly while using other related and supporting data (Katz et al., 2017). Providing safe, effective and therapeutic care for our senior citizens and adequate end of life care for hospice patients is the hallmark of a successful healthcare system and compassionate society. As such, further investigation into cannabis and cannabinoids for the elderly population is a vital responsibility for the medical community and it’s healthcare providers.

The elderly population, which is steadily increasing in numbers, is the demographic with the highest prevalence of disease and suffering (Parker et al., 1997). The need for adequate care and allocation of resources to treat this diverse population presenting with an even more diverse palette of pathologies is a critical one. Elderly patients typically consume a large amount of prescription drugs, all with varying risk and side effect profiles (Katz et al., 2017).

“Comfort Drugs” used in hospice care, such as hydrocodone, morphine and fentanyl, while generally effective at treating pain, can cause significant drowsiness and even respiratory depression, leading to death, upon overdose (Chau et al., 2008). Chau’s study also describes how normal physiologic aging can significantly alter the pharmacokinetic mechanisms of such drugs in the elderly population, which requires even greater care by the prescribing physician (Chau et al., 2008). With the mounting clinical evidence regarding the efficacy of cannabis to treat a wide variety of pathologies, including many that significantly affect the senior population, special attention should be given to the potential of adding cannabis to the arsenal of drugs to help treat the elderly.

When used simultaneously with opioids, “cannabinoids have been shown to successfully lead to a greater cumulative relief of pain” leading to patients using fewer opiods and experiencing fewer side effects (ref). Perhaps more fascinating from a neuropharmacological standpoint is the fact that cannabinoids seemed to also “prevent the development of tolerance to and withdrawal from opiates” and is even able to essentially cause a weaker dose, that wasn’t working as efficaciously for pain relief for the patient before, to become effective once again (Lucas, 2012). The reduced side effect and high safety profile both present cannabis as a compelling alternative or adjunct to these drugs as well.

In a new 2017 review analyzing clinical evidence for the utilization of cannabinoids in the elderly by Katz and colleagues, the beneficial effects of cannabis in the elderly is implicated by just some of the major conditions cannabis is known to effectively treat in the elderly: Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and Cancer (Katz et al., 2017).

pensioner cannabis

Image credit- Mass Roots

Furthermore, in discussing the safety of cannabis, Katz and colleagues state, “Cannabinoids present a relatively safe profile of action in elderly patients. Hence, cannabinoid treatment should be considered more readily when other options fail, even in cases of scarce data” (Katz et al., 2017). In fact, I strongly believe that due to the relative safety of cannabis (no reported overdoses/deaths), it should often be considered a first line treatment if possible, over the use of an opioid analgesic, for instance, which carries significantly greater risks. In a population that is often already overmedicated, the possibility of using cannabis, a compound known to be relatively safer than some of the other drugs used to treat chronic pain and illness, should be seriously considered as a mainstay treatment as more data becomes available (Katz et al., 2017).

Indeed, my article regarding cannabis use reducing the individual consumption of prescription drugs speaks to this point well.

As mentioned above, cannabis has been identified to have beneficial and therapeutic properties for several diseases with high prevalence in the elderly. One such condition that cannabis has been indicated for is Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Indeed, Volicer et al. demonstrated in a placebo-controlled crossover-designed study that treatment with a THC analogue (Dronabinol) attenuated behavioral disturbance in Alzheimer’s patients (Volicer et al., 1997).

While critics of this study claim the lack of quantitative data make the results difficult to adequately validate, a systematic review by Woodward and authors, reporting on “the largest studied cohort of dementia patients treated with Dronabinol to date”, was able to confirm these findings. They reported that Dronabinol could serve as an efficacious “adjunctive treatment for neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia” (Woodward et al., 2014).

Furthermore, Katz and colleagues, in reviewing this clinical data, concluded that cannabinoids seem to be a safe and effective treatment for therapy “to manage behavioral disturbances in patients” (Katz et al., 2017). Neurodegenerative disorders such as AD are debilitating and often require a multidimensional approach to treatment. Similar challenges arise when considering Parkinson’s disease, another common neurodegenerative illness prevalent in the elderly.

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is another illness commonly associated with elderly patients and is primarily characterized by death of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra. It often presents with symptoms such as: tremor, rigidity, gait abnormality and non-motor related clinical symptomology (Katz et al., 2017).

While the etiology of PD is still largely unknown, emerging research has uncovered that our own endocannabinoid system seems to play a significant role in the mechanism of the illness (Katz et al., 2017). This is pharmacologically fascinating as there is a lack of CB1 receptors (one of two main cannabinoid receptors in the body/brain) in the dopaminergic nigostriatal (this is spelt correctly?) neurons that are being damaged due to this serious illness.

canada cannabis

It’s currently presumed this occurs due to the fact that the endocannabinoid system modulates GABA and glutamate transmission (two other major neurotransmitter systems in the brain not part of the endocannabinoid system) (Katz et al., 2017). The ability of our own intrinsic endocannabinoid system to play a key role in the mechanisms of this disease holds promise for the future treatment of PD with cannabis.

A common feature of both PD and AD along with other neurodegenerative disorders prevalent in the elderly is dementia, a debilitating phenomenon that has shown significant receptivity to the therapeutic applications of cannabis (Walther & Halpern, 2010). In regards to PD, cannabis has been shown to provide “significant amelioration also in rigidity, tremor, bradykinesia, pain and sleeping problems with no significant adverse effect” (Lotan et al., 2014). Furthermore, a small cohort of 22 PD patients treated with cannabis and surveyed 30 minutes after use reported “a significant improvement of 9.9 points in the mean score Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (P<0.0001)” (Katz et al., 2017).

Another common morbidity and co-morbidity among the elderly population is cancer. Chemotherapy is a common mainstay of cancer treatment and is well known to carry seriously averse side effects that are difficult to manage for patients. A recent 2016 review by Dr. Abrams states “Cannabis is useful in combatting anorexia, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, pain, insomnia, and depression” induced by chemotherapy (Abrams et al., 2016).

In a study with 211 patients, of which 131 had a second, follow-up interview, “all cancer or anticancer treatment-related symptoms showed significant improvement (P < 0.001). Aside from memory lessening in patients with prolonged cannabis use, “no significant adverse events” were reported (Ber-sala et al., 2013). Having worked in an oncology ward for 4 summers and in my training as an EMT in Miami-Dade, I’ve personally witnessed the immense suffering of cancer patients. It’s difficult not to want to provide anything and everything to assist them, especially if they are in their final years and moments before the inevitable. Narcotics such as morphine for pain and adderall to combat the drowsiness from the morphine are common balancing acts in regards to hospice care medications.

As stated by Nersesyan & Slavin, “Stimulants such as methylphenidate or caffeine can increase alertness in patients who are experiencing somnolence on a dose of morphine that provides sufficient pain control” (Nersesyan & Slavin, 1998). With cannabis having a significantly lower side effect profile and a lower chance of adverse drug events as mentioned above, it is time to seriously consider easy access of cannabis to elderly patients suffering from these conditions, especially those in hospice care. Perhaps the pharmacokinetic mechanisms of the drug are not completely understood, however, enough compelling data exists, combined with the fact there has never been one singlepurported overdose/fatality from cannabis that serious consideration need be given to this modality of treatment.

cannabis weight loss

The safety profile of cannabis next to some of the other drugs used to treat this patient population isn’t even comparable when considering potential for fatalities (that already occur every day) from opioids alone. For this and so many other reasons, it’s time to make a change.

So why restrict access to cannabis if it is beneficial for elderly and it improves their quality of life? Ber-sala, in his study, states that cannabis induced relief of symptoms in their study may in part be due to its euphoriant properties. He points out that, “from a medical point of view, the general improvement in the level of distress is important as an end-point for palliative studies, and the cause is less important (Ber-sala et al., 2013).

There is no doubt that the use of potent narcotics such as morphine and hydromorphine create powerful and potentially addicting “highs” as well, but their use is often times warranted in this situation. Thus, holding cannabis to a different standard due to this side effect is in fact holding a double standard and disrespecting science and evidence. In fact, if you’re sick and dying of cancer on your deathbed, the idea of “feeling good” is a powerful one I think many people, especially those in the medical profession, can relate with.

Another reference in regards to cannabis in popular culture is the “munchies”, essentially, the appetite-stimulation effects of cannabis use. While the data is scarce on this topic in the elderly, preliminary findings show promise (Katz et al., 2017). A few small studies (<40 people) using Dronabinol as a treatment found small changes in weight gain or increased consumption of food over shorter time intervals (Katz et al., 2017). Furtherore, when considering the “entourage effect” (define that) and the beneficial effects of, for instance, Sativex (a 1:1 THC:CBD ratio, whole plant cannabis formulation) over other synthetic cannabinoid compounds such as Dronabinol and Marinol, it begs the question about whether whole plant cannabis formulations would be even more beneficial to patients over synthetics compounds (Russo, 2008).These results call for further investigation as proper nutrition is vital to this population of patients.

The stigmatization of the “high” of cannabis and the social satire of the “muchies” can often detract from the medical necessities of these effects for cancer patients, many of whom report as truly depending on these characteristics of cannabis to help them through such illnesses (Waissengrin et al., 2015). Overwhelming data shows this population could potentially benefit greatly from cannabis use and only more research and more science can help change public perception.

The elderly population is one that suffers from an increased prevalence of a variety of severe pathologies, not the least of which including neurodegenerative disorders, cancer and chronic pain. A recent 2016 study found that “medical expenses more than double between ages 70 and 90” and that “ the government pays for over 65 per cent of the elderly’s medical expenses” (De Nardi et al., 2016). If the effects of cannabis can be reproduced in bigger trials, FDA approved treatments and therapies that are efficacious and successful can be implemented, healthcare costs and the benefit to society overall could improve. With a healthcare crisis already underway in our country, perhaps a paradigm shift such as this one is a promising one. Maybe the question we should be asking is not “can we afford to do this?” but rather, “can we afford not to?”

[Featured image credit- Endoca]

Gaurav Dubey | August 15, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Tags: Cannabiscannabis elderlyCannabis studyMedical Cannabis studyPensioners | Categories: FeaturedHealth | URL: http://wp.me/p8nEcz-H9
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