Di seguito tutti gli interventi pubblicati sul sito, in ordine cronologico.
Most recognize medical marijuana to be helpful for cancer patients in some way or another.
Yet marijuana’s legal status has prevented researchers in many countries from providing thorough evidence. Instead, scientists are limited to studying the effects of chemicals isolated from marijuana (called cannabinoids), which misses the full picture.
Thankfully, cannabis research is taking off in Israel, where medical marijuana is legal.
Just last year, a study involving 200 cancer patients found medical marijuana use led to “significant improvements” across “all” cancer and cancer treatment-related symptoms.
Here’s a list of 10 ways that marijuana seemed to help these patients during their battle with cancer:
1. Nausea and Vomiting
Marijuana may be best known for its ability to reduce nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.
It’s so effective that a pill form of THC (Marinol) has been approved by the FDA for treating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting since 1985.
2. Weight Loss
Along with nausea, patients undergoing chemotherapy often find it hard to maintain normal weight. Thankfully, marijuana has been shown to not only relieve nausea, but stimulate appetite as well.
For patients with cancer, marijuana can help improve food intake and prevent unhealthy loss of weight.
Cancer patients often suffer from mood disorders such as depression.
While it’s no secret that marijuana makes users feel good, research seems to explain why. As many studies have found, chemicals in marijuana appear to have significant anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects.
Another well-known effect of marijuana is pain relief.
And while its benefits seem to span a range of chronic pain disorders, studies show that marijuana can help reduce pain in cancer as well.
Patients with cancer often suffer from sleep problems, including difficulty falling asleep and maintaining sleep.
On the other hand, sleepiness is one of marijuana’s most commonly reported side effects. THC has also been shown to improve sleep in patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Cancer-related fatigue can also cause patients to feel sleepy during the day.
Interestingly, marijuana seems to help patients combat daytime fatigue, while at the same time helping patients get to sleep at night. It’s multi-faceted effect on sleep may depend on the strain of marijuana and the balance of cannabinoids that they contain.
7. Sexual Function
Sexual dysfunction is a common, yet lesser known effect of cancer and cancer therapies.
While findings are inconsistent, marijuana has a long history of use as an aphrodisiac, dating back at least 3,000 years to ancient India.
Chemicals in marijuana help regulate the digestive system and have been suggested as a treatment for a wide range of bowel disorders.
While marijuana seems to help by reducing bowel movements in inflammatory bowel disorders, it appears to have an opposite effect in constipation.
Itching can be a side effect of various cancers as well as various cancer treatments.
While the underlying causes of itching in cancer patients vary, marijuana seems to help some patients deal with this irritating symptom.
Perhaps the most promising (and controversial) benefit of marijuana in cancer is the treatment of cancer itself.
While preclinical studies have long supported the ability of marijuana to kill cancer cells and stop the disease from spreading, the medical community argues that human research is lacking.
Still, studies in cell culture and animal models continue to show evidence of a cancer-fighting effect. So much so that major cancer organizations – including the U.S National Cancer Institute and Cancer Research UK – have large sections of their website dedicated to the role of cannabis and cannabinoids in fighting cancer.
Dr. Sean McAllister, of the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, is hoping to start human trials involving cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment for breast cancer. His research shows that CBD can fight breast cancer in cell cultures and rodent models.
Unfortunately, no timeline on human studies has been set.
The drug is made from purified cannabidiol (CBD) – a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana – and is being marketed under the name Epidiolex, reports O’Shaughnessy’s.
So far, the FDA has approved two Investigational New Drug studies of Epidiolex for pediatric epilepsy, which are being led by Orrin Devinsky, MD, at the NYU School of Medicine, and Roberta Cilio, MD, PhD, at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Each will involve 25 children with epilepsy, and other studies are awaiting approval.
If all goes as planned, GW Pharmaceuticals’ Chairman Geoffrey Guy, MD, expects more studies to begin within months.
“In the coming months, if the FDA is comfortable about how things are going, there will be a number of senior epileptologists in major university centers throughout the U.S., each treating a couple of dozen patients with various epilepsies.”
GW Pharmaceuticals is best known for its cannabis-based spray called Sativex, which is approved in over 20 countries for the treatment of multiple sclerosis symptoms.
However, the company has spent recent years developing a drug for epilepsy. Preclinical studies sponsored by the company show that CBD, along with a related cannabinoid called CBDV, have the potential to reduce epileptic seizures. Anecdotal reports also suggest that CBD-rich cannabis extracts could be effective in treating epilepsy in children.
Unlike Sativex, Epidiolex is a liquid medicine that can be administered with a syringe dropper. According to the company, the drug contains more than 98 percent CBD, along with trace amounts of other cannabinoids.
It is also THC-free, which will ensure that children are not getting high from the medicine.
Dr. Guy says if early results are positive, the FDA could speed up the clinical trial process
According to Dr. Guy, the FDA process came after parents of epileptic children began contacting the company in late 2012 hoping to obtain CBD. Since GW Pharmaceuticals was already working with the FDA on trials of Sativex, the company decided it made sense to seek research approval for Epidiolex.
Dr. Guy told O’Shaughnessy’s that he expects the trials to provide a better understanding of “what cannabidiol does in these different children groups, what benefit we can see, and how the results can best be measured.”
The clinical trial process will likely take a number of years to complete. However, Dr. Guy says if the drug shows promise in Phase I trials, the FDA could speed up the transition into Phase III.
GW Pharmaceuticals announced the start of clinical trials of the epilepsy drug in the UK.
Source: O'Shaughnessy's via LeafScience.com
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the major compounds found in marijuana, but lacks the high caused by THC. Previous studies suggest that it can be used to combat anxiety and other obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
While research has mostly involved simple animal models, a team led by Dr. Francisco Guimarães of the University of Sao Paulo’s School of Medicine decided to test cannabidiol in rats that were given mCPP – a drug that blocks the effects of traditional OCD treatments.
Interestingly, even at low doses, CBD was able to reverse the obsessive-compulsive behavior caused by mCPP. Published in the journal Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology, the authors conclude that the study adds support to “a possible anti-compulsive effect of CBD.”
Serotonin levels were traditionally thought to play a dominant role in OCD. On the other hand, while researchers are still unsure of how CBD works to reduce obsessive-compulsive symptoms, a number of studies suggest that activation of CB1 receptors may be responsible.
Thus, the authors of the latest study say that both systems may interact to provide relief from the disorder.
“These results suggest that the serotonergic and cannabinoid systems interact to control repetitive behaviors, although the precise nature of this interaction is not clear.”
And it’s not just the CBD in marijuana that seems to help. In a study published in 2011, researchers were able to reduce obsessive-compulsive behavior in rats by treating them with a synthetic cannabinoid similar to THC.
Although human studies still need to be done, scientists believe that cannabinoids could be used to manage OCD in the future.
The study was published ahead of print and sources of funding were not reported
Joint mobilization is a common physiotherapy technique used to treat musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction, especially following surgery. It involves stimulating the joints through passive movements and can be applied to joints in areas such as the ankle or spine.
While the technique has been shown to reduce pain in clinical studies, scientists are still trying to figure out how it works.
Using mouse models of postoperative pain, a team from Brazil, led by Dr. Adair Santos of the Federal University of Santa Catarina, showed for the first time that naturally occurring cannabinoids are involved with the pain-relieving effects of joint mobilization. Their findings were published online in the journal Neuroscience.
“This study represents the first direct demonstration of the role of the endocannabinoid system on the antihyperalgesic effect of ankle joint mobilization.”
By blocking cannabinoid pathways (CB1 and CB2 receptors), the researchers found that the pain-relieving effects of joint mobilization could be reversed. However, pain relief seemed to last longer when the mice were treated with a drug that stopped the breakdown of the body’s own cannabinoids.
According to the authors, the findings are consistent with data from human subjects which show that joint mobilization increases blood levels of anandamide – a natural cannabinoid that mimics the activity of THC.
While more research is necessary, the authors conclude that drugs which inhibit the breakdown of cannabinoids like anandamide could be used to enhance the benefits of joint mobilization in the future.
The study received funding from Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Fundação de de Amparo à Pesquisa e Inovação do Estado de Santa Catarina (FAPESC), and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), Brazil
In a new study, researchers from Israel’s Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science found that CBD and THC helped reverse MS-like diseases in mice by preventing inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. Their results were published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology.
Study co-author Dr. Ewa Kozela explained how inflammation affects MS in a recent press release.
Inflammation is part of the body’s natural immune response, but in cases like MS it gets out of hand. Our study looks at how compounds isolated from marijuana can be used to regulate inflammation to protect the nervous system and its functions.
The researchers conducted experiments on immune cells isolated from paralyzed mice and found that CBD and THC could inhibit inflammatory responses by acting directly on immune cells. Scientists in the U.S. have achieved similar results using synthetic chemicals that mimic the effects of marijuana.
In many countries, marijuana-based treatments, such as Sativex, are already been prescribed to manage symptoms like pain and spasticity (muscle stiffness). However, recent studies seem to indicate that cannabis may even slow the disorder itself.
Though more research needs to be done in humans, Dr. Kozela believes cannabis has significant promise.
When used wisely, cannabis has huge potential. We’re just beginning to understand how it works.
Israel is one of a growing number of countries that have legalized medical marijuana and has conducted extensive research on the medicine. Approximately 12,000 patients have a license to use medical marijuana in the country.
The study received funding from the Dr Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation and the Israeli Ministry for Absorption in Science
Parkinson's is more common among the aging population and is marked by a widespread loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain.
However, investigators from the Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry at University of Plymouth say that numerous studies have found cannabinoids to protect cells from Parkinson's-related damage.
Cannabinoids such as delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] are neuroprotective in animal and cell culture models of Parkinson's disease.
In the latest study, the team, led by Camille Carrol, Ph.D, identified a mechanism that appears to underlie these benefits.
Using established cell models, Dr. Carrol and colleagues found that THC could activate a specific pathway (PPAR-y) which previous studies have linked to protection in Parkinson's models. Activation of PPAR-ã is believed to increase the viability of cells by boosting mitochondria production.
The findings will appear in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.
Delta9-THC induces PPARy dependent mitochondrial biogenesis, a mechanism that may be beneficial for the treatment of PD [Parkinson's disease].
The study also helps to explain the results of Dr. Carrol's previous work, which found THC to have a direct effect against cell injury in Parkinson's through its ''neuroprotective, antioxidant and anti-apoptotic'' activity.
While current treatments for Parkinson's cannot slow the progression of the disease, researchers have managed to slow the death of dopamine cells in animal models of Parkinson's using both THC and CBD.
But human trials need to be conducted before cannabinoid-based therapies may be used in clinical settings.
Sources of funding were not reported
While marijuana is known to increase appetite, the study was the first to confirm the effectiveness of its main chemical, THC, in patients with the eating disorder.
Anorexia nervosa affects women more often than men and is caused by an irrational fear of gaining weight, leading to restricted food intake and excessive weight loss.
Researchers at the Center for Eating Disorders at Odense University Hospital in Denmark monitored 24 women with severe, long-lasting anorexia nervosa who were given synthetic THC pills (dronabinol) as part of a randomized controlled crossover trial.
The findings were released last month in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.
Dronabinol therapy was well tolerated. During four weeks of exposure it induced a small but significant weight gain in the absence of severe adverse events.
Patients were split into two groups and received 4 weeks of daily dronabinol and placebo in succession, with a 4 week break for washout in between.
On average, patients gained 0.73kg more during the 4 weeks of dronabinol treatment compared with 4 weeks of receiving placebo. While only a modest improvement, the authors suggest that a longer treatment period might produce more significant benefits.
Side effects were not officially measured, but the authors noted minimal adverse reports. Results from the one year follow-up also confirmed the safety of THC therapy.
Weight records collected up to one year after the end of the trial showed that the participants continued to improve their nutritional status without developing addiction or withdrawal symptoms, suggesting that dronabinol was safe in these patients with longstanding AN [anorexia nervosa].
According to the authors, the latest study was the first in over 30 years to investigate THC’s potential in anorexia nervosa. Previous studies on THC and weight gain have only involved patients suffering from anorexia caused by diseases such as cancer and AIDS.
However, because of the small sample size of the study, the authors say that larger studies are needed before THC can be widely recommended as a treatment for anorexia nervosa.
The study was published ahead of print and supported independently by the Center for Eating Disorders, Department of Endocrinology, Odense University Hospital
The study found that 19% of a group of 184 patients at a Colorado spine center were using marijuana to manage their pain. Among those who used marijuana, 89% of patients said it greatly or moderately relieved their pain and 81% said it was equally or more effective than opiate painkillers.
Study co-author Michael Finn, MD presented the findings at the North American Spine Society’s annual meeting.
While the study wasn’t designed to evaluate whether marijuana was truly effective or not, Dr. Finn told MedPage Today that the results warrant further research.
Given that one in five patients are using it, there is a real need to look at more.
Dr. Finn says the best evidence for marijuana as a painkiller comes from studies on MS and rheumatoid arthritis. However, research on back pain is still lacking.
Most of the patients in the study were suffering from degenerative disc problems, which usually leads to neuropathic pain – a difficult-to-treat pain caused by nerve damage.
On average, patients who used marijuana reported taking it no more than one or two times a day. Smoking was the most popular form of ingestion, followed by oral preparations and using a vaporizer.
83% of those who took marijuana were also taking other medications – mostly painkillers.
Dr. Finn says the next step is to evaluate marijuana based on the type of spine pain and the amount taken. But he’s also concerned about how marijuana may interact with opiates due to the number of patients taking both.
Marijuana and Opiates: Is Both Better?
In 2011, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) published the first human study to investigate the interaction between marijuana and opiate painkillers.
The study included a group of 21 chronic pain sufferers and found that using a combination of vaporized marijuana and opiates (morphine or oxycodone) seemed to offer greater pain relief than either on their own.
Lead author Donald Abrams, MD explains that while patients reported the most relief after taking both treatments, the amount of opiates in the blood stream seemed to decrease when marijuana was present.
This, he suggests, could indicate that opiates and cannabis work synergistically to fight pain.
Dr. Abrams says while a larger study needs to be done to confirm what they found, the current body of evidence leads him to believe that marijuana is effective against many forms of pain.
I’d recommend it to anybody with pain, the research has already been done there.
Dr. Abrams’ previous research also supports the effectiveness of vaporized cannabis in HIV-associated neuropathic pain.
Source: MedPageToday via LeafScience.com
Published online in Anticancer Research, researchers at the Department of Oncology at St. George’s, University of London studied six different cannabinoids and found each to have anti-cancer action in leukemia cells.
Lead author Wai Liu, Ph.D explained the results of the latest study in the press release.
These agents are able to interfere with the development of cancerous cells, stopping them in their tracks and preventing them from growing. In some cases, by using specific dosage patterns, they can destroy cancer cells on their own.
The scientists were able to replicate previous findings on the anti-cancer effects of THC – the compound in marijuana responsible for the high.
However, in the latest study, Dr. Liu’s team decided to focus on cannabinoids that lacked psychoactive activity, including cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabigevarin (CBGV).
This study is a critical step in unpicking the mysteries of cannabis as a source of medicine. The cannabinoids examined have minimal, if any, hallucinogenic side effects, and their properties as anti-cancer agents are promising.
The non-psychoactive cannabinoids were shown to inhibit growth of leukemia cells at all stages of the cell cycle. Interestingly, the team observed even greater effects when different cannabinoids were administered together.
Dr. Liu says drugs derived from cannabis are much cheaper to produce than traditional cancer therapies. He also thinks they could be combined with existing treatments to enhance their effects.
Used in combination with existing treatment, we could discover some highly effective strategies for tackling cancer. Significantly, these compounds are inexpensive to produce and making better use of their unique properties could result in much more cost effective anti-cancer drugs in future.
Dr. Liu’s next study will investigate the potential of cannabinoids when combined with existing treatments as well as different treatment schedules that could maximize their anti-cancer activity.
The study was published ahead of print and received funding from GW Pharmaceuticals
Opreste celulele canceroase impiedicand proliferarea acestora si nu are efectele devastante ale chimioterapiei. Noi studii confirma eficacitatea cannabidiolului si a THC-ului.
In urma noilor studii ce ii confirma eficacitatea, creste in randul cercetatorilor convingerea urmatorului fapt: canabidiolul (Cbd) prezent in marijuana incetineste cresterea celulelor tumorale si inhiba formarea celulelor ce hranesc tumorile, contribuind astfel la combaterea cancerului si a metastazelor. Deja cunoscute capacitatile acestor substante de a dimunua durerea, greata si alte efecte legate de boala si chimioterapie.
Dupa cum prezinta revista Newsweek, deja din 2007 un studiu al Centrului Medical California Pacific arata cum canabidiolul ucide celulele tumorale la pacientii cu cancer de san, distrugand tumorile maligne si "dezactivand" gena ID-1, o proteina ce joaca un rol cheie in raspandirea raului la celelalte celule. Aceasta gena, la persoanele sanatoase, este activa doar pe perioada dezvoltarii embrionale. Dar la pacientii cu cancer la san sau multe alte tumori maligne in stadiu avansat, s-a observat ca aceasta gena este activa si provoaca metastazele, favorizand trecerea bolii la celulele sanatoase. "Exista zeci de tumori agresive ce activeaza aceasta gena", au explicat cercetatorii, insa canabidiolul reuseste sa o opreasca, prezentandu-se deci ca un potential leac fara precedent: opreste raul precum chimioterapia, insa, spre deosebire de aceasta ce ucide ori tip de celula intalnita si devasteaza corpul si spiritul bolnavilor, reuseste sa blocheze doar "acea" specifica celula maligna.
"Canabidiolul ofera speranta unei vindecari ce nu este toxica pentru mii de pacienti", a declarat savantul McAllister, sef al grupului de cercetatori. De atunci insa, nu au fost realizate studii clinice esentiale pentru a confirma la om efectele vazute in laborator. Pe scurt, McAllister cauta inca fonduri pentru a testa pe pacienti cu cancer efectul acestui tratament. Intre timp, grupul sau de cercetatori analizeaza in laborator daca este posibila si folositoare combinarea unui tratament pe baza de Cbd cu o chemioterapie usoara. Cercetarile sale au demostrat deja ca efectul canabidiolului devine in acest mod consolidat: chimioterapicele devin astfel mai puternice si mai putin toxice, deoarece se pot reduce in mod drastic.
Descoperirea eficientei acestor substante se datoreaza Cristinei Sanchez, o tanara biolog de la Universitatea Complutense din Madrid. Aceasta studia metabolismul celular, analizand celulele tumorale cerebrale ce cresc mult mai rapid decat celulele normale. Din intamplare, observa ca acestea mureau de fiecare data cand erau expuse la tetracanabinoizi, faimosul Thc ce provoaca efectele psihoactive ale marijuanei. Continua cercetarile sale, iar in 1998 isi publica studiile, demonstrand ca Thc-ul induce apoptoza, adica moartea celulelor unei forme deosebit de agresiva de tumoare cerebrala.
Mai apoi au existat multe confirmari, efectuate in diferite tari, precum ca Thc-ul si alte derivate ale marihuanei - canabinoizii - au actiuni directe antitumorale (vezi mai jos un exemplu cu privire la cancerul pulmonar relatat de Bloomberg).
Primul studiu clinic pe om a fost realizat in Spania in 2006. Cercetatorii au administrat THC la noua bolnavi de tumori cerebrale ce nu au avut nici un beneficiu prin terapii traditionale, introducandu-l direct in celulele bolnave cu un cateter. Toti cei noua pacienti au observat reducerea semnificativa a proliferarii tumorii, iar rezultatele au fost publicate in revista Nature. Intre timp, cercetatorii de la Universitatea Harvard au observat aceleasi efecte impotriva cancerului pulmonar. Lucrul cel mai uimitor pe care l-au constatat a fost acela ca Thc-ul ataca doar celulele tumorale, lasand netulburate celulele sanatoase.
Studii recente efectuate la Universitatea St. George din Londra au gasit de asemenea efecte similare asupra leucemiei, cu testare pre-clinica. La sfarsitul lunii iulie, ultimul congres al Societatii Internationale de Cercetare a Canabinoizilor a reunit pe toti cei mai importanti experti din domeniu la Friburg, in Germania, cu interesante contributii si din partea oamenilor de stiinta italieni, ce au vorbit de canabinoizi ca despre "cea mai puternica arma disponibila pentru eliminarea celulelor tumorale in cancerul de prostata", in timp ce cercetatorii de la Universitatea Lancaster au ajuns la concluzii similare in ceea ce priveste cancerul de colon.
Toate acestea deschid noi si promitatoare scenarii in lupta impotriva cancerului. Dar e bine sa se precizeze: consecintele farmacologice si toxicologice ale utilizarii "obisnuite" ale canabisului, inteles ca drog psihoactiv, sunt in continuare legate nu doar direct absorbirii substantelor psihotrope, dar si expunerii la celelalte substante ce se produc in timpul pirolizei, adica procesului de combustie a tigarii, mai bine zis a "joint-ului". Vaporii care se produc fumand marijuana si hasis, in fapt, contin oxizi de azot, monoxid de carbon, cianuri, nitrozamine. Particulele contin fenoli, crezoli si diferite hidrocarburi aromatice, toate cu potential cancerigen.
Traducerea: Ford Turani pentru www.TurismoAssociati.it - Sursa: life.wired.it/news/salute/2012/09/12/arrivano-nuove-conferme-la-marijuana-combatte-il-cancro.html - Autor: Michela Dell'Amico - 12 septembrie 2012
Marijuana Fights Cancer and Helps Manage Side Effects, Researchers Find: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/09/06/marijuana-fights-cancer-and-helps-manage-side-effects-researchers-find.html
Cannabidiol as a novel inhibitor of Id-1 gene expression in aggressive breast cancer cells: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18025276
Complutense University: http://portal.ucm.es/web/ucm/inicio
Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol induces apoptosis in C6 glioma cells: http://scholar.qsensei.com/content/y05d9
Marijuana Stops Growth of Lung Cancer Tumors in Mice (Update1): http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aLRKiCeoXoRQ
A pilot clinical study of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme: http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v95/n2/abs/6603236a.html
Harvard University: http://www.harvard.edu/
St. George’s University: http://www.sgul.ac.uk/
International Cannabinoid Research Society: http://www.cannabinoidsociety.org/