The dangers of unregulated CBD

You’ve heard me say it before and I will say it again: If you have a condition that could benefit from medical cannabis, please speak to your physician…and most importantly, stay away from illegal cannabis and unregulated CBD products.

In less than six years CBD has gone from virtually unknown, to part of the common dialogue heard every day.

In CNN’s latest special investigation, “Weed 5,” Dr. Sanjay Gupta said: "It is really discouraging to see the results of a recent study in the medical journal JAMA where researchers analyzed 84 CBD products from 31 companies and found 69% were mislabeled. Some of the products had no CBD at all, some had too much CBD, some too much THC."

"Other studies showed that some CBD products contained dangerous synthetics that have been responsible for outbreaks of illness all over the country."

This is just one of the many reasons it is essential that you do not self-medicate and why it is so important to see a licensed practitioner and obtain regulated products.

In Canada, we are fortunate that both the (legal) recreational and medical cannabis streams are tightly regulated to ensure that all products are safe and free from harmful substances. Despite this, there are still products that are sold out of local corner stores, gas stations and of course, the internet, that are not regulated. At best these are a waste of your money and couldn’t possibly offer any health benefit. At worse, they could be potentially harmful, especially if combined with other medications.

If you missed the CNN special on Sunday night, check out this very insightful article from Dr. Sanjay Gupta himself.

The cannabis-psychosis debate is being driven by fear mongering, not facts: Globe and Mail

One of the most debated health concerns regarding cannabis is its association with psychosis – particularly for young people. Frustratingly, both sides often resort to cherry picking data or confusing correlation with causation. Anecdotes, rather than science often prop up these arguments.

Not only does this misinformed understanding restrict patients who could potentially benefit from cannabinoid-based medicine’s effects, but as the authors explain, "By ignoring these important contexts, we are framing the onset of mental-health issues as a result of someone's personal choices, and thereby further perpetuating stigma around these conditions for individuals experiencing psychosis or with schizophrenia."

As the conversation continues, it is important to recognize the importance of research over an easy narrative; facts over fear-mongering.

Read full article here.

The new grey market: As older users warm up to cannabis, pot companies want to learn more: Financial Post

Cannabis companies hoping to expand the medical market will have to overcome the conservatism towards cannabis amongst medical associations — both the Ontario Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Association support the dismantling of the medical cannabis regime altogether, arguing that with legalization, there remains no need for medical professionals to serve a “gatekeeper role.”

This kind of opposition, said Pearson, is what makes is so difficult to obtain funding to really understand how cannabis can improve the lives of seniors. “I treat seniors in a long-term care setting and I’m weaning down their use of anti-psychotics and opioids. To just say leave it up to themselves, that means you’re saying they should self-medicate, which is absurd.” Read full article here.

Surgeon General Believes It's High Time For Marijuana Reclassification: Forbes

At the close of 2018, the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams made a bold move, and called on the federal government to rethink marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I substance. 

His belief– and that of researchers around the world– is that the current U.S. classification of marijuana inhibits research for medical advancements that include cannabis and cannabinoids.

This is long over-due and will have wide-reaching benefits for patients all over the world: "Reversing the excessively harsh and prohibitive laws for cannabis in the United States remains essential for making cannabis chemistry real human medicine." Read full article here.

Local opioid prescription rate too high, says Doctor Blake Pearson

By now, we all know that the opioid epidemic is widespread. Unfortunately, right here in my own small community, we still have one of the highest rates of opioid prescriptions in Ontario. In my new role as the Primary Care Lead, Addictions and Opioid Strategy, with the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network, I am looking forward to collaborating closely with doctors, other health care professionals and experts across the region to develop a progressive strategy to make a real impact on the addiction problems afflicting our community. Read more here.

What can medical cannabis be prescribed for in the UK?

From time to time, I like to share what is happening in other countries regarding access to medical cannabis. This article dives into the historic, recent changes to the laws in the UK.

The condition at the forefront of the campaign to legalize medical cannabis in the UK is childhood epilepsy, specifically, the cases of 13-year-old Billy Caldwell and 7-year-old Alfie Dingley. 

Both children have severe epilepsy and were initially prevented from using cannabis oil treatments that helped improve their condition. Their heartbreaking stories made international news and the outcry fueled the recent changes in the UK. Real progress has been made in Britain - but some argue that access is still too restrictive.

Read full story from here.

Cannabis worth exploring in stroke treatment: Ottawa Citizen

From the Ottawa Citizen, November 1, 2018: A decade ago, Dr. Taylor Lougheed would never have imagined standing up in front of a crowd of people at a conference and talking about the potential benefits of cannabis for people recovering from stroke.

Lougheed is a family physician who works in sports, emergency and cannabinoid medicine. He’ll be one of the speakers on Friday at this year’s Ottawa Stroke Summit, an event that will bring together about 250 researchers, medical professionals and stroke survivors to hear about new frontiers in stroke treatment and prevention.

“I think this might be at the edge of their comfort zone,” said Lougheed, a physician at the Canabo Medical Clinic. “Scientists and physicians are taught to be skeptical. We’re taught to look under stones. But maybe some of my colleagues haven’t looked under these stones for some time. Science evolves.”

Full article here.

Cannabis oil improves Crohn's disease symptoms: CTV

"Dr. Naftali, whose study is being billed as the first of its kind, found that an eight-week treatment with cannabis oil containing a four to one CBD to THC ratio produced clinical remission in up to 65 per cent of individuals with Crohn’s disease. The randomized, placebo-controlled study involved 50 people with moderately severe forms of the disease. The group that received cannabis oil also reported significant improvements in their quality of life."

Read full article here.

Parents claim marijuana saved their daughter from cancer: People

We have seen time and again the positive impact that cannabis can have on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. New research is now emerging that cannabis can actually kill cancer cells. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done in this area but this is definitely one to watch closely:

“This isn’t fringe science anymore,” says Los Angeles pediatrician Dr. Bonni Goldstein, an expert in cannibinoid therapy who worked with the von Harz family. “Studies have shown that cannabis can help kill cancer, in conjunction with chemotherapy, and also help fight the side effects of chemo.”

Read the full article here.