epilepsy

Iowa: Medical Cannabis Program Expands, Accepting Applications

Iowa Cannabis

Thousands of Iowans one step closer to medicinal cannabis as an option

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Monday, registration cards for Iowa's new medicinal cannabis oil became available from the Iowa Department of Public Health. In a historic first, Iowans who suffer from a multitude of diseases, including Parkinson's disease, Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, seizures, AIDS or HIV, Crohn's disease, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, as well as most terminal illnesses that involve a life expectancy of less than one year, will have the chance the to enroll in the state's new medical cannabis program. The new law, formerly House File 524, was signed by Gov. Terry Branstad in May.

Study: Cannabis Component Reduces Seizures For Some Epilepsy Patients, According To Research

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By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

An oil derived from the cannabis plant sharply reduces violent seizures in young people according to a study published last Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study focused on patients with Dravet syndrome, a severe type of epilepsy.

"This is the first solid, rigorously obtained scientific data that a marijuana compound is safe and effective for this problem," said Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist at New York University Langone Medical Center and primary author of the study.

Cayman Islands: Hospital Begins Dispensing Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A hospital in the Cayman Islands has begun dispensing medical marijuana oils almost six months after Gov. Helen Kilpatrick signed the medical marijuana bill into law, according to a CNS Business report. Grand Cayman’s CTMH Doctors Hospital & Cayman Pharmacy Group will prescribe and dispense the cannabis oils for various serious, chronic medical conditions such as cancer and epilepsy, and as a pain reliever for rheumatoid and osteoarthritis symptoms.

The hospital is being supplied by Canada’s CanniMed Therapeutics Inc., since the law does not allow medical cannabis products to be cultivated or produced on the islands. Initially, cannabis oils will be dispensed to a small number of physician-selected patients as they seek to educate themselves and track patient progress.

“There will be follow-up phone calls from the pharmacists themselves to closely monitor each patient. The pharmacist will also provide feedback for the physicians and together they will work towards an individually tuned treatment plan,” the hospital said in a press release. “Professional Pharmacy will consider prescriptions for cannabis oil from all licensed prescribers. Patients are encouraged to seek medical advice on this therapy directly from their physicians.”

Virginia: General Assembly Passes Two Marijuana-related Bills

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

In this year's session of Virginia's General Assembly, 17 marijuana-related bills were proposed. The House and Senate voted to pass two of those proposed bills.

One of the bills focuses on driver's license reform. Under Virginia law, a driver's license is suspended for six months for any drug possession charge, regardless of whether a motor vehicle was involved or not.

This new reform will allow a judge to determine the outcome for first offenders, with alternatives including community service.

"What this really helps do is open up the conversation and help lawmakers realize that this truly is a bipartisan effort and the demand for this type of reform is abundant, not only within their communities but within the legislature itself," Jenn Michelle Pedini, Executive Director of Virginia Norml, said.

The other bill passed allows pharmacies to manufacture and produce cannabidiol oil and THC-A oil to treat epilepsy.

A bill that would have allowed marijuana to be grown in the state for medicinal uses was proposed, but was not passed.

Georgia: House Passes Medical Marijuana Expansion

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Georgia House on Wednesday backed a broad expansion of the state's medical marijuana law.

House Bill 65, sponsored by state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, would double the list of illnesses and conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana in Georgia to include AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, autoimmune disease, epidermolysis bullosa, HIV, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette’s syndrome.

The bill will remove a one-year residency requirement.

It will also allow people with registration cards from other states with similar low-THC cannabis oil laws to also possess the oil in Georgia.

Under Georgia’s 2015 law, patients and, in the case of children, families who register with the state are allowed to possess up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil to treat severe forms of eight specific illnesses, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

The oil can have no more than 5 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the component of marijuana that causes a "high."

Federal officials still consider the oil an illegal drug.

Georgia: Medical Marijuana Expansion Moves Ahead In State House

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A broad expansion to Georgia’s medical marijuana law passed a House panel Monday, coming closer to a floor vote before Friday's deadline for passage.

House Bill 65, sponsored by state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, would double the list of illnesses and conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana in Georgia to include AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, autoimmune disease, epidermolysis bullosa, HIV, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette’s syndrome.

The bill would also allow people who have registration cards from other states that similarly allow possession of certain low-THC cannabis oil to also possess the oil in Georgia.

The bill passed on a 7-3 vote, and the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee made changes that would require annual reporting by doctors who oversee medical marijuana patients. They also removed post-traumatic stress disorder from the proposed list of newly eligible diseases.

Under Georgia’s 2015 law, patients who register with the state are allowed to possess up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil to treat severe forms of eight specific illnesses, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

The oil can have no more than 5 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the component of marijuana that causes a "high".

The bill must win passage from the House by Friday to have a clear path to becoming law.

Indiana: House Passes Medical Marijuana Bill For Epilepsy

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

People who have epilepsy in Indiana could soon be treated with a marijuana-based oil thanks to a new bill passed by the Indiana House.

The chamber approved the bill with an overwhelming vote of 98-0 today, February 21. A similar measure was previously approved by the state Senate.

The bill would allow the use of cannabidiol oil, otherwise known as CBD. The oil does not get patients high, but it contains compounds that have been found to lessen the effects of some forms of epilepsy.

Although the measure is a far cry from legalizing a comprehensive medical marijuana program, it is the farthest a medical marijuana bill has ever advanced in the State House.

Virginia: Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam Publicly Announces Support For Marijuana Decriminalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam wrote on Medium and in a press release yesterday afternoon that he supports decriminalization of marijuana.

Northam, a pediatric neurologist at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk and hopeful candidate for Governor wrote in Medium, "As a doctor, I’m becoming increasingly convinced by the data showing potential health benefits of marijuana, such as pain relief, drug-resistant epilepsy, and treatment for PTSD, By decriminalizing it, our researchers can better study the plant so doctors can more effectively prescribe drugs made from it.”

“We need to change sentencing laws that disproportionately hurt people of color. One of the best ways to do this is to decriminalize marijuana,” he wrote. “African Americans are 2.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Virginia. The Commonwealth spends more than $67 million on marijuana enforcement—money that could be better spent on rehabilitation.”

New York: Chronic Pain Added To List Of Approved Conditions For Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

New York just added chronic pain to the list of conditions that can qualify a patient for medical marijuana in the state.

The New York Department of Health issued a statement saying a regulatory amendment outlining the addition of chronic pain and its conditions has been drafted and will be published for public comment soon.

“After conducting a thorough review of the scientific literature, it became clear that there may be certain benefits in the use of medical marijuana by patients suffering from chronic pain,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker in the statement. “Medical marijuana is already helping thousands of patients across New York State, and adding chronic pain as a qualifying condition will help more patients and further strengthen the program.”

The state’s laws already allow medical marijuana for those suffering from cancer, HIV/AID, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to spinal cord nervous tissues, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, and Huntington’s disease.

Florida: New Ad Campaign Says Marijuana Isn't Medicine

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The anti-marijuana group Drug Free Florida released a 30 second ad Thursday which opens with a prescription for Marinol, which the group says offers the same benefits as medical marijuana.

Marinol is a pharmaceutical tetrahydrocannabinol, a drug which contains the principal psychoactive component of cannabis. 

The ad then goes on to slam medical marijuana for not being regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and for not being prescribed by a doctor.

The group says amendment 2 is a “scam” which would make medical marijuana legal. “You don’t smoke medicine,” the ad says, while pictures of young people smoking marijuana flash on the screen. 

The ad is the latest in the fight against Amendment 2, which would legalize medical marijuana in Florida for patients with “debilitating conditions.”

Conditions covered under the amendment would include cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, and for other conditions which a physician feels using medical marijuana would outweigh the potential health risks for a patient. 

There are differences between Marinol and marijuana. Marinol contains only THC, and can take about an hour to take effect, while smoked or vaporized THC takes effect in a matter of seconds or minutes. Marinol is often used to treat cancer patients, HIV/AIDS patients, and people undergoing chemotherapy.

Ohio: Medical Marijuana Becomes Legal Thursday

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

It was 90 days ago Thursday that Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a bill into law that legalizes medical marijuana. Medical marijuana finally becomes legal in the state tomorrow, making it the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana in some form.

The law allows patients to use marijuana in vapor form for certain chronic health conditions, but bars them from smoking it or growing it at home.

The Ohio Department of Commerce, State Medical Board and Board of Pharmacy will supervise the use of medical marijuana in the state.

ResponsibleOhio put a proposed constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot last year that would have legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use and granted exclusive growing rights to 10 investor groups bankrolling the campaign. Voters rejected the proposal. But polls showed that 80 to 90 percent of Ohioans favor legalizing medical marijuana.

The list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana in Ohio includes AIDS, ALS, Alzheimer’s, cancer, chronic pain, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, spinal cord conditions, Tourette’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury and sickle cell anemia.

Great Britain: Marijuana Extract Proven To Treat Rare Forms Of Epilepsy

A form of marijuana extract has again proven to be an effective treatment for several different types of epilepsy.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A pharmaceutical-grade form of marijuana extract has again proven to be an effective treatment for several different types of epilepsy.

The British company GW Pharmaceuticals has released successful results from the latest clinical trial of Epidiolex, a form of CBD-rich medication, Forbes reported.

It was the second trial for a rare type of epilepsy called Lennox Gastaut Dyndrome. Epidiolex was given to 86 patients who suffer from the disorder, while 85 patients received a placebo medication. Patients given the Epidiolex saw their seizures reduce by 44%, compared to a 22% reduction for those in placebo.

“Between the plant itself and the processing steps which are being taken, the product ends up being pure CBD,” said GW’s chief executive Justin Gower to Forbes.

GW Pharmaceuticals plans to file for FDA approval in the first half of 2017, although many similar CBD-based formulations are already available in states with legal medical marijuana laws, such as California and Colorado.

Alabama: Governor Signs Leni's Law, Increasing Access To Medical Cannabis Oil

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Patients in Alabama will have greater access to medical cannabis oil after Governor Robert Bentley on Wednesday signed HB 61, also know as Leni's Law, as passed by the Alabama Legislature.

Gov. Bentley's signature decriminalizes possession of medical marijuana CBD oil with THC content of up to 3 percent. The bill is named for a four-year-old girl whose family moved to Oregon to legally access cannabidiol cannabis oil to treat her severe epilepsy, and was hailed as a victory by Leni's mother, Amy Young, reports Paul Gattis at Al.com.

"We are incredibly grateful to the state of Alabama for giving families like ours the opportunity to find relief from life altering and debilitating conditions, and hope for a better quality of life," Young told Hemp News Wednesday afternoon. "Access to medical treatment shouldn't be determined by your zip code."

"I've got this smile glued to my face," said Young, who revealed she'd already received calls from lawmakers in Iowa, South Dakota and Tennessee since the Leni's Law was signed.

Global: Marijuana-Based Drug Found To Reduce Epileptic Seizures

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The first major clinical trial of an experimental drug derived from marijuana has shown that Epidiolex reduces epileptic seizures, the product's developer announced on Monday.

The shares of Big Pharma giant GW Pharmaceuticals more than doubled on Monday after the announcement.

GW said Epidiolex achieved the main goal of the trial, reducing convulsive seizures when compared with a placebo in patients with Dravet syndrome, a rare, severe form of epilepsy, reports Andrew Pollack at The New York Times.

If Epidiolex wins regulatory approval, as expected, it would be the first prescription drug that is extracted from marijuana. Marinol (Dronabinol), the THC capsules prescribed for nausea and appetite, use synthetic rather than plant-derived THC.

Epidiolex is a liquid containing cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of cannabis.

As many as one-third of the nearly 500,000 American children with epilepsy aren't sufficiently helped by existing Big Pharma drugs, according to GW. Parents of these children have, in desperation, tried medicinal cannabis extracts prepared by medical marijuana dispensaries.

Alabama: Epileptic Mom Who Used Medical Marijuana Raising Funds To Fight Charges

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Mother Faces Up To 10 Years In Prison For Using Marijuana While Pregnant Rather Than Big Pharma Drug Which Causes Birth Defects

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

An Alabama mother who faces up to 10 years in prison after using marijuana to treat her seizures while pregnant has started a funding campaign for her criminal defense.

Katie Darovitz, 25, of Russell County, suffers from epilepsy severe enough to keep her from driving or holding a job, reports Amy Yurkanin at Al.com. When she learned she was pregnant, she stopped taking her anti-epilepsy drugs -- which have been linked to birth defects -- and instead began using marijuana to prevent seizures.

For making the safest decision for her unborn child, she was arrested a couple of weeks after the December 2014 birth of her son after they both tested positive for marijuana. Alabama is one of a handful of backwards states where mothers can be prosecuted for "exposing a child to illicit drugs" under the state's "chemical endangerment of a child" law, simply for using a harmless, non-toxic, even healthful herb.

Marijuana is the substance most often cited in indictments and arrest reports for women arrested for drug use during pregnancy in Alabama, according to analysis of almost 500 criminal cases by Al.com and ProPublica. Darovitz faces up to a decade in prison if convicted.

Mexico: Supreme Court To Decide On Right To Consume And Cultivate Marijuana

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Landmark Case Could Pave the Way for Marijuana Legalization

On Wednesday, Mexico’s Supreme Court will debate whether the prohibition of the consumption and cultivation of marijuana for personal use is unconstitutional. The Court will determine whether the prohibition of the consumption of marijuana – and its cultivation for non-commercial ends – violates the human right to the free development of one’s personality.

This landmark case could lead to the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes if followed up with legislation.

“This debate in Mexico’s Supreme Court is extraordinary for two reasons: because it is being argued on human rights grounds, and because it is taking place in one of the countries that has suffered the most from the war on drugs,” said Hannah Hetzer, senior policy manager of the Americas at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

The public debate on marijuana has surged in Mexico in recent months since the case of an 8-year old girl with epilepsy who became Mexico’s first medical marijuana patient made national and international headlines. The government granted the right to import and administer a cannabis-based treatment for the young patient.

Florida: Preparations Made For Growing, Dispensing Medical Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Florida Department of Health plans to award licenses to grow non-euphoric medical marijuana to one nursery in each of five geographical regions of the state as early as this month.

Nursery owners and physicians are preparing as Florida gears up for the official arrival of medical marijuana, expected some time in the next four months, reports Kathleen McGrory at the Tampa Bay Times.

Nearly 50 physicians statewide have taken the eight-hour course required to authorize patients to use high-CBD cannabis, according to state records.

"It's an avenue for patients who are doing terribly and have exhausted all other options," said Dr. Selim Benbadis, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at the University of South Florida and Tampa General Hospital. Dr. Benbadis completed the course in January.

"In some cases, this could be the treatment that works," he said. Dr. Benbadis didn't explain why he considered safe, effective cannabis only as a last option.

The tremulous Florida Legislature legalized the non-euphoric high-CBD, low-THC Charlotte's Web strain of cannabis in early 2014 for medicinal use. (They were too cowardly to give patients what they actually needed, which is whole-plant cannabinoid therapy. THC and CBD work synergistically to fight cancer tumors, epilepsy seizures, inflammatory diseases, and many other conditions.) Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill into law in June.

Colorado: Medical Marijuana Study Planned Using High CBD Strain

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Clover Leaf University, a Department of Higher Education approved occupational program focused on the cannabis industry, and Flowering H.O.P.E. Foundation, a Colorado based nonprofit, on Monday announced a joint program to conduct a clinical study on the high-CBD epilepsy therapy known as Haleigh's Hope™.

The study, scheduled to begin this fall, will examine the safety of Haleigh's Hope for use in treating childhood epilepsy. The study is slated to work with 50 patients over the course of the trial. According to the strain's developer Jason Cranford, Haleigh's Hope has been used effectively to reduce the symptoms of epilepsy in more than 300 children nationwide.

Cranford is founder of the Flowering H.O.P.E. Foundation, a health care associate for the Society for Cannabis Clinicians, and an expert botanist who specializes in the organic cultivation of medical grade cannabis and the development of highly medicinal cannabis infused products. Over the past four years, Cranford has successfully bred and produced a 95 percent CBD plant that has been verified through two independent labs. He has developed several CBD rich infused products including Haleigh's Hope™ and Cannatol™.

U.S.: Native American Organics Announces Launch of Cannabis Company

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The launch of a new national company which will partner and assist in producing high grade marijuana products will benefit Native American Indian tribes, according to an announcement from Native American Organics, LLC.

"The company will provide cultivation, manufacturing, dispensing, processing, testing and regulatory support to ensure transparent and uninterrupted operations," according to a Tuesday press release. In addition, the company will focus on research-based laboratory testing.

The new corporation is a partnership between Red Tipped Arrow, LLC, a 100 percent Indian-owned economic development company, and Wright Family Organics, LLC, a California-based medical marijuana research and operations organization.

According to the company, the focus of Native American Organics is to partner with and support Indian Tribes situated in states where medical and or recreational marijuana is legal. "Through deployment of state of the art technology and equipment, NAO will guide and assist tribes in gaining entry into the fast growing and highly competitive Cannabis market with a strong focus on the development of organic natural products," NAO announced.

"Cannabis has been used to aid and assist with issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, which impacts American Indian Veterans who served our country with bravery and honor," NAO announced. "Other areas of concentration will include Epilepsy, Cancer, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's."

Ohio: New Video Tells Story of Young Epilepsy Patient Without Safe Access To Medical Marijuana

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Moving Video Features Struggle and Frustration of Ohio Family That Has Run Out of Treatment Options for Their Daughter

The Drug Policy Alliance and Learn Liberty have teamed up to tell the emotional story of Sophia Nazzarine, a 7-year-old girl suffering from uncontrolled epilepsy, in a new video.

Between clips of Sophia singing and playing with her parents in her hometown of Cincinnati, the audience is shown saddening footage of Sophia seizing as a newborn, while her parents describe their discovery of Sophia’s epilepsy and their exhaustive struggle to find an effective treatment.

“We’ve tried everything else that they could possibly come up with to try and stop these seizures,” says Scott Nazzarine, Sophia’s father. “None of it has worked. We need legislation that allows our child to get the medicine she needs. But with or without it, we will continue to give our child what she needs to reduce her dangerous seizures.”

Sophia’s story is complemented by interviews with doctors, explaining her condition and the strong potential for its treatment with marijuana.

“The belief is that it’s the cannabidiol portion of [the marijuana plant] that seems to have less intoxicating effects and more of the anti-seizure effects,” explained Dr. Michael D. Privitera, professor of Neurology at the University of Cincinnati.

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