Posted in cancer, Health, marijuana, news

Pot Found to Have Positive Effects on Pancreatic Cancer

A study out of Harvard found cannabis (the non-psychedelic component of marijuana) to decrease tumor size is mice afflicted with pancreatic cancer by 70%.

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The researchers from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute found a small chemical within cannabis called  FBL-0G3, also known as a flavanoid, a naturally occurring substance in many plants responsible for their vibrant color, and known for its antiiflammatory properties.

Marijuana Medical Benefits are Strain Specific

When mice with pancreatic cancer were given the FBL-0G3 along with radiation, their tumors shrank and in many, stopped growing.  The FBL-03G anticancer properties were also witnessed in a lab setting when combined with pancreatic cells in a petrie dish.

They conclude:

The findings demonstrate the potential for this new cannabis derivative in the treatment of both localized and advanced pancreatic cancer, providing impetus for further studies toward clinical translation.

Each year over 56,000 Americans are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, whose 5-year survival rate is 5%.  Older individuals who are healthy can do as well as those who are younger when diagnosed with advanced stage of the disease.  However some sources cite the median survival time is between 2 and 6 months if the cancer is diagnosed at a late stage.

What are the risk factors for pancreatic cancer?

Known risk factors for pancreatic cancer include:

  • Older individuals
  • Male (though women are affected as well)
  • Diabetes
  • Alcohol use
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Genetics
  • African-American descent
  • Ashkenazi Jewish descent
  • Obesity
  • High fat diet
  • Hepatitis B
  • H. pylori infection
  • BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations
    Can Diet Soda CAUSE Diabetes?

Artificial sweeteners have been linked to diabetes and diabetes is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer.  Their relationship to pancreatic cancer, however, still remains controversial.

 

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Great Gift!!!

The Ultimate Medical Student HandBook

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

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Posted in Health, marijuana, news

Marijuana Lollipop Suspected in Heart Attack Case

For years studies have found marijuana use to increase risk of heart disease and stroke. Now a marijuana lollipop has been linked to a man’s heart attack.

Treating his arthritis and insomnia, an 70-year old man licked a marijuana lollipop and within a half hour experienced crushing chest pain.  The lollipop contained 90 mcg of THC, which is multiple times more potent than an average joint, according to Fox News.

They report he experienced hallucinations and anxiety which led to a spike in his heart rate and blood pressure thereby stressing the heart.  Fortunately he survived.

 

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The lollipop was not intended to be a single use edible but many find it unsanitary to lick a few times and save for later.

Many studies have linked marijuana use to heart attacks, heart failure and stroke.

In 2017, Dr. Aditi Kalla and colleagues from Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia analyzed 20 million health records of patients who were hospitalized in 2009 and 2010 and found those who used marijuana (1.5% of the patients studied) were at high risk of coronary artery disease, sudden cardiac death, heart failure and stroke.

What’s even more striking is the patients were younger, aged 18-55. Risk factors including obesity, high blood pressure, alcohol use and smoking were already taken into account.

One theory for the link between heart disease/stroke and marijuana use is that cannabis may affect the cardiac muscle cell’s ability to contract, affecting the pumping mechanism of the heart, thereby leading to heart failure. Another theory is marijuana, like cigarette smoking, may be increasing risk of clots.  Below is a report on a study linking marijuana use to Transient Ventricular Regional Ballooning (TVRB). This can also lead to heart failure. Another theory suggests cannabis causes a release of stress hormones, such as cortisol.

In 2016 study out of St. Luke’s University Hospital Network found marijuana to cause stress cardiomyopathy.  This is a temporary condition that causes a “ballooning” of a region of the ventricle known as Transient Ventricular Regional Ballooning (TVRB).  We know that many drugs can cause cardiomyopathy (affect the heart muscle) such as cocaine and stimulants causing dilated cardiomyopathy, but this is new in that a sedating type of drug such as cannabis/marijuana, can cause similar effects on the heart.

The condition of TVRB can mimic many different heart conditions because it presents with chest pain, shortness of breath and dizziness.  So many individuals admitted for these symptoms are evaluated for a heart attack, angina, pneumonia, and a variety of other diagnoses.

In this study, the researchers looked at data from 33,000 hospital admissions who had TVRB and saw a link between 210 of these admissions and marijuana use.  They are unsure how marijuana affects the heart, but theorize that it could be an increase in cortisol and stress hormones.  Although none of the marijuana users in this study died, the TVRB can cause cardiac arrest, heart attack.

History of Lollipops

For centuries civilizations had found ways to satisfy our sweet tooth.  Ancient Egyptians would mix nuts, fruit and herbs into a ball that could be skewered with a stick.  Putting candy on a stick was common as it allowed a sticky sugary or carmelized treat to be eaten easily.

However the modern style lollipop we believe was invented by George Smith of New Haven, CT in 1908.

The name “Lollipop” was trademarked in 1931 after he reportedly named the candy after a popular race horse, “Lolly Pop.”

 

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Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

Posted in Health, marijuana, news

Half of Medical Marijuana Users Admit to Driving “High”

A study from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, found more than 50% of medical marijuana users admitted to driving within 2 hours of using cannabis and feeling “high.”

Study authors surveyed 790 medical marijuana patients in Michigan who were using the products for chronic pain, and asked about their driving habits over the last 6 months.

 

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Marijuana Medical Benefits are Strain Specific

 

More than half admitted to “feeling high” when behind the wheel, and 21.7% admitted to driving when they were “very high.”

Study author, Dr. Erin Bonar, a licensed psychiatrist and assistant professor, found the results “troubling,” advising against using marijuana when driving. She states, “Research studies show that things like your coordination and reaction time can be slowed by using marijuana, and those functions are important when you are driving.”

Did the Legalization of Marijuana Lead to a Rise in STD’s and Foodborne Illness?

 

Consumerreports.org reports the following:

A recent study published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), which found motor vehicle crashes were up 6 percent in four states where recreational marijuana is legal—Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington—compared with four neighboring states where marijuana is restricted or illegal. 

Most users of medical marijuana are not using cannabis to get high, as some lack the THC, tetrahydrocannibinol, psychoactive component. However, many preparations may and those using it for medial purposes may be unaware that they could still be committing a DUI.

 

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Health, marijuana, news

Don’t Continue Smoking Marijuana if You Get Nauseous

Many individuals smoke marijuana to curb nausea, especially if they suffer from cancer and cancer treatment.  However, if nausea symptoms surface, smoking marijuana could actually make it worse.

Emergency rooms around the country are reporting an increase in cases of CHS (Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome). So let’s break it down.

 What is CHS?

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome is a constellation of symptoms described as nausea, cyclic vomiting, abdominal pain and the intense urge to take hot showers or baths, afflicting those who have smoked marijuana chronically.  Case reports began surfacing in 2004 when patients were presenting to the emergency room with these bouts, testing positive for marijuana, and improving when they ceased using pot. The hot baths and showers provided temporary relief, we believe of some perceived “hypothermia” caused by a marijuana induced dysregulation of the hypothalmus.

Most recently, Dr. Kennon Heard and his team at the University of Colorado Hospital, began studying CHS as they noticed a spike in people presenting to the ER with these symptoms.  In 2012, Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational purposes.   “We see them here on a daily to weekly basis,” Dr. Heard said. “The biggest problem we’ve seen with this disease is that until now, it’s been unrecognized and therefore, these people are suffering longer than they need to.”

What causes CHS?

We’re still unsure.  Cannabis has been well-known to help decrease nausea and curtail pain. So it’s a mystery that it would induce vomiting and abdominal pain.

One theory is that a chronic overuse of cannabis presents as these severe symptoms.  Maybe the body and/or gut can only take so much and when the body senses a “toxic” amount it results in this defense mechanism.

Is CHS an overdose or a withdrawal from marijuana?

No and No.  An overdose, or acute intoxication of marijuana can result in paranoia, psychosis, dry mouth, memory loss, red eyes, chest pain, blood pressure changes, even heart attack and stroke.

Marijuana withdrawal symptoms include irritability, anxiety, difficulty sleeping and cravings.

CHS occurs during chronic use of marijuana and is relieved by stopping its use.

Can CHS kill?

Currently we have not seen any deaths related to CHS. However the severe vomiting could cause dehydration and possibly kidney failure.

Can patients make their CHS worse?

Yes. Since early symptoms may include mild nausea and abdominal upset, some may use marijuana to ease this “mild nausea”, thus adding more fuel to the fire causing more severe symptoms.

How is CHS treated?

To correct dehydration, IV fluid is given as well as antiemetics to stop the vomiting.  Haloperidol, an antipsychotic, has been used in many settings, as have benzodiazepines. Some case studies have reported unpopularly using narcotics and some physicians found success with dopamine antagonists, but the most effective treatment is cessation of marijuana usage.

Will CHS become an epidemic?

Probably not.  Marijuana, and its chronic use, have been around for a long, long time.  Until the past few years, this syndrome may have been misdiagnosed as a “gastrointestinal flu” if the case reports were not well-known and if the patient was not forthcoming regarding his marijuana use.  Now that marijuana is becoming more “acceptable” in many states, and many patients may feel less compelled to lie about their drug use, we can identify the early stages of CHS promptly.  Educating marijuana users of the side effects with chronic heavy use will hopefully stave off more CHS cases.

 

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada

Posted in Health, marijuana, news

Cannabis Coke Could Soon Be a Reality

Reports have surfaced that Coca-Cola is eyeing a deal with Aurora Cannabis, which may result in the production of a cannabis-infused cola drink.

The talks between the Canadian cannabis company and the famous Atlanta-based cola corporation was reported by Bloomberg.

They write:

“We are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world,” Coca-Cola spokesman Kent Landers said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg News. “The space is evolving quickly. No decisions have been made at this time.” 

Cannabis-infused foods have been a favorite in legalized markets where consumers wish to avoid inhaling the plant.

A legalized market coupled with a high demand for such a beverage could send shares “flying.”

However its safety, such as when mixed with alcohol, raises concerns.

This is a developing story.

Marijuana Medical Benefits are Strain Specific

Cannabis plants produce cannabinoids, or chemicals that can induce an effect on the body. When cannabinoids are produced by a plant they are called phytocannabinoids.  Humans produce their own cannabinoids, called endogenous cannabinoids.  Laboratory  or synthetically produced cannabinoids are called synthetic cannabinoids.

The human body has a very intricate endocannabinoid (endogenous cannabinoid) system, with receptors throughout our brain, organs, glands, and immune system. Hence a wide variety of physiological responses, occur when these receptors are stimulated by cannabinoids.  These include responses to sleep, memory, appetite, pain, immune response, mood, and cell damage repair and death, Research is currently investigating what endogenous chemicals the human body produces, but the majority of medical discussions surrounding cannabinoids includes the phytocannabinoids.

Cannabis plants produce many phytocannabinoids, but the most well-known and studied include CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).  The latter is psychoactive, meaning it can give the user a feeling of euphoria.   The former, CBD, in non-psychoactive and researched more than others for its medicinal benefits.

Now plants, just like animals, are classified from Kingdom (Plantae) down to Genius and species.  Cannabis comes in a variety of species, including the major ones:  C. sativa, C. indica and C. ruderalis. 

 

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C. ruderalis is less popular as it has a lower THC content. However it has “autoflowering” qualities, making them useful to cultivators, and if bred with C. sativa or C. indica could enhance the new hybrid in its reproduction.

C. sativa has a higher THC/CBD ratio, hence can provide more euphoria.  It reportedly helps decrease anxiety, treat depression and increase appetite.  It’s been touted to increase energy and boost creativity.  Its also used to help manage attention deficit disorder.  Although not approved yet in the US, an oral spray, nabiximol, has been developed and sold in multiple countries to treat neuropathic cancer pain.  Its brand name is sold, by prescription, as Sativex® .

C. indica has a higher CBD content and has been used for its sedative properties.  Its also used to help anxiety and induce appetite, but will additionally be used to treat pain and muscle spasms.

Indica-vs-satica-how-it-feels-different_large

Epidiolex has received FDA approval to treat some seizures.  Its high CBD component is credited for its anti-seizure activity.

There are multiple other strains, each touted to have their own unique properties.  420medbook.com provides the below table.

 

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The challenge, however, is the lack of medical research in each of the different strains.  And when a study does come out discussing the medical advantages or disadvantages to using cannabis medicinally, the specific strain may not be mentioned or easily found in the report.

I believe that various strains do have unique properties and there is an art to the field of medical marijuana but more research needs to be done and quickly to avoid random use of cannabis products for treatment of medical conditions.

 

dw sketch.jpg

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada

Posted in Health, marijuana, news

Olivia Newton-John Battles Stage 4 Cancer, Uses Traditional and Alternative Treatments

The 69-year-old singer and actress recently reported she’s using both traditional and alternative medications to treat her metastatic breast cancer.

After successfully keeping the cancer at bay, it returned for a third time last year and metastasized to her sacrum, a part of the low back.

 

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In addition to her current medical regimen the Australian native grows cannabis at her Santa Barbara, California home and uses its oil to help with the pain.  She states, “My dream is that, in Australia soon, it will be available to all the cancer patients and people going through cancer that causes pain.”

In 1992, Newton-John first battled breast cancer by undergoing chemotherapy and by having a modified radical mastectomy (removing the breast and lymph nodes).  She immediately had breast reconstruction and included yoga, acupuncture and massage in her treatment regimen.

In 2013, after a minor car accident, a lump in her left shoulder revealed it was breast cancer.

In an interview with the Susan G. Komen Foundation, she shared her personal story.  “I meditated every day, did yoga, used homeopathy, ate well—I boosted my inner strength as much as I could. When bad thoughts came in, I pushed them right out. I had what’s called a modified radical mastectomy with reconstruction done to my breast immediately—a woman can be traumatized waking up with nothing there.

She remained cancer free for years.

In a recent interview with People Magazine, she states she believes she will win “over it,” but adds, “I don’t go there. I’d be lying if I said I never go there. There are moments, I’m human. So If I allow myself to go there, I could easily create that, you know, big fear.”

 

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OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN IN 1978’S GREASE

 

Breast cancer is one of the few cancers that spreads to the bone. Other cancers that may rear its ugly head in the bone include thyroid, kidney, pancreas and the liver.

According to the American Cancer Society Stage 4 Breast Cancer (spreading to other parts of the body) has a 5 year survival rate of 22%, as opposed to Stage 3, who’s 5 year survival rate is 72%.  Treatments today are improving survival rates.

 

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada

 

 

Posted in Health, marijuana, news

Marijuana Medical Benefits are Strain Specific

Cannabis users need to be aware that benefits may be unique and specific to certain strains.

Cannabis plants produce cannabinoids, or chemicals that can induce an effect on the body. When cannabinoids are produced by a plant they are called phytocannabinoids.  Humans produce their own cannabinoids, called endogenous cannabinoids.  Laboratory  or synthetically produced cannabinoids are called synthetic cannabinoids.

The human body has a very intricate endocannabinoid (endogenous cannabinoid) system, with receptors throughout our brain, organs, glands, and immune system. Hence a wide variety of physiological responses, occur when these receptors are stimulated by cannabinoids.  These include responses to sleep, memory, appetite, pain, immune response, mood, and cell damage repair and death, Research is currently investigating what endogenous chemicals the human body produces, but the majority of medical discussions surrounding cannabinoids includes the phytocannabinoids.

Cannabis plants produce many phytocannabinoids, but the most well known and studied include CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).  The latter is psychoactive, meaning it can give the user a feeling of euphoria.   The former, CBD, in non-psychoactive and researched more than others for its medicinal benefits.

Now plants, just like animals, are classified from Kingdom (Plantae) down to Genius and species.  Cannabis comes in a variety of species, including the major ones:  C. sativa, C. indica and C. ruderalis. 

 

57e622c231eb042b35e775bc0742ad54.png

 

C. ruderalis is less popular as it has a lower THC content. However it has “autoflowering” qualities, making them useful to cultivators, and if bred with C. sativa or C. indica could enhance the new hybrid in its reproduction.

C. sativa has a higher THC/CBD ratio, hence can provide more euphoria.  It reportedly helps decrease anxiety, treat depression and increase appetite.  It’s been touted to increase energy and boost creativity.  Its also used to help manage attention deficit disorder.  Although not approved yet in the US, an oral spray, nabiximol, has been developed and sold in multiple countries to treat neuropathic cancer pain.  Its brand name is sold, by prescription, as Sativex® .

C. indica has a higher CBD content and has been used for its sedative properties.  Its also used to help anxiety and induce appetite, but will additionally be used to treat pain and muscle spasms.

a3525bf41cd606aa53461a87ec709345.jpg

Epidiolex has received FDA approval to treat some seizures.  Its high CBD component is credited for its anti-seizure activity.

There are multiple other strains, each touted to have their own unique properties.  420medbook.com provides the below table.

 

c3b884b5b55e954d1619cae5addb556f.jpg

 

The challenge, however, is the lack of medical research in each of the different strains.  And when a study does come out discussing the medical advantages or disadvantages to using cannabis medicinally, the specific strain may not be mentioned or easily found in the report.

I believe that various strains do have unique properties and there is an art to the field of medical marijuana but more research needs to be done and quickly to avoid random use of cannabis products for treatment of medical conditions.

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician