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%.

getty_rm_photo_of_medical_marijuana_plant

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

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.

 

getty_rm_photo_of_medical_marijuana_plant

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 food, Health, news, sex

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

Reports of increasing cases of STD’s appear to correlate with the legalization of marijuana.

Could marijuana be leading to a complacency when it comes to handwashing and condom use?

STD-Trends

 

This Fall the CDC reported a continued rise in cases of sexually transmitted diseases by the following:

Nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were diagnosed in the United States in 2017, according to preliminary data released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the National STD Prevention Conference in Washington, D.C. This surpassed the previous record set in 2016 by more than 200,000 cases and marked the fourth consecutive year of sharp increases in these sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

And this week, the World Health Organization sounded the alarm of rising HIV cases in Eastern Europe.

At the same time more countries are easing up on legal restrictions when it comes to marijuana.  Which leads to the question, has the legalization of marijuana led to the rise in STD’s?

BackgroundChecks.org released this graphic displaying STD rates by state.

SexuallyDiseasedStates (1).png

Strikingly, there are some similarities to a map outlining state cannabis programs.

state cannabis.gif

 

Cannabis use is known to decrease anxiety and motivation and so an unintended consequence of increasing access to its use may be the decrease in precautionary thinking when it comes to unprotected sex.

Rare STD Evading Doctors and May Become Next Superbug

 

On that same note, multiple outbreaks have been reported in the food industry when it comes to pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli, Hepatitis A and Listeria.  Could complacency with proper food handling and hand washing be related to marijuana use?

Multistat-eOutbreaks-byYear

This could easily be analyzed by screening those with an STD for marijuana use, as well as those involved in a foodborne illness outbreak.

Now the legalization of marijuana allows more studies to be done to to determine its health benefits. I suggest, however, we also study, any links to complacency issues when it comes to home and workplace safety and exposures.

 

Why is food borne illness on the rise?

Multiple issues could be playing a role.

  1. Fresh produce is not cooked like meat and can therefore harbor more germs
  2. Preservatives, used in fast food, help to deter pathogen growth, and more people are shying away from fast food than in the past, opting for “fresh”, healthier options.
  3. On-the-go produce may not be washed after packaging due to a false sense of security that the vegetables are “clean.”
  4. As our population ages, and as more people suffer from immunocompromising disease such as diabetes and cancer, they may be more susceptible to food borne illness.
  5. Our gut microbiome has changed as our diets have shifted to food with more preservatives, hence possibly being less resilient to new pathogens that enter.
  6.  In regards to the ground turkey, it is not the same as ground beef and leaving the patties pink in the center mean you are consuming raw poultry. Turkey meat may need to cook longer until no pink is seen and core temperature is at least 165 degrees for at least 15 seconds
  7. We’re less strict about cleaning than we used to be.  Counter tops used to be bleached and scrubbed for longer periods of time than we do now-a-days with antimicrobial wipes.

Therefore be diligent about cleaning counter tops, cook your food thoroughly, wash produce before eating and be aware of any reported recalls.

 

A Review of Syphilis

Syphilis is also called “the great imitator”.  Many don’t realize they have syphilis as the symptoms mimic so many other diseases.  Syphilis has been on the rise and hasn’t been routinely tested in STD/STI panels.  It’s caused by a spirochete (spiral bacteria) called Treponema pallidum, and can cause infection in stages.

Primary Syphilis can manifest as a painless ulcer on the genitals, mouth or skin.

Secondary Syphilis can manifest as a rash, along with fever, joint pain, malaise…mimicking other illnesses. In this stage it can also manifest as warts on the genitals called condylomata lata.

 

Syphilis

 

As the course progresses, syphilis may become latent. For years one may have no symptoms at all.  The patient may mistakenly feel they suffered the flu and think nothing more of it. But if left untreated, syphilis can enter the final stage, Tertiary Syphilis, which can cause severe neurological disability (neurosyphilis) and can also severely affect the heart.

Penicillin is the treatment of choice for any stage of syphilis, including the latent stage of the illness.

 

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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

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