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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

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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

Posted in Entertainment, Health, news, Sports

Tiger Woods DUI Tox Report Positive for Benzodiazepines, Narcotics and Sleep Meds

Tiger Woods’ toxicology report in regards to his May arrest suggests his DUI was caused by a mixture of pain, sleep, and anxiety medications.

The report released Monday revealed the 41 year old pro-golfer had the following in his system when he was found asleep in his car on the side of the road while the lights were on and turning signal was flashing:  Ambien, Xanax, Dilaudid, Vicodin and Delta-9 carboxy THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

Woods had undergone spinal fusion surgery weeks prior.

Vicodin is a narcotic made of hydrocodone and acetaminophen.  It is used for pain and most commonly prescribed post-operatively.

Dilaudid is hydromorphone, a stronger narcotic.

Xanax is a benzodiazepine used for sedation, relaxation and to lower anxiety.

Ambien is a hypnotic type of sedative used for sleep and works within 15 minutes of ingestion.

Delta-9 carboxy THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

None of these medications are to be used while driving.  Additionally none should ever be used in combination.  The respiratory depression of one narcotic combined with the sedative effect of the benzodiazepine or hypnotic could cause death.

Woods entered a plea of not guilty to DUI, as alcohol was not involved and a mixture of medications was to blame, but its been reported a deal was made among prosecutors including a lesser charge of reckless driving and a stint in a “diversion program”.

Last month Woods stated he completed a private intensive program on his own.

On Monday he stated, “Recently, I had been trying on my own to treat my back pain and a sleep disorder, including insomnia, but I realize now it was a mistake to do this without medical assistance.”

Polypharmacy, or taking multiple medications at the same time, can increase the risk of serious adverse events if the drugs act synergystically or mask side effects of one another.

Many overdoses occuring with pain pills may not always be a quantity issue with the narcotic but rather a mixture of the narcotic with another medication such as those taken by Tiger Woods.  He was lucky to still be alive when found as were those pedestrians or drivers on the street that evening.

 

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

 

 

Posted in Health, news

Drug Using Marijuana Chemical Found to Reduce Seizures in Epileptic Children

For centuries, multiple civilizations have used cannabis to treat various medical conditions, including seizures.  This week researchers from NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center found a chemical in marijuana to do just that.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that a liquid medication containing cannabidiol, one of the many chemicals in marijuana, reduced convulsive seizures in children by half.

Created by GW Pharmaceuticals, Epidiolex, brand name, was the drug used in this study and has not yet received FDA approval.

As opposed to THC, tetrahydracannibinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, cannabidiol does not cause euphoria and has been the subject of many studies for its medicinal applications.

In this study, researchers tested 120 children with Dravet’s syndrome and found those given Epidiolex not only suffered less seizures, but 5% of the children were seizure-free during the 14 week trial.

Side effects, however, were reported such as fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea and anorexia (loss of appetite).

 

What is a seizure?

A seizure occurs when there is abnormal electrical activity in the brain.  If the electricity doesn’t conduct properly, brain function gets disrupted. This could lead to convulsions  (involuntary jerking movements), loss of muscle tone, changes in senses such as vision, hearing and smell, loss of bladder control, loss of consciousness and sometimes stroke, brain damage and death.

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What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which a person has recurrent, unprovoked seizures.

What is Dravet Syndrome?

Dravet Syndrome is a rare genetic condition that starts in infancy.  Children can suffer a variety of seizures and may eventually suffer from developmental delay and learning disorders.  What makes Dravet Syndrome so severe is the fact that the seizures are refractory to many anti-seizure medications.

 

More research needs to be done in this area, but these preliminary findings give parents and the medical community hope that a pharmaceutical option could exist in the near future for these devastating and potential fatal seizures.

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

 

 

Posted in Health, news

Daily Marijuana Found to SLOW Brain Aging

In a study published in the journal Nature Medicine, researchers from Hebrew University and the University of Bonn discovered that daily marijuana use could help prevent the “slowdown” that occurs in our brains as we age.

THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, was found to boost memory and learning, cognitive function, in older mice.

In the study, researchers gave THC daily to groups of mice who were 2 months old, one year old and 18 months old. Then the mice solved a water maze.  The older mice who were not given the THC  had difficulty recognizing familiar objects and navigating  the maze. But those who were given THC scored similarly to younger vibrant mice, and did so for a month after the dosing stopped.

Now the younger mice given the THC appeared to score poorly compared to younger mice not given the THC.

The study authors believe the THC is stimulating the brain’s endocannabinoid system, which is a biochemical pathway that slows down with aging.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

Its a system within the brain and spinal cord and peripheral nervous system with receptors that help regulate a variety of actions including memory, mood, appetite, and pain.  The body makes its own “cannabinoids” which work at the synapse where neurotransmitters are released.  Our own cannabinoids (endogenous cannabinoids, hence endocannibinoids) help regulate what is being neurotransmitted.  Exogenous (outside) THC that is inhaled/ingested competes with a body’s own cannabinoids for these receptors causing changes in what signals get released.

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Image from Scholastic Head’s Up

 

This isn’t the first time marijuana has been found  to improve brain health.

Previous studies found cannabis to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protecting brain cells and stimulating new cell growth.

In 2008 a study in mice found THC to improve memory in older rats as well as decrease brain inflammation.

However in 2016 a study published in Nature found cannibinoids to activate CB1 receptors within the mitochondria of hippocampal neurons, which resulted in memory loss.  Their study suggested that chronic use of marijuana permanently affected the brain cell’s mitochondria, thereby causing long term memory loss.

So is marijuana good for the brain or not?  Studies in mice conflict however, researchers are slowly narrowing down why it helps and why it hurts.  Give it more time before placing any bets….

 

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