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‘Medical marijuana has no public health risks’ should not be withheld from patients’

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HIV INFECTION… Up to 11 per cent of HIV sufferers in poor countries do not respond to AIDS-prevention drugs.PHOTO: David/gettyimages

*WHO says plant extract beneficial for cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, other chronic diseases
*Cannabis prevents mental decline in 50% of HIV sufferers, reduces inflammatory white blood cell count

As legalization of cannabis has spread rapidly across the United States and around the world, health officials have cautioned that we do not have enough research to rule out any down sides.

According to a report published by DailyMail UK, on Thursday, December 14, 2017 after months of deliberation and investigation, the WHO has concluded that cannabidiol (CBD) is a useful treatment for epilepsy and palliative care, and does not carry any addiction risks. While the organization is set to run a fuller review of cannabis next year, assessing all cannabis-related substances, physicians and the cannabis industry have been poised awaiting this decision to deny scheduling for months.

Had the WHO chosen to schedule the drug, it could have hamstrung physicians from prescribing medical marijuana globally.The report, published Thursday, also recommended imposing the strong restrictions available on fentanyl, a synthetic opioid which has killed thousands of people in America’s drug addiction epidemic.

“There is increased interest from Member States in the use of cannabis for medical indications including for palliative care,” the report said. “Responding to that interest and increase in use, WHO has in recent years gathered more robust scientific evidence on therapeutic use and side effects of cannabis and cannabis components.”

In conclusion, the authors wrote: “Recent evidence from animal and human studies shows that its use could have some therapeutic value for seizures due to epilepsy and related conditions.”They added that ‘current information does not justify scheduling of cannabidiol’, and declared that taking medical marijuana will not lead to addiction to THC, the psychoactive property of cannabis that induces a ‘high’.

Speaking to Daily Mail Online, Raul Elizalde, the Mexican father who became an unlikely face for cannabis as he fought to get his epileptic daughter treatment, said he was overcome with emotion.He is responsible for driving the Mexican government to legalize medical marijuana so his first-born daughter Grace, who once suffered hundreds of seizures a day, could access CBD. Now, she suffers a few seizures a day.

“I’m ecstatic that these international health leaders agree that CBD is a substance that should not be scheduled and has therapeutic value for a variety of medical conditions,” Elizalde, founder and president of HempMeds Mexico, told Daily Mail Online on Wednesday.“We look forward to continuing our conversation about its many benefits in 2018.”

Also, a new research suggests that cannabis/marijuana could prevent mental decline in up to 50 percent of Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) sufferers.Patients who use marijuana have fewer inflammatory white blood cells, which are involved in the immune system, a study found.The findings were published in the journal AIDS.

This could save infected people from mental decline, which affects up to 50 percent of sufferers due to ongoing inflammation in the brain as a result of the immune system constantly fighting the virus.Lead author Professor Norbert Kaminski from Michigan State University, said: “Those who used marijuana had [inflammatory cell] levels pretty close to a healthy person not infected with HIV.”

Study author Mike Rizzo added: “This decrease of cells could slow down, or maybe even stop, the inflammatory process, potentially helping patients maintain their cognitive function longer.”

More than 1.1 million people are infected with HIV in the US, of which one in seven are unaware they carry the virus.Some 29 states in the US have legalized marijuana for medical use, of which seven also allow the drug to be taken recreationally.The researchers analyzed blood samples from 40 HIV patients, some of which were cannabis users.

They isolated inflammatory white blood cells, which are involved in the immune system, from the blood samples.The researchers then assessed the effect of a chemical in marijuana, known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which gives the drug its hallucinogenic effect, on the aforementioned cells.Results reveal HIV patients who use cannabis have fewer inflammatory white blood cells, which could slow the mental decline that affects up to 50 percent of patients.

Kaminski said: “The patients who didn’t smoke marijuana had a very high level of inflammatory cells compared to those who did use. In fact, those who used marijuana had levels pretty close to a healthy person not infected with HIV.”Rizzo added: “This decrease of cells could slow down, or maybe even stop, the inflammatory process, potentially helping patients maintain their cognitive function longer.” The researchers believe their findings could also help to treat other conditions related to inflammation in the brain such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease.


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