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Tel Aviv, Israel: The adjunctive use of CBD extracts is safe and effective in adolescent patients with refractory epilepsy, according to clinical data published online ahead of print in the journal Brain & Development.

Israeli researchers assessed the sustained daily use of extracted CBD oils in a cohort of young patients with treatment resistant epilepsy.

Thirty-five percent of participants experienced a reduction in mean monthly seizure frequency of 75 percent or greater following CBD treatment. Forty-one percent of patients either partially or completely tapered their use of anti-epileptic drugs during the study period due to improvements in their condition. Patients who were younger than ten years of age at treatment onset experienced higher improvement rates compared to older subjects. The most commonly reported adverse side-effect of CBD treatment was somnolence, which was reported in 14 percent of patients.

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Authors concluded, "In concordance with recent encouraging evidence, this open-label study using parental report, showed that CBD- enriched cannabis extract appears to have potential anti-seizure effect as an add- on treatment in pediatric patients with refractory epilepsy, with a favorable safety profile."

The findings are similar to those of other recent trials reporting that the use of CBD extracts reduces seizure frequency and improves other symptoms of epilepsy. Regulators at the US Food and Drug Administration are anticipated to grant market approval this summer to a proprietary formulation of CBD oil, known as Epidiolex, for the treatment of Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, two types of severe pediatric epilepsy.

 

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal has signed legislation into law expanding the pool of patients eligible to possess CBD oil under the state's limited medical exemption law.

Passage of House Bill 65 permits patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and intractable pain to receive a physician's authorization to possess oils high in cannabidiol and low in THC. The bill also creates a study commission to make policy recommendations with regard to whether the state should provide in-state production and distribution of CBD products.

Under the law, eligible patients may possess up to 20 ounces of CBD-infused oils as long as they contain no more than five percent THC. However, the law does not provide for the licensed production of these products. According to a 2018 statewide poll commissioned by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 77 percent of voters support amending the law to permit the licensed production and distribution of medical cannabis.

 

New York: Patients Use Fewer Opioids Following Enrollment In Medical Cannabis ProgramEnglewood, NJ: Cannabis exposure is associated with lower instances of atrial fibrillation (arrhythmia) in patients hospitalized for heart failure, according to data published in the American Journal of Cardiology.

A team of investigators from Seton Hall University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and elsewhere assessed the relationship between cannabis exposure and atrial fibrillation in a cohort of nearly four million patients hospitalized in 2014 for heart failure.

Compared to matched controls, "Cannabis users have lower odds of AF [than do] nonusers, which was not explained by co-morbid conditions, age, insurance type, [or] socioeconomic status," authors concluded.

A prior analysis by the team similarly reported that cannabis exposure lowered the risk of atrial fibrillation and also reduced in-hospital mortality in heart failure patients.

Other studies have similarly reported that marijuana-exposed patients are less likely than non-users to die when hospitalized for burns and other forms of severe trauma, certain types of orthopedic surgeries, and traumatic brain injury.

Rochester, NY - Patients enrolled in New York state's medical cannabis program reduce their use of opioids and spend less money on prescription medications, according to data published online in the journal Mental Health Clinician.

Investigators from GPI Clinical Research labs in Rochester and the University of Buffalo assessed trends in patients' medical cannabis and prescription drug use following their enrollment in the state's marijuana access program.

On average, subjects' monthly analgesic prescription costs declined by 32 percent following enrollment, primarily due to a reduction in the use of opioid pills and fentanyl patches. "After three months treatment, medical cannabis improved [subjects'] quality of life, reduced pain and opioid use, and lead to cost savings," authors concluded.

The study's findings are similar to those reported among enrollees in other states' medical cannabis programs, including the experiences of patients in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, and elsewhere.

 

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