Fibromyalgia is one of those disorders with an unknown cause but highly incapacitating symptoms. It is precisely because its etiopathogenesis (cause) is not known, plus the lack of specific effective treatment, that it has taken the medical community so long to recognise it as an illness. An observational study carried out in Barcelona was published recently, in which the perceived benefits of self-medication with cannabis were evaluated in a group of women with this condition.
Although there are a number of medical conditions for which the therapeutic properties of cannabis and its by-products are now unquestionable, there continue to be disorders or pathologies for which its benefits are not quite as clear. Similarly, even though for some psychiatric pathologies the risks associated with the use of cannabis are fairly well defined, for others, the risks are relatively unknown.
Cannabis use has been implicated in several cases of cerebrovascular accident (CVA) or stroke, and may also exacerbate cardiovascular ill-health that can lead to stroke, in susceptible individuals. However, there is also strong evidence that there may be a potential for cannabinoid therapies to assist in post-stroke recovery.
Since the 1970s, the scientific community - prompted by frequent reports from patients opting for self-medication - has been able to focus its research on cannabinoids for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The number of studies conducted on the subject continues to be relatively low, despite recent renewed efforts in this direction owing to the frequency of cases reported by patients suffering from the disease.
The French have relatively harsh drug laws compared with neighbouring European countries. However, in recent years attention has been paid to the successful harm reduction policies many of these neighbours are implementing, and various reforms have been made. In January 2014, France legislated to allow medical cannabis.
Algeria is a major transit point for drugs, particularly hashish produced in Morocco and destined for Europe. It is not a major producer or consumer of illicit drugs, although it appears that both production and consumption is on the increase. As well as hashish arriving from Morocco, increasing amounts of cannabis (and cocaine from South America) are trafficked into Algeria from West Africa. The bulk of the contraband leaving Algeria is destined to travel by sea to Europe, although a small proportion is also smuggled overland to Middle Eastern destinations.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has a long history associated with cannabis use, and large swathes of the population continue to use cannabis in the traditional manner. However, the present regime has been severely clamping down on drug trafficking in recent years, in response to an increase in heroin and opium addiction rates.
GrassRoots: The Cannabis Revolution is a feature-length documentary that explores the world of medical cannabis consumers and activists. Spanning The USA, The Netherlands, Spain, USA and the UK; the new film from Dale Beaumont-Smith, director of 'vegas2venice', follows the trials and tribulations of a sub-culture trying to change the current cannabis laws in the United Kingdom.
Terpenoids and terpenes are aromatic compounds that are found in thousands of plant species, and are responsible for the various flavours and fragrances of cannabis. We have known about their presence in cannabis for decades, but it is only recently that awareness of their potential therapeutic properties has begun to expand.
In Part I, we looked at the many horrific cases of children being removed from family homes due to parents’ cannabis use. Here, we will discuss another side of the battle for legal cannabis that is affecting children in the USA—sick children, who could benefit from medical cannabis, are legally prevented from doing so.
Despite—or perhaps due to—the massive gains made over the last few years in establishing a legal status for cannabis in the USA, the backlash continues. Worryingly, one form the backlash is taking is among the most emotionally devastating possible for all concerned—the removal of children from their homes.
Sativex by GW Pharmaceuticals is the first cannabis-based medicine to be fully approved and brought to market in any country, and is now available in 22 countries worldwide. Its steady march through Europe has been accompanied by considerable media attention, and numerous challenges have been faced and overcome.
Years of practical experience, confirmed by recent research, have shown that the so called ‘stepping stone theory’ is wrong and that cannabis can in fact support treatment for alcohol and drug addiction.
Researchers in Israel performed a clinical trial of the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis on patients suffering from Crohn’s disease. On the 21 patients suffering from severe symptoms and who did not respond to other treatments (including steroids), 11 were given cannabis twice daily while the other received a placebo. After 8 weeks of treatment with cannabis 5 of them showed complete remission of the symptoms while clinical response was measured in 90% of cases.
The Republic of Cameroon is a relatively stable and successful Central African nation, with good roads and infrastructure. However, a substantial proportion of its rural population depends on subsistence agriculture. As a result, cannabis appeals greatly to poor farmers as it commands a high price and can be transported with ease.
The general public is increasingly aware of the medicinal benefits of cannabis, while the plant is being accepted in ever more countries as well as states of the U.S.A. As a result, the need for alternative methods of ingestion is growing, especially among medicinal users. After all, there are healthier ways of using cannabis than the prevalent habit of smoking.
The federal republic of Nigeria is a large country on the coast of West Africa. It has a population of over 170 million people and is by far the most densely populated country in Africa. Nigeria is the economic centre of the region and a very important hub in the international trade triangle that connects South America, West Africa and Europe.
The state of Eritrea is a small country on the coast of the Horn of Africa, bordering on Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti. The population of Eritrea is only six million, and highly dependent on agriculture, with cannabis becoming an increasingly important crop.
Like any other medicinal plant, cannabis has intrinsic properties that allow it to produce both beneficial effects and undesired side effects. Some of these side effects are cognitive, such as the impairment of the short-term memory or the potential to trigger psychotic episodes in susceptible individuals. The negative physical side effects of cannabis include an increase in oxygen consumption by the heart tissues and, as we shall see in this article, the capacity to accelerate the progression of fibrosis in individuals suffering chronic Hepatitis C, if cannabis is consumed regularly and not just on a sporadic basis.