Category Archives: Medical News

Medicine Control Council Gets The Boot

Medical dagga may soon be at our door step. Dagga dealers are out, new kids on the block – New bill kicks the MCC to the curb to establish new authority…

“The Medicines Control Council needs a new chairperson and a new registrar. Peter Eagles (the chair) and Mandisa Hela (the registrar) need to go.” – Nathan Geffen

The 5th of November 2014 marked the 3rd day of public hearings, held at the National Assembly, regarding new legislation that seek to replace the Medicines Control Council with a new authority on medicines and related substances.

The Medicines & Related Substances Amendment Bill [B6-2014] will establish a new regulatory body, called the South African Health Product Regulatory Authority, that will oversee medicines, medical devices and food stuffs.

The bill is now in a secondary stage of being processed. Public hearings are being held at the National Assembly level. It has yet to go through a third stage overseen by the national council of provinces before it can be signed into law by the president.

Medical cannabis may be at our door step

At this stage we do not have enough information available to say whether the new regulatory body will introduce medical dagga into South Africa.

One thing is certain amendments will need to be made to the Drug & Trafficking Act, and other acts of law, to enable the new authority to venture into the business of alternative dagga medication and marijuana health products such as medicated edibles.

Amendments made to the Drug & Trafficking Act earlier in 2014 have made all cannabinoids illegal effectively making dagga extracts illegal on a biological level.

The Medical Innovation Bill, set in motion by late Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini, may pave a way for a single dagga license to be issued to a sole corporate body for the purpose of producing legal commercialised dagga for medical and industrial applications.

While we drown in the red tape and bad legislation, South African medical dagga patients are in despair as they are facing a national medical dagga crisis.

Medical Dagga Informant 😛

Special shout-out to @ZARKA_THC who made us aware of the Bill.

Sources

SA step closer to new medicines regulator

Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Bill PDF

Medicines Control Council needs new leaders

AgriSA Parlaimentary Update 19 Aug 2014

Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Bill (B6-2014)

How dagga shrink most aggressive brain cancer

Widely proscribed around the world for its recreational uses, cannabis is being used in a number of different therapeutic ways to bring relief for severe medical conditions. Products using cannabinoids, the active components of the cannabis plant, have been licensed for medical use. Sativex, for example, which contains an equal mixture of the cannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), is already licenced as a mouth spray for multiple sclerosis and in the US, dronabinol and nabilone are commercially available for treating cancer-related side effects.

Now, in a study published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, we’ve also shown that cannabinoids could play a role in treating one of the most aggressive cancers in adults.

There are more than 85 cannabinoids, which are known to bind to unique receptors in cells and which receive outside chemical signals. These receptors feed into signalling pathways, telling cells what to do. Recent studies have shown that some cannabinoids have potent anti-cancer action. For example, both THC and CBD have been shown in a number of laboratory studies to effectively induce cell death in tumour cells by modifying the faulty signalling pathways inside these cells. Depending on the cell type this can disrupt tumour growth or start to kill it.

The psychoactivity associated with some cannabinoids, principally THC (which gives people a cannabis high), is also mediated via the same receptors. Because these receptors are found in the highest abundances in brain cells, it follows that brain tumours also rich in these receptors may respond best to cannabinoids.

We wanted to investigate the anti-cancer effects of Sativex in glioma cells. High-grade glioma is an aggressive cancer, with very low long-term survival rates. Statistics show that just over a third (36%) of adult patients in the UK with glioma live for at least a year, while the five-year survival rate is 10%.

Depending on the individual, treatment can consist of surgery, radiotherapy, and/or chemotherapy with the drug temozolomide. However, due primarily to the intricate localisation of the tumour in the brain and its invasive behaviour, these treatments remain largely unsuccessful.

However, as our study showed, combining radiotherapy with cannabinoid treatment had a big effect.

Finding the right dose

We first had to perform lab tests on cells to optimise the doses of the cannabinoids, and showed that CBD and THC combined favourably.

We found that to achieve a 50% kill rate of glioma cells, a dose of 14mM (millimolar – a measure of amount-of-substance concentration) of CBD or 19mM of THC would be needed if each was used singularly. However, when used in combination, the concentrations required to achieve the same magnitude of cell kill is significantly reduced to just 7mM for each. This apparent reduction in the doses of the cannabinoids, in particular THC, without a loss of overall anti-cancer action is particularly attractive as unwanted side effects are also reduced.

Once we had these results, we then tested the impact of combining the cannabinoids with irradiation in mice with glioma. The efficacy of this treatment was tracked using sophisticated MRI technology – and we determined the effects on tumour growth of either CBD and THC together, irradiation, or the combination of both. The drugs were used at suboptimal doses to allow us to see if there was any improvement in the therapy from combining them.

Balancing anti-cancer with psychoactive

In principle, patients treated with THC could experience some psychoactive activity. But the secret to successfully exploiting cannabinoids as a treatment for cancer is to balance the desired anti-cancer effects with the less desirable psychoactive effects. This is possible, as some cannabinoids seem to function independently of the receptors and so do not engage the adverse effects. CBD is one such cannabinoid. The doses of THC we selected were below the psychoactive level, but together with CBD it partnered well to give the best overall anti-cancer effect.

Our results showed that the dose of irradiation we used had no dramatic effect on tumour growth, whereas CBD and THC administered together marginally reduced tumour progression. However, combining the cannabinoids with irradiation further impeded the rate at which tumour growth progressed and was virtually stagnant throughout the course of the treatment. Correspondingly, tumour sizes on the final day of the study were significantly smaller in these subjects compared with any of the others.

The results are promising. There may be other applications but for now it could provide a way of breaking through glioma and saving more lives.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Feature Image: Unrelated

Alcohol Most Dangerous Drug After Tobacco – Research Finds

Research by the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs have found that, of all drugs, alcohol presented the most danger to it’s user and those around them.

“Overall, alcohol was the most harmful drug.”

Prof David J. Nutt, Leslie A. King, Lawrence D. Phillips and two other specialists scored 20 drugs on 16 criteria, nine of which related to the harms that a drug produces in the individual and seven to the harms to others. Drugs were scored out of 100 points, and the criteria were weighted to indicate their relative importance.

Drugs ordered by their overall harm scores, showing the separate contributions to the overall scores of harms to users and harm to others The weights after normalisation (0–100) are shown in the key (cumulative in the sense of the sum of all the normalised weights for all the criteria to users.
Fig.1 – Drugs ordered by their overall harm scores, showing the separate contributions to the overall scores of harms to users and harm to others.

 

The research, by Prof Nutt and his team, showed that heroin, crack cocaine, and methamphetamine were the most harmful drugs to individuals (part scores 34, 37, and 32, respectively), whereas alcohol, heroin, and crack cocaine were the most harmful to others (46, 21, and 17, respectively). Overall, alcohol was the most harmful drug (overall harm score 72), with heroin (55) and crack cocaine (54) in second and third places.

Alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis or even heroin.
Fig.2 – Alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis or even heroin. Overall weighted scores for each of the drugs. The coloured bars indicate the part scores for each of the criteria. The key shows the normalised weight for each criterion. A higher weight indicates a larger diff erence
between the most harmful drug on the criterion and no harm.

 

Further more it was found that the findings of the research correlate poorly with present day drug classification, which is not simply based on considerations of harm.

The research were funded by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (UK)

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Prof. David J. Nutt
Prof. David J. Nutt

 

 

Source

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(10)61462-6/abstract

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/alcohol-is-far-more-deadly-than-cannabis-former-minister-norman-baker-says-9885334.html