Cannabis Education and Research gets Healthy Injection
The “miraculous lifesaving benefits of medicinal cannabis derived from hemp”, in the words of Barry Lambert, is what coaxed this Australian philanthropist to donate $ 3 Million dollar to the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. A new medical center, officially named The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp will be the first medical center in the USA for research on medical cannabis.
It will enable the center to further the therapeutic potential of a wide range of cannabinoids, like Cannabidiol as well as chemical variants that are still lesser known.
The Lamberts have firsthand experience of the healing power of hemp when, as an infant, their granddaughter was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome. Dravet syndrome is a rare genetic abnormality that has an effect on the brain’s electric signaling system and as a result causes severe and repetitive seizures. Cannabis from hemp brought great relief to their granddaughter.
The money will be used for research into the therapeutic potential of medicinal cannabis and also the potential health benefits of hemp, the non- psychoactive part of the cannabis plant. For centuries, hemp was known to be used in textiles, paper, ropes and cords, but now it will be studied for the medicinal cannabinoids in its composure and the benefits derived from it.
The Jefferson University from the start had it on their agenda to study the science around the therapeutic use of cannabinoids and its variants.
Why research is needed
In order to understand what the total effect of all the cannabinoids and other chemical compositions are, research centers are of utmost importance. With cannabis still being seen as a Schedule 1 drug under Federal Law, universities and medical institutes are in desperate need of funding to do research and money is not easily available.
In this case a donation was given due to a positive personal experience in seeing firsthand how effective treatment with cannabis oil was. Treatment with hemp oil brought relief to something as severe as Dravet Syndrome.
What is Dravet Syndrome and how can it be treated by Cannabis?
Dravet Syndrome is a rare and incurable form of epilepsy in infants. It often starts at the age of 6 months. Apart from brain seizures, infants often develop other kinds of seizures too. It could be non-conclusive myoclonic eye-lid seizures.
The initial development of the child looks as if it on track, but around the second year a drastic decline is noticed. In addition, the child can have seizures without the normal triggers like high fever or illnesses. It is also hard to treat the seizures as they resist treatments and happen frequently. To maintain a level of quality of life, multiple drugs are needed with other side effects.
Treatment also has to be tailored to each child as it is a spectrum disorder and the course of Dravet syndrome varies. It also bring with a number of other conditions namely chronic infection, delayed growth, delayed language and speech acquisition, difficulty sleeping, behavioral and emotional delay in development, dysfunctional autonomic nervous system, impaired balance and mobility, problems with nutritional uptake and issues with bone formation and growth.
Treatment with cannabis and its effect- A family in Colorado was also desperate to find treatment for their child and worked together with a medical dispensary to grow a specific strain of cannabis with higher levels of CBD and lower levels of THC. The successful treatment on the symptoms of Dravet Syndrome became a gateway for other children to gain access. They called the strain Charlotte’s web, after their daughter.
Studies are still relatively young in the medical world with regards to cannabis treatment and it is still controversial whether children should receive cannabis at all for treatment. But in a study done at Stanford in 2013, parents indicated in a survey that on average 12 common prescribed medications failed to control the symptoms their children experienced. 84% said the cannabis-enriched treatments reduced the symptoms significantly. In 11 % of the children the seizures stopped completely. In 42 percent of the children the seizures were 80% less frequent. 32 percent of the children experienced 25 – 60 percent less frequent seizures. The only side effect noticed in some kids was drowsiness and fatigue.
Landmark moves make wonders happen. In the world of medical cannabis, more research is always necessary and more visionaries like the Lamberts are needed. Dravet Syndrome is but one condition that benefit from cannabis. The world is more than ready for the healing powers of cannabis.
What would happen if we unleashed the floodgates of cannabis research? Odds are we’d find a less toxic replacement for a wide slew of drugs currently being slung for the sake of corporate profits. It’s time we allow real competition within the medical field…cannabis is the number one contender.
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