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NORML Clinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids

NORML Clinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids

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01/28/2013

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Emerging Clinical Applicationsfor Cannabis and Cannabinoids:
 A Review of the Recent Scientific Literature, 2000 – 20
10
 
Paul ArmentanoDeputy DirectorNORML | NORML FoundationWashington, DC January
27
 , 20
10
 paul@norml.org
 
Working to Reform Marijuana Laws
 
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (www.norml.org)
 
- 1 – 1/15/2009
 
Table of Contents 
INTRODUCTION
.............................................................................................................................................................2
 
FOREWORD
.......................................................................................................................................................................6
 
ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
..............................................................................................................................................10
 
AMYOTROPIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS
.....................................................................................................................13
 
CHRONIC PAIN
..............................................................................................................................................................15
 
DIABETES MELLITUS
...................................................................................................................................................17
 
DYSTONIA
.......................................................................................................................................................................19
 
FIBROMYALGIA
............................................................................................................................................................21
 
GASTROINTESTINAL DISORDERS
.........................................................................................................................23
 
GLIOMAS
.........................................................................................................................................................................25
 
HEPATITIS C
...................................................................................................................................................................30
 
HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS
.................................................................................................................32
 
HYPERTENSION
............................................................................................................................................................35
 
INCONTINENCE
............................................................................................................................................................37
 
METHICILLIN-RESISTANT STAPHYLOCCUS AUREUS (MRSA)
....................................................................39
 
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
................................................................................................................................................40
 
OSTEOPOROSIS
.............................................................................................................................................................43
 
PRURITIS
..........................................................................................................................................................................45
 
RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS
........................................................................................................................................47
 
SLEEP APNEA
..................................................................................................................................................................49
 
TOURETTE’S SYNDROME
..........................................................................................................................................50
 
 
Working to Reform Marijuana Laws
 
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (www.norml.org)
 
- 2 – 1/15/2009
 
Introduction
 
Despite the ongoing political debate regarding the legality of medicinal marijuana, clinicalinvestigations of the therapeutic use of cannabinoids are now more prevalent than at anytime in history. A search of the National Library of Medicine
ʹ
s PubMed website quantifiesthis fact. A keyword search using the terms
ʺ
cannabis, 1996
ʺ
(the year California voters became the first of 13 states to allow for the drug
’ 
s medical use under state law) reveals just258 scientific journal articles published on the subject during that year. Perform this samesearch for the year 2008, and one will find over 2,100 published scientific studies.While much of the renewed interest in cannabinoid therapeutics is a result of the discoveryof the endocannabinoid regulatory system, some of this increased attention is also due tothe growing body of testimonials from medicinal cannabis patients and their physicians.Nevertheless, despite this influx of anecdotal reports, much of the modern investigation ofmedicinal cannabis remains limited to preclinical (animal) studies of individualcannabinoids (e.g. THC or cannabidiol) and/or synthetic cannabinoid agonists (e.g.,dronabinol or WIN 55,212-2) rather than clinical trial investigations involving whole plantmaterial. Predictably, because of the US government
ʹ
s strong public policy stance againstany use of cannabis, the bulk of this modern cannabinoid research is taking place outsidethe United States.As clinical research into the therapeutic value of cannabinoids has proliferated
there arenow more than 17,000 published papers in the scientific literature analyzing marijuana andits constituents
so too has investigators
ʹ
understanding of cannabis
ʹ
remarkablecapability to combat disease. Whereas researchers in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s primarilyassessed cannabis
ʹ
ability to temporarily alleviate various disease symptoms
such as thenausea associated with cancer chemotherapy
scientists today are exploring the potentialrole of cannabinoids to modify disease.Of particular interest, scientists are investigating cannabinoids
ʹ
capacity to moderateautoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as their role in the treatment of neurological disorders such asAlzheimer
ʹ
s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig
ʹ
s disease.)Investigators are also studying the anti-cancer activities of cannabis, as a growing body ofpreclinical and clinical data concludes that cannabinoids can reduce the spread of specificcancer cells via apoptosis (programmed cell death) and by the inhibition of angiogenesis

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