General Information

You Must Remember This (Re: Mushrooms)

By | News

Eating mushrooms may reduce the risk of cognitive impairment, writes Nicholas Bakalar in the New York Times March 14, 2019.

Researchers in Singapore used data on 663 Chinese men and women over 60. In one-on-one interviews, they recorded diet information, including questions about six types of commonly consumed mushrooms. They assessed cognitive function with detailed structured interviews and widely used tests of mental acuity.

After controlling for many health, behavioral and socioeconomic factors, including the consumption of meat, green vegetables, fruits and nuts, they found that compared with those who consumed less than one five-ounce portion of mushrooms a week, those who consumed one to two portions had a 43 percent reduced risk for M.C.I. People who ate more than two portions had a 52 percent reduced risk. The study is in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The reasons for the association are not clear, but mushrooms contain various antioxidants that may inhibit the buildup in the brain of amyloid beta and tau, proteins that are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.

Donald Abrams, MD, described the health benefits of mushrooms in “Cancer & Nutrition” (O’Shaughnessy’s Autumn 2011). Uncooked white button mushrooms —commonly sliced into salads— contain a possible carcinogen, Abrams warned:

Shiitake mushrooms are enjoyed in Asia for their immune-enhancing, antitumor and antiviral, and general antibiotic properties. They are rich in amino acids and fiber and are a good source of vitamins, particularly B12 and ergosterol, which is converted by sunlight into vitamin D. Shiitakes also contain an antitumor polysaccharide known as lentinan, which triggers lymphokines, interferon, and interleukin. This cascade augments natural killer-cell function.

Shiitake, maitake, and enoki mushrooms and their constituents are often used concurrently with chemotherapy and radiation in Japan as adjuvant therapies.

All edible mushrooms must be cooked to break down cell walls to make beneficial nutrients more accessible. White button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus), commonly sliced raw and tossed into salads, contain agaritine, which is related to hydrazine, which is a carcinogen (mostly inactivated with cooking). There is some suggestion that the Agaricus species (white buttons, cremini, and portobello mushrooms) may contain an aromatase inhibitor-like activity.

Dr. Abrams adds in an email 3/19/19: “Paul Stamets doesn’t even eat cooked buttons!”

this feature brought to you by Fred Gardner’s Notes to the SCC

Member Meeting: Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

By | News

The next SCC Member Meeting is scheduled for
Sunday, March 3 at 12 noon (pacific time)

This is a virtual meeting via Zoom.

The topic is: Cannabis Use in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Presented by: Dr. Genester Wilson-King

Please join the SCC today to participate.

Existing Members, watch your inbox for instructions to join via Zoom.

SCC Announces Hiring of An Executive Director

By | News

Ellen Kuwana, a skilled science communicator, will serve as SCC’s first-ever Executive Director. Ms. Kuwana will help the SCC continue to offer outstanding CME and other evidence-based information.

Ms. Kuwana has 25 years of experience in creative medical and scientific media development within large research institutions. As a content director on grant-funded projects, she has created online continuing education resources (CME/CNE) on topics such as spirometry, opioids, and pediatric sedation. She has extensive experience in social media and conference planning. She is the author or coauthor of more than 200 science articles for researchers and lay audiences. She obtained her MS in neuroscience from University of California San Francisco.

Please feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn at
or via Twitter

Epidiolex Weighs in at Schedule V

By | Cannabinoids, CBD, Conditions, Epilepsy, General Information, News, Research, Research Articles, Seizure Disorder
But CBD remains on Schedule I, due to its supposed abuse liability.  “DEA’s decision to move Epidiolex to Schedule V…  applies only to CBD products approved by the FDA. Other, non-FDA-approved CBD preparations remain in Schedule I,”  says GW Pharmaceuticals’ press release (excerpted below):

Product expected to be available within six weeks

GW Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: GWPH, “GW,” “the Company” or “the Group”), a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing novel therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform, along with its U.S. subsidiary Greenwich Biosciences, announced today that EPIDIOLEX®(cannabidiol) oral solution has been transferred to Schedule V, the lowest restriction classification, by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). EPIDIOLEX, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on June 25, 2018 for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) or Dravet syndrome in patients two years of age or older, is the first prescription pharmaceutical formulation of highly-purified, plant-derived cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid lacking the high associated with marijuana, and the first in a new category of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs).

“We are pleased that the DEA has placed EPIDIOLEX in the lowest restriction Schedule, because it will help ensure that patients with LGS and Dravet syndrome, two of the most debilitating forms of epilepsy, can access this important new treatment option through their physicians,” said Justin Gover, GW’s Chief Executive Officer. “With this final step in the regulatory process completed, we are working hard to make EPIDIOLEX available within the next six weeks as we know there is excitement for a standardized version of cannabidiol that has undergone the rigor of controlled clinical trials and been approved by the FDA.”

With this decision, the product label for EPIDIOLEX will be finalized. The Company’s development program represents the only well-controlled clinical evaluation of a cannabinoid medication for patients with LGS and Dravet syndrome. Both diseases, which develop in childhood, are rare, severe forms of epilepsy that are notoriously treatment-resistant.[1],[2] Most patients with LGS and Dravet syndrome require multiple seizure medications and the majority are resistant to currently approved AEDs.2,[3],[4] The day-to-day impact of these conditions is significant with high rates of early mortality.[5],[6] The Company anticipates making EPIDIOLEX available within the next six weeks. Availability is primarily dependent on the time involved in obtaining the required Schedule V licenses for the U.S. distributor and importer.

Medicines in Schedule V have a proven medical use and low potential for abuse. DEA’s decision to move EPIDIOLEX to Schedule V was based on non-clinical and clinical data that evaluated the medicine’s potential for abuse and applies only to CBD products approved by the FDA. Other, non-FDA-approved CBD preparations remain in Schedule I. Some examples of Schedule V drugs are cough preparations such as Robitussin AC, and a number of commonly prescribed anti-epilepsy drugs such as VIMPAT (lacosamide), BRIVIACT (brivaracetam), and Lyrica (pregabalin).

The most common adverse reactions that occurred in EPIDIOLEX-treated patients were somnolence, decreased appetite, diarrhea, transaminase elevations, fatigue, malaise, and asthenia, rash, insomnia, sleep disorder and poor-quality sleep, and infections.  The medicine will be marketed in the United States by Greenwich Biosciences, the U.S. subsidiary of GW Pharmaceuticals plc. More information, including the final product label, can be found at Read More

Russo’s Grand Unified Theory

By | Alzheimer's Disease, Brain Trauma, Cancer, Conditions, Epilepsy, News, Parkinson's, Research, Research Articles

Ethan Russo forwards his paper, Grand Unified Theory (GUT): The Endcannabinoid System, Cannabis and the Microbiome just published in Frontiers of Integrative Neuroscience. Russo notes:

“This article addresses five critical areas of clinical neurology practice wherein conventional medicine has fallen short: epilepsy, brain tumors, Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, traumatic brain injury (TBI)/chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and how cannabis-based treatment and nutritional approaches with prebiotics and probiotics may provide more effective treatment.”

The paper, which will be the basis of Russo’s talk at the CannMed conference in LA October 23, begins with this overview:

Neurological therapeutics have been hampered by its inability to advance beyond symptomatic treatment of neurodegenerative disorders into the realm of actual palliation, arrest or reversal of the attendant pathological processes. While cannabis-based medicines have demonstrated safety, efficacy and consistency sufficient for regulatory approval in spasticity in multiple sclerosis (MS), and in Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut Syndromes (LGS), many therapeutic challenges remain. This review will examine the intriguing promise that recent discoveries regarding cannabis-based medicines offer to neurological therapeutics by incorporating the neutral phytocannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), their acidic precursors, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabis terpenoids in the putative treatment of five syndromes, currently labeled recalcitrant to therapeutic success, and wherein improved pharmacological intervention is required: intractable epilepsy, brain tumors, Parkinson disease (PD), Alzheimer disease (AD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI)/chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Current basic science and clinical investigations support the safety and efficacy of such interventions in treatment of these currently intractable conditions, that in some cases share pathological processes, and the plausibility of interventions that harness endocannabinoid mechanisms, whether mediated via direct activity on CB1 and CB2(tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, caryophyllene), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARγ; THCA), 5-HT1A (CBD, CBDA) or even nutritional approaches utilizing prebiotics and probiotics. The inherent polypharmaceutical properties of cannabis botanicals offer distinct advantages over the current single-target pharmaceutical model and portend to revolutionize neurological treatment into a new reality of effective interventional and even preventative treatment. Read More

Meiri Publishes in Nature

By | Cannabinoids, News

Joe D. Goldstrich, MD, forwards a groundbreaking paper by Dr. David Meiri and colleagues at the Technion in Haifa, just published by Nature. Goldstrich comments:

“In this seminal study, Dr. Dedi Meiri and his team at the Department of Biology, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology enhance our knowledge of the content, effect, and variability of cannabinoids across 36 individual cannabis cultivars. After developing the ability to test for 94 unique cannabinoids, they demonstrate medicinal differences based on specific cannabinoid content. These technologies will enable researchers to uncover the specific cannabinoids and combination of cannabinoids that deliver the targeted medical benefits that cannabis has to offer.”

The Technion is known as “Israel’s MIT.” Meiri’s lab employs the most sophisticated (and expensive) analytical tools in its (simple, logical, longterm) effort to inventory the components of cannabis and identify their effects. Read More

Our Letter to the Editor of JAMA

By | News

SCC Board Members recently published a Letter to the Editor of JAMA opposing several key provisions in the “model guidelines” the Federation wants the state medical boards to adopt. Read More….

Read More

Use of Prescription Pain Medications Among Medical Cannabis Patients

By | Opioids, Pain, Research Articles

Use of Prescription Pain Medications Among Medical Cannabis PatientsIn 2015, researchers at the University of Michigan published the first systematic comparison among medical cannabis users who use and do not use prescription pain medications (PPMs). PPM users and nonusers did not exhibit any difference in either lifetime or past-3-month use of other drugs, including cocaine, sedatives, street opioids, and amphetamines. PPM users rated the efficacy of cannabis higher than PPM for pain management and indicated a strong desire to reduce PPM usage. Longitudinal study designs are needed to better understand the trajectories of alcohol and other drug involvement over time among medical cannabis users. Read More

Use and Effects of Cannabinoids in Military Veterans with PTSD

By | PTSD, Research Articles

Use and Effects of Cannabinoids in Military Veterans with PTSD In the United States, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is diagnosed in approximately 5.2 million people annually, and these people suffer a wide range of symptoms. A comprehensive literature search on PTSD and cannabis covering the period January 1, 1995, to October 1, 2014 was conducted. While further research into cannabinoid treatment effects on PTSD symptoms is required, the evaluated evidence indicates that substantial numbers of military veterans with PTSD use cannabis or derivative products to control PTSD symptoms, with some patients reporting benefits in terms of reduced anxiety and insomnia and improved coping ability. Read More