Although legislation has been introduced into the United States House of Representatives to amend the Controlled Substances Act to no longer classify cannabis as a Schedule I substance and to exclude cannabidiol (CBD) from the federal definition of cannabis, we continue to wait for further action.
29 states now permit physicians to authorize medical cannabis to qualified patients. Companies now sell cannabis based pharmaceutical products. And now, countries around the world continue to legalize medical cannabis at the Federal level.
Even though cannbais clearly has medical benefits, it remains a Schedule I substance alongside heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and bath salts under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). According to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, Schedule I substances have the following characteristics:
• The substance has a high potential for abuse.
• The substance has no currently accepted medical treatment use in the U.S.
• There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the substance under medical supervision
Five overlooked benefits of marijuana
Five overlooked benefits of cannabis include its potential to treat the following debilitating and deadly diseases:
Cannabinoids, the active components of marijuana, inhibit tumor growth in laboratory animals and also kill cancer cells. In April 2015, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that marijuana can kill certain cancer cells. The monthly publication was revised to say the following:
“Recent animal studies have shown that marijuana can kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others. Evidence from one animal study suggests that extracts from whole-plant marijuana can shrink one of the most serious types of brain tumors. Research in mice showed that these extracts, when used with radiation, increased the cancer-killing effects of the radiation.”
Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (ZYNE: NASDAQ) is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing synthetic cannabinoid therapeutics formulated for transdermal delivery. Zynerba is developing two therapeutic candidates based on proprietary transdermal technologies.
The company’s THC Pro-Drug Patch is a pro-drug of THC that enables transdermal delivery via a patch. Zynerba is studying ZYN001 in patients with fibromyalgia and peripheral neuropathic pain.
In 2016, GW Pharmaceutical’s (GWPH: NASDAQ) Epidiolex product passed Stage 3 Clinical trials for the treatment of Dravet Syndrome. In this study, Epidiolex achieved the primary endpoint of a significant reduction in convulsive seizures assessed over the entire treatment period compared with placebo. Epidiolex has both Orphan Drug Designation and Fast Track Designation from the FDA.
In late 2015, Nemus Bioscience Inc. (NMUS) reported that Dr. Soumyajit Majumdar, an Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics at the University of Mississippi, presented data at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) that showed that a pro-drug formulation of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) significantly lowered intra-ocular pressure (IOP) in an open-angle rabbit glaucoma model.
The rabbits that received the THC pro-drug saw a greater percentage drop in IOP when compared to timolol, and an even greater percentage drop when compared to pilocarpine. The THC pro-drug resulted in an IOP lowering effect of 45%-50%.
Cannabis can be used as a treatment for multiple sclerosis. GW Pharmaceutical’s (GWPH: INSY) Sativex product is sold as a treatment for multiple sclerosis and is derived from cannabis. Sativex is sold in 27 countries and it is currently in Stage 3 FDA testing (results expected late 2015/early 2016).