Cannabis has a wide range of pharmacological effects such as anti-emetic, anti-convulsant, anti-asthmatic, analgesic, appetite stimulant and anti-bacterial. Medical marijuana has been used in the treatment of various diseases, and in addition, medical marijuana has important therapeutic potential for a number of diseases.
The rise of medical marijuana seems unstoppable. About 20 years ago, only 1 in 4 respondents to a Gallup poll favored legalizing marijuana. However, the first legalization of medical marijuana began in California in 1996 and has since spread across the United States until medical marijuana is essentially legalized throughout the United States today.
On the one hand, public support for the use of marijuana for medical purposes is higher than ever before. an April 2015 CBS (CBS, the U.S. television broadcast network) news poll showed that a whopping 84% of U.S. respondents want to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. On the other hand, drug developers and clinical researchers are putting more effort into proving the potential benefits of cannabis. New research shows that cannabis or cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant can fight certain diseases. And the vast majority of these studies are purely linked to this purpose, to put it bluntly more trials confirming that cannabis or cannabinoids give hope to patients with chronic and incurable diseases, and perhaps may offer them another avenue of treatment.
Arguably the most exciting addition to GW Pharmaceuticals' research and development pipeline is Epidiolex, a cannabinoid-based liquid medicine that has been identified for use against two rare forms of childhood-onset epilepsy. In a series of interim studies for Dravet syndrome (severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy) and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, patients taking Epidiolex had more than a 50% reduction in seizure frequency.Epidiolex for these two indications was granted technical approval by the FDA on June 9, 2014 and May 12, 2015 and rare disease drug designation.
Not only that, but Epidiolex can also be used for the treatment of TSC, a genetic disorder that causes non-malignant tumors throughout the body and affects approximately 50,000 people in the United States. Epilepsy is the most common symptom associated with TSC, and approximately 60% of people with TSC have refractory epilepsy. The use of Epidiolex to treat TSC is currently being approved by the FDA this year (2020) as well.
GW Pharmaceuticals also has Sativex, an oral mucosal spray that has been approved in 15 countries outside the U.S. It is composed of CBD: THC in a 1:1 ratio. In clinical studies, Sativex has been shown to reduce spasticity or muscle tonus in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Researchers at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine experimented with medically genetically different mice, obtaining skin grafts from one group of mice in an attempt to induce graft rejection. One group was given a placebo and the other group was given THC, and rejection of the skin graft was delayed in the group of mice that received THC because the mice's immune system response was suppressed.
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