NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- October 2, 2003

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- October 2, 2003
Posted by CN Staff on October 02, 2003 at 22:32:07 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
Cannabinoids Modulate Epileptic Seizures, Study SaysOctober 2, 2003 - Richmond, VA, USARichmond, VA: Administration of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, "completely abolished" spontaneous seizures in an animal model of epilepsy, according to findings published this week in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
Authors also noted that endogenous cannabinoids, marijuana-like substances produced naturally by the human body, appeared to play a role in regulating seizure duration and frequency."These data indicate not only the anticonvulsant activity of exogenously applied cannabinoids, but also suggest that endogenous cannabinoid[s] ... modulate seizure termination and duration," researchers concluded.The study is the first to examine the role of marijuana and the endogenous cannabinoid system in an animal model of epilepsy characterized by spontaneous, recurrent seizures.Previous animal studies have demonstrated that cannabinoids possess anticonvulsant activity; however, a handful of human trials examining the effects of the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) on epileptic-induced seizures have yielded mixed results. A recent trial in England of cannabis extracts on an in vitro form of epilepsy found that extracts performed more effectively than THC alone in treating symptoms of the disease.For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Abstracts of the study are available online at: Chemicals May Treat Epilepsy Can Control Epilepsy, VCU Study Chemical Blamed in Seizures FDA Grants "Fast Track" Status To Pot-Like Drug For Head TraumaOctober 2, 2003 - Iselin, NJ, USAIselin, NJ: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will review the efficacy of the synthetic marijuana derivative Dexanabinol for the treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) on an accelerated basis, the Pharmos pharmaceutical company announced this week. The FDA grants so-called "fast track" status to drugs intended to treat life-threatening conditions for which no approved therapies exist.Fast track status allows companies to submit their clinical data to the FDA in stages while trials remain ongoing. Dexanabinol is currently being tested in advanced Phase III clinical trials in the US and Europe. A previous Phase II trial by Pharmos of 67 Israeli patients found that Dexanabinol reduced mortality and eased intracranial pressure in patients suffering from severe head injuries.A 1999 report by the US National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that marijuana's neuroprotective qualities are the "most prominent" of its potential therapeutic applications.For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500.DL: Ingredient Helps Head Injuries May Reduce Brain Trauma Damage Join NORML For The 20th Annual Key West Legal SeminarOctober 2, 2003 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: NORML is now accepting registrations from criminal defense attorneys for its annual Key West Legal Seminar. This year's event will be held from Thursday, December 4 through Saturday, December 6 at the Pier House Resort and Caribbean Spa in Key West. (The hotel is holding a block of reduced rate rooms for NORML legal seminar attendees.)NORML's annual legal seminar now in its 20th year is fully accredited in every state that requires continuing legal education (CLE) for attorneys. Conference agenda and speaker bios are now available online at: more details, or to register online, please visit our website at: or contact Kris Krane of NORML at (202) 483-5500.DL: Of Docs Back Prescription Cannabis, Survey SaysOctober 2, 2003 - Wellington, New ZealandWellington, New Zealand: One out of three New Zealand doctors say they would prescribe medicinal marijuana if it were legal to do so, according to a random survey of 500 doctors conducted by the national Green Party. Among physicians who reported their knowledge of medicinal cannabis as "high," 42 percent backed prescribing marijuana."The more knowledge a doctor holds, the more favorable their opinion of medicinal cannabis is," the survey noted.In addition, 47 percent of doctors surveyed said they knew of "patients who have discussed the option of cannabis for medicinal use," and 20 percent said they were aware of patients already using medical pot. Ten percent of respondents said they currently had patients who they believed would benefit from medicinal cannabis.Possession of marijuana, even for medical purposes, is a criminal offense in New Zealand.A 2001 survey of US physicians conducted by researchers at Providence Rhode Island Hospital found that nearly half of doctors with opinions supported legalizing medical marijuana.More recently, an online unscientific poll of physicians and nurses by Medscape found that 88 percent of RNs and 76 percent of doctors favored "the decriminalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes."For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751. To download a copy of the New Zealand survey, please visit: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: October 2, 2003Copyright: 2003 NORML Contact: norml Website:'s Weekly News Bulletin -- Sept. 23, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- Sept. 18, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- Sept. 11, 2003
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