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  1. Hi Cannabis could treat and prevent emerging Covid-19 variants Scientists have discovered a way to treat Covid-19 infections and the answer seems to be an unusual one — marijuana. Researchers have found that cannabis contains compounds that can prevent infection from the Covid-19 virus by blocking its entry into cells. A study by scientists found that two acids, commonly found in hemp varieties of cannabis, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) can bind to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. This binding can prevent the virus from entering cells and causing infection. The spike protein is the same part of the virus targeted by Covid-19 vaccines and antibody therapies. Cannabinoid acids are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans. ‘These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts,’ said Richard van Breemen, the lead scientist on the study. The study also found that CBDA and CBGA blocked the action of emerging variants of the virus that causes Covid-19. Emerging variants is one of the primary concerns faced by health officials fighting the pandemic. According to the data, CBDA and CBGA are effective against the alpha and beta variants of Covid-19. ‘These variants are well known for evading antibodies against early lineage SARS-CoV-2, which is obviously concerning given that current vaccination strategies rely on the early lineage spike protein as an antigen,’ said van Breemen. While resistant variants could still arise amid widespread use of cannabinoids, researchers hope that a combination of vaccination and CBDA/CBGA treatment should make for a much more ‘challenging environment for SARS-CoV-2’. The disruption by cannabinoid acids can stop the infection in its tracks and prevent it from progressing further. Using compounds that block virus-receptor interaction has been helpful for patients with other viral infections like HIV-1 and hepatitis. These acids from hemp act as cell entry inhibitors and could be used to prevent Covid-19 infections and even shorten infections by preventing virus particles from infecting human cells. CBDA and CBGA are produced by the hemp plant as precursors to CBD and CBG, which are familiar to many consumers. However, they are different from the acids and are not contained in hemp products. Pending further research, van Breemen noted that cannabinoids could be developed into drugs to prevent or treat Covid-19. ‘These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans,’ van Breemen noted. ‘They have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2,’ Van Breemen, Ruth Muchiro of the College of Pharmacy and Linus Pauling Institute and five scientists from OHSU identified the two cannabinoid acids via a mass spectrometry-based screening technique invented in van Breemen’s laboratory. Van Breemen’s team screened a range of botanicals used as dietary supplements including red clover, wild yam, hops and three species of liquorice. The findings could potentially offer new solutions to tackle the pandemic. The scientists are also working on the discovery of another compound to disrupt the coronavirus, derived from liquorice, that similarly binds to the spike protein. https://metro.co.uk/2022/01/12/cannabis-could-treat-and-prevent-emerging-covid-19-variants-15903690/ Bongme
  2. Hi Revolutionising medicine: from methadone man to cannabis chief The inventor of liquid methadone, Stephen Goldner, has now created a new, cannabis-derived medicine – a water-soluble CBD tablet. In 1973, after working at the New York Chief Medical Examiner’s Office, Stephen Goldner co-invented the liquid form of methadone which has saved countless lives from heroin overdoses. Now, Goldner has taken to the cannabis sector to create a water-soluble CBD medicine. Cannabis activist Stephen Goldner was founder of Regulatory Affairs Associates LLC, a consulting firm for companies seeking regulatory approval from the FDA, and has helped get more than 240 drugs and devices medically approved. He has also served as an FDA Advisor to the NIH. Medical Cannabis Network spoke to Goldner, CEO of Pure Green, a canna-pharma company headquartered in Michigan, US, about the new water-soluble CBD drug. Goldner’s journey Stephen Goldner was a young chemist in New York during the city’s heroin epidemic from the 1950s to 1970s. This epidemic saw hundreds of bodies pass through New York mortuaries and fuelled the implementation of the Rockefeller law of 1973, imposing harsh punishment on street dealers. Goldner said: “In the 1960’s New York was very good at killing people. Coroners in the city were doing 600 full autopsies a week – 100 hundred a day – and many of those people died from heroin overdoses. “We took on a project in my first year at the ME Office. It was the end of the 1960s, the beginning of the 1970s and there was rampant drug use – it was around the time that Woodstock was popular. It turned out that no one could tell when anyone was ‘stoned’ – scientifically – so, we invented the chemistry method urine tests to detect what are called ‘drugs of recreation’, like cannabis, cocaine and amphetamines. “While I was still a city toxicologist, I was able to get some research done at a small university called Rockefeller University where they had a grant to treat heroin addicts. Through this, I invented liquid methadone with my mentor, and in 11 months had it FDA approved.” From methadone to water-soluble CBD Goldner spoke about his inspiration for inventing liquid methadone, and what moved him to working with medical cannabis. Goldner said: “Some of my friends came back from Vietnam as heroin addicts and I needed to help them. I thought I would use the training I had to make a drug that would help get them off heroin. I wanted to help my friends. Now, methadone has gone worldwide and has saved more than 20 million lives, positively affecting 200 million more. “It is my heart that has brought me to the field of cannabis. Another friend who had returned from the war with a nervous disorder – PTSD – said he needed something for his anxiety and psychological problems. I noticed that if he smoked cannabis, his symptoms got better. He was calm and relaxed. “So, it occurred to me 35 years ago that cannabis could be a medicine – and it is. I told him, ‘I’m sorry that it’s illegal, but one day, I’ll do something’. Now, I am living up to that promise to my friend.” Due to his experiences, Stephen Goldner has long advocated the use of cannabis as a medicine. Goldner was appointed as FDA advisor to the US National Institutes of Health to turn deep research into useful medical products. Along the way, he encouraged researchers to look at cannabis in a different light. He said: “Five years ago, at a meeting between FDA and NIH, I suggested they take a strong, positive stance on cannabis and make it legal. I told them it should be regulated as a health product across America, and here we are five years later. There is still much to be done, but progress is being made.” Developing water-soluble CBD Goldner’s work in a cannabis testing laboratory and clinical centre in Michigan has led to Pure Green CBD; true water-soluble CBD tablets. Through research and exploration of the science behind medical cannabis, Pure Green aim is to use medical cannabis for a range of chronic ailments. “I developed the drugs with Pure Green to help people’s lives. We have made products that help people sleep, to relieve pain and anxiety, and much more,” he said. “We have made the water-soluble CBD product and are running small clinical trials to find out what formula works for different conditions. We have the first licence in Michigan to be a cannabis pharmaceutical company, and we opened the doors a year and a half ago. So far, we have sold 700,000 of our tablets. “Most people looking to use cannabis medicine are not looking to get ‘stoned’. They are seeking medicine because something hurts, because they don’t sleep or because they feel anxious.” The human body finds it much easier to absorb things through as water substances rather than oil – including CBD oil. Goldner and his team created the water-soluble CBD tablet to help with bioavailability. This means that the pure CBD will be much more potent, saving money for patients on medicine costs. Goldner said: “The medical issue is that all of the cannabinoids are oil soluble molecules. We can drink water all day – but we cannot drink oil to help with the absorption. So, we figured out how to convert these oil soluble molecules to water soluble. This allows them to be dissolved in the mouth very easily, and means patient do not have to use vaporisers. “They are very simple tablets and don’t taste oily at all. They disintegrate in a person’s mouth in 15 seconds, and that allows the THC, CBD and terpenes to get into the bloodstream in two minutes. “This means patients can essentially micro-dose their medicine. The idea of micro-dosing is you can bring down the amount, you can bring down the costs and still give people what they want to need.” Clinical trials Pure Green are currently running eight clinical trials looking at the efficacy of its water-soluble CBD on different conditions including osteoarthritis of the knee, musculoskeletal pain, dysmenorrhea and pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Goldner said: “We have just finished clinical trials in people who have diabetes who suffer with terrible associated pain, and who currently use medication that does not treat the pain effectively. “We put 32 people with diabetic neuropathy on the trial and 31 of them had remarkable pain relief from just CBD. The next study we’re doing is in people who have osteoarthritis, which it is very, very painful. In the trial we will start out giving the patients some CBD combined with THC and with terpenes.” Increasing research and patient access Scientific research looking at the efficacy of medical cannabis is still limited, and in some countries, such as the UK, patient access is still limited. Despite governments and authorities slowly accepting the legitimacy of cannabis as a medicine, cannabis is yet to appear on medical school curriculums across the world, and clinicians still struggle to feel comfortable prescribing medical cannabis to patients. “Accelerating research requires government authorities to recognise that legitimate researchers want to do legitimate research, and they have been trying to do it for 70 years. Only the government has stood in the way,” said Goldner. “It is completely up to the politicians to provide a fast track mechanism. Government officials need to recognise that they have to create a pathway and then researchers will do it. “In order to keep medical cannabis economically viable as a medicine, well, the free market works pretty well. So, if there is fair competition among companies these products will be kept at a reasonable price that people can afford.” The future of medicine Many people are beginning to turn away from the usually prescribed pharmaceutical drugs to products such as CBD oils, or prescribed medical cannabis to treat symptoms. Goldner said: “I work with companies like Lilly, Pfizer and Merck, and they are knee deep into research into natural products – this research is getting deeper all the time. The scientists and medical people are loving it. It’s just tricky to do, because it’s not just something out of an organic chemistry laboratory. “Cannabis coming out will be a break of the mould of pharmaceutical research. It will reinvigorate research into natural products.” Stephen Goldner CEO Pure Green https://www.healtheuropa.eu/revolutionising-medicine-from-methadone-man-to-cannabis-chief/97555/ Bongme
  3. hi Could psychedelic medicine be the new cannabis? Much like cannabis, psychedelic compounds have often been maligned by mainstream society for their connection with recreational drug use. Recent developments have indicated that new treatments derived from these mind-altering substances are garnering new attention from the investment community Say the word “psychedelic” and most people will immediately conjure up images of tie-dyed hippy types taking magic mushrooms. However, recent developments have indicated that new treatments derived from these mind-altering substances are garnering new attention from the investment community. On Thursday, Berlin-based biotech called ATAI Life Sciences secured around US$43mln (£36.8mln) in a funding round, valuing the firm at around US$240mln, making it the largest company in the space. Founded in 2018, ATAI finances clinical trials for drugs that incorporate psychedelic compounds that could potentially be used to treat mental health disorders. These include ketamine, often used for pain relief and sedation, and psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. ATAI currently owns Perception Neuroscience, a company developing therapies for neuropsychiatric diseases (e.g. eating disorders), and is the largest stakeholder in Compass Pathways, a firm looking at psilocybin- based therapy for depression. Echoes of cannabis Much like cannabis before it, psychedelic compounds have often been maligned by mainstream society for their connection with recreational drug use. However, again like cannabis, there is a growing body of evidence that the chemicals could be used to treat various mental health problems. There have also been some encouraging signs from regulators around the use of the substances. Last October, Compass Pathways received a ‘Breakthrough Therapy’ designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its psilocybin depression therapy. A ‘Breakthrough Therapy’ is defined as a drug having preliminary clinical evidence that shows it may demonstrate a substantial improvement over options that are currently available to patients. While this may not be an immediate sign for investors to turn on the money tap, it does help smaller biotech companies get their foot in the door when it comes to raising money as potential investors might take the view that the regulatory approval process would likely be simpler or expedited. Reflecting on cannabis, the global medical marijuana market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.9% between 2018 and 2026, taking its value from around US$12bn to US$39bn. This has been helped by a wave of legalisation in recent years in populous US states such as California, as well as the whole of Canada, on the back of increasingly relaxed attitudes around the drug as well as greater awareness of the plant’s medicinal potential, particularly cannabidiol (CBD) which can help treat neurological disorders like epilepsy. If psychedelics follow suit, laying down a marker early with regulators could give companies a critical first-mover advantage. Big hitters involved It isn’t just small biotech firms researching the potential of psychedelics either. In early March, pharmaceutical and consumer goods firm Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) received FDA approval for a new nasal spray using esketamine, a derivative of ketamine, to help treat patients suffering from depression. The new drug, called Spravato, is designed to help alleviate treatment-resistant depression, which is when a patient still requires medication despite taking two or more types of anti-depressant previously. The approval followed years of research by J&J’s pharmaceuticals arm, Janssen, into the potential uses of esketamine in anti-depression treatments. Mental illness is one of the biggest causes of the world’s disease burden, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimating that one in four people are affected by a mental or neurological disorder at some point in their lives. In the UK alone, around 19.7% of people have been reported as showing symptoms of anxiety or depression. With numbers like that, the market for psychedelic medicines already seems wide open. https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/900067/could-psychedelic-medicine-be-the-new-cannabis-900067.html Bongme