December 5, 2018

Book Review: “The Science of Medical Cannabis”

A brief book review:
“The Science of Medical Cannabis” by David S. Younger
Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Sometimes it seems the only thing growing as fast as the increasingly acceptable use of medical cannabis in the US is the proliferation of books about medical cannabis. David S. Younger of the New York University School of Medicine has added to the collection with an overview of medical cannabis as seen from a research physician’s view.

Like several other books on the market, “The Science of Medical Cannabis” offers information on the multi-millennial history of cannabis use, plant physiology, cultivation and processing for medical applications, an overview of the human endocannabinoid system, a survey cannabinoid compounds and terpenes in cannabis plants, and a doctor’s perspective on both cannabis legalization and related public health policies.

The most detailed and useful portion of the book is the chapter titled “Indications for Medical Cannabis.” Younger lists several ailments that respond well to medical cannabis treatment. Few people will be surprised at the list, but Younger provides overviews of published research for each ailment, including thumbnail sketches of the methods, scope, and quality of the studies. While some patients will find the chapter enlightening, I suspect it would be more helpful as a study guide for people preparing to have a conversation with a medical practitioner.

The chapter on prescribing algorithms is certainly helpful, but lacks the detail and clear, jargon-free consumption advice available in other books like “Medical Cannabis: A Guide for Patients, Practitioners, and Caregivers” by Michael Moskowitz (accessible here.)

If you happen to be a patient or caregiver looking the one must-have book about medical cannabis, this probably isn’t it. If you have a little extra space on your bookshelf, Younger’s “The Science of Medical Cannabis” is a fine addition for anyone interested in medical cannabis from a research physician’s view.

The book will be available on Amazon next January. In the meantime, a PDF is available online through Google Scholar here.

  • James R. Riordon, AltPharm

December 4, 2018

CBD Study Summary

Researchers have found more evidence that CBD (Cannabidiol) could be an effective cancer treatment, not just for alleviating symptoms, but for attacking the cancer itself. The study focused on CBD's apparent effectiveness against two of the most common cancers, breast and prostate cancer. They conclude their publication with this promising statement.

"As these findings lend to the increasing evidence of CBD as a potential viable, alternative, and less harmful treatment option against prostate and breast cancer, our current efforts are focusing on determining which death pathways (apoptosis, anoikis, necrosis) are triggered by CBD exposure."

To be fair, this study was presented by undergraduate Martin Olmos at the Southern California Conference on Undergraduate Research (, so it is at best preliminary. Still, the faculty member who is a coauthor on the paper, Dr. Sylvia Lopez-Vetrone, has an impressive resume in cellular research.…/FALL_2018_CON…/LIFE_SCI_POSTERS/110/

December 4, 2018

Fibromyalgia Study Summary

NEW STUDY: Medical Cannabis Significantly Improves Fibromyalgia Treatments

Adding medical cannabis to a conventional treatment regimen significantly, and quickly, improved outcomes for people suffering with fibromyalgia-related lower back pain, according to newly published research in the journal "Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology."

Researchers with Hasharon Hospital and Kaplan Medical Center in Israel treated thirty-one patients for three months with the standard analgesic cocktail of oxycodone, naloxone hydrochloride and duloxetine. They then added medical cannabis to the treatment for six additional months.

The standard treatments yielded modest improvements in the patients’ pain and lower back range of motion through the beginning of the study. The addition of medical cannabis, however, led to notable improvements over the course of three months, and continued improvements for the duration of the 6-month period of the combined therapy regimen.

The researchers caution that because relatively small number of patients involved in the study, further clinical trials will be necessary to say whether all fibromyalgia sufferers would benefit from adding medical cannabis to their treatments. The results were published online October 30, 2018, and will appear in print in a future edition of "Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology."

See a summary of the paper on the National Institutes of Health online library page here.

- James R. Riordon, AltPharm

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