Medical

Opinion/Analysis: CBD oil is the new rage among millennials. But, as a doctor, here’s what I worry about

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is the new rage among millennials and is gaining popularity with all generations, especially in states that have legalized recreational marijuana. In dozens of states, health food stores, pharmacies, and even supermarkets are carrying CBD products. CVS just announced this week that it will be carrying CBD creams, sprays and lotions in eight states. Marijuana contains both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD, and these compounds have different effects on our body and mind. The well-known “high” from smoking or eating marijuana comes from THC. This is because THC is metabolized when it is exposed to heat and consumed by the body. CBD works differently. Cannabidiol is extracted from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants and can be eaten, inhaled and even applied to the skin. Unlike THC, it is not psychoactive, meaning that CBD does not alter a person’s state of mind. However, CBD does produce significant changes in the body, and emerging research suggests that it has some medical benefits. The body and mind contain two cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. THC attaches to the CB1 receptors in the brain which effect coordination and movement, pain, mood, appetite and other functions. CBD was originally thought to attach to the CB2 receptors throughout the body, but evidence is suggesting that it doesn’t attach at all. Instead, it directs the body to use more of its own intrinsic cannabinoids. Although the evidence is clear that CBD has FDA-proven benefits for treating epileptic seizure disorders and can now be prescribed by a physician, the research is still sparse regarding many other touted health claims. One of the most common uses CBD is being sought for is as an anti-inflammation treatment. Small studies conducted on mice and rats did in fact show significant reduction in systemic inflammation. This gives hope to treating chronic inflammation and pain, especially arthritis and injuries. Other conditions caused by inflammation that are being looked at for CBD treatment are acne, type 1 diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease. There is additional evidence suggesting CBD may have anti-cancer properties, although the studies on this are finite. We are a long way from adding CBD to cancer regimens, but with nearly 2 million people in the United States being diagnosed with cancer every year, it is essential to continue researching any and all methods of treating this group of devastating diseases. Additionally, small studies have also suggested that CBD can help with anxiety, PTSD, depression and addiction. With all of these potential benefits, what could be wrong with using it? The problem is, we don’t know yet. Many small-scale studies show that adults tend to tolerate a wide range of doses with the most common side effects being fatigue and diarrhea. But there is still no data on long-term safety and no studies involving children. One of the biggest concerns I have regarding CBD and many other holistic remedies is that there are some disease processes that require science-driven treatment. I urge everyone to follow their medical doctors’ recommendations regarding treatment of ailments. Although CBD may be a promising supplement, it will not be the sole treatment for many conditions. In fact, CBD may interfere with and even hinder the effects of proven treatments, so it should only be used as a supplement to treatment under a doctor’s supervision. Let’s remember that when cigarettes first emerged on the market people used them to treat lung conditions and encouraged smoking. And we can’t forget the crisis that the once-promised long-acting, “less-addicting” opioids produced. Although the limited and short-term data on CBD oil is promising, I reserve caution until the long-term data proves it is more than a fad.

Fair enough..  Our thanks to Dr. Nicole Saphier, MD, for that common sense analysis.  Dr. Saphier is a practicing physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, active in health care legislation, and a medical contributor and frequent guest anchor for Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network speaking on various medical and health policy issues. Follow her on Twitter @NBSaphierMD and Instagram @nicolesaphier_md    🙂

Dr. Marc Siegel: Pot and your health – Here’s what a physician wants you to know about marijuana

Alex Berenson’s new book, “Tell Your Children; the truth about Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence,” is coming out at the right time, as more and more states are legalizing marijuana. Currently marijuana recreational use is legal in ten states (Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Colorado, Alaska, Michigan, Vermont, Mass, Maine, and Wash D.C.) Medical marijuana is now legal here and in an additional 23 states. There is more public support for marijuana law reform than ever before. The latest polls show that more than 50 percent of people favor marijuana legalization while at the same time the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) believes marijuana should be decriminalized and regulated like alcohol and tobacco. Berenson himself is not in favor of recreational use, in part because of links to mental illness and violence that he explores in the book, though he is in favor of decriminalization. As a physician, I want marijuana users and addicts to be treated as patients – and not criminals – while at the same time I am very aware that regular marijuana use carries significant health risks. I believe we should treat habitual users aggressively and warn them of the associated risks. My job is to let you know that there is no free lunch medically with marijuana or any drug. Even if a state or a society decides that it is wise economically and politically to make marijuana legal, at the same time we must be prepared for the health consequences even more than the legal ones. It’s clear to me that there is enough scientific evidence out there for me to discourage regular marijuana use for most people. Legal marijuana (both medical and recreational) is turning into a multibillion-dollar industry. Sales were expected to hit $10 billion nationwide in 2017 and grow with the legalization of marijuana in California at the start of this year. In a report issued before Sessions’ announcement of a change in federal policy – the effect of which is not yet determined – BDS Analytics forecast that marijuana sales in California alone could total $3.7 billion in 2018 and $5.1 billion in 2019. In addition, states stand to collect billions of dollars in tax revenue from legalized marijuana sales, and much governmental money will be saved by not prosecuting sales and use of the drug. Colorado has already collected over $500 million from taxing legal marijuana. But what about the associated medical risks from increasing usage? This is a critical question we must not ignore. My first concern is traffic accidents, since marijuana is known to impair judgement. Statistics from Colorado since recreational marijuana was legalized show a doubling of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the substance in marijuana that gets users high – in the blood of those involved in fatal car accidents. This is concerning. And though alcohol impairs a driver much more, THC stays in the bloodstream longer. If the two are combined, as they sometimes are, the risk is magnified. A recent study from the Columbia University School of Public Health found that while alcohol increased the risk of causing a fatal car crash five times, testing positive for pot increased it by 62 percent. Those drivers who had both pot and alcohol in their blood at the time of a fatal crash were six times more likely to have caused the accident. Another area of concern is pregnancy. Many pregnant women suffer from morning sickness. But the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends against using marijuana while pregnant – no matter what. And the Centers for Disease Control warns that “marijuana use during pregnancy can be harmful to your baby’s health.” Why? The CDC points to research showing low birth weight in infants, along with developmental and attention problems in children born to mothers who smoke pot regularly during pregnancy. Unfortunately, pot smoking among pregnant women is on the rise and it is bound to rise even more. A study released from Kaiser Permanente in California in 2018 and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that 7 percent of pregnant women surveyed smoked pot, including almost 20 percent of those below the age of 24. The number of pregnant women using marijuana will only increase now that recreational marijuana is legal in California. Berenson focuses on mental health in his book and in fact, when it comes to adolescents and adults, long-term marijuana use has been associated with decreased school and job performance, memory loss, and psychiatric disorders including anxiety and depression. With the increase in edible marijuana comes a dramatic increase in Emergency Room visits from overuse, especially among adolescents, who may be getting more THC than they realize. Symptoms include acute anxiety, rapid heart rate and paranoia.

Get the picture?  Thanks to Dr. Marc Siegel, M.D. for this sobering, fact-based, report.  Dr. Siegel is a professor of medicine and medical director of Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Medical Center.   For more, click on the text above.

Elizabeth Warren on Drugs

Elizabeth Warren is grasping. Having failed in her gambit to establish minority status, the 2020 presidential contender is now following the path of her competition. As Kamala Harris did with the housing crisis, Warren has picked a very real issue — the expense of generic drugs — and decided to address it with a bill that is unlikely to achieve much except gain her personal accolades for “doing something.” And should it pass, it could inhibit efforts to actually resolve the problem, because “something has been done.” Senator Warren debuted her plan before the holidays in the Washington Post, with the title “It’s time to let the government manufacture generic drugs.” Perhaps the senator thought this would generate buzz and capture attention before she officially launched her bid for the presidency on New Year’s Eve. Given that she followed this announcement with a botched attempt to out-Millennial Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in an online video, though, perhaps it isn’t going as she desired. Here’s the real problem Warren is trying to address: There were 356 drug shortages in 2012, up from 154 in 2007 — and strikingly, most of these drugs are no longer under patent. That tells us that the critical problem is not one of manufacturing capacity, for any medical company with the capability to produce these medicines could simply do so, using the relevant formulas. The normal behavior of the market, when there is a shortage of a product, is for a new entrepreneur to start providing that product. The fact that this is not happening suggests there must be some barrier in the way of it. For each new generic drug, the manufacturer must submit an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA), whose very name reveals that it is itself an improvement on an older process. Before 1984’s Hatch-Waxman Act, new generics had to go through the full clinical trials required of a new medicine, even though they were simply a new source of the very drug that had already been chemically approved. The ANDA pathway is quicker and cheaper, requiring a manufacturer to show that the generic is “bioequivalent” to the brand-name product and that it meets manufacturing standards. Even so, the ANDA pathway is an expensive process, and its cost has increased from about $1–2 million in 2005 to $15 million in 2015. The process isn’t limited to new providers, either. Should an existing manufacturer want to supply more of its approved medicine, it must go through the approval process again for any new production lines or factories. As a result, it can be too costly to make up the shortfall in supply. The issues don’t end there. Sometimes, even if a generic manufacturer is willing and able to take on all the costs of this process, brand-name manufacturers can effectively put a stay on generics by preventing generic manufacturers from obtaining samples. In other cases, brand-name drug manufacturers will pay generic manufacturers to stay out of the market. The fact that some critical yet out-of-patent drugs have only a single generic manufacturer has created an opening for speculators who buy decades-old basic medicines and raise the prices dramatically — most infamously in the case of Turing Pharmaceuticals, which purchased the rights to a $13 pill and immediately raised its price to $750. This behavior is not the market in action; it is the manipulation of a regulatory regime for financial gain. Clearly, something is very wrong. A solution is necessary. But rather than tackle the dense and boring problems that are holding back access to essential drugs, which can’t really be boiled down to a stump-speech line, Warren proposes that the United States government start producing generic drugs under the auspices of a new “Office of Drug Manufacturing,” which would pass off its products to cooperating private companies. In effect, assuming that the office operates at least as well as the average private manufacturer (unlikely though that is), this would simply mean the creation of a new drug company, albeit one with a public imprimatur. This new company, however, would run into the same hurdles that are faced by private actors — the text of the bill does not lay out a regulatory exemption for this new state-run firm, after all.

Medical marijuana bill would let veterans obtain weed with VA’s approval

Democrats have proposed legislation that would let the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recommend marijuana to patients receiving treatment in states that have legalized the plant for medicinal purposes, eliminating obstacles caused by its status as a federally controlled substance. Introduced by Sens. Bill Nelson of Florida and Brian Schatz of Hawaii, the bill would allow “veterans to use, possess or transport medical marijuana and to discuss the use of medical marijuana with a physician of the Department of Veterans Affairs as authorized by State law,” according to a copy of its language released Wednesday. “Federal law prohibits VA doctors from prescribing or recommending medical marijuana to veterans,” Mr. Nelson said in a statement. “This legislation will allow veterans in Florida and elsewhere the same access to legitimately prescribed medication, just as any other patient in those 31 states would have.” While most states in the country have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes or recreational purposes, the plant is considered a Schedule 1 substance under federal law, effectively prohibiting VA physicians from even discussing its potential health benefits with veterans seeking treatment through the government. In addition to letting VA physicians recommend medical marijuana to veterans, the proposed Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act would direct the VA to research its impact and any potentially reduction of opioid abuse among veterans. Opioids account for about 63 percent of all drug deaths in the U.S., and previous research found that veterans are twice as likely to die from an accident opioid overdose than non-veterans, according to the bill’s sponsors. Marijuana proponents have argued that its benefits offer a non-lethal alternative to opioids, and states that have legalized the plant for medical purposes have subsequently experienced a drop in annual fatal opioid overdoses by nearly 25 percent, lawmakers said in support of the bill. “VA has not taken a position on the bill,” VA Press Secretary Curt Cashour said…

This could be a potentially bad bill..  Trading one drug (opiod) for another (pot) is could be potentially very dangerous..  We’ll keep an eye on this one..

Well-done meat may be bad for your blood pressure

You might think twice about how you want that steak cooked. People who like their steak well-done instead of rare might face a slightly increased risk of high blood pressure, a preliminary study suggests. The study, of more than 100,000 U.S. adults, found the odds of high blood pressure were a bit higher among people who liked their meat grilled, broiled or roasted, versus those who favored more temperate cooking methods. The same was true of people who were partial to well-done meat. Compared with fans of rarer meat, they were 15 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure over 12 to 16 years. The findings do not prove cause and effect, researchers said. But they do add to evidence suggesting people should not only limit the amount of meat in their diets — but also pay attention to how they cook it. “Our results imply that both reducing the amount of meat — especially red meat — and avoiding the use of open-flame or high-temperature cooking methods may potentially aid in [high blood pressure] prevention,” said lead researcher Gang Liu, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. What’s wrong with a grilled steak? Research suggests that cooking to the point of “charring” is the main issue, said Linda Van Horn, a spokesperson for the American Heart Association who was not involved in the study. The process produces chemicals that are not normally present in the body, explained Van Horn, who is also a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. Those chemicals include heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). According to Liu, lab studies suggest the chemicals can trigger inflammation within the body, which could contribute to high blood pressure and other health problems. Meanwhile, studies have found that people who eat a lot of well-done meat tend to face increased risks of certain cancers, as well as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The new study is the first to look for a connection to high blood pressure, Liu said. High blood pressure can lead to stroke.

As someone who likes his steaks medium rare, this is great news!!     🙂

 

California Law: Calling Transgenders the Wrong Gender Pronoun Can Send You to Jail

A newly signed law signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown last week states that health care workers who choose not to address transgender patients by their preferred pronouns could face fines or jail time. The bill, which was signed into law Wednesday, is designed to protect transgender and LGBT individuals in hospitals, assisted living facilities, long-term care facilities, and retirement homes from discrimination and ensure their needs are met, such as letting them use the bathroom of their preferred gender. “It shall be unlawful for a long-term care facility or facility staff to take any of the following actions wholly or partially on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status,” the bill reads. The law states that health care workers who “willfully and repeatedly” fail to address transgender people by their “preferred name or pronouns” if they were “clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns” would be in violation of the law. According to the newly-signed law, violators could be punished with a fine “not to exceed one thousand dollars,” sent to prison “in the county jail for a period not to exceed one year,” or both. State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who introduced the bill to the California Senate in August, argued that people would not be criminally prosecuted despite the law’s wording. “It’s just more scare tactics by people who oppose all LGBT civil rights and protections,” he said in a statement last month. Wiener’s office claimed that the law “does not create any new criminal provisions,” but instead creates “new rights within an existing structure.” Those who opposed the law, including Greg Burt of the California Family Council, criticized the measure when it was in its early stages for being a violation of free speech. “How can you believe in free speech, but think the government can compel people to use certain pronouns when talking to others?” Burt told the California Assembly Judiciary Committee in August, according to CBN News.

Well said, Greg..   Wow..  You really can’t make this stuff up, folks.  And, thank God I don’t live in California!  Hopefully this ridiculous, and fascist, bill put together by liberal Dems in Sacramento, and signed law by that idiot hippie Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA), will be challenged in the courts.  Unreal…

Sex change regret: Gender reversal surgery is on the rise, so why aren’t we talking about it?

Around five years ago, Professor Miroslav Djordjevic, the world-leading genital reconstructive surgeon, received a visit at his Belgrade clinic: a transgender person who had undergone surgery at different clinic to remove male genitalia – and since changed their mind. That was the first time Prof Djordjevic had ever been contacted to perform a so-called gender reassignment “reversal” surgery. Over the next six months, another six people also approached him, similarly wanting to reverse their procedures. They came from countries all over the western world, Britain included, united by an acute sense of regret. At present, Prof Djordjevic has a further six prospective people in discussions with his clinic about reversals and two currently undergoing the process itself; reattaching the male genitalia is a complex procedure and takes several operations over the course of a year to fully complete…

A sign of things to come??