Over the past decade or so, plenty of studies have found marijuana to be effective at treating the symptoms of a variety of medical conditions. However, most of this research is in its infancy, and experts unanimously agree that we need a lot more clinical trials to definitively prove marijuana’s medical potential.
In Colorado, MedPharma Research, a leading research company in the medical cannabis field, recently announced that it had been granted funding to research the efficacy of marijuana in Alzheimer’s patients. The company submitted a proposal to the Colorado State University Institute of Cannabis Research’s (ICR) FY23 Cannabis Research Opportunity and was ultimately selected for funding.
A panel from the ICR reviewed MedPharma’s proposal and scored it based on approach, significance, environment, broader impact and data analysis. Titled “Isolation and Pharmacological Evaluation of Phytocannabinoids for Alzheimer’s Disease,” the proposal received praise from the ICR panelists due to its novelty, type of training scientific interns received, and the clarity with which it defined evaluation metrics for every data analysis goal.
Given that Alzheimer’s affects millions of Americans and still has no cure, plenty of people stand to benefit if the research from MedPharma uncovers concrete proof of marijuana’s effectiveness. As it stands, there are a variety of treatments that can be used to alleviate Alzheimer’s symptoms and change the progression of the disease. However, there is no cure for the neurodegenerative disease.
The condition is associated with increased levels of inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain. Cannabidiol (CBD), which has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, could be used to treat Alzheimer’s by addressing the inflammatory and oxidative mechanisms behind the disease. Scott Karolchyk, MS, RPh, MedPharma director of formulation and development, notes that CBD also has neuroprotective properties, has proven to be effective in vivo in previous studies, and is nonpsychoactive, making it an even more suitable candidate for research into treatments for Alzheimer’s.
He states that the study will give MedPharma the data it needs to develop innovative, bioavailable and bioequivalent dosage forms. MedPharma President Albert Gutierrez said that undertaking such an unprecedented study is what sets his company apart from other companies in the marijuana research and development game. MedPharma will pursue any means it can to develop therapies to treat Alzheimer’s, he said, and studying how compounds such as CBD function will bring the company one step closer to understanding Alzheimer’s.
MedPharma Director of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics Duncan Mackie, PhD, called the announcement a big win for the cannabinoid research community as a whole, stating that it will offer the first clear cellular and mechanistic evidence on the efficacy of cannabis and cannabinoid products against Alzheimer’s.
This and other ongoing marijuana studies are likely to be followed closely by the cannabis industry and its established actors such as Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTC: NUGS) since they will add onto the scientific documentation debunking the thinking at the DEA that marijuana has no medical value and should therefore remain a highly controlled substance.
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