Author Archives: Alcira Zambrano

CannaCiencia promotes Medicinal Cannabis in the medical, scientific and business agenda of the country.

CannaCiencia promotes Medicinal Cannabis in the medical, scientific and business agenda of the country.

With close to 350 attendees, 24 presentations by experts in medicinal cannabis and a commercial space that gathered brands and enterprises at national and international level, Cannaciencia, the first Cannabis Science Symposium of the Americas is consolidated as the platform to educate, visualize advances scientists, academics, doctors, pharmacists and technologists in this field, and the challenges and opportunities for the development of the cannabis industry in Colombia.

 

The first edition of CannaCiencia leaves a good balance. The participation of world authorities such as Dr. Uma Dhanabalam, expert, activist, defender and educator of the therapeutic use of medicinal cannabis; and Dr. Sue Sisley, who has been working on the investigation of the use of cannabis in the treatment of post-traumatic stress in veterans of war in the United States, had a great reception as a reference of the advances and barriers that currently face in their exercise professional, and education as the first path to destigmatization both in the medical community and in the general imagination.

 

In this context, the educational impact is highlighted as one of the main achievements of the event, especially with the topics related to the analytical laboratory and quality control, where there was a great lack of knowledge in the country. The outstanding participation of Scott Kuzdzal, an expert in toxicology and therapeutic drug monitoring, emphasized the responsibility of the industry in the implementation of effective processes to guarantee the correct labeling and the production of safe and contaminant-free medicinal cannabis.

 

For his part, Joshua Crossney, Founder of jCanna and the Cannabis Science Conference in the USA, presented the advances in academic research, in its commitment to close the gap between analytical sciences and the medical industry of cannabis to help improve quality of the products that patients use.

 

CannaCiencia also made visible the Colombian scientists and the research they are currently carrying out, offering them a platform for discussion, interconnection and search for funding, at a point where it is crucial to promote research for medical, clinical and pharmaceutical development.

 

The context of legalization and regulation of Medicinal Cannabis in Colombia also opened a door for industry experts and investors from countries where the business is already on a journey, which focus on the opportunities and potential of the nascent local industry. The presence of important investors in Cannaciencia such as Tuatara Capital of New York, support the importance of this scenario.

 

In the same way, a new and growing generation of entrepreneurs was identified around the medicinal cannabis industry, eager for ideas, information and alternatives to access capital.

 

“We are facing the challenges of an industry that is at the starting point. The economic impact of the emerging industry worldwide is historic, with compound annual growth rates of up to 34% (CAGR). It requires a huge venture capital education (risk capital) component, clear regulation by the competent financial authorities and inclusion for the Latino community in the emerging industry worldwide, “says Carol Ortega Algarra, CEO of Muisca Capital Group, the first Latin investment management firm, Founder of CannaCiencia and the Network of Cannabis Entrepreneurs of Colombia ”

 

For his part, Ricardo Martinez Executive Director of CannaCiencia and the Network of Cannabis Entrepreneurs of Colombia, says that the 3 most outstanding results of the symposium were: advanced scientific education given to attendees, visualization of Latin American scientists and their findings , derived from research projects, and the visit of multiple investment firms and family offices in North America, Europe and Asia. CannaCiencia is positioned as an international benchmark in science related to Medicinal Cannabis.

 

As a result, in August, the first cycle of training for entrepreneurs linked to the Network of Cannabis Entrepreneurs of Colombia and individuals interested in training will begin, with the first CannaCiencia Workshop, which will include the participation of specialists in cultivation, production, transformation and economic science of medicinal cannabis.

The social drama of post-traumatic Stress in the Armed Forces

The social drama of post-traumatic Stress in the Armed Forces

A country like Colombia with more than 50 years of conflict and wars with mafias, drug traffickers, paramilitaries, guerrillas with confrontations, massacres, terrorist attacks that have left more than 8 million dead (almost 20% of the population). In this country, one of the most violent countries in the world, there is ample evidence to believe that post-traumatic stress exists not only in the military and police but also in the civilian population that has been exposed to these traumatic acts of cruelty.

 

The families of soldiers fighters in the war against the FARC suffering from the Stress-Traumatic of their children, parents and brothers, who lost in the first moment they returned from the war, with a irritable, evil and disconnected from the family behavior.
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It is painful to see this situation of people, who by giving the rest of Colombians, the security mentioned in the constitution, have to pay such a high price: in some cases their lives in combat or their lives on returning from combat as a result of the medications that they consume to attenuate the symptoms of post-traumatic stress (mostly opioids) or suicidal tendencies generated by this type of stress.

 

This is a drama lived by thousands of relatives of the military and police, who agreed that they will provide a service to the country, a very expensive and painful service for all.

 

In other countries with more developed economies such as Canada, the United States and Israel, they are taking steps to recover these soldiers for their families and their country. In Colombia there are still no studies, and there has been very little interest in this topic.

 

Colombia is a privileged country, in August of 2016 the Colombian Congress approved a new law that regulates the medicinal use of cannabis, let’s try to work together to put our contribution and power among all to solve the Post Traumatic Stress of both the military and police, as of displaced families and victims of violence.

 

Let’s all work together to hear phrases from children like: “I recovered my dad” after years of [him] being disconnected, irritable and evil “, and wives also saying: “I recovered my husband.” This is a happiness that has no price and for which we want to contribute in this Cannaciencia symposium.

 

Through Dr. Sue Sisley, the only doctor in the world who conducts a clinical study on the benefits of medical cannabis in US veterans with post-traumatic stress, approved by the FDA.

Post-traumatic Stress in the armed forces

Post-traumatic Stress in the armed forces

Anyone, regardless of their age or circumstance, who has experienced a traumatic event may be susceptible to PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – the inability of some people to extinguish traumatic memories).

 

After a traumatic event, patients with PTSD are likely to feel feelings and thoughts related to the trauma, experience nightmares, memories, emotional distress, and hypervigilance among a host of other symptoms.

 

Post-traumatic stress is mainly due to fear learned. When you have more fear learned, that will induce a state of hypervigilance and that can also cause nightmares and terrors at night. This learned fear makes it difficult to modulate feelings and reactions, especially with respect to situations that trigger memory or trauma experience.

 

The extinction of memory occurs naturally, organically in the average population. However, some people who have experienced a trauma or traumatic event have an impairment to their natural capacity for memory extinction.

 

According to the US National Center for PTSD UU., More than 8% of the US population. UU suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, 26% of which are men and women of military service. In Israel, approximately 9% of citizens have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, a country where military service and reserve duty is mandatory, and who have generally lived in permanent war, post-traumatic stress disorder It is frequent. Canada has some of the highest rates of PTSD, with an estimated 9.4 percent of the population experiencing some form of the disease

 

Conventional treatments against PTSD include powerful sedatives, antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs and, in extreme cases, antipsychotics. Most of these medications are based on opioids, which can cause a variety of devastating side effects (restlessness, anxiety) and long-term problems (tachycardia, addiction, and suicidal tendencies). This has led to an epidemic of opioids, which has led to a considerable increase in deaths.

 

This has become in these countries a problem that has demanded attention and answers aimed at solving it in a different way.

 

Medical cannabis has been shown to support the extinction capabilities of the body’s endogenous memory, reducing the ability of traumatic memories to trigger the symptoms of PTSD.

 

Cannabis is a much better and safer and more effective alternative. Because of its antisuppressive, anti-stress and anti-depressant properties, it also allows reducing the deficiency of Anandamide, common in patients with PTSD.

 

The most advanced countries in the application of medical cannabis in PTSD are: United States, where the Dr. Sue Sisley is internationally recognized expert, in Canada is Dr. Mike Hart who along with movements such as Marijuana for Trauma (https://mftgroup.ca/) have become standard bearers of the TEP, in Israel are Dr. Irit Akirav of the University of Haifa, and Dr. Yasmin Hurd, and movements such as: Lochamim Lchaim – Fighting for Life (http://lohamim.org.il/).

 

Dr. Sue Sisley is the Principal Investigator of the only FDA-approved randomized controlled trial in the world that examines the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in combat veterans with treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder. The study is the largest awarded by the Department of Public Health and Environment CDPHE Colorado (US $ 2.1M)

 

Veterans represent 20% of national suicide rate, this translates into 22 veterans who commit suicide every day, in three years the number of veterans who have committed suicide totals 24,000. These veterans correspond to those resistant to the treatment of PTSD.

 

Patients with PTSD suffer a comorbidity rate, which means that they experience more than one condition at a time. 79% of women and 88% of men diagnosed with PTSD also suffer from depression, substance abuse and anxiety disorders. Given the growing evidence that cannabis is a treatment for depression, anxiety and substance abuse, the potential benefit of cannabis treatment for comorbidity is very promising. This, combined with a growing body of evidence that the endocannabinoid system has a role in reducing fear and anxiety, suggests that cannabinoids can also have positive effects in reducing suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

 

There is great potential for medical cannabis to become a multi-therapy, rather than having to take as many different medications for all the symptoms and parallel conditions as monotherapy.

The social drama of epilepsy

The social drama of epilepsy

A large number of families, mostly mothers who are heads of households with limited resources, illegally obtain cannabis and prepare it in an artisanal and anti-hygienic way in their gas stoves, using the pots where they cook their food, assuming all possible types of risks, in order to alleviate the suffering and convulsions of their children with epilepsy.

 

They do this in the face of their impotence, that the medicines they give them in the health service, fail to offer a real and evident improvement in their children, who continue to convulse and suffer this terrible disease.

 

Someone told them about the benefits and effectiveness of medicinal cannabis oil extract (CBD – the good part of Cannabis) and without thinking much have begun to prepare it to give to their children. The good results have generated several movements of mothers who, using social networks, have begun to tell the testimonies of their children.

 

This is a public health issue, which is repeating itself in all countries of the world, there are countries like Chile, where what is happening is that medical cannabis is being imported from Canadian laboratories and sold at such high prices that families of scarce resources can not buy it and are opting to grow cannabis illegally to prepare medicinal cannabis oil also illegally, at a more reasonable price for them.

 

Colombia is a privileged country, in August of 2016 the Colombian Congress approved a new law that regulates the medicinal use of cannabis, let’s try to work together to make our contribution and be able to solve the drama of mothers head of household with children suffering the convulsions of epilepsy, let us be an example for the other countries of the world and let’s make a common front to avoid that the big multinationals turn us into a big cannabis maquiladora, and that we lose all its benefits, and that it happens to us what is happening in Chile, with an aggravating factor is that by producing our own raw material, we have to pay it at excessive prices, unattainable for low-income families.

 

Epilepsy in Colombia

Epilepsy in Colombia

With 450,000 people with epilepsy and a prevalence of 11 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, Colombia is one of the countries with more epilepsy in the world. In comparison with other developed countries that have better access to health and a prevalence of 4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

 

1.3% of the Colombian population suffers from epilepsy, a disease that represents 0.8% of the causes of mortality in the country. With regard to these statistics, the Congress of Colombia decreed in 2010 Law 1414, “which establishes special protection measures for people suffering from epilepsy, and dictates the principles and guidelines for their comprehensive care.”

 

This chronic disease that affects people of any age and is characterized by the tendency to suffer frequent seizures caused by abnormal electrical discharges of brain cells. In Colombia, 75% of these people are children under 15 years of age. The World Health Organization decided to include epilepsy among mental pathologies.

 

There is a growing demand for alternative solutions on the part of patients due to the lack of known cures and relief of symptoms. In addition, because one third of this population suffers what is known as refractory or refractory epilepsy, that is, it does not respond to conventional treatments. The majority of patients suffering from refractory epilepsy have unsuccessfully tried several attempts to control seizures with different medications (3 to 5 or more antiepileptic drugs and steroids), without success.

 

Medical cannabis for the treatment of epilepsy gained national attention in the United States when a girl named Charlotte obtained help and research from a Medicinal Cannabis group that revealed a reduction in the frequency of Charlotte seizures from 50 seizures per day to 2 -3 nocturnal seizures per month, these benefits have already been reported by many patients with epilepsy.

 

The Epilepsia Magazine, which is a publication of the League Against Epilepsy, dedicated its entire edition of June 2014 to the review of the uses of cannabis; or that the congress of the American Academy of Epilepsy, which lasts a week and is done once a year, devoted an entire day to lecturing on medicinal cannabis.

 

This notion is supported by empirical evidence published by the Official Journal of the International League against Epilepsy, which revealed that 48% of epileptologists and general neurologists, and 98% of patients with epilepsy would advise medicinal cannabis in severe cases of epilepsy.

 

Officially, the Colombian health system only treats epilepsy with orthodox or conventional treatments, which are not being successful. As of August 2016, the Colombian Congress approved a new law that regulates the medicinal use of cannabis and allows the commercial cultivation, processing and export of products derived from it.

 

According to the government, this is a step forward in changing the repressive drug laws of the country and orienting them to public health for the benefit of many patients and likewise calls for doctors and researchers to work on the issue. It is expected that treatment based on cannabis, expand to new medical alternatives once the law is fully implemented, with special emphasis on the treatment of epilepsy with medicinal cannabis.