An orphan drug is a pharmaceutical agent that treats a rare medical condition, the condition itself being referred to as an orphan disease. Patients with an orphan disease have very limited choices. It is, therefore, good news that Cannabis as medicine can actually help in several rare medical conditions – in so long as the patient has legal access to medical Cannabis. Only 10 out of 200 countries in the world grant their citizens access to cannabis for medical use. Another 20 countries established regulations that make cannabis as medicine accessible only in a few special cases, while in more than 150 countries legal access to this treatment remains unavailable.
TOURETTE SYNDROME is a complex neurological-psychiatric disorder characterized by motor tics – sudden spasms especially in the face, the neck and the shoulders – and one or more vocal tics. In many cases, it is associated with behavioural problems or psychopathologies (autoaggression, disturbed attention, etc.). Presently, neuroleptics are the most effective drugs. However, neuroleptics are not effective in all patients and, in many cases, are not well tolerated. THC, one of the main cannabinoids in the Cannabis plant, can be effectively used to reduce tics.
A cannabis-based drug has successfully treated children with a rare form of severe epilepsy in a clinical trial. The study of Epidiolex® in DRAVET SYNDROME is the first of four final-stage Phase III epilepsy trials, with results expected this year, that the pharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals hopes will confirm the therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol, the major cannabinoid of Epidiolex®.
The cannabis extract Sativex® was effective in the treatment of a patient suffering from STIFF PERSON SYNDROME (or STIFF-man SYNDROME). Physicians at the Neurology Department of the University Hospital of Ribera in Alzira, Spain, presented the case of a 40-year-old man with progressive muscle stiffness and intermittent spasms for 6-years. The cannabis spray was introduced after a series of unsatisfactory traditional medical treatments. Considerable improvement was verified after 14 months.
Researchers recently reported the case of a patient diagnosed with treatment-resistant ACHALASIA. Achalasia of the oesophagus is a failure of the muscles to relax, which can cause severe difficulties to swallow. This patient first used cannabis at the age of 20 and identified benefits regarding achalasia symptoms. He maintained regular moderate cannabis use for 9 years, with minimal digestive inconvenience.
IDIOPATHIC INTRACRANIAL HYPERTENSION is a neurological disorder characterized by high pressure in the fluid around the brain. It is also known as pseudotumor cerebri because there are some of the signs and symptoms of a brain tumor without a brain tumor being present. The space around the brain is filled with a water-like fluid, the cerebral-spinal fluid (CSF). If there is too much of the CSF present, the pressure on the brain rises. The cause of the disease is unknown. It is mainly found in overweight women of childbearing age and only rarely in thin men. The use of cannabis can effectively decrease intracranial pressure.
- Mueller-VAHL KR, Schneider U, Prevedel H, Theloe K, Kolbe H, Daldrup T, Emrich. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is effective in the treatment of tics in TOURETTE SYNDROME: a 6-week randomized trial. J Clin Psychiatry 2003;64(4):459-465)
- Press release by GW Pharmaceuticals of 14 March 2016
- Vicente-Valor MI, Garcia-Llopis P, Mejia Andujar L, Antonino de la Camara G, García Del Busto N, Lopez Tinoco M, Quintana Vergara B, Peiro Vilaplana C, Dominguez Moran JA, Sánchez Alcaraz A. Cannabis derivatives therapy for a seronegative STIFF-PERSON SYNDROME: a case report. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2012 Jun 21. [in press]
- Luquiens A, et al. World J Gastroenterol 2015;21(20):6381-3.
- Raby WN, Modica PA, Wolintz RJ, Murtaugh K. Dronabinol reduces signs and symptoms of IDIOPATHIC intraCRANIAL hypertension: a case report. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther 2006;22(1):68-75)
MCD would like to send a special thank you to the following crowdfunding donors:
Platinum level donor: Dr Bronner’s (USA)
Gold level donor: MH medical hemp (Germany)
Silver level donors: CBDepot.eu (Slovakia), Green Snake Hemp Juice (Germany),
About Medical Cannabis Declaration e.V. (MCD)
The Medical Cannabis Declaration (MCD) is an online platform founded on 16 February 2013 in Ruethen, Germany, established by worldwide medical professionals and patients who believe that the access to cannabis should not be determined by geography. MCD aims at promoting safe and regular prescription and use of medical cannabis, globally. The charity wants to be part of a growing movement to change the negative perception on cannabis to assure its real medical values are recognised. We solely rely on scientific studies developed for the medical use of the cannabis plant. Visit us at: www.medical-cannabis-declaration.org/
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Dr Franjo Grotenhermen