Medical Program

RSAMMD has been working with leading medical practitioners to help understand the benefits of medical cannabis and how to effectively treat patients, taking into consideration the function of our endocannabinoid system and how our receptors react to different compositions, potencies and consistencies.

1. Studies show that Medical Grade Cannabis can be useful for achieving a better quality of life for the critical and chronic illness patients. It can treat a large range of medical symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Inflammation
  • Muscle spasms

2. Medical Grade Cannabis can improve the state and wellbeing of patients suffering from:

  • Cluster headaches
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Hepatitis C
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Epilepsy
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Migraines
  • Parkinson’s
  • Glaucoma
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Depression

How Medical Cannabis can help

Who is eligible for medicinal cannabis in SA

  • In considering the availability of any medicine for human or animal use, the MCC assesses the balance between its benefits and risks. In terms of Sections 21 and 22A(9)(a)(i) of the Medicines Act, authorised practitioners can apply to the MCC for permission to access and prescribe unregistered medicines when intended to treat individual patients.
  • Cannabis-containing products intended for medicinal purposes may thus be made available, in exceptional circumstances, to specific patients under medical supervision. Authorisation is dependent on the submission of an appropriate dosage regimen, an acceptable justification for the proposed use, and regular reporting to the MCC.
  • To date, patient access to unregistered cannabis or cannabinoid-containing medicines has been enabled by the MCC through importation of these products. The product is available to qualified patients under South Africa’s named patient program.

ALS

The human body contains systems that are filled with neuromodulators (receptors) and these sophisticated receptors help regulate a variety of physiological processes including movement, mood, memory, appetite, and pain — the body’s endocannabinoid system receptors respond to the compounds present in cannabis called cannabinoids.

At least five of the cannabinoids found in cannabis are shown to alleviate some of the symptoms caused by ALS, and a few are linked to slowing the development of the condition or helping to delay the onset.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive component known for producing the feeling of being “high.” This component works to reduce pain and inflammation, stimulate the appetite, and can even battle depression by uplifting a patient’s mood. THC also acts as a neuroprotectant. Cannabichromene, or CBC, enhances the medical efficacy of THC, thereby increasing the healing powers of THC.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is known to significantly reduce muscle spasms, relieve inflammation and act as a powerful antioxidant which helps to remove free radicals from the body.
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is also an effective anti-inflammatory. Like THC, CBD, and THCV, Cannabinol (CBN) also fights inflammation while also reducing muscle spasms. CBN is also an effective sleep aid or sedative that can help patients rest even when in severe pain.

Alzeiherms Disease

The human brain is lined with endocannabinoid receptors that are responsible for regulating many body systems including mood, memory, pain, and appetite. When these communication pathways become clogged, as seen with amyloid plaques and tangles in Alzheimer’s patients, the ability to regulate these systems deteriorates, resulting in symptoms like memory loss and mood instability. Medical cannabis binds to the same receptors that the endocannabinoids do, some as perfectly as a key fits a lock, working to fill in the missing pieces of the healthy brain puzzle.

Medical cannabis could significantly reduce the demand for pharmaceutical therapies, which often just add to the confusion and irritability of Alzheimer’s patients. Medical cannabinoids help to remove excess amyloid plaques from the brain by escorting them through the blood-brain barrier, thereby reducing the progression of Alzheimer’s and significantly reducing the severity of symptoms.
Medical cannabis research studies are returning hope to those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders and their loved-ones or caretakers with recent findings and conclusions that the benefits of medical cannabis treatments far outweigh any risks. It has been revealed that cannabinoids can slow or even halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by improving the condition of communication pathways in the brain. THC, the best-known psychoactive cannabinoid, prevents brain-clogging plaques from growing larger or from even forming in the brain altogether.

Cancer

The human body contains systems that are filled with neuromodulators (receptors) and these sophisticated receptors help regulate a variety of physiological processes including movement, mood, memory, appetite and pain. In much the same manner that the human body’s endocrine system receptors respond to opiates – the root compounds of many pain relieving medications like morphine, codeine and hydrocodone (Vicodin) – the body’s endocannabinoid system receptors respond to the compounds present in cannabis called cannabinoids.

Unfortunately, many people with cancer experience significant discomfort from both the illness itself and the side effects from conventional medications. Research has shown cannabis to be effective in treating many of symptoms of cancer or side effects from conventional cancer treatments since the 1970s. Numerous studies over the past three decades have reported that the use of cannabis reduces pain, nausea, vomiting and stimulates appetites in patients receiving chemotherapy treatment.

Chronic pain

Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung documented using the “fundamental herb” (medical cannabis) to treat pain in his 2737 BCE pharmacopeia. Throughout history, pain relief has been one of the predominant reasons for utilizing cannabis for medicinal purposes. The human body contains systems that are filled with neuromodulators (receptors) and these sophisticated receptors help regulate a variety of physiological processes including movement, mood, memory, appetite and pain. In much the same manner that the human body’s endocrine system receptors respond to opiates – the root compounds of many pain relieving medications like morphine, codeine and hydrocodone (Vicodin) – the body’s endocannabinoid system receptors respond to the compounds present in cannabis called cannabinoids.

For patients in pain, the goal is to reduce their pain as much as possible while allowing them to still function as fully as possible. While opioids are the most commonly prescribed treatment for post-operative pain, many patients report preferring the efficacy of medical cannabis because it alleviates the pain without the debilitating side effects often associated with the pharmaceutical alternative. Cannabis is a very versatile option for pain relief for several reasons – it has inherent analgesic/pain relieving qualities, side effects can be minimal and it is capable of working in concert with other traditional prescription medications while also helping to alleviate some of the regular side effects associated with opiates like nausea, vomiting and dizziness.

As with other conditions, there is a countless amount of anecdotal research that has proven the pain relieving efficacy of cannabis – going back to the beginning of documented cannabis use over 5,000 years ago, pain relief has been a consistent physiological effect seen from cannabis use. The experience of the leading medical experts has revealed that medical cannabis can be used to safely and effectively treat a wide variety of medical conditions, including chronic post-operative pain, and it is often a successful therapy option when nothing else works. Where chronic post-operative pain is often resistant to pharmaceutical therapies, even very low doses of medical cannabis have shown to effectively reduce symptoms, and experts report that the benefits of medical cannabis far outweigh the risks.

Crohn’s disease

The effectiveness of cannabis and its derivatives for treating gastrointestinal disorders has been known for centuries. Research shows cannabis to be an effective treatment for Crohn’s, not only because it helps to alleviate symptoms caused by the disease and pharmaceutical therapies, but because its use can sometimes lead to complete remission. Cannabis provides significant medical efficacy in the treatment of Crohn’s disease because it is made up of hundreds of organic chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids, which are able to bind to the same receptors in the brain as the body’s own gastrointestinal tract regulating endocannabinoids.

The best-known psychoactive cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), does more than produce the euphoric feeling of being “high.” It reduces inflammation and relieves pain, nausea and vomiting while also stimulating the appetite.

Cannabidiol (CBD), the most common non-psychoactive cannabinoid, also relieves inflammation while producing clear-heading, calming effects. CBD is also an effective antibacterial, which is important for patients suffering from infected fissures.
The precursors to THC and CBD, tetrahydrocannabinolic-acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic-acid (CBDA), are also important in the treatment of Crohn’s disease. Like THC, THCA relieves pain, reduces inflammation, and helps to stimulate the appetite. CBDA also alleviates inflammation and fights infections.

While individual cannabinoids alleviate specific symptoms of Crohn’s, all of them working symbiotically with terpenes in a process called the entourage effect, can result in a patient’s complete remission. Medical cannabis is able to fill in the missing pieces of the homeostasis puzzle when the body fails to regulate its own endocannabinoid production.

HIV / AIDs

Medical cannabis allows those suffering from HIV and AIDS to consume calories, improving their overall quality of life because it effectively stimulates the appetite. The use of even small doses of medical cannabis has also shown to relieve nausea and pain that accompanies the disease itself and is exacerbated by the strong pharmaceuticals prescribed to treat it. With these findings regarding symptom relief, it is no surprise that so many people who suffer from HIV and AIDS supplement with medical cannabis therapies.

While clinical cannabis research may still be lacking, there is no shortage of studies supporting cannabis’ efficacy in eliminating nausea, vomiting, and appetite loss. Cachexia, also known as “wasting syndrome” related to significant unintentional weight loss, is a common condition that is associated with HIV/AIDS patients. Furthermore, recent studies are showing that cannabis may hold promise as an inhibitor of HIV/AIDS progression – slowing the replication of HIV.

In addition to the physical relief that cannabis can offer HIV/AIDS patients, the therapeutic impact on the mental wellbeing of patients dealing with all of the emotional stress associated with a condition such as this cannot be overlooked. The possible euphoria and joy produced by certain cannabinoids can also play a significant role in the general health of any patient – enjoyment can provide tremendous healing benefits for patients suffering from conditions that can cause depression.

IBS

Although the exact cause of IBS remains unknown, it is known that, like many physiological processes, the gastrointestinal tract is controlled by the body’s endocannabinoid system. Experts report that the colon muscle of an IBS sufferer is overly sensitive, causing it to spasm after even the mildest stimulation because of a disruption in the communication pathway between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract. Cannabis provides significant medical efficacy in the treatment of IBS because it is made up of hundreds of organic chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids, which are able to bind to the same receptors in the brain as the body’s own gastrointestinal tract regulating endocannabinoids. Medical cannabis is able to fill in the missing pieces of the homeostasis puzzle when the body fails to regulate its own endocannabinoid production.

The most abundant psychoactive cannabinoid known for producing the feeling of being high, THC, is also known for being an effective reliever of pain and nausea, which are two of the most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. CBD, the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid works is a powerful anti-spasmodic that also produces calming effects in patients. Experts report that, in the treatment of IBS and many other conditions, the medical efficacy of each individual cannabinoid found in medical cannabis increases dramatically when they work together in a process known as the entourage effect. For example, CBC works synergistically with THC to increase the amount of the gastrointestinal regulating endocannabinoid, anandamide, that is in the body at any given time. More anandamide in the system equates to reduced pain because it prevents excessive spasms in the gut wall.

Migraines

In the 21st century, migraines are most commonly treated by pharmaceuticals, but doctors have been using medical cannabis to treat them for thousands of years. While the exact cause of migraines is unknown, researchers have discovered from which areas of the brain this pain arises, which molecular changes signal the onset, and how cannabinoids affect these changes. The human body contains systems that are filled with neuromodulators (receptors) and these sophisticated receptors help regulate a variety of physiological processes including movement, mood, memory, appetite and pain — the body’s endocannabinoid system receptors respond to the compounds present in cannabis called cannabinoids.
Medical cannabis provides effective relief from migraines because it is made up of cannabinoids that are designed to bind to the same endocannabinoid receptors in the human brain responsible for pain, memory and appetite. Because the medical cannabinoids react, sometimes seamlessly, with the endocannabinoid receptors in the brain and body, they are able to relieve symptoms caused by a variety of different ailments, including migraines.

One superiority of cannabis over traditional medication for migraines relates to the method of ingestion – smoking or vaporizing cannabis can provide the migraine sufferer with nearly immediate relief from their symptoms. Traditional medicine that is ingested and absorbed through the digestion process will take a longer time to provide relief. In addition, traditional medicine that is ingested can be very difficult for someone to use that is suffering from nausea or vomiting.

Multiple Sclerosis

The human body contains systems that are filled with neuromodulators (receptors) and these sophisticated receptors help regulate a variety of physiological processes including movement, mood, memory, appetite and pain. In much the same manner that the human body’s endocrine system receptors respond to opiates – the root compounds of many pain relieving medications like morphine, codeine and hydrocodone (Vicodin) – the body’s endocannabinoid system receptors respond to the compounds present in cannabis called cannabinoids.

Research shows cannabis to be an effective therapy for MS patients because it not only treats many of the symptoms, but studies show that multiple cannabinoids slow the neurodegenerative processes that lead to disability. There is a reason that MS is on the list of qualifying, debilitating medical conditions in most of the US that have a medical marijuana program. Several of the cannabinoids found in cannabis have been shown to directly help with muscle spasms, tremors, fatigue and depression.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive cannabinoid known to produce the euphoric feeling of being “high.” It also demonstrates impressive medical efficacy in the treatment of MS. THC is a strong pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. It also relieves nausea, stimulates the appetite, and can help battle depression. Most impressively, it is one of cannabinoids which act as a neuroprotectant.

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and provide clear-headed and stress-relieving calming effects. Most importantly, CBD reduces the severity and frequency of MS spasms, as does tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). Cannabinol (CBN) is a strong sedative cannabinoid that acts as a sleep aid without the negative side effects associated with pharmaceutical counterparts.

Neuropathy

Cannabinoids, the organic chemical compounds possessing much of the healing powers of medical cannabis, bind to the same endocannabinoid receptors throughout the body and brain that are responsible the regulation of several physiological body systems, including pain, mood, memory, and appetite. While pharmaceuticals are also designed to react with the same receptors, they rarely bind as naturally as the cannabinoids in medical cannabis. This is why medical cannabis is such an effective treatment option for conditions that may otherwise be difficult to treat, like neuropathy. Where pharmaceutical therapies may not provide enough symptom relief to outweigh the negative side effects and potentials for addiction, cannabis can often react with the body’s receptors more efficiently and without risk of life-threatening addiction.

Multiple research studies reveal that cannabis is often a preferred method of symptom relief for neuropathy patients because it is effective, even to those who have not responded to pharmaceutical therapies, and the psychoactive side effects are not as debilitating as those presented by opiates. Several medical cannabinoids are known to treat individual symptoms like pain, anxiety, inflammation, sleep deprivation, and mood disorders. While those single cannabinoid therapies are extremely successful, as highlighted by the pure CBD oils that are significantly reducing the severity and duration of many children suffering from severe forms of epilepsy, when multiple cannabinoids work together in a process called the entourage effect, the medical efficacy can increase dramatically.

The success of the entourage effect is demonstrated in the use of medical cannabis to treat neuropathic pain. THC, the most abundant psychoactive cannabinoid, has proven to be an extremely effective analgesic (pain reliever) and is also helpful in the treatment of the depression that can often accompany chronic pain conditions like neuropathy. Unlike THC, CBD is a non-psychoactive reliever of inflammation and pain. Research has linked the inflammation-reducing characteristics of CBD, and its ability to eliminate excessive immune-related oxidative stress in order to allow the body to better heal itself, to significant symptom reduction in neuropathy patients. Another medical cannabinoid, CBC, displays sedative properties that are known to help those suffering from pain get some much-coveted rest.

PTSD

The human body contains systems that are filled with neuromodulators (receptors) and these sophisticated receptors help regulate a variety of physiological processes including movement, mood, memory, appetite and pain. In much the same manner that the human body’s endocrine system receptors respond to opiates – the root compounds of many pain relieving medications like morphine, codeine and hydrocodone (Vicodin) – the body’s endocannabinoid system receptors respond to the compounds present in cannabis called cannabinoids.

Anxiety is regulated by the endocannabinoid receptors that line the human brain, and while it is natural for a person to experience symptoms of anxiety, the severity of symptoms should dissolve over time. When the body does not produce enough anandamide, the endocannabinoid responsible for controlling anxiety, PTSD is more likely to develop. A patient may be diagnosed as suffering from PTSD if anxiety symptoms such as flashbacks, depression, social withdrawal, insomnia or night terrors, interfere with daily life or last longer than five weeks. Cannabinoids bind to the same regulatory receptors in the brain as the anxiety regulator, anandamide. It is believed that people diagnosed with PTSD exhibit lower natural levels of anandamide when compared to non-PTSD sufferers. An expert that has studied PTSD as part of Project CBD states that “anandamide triggers the same (endocannabinoid) receptors that are activated by THC and other components of the marijuana plant.” A clear connection as to why medical cannabis can be effective in alleviating the symptoms of PTSD.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

During the 19th century, cannabis tinctures were common on pharmacy shelves throughout much of the world and administered as a pain killer – often for arthritis. There are a couple of cannabinoids found in cannabis that have especially profound efficacy for those with arthritis: CBD and THC. Not only do these cannabinoids provide an analgesic effect but they have also been shown to have powerful immune-modulation and anti-inflammatory properties.

The psychoactive cannabinoid is known for producing the feeling of being “high,” tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is also a very effective analgesic (pain reliever). It also acts to reduce inflammation, stimulate the appetite and can even help to maintain a positive mental state for patients in severe pain.

Like THC, cannabidiol (CBD) reduces pain and inflammation, but unlike THC, it is not psychoactive so patients are able to remain clear-headed. CBD also produces a calming, comforting effect in patients that is known to relieve the stress and anxiety associated with severe pain.

Cannabinol (CBN) is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid that acts as a sedative, so it can help to promote restful sleep where RA pain may not normally allow. CBN also provides anti-inflammatory and pain relieving effects. Cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabidiol-acid (CBDA) also work to relieve inflammation.

Seizures

The number of clinical studies that have been conducted on the use of cannabis oil in the treatment of different forms of epilepsy and other seizure disorders falls far short of the public’s demand and need for such research. That said, more anecdotal evidence and observational studies have become available in recent years than ever before.

Cannabinoid therapies are often successful in treating conditions that are otherwise resistant to pharmaceutical treatments because they react with the endocannabinoid receptors that line the human brain and body. Some cannabinoids fit receptors as perfectly as a key fits a lock.

Cannabidiol (CBD), has been shown to be the most effective cannabinoid for seizure relief and reduction because it works as an anticonvulsant. CBD also enhances the efficacy of several pharmaceutical medications prescribed for the treatment of seizures. Although it does not work for every person, many patients experience symptom relief almost immediately after using cannabidiol. CBD is non-psychoactive, so it is currently the preferred cannabinoid for children or any person who prefers to avoid the feeling of being “high” produced by the psychoactive cannabinoid THC.

CBDV has been shown to have similar results to CBD in minimizing the severity and duration of seizures. It also helps to reduce symptoms that result from certain pharmaceuticals, like nausea and vomiting. THCV adds to the seizure relieving efficacy of cannabis by working as an anti-convulsant.

We Can Work Together For Your Patients Too

RSAMMD aspires to assist guide and educate doctors, physicians and health care professionals about the benefits of Medical Grade Cannabis in order to create responsible and reliable treatment programs for their patients. Please contact us for further information about Medical Grade Cannabis and how it can benefit you or your patients.

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