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The PTSD Landscape and Plant Therapy-Based Clinical Trials

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD for short, is a widely known disease with high prevalence in countries around the world. While in the past PTSD was most often associated with military personnel, our understanding of this mental health condition is much greater today. According to the majority of available sources, including Psychology Today, the prevalence of PTSD is much higher among women than men. Current statistics estimate that PTSD affects 2.1%-2.3% of the global population, and according to Phoenix Australian, there are over one million Australians, or an estimated 4.4% of the AU population, living with PTSD at any point in time.

The PTSD Landscape 

PTSD comes in three primary subtypes. These include Complex PTSD, Comorbid PTSD, and Dissociative PTSD. Each of these three types of PTSD is characterized by its own unique set of symptoms, prevalence, and risks. 

Signs of PTSD

PTSD results from living through and surviving a traumatic event. However, each subset of PTSD also has its own underlying triggers. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common symptoms and signs of PTSD include but are not limited to the following.

  • Intrusive memories which may include recurrent and unwanted memories of a traumatic event, flashbacks, nightmares, or dreams of the event
  • Avoiding discussion regarding the event as well as places, people, and activities that may remind a person of the traumatic event
  • Feelings of hopelessness and detachment
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Recurrent negative thoughts
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Concentration and/or memory issues
  • Easily frightened and/or startled
  • Aggressive outbursts of anger and constant irritability

When Should You Seek Help for PTSD? 

The severity and intensity of symptoms associated with PTSD can greatly vary between individuals. They can also greatly vary for an individual from one day to the next and sometimes even from one moment to the next. If you have lived through a traumatic event and have experienced disturbing feelings or thoughts surrounding it for more than a month, it is highly advised to seek medical help.

If you have suddenly developed severe symptoms or they have become increasingly more severe over time, it is also advisable to speak to a mental health professional. If at any time you feel suicidal, it is essential that you reach out to a mental health professional, friends, loved ones, a spiritual leader, or a trained counselor through resources such as Lifeline Australia, which offers 24-hour suicide prevention and crisis resources via phone text and online chat.

How Is PTSD Diagnosed?

In order to diagnose PTSD, a medical professional will have to complete both a mental and physical exam. During the evaluations, professionals will look at things such as the type of event that was experienced and the individual person’s response. Doctors will also look at how the events are being re-experienced within daily activities and what is causing that to occur. An extensive look at personal history is also essential to see how an individual has coped after a traumatic event, as well as how they have coped with the memories that come with it. Understanding just how long symptoms have been present, as well as any change in severity and frequency, is essential in diagnosing PTSD.

The Endocannabinoid System & PTSD

Plant therapies are essential to the health and functionality of our body’s endogenous cannabinoid system, commonly known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system contains receptors throughout organs and tissues in our bodies that work with plant compounds to help regulate many functions within our anatomy. A study from 2020 showed that a low dose of THC resulted in a significant reduction of fear and anxiety among PTSD patients facing scenarios formulated to trigger these responses. This shows that THC may be able to help lower threat-related amygdala reactivity in PTSD patients.

Additional studies have shown that plant compounds are able to stimulate CB1 receptors within the ECS, helping to improve a process known within animal studies as extinction learning. Extinction learning is essentially the belief that old memories of a specific scenario can be overridden with new memories through exposure time and time again. This process does not occur within the brains of those with PTSD. It is believed that through plant therapies, this process may be able to be triggered within PTSD patients similar to how it was within animal studies.

Traditional Treatments for PTSD

Traditional treatments for PTSD include medication such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety formulations. The main focus of PTSD treatment, however, is therapies that confront the memories and triggers of the survived event and processes by which to overcome them. Some of the most common trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapies recommended for PTSD patients are Prolonged Exposure (PE), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.

Plant Therapies for PTSDClinical Trial Synopsis 

It is easy to find stories of individuals attributing their ability to overcome PTSD to plant therapies. To date, the research available from countries worldwide surrounding plant therapies in the treatment of PTSD has proven to offer much hope.

BOD Australia is currently conducting an observational study and is actively recruiting individuals that have been diagnosed with PTSD for a study looking at the use of high CBD and low THC medicinal cannabis and how it affects PTSD symptoms. Learn more about this study and register your interest here.

To see if you are eligible for plant-based therapies, you can book a telehealth appointment with one of our specialist doctors through Cannatrek Access.

The Cancer Landscape and Plant Therapy-Based Clinical Trials

Cancer is a disease that has affected almost everyone in one manner or another. Cancer can be defined as a disease of the cells. Specifically, cancer is when abnormal cells grow in an uncontrolled manner. These cells cause damage to surrounding tissues and can spread to other parts of the body, resulting in more damage.

The Cancer Landscape 

There are over 100 various types of cancer that are commonly named after the organs or tissues in which cancer first formed. Some of the most common forms of cancer that you may have heard of include breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, melanoma, lymphoma, and leukemia. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, in 2018 there were an estimated 18 million cancer cases globally. According to the Australian Cancer Council, cancer is the leading cause of death in Australia, with more than 150,000 new cases diagnosed in 2020 alone. That same year, just under 50,000 individuals in Australia lost their lives to cancer.

Signs and Symptoms of Cancer

The specific signs and symptoms of cancer will vary drastically depending on the area of the body affected. In general, however, there are several common signs and symptoms of cancer that everyone should be aware of. According to Cancer Institute NSW, five of the most common signs and symptoms of cancer include the following:

  • Unusual Lumps or Swelling
  • Fever
  • Unexplained Aches and Pains
  • Unexplained Weight Loss
  • Severe Fatigue or Extreme Tiredness

When Should You Seek Help for Cancer Symptoms? 

Health Direct suggests that if you notice any changes in suspected cancer symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention. The success of treating cancer highly depends on how early it is detected. If you have been experiencing any of the above symptoms for more than two weeks or notice a sudden change in the severity of any symptoms, it is also recommended that you speak with your doctor right away.

How Is Cancer Diagnosed?

When it comes to diagnosing cancer, it can sometimes take time and several different tests to receive an accurate diagnosis. Because cancer can grow slowly, sometimes it can be present for months or years before causing any symptoms. Various tests can be utilized to diagnose cancer, depending on your specific symptoms and their location on your body. These tests include blood tests, MRI scans, ultrasounds, X-rays, and CT scans. If these tests reveal anything of concern, your doctor will likely take a small sample of the affected tissue using a procedure known as a biopsy to examine it further in a laboratory. The biopsy helps doctors learn more about the type of cancer and how aggressive it is within the body.

The Endocannabinoid System & Cancer 

Plant therapies work with the body’s endocannabinoid system to assist with many functions within our anatomy. According to the University of Newcastle, Australia, “Laboratory tests conducted at the University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute have shown that a modified form of medicinal cannabis can kill or inhibit cancer cells without impacting normal cells, revealing its potential as a treatment rather than simply a relief medication.”

There have also been numerous research studies conducted around the globe that have proven cannabis’ efficacy in relieving many of the common signs and symptoms associated with cancer and cannabis is effective at relieving symptoms without the side effects of traditional treatment. In 2019, researchers at Amity University in India conducted a detailed scientific review of the literature surrounding the effects of cannabinoids on various cancer types and discovered the following.

Plant compounds such as THC and CBD can “exert potent [anti-growth] activity and activate various apoptotic mechanisms eventually leading to cell death.” This was found in studies surrounding glioma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Another study in their review found that when cancer cells were treated with synthetic versions of endocannabinoids, they activated receptors that killed cancer cells.

Additionally, a clinical trial researching the utilization of cannabinoid therapies in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme showed that those treated with cannabinoid therapies had a higher one-year survival rate of 83%, which is much greater than the placebo group at 53%.

Traditional Treatments for Cancer

Most commonly, cancer is fought with one or a combination of the following treatments:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Hormone Therapy
  • Surgery to Remove Cancerous Tissue
  • Stem Cell Transplants

In addition to the therapy utilised in hopes of killing the cancerous cells and tissues, many cancer patients are also prescribed a plethora of other medications to address the side effects and symptoms of cancer and the treatments employed to fight it. These often include antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications to help with the mental health issues one may experience after a cancer diagnosis and while undergoing treatment, in addition to pain medications, nausea medications, and other types of medication.

Plant Therapies for CancerClinical Trial Synopsis 

The utilisation of plant therapies such as cannabis in the treatment of cancer and its various symptoms and side effects has been widely documented in anecdotal studies of success and scientific research for many years. The majority of research available today offers much hope for plant therapies in the treatment of various cancers. Currently, researchers at the University of Newcastle are recruiting patients for an interventional open-label study on the use of medicinal cannabis in advanced cancer patients. The eligibility requirements for this study include the following.

  • 18 years or older
  • A confirmed advanced cancer diagnosis
  • A predicted life expectancy of 6 to 12 months at the time of consent
  • Persistent symptoms of nausea, anorexia, or refractory pain that have not been responsive to standard treatments
  • Participants must be willing and able to comply with all requirements set forth by the study agreement
  • Any participants capable of childbearing must use adequate contraception

To learn more about the study and to register for eligibility, check out the official details in the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry here.

To see if you are eligible for plant-based therapies, you can book a telehealth appointment with one of our specialist doctors through Cannatrek Access.

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The Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome Landscape and Plant Therapy-Based Clinical Trials

The World Health Organization reported in 2018 that an estimated 3 million deaths result from harmful use of alcohol, representing 5.3% of all deaths worldwide. Alcohol is the underlying cause of many different diseases, and it is estimated that 5.1% of the entire global burden of disease is attributed to alcohol. But the harm drinking alcohol can cause doesn’t stop just by ceasing its consumption; alcohol can still cause harm even after an individual abstains from alcohol. Alcohol withdrawal is a condition that can result from abruptly stopping alcohol consumption after prolonged periods of heavy use. 

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

When excessive alcohol consumption is abruptly stopped, withdrawal symptoms can begin to appear as quickly as a few hours, but commonly within the first day after the patient’s last drink. The most common signs of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS) include the following.

  • Anxiety
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Sweats
  • Tremors

In severe cases, some individuals also experience elevated heart rate and blood pressure, confusion, delirium, and, in an estimated 15% of cases, seizures also occur. The onset of alcohol withdrawal is more prevalent in individuals who drink several drinks daily and those who drank daily for at least two consecutive weeks.

When Should You Seek Help for Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome?

If you or a loved one experience severe confusion, heavy sweating, racing heartbeats, violent shaking, hallucinations, the sensation of bugs crawling on your skin, seizures, or delusions, it is essential that you seek medical assistance immediately. The symptoms can be a sign of a condition known as delirium tremens, which typically starts within the first 48 to 72 hours after drinking has ceased. It is estimated that 5% of individuals that suffer from alcohol withdrawal develop delirium tremens. Of those individuals, it is estimated that 5%-25% of these cases result in fatality.

How Is Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome Diagnosed?

To diagnose Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome, your doctor will review your medical history, perform a physical exam, and ask you about your symptoms and alcohol use. The doctor may also perform a toxicology screening and ask you a series of questions that are a part of the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment of Alcohol, which utilizes a scale to measure the severity of 10 different symptoms. This assessment, also known CIWA-Ar, reviews the severity of symptoms such as agitation, headaches, nausea and vomiting, sweating, tremors, visual/audio disturbances, and more.

The Endocannabinoid System and Alcohol Withdrawal

The body’s endogenous cannabinoid system has been attributed to helping balance many functions within our bodies through cannabinoid receptors found in tissues and organs throughout our anatomy. Cannabinoid receptors such as CB1 receptors are devastated when alcohol is introduced into the body. Alcohol consumption greatly reduces the prevalence of these receptors and also increases the production of GABA and dopamine within the brain. Introducing cannabinoids such as CBD and THC may help to bring balance to the brain’s chemistry and increase the prevalence of these vital receptors within our bodies.

A 2017 study published by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver concluded that nearly half of all medical cannabis consumers that participated in the study applied for medical cannabis cards in order to substitute the natural alternative of cannabis for alcohol. According to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, cannabis can also work as a neuroprotective agent to protect the brain stem from damage already caused by alcohol consumption.

Traditional Treatments for Alcohol Withdrawal

When Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome is diagnosed, it is most often treated with either home care or hospitalization. Both of these can include a combination of medications and therapies. In the case of hospitalization, in many instances, the patient will have to be administered IV medications and fluids to prevent dehydration. Whether at home or in the hospital, many individuals diagnosed with AWS will be prescribed sedatives such as benzodiazepines, including Ativan, Xanax, or Valium.

Additionally, patients may receive medications to help with symptoms such as headache, nausea, and vomiting, fever, and lower blood pressure. The most beneficial treatment for AWS, however, is the abstinence of alcohol consumption. In some cases, patients may have to seek out addiction centers in order to be able to overcome AWS and abstain from alcohol when their home environments do not support sobriety.

Plant Therapies for Alcohol Withdrawal Clinical Trials Synopsis

Currently, the University of Sydney is recruiting participants for a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial to explore the effectiveness and tolerability of CBD for the treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome symptoms in an in-patient setting. This randomized clinical trial will include 52 participants. Inclusion criteria for this study states that you must be between the ages of 18 and 65 years old. You must have had at least one prior episode that lasted for two days or more in which you experienced withdrawal symptoms that caused incapacitation, or a prior instance of medical detoxification in which withdrawal symptoms were exhibited.

To be included, you must have a history of consuming at least eight alcoholic beverages per day for a two-week period prior to enrollment in the study. You must also be willing to give written informed consent to participate in the study and have adequate cognition and English language skills in order to give valid consent and complete the research interviews. There is also an extensive list of exclusion criteria that can prevent you from participating in this study. If you are interested in participating in this study, check out the full details and register your interest.

To see if you are eligible for plant-based therapies, you can book a telehealth appointment with one of our specialist doctors through Cannatrek Access.

The Insomnia Landscape and Plant Therapy-Based Clinical Trials

Insomnia is a condition that many people are familiar with. This condition, which is characterized by the inability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep, affects millions of people around the globe. According to statistics from a 2019 report commissioned by the Sleep Health Foundation, 14.8% of Australians “have symptoms which could result in a diagnosis of clinical insomnia.” Globally, it is estimated that 10-30% of adults have insomnia, while other reports show that number to be higher in the 40-60% range.

The Insomnia Landscape 

While many people are familiar with insomnia, many are not aware that there are actually several different types of insomnia. Each varying type of insomnia has a different onset time, duration of existence, symptoms, causes, and side effects. The most commonly diagnosed forms of insomnia are acute insomnia, chronic insomnia, onset insomnia, maintenance insomnia, and behavioral insomnia of childhood.

Signs and Symptoms of Insomnia

The most common signs and symptoms of insomnia are difficulty falling asleep, awakening frequently throughout the night, waking up too early with an inability to go back to sleep, and sleeping undisturbed yet feeling fatigued upon waking. This lack of sleep and inability to stay asleep can lead to many symptoms throughout the day. These include but are not limited to the following.

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Poor Memory and Concentration
  • Irritability
  • Impulsive Behavior
  • Lack of Interest
  • Inability to Stay Awake Through Daily Activities
  • Lack of Motivation

When Should You Seek Help for Insomnia Symptoms? 

While it can be common to have a restless night, if you experience trouble sleeping or staying asleep for a prolonged period of time, it is vital that you see a medical professional. If you are having difficulty sleeping and this affects your ability to function throughout the day, it is recommended that you seek medical help to get your insomnia diagnosed and under control.

How Is Insomnia Diagnosed?

To diagnose insomnia, a doctor will typically perform a physical exam as well as review your medical history to see if there are signs of any other underlying conditions that might be causing your sleep issues. You may also be asked to track your sleep patterns and symptoms or be referred to a sleep study to check for other sleep disorders before being diagnosed with insomnia.

The Endocannabinoid System & Insomnia 

Plant therapies such as cannabis have been known to help individuals that have issues sleeping. Cannabis is particularly known for being a very relaxing substance and for its sedative effects. A study published in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience in 2020 concluded that when cannabis compounds such as THC and CBD are consumed, it activates the production of the body’s natural endocannabinoids such as anandamide and 2-AG.

These natural endocannabinoids have been shown to help balance the body’s circadian rhythm, in return helping to regulate sleep. In addition to cannabinoids, cannabis naturally contains terpenes such as myrcene, limonene, and linalool, which have been shown to help relieve insomnia through many different studies. 

Traditional Treatments for Insomnia

Traditional treatments for insomnia include over-the-counter or prescription-strength sleep aids, cognitive behavioral therapies, and additional medications to address any underlying symptoms that may be leading to insomnia. In many cases, changes in day-to-day lifestyle activities may be recommended as well as various other therapies depending on the specific type of insomnia being treated.

Plant Therapies for Insomnia Clinical Trial Synopsis 

The Swinburne University of Technology is currently recruiting participants for a 3-week randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial researching the efficacy of CBD for the treatment of insomnia. To participate in the study, you must be between the ages of 18 and 45 years old, have an insomnia Severity Index Score of 15 or higher, experience difficulties falling or staying asleep, have dissatisfaction with your current sleep patterns, and have sleep problems that are interfering with your daily life.

If you currently are unable to speak or read English, work as a shift worker, have a history of severe neurological gastrointestinal or endocrine issues or major psychiatric disorders including severe depression or anxiety, or if you are currently pregnant or lactating, you are unable to participate in this study. For a full list of inclusion as well as exclusion criteria or to register for eligibility, check out the official details of the study at the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry.

To see if you are eligible for plant-based therapies, you can book a telehealth appointment with one of our specialist doctors through Cannatrek Access.

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The Neurological Disorders Landscape and Plant Therapy-Based Clinical Trials

Neurological disorders are defined as disorders that directly affect the brain and nerves throughout the body and spinal cord. According to some of the most recent statistics, it is estimated that neurological disorders affect hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. Per statistics from the World Health Organization, neurological disorders are the leading cause of disability globally. Statistics from Mind Gardens Neuroscience Network in Sydney state that in 2017, neurological disorders accounted for 37% of Australia’s entire burden of disease.

The Neurological Disorders Landscape 

Neurological disorders encapsulate diseases that affect both the brain and/or the nervous system; there are dozens of conditions within the neurological disorders landscape. Some of the most common neurological disorders that you have likely heard of include Alzheimer’s, cerebral palsy, dementia, epilepsy, migraines, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and vertigo.

Signs of Neurological Disorders

Each neurological disorder comes with its own unique set of symptoms and complications. However, some of the most common physical and mental signs of neurological disorders experienced by patients include the following.

  • Changes in balance or coordination
  • Changes in behavior
  • Decreased awareness of surroundings
  • Delusions
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Frequent headaches
  • Impaired vision
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Muscle weakness
  • Partial or complete loss of sensation in extremities
  • Poor cognitive abilities
  • Seizures
  • Slurred speech
  • Tremors
  • Unexplainable pain

When Should You Seek Help for Neurological Disorders?

If you regularly experience issues with your coordination, suffer from tremors or unintentional jerks, have unexplained memory loss, dizziness, numbness, tingling, seizures, or unexplained chronic pain, it is vital that you seek out professional help from your primary care physician or a licensed neurologist. Many neurological disorders are manageable with treatments; however, if left unaddressed, these disorders could result in severe complications and even fatality.

How Are Neurological Disorders Diagnosed?

Like many conditions, neurological disorders require a physical exam and discussion with a doctor. Additionally, tests such as CT scans, MRIs, electroencephalogram (EEGs), spinal taps, ultrasounds, and others are commonly administered to pinpoint the exact issue at hand.

The Endocannabinoid System & Neurological Disorders 

Plant therapies are believed to help regulate the body’s endocannabinoid system through CB1 and CB2 receptors found throughout the endogenous system. This, in return, may result in viable treatment options for a variety of disease processes, including various neurological disorders and their associated symptoms.

A 2018 study concluded that cannabinoid compounds offered benefits in a variety of ways to those with neurological disorders. This study placed emphasis on the use of CBD as a treatment option for various neurological disorders, including Dravet syndrome, tuberous sclerosis complex, various drug-resistant epilepsy, and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, noting that CBD has been “found to be a promising compound that appears to be safe and efficacious.”

Traditional Treatments for Neurological Disorders 

The standard treatment for neurological disorders includes a wide variety of different medications and therapies. Some of the most common medications prescribed to neurological disorder patients include pain and anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, epilepsy medications, and many others that vary depending on the exact disorder and symptoms being addressed. It is also very common for patients with neurological disorders to also undergo psychotherapy, physiotherapy, and to undertake lifestyle changes, among other therapies to manage their symptoms.

Plant Therapies for Neurological Disorders – Clinical Trial Synopsis 

The stories of plant therapies providing relief from a wide variety of different neurological disorders as well as their various symptoms are abundant on the internet today. Additionally, the significant amount of research we have available to date is quite promising.

Currently, the University of Notre Dame Australia is conducting a randomised, double-blind, crossover, placebo-controlled trial with eligible patients with dementia using medicinal cannabis treatments. Participants are eligible for the study if they are over the age of 65, reside within a residential aged care facility, have a diagnosis of dementia, and are displaying at least three associated behavioral symptoms, are compliant to taking medication, are not bedridden, and are able to speak English. Learn more about this registered trial here.

To see if you are eligible for plant-based therapies, you can book a telehealth appointment with one of our specialist doctors through Cannatrek Access.

The Chronic Pain Landscape and Plant Therapy-Based Clinical Trials

Chronic pain is something that almost everyone is familiar with because they either live with it or know someone that does. Chronic pain is one of the most prevalent medical conditions globally. According to Australia’s National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management, known as The Action Plan, an estimated 3.4 million Australians live with chronic pain.

The Chronic Pain Landscape 

The chronic pain landscape is quite vast as chronic pain can result from accidents, injuries, medical conditions, and other circumstances. Some of the most common underlying causes for chronic pain include nerve damage, arthritis, fibromyalgia, tension headaches, bone fractures, endometriosis, cystitis, IBS, sciatica, diabetes, diabetic neuropathy, and TMJ, to name a few. Chronic pain comes in six various types: nociceptive pain, somatic pain, visceral pain, neuropathic pain, psychogenic pain, and idiopathic pain.

Signs of Chronic Pain

Depending on the underlying cause of chronic pain, the exact symptoms and signs experienced by patients may vary. Some of the most common signs of chronic pain include but are not limited to the following.

  • Joint pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Burning or tingling sensations accompanied by pain
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep issues resulting from unexplained pain
  • Loss of flexibility due to decreased activity

When Should You Seek Help for Chronic Pain?

If you have experienced any of the above symptoms for a prolonged period extending more than three months without medication or self-care therapies, it is time that you seek help as you may be suffering from chronic pain or a related underlying condition. In many cases, the longer pain is left untreated, the harder it is to find relief.

How Is Chronic Pain Diagnosed?

Chronic pain is a condition that becomes diagnosable over time. Over the course of several months or even years, your doctors and specialists may perform various tests to pinpoint the cause of your pain and make a proper diagnosis. These tests will vary depending on the type and severity of your pain, but typically include X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, blood work, and neurological examinations, among others.

The Endocannabinoid System & Chronic Pain 

Plant therapies are believed to help regulate the body’s endocannabinoid system through CB1 and CB2 receptors found throughout the endogenous system. This, in return, may result in viable treatment options for a variety of disease processes, including chronic pain and associated symptoms.

According to “The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids – The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research,” published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in 2017, concludes that the research surrounding cannabinoid therapies for the treatment of chronic pain is quite promising. This study reported the following;

  • Cannabinoids have been proven to be effective in treating neuropathic pain and spasticity related to MS.
  • Patients with chronic pain have reported a clinically noteworthy reduction in pain symptoms through the use of cannabinoid therapies.
  • There is substantial evidence that individuals with chronic pain are choosing to replace their opiate use with medical cannabis where legal programs exist.

Traditional Treatments for Chronic Pain 

Common treatment for chronic pain is characterized by medications for pain management. These often include pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, analgesics, narcotics, and nerve pain and antispasmodic medications. Additionally, chronic pain patients often undergo lifestyle and diet changes to help reduce the underlying cause of chronic pain as well as increase their mobility. Chronic pain patients sometimes also seek out cognitive, physical, psycho, behavioral, and massage therapies.

Plant Therapies for Chronic Pain – Clinical Trial Synopsis 

According to statistics from Fresh Leaf Analytics, 85% of those seeking out medical cannabis prescriptions in Australia are doing so to treat chronic pain, and for a good reason. The number of anecdotal stories that state the efficacy of cannabinoid therapies in relieving chronic pain seem to be endless. The clinical research available to date is also very promising in the realm of plant-based therapies for chronic pain treatment.

CA Clinics is recruiting for their CA Clinics Observational Study (CACOS) in conjunction with Applied Cannabis Research (ACR). CACOS aims to research the potential benefits of medicinal cannabis therapies for a wide variety of hard-to-treat conditions, including chronic pain. This study will be an ongoing observational study in which patients will self-report via a series of surveys. The study is open to patients who are approved for specific medicinal cannabis prescriptions through CA Clinics doctors and who are over the age of 18. To learn more about this registered trial, click here.

To see if you are eligible for plant-based therapies, you can book a telehealth appointment with one of our specialist doctors through Cannatrek Access.

The Sleep Disorders Landscape and Plant Therapy-Based Clinical Trials

Sleep disorders affect a large percentage of the global population. Therefore, many people are affected by at least one form of sleep-related disorder. According to statistics provided by the Parliament of Australia, it is estimated that 1 in 5 Australians suffer from at least one major sleep condition.

The Sleep Disorders Landscape 

While most of us are familiar with a bad night’s sleep, for millions of people worldwide, a lousy night’s sleep has become expected due to various sleep disorders. The most common sleep disorders diagnosed globally include but are not limited to insomnia, sleep apnea, Restless Legs Syndrome, narcolepsy, circadian rhythm disorder, and idiopathic hypersomnia. The underlying cause of sleep disorders can drastically vary from patient to patient. In general, sleep disorders are typically caused by underlying physical, mental, or environmental issues.

Signs of Sleep Disorders

Each sleep disorder comes with its own unique set of symptoms and complications. However, some of the most common signs of sleep disorders experienced by patients include the following:

  • • Daytime fatigue
  • • Irritability
  • • Lack of concentration
  • • Difficulty staying or falling asleep
  • • Depression
  • • Weight gain
  • • Impaired performance at work or school
  • • Strong urge to nap during the day
  • • Unusual breathing and/or movement patterns while sleeping

When Should You Seek Help for Sleep Disorders?

If you regularly experience issues falling or staying asleep or feel extremely fatigued after receiving a solid 7 hours or more of sleep on a regular basis, it is vital that you seek out help. Additionally, if your lack of ability to sleep begins to affect your ability to perform your regular day-to-day activities, it is time to see a medical professional. Sleep disorders, when left undiagnosed and untreated, can result in a plethora of complications and may be a sign of a more severe underlying medical condition.

How Are Sleep Disorders Diagnosed?

While some sleep disorders can be diagnosed through a patient/doctor conversation or a simple overnight sleep study at home, other more severe cases may require evaluation in a sleep laboratory for proper diagnosis. Some of the tests commonly performed in order to diagnose sleep disorders include polysomnography (PSG), Multiple Sleep Latency Tests (MSLTs), and electroencephalograms (EEGs).

The Endocannabinoid System & Sleep Disorders 

Plant therapies are believed to help regulate the body’s endocannabinoid system. This, in return, may result in viable treatment options for a plethora of diseases, including various sleep disorders. In a study published in 2020 titled “Cannabinoids, Endocannabinoids, and Sleep,” researchers concluded that the impact of cannabinoid-based products on sleep disorders provides great hope for plant-based therapies for sleep issues.

“It is becoming increasingly evident that endocannabinoids play a prominent role in sleep and sleep neurophysiology, and cannabinoid drugs alter these processes.” Researchers in the study pointed out that there is a distinct overlap between the body’s endocannabinoid system and sleep-wake circuitry, as well as a clear need for extensive research in this vital area.

Traditional Treatments for Sleep Disorders 

Seeing how many sleep disorders are caused by an underlying mental or physical condition, it is essential that treatment is provided to address those ailments. Additionally, some of the most common treatments for sleep disorders include pharmaceutical and over-the-counter sleep aids, natural melatonin supplements, breathing devices (in the case of sleep apnea), lifestyle adjustments, and diet changes.

Plant Therapies for Sleep Disorders – Clinical Trial Synopsis 

The stories of plant therapies providing relief from a wide variety of different sleep disorders are abundant on the internet today as more places have embraced these natural therapies. Additionally, the research we have available to date is also quite promising regarding plant therapies and sleep conditions. Currently, there are several ongoing trials in Australia researching the efficiency of plant therapies for the treatment of sleep disorders.

Swinburne University is conducting an interventional, randomised, placebo-controlled pilot trial with eligible patients with insomnia using medicinal cannabis treatments. Participants are eligible for the study if they are between the ages of 18 and 45, and have an Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) score of 15 or more, have self-reported difficulties falling or staying asleep, are dissatisfied with their current sleep patterns, or experience sleep issues that interfere with their daily lives. Learn more about this registered trial here.

To see if you are eligible for plant-based therapies, you can book a telehealth appointment with one of our specialist doctors through Cannatrek Access.

The IBS Landscape and Plant Therapy-Based Clinical Trials

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS for short, is a condition that many people have heard about. This is because it is a very prevalent disease in various populations around the world. According to statistics from Health Direct, IBS is more prevalent among women than men. Statistics estimate that IBS affects nearly 15% of the Australian population.

The IBS Landscape 

IBS comes in several forms. These include IBS-C, IBS-D, IBS-M, sometimes known as IBS-A, Post-Infectious IBS, and Post-Diverticulitis IBS. Each type of IBS comes with its own set of specific symptoms, risks, prevalences, and treatment options. The most common causes of IBS include infection, food intolerance, dietary issues, medications, and emotional stress.

Signs of IBS

While each of the five forms of IBS comes with its own set of symptoms, some of the most common symptoms and signs of IBS that are prevalent across all forms include the following:

  • • Nausea
  • • Mucus in Stools
  • • Abdominal Bloating
  • • Sensation that Bowels Are Still Full Even After Having a Bowel Movement
  • • Common Alternating Occurrences of Diarrhea and Constipation
  • • Abdominal Cramping and Pain

When Should You Seek Help for IBS? 

While many of the symptoms of IBS are also associated with other diseases and conditions, if you have one of these symptoms for a prolonged time or are at higher risk of developing IBS, it is vital that you seek medical help immediately and receive a formal diagnosis. If you have one of the symptoms listed above for a prolonged period and it is accompanied by a significant lack of appetite, sudden weight loss, the feeling of dizziness, discomfort within your joints, skin, or eyes, or includes pain that is progressively worsening, you should seek medical help immediately as these could be signs of a severe IBS flare-up.

How Is IBS Diagnosed?

IBS is diagnosed when the criteria known as the Rome IV are met. These criteria include recurrent abdominal pain occurring at least one day a week over the past three months, consistently accompanied by at least two of the following criteria: change in frequency of bowel movements, pain when having a bowel motion, a change in the consistency or appearance of bowel movements. 

The Endocannabinoid System & IBS

Plant therapies are believed to help regulate the body’s endocannabinoid system. This, in return, may result in viable treatment options for a plethora of diseases, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome. According to a study published in 2010, therapeutic treatments, including those that involve cannabidiol (CBD), may have the ability to regulate bacteria and fungi along with other gut microbes that are thought to be one of the leading causes of IBS. A recent review of clinical research also showed that there is much promise in the area of CBD and THC treatments for IBS patients; these cannabinoids have been thoroughly researched and are attributed to relieving many of the common symptoms suffered by IBS patients, including but not limited to loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

Traditional Treatments for IBS

The most common treatments for IBS include medications such as laxatives, antibiotics, nerve pain medications, dietary supplements, anti-diarrheal medication, and gut antispasmodic medications. Other treatments for IBS include self-care aspects such as exercise, stress management, and dietary changes.

Australian Clinical Trials – Plant Therapies for IBS

With a simple internet search, you can find a plethora of anecdotal stories of IBS patients finding relief through plant therapies. So far, the research performed in countries worldwide regarding the use of plant therapies in the treatment of IBS has also shown them to be quite promising.

Emerald Clinics is conducting an open-label observational study with eligible patients with IBS symptoms using medicinal cannabis treatments. Participants are eligible for the study if they are 18 years or older, meet the criteria for IBS of any subtype including IBS with constipation, IBS with diarrhea, mixed type IBS or unsubtyped IBS, have had symptoms for more than 6 months, and consent to participate in the study. To learn more about this registered trial, click here.

To see if you are eligible for plant based therapies, you can book a telehealth appointment with one of our specialist doctors through Cannatrek Access.

The Mental Health Landscape and Plant Therapy-Based Clinical Trials

When most people think about health, they commonly think about their physical state of wellbeing. However, there is another area of substantial importance that is often overlooked, and that is mental health. 

The Mental Health Landscape 

The landscape of mental health encapsulates a wide range of conditions and diseases. While anxiety and sadness may be normal emotions and feelings that almost everyone will experience at some point in their lives, remaining in either state is not. Anxiety and depressive disorders, however, are not the only conditions that affect our mental state. The mental health landscape also includes conditions that fall within the categories of neurodevelopment, bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, trauma, neurocognitive, and personality disorders, among others. Mental health conditions also include things such as sleep-wake disorders, gender dysphoria, eating disorders, sexual dysfunctions, and more.

Signs Of Mental Health Disorder 

While the signs of specific mental health disorders will come with varying symptoms, there are some common signs that you can watch out for and should be aware of. Some of the most common symptoms of a mental health disorder include but are not limited to the following;

  • • Confusion
  • • Excessive fear or worry
  • • Extreme anger and hostility
  • • Extreme mood changes
  • • Fatigue
  • • Feelings Of anxiety and depression
  • • Significant changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • • Substance abuse
  • • Suicidal thoughts or tendencies
  • • Withdrawal from friends and activities previously enjoyed

When Should You Seek Help for Mental Health? 

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, seeking help from a mental health professional would be a suitable next step. Mental health disorders do not commonly go away or improve on their own, thankfully, there are a plethora of resources available for those in need.

How are Mental Health Disorders Diagnosed?

To diagnose a mental health disorder, several things will first occur. A physical exam is first performed to rule out any other diseases or conditions that may result in an altered mental state. Lab tests are also commonly performed to check for deficiencies in thyroid function, hormonal imbalances, or signs of substance abuse. Patients typically undergo a psychiatric evaluation so that healthcare professionals can paint a better picture of their overall lifestyle, medical history, habits, and other aspects to help them pinpoint the underlying cause of the issues a patient is experiencing with their mental health. 

The Endocannabinoid System & Mental Health 

Plant therapies are thought to regulate the body’s endocannabinoid system, which in return may result in viable treatment options for various diseases, including mental health disorders. A study published in 2018 suggests that a deficient endocannabinoid system could result in the development of different mental health conditions. Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD are at the forefront of research pertaining to plant therapies and their potential therapeutic value in mental health treatment.

Traditional Treatments for Mental Health Conditions

The traditional treatments for mental health disorders vary depending on the diagnosis, the preferences of the mental health professional, and the patient’s response to therapies thus far. In general, however, the most common treatments received for mental health disorders are medications that include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, antipsychotics, and mood-stabilizing formulas, in addition to psychotherapy.

Australian Clinical Trials – Plant Therapies for Mental Health

There are anecdotal stories attributing the success of plant therapies in treating various mental health disorders. Additionally, the research performed to-date regarding plant medicine for mental health disorders provides hope. There are several ongoing trials in Australia investigating the use of plant therapies for conditions such as anxiety.

CA Clinics Observation Study, in conjunction with Applied Cannabis Research, has launched a study for all patients that are undergoing treatments at CA Clinics. CACOS aims to collect data on plant based therapies which include medicinal cannabis for a range of hard-to-treat conditions through a series of surveys. These surveys will record a patient’s treatment progress throughout a 12-month period, reporting on side effects, dose taken and treatment satisfaction. To learn more, click here.

To see if you are eligible for plant based therapies, you can book a telehealth appointment with one of our specialist doctors through Cannatrek Access.

What the Down-Scheduling of CBD from a Schedule 4 to a Schedule 3 Medicine Really Means

Stakeholders of the medicinal cannabis industry were thrilled to find out that Cannabidiol, or CBD, both synthetic and natural will be downgraded from a schedule 4 (prescription only) to a schedule 3 (pharmacist only) medicine.  Greater accessibility, convenience and likely reduced costs are all expected with the change. However, whilst it is still good news, the immediate impact may not be quite as large as anticipated. 

Low Maximum Dose of CBD Only

The decision only includes products containing up to a maximum dose of 150mg/day. Many current prescriptions exceed this by up to 4 times the amount (source). This means that only some current/prospective CBD users would benefit from the rescheduling. 

Limit to the form and packaging of CBD Medicine

In order to be considered for schedule 3, CBD must conform to certain packaging requirements, include child resistant closures. Moreover, product forms are limited to oral, oral mucosal, and sublingual formulations only (i.e. no vaping, no topicals, no cosmetics). This means that not all CBD products are applicable. 

Products must be included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Good (ARTG)

To be considered a schedule 3 medicine, the product must be approved by the TGA and included on the ARTG.  To be on the register, products must be approved for a specific indication. This means that medicinal cannabis companies like Cannatrek must provide efficacy, safety, and quality assessment data for the product, for a particular medical condition, to enable the product approval. This is reasonable, and research is increasing, being carried out by most of us. However, there is not a large amount of product and indication-specific research that is complete: much of it is in progress. 

As a result, there are currently no TGA approved products on the ARTG that meet the schedule 3 criteria. Therefore, nobody can actually benefit from the schedule change at this point. 

So What Does This All Mean?

The decision to downgrade CBD to schedule 3 is still a good thing, showing an overall forward movement of the industry in favour of patients. Over time, product and indication specific research will be completed and medicinal cannabis companies will apply for their products to be on the ARTG and for TGA approval. 

However, there won’t be many changes to begin with, and CBD users will need to continue getting doctors’ prescriptions for their medicine. For those looking to gain access to medicinal cannabis, head to https://access.cannatrek.com/ to book an appointment with an experienced doctor.