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Introduction: Welcome to AODstats, the Victorian alcohol and drug interactive statistics and mapping webpage.
AODstats provides information on the harms related to alcohol, illicit and pharmaceutical drug use in Victoria.

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Patrick D. Skosnik, Jose A. Cortes-Briones, and Mihály Hajós

ABSTRACT

Evidence has accumulated over the past several decades suggesting that both exocannabinoids and endocannabinoids play a role in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. The current article presents evidence suggesting that one of the mechanisms whereby cannabinoids induce psychosis is through the alteration in synchronized neural oscillations. Neural oscillations, particularly in the gamma (30–80 Hz) and theta (4–7 Hz) ranges, are disrupted in schizophrenia and are involved in various areas of perceptual and cognitive function. Regarding cannabinoids, preclinical evidence from slice and local field potential recordings has shown that central cannabinoid receptor (cannabinoid receptor type 1) agonists decrease the power of neural oscillations, particularly in the gamma and theta bands. Further, the administration of cannabinoids during critical stages of neural development has been shown to disrupt the brain’s ability to generate synchronized neural oscillations in adulthood. In humans, studies examining the effects of chronic cannabis use (utilizing electroencephalography) have shown abnormalities in neural oscillations in a pattern similar to those observed in schizophrenia. Finally, recent studies in humans have also shown disruptions in neural oscillations after the acute administration of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary psychoactive constituent in cannabis. Taken together, these data suggest that both acute and chronic cannabinoids can disrupt the ability of the brain to generate synchronized oscillations at functionally relevant frequencies. Hence, this may represent one of the primary mechanisms whereby cannabinoids induce disruptions in attention, working memory, sensory-motor integration, and many other psychosis-related behavioral effects.

Keywords: Cannabinoids, Cannabis, Gamma, Neural oscillations, Psychosis, Theta

 

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EDMONTON and VANCOUVER, March 13, 2018 Aurora Cannabis Inc. and PreveCeutical Medical Inc. today announced the grant of three permits by the Australian Government, Department of Health, for the importation of cannabis into Australia for research purposes (the "Permits"). The Permits were granted to the Pharmacy Australia Centre of Excellence ("PACE") at the University of Queensland ("UQ") and allow PACE to import shipments of cannabis plant material for research purposes. Aurora, in turn, has received the required Canadian permits to export the cannabis to PACE.

The cannabis will be shipped from Canada by Aurora and used for PreveCeutical's soluble gel ("Sol-gel") drug delivery research program (the "Program"), which is being conducted by PreveCeutical's research partner UniQuest Pty Inc. and led by PreveCeutical's Chief Research Officer, Dr. Harendra Parekh.  The Program aims to develop a system that will increase the bioavailability of drugs by using a nose-to-brain delivery system. 

PreveCeutical intends to apply Sol-gel technology to cannabinoids to develop therapies for relief from a range of symptoms, including pain, inflammation, seizures and neurological disorders (see news release dated April 24, 2017).  The Permits will enable PreveCeutical to test an array of cannabis strains for the development and commercialisation of cannabinoid-based Sol-gels. The advantages of Sol-gels over conventional liquid nasal sprays relate to longer therapeutic effects, reduced dosage requirements, and reduced irritation and other negative side effects.

In consideration of the shipment, Aurora has received certain rights, including the option to either license, on a non-exclusive basis, the technology for Canada and Australia, or to opt for a royalty arrangement on product sales, as well as to purchase shares in PreveCeutical.

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Summary

  • Research is expanding for the use of cannabidiol as an anticonvulsant drug. The mechanism of cannabidiol in paediatric epilepsy is unclear but is thought to play a role in modulation of synaptic transmission.
  • Evidence for its efficacy in treating epilepsy is limited but growing, with a single pharmaceutical company-funded randomised double-blind controlled trial in children with Dravet syndrome.
  • Progress towards the use of medicinal cannabinoids incorporates a complex interplay of social influences and political and legal reform.
  • Access to unregistered but available cannabidiol in Australia outside of clinical trials and compassionate access schemesis state dependent and will require Therapeutic Goods Administration approval, although the cost may be prohibitive.
  • Further clinical trials are needed to clearly define efficacy and  safety, particularly long term. (taken from MJA 208 (3) j 19 February 2018)


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Roger Ladouceur – Canadian Family Physician February 2018

“The evidence indicates the most consistent effects of medical cannabinoids are adverse events. A variety of adverse events have a greater magnitude of effect than the potential benefits for the conditions targeted.1

The conclusions drawn by this analysis are not surprising. Study after study, analysis after analysis, and review after review2,3 have all reported the same findings: cannabis has little place within current therapeutic arsenals, except as a last resort in very specific situations or when nothing else has worked…”

The Canadian Family Physician

For complete article                                                                                                                                                   

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  • New medical guidelines have been issued in Canada, where cannabis is legal
  • They warn the effects of the drug outweigh minor benefits for most conditions 
  • And for some, it states it most often is only marginally better than a placebo 
  • The new document will be distributed to 30,000 doctors in Canada

New medical guidelines issued in Canada, where cannabis has been legal for medicinal use since 2001, warns that the effects of the drug outweigh any minor benefits for the vast majority of conditions.

And in the few conditions where it can be helpful - for example as pain relief for multiple sclerosis - the impact is only marginally better than placebo.

The document, published in the Canadian Family Physician journal, warns doctors to 'take a sober second thought' before prescribing the drug.

By Ben Spencer Medical Correspondent For The Daily Mail PUBLISHED: 07:00 AEDT, 16 February 2018

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