Medical cannabis hits high notes for pain management and rare diseases | Mumbai News

MUMBAI: Three-year-old Sia (name changed) was nine months old when she was diagnosed with Van der Knapp syndrome, a rare disorder in which the white matter of the brain progressively begins to disappear. She could not “hold” her neck in place, turn or crawl like other children, and the neurologists her technical parents consulted said there was no medicine or treatment she could offer her daughter.
At that time, the family doctor gave unconventional advice: try medical cannabis oil for Sia. “We followed her advice and Sia has developed a range of motion over the past two years that surprised our neurologist,” said her mother Maya, 32.
For Shruti Shridhar, the doctor who advised Maya, Sia was the first patient she prescribed medical cannabis. “When Sia’s condition was diagnosed in October 2020, I started researching Van der Knapp syndrome to understand its physiology. I found a research article that mentioned that CBD oil could cause neuroprotection and neurogenesis in the formation of new neurons,” she told TOI.


The research paper was not new, but the acceptance or understanding of medicine is so low cannabis that no doctor seemed to have heard of her ability to help children like Sia. For a country where bhang, a herbal cannabis product, has been in use for centuries, knowledge of the medical uses of cannabis is extremely low. To change this, Pune-based Shridhar and other members of the Academy of Cannabinoids India last week spoke on the ‘Why, How and What of Medical Cannabis’ to an audience consisting of doctors and concerned citizens in central Mumbai .


For cannabis practitioners, the problem really starts with the nomenclature: people think that cannabis is the same as marijuana, which is associated with “highs” and hallucinogenic effects. Cannabis is the name of the whole plant whose various parts contain about 540 chemicals. Cannabidiol oil, or CBD oil, is an active ingredient in cannabis and most commonly used as a medical cannabis, doctors said.
In the two years that he’s been running his cannabis clinic, Shridhar has over 200 patients, most with chronic pain related to cancer or neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis. Her mentor, an allopath from Palakkad said Tahir Hassan has treated over 5,000 patients since he started medical cannabis care in 2017.
“I’ve since trained 45 doctors across the country and now primarily help cancer patients with pain management,” she said. The biggest change from medical cannabis over the past five years, according to Hassan, is that cancer patients are turning to him at the very beginning. “Previously, I was only getting patients in the late stages, but now I’m getting patients in stage two,” she said.
Two years ago, the United Nations reclassified cannabis from Schedule IV where it was listed alongside heroin to encourage scientific research into the plant’s medicinal properties.
“The medical cannabis industry is estimated to grow from $2 billion in 2018 to $146 billion by 2025. India, which has the capacity to grow cannabis, should act now,” Hasan said, adding that cannabidiol oil is not without its benefits. effects. Currently, five states, including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Odisha, allow the cultivation and production of CBD.
Bombaykar Sukrit Goelwhich owns Cannazo India, produces medicinal cannabis at a unit in Indore.
“I used to work on a contract basis for other companies, but I realized that there is great potential in medical cannabis. And I decided to start my own company,” said Goel, whose family imported cannabidiol oil after he suffered a stroke at age 19.
“Cannabidiol oil and physiotherapy help me gain movement,” the 26-year-old said.
Even allopaths acknowledge that it works for pain. “We can’t prescribe it, but patients come to us saying that using the cannabidiol oil has helped reduce their pain,” said pain management specialist Preeti Doshi.


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