More than 3,000 plants are used to make medicines that are used everyday including aspirin, digitalis, quinine, atropine and more. Why not marijuana?
If you strip away all the political rhetoric and fear, marijuana (or cannabis if you prefer the scientific name, which I do) is just a medicinal plant. A plant that happens to contain hundreds of chemical compounds called cannabinoids. These cannabinoids interact with three main body systems – neurological (CB1 receptors), immune (CB2 receptors) and tertiary. Each strain of plant has a unique cannabinoid profile. This profile is not only determined by the plant’s genetics but also by the way it is cultivated – from the ambient temperature to the soil pH. The best way to grow plants with reproducible profiles is to grow them indoors.
So what does this mean for Wyatt? Well, it means that there are a lot of options to sort through to match the right cannabinoid profile(s) to stopping or reducing his seizures. These profiles must be grown consistently by responsible growers who adhere to high standards for consistency and quality.
The good news is that the company we are working with, MxBiotech, has the MxResearch program. They take the time to identify and certify growers to their high expectations for quality. Once they understand the chemical make-up of the cannabinoid profiles, they work with patients to understand cause and effect. They have worked through this rigorous process with thousands of patients and are taking what they have learned to narrow down the field of profiles for Wyatt to try. He’ll try them in cohorts of 5 or 6 profiles at very low doses to see if there is a significant reduction (over 80%) in his seizures. The goal is always to use the minimum dose that will produce the maximum beneficial effect. This logical method allows us to speed up the process of elimination to determine which cannabinoid profile will provide the maximum benefit for Wyatt.
The team is very thorough and committed to educating patients and parents so they understand that, if we use a plant as medicine, we have to understand it in the framework and the reality of medicine. I greatly appreciate this level of education – even though I am anxious to get started. As you know it is not everyday that you get to talk directly to the people making your medicine. We usually get it much further down the supply chain.
We have spent more than five hours learning about the program and how cannabinoids work. This is far more guidance than I have received for any other pharmaceutical that we have tried for him (with the exception of the injectable steroids.) I have learned far more than I can share in a blog entry, but now I feel much more confident and equipped to do a medicinal cannabis trial with Wyatt. We’ll meet cannabis and start the trial in the next day or two. Stay tuned!