San Diego company testing cannabis as a multiple sclerosis treatment

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Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals turns to cannabis to fight autoimmune diseases

San Diego’s Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals (EHP) believes that cannabis can help combat a number of autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS) and scleroderma. Scientists and researchers with the company have begun testing their theory, experimentally treating small numbers of patients. If they’re correct, cannabis could bring relief to over 2.3 million people around the world.

Over 200 new cases of MS are diagnosed weekly in the US. 1 in every 750 people risk suffering from the disease and the chances of women developing MS are twice that of men. To curb the development, EHP is running a series of tests using cannabidiol (CBD) as part of MS therapy. They are hoping to determine what impact, if any, CBD has on the disease and what dose would need to be administered to provide relief.

Many more studies are needed to determine how effective CBD and other components of cannabis are in fighting disease. According to Dr. Igor Grant of the University of California San Diego’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, “We still don’t really know what CBD does do and doesn’t do, or what the right dose is. There haven’t been enough studies. And we don’t really know how much CBD is in the products people buy in unregulated places. The advertisement could say that it has a certain level (of CBD) and it might not have any at all, and there could be other ingredients like THC (which makes people high), or other chemicals.”

EHP is also exploring the benefits of cannabis in fighting other diseases and disorders. It announced that it is developing cannabigerol (CBG), another compound found in cannabis, to fight Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.