Environmental & Viral Disruptors:
Rising to the Challenge, Reducing Risk & Future-Proofing Humanity
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Cannabis for Immune Health
Human immunity, inflammation and the body's battle against viruses is today at the forefront of medical research.

With more than 280,000 people reported to have died from COVID19 virus, doctors are struggling with the new and challenging behaviour of COVID-19.

Use of personal protective gear and inhibition of viral spread through self-isolation are two measures but what other therapies and prevention strategies could to be considered?

What role, if any, could medicinal cannabis and the endogenous cannabinoid system play in the battle against this virus? Is there any evidence that medicinal cannabis could be useful in supporting our immune system?
The endocannabinoid system is a crucial regulator

At the 2020 ACNEM Online Conference US physician and retired army Colonel Dr Phillip Blair said the endocannabinoid system has been developing for more than 600 years and is a crucial regulator for our body systems.

A returned combat physician, Col Dr Blair now practices in complex disease management in North-western USA and is dedicated to researching the use of cannabinoids as anti-inflammatory agents.

"Cannabidiol suppresses specific immunity while enhancing non-specific anti-tumour and anti-viral responses, so you are really getting the best of both worlds," Dr Blair said.

"A lot of the inflammation we encounter in the body has roots in the brain and signalling. The brain can exacerbate, or it can calm down a particular area and what we find cannabinoids do is they can actually reduce the stimulation by the brain for inflammation."

Dr Blair's presentation Cannabis for Immune Health is available as part of the 2020 ACNEM Online Conference program delivered through ACNEM Live.

Endocannabinoids as anti-inflammatory agents

In thorough clinical detail Dr Blair explains the researched connection between endocannabinoids as anti-inflammatory agents in diseases such as: multiple sclerosis, diabetes, colitis, liver disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.

"The endocannabinoid system is a cell signalling system within the cell and between cells. It is a short-range type of system present in all animals. It is a regulator for our nervous system, immune system, hormones and our energy to keep us in balance," he said.

Dr Blair said when under stress the human body needs to react and find the energy to combat disease and viruses like COVID-19.

"We need to have the systems in place to take action. But at some point we need to resolve that stress response and calm it down so we can return to a normal, healthy situation.

"In an instance of a COVID-19 infection or a similar cytokine storm, cannabinoids may help lower the immune system response and subsequent inflammation without suppressing it," Dr Blair said.

The evidence base for the use of medicinal cannabis is growing

Medicinal cannabis was legalised in Australia five years ago, however under the TGA it is considered an 'unapproved medicine' thereby requiring it to be prescribed via the Special Access Scheme (SAS) or Authorised Prescriber Scheme (APS).
ACNEM strongly supports the work of Dr Blair and believes medical studies into the effect of medicinal cannabis in a range of different diseases should be funded.

ACNEM Director of Education Professor Kylie O'Brien PhD has also dedicated her career to helping doctors understand the scientific research evidence in the use of medicinal cannabis.

Together with Dr Blair she presented a sell-out two day Medicinal Cannabis Masterclass: Cannabidiol, THC and Clinical Applications, soon available online through ACNEM. She and Dr Blair are also writing a book on medicinal cannabis and mental health, due to be published later this year.

Professor O'Brien said "The evidence base for the use of medicinal cannabis for the treatment of many different diseases is growing. There is already a substantial bank of scientific research including studies elucidating mechanisms of action as well as evidence of efficacy. The research is stronger in some conditions than others currently, and of course, there is still so much more to learn. Many patients are self-medicating with medicinal cannabis. It is very important that doctors and other healthcare practitioners are informed about medicinal cannabis and evidence of its efficacy and safety, even if they don't want to prescribe it themselves".

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