Pharmacology

Where is Mel Brooks when you need him?

Ever since Chipotle's self-righteous claim (which isn't even true) that the company was removing GM ingredients from its food because "it doesn't align with [the company's] position," just about everything conceivable went wrong.  It's now a bit of a novelty to find a news day when they haven't poisoned someone.

Advocates are claiming medical marijuana can help to fight the opioid epidemic but data show the opposite. Rather than being at lower risk, people who use medical marijuana may be at higher risk for non-medical prescription drug use.
Much of medical marijuana usage was always recreational and a new study in the Journal of Addiction Medicine finds that people who use medical marijuana have higher rates of prescription drug use - including pain relievers.

Does Use of Medical Marijuana Increase or Decrease Prescription Drug Use?

Though less than a dozen school children will be slain by a gun in any given year, American society is mobilized with marches and media against firearms. Meanwhile, on average 55,000 Americans will die from the flu, which has a vaccine. In states like California, anti-vaccine sentiment ran so high on the coast that the state had to pass a law forcing parents to comply or not have their kids enrolled. Some schools in Marin county had fewer than 30 percent of children vaccinated. Philosophical exemptions just by families in the wealthiest parts of California exceeded the number of religious exemptions nationwide - by 1000 percent.
When the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drastically lowered the 'blood sugar' level, the HbA1C test, to 5.7 percent for a potential precursor to disease labeled "prediabetes" the rest of the world jeered. In China, that would mean 500 million people worried they have a disease. In America, it would mean 80 million more potential patients. When it came to data, less than 5 percent of those with that A1C level would ever go on to develop type 2 diabetes...in their entire lives.
Though unusually ethically suspect supplement merchants have been marketing kratom, an analgesic made from the leaves of a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms, significant safety concerns exist.

And it turns out kratom itself is an opioid, finds an FDA study. 
When pharmacy professionals — rather than doctors or nurses — take medication histories of patients in emergency departments, mistakes in drug orders can be reduced by more than 80 percent, according to a recent paper.

Injuries resulting from medication use are among the most common types of inpatient injuries at U.S. hospitals, affecting hundreds of thousands of patients every year. Errors in medication histories can lead physicians to order the wrong drug, dose or frequency.

A cannabinoid neuropathic treatment that provided pain relief in rats for a period of eleven days after the oral administration of a single dose has received a patent and signed an intellectual property license with GB Sciences, Inc. 

Next up, they will work on formulations based on polymer nanoparticles with active ingredients developed by GB Sciences for the treatment of chronic pain in hopes it will be suitable for humans.

Alternative medicine frauds like Dr. Allan Spreen of the ironically named Institute of Health Sciences (they claim their supplement can cure cancer in 6 weeks) may be rejoicing about a new study showing Vitamin D can protect against asthma attacks but the attacks were only reduced when people took standard asthma medication. 

Asthma affects more than 300 million people worldwide and is estimated to shorten lifespan for up to 400,000 people annually. Asthma deaths are primarily due to viral upper respiratory infections which cause asthma attacks. 

Although 29 states and the District of Columbia allow marijuana use for medical purposes, there is no evidence it is medicine. Obviously some of the reason for that is because it's illegal and therefore hard to study, but regardless of the past it seems odd that scholars at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis surveyed medical school deans, residents and fellows, and examined a curriculum database maintained by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and lament that medical marijuana is not being addressed in medical education.

Licorice roots have a diverse history, having been used throughout history as a flavoring agent and as an ingredient in some licorice candies, while in ancient Egyptian times it was a tea and the Chinese used it for medicinal purposes.

One trend in the alternative medicine movement, which seeks to replace approved pharmacology with essentially untested natural products (as long as they carry a disclaimer FDA has not verified their efficacy or safety), is for women to take licorice extracts as supplements to treat hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.