There’s even more evidence that a drug derived from marijuana offers a significant health benefit.

An experimental drug derived from cannabis to treat epilepsy is on the brink of becoming the first of its kind to win US government approval.

The drug is called Epidiolex, and its active ingredient is cannabidiol, or CBD, the compound in marijuana thought to be responsible for many of its therapeutic effects but not linked with a high. No FDA-approved medications currently include a marijuana compound derived from the plant; only one drug that includes lab-produced THC is on the market.

According to new research, CBD appears to help reduce seizures in two of the hardest-to-treat forms of epilepsy, known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

Positive findings published on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine suggest that two different doses of Epidiolex significantly curbed the number of dangerous seizures in patients with Lennox-Gastaut.

The research comes on the heels of a recent unanimous vote for Epidiolex’s safety and efficacy by a panel of outside scientists convened by the US Food and Drug Administration. It also follows two other large clinical trials with similarly promising results.

Positive findings build

Epidiolex 100mg Carton Bottle (unenhanced) (0074c) (j10)

Cannabidiol doesn’t contain THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, so it doesn’t get users high. In the plant, both compounds exist together, but researchers can isolate them — which is how British drugmaker GW Pharmaceuticals produces Epidiolex.

For the latest study of the drug, a team of researchers looked at 225 patients with Lennox-Gastaut. Participants’ ages ranged between two and 55 years old, and they were spread across 30 international locations.

The researchers found strong evidence that an even lower dose of Epidiolex than the one previously studied was effective for curbing seizures.

The study participants were split into three groups to see how well two different daily doses worked in comparison to a placebo pill. The group that received the lowest dose (10 milligrams per kilogram) saw a type of severe seizure known as “drop seizures” cut down by more than a third. Among those given a placebo, the rate was only reduced by 17%. Those in the higher-dose group saw their drop seizures decline by nearly 42%.

Orrin Devinsky, one of the study’s lead authors and a neurologist at New York University Langone Health, told Business Insider that low dose might be “the sweet spot” where most patients can achieve a relief from symptoms while any unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness.

‘I’d personally be very surprised if this drug was not approved’

As in previous studies, the majority of patients in the trial experienced some side effects. Those ranged from mild issues like drowsiness and decreased appetite to more severe problems like upper respiratory infection and vomiting.

But the recent study results are evidence that a lower dose of the drug could still provide significant benefits while producing fewer symptoms.

“The major finding from this is that the 10-milligram-per-kilogram dose is going to be a more ideal dose for most. With the 20 milligram, there will probably be a little bit more of a benefit but the side effects are greater,” Devinsky said.

In the two other clinical trials of the drug, one of which Devinsky also co-authored, researchers looked at Epidiolex’s effects in another 225 young people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and in 120 children with Dravet syndrome. Like the latest study, the researchers split the participants into three groups and gave them either a high dose of the drug, a low dose, or a placebo. In general, those in the high-dose group saw their seizure occurrence drop by around 40% and those in the low-dose group saw a slightly smaller drop. By comparison, those given the placebo saw only a small reduction in seizure occurrence.

Devinsky believes those consistent findings should be enough to get Epidiolex a green light from the FDA. In 2016, the agency awarded the drug with its “Fast Track” designation — a priority label designed to speed treatments that address a critical need through the traditionally protracted drug-approval process.

“There’s a boatload of evidence to show for this drug at this point,” Devinsky said. “I’d personally be very surprised if this drug was not approved.”

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California: How one chocolatier wants to bring luxury cannabis to the industry,

Shoppers flock to Union Square for its luxury retail outlets, with icons like Tiffany’s, Louis Vuitton, and Prada all sharing space in the busy downtown destination. Soon there could be a new option for high-end spending, but the wares are a little different than handbags: a shop to showcase high-end, sustainably produced, ethically sourced chocolates infused with sun-grown, organic cannabis. At least that’s the hope of Eric Eslao, founder of Oakland-based Défoncé Chocolatier. Eslao spent six years at Apple before diving into the world of weed about three years ago to start Défoncé (meaning “high” in French) in a quest to elevate chocolate cannabis to gourmet levels.

He saw a clear market opportunity: targeting health-conscious Californians, new to marijuana and wary of smoking, who would gravitate toward high-quality, low-dose edibles. His hunch has been right so far — edible sales are up since January 1, and Bloomberg estimates they may capture half of the cannabis market in the coming years.

”For me, I have two little girls at home, I’m married, I’m just not going to have a bong at home in my garage,” Eslao says. “I still don’t know how to roll a joint. Edibles just make sense for a lot of people.”

Now, the 38-year-old CEO is serious about opening the first-ever branded cannabis storefront this year — whether in SF or another California city. He’s even recently hired Christopher Peak, former head of retail design for Apple from 2012 to 2017, as a consultant.

His end goal (aside from presumably turning a profit) is to normalize gourmet edibles so much that people won’t think twice about bringing one of his chocolate bars to a dinner party instead of wine.

Cannabis and chocolate, together forever

“For so long, your typical edible company was a brownie or gummy made in a home kitchen, with no consistency — which is why most people have had a bad experience,” Eslao says as he makes his way through the first floor of his company’s 10,000-square-foot warehouse near the Oakland Coliseum.

While the warehouse smells like a new-age California version of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, it looks a little less magical, with concrete floors, white tents, and various machinery scattered throughout. Upstairs is more fun, however, as it’s home to the company test kitchen — there, chefs can try out new cannabis concoctions with ingredients like pistachios, toasted coconut, and even rosé Champagne.

Défoncé recruited skilled chocolatiers from well-known companies like Mars, Cadbury, and Godiva, and sources materials from Belgium and France. As for the cannabis, they use an extract from plants grown at organic farms throughout California, like Hummingbird Medicinals, which grows all of its marijuana in the sun of Sierra Nevada foothills using biodynamic farming principles.

Eventually, the bars are packaged in Défoncé’s sleekly designed boxes, with bold colors signifying each flavor. The bar itself is also designed to stand out — molded into 18 separate pyramids, each with a dose of 5 milligrams for a total of 90 milligrams.

Each bar is roughly $20, currently the average price of any cannabis chocolate bar found a dispensary shelf. “There’s not yet a spectrum pricing like you see in wine or spirits, but if you think about each dose as equal to a glass of Champagne or even a truffle at Godiva, it should be higher,” Eslao says.

So far this year, sales have been a bit slower in California that some anticipated, but experts remain confident about the industry’s outlook. Cannabis research firm BDS Analytics estimates that marijuana sales in California will reach $3.7 billion by the end of the year and $5.1 billion in 2019 — that’s bigger than the state’s entire beer market, which went over $5 billion just last year.

As for edibles, the game has changed dramatically since recreational use became legal on January 1 — a large number of companies have folded, unable to keep up with the expenses brought on by new rules and regulations. “It’s been a mass extinction,” Eslao says. “There will be even fewer of us once the July 1 grace period ends.”

Others in the luxury pot game, like fellow Oakland-based Kiva Confections, LA-based Lord Jones, and Beboe — the maker of chic, rose-gold vaporizers that’s also in LA — are all prospering. Défoncé alone has seen a more than 800 percent increase in sales since this time last year and has doubled its number of employees since January.

With such growth, why take on the mammoth effort and risk of retail? “Because the problem with the system is that manufacturers have no control over their product after it leaves our building, we have to trust others to sell our product.” Eslao says. “We want to curate the full customer experience.” For Défoncé, that could mean sleek stores with extremely curated style and branding, from the bar to packaging to how it’s displayed.

Weed at a mall near you?

Last fall Défoncé made headlines when the San Francisco Chronicle reported the company had submitted an application to open in the Westfield San Francisco Centre. If the deal had gone through, it would have been the first time recreational cannabis was sold in a “major class-A” mall in America.

But, after nine months of discussions, Westfield backed out. “That was unfortunate, but we’re still really aggressive on our retail timeline and are looking at several locations in both SF and LA,” Eslao says. His goal: to open one store this year and have two by 2019. Currently, Defonce is running its series A funding, which ends May 23, to raise $8 million primarily for retail purposes.

The catch, at least with SF, is that the process of opening a new cannabis business here is much more complicated in 2018 than 2017, involving multiple governmental approvals, permits, and roadblocks.

“Essentially, anyone who wants to start a new cannabis business here can expect the path to be long and winding,” said Nicole Elliott, director of SF’s Office of Cannabis.

Eslao says he understands it could be a process; he’s also exploring options outside of SF. As of now, Eslao can only name one other company interested in a storefront: Lord Jones, which announced intentions to unveil a boutique in the Standard Hollywood late last year.

Despite the complications of opening one, cannabis, in many ways, makes sense for brick-and-mortar stores. That’s where the majority of sales will take place for the foreseeable future, and cannabis while it can be delivered locally, it can’t be shipped. Why not create luxury shopping experiences for a high-end product?

“With retail, I’m just going by my gut, and so far it’s been right,” Eslao says.

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Eaze.com Review 4/17/2018 in San Francisco

Eaze.com Review 4/17/2018 in SanFran

I was in town on business for a week, and it just so happened to be the same week as 4-20 (First 420 since rec use was introduced by the state).  A few co-workers of mine and I decided we wanted to try to place an order with eaze since we kept seeing all the billboards around town and even bus signs.

First impressions, the site is clean and easy to use. You have to submit your id via ticket/email (Super easy just snap a pic.) They had me verified in about 20-30 mins. We noticed they only take cash on delivery, not a big deal but putting it on a card would have been nice (They are working on fixing cc’s I guess.)

After being verified it was super easy to navigate and pick what we wanted, it was like ordering uber eats but way more enjoyable + more options. Most of the above pic is from Eaze. The rest from The Bloom Room (See other review.)

We ended up ordering around $300 of goods between us all. This included, Flower, Wax/Shatter, Mints, Cookies, Gummies and Cookie/Toffee. All of it was fresh and delivered within 45 mins from ordering.

I put on the order notes to be discrete due to 50+ of us staying in the same hotel, the lady delivering the order told the front desk it was a food delivery so they called me and asked if I wanted to let her up. Five or so minutes later, a super nice older lady showed up with our order collected the funds and left. We half expected a bouncer type dude to show up so this was a super nice exp on our part.

All in experience and products were above par, and we were super glad we ordered from Eaze instead of finding another dispensary downtown.

Eaze.com Review 4/17/2018 in San Francisco

Overall exp was 10/10 would 100% use again! 

Use this link to get a free 20$ on your first order. Eaze.com

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Bloom Room Review 4/15/2018 in San Francisco

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Stumbled upon this place recently while in San Francisco on bizz, being my first time in a Dispensary since the recreational legalization of CannabisMarijuana my buddy and I thought what the hell?

First impressions, walking down an alley that is Jessie St we thought this is kinda shady. Walking farther down we saw a bouncer looking guy who actually was super rad and a hella nice guy. He welcomed us in and asked it was our first time, we said yes so he asked for our government issued id’s and told us to take a seat and wait for them to call us up.

Place had great music playing, super rad people working there and was Dog friendly which is a plus because who doesn’t like dogs? They called us up to sign up for a membership which was sign and date here on an IPAD lol. Super easy, super fast and we were off to the back to have some laughs and pick out our goodies.

Line was long, but went super fast. I had looked this place up before we went, we ate around the corner at Mel’s Dinner (Super good and recommended btw.) So we already knew what they had to offer sort of. They have 4 gram 8ths all day which some are 25$.

I got up to the bud-tender and knew exactly what I wanted, we got 4 different 8th’s for $100 and a bag of chocolate chip cookies for desert :).

Blue Dream, Ambrosia, Blueberry Pie Littles, and Big Kahuna were what we picked out for bud. ( 2 Sativa, and 2 Indica)

The place was super rad, chill and not pushy on taking your time. They employ super cool people and take the time to make sure your experience is great. Products were all up to par with medical grade in a recreational setting.

You can visit them here http://www.bloomroomsf.com/home/

Overall the experience / product and price was 10/10

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