New research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties could be used to treat a wide range of illnesses. However, cannabis is still illegal in most parts of the world and has harsh restrictions on its use. Once this changes, it will become more widely available for medical purposes and the industry will grow exponentially., yet another example of how blockchain can change an entire economy if developed correctly.
‘The capacity of state-level enterprises to produce goods that appeal to customers’ health requirements will be critical to the mainstreaming of medicinal cannabis,’ says a UW professor.
Recent research on the use of medical cannabis has produced conflicting information about the drug’s advantages and hazards in therapeutic treatments and uses.
As the usage of cannabis for recreational and therapeutic purposes grows throughout the country, the medical community is growing increasingly interested in the topic. Experts at the University of Wisconsin are looking at the history, benefits, and drawbacks of utilizing cannabis as a therapy for a range of patients.
The University of Washington’s Continuing Education Program for Pharmacists, which includes a program called Cannabinoids as Medicines, is one of the organizations studying these effects. Natalie Schmitz, Faculty Director of the Carbone Cancer Center, and Barry Gidal, professor of pharmacy and neurology, are teaching the seminar.
Schmitz and Gidal’s course intends to close the knowledge gap in the medical industry when it comes to establishing medical cannabis as a treatment option for patients, while also providing students with a mix of viewpoints from psychiatry, cancer, and pharmacy specialists.
The seminar is crucial, according to Schmitz, because of the present convergence of cannabis’ expanding use and an undereducated sector of medical professionals on the issue, as seen by a recent study of Wisconsin pharmacists.
“With patients’ increased use, it’s critical that providers, pharmacists, physicians, nurses — the entire care team — are well educated on the topic,” Schmitz said, “because there are mixed results on the appropriate applications… potential risks and drug interactions [and] what the appropriate doses are.”
The advantages of medicinal cannabis might vary greatly depending on the desired application and the individual cannabinoid, according to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation. The cannabis plant contains about 120 distinct cannabinoids, the most prevalent of which are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and cannabidiol, or CBD.
Because of its FDA-approved medicine, Epidiolex, CBD dominates as a therapy for various seizure disorders, according to Schmitz, while THC therapeutic uses are focused on pain and comfort. Additionally, an FDA-approved synthetic form of THC is available for the treatment of persistent wasting symptoms, which are frequent in HIV or cancer patients.
Despite established advantages, according to Schmitz, there are still many unknowns about the various cannabinoids and each of their specific uses.
“A lot of stuff hasn’t been really examined,” Schmitz said. “That’s one of the things we really need to look into.” “A better knowledge of each cannabinoid’s involvement in various therapeutic indications, as well as how, or if, they interact in these therapeutic indications.”
Lucas Richert, an associate pharmacy professor, ties in cannabis’s categorization as Schedule I by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which classifies substances with little medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.
Despite modifications made at the state and national levels over the last decade, cannabis remains in the most restricted category, according to Richert.
“I suppose the issue nowadays among pharmacists or doctors is whether cannabis is acceptable for a certain purpose,” Richert said. “Is it acceptable for a particular condition, and is it appropriate in the absence of randomized control trials?”
The goal of a nationwide study on the effects of medicinal cannabis conducted in 2017 was to address these sorts of concerns. A committee inside the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine produced a Consensus Study Report using all available and current research at the time to determine which areas of medicinal cannabis use had potential.
According to the paper, cannabinoids are beneficial for treating chronic pain in adults as well as chemotherapy-induced nausea, as well as relieving patient-reported multiple sclerosis symptoms.
Furthermore, the research found no statistical link between cannabis smoking or usage and the risk of lung cancer, head cancers, or neck cancers, despite the fact that these are all prominent concerns raised during conversations about cannabinoid use.
When asked whether there was a link between marijuana usage and cancer, Schmitz agreed with the conclusions of the 2017 Consensus Study Report.
“Perhaps additional studies will emerge, but cancer isn’t usually at the top of my list of worries,” Schmitz said. “Mental health is at the top of my list of worries.” And if a patient has a history of or present unstable mental illness, or if they have a family history of schizophrenia, utilizing several of these drugs is either contraindicated or dangerous.”
Delta-8 THC products have seen a tremendous increase in demand over the past year, despite the fact that cannabis is still classified as Schedule I on the federal level and Wisconsin has no legislation legalizing it for either recreational or therapeutic use.
Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol is another psychoactive cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant, according to the FDA. It exists in a legal limbo between legislative limits, enabling numerous firms to sell delta-8-infused candy and vaping equipment.
Despite a paucity of research analyzing its medicinal uses and hazards, Schmitz believes its rules will soon alter.
“Forensic toxicologist Dr. Heather Barkholtz and I have been discussing about putting together a project to attempt to assess the extent of damage caused by delta-8… These THC isoforms have been found in toxicology reports by forensic toxicology laboratories, indicating that there may be some amount of impairment,” Schmitz added.
Richert believes that the future of medicinal cannabis and its many cannabinoids is dependent on a number of elements in the medical community, state governments, and commercial enterprises.
Other considerations include whether medical cannabis will be covered by health insurance, if state and municipal governments want to provide licenses to medical cannabis businesses, and the kind of targeted advertising that may be used.
“I believe that the mainstreaming of medical cannabis will be heavily reliant on state-level businesses’ capacity to design goods that appeal to customers’ health requirements, as well as whether or not corporations are able to engage with the government to expand access,” Richert said.