Marijuana research to fill an “information vacuum”

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A new clinical review hopes to provide clarity for doctors and clinicians

While the U.S. is still deciding how to approach cannabis, other countries don’t appear to have as much difficulty. Canada made sweeping changes last year that allow recreational use across the country and the UK legalized cannabis medicines last November. In an effort to help continue to break apart the “information vacuum” surrounding cannabis benefits, and possibly to help the U.S. make headway, a new series is out that provides a wealth of knowledge on cannabis, cannabinoids and marijuana.

The series is a review put together by scientists and clinicians at University College London (UCL) and University of Bath. They highlight a number of cannabis-based products and point out the differences between tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), as well as other cannabinoids. The authors stress that, although both can be combined to provide better relief in some cases, in others, they work better when allowed to work independently.

The lead author of the report and head of the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath, Dr. Tom Freeman, explains, “In this complex and rapidly evolving field, there are several different cannabis-based and cannabinoid medicinal products. These differ in their THC and CBD content, who can prescribe them, and the conditions they may be used to treat. Here we provide an update for clinicians in advance of forthcoming NICE guidelines.

“A key message is that CBD products widely sold online and in health food shops lack quality standards and should not be treated as medicinal products.”

The report’s co-author, UCL Head of Translational Psychiatry Dr. Michael Bloomfield, adds, “There have been leaps and bounds in our scientific knowledge in recent years, which combined with confusing claims about the medicinal uses of these drugs can be potentially perplexing for doctors and patients. We hope that our new guidance is helpful to doctors and patients worldwide. Much more research is needed into this new class of medicine.”

The report is designed to provide guidance to doctors and clinicians when prescribing medicine. It is beneficial in eliminating some of the doubts caused by those opposed to marijuana due to their faith, not science, and will make it easier for patients to receive the treatments they need and deserve.