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Can cannabis-based medication counter cannabis dependence?

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A lot of evidence show that cannabis has a lot of medical benefits. And people are using it for thousands of years for relieving pain. But a lot of people who are using cannabis and particularly those who smoke it claims about developing symptoms of dependence. A new study shows that cannabis-based medication can counter cannabis dependence.

A trial by the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that 30% of recreational marijuana users may have a disorder due to the use of marijuana. This disorder is characterised as symptoms of cannabis dependence. Dependence means that a person wants more and more drugs. And they experience several symptoms when they can’t access the drug. The symptoms include:

  • Poor appetite.
  • Irritability.
  • Sleeping disorders.

What researches have to say?

Still, a lot of researches are going on medications for cannabis dependency. However, the New South Wales Ministry of Health and the University of Sydney figure out that not all the existing treatments for cannabis dependence are effective.

For a better understanding of this issue, the team did experiments on a new medication that is more effective than therapies for treating cannabis dependence. In JAMA Internal Medicine, researches have reported the results of this new trial. The results demonstrate that the new medication is very effective and is safe to use.

The new medication initiates a psychological response. It works by communicating with cannabinoid receptors in the brain as it is a cannabinoid agonist drug. Moreover, the receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system. Their primary function is to synthesize the components that form part of the ingested cannabis.

The main purpose of this investigation is to reduce the rate of the setback of people who hesitate for the treatment of cannabis dependence. The author Prof. Nick Lintzeris says, “There’s no such investigation that shows the effectiveness of the medication. And this is the first big study to show it as an effective and safe drug.”

He further added that the concept is close to nicotine replacement. It means that patients won’t have to experience an entirely different thing. They will experience a drug that is safer than the medication they are already using. He also said that people should also be educated about the use of cannabis.

About the drug

The drug has equal parts of THC and CBD. It means that the medication has both the psychoactive and non-psychoactive effects. The team conducted the experiments in 128 volunteers. There were 98 men and 30 women. They had a mean age of 35 years.

All these volunteers were frequent recreational marijuana users. They all had sought treatment for cannabis dependence. But failed to get the desired results. And after the treatment, they still use recreational marijuana. Researchers had given volunteers the medication for 12 weeks.

They consumed the drug in different ways, such as, taking it orally, in the form of a spray, or placing it under the tongue. On an average, each participant was given 18 sprays per day. Not only this but participants also had other forms of therapeutic support.

Researchers concluded that the participants who had taken cannabis started having control over the use of recreational marijuana.

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Cannabis

Factors That Could Potentially Affect Your Cannabis High

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Every smoker has their own favorite strain. However, a lot of factors may affect the personal preferences of cannabis smokers. The smoker can empower himself to have better experiences with a variety of strains, by an understanding of the factors that can affect his high, and then select the one that works best for himself. These are the factors that affect your cannabis high.

Set and setting

The cannabis smoker’s environment is essential when talking about his cannabis high. A difference in scenarios tends to affect your high, and hence consideration of your comfort level is important. Being aware of our surroundings will help you figure out what set and setting work best for you, and eventually lead to more enjoyable cannabis high.

Delivery method

Cannabis has various delivery methods – smoking, vaping and edibles, however, each has its own variable. Your body is designed to differently process the cannabis from each method. Furthermore, the amount of cannabis consumed varies with each method, along with the duration of a high – which is reportedly longer, with stronger effects, with edibles.

The quality and length of your cannabis high are subsequently affected by all of these factors. However, limitations with each method are important to recognize.

Dose

A new strain, or cannabis consumption with edibles, can lead to tricky factors regarding dosage which is why starting at a low dose is essential and recommended. The most important factor that affects the smoker’s high could be the dosage. Consequently, finding your sweet spot with the perfect preferred dosage can give you the best possible cannabis experience.

Cannabinoid profile

This could be one of the most accessible ways to determine the effects of a high on an individual. While some may enjoy the effects of THC, others may find the effects too stimulating or have bad reactions such as anxiety. Considering other cannabinoids as well – such as CBD and more, cannabinoid profiles hold diversity from strain to strain. Experimentation is required to see how each cannabinoid makes you feel. This will give you the power of altering the composition of a strain to give you the type of high you want. However, other factors such as the CBD: THC ratio of the strain can also affect your high.

Terpenes

The scents and tastes in strains are given by terpenes. While their role in cannabis high, require further research, some anecdotal evidence has seemed to support the validity of its role. The potential stress-relieving effects of limonene and the relaxed mood-enhancing effects of linalool could be an example. Meanwhile,  linalool is also what gives lavender its scent, and lavender has shown proven relaxing effects.

Age

A link was found between age and effects of cannabis in a 2007 study conducted on rats. Adolescent rats showed higher tolerance levels for the effects of weed compared to adult rats, which showed increasing signs of stress, anxiety, and repressed movement. Further research on age is still necessary, but re-evaluation of the amount and kind of cannabis you consume is recommended if the last time you smoked was as a teenager.

Tolerance                                                                          

Every person has an individualized cannabis tolerance level. Tolerance is affected by the aforementioned age and other factors that include the frequency of consumption, body chemistry, and the duration of the time period that you have been smoking. To limit consumption especially when consuming cannabis with other people with different tolerances, it is essential to know one’s own personal tolerance.

In conclusion, only the cannabis consumer can determine his own tolerance. Consequently, it helps the consumer hold power over the type of cannabis high that he wants.

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DEA to Review Applications to Grow Cannabis for Research, After 4 Years Delay

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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has finally announced, after nearly 4 years, that 37 applications to grow cannabis for medical research, will be evaluated, while proposing new rules for the prospective growers, thus outlining how the cannabis-growing program would work.

According to one of the applicants, CEO of the Biopharmaceutical Research Company, George Hodgin, this framework’s release is probably the biggest, the most meaningful, and material progress that has been made for decades, in the federal cannabis policy. He further adds that this will further open a path for the traditional drug development in the United States, while researchers can conduct trials and seek approval for marijuana-based therapies, from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

However, everyone didn’t share the optimism of Hodgin. According to Shane Pennington, an attorney at Yetter Coleman LLP – a Houston law firm representing one of the applicants, the Scottsdale Research Institute, it may take years for Federal rulemaking due to the involvement of soliciting and responding to public comments, especially potential litigation over the decision.

Currently, only the University of Mississippi has grown cannabis, which can be legally used for research in the United States, under a contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). However, there has been growing interest in the potential medical benefits of cannabis, along with the increasing number of Americans using cannabis in states where the drug is legalized. Consequently, researchers are frustrated due to the limitation of the single source.

DEA announced the consideration of applications in August 2016, from other growers. Universities, research institutes, biotech startups, and companies that produced cannabis in states where it was legalized, were all included in the list of prospective growers. However, a few months later, the election of President Donald Trump followed, and a longtime marijuana critic, Jeff Sessions was appointed as attorney general, putting him indirectly in charge of DEA. According to Hodgin, the applicants waited for 3 years, with multiple attempts involved, at outreach through Congress and directly.

The delays frustrating SRI, caused a lawsuit against DEA to be filed in June 2019, aiming to compel it to evaluate and respond to the applications. Only after proposing rules for administering the whole program, was DEA ready to evaluate the pending applications. Reactions from applicants were mixed, ranging from cautiously optimistic to interpreting the move as a stall tactic.

DEA finally released the proposed rules last week. The agency noted that 595 researchers were registered to conduct cannabis studies – increasing from 371 researchers in 2017 and that the production quota for cannabis was increased from 472 to 3200 kilograms during the same time period.

According to Sisley and her legal time, the stipulation is seen as an unnecessary roadblock. She further added, asking why cannabis should be any different when DEA has a mechanism for allowing manufacture and distribution of other tightly regulated drugs for clinical research, that include MDMA, LSD, and psilocybin – all of which are studied as possible treatments for medical conditions such as PTSD and depression.

The new rules may require that growers should have broken no federal laws. If enforced, this may immediately eliminate several applicants and companies that already continue the production or distribution of cannabis in states where the drug is legalized, as growing and selling, or even the possession of cannabis is still a violation of federal law even in cannabis-legalized states.

According to Sisley, SRI complies with federal law and has not yet grown any cannabis, although the requirement will eliminate experienced growers who are responsible for the production of high-quality cannabis (who are essentially ideal participants)

Other countries including Canada and Australia, have licensed growers for research cannabis that are not legalized to take possession of the drug.

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New Zealand Launches Medical Cannabis Scheme for Improved Consumer Access

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Part of the government’s Ministry of Health, New Zealand’s Medical Cannabis Agency launched its new Medical Cannabis Scheme on April 1, 2020, to improve patients’ access to quality medical cannabis products.

The Ministry of Health developed the scheme for the allowance of the domestic commercial cultivation, manufacture, and distribution of medical cannabis. Furthermore, the quality and licensing requirements are also set out and the scheme is further aligned with the commencement of the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Regulations 2019. Local cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis products will be allowed by new regulations, potentially easing the pain of thousands of people, according to the Minister of Health, Dr. David Clark. Issuance of the first medicinal cannabis licenses is expected by mid-2020.

As of the current situation in New Zealand, prescriptions for cannabis products that are sourced from other countries can be filled y medical cannabis patients. However, this can prove to be extremely costly for the patient. Hence, this scheme aims to be cost-effective by bringing down the cost for patients through the availability of locally produced medicine.

Dried products, and a variety of tablets and liquids, are included in the list of the medical cannabis products that have been permitted under the scheme. However, cannabis products that can be smoked are not allowed. Furthermore, cannabis products can be acquired by patients, only from a licensed doctor.

The scheme was announced in December. According to Dr. Clark, watching a loved one struggle with chronic pain and/or particularly near the end of their lives is an experience that many New Zealanders had to go through. He further added how medical cannabis products are expected to potentially make a real difference in the quality of people’s lives. He further explained how the regulations will put the infrastructure in order, thus allowing New Zealanders to locally grow, manufacture, and provide quality medicinal cannabis products, which are intended to help and make a difference in the lives of people living in pain and the people who are nearing the end of their lives.

Before April 1, 2020, approval was needed from the Ministry of Health, by licensed medical practitioners, to be able to prescribe certain products on a case-by-case basis. Removal of these requirements will be made under the new regulations, providing more ease to licensed medical practitioners to prescribe medicines to their patients.

Expecting the issuance of the first license by the middle of this year, the agency has started taking applications for licenses. Potential applicants are required to already have a secured and suitable location, along with the certainty that the facilities that been built or purchased are suitable, along with adequate security for these facilities.

The Ministry has noted that the minimum quality standards are designed to help provide doctors, the confidence in the quality and consistency of medicinal cannabis products, that they prescribe to their patients, and that the standards do not have an inclusion of an assessment of the safety or efficacy of the product.

According to Dr. Clark, over time the suffering of people will be eased by the Government’s medical cannabis scheme, by increasing the availability of a wider range of quality medicinal cannabis products. He further added that the potential of medicinal cannabis holds a huge international interest. Furthermore, the regulations necessarily mean that the New Zealand companies will now be well-placed for the manufacture of medicinal cannabis products for both, the local and international markets. He added, that considerable expertise in the market already exists with 20 licensed cannabis companies (for research) and another 238 growing industrial hemps. Dr. David Clark further added that he expects them to be potential applicants.

 

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