A pilot study examined wastewater in Canada’s five main urban centers. The research suggests that the drug usage depends on the city from which the corresponding wastewater is coming.
For instance, an analysis via Statistics Canada depicted that levels of cannabis are much on the rise in Montreal and Halifax. These rates are much more than observed in Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver.
However, the research analysis from last week showed meth levels to be considerably more in Toronto and Edmonton. Furthermore, Halifax showed significantly lower amount of meth levels in the wastewater. The overall difference was six times to that of the rates scientists observed from Toronto’s wastewater.
Moreover, cocaine consumption was apparently equal in all the cities that were under observation. This averaged to 340 grams per million in 7 days.
Montreal and Halifax wastewater contained the highest amounts of cannabis waste products and lowest amount of meth. This suggests that different major urban centers might also have different drug usage patterns and policies.
How did Statistics Canada conduct the study?
For the results, the organization collected samples of some wastewater coming from treatment plants. These treatment plants belonged to five different cities that tested for certain traces of substances between the spring of last year to February 2019.
Scientists took the samples every half hour daily for seven days. Furthermore, they used the data to estimate the monthly consumption and levels of the traces.
Statistics Canada showed that the test localities in integration served 8.4 million citizens, which makes a fifth of the total population in Canada.
For cannabis, scientists analysed the compound with the name THC-COOH. This is a tetra hydrocannabidiol acetate that is a waste product from the metabolism of cannabis. The samples from the wastewater showed that this compound had higher levels in Montreal and Halifax in comparison to the other three cities. Additionally, the range was 2.5 to 3.8 times elevated.
Moreover, it also suggested that consumption varied on the season. Most of the spikes are in December, June and May.
The aims behind the pilot study
Statistics Canada showed that the aim of the pilot study was to analyse the efficacy of the drug testing idea through anonymous measures. This also pointed to the popularity of the drugs in different cities.
The study analysed the difference in the minimal drug levels between the cities. Furthermore, it suggested that the levels cannot solely determine the consumption rate of the specific drugs. There is a need to include other important external factors as well. These include potency of the drug and the sewer condition that could influence the levels.
For instance, with more popularity of cannabis edibles in one city than the other, the excretion rates would vary. This is because excretion rates of smoked cannabis and the edibles are different from each other.
However, the report analysed that the influence of these differences in the rates might be inconsiderable. Furthermore, drug consumption differences was the most potent factor in the game.
Furthermore, there is a need for more research to improve the accuracy of these drug testing techniques. This will ensure better treatment methods.
Cannabis And The Mental Health – The Risks Involved
The cannabis plant consists of over 500 identified chemical constituents, out of which over 100 are cannabinoids. Cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system – a naturally occurring communication network that exists in our brains and bodies. Varying amounts and combinations of the dosages of cannabis, can, in turn, affect several physiological and psychological processes in different ways such as – gastrointestinal function, appetite, pain, memory, movement, immunity, inflammation, and mental health are all included.
The complexity of cannabis, however, is what makes it a potential medication for numerous illnesses. The concern is the gap that exists between the hype about cannabis, and the research with evidence supporting the hype. The concern holds a lot of relevance to mental health, where the effectiveness of cannabis as a treatment for a variety of psychiatric conditions, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, psychosis, and addiction, is touted.
However, the reality of cannabis is that it cannot be held on the extremes of being either strictly helpful or strictly harmful. Instead, discussion regarding the potential benefits and harms of cannabis are encouraged, but with careful and nuanced consideration of science, with an addition of a humble attitude.
The science regarding the role of the endocannabinoid system in mood regulation is very clear with respect to depression. The use of cannabis or particular cannabinoids, in the treatment of depressive disorders, has had no support from any randomized controlled trials yet. On the contrary, the existing scientific data is mixed and tilts towards the idea of the worsening and development of depressive symptoms, by the ingestion of cannabis plant material. Although these findings are not satisfying, they aren’t straightforward either.
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two best-known examples of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Generally, the production of anxiety and psychotic features has been shown by THC, especially at higher doses. Meanwhile, production of anxiolytic and antipsychotic effects have been shown by CBD
However, a person’s increased or decreased anxiety or psychotic symptoms after ingesting cannabis can be affected by several other variables. This could include
- Potency levels – Any presence of other cannabis-related chemicals
- The amount of cannabis used
- The frequency of use by the patient
- Any past experience with cannabis
- The patient’s likelihood to develop and/or experience psychiatric symptoms
There is added confusion regarding the relationship between cannabis and addiction. According to scientific literature, a substantial minority of users could hold the possibility of cannabis addiction – euphoric effects of THC are expected to be held somewhat responsible for the addictive potential. This includes the possibility of cannabis addiction in one in ten people, which still holds the representation of a large number of people.
A replacement to opioids by cannabis is encouraged if the goal of the treatment would be the reduction of harm. However, cannabis treatment for other substance addictions is not the most ideal option. Addiction involves more complications than cannabis itself. That may be the reason that cannabis-based medicines cannot be the solution to the treatment of addiction, even while it may play a helpful role in it. Solutions of addiction may continue to be multipronged as the causes of it are multifaceted.
In conclusion, the person’s motive for cannabis use matters. Temporary relief and avoidance from uncomfortable thoughts and emotions may be provided by the use of cannabis but psychiatric and psychological treatments focus on the skills and coping mechanisms to confront the difficult thoughts and emotions. Research shows, use of cannabis with this motive could ultimately lead to difficulties with mental health symptoms, and addiction. Positive and negative reinforcement could be caused by mind-altering substances such as high THC cannabis products.
Glaucoma and Cannabis : What Opthalmologists Have To Say
Myths can stay around for a long time. One of them was about Cannabis being a potential treatment for glaucoma patients. Glaucoma is a complex eye condition that involves the damage of the optic nerve over time, initially reducing peripheral vision and ultimately leading to blindness. The higher than normal eye pressure (intraocular pressure or IOP) is one of the major causes of optic nerve damage.
With the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis use in more U.S. states and Canada, researchers have been studying the use of cannabis as possible treatments for various health conditions. Although research from the 1970s and 1980s has shown a detectable drop in intraocular pressure for three to four hours, after the consumption of cannabis – by smoking, or by the ingestion of TH in the form of pills or injection, treatment for glaucoma would require control of eye pressure for a complete 24 hours.
Studies show that ingestion of about 18 to 20 mg of THC, six to eight times daily, is required for the reduction and maintenance of intraocular pressure by 3 to 5 mm Hg. This could also include significant negative effects on mood, mental clarity, and lung health (if smoked). Driving, operation of machinery, or engagement in various common activities would be prohibited. Additionally, the amount of cannabis needed to be consumed every three to four hours makes it cost-prohibitive for a significant number of patients.
Comparatively, alcohol has moderate intraocular pressure-lowering effects for an hour after consumption. However, the consumption of alcohol would never be recommended by doctors as a treatment for glaucoma.
Is THC Effective or Reliable as a Treatment for Glaucoma?
THC eye drops, pills and cigarettes have been studied, and the results aren’t positive. Burning and irritated eyes were caused by eye drops, with no decrease in eye pressure. Similarly, no decrease in eye pressure was recorded, after the use of sublingual THC compounds either. Meanwhile, use of THC-containing pills and/or cigarettes was stopped by patients after 9 months, due to the side effects.
With further research about glaucoma, scientists have concluded that the high intraocular pressure in the fluid at the front of the eye, is not the sole cause of the optic nerve damage. Further evidence shows that another cause could be the reduced blood flow in the optic nerve. While cannabis may lower eye pressure, it also lowers the patient’s blood pressure. Thus, the potential of cannabis to lower blood pressure effectively cancels out its ability to lower intraocular pressure.
What About CBD?
Currently available cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds – like CBD is not a sufficient treatment for any eye condition, including glaucoma. Cannabis is not a practical treatment to maintain lowered eye pressure for 24 hours, in order to treat glaucoma.
CBD has gained a lot of attention and scrutiny in the last few years. Although CBD is a derivative of cannabis as well, it doesn’t cause any mood-altering effects. However, current research does not support the use of CBD as an effective treatment for glaucoma. On the contrary, a recent study has shown that an increase in IOP may be caused by the CBD, making glaucoma worse.
The Future of Cannabis For Glaucoma Treatment
Currently, ophthalmologists say that the only way to control glaucoma and control vision is to lower the patient’s intraocular pressure. Depending on the type of glaucoma and severity, ophthalmologists can use medications such as prescription eye drops or surgery, as a form of treatment for glaucoma.
Furthermore, cannabis or any other cannabis products are NOT RECOMMENDED for the treatment of glaucoma, by the American Academy of Opthalmology, along with the agreement of the American Glaucoma Society and the Canadian Opthalmological Society.
Global Pandemic Gives Rise To Huge Sales Spikes For Cannabis
Cannabis sales increase across US and Canada as lockdown continues. The population rushes to stockpile cannabis to prepare itself for the long period of self-isolation, due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Between the time period of March 16 and March 22, key US markets, including California, Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska, experienced a 50 percent rise in sales of recreational cannabis, and a 41 percent rise in medical cannabis sales, from the same period last year, figures attained from cannabis point of sale and info system Flowhub exhibit.
With the death toll rising to 600 in both countries, several US states and Canadian provinces are issuing stay at home orders, limiting business operations, and closing down borders, in an attempt to actively work to combat the fast-spreading coronavirus.
Although many businesses have been shut down due to the orders of a lockdown, legalized cannabis dispensaries are allowed to continue their businesses despite the current crisis, and have been listed as “essential services” alongside hospitals and other health facilities, even in jurisdictions with the tightest lockdown protocols,
During the intensifying threat of the COVID-19 and increasing sales of cannabis across North America, Bank of America analyst Chris Carey commented that investors could be provided with a defensive move in a market downturn, by the cannabis sector. Carey further talked about the acceleration of cannabis purchases in North America, regardless of region.
Carey pointed out Aphria specifically, boosting its rating to a “buy”. According to the BNN Bloomberg, Carey had reportedly explained how the Ontario-based grower could be expected to see it’s market share in Canada increase.
Aphria and Tilray stocks rose during the same time period. Last week, Aphria’s shares had been reported to move from a low of US$1.97 (C$2.88) to hit US$2.72 (C$3.89), between the time period of March 18th to March 20th. Closing at US$2.51 (C$3.58) last week, they gained slightly more yesterday at US$2.54 (C$3.72) to end the day.
Meanwhile during March 19 to March 20, Tilry shares had risen twice as much, from a low US$2.56 to a high of US$5.03. Yesterday, the stock closed at US$3.85.
According to the OCS Director of Communications Daffyd Roderick, Canada’s most populated province, Ontario, the government-run Ontario Cannabis Store’s (OCS) website experienced escalating online sales in the last two weeks. Last weekend, orders were reported to be more than twice as high compared to two weeks ago.
On Sunday, Nova Scotia was reported to be the latest province to announce a COVID-19 emergency. The province’s liquor commission, that is responsible for the control of sales of cannabis in Nova Scotia, reported a spike of 76 percent in cannabis sales last week.
Sales were also booming in cannabis related beverage companies. One such case was reported by Jamie Pearson, CEO of California-based Bhang Inc, who makes and deals with cannabis-infused beverages, chocolates, and other products. Hence, Pearson is expecting boosted revenue and profits this quarter.
Pearson further claimed the most popular products to be edibles such as gummies, brownies, and chocolates, because of easier storage and accessibility even with precautions such as having gloves on.
Stuart Titus, CEO of California-based Medical Marijuana Inc informed Reuters that the reason behind the boost of Canadian sales was the fear of months of supply disruptions. However, caution is recommended by Titus and others, as they believe that the long-awaited reversal of fortune could potentially be nothing more than a short-lived relief.
Avis Bulbulyan, CEO of cannabis consulting firm Siva Enterprises, explained that even during a global crisis like the spread of the global pandemic, the cannabis industry seems to be recession-proof. Bulbulyan further added that the rise in customer demand is not expected to last very long during a time like this.
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