Categories: Cannabis

The Significance of Medical Cannabis in the Industry

Cannabis has become widely accessible for recreational use, to adult Canadians after its legalization in 2018. Feelings of euphoria and relaxation, increased sensitivity (to sound, color, taste), clouded thinking, and hunger, are some well-known cannabis effects. However, cannabis has important applications in the biomedical industry.

Cannabaceae is the family, that Cannabis, the genus of flowering plants, belongs to. Cannabinoids are the chemicals found in cannabis. While over 100 cannabinoids have been identified such as cannabidiol, or CBD, the plant’s primary psychoactive compound (also responsible for the common “high” feelings) remains the most notable.

2737 BC is the furthest traceable date of the use of cannabis as a medication. The use of cannabis as a patent medicine in the US took place during the 19th and early 20th centuries. However, legal penalties and criminalization regarding cannabis started in the second half of the 20th century. This further caused limitations in cannabis research due to the difficulty of obtaining cannabis, even for scientific purposes. However, interest in the legalization of prescription cannabis began in the late 20th century, which eventually allowed further medical cannabis research.

Cannabis use in cancer therapy has been seen recently. While it may not be used as a direct treatment, alleviation of symptoms along with the improvement of the general quality of life of cancer patients has been seen. Prescription of medical cannabis as a medication is allowed by doctors, to cancer patients that have experienced adverse effects of chemotherapy (nausea, vomiting, and general cancer-related pain).

According to a professor in the Department of Oncology and Medicine at McGill, Antonio Vigano, if a cancer patient feels better (due to medicinal cannabis), the patient tends to be in better shape to be the recipient of traditional cancer treatments such as immunotherapy. Vigano further added how cancer treatments leave patients with a lack of appetite, fatigue, and immense pain, and that medicinal cannabis can treat these symptoms.

According to Baglole, one of the two co-leads for the biomedical sector of the Research Centre for Cannabis, THC does not have fairly high addictive properties compared to other compounds like opioids.

However, regular cannabis use has shown a rise in psychological addiction and dependence. Cannabis use disorder is classified as an official condition by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which raises questions about the dependency of medicinal cannabis users. Cannabis is listed as a Schedule I drug – more likely to be abused along with a lack of medical value, by the US federal law. Cannabis is hence placed on the same level as heroin, ecstasy, and LSD, even though unlike cannabis, heroin overdoses have been reported to be over 65,000 in 2018, and LSD is a powerful halogen.

Baglole has stressed over the fact that despite the possible negative effects on recreational users, there would be more benefit than harm for people who use cannabis for chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Baglole further added that concrete information regarding the dependency of medical cannabis can still be hard to provide as the research is still at its initial stage.

Baglole’s lab has recently focused on the rise of the outbreak of lung injuries that have been caused by the THC-containing vape device. Though not a medical application, examination of the negative effects of cannabis-like products is essential, to have a better understanding of the drug.

With the currently limited knowledge about the inhalational effects with cannabis use, but Baglole has said that their lab is focusing on the safety and efficacy of lug-delivered cannabis products.

Before the easy administration of cannabis in a medical setting, a lot of research needs to be done regarding the chemistry of cannabinoids, etc.

Saher Asad Mir

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