The researchers at the University of Georgia have come up with a new study which states that legalized medical cannabis reduces the use of opioids. It says that states that have approved medical cannabis laws saw a dramatic reduction in opioid use. The research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Internal Medicine.
The researchers of the study examined the number of all opioid prescriptions filled between 2010 and 2015 under Medicare Part D. It is the prescription drug assistance plan accessible to Medicare enrollees. They observed a 14.4 percent reduction in the use of prescription opioids in the states with medical cannabis dispensaries. Moreover, the researchers found nearly a 7 percent reduction in opiate prescriptions filled in states with home-cultivation-only medical cannabis laws.
Some of the states under observation had medical cannabis laws throughout the five-year study period. On the other hand, some never had medical cannabis, and some enacted medical cannabis laws during those five years. So the researchers asked what happens to physician behavior in terms of their opiate prescribing if and when medical cannabis becomes available.
Also, 29 US states and the district of Colombia approved medical cannabis law with California being the first to approve medical cannabis law in 1996.
As per the researchers, physicians cannot prescribe cannabis because it is still a Schedule I drug. The study doesn’t aim at observing that prescriptions for cannabis go up and prescriptions for opioids go down. It only intends to evaluate the changes when medical cannabis laws are in action. Interestingly, the study reveals big reductions in the use of opioids.
Legal status of Marijuana deserves a consideration
The researchers examined all the commonly prescribed opiates including,
Heroin, being an illegal drug, was not included as part of the study. In the previous year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a public health emergency with respect to the abuse of opiates. Opioid overdoses caused more than 42,000 deaths in 2016. Surprisingly, more than 40 percent of opioid overdose deaths involved a prescription opioid, according to HHS.
Between 2005 and 2011 the opioid prescription rates increased from about 148 million to 206 million. This added dramatically to the number of opioid-related deaths.
The major reason behind the lower use of opiates is the growing body of literature that suggests cannabis may help to manage pain in patients. Note that the researchers didn’t see any notable decline in the number of non-opioid drugs prescribed during the study period. These non-opioid drugs included blood thinners, flu medications, and phosphorus stimulants.
The researches admit that there is still much work to do if medical cannabis is to become an effective treatment. Research scientists are just beginning to understand the effects of cannabis and its derivatives. They believe that an effective “dose” of cannabis needs a clear definition so that each patient receives a consistent dose.
Regardless of their findings, the researchers of the study suggest quite clearly that medical cannabis and its legalization worth serious consideration. It could be one useful tool in the policy arsenal that can help to diminish the harm of prescription opioids.
More people from U.K are supporting marijuana legalization
Almost half of the British adults support the legalization of marijuana, according to the YouGov survey. The results of the survey reveal that public opinion is opposed to the laws of legalization of marijuana in the U.K. 48% of people are in favor of legalizing recreational use of marijuana. While only 24 percent of people are against the legalization of marijuana.
On the other hand, more voters are in the support of medicinal cannabis. Seventy-seven percent of the people say that it should be legalized. These voters also added that they will definitely use cannabis for medical purposes if there is a confirmation that it could benefit them.
What needs to be changed?
This survey indicated that there’s a need for changing policies of the United Kingdom. Especially the policies that are in the favor of legalization of marijuana. Rob Wilson, the Chief Executive of the group who conducted the survey said that government and politicians are totally unaware of the public’s thinking. He added that they are far behind the expectations of the public.
Moreover, he said that the decade-old policies of the U.K need to be changed according to the perception of the voters. Their perception will not harm anyone. As most of the people of Britain are in favor of medical cannabis. This clearly shows that voters want to use cannabis for its medical and healthcare benefits.
The results of this survey come after the legalization of a few cannabis-based medicines in November 2018. In those legalization laws, only some of the doctors had given the power to prescribe. But the implementation of the law was not according to the expectations. Still, not a single NHS prescription had issued to date. So people only had the option of private expensive prescriptions. And many families couldn’t afford them.
What respondents had to say about cultivating cannabis?
A lot of voters were also in the favor of cultivation of cannabis. 1,690 voters said that the government should allow the cultivation of cannabis to the patients who have been recommended cannabis by their doctor. While 22 percent of the respondents thought that everyone should have the right to cultivate marijuana. Of all these voters, 31% of them admitted trying cannabis.
Who is strongly supporting the legalization of marijuana?
Adults were in a huge number to support the legalization of marijuana. People aged 18 to 49 mostly voted for the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana. People living in London were also in large amounts to support the legalization.
It shows that the mindset of the adults of the U.K is in favor of legalization. Experts say that it’s better for the Government to change its policies. So that the adults won’t buy the marijuana from dealers or other sources. Legalization of marijuana has great positive impacts on adults. It will force people to buy the drug from pharmacies by specifying their age. And hence the marijuana will be used for its medical benefits.
Moreover, people have also understood the benefits of consuming marijuana. So they want to use legal marijuana that will benefit them.
Teenagers using less marijuana in states that legalize marijuana
A new study suggests that teenagers are using less marijuana in the states where marijuana is legal. According to a paper published in JAMA Network, the use of legal marijuana among high schoolers dropped by 8% who reported using marijuana in the last 30 days. Moreover, there’s a 9% drop in the number who reported using marijuana at least 10 times in the last 30 days.
At Montana State University, researchers analyzed the health surveys of high school students between 1993 and 2017. The researchers examined the survey filled by the students about their marijuana use. According to the surveys, the overall interest and use of marijuana among teenagers has decreased by 10% in the states where marijuana is legal.
The researchers observed the results before and after the marijuana laws for legalization had implemented. Researchers also say that there is no effect on the use of marijuana for medical purposes in the teens. But only a reduction is seen in using marijuana for recreational purposes.
Why teens are consuming less marijuana?
The main reason for using less marijuana among teens is that after legalization it is very difficult to buy marijuana from dispensaries. Buying from dispensaries requires proof of age. Hence it’s not easy for teenagers to buy marijuana in a legal state.
Moreover, cannabis sold in dispensaries is also very expensive. And students can’t afford it. In a legal state, you also don’t have the street sales anymore. So we can hope that the dispensaries will have a better system of checking for age verification and carding.
However, in an illegal state people buy marijuana from dealers. Adults can easily buy it without giving any proof of the age and it’s not so expensive. So the rate of buying marijuana for recreational purposes is very high in the states where marijuana is illegal.
Are other reports in favour of this survey?
This survey by Montana State University contradicted a study from Colorado. The study says that legalization did not have any effect on teenagers. The students who used marijuana before legalization uses the same amount of marijuana after legalization in 2014.
But this survey goes in favour of other results from a study published last December. The study demonstrates that the use of marijuana among teenagers decreased after Washington legalized marijuana in 2012.
This concludes that still a lot of data is required for accurate results.
What is the effect of legalization on people’s thoughts?
After legalization, doctors recommend marijuana for medical benefits. So it changes the perception of the people about marijuana. People then think that marijuana is safe to use. Moreover, after legalization parents also talk to their children about marijuana use and they can increase their supervision.
But researchers say teenagers are not aware of the adverse impacts of consuming marijuana in adolescence. According to them people should be educated about the proper use of marijuana after legalization. Since cannabis is still illegal for adults under 18 in all the states. So the government should guide them about the use of marijuana at the right age. Moreover, people should take marijuana by the recommendation of the doctor.
Hemp Seed Oil for Epileptic Children
Hemp seed oil containing CBD and THC in fixed quantities are beneficial in alleviating and even ending seizures in children. Research suggests that it is helpful for even drug-resistant epileptic attacks.
Scientists from the University of Saskatchewan performed this study. It appears in the Frontiers in Neurology. Children’s Hospital Foundation by Jim Pattinson provided financial aid for the study.
Children who have severe attacks of epilepsy do experience better life quality with a low dosage of medical hemp oil. The researchers analyzed the effects of the oil with a carefully thought ratio. It included CBD with 95 percent purity and rest of the percentage with tetra hydra cannabidiol.
They kept the bigger percentage of CBD and a smaller one of THC in the regimen
Scientists made this composition with the aid of scientific evidence. They also fixed a specific amount of the THC. The team found no intoxicating effects of the THC on using plant extracts with CBD enrichment. In the study, three out of seven children did not show any signs of seizures after using the seed oil regimen.
Most of the positive effects of using hemp seed oil were quite drastic. Some of the children were able to communicate with their families for the first time efficiently. Whereas, some children who were not able to talk or crawl were able to do so after the doses. They felt connected to their families and other loved ones.
Children with epileptic encephalopathy suffer from frequent seizures the most
Many studies have suggested cannabis items with cannabidiol to be efficient in providing aid to control epileptic seizures in children. These children include ones having epileptic encephalopathy, a congenital and severe epilepsy type.
However, most of the children do not have access to cannabis products because of a lack of knowledge. Most physicians are unaware of the required dose for the patients. Moreover, the presence of THC in the regimen makes some health care workers dubious of it.
What did the study suggest?
The study suggested that most children showed a significant alleviation in their seizures upon the daily dosage of CBD. The total dosage consisted of 5 to 6 mg of cannabis extract per kg of the weight of the child daily. Scientists also tested a dose increment to 10 to 12 mg/kg daily. They noted a dramatic alleviation in the seizures in more than half of the population under study.
The scientists realize that they have taken an important step in paving the way for a scientific answer to find treatment for epileptic seizures. There is a need to find the perfect dose and composition of the product. While administering this product, physicians will also need to monitor levels of CBD and THC in the children’s bloodstreams.
The children did not respond to multiple anti-convulsant medicines. The failure of the medication in these children motivated the scientists to find potential ways to alleviate the symptoms.
This research is a ray of hope for patients who show resistance to the drugs for epilepsy. However, there is a need for more research to apply this regimen on a vast scale.
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