Canadian Scientists Are Using Marijuana to Help People With Crack Cocaine Addictions

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

A new study coming from researchers in Canada suggests marijuana may be able to help curb crack cocaine addiction. The study looked at 100 people addicted to crack cocaine who had used another drug in an attempt to stop use. Of those involved, marijuana was substance that was most successful in decreasing the rate of crack usage. This study supports another study coming from Brazil, in which 68% of the 25 participants involved were able to cease crack usage with the help of marijuana.

This information has been provided by Civilized and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

A Look at How Canadian Patients are Using Medical Marijuana

Photo Credit: Tilray

Photo Credit: Tilray

As access to medical marijuana continues to grow, but relatively little is known about how to properly dose the medication, it can be helpful to look at how patients have already been using the medication effectively. A 2017 study led by Philippe Lucas, the Vice President of Patient Research & Access at Tilray, and Nick Jikomes, PhD, in partnership with with researchers from the Cleveland Clinic, McMaster University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Victoria, surveyed 2,032 medical marijuana patients across Canada. The median age of patients involved in the survey was 40, and men almost outnumbered women two to one. About 70% of users substituted medical cannabis for prescription medications, with most substitutions replacing opioids (36%), antidepressants (21%), and other pain medications. Lucas explains, “In 610 mentions of opioid medication, 59% of patients stopped using these painkillers completely, and another 18% cut their consumption to a quarter or less… This suggests that cannabis may already be playing a harm-reduction role in the current opioid crisis.” Patients (31%) also used cannabis to reduce tobacco use, and half of those respondents were able to quit tobacco use completely. Additionally, 44% of participants were able to reduce alcohol consumption, and 26% substituted cannabis for illicit drugs.

When it comes to specific conditions being treated with medical cannabis, 38% used cannabis to treat chronic pain, and 40% used cannabis to treat mental health issues, which included but is not limited to anxiety and insomnia. High-CBD strains were the most preferable strains, favored by 14.5% of respondents, and sought after by 50% of extract and concentrate customers. Among the variety of forms and vehicles of administration available to patients, the classic cannabis flower remained the most preferred form by a long shot. About 74% of patients used about a gram and a half of cannabis daily, and the majority of patients still preferred the traditional method of smoking the medication. That said, new methods of cannabis consumption are growing in popularity, ant 47% of patients preferred non-smoking methods of administration, with 31% of those respondents choosing to vaporize their medication. The least popular methods of administration were cannabis juicing, at .2% of respondents choosing this method, and topicals, with only .3% choosing this vehicle.

By journaling daily on the CannaBest Medical app, you are anonymously contributing the growing medical cannabis knowledge base and better understand how patients are using medical marijuana to treat symptoms. With this information, we can better understand how patients are precisely and effectively dosing their medical marijuana, which will offer guidance to other patients with their own regimens and will help physicians with their recommendation moving forward. We thank you for your participation, and hope you continue to use this tool daily so that, collectively, we can help others. This information has been provided in part by Leafly and Tilray, and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Study: Canadian Patients Substituting Marijuana for Prescription Drugs

Photo Credit: Marijuana Industry News

Photo Credit: Marijuana Industry News

A recent study from the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria which was published in the International Journal of Drug Policy revealed patients in Canada suffering mental health conditions and pain substitute marijuana for opioids, benzodiazepines, and antidepressants. Researchers surveyed 271 patients registered with the cannabis producer Tilray and found 63% of respondents substituted marijuana for their prescription medication to treat pain-related conditions, including chronic pain and arthritis, mental health conditions, eating disorders, PTSD, and psychiatric disorder. The survey consisted of 107 questions that took into account demographics, use patterns, and marijuana as a substitution for medications. Authors noted that in the midst of the opioid epidemic, "cannabis could play a significant role in reducing the health burden of problematic prescription drug use.”

This information has been provided by Marijuana Industry News and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.  

Canada: Rising Popularity Of Medical Cannabis Among Veterans Associated With Declining Opioid Use

Photo Credit: NORML

Photo Credit: NORML

Opioid abuse and addiction is at an all time high, and studies suggest that the legalization of and increased access to medical cannabis can target this epidemic. We can further see evidence of the decline of opioid use thanks to cannabis by looking at the veteran population in Canada. According to federal data provided to The Globe and Mail, the increased use medical cannabis has been associated with a decline in prescription opiates and benzodiazepines. The records provided by Veterans Affairs Canada showed the number of veterans using benzodiazepines feel 30% between 2012-3016, and veteran use of opiates dropped 17%. At the same time, veterans seeking medical cannabis increased from less than 100 to over 1,700 patients.

This case study is small, but it remains consistent with other studies that suggest patients prefer to replace their prescription medications and opiates with medical cannabis. This information has been provided by NORML and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Canadian Research Study Demonstrates Medical Cannabis Safety Profile

Photo Credit: Ryan Bushby

Photo Credit: Ryan Bushby

A team of researchers associated with McGill University and the University of British Columbia recently published work suggesting chronic pain patients who used medical cannabis to treat their symptoms were not at an increased risk of suffering serious side effects during their treatment than patients who did not use cannabis. The study, "Cannabis for the Management of Pain: Assessment of Safety Study (COMPASS)," took place over one year, and monitored two groups of non-cancer chronic pain patients from locations throughout Canada. One group partook in the use of cannabis for treating their symptoms while the other did not.

Lead researcher Dr. Mark Ware said, "This is the first and largest study of the long-term safety of medical cannabis use by patients suffering from chronic pain, ever conducted... We found that medical cannabis, when used by patients who are experienced users and as part of a monitored treatment program for chronic pain over one year, appears to have a reasonable safety profile. Anyone seriously interested in the medical use of cannabis should familiarize themselves with the COMPASS study: its contents, strengths, and limitations."

Executive director of Americans for Safe Access Steph Sherer discusses the significance of the study, saying, "Dr. Ware's research helps us clinically document the safety profile of medical cannabis, which is highly relevant to public health questions facing America... The COMPASS study is a great example of what cannabis research in America Could look like if we broke down federal barriers holding back research." Read more about these findings from Americans for Safe Access

Medical marijuana seems to help chronic pain patients, appears to be safe: study

Photo Credit:  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty

Photo Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty

Seven pain clinics across Canada have found smoking medical marijuana to treat chronic pain did not produce any worse serious side effects than abstaining from cannabis, and cannabis use was extremely effective in treating symptoms associated with the condition.

The study took place between 2004 and 2008, and followed 215 adults who suffered from non-cancer related chronic pain and used medical cannabis. Researchers compared this group to a control group of 216 chronic pain sufferers who did not use cannabis for therapy. Both groups found conventional therapies were ineffective. On average, the cannabis users smoked, vaporized, or ingested about 2.5 grams of medical grade marijuana provided by a licensed producer. The marijuana contained 12.5% THC. 

While there were no increases in severe side effects (like hospitalizations or death) among cannabis users, there were increases in mild to moderate side effects (like headache, dizziness, nausea, and drowsiness) in the groups that used marijuana, but researchers said that was to be expected. There were no adverse effects found on cognitive function, the kidney, liver, or hormonal function. There were minor effects on lung function that, through further research, could prove to build up over time. That being said, researchers admitted it was difficult to separate the effects of cannabis inhalation from the effects of tobacco use. 

Researchers not only looked at the safety of marijuana use, but also at its efficacy, looking at changes in pain, mood, and quality of life. Lead researcher Dr. Mark Ware said, "We found that both groups improved over time, but the cannabis users actually improved significantly more than the control group." These results, which have been published online in The Journal of Pain, not only suggest that marijuana is an effective treatment option, but also a safe treatment option for chronic pain sufferers.

Ware notes the significance of this study, saying it provides clinicians evidence-based guidelines than can use to inform their patients. "That's the big stumbling block that every clinician has: 'I just don't know what to tell my patients.' Well, now you have a detailed listing... and (doctors) can read through every possible side-effect." 

Be sure to check out the full article from The Canadian Press for more a more detailed look at this study.