Edible Marijuana Labels Wrong

In US states where marijuana has been legalized—either for medicinal or recreational purposes—foods, drinks, and candies containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in weed, have become very popular. But buyers beware: in a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association yesterday (June 23), researchers show that only 17 percent of 75 the edible medical marijuana products they tested had labels that accurately reported the amount of THC they contained.

Mislabeling edible cannabis products—consumed by an estimated 16-26 percent of medical marijuana patients, according to the study authors—can be dangerous for patients, as an unexpectedly high THC concentration can cause anxiety, vomiting, or hallucinations, while too low a dose can fail to treat symptoms. “If we want to recommend cannabis as medicine, patients should expect reliability and consistency in what they’re buying,” Vandrey told The Seattle Times. “The failure to do so is an injustice to the consumer and puts patients at risk.”

Because medical marijuana products remain illegal at the federal level, they are not subject to Food and Drug Administration regulation. Many states where marijuana is legal do not require manufacturers or dispensaries to test the products they sell. Some states are pushing for stricter testing guidelines for medical marijuana.

Resourse: The Scientist

NIDA Weighs In on Pot

Marijuana use may carry a number of risks, including addiction and memory impairment, according to a review of the scientific literature authored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The authors of the review, published last week (June 5) in The New England Journal of Medicine, stressed marijuana’s potential harm to younger users, citing studies conducted on adolescents considering cognitive impairment, school performance, and social factors.

The authors also discussed marijuana’s oft-cited role as a gateway drug, highlighting rodent studies that seem to support pot’s role in priming the brain for enhanced responses to other drugs. But they conceded that “an alternative explanation is that people who are more susceptible to drug-taking behavior are simply more likely to start with marijuana because of its accessibility and that their subsequent social interactions with other drug users would increase the probability that they would try other drugs.”

In the end, the authors called for more research into the potential costs and benefits of marijuana use, cautioning that whatever harm the drug does is likely to become more prevalent as medicinal and recreational pot prohibition erodes. “As policy shifts toward legalization of marijuana,” they wrote, “it is reasonable and probably prudent to hypothesize that its use will increase and that, by extension, so will the number of persons for whom there will be negative health consequences.”

Resourse: The Scientist

A Link Between Autism and Cannabinoids

Two autism-related mutations in a synapse-adhesion protein lead to deficits in prolonged endocannabinoid signaling in mice. It’s a surprising connection that suggests such signaling problems could be implicated in autism spectrum disorders, according to a paper published today (April 11) in Neuron.

Tonic endocannabinoid signaling is long-lasting and contrasts with the brief pulses characteristic of phasic signaling. Endocannabinoid signaling in general affects memory formation, learning, pain, and other important processes, but the distinctions between tonic and phasic signaling have been poorly understood.

“It’s a very stimulating finding which could be a real turning point in understanding tonic endocannabinoids and how this otherwise mysterious lipid signaling really works,” said Bradley Alger, a neuroscientist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine who was not involved in the study. But he warned that the paper, while tantalizing, did not even definitively show that endocannabinoid signaling deficits could lead to autistic behaviors in mice, let alone in humans.

Resourse: The Scientist

Marijuana: Good or bad?

According to the National Institutes of Health, people have used marijuana, or cannabis, to treat their ailments for at least 3,000 years. However, the Food and Drug Administration have not deemed marijuana safe or effective in the treatment of any medical condition, although cannabidiol, a substance that is present in marijuana, received approval in June 2018 as a treatment for some types of epilepsy.

Marijuana is being increasingly legalized in the U.S., but is it safe? This tension, between a widespread belief that marijuana is an effective treatment for a wide assortment of ailments and a lack of scientific knowledge on its effects, has been somewhat exacerbated in recent times by a drive toward legalization.

Twenty-nine states plus the District of Columbia have now made marijuana available for medical — and, in some states, recreational — purposes. A recent study published in the journal Addiction also found that use of marijuana is increasing sharply across the United States, although this rise may not be linked to the legalization of marijuana in participating states. Nevertheless, this rise in use is prompting major public health concerns.

In this article, we look at the scientific evidence weighing the medical benefits of marijuana against its associated health risks in an attempt to answer this simple question: is marijuana good or bad?

Resourse: Medical News Today

Therapeutic Uses of Marijuana

Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mix of dried, crumbled parts from the marijuana plant. The plant contains chemicals which act on your brain and can change your mood or consciousness.

How do people use marijuana?

There are many different ways that people use marijuana, including

  • Rolling it up and smoking it like a cigarette or cigar
  • Smoking it in a pipe
  • Mixing it in food and eating it
  • Brewing it as a tea
  • Smoking oils from the plant (“dabbing”)
  • Using electronic vaporizers (“vaping”)

What are the effects of marijuana?

Marijuana can cause both short-term and long-term effects.

Short term:

While you are high, you may experience

  • Altered senses, such as seeing brighter colors
  • Altered sense of time, such as minutes seeming like hours
  • Changes in mood
  • Problems with body movement
  • Trouble with thinking, problem-solving, and memory
  • Increased appetite

Resourse: MedlinePlus

Herbal Cannabis Products In Medicine

Several pharmaceutical drugs based on cannabis, in purified and standardized form, have been made available for medical use. However, the use of herbal cannabis in medicine remains highly controversial, in part because of the lack of standardization among products to ensure safe and consistent dosing and in part because of disagreement over legalization. In the United States, for example, while the cultivation, possession, and consumption of cannabis is illegal, some states have enacted laws that legalize the use of herbal medical cannabis specifically. Likewise, while the use of herbal medical cannabis is permitted in some European countries, it is illegal in the United Kingdom. The latter does, however, permit the prescription of a cannabis-based drug known as nabiximols (Sativex).
Despite the legal issues, researchers and drug companies continued to investigate and develop herbal cannabis products. For instance, a standardized cannabis product known as CanniMed was developed for medical use in Canada under Health Canada’s Medical Marihuana Access Regulations (MMAR), which were enacted in 2001. The cannabis plants cultivated for CanniMed are grown under carefully controlled conditions, and the drug is standardized to contain approximately 12.5 percent THC. A similar approach has been taken in the Netherlands, where several herbal cannabis products are available, including Bedrocan (19 percent THC) and Bedrobinol (12 percent THC).

Resourse: Britannica

Use Of Medical Cannabis

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