There has been a lot of controversy recently surrounding two studies that were published earlier in the year that seem to suggest that medical marijuana and its potency are being misrepresented.
What Is Cannabis and How Does It Help?
In the first study, researchers conducted roughly 80 randomized trials that included 6,500 participants and found that cannabinoids do in fact help treat diseases, but the specificity of particular cannabinoids with relation to disease is a little hazy. What this means is, while all of the cannabinoids in the marijuana plant help treat different ailments, pinpointing specific strains to specific diseases is still a bit challenging. Cannabis is full of cannabinoids, and the most famous of these are THC and CBD.
Medical Cannabis Potency and Who Is Growing Cannabis
While the first study focused on the effects of medical marijuana on its patients, the second study took a look at the potency of edibles being sold on the medicinal market. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine looked at 75 different edible products from three different major metropolitan areas. They found that it was fairly common for edibles to be over labeled, which means they actually have less active THC in the product than advertised.
While at first this news can come off as a little unsettling, it is important to remember that, compared to other legal drugs on the market, marijuana does not get the funding or research attention that it so desperately needs. Because cannabis is a plant and not created in a lab, the growing of cannabis needs to be taken into account. Different growers, locations, and strains will affect the potency of the weed. There are also more than 400 compounds in cannabis, compared to the one or two normally found in FDA-approved manufactured drugs. Also, while dosage is still being perfected, it is always better to over label than under label.
Cannabis Clubs and Kinks
In addition to that, legal cannabis is a fledgling industry, and like most things just beginning, it has kinks to work out. For instance, the edibles used in the study were collected in October of 2014 and do not take into account the significant strides that have been made in the cannabis industry in the past year. Thankfully, there are cannabis clubs in many states that not only rally for the medical use of marijuana, but also help patients and consumers make sure they are getting all of the necessary information.
CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula said, “We don’t really know, and I think that’s what this study highlights.” She continued, “We just haven’t had enough research.” Hopefully, these studies will only further the notion that the cannabis industry deserves a ranking spot in the field of medical research and advancement.