With a doctor’s prescription in the UK, patients with certain health conditions can now access medical cannabis. As of November 2018, cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs), also known as medical cannabis, have become legal in the United Kingdom. Medical cannabis, however, continues to lack quality evidence supporting its efficacy and safety, despite the change in legislation. Considering cannabis is a Schedule I drug, primary research is severely restricted.
In order to address this issue, patients in the UK receiving active medical cannabis treatment were invited to participate in a focus group study. Based on the findings of the study, a local research agenda was developed. Participants recruited from Sapphire Medical Clinics, the UK’s first regulated medical cannabis clinic, participated in a focus group conducted online.
The study found that cannabis-based products are available at a wider range of prices, availability, and effectiveness of treatment are the top priorities for UK medical cannabis patients. Research into medical cannabis, training and education for healthcare professionals, and patient support were all priorities.
The UK needs more medical cannabis research, according to this study. A variety of cannabis-based products could be tested for effectiveness and safety, cost-effectiveness could be examined, and healthcare professionals could be trained and educated about cannabis for medical purposes. In addition, patients can be involved in the design and conduct of medical cannabis research to ensure that it meets their needs.
Since medical cannabis was legalized in the UK, a number of health conditions have been treated with the plant. It is still unclear whether medical cannabis is effective and safe. By engaging patients in medical cannabis research, we will be better able to understand their priorities and improve the quality of our research. This will provide patients with safe and effective treatment options.
Key Problems to Solve for Conducting the Study
- Funding for researching the medicinal properties of the plant is still limited.
- It is important to involve patients and the public in the design and conduct of research to maximize funding and avoid waste.
- Incorporating patient views can improve the clinical relevance and recruitment and retention in studies.
- There is limited published literature on patients’ priorities for biomedical research.
- Previous studies have attempted to determine these priorities for a small number of chronic conditions.
- Research suggests that patients’ priorities are not consistently met in biomedical research.
- There have not yet been any attempts to determine the priorities of medical cannabis patients in the UK.
Key Points on the Purpose of the Study
- Medical cannabis, also known as marijuana, is used to treat various health conditions
- In the UK, medical cannabis is only available to patients who have been prescribed it by a specialist doctor
- One method of studying the use of medical cannabis is through focus group studies
- In this study, participants were patients undergoing active treatment with medical cannabis in the UK
- The focus group study was conducted remotely
- The focus groups were conducted according to local ethics and information governance practices
- Participants provided written informed consent before taking part in the study
- The focus group study provides valuable insights and experiences from patients using medical cannabis to treat their health conditions
- This research is important for improving the understanding and use of medical cannabis in the UK.
Key Points on Participants of the Medical Cannabis Study
- Participants were recruited from Sapphire Medical Clinics, the first regulated medical cannabis clinic in the UK
- Recruitment was conducted via email invitation and focus groups were filled on a first-come, first-served basis
- To be eligible, participants had to be current medical cannabis patients with at least one prescription documented in their health records within the previous three months
- Participants also had to be at least 18 years old and have sufficient comprehension of conversational English
- By requiring participants to meet these criteria, the study was able to include a diverse and representative group of patients using medical cannabis to treat their health conditions.
Key Points of How the UK Medical Cannabis Study was Conducted
- The focus groups were conducted using Microsoft Teams, a video conferencing platform
- Each focus group lasted for approximately 2 hours and was led by the same author who had prior training and experience in conducting research focus groups
- Before the focus group, participants were provided with a written information sheet that outlined the ground rules for the discussion
- During the focus group, participants were encouraged to keep their cameras on and use the hand-raising function to indicate when they wanted to speak
- The focus groups were conducted in a way that facilitated productive and engaging discussions among the participants
- Participants did not receive any incentives for participating in the focus groups.
Key Points on the Data Collection for the United Kingdom
- An online survey tool was used to capture basic demographic information on each participant
- The focus groups aimed to facilitate discussions about research priorities with an open-ended question
- Through a semi-structured approach, participants were also asked to consider the biochemistry, medical applications, research design, pharmacology, and socioeconomic impact of medical cannabis
- The focus group discussions provided valuable insights and perspectives on medical cannabis research in the UK
- This data will be used to inform future research and improve the understanding of medical cannabis and its uses.
Key Points of the Medical Cannabis Exploration
- The focus group study aimed to gather insights on medical cannabis research in the UK
- Participants were asked to share their thoughts on the most important research priorities and the facilitator used a semi-structured approach to guide the discussion
- To assess the participants’ research priorities, they were asked to complete a financial allocation task
- This task involved assigning ten counters, each equivalent to £1 million GBP, to different research priorities
- Participants were provided with a list of potential research priorities, but could also add their own topics
- The financial allocation task helped identify the research priorities that were most important to the participants
- After sharing their responses and reasoning, participants were given the opportunity to adjust their financial allocations for final recording
- This ensured that the data accurately reflected their research priorities.
Key Points of the Results
- Audio and video recordings were made with participants’ informed consent
- The transcriptions were cross-matched with the recordings and edited verbatim to ensure accuracy
- The transcriptions were analyzed using an inductive thematic approach
- Each transcript was read and coded independently according to themes derived from the participants’ responses
- The themes were compared and discussed among the study authors, and a final coding framework was developed
- The focus group discussions were conducted until thematic saturation was reached through a consensus approach
- This allowed for a thorough and comprehensive analysis of the data and helped identify the most important research priorities for medical cannabis in the UK.
Erridge, Simon, Fabian Olsson, and Mikael H. Sodergren. “Patient priorities for research: A focus group study of UK medical cannabis patients.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 50 (2023): 101693.
Alcohol Vs Cannabis: The Ultimate Showdown
Alcohol is considered a poison because it can be toxic and cause harm to the body, even in small amounts. According to the World Health Organization, an alarming number of 3 million deaths each year are caused by the harmful use of alcohol. This makes alcohol the fifth leading risk factor for premature death and disability on a global scale. On the other hand, cannabis is not classified as a poison and it is not considered a major public health threat. Studies have shown that cannabis may have therapeutic benefits, such as reducing pain and inflammation, improving sleep and mood, and treating certain medical conditions.
Are you curious about the dangers of alcohol and cannabis? In this video, we take a deep dive into the harmful effects of both substances, comparing the risks and discussing the statistics surrounding alcohol as the fifth leading risk factor for premature death and disability on a global scale, versus the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis.
From understanding the definition of poison and the number of deaths caused by alcohol, to exploring the medicinal properties of cannabis, this video is a must-watch for anyone interested in understanding the real differences between alcohol and cannabis.
Alcohol: The Fifth Leading Risk Factor for Premature Death Worldwide
Let’s take a look at Alcohol first, what exactly is it?
Alcohol, also known as ethanol, is a clear, colorless liquid that is a type of chemical compound referring to any organic compound in which a hydroxyl group (-OH) is bound to a carbon atom, which is the defining characteristic of the alcohol functional group.
It is important to note, that by definition, Alcohol is a poison. Alcohol is considered a poison because it can be toxic and cause harm to the body, even in small amounts. The definition of poison is a substance that can cause harm or death when ingested or in contact with the body.
According to the World Health Organization, an alarming number of 3 million deaths each year are caused by the harmful use of alcohol. That’s 5% of all deaths worldwide. This makes alcohol the fifth leading risk factor for premature death and disability on a global scale.
The majority of these deaths are a result of alcohol-related injuries, such as car crashes and violence, as well as from chronic diseases, such as liver cirrhosis and cancer.
The consumption of alcohol is a major contributor to the global burden of disease and it is a leading cause of death and disability among individuals aged 15 to 49.
These statistics are a sobering reminder of the dangerous effects of alcohol consumption. It is classified as a central nervous system depressant, which means it can slow down the brain’s activity and reduce alertness and coordination.
It is produced through a process called fermentation, which involves the conversion of sugars into ethanol by yeast or other microorganisms.
Alcohol Causes a Wide Range of Health Problems
Alcohol is often used socially for its relaxing effects, although consumption can lead to addiction and a wide range of health problems such as liver damage, brain damage, cardiovascular disease and an increased risk of certain cancers. It’s regulated by law for purchase and consumption.
Cannabis: A Psychoactive Drug with Potential Therapeutic Benefits
Now, let’s take a look at cannabis, what exactly is it?
Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a plant that contains cannabinoids, which interact with the body through the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, when consumed. Cannabis is not classified as a poison, it is classified as a psychoactive drug.
Cannabis Alone Has Never Killed Anyone
There have been no reported deaths worldwide that were directly caused by cannabis use alone. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other scientific studies, cannabis use is not considered a major public health threat and it’s not considered to be a leading cause of death worldwide.
It contains compounds called cannabinoids, the most well-known being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), which are responsible for its effects on the body. It’s important to note that the additional cannabinoids and terpenes present in the plant, the temperature in which it is prepared, vaped, or smoked at, and your own body chemistry can greatly change how cannabis interacts with your body.
It’s commonly consumed for its medicinal benefits, such as pain relief, reduction of nausea and to help with some medical conditions, as well as its relaxing effects for recreational purposes.
Health Experts Say Moderation is Key
It’s recommended to consume it in moderation as advised by some health professionals and it’s important to be aware of the risks before consuming it, as it may interact with certain other medications and have an effect on pre-existing mental health conditions.
The Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis
Cannabis, has been found to have a number of therapeutic benefits. Studies have shown that the plant may help to reduce pain and inflammation, improve sleep and mood, and even potentially help to treat certain medical conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and anxiety disorders.
It is also important to note, that there is research currently being conducted to figure out more about what is known as “The Entourage Effect”, which has been shown to change how the plant can be used in a therapeutic way.
By combining certain cannabinoids together in different amounts, some changes occur in how each of the cannabinoids interact with the body, which leads to different therapeutic effects. Terpenes also play a key role in this process.
Cannabis is Far Less Dangerous Than Alcohol
So there you have it, cannabis is far less dangerous than alcohol. Both substances have potential risks and benefits, but cannabis has been found to have a number of therapeutic benefits, while excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to a wide range of health problems.
Those With Pre-Existing Conditions Should Use Caution Regardless
It is worth noting that the use of cannabis, although it has therapeutic benefits, it still carries risks, especially for individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions, and it’s important to be aware of these risks and to consume it in moderation, and to consult with a professional for more detailed and specific information.
- Russo EB. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008;4(1):245–259. doi:10.2147/tcrm.s1928
- Zuardi AW, Crippa JA, Hallak JE, et al. Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an antipsychotic drug. Braz J Med Biol Res. 2006;39(4):421–429.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). (2021). Alcohol’s Effects on the Body. Retrieved from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-body
- World Health Organization (WHO). (2018). Alcohol and health. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/alcohol-and-health
Please note that this information is based on scientific research and studies. However, it’s important to consult with a professional and be aware of the laws and regulations in your area before consuming any substance.
Cannabis: 8 Myths Debunked
Cannabis has long been a controversial topic, with many people having strong opinions about its usage. However, despite this fact, there are many myths and misconceptions about cannabis that aren’t true. This article aims to debunk some of the most common cannabis myths so that you can better understand the truth behind this substance.
Cannabis and Motivation
Myth #1: Cannabis causes users to become lazy and unmotivated.
Fact: While cannabis may cause feelings of sleepiness and relaxation, research has shown that it can increase productivity in some people by improving focus and concentration. For example, a study published in the journal Psychopharmacology found that low doses of THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis) improved task performance and increased productivity in a simulated work environment.
Another study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that cannabis use was associated with increased productivity in a sample of medical cannabis users. It has been shown that cannabis can have different effects on motivation and productivity, depending on the individual and how cannabis is consumed. The effects of cannabis on motivation are highly individualized and depend on factors such as dosage, frequency of use, and cannabis strain.
Myth #2: Cannabis usage is linked to mental illness.
Fact: While cannabis can exacerbate symptoms of existing mental health conditions in some people, there is no conclusive evidence that cannabis directly causes these illnesses. Cannabis has been shown to have therapeutic benefits for some mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety.
Cannabis and Cognitive Function
Myth #3: Cannabis impairs cognitive function.
Fact: Cannabis does not impair cognitive function. Research has shown that it can actually enhance certain aspects of mental performance, such as creativity and focus. Many people use cannabis to stimulate their minds, making them more creative and critical. Additionally, cannabis has been shown to have beneficial effects on several mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
Dangerous and Harmful for Health
Myth #4: Cannabis is a dangerous drug with adverse health effects.
Fact: Despite its many potential benefits, cannabis remains heavily stigmatized and is often viewed as a dangerous drug with negative health effects. However, scientific research has shown that cannabis is much safer than many believe. It is important to note that, like any substance, cannabis can have potential risks and adverse effects on specific individuals. The effects of cannabis can vary greatly depending on the individual, the dosage and frequency of use, and the particular strain of cannabis being used.
It is always important to speak with a medical professional before using cannabis for medicinal purposes and to carefully consider the potential risks and benefits. Additionally, it is important to note that cannabis is still illegal under federal law in the United States and is classified under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act- This will hopefully change in the near future. Cannabis has different legal statuses in other states and countries, and it is crucial to be aware of the laws and regulations in your area.
Cannabis is Addictive
Myth #5: Cannabis is addictive.
Fact: While some people may develop cannabis dependence, it is not considered highly addictive. As per the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the risk of developing a cannabis use disorder is relatively low, with an estimated 9% of people who use cannabis becoming dependent on it. In comparison, the risk of dependence on drugs like alcohol and tobacco is much higher. It is important to note that, like any substance, cannabis can be misused and have negative consequences, but the risk of developing a severe addiction is low.
Myth #6: Cannabis is a gateway drug.
Fact: The concept of a “gateway drug” suggests that using a particular substance, such as cannabis, leads to more dangerous drugs. However, this theory has been largely debunked by scientific research. As the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes, “Most marijuana users do not move on to use harder substances.” While an individual can progress from using one substance to another, this is often due to a variety of complex social, psychological, and environmental factors, rather than the use of a particular substance.
Myth #7: Cannabis is a “miracle drug” that can cure all ailments.
Fact: As much as cannabis has shown therapeutic potential for a number of conditions, it is not a “miracle drug” that can cure all ailments. The effects of cannabis can vary greatly depending on the individual and the specific strain of cannabis consumed. Additionally, while some studies have shown that cannabis may have potential therapeutic benefits, more research is needed to fully understand its effects and determine appropriate dosing and treatment regimens.
Therefore, it is always important to speak with a medical professional before using cannabis for medicinal purposes and to carefully consider the potential risks and benefits.
All Cannabis is the Same
Myth #8: All cannabis is the same.
Fact: There are hundreds of different strains of cannabis, each with its unique characteristics and potential effects. Different strains can contain different levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), the two main active ingredients in cannabis. The psychoactive compound THC causes the “high” associated with cannabis use, while CBD is non-psychoactive and can have therapeutic effects.
Different strains can also contain other terpenes, organic compounds that give cannabis its unique aroma and flavor. The specific combination of THC, CBD, and terpenes can significantly influence the potential effects of a particular strain of cannabis. See more on Stoner.Boston about the “entourage effect.”
In conclusion, cannabis is a complex substance with many potential benefits. Make sure you do your research and consult with a medical professional before using cannabis for medicinal purposes, and to consider the potential risks and benefits carefully. Cannabis can affect individuals differently depending on several factors, including their mental health history and the specific strain they are using; with proper guidance and research, it can be an effective and safe treatment option for many people.
Most importantly, this shows that more research is necessary and beneficial to find out everything about this amazing plant.
Caryophyllene: Not Just Another Cannabis Terpene
Caryophyllene is a powerful terpene found in many plants, including cannabis, cinnamon, black pepper, basil, lavender, oregano, and rosemary. It’s also found in clove oil and in a plant called hops. In cannabis, caryophyllene is often found in high concentrations, making up 25% or more of a strain’s total terpene production. These natural chemicals give plants their unique smells and flavors, and they also have a variety of medicinal properties.
Caryophyllene: Why is it Awesome?
Caryophyllene has some unique qualities that make it stand out from other terpenes. For one, it has a larger molecular structure, with three isoprene units, compared to other terpenes, which only have two. It also has a unique cyclobutane ring in its structure, which is not found in any other known marijuana terpene. These unique qualities give caryophyllene particular abilities regarding how it reacts in the body.
One of the significant benefits of caryophyllene is its medicinal properties. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, which can help reduce swelling and inflammation in the body. A study found that caryophyllene significantly reduced inflammation in mice with induced colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease. In colitis, the lining of the colon (large intestine) becomes inflamed, causing symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and blood in the stool. Inflammatory bowel diseases like colitis can be chronic and significantly impact a person’s quality of life.
This study suggests that caryophyllene may be helpful in the treatment of inflammatory conditions in humans. It is, however, necessary to conduct more research to fully understand the mechanisms behind caryophyllene’s anti-inflammatory effects and confirm these findings in humans.
Helps With Pain
Caryophyllene may also be helpful in the treatment of pain. A study published in the Journal of Natural Products found that caryophyllene reduced pain sensitivity in mice. The study used a model of pain called the hot plate test, in which mice were placed on a heated surface and their reaction to the heat was measured. The mice were given caryophyllene orally, and the researchers found that the terpene significantly reduced pain sensitivity in the mice. It will take more research to fully understand the mechanisms behind caryophyllene’s pain-relieving effects and to confirm these findings in humans. And hopefully a different kind of test.
Similarly, in another study published in Psychopharmacology, caryophyllene reduced anxiety-like behavior in mice. In this particular study, researchers wanted to investigate the effects of caryophyllene on anxiety-like behavior in mice. To do this, they gave mice caryophyllene. Then they observed their behavior in various situations known to cause anxiety in mice, such as being placed in an unfamiliar environment or being confronted with a predator.
The researchers found that mice that were given caryophyllene displayed fewer signs of anxiety than mice that were not. For example, they were less likely to freeze or exhibit anxiety-related behaviors. Suggesting that caryophyllene may have the potential as a natural treatment for pain and anxiety in humans. More research is needed.
A Super Smelly Terpene
Caryophyllene is known for its strong, pungent, peppery aroma and taste. It is one of the more dominant terpenes in cannabis and contributes to the earthy and spicy flavors often associated with certain strains. Its presence can be detected by vaping or sniffing the product before smoking.
Caryophyllene Is a Safe Terpene
In terms of its safety, caryophyllene is considered safe for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is labeled as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS), which means that it has a long history of safe use in food or is considered safe based on the results of scientific research. In addition, caryophyllene is found in many cannabis products, including topicals and salves, and is deemed safe to use when used as directed.
Here’s What We Learned About Caryophyllene:
- Anti-inflammatory effects: Caryophyllene has been shown to reduce inflammation in mice with induced colitis, suggesting that it may be helpful in the treatment of inflammatory conditions in humans.
- Pain relief: Caryophyllene has been shown to reduce pain sensitivity in mice, suggesting that it may have the potential as a natural treatment for pain in humans.
- Anxiety reduction: Caryophyllene has been shown to reduce anxiety-like behavior in mice, suggesting that it may have the potential as a natural treatment for anxiety in humans.
- Distinctive aroma and flavor: Caryophyllene is known for its strong, pungent, and peppery aroma and taste and is one of the more dominant terpenes in cannabis. It contributes to the earthy and pungent flavors often associated with certain strains.
- Safe for use: The FDA considers caryophyllene safe and is labeled as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS). It is found in many cannabis products, including topicals and salves, and is considered safe when used as directed.
In conclusion, caryophyllene is a unique and beneficial terpene found in cannabis and other plants. Its medicinal properties, including anti-inflammatory effects and potential use in treating pain and anxiety, make it valuable in many cannabis products. Its distinctive aroma and flavor also contribute to the overall impact and enjoyment of cannabis strains. Caryophyllene is considered safe for use by the FDA and is found in various cannabis products.
Check out our other articles on terpenes if you found this one intriguing! Thanks for reading!
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