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New Boston Post reports THC, CBD medical cannabis confusion
The New Boston Post reports that medical cannabis laws are being passed on the grounds of evidence suggesting that cannabis could be of help to those suffering from epilepsy and chronic pain as well as “other conditions”.
Currently, 41 states allow medical cannabis in one form or another, but, says the report, it’s important to look into what is – and isn’t – allowed by these laws.
Known medical applications for THC, CBD
The new Boston Post reports that cannabinoids, primarily THC (which has the side effect of a ‘high’) and CBD (which doesn’t) have known medical uses. To prove this point, it mentions pharmaceuticals containing THC cannabinoids that are approved by the FDA and can be prescribed legally anywhere in the US. The drugs are used to reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea, and to help AIDS patients to combat weight loss.
CBD is not yet recognized by the FDA, but is currently being studied as a means of reducing chronic seizures and pain.
But if these medications are available, why do we need medical cannabis? Supporters say that the full range of molecules found in the plant make it more effective, but many of these natural ingredients haven’t been fully studied. Could they be harmful? The Boston Post says that in-depth research is needed.
When is “marijuana” really medical marijuana? States differ
In fact, they differ widely. Some states allow cultivation, others don’t. The number of plants grown and the level of maturity they are allowed to reach also differs from state to state. There are other differences. While certain states allow patients to possess herbal cannabis, others only allow cannabis extracts such as CBD oil or THC oil.
The specific ailments for which medical marijuana can be prescribed also differ between states. For example, only 9 states currently have PTSD on their medical marijuana list. California allows it for any use that a physician deems appropriate –even if it’s only a minor ailment. Kentucky only allows CBD oil extracts, and then only if patients are participants in state-sponsored clinical research.
In certain states, CBD oil is allowed, but since there are no dispensaries where it can be obtained, patients would have to travel to another state to get it, since it may not be shipped across state lines. And before they make the journey, they need to check if dispensaries in that state are allowed to sell CBD oil to non-residents.
More research-based information is urgently needed
Laws differ widely because there is no universally accepted use for medical marijuana. Law makers are drafting and passing legislation in response to citizen demands, but as long as marijuana in all its forms remains a Schedule 1 Drug, approval for research projects will remain mired in red tape.
The report says that the amount of variation between individual state’s laws is “confusing” and “problematic” and concludes that research needs to move faster so that a universal understanding of the uses and potential harms of cannabis will result in more uniform legislation.
Are legislators moving too fast?
With medical cannabis laws being passed in a seemingly haphazard fashion, we have to ask ourselves whether legislators are wise to attempt outpacing the FDA. What’s your opinion?