You scream for research, I scream for research, we all scream for research, but not much research is forthcoming, as cannabis is a Schedule 1 substance by federal law. So, we go around and around in circles, debating on if the research results we have are sufficient or not, and then usually the conclusion is, wait for it…
We need more research.
What is cannabis good for? At the AAAP 27th Annual Meeting the same old, same old story is told
Medscape faithfully reports on the discussions held at the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) 27th annual meeting of experts.
The same old, same old story is that cannabis research is much needed, seeing that 24 states plus Washington, DC now allow it for medicinal and recreational use. But, oh dear! We as doctors just don’t know if it actually works medicinally. There are just not enough randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to prove that it actually does.
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Decriminalizing keeps African Americans out of jail
Well, as we know very, very well the DEA still says that cannabis has no acceptable medical use and high potential for abuse. We don’t really need expert Dr. Oxentine to tell us this earth-shaking news again. She adds that decriminalization has positive effects. It reduces the numbers of certain members of certain population groups such as African Americans in prison.
She sees the benefit in that. She does not specify whether this is because people are being treated more humanely or because taxpayers’ money is saved. Her interest though, is to find out if marijuana is something that she can offer her patients legitimately, or would the stigma attached to prescribing medical marijuana in Georgia just be too much to bear?
You never know what you get
Furthermore, she mentions that you never know what you get when you want to study the substance: there could be mold, fungi, or “stuff” like that. To crown it all, there is no FDA-legal medicine one can smoke. According to Dr. Oxentine, cannabis is just too variable in its cannabinoid content, and that makes it awkward to use scientifically.
She and her colleagues did their homework on the subject of medical marijuana. They compiled a laundry list of conditions it is currently prescribed for and reviewed no more than 53 Journal articles to assess the validity of prescribing medicinal marijuana for these conditions.
The expert opinion from the doctors included the knowledge gained from three systemic reviews including more than 83 studies that found cannabinoids could be useful for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). The same goes for oral THC when treating AIDS, anorexia or wasting syndrome.
They found less support for the use of oral THC for MS and in the management of chronic and neuropathic pain. Smoking medical marijuana just can’t fly when it comes to treating pain, or appetite problems and weight loss – at least not with the evidence currently available.
Really more of the same old, same old
For further expert comment, Dr. William Lawson, adds yet another conventional opinion to the report. He says it is important to have good evidence to counter the many myths going around. He supports more clinical trials in order to support educated decisions.
Dr. Lawson’s big concern, wait for it… is if kids use marijuana they develop psychosis later in life, and people use marijuana for the buzz, not just for depression or PTSD. There are medications for that, but they don’t make people feel good. People are also not prepared to take THC in the pill form because it doesn’t produce the same thrill, says Lawson.
What is cannabis good for?
These days, it seems that all depends on whom you ask and who is the sponsor of the conference or paid holiday in some very fancy resort. Although we have seen countless reports from doctors who support medical cannabis, a pharma-sponsored conference seems to raise conflict of interest questions. What is cannabis good for? You tell us!