BY RUTH HILL R.N.
Today I am writing about the plethora of scientific knowledge on medical cannabis (MC), seemingly protected by an invisible veil of secrecy, preventing dissemination into my nursing journals. Supported by the lavash advertisements for new pharmaceuticals with pages of lethal side effects, the articles end against using MC until we get more research. Studies fail to be disseminated to physicians, nurses, and Congress.
There are more users of safe MC than users of chemotherapy, protein pump inhibitors, and probiotics but we continue to use those drugs. The Centers for Disease Control, as of 2019, reported there are 48.2 million people, or about 18% of the population using cannabis In 2018 there were 2.8 million medical marijuana users.
The SAFE Banking Act was introduced in the House of Representatives (HR2891) and the Senate (S1323) in May 2023. Previous bills have had bipartisan support, but this is the first time both chambers of Congress have discussed the SAFE Banking Act simultaneously. While Congress dithers on reclassifying marijuana other countries in the world are going full steam ahead with research. Where is this research on the safe use of MC? Let me indulge you.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has given ten million a year over a twenty-year period to Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli scientist, for the purpose of researching the Cannabis Sativa S. plant. His research led to the discovery of a new regulatory system in mammals: the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS makes on demand when needed, the same chemical molecules tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) found in the cannabis plant.
Our premier research resource PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine, shows an explosion of 9378 studies since 2017. This includes over 5811 studies since 2020. The latest on cannabis is published in the Eur J Intern Med. 2018 Mar;49:44-50. The study was done by Israeli scientists, (are you surprised?) lasted over forty-four months, and interviewed 2436 patients over 65 in their specialized cannabis clinic. A self-reported questionnaire asked patients to report pain intensity, quality of life, and adverse events for a six-month period.
Patients came to the clinic to alleviate cancer symptoms, Parkinson’s disease post-traumatic stress disorder ulcerative colitis Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. After six months 93.7% of the respondents reported pain levels were reduced from a median of 8 on a scale of 0-10 to a median of 4. The most common adverse events were dizziness (9.7%) and dry mouth (7.1%). After six months, 18.1% stopped using opioid analgesics or reduced their dose.
Another scientific resource is The Cochrane Library (CL). Per their website, CL is a collection of databases that contain high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making. Using this website researchers collected data on Cannabis-based medicines for chronic neuropathic pain in adults. Sixteen studies with 1750 participants of two to twenty-six weeks compared an oromucosal spray with a plant-derived combination of THC and CBD. The results showed cannabis is a safe alternative to pharmaceuticals. Every day I find new and exciting science that pushes the boundaries of this misunderstood herb used legally for over 5000 years as medicine.
According to the CDC, there are fifty million adults who suffer from chronic pain in America. As more and more physicians stop prescribing opioids patients will be forced out of necessity into the cannabis legal and illegal market.
Lastly, a wellness clinic in Leisure World Village Laguna Hills, CA started by an Israeli scientist who will research the use of MC for their senior clients. Leisure World Village has a population of 18,500 seniors over the age of 55. Regardless of the obstacles from the FDA, there is a tsunami of forces pushing the horizon of cannabis knowledge further and further into new avenues of discovery. Do you have the will to push Congress into making America the leader in MC research?
Learn Cannabis Education, Dosing Without the High on the 1st Saturday of the Month from 11 AM to 1 PM at the Vault Dispensary Lounge. Send comments to email@example.com.