Welcome back to the weekly cannabis news and research blog! Besides the news below, we have posted some articles for patients learning about cannabis. Check out our Concentrates, Methods of Use, and Vaporizing Concentrates pages. We have also posted a short blog post about marijuana flower. Keep coming back to stay up to date with marijuana legalization and research information, as well as more educational articles. The next one we will be posting will be about how to speak to your doctor about cannabis.
Opioid Use After Starting Marijuana Study
We have known at Nature’s Way Medicine for many years that opioid use is lowered after starting cannabis. Our patients who receive medical marijuana cards can use cannabis to lower their opioid use and eventually come off of pain medications completely (and other medications too).
A recent study out of Canada published in the journal of Pain Medicine has shown that baseline opioid use dropped from 28% to 11% in six months after starting cannabis use. Patients already on opioids lowered their use 78%. Similar findings were seen in anti-seizure medications, antidepressants and benzodiazepines.
This is wonderful news in a world where patients are frequently over medicated and addiction is rampant. We need all the help we can get to fight substance dependency and cannabis is a drug that serves as a gateway OUT of addiction.
Quality of life indicators also improved over the six months. We have been saying here at Nature’s Way Medicine for a long time that cannabis improves the quality of life of patients and that doctors sometimes disregard quality of life, only focusing on length of life care, regardless of the costs and quality of life that results trying to afford so many medications and treatments. One day, we hope that marijuana will be legalized so that patients can grow their own medicine and use cannabis as a substitute for their more addicting medications and to improve their quality of life.
Driving On Marijuana Study
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) was conducted to determine the effect of THC on driving. We should preface this with the fact that JAMA and the AMA generally are not in favor of marijuana use, even for medical purposes. This has probably caused the study to be worded as if there is a significant difference in driving effect caused by THC use. While that may be true, let’s discuss the actual results of the study to determine how much of a significance THC has on driving. After all, a lot of things affect driving, like being sleepy or texting at the wheel, or simply looking up at a billboard sign. The important thing is to determine how much of an affect there actually is before outright claiming that THC should not be used before driving.
In this study, there were 26 volunteers (16 women and 10 men) who were split up into groups that vaporized either THC, THC and CBD, CBD alone, or a placebo. The study focused on something called Standard Deviation of Lateral Position (SDLP), which is how far the car drifts from the center of the lane. To put this into perspective, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05% causes a 2.4 cm change in SDLP from baseline. Also, according to this scientific report, a SDLP change of 2.5cm or higher “represents a clinically relevant change in on-the-road driving test when quantifying medicinal drug effects on SDLP.
The result? Well first of all there was no effect from vaping after four hours. This is expected since vaporized cannabis only lasts about two hours. After forty minutes though, there was a significant effect. The THC group had a change of 2.33 and the THC/CBD group had a change of 2.83. What this suggests is that there was more lane drifting after using cannabis but it was not by much. Authorities will use these results to say that patients should not drive after using cannabis. We have to agree for now. Better safe than sorry.
The biggest test, of course, is to determine if marijuana causes an increase in car accidents. There may be a compensation for the lane drifting that occurs while a patient is high. Marijuana causes paranoia and drivers who are high may drift more laterally in their lane, but they may also compensate for this by being very careful of their surroundings and driving slower. This still has to be hashed out.
Also, it should be noted that CBD alone had no effect on driving and this makes sense since it does not bind to the cannabis receptors in the body and has almost no physiological activity.
The US House of Representatives has already passed the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act last Fall. The problem at that time was that the Senate was Republican controlled. Well, after the election last year and specifically the Georgia seat election, that is no longer the case. Now the House and the Senate will be controlled by Democrats. Even though there are equal seats to Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, when there is a vote and it is a 50-50 situation, Vice President Kamala Harris decides the result. Now we already know that she is pro-cannabis reform (even though she used to prosecute people for marijuana convictions in California). This means that when the next bill for marijuana reform goes to the Senate for a vote, it will pass.
Currently the MORE act is more for decriminalization rather than full legalization. Still, this is a great step in the right direction and we can hope that other bills to legalize cannabis federally will be created and will pass in the House and the Senate. Soon-to-be majority leader Chuck Schumer has said that he will put his own descheduling bill on the floor, which would remove the Schedule 1 classification of marijuana.
More reason to check back. We will be posting the updates related to cannabis reform every Friday here on our blog.
Governor Cuomo is claiming that he will be pushing a legalization initiative in his state of New York. The state has had significant financial problems that are worsened with the covid pandemic and he believes cannabis could be a way to improve his state’s budget.
“I’ve tried to pass it, but this is the year that we need the funding and a lot of New Yorkers need the funding, so I think this year will give us the momentum to get us over the goal line.”
New York has already legalized medical marijuana and with this new initiative it may be one of the first East Coast states to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
Ohio has received 30 online petitions to increase the list of qualified conditions for medical marijuana. Among them is autism, attention deficit disorder, opioid addiction, and restless-leg syndrome.
The state has a Medical Marijuana Committee of physicians that will be meeting on February 10th to determine which ones warrant being added to the list of qualified conditions. The final decision will be made by the medical board of Ohio.
New Advocacy Group
Want to learn how to call your local state representatives and senators about marijuana legalization? There is a new group called Perfectly Normal that hosts a zoom call every Thursday at 7pm Eastern. Join in, it’s a lot of fun and you will learn a lot. We role play and the organizers teach people how to talk over the phone and what to say to get laws changed.
Thursdays 7pm EST
Zoom Link – https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88066513979?pwd=cldPUCs2eU80NnY2V1I4MHN2WlI5QT09
Check out the Educational Content we have on our site. It is being updated every few days and the list of topics is getting longer and longer!
Otherwise, we will see you again next week to keep you updated with the latest cannabis research, news, and law changes!