Is Medicinal Marijuana on the Up? — Chromatography Explores
Oct 20 2017 Comments 0
Cannabis is one of the most widely used illicit drugs in the world. There are many reasons why people use cannabis, and one of the uses the has been growing in recent years is for medicinal use. Cannabis is used by people to treat many different illnesses, including pain relief and reducing the side-effects of chemotherapy that includes vomiting and nausea.
Medical use of cannabinoids
In the UK, the possession and supply of cannabis is illegal in most situations, but that doesn’t stop people using cannabis for medicinal uses. A licensed form of cannabis is available called Sativex is available for prescription in limited cases — it is licensed for treatment in some cases of multiple sclerosis. But the situation in the US is different.
California was the first state to legalize cannabis for medical use in 1996; since then, some further twenty-plus states have legalized cannabis for medicinal use. Typically, the whole plant can be used for medical conditions, but, for now, it cannot be classified as a medicine in the US as the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has not approved the plant as a medicine.
This is because clinical trials have not been carried out to test the use of cannabis under strictly controlled conditions. The trials would compare the benefits of using cannabis medically against the risks associated with using cannabis on a long or short-term basis. But in a recent study published in the journal Cancer — Cannabis Use Among Patients at a Comprehensive Cancer Center in a State With Legalized Medicinal and Recreational Use — that doesn’t stop people using cannabis for medical use.
Legalization helps patients
The survey, carried out at a cancer centre in Seattle, found that almost one-fifth of cancer patients used cannabis to reduce the symptoms associated with their cancer treatment. The survey was carried out over six weeks at the centre in 2015-16. The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance treats patients from a wide geographical area incorporating several states in addition to Washington.
Over 900 patients answered questions about their cannabis use — with over 20% reporting that they had used cannabis in the last month. The team used gas chromatography to check the survey’s results. Using GC to analyse drugs products is discussed in the article, A New Method for Fast Residual Solvents Analysis and Untargeted Unknown Identification Faster Sample Throughput and Shorter GC Runtimes Using GC-VUV and Static Headspace.
Most of the patients want to know more about the effects of using cannabis during their treatment and almost half of those using cannabis stated that the legalization of cannabis had influenced their decision to use cannabis. The authors conclude that: “There is a need for clinical trials evaluating the role of cannabis in symptom management and for the development of formalized education for patients and health care professional about the risks and benefits of use in this population.”
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