Legalising recreational cannabis use in the state of Arizona is currently being debated, but there’s a growing number of medical marijuana patients who use cannabis oils, and those who do say they prefer to ingest cannabis extract from plants rather than pills or capsules.
Dr Andrew Balfour, a GP and medical cannabis specialist at the University of Arizona, said that when people were looking at the potential benefits of cannabis oil, they tended to focus on the health benefits, but he acknowledged that some people would also be using the substance to treat a range of conditions, including epilepsy, cancer, glaucoma and depression.
“I think for some people, it’s not a very exciting choice, but that’s a very subjective thing and one can’t predict exactly what someone will respond to,” Dr Balfours said.
“For some people it’s just about making a difference and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”
Dr BalfOUR said the vast majority of patients were not concerned with the drug’s health benefits.
“People who are interested in medical cannabis use do have a variety of conditions that they might have that can potentially benefit from it, so I think it’s probably not going to cause any problem,” he said.
He also noted that the cannabis oil itself was relatively safe and did not contain any known neurotoxins or toxins.
“It’s a safe plant, there’s no real concern about its safety or the toxins,” Dr Baftors said.
Some of the more unusual claimsDr Bafours’ comments come as the debate about medicinal cannabis continues to unfold, with more states and territories exploring the possibility of legalisation.
Dr BAFTER’s study is not the first to suggest that people with a range in conditions, from cancer patients to people with multiple sclerosis, could benefit from cannabis oil.
In February, research published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation showed that some cannabis users who had undergone chemotherapy were more likely to survive compared to patients who had not.
In September, researchers at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a study to compare the effectiveness of different cannabis extracts on patients with chronic pain and spasticity, and found that patients who used cannabis extracts were more effective at relieving pain than those who took a placebo.
The study also found that extracts from the plant contained a different chemical compound called CB1 receptors which are thought to be responsible for the euphoria that some users describe as feeling after using cannabis.
“The cannabis extract itself has been used by medical cannabis users for thousands of years, so there’s really a strong association between it and that sort of feeling,” Dr Barbara Balfoured, a research fellow at the Australian National University’s School of Pharmacy, said.
Dr Baftours said some patients would be likely to use the cannabis extract in the form of cannabis extract capsules, but some people might prefer to take a plant extract rather than a pill or a capsule.
“You’re not going see a lot of people who are going to use it for a long period of time, but for the majority of people it is probably going to be about a 10-day period,” Dr Brown said.”[But] some people are very keen on taking capsules or tablets to make sure they get the full benefits.
For some people that’s about taking a capsule or a tablet.””
Cannabis extract is a lot cheaper than a lot the other types of pills and capsules, so you’re likely to be able to buy one for a fraction of the price.”
Dr Brown said the research showed that cannabis extract was not the only alternative to prescription drugs that could be used for certain conditions.
“If you have a really severe pain or a really debilitating condition and you can’t afford to pay for a prescription drug, you can get a cannabis extract and that could really help alleviate some of the pain,” she said.
“You could also have a very limited supply, which means it’s less likely to cause problems, but you’re still going to get the same effect.”
Dr Bafts’ research team was also looking at how cannabis extracts worked in other conditions, such as glauceum polyneuropathy, an autoimmune disorder that causes swelling of the brain.
“There’s a lot more to be discovered about this,” he explained.
“A lot of this research is about looking at these complex pathways, but at the end of the day we’re not looking at one molecule or one chemical compound.”
We’re looking at a very complex system that has many different components, and what works for one person might not work for another.