Light cannabis or low THC hemp derived flowers used to be sold freely at shops all across the country before Italy’s interior minister declared a war against the substance using a legal loophole.
People are still skeptic whether or not will the substance be allowed to sold again and used without any stringent restrictions from June onwards. The nation’s Supreme Court of Cassation is expected to look into the matter and discuss the legality of hemp-derived cannabinoid later this month.
According to a new study, the sales of medicinal drugs declined dramatically after light cannabis was introduced in the market. The pharmaceutical industry as a whole saw a massive drop since the new light cannabis came into action around 10 months back.
Researchers in York University, UK wrote that after the introduction of the policy which legalized light cannabis in a given province, they noticed a reduction in the number of dispensed boxes of anxiolytics by almost 11.5%, decrease in dispensed sedatives by 10% and a gradual decrease in anti-psychotics by 4.8%.
In 2016, a new law was enacted in Italy regulating hemp production which unintentionally set off a “green gold rush”: Cannabis flower with 0.2% or fewer traces of THC became legal to sell and purchase as a collector’s item. People can buy jars filled with hemp flower but can’t consume it.
Contrary to the federal law which passed the Farm Bill 2018 in the United States that removed hemp derived cannabinoid from its list of Controlled Substance Act with a set of regulatory reforms, Italy removed certain restrictions which resulted in the prompt actions taken by companies and retailers that allowed them to sell hemp flower as a “technical product.”
A study published in the Health Econometrics and Data Group Working Paper series is a new study which sheds light on the newly legalized low THC levels cannabis.
The study’s authors found that the unintended liberalization of light cannabis opened up new pathways for cannabis research and led to some jaw-dropping research revelations that could prove to be a turning point for the medicinal industry. It also created a great entry point to study the behavioral pattern of the users taking hemp flowers for their medicinal use and how it could reduce the consumption of medicinal drugs.
The light cannabis overpowered other pharmaceutical drugs including opioids, anxiolytics, anti-migraine, anti-depressives, antipsychotics, sedatives and anti-epileptics.
For their research, they gathered monthly data on pharmaceutical drug sales for all 106 Italian provinces from January 2016 to February 2018. On a monthly average, they found that the Italian health authority provides reimbursements for 28 packets of sedatives and 72 boxes of anxiolytics per province.
They also recorded the reimbursement of 12,610 packets for opioids, 27,198 packets for anti-depressants, 4,802 packets for antipsychotics, 27,198 for anti-depressants, 2,504 boxes for anti-migraines and 18,460 packets for anti-epileptics.
With the ease of accessibility to light cannabis at retail stores, the average number of dispensed pharmaceuticals decreased by approximately 1.6%. The most common ailment targeted by these drugs were mental disorders or stress issues that patients were suffering from.
It is known that hemp derived cannabinoid with low levels of THC or 0% THC can help reduce pain, anxiety, inflammation, stress, depression and also cure severe ailments such as Cancer, epilepsy, and seizures. Though there is no internationally recognized study which supports these claims, patients have reported significant benefits after using CBD just for a few days.
The study concluded that even a mild form of liberalization may generate a significant effect on the pharmaceuticals market. Researchers encourage lawmakers and stakeholders to form regulatory policies to ensure safe and healthy consumption of the substance without putting any lives at risk or harm.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration has announced a public hearing on May 31, where it will discuss the regulatory model and the impact of CBD with stakeholders. They have kept the forum for discussion open until the next month after which serious evaluation will be done and a final decision can be expected. However, as per Scott Gottlieb, the Commissioner of the FDA said it could take several years for the regulatory model to be announced.
Hepatotoxin and Liver Damage – The Side Effects of CBD
In physics, the formula of Momentum is Mass multiplied by Velocity. If that’s the case, then the CBD Bandwagon is gaining momentum, day by day. The rate at which people and nations are accepting its use and production propagates its velocity. The increasing popularity of the substance is leading more and more people and organizations to get on the CBD Bandwagon, increasing its support and mass. Combined, its slowly turning into an unstoppable force.
But what happens when that unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Nerdy physics and sagacious philosophies aside, its side-effects might just be the immovable object that it collides into. According to the Molecules Journal, Volume 24, Issue 9, CBD is not as harmless as its supporters make it out to be.
The Role of CBD in Medicine
But why do people use CBD in the first place? For starters, it’s the substance found in Cannabis that is non-addictive (THC is the addictive part). So, naturally, the belief that goes with that, makes it a lot less harmful than THC. Given its pain relieving and sleep-inducing properties, it provides the same effects with a lot fewer side-effects than its alternatives (like opium).
When we say “a lot less harmful” we mean “a lot less harmful” and not “harmless”, as most of its supporters are believing it to be. Sure, it has its own benefits not only with its restorative properties but also in its effectiveness in suppressing epileptic symptoms, as evidenced by the studies conducted by Devinsky and Sanjay Gupta. But that does not warrant a full green light for this product’s side-effects.
Cannabidiol’s Side Effects on the Liver
According to the study conducted for the Journal, the effects on the hepatotoxicity on 8-week-old mice have been observed. All the specimens were males and different groups have been tested with different dosage of CBD. These dosages were calculated and administered according to the mice’s bodies, meaning, the dosage administered for human subjects were scaled down to match the requirements of a mouse’s body.
The results showed a stunning 75% of the test subjects with a dosage above 615 mg/KG, showing signs of damaged liver, including increased bilirubin, LBW Ratios, AST and ALTs in just one day. The CBD definitely displayed some hepatotoxic behavior, but the Journal concludes it to be of a cholestatic nature, with a hint of “maybe”. While there have been a “maybe” on its nature, there was no doubt about its hepatotoxicity.
The Proper Use of CBD
With all the research going on, and the benefits of CBD being so clear, it’s hard to just stop right here and move on without using it. Now that the benefits of CBD have been widely accepted by the medical community, it’s time to look into its proper use with calculated doses. Because, to be honest, no modern medication comes without its own sets of side-effects anyway.
But if the studies were any indication of how CBD is going to react with human bodies, then we should remain well under the daily limit of 20 mg/KG dosage. In all honesty, even if we maintained that limit, we’d still be well below the 615 mg/KG dosage that resulted in the liver damage of the mouse subjects. That obviously doesn’t mean that 20 mg/KG is safe either since 615 mg/KG caused the damage in a day and lower doses might cause the same damage through long-term use. But if CBD is taken with proper care and in the right amounts, you could reap its benefits without its negative effects.
NFL & NFL Players Association Team Up For Studying Pain Management Using Marijuana In A Legal Way
The NFL Players Association and NFL have decided to study further on the potential of marijuana for being used to ease out the pain experienced by players due to sports injuries. This can serve as a paradigm change in the approach of the league which has also been hinted at by several players till date.
Two brand new medical committees shall be formed by the union and the league which will help in solving various medical issues. The review of policies and practices of the teams shall also be undertaken for prescribing medication to the players. Various controversial topics will be tackled by the committees of NFLPA and NFL. Different players had previously expressed frustration over imposing bans and other stringent punishment on players who have been tested positive for marijuana.
Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer, revealed in a phone interview that, “I think it’s a proud day for the NFL and the NFLPA to come together on these issues in a very public way.” He further added that “I think it demonstrates the spirit of cooperation we have around our health and safety issues. … Both of these committees are about providing the best health care we can to players.”
Both union and league officials revealed that the committees will start with their work soon enough. However major policy changes if any shall be made using traditional channels of the collective bargaining process in between NFLPA and NFL or through annual negotiations held jointly over administered drug policies.
Amongst the two committees, one shall specialize in pain management whereas the other will specialize in mental health and wellness. Apart from studying the possibilities of marijuana, the pain management committee will also study different strategies which can assist the players. Sills also revealed that “We’re asking our pain management committee to bring us any and all suggestions. We’ll look at marijuana.”
Marijuana, as we all know, stands out as the top contender of the league’s banned substance. However former players hold the opinion that marijuana can help them tackle problems which arise from playing violent sports. It is thus desirable for the NFL to relax its standards for the betterment of its players.
Eugene Monroe is an offensive lineman of Baltimore Ravens who had earlier called on the league for showing a green signal to the usage of medical marijuana. Monroe revealed in 2017, “This pain is never going away.” He further added that “My body is damaged. I have to manage it somehow. Managing it with pills was slowly killing me. Now I’m able to function and be extremely efficient by figuring out how to use different formulations of cannabis.”
Roger Goodell the NFL Commissioner held the view that the league should allow players the usage of marijuana for managing pain provided they can support the same with valid scientific and medical claims. A pain management specialist shall be appointed by each NFL team within the 2019 season who will work in close proximity with the league, players, and union.
Effective Pain Management Tool
The NFL had revealed in July 2017 that it shall work in collaboration with the NFLPA for studying potential marijuana usage to ward off painful sensations. The union was at that time studying the issue along with its very own pain management committee and did not respond to the same immediately.
NFLPA’s executive director DeMaurice Smith revealed in a January 2017 interview that the union was preparing itself for undertaking a “less punitive” approach of dealing with the usage of recreational marijuana by the players. The union and league have started discussions on bringing about a collective bargaining agreement and their present labor deal shall run through the 2020 season.
Thus, any alterations to the sports marijuana policy shall be considered for CBD negotiations. Alternatively, they will come through the yearly deliberations of both the sides about their drug policies. The committee shall study pain management and receive recommendations for a prescription drug monitoring program which shall “monitor all prescriptions issued to NFL players by club physicians and unaffiliated physicians.”
Sills ended the interview saying that “This concept of prescription monitoring is happening throughout medicine, not just in the NFL.” A grievance was filed in May 2017 by NFLPA which accused both the teams and league of violating the terms of CBA which governed safety and health issues. The main reason behind this grievance is allegations against team members of recklessly using painkillers like opioids to ward off pain.
A person possessing knowledge about NFLPA’s viewpoint in regards to the new medical committee formation revealed that “One of the outcomes of that [grievance] was to create something jointly that will generate far more trust. I think this will lead to far more transparency. It will be a process that we will have to work to perfect. We’re both serious about it.”
Each team will be mandated by the union and the league for having a clinician who will spend 8-12 hours weekly at the practice facility of the respective teams. According to Sills, “This is a person who’s coordinating a network of providers.”
Synthesized CBD May Help Treat Seizures
Although CBD, by itself, doesn’t have any psychedelic properties, the plants that it’s derived from does contain another form of intoxicating substances (THC for example). But that does not stop its persecutors from viewing this substance as “evil”. This discourages people who can benefit from CBD from seeking aid. Luckily, to counter this social taboo, there are synthetic forms of CBD that can work just as well.
A recently published paper discusses this synthetic CBD. The chemical build of this substance is similar to the CBD that can be found in the cannabis plant. The synthesized cannabidiol has the scientific name of 8,9 Dihydrocannabidiol or H2CBD. Herbal CBD has its own share of disadvantages, compared to this new form of CBD, which makes this development an invaluable addition to the medical community.
First of all, herbal CBD is considered a controlled substance in many countries, thus inhibiting its use and distribution in many places. Synthesized CBD, however, does not face such negativity and can benefit a lot of people. Second, cannabis plant requires a lot of effort to farm and produce with constant maintenance and monitoring for months until they can be used to extract CBD. Furthermore, extracting the components and isolating the CBD itself is a tedious process.
However, H2CBD can be processed and synthesized in the lab using cheap chemicals that do not even require cannabis plants. They can be extracted and purified far more easily than the herbal CBD. Above that, drug producers can convert CBD into THC which is impossible with H2CBD.
A New Cure for Seizures
Cannabis has been used as a treatment for seizures for over a hundred years. So, it’s no surprise that even H2CBD has been attempted to be used as a cure for epileptic seizures. This new form of CBD has been tested on rats and have been found to be effective at suppressing epileptic seizures and provide relief. Scientists claim that they are going to run further animal tests before moving on to do clinical trials with this new form of CBD.
It hasn’t even been about 20 years since Scientists discovered that the Endocannabinoid System in the human body uses and reacts to cannabidiol and other substances in Cannabis to suppress the epileptic symptoms. Among these substances, THC and Cannabidiol are the two most powerful substances that do that. Although Cannabidiol is less effective than THC itself, its lack of psychedelic properties makes it a better choice for a cure, even for dogs.
Although the FDA approves of some forms of the herbal extract of cannabidiol as a means of treating seizures, their stance on the chemical substitute still remains to be seen. Above that, CBD is supposed to be used as a last resort for the treatment of some forms of refractory epileptic seizures as well as for anxiety.
With that said, around 3.4 million people are diagnosed with epilepsy in the US alone. According to the 2015 survey, among these, 470,000 are just children. So, the arrival of a new, cheaper medical alternative to CBD for their treatment is good news for the whole world.
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