The Efficacy of Cannabis in Medical Use

14/09/2010

in Cannabis Featured,Research

In a pioneering study, the Beckley Foundation has set-up a collaboration with Prof. Valerie Curran, and Dr. Celia Morgan from the University College London and Harborside Health Centre, Oakland, a leading Californian, city-licensed medical marijuana dispensary. Taking advantage of access to a cohort of over 40,000 patients, this study will investigate the efficacy of cannabis in treating different medical conditions, which has never been attempted before.

We hope over time to build up an extensive database of information gathered through questionnaires, and through analysis of the chemical composition of different strains of cannabis. We plan later to collect information about patients’ genotypes to widen the information-base. Given the variance in the chemical composition of the many different strains of cannabis available to the patients, this will be the first study to analyze the chemical content of individual strains, and to compare the results of cannabis-treatment with treatment by conventional pharmaceutical means, for a wide range of medical conditions. The testing techniques involve the use of gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, flame ionization detection, and plate-culture analysis. The testing programme has two main components: safety screening, and potency quantification. Safety screening will analyze and detect contamination by pathogenic moulds, which can threaten the health of patients with compromised immune systems.

Potency quantification will analyse the percentages of three major active chemical components of cannabis – THC, CBD, and CBN. The study will use extensive online patient surveys to develop a comprehensive database of the efficacy of differing strains of medical cannabis, and will also collect other data on, among other things, the beneficial and detrimental characteristics of the different strains of cannabis. This pioneering study will provide a valuable model for the quantification of the chemical components of different strains of cannabis which could be used in a regulated legal market to minimise harms. The website allowing patients to fill out questionnaires regarding the efficacy of treatment outcomes has just gone online; our aim now is to build the foremost database on the efficacy of different strains of cannabis for the treatment of medical conditions along with their precise chemical composition.

For the first time in the millennia-old history of human cannabis consumption, users will be provided with a scientific assessment of the safety and potency of different stains of cannabis, and also with information about which strains are found to be best for treating which medical conditions.

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