While data about the efficacy of medical marijuana are “understudied” in the United States, there are new research data from Canada.
Researchers associated with McGill University and the University of British Columbia recently published results from a study showing that medical cannabis patients were no more likely to suffer serious adverse events during treatment than non-cannabis patients. “Cannabis for the Management of Pain: Assessment of Safety Study (COMPASS),” published online in the Journal of Pain, monitored the health of chronic pain patients using medical cannabis and of a control group. The study was led by Dr. Mark Ware, Director of Clinical Research of the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit at the McGill University Health Centre and Executive Director of the non-profit Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids.
“This is the first and largest study of the long-term safety of medical cannabis use by patients suffering from chronic pain, ever conducted,” said Dr. Ware. “We found that medical cannabis, when used by patients who are experienced users and as part of a monitored treatment program for chronic pain over one year, appears to have a reasonable safety profile. Anyone seriously interested in the medical use of cannabis should familiarize themselves with the COMPASS study: its contents, strengths and limitations.”
In Illionis, one of 23 states along with the District of Columbia that has approved marijuana for medical uses in the United States, there’s word that older women are adopting it more than any other group. According to a story from AP’s Carla Johnson, the patient most commonly seeking a doctor’s approval to use medical marijuana is an older woman. Sixty percent of applicants were female. More than half were older than 51. Severe fibromyalgia and cancer led the list of qualifying conditions, followed by spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis.Nearly 1,200 physicians submitted patient certifications, including one doctor who wrote certifications for 998 patients. Ninety-nine percent of the doctors certified fewer than 24 patients
While states continues to slowly adopt the use of marijuana to treat medical conditions, including chronic pain like fibromyalgia and breakthrough cancer pain, several states are moving toward asking voters for approval to legalize and tax marijuana for adult use.Ohio voters will decide this November. Nevada has qualified a ballot issue for 2016 and initiatives are also expected to qualify in Arizona, California, Maine and Massachusetts. State legislatures in Vermont and Rhode Island appear poised to adopt similar proposals.
Oregon became the third state to sell marijuana to adults. Last Thursday (October 1), the state joined Colorado and Washington as those that sell to adults. Alaska is expected to start its own program sometime in the spring of 2016.
Oregon Adults 21 years of age and older will be able to legally purchase up to a quarter-ounce of marijuana and up to four marijuana plant seedlings from certain medical marijuana dispensaries, which are regulated by the Oregon Health Authority. This allowance, approved by the legislature in July and signed by Gov. Kate Brown, gives adults a legal and regulated access point to purchase marijuana while the state develops a regulatory structure that will govern the adult-use marijuana market. That system is expected to be implemented late next year and will be overseen by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. The voter initiative that made marijuana legal, Measure 91, was approved 56%-44% in 2014.