Cannabis as Medicine? Overview

It is utterly mind-blowing that people have no idea that Cannabis has been part of the medical prescription landscape for over 20 years. That’s right T. G. A (Therapeutic Goods Administration) trialled and approved cannabis based medicines have been available as an option to alleviate, if only in small ways, some of the symptoms of a couple of diseases or help with recovery from treatment. However, the claims of this plant being a ‘miracle cure’ for just about everything, have existed for of 100 years… yet in no credible and advanced research has any of the properties of the Cannabis plant ‘cured’ anything, ever!

There is no argument that some components of this incredibly complex plant can have some therapeutic benefit, be it ever so small, but deriving such from the plant with out co-opting some of the more detrimental components has proven incredibly difficult. On top of that, the evidence emerging from latest science, sees that some of these therapies, do more harm than good, with the temporary alleviating of a symptom on one hand, and incurring along term genetic harm on the other!

Again if facts and evidence matter to your best-practice health care, then this is the space for you. Make informed decisions based on science, and not quackery!

21 July 2017

University of Queensland researchers are concerned the recent legalisation of medicinal cannabis in Australia may give rise to super-potent cannabis concentrates with associated harmful effects.

UQ Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research’s Dr Gary Chan, who led the butane hash oil study, said a significant proportion of cannabis users used the concentrate.

“Butane hash oil is a cannabis concentrate that is over 10 times more potent than herbal cannabis,” Dr Chan said.

“Although users were more likely to report medical use, the use of butane hash oil was associated with high levels of depression, anxiety disorder and other illicit substance use.

“These results were consistent globally.”

The research was based on data from the Global Drug Survey, the world’s largest drug survey that collects data about drug users.

The tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of butane hash oil can be as high as 80 per cent. In comparison, the THC content in herbal cannabis is approximately 9-15 per cent, depending on the method of cultivation.

Butane hash oil is produced by solvent extraction (maceration, infusion or percolation) of marijuana or hashish.

After filtering and evaporating the solvent, a sticky resinous dark liquid with a strong herbal odour remains.

Dr Chan said there had been a rise of butane hash oil use in the United States, and considered it to be an unexpected by-product of cannabis legalisation.

“The production and promotion of hyper-potent cannabis concentrates with 70 to 80 per cent THC now account for 20 per cent of the markets in Washington and Colorado, and use of these hyper-potent products seem to be gaining popularity in Canada,” he said.

“Given that Australia has recently legalised medical cannabis use, surveillance needs to take note of any rise in the use of concentrates because it can be produced with relatively simple equipment that is easily accessible.

“However, at this stage there is no evidence for medical use of butane hash oil for any health condition.”

The study is published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal.

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