#NORML #News Source: @norml @WeedConnection Posted By: firstname.lastname@example.org media :: news - Tue, 13 Feb 2018 04:20:21 PST
Study: Cannabis Is Safe And Effective For Elderly Patients
Jerusalem, Israel: Cannabis therapy is safe and effective among elderly patients diagnosed with chronic pain, according to clinical data published online ahead of print in the European Journal of Internal Medicine.
Researchers from Hebrew University and the Ben Gurion University of Negrev in Israel assessed the use of therapeutic cannabis over a period of six months in a cohort of 1,186 patients above 65 years of age. The majority of patients enrolled in the trial suffered from pain or cancer. Under an Israeli federal program, over 32,000 citizens are licensed to utilize cannabis therapy.
"After six months of treatment, 93.7 percent of the respondents reported improvement in their condition, and the reported pain level was reduced from a median of 8 on a scale of 0-10 to a median of 4," researchers reported. The majority of respondents also reported "a significant improvement in [their] overall quality of life."
Furthermore, over 18 percent of the study's participants "stopped using opioid analgesics or reduced their dose" - a result that led investigators to conclude, "Cannabis can decrease the use of other prescription medicines, including opioids." Numerous prior studies, such as those compiled here, similarly show that pain patients typically mitigate or eliminate their opioid use during cannabis therapy.
The adverse effects most commonly reported by participants were dizziness and dry-mouth.
Authors concluded: "The older population is a large and growing part of medical cannabis users. Our study finds that the therapeutic use of cannabis is safe and efficacious in this population."
Full text of the study, "Epidemiological characteristics, safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in the elderly," appears in the European Journal of Internal Medicine.
Study: Broad Access To Cannabis Dispensaries Lowers Opioid Abuse
Santa Monica, CA: State laws permitting a large percentage of patients to readily access medical cannabis dispensaries are associated with reductions in opioid-related treatment admissions and mortality, according to data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Health Economics.
Investigators from the RAND Corporation, the National Bureau of Economic Research, and the University of California at Irvine assessed the relationship between patients' ease of medical cannabis access and trends in opioid-related abuse.
Authors reported that rates of opioid-related deaths and treatment admissions fell significantly in jurisdictions "that allowed for and had a legal channel for retail marijuana sales to qualified patients." However, this decline was less significant in states that imposed tighter regulatory controls on medical cannabis dispensary access.
They concluded: "The findings above suggest that medical marijuana laws reduce the misuse of prescription opioids, as reflected in treatment admissions and overdose deaths, primarily through the allowance and opening of dispensaries. ... Furthermore, while we show that legally protected and active dispensaries remain an important factor in reduced opioid harm, the magnitude of even this component of the policy has changed since 2010, when states more actively and tightly regulated marijuana dispensaries."
Their findings are similar to those of several prior studies - such as those here, here, and here - concluding that above-ground, legal cannabis access is associated with reduced opioid use, misuse, and mortality.
Full text of the study, "Do medical marijuana laws reduce addictions and deaths related to pain killers," appears in the Journal of Health Economics.
Maine: Newly Enacted Provisions Protect Employees' Off-The-Job Cannabis Use
Augusta, ME: Provisions in the state's 2016 voter-initiated marijuana law that seek to limit employers from penalizing employees for their off-the-job marijuana use went into effect last week.
The language stipulates: "A school, employer or landlord may not refuse to enroll or employ or lease to or otherwise penalize a person 21 years-of-age or older solely for that person's consuming marijuana outside of the school's, employer's or landlord's property."
The language took effect last Thursday when lawmakers failed to extend a moratorium halting the implementation of various aspects of Question 1: The Marijuana Legalization Act.
By contrast, provisions in the law permitting the licensed commercial production and retail sale of marijuana to adults remain inactive because lawmakers have yet to codify regulations explicitly governing these activities.
Study: Few Canadians Engage In "Problematic" Cannabis Use
Ontario, Canada: Only a small percentage of Canadians who consume cannabis do so in a manner that meets criteria for problematic use, according to data published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health.
Researchers from the University of Waterloo estimated the prevalence of problematic cannabis use in a nationwide Canadian sample. Authors reported that although the use of cannabis by Canadians was fairly common, few respondents reported that their use was associated with problematic outcomes.
They determined, "The findings indicate that, while one in ten Canadians reported using cannabis in the past three months, only two percent of the sample of Canadians who reported using cannabis in the past three months were characterized as having a 'high risk' of severe health or other problems."
They concluded, "A very small proportion of Canadians report using cannabis to a degree that is problematic."
Full text of the study, "Prevalence of problematic cannabis use in Canada: Cross-sectional findings from the 2013 Canadian tobacco, alcohol, and drugs survey," appears in the Canadian Journal of Public Health.