Dr. Benson's Cannabis Corner: Blog 14: Wasting Medical Cannabis Research Opportunities
As I continue to read through the medical literature about cannabis, I cannot help being frustrated by the lack of understanding many researchers have concerning what cannabis is, and where they should be focusing their research. A good example of a missed opportunity is a recent article by Jacob Vigil and friends at the University of New Mexico, Effectiveness of Raw, Natural Medical Cannabis Flower for Treating Insomnia under Naturalistic Conditions, in the journal Medicines. This is a study of 409 people using cannabis for insomnia a cumulative 1056 times.
The researchers used a mobile software app called ReleafApp to get their data. This app was developed by some of the study’s authors and is pretty cool (plus, it is free!). The app lets you list all sorts of things, including up to ten cannabinoids and seventeen terpenoids in the cannabis product you use. A potentially useful patient-based tool for researchers seriously interested in trying to figure out which cannabis strain/product is good for treating which ailment/symptom.
Unfortunately, Vigil et al. only use the worn out and inadequate categories of THC and CBD, and Indica, Sativa and Hybrid in their article (see my Blogs 3,4,5). Their research concludes:
“Consumption of medical Cannabis flower is associated with significant improvements in perceived insomnia with differential effectiveness and side effect profiles, depending on the product characteristics.”
Wow! What a surprising and useful conclusion (sarcasm intended).
In their discussion section they also state:
“However, the fact that our results did not seem to show a clear relationship between THC or CBD and symptom relief suggests that other cannabinoid chemical(s) (e.g., cannabinols) and terpenes could contribute to changes in sleep experiences. Cannabinoid and terpene profiles vary across strains and we did find that the most frequently used cannabis strains for insomnia treatment were quite distinct in their chemotypic characteristics, highlighting the range of products and associated interactions among sub-compounds across products used by patients even just within flower.”
Ho-hum, nothing new here.
My reaction to this study: “Duh!”