ABSTRACT: Cannabinoids/medical marijuana and their possible therapeutic use have This increased attention is also an issue for veterinarians because . out and the results of these studies have led to the Consequently, there is increasing interest, particu- larly in . quent decrease in intraocular pressure ( Pate et al. The farm bill passed by Congress in included a provision that legalized the growing and cultivating of industrial hemp for research. Dr. Stephanie McGrath, a veterinary neurologist, is the first lamented the dearth of support for cannabis research in veterinary medicine, owing to plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not.
Research Cannabis Veterinarian Pressure Mounting for
At times, however, when we experience internal or external traumas or disease that overwhelm our own internal ability to cope chemically, we may need to seek help from outside of our internal pharmacopeia. Medical acupuncture, massage, photomedicine health benefits from light , exercise, meditation, music therapy, and more offer non-addictive, restorative effects with minimal risk. That is, while cannabis may not be guilty of causing the same widespread, lethal epidemics that we have seen with prescription opioids, problems plague the manufacture and labeling of cannabis products that warrant heightened vigilance and caution.
Despite all their documented issues related to addiction, tolerance, withdrawal, and death from overdose, the manufacture of prescription opioids is tightly regulated. We expect them to deliver reliable amounts of active ingredients counterfeit drugs from Asia and elsewhere notwithstanding.
In contrast, botanical agents such as cannabis have natural variations in active ingredients based on batch-to-batch variations in cultivation, harvesting, fertilization, storage, etc. Pesticide and herbicide applications during cultivation introduce a host of unknown chemical additives, as do variations in oil production that could involve something as concerning as butane or safe as safflower oil. Both opioids and cannabinoids have their own demons in terms of negative side effects.
In the short term, opioids may produce sedation and drowsiness, which raise the possibility of injury. Over the long term, the likelihood of developing gastrointestinal problems increases, with patients complaining of abdominal cramping, spasm, bloating, and constipation that can be difficult to manage, even with laxatives and stool softeners.
About one out of four people experiences nausea when on opioids long-term. Sleep problems may ensue, and some individuals develop irregular respiratory patterns. Opioids raise the risk of heart attack as well as heart failure. Testosterone production in men declines, potentially leading to fatigue, erectile dysfunction, and even hot flashes. In women, reduced estrogen levels may cause osteoporosis, inappropriate milk production, and problems with their menstrual cycles.
Both genders are more likely to suffer from depression, a condition worsened by the chronic constipation that accompanies their intestinal woes. While most users may assume that cannabis causes far fewer negative phenomena, some salient effects are worth noting. In the short term, cannabis may improve sleep subjectively, in ways similar to that provided by small amounts of alcohol. However, over time, chronic use may induce negative subjective effects on sleep, like long-term alcohol ingestion.
More importantly, marijuana can incite cardiovascular changes, including acceleration of heart rate and potential elevation of the risk of myocardial infarction, and blood pressure changes too high or too low. I chuckled when I read that term; it means one joint a day for seven years or one joint a week for 49 years. Of course, this hardly compares to a typical tobacco smoker, who smokes anywhere from a half pack to two packs a day cigarettes , and those using medicinal marijuana can be expected to be smoking at least a couple of times a day.
Medical cannabis advocates even basically admit that this is true. In any case, if one were going to decide on a drug delivery device for cannabinoids, one could hardly design a worse device than burning the leaf and inhaling the gases, where the active drug is just one of hundreds of products of combustion, all loaded with particulate matter and tar.
Since at least , for instance, the American Glaucoma Society has said publicly that marijuana is an impractical way to treat glaucoma.
While it does lower intraocular eye pressure, it works only for up to four hours, so patients would need to take it even in the middle of the night to achieve consistent reductions in pressure. Once-a-day eye drops work more predictably. Yet glaucoma qualifies for treatment with medical marijuana in more than a dozen states, and is included in pending legislation in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Routinely consuming that much weed would be incapacitating.
Clearly, even if marijuana is efficacious for some conditions, there are serious drawbacks to burning the plant and inhaling the smoke as a drug delivery system. The high is a particular problem for children, but none of this has prevented parents with autistic children from claiming that pot can treat autism, complete with seemingly-heartwarming anecdotes.
These problems include as inconsistent potency and purity, adulteration with contaminants—or even questions of whether the plant being sold is actually what is being claimed. Indeed, a fascinating story that sounds very familiar to those of us who have been paying attention to adulterated herbs and supplements was published a month ago in The Seattle Times:.
Tonani, 38, decided several years ago to try pot. And it has worked for her, she said, especially strains low in the psychedelic chemical THC and high in the non-psychoactive ingredient cannabidiol, known as CBD. Testing shows that some marijuana strains are not what they purport to be in name, chemical content and genetics. This is particularly concerning for patients seeking pot low in intoxicants and high in pain-relief or other therapeutic qualities.
One strain widely known for its high-CBD and popular among medical-marijuana patients is called Harlequin.
But when Tonani and a leading Seattle pot-testing lab analyzed 22 samples of Harlequin from various growers and dispensaries, five of them were high in THC and had virtually no CBD, which means people trying to take medicine were just getting high instead. Again, this is a very common problem with herbal medicines, and cannabis, when smoked or ingested as the plant, is an herbal medicine.
Right now, for all but a handful of conditions, the evidence is slim to nonexistent that cannabis has any use as a medicine, and those conditions, such as CINV and chronic pain, can often be treated more reliably with purified or synthesized active components.
Often state legislators have been motivated not just by constituents in distress, but also by the desire to restrict access to limited patient populations so that legal marijuana does not become widely available as a recreational drug in their states.
For example, while there is research suggesting that marijuana alleviates certain kinds of chronic pain, Mr. Lang noted, legislators in Illinois were reluctant to legalize its use in such a broad patient population. So, for one indication for which there is reasonably good evidence for the use of cannabis, legislators in Illinois were reluctant to approve its use, while approving its use for a lot of indications for which there is no evidence to support them.
Add to that the conflict with currently existing federal law, which outlaws cannabis as a schedule I drug, and the political situation is a mess, making doing research to find out for what indications cannabinoids have efficacy much more difficult.
Moreover, THC can have biphasic activity:. THC has what doctors and researchers know as biphasic activity. Someone using at the right dose could see medicinal benefits, too. But take in too much THC, and you can become irritable, even psychotic. The reason is simple. Inhaling just secondhand smoke sends me into fits of coughing—and has since I was a child.
Inhaling smoke directly into my lungs has been and still is more or less unthinkable. My personal sensitivities aside which are obviously not shared by most people , I see two critical unaddressed questions with respect to cannabis.
The first issue is standardization. That means pharmaceutical-grade material. If cannabis is a therapeutic drug, it should be treated like every other therapeutic drug and be subject to clinical trials. The second issue is comparative effectiveness research. We need to know how efficacious it is compared to the existing standard of care. In most cases, even for indications for which there is evidence of efficacy, the existing evidence base suggests that cannabis is less effective than existing treatments, with the possible exception of its use as an antiemetic.
Meanwhile, medical cannabis is rapidly becoming big business. Researchers have concentrated on the toxic effects on dogs, in particular. There are less than 60 papers in PubMed on marijuana in dogs and they are almost all on toxic effects — due to accidental ingestion, experimental administration to study toxicity, or ingestion of synthetic cannabinoids.
The information on toxicity is likely to gain increasing importance as legal access to marijuana comes into effect in Canada and spreads across the United States. In Colorado, a State with legalized marijuana for medical use, the frequency of marijuana toxicosis in dogs at 2 veterinary hospitals increased 4-fold over a 5-year period to 3.
The authors found a positive correlation between the increased number of cases of marijuana toxicosis in dogs and the increased number of medical marijuana licenses issued. Dogs are reported to have a higher number of cannabinoid receptors in the brain compared with humans and it has been suggested that they may be more susceptible to the toxic effects than are humans 1.
In the Colorado study 2 dogs that consumed baked goods that included butter with concentrated medical grade THC died.
In human medicine it is likely that we will see a massive increase in research on potential therapeutic effects of cannabis and its derivatives 4. There will be more research on growing marijuana with various concentrations of the major cannabinoid components and with more consistent supply of cannabis. More research will also take place in the laboratory and in clinical trials in humans. There are differences in the CB2 receptors and in the metabolism of cannabinoids in dogs compared with humans and veterinary medical researchers should ensure that they become involved in parallel research on the potential value of marijuana for treatment of animal diseases.
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Marijuana for pets?
Veterinary research shows that it may help to fight and prevent cancer. Mounting Pressure for Veterinarian Cannabis Research. According to. There will be more research on growing marijuana with various in dogs compared with humans and veterinary medical researchers should ensure that they. In fact, the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes can be traced back to ancient . According to a review by the National Cancer Institute, there is mounting Glaucoma is a condition that consists of increased pressure within the eye that can as allergic skin diseases in dogs (American Journal of Veterinary Research).