There are no widely accepted health guidelines for marijuana despite the increased moves by different states to legalize recreational cannabis and the widespread consumption of weed.
Addiction and Mental Health Group researchers from the University of Bath, in collaboration with UCL, Kings College London, and the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, suggests that users should be educated on the dosages of THC, which is the component of the drug that is psychoactive (gets you high).
The team had conducted another research in 2018, which highlighted that over the past decade, the THC concentration in Europe doubled. When combined with this year’s study, which was published on 13th October in the journal Addiction, the researchers suggest that the THC should be set at a unit level of 5mg.
In countries where recreational cannabis is sold legally, such as Canada, the set level of mg in a product could be easily added to existing labels on the product packet. However, this system could prove to be disadvantageous in countries where cannabis is illegal, such as the UK. The researchers suggested introducing an international system where users and doctors are given guidelines.
On October 13, another team of researchers published their findings in the journal of Psychological Medicine. Their study examined the relationship between using different products of cannabis and their health outcomes. Their study used more than 55,000 people in 175 countries.
Using the Global Drug Survey, the researchers asked the consumers about the various marijuana products consumed and the severity of the illnesses when they used weed as well as their mental health.
The results of the study varied according to the type of marijuana product used and the associated health outcome. For instance, those who use higher doses of THC such as hashish or sinsemilla experienced more severe problems, unlike those who consumed a lower dose of THC.
The difference between the types of marijuana products sold in the legal and illegal market has prompted the authors of the research to direct a team of experts to meet in Lisbon to develop a standardized tool that will be used for assessing marijuana in the international market. The Society for the Study of Addiction is funding the development of the standardized tool.
Sam Craft from King’s College London, who is the lead author of the study, said that their research finding adds to the growing body of evidence which concludes that the health effects of marijuana are dose-related. Although the risks can be modified, the introduction of a unified international system will equip the users and medical marijuana doctors with information on the different types of cannabis products being consumed, as well as their potency.
Dr. Tom Freeman from Bath University, who is the senior author, said that the research findings show that developing an evidence-based framework will help people consume marijuana more responsibly. The absence of updated information increases the level of risk to the consumers.
There are many people across the globe using weed, and it is our responsibility as researchers to help them make informed choices, although the best and safest option is not using at all, he added.
The researchers hope that the introduction of a unified system will help in reducing the adverse effects of marijuana use in different countries while providing doctors and consumers with information for the safer use of marijuana.
It would be interesting to hear what views cannabis industry companies like Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF) and Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTCQB: NUGS) have to say about how to develop standard units for marijuana.
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