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medicine made from hemp

Hazekamp A. The trouble with CBD oil. Med Cannabis Cannabinoids. 2018 Jun;1:65-72.

Gavel NT, Edel AL, Bassett CM, et al. The effect of dietary hempseed on atherogenesis and contractile function in aortae from hypercholesterolemic rabbits. Acta Physiol Hung. 2011;98(3):273-83. View abstract.

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Cheng CW, Bian ZX, Zhu LX, Wu JC, Sung JJ. Efficacy of a Chinese herbal proprietary medicine (Hemp Seed Pill) for functional constipation. Am J Gastroenterol. 2011;106(1):120-9. View abstract.

Rezapour-Firouzi S, Arefhosseini SR, Ebrahimi-Mamaghani M, et al. Activity of liver enzymes in multiple sclerosis patients with Hot-nature diet and co-supplemented hemp seed, evening primrose oils intervention. Complement Ther Med. 2014;22(6):986-93. View abstract.

House JD, Neufeld J, Leson G. Evaluating the quality of protein from hemp seed (Cannabis sativa L.) products through the use of the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score method. J Agric Food Chem. 2010;58(22):11801-7. View abstract.

Despite the legal issues, researchers and drug companies continued to investigate and develop herbal cannabis products. For instance, a standardized cannabis product known as CanniMed was developed for medical use in Canada under Health Canada’s Medical Marihuana Access Regulations (MMAR), which were enacted in 2001. The cannabis plants cultivated for CanniMed are grown under carefully controlled conditions, and the drug is standardized to contain approximately 12.5 percent THC. A similar approach has been taken in the Netherlands, where several herbal cannabis products are available, including Bedrocan (19 percent THC) and Bedrobinol (12 percent THC).

Outside of Canada and the Netherlands, there is no inherent difference between herbal cannabis used recreationally and that used medically. For that reason, medical cannabis may be best understood as the use of cannabis under ongoing medical supervision, with an established diagnosis of the target symptom-disease complex. Herbal cannabis is used in conjunction with, or in consideration of, other pharmacological and nonpharmacological approaches and with the goal of reaching prespecified treatment outcomes. Anecdotal reports and the results of randomized clinical trials have suggested that cannabis may be useful in the management of a variety of conditions, including pain, spasticity, nausea, anorexia, and seizures. (In a randomized clinical trial, participants are assigned by chance to different treatment groups.)

Use of medical cannabis

While cannabis has a long history of medical use as an analgesic (pain reliever) and antispasmodic agent, for much of the modern era there existed a general lack of awareness among scientists and physicians of its medical benefits. The discovery of the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the 1960s, as well as the discovery of a system of endogenous cannabinoid receptors and ligands in the late 1980s and early 1990s, promoted inquiry into the therapeutic potential of cannabis and its extracts and derivatives. (Endogenous substances are those produced by the body; in biology, ligands are substances that bind to receptors.) This work revealed that cannabis can provide relief from certain types of conditions, such as severe chronic pain, and led to the development of various herbal medical cannabis products.

A major safety concern associated with medical cannabis is the possibility of medical use encouraging or transitioning into recreational use, which is associated with side effects that range from acute to chronic. Acute effects include intoxication, impaired cognition and motor function, elevated heart rate, anxiety, and psychosis in predisposed individuals. Chronic effects include bronchitis (from smoked cannabis), psychological cannabis dependency, loss of motivation, and cognitive deficits. By and large these effects seem to disappear on abstinence.

Cannabis that is used in an unsupervised manner is not considered medical cannabis. The same is true for cannabis that is authorized by a physician who has not adequately evaluated the patient, who does not prescribe the cannabis as part of a wider care model, or who does not monitor the patient for subjective and objective outcomes or adverse events. Studies in the first decade of the 21st century estimated that the prevalence of self-reported cannabis use among those with various conditions ranged from 30 to 50 percent (HIV/AIDS) to 10 percent (multiple sclerosis and epilepsy).