<p class="first-paragraph-no-border”>The authors reached 100 conclusions, including a finding that showed sufficient evidence that those who took cannabis or cannabinoids — the chemical components of the pot plant — were more likely to see a significant reduction in pain. They also urged greater research with less restrictions on scientists.
In regards to cancer, the authors found “conclusive evidence” that some oral cannabinoids were effective in preventing nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, a common cancer treatment. These cannabinoids help trigger certain receptors in the body to produce druglike action, notably in the central nervous system and the immune system, according to the National Cancer Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health operated under the federal government.
A key milestone was reached this summer when the FDA approved the first cannabis-based pharmaceutical made from the marijuana plant, rather than from a synthetic version. The drug, Epidiolex, made by United Kingdom-based GW Pharmaceuticals, treats seizures related to rare forms of epilepsy.
Yet, cannabis manufacturers are limited on what they can say about their products, even though the National Cancer Institute notes the potential benefits for cancer patients include appetite stimulation, pain relief and improved sleep. Most medical recommendations are used to treat cancer symptoms, the institute noted, rather than the disease itself.
“The challenge cannabis product maker faces are formidable at the present time,” said Martin Lee, director of the Healdsburg-based Project CBD. His nonprofit promotes the use of cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound in the plant that provides pain relief but does not have the psychoactive effects of another cannabinoid, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The FDA last November cracked down on four U.S. companies that made claims about how their CBD products could help treat cancer, including one company that said its product “makes cancer cells commit ‘suicide’ without killing other cells.”
Indeed, Sonoma County’s top cannabis manufacturer, CannaCraft, has to put legal notices on its website saying its products have not been evaluated by the FDA and the firm’s information is not “intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.”
The Santa Rosa company has a product line called Care By Design that is used by those seeking health benefits from the plant, including those battling breast cancer or its affecteffects. Its products range from soft gels to edibles, vaporizers to topical creams. They come in a CBD-THC ratio varying from 18-to-1 to stronger items that have a 1-to-1 pairing.
“The medical side is what we are seeing with the most uptick,” she said.
The growth has come even though the products are not covered by health insurance. A bottle of soft-gel CBD pills can easily cost more than $100. And state legislation, SB 829, that would have allowed pot dispensaries to provide free cannabis to low-income patients was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown.