Cannabis-based revenue is on the rise, and the resulting cash infusions into the private and public coffers will bring big changes to the industry and all the moving parts therein. But as the industry grows and prospers, it’s important to move forward in a way that honors the reason behind the initial battles for accessible cannabis: Its medical potential.
Scientific research deserves as much budget consideration as branding and product development get, as we continue to unearth how and why cannabis and its components help the human body treat a multitude of health concerns.
As the revenues skyrockets into the billions of dollars, the industry will attract even more investment to allow for continued growth. Innovation based in recreational and commercial activity is to be expected, but the medical uses of cannabis stand to generate more than just revenue. With proper protocol and access, the improvement in quality of life for patients suffering from the many conditions cannabis is purported to treat will be immeasurably beneficial to society.
Big Buds asked cannabis industry members and activists what government-backed studies and research they would like to see from the medical and cannabis communities, and here’s what they had to say.
Mary Pryor, Co-Founder Of Cannaclusive
“We need more studies around female issues such as endometriosis, cramping, reproductive health and pregnancy use. Most of these issues are heavily stigmatized. Female health issues are under-researched compared to male health studies. Cannabis has shown to aid in pain relief and pregnancy-related nausea when part of a responsible treatment plan.”
Cannaclusive hosts educational events and workshops for minorities, with aims “to facilitate fair representation of minority cannabis consumers.”
Monica Parikh, Founder, School Of Love
“I would like to see studies that compare the efficacy of traditional psychotropic medication versus that of cannabinoid-based products. Specifically, I would love to see anti-anxietants like Xanax and a cannabinoid product studied together. I’d also love to see the comparison of withdrawal symptoms between decreased usage of psychotropics and cannabinoid medicines.”
School of Love coaches women on techniques for successful relationships.
Danniel Swatosh, Co-Founder Of Humble Bloom
“Cannabis has been used for thousands of years for women’s reproductive health in treating PMS, cramps, morning sickness and postpartum issues. This makes sense, considering the majority of our cannabinoid receptors are found in our uterus.
“I would like to see more research into the use of cannabis for issues such as endometriosis or fibroids. Millions of women suffer from these ailments, are in debilitating pain, and are going undiagnosed and misdiagnosed for years before getting treatment.
“The current treatments for endometriosis — hormone therapy, surgery and opiates — often do more harm than good. The invasive surgeries leave women traumatized, scar-ridden and even infertile. The opiate crisis has hit women hard, especially in treating chronic pain conditions such as endometriosis. Cannabis could be a potential treatment option, with fewer side effects, and could possibly help treat infertility and inhibit growths.
“I would like to see expanded research on maternal and child health for mothers who use cannabis during pregnancy. Dr. Melanie Dreher did the only study of 24 expectant mothers who used cannabis during pregnancy. The study went over a five-year period and found no considerable differences between the cannababies and the non-cannababies. Considering this is beyond taboo, I don’t expect to see anything in this space for years to come.”
Humble Bloom offers brand strategy, content curation, networking opportunities and multi-sensory experiences in the cannabis space.
Jennifer Boeder, Content Specialist At Grasslands
“While we need so much study on all the potential medicinal uses of cannabis — particularly for acute neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and autism spectrum disorders — I would love to see double-blind studies on how full-spectrum CBD can help people suffering from anxiety and depression.
“So many people experiment with cannabidiol for their mental health, but not all CBD is created alike, and many respected researchers say whole-plant medicine [full-spectrum CBD with a range of terpenes and cannabinoids, as opposed to CBD isolate] consistently gives people better results.
“In my dream world, the cutting-edge cannabis growers and producers in the US would provide the plant material for the studies. Our government has thus far been utterly incapable of properly sourcing marijuana for research. We can’t do good science with the … cannabis grown on a 12-acre farm at The University of Mississippi, which is the only facility licensed by the DEA to grow marijuana for research.
“If full-spectrum CBD turns out to be an effective treatment, I’d want to understand how certain strains and ratios help with anxiety and depression. People often have positive health outcomes from using cannabis, but we don’t know enough about the process of how cannabis medicine works, or the specifics of how it affects the endocannabinoid system. We need to understand that process better if we are going to bring it into the mainstream.
“I’ve been researching whether cannabis can help people with cerebral palsy-related spasticity, and it’s genuinely upsetting how little specific research has been done around cannabis and cerebral palsy. One study I read examined children with complex movement disorders, including cerebral palsy and epilepsy. After five months of dosing them with various low-THC, high-CBD cannabis products, researchers noted ‘significant improvement in spasticity and dystonia, sleep difficulties, pain severity and quality of life.’
“If we have studies that indicate sick children could develop motor skills and live in less pain with cannabis, then we have to follow up on those. There are so few pharmaceutical options available for spasticity.”
Grasslands is a content agency that provides public relations and marketing services for the cannabis industry.
Sarah Ratliff, Cannabis Writer
“On a personal level, I’d like to see studies related to pain and migraines. I have been dealing with chronic pain since I was 18, following an accident. My lower back is a hot mess. I have had migraines since I was 29.
“For others, PTSD and thymic carcinoma. The former could benefit both veterans and civilians exposed to traumatic events. Thymic carcinoma affects approximately 100 people a year — it’s extremely rare and it doesn’t respond to chemotherapy. I have a good friend who is a veteran and exposure to chemicals while on deployment likely caused hers. Right now, a diagnosis is a death sentence.”
Sarah Ratliff is a cannabis writer and cultivator.
Len May, CEO Of EndoCanna Health, Inc
“I would like to see continued research into clinical verification of genetic markers related to cannabinoid metabolism, and the symptomatic conditions associated with cannabis use — either specific to a disease state or a therapeutic protocol. This will not only power future clinical trials, but also help avoid possible adverse side effects in a similar way to other genetic markers currently being used.
“Let’s say you are conducting a study on multiple sclerosis patients for the use of cannabinoids as an anti-convulsive. If the cannabinoid and terpene ratio being used by researchers is exacerbating anxiety or depression symptoms, the genotype profile of those subjects may be key to personalizing that experience — modifying the ratio to mitigate the genetic expression.
“This is one of the best ways to promote the therapeutic benefits of the cannabis plant and help extinguish the stigma associated with individuals having extreme psychotropic reactions when ingesting cannabis.”
EndoCanna Health provides scientific research and DNA testing to help identify how an individual’s endocannabinoid system interact with cannabis.