Study: Most Patients Prefer Herbal Cannabis Over Marijuana-Based Pharmaceuticals
Leiden, The Netherlands: Subjects who consume cannabis for therapeutic purposes prefer herbal forms of the plant to pharmaceutically produced derivatives, according to survey data published in The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.
Investigators from Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States conducted a web-based survey consisting of 21 structured questions to assess patients' perceptions of different types of cannabinoid-based medicinal products as well as their preferred modes of consumption. Over 950 subjects took part in the survey.
A majority of survey participants reported that herbal cannabis preparations were more cost-effective and posed fewer side effects than cannabis-derived pharmaceuticals, such as Marinol or nabilone. Participants were also more likely to report greater satisfaction with inhaled (via either smoking or vaporizing) forms of cannabis products as compared to products that required oral dosing.
"Cannabis smoking, closely followed by vaporizing, scored highest for satisfaction with ease of dose titration, while oral use of cannabinoids scored lowest," authors reported. "This [result] may be because rapid onset of effects of inhaled cannabinoid use allows easier titration of dose."
Investigators concluded: "In general, herbal non-pharmaceutical CBMs (cannabinoid-based medicines) received higher appreciation scores by participants than pharmaceutical products containing cannabinoids. ... [O]ur data suggest that overall there is good satisfaction with whole plant preparations that are affordable and administered in an inhaled manner, or in the form of a tincture."
Full text of the study, "The Medicinal Use of Cannabis and Cannabinoids - An International Cross-Sectional Survey on Administration Forms," appears in The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.
Study: Many IBD Patients Report Subjective Relief From Cannabis
Boston, MA: An estimated one-in-six patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) report using cannabis therapeutically, according to survey data published in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
Researchers assessed survey responses from 292 IBD patients seeking treatment at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Crohn's and Colitis Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Investigators reported that over half of all respondents possessed first-hand experience with cannabis, and that just over 16 percent had used it to mitigate symptoms of the disease.
"We found that approximately 16.4 percent of patients with IBD cared for at a tertiary referral center have used marijuana to treat their IBD symptoms since their diagnosis," authors reported. "We found that patients perceive that medical marijuana is helpful for treating abdominal pain, poor appetite, and nausea associated with IBD."
Authors also reported that at least one-third of IBD patients would consider participating in a clinical trial to objectively assess the plant's therapeutic efficacy.
Previous surveys from other countries have also reported elevated rates of cannabis use among populations with inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's.
According to clinical trial data published earlier this year in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, cannabis inhalation reduces symptoms of Crohn's disease compared to placebo in patients who have not been responsive to traditional therapies.
Separate observational trial data reports that Crohn's patients require fewer disease-related surgeries following their use of cannabis.
Full text of the study, "Marijuana use patterns among patients with inflammatory bowel disease," appears in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
Maryland: Black Arrest Rate For Marijuana Possession Offenses More Than Twice That Of Whites
Baltimore, MD: African Americans are far more likely to be arrested in Maryland for marijuana possession offenses than are whites, according to a statewide report published last week by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland.
Authors of the report reviewed data provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Census to analyze marijuana possession arrests in Maryland by race between the years 2001 and 2010.
"Even though blacks and whites use marijuana at comparable rates, police arrest blacks for marijuana possession at higher rates than whites in every county in Maryland," authors reported. Authors also reported that the arrest rate for African Americans grew from nearly twice the rate of whites in 2001 to nearly three times the rate of whites in 2010.
A previous ACLU report found that nationwide African Americans are approximately four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.
Maryland possesses the fourth highest rate of marijuana possession arrests in the nation, the new report found. In 2010, one out of every 245 people in Maryland was arrested for marijuana possession. The ACLU estimated that the state spent an estimated $106 million in 2010 enforcing marijuana possession laws.
Only six states - New York (103,698), Texas (74,268), Florida (57,951), California (57,262), Illinois (49,404), and Georgia (32,473) - reported making more marijuana possession arrests in 2010 than did Maryland (23,663). (California decriminalized minor marijuana possession offenses in 2011.)
The ACLU report recommended that Maryland lawmakers amend the state's laws to allow the adult use of cannabis to be taxed and regulated. According to a statewide Goucher Poll released this month, 51 percent of Marylanders support making marijuana use legal statewide. More than eight in ten believe that those found possessing small quantities of marijuana should face fines rather than criminal prosecution.