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New study shows patient preference for medical cannabis products in the lack of clinical guidelines

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Because of insufficient publicly available data, understanding what products medical cannabis patients use for various conditions has mostly result from survey responses. In a fresh study, USC Schaeffer Center researchers established a clearer picture by analyzing point-of-sale data from nearly 17,000 patients who made a lot more than 80,000 purchases within the NY state medical cannabis program.

The researchers found in the chosen for some medical ailments, and high variability in labeled doses of THC.

“As the medical cannabis market isn’t new, there’s still relatively little research on patient purchasing behavior,” says Alexandra Kritikos, a postdoctoral research fellow in the USC Schaeffer Center and the USC Institute for Addiction Science. “Unfortunately, our analysis shows that patients might not be getting consistent guidance from clinicians and pharmacists and, in lots of disease areas, there appears to be too little clear clinical data on appropriate dosing.”

The outcomes, published in JAMA Network Open, depend on purchases made between 2016 and 2019 when cannabis flower and edibles cannot be sold in the medical market. Cannabis card holders could purchase vape cartridges and pens, capsules and tablets, tinctures, lotions and suppositories.

Medical cannabis users buy a selection of products with varying potencies

Since its inception in 2014, New York’s medical cannabis program is continuing to grow to 150,000 participants, rendering it among the largest in the country.

Using data from a built-in single system of dispensaries, the researchers discovered that the very best three conditions patients recorded on the medical card were chronic pain (52%), neuropathy (22%) and cancer (13%). And a qualifying condition, patients also needed a qualifying symptom to join up. The very best qualifying symptoms were severe pain (82%), severe muscle spasms (21%) and severe nausea (8%).

Vaporizers were the most famous product purchased (40%), accompanied by tinctures (38%) and tablets (22%). When it comes to potency, nearly all products purchased (52%) were high-THC, low-CBD products. High- THC products contained between 2 and 10 mg of THC per dose, based on the product.

With all this variation, when patients chose different products, they presumably favored different dosing. For instance, 41% of patients with chronic pain preferred a high-THC vaporizer, which delivered 2 mg of THC/0.1 mg of CBD per dose, while 33% of chronic pain patients chose tinctures and 25% chose tablets, both which delivered 10 mg of THC per dose. Another quarter of patients opt for product containing 5 mg of both THC and CBD.

On the other hand, nearly all patients experiencing cancer, HIV/AIDS and epilepsy purchased exactly the same product, suggesting similar dosing.

Physicians have to take a more vigorous role in patients using medical cannabis products

Earlier research discovered that frequently underreport the amount of medical cannabis users. Coupled with findings in the brand new Schaeffer Center study, the researchers suggest improving medical guidance and oversight of dosing.

“We suspect having less clinical guidelines on dosing of cannabinoids for particular has made medical providers uncomfortable speaking with their patients about their medical cannabis use,” says Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, senior author on both studies. “It really is imperative that change, as with other prescribed medications tend but impossible to recognize if isn’t considered or recorded in the medical record.” Pacula is really a senior fellow at the Schaeffer Center and the Elizabeth Garrett Chair in Health Policy, Economics & Law at the USC Price School of Public Policy.

Pacula and Kritikos hope that their study offers a basis for conversations between providers and patients about cannabis use, including dosing levels.

Demands caps in the recreational market won’t limit access for medical cannabis patients

Based on the labeled dosing, none of the very most popular products analyzed for just about any of the conditions had dosing greater than 10 mg of THC, something policymakers should think about, say the researchers.

“We’ve seen the and media make the declare that putting caps on potency would limit usage of necessary medicine,” Pacula says. “But our research in NY state shows that medical cannabis users are consuming products which are less potent than what recreational users take.”

A white paper published by the Schaeffer Center in July discussed how policymakers could legalize recreational cannabis while still putting regulations set up that prioritize public health.

More info: Alexandra F. Kritikos et al, Characterization of Cannabis Products Purchased for Medical Used in NY State, JAMA Network Open (2022). DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.27735

Citation: New study shows patient preference for medical cannabis products in the lack of clinical guidelines (2022, August 20) retrieved 20 August 2022 from

This document is at the mercy of copyright. Aside from any fair dealing for the intended purpose of private study or research, no part could be reproduced minus the written permission. This content is provided for information purposes only.

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