Both the popularity and legalisation of medicinal cannabis products are continuing to increase globally. However, an expert on medicinal cannabis, speaking at Euroanaesthesia congress says there are huge gaps in our research knowledge that the cannabis industry and other researchers must address to guarantee the safety and efficacy of these products.
"Patients are turning to cannabis as a therapeutic option for several medical conditions," says Prof Silviu Brill, Director of the Pain Institute Centre and Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Treatment, Tel Aviv Medical Centre, Israel.
He highlights the lack of focus in the current literature towards understanding the medical chemistry of the actual cannabis products being consumed. "The cannabis industry must rigorously invest into understanding what people are consuming from a chemical composition standpoint and what compounds in addition to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) may be producing physiologic/therapeutic effects from plant-based extracts. Longer-term monitoring for functional outcomes is needed," explains Prof Brill.
He concludes: "While it is reasonable to consider cannabinoids for otherwise unresponsive pain, care should be taken in frail clinical populations. ... ... there is a pressing need for unbiased empirical data and high quality evidence to better inform prescribers and patients."