A study conducted by the University of Minnesota and cannabis company Vireo Health found the majority (60%) of medical cannabis patients included in the study had indications of intractable pain, but older and younger adults received “significant differences in dosages.”
The study authors said the differences raise “questions about factors that contribute to the use of varied dosages in older adults.”
The study included about half of the state’s medical cannabis patient population registered between June 2016 and November 2019 who were enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis program with Vireo.
Dr. Angela Birnbaum, a professor in the Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology in the College of Pharmacy and the lead author on the paper, noted in a press release that the researchers’ “past data shows blood concentrations of CBD and THC can vary widely among patients and according to fat content in food, indicating possible inconsistent exposure that could lead to variations in response and unanticipated side effects.”
The study also found that a majority of epilepsy patients included in the research “received formulations containing both THC and CBD” and that the “introduction of THC to this population highlights the importance of further research on the interplay of THC and CBD to better predict patient responses.”
“Little information is available for most medical cannabis formulations and for particular patient populations. More research is needed to understand the long-range influence of cannabis use, especially in older adults who are typically receiving multiple medications and have an increased potential for drug-drug interactions.” — Birnbaum in a statement
The study was published online ahead of print for volume 99 of the Current Therapeutic Research Journal. It included a total of 11,520 registered medical cannabis patients. Funding was provided by the MacMillan Innovative Epilepsy Research and Education Fund and the University of Minnesota Medical Discovery Team on Addiction’s Pilot Grant.
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