Bill Turnbull discusses benefits of medicinal cannabis
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The study in question looked into the impact of medicinal cannabis on adults with autism and whether the plant could improve their quality of life.
Writing in the Sage journals, they concluded: “In this first published experience of clinical outcomes in adult patients with ASD treated with CBMPs, there were associated improvements in general health-related quality of life, in addition to sleep- and anxiety-specific outcomes.
“Moreover, there was a reduction in the administration of concomitant medications, some of which are associated with serious adverse events with long-term use. CBMPs were well tolerated by the majority (81.1%) of patients.”
Express.co.uk spoke exclusively to Simon Erridge, the lead author of the study, to get his response to the results.
Dr Erridge said: “We are really excited by the promise of these results. As we know, some individuals with autism spectrum disorder can be significantly affected by symptoms of generalised and social anxiety, sleep disruptions, repetitive and distressing patterns of thought, and emotional distress.
“However, there is a lack of available therapies to help manage these and their effects. This is the first step in further evaluating medical cannabis in adult patients with autism spectrum disorder, but it is important to highlight that further evaluation through randomised controlled trials will ultimately be necessary to identify if it may have a role for those with autism spectrum disorder on a wider basis across the population.”
More trials are required to confirm the findings of this study.
However, unlike other medicines, this study could carry greater weight than others, not because of the impact it will have on patients, but because of the stigma around cannabis.
When people hear the word cannabis, many think of the recreational side of the plant. However, cannabis is far more multifaceted than this.
Made up of over 100 cannabinoids and compounds, cannabis has the potential to help thousands of patients.
In recent years, the plant has been found to help those with anxiety, chronic pain, and epilepsy.
There are also trials underway to establish how it could treat brain tumours and other forms of cancer; the plant could also help patients with long Covid.
On this Dr Erridge said: “There is some pre-clinical evidence which has sought to assess whether cannabidiol and other aspects of cannabis can affect the way that the Covid virus binds to specific receptors in the lungs.”
However, Dr Erridge added: “That’s really preliminary and nothing has really moved on from there.”
Discussing the benefits of cannabis for cancer patients, the doctor commented back in April: “With respect to treating cancer there is obviously some really promising preclinical evidence in terms of looking at the response to cancer cells in a petri dish and response in animal models in terms of their response to cancer, but there haven’t been any significant [human] trials that have reported results in cancer.”
While there are some studies which suggest medicinal cannabis could help treat cancer, there are also those who say it could cause it.
Although someone’s risk of cancer rises if someone smokes cannabis (in a similar way to those who smoke tobacco), it differs when the plant isn’t smoked.
Dr Erridge said: “In terms of the risk of cancer, there’s really conflated evidence; the reasons for this are because a lot of our information about exposure to cannabis comes from its use in either a recreational or illicit setting.”
Meanwhile, founder of the CBD Consultancy and cannabis expert, Ruby Deevoy said: “Cannabinoids should be treated with respect and used in a responsible manner.
“Prohibition and lack of understanding of how cannabis/cannabinoids work among both the public and medical professionals is an issue that needs addressing so that people know how to use cannabis/cannabinoids appropriately for their needs.”
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