Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
In a new study, Italian researchers found that a standardized oral solution of medical marijuana brought improvements in a variety of important measures for patients.
According to the published results, twenty participants ranging from 18 to 80 years old with chronic conditions previously unresponsive to conventional treatment took a sublingual cannabis oil twice a day for three months. They responded to a quality of life assessment both at “baseline,” meaning before beginning medical marijuana use, and after three months of treatment.
Patients showed reduced pain and muscle spasms, increased vitality, and improved cognitive as well as social functioning at the three-month mark. Improvements in sleep, mood, and the ability to concentrate were reported by 80 percent of patients as “side effects” of therapeutic cannabis use.
The study utilized what’s called a “galenic preparation” of cannabis, which is essentially an optimized and standardized tincture often used with botanical medicines. Formulated by the European company Bedrocan, the product contained lower levels of THC and higher levels of THCA. Also known as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, THCA is the precursor to THC that are found in raw cannabis flower and is associated with numerous therapeutic effects and no psychoactive ones.
The preparation also contained CBD and another therapeutic cannabinoid called cannabigerol (CBG). The terpene myrcene, often associated with the relaxing and sedating properties of cannabis, was also present in the formula.
Participants began with small doses of the cannabinoid medicine which were gradually increased until reaching a therapeutic threshold. The study found that cannabis oil was well tolerated by patients, who reported few negative side effects.
Italian physicians are able to recommend medical marijuana for people with chronic pain, cancer, some forms of epilepsy, and a number of other conditions when conventional treatments fail to alleviate symptoms. The study’s authors concluded that galenic preparations of cannabis with limited psychoactive effects, such as the formula used in the study, may be helpful for safely treating a wide variety of symptoms for people with chronic conditions.