Whatever your stance on cannabis, almost everyone would agree that more, better quality research should be carried out into its potential benefits and downsides.
One of the problems has been inconsistency in type and dose of cannabis used in trials — but a new announcement from the traditionally conservative National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) could herald more standardisation across research, allowing better comparison of results.
What the NIDA has come up with is a “standard THC unit” of 5 milligrams for researchers to use — marking the first federal definition of a cannabis “dose” for universities, hospitals and other institutions investigating cannabis.
The NIDA notice, published this May, states that the “standard THC unit is defined as any formulation of cannabis plant material or extract that contains 5 milligrams of THC.” This standard dose will apply to researchers applying to study THC, rather than other cannabinoids.
“Inconsistency in the measurement and reporting of THC exposure has been a major limitation in studies of cannabis use, making it difficult to compare findings among studies,” the notice read. “A standardized measure of THC in cannabis products is necessary to advance research by providing greater comparability across studies of both its adverse effects and potential medical uses.”
Nora Volkow, director of NIDA, told Cannabis Wire that the agency had had many conversations with researchers to “get their input in terms of what they thought was what a reasonable standard dose.”
Though there was some debate as to whether a standard dose should be 5mg or 10mg THC, the 5mg was finally chosen on the basis that it is enough to have significant pharmacological effects for people who have not been previously been regular cannabis users.
“Having a standard dose will be extremely important for any work that aims to investigate potential medical benefits from marijuana,” Volkow added.
NIDA has also released a Q and A document to explain more about the new standard THC unit.
There hasn’t been any urgency for producing anything similar for CBD according to Volkow, as overall, CBD it is not addictive, nor does it produce toxic effects.
Sources: Cannabis Wire