Even though several states allow medical marijuana that contains THC, it is still illegal under federal law. Some states have even made recreational marijuana legal, but it’s also illegal under U.S. law.
Consequently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that people avoid using e-cigarettes and vaping products, particularly those that contain THC oil. Even just vaping the oil once can significantly impact your lungs.
What Is THC?
Vaping THC oil involves heating the oil and inhaling it through a vaporizing device like a vape pen or an e-cigarette. Some people believe that vaping THC oil is safer than smoking because it doesn’t involve inhaling smoke. But the issue is that vaping hasn’t been around long enough and there isn’t enough research to really determine whether or not it’s safer.
Ultimately, vaping THC oil can lead to a substance use disorder. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, between 9% and 30% of people who use marijuana develop some sort of substance use disorder. And, people who begin using marijuana before they turn 18 are four to seven times more likely than adults to develop a marijuana use disorder.
Recreational use of marijuana, which contains THC, is now legal in 11 states. But the Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of THC and it remains classified illegal under U.S. law. Still, people are experimenting with the drug more and more frequently by either smoking it, eating it, or vaping it.
This will hopefully lead to a relaxation of the rules surrounding research into cannabis-based medicines says Tom Freeman, a clinical psychopharmacologist at King’s College London.
Cannabis is in the headlines for its potential medical benefits after the recent confiscation of cannabis oil medication from the mother of a 12-year-old British boy with severe epilepsy. The furore that ensued is shining a light on campaigns for cannabis oils to be made legal for medical reasons, and the UK government has now announced a review into the use of medicinal cannabis. Here’s what you need to know.
In the USA for example, cannabidiol is classed as a schedule 1 controlled substance, and can only be sold in states where cannabis use is legal.
Two recent high quality randomised and placebo controlled trials showed that cannabidiol is an effective treatment for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, severe forms of epilepsy. The mechanism of action is unknown, but it may be due to a combination of effects, such as inhibiting the activity of neurons and dampening inflammation in the brain.
It depends on the THC content. Some types of Cannabis sativa plant, known as hemp, contain very little THC. The extracts from these plants contain mainly cannabidiol, so will not get anyone stoned.
The situation is less clear when it comes to the use of commercial cannabis oils to control seizures, where the evidence is mainly anecdotal, and the oils can contain differing concentrations of cannabidiol and THC.
Not yet. In April the US Food and Drug Administration recommended the approval of a drug called Epidiolex for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Its active ingredient is cannabidiol, and final approval is due at the end of this month.
97021 Jadoon KA, Ratcliffe SH, Barrett DA, et al. Efficacy and safety of cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabivarin on glycemic and lipid parameters in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group pilot study. Diabetes Care. 2016 Oct;39(10):1777-86. View abstract.
Long LE, Chesworth R, Huang XF, et al. A behavioral comparison of acute and chronic Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol in C57BL/6JArc mice. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 2010;13(7):861-76. View abstract.
Likely Effective for
Ames, F. R. and Cridland, S. Anticonvulsant effect of cannabidiol. S.Afr.Med.J. 1-4-1986;69(1):14. View abstract.
Gofshteyn JS, Wilfong A, Devinsky O, et al. Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for febrile infection-related epilepsy syndrome (FIRES) in the acute and chronic phases. J Child Neurol. 2017 Jan;32(1):35-40. View abstract.
Malfait AM, Gallily R, Sumariwalla PF, et al. The non-psychoactive cannabis-constituent cannabidiol is an oral anti-arthritic therapeutic in murine collagen-induced arthritis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2000;97:9561-6. View abstract.