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There’s been growing interest in medical cannabis for some time now, and it seems more research studies are being published every day. The sheer volume of information presented is a bit overwhelming, although it’s contributing greatly to the body of knowledge in the field.

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That said, many are now looking to what the future holds for medical cannabis research. With so much currently underway, what will happen in the next few years? There are a few trends to keep your eye on.


More Funding for Medical Cannabis Research

One of the biggest trends in the next few years will be more funding for medical cannabis research than ever before. As cannabis is legalized in more markets, there will be growing demand for research. Medical cannabis has shown promise as a treatment for many conditions, but more research is needed to verify its effectiveness, including in treatments and with long-term use.

This trend is already well underway in Canada and the US, as well as a few other places. More pharmaceutical companies are diverting funds to studies, as are healthcare and wellness companies. Some universities and colleges are also receiving funding for research in this area.

As knowledge continues to grow and social attitudes continue to shift, funding will continue to increase.


More Controlled Studies

One of the issues with current medical marijuana research is the low quality of the research being conducted. Many studies rely on patient self-reporting, without studying the underlying mechanisms. Further, most studies don’t use control groups to test the differences between using cannabis and using nothing at all. Standardization for strains is also required.

One thing future research on cannabis for medicinal purposes must do is invest in controlled studies. These studies will corroborate self-reports to determine if cannabis is truly effective.

Studies will also need to delve deeper into the effects and mechanisms through which cannabis achieves any medicinal effects. In turn, this knowledge will help the medical community isolate more effective treatments for a variety of medical conditions.


Discovering More about Cannabinoids

Another direction future research might pursue is the study of additional cannabinoids. Currently, there are about 100 known cannabinoids, but only two have been studied in any depth. Science is still unlocking the secrets of THC and CBD, but there are other cannabinoids that remain to be studied.

Additional research is already moving in this direction. Some studies have looked at the effects various cannabinoids have in rats and mice. Future studies will continue to examine these substances and possibly discover new ones.


Discovering More Uses for Medicinal Cannabis

As more research is conducted, it’s likely that more treatments and uses for cannabis will also be explored through various studies. These studies will likely build on those that have already been conducted to determine if cannabis can truly help some of the conditions being examined.

This research is crucial to determine what conditions medical cannabis can aid in treatment. Already, good evidence has accumulated for conditions such as chronic pain, but most conditions lack a good body of evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of cannabis-based treatments.


More Work to Be Done

As evidenced, there’s still a lot of work to be done in the field of medical cannabis research. Continuing efforts and increased funding will continue to boost the amount of medical research being done in this field.

In turn, the body of knowledge about cannabis and its medical uses will continue to grow. With higher-quality studies and more scientific evidence, it’s possible that new cannabis-based treatments are on the horizon for any number of medical conditions.

The future of medical cannabis research is exciting, and it’s likely there are some surprises in store. The road to quality research can be long, but it will be well worth it in the end.


why-more-patients-are-turning-to-cannabis-for-pain-relief

Dr. Michael Verbora

Michael earned an MBA from the University of Windsor’s Odette School of Business in 2009 and an M.D. from Schulich School of Medicine at Western University in 2013, before entering a Family Practice residency at the University of Toronto. A member of the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids, Doctors for Responsible Access and the Canadian Pain Society, he has completed over 2,000 cannabinoid therapy consultations and has presented many talks in community and hospital settings while serving as student health physician at Seneca College and Medical Director, Canabo Medical Clinic.

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