Cannabis is quickly becoming one of the most studied botanical genus in the world. From treating extreme seizures to fighting cancerous tumors, medical marijuana brings a plethora of medicinal applications. A variety of evolving factors will affect the development of cannabis-related drugs, products, and treatments in the near future. This article takes a look at some of the current barriers and trends surrounding medical marijuana and how it will impact the future of medicine as a whole.
Political barriers often stand in the way of rapid progress. In recent years, legislation on medicinal cannabis use has evolved significantly. While medical marijuana has been legalized in more than half of all U.S. states and territories, many political barriers still exist. Without national regulations to govern medical cannabis, it's up to the local districts to determine the feasibility of legalization. Varying laws between states and counties have created challenges for many distributors. New laws and regulations threaten medical marijuana research which may have a negative impact on its reception and availability in the near future.
There are over 80 active ingredients -- or cannabinoids -- currently known to exist in cannabis. One of the challenges with developing treatments for individuals involves the diversity of active ingredients in cannabis. The combined effects of these active ingredients create varying results from strain to strain. Furthermore, the side effects of active ingredients may be altered by the presence of other compounds -- whether localized to the strain or administered with other supplements. Antihistamines, for example can affect the physiological effects that cannabinoids have on the human body. The saturated benefits of cannabis make it challenging to re-create the same results. In the future, we will have a much stronger understanding of cannabis, its effects, and how best to administer drugs derived from the plant.
Political barriers also have an impact on access to research, funding and trials. Not to mention the cannabis plant is loaded with dozens of active ingredients which means most of these compounds have yet to be fully studied. As these studies progress, we can expect to see an abundance of new applications and treatments that involve cannabis. Research studies are taking place all over the world; however, the U.S. is still in a legal grey area making cannabis-related studies very difficult. Until research can receive more broad government funding, cannabis research will struggle to grow as quickly as other health studies.
Federal Drug Administration
The Federal Drug Administration has yet to approve marijuana as "a safe and effective drug for any indication." Due to the increasing popularity of CBD, the FDA will likely re-visit the classification of cannabis with new legislation. If the FDA opens up drug testing and pharmaceutical production of cannabis on the federal-level, manufacturers and retailers will begin offering more and more products that include CBD.
Miracle Plant, Miracle Drug
For decades, cannabis has been considered by many to be a miracle plant. It wasn't until recently that this claim has begun to be supported by scientific evidence. Many people suffering from extreme health conditions, serious illnesses and rare disorders have found medical marijuana to be the only treatment to help. In the future, many people will turn to natural CBD supplements rather than manufactured pharmaceutical drugs to treat their symptoms. As the negative stigma of cannabis begins to diminish, people will begin to focus on the potential health benefits of the plant instead.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the compound that has the largest concentration of known benefits. THC and CBN are more common than CBD in cannabis strains. This makes it difficult to find specific strains that are rich in CBD.
Cannabis Drugs in the Future
Are you interested in what cannabis medicine may look like in the future? You may begin to see manufactures offer CBD alongside well-known over-the-counter drugs, such as Advil, Ambien and Tums. Americans may soon have access to cannabis drugs which treat specific conditions / symptoms. Here are ten possible treatment substitutes:
Industry-Shift to Natural Drugs
Pharmaceutical companies may soon incorporate cannabis-related drugs into existing and new medicines. As consumer place a stronger emphasis on natural drugs, many artificial drug companies may begin to see a decline in sales. Furthermore, cannabis compounds have been shown to bring additional changes to the effectiveness of other well-known drugs. Combination treatments will become more common in the near future.
Optimizing the Effects
Scientific research on CBD has shown that interactions with THC increases concentration and correlating medicinal benefits. That is, CBD is more effective when combined with THC. In regions where medical cannabis has been legalized, may distributors offer a variety of CBD + THC products, such as oil tinctures, edible chocolates, and cannabis pills. Since THC is largely associated with psychoactive effects -- aka the feeling of being "high" -- there will be a clear differentiation between CBD-only and mixed-cannabinoid medicines.
As technological advancements in the cannabis industry increase, there are more and more methods of administering cannabis. Many have resisted cannabis as a viable form of medicine due to the fact that the most common form of consumption is through inhalation. As smoking in it of itself poses health risks, some of the biggest names in cannabis have developed alternative applications through cannabinoid extraction (the process by which the active ingredients in cannabis are separated from the plant matter). The future of cannabis place less focus on smoking and more on other forms of concentrates / medications, such as dietary supplements, food additives and other augmented consumables.
With dozens of known benefits associated with CBD, many experts expect to see CBD available as supplements in grocery stores and local pharmacies. Because CBD is non-psychoactive, many retailers have already begun to offer CBD supplements on shelves. Once political barriers have been crossed, many Americans may incorporate CBD into their daily nutrition regiment. Many distributers in Colorado have already begun to combine CBD with other natural supplements and vitamins.
Charlotte's Web -- strain of marijuana bred specifically because it doesn't make its consumers "high" -- has had a huge impact on the future of medical marijuana. This strain made international headlines when 5-year-old Charlotte Figi's mother discovered the plant reduced her daughter's 300-weekly seizures to being nearly seizure free. Many Americans like Charlotte suffer from rare disorders that may stand to benefit from medical marijuana treatments. As access to medical marijuana increases, the future of pharmaceutical drugs and medical treatment plans will involve the compounds of cannabis.
New scientific technologies are being developed to create customized doses and consistent results. While many individuals are interested in cannabis for specific effects, such as for sleep-aid or anti-anxiety, it's difficult to encounter consistent effects. As researchers learn more about cannabis, more localized treatment plans will become available. This will help attract people that were previously wary of using cannabis for medical treatments.
All mammals contain the biological system known as endocannabinoid system -- or ECS. The system wasn't discovered until 1992 and has rapidly become one of the most exciting discoveries in modern medicine. ECS is responsible for maintaining smooth operations of cognitive and physiological process in mammals. As medical marijuana research progresses, scientists are making huge breakthroughs in how cannabis interacts with the body. The next challenge for researchers will be to concentrate on the interaction of specific receptors and cannabinoids.
United Nations' World Health Organization
In 2018, the United Nations' World Health Organization announced it would be ramping-up its research on the compound, CBD. In May 2018, the WHO committee began undertaking "a comprehensive review of cannabis and cannabis related substances." As the global leader on health and science, WHO's findings will likely help shape future policies in nations all over the world. The cannabis industry is keeping a close eye on the WHO review of cannabis and are optimistic about the results.
The Future of Dispensaries
If cannabis becomes legal in the United States, pharmacies, grocery stores and other retailers will likely begin selling cannabis products. This may have a negative impact on dispensary sales as consumer trends show shoppers prefer to purchase drugs from their local supermarkets and pharmacies. States like Colorado saw huge revenue streams emerge as a result of the legalization recreational cannabis. At this time, only dispensaries can provide the sale of cannabis flower. After political barriers diminish, huge corporations will begin to disrupt the cannabis market for both medicinal and recreational use.
Cannabis in the Future
The future of cannabis is green. CBD drugs and supplements will emerge to become industry leaders in both traditional and alternative medicine. Fast forward twenty years, and the average American household may have CBD tablets sitting next to Tylenol bottles in their medicine cabinets. Cannabis is opening the door for highly-effective medical treatments unlike any other medicine currently known to man.