As our pursuit of cannabis knowledge continues to hasten, a large crop of innovative and interesting studies are sure to arise. But what should this novel research explore? How can we improve our investigative processes?
We’ve got you covered with this comprehensive look at the future of cannabis research.
Recent cannabis research has investigated a variety of topics, looking at the benefits of marijuana for a host of different ailments. Studies have addressed the effectiveness of smoked or vaporized cannabis for neuropathic pain, spasticity associated with neurological disorders, anorexia, and post-traumatic stress disorder, to name a few.
Meanwhile, another cohort of trials has been geared towards the adverse effects of cannabis. These include decreased sperm quality, reduced driving ability, addiction, lowered cognition and visual function, increased stress, and poor interactions with prescription drugs.
Right now, nearly 800 clinical studies have been registered — most of which are placebo-controlled randomized trials. However, many fail to blind, which is absolutely essential to research practices of this sort; without the use of an appropriate placebo, studies can suffer greatly. Further, it is becoming more difficult to recruit study participants than in previous years. With legalization, the availability of marijuana has increased, making it harder to entice participants than before.
In future studies, researchers will have to strongly consider these issues. A unique approach to participant enrollment will be necessary, as will the proper use of placebos and blinding.
Beyond the need to change how we study cannabis, the industry will also need to include a wider range of subjects in its trials. An extremely important — yet taboo — topic, the effects of recreational cannabis on adolescent youth, must be investigated. Understanding the long-term results of cannabis use is imperative to the future formulation and consumption of marijuana-based products.
About Joseph Antony, PhD
A research scientist at KGK Science, Joseph Antony contributes to manuscripts, final reports, and protocols for clients. He has extensive experience as a researcher in stem cell biology, cancer, vaccines, and antibody development, and has worked as an evaluator for the federal government. Joseph received his PhD from the University of Calgary, his MSc in Biological Sciences from the National University of Singapore, and MFSc-BFSc in Fisheries Science from Bangalore.