Cannabis has been around for centuries being used for a variety of purposes. But due to its psychoactive nature, a plethora of its benefits are often neglected.
However, we are experiencing changes in the legal scenario of cannabis around the world. These winds of change are also seen lately in Asian countries such as Thailand or South Korea.
What is medical cannabis?
Historically cannabis has been used as a medicinal option by many societies. Research studies indicate that cannabis contains a lot of beneficial compounds called cannabinoids. Some of the most researched cannabinoids include THC, CBD, CBN and CBG.
These cannabinoids offer therapeutic benefits due to their analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiemetic abilities. Scientists also believe that cannabis can offer an entourage effect to the user which means that when all the cannabinoids of cannabis are used simultaneously, the user gets enhanced benefits of all the compounds.
Medical Cannabis industry in Asia
The medicinal cannabis market of Asia can reach USD 5.8 billion by 2024, according to the Asian Cannabis report. The medical Cannabis market in Asia and the Pacific is expected to reach USD 11.49 billion by 2026 with a rate of 25.3 per cent
In Asian countries acceptance of cannabis and change of attitudes towards it, especially medical cannabis, is due to the following factors:
– Increasing R and D activities for drug discovery by using medicinal cannabis
It is believed that increasing authorisation and R&D activities in this sector will fuel this market to exponential growth. For example, in January 2018 the Australian government allowed Cannabis manufacturers to market and legalised the medical cannabis product shipment to many countries.
Due to the rising occurrence of chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis and cancer in Asia, cannabis is actively being used in clinical studies to generate formulas that can manage these diseases especially in older people of Asian countries.
The cannabis plant market in Asia is also growing because of increasing awareness of the general public about the therapeutic potential of Cannabis.
We are also witnessing that major global players are investing in the cannabis sector in different parts of Asia that are additionally expected to favour the cannabis medicinal market in Asia.
Asian countries accepting cannabis
Many Asian countries have made headlines for strict penalties for consuming, trafficking and possessing cannabis. Lately, some South-East Asian countries have started to normalise their medicinal use.
For example, Thailand is the only country in Asia that has fully legalised medicinal cannabis in Asia. The country has unveiled its first cannabis greenhouse in February 2019. Following Thailand, South Korea is the first East Asian country that surprised many others by legalising medical marijuana in March 2019.
After that, in the same month, Japan also approved the trials of Epidyolex, a drug containing a compound of cannabis for epilepsy treatment. Meanwhile, Cambodia and Laos are also exploring ways to legalise medical cannabis. Other strict countries such as China, Singapore and Malaysia are also involved in research on the medicinal potential of cannabis.
Obstacles in Asia
Unlike in the West, only a few Asian countries have softened their laws and regulations regarding medicinal cannabis. Therefore, for the market to fully flourish and reach its potential, in Asia there are a lot of obstacles that may hinder the growth such as:
– Consumption of cannabis in large amounts is associated with heart attacks and tachycardia. These unneglectable side effects are a major hindering factor for the growth of the medicinal cannabis market in Asia.
– Moreover, different Asian governments such as the Japanese, Chinese and Indian governments have very strict laws regarding the processing, manufacture and use of medicinal cannabis that will serve as a significant obstacle in the market growth.
How to participate in the cannabis industry?
Starting your own canna-business might be difficult, if not impossible, depending on which country you are in. But there is a new way to get into the industry and start making profits in a legal way. The crowd growing business model, with leading companies such as JuicyFields, offers you the opportunity to connect with small and medium cannabis producers from around the world, help them with finance and make a profit in return.
Just visit JuicyFields.io, register for free, buy your plants and become an e-grower!
Grow Pharma launches new platform to help UK doctors learn about medical cannabis
The Journal Club will help inform UK doctors about the latest medical cannabis research.
Grow Pharma has launched a Journal Club to help inform UK doctors about the latest medical cannabis research.
The UK’s leading distributor of prescribed cannabis medicines, Grow Pharma, is now launching the latest in a string of initiatives aimed at educating doctors on cannabis medicines.
Each edition of the Journal Club will feature two recently published clinical papers relevant to the field of medical cannabis/cannabinoids from a variety of different disease areas including chronic pain, psychiatric disorders, neurology, and IBD, and will be released approximately every two weeks.
The clinical papers will be emailed out as well as hosted on Grow’s Doctor Portal where healthcare professionals will be able to comment on the articles and share thoughts and ideas with each other. The Doctor Portal also features recordings of past webinar educational sessions from medical cannabis experts, as well as news articles, information on medicines and discussion forums for doctors.
“Educating doctors really is the key to increasing the use and acceptance of medical cannabis in the UK,” commented Grow Pharma CEO, Pierre Van Weperen.
“We have had significant success in supporting new doctors on their journey towards prescribing medical cannabis. Many doctors want to be involved in multiple educational sessions and hear from others who are already prescribing. We facilitate those interactions. We also help to connect them to existing specialist cannabis clinics or help them set up their own clinics.”
There are now upwards of 15 clinics specialising in the prescription of cannabis medicines in the UK and on the Channel Islands.
Grow Pharma are proud to be the preferred distributor for more of these clinics than any other and is dedicated to supporting the clinics and doctors as they learn about medical cannabis, onboard new doctors and set themselves up as centres of expertise in the field. Grow puts its success down to having the broadest range of cannabis medicines available in the UK and their hard work and dedication to supporting doctors throughout the process.
The clinical papers featured in the Journal Club will be selected by Grow’s Medical Team for their high level of evidence and relevance to clinical areas where there is the most perceived potential to help patients.
In the UK, any specialist doctor can prescribe cannabis medicines within their field but not all doctors are aware of the potential benefits of cannabis medicines, even three years after they were rescheduled, due to a lack of formal education from clinical bodies. Grow Pharma believes that the Journal Club will help to bridge this gap in doctors’ knowledge.
“We all know how busy UK doctors are. It’s understandable they don’t always have the time to read about new treatments, especially one like medical cannabis, where there is so much to learn about the many ways it can help patients,” said Grow’s patient access lead Alex Fraser.
“The Journal Club is about making it easy and straightforward for Doctors to keep up-to-date with research and to continue learning about cannabis medicines, even if they are already prescribing them. We carefully select the studies and deliver them straight to their inbox in digestible chunks.
“If they have any more questions, they know that we’re on hand to answer them.”
Whilst the Doctor Portal is only accessible to healthcare professionals and the Journal Club is aimed at doctors, anyone can sign-up if they want to learn more about medical cannabis. The Journal Club is educational and non-promotional and solely designed to increase awareness of the latest research around this exciting field of medicine.
To sign up to Journal Club just click the link and fill in the short form here
Study: States with full legal access show fewer registered medical cannabis patients
“If true, this could have implications for public health and policy,” say researchers.
Study shows U.S states where cannabis is legal for recreational purposes have experienced a decrease in patients registering for medical cannabis programmes.
The study on different US states, published in the International Drug Journal, revealed that numbers of registered and active medical cannabis consumers increased while it was not legal for recreational use.
Researchers in Arizona took data from the medical cannabis registry from two dozen states between 2013 and 2020. These are mandatory registries that record the number of medical cannabis patients. They analysed the data to see if there were any changes around the times that recreational legalisation was introduced.
There are currently 19 states in the US that have legalised recreational cannabis including New Jersey, Vermont, Arizona and New York. However, more states have medical cannabis programs although some are still not operational. Some states such as Colorado have had recreational access since 2012, the year before the study was started.
Medical cannabis patients
The results confirmed that medical cannabis cardholders increased during times when recreational use was not legal. It then subsequently decreased when it became legal.
It also revealed an increase of 380 patients per 100,000 people per year when just medical cannabis was legal. This corresponded to a decrease of 100 patients per 100,000 after recreational cannabis was allowed. The researchers noted that active registered active male patients decreased faster than women. In states where only medical cannabis was legal, the older age groups (35 or older), increased faster.
They also found that in three states with medical-only use, the results showed significant increases in enrollment from 2016 to 2020 across white, African-American and Hispanic patients.
The researchers wrote: “There is speculation that enrollment in U.S. state medical cannabis programs differs depending on whether adult recreational cannabis use is legal. If true, this could have implications for public health and policy.”
“Findings suggest that recreational cannabis legalisation is associated with decreasing enrollment in medical cannabis programs, particularly for males.”
Latin American cannabis clinic Zerenia arrives in UK – promising patients more ‘affordable’ access
The clinic has recently joined Project Twenty21 with the promise of making medical cannabis more accessible.
Latin American medical cannabis clinic, Zerenia, has launched in the UK, with a bid to improve patient access as it joins Project Twenty21.
The clinic also offers competitive costs, with consultation fees at £80.
The clinic’s three doctors will initially prescribe for chronic pain and mental health, with the majority of patients so far seeking treatment for indications such as anxiety, ADHD, PTSD and insomnia.
Zerenia, which already has 14 clinics across Latin America, has treated around 14,000 patients with medical cannabis, and according to Zerenia’s UK clinical operations director, Freeda Solliman, mental health is the predominant indication prescribed for.
Many of these patients now get their prescriptions funded via private insurers, a model which the clinic now hopes to replicate in the UK.
“In Latin America we’ve built a body of evidence there to support private insurers to fund medical cannabis treatment,” Solliman told Cannabis Health.
“We’ve seen about 14,000 patients who have been treated with medical cannabis and a large number of those actually get their prescriptions funded by private insurers. That’s the kind of model that you want to bring here.”
Zerenia has partnered with T21, which subsidises the cost of prescriptions, to help build the growing body of evidence for the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis.
“Our goals are quite well aligned, we want to build the evidence and we want to make medical cannabis more affordable for patients,” continued Solliman.
“We want to work to encourage the NHS first and foremost, but also private insurers to fund at least part of the costs involved in being treated with medical cannabis.”
She added: “We did our research to understand some of the bottlenecks in the industry and how hard it is for some patients to go through the process, so we wanted to support patients through that and try to offer them more of a seamless experience.”
Zerenia is now taking on new patients who wish to join T21, or those who may want to try a different clinic.
Initial consultations for new patients are priced at £80, for those transfering from a different clinic, £40. Find more information here
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