As medical cannabis becomes more mainstream, doctors, as well as their patients, are looking for the best treatment combination for individual conditions. Data is being collected today that will enable us to match specific plants and treatment options with specific ailments.
To best understand what options are available its important to first recognize that there are many ways cannabis flowers can differ. Cannabis is an herb that contains hundreds of active compounds. The therapeutic effects of the primary ingredients may be synergized by other compounds, while the side effects of the same primary active ingredients may be mitigated by other compounds. The efficacy of cannabis depends entirely on the interaction of several or all of the active ingredients found in the plant as a whole.
The various compositional factors combined with the interaction and reaction between flowers will ultimately determine the side effect of the bud. Technologies are starting to emerge that will pave the way for personalized and reliable dosing, which is critical for optimum patient care and product adoption.
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Standardizing medical cannabis will help to fix the current unpredictability associated with cannabis effectiveness, opening up a whole new world of possibilities for new types of plant-based medicines.
One of the ways this is being done is to measure the strength and strand of cannabis for therapeutic combination treatment. This can only be achieved by accumulating knowledge of the interaction between the active ingredients found in cannabis and its correlation with specific health conditions. Fortunately, this is becoming feasible due to new analytical diagnostic technologies, such as those combining near-infrared spectroscopy, computer vision algorithms and machine learning – something we at GemmaCert are doing with our new testing device, which accurately tests the whole bud for THC and CBD levels (the two most well-known cannabinoids).
Growers, distributors and dispensaries are now armed with the plant diagnostics, the next step is to empower the medical community and boost tracking techniques.
By tracking patient usage and accumulating this data, we will be able to decipher the synergistic potential of the cannabis plant by establishing a correlation between specific flower composition and particular health conditions.
The medical world already acknowledges the effectiveness of multi-drug therapy to treat a range of ailments. For example, the AIDS Cocktail that was first introduced in
1995 has since resulted in dramatic improvements for people using the combination treatment. The same may be true for treatment based on the entourage effect attributed to cannabis.
In order to treat, we must measure and correlate. Measuring the interaction of several or all of the active ingredients in the whole cannabis plant is critical for developing a promising pipeline of new standardized and effect-optimized therapeutic cannabis products based on the whole flower. GemmaCert’s device tests the whole flower; it does not crush or destroy samples in order to get an accurate reading.
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As the cannabis industry matures, consolidates and economies of scale come into play, producers will need to automate their operations, and sorting by composition and potency will ensure that products are packed and labeled for specific health conditions.
Tell us what you think in the comments below. As a patient, are you willing to share your treatment schedule and results in order to advance medical science? Doctors, how are you currently prescribing medical cannabis and what are you doing to track you patient’s side effects?
About the Author: Guy Setton, Pd.D. is CEO and Co-Founder of Israel-based GemmaCert, which tests the composition and potency of whole cannabis flowers. GemmaCert is contributing to the standardization of medical cannabis products by offering peace of mind to patients utilizing cannabis for medical related purposes by assuring the potency of the specific product they consume.