Santé Cannabis study shows beneficial effects of CBD treatments at Quebec clinics

The medical cannabis clinic and research centre operates in Montreal, Quebec City, Sherbrooke and Pointe-Claire.

CBD-rich products are commonly administered as extracts or oils, and inhaled dried flowers. Tinnakorn Jorruang/Getty Images


Much has been claimed about the efficacy of CBD in the treatment of various medical conditions.

CBD or cannabidiol is one of the many compounds found in the cannabis plant.

But unlike THC or tetrahydracannabinol, CBD does not produce the high commonly associated with cannabis consumption.

As researchers with Santé Cannabis note in a new study, CBD is “widely touted as a panacea for a wide range of health problems and has been marketed as a dietary and ‘wellness’ product”.

Santé Cannabis is a specialized Canadian medical cannabis clinic and research centre in the province of Quebec, with clinics in Montreal, Quebec City, Sherbrooke and Pointe-Claire.

“However, the evidence of its effectiveness for indications other than drug-resistant pediatric epilepsy conditions remains very limited … and safety considerations such as drug-drug interactions associated with unsupervised use remain…,” the authors wrote in a report.

Hence, a need for more of what the researchers call “real-world evidence” or RWE.

To find out, the study did a retrospective examination of patients who prescribed CBD-rich products by donctors at the centre’s four locations in Quebec.

The study looked at pain, anxiety, depression symptoms, and wellbeing of 279 participants.

“Our findings show that overall effectiveness of CBD treatment is primarily by patients with moderate to severe symptoms,” the authors reported.

They suggested that a “deficiency in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) may provide a possible explanation for this result”.

To explain, the endocannabinoid system is a mechanism in the human body that basically keeps everything in order.

The system is associated with a wide range of bodily functions, including sleep, appetite and digestion, and so on.

The human body produces endocannabinoids naturally, which are similar to cannabinoids or compounds found in the cannabis plant.

Going back to the study, the researchers reported that their study shows the “potential of RWE for the advancement of medical cannabis research and practice guidelines, especially in a world where CBD use is exponentially increasing but scientific data are limited”.

“It revealed that CBD-rich treatments have a beneficial impact on patients with self-reported moderate or severe symptoms of pain, anxiety, or depression and overall wellbeing but not in patients with mild symptoms,” they wrote.

Why does CBD work better for patients with moderate to severe symptoms but not with those reporting mild symptoms?

The authors suggested that the endocannabinoid system or ECS could be “more deficient in patients with moderate/severe symptoms compared to mild symptoms leading to increased improvement in the first group”.

“The absence of significant improvement for patients with mild symptoms at baseline may be explained by a smaller margin for symptom improvement,” they wrote.

Additionally, “In such patients, CBD treatments may have been targeted to other clinical symptoms not assessed in the current study.”

Also, “There is a probable placebo effect; however, there were no differences in initial CBD doses between the severity groups.”

The researchers also recommended further studies.

The reason for this continuing examination is “as of now the hyped, and often illegal, marketed claims of CBD as a wellness product are unsubstantiated”.

The study is titled “Cannabidiol use and effectiveness: real-world evidence from a Canadian medical cannabis clinic”.

The paper was published online by the Journal of Cannabis Research on June 23.

Authors Lucile Rapin, Rihab Gamaoun, Cynthia El Hage, Maria Fernanda Arboleda, and Erin Prosk are connected with Santé Cannabis.

Follow Carlito Pablo on Twitter at @carlitopablo

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