News On The Green: Thc Dosing Must Be Standardized

Joshua Lee
3 min read
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NIDA: THC Dosing Must be Standardized

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is asking for guidance in establishing a standardized dose of THC. In a
recent notice, NIDA said that while THC concentrates in cannabis products across the nation have been rising in recent years, researchers still don’t understand the adverse effects of various THC levels. The agency suggests introducing a standard unit of measure for THC, similar to those used for alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals. According to the Request For Information, NIDA is seeking comments from stakeholders concerning the benefits of standardized dosing to research efforts and a suggestion that 5mg become the standard dosage of THC for all cannabis products. Standardizing THC doses has proven tricky in the past, because different patients respond to the chemical in different ways. In February, NIDA Director Nora Volkow wrote: “The development of such a measure has been challenging, due to concerns that the effects of any standardized dose would differ on the basis of mode of consumption or, possibly, how it is combined with other cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD).” But she goes on to write that these “complexities” do not negate the need for a standard unit of THC measurement. Volkow says the agency is supporting the 5mg dosage suggestion because “this dose has psychoactive effects regardless of route of administration, but is mostly devoid of adverse effects.” She points out that future research could lead to further refinement and a different dosing standard.

UCLA to Study Terpenes

Last week, a University of California Los Angeles researcher was awarded a National Institute of Health grant to study if patients suffering from pain can use terpenes to reduce the amount of opioids they are using. According to a press release from
UCLA Health, the $3.9 million grant came from the NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and was awarded to Ziva Cooper, head of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative. The award will be administered over five years. The funding will allow Cooper and her team to examine two terpenes: myrcene and ß-caryophyllene. The compounds will be administered separately as well as with THC to determine their efficacy in combating pain and serving as an alternative to opioids. The research team will also be using the opportunity to study the so-called “entourage effect”—the synergistic increase of therapeutic effects that reportedly occurs when multiple cannabinoids interact with one another rather than in isolation. “Specific chemicals in the cannabis plant taken alone or together may be effective options with minimal side effects,” said Cooper. “Placebo-controlled studies to explore this urgent area of research are desperately needed.” She said she believes this study will provide findings that can address the current opioid dependency crisis faced by the US. Cooper previously received a $3.5 million grant to study how the effects of cannabis and cannabinoids affect men and women differently. She became the first research director of the Cannabis Research Initiative in January of 2019.


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