What should be the standard unit of measure for cannabis research?
In a new age of cannabis research, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends setting 5 milligrams as the standard unit of measure for research purposes.
For the everyday cannabis user, this news won’t concern you directly. Rather, this is a guideline from the Institute designed to help create a standardized testing scheme that researchers can use to begin setting standards in cannabis research.
“Existing experimental data is often difficult to interpret because of the wide variability in the effectiveness of cannabis plant material and extracts, the lack of standard usage measures, and the multitude of ways people consume cannabis. To correct this, NIDA worked with the National Cancer Institute; the National Institute of Heart, Lung and Blood; and the National Institute of Mental Health published a notice in the NIH Guide instructing researchers funded by these institutes to report their findings from clinical research on cannabis using a standard unit of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) of 5 milligrams to measure and report. ” – SOURCE
Of course, some cannabis users may be skeptical about this, especially since NIDA has funded studies primarily trying to find the damage in cannabis – but rest assured that this is neither “good” nor “bad” when it comes to cannabis research.
This simply creates a unit that the scientific community can use when testing the plants. More importantly, this standard unit of measure only applies to THC [currently].
However, as interest in other cannabinoids increases, we can assume that standard units of measure will continue to be used in the future.
Would this apply to consumers?
I know some people might think, “If NIDA sets a standard unit of measure, it will ultimately limit the THC in my products!”
But even this has nothing to do with consumers. I mean in some places they use 5 milligrams as the standard dose in food.
“A standard unit is neither a limit nor a recommendation for consumption that would apply to consumers or pharmacies. It’s just a unit of measure to make cannabis research easier. “
This approach has been applied to other drugs to facilitate the research discussed here.
“Similar standard measures were also used for other substances. The researchers use morphine milligram equivalents to compare the effects of opioids with very different potencies. Research on alcohol and tobacco was facilitated by defining a standard drink (0.6 fl oz or 14 g of pure alcohol) or a cigarette. “
As you can see, this is a common practice in drug research and it’s quite shocking that a standard unit of measure wasn’t established sooner. One has to consider, so to speak, the validity of any research that NIDA carried out prior to drawing up these protocols.
Especially when comparing studies and creating new “datasets” that extrapolate data from older studies. It would be very difficult to say, “Cannabis makes X, Y, or Z” if different THC ratios were used in different studies.
Some “confidence”, of course, that scientists would make the right adjustments to these metrics – but for someone who has researched cannabis for over 15 years – I’ve seen my fair share of NIDA-sponsored research, which is ridiculous by today’s standards.
For example, the study of permanent brain changes in rhesus monkeys that was published in the 1970s would be considered pseudoscience by today’s standards.
What about testing for high THC – would that hinder that?
NIDA simply wants to establish a “norm” within the scientific community. When a research group wants to test potent cannabis and its effects, they can say that the dose was “X times” higher than the “standard unit of measure” – which would give clinical researchers insight into the correlation between effect and dose.
“A standard unit does not limit how much THC researchers can use in experiments – they can use multiples (or fractions) of the unit. However, the introduction of a standard unit for measurement and reporting purposes will make it easier to interpret the data and make it possible to design drug effect experiments that are relevant to practice and make it easier to translate this research into policy and clinical practice. “
This will help establish dose protocols for cannabinoid-based drugs. The pharmaceutical industry will benefit most in adopting these metrics as it would provide a means of quantifying the effects of their chemical preparations.
Is this becoming a global practice?
Most likely, we will see gradual adoption of this policy – especially as more countries around the world begin to legalize. What we do know is that the race to make cannabis-based medicines is upon us.
As I wrote in previous articles, the way we use cannabis for medicinal purposes is not going to stay as it is.
We’re going to see a significant shift in cannabis-based medicines, possibly with a stronger focus on cannabinoid acids, which are far more bioavailable than neutral cannabinoids like THC or CBD.
Of course, the metrics we’re talking about won’t be fixed for THCa – but they will be the precursor to future standardization of cannabinoids.
Is that a good thing?
As I said – neither good nor bad, it’s just what has to happen next. When we first dreamed of a legalized world, people thought of a simple plant.
But for anyone who has ever grown cannabis – they know that cannabis is far from “easy”. It’s a complex plant with hundreds of connections that interact with our endocannabinoid system on an intimate level.
I just hope that NIDA can begin to take a more nuanced approach to drug discovery and not look at these substances through a pathological lens. I understand that they are the institute against “Drug Abuse,” but they should rather be the “Institute for Drug Research” – to remove the stigma behind substance use.
Because while some people abuse cannabis, the vast majority do not and our research should reflect this point.
NEW GOVERNMENT CANS FOR THE ANNOUNCED, READ THIS ..
The government announces that 5 mg of THC is the test dose!