Cannabis Research: 5 Trends to Watch in 2023

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In “Five Cannabis Research Trends to Watch in 2023,” researchers are exploring the latest developments in cannabis research. With the increased legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes, scientific interest in cannabis has surged. From advancements in cultivation practices to new delivery systems for cannabis-based medicines, this article delves into the exciting trends that are shaping the future of cannabis research. Additionally, it highlights the growing focus on the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol (CBD), the emergence of minor cannabinoids, advancements in delivery methods, and the impact of changes in the legal landscape. With these trends taking center stage, researchers are pushing the boundaries of our understanding of cannabis and its potential benefits.

Modern cultivation and production techniques

As the cannabis industry continues to thrive, there is a growing investment in modern cultivation techniques and controlled agricultural practices. Companies are actively researching and adopting advanced growing systems such as hydroponics and aeroponics to optimize plant growth and yield. Additionally, genetic engineering techniques are being utilized to create new cannabis strains with specific desired characteristics, such as higher CBD content or enhanced terpene profiles.

Sustainability and ethical considerations are also gaining importance in the cannabis industry. Consumer education and news coverage have led to increased awareness about the environmental impact of cannabis production. Researchers are focusing on precision irrigation methods to conserve water and reduce waste. They are also developing biologically derived pesticide products that are less harmful to the environment. Energy efficiency and closed-loop cannabis extraction systems are also areas of active research to minimize the industry’s carbon footprint.

Furthermore, as the demand for standardized and quality-controlled cannabis products continues to grow, there is a strong emphasis on implementing Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in cultivation. Regular testing and personnel training are being implemented to ensure consistent and safe products for consumers and researchers alike. By obtaining high-quality products, it not only benefits academic research but also provides security for physicians and patients in the medical field.

Increasing focus on the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol

Five Cannabis Research Trends to Watch in 2023
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Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, has garnered significant attention in cannabis research. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce a “high” and has shown potential therapeutic effects in various medical conditions. Animal studies and human research suggest that CBD may be beneficial in treating depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Alzheimer’s disease, and pain.

Another area of interest is the potential use of CBD in treating substance use disorder. Several ongoing clinical trials are evaluating the efficacy of CBD in treating various forms of addiction, including cannabis use disorder, opioid use disorder, alcohol use disorder, and cocaine use disorder.

To ensure the safety and efficacy of CBD, researchers are working on developing quality assurance standards for testing CBD products. Currently, there is a research gap in this area, and more studies are needed to establish appropriate quality control measures. Additionally, the development of high CBD, low THC cannabis strains through molecular breeding holds promise for further advancements in cannabis research.

Minor cannabinoids taking center stage

While THC and CBD are the major cannabinoids found in cannabis, there are over 120 other minor cannabinoids that are present in smaller amounts. These minor cannabinoids, such as cannabinol and cannabigerol, have shown potential therapeutic benefits in conditions such as neuropathic pain, neurodegenerative diseases, epilepsy, cancer, and skin disorders.

Five Cannabis Research Trends to Watch in 2023
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Despite the promising results from preliminary research, most knowledge about the medicinal benefits of minor cannabinoids comes from small-scale studies rather than large clinical trials. To address this, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) has expressed interest in promoting mechanistic research on the therapeutic benefits of minor cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis. As researchers gain a deeper understanding of the cannabis plant and its compounds, it is anticipated that more applications for minor cannabinoids will be explored in the pharmaceutical industry.

New and improved delivery systems for cannabis-based medicines

One of the challenges in developing cannabis-based medicines is finding effective ways to deliver the active compounds to the body. Traditional methods such as smoking can be detrimental to health and do not provide consistent dosing. Additionally, the low solubility and poor bioavailability of cannabinoids hinder the clinical development of oral formulations.

Researchers and pharmaceutical companies are actively exploring new delivery methods to enhance the efficacy and safety of cannabis products. Sublingual formulations, which are sprayed under the tongue and absorbed through the mucous membranes in the mouth, allow for quick and efficient absorption into the bloodstream.

Another promising research area is the use of nanotechnology for the delivery of cannabis-based medicines. Polymeric nanocarriers have shown potential for ocular drug delivery of CBD, and nanoencapsulation techniques are being investigated for the treatment of opioid dependence.

Transdermal patches, which release active compounds through the skin, are also gaining popularity as delivery systems for cannabinoids. These patches provide a constant release of cannabinoids, bypassing the first-pass metabolism and ensuring consistent plasma levels.

The development of improved delivery methods for cannabis-based medicines is an active area of research and holds great potential for future treatments.

Cannabis research expands due to changes in the legal landscape

The legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use in several jurisdictions has paved the way for increased cannabis research. In the United States, the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden in December 2022, removed many barriers to cannabis research. Previously, researchers faced obstacles and delays in obtaining approvals from multiple agencies.

Five Cannabis Research Trends to Watch in 2023

Despite marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I substance, the new legislation facilitates trials and the development of FDA-approved drugs that incorporate marijuana or CBD. This represents a significant step toward understanding the medicinal properties and potential therapeutic uses of cannabis.

However, further improvements are needed within government and regulatory agencies to ensure safety and access in the medical cannabis community. Well-designed clinical trials, guidelines for production and testing of cannabis products, systems for monitoring adverse events, and collaboration on education and information resources are necessary to ensure the availability of safe and effective phytocannabinoid products.

In conclusion, the field of cannabis research continues to evolve and expand as researchers explore modern cultivation techniques, investigate the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol and minor cannabinoids, develop new delivery systems for cannabis-based medicines, and navigate the changing legal landscape. These research trends offer promising avenues for advancements in cannabis science, ultimately benefiting patients and consumers seeking evidence-based treatments.

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