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article imageStudy shows 45% of patients end benzodiazepine use with cannabis

By Karen Graham     Jan 25, 2019 in Health
On Thursday, Canadian cannabis company, Aleafia Health Inc. released what it believes is the first study reporting reduced benzodiazepine use among patients initiated and monitored on medical cannabis.
Concord, Ontario -based Aleafia Health is a medicinal cannabis company that also operates a major medical clinic, cannabis cultivation, and R&D facilities. Aleafia has a planned and fully-funded annual production capacity of 98,000 kilograms of dried cannabis flower.
Aleafia's peer-reviewed study was published January 24 in the journal, Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. Entitled, “Reduction of Benzodiazepine Use in Patients Prescribed Medical Cannabis," the study found that 45.2 percent of patients in the study successfully discontinued their pre-existing benzodiazepine therapy within six months of starting medical cannabis.
The study also notes that patients reported a decrease in daily distress due to their medical conditions. The 146 patients in the study, with an average age of 47 years, received physician-led treatment in Aleafia Health's wholly owned Canabo Medical Clinics.
Bedrocan; flos 5 gram
medicinale cannabis. dronabinol (THC) 19%;
cannabidiol (CDB)
Bedrocan; flos 5 gram medicinale cannabis. dronabinol (THC) 19%; cannabidiol (CDB)
Medische-wiet (CC BY-SA 3.0)
The study was limited because of the small sample size, making it difficult to make a strong assessment of the link between the medical conditions of the patients' benzodiazepine use.
What are benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines are a class of psychoactive drugs used to treat a range of conditions, including anxiety and insomnia, as well as reduce seizures, relax the muscles, and induce sleep. This medication is the most widely prescribed medications in the United States, particularly among older patients.
Short-term use of this medication is generally deemed to be safe, but there is a potential for tolerance, dependence, and other adverse effects. It is possible to overdose on benzodiazepines, and mixing them with alcohol or other substances can be fatal.
Marijuana plants.
Marijuana plants.
The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction (CCSAA) warns that benzodiazepines may lead to serious long-term complications, including dependence, overdose, and death. According to the CCSAA, fully 10 percent of the Canadian population takes prescription sedatives.
"The study results are encouraging, and this work is concurrent with growing public interest in a rapidly developing Canadian cannabis market," said lead author Chad Purcell. "We are advising the public to observe caution. The results do not suggest that cannabis should be used an alternative to conventional therapies. Our purpose is inspiring others to advance current cannabis understanding as we collect stronger efficacy and safety data that will lead to responsible policy and recommended practices for use."
Aleafia is one of many penny stocks, and most of them are trading high on the Canadian Stock Exchange, according to Pot Stock News. Aleafia's stock is up almost 50 percent this year. According to Yahoo Finance, the stock is trading at $2.09 a share, up +$0.34 (+19.43%).
More about benzodiazepine, Cannabis, Aleafia, Canada, Addiction
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