New Cannabis app being used by UNM
Researchers at The University of New Mexico found that medical cannabis provides immediate symptom relief across dozens of health symptoms with very minimal negative side effects.
These studies were analyzed by data collected with the Releaf App, which was developed by co-authors Franco Brockelman, Keenan Keeling and Branden Hall. With nearly 100,000 recorded users on the app, it is currently the largest repository of user-entered information on the consumption and effects of cannabis use in the United States.
The Releaf App was developed commercially and released in 2016. Since then it has been the only incentive free patient educational software program that is designed for recording and analyzing how each session of cannabis use relates to immediate changes in the intensity level of the symptoms and side effects
“If the results found in our studies can be extrapolated to the general population, cannabis could systematically replace multi-billion dollar medication industries around the world. it is likely already beginning to do so.” – Jacob Vigil
This mobile technology assessment app allows patients to monitor and manage their decisions on cannabis consumption under realistic conditions while avoiding the restrictions of retrospective survey collection methods (e.g., memory bias, social desirability effects) making it an ideal research tool for determining real-world cannabis use.
In the first study, patients with symptoms that range from seizures to depression from 27 different health conditions, reported an average symptom reduction of nearly 4 points on a 1-10 scale when consuming cannabis in different forms from concentrates to topicals.
The second study focused solely on the use of raw natural cannabis flower or buds for treating insomnia. The results had a similar level of effectiveness that varied depending on the characteristics of the flower and combustion methods. Both studies were supported in part by the University of New Mexico Medical Cannabis Research Fund, which was designed for clinical studies on the types of biomedical cannabis based research. These types of research have been difficult for conventional government entities to fund alone.
Most medications that are prescribed to patients includes a long list of unavoidable negative side effects and risks of serious health issues and even death. This allows alternative forms of medication to be available for patient preferences and healthcare industry needs. Medical cannabis is quickly gaining popularity with the highest level of use among older people and patients with significant health conditions.
“Observational studies are more appropriate than experimental research designs for measuring how patients choose to consume cannabis and the effects of those choices,” said Vigil. “By collecting massive amounts of patient-entered information on actual cannabis used under real-life circumstances we are able to measure why patients consume cannabis, the types of products that patients use, and the immediate and longer-term effects of such use. In other words, many of the important and practical research questions that randomized controlled trials fail to address.”
Cannabis has been highly recommended as a potential treatment for a wide range of medical conditions from post-traumatic stress disorder to cancer. It has known to be the most consistent support for the treatment of chronic pain, epilepsy and spasticity. These studies implies just how wide cannabis’ therapeutic potential could be and are among the first to record how the components of cannabis consumed by millions of people in the U.S. every day are likely to affect the various types of health issues in symptom severity levels and learning the positive and negative side effects.
One of the most significant patterns in the current results was the amount of symptoms that appeared to improve following cannabis consumption. More than 94% of cannabis users reported a reduction in symptom severity across the various health conditions recorded in the Releaf App. This may reflect the ability of the plant’s phytocannabinoids to influence the human endocannabinoid system, which regulates both mental and physical health and behavioral systems.
In addition to the therapeutic benefits, these studies also showed that cannabis consumption causes frequent various side effects that are generally mild and non-serious. Positive and context-specific side effects were reported much more commonly than negative side effects by the Releaf App users. The most frequent positive reports were described as relaxed, peaceful, and comfy while the least frequent negative reports were described as paranoia, confusion, and headaches.
Ultimately, cannabis will most likely find a permanent place next to our modern supply of medication options if it can treat users’ health conditions more effectively and more safely than conventional pharmaceutical drugs. As in the case of insomnia, prescription sleep aids such as antidepressants are associated with highly clinical obstacles and increases risk of depression.
The common use of cannabis as a sleep aid and for treating other countless health issues shows the importance of further medical research through the Releaf App and studying its effectiveness as a substitute for other substances such alcohol, over the counter sleep aids, and prescription medications.
According to Stith, “The economic impact of cannabis treatment should also be considered given the current burden of opioid and other high-risk prescriptions on healthcare systems, which have been forced to implement costly modifications to general patient care practices, including prescription monitoring programs, drug screening, and more frequent doctor-patient interactions.”
“In addition, if the short-term risk-benefit profile of cannabis found in our studies reflects its longer-term therapeutic potential, substitution of cannabis for traditional pharmaceuticals could reduce the risk of dangerous drug interactions and the costs associated with taking multiple medications by allowing patients to treat a constellation of comorbidities with a single treatment modality. ”
“If the results found in our studies can be extrapolated to the general population, cannabis could systematically replace multi-billion dollar medication industries around the world. It is likely already beginning to do so,” Vigil added.
New Cannabis app being used by UNM