Smith renews calls for industry to conduct clinical studies
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Caribbean Association of Pharmacists (CAP) President Dr Marvin Smith said the association supports the legalization of medical cannabis and believes the government should immediately move to allow the use of CBD derivatives of the plant.
CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana that has less than 0.3 percent of its psychoactive component, THC.
Last month, the Medical Association of The Bahamas expressed support for the legalization of medical cannabis, noting the time has come to re-evaluate its position given the scientific evidence which support cannabis use in several disease states.
In its position paper, the MAB said no additional regulation for pharmaceutical cannabinoids was needed, “as the side effect profile does not appear to be any more dangerous than narcotics or other controlled drugs that are currently available”.
Smith applauded the MAB for its position.
He said while the pharmaceutical association agrees pharmaceutical cannabinoid “in one or more of its forms is an actual effective treatment” for several disease states, local testing should follow as the next step.
“For us we take it a step further. What we say it’s not just that a doctor should write stuff that has clinical testing… we are also saying is we should also put in mechanisms to allow for local clinical testing to test the safety, the efficacy, the dosing of locally produced cannabis for medical purposes,” Smith told Eyewitness News.
While acknowledging the existing data of various strains of the plant, Smith said those same strains remain untested in The Bahamas, where subtle changes in the conditions and the environment can impact THC and CBD levels.
He said something as simple as the salt content in the air can affect the potency of the plant.
The CAP advocated for the government to allow clinical studies in January 2018.
In its paper, the MAB said it does not object to the use of CBD based products because they “appear to have limited toxicity and minimal potential for abuse”.
Smith said the pharmaceutical association agrees with the position, adding it is the view of the association these products be automatically legalized across the region.
He said: “it is a no brainer that should have been done years ago”.
“They agree that there is really no objection to their use,” he said.
“We actually believe as the pharmaceutical association that there is proven scientific information for their use. We feel they should definitely be available for use, particularly if they do not have a point higher than 0.3 percent THC. These are just oils and the body can use these for a number of different things.”
CBD containing less than 0.3 percent of THC is a non-controlled substance across the United States.
As it relates to the use of the whole plant Cannabis for teas, edibles or any inhalation for medicinal purposes, Smith said the CAP cannot support this, a view held by the medical association on the basis that there was “insufficient evidence to determine appropriate dosing for symptom control, while minimizing side effects”.
“I think he medical association is correct,” Smith said.
“What we really should be doing is walking through the various factors that we would do for any other. We need to know the concentration of the plant… because the concentration can be anywhere from 0.3 percent to 20 percent. That depends on the strain; it depends on how its grown; when it is grown; when it is harvested — all these different things.
“At the end of the day, you want to make sure you have quantification of what the quality is.”
The Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana’s (BNCM) preliminary report was tabled in Parliament earlier this month. It recommended the legalization of medical cannabis and the decriminalization of the possession of up to one ounce of the substance.
The final report is expected to be submitted by the first quarter of this year.