The Rotation: Vol. 18
CAMH Gets Funding for Study on Psilocybin, Cannabis Production Showing No Signs of Slowing Down in Canada and Health Canada Releases CBD Report
CAMH Receives First Federal Grant to Study Psilocybin as Treatment for Depression
Can psilocybin be used to treat the depression without the psychedelic effects? That is what the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is hoping to answer after receiving the first ever federal grant from the Canadian Institute for Health Research, reports the CBC.
- Researchers at CAMH are looking to explore if the psychoactive effects associated with psilocybin or “magic mushrooms” are necessary to alleviate treatment-resistant depression in adults.
- The common approach with psychedelic psychotherapy requires support during the treatment, which can be both time intensive and costly.
- The study comprises 60 adults living with depression with a random third of those participants getting a full dose of psilocybin plus a blocker that will stop the drug’s psychedelic effects.
- Another 20 participants will get psilocybin and a placebo, while the third group will be given a placebo and the blocker.
- All participants will also receive 12 hours of psychotherapy.
It appears as though interest in researching the medicinal value of psychedelics without the “trip” is growing rapidly, as we mentioned this topic in last weeks Rotation. Regardless of whether the psychedelic experience is necessary for the medicinal benefits of psilocybin, it’s encouraging to see government funding being funneled towards psychedelic research, and hopefully this will lead to an increase in well-designed and rigorous trials for psychedelics.
Increase in Cannabis Production Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop
Health Canada has released their most recent cannabis sales data report that indicates the amount of packaged inventory still far exceeds total sales, reports StratCann.
- The most recent report covers up to December 2021 with 16.6 million packaged unit of cannabis sold in both medical and non-medical channels.
- Of those sales, dried flower represented 58%, edibles 24% and extracts 17% of totals sales.
- Data from the report shows that the total inventory of packaged units of dried cannabis held by cultivators, processors, distributors, and retailers represents 3.7 times total sales figures.
- The area of licensed indoor and outdoor cultivation held by federal licence holders also continued to increase since the release of the previous report.
It appears cannabis producers in Canada have not learned their lesson. The oversupply of cannabis has seemingly been an issue since the start of legalization, and it looks like nothing has really changed since then. This data suggests that most of the cannabis produced since 2018 was either stored in inventory or destroyed. Despite issues like excise tax and marketing restrictions being commonly cited by licence holders as the reason for billions in losses, the fact that most of the cannabis being produced is simply not selling, is clearly the major problem. Many industry experts are pointing to the lack of quality products currently available in the market, and we tend to agree with this sentiment. Despite some significant progress in product quality, legal cannabis is generally still very expensive for a predominantly average product and producers that can meet consumer expectations are seeing some success.
Report from the Scientific Advisory Committee on CBD Released
After a 3 years consultation process that included a nine-member external Science Advisory Committee on Health Products Containing Cannabis for human and animal use, the report released by Health Canada provides recommendations for some very limited forms of therapeutic CBD use for both humans and dogs.
- Beginning in 2019, the committee examined the prospect of products containing CBD to be purchased without the need of a prescription from a medical professional.
- The report contains several recommendations and do not represent any regulatory changes, but rather potential changes we may see in the future.
- The report concluded that CBD is safe and tolerable for short-term use (maximum of 30 days) at 20-200 mg/day dosage (orally), provided they discuss the use of all other medications and substances used with their pharmacist.
- The report also recommends that CBD products contain clear dosing instructions, easy adverse reaction reporting, and administering CBD to pets should require consultation with a veterinarian.
We are seeing mixed reactions from the industry regarding the release of this report. Some argue that the report should not have taken this long to be released, that CBD is already widely available in designated cannabis retail stores across the country and that creating a new class of non-medical CBD health products may suggest to the public greater evidence for CBD’s medical benefits than there actually is evidence for. However, others argue that the report lays the groundwork for introducing CBD products over the counter at pharmacies, or through other retailers like health stores. It will also allow individuals seeking out CBD products to have a conversation with their pharmacist about use, dosages, and possible interactions with other medications. Furthermore, products sold under this category would allow for health claims to be made once implemented.