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Researchers at the University of Mississippi have developed a patch to deliver THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. They say it could be used to treat pain, glaucoma, and the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, Mississippi News Now reports. The patch is designed to be used in the mouth, above the gum line.

The patch has been tested in rabbits and pigs, the article notes. “I’m expecting even better results in humans,” researcher Michael A. Repka said in a news release.

The researchers said the patch may be more effective than THC pills. “The main issue with oral THC delivery is that the drug gets metabolized before it reaches the bloodstream, resulting in a lot of variability in the dosage patients receive,” Repka said. “That has been a longtime problem. Delivering through the oral mucosa gives better absorption with minimal variability. When it goes into the mucosa, it bypasses liver metabolism, allowing for a lower dosage of the drug than when delivered orally.”

Researcher Mahmoud A. ElSohly noted that the patch avoids some of the potential problems with smoking marijuana.”The problem with smoking marijuana is that when you smoke [the drug], you take even a single puff, you absorb so much all at once, which rushes into the brain and causes side effects of smoking marijuana,” he said. “If the high is too high, then you actually end up with the opposite activity of the high, which is the paranoia, the dysphoria, and the problems associated with that.”


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