Is all cannabis the same? How do its variations impact us?

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Are you interested in learning more about the cannabinoids you use? Researchers from Monash University are trying to answer the questions ‘Is all cannabis the same?’ and ‘How do its variations impact us?’ and they are turning to the Northern Rivers community for answers.

‘We wanted to focus on the Northern Rivers region which is more diverse in its cannabinoid profiles than that which can be found in the big cities,’ Says Yann Chye, research fellow on the Cannabis Components Research Study team.

Lead researcher Professor Murat Yücel says that while ‘We know that cannabis is a hugely diverse plant. It has hundreds of chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids. Yet, we don’t know much about how they affect us.’

 

By using state-of the art high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC-UV), they hope to quantify the level of cannabinoids present in the cannabis that participants regularly smoke and see whether different cannabinoids interact with participants’ wellbeing.

Early data illustrates the breadth of cannabinoids present in cannabis. It is exactly this profile that highlights the importance of considering the diverse qualities of the cannabis plant, rather than minimising its variance in assuming that all cannabis is equal.

Despite COVID restrictions, the Melbourne-based study team has persisted in engaging with the community, using Zoom video call software to run all assessments.

‘We were not about to abandon this incredible community when faced with COVID hurdles. For so many people, the effects of cannabis are life changing, for better or for worse. Hearing these stories and being able to link people’s experiences with what they are consuming is really exciting and meaningful work,’ says Yann Chye.

The research team have now analysed 29 samples and interviewed over 30 participants, but they require significantly more participants yet.

They encourage community members from the Northern Rivers region – both cannabis consumers (who smoke cannabis 3+ days a week) and non-consumers, to participate in the study.

Participants complete three online interviews over a five-month period and will be reimbursed for their time. Cannabis consumers are also asked to provide 3 x 0.5-gram samples of the cannabis they consume over the five-month period. In return, they will receive a cannabinoid profile of each sample.

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