Whakamana Backs Latest University Research on Cannabis Use
“Managing dose levels is absolutely key.” - Abe Gray
The NZ Institute for Cannabis Education, Research and Development based in Christchurch, says a new study released by
the University of Bath, underscores the importance of introducing standard units for cannabis.
Cannabis academic and expert, Whakamana’s Abe Gray, says the findings add to a growing body of evidence that indicates
the health effects of cannabis are related to dose-levels. He supports the researchers calling for the introduction and
prescribing of standard units for cannabis, as managing dose levels is absolutely key.
“Micro-dosing is a fundamental part of ensuring efficacy related to the health benefits of using cannabis,” he says.
“Finding the right amount of THC for a person will be impossible if the product doesn't contain standard dose
information, and they can only estimate the actual amount of THC in it. That’s why Whakamana’s focus is on education,
research and development so that people can make informed decisions based on robust information. We aim to be a source
of credible information supported by evidence based research and findings.”
This work by Bath University reiterating that identifying and communicating recommended unit levels of THC (the
psychoactive component in Cannabis), is important for people to make those informed decisions,” he says.
The study says identifying and promoting recommended standard units related to THC, which has been commonplace for
alcohol for many years – has never been adopted in health guidelines for cannabis. This is despite widespread use of the
drug around the world and increasing moves to legalise its sale for recreational consumption. The researchers, from the Addiction
and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath with collaborators from King’s College London, UCL and the Australian
Catholic University in Melbourne, suggest that more needs to be done to make users aware of the dose of ‘THC’ – the
drug’s main psychoactive component.
They suggest a unit level should be set at 5mg of THC.
Gray says education and dissemination of robust research and information is critical, particularly in New Zealand where
a 2020 referendum could see the landscape change regarding cannabis use in this country.
“Let’s be ready,” he says. “The fact that cannabis use has been hidden and considered a bit seedy has not helped to
position this plant as the incredible living organism it is - from a hemp perspective, from a health perspective and
As far as the risks go, of people consuming / taking too much THC, lead author of the Psychological Medicine Study Sam Craft from King’s College London said:
These risks though might be modifiable and we believe that the introduction of a unit system would help both users and
healthcare professionals by providing clearer information on the types of cannabis products they consume and their
The publication coincides with a second study from the team, also published today in the journal Psychological Medicine
which examined the relationship between using various cannabis products and key health outcomes in over 55,000 people
across 175 countries.
Using the Global Drug Survey
, consumers were asked about the types of cannabis products they used as well as the severity of problems relating to
cannabis use including on their mental health. The results showed that people varied widely in the combination of
different cannabis products they used, and that these were strongly associated with particular health outcomes. For
example, those who typically used higher THC forms of cannabis such as ‘sinsemilla’ and/or ‘hashish’ experienced more
severe problems than those using traditional herbal products with lower levels of THC.
Due to differences between the types of cannabis sold in legal and illegal markets, the authors have commissioned a team
of experts who meet next week in Lisbon to develop a standardised tool for assessing cannabis use in international
settings, funded by the Society for the Study of Addiction.
Abe Gray says Whakamana is 100% behind robust and transparent research, which includes identifying the amount of THC in
each dose, so that people can be confident in the decisions they make with regards to their health.
“As we know, thousands of people are already using cannabis to manage a wide range of health issues so if and when the
referendum gives legality to that, it’s important that everyone who chooses to use cannabis, makes that decision from an
informed perspective,” he says.