The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) announced the finalization of a long-awaited and much anticipated monograph on Cannabis, otherwise known as marijuana. Like all AHP monographs, the publication provides standards of identity, purity, analysis, and quality, as well as information on the cultivation and storage of the botanical and its preparations.
According to AHP President Roy Upton, “Cannabis has been used medicinally pretty much throughout the entire timeline of written history, and from archeological evidence, far beyond into antiquity. Virtually every culture who had access to it either from local flora or trade, which was widespread, used it medicinally and recreationally.”
The initial idea of developing an AHP monograph for cannabis came form AHP medical director Aviva Romm MD who reported that patients, first in her medical residency at Yale and then at Tufts, benefited from cannabis when other medications failed. This was followed by the recognition by 20 states of the medicinal utility of the botanical through passage of medical marijuana laws. Soon after, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a Washington DC-based advocacy organization for the medical use of cannabis, expressed the need for such standards.
According to Upton, “This monograph is historic in that it is the first formal pharmacopoeial monograph on cannabis developed in the US in more than 70 years. The first monograph was introduced into the United States Pharmacopoeia in 1850 and was removed from the 12th edition in 1942. Considering the widespread use of cannabis, it is important for there to be quality control guidance whether used for medicinal or non-medicinal purposes.”
According to Steph Sherer, executive director of ASA, "The AHP monograph creates much needed quality assurance standards for States that have medical access laws. The adoption of these standards will create confidence in the quality and reliability of cannabis therapies for patients and their physicians."
The various bodies of information contained in the monograph include: standards for identification, quality, and purity; cultivation and processing guidance; constituent profile; and a variety of analytical methodologies for the identification of the plant as well as quantitation of specific cannabinoids. Much of this information was developed in collaboration with numerous researchers at the University of Mississippi (UMiss) under the guidance of Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly, professor of pharmaceutics and one of this country’s foremost cannabis experts. UMiss is the only federally legal source of medical marijuana in the US and they have been analyzing their own cultivated material, as well as products seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration for more than 30 years. They are among the most expert in the world on all things cannabis.
The information provided in the monograph will be of value to a wide range of those involved in the medical use of cannabis including growers, caregivers, patients, practitioners, analytical labs, state regulators, and researchers. This pharmacopoeial monograph will be followed by a Therapeutic Compendium, which will present a comprehensive review of the world’s historical and scientific data on the use of the plant.
The monograph is scheduled for release prior to the end of the year. To order the AHP Cannabis Monograph, go to herbal-ahp.org.