Cannabinoid Receptor-1 (CB-1) & THC

Photo Credit: High Times

Photo Credit: High Times

We know that the cannabinoids in cannabis are able to produce their therapeutic relief by interacting directly or indirectly with the cannabinoid receptors found within the endocannabinoid system, but how exactly does this work? Well, for the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical can bind directly the cannabinoid receptor-1 (CB-1). The CB-1 receptor is part of a class of proteins called the g-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), which are responsible for managing cellular signal transduction to communicate between cells. The proteins are so important, in fact, that they account for 60% of drug targets. The CB-1 receptor is involved in combating varying diseases and abnormalities, including Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and obesity.

Researchers have recently discovered that their are two types of agonists that bind to and activate the CB-1 receptors, one being very similar in structure to THC. With this information, we will not only be able to better understand how the receptor moves, but also why THC and other cannabinoids are able to produce such positive effects within the body.

This information has been provided by High Times and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Study: CBD Effective As Adjunctive Therapy For Psychosis

Photo Credit: NORML

Photo Credit: NORML

Contrary to the notion that those who use cannabis may develop psychosis, its cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) may actually help treat psychosis instead. According to a new study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, the daily use of CBD as an adjunctive therapy can help those who experience psychotic symptoms as a result of schizophrenia. The six-week randomized trial assessed the adjunctive use of 1000mg plant-derived CBD or placebo in 88 patients with schizophrenia daily. Those who received CBD had lower levels of psychotic symptoms and were more likely to have their clinicians report an improvement in wellness at the end of the trial. CBD also produced minor improvements in cognitive performance and overall functioning. Authors concluded, “These findings suggest that CBD has beneficial effects in patients with schizophrenia… As CBD’s effects do not appear to depend on dopamine receptor antagonism, this agent may represent a new class of treatment for the disorder.”

This information has been provided by NORML and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Marijuana's Effects On Your Bones

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

A cannabinoid found in marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD), may boost bone health by strengthening bones and supporting bone fracture healing. In a study from Israel, rats with mild fractures in their femurs were separated into groups that either healed naturally, received CBD as a therapy, or received both CBD and THC therapies. Both groups that received CBD healed faster than those who healed naturally. THC did not seem to influence the healing process. Researcher Yankel Gabet explains, "We found that CBD alone makes bones stronger during healing, enhancing the maturation of the collagenous matrix, which provides the basis for new mineralization of bone tissue… After being treated with CBD, the healed bone will be harder to break in the future."

This information has been provided by Civilized and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

The Link Connecting Marijuana and Serotonin - Part 2

Photo Credit: BrainsRusDC (https://bit.ly/3086XCG)

Photo Credit: BrainsRusDC (https://bit.ly/3086XCG)

In our previous post we established the link between Marijuana and serotonin. Now, let’s see what this means in relation to its effects on the body. Researchers suspect the relationship between marijuana and serotonin is what makes it responsible for elevating mood, and benefiting anxiety and depression. Serotonin is an important regulator of mood, emotion, and stress, and when its levels are insufficient, it could cause mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.

One study from 2016 found a drug similar to CBD blocked enzymes that break down endocannabinoids in mice, which resulted in an antidepressant effect. When the mice received a chemical that blocks serotonin, these effects went away, suggesting CBD’s effects on mood may be linked to the serotonergic system. Back in 2006, when the cannabinoid receptor blocker rimonabant was introduced into the market to combat obesity, it was found that these blockers also unintentionally blocked serotonin, thereby causing depression and anxiety in those who took the medication. A study from 2015 also found genetically altered mice who did not have CB1 receptors in their serotonin neurons exhibited increased anxiety. Lastly, a 2011 study found heightened levels of natural cannabinoids increased the efficacy of antidepressants, and that blocking CB1 receptors prevented the antidepressants from working at all.

This concludes our posts on the relationship between serotonin and cannabis, and what this means for us. This information has been provided by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

The Link Connecting Marijuana and Serotonin - Part 1

Photo Credit: BrainsRusDC (https://bit.ly/3086XCG)

Photo Credit: BrainsRusDC (https://bit.ly/3086XCG)

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter able to regulate various functions like mood, emotion, appetite, and sleep, and it is found within the brain, GI tract, and blood platelets. It may be closely linked to the endocannabinoid system, which may explain why cannabis is able to benefit those suffering from anxiety and depression. Studies have shown cannabinoids can increase the activity levels of serotonin neurons, and cannabis increases the release of serotonin. In 2007, one study found 20% of the serotonin neurons in mice contained cannabinoid receptors, and endocannabinoids like anandamide were found in areas of the brain where serotonin is usually found. Another study from 2004 found THC increased serotonin levels in mice. Additionally, when their CB1 receptors were blocked, serotonin levels decreased. CBD could also indirectly activate serotonin receptors, and researchers suspect many of CBD’s therapeutic effects, like its ability to benefit anxiety, depression, epilepsy, and provide neuroprotection, pain relief, and nausea relief, could be linked to its activation of a subtype of serotonin receptor.

So now that we know the different ways cannabis interacts with serotonin, what does this mean for its effects on the body? You’ll found out in our next post! This information has been provided by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Cancer Treatment Providers Accepting of Medical Cannabis Use in Children

Photo Credit: The Daily Chronic

Photo Credit: The Daily Chronic

According to survey data published in the journal Pediatrics, physicians who specialized in pediatric cancer treatment overwhelmingly support the use of medical marijuana as a treatment option. The survey enrolled 288 pediatric oncology providers in Illinois, Massachusetts, and Washington, and 92% of respondents were willing to help children with cancer gain access to medical marijuana. A mere two percent of providers were against all use of medical marijuana in children.

This information has been provided by the Daily Chronic and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Double-Blind Study Finds CBD Is Effective with Helping Schizophrenia Patients

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

In a recent double-blind study, researchers determined cannabidiol (CBD) may be able to benefit patients who suffer from schizophrenia. In the study, researchers gave CBD to half of their enrolled volunteers, while they gave the other half placebo. Both groups used these medications in addition to their traditional therapies. Researchers found, "After 6 weeks of treatment, compared with the placebo group, the CBD group had lower levels of positive psychotic symptoms and were more likely to have been rated as improved and as not severely unwell by the treating clinician… Patients who received CBD also showed greater improvements that fell short of statistical significance in cognitive performance and in overall functioning. CBD was well tolerated, and rates of adverse events were similar between the CBD and placebo groups." The researchers also noted that, because CBD does not depend on dopamine receptor antagonism, the cannabinoid could become a new class of treatment of schizophrenia.

This information has be provided by Civilized and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Marijuana Could Help HIV Patients Maintain Mental Stamina

Photo Credit: High Times

Photo Credit: High Times

A new study published in the journal AIDS suggests THC could help those suffering from HIV maintain mental stamina. Researchers from Michigan State University have determined cannabis’ anti-inflammatory properties could reduce mental deterioration from the virus by about 50% by preventing white blood cells and their proteins from causing damage in the brain. THC could slow or stop the inflammatory process. Researchers studied the blood of 40 HIV patients, both marijuana users and non-users, and found non-users exhibited a much higher rate of inflammation within their white blood cells when isolate. Co-author Norbert Kaminski explains, “The patients who didn’t smoke marijuana had a very high level of inflammatory cells compared to those who did use… In fact, those who used marijuana had levels pretty close to a healthy person not infected with HIV.”

Marijuana could be a beneficial supplemental therapy to the antiretroviral therapies that exist today through its ability to control white blood cells and inflammation. This information has been provided by High Times and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

WHO Report: No Public Health Problems Attributable to CBD

Photo Credit: The World Health Organization | Flickr (https://bit.ly/2RDUQdG)

Photo Credit: The World Health Organization | Flickr (https://bit.ly/2RDUQdG)

According to a report issued by the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, CBD is not only well tolerated and safe, but it has also not been linked to any significant adverse public health effects. They reported CBD is neither associated with abuse potential nor linked to physical dependence on the cannabinoid. The report continues to suggest CBD has been effective as an epilepsy treatment, and could have the potential to treat other conditions like Alzheimer’s, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and psychosis. They conclude that, although many use CBD outside of medicinal purposes, “[T]here is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

This information has been provided by the Daily Chronic and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

CBD for Pain - Part 2

Photo Credit: typographyimages (pixabay.com)

Photo Credit: typographyimages (pixabay.com)

In the previous post, we discussed how Cannabidiol (CBD) could provide safe and effective pain relief Now, Let’s look at some of the conditions for which CBD can reduce pain.

One study from 2007 involving 125 patients found Sativex, an extract containing THC and CBD, significantly reduced pain in patients with allodynia, a rare condition in which non-painful stimulation or touch becomes painful. Sativex was also found to be effective in a 2013 study against cancer-related pain. Another 2014 study found CBD reduced chemotherapy pain without side effects in mice. One study from 2016 found topical CBD was not only effective but that it was also safe in reducing pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, and it produced very few side effects. Many scientific reviews claim CBD can relieve treatment-resistant chronic pain, and one study from 2007 found CBD relieved chronic pain in rats. Many prefer CBD to pharmaceutical medications because it produces much fewer side effects and it has proven well-tolerated. Lastly, CBD may treat the acute and chronic pain associated with multiple sclerosis. One animal study from 2013 found CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a promising pain reliever for those with MS, and another study found administering Sativex to MS patients effectively relieved the neuropathic pain associated with the condition.

This concludes our miniseries on CBD for pain. This information has been provided by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

CBD for Pain - Part 1

Photo Credit: typographyimages (pixabay.com)

Photo Credit: typographyimages (pixabay.com)

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis that can can provide safe and effective pain relief without producing many side effects. In this two part series, we’ll discuss how CBD can successfully treat pain, and then continue our discussion with a look at specific conditions in which CBD may help.

Some studies suggest CBD is better at treating chronic and neuropathic pain than it is at treating short-term pain. It’s ability to reduce inflammation also allows it to reduce the pain associated with it. Unlike non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which work to block enzymes that produce inflammation, swelling, and pain, CBD acts within the endocannabinoid system. In doing so, it avoids some of the dangerous side effects associated with blocking those enzymes, like risk of ulcers, stomach bleeding, heart attack, and stroke. Some scientists believe CBD may be able to provide pain relief through its interactions with vanilloid receptors. One study from 2012 also found CBD also treated chronic pain by activating glycine receptors in the spinal cord. Although THC is generally considered to be a more successful pain reliever through its direct interactions on CB1 receptors, it is also known for its psychoactive properties, so many may want to avoid the cannabinoid in order to avoid “high” sensations. That said, CBD can also buffer against these side effects, so strains which include both THC and CBD may benefit from THC’s pain relief and CBD’s tempering effects.

This information has been provided by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. Stay tuned from tomorrow’s post, where we will dive into a discussion about which pain-causing conditions CBD may be able to relieve.

WHO Report: No Public Health Problems Attributable To CBD

Photo Credit: NORML

Photo Credit: NORML

According to a preliminary report released by the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, natural CBD is safe, well tolerated, and does not produce adverse public health effects. The cannabinoid is “not associated with abuse potential” and does not lead to physical dependence. The authors similarly discuss CBD’s therapeutic efficacy on epilepsy, and the preliminary evidence behind its use for Alzheimer’s, cancer, Parkinson’s, and psychosis.

This information has been provided by NORML and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Cannabichromene and its Benefits

Photo Credit: Leafly

Photo Credit: Leafly

Today let’s take a look at the cannabichromene (CBC), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid with various benefits. CBC does not bind well to CB1 receptors throughout the brain, but it is able to bind with other receptors like the TRPV1 receptor and the TRPA1 receptor, both of which a receptors that play a role in pain perception. When CBC interacts with these receptors, it increases the production of some of the body’s natural endocannabinoids like anandamide.

CBC is a powerful cannabinoids on its own and in conjunction with other cannabinoids. CBC may be the second most powerful cannabinoid to inhibit the growth of new cancer cells, and it inhibits the uptake of the endocannabinoid anandamide, which has been shown to fight breast cancer in vitro and in vivo. CBC has also been found to block pain and inflammation associated with collagen-induced osteoarthritis, and in one animal study, it produced an even greater anti-inflammatory effect alongside THC than the two could produce on their own. CBC may also benefit brain function, and one 2013 study involving mice found the cannabinoid made neural step progenitor cells (NSPCs) more viable. The cannabinoid is also a powerful inhibitor of acne through its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to suppress excessive lipid production in sebaceous glands. CBC may also produce antidepressant properties when working synergistically alongside THC and CBD.

This information has been brought to you by Leafly and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Study: Marijuana Use History Not Independently Associated With Atherosclerosis

Photo Credit: The Daily Chronic

Photo Credit: The Daily Chronic

According to new information published in the journal Addiction, marijuana use over time is not independently associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis, or hardened arteries. A team of researchers from the United States and Switzerland looked at the use of tobacco and/or cannabis in association with atherosclerosis in a group of 3,117 subjects between ages 18 and 30. Those who had never smoked tobacco, but had used marijuana, were “were not associated with AAC (abdominal artery calcium) or CAC (coronary artery calcium).” On the other end of the spectrum, those who had smoked tobacco but not marijuana, or had used both substances, for over five years were at an increased risk of subclinical atherosclerosis. This supports previous finding that suggest marijuana use over a span of time does not increase risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, or coronary heart disease.

This information has been provided by the Daily Chronic and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Can Marijuana Help You Lose Weight?

Photo Credit: Max Pixel

Photo Credit: Max Pixel

Contrary to popular belief, marijuana may actually help people lose weight instead of gain weight. This seems contradictory to the fact that marijuana does in fact cause the munchies. One study from 2014 from the University of Bordeaux found THC interacts with CB1 receptor’s in the brain’s olfactory bulb, leading to a strengthened ability to smell food and increased food consumption. Additionally, research has found CB1 receptor activation leads to the release of the hormone ghrelin, which increases user appetite.

Still, studies have found marijuana use is linked to a lower body mass index (BMI), and one study from 2013 involving 13,000 adults found marijuana users had 16% lower fasting insulin levels and lower insulin resistance levels than non users. Additionally, marijuana users had smaller waist circumferences and lower BMI than non-users. Another study from 2015 found communities that had implemented medical marijuana programs were associated with 2-6% lower rates of obesity. Researchers believe marijuana’s ability to promote weight loss may be attributed to the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). In a study from 2013, mice were fed 10 mg THCV once a day. These mice exhibited lower glucose intolerance, which is a symptom of type 2 diabetes. A lower glucose intolerance is associated with weight loss. Another way marijuana can help with weight loss is through activation of the CB2 receptors, which, according to an Australian study in 2015, reduces appetite and prevents the buildup of body fat. Another study from 2012 involving male rats found cannabidiol (CBD) reduced appetite and caused the rats to eat less food over time than those who were fed placebo.

This information has been provided by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Studies Confirm, Again, That Cannabis Reduces Opioid Use

Photo Credit: Merry Jane

Photo Credit: Merry Jane

In one of our recent posts, we discussed a survey coming from New Mexico, which found 80% of the 37 respondents enrolled in a medical marijuana program reduced their opioid use, and 40% stopped opioid use to use cannabis. Now, the preliminary results from another study conducted by private research firm Aclara in Illinois supports these results. In the study involving 400 Illinois patients, 67% stopped using opioids after enrolling in the state’s medical marijuana program. Additionally, 37% stopped using all conventional medications, and 60% reduced their use of prescription drugs and reduced their trips to the pharmacy. The study also reached out to 500 pharmacists in Illinois, and found 87% thought medical cannabis should be legal, and 69% thought pharmacies should have the ability to dispense the product. Carmen Brace, founder of Aclara Research, explains, “Patients are using cannabis, successfully, to wean themselves off opioid usage.” She continues to link the results of this study to one published in the Journal of Pain in 2016, in which chronic pain patients successfully reduced opioid use by 64%.

These studies are especially important in light of the opioid crisis, in which opioid-related deaths have skyrocketed. In one analysis from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2016, states that had implemented medical marijuana programs saw 25% fewer opioid-related deaths than states that did not have such programs. All of these studies point to the suggestion that cannabis can, in fact, fight the opioid crisis. This information has been provided by Merry Jane and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Marijuana for Insomnia

Photo Credit: Sadie Hernandez (https://bit.ly/2KQlizp).

Photo Credit: Sadie Hernandez (https://bit.ly/2KQlizp).

New research suggests medical marijuana may be able to help people who suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia. Symptoms of insomnia include difficulty falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, sleepiness during the day, depression, anxiety, irritability, and worrying about sleep. The American Sleep Association claims 30% of adults suffer from short-term sleep issues, and 10% suffer from chronic insomnia. Current treatment options include prescribing sleep medication, treating conditions which may be causing the disorder, or undergoing behavioral therapy. Studies have found marijuana may be able to offer an alternative therapy for insomnia. One research review from 2017 found the cannabinoid THC could help patients fall asleep faster. Another study from 2004 found CBD had the opposite effect, and actually produced wake-inducing effects. Another study from 2006 found patients who were prescribed synthetic marijuana for pain also used the medication because it improved sleep. A study from 2004 found THC and Sativex reduced pain and increased sleep.

While marijuana can serve as a sleep aid, there are side effects that coincide with using the medication as well. It may reduce dreaming through diminishing REM sleep, cause a hangover-like effect, and become less effective over time. For most, reducing dreams would be a negative side effect, but acoording to one scientific review in 2017, this was actually a beneficial outcome for patients suffering from PTSD. For those patients, the synthetic cannabinoid nabilone effectively reduced nightmares. Various studies have found that using marijuana before bed can produce increased sleepiness, changes in mood, memory impairment, and increased daytime sleep the following day. Lastly, marijuana may be best used as an occasional sleep aid. Overtime, chronic used of the medication becomes less effective, but at the same time stopping its use can further make sleep difficult.

There are pros and cons to using marijuana as a sleep aid. When choosing to use the medication, it is best to use in lower doses and infrequently. If you use the medical cannabis for sleep, be sure to keep track of it with our journaling function. That way, you can monitor the frequency and strength of your dose, while also keeping track of whether or not its benefits outweigh its negative side effects. This information has been provided in part by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. This post does not represent an endorsement on behalf of Leaf Science for our product.

Cannabis May Help Those With Heart Failure - But Caution Before Use

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

New research suggests cannabis may be able to help those suffering from heart failure, but patients should remain cautious until further research is conducted. Investigators led by Dr. Oluwole Adegbala from the Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in New Jersey found patients who had used cannabis were less likely to die in the hospital or experience atrial fibrillation (A-fib), an irregular heartbeat that can cause more serious complications like blood clots and stroke. The team looked at data from over six million patients that were hospitalized for heart failure between 2007 and 2014, and found 1,200 were considered dependent on cannabis and 23,000 had used cannabis without dependency issues. Those who weren’t dependent on cannabis were 18% less likely to develop A-fib, and dependent users were 31% less likely to develop the condition, than those who didn’t use cannabis. In addition, nondependent users were 46% less likely, and dependent users were 58% less likely, to die while hospitalized than those who abstained from use.

While the link remains unknown, Dr. Adegbala theorizes cannabis may be able to reduce A-fib and heart-related mortality due to its ability to reduce high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and inflammation. That said, she cautions heart failure patients against using the plant until more research is conducted. This information has been provided by Civilized and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

New Mexico Study Finds Medical Marijuana May Help Reduce Opioid Addiction

Photo Credit:  Flickr / frankieleon / CC BY 2.0

Photo Credit: Flickr / frankieleon / CC BY 2.0

A new study coming from New Mexico and published in the journal PLOS ONE can be added to the mounting support suggesting medical marijuana can combat the opioid epidemic. The study led by Dr. Jacob Miguel Vigil and Dr. Sarah See Stith looked at 37 chronic pain patients who used opioids habitually and enrolled in New Mexico’s medical marijuana program between 2010 and 2015, and found cannabis helped reduce opioid addiction in these patients. The researchers simultaneously looked at 29 patients who did not enroll in the medical marijuana program. Using the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program, the researchers compared opioid record between the two groups over a 21 month period. Those who used medical marijuana were 17 times more likely to stop opioid use, and 5 times more likely to reduce their daily opioid intake. Daily dosage averaged at a 47% reduction through medical marijuana use. Those who chose not to enroll in the state’s program experienced a 10% increase in dosage. The researchers hope for more in depth, randomized, and placebo-based clinical trials moving forward.

This information has been provided by Marijuana Industry News and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Marijuana Use Reduces In-Hospital Mortality in Heart Failure Patients, Study Finds

Photo Credit: The Daily Chronic

Photo Credit: The Daily Chronic

A new study published in the journal Circulation has found heart failure patients with a history of cannabis use are at lower risk of dying while hospitalized than their similarly matched controls. Looking at over six million hear failure patients over a seven-year period, investigators found patients who had a history of cannabis use were less likely to have atrial fibrillation, spent less time in the hospital, and were less likely to pass while hospitalized than non-users. Authors explain, “Our study showed that cannabis use lowered the odds of atrial fibrillation in patients with heart failure… There was also reduced in-hospital mortality among patients admitted for the primary diagnosis of heart failure in DU (cannabis dependent users) and NDU (non-dependent cannabis users) which was not explained by comorbid conditions and demographic data. This study provides important opportunity to explore the preventive mechanism of cannabis on atrial fibrillation and its therapeutic potential in heart failure patients.” Previous studies have similarly reported positive correlations between patients who tested positive for marijuana and survival rates for heart related traumas.

This information has been provided by the Daily Chronic and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.