Study: Cannabis May Improve Cognitive Function

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

The preliminary results of a study led by Mclean Hospital's Staci Gruber, PhD, and published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology suggest cannabis may be effective in improving cognitive function. The longitudinal study hopes to test the neurocognitive outcomes of 24 certified medical marijuana patients before treatment and after 3, 6, and 12 months of treatment. Currently, 11 of the 24 patients have completed their 3-month evaluation, but results already suggest that after 3 months of treatment patients completed an array of cognitive tests faster and with higher accuracy than they had before. Gruber explains, “After three months of medical marijuana treatment, patients actually performed better, in terms of their ability to perform certain cognitive tasks, specifically those mediated by the frontal cortex.” 

Additionally, the researchers use self-report questionnaires to see how medical marijuana affects patients' sleep quality, depression levels, overall health, and use of conventional medications. So far, patients have reported less sleep disturbances and symptoms of depression, positive changes to their quality of life, greater energy, fewer limitations on behalf of physical health, and a reduction in use of prescription medications. Opiate use, specifically, went down by about 42.88%, while antidepressant use dropped by 17.64%, and mood stabilizing medication use dropped by 33.33%.

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

3 Smoke-Free Ways of Consuming Medical Cannabis

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

For some patients, smoking marijuana can be harsh and painful on their lungs. When combustion occurs while smoking the dried plant, carcinogens and toxins are released that are not necessarily the healthiest on the lungs. There are other forms of consuming medical marijuana, however. If you'd like a method of intake similar to smoking but less harmful, you might consider vaporization, of which temperatures heat just below the point of combustion so that it releases steam instead of smoke. Vaporizers have little odor, and they are more efficient in releasing their therapeutic chemicals so that you may find yourself using less marijuana than before. 

Another way to consume marijuana is by eating it via the edible. Edibles usually require marijuana infused oil or butter that then seeps into whatever food is being created. It takes longer to feel the effects of an edible, and it is often considered stronger, so it is recommended to start low and gradually increase until you find the dose that works for you. Because it is food and its ingredients can be measured easily and distributed evenly, it should be easy to portion out fairly accurate doses. The last method of intake we will discuss is the tincture, which is a cannabinoid infused liquid that can be taken orally by placing a few drops underneath the tongue. It only takes a few minutes before the effects start to kick in. 

This information has been brought to you by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Why Medical Marijuana Is Being Used to Treat Addiction

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Medical marijuana is starting to be used to treat various forms of addiction, helping relieve symptoms related to prescription drug, alcohol, and opioid abuse, as well as helping manage drugs and alcohol withdrawals and curbing the use of pharmaceutical medications or more potent drugs. Because medical marijuana is not addictive and produces few side effects, it is beginning to be looked at as a superior recovery drug. It also reduces withdrawal symptoms, which in turn reduces the possibility of relapse.

Additionally, prescription drugs often produce unwanted side effects like constipation, nausea, anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness, all of which can be a detriment to the recovery process. Medical marijuana, on the other hand, produces minimal side effects and has the ability to treat these other side effects a patient may be experiencing. 

This information has been provided by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Does Marijuana Actually Help Relieve Pain?

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Medical marijuana is being touted as a powerful analgesic that is as effective as traditional pharmaceuticals and opioids but with a much higher safety profile. Marijuana is effective in treating both acute and chronic pain, and it is a good alternative to traditional treatment options for those who are looking for a long-term solution and new pain management option. Pain is often a symptom of other conditions, so medical marijuana could be helpful for those who are looking to treat pain as a result of MS, migraines, diabetes, and epilepsy. Medical marijuana can change one's perception of pain, affecting how the brain interprets it and how the body reacts to painful stimuli. 

Medical marijuana is able to provide these therapeutic benefits thanks to its chemical properties like cannabinoids and terpenes. The chemical makeup and composition of specific medical marijuana strains determine the effects of the medication, which can range from stimulating bone growth, killing cancer cells, controlling muscle spasms, increasing appetite, and reducing nausea. 

This information has been provided by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Some Conditions Medical Marijuana Can Help Treat

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

The Medicinal Marijuana Association has compiled a list of the top five symptoms patients seek to alleviate using medical marijuana therapy.

Medical marijuana is an analgesic, and it is most commonly prescribed to treat pain. This includes neuropathic pain, AIDS, and spinal cord injuries. In addition to treating pain, medical marijuana shown to be as effective as pharmaceutical pain killers, but with a much higher safety profile, so it is equally effective in treating and reducing addiction brought on by pain killers by allowing patients to ween off of and replace these medications. Because marijuana receptors in the brain are responsible for regulating anxiety and stress, medical marijuana (especially CBD-rich strains) can be beneficial for those who suffer anxiety disorders. Marijuana can also help those who suffer from fatigue, insomnia, restlessness, and pain fall asleep, stay asleep longer, and experience higher quality of sleep.  

Medical marijuana also helps lower levels of depression with fewer side effects than anti-depressants. The medication also helps treat nausea, which is especially effective for cancer and AIDS patients. By reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea and inducing appetite, medical marijuana can fight cachexia and help patients to gain weight. This also makes medical marijuana effective for those diagnosed with Crohn's disease, which irritates the small intestine. Medical marijuana therapy can reduce pain and diarrhea while increasing appetite and weight gain. Medical marijuana is also effective in treating muscle spasms and stiffness typical of multiple sclerosis. This helps MS patients improve sleep, walking, and other daily activities that would otherwise interfere with quality of life. 

This information has been provided by Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

 

Study Shows That Children Absorb Chemicals From Secondhand Cannabis Smoke

Photo Credit: Merry Jane

Photo Credit: Merry Jane

A study authored by pediatrician Dr. Karen Wilson that involved 43 Colorado children aged one month to two years old who were hospitalized for bronchitis suggests children absorb chemicals from secondhand marijuana smoke. Researchers sent urine samples to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and found 16% of the samples contained low levels of marijuana metabolites, and 75% of the children whose caregivers admitted they had been exposed to marijuana tested positive for traces of cannabis. There is little scientific information concerning the health effects of low traces of cannabis metabolites in children, but parents should keep their cannabis at a safe distance from their children until more research is conducted.

There are also other methods of intake available that do not involve inhalation or the release of smoke or vapor, which include edibles, tinctures, juices or topicals. If you're testing out new vehicles of administration and you're not sure how it will effect your dosing regimen, remember to journal daily on our app! In this way, you'll be able to see how this change affects your symptom relief. Through journaling, you will be able to look back at your new routine to determine whether or not this change in vehicles positively or negatively affected your medical marijuana dosing experience.

This information has been brought to you in part by Merry Jane and approved by our Chief Medical officer. 

Study: History of Marijuana Use Helps Reduce In-Hospital Mortality

Photo Credit: The Daily Chronic

Photo Credit: The Daily Chronic

Evidence suggests marijuana may be able to reduce in-hospital mortality by reducing the risk of experiencing heart failure or cardiac disease, and by increasing the survival rate among cancer patients. The study, which can be found in the journal Cancer Medicine, involved researchers from University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State University, and the University of Alabama. They analyzed the links between marijuana use and health outcomes in a nationwide sample of 3.9 million patients in hospitals. While the results suggested hospitalized patients who tested positive for marijuana were more likely than non-users to seek hospitalization for a stroke, they were less likely to suffer heart failure or cardiac disease, and cancer patients experienced increased survival rates. 

Authors of the study wrote, “Odds of in-hospital mortality were significantly reduced among marijuana users compared with non-users in all hospitalized patients as well as cancer patients.” This information is supported by previous findings, which pointed to an increase in survival rate for patients who were hospitalized for a heart attack or traumatic brain injury.

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

Cannabis Terpenes

Photo Credit: Marijuana Times

Photo Credit: Marijuana Times

Cannabis is known for providing therapeutic benefits through cannabinoids, but some overlook the fact that terpenes, which are found in various plants including cannabis, can also provide therapeutic relief. Some studies have found terpenes may help with anxiety, sleep disorders, and acne. In addition to having their own therapeutic effects, terpenes can work supplementary with cannabinoids to help enhance therapy. For example, one study conducted by Ethan Russo found when cannabinoids and terpenes work together, they can treat medical conditions like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureu (MRSA) and depression. Cannabis may also help with gastric reflux, obesity, nausea, epilepsy, inflammation, stress, bacterial infections, tumors, acne, psychosis, and pain. Because terpenes are sensitive to heat and easily destroyed, vaporization which utilizes low temperatures is recommended. 

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

3 Methods of Consuming Medical Cannabis

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

If you're new to medical marijuana, you may still be trying to figure out which vehicle of administration works best for you. Most patients are familiar with smoking marijuana, but they may not know that there are a wide range of healthier alternatives that could be just as effective for treating specific symptoms. Today we will discuss three methods: vaporization, ingesting edibles, and using tinctures. 

Some symptoms are best relieved through inhalation, but smoking marijuana can produce harmful toxins and carcinogens through combustion. One alternative that provides similar relief is vaporization, in which the plant is heated at a lower temperature so that it does not reach the point of combustion, so steam as opposed to smoke is inhaled. Edibles are another vehicle for administering cannabis. Edibles usually involve using cannabis infused oils and butters, and because the medication is ingested rather than inhaled, and therefore takes time to absorb through the gastrointestinal tract, the effects on the body are vastly different. Relief from edibles take longer to take effect, last longer, and they are more potent, so using caution and starting at a low dose is recommended. Lastly, one method of quick consumption is the tincture, involves allowing ethanol to absorb cannabinoids. This method is administered under the tongue by a dropper, and takes little time to take effect.

These different methods affect how your body absorbs the medication, so the vehicle you choose could have a drastically different effect on your symptoms. By journaling everyday on our app, you will be able to see how changes in your dosing regimen ultimately affect your symptom relief, and therefore you can discover which method works best for you. This information has been provided in part by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

GW Pharmaceuticals Continues to See Positive Results from Epidiolex

Photo Credit: Getty

Photo Credit: Getty

GW Pharmaceuticals began their exploration of Epidiolex, a CBD-based medicine, on symptoms of two treatment resistant forms of epilepsy back in early 2016. They have now recently published the results of their third phase of the study, and study author Elizabeth Thiele, M.D., Ph.D., says, "For many children with treatment-resistant Dravet Syndome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and other epilepsies, CBD appears to be an effective - sometimes extremely effective - treatment that is safe and well-tolerated overall."

The controlled study looks at 120 children with Dravet Syndrome for 14 weeks, with 61 receiving Epidiolex twice a day and 59 receiving placebo. Those who received the medication experienced an average decline in seizures per day by an average 39%, with three of the patients eliminating seizures all together, while those who received placebo only experienced a decline in seizures by about 13%. The study also tracked 171 children and adults between the ages of 2 and 55 diagnosed with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome over the course of 14 weeks. Similarly, the patients were administered their doses twice a day, with 86 receiving Epidolex and 85 receiving placebo. Those who received Epidiolex witnessed a drop in seizures by 44%, with those receiving placebo only witnessing a reducing by 22%. 

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

CBD's Fight Against Addiction - Part 2

Photo Credit: Merry Jane

Photo Credit: Merry Jane

One study published in 2015 in Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment looked at CBD research from around the world and found CBD regulates neural circuits that are involved in drug addiction. Researchers concluded, “CBD may have therapeutic properties on opioid, cocaine, and psychostimulant addiction, and some preliminary data suggest that it may be beneficial in cannabis and tobacco addiction in humans.” Lastly, a study from the University of Kentucky's Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences that was published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior in 2013 found CBD reduced alcohol-related damage as it served as a neuroprotectant to the nervous system. In the study, researchers administered CBD to rats through topical gel applications and injections, and found both vehicles reduced alcohol-induced neurodegeneration. 

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

CBD's Fight Against Addiction - Part 1

Photo Credit: Merry Jane

Photo Credit: Merry Jane

Various studies exist suggesting CBD may be able to treat addiction, alcohol abuse, and related illnesses. One study published in 2014 in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine found CBD administration in mice protected their livers from acute alcohol-induced steatosis, also known as "fatty liver disease." Researchers found CBD promoted the breakdown of fats and the disposal of cells damaged by alcohol. An older study from 1979 and published in Volume 66 of Psychopharmacology found those who consumed both alcohol and CBD experienced lower blood alcohol levels than those who consumed only alcohol. That being said, both situations impaired motor and psychomotor abilities. CBD alone did not produce such impairments. 

This information has been provided by Merry Jane and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this discussion tomorrow, in which we will be looking at other studies that suggest CBD may help combat addiction. 

Marijuana Could Treat Sexual Dysfunctions, Study Suggests

Photo Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Photo Credit: WikiMedia Commons

A new study published in the journal Pharmacological Research and published online by the National Institute of Health suggests cannabis could be used to treat sexual dysfunctions. The study states, "The identification of Δ9-THC and later on, the discovery of the ECS have opened a potential therapeutic target for sexual dysfunctions, given the partial efficacy of current pharmacological treatment.... In agreement with the bidirectional modulation induced by cannabinoids on several behavioral responses, the endogenous cannabinoid AEA elicited biphasic effects on sexual behavior as well... The present article reviews current available knowledge on herbal, synthetic and endogenous cannabinoids with respect to the modulation of several aspects of sexuality in preclinical and human studies, highlighting their therapeutic potential.”

This information has been provided by The Daily Chronic, and the abstract of the study can be found here. This post has been approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

 

Medical Marijuana for Fatigue and Depression

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

The use of medical marijuana in the treatment of depression is controversial, but some studies do suggest the medication could be beneficial in its treatment and the treatment of its associated symptoms like fatigue, pain, stress, and anxiety. One study from the University of Buffalo suggests marijuana may be able to positively alter chronic stress, of which depression is linked to. Stress chips away at endocannabinoids in the brain, so it is suggested cannabis may be able to restore these chemical compounds in order to return to homeostasis and create a balanced mood. The study was originally conducted on animals, but the study's authors have since continued exploring these results for verification. 

The findings from another study from McGill University in 2007 creates a clear discovery of how marijuana mimics the effects of endocannabinoids, and how those endocannabinoids directly influence serotonin, which is a vital chemical in the fight against depression. The authors determined marijuana could benefit depression, as long as patients don't consume too high of a dose. 

This information has been provided by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

New Study Suggests Marijuana May Benefit Mental Health

Photo Credit: Flickr @ Jordan Greentree

Photo Credit: Flickr @ Jordan Greentree

In a recent report published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review, researchers have found cannabis may be able to help those who suffer from depression, social anxiety, and PTSD. That being said, they did not find it beneficial for those who suffer from bipolar disorder. The study looked through 60 different studies to see if cannabis could be useful as a therapy in relation to mental health, especially on adult psychopathology and assessment. Of those studies, 31 articles discusses cannabis for therapeutic purposes and mental health, and 29 articles that discussed mental health and cannabis but not for therapeutic purposes. 

Author of the study, and associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, says, "This is a substance that has potential use for mental health... We should be looking at it in the same way [as other drugs] and be holding it up to the same standard.” The author also noted its potential in combatting the opioid epidemic, and in turn benefiting public health. 

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

Cannabis as a Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Photo Credit: Getty

Photo Credit: Getty

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) consists of various inflammatory disorders that affect the gastrointestinal system. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, bowel obstruction, blood/mucus in the stools, and fever. Now, studies are suggesting cannabis may be an alternative therapy for IBD patients. Cannabis is known to interact with the endocannabinoid system, a system that plays a vital role in many bodily functions, including satiety, secretion, bowel movements, emesis, immunoregulation, inflammation, and pain. Due to cannabis' interactions with cannabinoid receptors in this system, it is thought that cannabis has the ability to suppress gut inflammation and inflammation-associated hypermotility. 

Research surrounding cannabis use for IBD symptoms is sparse and insufficient. That being said, there is evidence that the endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in immune events within the gastrointestinal tract. This suggests cannabis could potentially be effective in treating IBD disorders. Studies have shown phytocannabinoids inhibit cellular proliferation of human colonic epithelial cells by interacting with CB1 receptors. Cannabis has anti-inflammatory properties that can downregulate the production and release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Other studies found cannabinoids' vagus nerve-specific action can control vomiting, gastric acid secretion, lower esophageal sphincter pressure, and lower gastric pressure. In an observational human study involving 30 Crohn's patients, marijuana improved disease activity and reduced the need for other treatments. A placebo-controlled trial monitoring 21 Crohn's patients confirmed this, with nearly 50% of those treated with cannabis reaching complete remission. 

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

Can Cannabis Treat Psoriasis?

Photo Credit: Getty

Photo Credit: Getty

Humans have a skin-specific endocannabinoid system within the subcutaneous dermis that plays a vital role in skin cell differentiation, proliferation, growth, apoptosis, and hormonal or the production of other skin cell types and appendages. This allows cannabinoids to treat skin conditions like psoriasis and pruritis. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease characterized by uncontrolled epithelial skin cell growth, which can results in itching (pruritis) and raised flaky scales. Other symptoms include redness, dryness, swelling, pain, burning, soreness, and discomfort. 

One study found some cannabinoid receptors in the skin have an affinity to anandamide, which is an endogenous CB receptor ligand that is responsible for inhibiting epidermal keratinocyte differentiation and proliferation. Another study found THC, CBD, CBG, and CBN all inhibited rapid proliferating skin cells. While these cannabinoids may not stop the process completely, they can slow it down. Cannabinoids also modulate immune responses in psoriasis pathology by regulating T-helper subset cells to correct cytokine release, and decreasing anti-inflammatory molecules via CB1 receptor mechanisms. In addition to treating the symptoms of psoriasis directly, cannabinoids' anti-allergic, anti-microbial, and antioxidant properties that could help benefit psoriasis patients.

Topical applications of cannabinoids are recommended because they are absorbed directly through the skin, which helps them control immature skin cell production and inflammation. If you're using cannabinoids to treat psoriasis, we'd like to learn about it! Document your dosing regimen anonymously in the journal section of our app. In doing so, you will contribute to a better understanding of how cannabinoids target psoriasis symptoms. This information has been provided in part by The Marijuana Times and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Scientists Give Us the First Look at Cannabinoid Receptors in the Brain

Photo Credit: Getty

Photo Credit: Getty

With a recent and groundbreaking discovery, scientists now have a better understanding of the endocannabinoid system and have found insights as to how cannabinoid receptors work. By essentially freezing the CB1 receptor temporarily, scientists were able to study and learn about its molecular structure long enough to develop a 3-D model of it. This breakthrough can allow us to gain a better idea of how cannabinoids bind to certain receptors, and better understand why certain cannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids offer therapeutic relief while others cause adverse side effects. This information will allow doctors to effectively and efficiently target receptors so they can provide specific symptom relief.

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

Study Shows Cannabis Could Lower Your BMI

Photo Credit: Getty

Photo Credit: Getty

Researchers from the University of Miami may have discovered a link between cannabis ingestion and a lower BMI. In their study, which was published in the Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics and which utilized some data from the National Longitude Survey of Adolescent Health, they found that cannabis users had a lower BMI than non-users, typically by 3 percent. Researchers did note that the states where marijuana access is easier, like Colorado and California, happen to be states with the fewest obese citizens. Researchers admit there need to be more in depth studies that also take into account physical activity, socioeconomic status, and drug use.

While this this study has found a correlation between marijuana use and body mass index, that does not mean that it has revealed causation between the two. That being said, the study corroborates other previous findings. One survey from 2013 that was published in The American Journal of Medicine found cannabis users had lower rates of obesity, levels of fasting insulin, insulin resistance, and had smaller waists. 

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