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. 

Review: MMJ Holds Potential in Treating Mental Health

Photo Credit: Flickr / Dank Depot / CC BY-NC 2.0

Photo Credit: Flickr / Dank Depot / CC BY-NC 2.0

A new clinical review led by associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia Zach Walsh suggests cannabis may actually treat mental health issues, as opposed to the long held belief that it causes it. Researchers examined the connection between medical marijuana use and mental health by looking at all available studies on both medical and recreational marijuana use. They found that medical marijuana may be able to treat mental health conditions like depression, social anxiety, and PTSD, and that the medication could be substituted for other potentially problematic substances. Walsh said, "In reviewing the limited evidence on medical cannabis, it appears that patients and others who have advocated for cannabis as a tool for harm reduction and mental health have some valid points."

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

How Medicinal Marijuana Helps Relieve Stress and Anxiety

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

People have long claimed marijuana may be able to relieve stress and help those who suffer from anxiety, but we are now living in a time when scientific research is beginning to back up and provide insight into these anecdotal experiences. One study conducted by Vanderbilt University was among the first to discover a direct correlation between marijuana use and temporary effects on the amygdala in mice. The amygdala sits in the temporal lobe and is responsible for many key functions, one of which is anxiety. The amygdala is responsible for panic attacks and unease, so targeting this area of the brain is crucial in combatting anxiety. 

Another study coming out of the National Institute of Health, the University of Calgary, and Rockefeller University, suggests that a reasonable dose of medical marijuana can reduce the symptoms associated with stress and anxiety, even for anxiety disorders. The study attributes this effect to medical marijuana's ability to regulate and modulate abnormal brain levels that contribute to stress and anxiety. 

That being said, some caution is recommended as medical marijuana does not work the same for everyone, and certain medical marijuana strains could actually exacerbate symptoms of anxiety. This information has been provided by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

 

Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Seth Meyers Discuss Medical Marijuana

In the short clip above, Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks with Seth Meyers about medical marijuana. Gupta discusses medical marijuana's potential as a medication and the issues with medical marijuana research in the past. He goes on to say it might be the only medication that works for some people and that denying those patients access to this medication is immoral. Take a look!

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

Study: Medical Cannabis Use Associated With Improved Cognitive Performance, Reduced Use Of Opioids

Photo Credit: NORML

Photo Credit: NORML

Those who oppose marijuana legalization often argue that marijuana will interfere with ones cognitive function, but according to longitudinal data published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology, this is not the case. According to the data. medical cannabis administration actually improves cognitive performance in addition to lowering levels of prescription drug use. Investigators from Harvard Medical School, Tufts University, and McLean Hospital looked at how medical marijuana affected patients' cognitive performance over a duration of three months. The patients were either new to medical marijuana or had not used medical marijuana in at least a decade.

Researchers found there were no decrements in performance when they evaluated cognitive performance following the treatment in comparison to the baseline evaluations taken prior to treatment. In fact, researchers determined, "[P]atients experienced some improvement on measures of executive functioning, including the Stroop Color Word Test and Trail Making Test, mostly reflected as increased speed in completing tasks without a loss of accuracy.” Additionally, patients experienced improvements in depression and reduced their use of prescription medications. These assessments will continue over the course of a year.

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

Can You Be Allergic To Marijuana?

Photo Credit: Leaf Science

Photo Credit: Leaf Science

Like with all medications, it is possible to become allergic to medical marijuana. As more patients gain access to the medication, more is being discovered about marijuana allergies. The most recent study surrounding marijuana as an allergen was published in 2015 in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.  Led by Dr. Thad Ocampo, researchers expanded on previous research and identified the proteins, like RuBisCo, luminal binding protein, and parts of ATP synthase, that are responsible for causing marijuana allergies. They found these proteins could trigger abnormal immune responses in some people.

A case study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in 2012 exposed 17 patients to skin-prick tests that used marijuana extract. All of them developed allergic reaction symptoms from the prick, which included skin reactions like rashes and hives. Fifteen of them also developed a runny nose and wheezing. Those symptoms are common, but more serious allergies can lead to anaphylactic shock. That being said, if you suffer from marijuana allergies, you're likely used to dealing with other allergies as well. Allergist Dr. Lori Connors explains, “It goes along with pollen allergies, and there are some individuals who have oral allergies, which are a cross reaction between a pollen and a food that someone is ingesting. It’s called a pollen-food allergy syndrome. It seems that those individuals seem to be the ones getting marijuana allergies.”

Marijuana is not unique in producing allergies, but if you would like to use the medication. be mindful of allergic reactions that may develop. This information has been provided by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

What To Look For When Buying Cannabis Oil Vape Pen Cartridges

Photo Credit: Medical Jane

Photo Credit: Medical Jane

Many medical marijuana patients choose to vaporize their medication because it is a safer alternative to the common smoking method that involves combustion. While both methods involve inhalation in order to deliver therapeutic cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids to the patient, vaporization does not reach the point of combustion and therefore eliminates the risk of inhaling carcinogenic fumes. There are various oil products designed for such vehicles available on the market, but some patients are frustrated with these newly developed products. Thankfully, Medical Jane has created this article that offers tips on how to make more informed decisions when making a purchase so that you can have a more desirable and consistent vaporizing experience.

In the article, you'll Medical Jane discusses the safety of cutting agents commonly found in vape oils like polyethylene glycol (PEG), propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), and coconut oil or MCT oil. The article goes on to provide a better understanding of terpenes and flavorings that might be added to the oil, which could either enhance or hinder your experience. Lastly, the article offers tips on choosing more appropriate vape pens and cartridges. 

A better understanding of the proper vehicle for administration before beginning a dosing regimen is crucial when looking for a better dosing experience. This information has been provided by Medical Jane and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Should Medicinal Marijuana Be Used to Treat Addiction?

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

With all of the studies coming out suggesting medical marijuana reduces the need for harmful opioids, one of the big questions developing is whether or not medical marijuana can and should be used to treat addiction. One study released in 2016 and published in the Journal of Pain suggests cannabis' analgesic properties allow patients to mediate and ween off of addictive and at times dangerous medications like opioids. The study suggests many patients prefer medical marijuana to their prescription counterparts, but it also suggests medical marijuana has a high safety profile, making it one of the safer long-term options when it comes to managing chronic pain or other symptoms. Another study coming from Columbia University in 2015 not only suggests medical marijuana is an adequate substitute for certain stronger pharmaceuticals, but also that medical marijuana's THC can alleviate withdrawal symptoms, which is one of the more serious aspects of drug addiction that often leads to relapse. 

Even physicians strongly support the notion of using medical marijuana in place of highly addictive medications, as has been revealed in various articles that discuss the opioid epidemic with physicians. This information has been provided by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

New Medical Marijuana Study on Executive Functioning Lauded as First of its Kind

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Researchers at the McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, recently investigated the impact of medical marijuana on changes to executive functioning (referring to one's attentional and inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive ability). The longitudinal pilot study, involved 11 patients and was published in Frontiers in Pharmacology. Because of this, researchers could better understand whether or not medical marijuana directly impacted executive functioning in patients. This study is the first of it's kind to conduct a longitudinal study that establishes executive functioning performance levels in patients before ever using marijuana, allowing researchers to understand pre-marijuana brain function and better determine whether or not the resulting data was an impact of marijuana use.

The patients studied had either never used marijuana, or had not used marijuana regularly for at least ten years. Once enrolled in the study, they were free to consume whichever medical marijuana product they desired, and could continue prescription medication use if they wished. Subjects consumed medical marijuana on an average of 9.3 times a week. Investigators re-assessed patients' symptoms, cognitive performance, and medication usage after three months, and found patients reported reduced levels of depression, improvements in sleep, better energy levels, and reduced impulsive tendencies. Patients improved on two cognitive function tasks, which included a Trail Making Test and the Stroop Color Word Test. Additionally, prescription medication use declined. Opioid use dropped by 42%, while antidepressant use declined by 18%. 

This study is small, but the results are positive when it comes to the potential for medical marijuana to treat humans. We hope this study moves beyond the pilot stages so that it can assess a larger number of patients. This information has been provided by High Times and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.  

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis: What It Is and How to Avoid and Treat It

Photo Credit: Merry Jane

Photo Credit: Merry Jane

Some chronic cannabis users can become diagnosed with cannabinoid hyperemesis and experience nausea and vomiting that oftentimes only subsides when the patient abstains from cannabis use for at least 48 hours, and while the condition is rare there has been a spike in diagnoses recently. This surge could be a result of increased access to marijuana, or the fact that more physicians are recognizing the condition for what it is. That being said, it is difficult for physicians to diagnose. Massachusetts OBGYN Dr. Jacqueline Kates, MD, explains, "There’s no test [for the condition]... There’s no real way to diagnose beyond having the patient abstain from cannabis to see if vomiting stops. Typically within two to three days of stopping, the symptoms should resolve themselves.” Dr. Kates also notes that the risk of relapsing is high, so if you discontinue marijuana use due to cannabinoid hyperemesis, your risk of developing it again upon resuming chronic use is actually higher.

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

Terpenes and the "Entourage Effect"

Photo Credit: Derrylwc (Wikimedia/http://bit.ly/2qoIauV

Photo Credit: Derrylwc (Wikimedia/http://bit.ly/2qoIauV

We know about how cannabinoids interact with each other through whole-plant cannabis therapy in what is known as the "entourage effect," but how does this relate to terpenes? There are around 200 terpenes that have been discovered in cannabis, and Dr. Ethan Russo discussed the wide-ranging therapeutic attributes of terpenoids in the September 2011 issue of the British Journal of Pharmacology. One example is the terpenoid beta-caryophyllene, which found in cannabis as well as leafy vegetables, herbs, and the oil of black pepper. The terpene binds with the CB2 receptor and is known to be gastro-protective, anti-inflammatory, beneficial for treating some ulcers, and a therapeutic compound for combating auto-immune disorders. 

Terpenoids and cannabinoids both increase blood flow, enhance cortical activity, and kill respiratory pathogens. According to Dr. Russo, cannabinoids and terpenoids can work together to "produce synergy with respect to treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections." Additionally, terpenes and CBD can work to buffer the effects of THC, so that patients can experience the benefits of whole-plant cannabis therapy without experiencing psychoactive side effects. 

To learn more, read this article on Project CBD. This information has been approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Studies: CBD Treatment Reduces Refractory Epileptic Seizures

Findings from several clinical trials suggest cannabidiol (CBD) can mitigate treatment-resistant seizures. One trial from the Massachusetts General Hospital analyzed the effects of CBD treatment over the course of a year in 18 patients who suffered from refractory epileptic seizures as a result of tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). They found CBD reduced the median weekly seizure frequency by half, and that the treatment was well-tolerated. A case reports found in Frontiers of Pharmacology found CBD resulted in complete seizure remission in a seven-year-old boy who suffered from Dravet syndrome, as well as a ten-year-old girl with refractory epilepsy. 

A trial from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Texas Children's Hospital assessed the use of Epidiolex, an oral pharmaceutical medication composed of extracted CBD, in seven children with persistent refractory seizures due to febrile infection-related epilepsy syndrome (FIRES). In six of the patients, seizure frequency and duration was reduced, and the participants also eliminated their use of four anti-epileptic drugs. Another trial found patients diagnosed with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome experienced reduced seizure frequency as a result of Epidiolex use, and they tolerated the medication well.  

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

Cannabis Might Actually Help You See In The Dark

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

Research published in the journal eLife suggests cannabis could help improve night vision. Canadian researchers administered a synthetic cannabinoid to eye tissue preparations from tadpoles, and using microelectrodes to measure how retinal ganglion cells responded to light, found cannabinoids gave the creatures better vision in dark situations. By inhibiting the protein NKCC1 via the CB1 receptor, cannabinoids increased retinal cells' sensitivity to light in both dim and well-lit situations.

Scientists further tested these effects by administering cannabinoids to tadpoles in petri dishes and then showing them dark spots under various lighting conditions. As a defense mechanism for avoiding predators, tadpole naturally avoid dark spots. When researchers paired a group of tadpoles under the influence of cannabinoids next to a group of sober tadpoles, the group that received cannabinoids was better able to avoid the dark spots in low-light conditions. Sober tadpoles, on the other hand, slipped into the dark spots more frequently.

These results suggest cannabis could be a beneficial treatment for patients who suffer from degenerative eye conditions like retinitis pigmentosa or glaucoma, but more research is necessary to confirm whether or similar effects would result in human use. This information has been provided by Civilized and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Sexual assault and PTSD: Marijuana may help

Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Airman 1st Class Corey Hook - http://bit.ly/2qwa6yc

Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Airman 1st Class Corey Hook - http://bit.ly/2qwa6yc

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common anxiety disorder that develops as a response to a trauma, whether that be a trauma from combat, sexual assault, or another traumatic event in one's life. General symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, hyper-arousal, fearfulness, anxiety, and anger. When it comes to PTSD for women, the most common cause according to the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is sexual assault, with 94% or assault survivors suffering symptoms within two weeks of the event. 

Symptoms of PTSD often occur in response to a stimulus or trigger that cause the sufferer to recall his or her traumatic event. Some patients suggest inhaling cannabis vapors in anticipation of encountering a trigger, as this may desensitize the sufferer to the trigger over time. Additionally, marijuana has been known to help induce sleep and enhance quality of sleep. This makes it a potential treatment option for PTSD sufferers who have trouble sleeping or encounter nightmares.

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

Researchers Make Breakthrough In Understanding How Marijuana Medicates

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

The fact that THC binds to and activates the CB1 receptor in the endocannabinoid system is nothing new, but now scientists better understand this process. Research from the iHuman Institute of Shanghai Tech University that was published in the journal Cell has led scientists to discover that the receptor is a three dimensional crystal structure. Knowing the structure of the receptor allows scientists to discover insight into how different molecules can bind to it, which could be crucial in understanding how cannabinoids can target receptors to provide symptom relief. Co-author of the study, Raymond Stevens, says, "What is important is to understand how different molecules bind to the receptor, how they control the receptor function, and how this can affect different people."

This discovery could provide important information when comparing the different ways synthetic and natural cannabinoids interact with the receptors, as natural cannabinoids provide symptom relief, and synthetic cannabinoids can have adverse and even deadly side effects.

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