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.

Study Shows Majority of Chronic Pain & Mental Health Patients Prefer Cannabis to Opioids

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

A new study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy suggests chronic pain and mental health patients prefer cannabis to opioids. In the study, researchers surveyed 250 patients, of which 63% used cannabis in place of opioids, sedatives, and antidepressants. Patients who substituted cannabis for opioids and benzodiazepines, which were the two primary classes of drugs that were substituted, cited fewer side-effects, better symptom management, and a better safety profile as their top reasons for making the swap. This study has huge implications when it comes to battling the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the nation today. With fewer side effects and a higher safety profile, patients can feel more in control of effectively managing their symptoms without risking adverse side effects or overdose.

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

Study: Medical Cannabis Patients Report Decreased Use of Opioids, Anti-Anxiety Medicines

Photo Credit: The Daily Chronic

Photo Credit: The Daily Chronic

New self-reported data published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology reveals patients who have access to medical marijuana decrease their use of opioids, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and other medications. Investigators out of five states looked at the medical history of 1,500 patient-members of state-licensed dispensaries in the northeast and found 77% of respondents reduced their use of opioids after beginning cannabis therapy. Many respondents also decreased their use of anti-anxiety medications (72%), migraine-related medications (67%), sleep aids (65%), and anti-depressants (38%). Additionally, 42% of respondents reduced their use of alcohol. The findings of this study support the findings of previous studies regarding the effects of cannabis on opioids and other prescription medications.

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

Study: Canadian Patients Substituting Marijuana for Prescription Drugs

Photo Credit: Marijuana Industry News

Photo Credit: Marijuana Industry News

A recent study from the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria which was published in the International Journal of Drug Policy revealed patients in Canada suffering mental health conditions and pain substitute marijuana for opioids, benzodiazepines, and antidepressants. Researchers surveyed 271 patients registered with the cannabis producer Tilray and found 63% of respondents substituted marijuana for their prescription medication to treat pain-related conditions, including chronic pain and arthritis, mental health conditions, eating disorders, PTSD, and psychiatric disorder. The survey consisted of 107 questions that took into account demographics, use patterns, and marijuana as a substitution for medications. Authors noted that in the midst of the opioid epidemic, "cannabis could play a significant role in reducing the health burden of problematic prescription drug use.”

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

MMJ for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental condition involving uncontrollable anxiety and flashbacks that develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. PTSD patients may experience nightmares, stress, feelings of threat or danger, numbness, feeling tense, feeling guilty, losing interest in former enjoyable activities, becoming easily startled, sleep issues, angry outbursts, a fear of trigger places or events, and uncontrollable thoughts about the traumatic event. Currently, PTSD patients are prescribed various medications, mainly antidepressants, but these medications can have many horrible side effects on their own. Studies suggest marijuana can lessen the emotional impact of these events and can reduce anxiety and fear and improve sleep without the negative side effects. 

Both THC and CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for maintaining emotional homeostasis and regulating memory consolidation, retrieval, and extension. By activating the cannabinoid receptors, cannabis modulates the release of neurotransmitters which can increase pleasure and the alternation of memory processes. They block the retrieval of the traumatic event which enhances its extension and reduces anxiety. Cannabis can help combat the three core symptoms of PTSD, and as measured by the Clinical Administered Post-traumatic scale, 75% of PTSD patients saw a reduction in PTSD symptoms when they were using cannabis. Preclinical evidence also suggests CBD could effectively treat PTSD when administered acutely as symptoms develop as opposed to chronically. Lastly, cannabis has the potential to dampen the emotional impact of traumatic memories over time, and when used shortly after experiencing or witnessing the traumatic event, PTSD-like symptoms are less likely to develop.

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

MMJ for Fibromyalgia

Photo Credit:  Häggström, Mikael. "  Medical gallery of Mikael Häggström 2014  ".   Wikiversity Journal of Medicine     1   (2).   DOI  :  10.15347/wjm/2014.008  .   ISSN  20018762

Photo Credit: Häggström, Mikael. "Medical gallery of Mikael Häggström 2014". Wikiversity Journal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.008ISSN20018762

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that disproportionately affects women causes symptoms of intense musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, sleep problems, cognitive and memory issues, headaches, morning stiffness, painful menstrual cramps, numbness or tingling, restless leg syndrome, temperature sensitivity, Irritable bowel syndrome, and depression. Fibromyalgia exacerbates pain symptoms because it affects the way the brain processes pain signals. Current treatment options target the symptoms of fibromyalgia with pain relievers, antidepressants, exercise, and therapy, and thanks to cannabis' analgesic, sleep-inducing, and antidepressant properties, it could soon be viewed as a potential treatment option as well.

Many studies have confirmed cannabis' ability to improve sleep disruptions and physical function as well as reduce symptoms of pain, depression, joint stiffness, anxiety. All of these effects could benefit the quality of life for patients who suffer from fibromyalgia. In one study, fibromyalgia patients who were treated with cannabis for seven months not only felt significant improvements in regards to pain intensity, but they also reduced their opioid doses. Another study found that four weeks of cannabis treatments reduced pain and anxiety in fibromyalgia patients, while the placebo group did not witness any improvements. Lastly, another study reported fibromyalgia patients experienced reduced pain and stiffness, enhanced relaxation, and an increase in somnolence and feelings of well being within two hours of smoking or orally consuming cannabis.

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

Study Suggests CBD Provides Fast Acting Antidepressant Effects

Photo Credit: Whaxy

Photo Credit: Whaxy

A recent study from the Universidad de Catabria researched the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on depression. Cannabis can react with endocannabinoid receptors in the brain and body, and CBD specifically has been found to produce an effect on serotonin and glutamate levels, which are two neurotransmitters often targeted as a biological cause of depression. The study involved an OBX mouse model that is often used to simulate depression in humans. The model involves removing part of the mouse's brain in order to trigger depression symptoms. 

Within 30 minutes of administering CBD, mice became less hyperactive, which might present as anxiety in humans, and within a week the mice began to enjoy sugar again, representing a human's desire for enjoyment. Both normal mice and OBX mice witnessed an immediate increase in glutamate levels, but only mice who had undergone the OBX surgery experienced increased serotonin levels, suggesting the response to CBD was linked to the conditions of the brain. This information is promising, not only because CBD has the potential to treat depression, but also because the effects of CBD appear to have been immediate, something that is not the case for pharmaceutical medications.

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

Linalool Cannabis Terpene

Photo Credit: Whaxy

Photo Credit: Whaxy

Medical marijuana patients are most likely familiar with the cannabinoids of marijuana that are responsible for providing a lot of the medical relief the plant is accredited with, but not everyone knows so much about terpenes which are also responsible for providing medicinal benefits. There are over 20,000 terpenes in nature, 200 of which exist in cannabis. One of these terpenes is Linalool.

Linalool may not be a major terpene, but studies have found it can alleviate a variety of symptoms, including pain, depression, seizures, inflammation, and even insomnia. The terpene is considered an analgesic, making it a popular method for treating conditions like multiple sclerosis, dystonia, arthritis, post-operative pain, and chronic pain. That anti-inflammatory properties of linalool make it an effective molecule for combatting inflammation-based diseases like Crohn's, arthritis, asthma, Alzheimer's, fibromyalgia, dermatitis, IBS, lupus, and Parkinson's disease. The terpene also acts like an antidepressant, an anti-convulsant for those who suffer from seizures, and a sedative or sleep aid. 

Linalool is promising as a key player for providing therapeutic relief, but more research is left to be desired in order to understand exactly how the terpene is able to do so and how it interacts with other terpenes and cannabinoids to provide optimal relief. This information has been provided by Whaxy and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.