[Canniseur: While not surprising on one level, I have to wonder what the mechanism is that lowers the risk of Liver Disease. I also have to wonder why the government in the U.S. has forbidden research into anything over the years. If this study is accurate and true, we’ve just begun to discover the benefits of cannabis even if we don’t yet understand the mechanisms of cannabis on the human body.]
According to a study published in the journal Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, cannabis consumption may produce a protective effect against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Obesity is a leading cause of increased occurrences of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
At the study’s 3-year follow up, it was found that cannabis users presented significantly lower Fatty Liver Index (FLI) scores than non-users, NORML reported.
Santander, Spain: Subjects with a history of cannabis use are less likely than abstainers to develop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to longitudinal data published in the journal Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry.
A team of Spanish investigators assessed the relationship between cannabis use and liver steatosis over a three-year period. They determined that those subjects “who reported continuing cannabis use were at lower risk for developing NAFLD.”
They concluded: “Our results suggest that using cannabis could have a protective effect on liver steatosis. The beneficial effect of cannabis at the level of the development of steatosis seems to be secondary to its modulation effect on weight gain and the reduced development of obesity. … These results are in line with previous studies in the general population, in which cannabis showed significantly lower NAFLD prevalence compared to non-users.”
For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director. Full text of the study, “Cannabis consumption and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: A three years longitudinal study in first episode non-affective psychosis patients,” appears in Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry.
The authors stated that “cannabis users less frequently met the criteria for liver steatosis than non-users” and that “patients maintaining cannabis consumption after 3 years presented the smallest increment in FLI over time, which was significantly smaller than the increment in FLI presented by discontinuers (p = .022) and never-users (p = .016).”
[Canniseur: It appears that science is beginning to get a handle on the whys of the effect of cannabis on the human genome. We’d have been here sooner, if research of the unbiased variety had been allowed over the years.]
With marijuana now medically legal in 33 states and recreationally legal in 11 states (plus D.C.), the concept of smoking, vaping, or eating it is fair game in the mainstream. But with lingering restrictions on testing it due to the Drug Enforcement Administration, how it affects the brain remains murky territory.
Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent — at least in the recreational realm — than an enduring, unanswered question: Why does marijuana cause one person to experience a pleasurable high, and another to experience paralyzing paranoia?
Thanks to a July 5 study out of Western University in Ontario, Canada, we may be one step closer to an answer. Published in Scientific Reports, the study is one of the few to explore what it deems the “divergent psychological effects” that marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), produces — and to offer explanations for why this happens.
Using rats, the study found evidence that psychological reactions to weed depend on which part of an individual’s brain is most sensitive to THC. If it’s the anterior (front) part of the brain, consuming marijuana will produce rewarding effects (i.e. feelings of ease, reduced anxiety, and joy). If it’s the posterior (back) region that’s most sensitive to THC, it will produce negative reactions (i.e. paranoia and fear).
Steven R. Laviolette, PhD, one of the study’s researchers, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the study embarked on new territory. “There is not too much known about why there is such differences in response to THC,” Laviolette says. “We know a lot about the longterm and short-term effects…But there is very little known about the specific areas in the brain that are responsible for independently controlling those effects.”
This study, then, is a breakthrough. “It’s a very new finding,” Laviolette tells Yahoo Lifestyle. The multi-year project, led by Christopher Norris, PhD, validates many who have reported experiencing highly negative effects from marijuana. Beyond just negative feelings, the authors found that in severe cases, individuals may experience “schizophrenia-like” symptoms.
The work is a departure from earlier attempts to explain the different psychological reactions, including a 2014 study from Oxford, which suggests that traits such as low self-esteem play a role. Norris and Laviolette’s study suggests instead that the reaction is beyond an individual’s control — and could be based more on genetics. For those who experience a bad reaction, this may be good news.
“Once we figure out what molecular pathways are causing those effects in different areas, then in the longterm we can work on modulating THC formulations so they don’t activate those specific pathways,” Laviolette tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “That’s the really longterm goal of what we’re trying to do here.”
The next step for Laviolette and his colleagues is to attempt to replicate the results in the human brain, which will be no easy task. But for now, he hopes the new research will educate users and help them make informed decisions. “Be aware that we’re starting to unravel some of the more intricate details of how cannabis is affecting the brain,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Monitor your use and if you’re experiencing negative side effects, talk to your physician.”
[Canniseur: Cannabis can improve the quality of life for everyone, not only seniors. But it’s nice to know seniors benefit from cannabis use. Life is complex and it gets more complex as we age. This is about geriatric well-being. If grandma and grandpa want to get stoned and it makes them feel better, so be it.]
According to data in the journal Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine, seniors who have consumed marijuana within the past year say that it greatly improves their quality of life.
University of Colorado School of Medicine researchers surveyed seniors about their cannabis use patterns, NORML reported.
“Past year marijuana users reported improved overall health, quality of life, day-to-day functioning, and improvement in pain,” the authors reported.
The seniors most frequently reported using marijuana to treat arthritis, back pain, anxiety, and depression. A range of marijuana products — from flowers to edibles and topicals — were used by the seniors.
Authors stated, “[S]urveyed older persons aged more than 60 who have legal access to recreational and medical marijuana described multiple patterns of use of marijuana in the past year, and the majority felt that marijuana use had an overall positive impact on their quality of life.”
[Canniseur: If CBD does have some anti-cancer properties and the federal government is still limiting the amount of research on it, even when CBD is sort of kind of officially legal, then … Well, enough said about that.]
A pair of new studies are reporting that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive substance in cannabis, has anti-cancer responses in humans.
The first study found that an 81-year-old lung cancer patient who declined chemotherapy treatment had a reduced tumor size following the use of CBD oil for one month, NORML reported.
“[T]he data presented here indicate that CBD may have had a role in the striking response in a patient with histologically proven adenocarcinoma of the lung as a result of self-administration of CBD oil for a month and in the absence of any other identifiable lifestyle, drug or dietary changes,” researchers concluded. “Further work is needed both in vitro and in vivo to better evaluate the various mechanisms of action of CBD on malignant cells, and its potential application in the treatment of not only lung cancer but also other malignancies.”
The second study found that CBD in additional to a traditional anti-cancer treatment caused “significant improvement” in clinical outcomes and a lack of disease progression for two years in two 38-year-old brain cancer patients.
The study concluded, “These observations are of particular interest because the pharmacology of cannabinoids appears to be distinct from existing oncology medications and may offer a unique and possibly synergistic option for future glioma treatment”
Previous studies have also concluded that cannabis has antitumor properties.
“During the last decade, however, several studies have now shown that CB1 and CB2 receptor agonists can act as direct antitumor agents in a variety of aggressive cancers,” researchers noted. “Using animal models, CBD has been shown to inhibit the progression of many types of cancer including glioblastoma (GBM), breast, lung, prostate and colon cancer.”
[Canniseur: Short, but timely article. Seniors seem to benefit from some cannabis consumption in whatever form.]
A new study points toward cannabis’s potential for helping seniors with common health ailments such as MS, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal cord damage. Symptoms of these ailments can include sleep disruptions, pain and anxiety.
The study will be highlighted at the American Academy of Neurology’s 71st annual meeting, Science Daily reports, where the researchers will refer to the medicinal use of marijuana as being a safe and effective option for many of their participants.
“Our findings show that medical marijuana is well-tolerated in people age 75 and older and may improve symptoms like chronic pain and anxiety,” said study author Dr. Laszlo Mechtler of Dent Neurologic Institute. “Future research should focus on symptoms like sleepiness and balance problems, as well as efficacy and optimal dosing.”
The study concluded that 69% of the participants had some kind of symptom relief. It’s reported that 49% experienced reduced pain, 18% saw an improvement with sleep, 15% saw neuropathy improvement and 10% saw improved anxiety symptoms. 32% of the participants reduced their use of opioids.
There were varying ratios of both THC and CBD in the tinctures, vaporizers and capsules used by the participants over a 4-month period.