Reduction in domestic violence injuries linked to marijuana decriminalization, study finds

Reduction in domestic violence injuries linked to marijuana decriminalization, study finds

(Getty/PeopleImages)

 

[Canniseur: Not a surprising statistic, but surprising at the same time. In anti-cannabis propaganda, cannabis has been frequently ‘blamed’ for an increase in violent behaviors. Those who consume cannabis know better. We know there are no violent feelings ‘released’ when we consume cannabis. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Users know that the mellow feeling that accompanies cannabis consumption doesn’t lead to violent anything.]

States that have eased punishments for marijuana possession have undergone a remarkable decline in serious injuries stemming from domestic violence, according to a recent study from the University of Pennsylvania.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that the number of domestic assaults resulting in broken bones, lacerations, and other forms of severe physical trauma fell after marijuana was decriminalized, although overall incidents of domestic violence did not decline.

“When we considered assaults at all levels of seriousness, our results showed that the policy intervention had no effect on violence,” the study’s authors wrote. “However, this masked more striking and significant results concerning the most serious types of violence—decriminalization of marijuana reduced domestic assaults involving serious injury by some 20%.”

The researchers analyzed federal crime data from domestic assaults in 25 states between 2005 to 2016. Experts determined the number of cases of violence involving romantic partners that occurred each year, as well as certain characteristics of said cases, such as whether alcohol or a weapon was involved.

They found that domestic violence incidents resulting in serious injury fell by 22.5 percent after states passed laws removing jail time as a punishment for cannabis possession. Although the total number of assaults did not change significantly, they appeared to be less severe.

“Within incidents with a serious injury, the number of incidents where the offender was under the influence of alcohol or used a weapon also declined significantly,” researchers added, also noting that “domestic assaults are less likely to inflict serious injury on the victim if a weapon is not used.”

The study suggests that the relaxing sedative qualities of cannabis may be at play during these occurrences.

“Despite the longstanding debate over whether marijuana contributes to violence, the medical literature suggests that marijuana is effective as a short-term sleep aid and may contribute to excessive daytime sleepiness,” the study’s authors wrote. “By making would-be assailants sleepier, marijuana consumption may make the nature of assaults less serious and injuries less severe. This is likely the simplest explanation and is certainly incomplete.”

The findings could potentially save many future lives, as roughly 50 women are shot and killed by intimate partners monthly in the U.S., according to FBI data.

Oscar Pascual is the editor of Smell the Truth, syndicated on GreenState and SFGATE. Smell The Truth is one of the internet’s most popular destinations for cannabis-related news and culture. This blog is not written or edited by Hearst. The authors are solely responsible for the content.

The post Reduction in domestic violence injuries linked to marijuana decriminalization, study finds appeared first on GreenState.

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Can You Get High From Too Much CBD?

Can You Get High From Too Much CBD?

[Canniseur: CBD has a lot of good effects on pain, epilepsy, and a host of other ailments. I do not believe it is non-psychoactive. There is now research backing this up. It’s hard to determine exactly what the effect is now, but it does have an effect on a person’s mental state. More research is needed to get this on the public health radar.]

CBD doesn’t get anyone high, right? That’s the mantra, anyway.

It started as a whisper at the fringes of medical science, amplified over the years by a swelling chorus of cannabis activists, patients, and their advocates. Then the media began shouting that it doesn’t get people high. And, before we knew it, CBD popped up in drugstores and suburban kitchen cabinets. Now the cannabinoid is infused into everything from hummus to underarm deodorant.

But some suspect this alleged wonder drug — which offers the plant’s medicinal benefits and none of its stoney side effects — can, indeed, get them a little buzzed.

MERRY JANE previously touched on this question, but let’s dive deeper into it.

An Example: CBD Causes Mild Euphoria

Rudy Sta Ana, the founder of Cannabis Catered Events, works as a fusion weed chef in California. In March, he told MERRY JANE he snorted CBD isolates twice in his life. In both instances, he said, “It felt like a euphoric boost and just made me feel great. It didn’t last very long, though.”

Sta Ana also said he felt similar effects when dabbing CBD isolate, too.

“That’s a real thing,” Dr. Ethan Russo, a neurologist who’s been studying cannabis for over two decades, said to MERRY JANE in a phone interview. “In terms of alertness, the feelings of well-being, lack of anxiety, antidepressant effects — those are all proper, well-established pharmacological effects of CBD.”

However, Russo added, “I’m assuming this is pure CBD, and there’s no THC in it.”

The purity of isolates should be guaranteed on the labeling. In reality, CBD products aren’t regulated by the FDA, and no lab testing standards exist for accurately detecting plant-derived THC or CBD. So it’s possible that Sta Ana, and others like him who’ve taken CBD recreationally, may be feeling something because the CBD product contains enough THC (or some other adulterant) to trigger an uplifting effect.

Additionally, snorting CBD may just be an edgy way of taking it orally, as the CBD product will ‘drip’ from the sinus cavities into the throat, where it’s swallowed.

What the Science Says About CBD’s ‘High’

Two studies indicated that CBD taken orally could convert to THC in the stomach’s acidic environment. Even Raphael Mechoulam, Ph.D, the “godfather of cannabis science,” owns a patent to turn CBD into THC with strong acids. However, the two studies only observed a small amount of CBD converting to THC, somewhere around 4 percent.

In other words, most folks should get decently stoned from 250 milligrams of CBD, which we know doesn’t happen. The researchers from both CBD conversion studies didn’t use living beings for test subjects, either. They did it all in lab equipment using artificial acids that simulated gastric juices. So it’s more probable that CBD doesn’t turn into THC in the human stomach.

On the other hand, if THC is combined with CBD, CBD can alter THC’s effects on the mind.

“It is a slight effect,” Jahan Marcu, Ph.D, the chief science officer at the International Research Center on Cannabis and Mental Health, explained to MERRY JANE. “But it’s not intense.”

Like Russo, Marcu noted that the current body of scientific literature shows CBD can affect a THC high, and not just for tapering anxiety caused by too much THC. For instance, when taken orally, CBD can slow THC’s progression through the blood and brain, leading to longer-lasting highs.

How does CBD do this? The liver contains several enzymes that break down roughly 60 percent of all drugs known to humanity. CBD can prevent these same enzymes from breaking down delta-9-THC when someone smokes weed. If someone eats an edible, CBD will also slow the metabolism of 11-hydroxy-THC, the version of THC made in the liver when weed is consumed orally.

“I would stress that combining administration forms does matter,” Marcu continued. In other words, whether the CBD is smoked, dabbed, eaten, or applied topically could affect psychoactive outcomes. “Science is playing catch-up with how people are using these products. As far as I can tell from the literature, the effect that CBD has on increasing the intensity of THC is not huge.”

On that note, the liver-enzyme-inhibiting thing doesn’t happen if someone inhales CBD, such as when dabbing isolates or smoking hemp flower. How could tokers feel euphoric from smoking or dabbing CBD, as Sta Ana reported?

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CBD Increases Anandamide Activity

Marco Troiani, an organic chemist and CEO of Digamma Consulting, thinks CBD could, theoretically, get someone slightly buzzed by “boosting our natural endocannabinoid, anandamide,” which is believed to behave much like THC in the body.

To keep us from getting unintentionally stoned off our own body chemistry, we evolved an enzyme, FAAH, to metabolize anandamide. Yet CBD seems to inhibit this enzyme as well.

“Both THC and CBD end up activating the CB1 receptor,” Troiani told MERRY JANE. “THC does it directly,” but CBD could get someone buzzed in a roundabout way by causing a buildup of anandamide in the brain.

However, Troiani only proposed the idea as a possible way CBD could get someone high, if even just a little. He’s not convinced of the hypothesis, though. At least not without more data.

Or, Maybe CBD Increases Hormone Activity, Too

Karl Young, the founder and lead chemist at Wesparklabs, takes Troiani’s hypothesis one step further. CBD, he says, not only prevents the breakdown of anandamide, but it prevents the breakdown of dopamine and estrogen, too.

“If you suppress the ability to clear estrogen and dopamine, which is part of why people love CBD so much, you also suppress testosterone and serotonin from correct functionality,” Young told MERRY JANE. Aggression caused by heavy dabbing of extracts or isolates, he added, is the equivalent of a weight lifter’s ‘roid rage caused by testosterone abuse.

There is some evidence that cannabis use can affect hormone activity, but a recent literature review found that research on hormones and CBD is severely lacking.

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Or, Maybe, We Don’t Know Enough to Say with Certainty

Before you drink an entire bottle of CBD tincture to see if it’ll get you wasted, consider that the body’s response to CBD is dose-dependent. Numerous pharmacological studies show that CBD behaves according to a “dose-response curve,” which is science jargon for, “taking more CBD than needed will do absolutely nothing” regarding desired effects.

One study tested mega-doses of CBD in public speakers. Speech givers rated their anxiety levels before, after, and during public speaking events after taking 150, 300, and 600 milligrams of CBD. The most effective dose was at the low end, at 150 milligrams. Higher doses seemed less effective, though were still more effective than no CBD at all.

Another study involved mice. Researchers induced vomiting in the mice by feeding them a non-lethal poison. Some mice were given small amounts of CBD; others were given larger amounts. The mice given small amounts of CBD vomited less than the control mice that didn’t get any CBD. However, mice given large doses of CBD vomited more than the other two groups, suggesting too much CBD made the poisoned mice sicker than the ones who weren’t given any CBD.

Yet another study with rodents, this time with rats, used THC and CBD injections to see how the two compounds interact. According to Russo, the study breaks down like this:

– If CBD is taken before THC, it can taper or “eliminate” the THC high

– If CBD and THC are taken at the same time, CBD reduces the peak high and prolongs its effect longer than THC alone

– If CBD is taken after THC, no behavioral effects were observed

But Russo cautioned against drawing conclusions about CBD’s purported “high” from rodent studies.

“Mice are not appropriate test subjects” in this sense, he said. “They barely have a cerebral cortex, and behaviorally, they’re not like people. Mice can’t talk to us and tell us how high they are.”

Can You Get High From Too Much CBD? was posted on Merry Jane.

What Experts Have to Say about the Endocannabinoid System

What Experts Have to Say about the Endocannabinoid System

[Canniseur: We’re learning more and more about the ECS, how it works, and how cannabis effects us. We’re learning not only how individualized it is, but how we might soon be able to correct many auto-immune issues like Crohn’s disease, MS, and more.]

Let’s talk about ECS, baby. Let’s talk about you and weed.

“For decades, scientists and mental health physicians tried to figure out how THC worked on the brain and body,” explained Dr. Paul Song, Chief Medical Officer of Calyx Peak Companies via email. A significant breakthrough came with the discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.

Additional research has since identified endocannabinoids as the cannabinoids produced within our own bodies. The endocannabinoid system regulates and interprets a series of processes in the body, including memory, pain, reproduction, appetite, immune function and many others. The two major endocannabinoids to be identified today are Anandamide and 2-AG, or Arachidonoylglycerol.

In an email to High Times, Katie Stem, CEO of Peak Extracts, gave a brief overview of the endocannabinoid system. “The system consists of two main receptor types: CB1 and CB2. The endocannabinoids are lipid-based neurotransmitters that elicit effects on the entire nervous system, from your brain to your fingertips.”

Stem added, “Although we have much still to learn, it appears that in some situations, the ECS acts as a volume control for a variety of processes and factors, modulating the way our body interprets signals, whether they be pain, hunger, excitement, etc.”

Dr. Song added another significant benefit of the ECS. “Having this biologic basis of the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids has provided more credibility and justification for the medicinal use of cannabis.”

How THC and CBD Interact with the ECS

This may be the part where people understand the endocannabinoid system more than they might have imagined. The reason why a person feels the effects of a high when consuming THC is because it binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors, giving an effect throughout the body and head. On the other hand, CBD does not have the same effect on the receptors but does have an effect by activating other receptors in the body.

Stem elaborated on CBD, which she considers the most fascinating of the phytocannabinoids that have an affinity for the ECS, which also includes THC, CBN, 11-Hydroxy THC, THC-V. “[CBD] acts on serotonin receptors and members of the G-Protein coupled receptor family, which are entirely separate from the ECS. There is evidence that it acts as a modulator for the way other cannabinoids act on the ECS, for instance blocking THC activity, or modulating the effects of other ECS stimulants.”

Cannabis is far from the only influencer on the endocannabinoid system. Other drugs interact with it, as well as an array of daily actions and lifestyle choices ranging from sleep and diet, to exercise, sex, and acupuncture therapy. However, it is far from a one size fits all sort of assessment.

Stem explained how each person’s endocannabinoid system is unique. She wrote, “Cannabinoids, or other things that affect the ECS, will have different effects on different people based on their individual physiologies. Thus, there’s no “magic bullet,” and people will experience varied benefits of using cannabis depending on their ECS system.”

Ian Jenkins, CEO of Frelii, a provider of DNA sequencing and genome analysis, wrote how nourishing the ECS can extend well past the two most popular cannabinoids. “Although most of the research is around THC and CBD, just about every cannabinoid can be thought of as nourishing.”

He expanded on his point: “They are ligands that bind to a receptor that create nourishing physiological reactions, even though they themselves don’t necessarily “nourish” the system. It all comes down to homeostasis and health and not necessarily nutrition or nourishment in the classical sense.”

Multiple Misconceptions Remain

Information surrounding the endocannabinoid system continues to develop and expand. As such, misconceptions often arise. Dr. Song mentioned several, including that the ECS did not evolve due to cannabis use. Jenkins agreed with this opinion. “Although there may have been co-evolution, the ECS is an essential part of the human body, and both cannabinoids and terpenes are found in more plants than just cannabis….It is however likely that we have had a long term relationship with all plants that have cannabinoids due to the benefit they have on the body.”

Dr. Song also pointed out that cannabinoids can be found in plants other than cannabis. He also acknowledged the misconceptions about how CBD and THC bind to the body’s receptors. Jenkins discussed a similar point concerning the location of the critical receptors. “Although the highest concentrations of CB1 are in the brain and CB2 are in the peripheral nervous system, both CB1 and CB2 receptors are found throughout the body.”

Latest Developments

Dr. Song noted the changing sentiment around cannabis as a prime driver to better understand how the system works in the prevention, development, and treatment of various diseases. He added, “Great work is also being done to develop highly specific synthetic cannabinoids for pharmaceutical purposes, and highly customized cannabis strains are being developed to provide even greater therapeutic response.”

Stem discussed the increase in discussions around ECS deficiency syndrome. She said the syndrome “could be the etiology of a variety of serious illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease.” The belief is that a lack of endogenous cannabinoids can lead to the immune system spiraling out of control. As a 20-plus year sufferer of Crohn’s disease, the developments hit close to home for her.

In addition to the developments, Stem is on a research team that aims to study different methods of consumption and how they are absorbed and metabolized. In time, they hope to begin exploring the different terpene profiles of various strains and how they affect the ECS in concert with the phytocannabinoids.

Jenkins acknowledged improvements in AI, a space his company works closely with. Discussing the broader scope of the ECS space, he said: “Regardless of whether or not you believe the co-evolution theory, there is an incredible interaction between humans and cannabis.” He added, “we have only just begun to unlock the benefits.”

What Experts Have to Say about the Endocannabinoid System was posted on High Times.

Debunking Reefer Madness: New Study Says Weed Doesn’t Actually Cause Psychosis

Debunking Reefer Madness: New Study Says Weed Doesn’t Actually Cause Psychosis

[Canniseur: This feels like a “Duh!” Of course, cannabis does not cause psychosis. We know that. But we don’t know it because there is no solid research on the topic of psychosis and cannabis. Some new research based evidence seems to indicate the opposite. According to some research, cannabis can help ameliorate psychosis symptoms. Nothing has shown that  cannabis can actually cure psychosis, but in many forms it sure seems to help and we’re beginning to find out cannabis doesn’t cause psychosis…probably.]

A new study from Spain demonstrates that cannabis use doesn’t predict psychosis in adolescents, a rebuttal to recent scares that marijuana use leads to psychosis and violence.

The study, published in the journal Adicciones, looked at 1,588 teenage students in Spain. After controlling for several variables – such as socio-economic level, poly drug use, gender, age, IQ, and histories of behavioral issues – the researchers concluded that “psychotic-like experiences were not seen to be associated with cannabis use” in adolescents.

Cannabis could, however, affect whether a student developed psychosis-like symptoms when the other variables were considered. In other words, weed could make someone’s mental health worse, but only when the individual experienced other contributing factors, like living in poverty, being abused, or suffering from clinical depression.

Regardless, the researchers wrote, “These results suggest that the relationships established between psychotic-like experiences and cannabis are complex and mediated by relevant variables.” They called for “further studies,” especially ones that included genetic analyses.

The Spanish study’s results seem to contradict a European study from last March that claimed potent pot led to psychosis in heavy tokers. The European study has been criticized for only showing correlation and not causation, as it did not track subjects’ behaviors before and after they began consuming marijuana.

In January, New York Times best-selling author Alex Berenson claimed in his book, Tell Your Children, that marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington state led to violent-crime spikes and surges in mental illness. However, Berenson has been accused of simply repackaging old Reefer Madness myths and grossly misrepresenting data.

Meanwhile, marijuana patients in the US aren’t falling for the “weed leads to psychosis” bait. According to one January report by the analytics firm CB2 Insights, most patients today use cannabis for treating or controlling issues related to mood or mental health disorders.

Follow Randy Robinson on Twitter

This article originally appeared on Merry Jane.

Debunking Reefer Madness: New Study Says Weed Doesn’t Actually Cause Psychosis was posted on Merry Jane.

Opioids & Cannabis: Gaining an Upper Hand on Pain

Opioids & Cannabis: Gaining an Upper Hand on Pain

[Canniseur: The stigma of cannabis still needs to be addressed. It’s amazing the use of a powerful, addictive prescription pharmaceutical drug is more acceptable than naturally-grown cannabis, for pain management. Why is this? As the saying goes, follow the money. In the dawn legalized cannabis, money is starting to flow. We might have a fighting chance against this opioid nightmare.]

Opioids deployed in the treatment of chronic pain can wind up causing more harm than they alleviate. Enter cannabis, which might just be what America needs to wean itself off of pharmaceuticals.

When it comes to cannabis and opioids, there are important (and beneficial) chemical interactions between the two substances — but the real story is in how cannabis can push back against the opioid crisis.

The raw numbers of opioid abuse are enough to shock the system. From 1999 to 2017, the number of deaths from an opioid overdose increased nearly six-fold, from 8,048 to 47,600 in the United States, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Throughout that period, prescription opioids account for about 40% of those deaths.

A full accounting of what is happening here is well beyond the scope of this post (this New Yorker article on the role of prescription drug companies in pushing opioid prescriptions is a good place to start), but it all comes back to one word: pain.

Do No Harm?

Pain is notoriously hard to track, especially at a population scale, and this is reflected in the range of estimates of how many people cope with it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, 11-40% of Americans experience chronic pain. That’s a huge range, but even at the low end, that means 35 million Americans have this issue, with the higher estimates over 100 million. Any way you slice it, that’s an enormous market.

Furthermore, opioids only treat the symptom — pain itself — not its underlying cause, meaning patients often need daily treatment. Opioids can be horrifically addictive, and often make one numb to everything, not just pain. And they can be fatal when over-consumed.

Enter cannabis.

While many people remove or avoid opioids entirely because they use cannabis to treat their pain, others may simply use both, with fewer opioids entering their system as a result. Research has found a 27% decrease in pain when cannabis was included alongside opioids — and importantly, it also found that cannabis did not cause an increase in opioid levels in the bloodstream.

Furthermore, the two may be used in concert at doses that, though too small to do much individually, cause a significant reduction in pain when combined.

A Substitute, If Not a Solution

The plant has been the direct cause of exactly zero reported deaths and has nowhere near the addictive properties of opioids. It also has similar palliative effects when it comes to pain, and we now have good evidence that states with legal and available cannabis (medical or recreational) show lower rates of opioid abuse. One study found a 64% decrease in opioid use among medical cannabis patients, alongside a 45% increase in quality of life.

We see these personal stories represented en masse in the statistics: One study found a 24.8% reduction in opioid mortality rates in states that have legalized medical cannabis. It is not an exaggeration to say that legalizing cannabis across the entire U.S. could potentially save tens of millions of lives.

So much of the public discourse on cannabis is on mitigating its alleged harms and deciding where and how it can be used. When it comes to opioids, it appears thus far that available cannabis is a tremendous win for public health — and though certain experts contest its efficacy for “solving” the opioid crisis, it could potentially hold treatment options for those struggling with addiction.  

But for the chronic pain experienced by tens, maybe hundreds of millions of Americans, cannabis may be the best medicine.

Opioids & Cannabis: Gaining an Upper Hand on Pain was posted on Cannabis Now.

There Needs to Be More Research on How Cannabis Affects Dreams

There Needs to Be More Research on How Cannabis Affects Dreams

[Canniseur: Researchers are thinking about how cannabis affects sleep and especially REM sleep. It’s an important topic, but sadly, there’s a dearth of previous research on the subject of cannabis and sleep. Now it’s finally changing. Does cannabis help alleviate some of the symptoms of PTSD? There are a myriad of other issues that involve sleep. Cannabis might help…or it might hurt. The research around cannabis, sleep and sleep effects is still in early stages, but it is research worth noting.]

Most people forget their dreams shortly after waking. As soon as the eyelids flutter open, an entire evening of vivid adventures and abstract situations shuffle to an end, often leaving only lingering traces of their presence — a fragment of a dress here, the flashing face of a stranger there. While some individuals may be adept at remembering these mysterious nocturnal encounters, for the most part, the dreaming mind remains an enigma.

For those who consume cannabis, the dreaming self may remain even more elusive. The plant, you see, may prevent the sleeping mind from dreaming. Although cannabis has long been used as a meditation aid and sleep-inducer, preliminary research suggests the trance-inducing herb may suppress some forms of sleep consciousness. Of course, however, research on how cannabis affects dreams is far too premature to make any serious assessments.

The Purpose of Dreaming

Dream science over the past several decades provides more and more hints into the true nature of the dreaming mind. While the exact purpose of dreaming is unclear and dreams are particularly difficult to study, it is generally understood that the dreaming mind is also an emotional mind. While logic and rationality dominate during the day, the unique function of the dreaming mind is to help soothe and come to terms with emotional memories.

Most dreaming occurs during rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep). The REM cycle is the closest sleep state to wakefulness when electrical activity in the brain increases, along with heart rate and breathing. During this time, levels of bodily stress hormones drop to their lowest levels. During the day, the hormone norepinephrine increased in the bloodstream in response to everyday stressors and anxieties. At night, however, norepinephrine levels slowly decrease as the dreaming mind takes over.

Brain scans suggest that the dreaming mind is very similar to the waking mind; visual areas of the brain are highly engaged, as well as areas related to memory and conscious thinking. A primary difference, however, is that the waking mind also responds to stress signals by releasing hormones like norepinephrine for fight-or-flight response. When dreaming, even strong emotions are distanced from this fight-or-flight impulse of the nervous system.

While the content of dreams may be very different than your visual memories from everyday life, it appears that emotional memory processing is a core function of REM sleep. The situations that your dreaming self is exposed to may be abstract or downright weird, but the emotional context of the dream may be what holds real value.

How Cannabis Affects Dreams

If dreams are the brain’s way of de-escalating and filing away emotional memories, then the effects of cannabis on dreams are well worth knowing. Thus far, a multitude of preclinical and small human trials show that cannabis consumption causes a reduction in REM sleep. This reduction is most strongly correlated with THC, although animal research thus far hasn’t determined whether or not the same effect occurs with CBD.

For individuals with recurring nightmares, this could be a positive benefit. Those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for example, often demonstrate disturbed REM sleep patterns and may consistently remember their dreams. Healthy sleep is sleep that promotes feelings of restfulness upon waking. If a person plagued by chronic nightmares, it can have a distressing impact on the next wakeful day

In PTSD, patients are unable to delete fear-based experiences from their memories. Already, preclinical research suggests that cannabis medicines may be beneficial for those with the condition, potentially helping patients extinguish fear-based memories during the waking day.

And yet, for the everyday individual, the overall effect of cannabis on dreams remains unknown. Research suggests that the plant does, in fact, reduce dreams and limits the amount of time spent in REM sleep. Given that REM sleep is when the body records and desensitizes emotional memories, it’s possible that reducing time spent in REM may have a negative effect on emotional processing.

The catch? Very little research has been conducted on the aftermath of cannabis consumption on dreaming. Although cannabis is one of the most popular illicit sleep aids in the world, no high-quality or conclusive evidence exists on the impact of cannabis on sleep. Further, the bulk of research on the topic was conducted in the 1970s and 1980s, with isolated cannabis compounds and small participant numbers. As a result, the way in which cannabis affects dreaming and the implications this may have on waking life are simply unknown.

REM Rebound

The human brain does not like to go without enough REM sleep. While quality research on cannabis and dreaming is appallingly absent from the scientific literature, what is known, however, is that dreams come back with a vengeance after a brief period of abstinence from the plant. When regular cannabis consumers abstain from the herb, one of the most common side effects of withdrawal is the resurgence of very vivid and memorable dreams. This phenomenon has a proper name: REM rebound.

During REM rebound, a person is able to reach a state of REM sleep more quickly. They’re also more likely to remain in REM sleep for an extended amount of time. This dreaming rebound most often occurs after a person experiences sleep deprivation. The brain, it would seem, opens the floodgates of emotion once you’ve finally safe to hit the hay.

In terms of REM sleep, does cannabis produce similar effects to sleep deprivation? Without more research on how cannabis affects dreams, it’s hard to say.

Original Post: Cannabis Aficionado: There Needs to Be More Research on How Cannabis Affects Dreams

Study: Everyone Prefers Low-Dose Cannabis Edibles — Even Mice

Study: Everyone Prefers Low-Dose Cannabis Edibles — Even Mice

[Canniseur: The results of this research are not surprising. I’ve always believed that cannabis consumption is self regulating. Once we understand how cannabis works in our own system, we inherently know when to stop. The research has many nuggets of information that are important for a better understanding of the effect…and self regulation…of cannabis consumption.]

Super-strength cannabis edibles have a small but passionate legion of defenders. In certain cases, for instance, there is a wholly valid medical justification for a 1000-milligram brownie — but the truth is, marijuana-laced goodies are not for everyone.

And this is particularly true at high doses.

Whenever “extreme adverse effects” result from cannabis, it seems an edible (or a plateful of them) is involved. This is why most states with legalized adult-use cannabis have passed laws limiting the amount of THC in edibles, and why these limits haven’t been overturned.

It turns out preferring a mild buzz to a days-long, edible-triggered, near-psychedelic odyssey may be wired into our brains. Because as researchers at Indiana University and Purdue University recently found, this preference appears to be absolutely wired into the brains of mice.

In a study, results of which were published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers at the Department of Psychology and Indiana Alcohol Research Center, Indiana University – Purdue University in Indianapolis fed a cohort of mice dough infused with THC, in variable amounts.

Know Thy Limits

Doses in the dough ranged from 1 milligram of THC per kilogram of bodyweight to up to 10 milligrams of THC per kilogram. The mice also had access to “normal” food and water, which suggests they were not attacking the dough out of hunger. (For comparison’s sake: a 180-pound man would be eating an edible with roughly 800 milligrams of THC were he to match the mightiest mouse dough.)

The mice ate the dough — as lab mice are wont to do — but the more powerful the dough, the less the mice ate, researchers found. When the dough was at 5 mg/kg or 10 mg/kg, some of the mice ate “significantly less” than 100%, suggesting there was something in that dough that disagreed with the mice.

“The simple fact that mice self-administered THC dough could be seen as evidence that it is rewarding,” the researchers wrote. “However, inspection of consumption patterns indicates that THC might have been aversive at higher dose.”

But not every mouse shied away from the highest-strength dough. Some mice ate it all, no matter how strong. After eating the dough, effects included less movement and a decrease in body temperature — you know, typical stoned mice things. Interestingly, the impact was most pronounced in the male mice, the researchers found.

The study “demonstrated what appears to be THC-induced conditioned taste aversion,” the researchers wrote, adding that the mice did not appear to be stressed and were otherwise perfectly fine, if very blazed.

The study is notable for a few reasons. There is limited scientific data on self-administration of THC, even among animals. And since there are still legal and “ethical” barriers to performing such experiments on humans, as the researchers noted, mice — who, like rats, provide something of a yardstick for understanding biology and functions like the immune system in humans — are the next-best option. And this study is one of few where an animal subject had access to self-administered THC at all, meaning it’s one of the few where desire for THC could be gauged.

It’s neither accurate nor fair to say that edibles are a liability. But among the problems that have arisen during the cannabis legalization era, powerful edibles — and eating too much of them — has absolutely been one of the marijuana movement’s biggest challenges.

The good news is that edibles are relatively easy to manage, because this is what labeling is for. And if you are a human who prefers a microdose to a heroic macro-brownie, just know that you are not alone in the animal kingdom.

Study: Everyone Prefers Low-Dose Cannabis Edibles — Even Mice was posted on Cannabis Now.

Macular Degeneration – Medical Marijuana Research Overview

Macular Degeneration – Medical Marijuana Research Overview

[Canniseur: In spite of all the disclaimers below, the underlying fact is we have very little research about a variety of diseases and how cannabis affects their course. Macular degeneration cannabis research is just one example. If only this research could have been started over the last 80 years how much farther ahead would medicine be if we had been studying all the medical benefits available through the cannabis plant. At least the research is beginning.]

The following information is presented for educational purposes only. Medical Marijuana Inc. provides this information to provide an understanding of the potential applications of cannabidiol. Links to third party websites do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations by Medical Marijuana Inc. and none should be inferred.

Affecting more than 10 million Americans, macular degeneration is an incurable eye disease caused by the deterioration of the retina. Studies have found that cannabis has neuroprotective properties, suggesting it could be beneficial for maintaining retinal health.

Overview of Macular Degeneration

The leading cause of vision loss, macular degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina. That central portion, called the macula, is responsible for recording the images seen and sending them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain for interpretation. Its deterioration, which is gradual, leads to images not being received correctly.

Macular degeneration, also referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), occurs in three stages. Early AMD is when small yellow deposits, called drusen, develop beneath the retina. During this early stage, there is no vision loss and therefore the ability to catch AMD early on only happens during routine eye exams. At intermediate AMD, the drusen are larger and there may be some vision loss but often no noticeable symptoms. It’s not until late AMD that vision loss definitely becomes noticeable.

Why macular degeneration develops is not conclusively known, although scientists believe its causes include both heredity and environment. The biggest risk factor for the disease is age, as it’s most likely to occur in those 55 years and older. Smoking also doubles the risk of macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration is considered an incurable eye disease. To slow the progression of the disease, physicians often recommend lifestyle changes like exercise, avoiding smoking, dieting, and protecting the eyes from ultraviolet light.

Findings: Effects of Cannabis on Macular Degeneration

The effects of cannabis on macular degeneration have yet to be adequately studies, but research indicates that cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) offer neuroprotective, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects that may be beneficial for improving cell survival in the eyes and encouraging eye health5. Cannabinoids have demonstrated as having neuroprotective properties that may inhibit cell death and vision loss in the case of degenerative eye disorders like retinitis pigmentosa1,6.

An animal study found both CBD and THC effective for limiting the formation of peroxynitrade, a potent oxidant responsible for retinal neuron death2. In another study CBD treatments significantly reduced oxidative stress, decreased the levels of levels of tumor necrosis factor-α, and prevented retinal cell death in the diabetic retina3.

In what further suggests that cannabinoids may be able to play a therapeutic role in patients with degenerative eye diseases, studies have found evidence that cannabinoids increase the light sensitivity of cells in the retina, effectively improving low-light vision7,8.

States That Have Approved Medical Marijuana for Macular Degeneration

No states have approved medical marijuana specifically for the treatment of macular degeneration.

However, in Washington D.C., any condition can be approved for medical marijuana as long as a DC-licensed physician recommends the treatment. In addition, various states will consider allowing medical marijuana to be used for the treatment of macular degeneration with the recommendation from a physician. These states include: California (any debilitating illness where the medical use of marijuana has been recommended by a physician), Connecticut (other medical conditions may be approved by the Department of Consumer Protection), Massachusetts (other conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s physician), Nevada (other conditions subject to approval), Oregon (other conditions subject to approval), Rhode Island (other conditions subject to approval), and Washington (any “terminal or debilitating condition”).

Recent Studies on Cannabis’ Effect on Macular Degeneration

  • THC reduces toxicity in the eye, indicating it possesses neuroprotective effects that inhibit cell death.
    Protective effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol against N-methyl-D-aspartate-induced AF5 cell death.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1824211/
  • THC and CBD reduce the attenuation of peroxynitrate, thereby protecting eye neuron health.
    Neuroprotective Effect of(−)Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol in N-Methyl-d-Aspartate-Induced Retinal Neurotoxicity : Involvement of Peroxynitrite.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1892413/

References:

  1. Chen, J., Lee, C.-T., Errico, S., Deng, X., Cadet, J. L., & Freed, W. J. (2005). Protective effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol against N-methyl-D-aspartate-induced AF5 cell death. Brain Research. Molecular Brain Research, 134(2), 215–225. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1824211/.
  2. El-Remessy, A.B., Khalil, I.E., Matragoon, S., Abou-Mohamed, G., Tsai, N.-J., Roon, P., Caldwell, R.B., Caldwell, R.W., Green, K., and Liou, G.I. (2003). Neuroprotective Effect of(−)Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol in N-Methyl-d-Aspartate-Induced Retinal Neurotoxicity : Involvement of Peroxynitrite. The American Journal of Pathology, 163(5), 1997–2008. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1892413/.
  3. El-Remessy, A.B., Al-Shabrawey, M., Khalifa, Y., Tsai, N.-T., Caldwell, R.B., and Liou, G.I. (2006, January). Neuroprotective and Blood-Retinal Barrier-Preserving Effects of Cannabidiol in Experimental Diabetes. Neurobiology, 168(1), 235-44. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1592672/pdf/JPATH168000235.pdf.
  4. Facts About Age-Related Macular Degeneration. (2015, September). National Eye Institute. Retrieved from https://nei.nih.gov/health/maculardegen/armd_facts.
  5. Hampson, A. J., Grimaldi, M., Axelrod, J., & Wink, D. (1998). Cannabidiol and (−)Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol are neuroprotective antioxidants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 95(14), 8268–8273. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC20965/.
  6. Lax, P., Esquiva, G., Altavilla, C., and Cuenca, N. (2014, March). Neuroprotective effects of the cannabinoid agonist HU210 on retinal degeneration. Experimental Eye Research, 120, 175-185. Retrieved from Macular Degeneration. (2017, August 24). S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014483514000347.
  7. Miraucourt, L.S., Tsui, J., Gobert, D., Desjardins, J.-F., Schohl, A., Sild, M., Spratt, P., Castonguay, A., De Konick, Y., Marsh-Armstrong, N., Wiseman, P.W., and Ruthazer, E. S. (2016). Endocannabinoid signaling enhances visual responses through modulation of intracellular chloride levels in retinal ganglion cells. eLife, 5, e15932. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4987138/.
  8. Russo, E.B., Merzouki, A., Molera Mesa, J., Frey, K.A., and Bach, P.J. (2004, July). Cannabis improves night vision: a case study of dark adaptometry and scotopic sensitivity in kif smokers of the Rif mountains of northern Morocco. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 93(1), 99-104. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874104001503.
  9. What is Macular Degeneration? (n.d.). American Macular Degeneration Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.macular.org/what-macular-degeneration

Macular Degeneration – Medical Marijuana Research Overview was posted on medical marijuana inc.

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