Pregnant Women with Anxiety or Depression More Likely to Smoke Weed, Study Finds

Pregnant Women with Anxiety or Depression More Likely to Smoke Weed, Study Finds

Original Post: Merry Jane: Pregnant Women with Anxiety or Depression More Likely to Smoke Weed, Study Finds

[Canniseur: Not surprising again. The only thing we don’t know is if cannabis affects the forming fetus. There have been no studies on this and they’d have to be longitudinal in order to have value. This study only discusses the numbers of women who smoke while pregnant, not if cannabis affected their babies. We need a study about babies and mothers who smoked while pregnant or while breastfeeding for that matter.]

Women who are suffering from trauma, depression, or anxiety are more likely to use cannabis while they are pregnant, according to a new study recently published in JAMA Network Open.

Last summer, another JAMA study reported that the rate of cannabis use among pregnant women nearly doubled between 2002 and 2017. Other studies have suggested that these expecting mothers are using cannabis to relieve stress, nausea, or pain, but a team of researchers from one of California’s largest healthcare companies set out to investigate whether mental health also played a role in prenatal cannabis use.

Kelly C. Young-Wolff, PhD, MPH, a research scientist from the Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) Division of Research, launched a new study to determine if pregnant women suffering from trauma or mental health issues were more likely to use pot. To investigate the issue, Young-Wolff and her fellow researchers turned to KNPC’s integrated healthcare system, which has collected data on hundreds of thousands of pregnancies.

Pregnant women who receive prenatal care at KPNC facilities are asked to self-report any mental health or substance use issues on a questionnaire. Doctors also conduct a urine drug test during prenatal screenings, and women who test positive undergo a second test for confirmation. Although some women did not complete the questionnaire or drug test, researchers were still able to acquire data on 196,022 pregnant women who visited these facilities between 2012 and 2017.

 

Out of these nearly 200,000 women, only 6 percent (11,681) were using cannabis while pregnant. Researchers then used electronic health records and the self-report questionnaires to determine if any of these women were suffering from depressive, anxiety, or trauma disorders during their pregnancy. Among all the subjects, the incidence of these issues ranged from 1.9 percent (domestic violence) to 11 percent (depression symptoms of at least moderate severity).

The study reports that women suffering from mental health issues were in fact more likely to use cannabis while pregnant. Researchers calculated that prenatal cannabis users were more likely to have an anxiety disorder (8.3 percent of cannabis users vs. 4.7 percent of non-users), a depressive disorder (10.6 percent vs. 4.3 percent), or both at once (8.4 percent vs. 3.1 percent). Prenatal cannabis users were also more likely to have been diagnosed with trauma (8.3 percent vs. 2.0 percent) or to have self-reported intimate partner violence (4.4 percent vs. 1.8 percent).

“These results support previous qualitative findings that pregnant women self-report using cannabis to manage mood and stress and suggest a dose-response association, with higher odds of cannabis use associated with co-occurring depressive and anxiety disorders and greater depression severity,” the authors concluded.

The study does have a number of limitations, though. All of the subjects were sourced from one health care system in Northern California, and as the researchers note, “the findings may not generalize to all pregnant women.” The evaluations were only taken around the 8th week of pregnancy, and do not account for cannabis use occurring before or after that date. Also, the study relies on self-reports of mental health, which may not always be entirely honest.

The study asserts that “no amount of cannabis use during pregnancy has been shown to be safe,” but the hard truth of the matter is that the scientific community is not entirely certain about what risks cannabis might pose to the developing child. Another JAMA study from last year suggested that cannabis use is linked to premature birth or other poor birth outcomes, and another recent study found that weed could increase the risk of miscarriage.

Other studies have come to the opposite conclusion, however. A Jamaican study found that children who had been exposed to cannabis actually showed better physiological stability at the age of one month than children who had not been exposed to weed.

Still, health authorities are erring on the side of caution and advising all expecting mothers to steer clear of pot. The US Food and Drug Administration issued a memo last fall urging all mothers to stay away from all CBD and THC products, even when breastfeeding. California has also officially declared cannabis a pregnancy risk, and Michigan is about to require all legal weed products to contain warnings against prenatal consumption.

Original Post: Merry Jane: Pregnant Women with Anxiety or Depression More Likely to Smoke Weed, Study Finds

Can Cannabis Terpenes Really Customize or Direct Our Highs?

Can Cannabis Terpenes Really Customize or Direct Our Highs?

Original Post: Merry Jane: Can Cannabis Terpenes Really Customize or Direct Our Highs?

[Canniseur: The entourage effect in cannabis involves terpenes with THC. It’s a hotly debated topic and no research has shown why one strain of cannabis has a different effect than another. One of the ideas the author includes is that the terpenes combined with the THCs in a flower affect everyone differently. I get some of that, but if there is an entourage effect caused by different terpenes in each strain, then I have to wonder why if I really like one kind of cannabis, so does everyone else. We know there are several variants of THC and all the other things in the flower. Why does cannabis do this? Nobody knows for sure. This article helps explain what we do know.]

While the rest of the world is still catching up to the difference between THC and CBD, more seasoned cannabis consumers are turning their attention away from cannabinoids and toward a more common class of plant molecule: terpenoids or terpenes.

Terpenes, unlike THC, aren’t unique to cannabis. They’re found in practically every plant, from fruits to flowers to roots. Terpenes are responsible for the aromas and flavors found in cannabis (and other plants), and — according to a growing number of cannabis patients, advocates, and marketers — terpenes may be responsible for the different kinds of highs people experience from weed, too.

The Science, in a Nutshell

The main chemical in weed that gets people intoxicated is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. (Though scientists recently discovered another naturally-occuring weed compound, THCP, that may be 30 times stronger than plain ol’ THC, so stay tuned for updates on that.) We know that if someone consumes pure THC (e.g. a THC distillate or isolate), they will get high. But the effect from pure THC feels much different from, say, smoking a joint of cannabis flower or hitting bud out of a bong. People who dab distillates or who have been injected with pure THC report feeling more anxious and paranoid than those who’ve simply blazed a joint.

Based on self-reports with pure THC, we know that THC isn’t the only part of cannabis that affects the head high. Other cannabinoids such as CBD likely blunt THC’s high rather than enhance it, but we have some clues indicating that terpenes may be the other primary ingredients when it comes to weed’s psychoactive effects.

For instance, weed with high levels of THC (25 percent or more THC by dry weight) isn’t always the most potent. Sometimes buds with just 15 percent THC can hit much harder, according to self-reports. We also have self-reports that weed rich in terpenes such as limonene, myrcene, linalool, pinene, and beta-caryophyllene trigger a “creep” effect, where the THC high comes on much slower and lasts much longer than highs from low-terpene strains.

How does this creeping effect occur? Again, scientists don’t really know. But, we do know that many terpenes bind to our CB receptors, the parts of our cells that interact with the compounds found in weed. When THC binds to the CB1 receptors in our brain and nerves, it gets us lit. However, a 2019 study found that the most common weed terpenes don’t activate our CB1 receptors the way that THC does, but they will “stick” to those same receptors, which temporarily blocks THC from doing its thing. So, what’s likely happening is when someone smokes or dabs a terpene-rich weed product, the CB1 receptors get saturated in terpenes. And as those terpenes fall off the CB1 receptors, THC takes their places, hence the “creeping” effect of the weed high coming on slower and lasting longer.

There are also studies that show that inhaling certain terpenes can activate smell receptors in our nose, which can trigger certain psychoactive effects. For example, when mammals smell limonene, it usually causes them to feel more alert and awake. However, many of these aroma studies are still in their infancies, and the findings don’t apply to all terpenes found in cannabis.

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But Can Terpenes Customize or Direct a Weed High?

Any cannabis consumer can test for themselves the effects terpenes have on weed intoxication. Simply dab a relatively pure THC product such as diamonds or distillate, then compare that experience to a similar product that contains added terpenes, such as a “sauce” or high-quality weed vape oil. Consumers often report that the added terpenes will feel significantly different from hitting pure THC, but those differences will vary from consumer to consumer.

Right now, many cannabis companies market their products according to “mood” or “effect.” You’ve likely seen this at your local dispensary: A weed extract, vaping cartridge, or even edible may be sold not by its strain of origin, but rather by its intended effect. For example, you may see a product branded for “Relaxation,” “Energy,” “Focus,” or even “Horniness.” The idea is that these products contain specific terpene blends designed to provide users with these effects. However, the science on whether a particular terpene always generates a particular effect remains hazy at best.

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Terpene Effects Likely Vary Among Individual Consumers

So, yes, terpenes very likely influence what kinds of moods or highs we experience, but those experiences will vary depending on the individual consumer. For instance, limonene and other fruity-smelling terpenes may cause some consumers to feel sleepy or couch-locked, while other consumers may feel a jolt of energy from these same terpenes. Others may find that myrcene or skunky-, gassy-smelling terpenes cause them to feel paranoid, while still others may find deep, soothing relaxation from those same stanky terps.

Basically, only you, the individual consumer, can know which terpenes or terpene mixtures will give you the desired effects you’re looking for. If fruity smelling weed products knock you out, then you know to avoid those products if you need something to keep you awake during the day.

One’s personal reactions to terpenes doesn’t necessarily invalidate the way cannabis companies currently market their weed products, though. If anything, promoting a product for “Relaxation” or “Focus” may give consumers some idea of what they’re about to buy, even if their brains and bodies don’t exactly jive with the product’s labeled effect. In the same vein, allergy medications such as Benadryl usually cause drowsiness in most people, but some people find that allergy meds do the exact opposite and will provide them a burst of energy, just as some people feel lethargic from drinking coffee whereas other people can’t even get through the workday without slamming 10 cups of espresso.

Some Additional Info on Eating Terpenes

Some cannabis edibles, tinctures, and drinkables are marketed for directional or customized highs based on their terpene contents, just as inhalable products are. However, terpenes are incredibly fragile, and most quickly degrade in the stomach’s highly acidic environment. Although the science is still out on whether terpenes can affect a weed high when they’re swallowed, they likely don’t do much after passing through the digestive system. However, inhaling terpenes in addition to consuming an edible or drinkable may still confer the terpene’s effects on the weed high if smoked, vaped, or dabbed at just the right time.

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Original Post: Merry Jane: Can Cannabis Terpenes Really Customize or Direct Our Highs?

Medical Marijuana Patients With ADHD Use Fewer Prescription Drugs, Study Finds

Medical Marijuana Patients With ADHD Use Fewer Prescription Drugs, Study Finds

Original Post: Marijuana Moment: Medical Marijuana Patients With ADHD Use Fewer Prescription Drugs, Study Finds

[Canniseur: I’m not surprised by this study. What did surprise me and I didn’t know was how addicting some of the drugs that are used to treat ADHD are. Kind of amazing that cannabis, which has been shown to be mostly non-addicting, can keep people away from the addictive meds. Time to get real about cannabis. Do you hear that legislators? Probably not.]

When people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) consume more medical marijuana they tend to use fewer prescription drugs, including powerful, habit-forming psychostimulants, according to a new study.

Patients who used medical cannabis components—cannabinoids themselves as well as terpenes— also “reported a higher occurrence of stopping all ADHD medications,” the researchers, whose findings were published late last month in the Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal, wrote.

“In this study, we demonstrated that patients treated with [medical cannabis] stopped their ADHD medications, especially in the high MC dose and in the low ADHD symptoms frequency subgroups.”

Specifically, the study found that the cannabinoid CBN, or cannabinol, which is found in the plant in only trace amounts, seemed to trigger the best results—though they conceded that “more studies are needed in order to fully understand” if cannabis and its constituents can be a workable ADHD treatment.

“These results, although not causal, might shed light on the potential beneficial effects of [medical cannabis] on ADHD symptom severity and motivate future prospective studies in order to validate our results,” the researchers concluded, “and perhaps even consider making ADHD an approved indication” for medical cannabis where it is legal.

The team collected data from 53 Israeli medical cannabis patients in an existing database who had previously agreed to participate in surveys and who also had an ADHD diagnosis. Thirty-seven of the 53 patients suffered from some from of mental health condition.

Participants were asked to self-report monthly doses, how they consumed cannabis, the manufacturer or grower and the cultivar name (or strain) between October 2019 and January 2020.

“These findings reveal that the higher-dose consumption of [medical cannabis] components (phyto-cannabinoids and terpenes) is associated with ADHD medication reduction.”

This is a departure from previous research into ADHD and cannabis, the researchers noted. Prior studies had “considered cannabis as a single product in ADHD research, disregarding its inherent complexities and variability between cultivars and combinations of cultivars,” they wrote.

Most patients had previously obtained medical cannabis licenses (the terminology used in Israel) for chronic pain or cancer treatment rather than neurological disorders that co-exist with ADHD.

Forty-seven patients in the study, which was funded by the Evelyn Gruss Lipper Charitable Foundation, reported either smoking or vaporizing their cannabis.

The cannabis consumers were divided into two subgroups: high dose and low dose. Cultivar combinations were complicated: There were 27 different combinations of varieties but, in addition to CBN, the cannabinoids most associated with reduced or eliminated ADHD medication use including THC, THCV and CBD.

Exactly how various combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes “modulate the circuitry involved in both ADHD and comorbid psychiatric conditions” is still unclear, the researchers said. But the study also suggests that finding the proper dose and the proper cultivar—and cultivar combination—may require significant experimentation on the part of the patient.

And patients in Israel enjoy more reliable access to more regulated cultivars than patients anywhere else in the world—suggesting that most American patients, with a basic understanding of THC and CBD and not a lot else, still have a ways to go.

“This indicates a more complex story than simply stratifying treatment based on THC and CBD alone,” the researchers wrote.

Businesses Are More Profitable And Innovative In States With Legal Marijuana, Study Finds

The post Medical Marijuana Patients With ADHD Use Fewer Prescription Drugs, Study Finds appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Medical Marijuana Patients With ADHD Use Fewer Prescription Drugs, Study Finds was posted on Marijuana Moment.

Medical Marijuana Can Treat Vomiting and Pain Linked to GI Disorders, Study Says

Medical Marijuana Can Treat Vomiting and Pain Linked to GI Disorders, Study Says

Original Post: Merry Jane: Medical Marijuana Can Treat Vomiting and Pain Linked to GI Disorders, Study Says

[Canniseur: Another study showing the effect cannabis can have on yet another human malady. The ‘correct’ political answer today seems to be; “Before I can get behind legalization, there need to be more studies.” It’s a crock. There are getting to be many studies like this about many topics surrounding cannabis consumption. It’s about time politicians got off their collective butts and legalize. Some have, but obviously not enough.]

A new clinical research study has found that medical cannabis can help patients suffering from gastroparesis, a stomach condition that causes abdominal pain, vomiting, and other symptoms.

Gastroparesis is a disease caused by damage to the vagus nerve, which is responsible for tightening the stomach muscles to push food through the digestive system. When this nerve is damaged, the stomach is unable to empty itself properly, which can cause undigested food to ferment. This can cause symptoms of heartburn, nausea, weight loss, dehydration, and poor blood sugar control. In extreme cases, food can harden into solid masses that can block the intestines.

Traditional medicine has struggled to treat this condition effectively, and over 10 percent of patients suffering from gastroparesis report being disabled by their condition and unable to work. Hospitalizations for this disease have increased by more than 300 percent between 1997 and 2013, and gastroparetics are often hospitalized longer than patients suffering from other gastrointestinal conditions.

A team of gastroenterologists from across the US decided to investigate whether cannabinoids could treat this condition more effectively than traditional medications. The new study, published in the Cureus journal, notes that “gastroparesis is a neuromuscular disorder and neuropathy plays a large role in its pathogenesis.” Noting that prior research has found cannabinoids to effectively treat both neuropathy and gastrointestinal conditions, the researchers hypothesized that cannabinoids could help treat this challenging disease.

Researchers recruited 24 patients with gastroparesis from one gastroenterology practice and asked them to fill out a standard questionnaire evaluating their symptoms and pain levels. Patients were then asked to use medical marijuana for 60 days, after which they filled out the form again. Some patients were asked to use medical cannabis purchased from licensed New York dispensaries, which was either vaped or taken as sublingual drops. Other patients used 2mg to 10mg of dronabinol, a synthetic cannabinoid, two to four times daily.

Researchers found that “cannabinoids dramatically improve refractory gastroparesis symptoms, including abdominal pain.” Before the treatment, patients self-reported an abdominal pain score of 3.97 on a scale of one to five. After taking medical cannabis, the average score dropped to 2.34, a significant improvement. When comparing natural cannabis with its synthetic counterpart, researchers found that “marijuana was superior to dronabinol in improving all symptoms, with statistical significance seen in the abdominal pain score and the total symptom composite score.”

“Cannabinoids represent a new treatment in this difficult-to-treat, burdensome condition with minimal data-supported treatment options,” the researchers concluded. “We demonstrated that cannabinoids dramatically, and significantly, improve all symptoms of gastroparesis. Furthermore, abdominal pain was significantly improved with cannabinoids. This role in pain management represents a breakthrough for gastroparesis-associated abdominal pain treatment, for which there are currently no validated therapies.”

This study has a number of limitations, particularly the small subject size and the fact that all subjects were treated at one specific institution. The researchers also note that the subjects who used medical cannabis acquired different products at different dispensaries, which made it impossible to control the ratio of CBD to THC that each subject was consuming.

To overcome these limitations, the researchers recommend that “further studies should be conducted to confirm the efficacy of cannabinoids in refractory gastroparesis, and focus should be applied to optimal THC:CBD dosing, long-term efficacy, and sustainability of symptom improvement, as well as the side-effects of chronic cannabinoid use.”

Original Post: Merry Jane: Medical Marijuana Can Treat Vomiting and Pain Linked to GI Disorders, Study Says

Cannabis Research Advances

Cannabis Research Advances

Cannabis Research Advances, but not in the U.S.

Cannabis research in the U.S. is totally lacking. Even as medical and adult-use cannabis becomes legal in more states in the U.S., it’s apparent we don’t know very much about the plant itself. We know there are THC compounds and terpenes. We do not know how many different terpene compounds there are. Nor do we know how many CBD compounds or derivatives of THC there are. We don’t know what other compounds might be specific to cannabis or how they might work with other compounds found in the plant. We simply don’t know.

A story published in Nature illustrates how much we don’t know about cannabis.

A New THC

Italian scientists have discovered a new THC compound that’s 30-50 times more potent than the delta-9 THC we all know and love. Tetrahydrocannabiphorol or THCP is the proper name for the new ‘discovery’. Also, CBDP and a few other cannabis compounds were discovered at the same time. The story is scientific and if you like science, it’s be right up your alley. If you don’t, here’s the bottom line; The scientists who discovered the new compounds only know that it binds to our endocannabinoid system at a rate far higher than THC alone. Does this mean you get a bigger buzz? They don’t seem to know, as it wasn’t tested for its effectiveness as an agent to get you high.

We Don’t Know Enough about Cannabis

What this tells us is, we just don’t know enough about the cannabis plant to tell us what it can and cannot do. The personal story I wrote about using cannabis for post-surgery pain relief are just that: anecdotal stories. Anecdotal stories are good as far as they go, but scientific inquiry is even better.

The techniques scientists use now involve mass spectrometers. However, the changes in cannabis plant compounds, whether it’s called hemp, marijuana, or cannabis are so subtle they’re sometimes difficult to suss out even with very sensitive instruments.

More Cannabis Research

Here’s the bottom line for me. If we want to find out about the plant in the U.S., we need to do more research. In order to do more research, we need to either reschedule cannabis from Schedule 1 or or completely de-scheduling cannabis, and just make it legal like alcohol. This means States would be free to regulate cannabis in whatever manner they desire. But most importantly, rescheduling or de-scheduling cannabis would allow important research to be completed by competent researchers. As things stand right now, there’s very little research done in the U.S. It’s all being done overseas. If anything, the U.S. needs to legalize cannabis research to stay competitive.

There is No Proof Marijuana Use Lowers IQ

There is No Proof Marijuana Use Lowers IQ

Original Article: Marijuana Times: There is No Proof Marijuana Use Lowers IQ

[Canniseur: Really?? There’s no proof that cannabis use lowers IQ? Oh yeah, that’s right. There IS no proof. There never has been. Humans have been consuming cannabis for millennia. The real question is; How did this particular saw about intellect get started in the 1930s? Harry Anslinger is why. One man…one man changed the concept of our relationship to cannabis. The crap about IQ still lingers as does a lot of other B.S. about cannabis and humans. Blame Harry.]

Cannabis users are no strangers to being judged based on unproven stereotypes. For decades we were told that marijuana use would kill our brain cells, fill our lungs with cancer and lead us down a road to harder drugs and eventually an early death. And while the Internet has done much to dispel those myths, the spread of information works both ways.

The same speed with which true information can be spread also comes into play with new myths that have cropped up in recent years. One of the most persistent new myths regarding cannabis use is the fabled IQ drop. Almost every reference to the “loss of IQ points” from marijuana use can be traced back to a single study from New Zealand in 2012 involving researchers from Duke University and other educational establishments.

The upshot of the study is that early cannabis use can lead to a loss of up to 8 IQ points and poorer cognitive performance in adulthood. Despite the fact that this study has been questioned, criticized, called out by other research in the same journal the study was originally published in and directly contradicted by other studies, the IQ myth persists.

I see it mentioned in dozens of articles a year – even to this day – and it was even referenced by President Trump in a recently published video secretly recorded by Lev Parnas of Rudy Giuliani/impeachment fame. In the video, Trump makes reference to marijuana use making people “lose IQ points”.

I think one of the reasons this myth has become so entrenched is that it plays into the stereotypes many people still have about marijuana users, that they are stupid and lazy and a drain on society. Looking slightly deeper into the issue would show the flimsiness this myth is built on to many, but unfortunately our “share the article based on the title without reading it” culture easily falls prey to the notion that a single study cited settles an issue.

The Internet is a double-edged sword, much like everything else in life. False information will travel just as fast as true information, and if something is repeated enough, many will believe it.

It can be frustrating, but all we can do is continue to battle the bad info with the good. The Internet is a vast place and every day is a battle over the information it contains.

Original Article: Marijuana Times: There is No Proof Marijuana Use Lowers IQ

Cannabis Helps Protect HIV Patients’ Brains From Deteriorating, Study Finds

Cannabis Helps Protect HIV Patients’ Brains From Deteriorating, Study Finds

Original Post: Merry Jane: Cannabis Helps Protect HIV Patients’ Brains From Deteriorating, Study Finds

[Canniseur: If this academic study is accurate, then cannabis can help HIV. When active, HIV is a debilitating disease that deteriorates all bodily functions including cognitive. This could be a terrific breakthrough for those who have HIV.]

One of HIV’s lesser-known symptoms is neurodegeneration, a slow but progressive failure of the nervous system. But new data suggests cannabis may slow or, even prevent, HIV’s damaging effects on the brain.

HIV and aging share one thing in common: They can both irreparably damage the nervous system. But cannabis may, potentially, halt both aging and HIV in their tracks when it comes to a deteriorating human brain.

A new study recently published in the Journal of Acquired Immunity Deficiency Syndrome found that HIV patients who consumed cannabis showed significantly less cognitive impairment compared to HIV patients who didn’t.

Here’s how the study went down. The researchers collected data from 679 people living with HIV and 273 people who didn’t have HIV. Participants’ ages ranged from 18- to 79-years-old. The researchers then assessed the participants to see how well their brains worked; their state of health; and what kinds of drugs they were currently taking — FDA-approved or otherwise.

By the end of it, the researchers found that regular cannabis consumers living with HIV were at a 53 percent lower risk of developing cognitive impairments compared to people living with HIV who didn’t partake.

How could our favorite flower profoundly impact a disease that modern medicine still hasn’t found a (feasible) cure for? The researchers in the latest study concluded, “A possible mechanism of this result is the anti-inflammatory effect of cannabis, which may be particularly important for PLHIV.” They noted that “further investigations are needed” to better understand how cannabis can work as a neuroprotective HIV medication.

HIV can cause neural degeneration, even though the virus solely targets human immune cells, not our nerves or brain cells. But HIV’s presence in the brain triggers inflammation due to toxins released by both the virus and the immune cells it destroys. Our neurons are incredibly fragile, and constant inflammation in the brain will cause those neurons to degenerate and eventually die. HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders, or HANDs, can permanently impair memory, motor coordination, natural reflexes, speech, and emotional regulation.

If a HAND progresses even further, it can develop into AIDS dementia complex (ADC), a condition that’s kind of like a cross between Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, both of which usually only affect aging populations. At the end stages of ADC, the individual essentially slides into a vegetative state, paralyzed and unable to communicate with others.

However, in industrialized countries such as the US, readily available anti-retroviral drugs can prevent HIV from ever progressing into AIDS — assuming the individual can afford the medications, that is. But seeing as cannabis is known to control several other HIV/AIDS symptoms, receiving additional neuroprotective benefits in one small, joint-sized package should qualify weed as an essential part of the standard HIV/AIDS pharmaceutical regimen.

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Original Post: Merry Jane: Cannabis Helps Protect HIV Patients’ Brains From Deteriorating, Study Finds

Medical Cannabis Helps Chronic Pain Patients Get Quality Sleep, Study Finds

Medical Cannabis Helps Chronic Pain Patients Get Quality Sleep, Study Finds

Original Post: Merry Jane: Medical Cannabis Helps Chronic Pain Patients Get Quality Sleep, Study Finds

[Canniseur: Yet another study not done in the U.S. would seem to debunk a recent story on CNN that stated exactly the opposite. This Israeli study shows that patients with chronic pain get to sleep and stay asleep. I can only comment from my story about acute surgical pain and the relief that cannabis gave me that allowed me to sleep for the week after my procedure. One note: The story specifically states that it was medical cannabis. There is no difference between medical cannabis and regular cannabis.]

Dozens of clinical research studies have found that medical cannabis can help treat symptoms of chronic pain. There’s also a wealth of anecdotal evidence showing that pot can help insomnia. But can weed help chronic pain patients get better sleep?

A team of Israeli researchers set out to find the answer to that question. In short, the answer is yes — but there are some caveats. The research team recruited 128 chronic pain patients from the Rambam Institute for Chronic Pain in Haifa, Israel. Out of these participants, 66 were using medical cannabis, while 62 were not. For the medical marijuana group, the researchers only accepted subjects who used cannabis for at least one year prior to the start of the study.

All of the subjects were age 50 or older, but researchers discovered that patients who chose not to use cannabis tended to be slightly older on average than those who used pot. Researchers also noted that 58 percent of the non-cannabis group were male, versus only 40 percent of the medical marijuana group. The two groups had similar pain levels, education levels, medication use, and patterns of alcohol and cigarette use.

During the study, the participants were asked to rate their responses to three insomnia-related questions on a 7-point Likert scale. These questions asked patients how often they woke up during the night, how often they woke up early and were unable to fall back asleep, and how often they had problems trying to fall asleep. The researchers then made adjustments for age, sex, pain level, and use of traditional sleep medications.

Overall, 27.2 percent of the study group reported always waking up at night, 24.1 percent said they always woke up early and couldn’t fall back asleep, and 20.2 percent said they always had trouble falling asleep. But when comparing the two groups, researchers found that medical marijuana users were less likely to wake up in the middle of the night. For the other two categories, there was no difference between the groups.

However, the study also reports that medical cannabis users who reported frequent use actually had more problems falling asleep or woke up more during the night than non-users. The researchers theorize that this increased insomnia could be due to patients developing tolerance to the sleep-aid characteristics of cannabis.

The study also investigated how frequently patients consumed medical cannabis, and how much they used. Overall consumption varied, but the medical marijuana group used pot for around four years, and consumed 31 grams a month on average. Researchers also analyzed the medical marijuana users’ preferred products, and found an average THC-level of 15.6 percent and an average CBD level of 2.84 percent.

“This study is among the first to test the link between whole plant MC [medical cannabis] use and sleep quality,” the researchers conclude. “In our sample of older (50+ years) chronic pain patients we found that MC may be related to fewer awakenings at night. Yet, patients may also develop a tolerance to the sleep-aid characteristics of MC. These findings may have large public health impacts considering the aging of the population, the relatively high prevalence of sleep problems in this population along with increasing use of MC.”

The researchers also note the limitations of their study, including the limited size and diversity of the subjects and the fact that they had no control over the timing, dosage, or strain of medical cannabis that the subjects used. The study recommends that further research be conducted using randomized control trials on human or animal subjects to more fully explore the efficacy of cannabis on insomnia.

Original Post: Merry Jane: Medical Cannabis Helps Chronic Pain Patients Get Quality Sleep, Study Finds

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