Title: Novel approaches in clinical development of cannabinoid drugs
A pamphlet has recently been published that highlights new approaches in the clinical development of cannabinoid-based therapies. The pamphlet begins with a look into how current cannabinoids affect patients based on gender, stress, physiological variations, and also delves into how cannabis works on the body in general.
A novel therapy that features an oral version of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and a synthetic activator of cannabinoid-receptor-1 (CB1) is explored in this piece and frames it to be a promising future therapy. The pharmacological properties of these two novel therapies were optimized during development after various analysis techniques, forming medications that the authors hope to see in future clinical trials.
Although the authors remain hopeful that their cannabis-based therapies will reach clinical trials soon, trials featuring cannabinoids are difficult to test in a formal setting because of a dire lack of funding. The federal government still lists cannabis as a Schedule I substance, under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that the federal government does not support the idea that cannabis has any medical use. Considering the legal status of cannabis, only privately-funded studies are able to take place, and unfortunately, that leaves cannabis research in an area of complete bias and prohibitively underfunded. Considering the massive literature supporting a myriad of novel therapeutic benefits, this is a costly reality to the health and well-being of millions.
Impacts of cannabinoid epigenetics on human development- reflections on Murphy et. al. ‘cannabinoid exposure and altered DNA methylation in rat and human sperm’ epigenetics
An op-ed has praised the work published last year which exposed how pre-conception exposure to cannabis in males is related to alterations in epigenetic regulation of the central nervous and immune systems. Murphy et. al.’s paper ‘Cannabinoid exposure and altered DNA methylation in rat and human sperm,’ revealed that the sperm cells of men who have consumed cannabis are a key vector that may affect neuraxis, heart blood vessels, immune stimulation, secondary genomic instability, and carcinogenesis in the fetus offspring. The author of the response piece extrapolates the data collected by Murphy et. al. to conclude the genome-epigenome is extremely sensitive to environmental toxicants and that further research should examine the epigenomic toxicology of multiple cannabinoids.
The effect of prenatal exposure to cannabis on birth rates, birth outcomes, and the health of the mother is still uncertain. Studies focussing on cannabis use during pregnancy are limited, and what little has been reported, is inconsistent. The featured article now brings to light that bothparents may need to be cautious when attempting to conceive or when having unprotected sex as cannabis may affect both germ cells. Currently, governing bodies of obstetricians advise that pregnant mothers cease any cannabis use so if someone who needs cannabis for a medical purpose that improves their quality of life becomes pregnant they need to seek out alternative methods of treatment. Research is needed so that pregnant women can safely continue their medication or so that alternatives can be found so that women do not need to suffer for the duration of their pregnancy and possible breastfeeding period.
Smoking cannabis brings toxins and unhealthy combustion byproducts into the body. With temps in the ~2000’F range for flame, burning flower incinerates a large portion of the product being consumed. As the distance from the point of flame grows, temperatures are lower, and cannabinoids are vaporizing, in addition to being burned by the flame. Over time, as heating technology has improved, there is no longer a need for blasting temperatures way beyond what the material can safely sustain before turning to tar and ash.
Beyond developed habits of consumption, social familiarity, and simplicity of use, one of the reasons many enjoy combustion is the other effects of heat. As with any human contact with extreme heat, blood rushes to the source of heat, and this may present a platform, through which cannabinoids may enter the bloodstream more quickly. The extravagant heat is also aerosolizing many more cannabis compounds than vaporization temperatures typically support, so the effect of flame is often felt to be more intense.
Vaporizing cannabis, however, is less likely to introduce mutations in the polyphenol compounds found in abundance within cannabis, and some of the mutations create terrible molecules known to be caustic and destructive.
If the medical rationale for vaporizing (over combustion) is not convincing, please consider the financial argument: Though purchasing a vaporizer may be costly, it’s a smart investment that could save money in the long run. Learn more by watching this video:
Benjamin Caplan, MDCannabis: Vaporizing vs Smoking
In Colorado, medical patients are losing priority and rights at dispensaries due to expiring laws, and dispensaries are focusing on rec. cannabis for fiscal purposes. Up to legislation to maintain focus on medical cannabis, which would be the path to federal legalization of cannabis. http://bit.ly/2Ylmamw
Benjamin Caplan, MDColorado Medical Patients losing priority & Rights
Title: Monoacylglycerol lipase blockade impairs fine motor coordination and triggers cerebellar neuroinflammation through cyclooxygenase-2
Researchers are constantly considering how cannabis may impact the human brain, for better or worse. A recently published work points out a negative effect on the cerebellum, caused by the inhibition of the main enzyme that is used to break down the endocannabinoid “2- arachidonoylglycerol” (2-AG). By inhibiting the degradation of 2-AG, more of the endocannabinoid is allowed to remain in, and act upon, the human nervous system. This abundance of 2-AG results in reduced synthesis of prostaglandins, which produces an anti-inflammatory effect.
Unfortunately, the abundance of 2-AG also results in motor coordination deficits related to the effect on the cerebellum, but the addition of a cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor (commonly found in many over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications) reverses these cerebellar deficits.
This highlights the far-reaching capabilities of the endocannabinoid system and at least one powerful angle where researchers could develop medications to indirectly impact the endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoids are still a politically hot topic, but synthesizing drugs that alter the level of endogenous cannabinoids available in the body is an ideal way to study the endocannabinoid system and its therapeutic benefits, without engaging with the red tape that surrounds cannabis. The receptors mechanisms for the endocannabinoid system certainly warrants further investigation.
Tweet: Researchers have recently revealed the negative effects on the #cerebellum caused by the inhibition of the main enzyme utilized for the degradation of the #endocannabinoid 2- arachidonoylglycerol (#2-AG). Learn more at
Title: Adolescent Cannabis Use and Risk of Mental Health Problems – The Need for Newer Data
Here, an article presenting a case, justifying the need for new research to determine how cannabis use in adolescents may affect their risk for mental health. Few recent studies have come out discussing mental health and adolescent use. This is problematic because, over the years, cannabis products have been curated to be significantly more potent than in the past. Considering how vulnerable the brain is, during adolescence, because it is still developing, longitudinal studies need to be conducted to fully elucidate the effects of cannabis on development.
This review highlights how poorly adolescents consuming cannabis seem to be at titrating their dose, or correctly self-regulating consumption of cannabis. There is an overall need for greater education before cannabis is acquired, from a dispensary or otherwise. For adults and teens seeking to self-regulate their use of cannabis, irrespective of the consumption method, it is difficult to succeed, considering the gross lack of knowledge and sophistication around the dosage. The wide variabilityin choice and make-up of cannabis products, added to the complexity associated with how each patient may process the myriad of cannabinoids within the products consumed leads to a complexity of confounding variables, and here, a call for more studies to be conducted on more than just adolescents.
Title: False memory formation in cannabis users- a field study
This new study has revealed that although cannabis use does not increase the rate of false memory acquisition, cannabis use did increase the uncertainty of participants. It was also determined that intoxicated cannabis users were less accurate when recognizing true events, providing evidence that cannabis intoxication hinders memory formation.
This research provides a basis of knowledge for those interviewing people under the influence of cannabis for legal proceedings to determine the validity of their statements. If cannabis intoxication increases the uncertainty and liberal answers provided by users then their statements should be used sparingly or well-corroborated.
This research highlights the importance of understanding cannabis for legal proceedings. More and more state governments are legalizing medical and recreational cannabis, each year, increasing the amount of those eligible to legally consume cannabis. As cannabis use continues to climb in popularity, witnesses or others interviewed in legal settings may not provide the most accurate information. Acute cannabis use should be a consideration related to legal proceedings so that the users’ statements can be weighed appropriately.
With rates of cannabis use during pregnancy more than doubling between 2002 and 2017, a need for more studies, over longer periods of time, which investigate prenatal cannabis use has emerged. Existing data ranges from reporting an increased risk for preterm birth and low birth weight to cannabis reducing the risk of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Concerns are historically informed by preliminary alcohol and cocaine studies that falsely suggested no gestational harm, despite the eventual recognition that these substances ultimately carry significant risk. Pregnant women should exercise caution in their cannabis use until more definitive conclusions are found, regarding maternal cannabis use.
The decision of where, if anywhere, cannabis fits in relationship to pregnancy is populated with more questions than answers. There are a handful of good quality, long-term studies, to date, that show a pattern that informs some degree of generalization: by and large, the less frequently consumed, and the later during the pregnancy the consumption, the less potential risk. But, for the sake of any pregnant woman and her baby, this type of decision should always be made in direct consultation with the obstetrician supporting the pregnancy.
Additional Point: A lack of high-quality studies relating to cannabis use and gestational risk has resulted in conflicting evidence surrounding prenatal cannabis use. However, historical context involving prenatal alcohol and cocaine use studies informs the need to exercise caution before definitive conclusions are made