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Flavonoids in Peacock Moss Found to be AntiHyperglycemic

The bioflavonoids as protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B inhibitors from Selaginella uncinata and their antihyperglycemic action

In Summary

Researchers have recently revealed the antihyperglycemic effects of flavonoids extracted from peacock moss. Nine biflavonoids were extracted from peacock moss (Selaginella uncinata) and examined for their effect on protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B, which is a regulatory protein of the insulin pathway, and were all found to have an inhibitory effect. Each of the flavonoids was found to be an allosteric modulator with a highly efficient binding mechanism. The antihyperglycemic effects of these flavonoids may lead to novel treatments for high blood sugar and may lend itself to regulating symptoms of diabetes. 

Highlighted in this study is the possible therapeutic benefits of chemicals produced by cannabis other than cannabinoids, such as flavonoids, due to their antioxidant and protective properties. Flavonoids and terpenes are often found in common fruits and fruits and other common crops, like moss, already harvested in the United States are full of polyphenols that have many therapeutic benefits. Cannabis plants are full of flavonoids and terpenes that have been featured in recent literature as novel drug therapies but polyphenols can also be found in a myriad of crops that are still undervalued in western medicine and warrant further investigation. 

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Benjamin Caplan, MDFlavonoids in Peacock Moss Found to be AntiHyperglycemic
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Smoking Cannabis May Lead to Lung Cancer

The association between marijuana smoking and lung cancer

In Summary

More than a decade ago a systematic review determined that the plausibility of developing lung cancer from smoking cannabis. After filtering through the appropriate research 19 manuscripts were analyzed during the review with the majority of the manuscripts concluding that smoking cannabis is likely to result in the development of premalignant lung changes and lung cancer. It is suggested that physicians who recommend cannabis also advise their patients about the carcinogens in cannabis smoke and the possibility of developing lung cancer, although the author calls for more rigorous studies to validate these suggestions. 

The risk of lung cancer emphasizes the importance of discussing which method of consumption is appropriate for their needs. Patients should discuss cannabis use with their physicians and should be careful to mind which cannabinoids they aim to use and the method of consumption as both those factors can greatly affect the potency and perceived effects. Topicals are generally non-psychoactive even when they contain THC; vapor is much more efficient than smoking and contains fair less harmful products due to the heating method; edibles and tinctures are two methods of consumption that provide very different effects and can be tailored to each individual. Consume cannabis responsibly and continue reading blogs like this one or other well-researched articles to remain fully aware of current findings.

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Benjamin Caplan, MDSmoking Cannabis May Lead to Lung Cancer
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Synthetic Cannabis Use in a Psychiatric Inpatient Unit in Australia

Synthetic cannabinoid use in an acute psychiatric inpatient unit

In Summary

Over half of the patients at a psychiatric inpatient unit in Australia reported using synthetic cannabis before their admission to the acute treatment clinic. Although synthetic cannabinoids have been banned from retail centers in Australia patients reported that legality, availability, and the feeling of intoxication were the main motivation for their use of synthetic cannabinoids. There is a high prevalence of new psychoactive substances available and the data from the clinic causes some in the healthcare field to suggest that clinicians should routinely screen for substances during the admission process. 

This article mentions the flurry of new synthetic psychoactive substances, including cannabinoids but also extending beyond just those, which highlights the issue of readily available designer drugs. It can be difficult to keep track of illicit designer drugs as illegal manufacturers are often able to quickly modify their product before the previous form is even determined to be an illegal substance. By routinely checking for new drug variants the legal and medical systems would be better able to maintain and keep a record of such substances for future use, tracking, and treatment protocols.

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Benjamin Caplan, MDSynthetic Cannabis Use in a Psychiatric Inpatient Unit in Australia
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Dysregulation of the Endocannabinoid System and Psychosis

Peripheral endocannabinoid system dysregulation in first-episode psychosis

In summary

A recent study has found a pattern of dysregulation within the endocannabinoid system in first-episode psychosis patients. Researchers found that the protein expression of cannabinoid receptor 2 and the protein levels of the main synthesizing and degradation enzymes within first-episode psychosis patients was markedly lower than in controls. This research provides further supports the hypothesis that the dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system is a central factor that contributes to the pathophysiology of psychosis disorders. By determining the exact role of the endocannabinoid system in psychosis disorders researchers will be able to determine novel targets for antipsychotic therapies and possible screen for biomarkers in patients before they develop psychosis symptoms. 

Being able to screen for dysregulation within the endocannabinoid system may serve as a possible biomarker for psychotic disorders but other screening techniques may allow physicians to recommend cannabis more efficiently. Some patients experience feelings of anxiety when consuming a cannabis-based product containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most abundant psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis plants. If physicians were able to screen for individuals who would experience negative effects when consuming a product containing THC then they would be able to recommend other products for their patients, ensuring safer cannabis use. 

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Benjamin Caplan, MDDysregulation of the Endocannabinoid System and Psychosis
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Online Interventions May Cease Illicit Cannabis Use

On-Line personalized feedback intervention for negative effect and cannabis- A pilot randomized controlled trial

In Summary

Researchers have determined that brief, online interventions help undergraduates cease abusing cannabis to treat negative affect and social anxiety. It was found that cannabis users who experience more severe symptoms of social anxiety experience greater cannabis-related problems than their cohorts who did not experience symptoms of social anxiety yet felt unable to cease using cannabis on their own. When interviewed, participants revealed that they felt uncomfortable, and were therefore unlikely, to seek out in-person treatment. The novel online intervention that educates about cannabis abuse and managing negative effect was effective for most participants in the experimental group at the two-week follow-up. Future research should include on a longer timeline and focus on teaching safe cannabis, as cannabis is a broad term, use rather than complete abstinence. 

The authors highlight the importance of meeting patients and that are in need of medical interventions at home. We currently live in the digital age and essentially everything can be done online; buying groceries, clothing, finding home improvement workers, etc. Considering the lingering stigma surrounding mental health issues and addiction and the number of undergraduate students who report feelings of depression and anxiety, it seems shocking that personalized online interventions are so rare. Further research should aim to continue developing personalized methods of at-home treatment so that those in need can feel comfortable addressing their needs. 

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Benjamin Caplan, MDOnline Interventions May Cease Illicit Cannabis Use
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Flavonoids and Other Herbal Compounds in Anhua Tea Provide Neuroprotective Effects

Neuroprotective effect of catechins derivatives isolated from Anhua dark tea on NMDA-induced excitotoxicity in SH-SY5Y cells

In Summary

Researchers have found that catechins and flavonoids found in Anhua tea provide neuroprotective effects against NDMA-induced excitotoxicity. NDMA receptors are part of the glutaminergic system; glutamate is the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter in the human nervous system. During dysregulation of the glutaminergic system, an excess of glutamate can cause excitotoxicity which can lead to brain injury and cell apoptosis. The compiled data suggests that at least one of the naturally occurring compounds in Anhua tea is effective at protecting against NMDA-induced brain injury and cell apoptosis when given as a dietary supplement. 

This research may prove beneficial for developing preventative therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, depression, stroke, epilepsy, and schizophrenia. Anhua tea has been used in eastern medicine for centuries and like other herbal compounds in eastern medicine, has recently been featured in modern research. Considering the myriad of potential therapies that have been suggested due to the recently found medical benefits of herbal medicine, westerners should begin taking advantage of flavonoids and the like compounds that have been booming in Chinese medicine. Flavonoids and terpenes are two categories of naturally occurring compounds that have, so far, shown promise as novel therapies for treatment-resistant ailments, yet are still incredibly under-researched. Explore more of our blog to find out what other medical benefits can be provided by flavonoids and terpenes. 

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Benjamin Caplan, MDFlavonoids and Other Herbal Compounds in Anhua Tea Provide Neuroprotective Effects
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The Motivative for Abusing Cannabis as an Adolescent

Motives for cannabis use in high-risk adolescent users

In Summary

A recent article has revealed some of the motives behind adolescent cannabis abuse. Researchers found that cannabis is misused as a coping mechanism in individual adolescents who internalized behavioral problems which then leads to the development of a number of cannabis dependence symptoms. Participants who reported cannabis use for enhancement, social, and conformity purposes did not report similar issues with dependency. The gathered data suggests that the motivation behind cannabis use should be considered when addressing an individual’s use and that targeted intervention tools should focus on the motivation of drug abuse to better educate at-risk youth. 

This article emphasizes the need to educate adolescents on the medical benefits and proper use of cannabis before it can be abused. If at-risk youth are using cannabis to mitigate feelings of anxiety they may be worsening their symptoms as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most abundant psychoactive component of cannabis, is known to exacerbate anxiety. If they knew about cannabidiol (CBD), which is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, which is readily available in most states within the United States and has been beneficial for most people dealing with anxiety. Cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids provide a myriad of medical benefits but a lack of education may allow teenagers to misuse those substances, including legal products, and worsen their symptoms, leading to continued misuse and may prevent them from seeking medical help for their ailments. 

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Benjamin Caplan, MDThe Motivative for Abusing Cannabis as an Adolescent
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Utilizing Cannabis Practices as a Model for Human Genome Editing in the United Kingdom

License gene edits like cannabis

In Summary

An op-ed in the United Kingdom called for the regulation of editing of the human genome to be modeled after cannabis regulation. The ethics concerning genome editing and human reproduction have been politically and socially dividing, much like the legalization of cannabis. The authoring physician points out that, much like cannabis prohibition, if genomic editing is completely banned a black market will appear, offering risky and illegal procedures. By raising public awareness of the issue and pointing out that the approval of such endeavors will result in the safety of such practices this researcher aims to create a public forum that allows for open political communication. 

Although this piece was featured in the United Kingdom, Americans can learn about the benefits that come from this type of piece. The other does well to point out how prohibition breeds dangerous and illegal practices in the underground. By legalizing cannabis for medical and recreational use the federal and local governments would be able to further regulate cannabis composition and accessibility, as well as ensure purity and safety standards. Legalizing cannabis would also economically benefit the United States by employing cultivators, budtenders, and funding research projects. Legalization would allow for more control and lower the possible dangers of cannabis use. 

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Benjamin Caplan, MDUtilizing Cannabis Practices as a Model for Human Genome Editing in the United Kingdom
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Alcohol and Cannabis Used to Cope with Depression

Internalizing Symptoms and Cannabis and Alcohol Use- Between- and Within-Person Risk Pathways With Coping Motives

In Summary

The American Psychology Association recently shared research demonstrating how individuals use alcohol and cannabis to cope with depression. Between and within-person analysis demonstrated that those who abused alcohol to cope with their depression demonstrated increased alcohol coping habits 12 months later and worsened depression symptoms. Although those patients who utilized cannabis to treat their depression maintained that use at the 12-month check-up their depression they did not report worsening depressive symptoms or increased cannabis use. Further research is needed to determine the validity of cannabinoids as an efficient treatment method for depression and to development of coping-related interventions for those abusing substances. 

This article also highlights the relationship between cannabis and social anxiety as well as alcohol and social anxiety. Cannabis products are frequently recommended for anxiety, specifically the most popular non-psychoactive component, cannabidiol (CBD). The featured article focussed on cannabis as a whole which includes ∆-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most abundant psychoactive component of cannabis, which has been known to exacerbate feelings of anxiety. When studying the relationship between cannabis use and anxiety-related disorders it is important to study each cannabinoid separately for their effect because they operate so differently within the endocannabinoid system; then move on to examine whole cannabis effects as cannabinoids and other chemical compounds produced by cannabis plants are able to interact with each other and produce an entourage effect. 

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Benjamin Caplan, MDAlcohol and Cannabis Used to Cope with Depression
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More Research on Cannabis and Pregnancy

Effects of cannabis tetrahydrocannabinol on endocannabinoid homeostasis in human placenta

In Summary

 Researchers recently revealed a possible mechanism for the effect of cannabis on pregnancy outcomes via the endocannabinoid system. The placenta contains endocannabinoid receptors and becomes part of the endocannabinoid system of the mother and fetus during pregnancy. The data found in this article provides evidence that ∆-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) impairs the placental endocannabinoid system by disrupting the production and degradation of endogenous cannabinoids. The altered endocannabinoid levels disrupt the trophoblast that comprises a large portion of the placenta, decreasing the number of nutritional compounds that are delivered to the fetus. Further research is necessary to validate the effect of the disrupted placental endocannabinoid system. 

This research is a great addition to the current medical research concerning cannabis use and pregnancy but more is still needed. The featured article only focused on the effect of THC on the placenta and resulting birth outcomes but there is so much still to learn. THC is only one of the many medically beneficial cannabinoids present within cannabis products, not to mention terpenes and flavonoids which have also been revealed to possess medicinal properties. As more young women consume medical cannabis for various reasons and then become pregnant, it is imperative that all of the possible effects of cannabis on pregnancy outcomes and overall gestation be revealed. Obstetricians need to know if cannabinoids have little to no effect on pregnancy and are safe for women to continue taking or if alternative therapies need to be decided. 

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Benjamin Caplan, MDMore Research on Cannabis and Pregnancy
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