As cannabis finds its place back into modern human culture quickly, there is much still to be learned. As the science grows and adapts to modern need and expectations, the “can we” may be out-pacing the “should we.” On the other hand, there are circumstances where modern culture really “should be” and is handicapped by years of misinformed stigma.
Here, a few controversial questions about cannabis:
Should teachers be allowed to use cannabis around children?
Should spiritual leaders be allowed to use cannabis, as they have for millennia?
Should taxi drivers be allowed to use cannabis on the job?
Should pilots be allowed to use cannabis?
To explore related information, click the keywords below:
Benjamin Caplan, MDVideo: Controversial Questions in Cannabis Today
In yesterday’s blog post, the discrepancies in the number of medical cannabis users were discussed and the suggestion arose that perhaps medical cannabis use may need stricter regulations. The author of the piece that inspired the letter featured in the post responded, highlighting the possibility that recreational cannabis is being used for medical purposes rather than users obtaining cannabis from more nefarious sources. The author points out that renewing medical licenses can be a hassle and in states where recreational cannabis has been legalized patients may just be obtaining their cannabis, used for medical purposes, from recreational dispensaries. Surveys that delve into this issue are needed to confirm the author’s hypothesis.
Describing the medical process of obtaining a cannabis license as a hassle is, unfortunately, reported by many consumers. State governments are forced to run the regulatory processes, in the absence of federal support, and conservative politicians and opposition groups often create difficulty around opening dispensaries in their districts. On top of the expenses of renewing or obtaining a medical license, it may seem almost less confrontational for people who reside in a state or have access to recreational marijuana (from a state-regulated dispensary) simply to purchase recreational cannabis, rather than take the time to obtain a license.
Of note, Massachusetts is one of the few states that has anticipated this circumstance and has codified protections and advantages of the medical program, into law. In Massachusetts, medical patients are incentivized through robust discounts (totaling greater than $2000 in discounts, and 20% cost reduction because of the absence of state taxation for medical patients.) Further, there are legal protections available only to medical patients, and the opportunity for delivery, which are not available to recreational consumers.
Benjamin Caplan, MDAuthor’s Response to Discrepancies in Medical Cannabis Use
“Among all surveyed consumers, 49% reported reducing their over-the-counter painkiller use since starting cannabis, and 52% reduced prescription drug use. Another 37% said they’ve reduced alcohol consumption since starting cannabis”
Alcohol Hangover Has Detrimental Impact Upon Both Executive Function and ProspectiveMemory
A recent study revealed that alcohol hangovers negatively impact everyday memory, specifically executive function (EF) and prospective memory (PM). EF and PM are cognitive functions that underpin everyday memory; things such as remembering an appointment or where you placed your keys. Participants of the study who suffered from hangovers were able to recall significantly fewer items from memory tasks than their peers. The findings of this study may prove useful when looking into how alcohol and cannabis interact with patients.
Title: Psychological correlates and binge drinking behaviours among Canadian youth- a cross-sectional analysis of the mental health pilot data from the COMPASS study
A recent study has examined data from the COMPASS program and found that student-athletes in Canada were more likely to engage in binge-drinking and illicit substance use. Researchers focussed on the measure of flourishing, defined as an overall healthy mental state and emotional connectedness, and how flourishing related to concerning drinking and substance use behavior. Student-athletes were found to be the most at risk for binge-drinking, defined as consuming 5 or more drinks in a single session, and those more likely to binge-drink were also more likely to co-use illicit substances. This research provides evidence for the formation of targeted prevention programs.
Cannabis use is banned among athletes by most sports organizations. Cannabis appeals to athletes considering the many different consumption methods, allowing discreet consumption and personalization with variable potential opportunities for relief. Cannabinoids are generally naturally occurring substances unless clearly manufactured, and have been shown to be beneficial for post-workout recovery, muscle soreness, anxiety, sleep, and relaxation. All of those symptoms, including the emotionally driven ones, are common among student-athletes who often feel an immense amount of pressure to perform in competition. As in most other areas of modern culture, Cannabidiol (CBD) finds itself in a grey area for most sports organizations’ substance regulations given that it is not intoxicating and readily available with a notable safety profile. Even if cannabis is not federally legal, CBD is so widely available that many athletes are embracing it, in lieu of more dangerous, or potentially addictive, medications.
Tweet: A recent study has examined data from the #COMPASS program and found that #studentathletes in Canada were more likely to engage in #binge-drinking and illicit substance use. Read this and other linked studies:
Title: Preclinical and Clinical Evidence for a Distinct Regulation of Mu Opioid and Type 1 Cannabinoid Receptor Genes Expression in Obesity
Researchers have recently found that alterations of the type 1 cannabinoid receptor gene (CNR1) and mu opioid receptor gene (OPRM1) contribute to the development of obesity. This phenomenon was shown in rat models who were given a high-fat diet and humans currently dealing with obesity. Due to the possibility of the up-regulation of CNR1 and OPRM1 providing a mechanism for developing the obesity phenotype, those two genes could serve as biomarkers for obesity. Fortunately, the up-regulation of CNR1 and OPRM1 is reversible and may also provide a target for combatting obesity and encouraging weight loss in obese individuals.
Highlighted here are the interactions of the endocannabinoid and opioid systems. Contradictory evidence concerning the interaction of the two systems has come out in recent years making it difficult to come to any conclusions. The endocannabinoid system has been thought to provide a safe and effective method for combatting the opioid crisis. Opioids are highly addictive and dangerous, but they are an efficient way to minimize pain which has kept them in mainstream medicine. Opioids have led to countless overdoses in recent decades causing researchers to search for a more ethical option for pain relief. Cannabis has a much better safety profile, poses no risk of overdose, and offers a welcome change of pace to traditional choices. Conclusive research is still needed to confirm, and reconfirm the details.
A Forbes article shedding light on #CBD and its effects on the livers of mice. Dr Peter Grinspoon and Devitt-Lee wisely talk some sense around the lousy methods and insensible dosage used on mice to command sensational headlines. http://bit.ly/2XMP36W
Title: Cannabis and Alcohol- From Basic Science to Public Policy
This new analysis summarizes the most recent preclinical trials and epidemiological studies concerning the interactions between cannabis and alcohol, as well as possible risk factors for co-use. Specific risk factors, such as frequency of use or belonging to particular groups, were found to be significant within studies (but not across separate studies.) The compiled data reveals that previous research is inconsistent and emphasizes the need for further research to elucidate at-risk populations.
This article highlights a few secondary findings which all focus on the gaps in our knowledge concerning cannabis, of which there are many. There may be potential concerns with the integration of cannabis into modern culture, which has essentially normalized alcohol consumption. Future research will undoubtedly evaluate these concerns, and highlight potential advantages that cannabis consumption may offer as an alternative option.