Addiction

Hangovers Resulting from Drinking Negatively Impact Everyday Memory

Alcohol Hangover Has Detrimental Impact Upon Both Executive Function and Prospective Memory

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.

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Benjamin Caplan, MDHangovers Resulting from Drinking Negatively Impact Everyday Memory
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Surveys show medical professionals’ opinions clashing around Cannabis

Surveys on medical professionals’ opinions on medical cannabis show that while many are still skeptical and do not think it is completely safe, younger doctors and those on the East coast are more supportive. This clash could be good for solving some common concerns with cannabis. http://bit.ly/2XQVxWz

Benjamin Caplan, MDSurveys show medical professionals’ opinions clashing around Cannabis
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The Current Research on Cannabis-Alcohol Interactions and Risk Factors for Using Them Together

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.

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Benjamin Caplan, MDThe Current Research on Cannabis-Alcohol Interactions and Risk Factors for Using Them Together
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Standardized Registries may Improve Our Knowledge about Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome

Title: Cyclic vomiting syndrome- Pathophysiology, comorbidities, and future research directions

A recent article has called for the establishment of a multicenter registry in order to learn more about cyclic vomiting syndrome and related disorders. Creating such a registry would provide a database of patients for clinical trial recruitment, research on patient outcomes across different treatment methods, the underlying mechanism for the disorder, and the ability to identify potential biomarkers for the disorder. The registry would expand our understanding of the disorder, on all fronts, and hopefully, reveal the most effective treatment method. 


Could such a registry be created while still safeguarding patient privacy?


Highlighted in this article is the similarity of cyclic vomiting syndrome and cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). CHS is often misdiagnosed or goes undiagnosed for an exorbitant amount of time. By creating this registry for cyclic vomiting syndrome and related disorders, including CHS, the same information about genetics, underlying mechanisms, and effective treatments could also be determined.

Finding a genetic basis for cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome would support patients looking into cannabis-based medicine to decide if cannabis would even be an effective treatment, by allowing them to discover possible side effects to which they might be more susceptible.

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See the full available literature on Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome here: http://bit.ly/2XHfdrI


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Benjamin Caplan, MDStandardized Registries may Improve Our Knowledge about Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome
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Between Bitter and Sweet Honey, from Algeria Mediterranean Coast, Different Flavonoid Content Contributes to Distinct Antioxidant Potentials

Characteristics of the bitter and sweet honey from Algeria Mediterranean coast

Previous research on honey and its historical use in traditional medicine has pointed toward its therapeutic application for the immune system, anemia, and heart function, among other conditions.

Two kinds of honey harvested from the Algeria Mediterranean coast, so-called poly-floral sweet honey and uni-floral bitter honey, have demonstrated their many medicinal uses. In a comparative analysis of the two kinds of honey, bitter honey had higher flavonoid content, lower sucrose content, and higher total polyphenols and tannins levels, giving it an increased antioxidant potential over sweet honey.

Additional Point: Factors including a higher flavonoid content in uni-floral bitter content gives it an improved antioxidant potential over poly-floral sweet honey. This makes for a wide variety of clinical benefits, including treatment of anemia, colon cancer, improved immune function, and more.

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Benjamin Caplan, MDBetween Bitter and Sweet Honey, from Algeria Mediterranean Coast, Different Flavonoid Content Contributes to Distinct Antioxidant Potentials
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Volume of Brain (Lateral Orbitofrontal Cortex) Predicts Drug Use

Orbitofrontal cortex volume prospectively predicts cannabis and other substance use onset in adolescents

Researchers have recently unveiled that the volume of the lateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is able to predict future substance use in adolescents. Individuals were followed for 13 years after undergoing magnetic functional resonance imaging and surveyed for cannabis and alcohol use. Interestingly, the authors chose to utilize those who had used cannabis, but in limited quantities, as a control group instead of including them in their cannabis users group. Similarly, the alcohol only group of participants also included those who used cannabis multiple times within the past year. Nevertheless, the authors conclude that the size of the lateral OFC is able to predict drug use in adolescents although not without admitting the need for replication and validity. 

This paper represents an important example of biased information within the medical community. Bias is inherent, there is no way around it. But, it is the duty of researchers to publish their findings while remaining as objective as possible, and to do so, transparently. The grouping decisions for the study groups here, and the choices the authors made regarding statistical analysis of this data are odd, considering their definitions and broad claims. This may be due to the views of the organization funding the research, or the bias of the research team members themselves, but the limitations of the study should be considered strongly. Even beyond the groupings, the fact that this research took place in a state where cannabis use is legal for recreational and medical use is a reason to consider other confounding variables. Scientists have an obligation to pursue the truth and not extrapolate their findings to fit a personal or professional agenda. Many articles cherry-pick statistics and extrapolate small findings of data, leaving readers and media outlets to polularize findings that do not represent a full picture. It falls on discerning readers to read mindfully and consider a study’s methodolgy and demographics, as carefully as possible. 

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Benjamin Caplan, MDVolume of Brain (Lateral Orbitofrontal Cortex) Predicts Drug Use
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Cannabinoids have Opioid-Sparing Effects on Morphine Analgesia

Opioid-Sparing Effects of Cannabinoids on Morphine Analgesia- Participation of CB1 and CB2 Receptors

Researchers have recently provided evidence that synthetic cannabinoids are able to work synergistically with morphine to provide maximum pain relief while limiting opioid doses.

In an effort to control the current opioid epidemic researchers have been looking into the possible benefits of cannabinoids due to the interaction of the opioid and endocannabinoid systems. The results of this study showed that various synthetic cannabinoids (WIN and GP1a) were able to work synergistically with morphine in two separate pain models to maximize analgesic effects. Further evidence is still needed to validate these claims before patient use, but this paper provides further evidence that medical cannabis may help put an end to the opioid crisis. 

Highlighted in this paper is the lingering uncertainty of exact mechanisms within the endocannabinoid system. The authors of this article are left without definite answers as to whether or not the analgesic effect is mediated completely through cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) or if cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) is also involved. Research into cannabinoids is slow within the United States, as there are currently only privately funded studies. This severely limits the medical community from a full understanding. The better a system is understood, the more concrete answers can be found. Critics may never support the rescheduling of cannabis but without moving cannabis to a Schedule II or III, it remains impossible to back even their claims. 

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Benjamin Caplan, MDCannabinoids have Opioid-Sparing Effects on Morphine Analgesia
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Adolescent E-Cigarette Use Increased by 78%

Characteristics of Daily E-Cigarette Use and Acquisition Means Among a National Sample of Adolescents

From 2017 to 2018 the amount of middle school and high school electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) users increased by 48% and 78% respectively. One of the first studies examining the association between e-cigarette characteristics and daily use among US adolescents is calling for comprehensive tobacco control efforts to reduce e-cigarette and nicotine addiction among adolescents. 38% of adolescent users report using their e-cigarette devices for cannabis which can be hazardous due to the lack of regulation. The potential risks associated with nicotine use and the dangerous misuse of these devices for other substances is putting youth’s health at risk.

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Benjamin Caplan, MDAdolescent E-Cigarette Use Increased by 78%
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The Relationship between Cannabis and Schizophrenia

Cannabis and Psychosis: Are We any Closer to Understanding the Relationship?

Despite the constant technological gains in medicine, there is still insufficient information and knowledge about who is at risk of developing cannabis psychosis prior to an individual’s exposure to cannabis. Controlled research is limited due to the legal status of cannabis but the growing number of states legalizing medicinal and recreational use of cannabis will likely provide a naturalistic experiment that will produce a prevention strategy for the condition. Current schizophrenia research is limited to western male populations and an overemphasis on the biological model; future research should extend to a more diverse population and sociocultural factors that may lead to schizophrenia.

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Benjamin Caplan, MDThe Relationship between Cannabis and Schizophrenia
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Non-Psychoactive Cannabis Treatments for Chronic Muscle Pain

Cannabidiol, cannabinol and their combinations act as peripheral analgesics in a rat model of myofascial pain

Some of the non-psychoactive cannabinoids in cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN), have recently been found to produce analgesic effects (pain relief) in mouse models. A combination of CBD and CBN causes a decrease in sensitization of muscles, leading researchers to believe the combination could provide relief for those suffering from chronic muscle pain disorders. Cannabis products are already being prescribed for chronic pain disorders and this new study provides evidence that cannabis-based medicine can also be applicable when treating chronic pain associated with disorders such as fibromyalgia and temporomandibular disorders.

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Benjamin Caplan, MDNon-Psychoactive Cannabis Treatments for Chronic Muscle Pain
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