Cannabis

Drug Resilience is Age-Dependent

Behavioral effects of chronic WIN 55,212-2 administration during adolescence and adulthood in mice

In summary

 A recent study has revealed that adolescents appear resilient to some effects of cannabis yet early use leads to increased impulsivity later on in life. Researchers administered 3.0 of a cannabis receptor 1 (CB1) agonist, WIN55,212-2, per day for 21 days to one group of mice in adolescence and another in adulthood before testing their impulsivity, judgment, and learning abilities. Adolescent mice who had been given cannabis performed as well as controls at the learning activity while the adult group experienced a serious delay, suggesting an age-dependent difference in the cannabinoid system. Adolescent mice who had been given cannabis and then tested later as adults demonstrated increased impulsivity suggesting that exposure to cannabis during development does have a lasting effect on processes. Further research will need to validate these findings in non-human primates or be examined in naturalistic observation studies. 

When considering the implications of a study like this one it is important to note the varying accuracy of cannabis research conducted in murine models. While rats and mice are convenient physiological models due to their availability and economic value they do not always provide the most accurate representation of specific biological systems in humans. The endocannabinoid system of rats has been shown in previous featured studies to act differently than the human or primate endocannabinoid system meaning that any scientific evidence for cannabis-based medicine found from murine studies cannot be conclusive without further validation.

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Benjamin Caplan, MDDrug Resilience is Age-Dependent
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The Relationship Between Social Support in Socially Stigmatized Populations and Substance Use

An inverse relationship between perceived social support and substance Use frequency in socially stigmatized populations

In Summary

Researchers have recently attempted to elucidate the relationship between perceived social support and frequency of substance use in socially stigmatized groups revealing contextual differences. The two groups utilized in this study, substance-using male prison inmates and primary-methamphetamine using men who have sex with men, showed different results in the study, leaving the researchers with more questions than answers. In the inmates’ group perceived social support was negatively correlated to life-time substance use for alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis yet the methamphetamine-users only demonstrated the same negative correlation for a 30-day period. The authors are uncertain as to the differences in results but suggest that future research delves into the psychosocial or contextual differences behind these two groups. 

Looking into the substance use frequency and patterns of stigmatized or marginalized groups are not often done leaving many populations without specialized treatment or prevention programs. Our culture, peers, family, and environment all come together to shape who we are and mold how we think about the world and our place in it. People begin using substances for different reasons although some motivations are common among certain populations. By examining the underlying motivation for substance use frequency members of the healthcare community may be able to develop custom prevention or treatment methods by utilizing psychology or another science to drastically decrease the frequency of substance use disorders in all populations. 

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Benjamin Caplan, MDThe Relationship Between Social Support in Socially Stigmatized Populations and Substance Use
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The Relationship Between Cannabis and Nicotine may Reveal Novel Treatments

Acute separate and combined effects of cannabinoid and nicotinic receptor agonists on MMN-indexed auditory deviance detection in healthy humans

In Summary

Researchers have attempted to elucidate the relationship between nicotine and cannabis revealing a possible benefit for sensory and cognitive processes. A cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) agonist, nabilone, and nicotine were compared against each other and combined and compared with a placebo, resulting in the region and deviant-dependent effects. Temporal regions of the brain were not affected by coadministration of nabilone and nicotine, while frontal regions showed improved cognitive function. Future research should continue to develop therapies that combine CB1 agonist while minimizing the need for nicotine in order to develop therapies for the dysregulation of sensory and cognitive processes. 

So little is still understood about the interactions of the endocannabinoid system, nicotinic receptors, and the opioid system. If the mechanisms underlying these various systems were well understood perhaps novel therapies could be developed to aid in the treatment of substance abuse disorders. Cannabis poses much less risk for addiction than opioids or nicotine as cannabis does not enact upon the reward system. Cannabis holds promise to lessen the troubles associated with the opioid academic by treating current addicts and preventing future addiction by serving as an adjunct therapy. Further research is needed to validate these hypotheses, but the current data provides hope for more ethical treatment methods.

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Benjamin Caplan, MDThe Relationship Between Cannabis and Nicotine may Reveal Novel Treatments
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Is Cannabis Safe to Give to Animals?

A survey of veterinary student attitudes concerning whether marijuana could have therapeutic value for animals

In Summary

A recent analysis has compiled the data provided by a questionnaire sent out to veterinarians, reporting an overall belief that animals may benefit from cannabis. Very little research has been conducted concerning cannabis use in animals but some veterinarians fear that cannabis may result in toxic effects in animals. Although there is wariness due to the lack of research, many are still hopeful that cannabis products would provide similar benefits in animals as has been shown in humans. Although they may not recommend cannabis for use veterinarians are urged to educate themselves on the effects of different strains and cannabinoids so they may act according when presented with an animal who has been given cannabis products. 

While some pet owners are purposefully administering cannabis products for their animal’s accidental consumption can be incredibly frightening for some pet owners. Accidental consumption by pets highlights two important happenings that need to occur: pet owners need to ensure they are appropriately storing their cannabis product to prevent accidental consumption by pet or child, and veterinarians need to have a reliable database of knowledge concerning the possible adverse effects of cannabis on animals. Future research may save a family an accidental tragedy by appropriately information vets of their options and how to soothe their animal post-consumption. Research is needed to maintain the responsibility of pet owners and caretakers. 

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Benjamin Caplan, MDIs Cannabis Safe to Give to Animals?
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Flavonoid Shampoo is Chemical Free and Nourishing

A Completely Polyherbal Conditioning and Antioxidant Shampoo- A Phytochemical Study and Pharmaceutical Evaluation

In Summary

Researchers have recently developed a conditioning shampoo using flavonoids and a foaming agent that nourishes hair and provides antimicrobial effects. Generic storebought shampoos have been found to have detrimental effects on hair follicles and scalp health, often stripping them of their natural oils and causing dryness and irritation. The leaves of Salix babylonica L., Ziziphus spina-christi L. (Willd), and Glycyrrhiza glabra rhizomes were used to make an extract rich in flavonoids and other phenolic compounds. The extract was altered until the ideal microbial effect was found and then combined with a foaming agent, forming the natural shampoo. Future research should continue to develop a line of all-natural cosmetic products for those who are sensitive or wish to avoid chemicals. 

This piece reflects the current trend of the beauty industry and the apparent future of cosmetics as all-natural products. Researchers and estheticians will likely create products that appease trend-followers desire to endorse all-natural products while also enjoying the effects of the products that have been enhanced by modern science. The cannabis industry, will all of the benefits provided by cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes, would do well to capitalize on the rapidly growing and fiercely loyal beauty community by promoting natural products that are as effective as they are trendy. 

The study is available for review below, or in the CED Foundation Literature Archive.

The study is available for review or download here

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Benjamin Caplan, MDFlavonoid Shampoo is Chemical Free and Nourishing
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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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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. 

The study is available for review or download here

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Benjamin Caplan, MDThe Motivative for Abusing Cannabis as an Adolescent
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