All posts tagged: cannabis

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.

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Benjamin Caplan, MDFlavonoid Shampoo is Chemical Free and Nourishing
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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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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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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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Further Evidence for Cannabis as an Adjunctive Therapy to Opioids

Effects of cannabinoid administration for pain- A meta-analysis and meta-regression

In Summary

A recent meta-analysis provided further evidence that cannabis can be used as a replacement and adjunctive therapy option for opioids. Across all of the studies, it was found that cannabis had a medium-to-large effect on the subjective pain felt. The included studies included a range of given doses, all reported in milligrams and were conducted in various pain models, including Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Cancer, Neuropathic Pain, Diabetes, and more. Further research is needed to standardize an appropriate dose for each condition and ensure the validity of such medications. 

The authors take care to emphasize the need for alternative pain therapies for opioids that are safer and more economically responsible. Currently, pain-related costs from patients, caretakers, and healthcare facilities continue to grow beyond $600-billion annually, as more people grow dependent on opioids. Cannabis is much more cost-effective, and even if it does not entirely replace opioid therapies and is simply an adjunct therapy, it has the potential to greatly reduce the amount of opioid prescribed and lower the necessary dose. Opioids are highly addictive whereas cannabis has a much better safety profile, yet cannabis is still deemed medically irrelevant by the federal government. More research needs to be conducted to reduce the chance of addiction, the opioid crisis in general, and reduce the economic burden of pain-related costs in the United States. 

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Benjamin Caplan, MDFurther Evidence for Cannabis as an Adjunctive Therapy to Opioids
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