A report published by the British Journal of Psychiatry in 2001 demonstrates the progress the medical community has made but also what gaps still need to be filled in when utilizing cannabis. This report found that excess consumption of cannabis leads to feelings of panic and anxiety and that 15% of those willing to respond to a survey experienced acute psychotic symptoms. It was also found that cannabis dependence can occur, as well as withdrawal, which can last for close to a week. This article was a review that synthesized relevant studies but also claimed that the casual conclusions of these papers were difficult to find or replicate.
This paper is interesting given its age considering it put out what was current data but then ended by stating the casual conclusions of each paper may not stand. 18 years later, some of the data has stood, and some have not. Users can gain a tolerance to cannabis but many are looking to mitigate it. The author uses the word dependence when discussing cannabis which is a word that holds weight and is up for debate. Intoxicating cannabinoids, like THC, affect the reward center, but non-altering cannabinoids, such as CBD, tend to work more noticeably outside of the brain, although all have mixed effects in both regions. Cannabinoids are not all the same, apply quite differently to various ailments, and have divergent effects. Blanketing an entire crop with a misinformed warning label seems irresponsible and unduly harsh. Users or those looking into cannabis-based medicine are encouraged to do their research.
A 2018 literature review summarizes the various ways patients can consume cannabis (orally, topically, etc.) and the pain reductions associated with each method. The review focuses on the treatment of multiple sclerosis, cancer, anorexia, arthritis, and other painful disorders.
“The study, published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, which looked at 1,000 people taking legalized marijuana in an American state found that among the 65% of people taking cannabis for pain, 80% found it was very or extremely helpful.”
“82% of these people being able to reduce, or stop taking over the counter pain medications, and 88% being able to stop taking opioid painkillers.”
“74% of the 1,000 interviewees bought it to help them sleep – 84% of whom said the marijuana had helped them, and over 83% said that they had since reduced or stopped taking over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids.”
“The study adds weight to the theory that widening access to medical cannabis could lower the use of prescription painkillers, allowing more people to manage and treat their pain without relying on opioid prescription drugs that have dangerous side effects.”
“This is backed up with other research that shows that states with medical cannabis laws have a 6.38% lower rate of opioid prescribing and that Colorado’s adult-use cannabis law is associated with a relative reduction in opioid overdose death rate from 1999 to 2010.”
“”Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen cause GI bleeding or kidney damage with chronic use. Paracetemol (Acetaminophen) toxicity is the second most common cause of liver transplantation worldwide, and is responsible for 56,000 ER visits, 2600 hospitalizations, and 500 deaths per year in the U.S.”
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.
Cannabidiol: a hope to treat non‑motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease Patients
Cannabidiol (CBD) has recently been postulated as an ideal drug to address the treatment of non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) due to its multifaceted mechanism of action. The plethora of effects of CBD includes anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anxiolytic, and antipsychotic actions, which improve non-motor symptoms of PD and lift the quality of life for patients coping with the illness. Further research is recommended to garner support for FDA approval.
A recently published article serves as a call for research to be conducted to discover how cannabis could impact the management of bipolar disorder (BD). Presented in the article is a full review of the advantages and disadvantages of cannabis-based medicine in the treatment of BD and provides insight into possible mechanisms might affect the pathophysiology of the disorder. The insights listed within the article provide the rationale for examining the endocannabinoid system, specifically the cannabinoid receptor 2, with the hopes of finding therapeutic targets for mood control associated with BD.
A Budding Source of Targets for Treating Inflammatory and Neuropathic Pain ECS
The cannabinoid system provides momentum to develop cannabinoid-based medications to treat inflammatory and neuropathic pain as researchers continue to find promising therapeutic targets. These new targets may lead to the formation of novel pain-relief medications that may serve well to alleviate pain for those suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia. Cannabis-based pain medicine is also being researched for opioid-sparing effects and effectiveness in reducing the necessary dose of opioids.
A 2018 literature review summarizes the findings on cannabis and gut health. The endocannabinoid system plays a key role in gut motility, obesity, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Targeting the endocannabinoid system with CBD oil or other cannabinoids seems to reduce colonic inflammation and relieve stress, at a microscopic level, inside the gastrointestinal tract. Watch our video adaptation of the effects of cannabis on IBD:
Human study finds that, when taken with opioids, dronabinol (THC) may increase impairment and decrease, or not affect, pain relief. Researchers conclude that THC might NOT protect the body from the adverse effects of opioids. However, the study examined only 10 participants, and such a small sample size should give pause to the validity and applicability of the findings.