Your Weekly Cannabis Reader

by Aug 29, 2016

Image credit: Whaxy

Can Cannabis Be Used to Treat Malaria?

The study revealed that mice not treated with CBD following infection with malaria suffered from memory dysfunction, an increase in anxiety, and inflammation in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex regions of the brain. Mice treated with CBD exhibited no memory deficits, an increase in a brain chemical that protects neurons, and a decrease of inflammation in the brain.

Also revealed was the fact that the mice infected with malaria that were treated with CBD lived longer and regained full cognitive functionality — unlike the mice deprived of CBD. However, the study did note that motor function was not recovered in either the group fed CBD or the control group that received none.

Concluded the study:

“Our results indicate that CBD exhibits neuroprotective effects…and might be useful as an adjunctive therapy to prevent neurological symptoms following this disease.”

This study caught my attention because a friend and I were recently discussing the limitations of cannabis and we used malaria as an example of something that cannabis doesn’t help. These are preliminary studies, but I’ve never been more excited to be wrong!

Image credit: Pexels via Herb

Skinny Weed: What Is It & How Does It Work?

While certain cannabinoids give you the munchies, other cannabinoids have the opposite effect. In fact, Britain’s GW Pharmaceuticals is actually experimenting with certain cannabis compounds for the treatment of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a major risk factor for obesity, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

In a 2012 clinical trial, GW researchers tested two cannabinoids as a treatment for diabetes. Specifically, they tested nonpsychoactive tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and cannabidiol (CBD) on 62 patients with type 2 diabetes.

The results were quite positive. Patients had better insulin response and greater pancreatic cell function, among several other improvement factors.

Many medical patients use cannabis specifically for its ability to stimulate appetite, but that’s not a feature everyone appreciates. (Do you have any idea how hard it is to log a munchies fit into MyFitnessPal?) Not only can strains high in THCV or CBD help prevent cannabis induced food binges, they may also help treat metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Image credit: The Bellingham Herald

Washington’s Plans for Pot Research Going Forward, Despite Federal Rules

Tonani, who has lobbied for years to create a state marijuana research license, is looking to selectively breed marijuana plants based on the cannabinoids they contain, so she can test whether certain types of cannabinoids are useful for treating various diseases.

Among the questions she wants to answer: “Is there a clinical profile that is best for MS patients, or cancer patients, or helps take away patients’ pain?”

“To do that we need to do selective breeding and then get those out in the population to monitor those effects,” she said.

Yes! I cannot tell you how excited I am about this. There simply aren’t enough scientifically rigorous studies of cannabis available, largely because it’s so difficult for researchers to access it. This news from Washington state is a huge step forward — I can’t wait to share a study on the way cannabis helps malaria that was done on human beings rather than mice.

Unfortunately, this puts Washington outside of federal law and might put any universities who do this research at risk of losing federal funding. This is a great start, but there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done before we’ll start seeing the extensive research that cannabis deserves.

Image credit: Pew Research Center

7 Scientific Effects of Marijuana That Experts Want to Study

  1. Is marijuana an effective cancer therapy?
  2. What does it do to the brain?
  3. What dosage or strains have the best use in medicine?
  4. Can marijuana help brain and cognitive problems?
  5. What about anxiety?
  6. Can pot help end the opioid epidemic?
  7. Are there long term consequences of using pot?

What studies would you like to see? Personally, I’d love to learn more about how cannabis interacts with hormones and how its effects vary by sex.

Image source: Getty Images via High Times

California’s Prop 64 Underscores Absurdity of Holding Pot Prisoners in States Where It’s Legal

Taxpayers are spending over $1 billion annually to incarcerate pot offenders, about 44 percent of whom had no or minimal criminal histories prior to their convictions, and over a third are over the age of 40, according to a NORML report.

Stephen Downing, former LA Deputy Police Chief, wrote in the Huffington Post that, back in the day, cops only locked up real criminals. “Rapists. Murderers. Bank robbers. Prison was a place for bad guys. These senseless laws that over-criminalize drug use were passed in haste amid a climate of fear and benefit no one.”

In addition to pardoning inmates incarcerated for nonviolent marijuana offenses, it is also important to give them the means and opportunity to clear their criminal records. A pot conviction follows one for life and affects just about everything one needs or might want to do—like buy a house, get a job or get a loan. The list is long.

This is where California’s Prop 64 could set a national precedent.

Unfortunately, many people are still imprisoned for minor drug charges, even in legal states. This is a huge waste, both of human potential and of taxpayer money. I think it’s clear that prohibition is finally coming to an end, but we need to make sure that no one gets left behind as we progress forward.

Image credit: The Washington Post

Study: Medical Marijuana Changes How Employees Use Sick Time

On the one hand, you might expect broader access to marijuana to result in more workers calling in sick, because they’re too stoned to work or because they just don’t feel like showing up on a given day. On the other hand, if medical pot is successfully treating conditions that would otherwise render somebody unable to work, you might expect sick days to decrease.

So Ullman examined before-and-after sick-day data from 24 states that had medical marijuana laws at the time of his study. On average, he found that “respondents were 8% less likely to report being absent from work due to health issues after medical marijuana laws” were passed. The CPS numbers also suggest that states with fewer restrictions on the use of medical marijuana, such as on the number of conditions it could be recommended for, had more of a decrease in sick-day use than states with stricter regulations.

This study is particularly interesting in light of the burden placed on employers by the conflict between state and federal law. People can and do lose their jobs for medicating at home, despite having a prescription, despite not being high at work.

This article does a great job of explaining the conflict between a patient’s privacy and the pressure to have a “drug-free” workplace.

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