Marijuana Effects: 9 Scientific Studies You Don't Know About Marijuana

January 18, 2018

First: Cannabis for PTSD Treatment Study Approved by the DEA

The first randomized, controlled, research for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that will use the actual cannabis plant and not just oils or synthesized cannabis has been given the okay by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

The research’s nonprofit sponsor, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), says that the approval gives the researchers permission to buy cannabis from the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Then once the cannabis has been purchased they can begin recruiting and enrolling entrants, which can happen as early June. The participants will include 76 veterans with treatment-resistant PTSD, and the study will use various strains and potency for comparison.

MAPS was awarded a 2 million dollar grant in Colorado in 2014 and then another 5.6 million dollars to several other organizations to support medical marijuana research.

Marcel Bonn-Miller with the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine is overseeing the project. There will also be work conducted at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Read the original article here

Second: Study Finds No Increase In Commonness of Cannabis Use Disorders

A new study in JAMA Psychiatry dismissed a report published last fall stating that 3 out of 10 consumers of cannabis experience a use-disorder. The report had also stated that marijuana use had doubled from the years 2002-2013, which was proven to be extremely wrong.

Trends in cannabis use and the commonness of cannabis use disorders were assessed at the Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis from the years 2002-2013. The researchers found that there was a 19 percent increase of self-reported adult users, however the cannabis related problems reported actually decreased or stayed steady. These were the accurate statistics.

The lead researcher noted “Certainly, some people are having problems so we should remain vigilant, but the sky isn’t falling.”

Separate assessments of cannabis use by younger populations have shown rates of use by high-school students is notably lower today as compared to 15 years ago.

Read the original article here.

Third: Cannabis Might Reduce Dopamine Levels, Study Says

A new study is showing that heavy, long-term cannabis use might affect the dopamine system. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for movement, emotion and memory. A depletion of dopamine being produced in the body can lead to Parkinson’s disease.

The team of researchers are trying to figure out if cannabis has the same effects on the dopamine levels as heavy use of harder drugs which have been tested and show definitely to lower the dopamine release.

The researchers studied 11 adults aged 21-40 who used cannabis heavily everyday. They all had started using by the age 16, had become dependent by the age of 20, and had been dependent for around 7 years. Then they matched the adults with a control group of 12 non-cannabis users. Almost all of the participants in the study smoked cannabis daily during the month leading up to the study.

The groups were monitored using positron emission tomography (PET) scans which tracked a radiotracing molecule that binds to the dopamine receptors. They were able to track readings from the areas of the brain such as: the striatum, thalamus, midbrain, and the globus pallidus.

The participants were given oral amphetamines both before and after their brains were scanned to draw out dopamine release.

Their findings were that compared with the control group the cannabis users did have lower release of dopamine in the striatum and globus pallidus. They do state that they do not know whether the decreased dopamine was pre-existing or due to cannabis use.

Akhilesh Kumar, a Chief strategy officer at Healing Life - Saving Life, provided an insightful opinion on Quora"Dopamine is the reward or pleasure molecule that helps you to tide over the stress. Most of the recreational drug and activity leads to a temporary increase in the dopamine which is the reward circuit and may lead to addiction. Marijuana is known to increase in dopamine in short-term use but long-term use has opposite effect on the dopamine level. There is a link between the THC, the psychoactive component of the Marijuana and the dopamine. Long-term abuse of marijuana leads to changes in the brain function which will alter your personality, increase your anxiety, and may depress you."

My Opinion: These studies need to be done, however they need to be more well rounded. It seems like this study was heavily steered to make cannabis look the same as cocaine and heroine, which it is not. Here is a question that needs to be posed- if cannabis is so bad for the dopamine system, then why do people with Parkinson’s and Tourette’s syndromes find relief from cannabis? I hope they keep these tests up and I hope that they keep it ethical and unbiased. Cannabis does a lot of good for people and if we figure out the appropriate dosing, how much is too much and too little, then we can advance this plant so much farther. 

Read the original article here.

Fourth: Inhaling Correctly for Better Marijuana Consumption

Many out there believe that the larger the inhale, the more THC you’ll be getting, and therefore the more the psychedelic effects. Apparently this is a waste of precious cannabis and there is a better technique. 

So to understand the technique and why it works first it helps to explain some of what is happening when you take that hit. 

You inhale and THC absorption doesn’t start until the smoke has passed the first bronchial split from the trachea and goes into the lungs where it enters the air sacs called alveoli. 

It’s then where the cannabinoids, THC or CBD, are transferred into the bloodstream, pushed through the heart and then to the brain. 

This entire process can take under a minute.

The reason for believing that much is being wasted is because nothing is being absorbed above the first bronchial split, or it is more than the capacity of the lungs. It’s not getting to your body so it’s just getting blown out. Which brings us to a suggested way of inhaling to help keep from wasting that oh so precious flower. 

Slowly draw from the vape, pipe, or joint for two-thirds of the hit and then finish that inhale with fresh air on top. Breathe in deep and then let it out. This is a little different from holding your breath and you aren’t losing as much as usual. 

Read the original article here.

Fifth: Athletes’ New Workout Tool

Many residents of a now legalized recreational state are wondering if it is safe to incorporate marijuana into their exercise. However there is not large amount of evidence about marijuana and its effects on the human body.

But professional athlete, Robert Szatkwski or as he is known in the ring, Rob Van Dam has provided his body as testimony. Rob has been a professional wrestler for more than two decades. He has once held the Extreme Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment championship simultaneously. Rob says that he doesn’t think of marijuana as a performance enhancer but yet as a life enhancer that has formed a real part of his daily life. He has been known to smoking throughout the day and it has helped him in thinking positive vibes as performing in front of millions of people can be very pressuring.

The agreement that marijuana can put users in a positive and relaxed mindset is also a reason that marijuana can be a performance enhancing drug. It can provide athlete serenity and confidence.

However some studies say otherwise. In 2006, an article in British Journal of Sports Medicine stated that marijuana created a certain heaviness, marked relaxation, and excessive fatigue of limbs with detrimental effects of the lungs.  Yet a study in 2012 by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that there was no evidence that marijuana adversely affects pulmonary function and that smoking also increased lung capacity.

Another athletic cannabis advocate is Ross Rebagliati. Rebagliati won the first Olympic gold medal ever for snowboarding n 1998 however it was taken away for a brief moment when he tested positive for marijuana. The official alter realized that it wasn’t yet on the list on banned substances. After that, he went into the medical marijuana business and has said that “the focus and motivation combined that cannabis provided gives you a better workout.”

Rebagliati said that it’s a natural way to spice up the repetitive workouts that athletes endure while also having the ability to become more focused.

One other athlete advocate is Cliff Robinson also known as Uncle Cliffy or Uncle Spliffy. Robinson had an 18 year career in the NBA and was the 1993 Sixth Man of the Year. He was suspended twice for marijuana use during his career. He has now planned to enter the Oregon market to produce marijuana for athletes.

Dam and Rebagliati revealed that marijuana comes in different strains and depending on the strain, some are better suited for high-energy activities while others for the classic “stoner” couch potato behavior. They also speculated that significant heart rate problems might be a result of consuming too much marijuana in given sessions and that athletes should just do one small puff to get started.

Read the original article here


Sixth: Patients with Migraines May Get Help from Medical Marijuana

New research published in Pharmacotherapy has found that migraine sufferers could find relief in medical marijuana. The study included 121 people who suffer from regular migraines and were treated with medical marijuana between January 2010 and September 2014. Both inhaled and edible marijuana were tested on the subjects. Inhaled marijuana seemed to be the preferred method of migraine sufferers who wanted to treat current headaches, and edibles were preferred by those trying to prevent headaches.

The researchers found that a majority of participants (103) said they had a decrease in their monthly migraines. Some participants (15) said there was no change in their monthly migraines, and fewer (3) participants reported an increase in headaches. The number of migraines among sufferers fell overall from 10.4 to 4.6 per month, which is statistically and clinically significant. One of the researchers, Laura Borgelt, cautioned however, “Like any drug, marijuana has potential benefits and potential risks. It's important for people to be aware that using medical marijuana can also have adverse effects.” The immediate results of this study, nonetheless, are promising.

Read the full article here.

Seventh: NFL Players Seek Medical Marijuana Use

Given the chronic pain associated with football games and practices, two former football players are asking the NFL to review its prohibition of marijuana. The current policy is to suspend any player found with marijuana in their system, regardless of whether or not it is legal in their state. Former players Nate Jackson and Kyle Turley argue that marijuana is a safer alternative to prescription pain-relieving drugs, because it is not habit-forming, unlike those medications.

A 2011 study found that seven out of 10 NFL players abused prescription medications that were provided to them for pain after games. Furthermore, although the ban still exists, many players admit to smoking marijuana after already having passed drug tests. Nate Jackson “guessed that at least half of all active NFL players medicated with cannabis, an estimation corroborated by other former players such as Chris Kluwe.”

Read the full article here.

Eighth: Study of Twins Finds No Evidence Marijuana Affects IQ

In the first study of its kind, scientists have found initial evidence that marijuana has no measurable effect on a person’s IQ. Researchers were able to determine the long-term effects of marijuana on IQ by comparing the IQs of adolescent twin siblings who either smoked marijuana or abstained from the act over 10 years. Looking at 789 pairs of adolescent twins over that amount of time, researchers found that both the marijuana smokers, and those that did not smoke marijuana, lost about four IQ points over the course of the study.

This demonstrated to researchers that something other than marijuana contributed to the loss in IQ. While the study’s lead author, Nicholas Jackson, sees this as a breakthrough, he says that more research will be needed to truly get to the bottom of marijuana’s cognitive effects on the brain. Nevertheless, Valerie Curran, a psychopharmacologist at the University College London says that “this is a very well-conducted study … and a welcome addition to the literature.”

Read the full article here.

Ninth: The Outsourcing of American Marijuana Research

Israel, Canada, and the Netherlands are the only three countries in the world that have a government-sponsored cannabis research program. Researchers in Jerusalem, for example, were the first to discover the endocannabinoid system and the first to determine that the human brain produces its own cannabinoids. Since these discoveries, there has been a positive shift in the medical community toward cannabis, and the legalization of medical marijuana in certain U.S. states is a direct result of these discoveries.

Although the United States has a booming $3 billion medical marijuana industry, it still outsources all of its medical marijuana research to Israel. Despite medical marijuana being legal in 23 states and Washington, DC, the DEA still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic, which makes conducting medical marijuana research extremely difficult and not worth the trouble. However, it is worth the trouble! Many influential researchers believe that cannabis can alleviate diseases and ailments such as schizophrenia, diabetes, cancer, eating disorders, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. However, researchers have not yet received the funding needed to perform human testing.

Lets hope that with the public acceptance of cannabis, policies will shift, and the U.S. medical community will no longer have to outsource their medical marijuana research. Read the whole article on Newsweek here.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in July 2017 and has been revamped and updated as needed for accuracy and comprehensiveness.