Science

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Study: Marijuana Is Safe and Effective For Pain Treatment

PainkillerMedicalMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Cannabinoid preparations including herbal marijuana, liquid and oral cannabis extracts, and nabilone (a synthetic analog of THC) are effective in the treatment of chronic pain, according to the results of a systematic review of randomized, controlled trials published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology.

Investigators from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and McGill University in Montreal evaluated the results of 11 placebo-controlled trials conducted between 2010 and 2014, reports Paul Armentano at NORML. Trials assessed the use of herbal cannabis, liquid and oral extracts, and synthetic THC.

Cannabinoids possess "significant analgesic effects" and were "well tolerated" in the majority of studies reviewed.

"The current systematic review provides further support that cannabinoids are safe, demonstrate a modest analgesic effect and provide a reasonable treatment option for treatment chronic non-cancer pain,” the authors concluded.

According to a 2011 review of 18 separate randomized trials evaluating the safety and effectiveness of cannabinoids for pain management, "[C]annabinoids are a modestly effective and safe treatment option for chronic non-cancer (predominantly neuropathic) pain."

Study: Blocking Brain's 'Internal Marijuana' May Trigger Early Alzheimer's

AlzheimersCannabis(TokeSignals)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A 2014 study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine has implicated the blocking of endocannabinoids -- the body's natural substances that are internal versions of the psychoactive chemicals in marijuana -- in the early development of Alzheimer's disease.

A substance called A-beta is strongly suspected to play a major role in the development of Alzheimer's, since it's the chief constituent of the clumps found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients -- may, in the early stages of the disease, impair learning and memory by blocking the natural beneficial action of endocannabinoids in the brain, according to the study, reports Bruce Goldman at Stanford University.

The researchers at Stanford are now working on the molecular details of how and where the interference with endocannabinoid receptors occurs. Knowing that could help develop new drugs to delay the effects upon learning ability and memory that occur with Alzheimer's.

The study, published in Neuron, analyzed A-beta's effects on the hippocampus, a region of the midbrain which in all mammals serves as a combination GPS system and memory-filing assistant, along with other duties.

U.S.: Marijuana Use Doubles In 12 Years; Authorities Hit Panic Button

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Pot's hotter than ever in America, according to a new study.

Marijuana use in the United States more than doubled between 2001 and 2013, according to researchers using data from two large national surveys of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use called the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), reports Shawn Radcliffe at Heathline.

The surveys also asked questions "meant to identify marijuana use disorders such as abuse or dependence," so, of course, the leading questions thus included created suitable answers for those who need to pretend cannabis is a big, bad menace.

Release of a pseudo-scientific study like this is the kind of sadly predictable response that happens one day after Gallup announces 58 percent support for legalization in the United States.a

The skewed questions and thereby distorted answers allow the researchers to claim "a similar increase in the number of people who abused or were dependent on marijuana" -- and, not coincidentally, allows them to get more government funding for their research, which unfortunately depends upon coming up with negative talking points about pot, in the face of a nationwide demand for legalization.

Study: Nicotine Changes The Way Marijuana Affects The Brain

MaybeIt'sTimeYouSwitchedToWeed[MassCentral]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Nicotine changes the way marijuana affects the brain, according to a new study from scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas.

When marijuana and tobacco are combined, according to the study, which was published in the journal Behavioural Brain Research, memory gets stronger as the hippocampus, an area of the brain which affects learning ability and memory, gets smaller, reports Sean Martin at the International Business Times. The more cigarettes smoked per day, the smaller the size of the hippocampus, and the greater the memory performance, according to the research.

The team concluded that the effects of marijuana on the brain aren't usually analyzed with tobacco taken into consideration. The research team was led by Francesca Filbey, director of cognitive neuroscience of addictive behaviors at the Center for BrainHealth.

"Approximately 70 percent of individuals who use marijuana also use tobacco," Filbey said (although I'd question that number). "Our findings exemplify why the effects of marijuana on the brain may not generalize to the vast majority of the marijuana using population, because most studies do not account for tobacco use. This study is one of the first to tease apart the unique effects of each substance on the brain as well as their combined effects.

U.S.: Yet Another Scientific Study Debunks Marijuana Gateway Theory

GatewayTheoryItStartsWithPotThenOneDayYouEndUpPresidentOftheUSA

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Yet another scientific study has been added to the mountain of evidence debunking to so-called "gateway theory," which maintains that marijuana use leads to harder drugs.

Teens instead smoke cannabis for very specific reasons, researchers report in the new study, and it is those same reasons which sometimes prompt them to try other drugs, reports Dennis Thompson at HealthDay News.

Youths who use marijuana because they are bored, for example, are more likely to also use cocaine, while kids using weed to achieve insight or understanding are more likely to try psilocybin mushrooms, according to the findings, recently published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

"We found that marijuana use within itself wasn't a risk factor for use of other drugs," said lead author Joseph Palamar, assistant professor in the department of population health at New York University's Langone Medical Center. "People do generally use marijuana before other drugs, but that doesn't marijuana is a cause of [using] those other drugs."

The researchers based their conclusions on data gathered from Monitoring the Future, on ongoing study of the behaviors of American high school students. About 15,000 high school seniors are questioned each year.

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