Tag Archives: research

Marijuana’s effects on young brains diminish 72 hours after use, research says

By Mark Lieber, CNN

Updated 11:17 AM ET, Wed April 18, 2018

(CNN)Marijuana is notorious for slowing certain cognitive functions such as learning, memory and attention span (maybe that’s why they call it “dope”?). But new research in young people suggests that these cognitive effects, while significant, may not persist for very long, even among chronic users.

The meta-analysis, published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, combines data from 69 previous studies that look at the effects of heavy cannabis use on cognitive functioning in adolescents and young adults. It found that those young people who identified as heavy marijuana users scored significantly lower than non-users in a variety of cognitive domains such as learning, abstraction, speed of processing, delayed memory, inhibition and attention.

“There have been a couple of meta-analyses done in adult samples, but this is the first one to be done specifically in adolescent and young adult samples,” said Cobb Scott, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a lead author of the study.

    “We looked at everything from learning and memory to different aspects of executive functioning such as abstraction ability,” Scott said. “And we basically showed that the largest effects — which was around a third of a standard deviation — was in the learning of new information and some aspects of executive functioning, memory and speed of processing.”

    Weed users found to have poorer verbal memory in middle age

    Weed users found to have poorer verbal memory in middle age

    But when the researchers separated the studies based on length of abstinence from marijuana use, the difference in cognitive functioning between marijuana users and non-users was no longer apparent after 72 hours of marijuana abstinence. That could be an indication “that some of the effects found in previous studies may be due to the residual effects of cannabis or potentially from withdrawal effects in heavy cannabis users,” Scott said.

    The study comes as America continues to debate the merits of marijuana legalization. Recreational marijuana use is legal in nine states. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized some form of medical marijuana use, with at least three additional states potentially deciding on the issue in the upcoming November election, according to Melissa Moore, New York deputy state director for the nonprofit Drug Policy Alliance.

    Studies on the long-term cognitive effects of marijuana use among adolescents and young adults have shown inconsistent results. A 2008 study reported that frequent or early-onset cannabis use among adolescents was associated with poorer cognitive performance in tasks requiring executive functioning, attention and episodic memory.

    A 2014 study also warned against the use of marijuana during adolescence, when certain parts of the brain responsible for executive functioning — such as the prefrontal cortex — are still developing.

    “There have been very important studies showing evidence for irreversible damage (from marijuana use), and so there needs to be more research in this area,” said Kevin Sabet, assistant adjunct professor at the Yale School of Medicine and president of the nonprofit Smart Approaches to Marijuana, who was not involved in the new study.

    “I hope they’re right. We want there to be little effect after 72 hours. But given the other studies that have had very large sample sizes that have been published over the past five years in prominent journals, I think we need to look into that more,” added Sabet, whose group is focused on the harms of marijuana legalization.


    Marijuana legalization could help offset opioid epidemic, studies find

    But a number of recent studies have also shown that the association between marijuana use and reduced cognitive functioning disappears after controlling for factors such as psychiatric illness and substance use disorders, according to Scott.

    In an attempt to make sense of these discordant results, the new research combined data from 69 previous studies, resulting in a comparison of 2,152 frequent marijuana users with 6,575 non-users. Participants ranged in age from 10 to 50, with an average age of 21.

    The researchers found that, overall, the cognitive functioning of frequent marijuana users was reduced by one-third of a standard deviation compared with non-frequent marijuana users — a relatively small effect size, according to Scott.

    “It surprised, I think, all of us doing this analysis that the effects were not bigger than we found,” Scott said. “But I would say that the clinical significance of a quarter of a standard deviation is somewhat questionable.”

    But according to Sabet, even a relatively small effect size could be important, especially in a large meta-analysis such as this one.

    “The small effect size may be meaningful in a large population, and again, all (cognitive) measures are worse for those using marijuana,” Sabet said.

    “The study is pretty bad news for marijuana users,” he added. “Overall, I think this is consistent with the literature that marijuana use shows worse cognitive outcomes among users versus non-users.”

    In an effort to identify other potential factors that could have affected the relationship between marijuana use and cognition, the researchers also separated the studies based on the length of marijuana abstinence, age of first cannabis use, sociodemographic characteristics and clinical characteristics such as depression.

    Of these, only the length of marijuana abstinence was found to significantly affect the association between chronic marijuana use and reduced cognitive functioning. Specifically, cognitive functioning appeared to return to normal after about 72 hours of marijuana abstinence — a threshold identified in previous studies, according to Scott.

    “The reason we chose the 72-hour mark is that in looking at the data on cannabis withdrawal effects in heavy cannabis users, 72 hours seems to be past the peak of most withdrawal effects that occur,” he said.

    Marijuana legalization by the numbers

    However, the 69 studies included in the review did not have a uniform definition for “chronic” or “frequent” marijuana use, one of the study’s main limitations, according to Sabet.

    “When you put all of these studies together that have different definitions of marijuana users and are from different times, it’s not surprising that you’d get a smaller effect size,” Sabet said.

    The studies also relied on a variety of tests to determine cognitive functioning, including the Trail Making Test, the Digital Span Memory Test and the California Verbal Learning test, according to Scott.

    “The other thing that’s important to highlight is that we’re only looking at cognitive functioning. We’re not looking at risks for other adverse outcomes with cannabis use, like risk for psychosis, risks for cannabis use problems or other medical issues like lung functioning outcomes,” Scott said.

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    But the results still suggest that the negative cognitive effects of marijuana use, while significant in the short-term, probably diminish with time. They also shed light on the need for more research in this area, particularly as cannabis policy in the United States continues to change at a rapid pace.

    “As attitudes change about cannabis use and cannabis use becomes a little bit more accepted in terms of policy and government regulation and medical cannabis use increases, I think we need to have a real understanding of the potential risks and benefits of cannabis use,” Scott said.

    CONTINUE READING…

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    Research: The Industrial Revolution Left Psychological Scars That Can Still Be Seen Today

    March 26, 2018

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    The Industrial Revolution, which brought together large-scale coal-based industries like mining, steel, pottery, and textiles, helped create the foundation of modern society and wealth. At the same time, the early industrial economies that formed in this era were also associated with brutal working and living conditions. Our research, recently accepted by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, shows that areas where coal was king may still be feeling the effects.

    In countries like the UK and the U.S. that industrialized early, coal now plays only a minor role in the economy. For example, in the U.S. today, the entire coal industry employs about 53,000 people, with only about 11,000 of those working in extraction. Coal production and consumption have also declined markedly. Yet prior research has found that in the areas of the U.S. and UK where coal still is a major industry, it affects local populations in a profound way. For example, people who live in areas with active coal mining today often experience greater risk of mental and physical health issues, such as depression, anxiety, COPD, and asthma, than people in other regions. Research also shows that besides the occupational health risks that miners face, these regions pose increased population-wide health risks due to pollution and economic hardship.

    Today, millions of people live in such regions that once brought together large-scale coal-based industries, for example in the old industrial north of the UK and the so-called Rust Belt in the U.S. Given that these historical industries had dominated the economic and social life of these regions for such a long time, we wanted to explore whether they continue to influence the people currently living there. Our research suggests that the massive industrialization of the 19th and 20th centuries had long-term psychosocial effects that continue to shape the well-being, health, and behaviors of millions of people in these regions today.

    Our study, an interdisciplinary collaboration between psychologists, historians, and economic geographers, examined whether people in former industrial regions in the U.K. and the U.S. demonstrated more markers of “psychological adversity” (i.e., higher neuroticism, lower conscientiousness, lower aspects of extraversion, lower life satisfaction, and lower life expectancy) than people in other regions. To reach back to the Industrial Revolution, we had to examine different sources of unique historical data on regional industry structure — one source, for example, was baptism records from 1813-1820 that stated the occupation of the father. We were able to determine the share of employment in large-scale coal-based industries, such as coal mining, and in steam-powered manufacturing industries that used coal as fuel, such as pottery, textile production, and metal manufacturing. This was our measure for the historical concentration of large-scale, coal-powered industries in a region.

    We also used existing online surveys to collect personality trait data from 381,916 current residents of England and Wales and 3,457,270 residents living in the U.S., looking at which regions had more people reporting so-called unhappy personality traits: higher neuroticism (characterized by greater emotional instability, worrying, anger), lower conscientiousness (less self-control and self-management), and lower extraversion (less sociable, outgoing, and fun-oriented). These have been tied to lesser psychological well-being and poorer health behaviors. We also studied life satisfaction and life expectancy across regions.

    Our research shows that a region’s historical industries leave a lasting imprint on the local psychology, which remains even when those industries are no longer dominant or have almost completely disappeared. We found that in regions like Blaenau Gwent in the UK and the Rust Belt in the U.S., people reported more unhappy personality traits, lower life satisfaction, and lower life expectancy than otherwise similar regions where these industries did not dominate (think Sussex and Dorset in the non-industrial South of England and regions in the American West). For example, in the UK, neuroticism was 33% higher, conscientiousness 26% lower, and life satisfaction 29% lower in these areas compared with the rest of the country. This effect was robust even when controlling for other historical factors that might have affected the well-being of regions, such as historical energy supply, education, wealth, geology, population density, and climate.

    To come to more causal conclusions, we needed to determine that a region’s industrial history is what caused residents to have these personality traits today, rather than regions with a certain personality structure attracting large-scale industries during the Industrial Revolution. We employed an instrumental variable analysis, using the natural location of coalfields in the year 1700. The early industrial centers often emerged near coalfields because coal was expensive to transport and plants were mostly powered by steam engines that required large amounts of cheap coal. Even among these industrial centers — which are likely to have emerged owing to their proximity to coal, and not to any pre-existing personality trends — we observed lower well-being and more adverse personality traits, consistent with idea that a region’s industrial history affects its personality structure.

    Since the historical industries appear to exert long-term psychological effects, our next task was understanding the mechanisms driving this. We’ve long known that work and living conditions were bad in old industrial centers — the daily work in the plants and mines was often highly repetitive, stressful, and exhausting, not to mention dangerous, and child labor was very common. We also know from psychological and sociological studies that specific work characteristics, such as a lack of autonomy and complexity at work, can shape the personality of workers in a negative way, for instance by lowering intellectual flexibility and personal initiative. Adam Smith had even argued in 1776 that the division of labor, resulting in highly-specialized and repetitive work tasks, comes with detrimental psychosocial effects for the workers.

    Other studies have shown how work characteristics of parents, such as self-direction and conformity at work, get “transmitted” to their children via parenting practices and a socialization of values and norms that leads them to mirror these characteristics. For example, highly repetitive, exhausting, and low-autonomy work can affect the values of workers, in that they put less value on intellectual virtues and critical thinking, and these values then often get transmitted to the children of these workers as well. In addition to these socialization mechanisms, we also know that personality has a genetic basis, which may help certain traits persist across generations.

    Finally, we also know that personality is shaped by local institutions such as schools, local attitudes, and social standards. For example we know that school students’ attitudes about unhealthy behaviors and alcohol are influenced by their friends’ and neighbors’ attitudes about these issues. So it’s possible that even people who moved to old industrial regions, versus those whose families had always been there, would be affected by prevailing personality traits and values.

    We speculated that migration patterns would contribute to industrialization affecting future personality traits. There are a couple reasons to think this: First, during the Industrial Revolution there might have been a certain “genetic founder effect” at play — that is, the massive influx of a specific personality type into the emerging and quickly growing industrial centers. For the U.K., there are historical analyses arguing that the emerging industrial centers were mainly populated by people from neighboring rural areas who had suffered economic and psychological hardship, such as major famines in Ireland. Such a massive influx might have established an initial level of psychological adversity in these industrial regions during the Industrial Revolution, which would affect and shape the personality structure of subsequent generations in these regions.

    Second, people with happier personalities might move away from these regions, which could boost the concentration of unhappy personality traits there today. We found support for this in our data. When we compared people who grew up and stayed in old coal regions with people who grew up there but later left, we found that those who left scored lower in neuroticism and higher in conscientiousness and in aspects of extraversion.

    In sum, the effect of the Industrial Revolution seems to be more toxic and far-reaching than previously thought. While massive industrialization brought unprecedented technological and economic progress, it also left a psychological legacy that continues to shape the personality traits and well-being of people currently in these regions. Regional personality, which can provide a sense of local identity and pride, can still reflect the historical hardships and difficult work and living conditions of past generations. Without a strong orchestrated effort to improve economic circumstances and people’s well-being and health in these regions, this legacy is likely to persist.

    This research should remind us that the dominance of a certain industry or type of work can have unexpected, long-term effects on the personality structure of regions — and these can be felt long after they change.

    CONTINUE READING…

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    The Elkhorn Manifesto

    How prohibition limits cannabis & technology

    Published on February 7, 2017

    Travis Lachner

    Travis Lachner
    CEO & Creative Director at Cannvas

     

    Federal prohibition segregates cannabis and technology.

    Complex banking regulation suffocates cash flow.

    Research discoveries are suppressed and hidden.

    Social media shutdowns are routine procedure.

    Simply stated; making progress in the cannabis industry is really difficult right now.

    This professional canna-bigotry is due to marijuana’s (mis)classification as a Schedule I substance. Domestic and international companies

    Most of the country supports cannabis legalization. Yet, it still remains illegal.

    Prohibition causes unnecessary and inefficient problems for the industry – and the nation.

    We need to end prohibition and build the industry right to realize the potential of cannabis.

    Companies, consumers, patients, and citizens will all benefit from proper legalization.

    1) Banking and FinTech access sucks. Cash-only operations are unsafe.

    Cannabis companies cannot access basic banking and financial technologies normally.

    Federal prohibition restricts most banks from serving companies related to cannabis in any way. Even ancillary companies (that don’t touch the plant) are still neglected.

    And legislative progress for cannabis banking created at the state level is stomped out by federal government.

    In Colorado, state banking officials approved a charter for the first “Cannabis Bank” ever – A credit union named The Fourth Corner (TFCCU).

    However, final admin approval at the federal level is continuously denied… The cannabis bank cannot operate without it.

    Financial restrictions force cannabis companies two directions:

    • Option A – Companies operate cash only. Sometimes moving hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time.
    • Option B – Companies pursue private banking opportunities at the state level and operate within financial loopholes.

    Neither of these options are ideal.

    According to Bloomberg Business, less than 3% of banks in America accept cannabis cash. Which means employees and individuals must move billions of dollars in cash regularly. These are extremely unsafe conditions and procedures.

    A new “cannabis security” industry is emerging because of this problem. Ventures like Canna Security America provide comprehensive security services to keep staff, customers, and citizens safe.

    But cannabis companies shouldn’t have to hire armed security services for safety… If customers were allowed to just swipe a damn debit card at any dispensary, the context of cannabis will be safer.

    Modern banking technology is essential to all modern companies. Why are cannabis companies forced into awkward and unsafe restrictions?

    It is unrealistic to make companies to operate under such irrational conditions. Especially while being taxed so heavily.

    2) Awkward and vague regulations change often.

    Cannabis companies pour capital into compliance. The “cover your ass” attitude is necessary in the ever-shifting regulations and requirements.

    Brands balance between state legality and federal prohibition. New laws can make, break, or change business models overnight.

    In addition to operational regulation, cannabis companies must abide to marketing and advertising restrictions. They cannot reach audiences like most other businesses.

    Traditional companies in America spend millions on marketing and advertising – with minimal restrictions. TV, Facebook, Google, Instagram – pretty much whatever they want. But cannabis related companies can’t participate. (Yet.)

    Instead, cannabis companies navigate complex layers of ambiguous regulation. Many areas of requirements are unclear, unrealistic, or nonexistent.

    Large companies like Google and Facebook restrict ads for anything and everything cannabis-related.

    And to be fair, they are just protecting their companies. Most of these policies are indirectly due to federal prohibition.

    National brands fear the possible repercussions of the federal government. So they cover their ass by following suit with whatever the government says at the time.

    This creates a contradicting scenario for companies and states… Selling cannabis is legal – but advertising cannabis is tricky.

    Beyond regulation, cannabis companies are often pushed around by the “big boys” of media and technology.

    I see new stories like those every week. It’s seriously like industrial level bigotry or bullying.

    3) Research and development efforts are limited and discouraged.

    Cannabis companies cannot complete high-level research and development.

    Innovation research and medical studies require strict government approval or federal funding – which is often denied.

    But here’s the weird part. The federal government already knows cannabis research will benefit society… The federal government owns the patent to use cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. Yet, they still suppress innovative discoveries.

    Back in the 70’s, the US government discovered THC can shrink cancerous tumors. But political forces swept this research under the rug.

    Why? Because it did not support the agenda for “The War on Drugs.”

    Modern research reinforced the discovery again in 2000.

    Spanish scientists successfully destroyed “uncurable” brain tumors with THC (an active component of cannabis).

    But you probably didn’t see this story in America. That’s because the revolutionary research was censored and ignored by major media outlets.

    The neglected study from Madrid was named the “Top Censored Story” of 2000 by Project Censored

    Today, American government is still putting up roadblocks for research.

    In 2015, Congress shut down federal research on medical marijuana yet again.

    This is an absurd problem. Is our own government suppressing the potential power of cannabis intentionally?

    The medical benefits of cannabis and technology deserve to be discovered and delivered to the people.

    Let’s take a closer look at the potential of marrying cannabis and technology.

    Throughout history, technology innovations pave the path for industries to leverage and build upon.

    But unfortunately, cannabis companies are restricted from leveraging existing technologies.

    While most American companies sit on the shoulders of giants, cannabis companies barely get to stand on on the big toe of that giant.

    Even worse – companies that “touch the plant” are restricted by regulations and fear of prosecution. Which means new innovations in the industry are often discouraged or dismissed.

    This type of environment creates irrational risk for entrepreneurs, researchers, and innovators. It discourages progress and big ideas..

    Instead, we must cultivate an environment for encouraging positive growth and development.

    Imagine what we will gain when the cannabis industry can leverage the entire spectrum of modern technologies with less restriction.

    1) Companies will focus on improving products and services.

    Cannabis companies will devote more time and energy to optimize the customer experience. Products and services will be fixed, upgraded, and optimized over time.

    Currently, cannabis companies spend TONS of time, money, and energy navigating a shit-show of regulations and compliance.

    Intense, time-consuming administrative projects ensure the entire business isn’t stripped away.

    This energy could be (and should be) spent better.

    Internal resources should be used to enhance product development, improve services, and innovate the customer experience.

    Cannabis companies deserve the right to allocate their bandwidth more efficiently.

    2) Companies will mature their marketing (and targeting).

    Marketing and advertising will experience noticeable maturity. Companies will focus on more specific target audiences with hyper-detailed precision.

    Cannabis companies will target consumers and patients better.

    From stereotypical “stoners” to critically concerned medical patients… Proper access to modern marketing and targeting technology will enhance the customer experience.

    Customer archetypes, strain-matching, and advanced targeting tools will be standard in the industry. Apps like PotBot will offer custom product recommendations based on user preferences.

    Technology allows brands to target the exact type of users best-fit for their product. In the end, that is better for both the consumers and the companies.

    But most technologies will be inaccessible or restricted until prohibition is lifted.

    Federal prohibition sets the tone for large companies and advertising platforms to follow suit regarding cannabis. And the current advertising restrictions make it extremely difficult for companies to capture targeted audiences.

    Cannabis pioneers experience difficulty building and marketing effective, creative and compliant campaigns.

    If this problem sounds familiar… Cannvas provides custom cannabis brand-building solutions for 100% compliant marketing, advertising, and PR.

    3) Research will unlock the power of the endocannabinoid system.

    This is the big kahuna.

    The endocannabinoid system is the untapped holy grail of cannabis and medicine.

    It could be one the missing key needed to treat, manage, or cure many conditions in the medical community.

    The endocannabinoid system is revolutionary. But we are only in the early stages of discovery. Many experts predict mastering the ECS will mark a new era of healthcare.

    From cancer, to epilepsy, to simple chronic pain or nausea… The endocannabinoid system is directly related to the biological balance of humans.

    Currently, we are just scratching the surface of possibilities. But the convergence of cannabis and medical technology is well under way.

    With proper funding, and federal approval, hundreds of medical benefits will be discovered. The full potential of can be literally life-saving.

    Cannabis will soon develop its identity as a wellness product.

    And canna-pharmaceuticals may be the future of healthcare.

    The solution is simple.

    Federal prohibition is ineffective. We need to marry cannabis and modern technologies.

    Nationwide legalization will enable better access to existing technologies – while encouraging innovation and safety.

    Companies, consumers, and citizens will all benefit from legalizing cannabis.

    And we can build the industry right.

    Let’s do this.

    The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research (2017)

    THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS HAS RELEASED A NEW RESEARCH BOOK REGARDING THE HEALTH EFFECTS OF CANNABIS.  PLEASE USE LINK PROVIDED TO REVIEW.

     

    The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research

     

    Description

    Significant changes have taken place in the policy landscape surrounding cannabis legalization, production, and use. During the past 20 years, 25 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis and/or cannabidiol (a component of cannabis) for medical conditions or retail sales at the state level and 4 states have legalized both the medical and recreational use of cannabis. These landmark changes in policy have impacted cannabis use patterns and perceived levels of risk.

    However, despite this changing landscape, evidence regarding the short- and long-term health effects of cannabis use remains elusive. While a myriad of studies have examined cannabis use in all its various forms, often these research conclusions are not appropriately synthesized, translated for, or communicated to policy makers, health care providers, state health officials, or other stakeholders who have been charged with influencing and enacting policies, procedures, and laws related to cannabis use. Unlike other controlled substances such as alcohol or tobacco, no accepted standards for safe use or appropriate dose are available to help guide individuals as they make choices regarding the issues of if, when, where, and how to use cannabis safely and, in regard to therapeutic uses, effectively.

    Shifting public sentiment, conflicting and impeded scientific research, and legislative battles have fueled the debate about what, if any, harms or benefits can be attributed to the use of cannabis or its derivatives, and this lack of aggregated knowledge has broad public health implications. The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids provides a comprehensive review of scientific evidence related to the health effects and potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis. This report provides a research agenda—outlining gaps in current knowledge and opportunities for providing additional insight into these issues—that summarizes and prioritizes pressing research needs.

    Topics

     

    CONCLUSIONS FOR: THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS
    There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective:
    • For the treatment for chronic pain in adults (cannabis) (4-1)
    • Antiemetics in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (oral cannabinoids) (4-3)
    • For improving patient-reported multiple sclerosis spasticity symptoms (oral cannabinoids) (4-7a)
    There is moderate evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for:
    • Improving short-term sleep outcomes in individuals with sleep disturbance associated with obstructive sleep apnea
    syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and multiple sclerosis (cannabinoids, primarily nabiximols) (4-19)
    There is limited evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for:
    • Increasing appetite and decreasing weight loss associated with HIV/AIDS (cannabis and oral cannabinoids) (4-4a)
    • Improving clinician-measured multiple sclerosis spasticity symptoms (oral cannabinoids) (4-7a)
    • Improving symptoms of Tourette syndrome (THC capsules) (4-8)
    • Improving anxiety symptoms, as assessed by a public speaking test, in individuals with social anxiety disorders (cannabidiol)
    (4-17)
    • Improving symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (nabilone; one single, small fair-quality trial) (4-20)
    There is limited evidence of a statistical association between cannabinoids and:
    • Better outcomes (i.e., mortality, disability) after a traumatic brain injury or intracranial hemorrhage (4-15)
    There is limited evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are ineffective for:
    • Improving symptoms associated with dementia (cannabinoids) (4-13)
    • Improving intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma (cannabinoids) (4-14)
    • Reducing depressive symptoms in individuals with chronic pain or multiple sclerosis (nabiximols, dronabinol, and nabilone)
    (4-18)

    PLEASE CONTINUE TO LINK HERE

    CA scientists prove marijuana fights aggressive cancers, human trials soon

    Cancer survivor says medical marijuana saved her

    A pair of scientists at San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute are preparing to release research data which proves cannabidiol (CBD) – a marijuana compound – has the ability to “turn off” the activity of a gene which causes cancers to metastasize.

    “The preclinical trial data is very strong, and there’s no toxicity. There’s really a lot of research to move ahead with and to get people excited,” said Sean McAllister, who along with scientist Pierre Desprez, has been studying the active molecules in marijuana – called cannabinoids – as potent inhibitors of metastatic disease for the past decade, according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Marijuana is already proven to alleviate nausea and pain related to cancer therapies, but these recent findings indicate a much more vast use for the natural plant which has been vilified by politicians and U.S. laws for decades.

    Marijuana a vital tool in fighting many cancers.

    Marijuana a vital tool in fighting many cancers.

    Photo credit: 

    Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

    McAllister’s previous research has shown marijuana has anti-cancer properties as well.

    The implications of further scientific research are staggering, yet severely limited, given current federal prohibition of the cannabis plant.

    After seeing the initial results of testing cancer cells with the CBD compounds found in marijuana, Desprez and McAllister wondered if they’d made an error, so they repeated the tests again and again, each time receiving the same result: the cancer cells not only stopped acting “crazy” but reverted to a normal, healthy state.

    “It took us about 20 years of research to figure this out, but we are very excited,” said Desprez to The Huffington Post. “We want to get started with trials as soon as possible.”

    Desprez hopes the human clinical trials will start without delay.

    In an article posted on NBC Bay Area website, “‘If this plant were discovered in the Amazon today, scientists would be falling all over each other to be the first to bring it to market,’ said Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of oncology at the University of California San Francisco, which has also found science behind marijuana’s efficacy.”

    Marijuana advocates have suspected these truths for decades but have found themselves widely shunned or ignored by U.S. lawmakers.

    Dr. T.G., an oncologist who wishes to remain anonymous, told Examiner.com that her practice encourages early-stage cancer patients to use marijuana in an effort to slow cancer progression.

    “I’ve treated patients dealing with cancers for nearly thirty years and I am convinced even consuming cannabis-laced edibles can have a noticeable effect in reduction of cancer cell growth over the long-term. Although cannabis flowers themselves don’t contain enough of the CBD component to have the same effects as those in the California study, it is clear intensive research and human trials are warranted,” said Dr. T.G. “But it would be much more efficient if all cancer research laboratories could test cannabis and, with federal restrictions on cannabis cultivation, that level of research is not viable.”

    With healthcare occupying a large segment of the 2012 election focus, President Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney may want to consider the continued wisdom of marijuana prohibition.

    By publicly calling for marijuana/cannabis to be rescheduled as Schedule II under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, marijuana will be recognized as having medicinal efficacy and would then be available not only for those 17 states which already have medical marijuana laws in place, but would make the plant available for further clinical research.

    Dr. T.G. stated, “In light of emerging evidence and millions of patients who’ve received benefit from cannabis, there is no logical reason to avoid a federal reversal of prohibition.”

    It may irritate politicians and prohibitionists nationwide, but it turns out the potheads of the world were right all along…

    CONTINUE READING…