More quick hits
The entourage effect was a term first used to describe the various endocannabinoids that work together. Recent research emphasizes how two of these chemicals (OEA and PEA) exert subtle anti-inflammatory and antidepressant effects through a receptor called PPAR-alpha.
Little needs to be said about the devastating impact methamphetamine abuse can have. It is a highly addictive substance whose use can lead to transient psychotic behavior and long-term cognitive problems. As part of an Iranian researcher’s PhD thesis, two scientists demonstrate that CBD can reduce the likelihood of methamphetamine relapse, even while one deals with stresses like sleep deprivation. This is particularly important because drug withdrawal often causes temporary insomnia, yet many of the medications that induce sleep are highly addictive.
Much funding has been devoted to studying drug use and risky sexual practices. While this is a serious issue that should be addressed, such research has been misused to stigmatize marginalized groups. It is used to justify greater enforcement of racist drug laws in communities of color by insinuating that poor black women are misusing their autonomy, and hence need to be forced into rehabilitation programs for their own good.
A new article from the California Department of Pesticide Regulations (CDPR) warns of the dangers of cannabis because it may be contaminated with organophosphate pesticides (e.g. chlorpyrifos, glyphosate). The CDPR walks through what could happen if a pregnant woman uses chlorpyrifos-contaminated cannabis.
Smoking cigarettes is well known to cause lung damage, but this is not only due to smoke. Nicotine in whatever form – even nicotine replacement therapies like a patch – causes lung inflammation and fibrosis by activating acetylcholine receptors. Polish scientists recently examined how the endocannabinoid system fits into the picture.
In spite of the munchies, using THC-rich cannabis is associated with lower weight and a smaller risk for Type II diabetes. This is well substantiated by human epidemiology and research.
A study in Molecular Psychiatry with tens of thousands of people found an association between ADHD and cannabis use. Their data suggests that ADHD causes later cannabis use, which may support the notion that THC is used to self medicate (although ADHD is associated with heavier use of many drugs).
Endometriosis is a poorly-understood condition causing severe chronic pain and alterations in a woman’s menstrual cycle. As an understudied disease, treatment is limited. Scientists surveyed over 400 Australian women to see what actions they took to treat their pelvic pain. Cannabis, heat, CBD oil, and dietary changes were rated most effective by women, in that order.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) leads to numerous problems, including alcoholism and suicide. New findings indicate that endocannabinoids aid TBI recovery: When researchers boosted 2-AG levels shortly after injury, rats displayed less anxiety and less interest in alcohol. This is significant since alcoholism is a serious comorbidity of brain injury.