Quick Hits

Welcome to Project CBD Quick Hits, where we collect some of the most interesting and informative tidbits of research into cannabis over the past week.
Posted: January 1, 2020
Two dropper bottles lay on an aqua background. Their pink labels read "Acid" and "LSD," respectively.
One of the biggest issues with an unregulated drug market is the presence of adulterants. Many of the adulterants found in samples of LSD are potentially lethal - unlike the drug they intend to mimic. Read more
Posted: November 26, 2019
A rat looks out of a hear-shaped hole in a pink background.
Uruguayan researchers found that a low dose of cannabis increased some mating behaviors, a high dose reduced them, and any dose increased sensitivity to pleasurable touch.  Read more
Posted: November 15, 2019
A cannabis leaf sits on the middle console of a car with a car key laid on top. There's a sun spot in the upper left hand corner of the photograph.
High cannabis users consistently drive more slowly than those who don’t use. And when users aren’t high, they drive more cautiously and consistently than non-users. Researchers try to make this sound like a bad thing. Read more
Posted: November 14, 2019
Three happy students looking at you with thumbs up in an university campus.
A letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) highlighted that legalizing adult use of cannabis is correlated with lower rates of teen use. Read more
Posted: November 5, 2019
An illustration of a person in a white hazmat suit with a backpack-style sprayer on their back. They are standing and spraying on an aqua background.
The EPA has refused to provide pesticide regulations for the cannabis industry. So states have to create their own regulations by banning and “recommending” the pesticides they deem appropriate. A new study examines batches of cannabis that failed pesticide screening in Oregon.  Read more

More quick hits

Posted: March 12, 2019

According to a recent study by University of Pensylvannia scientists, there were small or limited associations between [adolescent] cannabis use and structural brain measures. But even calling the effect small is aggrandizing harms. Their data didn’t support the notion that teens using cannabis causes any changes in the developing brain.

Posted: March 11, 2019
Drawing of woman with abdominal pain

Adenomyosis is a menstrual complication that causes heavier bleeding and pain during a woman’s period. About one in five women suffer from it. As with most female diseases, it is poorly studied and consequently hard to treat. The

Posted: March 11, 2019
A rat smoking weed

Preclinical studies are supposed to provide precise, controllable, and translational models for human diseases. But the manipulations that researchers use — like injecting a precise dose of THC into a rat — may sometimes miss important points. What if smoking and injection have different effects? How might this bias results? University of Florida researchers asked just that question, studying the effects of injected vs. smoked THC in rats. Injecting low doses of THC impaired memory.

Posted: March 11, 2019
Rainbow Boa Snake

Panic, as a mental health disorder, results from overactive stress hormones, hypersensitivity to certain neurotransmitters, and a desensitization to the parasympathetic system — which is supposed to quell the fight-or-flight reaction after a threat has disappeared. New research from Brazilian scientsts in São Paulo examined how endocannabinoids, specifically anandamide, plays a role in panic-like reactions in mice.

Posted: March 4, 2019

A few researchers have tried to answer this question, with mixed results. Alex Stevens at the University of Kent reanalyzed the data from a 2015 paper which claimed that liberal cannabis policies increase teen use. The data included a multi-year survey of over 170,000 people in 38 different countries.

Posted: March 2, 2019

Most everyone has had the experience of biting into a spicy pepper and feeling heat permeate their mouth. This feeling comes from the activation of TRPV (pronounced trip-vee) receptors. These are ion channels that sense stimuli like heat, pressure, light, acidity, herbs, and toxins. TRPV receptors exist on many kinds of cells — from taste buds to neurons.

Posted: March 2, 2019
Drawing of child with stomach ache

Cannabis is used by many individuals with inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD), which includes conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. IBD is not uncommon among people younger than 18, and about one in three of these individuals use cannabis to manage symptoms such as nausea, pain, and fatigue.

Posted: March 2, 2019
Black widow on leaf

Scientists from the Netherlands recently published the protocol for an upcoming study examining how CBD might be helpful in treating specific phobias. The endocannabinoid system is required for eliminating fearful memories, or at least making them palatable. But why have they only published their methods?

Posted: February 27, 2019

A number of surveys have asked doctors what they know about cannabis and how comfortable they feel talking with patients about it. A similar survey was recently conducted about CBD and dogs among over 2000 veterinarians in the United States. Less than half of vets were comfortable talking to clients about CBD for pets.

Posted: February 26, 2019
Improved brain function

THC and other cannabinoids are known to induce neurogenesis — the creation of new neurons — in the brain. There are reasons to believe that this can positively influence diseases like dementia or traumatic brain injury, as well as the ability to learn. Malaysian researchers recently probed the question, does THC improve cognition by inducing neurogenesis? Yes, but only at the right dose.

Posted: February 24, 2019
Ketamine
Ketamine is a dissociative anaesthetic that has shown some promise for treating severe depression. Those effects could be because of its interactions with the endocannabinoid system.
Posted: February 24, 2019

Systemic lupus erythomatosus, often simply called lupus, is a severe autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the nucleus of cells — their genetic control center. Problems can be expressed anywhere in the body, though rashes in the skin, joints, and vital organs are most common. Treatment of lupus generally requires intense immunosuppresive drugs, often targeting inflammatory molecules called interferons. But these drugs make a person more susceptible to other diseases.

Posted: February 22, 2019
Hoarding money

The US is considered to have one of the least efficient medical systems among developed countries.

Posted: February 20, 2019

An unfortunate slogan of the cannabis legalization movement has been “Regulate cannabis like alcohol.” But cannabis, unlike alcohol, is not associated with domestic violence, sexual assault, liver toxicity, cancers, neurodegeneration, and the list goes on. Cannabinoids can, in fact, attenuate many of these issues, as described in a recent review.

Posted: February 20, 2019
Marijuana leaf and handcuffs

Possession of cannabis in the UK is currently punishable by up to 5 years in prison and an unlimited fine. On January 23, 2019, the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London attempted to hold a debate on the British laws that criminalize cannabis use. But it didn’t take place because none of the psychiatrists present were willing to argue for criminalization.

Posted: February 20, 2019
stop sign and crossing guard

Driving accidents cause about 60,000 deaths in the US each year, and nearly all of these are due to driver errors. Regulators are still trying to understand the risks associated with driving while high. Canadian epidemiologist recently analyzed data from the stoner holiday 4/20, finding that there was up to a 12% increase in the number of fatal accidents that that day. This is within typical daily variations, suggesting that, if there is an increase in crash risk, it is small.

Posted: February 20, 2019

Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are one of the most common classes of painkillers, which includes aspirin, ibuprofen, celecoxib, and other pharmaceuticals. Their primary target is an enzyme called cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), which metabolizes many lipids (including endocannabinoids!) into a class of inflammatory molecules called prostaglandins.

Posted: February 20, 2019
Image of PPAR-Gamma molecule

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.

Posted: February 11, 2019

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.

Posted: February 11, 2019
Image of a lab technician at work
Researchers have recently shown that, among homosexual men, cannabis users are safer about sex and have dramatically lower rates of STIs.