May 272014
 May 27, 2014
Study: THC Reduces Methamphetamine-Induced Brain Damage

Courtesy of The Joint Blog A new study published in this month’s issue of the journal PLoS ONE, and published online by the National Institute of Health, has found that THC (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol) can reduce and even prevent brain damage caused by methamphetamine intake. According to the study, titled Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol prevents methamphetamine-induced neurotoxicity, “Methamphetamine (METH) is a potent psychostimulant with neurotoxic properties. Heavy use increases the activation of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), production of peroxynitrites, microglia stimulation, and induces hyperthermia and anorectic effects.”  It continues; “Preclinical studies have shown that natural (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, Δ9-THC) and synthetic cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptor agonists exert neuroprotective effects on

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May 162014
 May 16, 2014
Alzheimer's Prevention Starts With Marijuana, According To British Journal

By Brandon Isaak A paper published by the British Journal of Pharmacology suggests that the chemical compounds in marijuana likely prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and age-related dementia. Chronic brain inflammation, oxidative stress, and intra-cellular dysfunction are the primary reasons why people develop these debilitating neurological diseases. The study found that both THC and CBD (the primary chemical compounds found in marijuana) positively affect nerve cell function in consumers, significantly reducing these harmful neurological conditions. THC and CBD (called cannabinoids) tap into a primal, chemical signaling system in cells called “the endocannabinoid system.” The paper shows cannabinoids

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May 112014
 May 11, 2014
Marijuana May Treat Neurodegeneration According To New Study

Courtesy of The Joint Blog A new study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology has found that cannabis may treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. “In an increasingly ageing population, the incidence of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease are rising”, according to the study. “While the aetiologies of these disorders are different, a number of common mechanisms that underlie their neurodegenerative components have been elucidated; namely neuroinflammation, excitotoxicity, mitochondrial dysfunction and reduced trophic support. Current therapies focus on treatment of the symptoms and attempt to delay the progression of these diseases but there is currently no

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May 092014
 May 9, 2014
Study: Marijuana Use Can Treat Symptoms Of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Courtesy of The Joint Blog A new study published last month in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs has found that cannabis use can greatly decrease the negative impacts of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For the study, researchers used the Clinician Administered Posttraumatic Scale to determine symptom scores of 80 individuals with PTSD before and after they began using cannabis. According to the data garnered from the study, cannabis was found to reduce a person’s symptom score by an average of 75%. “Cannabis is associated with reductions in PTSD symptoms in some patients, and prospective, placebo-controlled study is needed to determine efficacy of cannabis and its constituents in treating

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Apr 262014
 April 26, 2014
New Study Tells Nothing About Marijuana's Role In Heart Disease

By Mitch Earlywine A new study on marijuana appeared in Journal of the American Heart Association. These are interesting data, but we have to interpret them very carefully. Sure, we know cannabis can raise heart rate briefly, but most users develop tolerance to the effect. We’ve also seen (in a much larger sample) that it doesn’t increase mortality rates even among survivors of heart attacks. But the new study made the news anyway. Investigators specifically searched a French database where physicians are legally bound to report any drug-related case that they view as “leading to temporary or permanent functional incapacity or disability, to

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Apr 212014
 April 21, 2014
NORML Responds To Latest Media Frenzy Over Pot And 'Brain Damage' Fears

By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director The mainstream media launched into a reefer mad frenzy this week after researchers from Harvard University in Boston and Northwestern University in Chicago published the results of a neuroimaging study assessing the brains of a small cohort of regular marijuana smokers and non-users. The brain scans identified various differences between the two groups in three aspects of brain morphometry: gray matter density, volume, and shape. These differences triggered dozens of high-profile media outlets to lose their collective minds. Here’s a sampling: CNN: Casual marijuana use may damage your brain Financial Post: Study proves occasional marijuana use

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Apr 182014
 April 18, 2014
Neuropsychological Deficits: Fact And Artifact About Marijuana Tests

By Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D State University of New York at Albany Chair, NORML board of directors A new study claims to show small deficits on neuropsychological tests in college students who started smoking marijuana early in life. It might get a lot of press. Prohibitionists love to bang the drum of marijuana-related cognitive deficits, so I’d like NORMLites to know how to make sense of this sort of research. The recurring themes in this literature involve several alternative explanations that never seem to dawn on journalists. These results often arise from artifacts of the study rather than physiological effects of the plant.

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Apr 162014
 April 16, 2014
What Are The Active Ingredients In Medical Marijuana?

By Robert Bergman The medicinal and psychoactive effects that we associate with marijuana are caused by unique chemical structures called cannabinoids found in the actual plant. To date, there have been 86 cannabinoids identified in nature and others have been synthesized chemically. The major psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is delta-g-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly referred to as THC (although other naming systems refer to it confusingly as delta-t-THC). Other cannabinoids, in addition to THC, have medicinal or psychoactive elements. Cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), cannabavarin (THCV), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), delta-8-THC, cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabitriol (CBT), and cannabielsoin are among the many different naturally-occurring cannabinoids. Most

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Apr 162014
 April 16, 2014
Frequent Marijuana Users Less Likely To Engage In Problematic Alcohol Use

By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director Those who report consuming cannabis two or three times per week are less likely to engage in at risk drinking behavior, according to data published online in The American Journal of Addictions. Investigators from Sweden’s Lund University, Department of Clinical Sciences, analyzed data from a nationwide survey on alcohol and drug use conducted by the National Institute of Public Health. Over 22,000 respondents between the ages of 15 and 64 participated in the survey. Researchers reported that frequent cannabis consumers (defined as having used cannabis two or three times per week) were less likely to engage in

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Apr 022014
 April 2, 2014
Higher Potency Marijuana Doesn't Predict Dependence

Researchers in the Netherlands have concluded that the THC potency of marijuana used by consumers does not reliably predict their risk for marijuana dependence.  The amount of THC consumed, whether from low-potency or high-potency sources, also did not tend to indicate a person’s chance of marijuana dependence. Peggy van der Pol, a doctoral candidate at the Trimbos Institute of the Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction and her team decided to investigate the commonly held belief that marijuana smokers who use higher potency varieties will adjust their smoking pattern to use less marijuana. The researchers looked at 98 young

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