2013 has been an incredible year for cannabis-related science, with dozens of peer-reviewed studies being released examining the benefits of cannabis ranging from weight-loss, to cancer-killing capabilities. Here we breakdown the ten most important (and groundbreaking) studies released this year.
A government funded study published by the Journal of Biological Chemistry found that THC may actually alter certain genes in our body, which can result in a positive effect on a number of conditions, especially cancers and inflammatory diseases. This is the first study of its kind to find such a direct link between cannabinoids, and the alteration of genes.
A study conducted at the Institute of Molecular Psychiatry at the University of Bonn in Germany found that cannabis triggers the release of antioxidants, which acts as a cleansing mechanism, resulting in the removal of damaged cells and improving the efficiency of mitochondria, the energy source that powers cells, potentially increasing stamina.
“These discoveries shed new insight on how natural marijuana cannabinoids hold the capacity to literally kill the brain inflammation responsible for causing cognitive decline, neural failure, and brain degeneration”, says Gery Wenk, a professor of neuroscience, immunology and medical genetics at Ohio State University.
A study published by the British Journal of Pharmacology found that cannabis can stop seizures due to its “significant anticonvulsant effects”.
Research published this year in the journal Biochemical Pharmacology found that even minuscule amounts of THC can provide protection from heart attacks, as well as reduce the potential cardiovascular damage associated with suffering one.
For the study researchers administered extremely small amounts of THC; 0.002 mg/kg, which is up to 10,000 times less potent than the average joint. Despite how small the dose was, researchers found it to be effective at protecting against heart attacks when administered 2 to 48 hours before an attack, and found it to help relieve the symptoms when administered afterward.
“[THC] is a safe and effective treatment that reduces myocardial ischemic (heart attack) damage”, states the study. It concludes: ”[O]ur study provides novel evidence for the beneficial use of extremely low doses of THC, doses that do not elicit any psychoactive side effects, in order to protect the heart from ischemic insults. THC can be used as a pre-conditioning drug in cases in which ischemic insult to the heart is anticipated, such as during cardiac surgery or percutaneous coronary intervention.”
Researchers at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health had a study published this year in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, which found that cannabinoids can reduce up to 90% of skin cancer in just a 20 week period in animal models.
A study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology found researchers infecting white blood cells with the HIV virus, before then exposing the cells to synthesized THC. After doing so, the cells saw a drastic decrease in the rate of HIV-1 infection.
A study conducted by researchers at the New York University School of Medicine, and funded by the National Institute of Health, found that those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) had a lower number of active cannabinoid receptors in the brain. According to researchers, this study paves the way towards using cannabis as an effective medication for the condition, given that cannabinoids activate the body’s cannabinoid receptors.
A study published in the journal PLOS One, as well as by the National Institute of Health, found strong evidence that activation of our body’s cannabinoid receptors – something done naturally by cannabis – can treat osteoarthritis (OA), which, according to the study’s researchers, is “a prevalent disease accompanied by chronic, debilitating pain”. It’s the most common joint disorder.
An importand study published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology found that cannabis may actually prevent organs from being rejected during transplant, which often leads to death. The irony in this is that in most countries, people are refused organ transplants if their blood tests positive for cannabis, even if they’re a qualified medical cannabis patient in an area where its legal.
A study published in the December issue of the journal Biochemical Society Transactions, and published online early by the National Institute of Health, found that the brain’s endocannabinoid system – which is activated through cannabis use – has neuroprotective and immunomodulatory capabilities, and may actually lead to the growth of stem cells.
- New Government Funded Study Finds THC Improves Sleep
- Cannabinoids Promote Healthy Placental Development, Positive Pregnancy Outcomes
- Living in a Cannabis Grow Operation Doesn’t Harm a Child’s Health
- Cannabis Consumption Reduces Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease, May Lead to Remission
[Editor's Note: Sources are hyperlinked throughout the article.]