MMJ MEDICINAL MARIJUANA and AGING


Before Cherie Scott goes to sleep every night, the 86-year-old has a sweet bedtime snack: a marijuana cookie.

With her chic bob hairstyle and tweed blazer, Scott — who prefers to be addressed as “Mrs. Scott” — doesn’t exactly fit the stoner stereotype. Admittedly, before she tried it, she was totally against the drug.

“I thought the whole system, it was evil and addictive and you were a little cuckoo with it,” the Burnaby senior told The Province.

But when she found herself in a dire situation, unable to sleep after her husband died of lung cancer in 1980, Scott said she was desperate for relief. Fearing she would become addicted to sleeping pills, Scott’s son suggested she try marijuana.

Mitch D’Kugener, who has a doctor’s prescription, smoked pot to alleviate symptoms of his attention deficit disorder and arthritis pain, and he thought it might also help his mom.

“Now she’s having the best sleep that she’s had in the last 30 years,” he said. “Her quality of life has improved.”

Scott is part of a growing trend of seniors starting to use medical marijuana to find relief from illnesses that are often age-related, such as arthritis and dementia. Many are unlikely to try marijuana on their own, but are introduced to the idea by their children or younger relatives.

“A lot of it is the older generation is just less aware,” said Dana Larsen, director of the Vancouver Dispensary Society. “A lot of the medical benefits of cannabis have really just been explored in the last few years, and the information is just getting out there.”

As most marijuana research has looked at people who smoke the drug for recreational reasons, scientific evidence on the medical benefits is sparse. But research has found marijuana can be helpful in treating nausea in chemotherapy patients as well as nerve pain, and may stimulate appetite in people with AIDS, according to a 1999 review from the Institute of Medicine, a prestigious U.S. health advisory group.

Larsen, a longtime pot-legalization activist who founded the B.C. Marijuana Party, said some seniors who visit the dispensary tried marijuana in their youth, but many are first-time users.

According to Larsen, marijuana seems to help seniors in a way that pharmaceutical drugs don’t. Some even stop taking medication previously prescribed to them once they try the substance, he said.

“A lot of what we do is teaching people how to use it properly and how to consume it in the right way,” Larsen said.

Read More: Patients for Medical Cannabis


PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDY: Marijuana buffers against negative effects of social exclusion

 

Research published online in Social Psychological and Personality Science has uncovered that marijuana buffers people from experiencing social pain.

“Prior work has shown that the analgesic acetaminophen, which acts indirectly through CB1 receptors, reduces the pain of social exclusion. The current research provides the first evidence that marijuana also dampens the negative emotional consequences of social exclusion on negative emotional outcomes,” Timothy Deckman of the University of Kentucky and his colleagues wrote in the study.

The four-part study, which included a total of 7040 participants and three methodologies, was based on previous research that found an overlap between physical and social pain. Acetaminophen, which is used in over-the-counter medications like Tylenol, has been found to reduce physical and social pain.

Aceteminophen and marijuana both affect cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain and both drugs are used to treat physical pain.

For their first two studies, the researchers examined cross-sectional data from major national surveys. The first study used data from the National Comorbidity Study and found marijuana users who reported being lonely had higher levels of self-worth and mental health than non-marijuana users who reported being lonely.

The second study used data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. This second analysis found those used marijuana relatively frequently and experienced social pain were less likely to experience a major depressive episode during the past 12 months.

The third study employed a longitudinal design. The researchers surveyed high school students regarding loneliness, lifetime marijuana use, and depression. The same students were surveyed again two years later. The study found that marijuana use predicted lower levels of depression among students who were lonely. For students who were not lonely, however, marijuana had little impact on depression.

The fourth and final study employed an experimental design with a control group. For this study, the participants played a computer-based game called Cyberball. The preprogrammed 3-player game is designed to evoke social exclusion and rejection by consistently ignoring the participant. Deckman and his colleagues found marijuana users had a smaller decrease in self-esteem and belonging following the game.

“Marijuana has been used to treat physical pain, and the current findings suggest that it may also reduce emotional pain,” the researchers concluded. “This may reflect a poor way of coping with social pain, but it may also explain some of the widespread appeal of marijuana.”

Courtesy: PsyPost



STUDY: Marijuana Users Have better Blood Sugar Level Regulation


A multicenter research team analyzed data obtained during the National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) between 2005 and 2010. They studied data from 4,657 patients who completed a drug use questionnaire. Of these, 579 were current marijuana users, 1,975 had used marijuana in the past but were not current users, and 2,103 had never inhaled or ingested marijuana. Fasting insulin and glucose were measured via blood samples following a nine hour fast, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was calculated to evaluate insulin resistance.

Participants who reported using marijuana in the past month had lower levels of fasting insulin and HOMA-IR and higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). These associations were weaker among those who reported using marijuana at least once, but not in the past thirty days, suggesting that the impact of marijuana use on insulin and insulin resistance exists during periods of recent use. Current users had 16% lower fasting insulin levels than participants who reported never having used marijuana in their lifetimes.

Large waist circumference is linked to diabetes risk. In the current study there were also significant associations between marijuana use and smaller waist circumferences.

“Previous epidemiologic studies have found lower prevalence rates of obesity and diabetes mellitus in marijuana users compared to people who have never used marijuana, suggesting a relationship between cannabinoids and peripheral metabolic processes, but ours is the first study to investigate the relationship between marijuana use and fasting insulin, glucose, and insulin resistance,” says lead investigator Murray A. Mittleman, MD, DrPH, of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston.

“It is possible that the inverse association in fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance seen among current marijuana users could be in part due to changes in usage patterns among those with a diagnosis of diabetes (i.e., those with diabetes may have been told to cease smoking). However, after we excluded those subjects with a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus, the associations between marijuana use and insulin levels, HOMA-IR, waist circumference, and HDL-C were similar and remained statistically significant,” states Elizabeth Penner, MD, MPH, an author of the study.

Although people who smoke marijuana have higher average caloric intake levels than non-users, marijuana use has been associated with lower body-mass index (BMI) in two previous surveys. “The mechanisms underlying this paradox have not been determined and the impact of regular marijuana use on insulin resistance and cardiometabolic risk factors remains unknown,” says coauthor Hannah Buettner.

Read More: Before It's News

MMJ MEDICAL STUDY Inhaled Cannabis Reduces Crohn’s Symptoms

Researchers at the Meir Medical Center, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Israel assessed the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabis versus placebo in 21 subjects with Crohn’s disease who were nonresponsive to conventional treatments.

Eleven participants smoked standardized cannabis cigarettes containing 23 percent THC and 0.5 percent CBD (cannabidiol) twice daily over a period of eight weeks. The other ten subjects smoked placebo cigarettes containing no active cannabinoids.

Investigators reported, “Our data show that 8-weeks treatment with THC-rich cannabis, but not placebo, was associated with a significant decrease of 100 points in CDAI (Crohn’s Disease and activity index) scores.” (The CDIA is a research tool used to quantify the symptoms of Crohn’s disease patients.) Five of the eleven patients in the study group also reported achieving disease remission (defined as a reduction in patient CDAI score by more than 150 points). 

Researchers also reported that “no significant side effects” were associated with cannabis inhalation. Subjects in the study group reported improvements in appetite and sleep compared to those in the placebo group. Cannabis inhalation was also associated with “significantly less pain” among the participants. 

The study is the first placebo-controlled clinical trial to assess the consumption of cannabis for the treatment of Crohn’s.

Courtesy: Hawaii News Daily

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