4 Ways Marijuana is Good for your Brain



Research is showing that cannabis extracts protect and benefit the human brain. Here’s four amazing ways scientists are showing that cannabis actually helps to keep your brain safe from disease, dementia and even death!

#4 – Cannabis promotes new brain cell growth

Government scare campaigns often claim that cannabis kills brain cells, but now we are learning the truth. Those discredited studies were done in the ’70s, by strapping a gas mask onto a monkey and pumping in hundreds of joints worth of smoke. The monkeys suffered from lack of oxygen, and that’s why their brain cells died.

Modern research is now proving the opposite. The active ingredients in cannabis spur the growth of new brain cells!

Back in 2005, Dr. Xia Zhang at the University of Saskatchewan showed that cannabinoids cause “neurogenesis” – which means that they help make new brain cells grow!

#3 – Cannabis prevents Alzheimer’s

About 5 millions Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s. but there’s hope in sight.  Modern research shows that using cannabis helps prevent the incidence of Alzheimer’s and dementia by cleaning away beta-amyloid “brain plaque.”

A 2014 study into cannabis and Alzheimer’s was lead by Dr. Chuanhai Cao, PhD, a neuroscientist at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute.

“THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties,” said Cao, explaining that THC “directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation, and enhancing mitochondrial function.”

This confirmed earlier studies, such as one from 2008 which found that THC “simultaneously treated both the symptoms and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.” This study concluded that, “compared to currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, THC is considerably superior.”

#2 – Cannabis prevents brain damage after strokes and trauma

Several recent studies have found that cannabinoids protect the brain from permanent damage after trauma or stroke.

Studies done in 2012 and 2013 found that a low dose of THC protected mice’s brains from damage by carbon monoxide and head trauma.

Researchers found that THC “protected brain cells and preserved cognitive function over time” and suggested that it could be used preventively, for ongoing protection.

#1 – Cannabis extracts treat brain cancer

One exciting use of cannabinoids is in the treatment of cancer. Repeated laboratory and animal studies have shown that cannabinoids kill cancer cells and shrink tumours, while helping to protect normal cells.

Recent research includes a 2012 study showing that CBD stopped metastasis in aggressive forms of cancer,  a 2013 study showing that a blend of six cannabinoids killed leukemia cell, and a 2014 study showing that THC and CBD could be combined with traditional chemotherapy to produce “dramatic reductions” in brain tumour size.

Using cannabis extracts for brain cancer is nothing new. A 1998 study found that THC “induces apoptosis [cell death] in C6 glioma cells” – an aggressive form of brain cancer. A 2009 study showed that THC acted “to kill cancer cells, while it does not affect normal cells” in the brain.

Read More: Raw Story

Medicinal Marijuana vs Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis


Medical marijuana can help relieve some symptoms of multiple sclerosis, but whether it can benefit patients with other neurological disorders is still unclear, according to a new review by top neurologists.
 
Doctors with the American Academy of Neurology reviewed current research and found certain forms of marijuana -- but not smoked marijuana -- can help treat MS symptoms such as muscle stiffness, certain types of pain and muscle spasms, and overactive bladder.

"There are receptors in the brain that respond to marijuana, and the locations of the receptors are in places where you would expect them to help with these symptoms," said Dr. Barbara Koppel, a professor of neurology at New York Medical College in New York City and a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.

But marijuana can't help tremors caused by MS or involuntary muscle spasms caused by the use of levodopa to treat Parkinson's disease, the physicians concluded.

Their review included other neurological disorders such as Huntington's disease, Tourette syndrome and epilepsy, but the doctors found too little quality research to determine whether medical marijuana can help these conditions.

"We were frustrated that we couldn't say that it's good for this or bad for that. It's just a function of the lack of studies that were usable," Koppel said. "We see this review as a starting point for having more studies get done so we can review them down the road."

The academy's guideline development subcommittee presented the review Monday at the academy's annual meeting in Philadelphia, the world's largest gathering of neurologists. It also is published in the April 29 issue of Neurology.

The panel of experts looked at more than 1,700 study abstracts before focusing on 34 studies that dealt specifically with brain disorders.
Their findings recommend the use of medical marijuana for MS only if taken in pill or spray form, not by smoking it, Koppel said.

Converting marijuana to pill or spray form allows doctors to control the dose that patients receive of the drug's two medically helpful ingredients -- tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which gets a person high, and the nonpsychoactive component cannabidiol, or CBD.

Read the rest at: WedMD

Marijuana, Stress, PTSD and Depression


Research has suggested that cannabis may be a promising treatment option for a number of different physical and mental health conditions, from post-traumatic stress disorder to chronic pain. A study released this week suggests that depression can be added to that list. 

Neuroscientists from the University of Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions found that endocannabinoids -- chemical compounds in the brain that activate the same receptors as THC, an active compound in marijuana -- may be helpful in treating depression that results from chronic stress. 

In studies on rats, the researchers found that chronic stress reduced the production of endocannabinoids, which affect our cognition, emotion and behavior, and have been linked to reduced feelings of pain and anxiety, increases in appetite and overall feelings of well-being. The body naturally produces these compounds, which are similar to the chemicals in cannabis. Reduction of endocannabinoid production may be one reason that chronic stress is a major risk factor in the development of depression. 

Recent research around marijuana's effect on symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder further bolsters the Buffalo neuroscientists' findings, since both disorders involve the way the brain responds to stress. A study published last year in the Journal Neuropsychopharmacology, for instance, found synthetic cannabinoids triggered changes in brain centers associated with traumatic memories in rats, preventing some of the behavioral and physiological symptoms of PTSD. Another study published last year found that patients who smoked cannabis experienced a 75 percent reduction in PTSD symptoms. 

However, it's important to note that the relationship between marijuana and depression is complex. Some research has suggested that regular and heavy marijuana smokers are at a higher risk for depression, although a causal link between cannabis use and depression has not been established. More studies are needed in order to determine whether, and how, marijuana might be used in a clinical context for patients with depression.

Read More: The Huffington Post

THCV Explained


THCV, or tetrahydrocannabivarin, is a compound in cannabis that offers a unique array of effects and medical benefits that sets it apart from other cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Whether you’re a medical marijuana patient looking for a particular type of relief or a casual consumer chasing a specific effect, we’d like to introduce you to this fascinating compound that’s sure to make major waves in the cannabis world as we discover and utilize its full potential.
 

What are THCV’s Effects and Benefits?

As its name suggests, THCV is similar to THC in molecular structure and psychoactive properties, but it provides a variety of pronounced and altogether different effects. A note for vaporizer enthusiasts: THCV has a boiling point of 428 °F (220 °C), so you’ll need to turn it up higher than you would THC.
THCV is psychoactive. It intensifies the euphoric high of THC, but with only about half the duration.


THCV is energetic. It provides a clear-headed, stimulating buzz.


THCV is an appetite suppressant. In contrast to THC, THCV dulls the appetite. This may be good for consumers focused on weight loss, but THCV should be avoided by patients treating appetite loss or anorexia.


THCV may help with diabetes. Research shows promise in THCV’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance.


THCV reduces panic attacks. It appears to curb anxiety attacks in PTSD patients without suppressing emotion.


THCV may help with Alzheimer’s. Tremors, motor control, and brain lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease appear to be improved by THCV, but research is in progress.


THCV stimulates bone growth. Because it promotes the growth of new bone cells, THCV is being looked at for osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions.
 

Where Can I Find THCV? 

So you’re looking for the effects mentioned above, but you aren’t sure where to start your search for high-THCV strains and products. Most strains only contain trace, undetectable amounts of THCV, making it difficult to achieve the desired therapeutic effect. We can assume that more THCV-rich products will be introduced alongside its growing popularity, but in the meantime, here are some useful hints for locating this rare therapeutic gem.

Look for African sativas. Lab results show that THCV is most abundant in sativas, particularly landrace strains from Africa. Durban Poison is one of the more common high-THCV strains, but other options can be found in the strain list below.


Ask about parent genetics. Having trouble finding an African sativa? Plenty of strains have hybridized African genetics that predispose it to a higher THCV potential. Cherry Pie, for example, may express a high THCV content by way of its Durban Poison parent. Look for lineage information in Leafly’s strain pages or ask your budtenders to point out their African hybrids.


Request test results. Genetics alone can’t promise a high-THCV content, and cannabinoid contents can vary from harvest to harvest. If possible, ask your budtender for lab tested strains to ensure that you’re indeed getting a THCV-rich product.


Read More: Leafy

Medical Cannabis and Chronic Pain


Cannabis can ease chronic pain more effectively than conventional medicines, according to a new study likely to flame the debate on the medical use of marijuana.
Researchers from the Australian National Drug and Alcohol Centre found that patients with chronic pain who used the drug said it eased their symptoms better opioid medications, which are highly addictive and can cause accidental overdoses. 
The study analysed 1,500 patients, aged in their late 40s and early 50s, who suffered from conditions including back pain, migraines and arthritis, and were being prescribed with heavy-duty opioid medications, such as morphine and oxycodone. 

Professor Louisa Degenhardt, from the National Drug and Alcohol Centre and the University of Melbourne led the study. Her team discovered that nearly 13 per cent of the patients had used the illegal drug in the past year on top of their prescribed medication.

In comparison, only 4.7 per cent of the rest of the population used cannabis, she wrote in the Journal 'Drug and Alcohol Dependence'.

"One in three said they found it very effective to relieve their pain, that's a score of ten out of ten,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald. "Now these are all subjective scores, but it means there is definitely a group of people who think that taking it was very beneficial."

Degenhart added that the study raised vital questions over whether cannabis should be more seriously explored as source of pain relief, as well as the negative effects of drugs, such as patient dependence. 

Read More: The Independent

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