Cannabis is instilling fear in the wallets of alcohol and pharmaceutical industries, and for good reason: it’s becoming the latest and greatest thing for patients of all stripes and colors. This Medical Minute looks at just a few of the first cannabis discoveries of 2014.
1. Meet Your New Antioxidant, CBD
In yet another installment of “Go Home, Prohibition, You’re Drunk,” researchers found that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound of cannabis, prevents liver damage caused by alcohol. This report from the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine adds to the growing body of research documenting CBD’s antioxidant benefits. At this point, the political reluctance to investigate cannabis compounds like CBD is more surprising than its astonishing healing power.
2. Natural Buzzkill Hormone Discovered
For those of you infuriated by medical marijuana opponents who think you have to get high to experience the therapeutic effects of cannabis, this scientific discovery is for you. A hormone identified by researchers at the University of Toronto could pave the way for new non-psychoactive cannabis pharmaceuticals. Pregnenolone, produced by the same receptors that THC binds to, acts as a braking system and turns these receptors off when they become overactive. According to the research team, a more absorbable synthetic version of pregnenolone would more effectively curb the intoxicating effects of THC and eliminate drowsiness and munchies.
3. Patients Replace Alcohol and Other Drugs with Medical Cannabis
A study published in Addiction Research and Theory found that over three-fourths of medical marijuana patients are substituting drugs, alcohol, and pharmaceuticals with cannabis. They found that:
- 41% replaced alcohol use with cannabis
- 36.1% use cannabis in place of hard drugs and illicit substances
- 67.8% substitute prescription drugs with medical cannabis
The 75.5% of respondents replacing other substances with cannabis explained they did so because they experience less withdrawal, fewer side effects, and more effective symptom management with cannabis.
Image sources by the artist Axel Törneman: "Stadshuset" (header image), "Absinthe," "Självporträtt Med Pipa" (Self-Portrait with a Pipe), "Nattcafé"