Topical Cannabinoids May Fight Itch and Inflammatory Skin Diseases

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jessica S. Mounessa, BS

University of Colorado School of Medicine
Aurora, Colorado and
Robert Dellavalle, MD, PhD, MSPH
Professor of Dermatology and Public Health
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Colorado School of Public Health
Chief, Dermatology Service
US Department of Veterans Affairs
Eastern Colorado Health Care System
Denver, CO 80220 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: One in 10 adult cannabis users in the U.S. use it for medicinal purposes. Medicinal cannabis is well studied for its uses in chronic pain, anorexia, and nausea. Numerous recent studies have highlighted other medicinal uses for cannabinoids and related compounds.

We conducted a comprehensive review of the literature on the potential role of cannabinoids in conditions affecting the skin.

Our study reveals the potential benefit of topically prepared cannabinoid compounds, especially for pruritus and eczema.  For example, creams containing Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), which enhances cannabinoid-receptor binding, have been successful in relieving itch both in the literature, and anecdotally in our clinics.

Though not strictly considered an endocannabinoid, as it does not directly bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors, PEA works by enhancing endocannabinoid binding to these receptors.** Furthermore, the majority of the cannabinoid compounds we studied did not contain psychoactive effects.

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Regular Marijuana Use is Costly Healthwise, Especially When Started As Teenager

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

James McIntosh PhD Economics Department Concordia University Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Dr. McIntosh

James McIntosh PhD
Economics Department
Concordia University
Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study

Response: Marijuana is about to become legal in Canada. Consequently, an analysis of its effects on users is a high priority. This issue has been explored by Canadian researchers to some extent but there are gaps in what is known about the effects of using marijuana. Most of the Canadian studies focus on youth or adolescent use. This is clearly important but adult use is as well. Establishing the link between early usage and the effects of use over an individual’s lifetime was a major objective of the study.
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Cannabis Users Have Increased Risk of Stroke and Heart Failure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Aditi Kalla, MD Cardiology Research Fellow Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia

Dr. Aditi Kalla

Aditi Kalla, MD
Cardiology Research Fellow
Einstein Medical Center
Philadelphia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: As of the recent 2016 election, decriminalization of cannabis passed in several states bringing the total count up to 28 states and D.C. where cannabis is now legal for medicinal and/or recreational purposes. From a physician’s perspective, it is rare that a drug has “hit the market” so to speak without undergoing clinical trials to determine safety and efficacy. Hence, we sought out to study if cannabis had any effects (positive or negative) on the cardiovascular system.

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Intermittent Explosive Disorder Linked To Higher Risk of Substance Abuse

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Emil F. Coccaro, M.D. Ellen C. Manning Professor Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience The University of Chicago Chicago, Illinois 60637

Dr. Emil Coccaro

Emil F. Coccaro, M.D.
Ellen C. Manning Professor
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience
The University of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois 60637

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Aggressive behavior and drug use have been related for years but this study shows people with problematic aggression (Intermittent Explosive Disorder: IED) are in fact at risk for developing alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis use disorders and that the onset of problematic aggression (IED) begins before the onset of the drug use.

The increased risk for alcohol use disorder was nearly six-fold higher, the increased risk for cannabis use disorder was seven-fold higher, and the increased risk for tobacco use disorder  was four-fold higher. In addition, the presence of IED increased the severity of the substance use disorder.

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Medical Cannabis May Be Effective Substitute for Opioids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Philippe Lucas VP, Patient Research & Access, Tilray Graduate Researcher, Centre for Addictions Research of BC

Philippe Lucas

Philippe Lucas
VP, Patient Research & Access, Tilray
Graduate Researcher, Centre for Addictions Research of BC 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In 2001 Canada become one of the first nations to develop a federally regulated program to allow access to cannabis for medical purposes with the launch of the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR). The program has undergone numerous convolutions, culminating in the establishment by Health Canada of the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) in 2014, which was replaced by the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes (ACMPR) in 2016.

One of the primary changes in the new program(s) has been to move from a single Licensed Producer (LP) of cannabis to multiple large-scale Licensed Producers. This is the first comprehensive survey of patients enrolled in the MMPR/ACMPR, and with 271 complete responses, it’s the largest survey of federally-authorized medical cannabis patients to date.

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High Achieving Adolescents Less Likely To Smoke, But More Likely to Drink, Use Pot

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. James Williams
UCL Medical School
UCL
, London, UK

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Despite a downward trend over the last decade in the usage of particular substances amongst adolescents in the UK, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis remain prevalent behaviours in this demographic. These risky health behaviours present a large problem in terms of public health due to the immediate and long-term health problems they cause, as well as negative non-health outcomes such as poor educational attainment and reduced employment.

The role of academic ability in determining patterns of substance use is not clear and no study has evaluated academic ability at age 11 in relation to the onset and persistence of all three substances from early to late adolescence and into young adulthood. Our study sought to determine the association between academic ability and the onset and persistence of substance use in adolescence in a representative sample of English school pupils. This would answer for the first time whether ability was associated with ‘experimentation’ in early adolescence or if the association persists into late adolescence.

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Cannabis Use Linked To Early Drinking and Alcohol Problems

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kathleen K. Bucholz, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Psychiatry Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis MO 63110-1547

Dr. Kathleen Bucholz

Kathleen K. Bucholz, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Psychiatry
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis MO 63110-1547

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We know that development of alcohol use disorder progresses through several stages of alcohol use, from beginning to drink, to engaging in problem drinking, and then to developing alcohol use disorder, but we don’t know whether the same factors are associated with each step in this progression. Stage-specific associations have implications for prevention, where targeting certain characteristics might stave off progression to the next level of alcohol involvement, potentially. That is what this particular study set out to investigate.

The data were from nearly 3600 adolescents and young adults, the majority of whom came from families with alcohol use disorder in their relatives. Thus, this sample was enriched with individuals who were at high risk for progressing to more severe stages of alcohol involvement. In studying the associations at each stage, we strengthened our analysis by defining wherever possible variables as risk factors only if they occurred before or at the same age as the particular alcohol stage. For example, we counted cannabis use as a risk factor for starting to drink only if it either preceded or occurred at the same age as taking the first drink. With this definition, we can infer that a particular factor is antecedent and not simply a correlated influence.

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Teens Used More Marijuana Following Change in Recreational Use Law

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Magdalena Cerda, DrPH, MPH Vice Chancellor's Chair in Violence Prevention Associate Director, Violence Prevention Research Program UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program

Dr. Magdalena Cerda

Magdalena Cerda, DrPH, MPH
Vice Chancellor’s Chair in Violence Prevention
Associate Director, Violence Prevention Research Program
UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The potential effect of legalizing marijuana for recreational use has been a topic of considerable debate since Washington and Colorado first legalized its use for adults in 2012. Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C., followed suit in 2014, and voters in California, Massachusetts and Nevada approved recreational use this past November.

In our study, we examined changes in perceived risk of marijuana use, and in use of marijuana among school-attending adolescents, in Washington and Colorado, following legalization of recreational marijuana use, and compared pre- to post-legalization changes in these two states to changes in the 45 contiguous US states that had not legalized recreational marijuana use.

Marijuana use significantly increased and its perceived harm decreased among eighth- and 10th-graders in Washington state following enactment of recreational marijuana laws. There was no change in use or perceived harm among 12th graders or among similar grades in Colorado.

In particular, the data showed that legalization of recreational marijuana use significantly reduced perceptions of marijuana’s harmfulness by 14 percent and 16 percent among eighth and 10th graders and increased their past-month marijuana use by 2 percent and 4 percent in Washington state but not in Colorado. Among states without legalized marijuana use, the perceived harmfulness also decreased by 5 percent and 7 percent for students in the two grades, but marijuana use decreased by 1.3 percent and .9 percent. Among older adolescents in Washington state and all adolescents surveyed in Colorado, there were no changes in perceived harmfulness or marijuana use in the month after legalization.

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Regular Cannabis Use May Slow Down Visual Processing By Retina

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Vincent Laprévote
Praticien Hospitalier (MD, PhD, HDR)
Pôle Hospitalo-Universitaire de Psychiatrie du Grand Nancy
Centre Psychothérapique de Nancy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There was evidence in animal studies showing that cannabis use could impact visual processing, but lesser was known in humans.

We showed here an association between regular cannabis use and a delay in the later stage of visual processing in the retina.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Regular cannabis use may slightly slow down the early visual processing.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We have to cautiously verify our result in a larger sample. We also have to explore if this delay is present in further stages of visual processing (i. e. in the brain) and has behavioral consequences. Dr Schwitzer also just begun new researches to verify if this delay is permanent or recedes with cannabis cessation.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Importantly, all the participants of this research were regular cannabis users before their participation to the study. We systematically proposed cannabis cessation solutions to the participants.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Schwitzer T, Schwan R, Albuisson E, Giersch A, Lalanne L, Angioi-Duprez K, Laprevote V. Association Between Regular Cannabis Use and Ganglion Cell Dysfunction . JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online December 08, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.4761

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Precise Structure of Cannabis Brain Receptor Defined

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

(l-r) Dr. Zhenhua Shao and Dr. Daniel Rosenbaum

(l-r) Dr. Zhenhua Shao and Dr. Daniel Rosenbaum UT Southwestern

Dan Rosenbaum, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator
Department of Biophysics
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Dallas, Texas

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study focuses on the structure of the human CB1 cannabinoid receptor.

The CB1 protein is a membrane-embedded G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) in the brain and peripheral tissues that responds to a variety of different compounds, including endogenous lipid messengers (‘endocannabinoids’), plant natural products (such as THC from the Cannabis sativa plant i.e. marijuana), and synthetic antagonists (such as the taranabant ligand used for this study). The CB1 receptor is involved in regulating neurotransmission in vertebrates, and is a potential therapeutic target for numerous conditions including obesity, pain, and epilepsy.

The main findings of this study entailed the solution of the high-resolution crystal structure of human CB1 receptor bound to the inhibitor taranabant. This structure revealed the precise shape of the inhibitor binding pocket, which is also responsible for binding THC and endocannabinoids. In addition to helping explain the mechanism of inhibitor and THC binding, our structure provides a framework for computational studies of binding to a large diversity of cannabinoid modulators of therapeutic importance.

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Marijuana (Cannabis) Use is Independent Predictor of Broken Heart Syndrome in Younger Men

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Amitoj Singh MD Chief Cardiology Fellow St. Luke’s University Health Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Dr. Amitoj Singh

Amitoj Singh MD
Chief Cardiology Fellow
St. Luke’s University Health
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Marijuana use in steadily increasing and it is the most commonly used illicit drug in the US and worldwide. There has been a recent increase in reports of heart and vascular complications associated with its use. These include Myocardial infarctions, stroke and takotsubo.

We had two questions that we wanted to answer with our study:

a) Is there an association between marijuana use and development of Transient Regional Ventricular Ballooning [TVRB] (aka Stress Cardiomyopathy /Broken Heart Syndrome/ Takotsubo)?

b) If the above is true, what are the differences between Marijuana users (MU) and Non Marijuana Users (NMU) who developed Stress Cardiomyopathy.

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Alcohol and Cannabis Abuse Linked To Increased Risk of Schizophrenia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Stine Mai Nielsen

Copenhagen University Hospital
Mental Health Center Copenhagen
Gentofte, Denmark

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Several studies have tested whether use of substances can cause schizophrenia. However due to methodological limitations in the existing literature, uncertainties still remains. We aimed to investigate the association between several types of substance abuses and the risk of developing schizophrenia later in life. We did a nationwide, prospective cohort study using the detailed Danish registers, which enabled us to address some of the limitations from prior findings. Our cohort consisted of more than 3.13 mio. individuals, that we were able to follow up for more than 104 mio. years at risk. We found that dealing with a substance abuse increased the overall risk of developing schizophrenia by 6 times, with abuse of cannabis and alcohol presenting the highest associations (5 and 3 times increased risk). The risk was found to be significant even 10-15 years prior to a diagnosis of substance abuse.

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