Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Cannabis / 07.05.2024 Interview with: Pamela Maher, PhD Research Professor Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory SALK Institute for Biologic Studies La Jolla California What is the background for this study? Response: Several years ago, we tested several different cannabinoids for protection against the oxytosis/ferroptosis regulated cell death pathway and found CBN (cannabinol) to be one of the most effective. While THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidol) were also quite protective, we wanted to pursue non-psychoactive cannabinoids. Since we are interested in maintaining brain function in the context of aging and disease, we thought that a psychoactive compound could be problematic. In addition, there was already a lot of work on CBD, so we thought we could learn more and contribute more to the field by studying CBN. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Cognitive Issues, Memory / 18.08.2018 Interview with: Dr. Italia V. Rolle, PhD and Dr. Tim McAfee, MD Office on Smoking and Health National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion CDC Ana Maria Sebastião, PhD Professor of Pharmacology and Neurosciences Director Institute of Pharmacology and Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine and Francisco Mouro, PhD Unit of Neurosciences, Institute of Molecular Medicine University of Lisbon, Portugal What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: There is pressing need to comprehend how cannabinoid exposure impacts brain functioning. While cannabinoid-related research has increased exponentially in the last decade, the mechanisms through which cannabinoids affect brain functioning are still elusive. Specifically, we need to know how prolonged cannabinoid exposure affects important cognitive processes, such as memory, and also find the roots of those effects. This is particularly relevant considering that several countries have already approved cannabis-based medicines. In this sense, our work sheds new light into the mechanisms underlaying the memory-deficits provoked by a continuous exposure to a cannabinoid drug. More precisely, using brain imaging techniques, we found that long-term exposure to a synthetic cannabinoid drug impairs the ability of key brain regions involved in learning and memory to communicate with each other. Our data points to the necessity of considering cannabinoid actions in a broader perspective, including brain circuitry and communication.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Heart Disease / 12.08.2015 Interview with: Bradley C. Clark, MD Pediatric Cardiology Fellow – 3rd Year Division of Cardiology Children's National Health System Washington, DC 20010 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Clark: After consulting on multiple pediatric emergency room patients with K2 (synthetic cannabinoid) ingestion and electrocardiogram (ECG) abnormalities, my co-authors and I decided that it was worth taking a more detailed look at the potential cardiac effects of synthetic cannabinoids. We did a retrospective chart review and discovered a total of 8 patients in a 3 year period (2011 – 2014) at our institution with reported synthetic cannabinoid ingestion and concern for myocardial injury.  There were 3 individuals with evidence of ECG abnormalities in a segmental pattern with increased cardiac enzyme levels (troponins).  The other 5 individuals had ECG abnormalities either without troponin elevations or were not specifically tested.  Each individual that had an echocardiogram performed had normal intracardiac anatomy with normal biventricular systolic function. Given the elevated troponin levels and ECG abnormalities, there was a suspicion for myocardial ischemia in this small subset of patients without meeting specific criteria for myocardial infarction.  Interestingly, these individuals had completely normal echocardiograms and had no other potential cause of myocardial ischemia discovered by history.  Additionally, these were all teenage pediatric patients with documented K2 exposure without evidence of exposure to illegal substances. K2 and other synthetic cannabinoids are known to cause analgesia and euphoria and can lead to a lack of symptomatology.  Therefore, individuals with synthetic cannabinoid ingestion may not complain of the prototypical cardiac symptoms (chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations) and may not have the workup to diagnose potential myocardial ischemia. (more…)