CBD Studies You Should Know About in 2019
As the summer draws to an end, what better time than to review the CBD studies and research emerging in 2019? Learn more about cannabis and CBD research developing around the world with myCBD.org!
Three CBD Studies to Know About in 2019
As the international trend toward cannabis and CBD legalization continues, CBD research in 2019 includes everything from finding the regions of our brains responsible for ‘getting you high’ to the therapeutic benefits of CBD. Let’s review some of the research papers from the first half of the year!
Research Finds Liberal Cannabis Policies Produce Lower Rates of Cannabis Use Disorders in US States
For years, one of the largest hurdles to cannabis legalization was the claim that increased access to cannabis would also increase occurrences of cannabis abuse disorder. Studies now show such an idea is based more on stigmatization rather than scientific evidence.
At the beginning of 2019, public health officials put this assumption to the test by comparing data collected in regard to rates of cannabis use versus rates of cannabis use disorder with state-level policy rankings over the last couple decades. States’ policies were ranked according to how ‘liberal’ their cannabis regulations were. While this study was limited to data collected as a result of medical cannabis legalization, the findings were still impactful.
Overall, the researchers found that there were more cannabis users in states with liberal cannabis policies as opposed to conservative-policy states; despite this, cannabis use disorders were found to be the most prevalent and occurred at the highest rates in states with conservative cannabis policies. It’s uncertain at this point why conservative policy states would have higher cannabis use disorder rates, but these findings suggest that strict restriction of access to cannabis is not the solution to eliminating problematic use, and instead, increasing access may lead to safer overall use.
A Large Study Clarifies that Cannabis Consumers Under 21 Don’t Have Brain Abnormalities
Several studies have sought to investigate if cannabis use during adolescence changes the structure of the brain as it develops. However, given the nebulous legality of cannabis, many of these studies have been historically limited by small sample sizes or seek only to study the brains of frequent consumers (those who consume more than three times weekly). Until now, very few studies have sought to track structural brain development across different levels of cannabis use.
In this 2019 study, the brains of almost a 1,000 adolescents, aged 14-22, were compared to each other. Of these, 109 participants were classified ‘occasional cannabis consumers who smoked two times or less a week, while 38 participants were classified as frequent users. Based out of Philadelphia, scientists scanned participants’ brains using MRIs to look at structural or developmental differences on both brain-wide and region-specific levels. After their review of 781 scans, researchers concluded that neither occasional or frequent cannabis use affected the size of the whole brain or any of their specific regions of interest in a significant way. Additionally, scientists reported that they’d found no group differences in the number of brain cells, the quality of their connections, or in the thickness of the cerebral cortex—which contributes to the unique cognitive capacities of humans and other species.
Although these findings suggest that adolescent cannabis consumption may not affect the way the brain looks, it also doesn’t address questions relating to the effect of cannabis on the way a brain functions while cannabis in our systems. Despite this, the study serves to further support that cannabis is at the very least a less-damaging alternative for relief, especially when compared to other drugs that have been shown to affect cognition, brain structure, and development, like alcohol.
The Power of CBD to Counteract THC’s Impact on Memory and Learning
In addition to the pain relieving, anti-oxidizing, and inflammation suppressing powers of CBD, scientists have also found that CBD can also block some of the negative effects of THC. While THC itself delivers a number of therapeutic benefits, knowing how CBD can block some of THC’s effects of impairing learning and memory, could revolutionize our approach to THC-based therapies.
In a collaborative and international effort, scientists from Spain and Japan found that CBD can block some of THC’s activating effects on CB1 receptors indirectly by increasing the activation of different kind of receptor, the adenosine type IIa receptor. This receptor appears to oppose the actions of CB1 receptors; that means that when the adenosine receptor activates, the CB1 receptor is not active. Therefore, by increasing adenosine activation, CBD can block THC’s effects to a scientifically significant degree.
Interestingly, this function of CBD only influenced THC’s effects in the hippocampus region of the brain. The hippocampus plays a critical role in laying down long-term memories, which means that CBD has the power to prevent THC’s impairing effects on the formation of new memories.
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