Not until the end of the 20th century was the specific mechanism of action of THC at the neuronal level studied. Researchers have subsequently confirmed that THC exerts its most prominent effects via its actions on two types of cannabinoid receptors, the CB1 receptor and the CB2 receptor, both of which are G protein-coupled receptors. The CB1 receptor is found primarily in the brain as well as in some peripheral tissues, and the CB2 receptor is found primarily in peripheral tissues, but is also expressed in neuroglial cells. THC appears to alter mood and cognition through its agonist actions on the CB1 receptors, which inhibit a secondary messenger system (adenylate cyclase) in a dose-dependent manner. These actions can be blocked by the selective CB1 receptor antagonist rimonabant (SR141716), which has been shown in clinical trials to be an effective treatment for smoking cessation, weight loss, and as a means of controlling or reducing metabolic syndrome risk factors. However, due to the dysphoric effect of CB1 receptor antagonists, this drug is often discontinued due to these side effects.
Touted as a “superfood” containing a highly concentrated balance of proteins (less than soybeans, but much higher than wheat, oats, rye, corn, or barley), hemp seeds contain a balanced 1:3 ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids (“essential” meaning your body can’t produce it, so it has to come from an outside source). This amounts to more than any fish and most fish oil supplements. They also offer super omega-3 stearidonic acid and super omega-6-gamma-linolenic acid (which the North American diet seriously lacks). Between these compounds, you get reduced inflammation, improved brain function, and lowered blood pressure, cholesterol, stroke, and heart disease risk, as well as increased energy and potential weight loss.
This article will attempt to present information concerning cannabinoid mechanisms of analgesia, review randomized clinical trials (RCTs) of available and emerging cannabinoid agents, and address the many thorny issues that have arisen with clinical usage of herbal cannabis itself (“medical marijuana”). An effort will be made to place the issues in context and suggest rational approaches that may mitigate concerns and indicate how standardized pharmaceutical cannabinoids may offer a welcome addition to the pharmacotherapeutic armamentarium in chronic pain treatment.
More recent studies have focused on the mechanisms behind the schizophrenia–cannabis interaction. Epstein and Kumra (2014) tested the effect of cannabis on executive control of attention and cognitive function by comparing scores on the Attention Network Test among people with early-onset schizophrenia (EOS) and cannabis use disorder, only EOS, only cannabis use disorder, and controls. They found that the first group in particular had less efficient executive control of attention compared with those who had only EOS. They also found a smaller right caudal anterior cingulate cortex in subjects with EOS and cannabis use disorder. However, it is presently unclear whether this means that the smaller cortex surface leads to deficits in self-regulation and heavy cannabis use or if the direction of causation is in the opposite direction. More recent studies have suggested gene–environment correlation between cannabis use and schizophrenia in that the increased risk of schizophrenia after heavy and consistent cannabis use may be moderated by a shared gene that may explain part of the association (Power et al., 2014).
There are lots of reasons to invest in hardy Doc Marten boots, but the process of actually breaking them in? Extremely painful. Last December, I found myself hobbling back to my apartment with new-Doc battle wounds — a cut on my ankle and swollen, blistering feet. On a lark, I used the supposedly miraculous CBD lotion from Lord Jones. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it worked.
Cutting-edge science has shown that the endocannabinoid system is dysregulated in nearly all pathological conditions. Thus, it stands to reason that “modulating endocannabinoid system activity may have therapeutic potential in almost all diseases affecting humans,” as Pal Pacher and George Kunos, scientists with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), suggested in a 2014 publication.
Finding cultivars suited to local conditions is a key to success. Hemp prefers warm growing conditions, and the best European fiber strains are photoperiodically adapted to flowering in southern Europe, which provides seasons of at least 4 months for fiber, and 5.5 months for seed production. Asian land races are similarly adapted to long seasons. In Canada, many of the available cultivars flower too late in the season for fiber production, and the same may be predicted for the northern US. Fiber production should also be governed by availability of moisture throughout the season, and the need for high humidity in the late summer and fall for retting, so that large areas of the interior and west of North America are not adapted to growing fiber hemp. The US Corn Belt has traditionally been considered to be best for fiber hemp. There are very few cultivars dedicated to oilseed production (such as ‘Finola’ and ‘Anka’) or that at least are known to produce good oilseed crops (such as ‘Fasamo’ and ‘Uniko-B’). Oilseed production was a specialty of the USSR, and there is some likelihood that northern regions of North America may find short-season, short-stature oilseed cultivars ideal.
After revisions to cannabis scheduling in the UK, the government moved cannabis back from a class C to a class B drug. A purported reason was the appearance of high potency cannabis. They believe skunk accounts for between 70 and 80% of samples seized by police (despite the fact that skunk can sometimes be incorrectly mistaken for all types of herbal cannabis). Extracts such as hashish and hash oil typically contain more THC than high potency cannabis flowers.
To make matters more confusing, nine states (including California, Washington, and Colorado) let residents buy cannabis-based products with or without THC. Nearly two dozen other “medical marijuana states” allow the sale of cannabis, including capsules, tinctures, and other items containing CBD or THC, at licensed dispensaries to people whose doctors have certified that they have an approved condition (the list varies by state but includes chronic pain, PTSD, cancer, autism, Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis). Sixteen more states legalized CBD for certain diseases. But because all these products are illegal according to the federal government, cannabis advocates are cautious. “By and large, the federal government is looking the other way,” says Paul Armentano, deputy director of the Washington, DC–based National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), but until federal laws are changed, “this administration or a future one could crack down on people who produce, manufacture, or use CBD, and the law would be on its side.”
With marijuana, apparently, we’re still waiting for this information. It’s hard to study a substance that until very recently has been almost universally illegal. And the few studies we do have were done mostly in the nineteen-eighties and nineties, when cannabis was not nearly as potent as it is now. Because of recent developments in plant breeding and growing techniques, the typical concentration of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, has gone from the low single digits to more than twenty per cent—from a swig of near-beer to a tequila shot.
To be clear, there is no one specific test, scan, or anything else of the sort that you can do to determine whether or not you need CBD oil for pain. Also, since cannabis is not yet recognized by the FDA, you unfortunately can’t really go to your doctor either and have them recommend it; until marijuana is FDA-approved, it cannot be prescribed by physicians.