Know Your Herbs

A Citrusy-Smelling Terpene In Marijuana Can Reduce Anxiety And Paranoia Caused By THC, Federally Funded Study Finds

A new study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has found that a citrusy-smelling terpene in marijuana could help ease anxiety and paranoia associated with THC. The findings, researchers say, could help unlock the maximum therapeutic benefit of THC and protect public health.

Published in the latest issue of the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, the new paper says that subjects who vaporized the terpene D-limonene along with a dose of THC experienced less anxiety and paranoia compared to those who consumed THC alone.

“Ratings of anxiety-like subjective effects qualitatively decreased as D-limonene dose increased,” the report says, “and concurrent administration of 30 mg THC+15 mg D-limonene significantly reduced ratings of ‘anxious/nervous’ and ‘paranoid’ compared with 30 mg THC alone.”

Although D-limonene modulated the anxiety-like effects, however, it seemed to have minimal effect otherwise on participants’ experiences.

The addition of D-limonene, which is found in many citrus fruits in addition to cannabis and smells like oranges, “had little impact on other common acute subjective, cognitive, or physiological effects of THC,” researchers found. Inhaling the vaporized terpene by itself, meanwhile, “did not produce any acute effects that differ from placebo.”

Zenco vaporizerGina Coleman/Weedmaps

To arrive at the conclusions, researchers had participants inhale vaporized D-limonene alone, THC alone, THC and D-limonene together, or placebo (distilled water). They then recorded subjects’ vital signs, cognitive performance and subjective drug effects, and mood. Measurements were taken immediately following exposure as well as periodically afterward over a course of six hours.

“This experiment showed that simultaneously administering vaporized D-limonene and THC reduced subjective indices of THC-induced anxiety in a dose-orderly manner,” the 12-author study found. “However, co-administration of D-limonene with THC did not systematically alter other subjective, cognitive, or physiological effects of THC, and D-limonene did not elicit any pharmacodynamic effects when compared with placebo.”

“D-limonene selectively attenuated THC-induced anxiogenic effects, suggesting this terpenoid could increase the therapeutic index of THC.”

The report says it’s “among the first clinical studies to demonstrate the validity of the cannabis entourage effect, which theorizes that THC and other constituents of the plant interact in meaningful ways that alter acute cannabis effects.”

Its authors—from institutions such as Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Vashon, Washington-based CReDO Science—wrote that the findings contribute to a better understanding of the workings of the cannabis plant, which could play a factor in both medical treatment and public policy.

“Given the growing interest in the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes and expanding legalization of cannabis for nonmedicinal purposes,” they wrote, “further understanding of which constituents may increase the safety profile of cannabis by attenuating acute adverse effects (e.g., anxiety and paranoia), and which constituents may exacerbate adverse effects, is paramount for advancing the use of cannabinoids in medicine and, more broadly, protecting public health.”

Sungrown cannabisGina Coleman/Weedmaps

Pharmaceutical formulations of THC, such as dronabinol (Marinol), and chemical analogues of THC are already broadly approved for treating certain severe health conditions, they noted. “However, use of these medications is limited, in part, due to a narrow therapeutic index (i.e., an effective therapeutic dose is close to a dose that may elicit an adverse event),” the report says.

“Thus, the development of novel THC-based medications that mitigate the anxiogenic effects of THC, hence widening its therapeutic index, could be of considerable clinical benefit,” it continues, calling for further “rigorous controlled clinical studies.”

“The results of the present study suggest that the development of novel cannabis product formulations high in D-limonene could be a viable and relatively straightforward strategy to widen the therapeutic window of medicinal cannabis and/or THC and potentially reduce adverse effects associated with non-medicinal cannabis use.”

The new research is part of a growing field of investigation into the entourage effect in cannabis, entheogenic plants, and fungi. While Western medicine typically seeks to identify and isolate a single active ingredient, the findings underscore the potentially powerful interactions of various chemical components produced by the plant.

Earlier this year, for example, a study looked at the “collaborative interactions” between cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other molecules in the plant, concluding that a better understanding of the relationships of various chemical components “is crucial for unraveling cannabis’s complete therapeutic potential.”

A separate study last year found that cannabis products with a more diverse array of natural cannabinoids produced stronger psychoactive experiences in adults, which also lasted longer than the high generated by pure THC.

Cannabis capsules and tinctureGina Coleman/Weedmaps

And a 2018 study found that patients suffering from epilepsy experience better health outcomes—with fewer adverse side effects—when they use plant-based CBD extracts compared to “purified” CBD products.

Scientist last year also discovered “previously unidentified cannabis compounds” called flavorants that they believe are responsible for the unique aromas of different varieties of marijuana. Previously, many had thought terpenes alone were responsible for various smells produced by the plant.

Similar phenomena are also beginning to be recorded around psychedelic plants and fungi. Earlier this month, for example, researchers found that use of full-spectrum psychedelic mushroom extract had a more powerful effect than chemically synthesized psilocybin alone. They said the findings imply that mushrooms, like cannabis, demonstrate an entourage effect.


Written by Ben Adlin for Marijuana Moment | Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

The post A Citrusy-Smelling Terpene In Marijuana Can Reduce Anxiety And Paranoia Caused By THC, Federally Funded Study Finds appeared first on Weedmaps News.

Source: wm

'No Evidence' That Marijuana Legalization For Adults Increases Youth Cannabis Use, New Research Published By American Medical Association Finds

Authors of a new research letter published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on Wednesday said there’s no evidence that states’ adoption of laws to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults has led to an increase in youth use of cannabis.

To arrive at the results, researchers at Montana State University and San Diego State University took responses from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), which asks high-school students about various health-related activities. The report explains that the four-author team analyzed results from 207,781 respondents.

Findings showed that states’ adoption of recreational marijuana laws (RMLs) had no association with the prevalence of youth cannabis consumption.

“In this repeated cross-sectional study, there was no evidence that RMLs were associated with encouraging youth marijuana use,” the two-page paper published in JAMA Psychiatry says. “After legalization, there was no evidence of an increase in marijuana use.”

Nor did the opening of marijuana retail stores seem to impact youth use. “Estimates based on the state YRBS and estimates of the association between the first dispensary opening and marijuana use were qualitatively similar,” the team wrote.

“Legalization was not associated with current marijuana use or frequent marijuana use.

Authors wrote that, in their study, “more policy variation was captured than in any prior study on RMLs and youth marijuana use.” Pre- and post-legalization data were available for 12 states, and nine contributed data from before and after retail sales began. Data also included 36 states without adult-use cannabis laws.

The data come on the heels of another JAMA-published study earlier this month that found that neither legalization nor the opening of retail stores led to increases in youth cannabis use.

That study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, concluded that the reforms were actually associated with more young people reporting not using marijuana, along with increases in those who say they don’t use alcohol or vape products either.

Passage of recreational cannabis laws (RCL) “was not associated with adolescents’ likelihood or frequency of cannabis use,” found the analysis by researchers at Boston College and the University of Maryland at College Park. Nor was the opening of retail stores associated with increases in youth use.

Nugs poured into handsGina Coleman/Weedmaps

Over time, that study suggested, adult-use marijuana laws, in fact, led to lower odds of any cannabis use. “Each additional year of RCL,” it says, “was associated with 8% higher odds of zero cannabis use (lower likelihood of any use), with non-significant total estimates.”

“Results,” that study concluded, “suggest that legalization and greater control over cannabis markets have not facilitated adolescents’ entry into substance use.”

The subject of youth use has been a contentious topic as more states consider legalizing marijuana, with opponents and supporters of the reform often disagreeing on how to interpret the results of various studies, especially in light of the sometimes mixed results in the latest JAMA paper and others.

Recently released data from a Washington State survey of adolescent and teenage students found overall declines in both lifetime and past-30-day marijuana use since legalizations, with striking drops in recent years that held steady through 2023. The results also indicate that the perceived ease of access to cannabis among underage students has generally fallen since the state enacted legalization for adults in 2012.

A separate study late last year also found that Canadian high-school students reported it was more difficult to access marijuana since the government legalized the drug nationwide in 2019. The prevalence of current cannabis use also fell during the study period, from 12.7 percent in 2018–19 to 7.5 percent in 2020–21, even as retail sales of marijuana expanded across the country.

In December, meanwhile, a U.S. health official said that teen marijuana use has not increased “even as state legalization has proliferated across the country.”

Hands passing bluntGina Coleman/Weedmaps

“There have been no substantial increases at all,” said Marsha Lopez, chief of the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) epidemiological research branch. “In fact, they have not reported an increase in perceived availability either, which is kind of interesting.”

Another earlier analysis from the CDC found that rates of current and lifetime cannabis use among high school students have continued to drop amid the legalization movement.

A study of high school students in Massachusetts that was published last November found that youth in that state were no more likely to use marijuana after legalization, though more students perceived their parents as cannabis consumers after the policy change.

A separate NIDA-funded study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2022 also found that state-level cannabis legalization was not associated with increased youth use. The study demonstrated that “youth who spent more of their adolescence under legalization were no more or less likely to have used cannabis at age 15 years than adolescents who spent little or no time under legalization.”

Yet another 2022 study from Michigan State University researchers, published in the journal PLOS One, found that “cannabis retail sales might be followed by the increased occurrence of cannabis onsets for older adults” in legal states, “but not for underage persons who cannot buy cannabis products in a retail outlet.”

The trends were observed despite adult use of marijuana and certain psychedelics reaching “historic highs” in 2022, according to separate data released last year.


Written by Ben Adlin for Marijuana Moment | Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

The post 'No Evidence' That Marijuana Legalization For Adults Increases Youth Cannabis Use, New Research Published By American Medical Association Finds appeared first on Weedmaps News.

Source: wm

Three In Five Americans Say Marijuana Is Safer Than Alcohol Or Tobacco, Survey Finds

Nearly three in five Americans consider alcohol or tobacco to be “more harmful” to a person’s health than marijuana, according to a new poll.

The YouGov survey that was released on Thursday asked respondents about a variety of cannabis use trends. One of the more telling findings is that 64 percent of Americans consider regular alcohol use more dangerous than cannabis, while 63 percent said the same about tobacco.

Only 14 percent said marijuana use is more problematic than regular alcohol use. Another 16 percent said cannabis was more dangerous than tobacco.

Overall, 53 percent of respondents said they believe both alcohol and tobacco are more harmful than marijuana.

The sentiment is consistent with other recent polling. For example, a Gallup survey released last year found that Americans consider marijuana to be less harmful than alcohol, cigarettes, vapes and other tobacco products. At the same time, cannabis use has “surpassed cigarette usage in the U.S., while vaping still trails both,” it said.

Another poll published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) last year similarly showed that people increasingly view smoking marijuana or being exposed to secondhand cannabis smoke as safer than smoking or being near tobacco smoke.

Meanwhile, the new YouGov poll also found broadly that 62 percent of Americans think cannabis should be legalized. That includes 71 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of independents and 46 percent of Republicans.

In terms of frequency of use, more than half of Americans (56 percent) said they’ve tried marijuana “at some point in their lives,” 24 percent said they’ve consumed cannabis in the past year and 17 percent have used it in the past month.

Among past-year consumers, 24 percent reported using cannabis multiple times per a day, 11 percent said they used once per day, and 20 percent consumed “a few times a week.”

“What formats of cannabis consumption are most common? The most popular method, among the 60 percent of Americans who have ever tried cannabis or cannabidiol (CBD, an active ingredient in marijuana), is smoking flower or bud: 61 percent of this group—and 37 percent of Americans overall—say they’ve ingested it this way,” YouGov said.

Two people passing a jointGina Coleman/Weedmaps

If weed were legalized nationwide, 67 percent of respondents who haven’t used cannabis said they would continue to abstain. Another 14 percent said they “probably” wouldn’t try it, while six percent said they “probably” would use cannabis, and two percent said they “definitely” would.

The poll involved interviews with 1,148 adults from April 5-8.

Meanwhile, another new survey of Americans’ habits, opinions and expectations around cannabis finds that nearly six in 10 adults are “surprised marijuana hasn’t been legalized across the United States yet.”

Nine in 10 Americans say marijuana should be legal for recreational or medical purposes, a Pew Research Center poll that was released last month found. And most agree that legalization bolsters local economies and makes the criminal justice system more fair.

Cannabis plantGina Coleman/Weedmaps

Pew also released a separate report in February that found eight in 10 Americans now live in a county with at least one marijuana dispensary. The analysis also shows that high concentrations of retailers often “cluster” near borders abutting other states that have “less permissive cannabis laws,” indicating that there’s a large market of people who live in still-criminalized jurisdictions who cross state lines to purchase regulated products.

A different poll from Gallup that was released last week found that rates of marijuana use are nearly the same in states that have legalized versus those that maintain prohibition, which suggests that “criminalization does little to curtail its use.”


Written by Kyle Jaeger for Marijuana Moment | Featured image via Marijuana Moment

The post Three In Five Americans Say Marijuana Is Safer Than Alcohol Or Tobacco, Survey Finds appeared first on Weedmaps News.

Source: wm