The 5 most intriguing cannabis studies of 2022
The 5 most intriguing cannabis studies of 2022
In 2022, there has been a notable shift in the type of cannabis research. Reducing government restrictions on research and improving global legalization efforts have paved the way for new and exciting ways to explore the plant and its complexities.
While research into the independent effects of THC and CBD is still the focus of most research, there is growing interest in commercially available cannabis products, whole plant extracts, and the effects of terpenes on brain function. Below are five intriguing stories about cannabis research over the past year.
Terpenes, not THC levels, are the best predictors of how much you will like a product.
Many cannabis products are characterized by their cannabinoid content (such as THC or CBD), but the plant also produces hundreds of terpenes, aromatic compounds that give cannabis its unique smells and tastes.
However, a recent study by Arianna Wilson-Poe found that terpenes also provide subjective attraction and determine the desirability of a particular cannabis flower or product. Scientists tested the attractiveness of a cannabis product for a person with different levels of THC (from less than 0.3% to more than 30%) in almost 300 people during thousands of consumption sessions.
With the increase in the effectiveness of THC in commercially available products, one would predict that the effectiveness of THC would be directly correlated with the total extract of the product, but this is not the case - there was no relationship between the effectiveness of THC, the total dose of cannabis, or the total dose of THC. with subjective treatment. Instead, only the flavor that comes from terpenes directly correlates with people's ratings of attractiveness.
Thus, the smell of a product is a better predictor of pleasure than its THC content. These results highlight the importance of terpenes to product quality and suggest that you don't need to get high to enjoy.
CBD Doesn't Necessarily Make THC Safer
To achieve the desired effect, it is necessary to find the optimal dose of THC. If you exceed it, problems can arise: memory deteriorates, cognitive abilities decrease, and in general it is just a less pleasant experience.
One common belief is that CBD can mitigate the negative effects of THC. Therefore, foods with a higher ratio of CBD to THC are considered safer and result in fewer adverse THC symptoms. The researchers conducted a double-blind experiment with 46 cannabis users and ultimately found that this hypothesis was incorrect.
As it turned out, evaporated oils containing CBD in a ratio of 1:1, 2:1, or 3:1 to 10 mg of THC did not protect against the effects of THC in a number of ways. CBD levels also had no effect on the effects of THC, including feelings of lightheadedness, impairment of working and long-term memory, increased response to music and chocolate, or effects on a number of physiological parameters, including blood pressure and heart rate.
These results indicate that incorporating CBD into THC products at a typical recreational level may offer no protection against some of the side effects of THC. It is possible that even higher CBD:THC ratios can be effective, but to be sure, the safest strategy to avoid the potentially adverse effects of THC is to limit the dose rather than mask it with CBD.
The Benefits of Cannabis for the Aging Adult Brain
The strength of the connection between different areas of the brain changes as people age and contributes to age-related memory impairment and cognitive decline. Colorado scientists used functional neuroimaging to evaluate how regular cannabis use (at least once a week) in adults over 60 changes the strength of connectivity between multiple brain regions, which typically declines with age.
They found that older people who used cannabis regularly had stronger communication patterns between three brain regions — the hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, and cerebellum — compared to older people who did not use cannabis. The stronger association between older cannabis users resembled that of much younger drug-free adults and suggests that cannabis may protect against some age-related brain dysfunction.
While these results are not causal in nature, as this was not a randomized controlled experiment, they provide some of the first human evidence to support observations from rodent studies where small amounts of regular cannabis use protected against age-related brain changes and decrease in cognitive functions. .
THC and CBD don't tell the whole story of effects
Commercial cannabis products are usually labeled with THC and CBD content to provide some predictive measure of how they will produce effects and brain function when consumed. It turns out that this information is not enough to make an accurate prediction.
For many people, this is not surprising. Historically, indica products have been thought to have a relaxing effect and sativa products to have an energizing effect, but these predictive classifications are less relevant than the strain's chemistry, which includes a mixture of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds. However, THC and CBD content are the main metrics presented in retail cannabis products.
A recent study found that oral consumption of commercially available indica oil reduced the amount of effort animals were willing to put in to receive a large reward—in fact, it made them lazy. However, sativa oil, despite having the same THC and CBD content, had no effect.
These results suggest that THC and CBD levels and indica and sativa classification are not the only factors to consider when predicting the effect of oral cannabis use on brain function – other minor cannabinoids and terpenes also play a role.
CBD-Rich Cannabis Oil Improves Major Social Symptoms in People with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Many parents have been raving about the benefits of cannabis-based treatments for children with autism for years. Notably, the goal is not to cure autism, but to promote greater participation and life skills development so that they can eventually become more independent.
For several years, Israeli scientists have been conducting clinical trials showing promising results using cannabis oil with a 20:1 ratio of CBD to THC for many secondary symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, such as improved sleep, reduced anxiety, reduced rage attacks, and reduced self-control. - traumatic behavior.
The results of these clinical trials show that cannabis also improves basic social communication skills and enhances everyday skills such as dressing, eating and cleaning in children and adolescents. While these benefits did not extend to other core symptoms such as restricted and repetitive behaviors, this study highlights the exciting potential of cannabis to improve the quality of life of people with autism spectrum disorders and empower them to live more independent lives.