The cannabis industry is ever-changing. With new laws and studies coming into play basically on a weekly basis, now is an incredibly exciting time for marijuana enthusiasts all over the country — and the globe!
While there are tons of groundbreaking revelations to choose from in terms of marijuana research, there have been some undeniably key studies that have been done over the years which have made waves in the cannabis industry, and ones which we feel everyone needs to know about.
So without further ado, check out our guide on the top 5 major medical cannabis studies that have shaped the industry into what it is today!
1) U.S. government patents cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants
It is pretty well understood across America in 2018 that cannabinoids are deemed as a neuroprotectant, meaning by definition that they may have effects which could result in the salvage, recovery, or regeneration of nerves.
What many people don’t know, however, is how this discovery came about, which leads us to our first of five major cannabis studies that you need to know about: U.S. Patent No. 6,630,507.
The research published back in 2003 looked at cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants, and changed the future of cannabis forever. Hampson et al. revealed how cannabinoids could have the potential to treat “age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases,” meaning that those suffering from a wealth of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, HIV, and dementia – to name but a few – could finally have a more natural treatment alternative.
Since this phenomenal research, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have been granted a patent on non-psychoactive cannabinoids to protect the brain from damage or degeneration caused by certain conditions. Unreal news that few people know about in the U.S.!
2) First ever FDA-approved cannabis medication
Although patients have been relying on medical marijuana for years now to help relieve certain symptoms associated with an array of conditions, never before has there been an FDA-approved medication derived from cannabis — until now!
In 2017, we saw an influx of important studies come through for marijuana, but by far the biggest had to be in May when a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that CBD could be used to treat two rare forms of epilepsy: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Dravet Syndrome is a form of epilepsy that is particularly challenging to treat, in that most treatments provide little to no relief from the debilitating symptoms (namely seizures). However, research into the effects of CBD on the condition when compared to a placebo revealed a significant reduction in seizures.
Off the back of this research, the U.S. Food and Drug-Administration (FDA) approved a drug by GW Pharmaceuticals in June of this year! The drug, named Epidiolex, is approved to be used in children ages 2 and above to treat the two types of epilepsy mentioned above. Epidiolex is the first ever FDA-approved natural cannabis medication, so this was massive news for both patients and cannabis enthusiasts alike.
3) CBD to end the opioid epidemic in America?
Throughout America, there has been an ongoing rise in opioid misuse that has resulted in numerous overdoses and fatalities. In 2016, statistics revealed that up to 17,087 Americans died as a result of overdosing on the most overly-prescribed opioid mediactions.
Unfortunately, and despite countless efforts to reverse the trends, these figures have only gotten worse as we now find ourselves in the midst of what is being dubbed an opioid epidemic. However, it seems that this next study could play a critical part in turning things around when it comes to addiction in America!
Published back in 2015 for the Substance Abuse Research and Treatment organization, scientists were able to look at how CBD could be used as an intervention for addictive behaviors, and the results examined a range of past studies into the subject, both on animals and humans. Data revealed the following:
- CBD is an exogenous cannabinoid that acts on several neurotransmission systems involved in addiction.
- CBD has several therapeutic properties on its own that could indirectly be useful in the treatment of addiction disorders, such as its protective effect on stress vulnerability and neurotoxicity.
Since this research, statistics have shown that opioid misuse has dramatically decreased in the states where cannabis is legal. In 2014, the number of opioid overdoses in cannabis-friendly states had dropped by 21%!
More recently, research done by Medicare revealed that dispensary programs in states where cannabis was legal had reduced their opioid prescriptions by 3.7 million daily doses a day! No matter your stance on medical cannabis use, this is undoubtedly fantastic news for America.
4) Smoking weed may not kill brain cells after all!
Just like the munchies and being mega chilled-out, there has been an age-old misunderstanding that cannabis kills brain cells and turns users into stupid, lazy shadows of their former selves!
This may sound dramatic, but it is the reality of what many people did (and still do) think! While we can’t change everyone’s opinion (despite the evidence), this next study has gone a long way to dispel the rumors around cannabis and intelligence levels.
A study published back in June of 2018 looked at how cannabis was associated with cognitive functioning in adolescents and young adults. The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, revealed some interesting data that well and truly dispels the myth that cannabis harms brain cells and reduces intelligence.
The study looked at 2,152 cannabis users and compared results with 6,575 participants who had minimal exposure to cannabis, and the results showed that associations between cannabis use and cognitive functioning of adolescents and young adults was minimal. The study also revealed that 72 hours after smoking cannabis, any cognitive deficits associated with cannabis use were diminished, proving that the effects of weed are short-lived and do not cause long-term damage to brain cells.
One small step for cannabis lovers, one massive step against the rumor mill of false marijuana theories!
5) CBD vs. THC
We know that marijuana can lead to feelings of being high, and it’s even part of the reason so many of us love the experience of smoking. However, we also appreciate that a considerable percentage of marijuana users are in it for the medicinal benefits, and would prefer not to get lost in a euphoric high every time they self-medicate.
So, this next study has been crucial in providing clarity on how we can still smoke marijuana and benefit more from its medicinal properties, rather than its psychoactive effects!
Published on the federal government’s chemical database for the National Institute of Health, the PubChem report on CBD (cannabidiol) has revealed that the active cannabis component is entirely “devoid of psychoactive activity,” and has “analgesic (pain-relieving), anti-inflammatory, antineoplastic and chemopreventive activities.”
The study has since opened up the world of medical cannabis to millions of people who otherwise may not have been able to benefit from it, including young children and the elderly. Those who have no interest in getting high can also reap the medicinal benefits of both CBD and THC without it impinging on their day-to-day life.
Final Thoughts on the Most Important Marijuana Studies of All Time
There are so many studies out there that have helped shape the cannabis industry as we know it today, and with things ever-changing, there are always new and exciting discoveries to be made around every corner. However, these five studies have made such a huge impact on the industry that we just had to share them with you all – we hope you have learned something new about our favorite bud!