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Top Cannabis Science Headlines: August Roundup

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A promising clinical trial?

Glioblastoma is an aggressive and fast-growing brain cancer with a very low five-year survival rate of five percent. Currently, the very few treatment options that exist are not always effective, as the tumor can begin regrowing after a few months of treatment. As such, a UK clinical trial called ARISTOCRAT is investigating whether combining cannabinoids with traditional chemotherapies can improve glioblastoma patient outcomes. With promising results in phase I, this phase II, double-blind randomized trial will combine Sativex with the usual treatments of radiotherapy and chemotherapy with temozolomide (TMZ). The trial is recruiting patients with recurrent glioblastoma to find out whether the addition of Sativex to standard TMZ treatment improves how long patients live, delays the growth of their tumor, and/or improves their quality of life.

No smoking indoors

As the legalization of recreational cannabis continues to grow, so do concerns over the exposure to secondhand cannabis smoke (SHCS). A group of researchers decided to measure air quality using real-time, continuous PM2.5 air monitors in a five hour experiment to measure fine particle concentrations. The study took place in a two-story house with either a tobacco cigarette or a marijuana joint fully smoked in the home's living room. Results demonstrated that average secondhand PM2.5 concentrations from smoking cannabis indoors were 4.4 times greater than PM2.5 concentrations from smoking tobacco cigarettes indoors. Although opening windows did reduce the indoor PM2.5 concentrations from cannabis smoking, concentrations were still higher than the PM2.5 levels produced by tobacco smoking with closed windows. These results suggest that SHCS in the home is not safe, with the authors calling for the public perception of SHCS safety to be addressed.

Helicopter parenting 

Psychological reactance (PR) in adolescents is a psychological state or trait characterized by resistant responses to threats to behavioral freedom. Now what does this have to do with cannabis? Well, PR has been closely linked to negative health behaviors, including cannabis abuse. Researchers examined the link between parental approaches and cannabis use in adolescents. The findings indicate that combined low parental warmth and high parental monitoring results in higher adolescent reactance, in turn leading to increased adolescent cannabis use. The authors suggested that potential interventions might focus on counseling parents about the likely outcomes of parenting style, and ways to implement beneficial approaches, including reasonable monitoring practices with adequate levels of warmth, responsiveness, and caring.

What else is going on?

Research + Medicine

Review finds cannabinoid research to be sorely lacking in conclusive results for movement disorders. Link 

Dual cannabis and nicotine vape users more likely to start vaping younger and use both for more years – but do not show higher dependence for either substance. Link

Survey reveals uneven training in cannabis dispensary staff – and that dispensaries prioritize sales skills over cannabis knowledge. Link 

Legalization of recreational cannabis in US states seems to increase frequency of use by 20 percent. Link 

Physical inactivity during adolescence heightens risk of cannabis use disorder in adulthood. Link 

Weekly cannabis use may be linked to increased odds of unemployment. Link

Plant Science + Genetics 

Cannabis and hemp seedlings inherit bioactive and antifungal Bacilli, suggesting co-evolution and potential symbiosis between cannabis and seed-borne Bacilli endophytes. Link 

Testing + Processing 

Current analytical methods used to determine cannabis biomarkers in wastewaters underestimate total biomarker amount – novel, more accurate method considers both their presence in the liquid phase and in suspended solids. Link 

Recent review evaluates different portable cannabis analysis techniques, describing them as very promising for both hemp and cannabis analysis on site. Link 

Business + Regulation 

Brittney Griner’s lawyers file appeal against her nine-year prison sentence for cannabis possession. Link

US Gallup polls reveal more Americans smoke cannabis than tobacco. Link

17,000 UK patients prescribed medical cannabis – but many patients still use black market. Link

US border officials look to buy portable cannabis analyzers to help differentiate between hemp and cannabis. Link

Hong Kong expected to ban CBD in near future as it has potential to contain trace amounts of THC. Link 

US Federal Trade Commission refunds 576 consumers who purchased “deceptively marketed” CBD products. Link 

According to FBI, recent CBD use automatically disqualifies people from working at federal agency – despite hemp being federally legal. Link

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About the Author
Margot Lespade

Margot Lespade, Associate Editor, The Cannabis Scientist

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