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Top Cannabis Science Headlines: February Roundup

Every month, we carefully curate the top stories from across the fields of medical research, testing, processing, and plant science. We also bring you the latest in the world of cannabis business and legislation. Want it all in your inbox? Sign up here.

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Cannabidiol – a new and effective way of treating people with psychosis? 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are around 100,000 new cases of psychosis each year in the US alone and, although antipsychotic drugs are commonly prescribed to help patients manage, the potential side effects from these drugs can be a deterrent. And so, researchers at Oxford University are all set to investigate the effectiveness of cannabidiol in 1000 participants in 35 centers across Europe and North America – including those with first episode psychosis and those with psychosis who haven’t responded to conventional treatment. Additionally, the research will assess whether cannabidiol can prevent the onset of psychosis in people who are at high risk for psychosis. Following the footsteps of previous smaller scale studies that have indicated beneficial effects, this will be the first large-scale study to evaluate the effects of cannabidiol in a population of patients with psychosis or psychotic symptoms. 

Sinister CBD?

Contrary to popular belief, it seems that CBD could actually increase the effects of THC! A recent study found that the maximum amount of THC measured in participants’ blood samples after consuming a brownie containing both THC and CBD was almost double that found in participants who had consumer a THC-only brownie. Furthermore, the amount of 11-OH-THC – a metabolic byproduct of THC that produces drug effects similar to THC – was 10-fold greater after eating the brownie with the high CBD extract compared with the one containing high THC extract. According to the authors, an improved understanding of cannabinoid–cannabinoid and cannabinoid–drug interactions would be highly beneficial to inform clinical and regulatory decision-making in use of cannabis products.

What else is going on?

Research + Medicine

Medical cannabis for chronic pain may help patients on long-term opioid treatment lower dosages. Link 

Exposure to pro-cannabis messages on social media found to be associated with increased intention to use cannabis in young people. Link 

Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study shows that short-term effects of cannabis do not differ between adult and adolescent cannabis users – and CBD does not mitigate THC effects. Link 

Cannabis use in early pregnancy is linked with increased risk of poor pregnancy outcomes that are closely related to placenta function. Link 

Cannabis use frequency and severity found to be predictors of violent behavior in individuals with severe mental health disorders. Link 

Testing + Processing 

Desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) and matrix assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry imaging reveal that cannabinoids are produced and accumulate in the trichomes of C. sativa leaves. Link 

Business + Regulation 

Yale School of Medicine announces new cannabis research center to study “effects of cannabis and cannabinoids on neurodevelopment and mental health.” Link 

Hawaii Senate committees approve cannabis legalization bills, whilst House panel advances legislation to promote research into psilocybin and MDMA. Link

US Senate committee approves bipartisan bill promoting cannabis research for military veterans experiencing chronic pain and PTSD. Link 

US DEA classifies novel cannabinoids delta-8 THC-O and delta-9 THC-O as controlled substances as they do not meet federal definition of legal hemp. Link 

Twitter becomes first social media platform to allow cannabis-related ads in the US. Link

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About the Author
Margot Lespade

Margot Lespade, Associate Editor, The Cannabis Scientist

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