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Two New Studies Reveal How Marijuana Can Treat Different Kinds Of Pain

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Marijuana’s ability to mitigate pain is well-established in scientific literature—and two new studies offer fresh evidence of how cannabis can be beneficial to patients suffering from different kinds of pain.

1. People who consume marijuana experience lower levels of pain and have higher pain tolerance compared to those who abstain.

After recruiting 66 students (half of whom were deemed cannabis consumers and half non-users) and administering basic questionnaires, Auburn University PhD candidate Julio Yanes conducted a series of experiments to discern how cannabis use influences pain.

Participants were hooked up to an experimental pain apparatus—a band fitted with a plastic disk that applies pressure to a sensitive part of the hand. Then they were asked to rate their average pain at a certain pressure on a scale of 0 to 100 and also to signal when the pressure became too uncomfortable to proceed with the experiment.

The cannabis group reported lower average pain levels than the non-using group (41-52 on average). People who consume marijuana also reported higher maximum pain tolerance than those who don’t (160-142), but that result was not considered statistically significant.

“When taken together, these outcomes suggest that recreational cannabis may mitigate emotion/motivation pain dimensions (i.e., pain ratings) without affecting sensation/perception dimensions (i.e., pain tolerance),” Yanes wrote.

2. Marijuana helps patients manage pain and reduces other symptoms that are common during surgical operations.

A review of PubMed articles “related to cannabinoids, as well as articles regarding cannabinoid medications, and cannabis use in surgical patients” turned up strong evidence that cannabis can relieve symptoms such as pain and nausea that are common among people undergoing certain surgeries.

Studies have demonstrated that cannabinoids “reduce intestinal motility, gastric acid secretion, and nausea” and also “improve pain control, reduce inflammation, and increase appetite,” according to the review, which was published in the American Journal of Surgery last week.

“Cannabinoids including THC and CBD have widespread effects on the body. These effects are particularly notable in the intestinal tract, where cannabinoids slow down intestinal transit, reduce inflammation, and reduce gastric acid secretion. Other systemic effects include increasing appetite, and reducing nausea and vomiting.”

All of these effects should be taken into consideration by surgeons, as it’s increasingly likely that patients will have consumed cannabis in some form as more states opt to legalize, according to the review authors.

“As recreational and medicinal marijuana use grows, surgeons will see more patients using these substances and should be aware of their effects,” they wrote. “There are numerous directions for cannabinoid-based pharmacotherapy in the future, and we are likely to see this evolve over the coming years.”

“Surgeons should stay abreast of the laws in their region governing the use of and indications for medicinal marijuana,” they added. “Additional research is needed to provide further information on the widespread effects on the surgical patient and possible therapeutic modalities.”

Ask and you shall receive: more research is coming.

A federal agency recently announced a call for research investigating how terpenes and cannabinoids other than THC work and whether they can treat pain.

Additionally, a pair of notices were posted in Federal Business Opportunities that listed jobs involving cannabis cultivation and analysis for research purposes.

The Feds Want Researchers To Study ‘Minor’ Cannabinoids And Terpenes In Marijuana

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Los Angeles-based associate editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.

Science & Health

Dogs Treated With Cannabis Oil Experience Less Frequent Seizures, Study Finds

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Dogs with epilepsy experience considerably fewer seizures when treated with CBD oil, a new study published in the journal Pet Behaviour Science found.

The small study—which followed three dogs receiving hemp-derived CBD treatment over the course of two months, indicates that dogs respond to the cannabis compound in a way that’s similar to humans.

The dogs ranged in age and breed. One was a three-year-old Labrador Retriever that suffered seizures spaced out one month apart on average, another was an 11-year-old Papillon that experienced seizures every two to three months and the last was a 10-year-old Chihuahua that has infrequent seizures about twice a year.

For the experiment, each dog was treated with CBD twice a day on an empty stomach. The findings are based on reports from the owners, two out of three of whom said the treatment improved their dog’s condition. The Papillon’s owner said the dog’s condition was unchanged.

“The owner [of the Labrador Retriever] reported that the dog slept longer and barked less in the daytime, even when other dogs were excited, during the first two weeks than in the preceding weeks,” the study authors wrote. “Overall, the owner felt that the dog showed improvement.”

“The owner [of the Chihuahua] felt that seizure-like behavior during the attacks had decreased slightly with treatment,” they wrote. “The owner also reported that the dog showed less aggression toward familiar people, such as the owner’s children.”

While the sample size of the study is particularly small, making it difficult to draw broad conclusions, the researchers said “seizure frequency improved considerably and owners reported a positive impression” of the CBD treatment.

It’s not clear if the same biochemical mechanisms that make CBD an effective treatment for epilepsy in humans produced the effects in the dogs. It’s possible that, because seizures can be triggered by anxiety, the same “anxiolytic effect may attenuate the symptoms of epilepsy in dogs as well as humans.”

“Further research is needed for better understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of CBD treatment,” the researchers wrote.

Last year, a separate study determined that CBD can alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis in dogs.

Dogs With Arthritis Benefit From Cannabis Oil, Study Says

Photo courtesy of Pexels.

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Science & Health

Study Finds Marijuana Motivates People To Exercise, Smashing Lazy Stoner Stereotype

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Most people who use marijuana report that consuming before or after exercising improves the experience and aids in recovery, according to a new study. And those who do use cannabis to elevate their workout tend to get a healthier amount of exercise.

Researchers at the University of Colorado surveyed more than 600 marijuana consumers in states where it is legal to assess how people use cannabis in relation to exercise. Their results, published this month in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, poke yet another hole in the lazy, couch-locked stoner stereotype.

Almost 500 participants said they endorse using marijuana one hour before, or up to four hours after, exercising. And based on data from the questionnaire, those who did use cannabis in that timeframe worked out longer than consumers who didn’t pair the activities. Specifically, those who engaged in co-use worked out an average of 43 minutes longer for aerobic exercise and 30 minutes longer for anaerobic exercise.

What’s behind the trend?

There are a few known barriers to exercise that researchers have identified: a lack of motivation, difficult recovery after working out and low enjoyment of the activity. Cannabis seems to help lift those barriers for some individuals.

Seventy percent of respondents said they agree or strongly agree that “cannabis increases enjoyment of exercise,” 78 percent said that marijuana “enhances recovery from exercise” and just over 50 percent said that it “increases motivation.”

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to survey attitudes and behavior regarding the use of cannabis before and after exercise, and to examine differences between cannabis users who engage in co-use, compared to those who do not,” the study authors wrote. “Given both the spreading legalization of cannabis and the low rates of physical activity in the US, it behooves public health officials to understand the potential effects—both beneficial and harmful—of cannabis use on exercise behaviors.”

While it might seem counterintuitive given how cannabis consumers have typically been portrayed in media, there’s a growing body of research showing that many marijuana enthusiasts engage in active lifestyles and that cannabis is associated with positive health outcomes. For example, another recent study found that people who use marijuana are less likely to be obese compared to non-users.

Marijuana Consumers Gain Less Weight Than Non-Users, Study Confirms

Photo courtesy of Brian Shamblen.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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Politics

Another Federal Agency Wants You To Stop Calling About A Marijuana-Related Job

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Six days after posting a notice that calls for a contractor to prepare and distribute research drug products like marijuana cigarettes, a federal agency posted an update, emphasizing that private citizens are not being encouraged to apply for a casual joint-rolling job.

Why? Well, it might have something to do with various viral articles reporting on the opening—and readers who then volunteer for the role.

On Monday, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) added an unambiguous message at the top of the notice: “THE FOLLOWING IS A PRE-SOLICITATION NOTICE and is NOT ADVERTISEMENT FOR EMPLOYMENT.

The situation seems similar to another recent example that prompted the Houston division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to ask private citizens to stop calling about a contractor opening to incinerate thousands of pounds of cannabis per hour.

The division wrote last month that “misleading articles” about the position “resulted in an influx of calls from citizens.”

“This solicitation was targeted for a large scale licensed vendor, not private citizens,” they wrote.

But according to NIDA, their problem isn’t quite as severe. In an email to Marijuana Moment, a representative of the agency said it has “only received a few public inquiries.” The spokesperson did not respond to a follow up question about the reasoning behind the update.

For serious candidates, the position isn’t as simple as rolling a massive amount of joints. The contractor must have “the capability to analyze and characterize various drugs of abuse including cannabinoids and other research chemicals” and also “acquire, develop, and produce marijuana and nicotine research cigarettes of varying strengths and specifications.”

NIDA posted several cannabis-related contract notices last year, including for professional joint rollers and bulk marijuana manufacturers.

The DEA Wants You To Stop Calling Them About Getting Paid To Burn Marijuana

Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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