Weed’s increasing legality throughout the United States has, undoubtedly, led to a plethora of positive things in weed legal states. Whether it’s financing schools, public safety or even job creation, there’s no questioning the impact the legal weed industry has on society.
However, there’s been a few key components that have raised concerns since the inception of medical marijuana. This has, in turn, increased the need for studies on cannabis. Considering marijuana has been labeled a Schedule I narcotic under the federal government, receiving the proper funding for research hasn’t always been easy. But that’s not to say that some of the research hasn’t been effective.
Let’s take a look at some of the more prominent funded studies on cannabis, and what, exactly they were looking to accomplish.
California Is Paying Over A Hundred People To Smoke Weed And Drive
One of the most troubling aspects in regards to stoned driving is that it’s simply difficult to assess the plant’s effect on different people. Between varying tolerance levels, the differentiating side-effects from particular strains, and the inability to accurately test a subject, the water remains murky when it comes to governing the roads for high drivers.
If you’re an avid pot smoker looking make a couple of extra bucks, this might be the gig for you.
California, which began recreational weed sales back in January, has started a new venture to gather a better sample of drivers under the influence of cannabis: the state is paying over a hundred people to smoke weed and drive.
According to California’s local ABC30 Action News, the California state legislature is ponying up the money to fun a UC San Diego case study to better access how pot affects driving performance. Additionally, the test will attempt to decipher how long before the driver is deemed safe to be on the road.
Surveymonkey.com, the website the test is listed on, says the study will officially be a part of Assembly Bill 266 or the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act. The description states that there will be three groups of participants: one placebo (no cannabis ingested), one group that inhales 6.7 percent worth of THC, and one group that consumes 12.6 percent.
In addition to determining a correlation between THC and driving performance, the test is also set to determine “the duration of driving impairment in terms of hours from initial use, if saliva or expired air can serve as a useful substitute for blood sampling of Δ9-THC in judicial hearings and if testing using an iPad can serve as a useful adjunct to the standardized field sobriety test in identifying acute impairment from cannabis.”
Per the report, researchers are seeking out around 180 subjects to smoke weed and drive. However, if history is any indication, it might still not be enough to find a concrete solution for a fairly unquantifiable problem.
Cannabis Vs. The Opioid Epidemic
One of the biggest, and arguably most important studies on cannabis in recent memory was a 2017 survey published in the International Journal of Drug Policy.
The survey, in collaboration with Health Canada, looked to determine whether or not cannabis could be viewed as a viable substitution for prescription opioids and other substances. While this certainly wasn’t the first study of the sort, it did become the first survey to specifically outline which classes of prescription drugs could be swapped out for medicinal cannabis.
The test determined that 63 percent of the 271 Canadians surveyed said they substituted their prescriptions drugs with cannabis. Of the 63 percent, 30 percent said they used cannabis as an alternative to opioid painkillers. Additionally, 16 percent said they substituted benzodiazepines with cannabis, and another 12 percent used it as an antidepressant.
While it was obvious that cannabis could serve as a viable alternative to a plethora of vices, it was clear that it most directly correlates to opioid painkillers, an epidemic that has plagued the United States in recent memory.
Medical Marijuana Can Help With Migraines
Most of us are pretty aware that taking a few hits of the ganj could help greatly with headache relief, but who knew it could serve as a cure for migraines?
A 2016 medical study conducted by researchers at CU Anschutz determined that medical marijuana can help decrease the frequency of migraines.
According to the study, researchers looked at the charts of patients from Gedde Whole Health, a private Colorado clinic. There, they found that of the 121 patients studied, a whopping 103 reported a decrease in their monthly migraines.
“We were not expecting the decrease in frequency in migraine that we saw. It was pretty dramatic,” said Dr. Sarah Anderson said to 7News.
Researchers eventually concluded that it was the increased serotonin levels from cannabis consumption that led to the decrease in severe headaches.
THC Helps The Brain Age
Although CBD has gotten most of the attention for its medicinal benefits, studies have shown THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis can be effective as well. Specifically, when it comes to the brain.
In a study published in Nature Medicine concluded that chronic, low doses of THC can improve the brain function in older mice.
Conversely, the study determined that the same amount of THC could be harmful in younger mice.
During the 28-day trial, each group of mice was given low doses of THC. They were then tasked with basic cognitive tests, and the older mice vastly outperformed the younger ones—the opposite of what normally occurs.
Although still incomplete, the study did prove some of the benefits of adult-use THC, while highlighting some of the reasons and underdeveloped brain could be at a disadvantage.
Cannabis Kills Cancer Cells In Animal Studies
Perhaps one of the most groundbreaking studies on cannabis occurred back in Spain back in 1998. At the time, researchers at Madrid’s Complutense University determined that THC can influence programmed cell death in brain tumor cells without actually afflicting healthy cells.
The study was a huge development, especially in 2998—when medical marijuana studies were few and far in between. It led to a follow-up study in 2000 that further concluded that THC could destroy brain tumors. In that study, researchers injected rats with synthetic THC to eradicate brain tumors. One-third of the rats injected ended up living six weeks longer than expected.
In 2002, another study occurred. This time, a team of Spanish doctors had destroyed incurable brain tumors in rats by injecting them with THC.
Following these studies, The National Institute on Drug Abuse changed its official fact sheet for cannabis a few years ago. “Recent animal studies have shown that marijuana can kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others,” the fact sheet says.
These are just a few of the studies that were fortunate enough to receive approval and funding. Conducting more research is the key to silencing the claims of prohibitionists. There are still many theories that have gone untested due to the federal status of the plant in most countries. Fortunately, there are a few countries leading in research on cannabis.