One-quarter of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 say they’ve driven high or been in a car with a high driver according to a new study. Ashley Burr has the details.
Among the overwhelming variety of cannabis products available on the market today, the most effective for pain relief appears to be whole dried marijuana flower and products high in THC, a new study finds.
“Whole cannabis flower was associated with greater pain relief than were other types of products, and higher tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels were the strongest predictors of analgesia and side effects prevalence across the five pain categories,” researchers from the University of New Mexico (UNM) wrote. “In contrast, cannabidiol (CBD) levels generally were not associated with pain relief except for a negative association between CBD and relief from gastrointestinal and non-specified pain.”
Using data from a mobile app that aims to educate users about cannabis products and help them track their experiences, the researchers found that most people who reported self-medicating with marijuana have short-term, yet significant, relief from pain.
“In our sample,” they wrote, “we observed an average pain reduction of roughly 3 points on a standard 0 to 10 visual analogue pain scale, consistent with its application as a mid-level analgesic.”
The findings, published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine in late July 2019, are the latest in a robust body of scientific literature that shows marijuana can help people with different kinds of pain.
The study’s goal was to gauge how the severity of pain changed and what side effects were experienced after cannabis consumption, and whether these effects differed by product. Researchers used information gleaned from the Releaf app, a mobile software program developed by three of the study’s authors and released in 2016. The app allows users to monitor their symptoms before, during, and after consuming cannabis, thus helping them to understand the differences between products and delivery methods.
The study — which calls the Releaf data set “the largest database of real-time cannabis administration sessions in the U.S.” — analyzed 20,513 cannabis sessions recorded in the app by 2,987 people between June 6, 2016, and October 24, 2018.
“Perhaps the most surprising result,” lead author Xiaoxue Li said in a statement, “is just how widespread relief was with symptom relief reported in about 95 percent of cannabis administration sessions and across a wide variety of different types of pain. The results suggest that cannabis flower with moderate to high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol is an effective mid-level analgesic.”
On average, users reported their starting pain to be 5.87 on a scale of 1 to 10. After consuming marijuana, that number fell to 2.77 — a decrease of 3.1 points.
“Among the limited number of product characteristics that are typically made available to consumers, we found that consumption of whole, natural cannabis flower was associated with greater anesthetic potential than were most other types of products,” the authors wrote.
The study also found:
- Patients whose cannabis sessions involved flower reported similar pain relief as those using concentrates and topicals. Edibles, pills, and tinctures, however, offered less relief than flower.
- Concentrates were found to be associated with more negative side effects, which the researchers reasoned could be because of solvents and other additives, as well as the removal of most terpenoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
- Products labeled as hybrid strains were more effective at relieving pain than those labeled indica or sativa.
- Combustion method didn’t affect pain.
- Higher THC levels offered more pain relief, while higher CBD levels did not.
- Patients with back, joint, or muscle pain; headache or migraine; and non-specified pain saw more relief with high-THC products.
- Patients with gastrointestinal or abdominal-related pain found more relief with lower levels of THC.
As for other reactions, patients were more likely to report positive effects than negative effects: they cited dry mouth and feeling foggy as the most common negative side effects, while feeling relaxed and peaceful were frequently reported as the most positive ones. Additionally, while CBD levels didn’t affect pain much, the cannabinoid did appear to decrease the likelihood of having negative side effects.
“The current findings,” the study concludes, “show that self-directed medical cannabis treatment, especially among users of higher THC products, is associated with significant improvements in at least short-term pain relief, perhaps a major reason why cannabis has become one of the most widely used medications in the United States.”
In a statement, Jacob Vigil, another study author and UNM associate professor of psychology, said the reason why dried cannabis flower may be more effective for pain is because of its “numerous constituents that possess analgesic properties beyond THC, including terpenes and flavonoids.” These compounds probably work together to increase cannabis’ therapeutic effects, he said.
“Our results confirm that cannabis use is a relatively safe and effective medication for alleviating pain, and that is the most important message to learn from our results,” Vigil continued. “It can only benefit the public for people to be able to responsibly weigh the true risks and benefits of their pain medication choices.”
Feature image: Among myriad consumption products and forms available, smokable flower is the most effective pain delivery method, according to a study by University of New Mexico researchers published in July 2019. (Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps News)
Researchers asked 1,000 adult-use cannabis consumers at two Colorado dispensaries what they use cannabis for, and a new study has found residents are self-medicating with recreational marijuana.
Among consumers surveyed, 65% use it to relieve pain and 74% use it for better sleep. A majority of those surveyed claimed it helped them reduce the use of other medications.
“Our motivation for conducting this study was that there are numerous anecdotal reports of people getting help for insomnia, pain, and a variety of other conditions from cannabis purchased from adult-use dispensaries,” said Julia Arnsten, a professor of medicine, psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and one of the authors of the study.
Arnsten said they expected that consumers were not just purchasing cannabis to get high, but also were actually largely using cannabis for medical purposes. She said one of the possible positive findings from this study is that people were able to stop using other medications that may have harmful side effects, such as opioids. Previous research has indicated that opioid use goes down in states that legalize cannabis.
“The potential negative effects are that people may choose cannabis rather than seeking medical attention, or that people may develop dependence on cannabis,” Arnsten said.
When people are self-medicating, they’re not necessarily discussing their health issues with their doctor, which might mean they’re not getting the best results they could be getting. Arnsten said it’s important that people are communicating with their doctor when they need treatment for a particular medical issue.
“Overall, it is crucial that people communicate with their primary care providers to help them make choices that enhance their health and well-being,” Arnsten said.
Research does indicate cannabis is effective for treating pain and for aiding sleep. The National Academies of Sciences said in a report from 2017 that cannabis seems to help with pain treatment. A study from 2018 found cannabis is effective for treating insomnia in most people.
David Mangone, director of governmental affairs at Americans for Safe Access, told Weedmaps News that he believes it is a national trend that people are purchasing adult-use cannabis for medical purposes, possibly because of the effort and cost required for medical marijuana registration.
“The reason we’re seeing this happen frequently is a lot of patients are fed up with the bureaucracy and often the fees that are associated with maintaining a patient registry card,” Mangone said. “With some of these registry cards, you see them go upwards of $200 annually.”
Unlike pharmaceuticals, medical marijuana is not covered by health insurance, so the patient ends up bearing the entire cost of their treatment. Mangone said it would be beneficial if lawmakers could persuade private insurance companies to cover medical cannabis costs.
Mangone said limitations in qualifying conditions may be another incentive for potential patients to instead stay in the adult-use market. Many states’ lists of qualifying conditions may exclude particular health concerns that respond well to cannabis, effectively shutting out some patients, according to Mangone. “I think it’d be helpful if states all moved towards the model that allows physicians to decide what conditions are appropriate, rather than lawmakers,” Mangone said.
Patients who need medical cannabis but remain in the adult-use market might not get the products that are best suited to treat their ailments. Some adult-use products aren’t always aligned with medical patients’ needs.
“The recreational market trends towards products that have much higher THC content,” Mangone said. “Some medical patients need more balanced ratios of CBD and THC or CBN and THC. Some of those products aren’t as prevalent when adult-use retailers take over because the products with the higher THC content have a wider market appeal.”
If insurance won’t cover cannabis as medicine, and if acquiring a medical card remains burdensome, Mangone said it’s likely people will continue to go through the adult-use market in states that have legal marijuana. In states that have only medical marijuana, he said it’s likely many people will utilize the illicit market to cut costs. Mangone said it’s important that lawmakers start making changes in cannabis policy so people can get their medicine through the proper channels.
Feature image: Adult-use patrons of dispensaries may be seeking to self medicate with marijuana to aid sleep and pain, according to results from a study from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. (Photo via Shutterstock)
A new Yale University study showed that a child’s ability to respond to fear and trauma is genetic, and researchers surmised that the ability to process fear and thus reduce anxiety may be traced to differences in the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The study, published May 15, 2019, in “Biological Psychiatry” by lead authors Shelley Paulisin and Hilary A. Marusak supports existing research that genetic differences in DNA affect the adult brain’s ability to deal with certain emotions. The study explored fear extinction among a group of 37 children ages 6 to 11.
But what is fear extinction? Dr. Bonni Goldstein, medical director of California-based Canna-Centers and whose professional experience includes pediatric work, used the fear of spiders to explain it.
“If I showed you a spider and you freak out, fear extinction is if I would keep showing you the spider … it would make it so that you wouldn’t feel that fear,” she said. “And that is an adaptive mechanism that humans have, so we don’t run around with our brains afraid of everything under the sun.”
“When an endocannabinoid system is functioning normally, you learn over time. ‘Oh, that spider is coming at me. Oh, wait. I have nothing to be afraid of.’ And my brain is actually emitting cannabis-like compounds to make sure that my response is balanced,” she said.
A normal-functioning ECS is crucial to a teenage brain as it evolves into an adult brain, allowing teens to learn important skills such as executive function and impulse control, Goldstein said.
“A normal, healthy endocannabinoid system keeps people from having overwhelming anxiety or overwhelming fear,” she said. “It tells the brain, ‘Don’t send that message of fear or anxiety. Be balanced.’ That’s its role.”
The 37 children in the Yale study were subjected to a two-day “fear extinction learning and memory recall experiment” using virtual reality. Researchers collected responses to skin conductance and did genotyping for CNR1. A subgroup of children said they had been exposed to some form of violent or medical trauma.
The results showed that the trauma-exposed group, children with a certain genotype had “poorer extinction learning and extinction recall,” than those without the genetic mutation, and that that fear extinction deficiency leads to higher anxiety, according to the study.
While Goldstein said more research may need to be done, given that 37 is a small sample size, but added that the conclusions make a lot of sense.
“Children with anxiety are not choosing to be anxious,” she said. “That’s what their genes are telling them to do. It’s the way their brain is, which is what their brain is telling them.”
It also explains why some combat veterans have returned with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and some don’t, she said.
“It turns out that there are people who are genetically predisposed to not be able to handle the trauma,” she said. “It’s not just their choice, or the way they were raised. It is truly the DNA not telling the neurotransmitters the correct message.”
Phytocannabinoids, which occur naturally in the cannabis plant, could help those with the deficiency, Goldstein said.
“I’m not saying definitively that (it would help) 100 percent of people,” she said. “But the idea is that if your endocannabinoid system is dysfunctional and you’re not actually making your endocannabinoid compound, or you make it and there’s some abnormality within the endocannabinoid system, you may be able to override that by replacing what’s missing in your brain with the compounds from the plant.”
Goldstein likened it to augmenting other deficiencies, like taking insulin via injection to compensate for a pancreas that doesn’t make insulin, or taking thyroid medication if the gland doesn’t produce enough hormone.
“That’s kind of the very simplified but underlying concept of using phytocannabinoids from the plant to replace the endocannabinoids,” she said.
Feature image: The difference in the makeup of the human body’s endocannabinoid system may explain how individuals are able to handle and overcome fear and anxiety, according to a May 2019 study by Yale University researchers. (Photo by Michael Podger on Unsplash)
Karen Robes Meeks is an award-winning business writer who has spent 20 years chasing stories all over Southern California. These days, she spends more of her time chasing her young daughter around town, which makes for surprisingly good cardio. Her stories have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Orange County Register and the Press-Telegram, where she was the trade and transportation reporter covering the nation’s two busiest seaports.
Recent research has suggested that marijuana use can improve orgasms for women. Now, a new yet-to-be-published study says that men may also find their bedroom activities enhanced by cannabis.
According to an abstract shared online, the study found “participants perceived that cannabis use increased their sexual functioning and satisfaction.” Age and gender did not play a role in how marijuana consumption affected sex, and the study’s participants reported “increased desire, orgasm intensity, and masturbation pleasure.”
The findings are the result of a nationwide survey conducted by recent East Carolina University graduate Amanda Moser for her master’s thesis in human development and family science. Her goal was to build on what limited research there currently is exploring the impact of cannabis use on people’s sex lives, she told Marijuana Moment in a phone interview.
Moser created an anonymous online survey targeting people 18 and older who said they’d used marijuana. For her purposes, she adapted questions taken from other surveys used to assess human sexual response. For example, the survey asked participants to rate how cannabis affected their ability to achieve and maintain an erection (for men) and lubrication (for women). The survey also asked respondents if they believed cannabis creates a more satisfactory and pleasurable sex life, and how taste, touch, hearing, smell and sound were influenced by consumption.
A sample of 811 people with various backgrounds and marijuana preferences participated in the study. Moser said she found cannabis to be sexually beneficial for both men and women, regardless of age, as well as throughout the lifespan. “People who were 18 years old had amazing benefits as well as people up to 85 years old, and everyone in between,” she explained. “All found that cannabis was beneficial for their sexual functioning as well as their sexual satisfaction.”
People who were 18 years old had amazing benefits as well as people up to 85 years old, and everyone in between. All found that cannabis was beneficial for their sexual functioning as well as their sexual satisfaction. Click To Tweet
The full study, which Marijuana Moment hasn’t reviewed, is currently under embargo as Moser is working to get it published later this year.
Overall, Moser said, participants reported consuming cannabis led to more pleasure not just during sex, but also during masturbation as well. Both men and women said they had an increased desire for sex, and found that their orgasms were more intense. Women, she added, reported that they were able to achieve multiple orgasms.
Taste and touch were also “significantly enhanced” during sex after marijuana use, thus leading to more satisfaction. “If you think about it, you use taste and touch a lot during sex,” she added.
Although one major limitation of the research is that it’s self-reported, Moser pointed out that her findings contradict prior work that suggested cannabis use would not be beneficial for men during sex.
“Previous literature said that cannabis is a muscle relaxer, and would be more inhibiting for males — that males would have a harder time achieving and maintaining an erection,” she explained. “It makes sense, but my research actually showed contradicting to that. I found that does not affect males’ ability to achieve and maintain an erection, that males did not report having any issues with that.”
Moser speculated that the reason why men may not have trouble getting an erection after consumption — as previous researchers have suggested — is because marijuana may act as a vasodilator. In other words, cannabinoids may help widen blood vessels to improve blood flow.
Ultimately, however, Moser said that her findings reveal cannabis’s potential for not only treating and curing female sexual dysfunction, but also addressing “the orgasm inequality gap,” which describes the fact that men in heterosexual relationships are far more likely to climax than their partners.
“To me, that’s a problem,” Moser said. “More females should be having more orgasms. Maybe cannabis can help with that.”
This article was republished from Marijuana Moment under a content syndication agreement. Read the original article here.
Legalizing marijuana is associated with a decline in youth cannabis consumption, according to a new study in a journal published by the American Medical Association.
The research, which analyzed federal data on marijuana use trends among 1.4 million high school students from 1993 to 2017, showed that self-reported past-month youth cannabis use declined by an average of 8% in states that legalized recreational marijuana.
There was also a 9% drop in reports of using marijuana 10 or more times over the past 30 days in those states, the study found. However, there was no statistically significant change in consumption rates in states that legalized medical cannabis alone.
The results run counter to long-standing fears expressed by legalization opponents, who have consistently argued that legalizing and regulating cannabis sales would lead more young people to seek out marijuana. Earlier studies don’t find higher use — with some showing legalization has no impact on youth consumption and others revealing a decline in teen use.
“Consistent with the results of previous researchers, there was no evidence that the legalization of medical marijuana encourages marijuana use among youth,” the new study, published on Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, concluded. “Moreover, [the study] showed that marijuana use among youth may actually decline after legalization for recreational purposes.”
The researchers didn’t reach a conclusion about why marijuana use has dropped among high schoolers in legal cannabis states, but advocates of ending prohibition have long argued that legal cannabis shops displace the illicit market and make it more difficult for those younger than 21 to obtain the drug.
The authors noted that the findings are “consistent with…the argument that it is more difficult for teenagers to obtain marijuana as drug dealers are replaced by licensed dispensaries that require proof of age.”
Lead researcher Mark Anderson told CNN that the new study is “the most credible to date in the literature” because it is “based on more policy variation than prior work.” He also said that one limitation of the current research is that several additional states have legalized adult use cannabis fairly recently, so “it would make sense to update our estimates as more data become available” in a few years.
The new findings were released two days before a key congressional committee is scheduled to hold a first-of-its-kind hearing on ending federal marijuana prohibition.
Feature image: Marijuana use among youths declined by an average of 8% from 1993 to 2017 in states that have legalized adult-use marijuana, according to a new study published by the American Medical Association. (Weedmaps file photo)
This article was republished from Marijuana Moment under a content syndication agreement. Read the original article here.
Korean researchers have observed increased efficacy in a cancer-fighting agent when it was combined with cannabidiol (CBD), according to a new article published in the scientific journal Cancers.
Oncology researchers at Korea University College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea, paired CBD with a common colorectal cancer treatment.
The study, published May 9, 2019, noted that successful cancer chemotherapies interfere with the processes involved in cell division and kill off a greater proportion of cancer cells compared with healthy ones.
The university’s research team tested the synergistic impact of CBD with a known cancer-cell-killing protein known as TRAIL (TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand).
In the field of cell biology, TRAIL is a protein functioning as a ligand that induces a process of cell death called apoptosis. A ligand is a molecule that binds to a central atom to form a coordination complex. Apoptosis is the normal, programmed death of a cell.
TRAIL has attracted a great deal of interest among researchers in the hope of developing it as an effective cancer treatment because it can induce apoptosis in tumor cells without affecting or harming adjacent normal cells.
In their experiments, the Korean scientists found that both TRAIL and CBD separately generated apoptosis in colorectal cancer cells, in test tubes and in mice. In addition, consistent with the researchers’ hypothesis, the combination of the two agents produced significantly improved results.
“These data indicate that the natural compound cannabidiol could be an effective TRAIL sensitizer, and the combination therapy of cannabidiol with TRAIL may be an effective treatment strategy against colorectal cancer,” the researchers wrote. “We conclude that the combination of cannabidiol and TRAIL is a significant potential therapy.”
This is no small breakthrough, the researchers noted.
“To the best of our knowledge,” they wrote, “this is the first report that cannabidiol induces significant TRAIL-induced apoptosis of colorectal cancer cells,” noting that earlier reports suggested that a different protein response was responsible for cancer-cell death.
CBD is itself of interest for cancer studies. Though research on CBD is in very early stages, scientists already have found that it seems to inhibit the growth of many different types of tumor cells in both test tubes and animals. Thus, adding cannabidiol to TRAIL was a natural line of inquiry.
Though far from a curative breakthrough, the findings of the Korean study open up a pathway of investigation for scientists looking for new chemotherapy options for colorectal cancer (CRC), the third most common cancer worldwide, with 1.4 million new cases annually.
The Journal of the National Cancer Institute published a report on May 29, 2019, noting that early-onset colorectal cancer — occurring before age 50 — is rising most rapidly in Western states, where healthful behaviors are prominent.
Although TRAIL is a promising therapeutic agent, it has limitations: it has a short half-life, and cells build up resistance to its effects. The Korean researchers hypothesized that combining TRAIL with another agent — in this case, cannabidiol — could enhance its utility in generating apoptosis in cancer cells.
Kent Vrana, Ph.D., Pharmacology Department Chair at Penn State University (PSU) College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania, has led similar research studies on colon cancer in which he and his team have found that certain cannabinoid compounds may have the potential to inhibit or prevent the growth of tumors.
Regarding the Korean study, Vrana told Weedmaps News that the paper is topical in that there are several TRAIL agonists in clinical trials underway.
“Unfortunately, we found that CBD was weak and only partially efficacious, so a lot will depend on the doses they used and the length of time,” Vrana said.
In view of numerous attempts to develop a treatment that can selectively target cancer cells, cancer still remains a major public health problem.
In fact, early-onset colorectal cancer has been on the rise for several decades in the United States for unknown reasons, according to a new study that appeared in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on May 29, 2019.
“This finding suggests that early life exposures in addition to the ‘usual suspects’ may be contributing to the rise in early onset disease. Future studies should explore novel risk factors for colorectal cancer in young adults,” wrote lead author Rebecca L. Siegel, MPH.
A Cancer Cure in Cannabis?
“Over the past decade, the number of countries and states that have legalized medical cannabis has grown rapidly, and cannabinoid compounds may serve as a novel therapeutic agent to combat a number of diseases,” wrote researchers in another Penn State study, “Synthetic Cannabinoid Activity Against Colorectal Cancer Cells,” published in 2018.
“With regard to cancer, medical cannabis has largely been utilized for palliative purpose, however, a number of studies have proposed the use of cannabinoid compounds as anti-tumor agents,” the PSU authors wrote.
Feature image: Cell biology researchers have found that CBD may help kill cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed. Pictured, cells magnified under a microscope. (Photo by Matt Galisa via Flickr)
As harmful bacteria adapt to resist antibiotics, one area scientists are looking at to keep people healthy has been nutrition. Think “You are what you eat,” or, in the case of a group of select newborn piglets, “You are what your mother eats.”
In an April 2019 study published in the academic journal Animals, researchers found both sows and their piglets were better able to fight off a common infection when the sows were fed a diet that included hemp seed.
“Hemp seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids as well as other bioactive compounds,” the study stated.
Hempseeds as Immunity Boosters
Piglets undergo increased stress when they transition from their mother’s milk to solid food. That stress is further complicated when they are separated from their mothers and moved to other populations. This triggers an oxidative status, or compromised immunity, leaving the piglets more susceptible to a common infection that results in diarrhea and lack of appetite. Until a ban in 2006, pig farmers commonly used antibiotics to keep infections under control.
Extensive research into breast milk has proven that immunity can be passed to offspring during breastfeeding. For instance, one April 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association stated, “Human breast milk also contains numerous protective factors against infectious disease and may influence immune system development.”
As with human infants, piglets can also gain a tremendous boost at fighting infection from its mother’s milk, as well as the ability to fight off other common bacteria, viruses and parasites. “Hempseeds (HS) are a great source of phytochemicals, containing around 30% fats and 25% proteins as well as fiber, cannabinoids, vitamins and minerals,” the authors of the April 2019 study wrote.
Antibiotics have been around for more than a century, and they’re becoming less effective at fighting the kinds of bacteria that can make humans sick. This gradual reduction of efficacy stems from antibiotic resistance, which occurs when bacteria adapts to reduce the effectiveness of drugs that are designed to cure or prevent infections. Medications used to fight the strongest of those bacteria can quickly stop working, so scientists are on a constant search for alternatives.
During the study, researchers divided sows into two groups and fed one group a diet which included 2% hempseed meal for 10 days before birth, then 5% until the piglets were weaned off of the milk. Laboratory analysis of blood drawn on days 1, 7, and 21 showed a significant improvement in the oxidative status of both the sows and their piglets, which had a direct impact on weight gain.
Even though there was no significant change in daily food intake between sows, the piglets whose mothers had received the hemp diet gained more weight. “The average daily gain (ADG) of piglets at 21 days was 0.169 kg for the control group compared to 0.189 kg for the hemp diet group,” the study stated.
The study’s authors cautioned that more research is needed before some correlations can be drawn, but concluded their study by saying, “Collectively, the results obtained in this study provide new insight into the beneficial effects of the dietary addition of hemp seeds as early life intervention.”
Dani Stewart is a career journalist and newsroom manager, who’s called CNN and several TV and radio stations home. She’s traded the daily news grind for telling compelling and informative stories for both new and experienced cannabis users. The San Francisco native now calls Oklahoma home.
CBD intertwines with sex in ultramodern ways.
A growing roster of cannabis-based health companies, such as Foria, Quim, 1906 New Highs, and Privy Peach, have taken cannabidiol (CBD) and its laundry list of versatile uses into the bedroom. Various CBD-infused products have emerged on the adult market, promising to enhance sexual intercourse and create more intimacy between lovers. There’s lube, satisfaction-boosting serums, post-coital relief oil, vaginal and anal suppositories, aphrodisiac chocolates, and the list goes on.
But what does CBD really do for your sex life?
A recent study by CBD and hemp resources website Remedy Review explores CBD’s Effects on Sex. Surveying 5,398 Americans, researchers focused in on 502 (9.3%) who said they took CBD for sex with their current or previous partner. Of the respondents surveryed, 54% percent were men and 46% were women; 80% of respondents described themselves as straight, 16% as bisexual, and 3% as gay. The amount of milligrams each person ingested was not controlled, which is one issue with the study. Stricter dosage control and a larger pool of respondents would likely allow for more accurate findings.
At a glance, here’s what the 502 adults surveyed said of using CBD during sex:
- 72% of men and 76% of women said they experienced stronger orgasms
- 66% of both men and women use CBD to alleviate sexual anxiety
- Men lasted 31% longer before orgasm
- Women reported being 33% faster to orgasm
- 57% report being “more satisfied” with their relationship
- 87% of men and women took CBD as a couple
- 69% are likely to continue to use CBD for sex
What do doctors and industry experts have to say about the study, and what research exists to back it up? We spoke to three experts in sex and cannabis use to add some context to these findings.
Pain, Inflammation and Increased Blood Flow
The survey found 26% use CBD to alleviate pain and soreness after sex. Of those, 39% found CBD “moderately to very” effective, 59% found it “slightly to somewhat” effective, and only 2% found it non-effective.
“For those with pain and inflammation, CBD may be playing a role,” said Adie Rae (formerly Wilson-Poe), Ph.D., a neuroscientist and Weedmaps scientific adviser. “We know that CBD can help with pain, and perhaps both systemic and topical CBD might be a treatment for vulvodynia or vaginitis, but we will need clinical studies to validate that possibility.”
Growing research shows that cannabinoids are great vasodilators, enhancing blood flow and, in turn, relaxing muscles. This effect is great for sex, for obvious reasons.
“THC is a well-known pain reliever, and CBD is a well-known anti-inflammatory, so both of these cannabinoids are working in a beneficial way to decrease any pain which a lot of people experience,” said Kiana Reeves, Director of Communication and Community Education at Foria. “Even if you don’t experience pain, everyone can benefit the increase of blood flow.”
Women’s health problems tend to be underreported because there’s so much social stigma and shame around them. Seen as the most comprehensive study on sex, to date, the landmark “Sex in America: A Definitive Survey” published in 1994 estimated about 20% of women experience pain during or after sex, and those numbers increase to about 33% after menopause.
Cyo Nystrom, CEO and Co-founder of plant-based vaginal wellness company Quim, preaches the benefits of all cannabinoids for female sexual health. “The benefit is profound when you look at the percentage of people with vaginas that experience some pain during sex. When you use a topical, you’re increasing blood flow to the clitoral-urethral-vaginal complex, which in turn increases sensation, arousal, and natural lubrication.”
Does CBD help to alleviate sexual anxiety in a psychoactive sense? From Rae’s point of view, it depends on the dose. “Experimentally, in order for people to have measurably lower anxiety, they need to consume about 400 milligrams of oral CBD,” she explained. “I can guarantee that almost none of the 502 adults in this study consumed that much.”
Looking at anxiety, the study by Remedy Review found that 66% of both men and women use CBD to alleviate sexual anxiety, 61% of men and 57% of women said it helped with “performance worries,” 44% of men and 37% of women say CBD moderately treats sexual anxieties of poor body image.
“The brain is the biggest sex organ in our bodies,” Nystrom said. “It’s not the penis, not the vagina, not the clitoris, it’s your brain. CBD has shown it can definitely help with anxiety. If you have performance anxiety around sex, there are a lot of different reasons for that. It’s worth getting down to the root causes. CBD may be a more holistic step towards that, as opposed to beta-blockers.”
Reeves has found similar anecdotes from Foria customers over the years. She explained it is actually “very common” for people to have mild sexual anxiety, which can appear in the form of difficulty connecting with themselves or connecting with their partner, to extreme sexual anxiety, which can dysregulate one’s nervous system so severely that it inhibits them from having sex at all.
“One of the things your body shuts down when it’s in a state of chronic anxiety is its libido,” said Reeves. “One aspect of cannabis and hemp is that both of them work with the nervous system to really bring stress levels down, which bring us into sensation.”
As far as the psychoactive effects of CBD goes, especially when ingesting small doses, Rae said it’s mind over matter.
Why did CBD reportedly give 77% of people in the study the “courage” to explore different sexual outlets? “Placebo,” Rae said. “Not that the placebo effect is a bad thing. On the contrary, the perfect drug is one that does absolutely nothing except make you feel better, or in this case, more sexually satisfied. The placebo effect is actually a very important, measurable, and real psychological phenomenon. The placebo effect is actually quite powerful in medicine.”
Feature Image: CBD and Sex, Photo courtesy of Quim
Researchers found no direct association between cannabis use and psychosis among high school students in Spain, a new study suggested.
The potential association between cannabis use and psychosis gained renewed interest after the publication of several articles on the topic in mainstream media, such as the New Yorker’s “Is Marijuana As Safe As We Think?” piece, written by cultural pundit Malcolm Gladwell and published on Jan. 14, 2019.
By its design, the cross-sectional Spanish study could not make claims about causality, merely that certain phenomena showed up together. In medical research, a cross-sectional study is a type of observational research that analyzes data from a population, or a representative subset, at a specific point in time.
Nonetheless, the study adds important evidence to the debate over a supposed link between cannabis and psychiatric problems, a controversy that has resurfaced as U.S. states contemplate legalizing recreational cannabis.
“After adjustment for confounders, psychotic-like experiences were not seen to be associated with cannabis use,” the study stated.
What This Study Tells Us About Cannabis and Psychosis
The study, published in the Barcelona-based academic journal Adicciones on May 1, 2019, suggests that relationships established between psychotic-like experiences and cannabis are complex and mediated by relevant variables, including a genetic predisposition. At the same time, they did find evidence that cannabis was associated with heightened emotional and/or behavioral problems that, in turn, were associated with psychotic-like experiences.
“It seems that…the use of cannabis increases the risk of comorbid psychopathology and this, in turn, increases the risk of psychosis,” the authors stated in the study’s abstract.
“Once we adjusted the data for extraneous factors [confounders], the [direct] association cannabis-psychotic experiences disappeared,” lead author Eduardo Fonseca-Pedrero wrote in an email to Weedmaps News.
The findings detailed in the study seemed to confirm that, for adolescents experiencing the sort of psychiatric problems that could presage later mental illness, cannabis use — like smoking cigarettes and air pollution — could be an aggravating factor.
These cautious conclusions, nevertheless, are a far cry from the March 20, 2019, Esquire headline that posed “Smoking Weed Increases Your Chances of Developing Psychosis” or other reports that claim psychosis is a side effect of marijuana consumption.
The researchers used a battery of psychological and cognitive tests as well as questionnaires on demographic information and self-reported substance use, both lifetime and recent, among a random sample of 1,588 teenagers in Spain’s La Rioja province.
They applied mediation analysis, a statistical method that tests for an indirect relationship between two variables that are not directly associated via a third, or a “mediating” variable, to obtain the resulting data.
In this case, while finding no association between cannabis use and psychotic experiences, the researchers did find that cannabis use was linked to behavioral and emotional problems, which in turn was linked to “psychosis-like” experiences that could signal a possible future psychiatric diagnosis.
Virtually everyone acknowledges the greater potency of current cannabis products with far higher levels of THC, and its effects have gone largely unstudied due to government restrictions on research into the plant, still federally categorized as a Schedule I drug.
While cannabis research remains controversial, research scientists are generally prudent about drawing conclusions from limited studies. A tentative consensus may be developing that, while cannabis doesn’t cause mental illness, among adolescents predisposed genetically to certain psychiatric diagnoses such as schizophrenia, heavy cannabis use could be a contributing factor.