Adults with a history of marijuana use have a lower prevalence of type 2 diabetes and possess a lower risk of contracting the disease than those with no history of cannabis consumption, according to clinical trial data published in the British Medical Journal.
Investigators at the University of California, Los Angeles assessed the association between diabetes mellitus (DM) and marijuana use among adults aged 20 to 59 in a nationally representative sample of the US population of 10,896 adults. The study included four groups: non-marijuana users (61.0%), past marijuana users (30.7%), light (one to four times/month) (5.0%) and heavy (more than five times/month) current marijuana users (3.3%). Diabetes was defined based on self-report or abnormal glycaemic parameters.
Researchers hypothesized that the prevalence of type 2 diabetes would be reduced in marijuana users because of the presence of various cannabinoids that possess immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties.
Investigators reported that past and present cannabis consumers possessed a lower prevalence of adult onset diabetes, even after authors adjusted for social variables (ethnicity, level of physical activity, etc.), despite all groups possessing a similar family history of DM. Researchers did not find an association between cannabis use and other chronic diseases, including hypertension, stroke, myocradial infarction, or heart failure compared to nonusers.
Past and current cannabis users did report engaging in more frequent physical activity than nonusers, but also possessed higher overall levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides. By contrast, the highest prevalence of marijuana consumers were found among those with the lowest glucose levels.
Investigators concluded, “Our analysis of adults aged 20-59 years … Showed that participants who used marijuana had a lower prevalence of DM and lower odds of DM relative to non-marijuana users.” They caution, however: “Prospective studies in rodents and humans are needed to determine a potential causal relationship between cannabinoid receptor activation and DM. Until those studies are performed, we do not advocate the use of marijuana in patients at risk for DM.”
Previous studies in animals have indicated that certain cannabinoids possess anti-diabetic properties. In particular, a preclinical trial published in the journal Autoimmunity reported that injections of 5 mg per day of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD significantly reduced the incidence of diabetes in mice compared to placebo. Investigators reported that control mice all developed adult onset diabetes at a median of 17 weeks (range 15-20 weeks), while a majority (60 percent) of CBD-treated mice remained diabetes-free at 26 weeks.
Full text of the study, “Decreased prevalence of diabetes in marijuana users: cross-sectional data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III,” appears online here.
The oral administration of the non-psychotropic cannabis plant constituent cannabidiol (CBD) is safe and well tolerated in humans, according to clinical trial data published online by the journal Current Pharmaceutical Design.
Investigators at Kings College in London assessed the physiological and behavioral effects of CBD and THC versus placebo in 16 healthy volunteers in a randomized, double-blind, crossover trial.
Investigators reported that the oral administration of 10 mg of THC was associated with various physiological and behavioral effects – such as increased heart rate and sedation – whereas the oral administration of 600 mg of CBD was not.
They concluded, “There were no differences between CBD and placebo on any symptomatic, physiological variable. … In healthy volunteers, THC has marked acute behavioral and physiological effects, whereas CBD has proven to be safe and well tolerated.”
A previous review of the use of CBD in human subjects, published in the scientific journal Current Drug Safety last year, similarly concluded that the compound was safe, non-toxic, and well tolerated.
Separate investigations of CBD have documented the cannabinoid to possess a variety of therapeutic properties, including anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-epileptic, anti-cancer, and bone-stimulating properties. In recent years, patients in states that allow for the use of cannabis therapy, particularly California, have expressed an interest in plant strains that contain uniquely high percentages of the compound.
Cannabidiol, because it is an organic component of cannabis, is presently classified under federal law as a schedule I prohibited substance. Such substances are required by law to possess “a high potential for abuse,” “a lack of accepted safety … under medical supervision,” and “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”
Full text of the study, “Acute effects of a single, oral dose of d9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) administration in healthy volunteers” appears online in Current Pharmaceutical Design.
America’s top drug cop is clearly not an expert in agriculture. So why is Obama’s Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske claiming to be one?
Washington, DC: The federal government continues to oppose allowing licensed farmers the opportunity to cultivate industrial hemp for fiber and other agricultural purposes, according to statements posted last week by Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske on the whitehouse.gov website.
Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa that contains only minute (typically less than .03 percent) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana. According to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, “The United States is the only developed nation in which industrial hemp is not an established crop.” Farmers in Canada and the European Union grow hemp commercially for fiber, seed, and oil for use in a variety of industrial and consumer products, including food.
Stated Kerlikowske on the White House’s ‘We the People‘ website: “Federal law prohibits human consumption, distribution, and possession of Schedule I controlled substances. … While most of the THC in cannabis plants is concentrated in the marijuana, all parts of the plant, including hemp, can contain THC, a Schedule I controlled substance. The Administration will continue looking for innovative ways to support farmers across the country while balancing the need to protect public health and safety.”
A white paper published by the North American Industrial Hemp Council counters: “The THC levels in industrial hemp are so low that no one could get high from smoking it. Moreover, hemp contains a relatively high percentage of another cannabinoid, CBD, that actually blocks the marijuana high. Hemp, it turns out, not only (isn’t) marijuana; it could be called ‘anti-marijuana.’”
In recent years, lawmakers in several states – including North Dakota, Montana, and Vermont – have enacted legislation seeking to allow state-licensed farmers the opportunity to grow hemp crops. However, according to the CRS, “The US Drug Enforcement Administration has been unwilling to grant licenses for growing small plots of hemp for research purposes,” even when such research is authorized by state law, because the agency believes that doing so would “send the wrong message to the American public concerning the government’s position on drugs.”
In 2007, 2009, and again in 2011, federal lawmakers have introduced in Congress, “The Industrial Hemp Farming Act,” to exclude low potency varieties of cannabis from federal prohibition. If approved, this measure would grant state legislatures the authority to license and regulate the commercial production of hemp as an industrial and agricultural commodity. The present version of this Act, House Bill 1831, has 33 co-sponsors, but has yet to receive a Congressional hearing. The measure is before the US House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.
During World War II, the US Department of Agriculture actively promoted the domestic cultivation of hemp during a campaign known as ‘Hemp for Victory.’
The administration of the non-psychotropic cannabis plant constituent cannabidiol (CBD) is protective in an experimental model of colon cancer, according to preclinical trial data published online in the Journal of Molecular Medicine.
Investigators at the University of Naples assessed the effect of CBD on colon carcinogenesis in mice. Researchers reported that CBD administration was associated with cancerous tumor reduction and reduced cell proliferation.
Authors wrote: “Although cannabidiol has been shown to kill glioma cells, to inhibit cancer cell invasion and to reduce the growth of breast carcinoma and lung metastases in rodents, its effect on colon carcinogenesis has not been evaluated to date. This is an important omission, since colon cancer affects millions of individuals in Western countries. In the present study, we have shown that cannabidiol exerts (1) protective effects in an experimental model of colon cancer and (2) antiproliferative actions in colorectal carcinoma cells.”
Authors also acknowledged that CBD possesses “an extremely safe profile in humans.” They concluded, “[O]ur findings suggest that cannabidiol might be worthy of clinical consideration in colon cancer prevention.”
Clinical review data published in the scientific journal Current Drug Safety in December concluded that CBD is “non-toxic” to healthy cells and is “well tolerated” in humans. Nevertheless, cannabidiol is presently classified under federal law as a schedule I prohibited substance. Such substances are required by law to possess “a high potential for abuse,” “a lack of accepted safety … under medical supervision,” and “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”
Separate preclinical trials evaluating the anti-cancer activities of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids show that their administration can inhibit the proliferation of a variety of cancerous cell lines, including breast carcinoma, prostate carcinoma, gastric adenocarcinoma, skin carcinoma, leukemia cells, neuroblastoma, lung carcinoma, uterus carcinoma, thyroid epithelioma, pancreatic adenocarcinoma, cervical carcinoma, oral cancer, biliary tract cancer (cholangiocarcinoma), and lymphoma. NORML provides summaries and links to these studies here.
Full text of this latest study, “Chemopreventive effect of the non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid cannabidiol on experimental colon cancer,” appears in the Journal of Molecular Medicine.
Cannabinoid Administration Delays Huntington’s Disease Progression In Animals — Time To Initiate Human TrialsJune 20, 2011
The combined administration of the plant cannabinoids THC and CBD (cannabidiol) provide neuroprotection in rat models of Huntington’s Disease (HD), according to experimental data to be published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research.
Huntington’s Disease is an inherited degenerative brain disorder characterized by motor abnormalities and dementia produced by selective lesions in the cerebral cortex and, in particular, the striatum. There are presently no known conventional therapies available to alleviate HD symptoms or delay HD-associated striatal degeneration.
An international team of investigators from Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom assessed whether THC and CBD-rich botanical extracts could delay the progress of the disease in laboratory animals. Authors reported, “[O]ur data demonstrate that a [one to one] combination of THC and CBD-enriched botanical extracts protected striatal neurons against … toxicity.” By contrast, the administration of individual, selective synthetic cannabinoid agonists did not produce similarly favorable outcomes.
Investigators concluded, “In our opinion, these data provide sufficient preclinical evidence to justify a clinical evaluation of [one to one THC to CBD] cannabis-based medicine … as a neuroprotective agent capable of delaying disease progression in patients affected by HD, a disorder that is currently poorly man- aged in the clinic, prompting an urgent need for clinical trials with agents showing positive results in preclinical studies.”
Additional studies documenting the disease modifying potential of marijuana is available in the NORML handbook, Emerging Clinical Applications For Cannabis & Cannabinoids: Fourth Edition, available online here.