Continuing the trend of the past few years, 2017 produced a plethora of important cannabis-related studies, showing the plant to be beneficial in a wide, diverse range of medical ailments.
Below is our list (the fifth annual) of the 10 most important cannabis studies of the year (in no particular order):
A study published by Indiana University South Bend found that cannabis use is associated with decreased rates of mortality from obesity, diabetes mellitus, taumatic brain injury, use of alcohol and prescription drugs, driving fatalities, and opioid overdose deaths.
According to the study, there would be “an estimated 23,500 to 47,500 deaths prevented annually if medical marijuana were legal nationwide”, and cannabis prohibition “is revealed as a major cause of premature death in the U.S.”
The statewide legalization of medical marijuana is associated with a reduction in hospitalization from opioids, according to a study conducted at the University of California, and published by both the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependency and the National Institute of Health.
According to a study by BDS Analytics; “Cannabis consumers, it turns out, are among the most well-adjusted and successful of American adults, based on results from BDS Analytics’ landmark cannabis consumer research study, the first of its kind in history. The ongoing study is the most comprehensive and detailed look at cannabis consumers ever conducted.”
Although memory performance decreases with age, marijuana can reverse these aging processes in the brain, according to a study published in the journal Nature Medicine.
“[THC] treatment completely reversed the loss of performance in the old animals,” reported Professor Andreas Zimmer from the Institute of Molecular Psychiatry at the University of Bonn and member of the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has beneficial effects in patients with schizophrenia, according to an exploratory double-blind parallel-group trial study published by the American Journal of Psychiatry.
“These findings suggest that CBD has beneficial effects in patients with schizophrenia”, states the study. “As CBD’s effects do not appear to depend on dopamine receptor antagonism, this agent may represent a new class of treatment for the disorder.”
Just a single dose of cannabidiol (CBD) reduces blood pressure, indicating it may play a role in the treatment of cardiovascular disorders, according to a study published by the journal JCI Insight.
“This data shows that acute administration of CBD reduces resting BP and the BP increase to stress in humans, associated with increased HR [heart rate]”, states researchers. “These hemodynamic changes should be considered for people taking CBD. Further research is required to establish whether CBD has a role in the treatment of cardiovascular disorders.”
Activation of the body’s cannabinoid receptors through spinal infusion is effective at blocking pain, according to a study published by the journal Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine.
Laws legalizing marijuana on the state level aren’t associated with increased traffic fatalities, according to astudy published in the American Journal of Public Health. For the study, researchers at the University of Texas-Austin evaluated crash fatality rates in Colorado and Washington before and after the states legalized cannabis for adult use, and they compared these rates to those of eight control states that had not enacted any significant changes in their marijuana laws.
“We found no significant association between recreational marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado and subsequent changes in motor vehicle fatality rates in the first three years after recreational marijuana legalization,” the study concludes. Authors also reported no association between adult use marijuana legalization and the total number of non-fatal crashes.
Cannabinoids provide a potential treatment option for disorders associated with traumatic memories, according to a study published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology, and e-published ahead of print by the U.S. National Institute of Health.
According to a study being published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS), and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health, Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may help prevent the progression from HIV infection to the development of AIDS.
A study published by the journal Addiction Biology “strongly suggest” that cannabidiol (CBD) may be useful in the treatment of alcohol use disorders. For the study, researchers “evaluated the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on ethanol reinforcement, motivation and relapse” in mice.” The effects of “CBD (60 mg/kg, i.p.) on blood ethanol concentration, hypothermia and handling-induced convulsions associated to acute ethanol administration were evaluated.”
According to a study published in the Journal of Urban Economics, the forced closure of marijuana dispensaries leads to an increase in crime. For the study, researchers at the University of Southern California examined the impact of dispensary closures on crime rates in Los Angeles. Crime data was analyzed in the days before and after the city ordered hundreds of dispensaries to be closed.
Regular administration of cannabis-based medicines is directly associated with improved speech in patients with Tourette Syndrome, according to a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
Topical marijuana has the potential to improve pain management associated with wounds, according to a study published in the Journal of Pain Management and e-published ahead of print by the U.S. National Institute of Health.
“Clinically significant analgesia that was associated with reduced opioid utilization was noted in all 3 cases”, claims researchers. “TMC [topical medical cannabis] has the potential to improve pain management in patients suffering from wounds of all classes.”
You can find our list of the top 10 cannabis studies of 2016 by clicking here. You can find our list of the top 10 studies of 2015 by clicking here. For 2014’s list click here, and for 2013’s list click here.
About Anthony Martinelli
Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.