Great News – Marijuana’s effects on addicts’ relapse rates

Marijuana could reduce drug and alcohol relapses for addicts

Abby Haglage

Mon, Mar 26 8:59 PM EDT

The surprising way medical marijuana can actually help addicts.

Marijuana is now legal for medical use in 29 states, and it’s no longer a secret that the drug has medicinal benefits. It’s been shown to drastically reduce the number of seizures in children, diminish the effects of post traumatic stress disorder, and relieve nausea in cancer patients.

Marijuana provides several health benefits. Many of the drug’s benefits derive from cannabidiol (CBD), one of its more than 100 active components. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that causes a high, cannabidiol does not have psychoactive effects — meaning that an individual can experience the medical benefits without having to experience the high.

CBD’s psychological and neurological benefits, like the ones mentioned above, have been known for some time. But this month, scientists may have found another, potentially groundbreaking advantage of the drug: a means of curb relapse rates in those suffering from addiction.

The findings appeared in a study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology that was conducted by a group of scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. To perform the preclinical trial, the scientists subjected rats to a daily intake of alcohol or cocaine that resulted in addictive behavior.

Once the animals showed signs of addiction, the researchers began to apply a gel containing cannabidiol onto the rats’ skin, once a day for a week. The addicted rats treated with CBD demonstrated not only less anxiety but also fewer relapses when confronted with situations found to trigger the addictive behavior as they recovered from addiction to either alcohol or cocaine. The researchers concluded that the treatment “effectively reduced relapse provoked by stress and drug cues” as well as “reduced anxiety and impulsivity.”

Friedbert Weiss, the lead author of the study and a professor in Scripps’s department of neuroscience, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the outcome the team has observed is promising. “The results provide proof of principle supporting the potential of CBD in relapse prevention along two dimensions: beneficial actions across several vulnerability states and long-lasting effects with only brief treatment.”

The length of time that the effects seem to last was particularly heartening. Although the CBD treatment was ended after seven days, the rats showed reduced relapse rates for five full months afterward — an outcome the researchers called “quite unexpected.”

If it can be shown to produce a similar effect in human trials, it could offer major benefits for the millions of people currently addicted to drugs in the United States…

FINISH READING: Marijuana’s effects on addicts’ relapse rates






 

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McConnell looks to complete hemp’s comeback as crop

McConnell looks to complete hemp’s comeback as crop

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants a full pardon for hemp. The Kentucky Republican on Monday previewed legislation seeking to free the plant from its ties to marijuana and let it take root as a legitimate crop.

McConnell said Monday, March 26, 2018, that he’ll introduce legislation to legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity.

March 27, 2018 Hemp — marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin — would be removed from the controlled substances list under the bill he’s offering, McConnell said. The result would legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity.

“We’re going to give it everything we’ve got to pull it off,” the Senate’s top leader told hemp advocates in his home state. The crop has been grown on an experimental basis in a number of states in recent years, and Kentucky has been at the forefront of hemp’s comeback. Kentucky agriculture officials have approved more than 12,000 acres (4,800 hectares) to be grown in the state this year, and 57 Kentucky processors are helping turn the raw product into a multitude of products.

Growing hemp without a federal permit has long been banned owing to its classification as a controlled substance related to marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are the same species, but hemp has a negligible amount of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high.

Hemp got a limited reprieve with the 2014 federal Farm Bill. McConnell helped push for the provision that allows state agriculture departments to designate hemp projects for research and development. Since then, 34 states have authorized hemp research, while actual production occurred in 19 states last year, said Eric Steenstra, president of the advocacy group Vote Hemp. Hemp production totaled about 25,500 acres (10,300 hectares) in 2017, more than double the 2016 output, he said.

Supporters said the bill would bring more certainty for farmers, agribusinesses and investors looking at the crop. “The goal of this new bill, should it become law, is to simply remove the roadblocks altogether,” McConnell said. “It would encourage innovation and development and support to domestic production of hemp.”

The crop, which once thrived in Kentucky, was historically used for rope, clothing and mulch from the fiber, hemp milk and cooking oil from the seeds, and soap and lotions. Other uses include building materials, animal bedding and biofuels.

Hemp advocates, who have fought for years to restore the crop’s legitimacy, praised McConnell for putting his political clout behind the effort. “This is a huge development for the hemp industry,” Steenstra said.

“Sen. McConnell’s support is critical to helping us move hemp from research and pilot programs to full commercial production.”…

FINISH READING: McConnell looks to complete hemp’s comeback as crop