Can Cannabis Lower Blood Pressure?

Cannabis has historically been thought of as a relaxant and a depressant of the physical body. As a result it’s no surprise that the idea of using cannabis to help manage blood pressure has gained some traction recently. While generally confirming the idea that cannabis can lower blood pressure, recent experiments have also shown some disagreement depending on the manner in which experiments are conducted. A review from the University of Nottingham encapsulates some of the discussion around the effect of cannabinoids on blood pressure, but for readers wanting a digested answer, the clearest part of the conversation is that cannabis use almost certainly does not contribute to high blood pressure, especially when vaporized. High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition in which the force of a person’s blood against their artery walls is higher than normal and therefore likely to lead to a host of other problems. Although high blood pressure that occurs without symptoms often goes unnoticed, the body can only compensate for unhealthy blood pressure for a limited amount of time. Left uncontrolled, high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure, vision loss, and poor kidney functioning, all without much warning. The general research pipeline for investigating a new area of medicine tends to flow from test tube, to rodents, and lastly to humans. Genetically modified rodents are expensive to create and time-consuming to maintain, so preliminary assays are usually first performed on the cells in question outside normal living conditions (such as…

Treating ADHD with Cannabinoids

Chances are that you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed neurological conditions as well as one of the most controversial due to the difficulty of treatment and diagnosis. New research has begun to suggest that the body’s cannabinoid system, specifically cannabinoid agonists like those found in cannabis, may play a role in treatment. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is widely used as a diagnosis guide for doctors, ADHD is identified by a patient with measured trouble with mental functions that leads to inattention and hyperactivity. Unfortunately, what constitutes ADHD is therefore automatically open to a wide interpretation; at this point in time, our model of “attention” itself is incomplete. That’s not to say we don’t have some idea of the main chemicals that regulate consciousness. Norepinephrine is most responsible for vigilant concentration in the brain, and dopamine is most responsible for cognitive alertness. Moreover, many individuals with ADHD have thinner brain tissue in certain areas that regulate impulsivity. However, as research continues, the medical community is split over whether ADHD is even one illness. Many have proposed that the attention-deficit and hyperactivity symptoms stem from two different sources and as a result require different solutions. However, what makes ADHD treatment most controversial is the use of stimulants for treatment. Ritalin was the first major drug to be prescribed for ADHD, but second and third-generation stimulants with longer effects and less tolerance,…

THCV. Forget What You’ve Heard

One of the biggest obstacles to responsible proponents of medical cannabis is the amount of misinformation we have to contend with from both sides. On one side there are  government-sponsored publications that directly misconstrue the science behind cannabis. On the other, there are well-meaning citizens of the cannabis community that get carried away. To their credit, cannabis *is* a magical Swiss Army Knife of a plant. The amount of uses for cannabis from medical to industrial is mind-boggling; humanity has always had a special relationship to the plant, which is evident in some of the oldest Chinese characters. However, in the tide of wanting to support positive change and wanting modern society to see the truth about such a useful plant, some sources are too lenient on fact checking. For instance, someone who reads a study stating cannabis components kill cancer cells in a rat tumor, concludes that smoking cannabis cures cancer, and proceeds to distribute that viewpoint throughout the community. The truth is cannabis does hold answers to new chemotherapy drugs which may be used in conjunction with other treatments, but that’s obviously not the same as saying it is a cure for cancer. Overly-hopeful supporters of cannabis need to be carful not to unintentionally harm the integrity of the movement. This “hype” effect is especially pronounced in the case of tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). Just like the name sounds, this is a chemical cousin of THC, the principal psychoactive component of cannabis. However, there are a few key functional differences.…