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article imageNew study sheds light on cannabis and stress reduction

By Tim Sandle     Sep 1, 2020 in Health
Does regular cannabis contribute to a reduction in feelings of stress and anxiety? or does consumption fuel these symptoms, and create other problems like increased paranoia? A new study looks at the evidence.
In terms of reducing anxiety and stress feelings and symptoms, the new study finds that a molecule that is produced by the brain activates similar receptors as cannabis and that this is protective against stress. This is through reducing identified anxiety-causing connections between two brain regions.
The findings show how pharmacologic cannabis-based treatments increase levels of a molecule called "2-AG" in the brain. This mechanism could regulate anxiety and depressive symptoms in people with stress-related anxiety disorders.
The research thus far is based on animal models. While the effects are evident, as to why this cannabinoid signaling system disintegrates in response to stress, and leads to strengthening of the connection between these two regions and heightened anxiety behaviors in mice, is as yet unknown. Hence, further study is needed prior to any human trials taking place.
The additional research will seek to ascertain the varying concentrations of the chemical compounds tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) in cannabis influence users' feelings of wellbeing.
The new research is published in the publication Neuron, where the research paper is titled "Endocannabinoid Signaling Collapse Mediates Stress-Induced Amygdalo-Cortical Strengthening."
This type of research is not supported by all scientists. A different research strand finds that long-term use of cannabis impairs memory. This may carry implications for people who use the drug to combat epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain.
In related news, a study has shown how inhaled cannabis can reduce self-reported headache severity by 47.3 percent and migraine severity by 49.6 percent. The research found no evidence that cannabis caused 'overuse headache,' a pitfall of more conventional pain relieving treatments (such as opioids). However, the researchers did find some users moving to using larger doses of cannabis over time, indicating they may be developing tolerance to the drug.
The research is presented in the Journal of Pain, in a study headed "Short- and Long-Term Effects of Cannabis on Headache and Migraine."
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