SciCombinator

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Concept: Cannabis sativa

259

Anecdotally, both acute and chronic cannabis use have been associated with apathy, amotivation, and other reward processing deficits. To date, empirical support for these effects is limited, and no previous studies have assessed both acute effects of Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), as well as associations with cannabis dependence.

Concepts: Cannabinoid receptor, Tetrahydrocannabinol, Cannabis, Dopamine, Cannabinoid, Cannabidiol, Cannabis sativa

178

Cannabis is widely used as a self-management strategy by patients with a wide range of symptoms and diseases including chronic noncancer pain. The safety of cannabis use for medical purposes has not been systematically evaluated. We conducted a prospective cohort study to describe safety issues among subjects with chronic noncancer pain. A standardized herbal cannabis product (12.5% THC) was dispensed to eligible subjects for a one-year period; controls were subjects with chronic pain from the same clinics who were not cannabis users. The primary outcome consisted of serious adverse events (SAEs) and non-serious adverse events (AEs). Secondary safety outcomes included pulmonary and neurocognitive function and standard hematology, biochemistry, renal, liver and endocrine function. Secondary efficacy parameters included pain and other symptoms, mood, and quality of life. Two hundred and sixteen individuals with chronic pain were recruited to the cannabis group (141 current users and 58 ex-users) and 215 controls (chronic pain but no current cannabis use) from seven clinics across Canada. The median daily cannabis dose was 2.5g/d. There was no difference in risk of SAEs (adjusted IRR=1.08, 95% CI=0.57-2.04) between groups. Medical cannabis users were at increased risk of non-serious AEs (adjusted IRR=1.73, 95% CI=1.41-2.13); most were mild to moderate. There were no differences in secondary safety assessments. Quality-controlled herbal cannabis, when used by cannabis-experienced patients as part of a monitored treatment program over one year, appears to have a reasonable safety profile. Longer term monitoring for functional outcomes is needed.

Concepts: Vitamin D, Medicine, Chemotherapy, Tetrahydrocannabinol, Cannabis, Medical cannabis, Cannabis sativa, Legality of cannabis by country

146

In many parts of the world, the possession and cultivation of Cannabis sativa L. are restricted by law. As chemical or morphological analyses cannot identify the plant in some cases, a simple yet accurate DNA-based method for identifying C. sativa is desired. We have developed a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay for the rapid identification of C. sativa. By optimizing the conditions for the LAMP reaction that targets a highly conserved region of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) synthase gene, C. sativa was identified within 50 min at 60-66 °C. The detection limit was the same as or higher than that of conventional PCR. The LAMP assay detected all 21 specimens of C. sativa, showing high specificity. Using a simple protocol, the identification of C. sativa could be accomplished within 90 min from sample treatment to detection without use of special equipment. A rapid, sensitive, highly specific, and convenient method for detecting and identifying C. sativa has been developed and is applicable to forensic investigations and industrial quality control.

Concepts: Cannabis, Identification, Hemp, Cannabis sativa

101

Current levels and dangers of opioid use in the U.S. warrant the investigation of harm-reducing treatment alternatives.

Concepts: Opioid, Pain, Tetrahydrocannabinol, Cannabis, Psychoactive drug, Chronic pain, Cannabis sativa, Legality of cannabis by country

98

Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) plants produce and accumulate a terpene-rich resin in glandular trichomes, which are abundant on the surface of the female inflorescence. Bouquets of different monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes are important components of cannabis resin as they define some of the unique organoleptic properties and may also influence medicinal qualities of different cannabis strains and varieties. Transcriptome analysis of trichomes of the cannabis hemp variety ‘Finola’ revealed sequences of all stages of terpene biosynthesis. Nine cannabis terpene synthases (CsTPS) were identified in subfamilies TPS-a and TPS-b. Functional characterization identified mono- and sesqui-TPS, whose products collectively comprise most of the terpenes of ‘Finola’ resin, including major compounds such as β-myrcene, (E)-β-ocimene, (-)-limonene, (+)-α-pinene, β-caryophyllene, and α-humulene. Transcripts associated with terpene biosynthesis are highly expressed in trichomes compared to non-resin producing tissues. Knowledge of the CsTPS gene family may offer opportunities for selection and improvement of terpene profiles of interest in different cannabis strains and varieties.

Concepts: Plant, Cannabis, Terpene, Hemp, Medical cannabis, Cannabis sativa

94

Despite its cultivation as a source of food, fibre and medicine, and its global status as the most used illicit drug, the genus Cannabis has an inconclusive taxonomic organization and evolutionary history. Drug types of Cannabis (marijuana), which contain high amounts of the psychoactive cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), are used for medical purposes and as a recreational drug. Hemp types are grown for the production of seed and fibre, and contain low amounts of THC. Two species or gene pools (C. sativa and C. indica) are widely used in describing the pedigree or appearance of cultivated Cannabis plants. Using 14,031 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) genotyped in 81 marijuana and 43 hemp samples, we show that marijuana and hemp are significantly differentiated at a genome-wide level, demonstrating that the distinction between these populations is not limited to genes underlying THC production. We find a moderate correlation between the genetic structure of marijuana strains and their reported C. sativa and C. indica ancestry and show that marijuana strain names often do not reflect a meaningful genetic identity. We also provide evidence that hemp is genetically more similar to C. indica type marijuana than to C. sativa strains.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Evolution, Cannabis, Psychoactive drug, Recreational drug use, Cannabis sativa

90

Marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.) cultivation has proliferated in northwestern California since at least the mid-1990s. The environmental impacts associated with marijuana cultivation appear substantial, yet have been difficult to quantify, in part because cultivation is clandestine and often occurs on private property. To evaluate the impacts of water diversions at a watershed scale, we interpreted high-resolution aerial imagery to estimate the number of marijuana plants being cultivated in four watersheds in northwestern California, USA. Low-altitude aircraft flights and search warrants executed with law enforcement at cultivation sites in the region helped to validate assumptions used in aerial imagery interpretation. We estimated the water demand of marijuana irrigation and the potential effects water diversions could have on stream flow in the study watersheds. Our results indicate that water demand for marijuana cultivation has the potential to divert substantial portions of streamflow in the study watersheds, with an estimated flow reduction of up to 23% of the annual seven-day low flow in the least impacted of the study watersheds. Estimates from the other study watersheds indicate that water demand for marijuana cultivation exceeds streamflow during the low-flow period. In the most impacted study watersheds, diminished streamflow is likely to have lethal or sub-lethal effects on state-and federally-listed salmon and steelhead trout and to cause further decline of sensitive amphibian species.

Concepts: Water, Hydrology, Salmon, Cannabis, Hemp, Rainbow trout, Cannabis sativa

72

Cannabis sativa has been cultivated throughout human history as a source of fiber, oil and food, and for its medicinal and intoxicating properties. Selective breeding has produced cannabis plants for specific uses, including high-potency marijuana strains and hemp cultivars for fiber and seed production. The molecular biology underlying cannabinoid biosynthesis and other traits of interest is largely unexplored.

Concepts: DNA, Evolution, Plant, Cannabis, Cannabinoid, Hemp, Cannabis sativa

43

BACKGROUND: & Aims: The marijuana plant Cannabis sativa has been reported to produce beneficial effects for patients with inflammatory bowel diseases, but these have not been investigated in controlled trials. We performed a prospective trial to determine whether cannabis can induce remission in patients with Crohn’s disease. METHODS: We studied 21 patients (mean age 40±14 years, 13 male) with Crohn’s Disease and activity index (CDAI) scores >200 who did not respond to therapy with steroids, immunomodulators, or anti-tumor necrosis factor-α agents. Patients were randomly assigned to groups given cannabis, twice daily, in the form of cigarettes containing 11.5 mg of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or placebo containing cannabis flowers from which the THC had been extracted. Disease activity and laboratory tests were assessed during 8 weeks of treatment and 2 weeks thereafter. RESULTS: Complete remission (a CDAI score <150) was achieved by 5/11 subjects in the cannabis group (45%) and 1/10 in the placebo group (10%; P=.43). A clinical response (a decrease in CDAI score of >100) was observed in 10/11 subjects in the cannabis group (90%; from 330±105 to 152±109) and 4/10 in the placebo group (40%; from 373±94 to 306±143; P=.028). Three patients in the cannabis group were weaned from steroid dependency. Subjects receiving cannabis reported improved appetite and sleep, with no significant side effects. CONCLUSION: Although the primary endpoint of the study (induction of remission) was not achieved, a short course (8 week) of THC-rich cannabis produced significant clinical, steroid-free benefits to 11 patients with active CD, compared to placebo, without side effects. Further studies, with larger patient groups and a non-smoking mode of intake, are warranted. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01040910.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, Inflammatory bowel disease, Placebo, Cannabis, Cannabis sativa

39

Case reports have described a syndrome of cyclic vomiting associated with chronic marijuana use, termed cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. The primary objective was to determine the prevalence of patients presenting with cyclic vomiting before and after the liberalization of medical marijuana in Colorado in 2009. The secondary objective was to describe the odds of marijuana use among cyclic vomiting visits in these same time periods.

Concepts: Chemotherapy, Tetrahydrocannabinol, Cannabis, Cannabinoid, Recreational drug use, Cannabis sativa, Nabilone, Legality of cannabis by country