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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
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- Tue, 26 Dec 2017 04:20:21 PST

Study: Cannabis Use Likely Associated With Reduced Mental Decline In HIV Patients

East Lansing, Michigan: Cannabis use is associated with reduced neuro-inflammation in HIV patients - a result that likely reduces cognitive declines typically associated with the disease, according to clinical data published ahead of print in the journal AIDS.

Investigators at Michigan State University evaluated the relationship between cannabis use and chronic brain inflammation in patients with HIV. Investigators reported that those subjects who consumed cannabis possessed a far fewer number of inflammatory white blood cells, known as monocytes, than non-users.

"This decrease of cells could slow down, or maybe even stop, the inflammatory process, potentially helping patients maintain their cognitive function longer," the study's lead author concluded in a press statement.

Data published in September reported that cannabis exposure is also associated with significantly higher CD4+ and CD8+ counts in HIV patients. Authors concluded: "THC positive patients [have] better HIV-related immune levels than their negative counterparts, despite not being statistically different on various demographic HIV-related covariates. ... The current findings suggest a potentially beneficial role to marijuana, additional to symptom palliation."

Full text of the study, "HIV-infected cannabis users have lower circulating CD16+ monocytes and IP-10 levels compared to non-using HIV patients," appears in AIDS.

Study: CBD Effective As Adjunctive Therapy For Psychosis

London, United Kingdom: The daily administration of CBD (cannabidiol) as an adjunctive therapy mitigates psychotic symptoms in patients with schizophrenia, according to clinical trial data published online ahead of print in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

British researchers assessed the adjunctive use of CBD compared to placebo over a six-week period in a randomized trial of 88 schizophrenic patients. Participants ingested 1000mg of plant-derived CBD per day in addition to their conventional medications.

Subjects in the CBD treatment group "had lower levels of positive psychotic symptoms and were more likely to have been rated as improved and as not severely unwell by the treating clinician" at the conclusion of the trial. CBD administration was also associated with "improvements in cognitive performance and in the level of overall functioning," although these changes did not reach statistical significance.

"These findings suggest that CBD has beneficial effects in patients with schizophrenia," authors concluded. "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."

Results of a prior clinical trial published in the journal Translational Psychiatry determined that CBD is superior to amisulpride, a potent anti-psychotic agent, in mitigating psychotic symptoms in schizophrenic patients.

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, "Cannabidiol (CBD) as an adjunctive therapy in schizophrenia: A multicenter randomized controlled trial," appears in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Federal Survey: Teen Marijuana Use Rates Tick Up Slightly To 2015 Levels

Ann Arbor, MI: Self-reported rates of past year marijuana use by teens increased 1.3 percent from 2016 to 2017, but remain well below past years' levels, according to survey data released by the University of Michigan's annual Monitoring the Future report.

"When combining responses in all three grades (8th grade, 10th grade, and 12th grade), data suggest past year marijuana use is up slightly to 23.9 percent, from 22.6 percent last year, but [are] similar to 2015 rates," summarized the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, which funds the survey.

Since 2012, when Colorado and Washington became the first two states to regulate the adult use and sale of cannabis, overall rates of teen use nationwide have generally fallen - continuing a trend that began in the mid-1990s.

Prior studies have reported that adolescents are less likely to abuse cannabis and are also less likely to gain access to it today than they were a decade ago. State-specific data from legalization states - including Colorado, Oregon, and Washington - indicate that teen marijuana use in those jurisdictions has either remained stable or has declined following the enactment of adult use regulations.

Federal Policy Continues To Forbid V.A. Docs From Explicitly Recommending Marijuana To Patients

Washington, DC: A policy guidance update issued by the US Department of Veterans Affairs encourages greater communication about cannabis between doctors and veterans, but continues to forbid physicians from explicitly recommending it as a therapeutic option in states where the substance is legal.

The updated directive urges V.A. doctors to foster discussions with veterans about their cannabis use "due to its clinical relevance to patient care." It also affirms that "veterans must not be denied VHA [Veteran Health Administration] services solely for participating in state-approved marijuana programs."

However, the updated directive maintains that "providers are prohibited from completing forms or registering veterans for participation in state-approved [medical marijuana] program[s]."

Survey data compiled by the American Legion in November reports that more than one in five military veterans engage in the use of cannabis for medical purposes.

In a press statement issued by The American Legion, the organization said that the new directive "will help encourage veterans using medical cannabis to more openly and fully discuss their healthcare options with V.A. medical providers - with full reassurance that their V.A. benefits remain secure." The organization further reiterated its official position calling on "the federal government to remove cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances act to enable safe and efficient drug development research."

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