Cannabis and some conditions hasten brain aging

By studying a large number of imaging scans, researchers have identified conditions and behaviors that could make the brain age prematurely, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, alcohol use, and the use of cannabis.

For what is thought to be the largest study of its kind, the researchers analyzed brain scans of 31,227 people aged 9 months–105 years.

In a paper that now features in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, they describe how they identified “patterns of aging” from the brain scans.

These were done using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and came from people with psychiatric conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. They were all attending a psychiatric clinic that was based at several locations.

Full story at Medical News Today

What long-term cannabis use can do to your brain

Cannabis use is a topic of fervent debate among researchers. As the drug is being legalized in an increasing number of countries, and as its medicinal properties have come into sharp focus, the experts ask to what extent it and its medicinal derivatives are helpful, and to what extent harmful.

Some use cannabis for recreational purposes, whereas others use cannabis-based drugs or essential oils to relieve chronic pain or treat epilepsy.

Recently, scientists at two academic institutions — Universidade de Lisboa in Portugal and the University of Lancaster in the United Kingdom — have conducted a study into long-term use of cannabis and its potential dangers.

Full story at Medical News Today

Pancreatic cancer: Cannabis compound may boost survival

Pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer that unfortunately has some of the lowest survival rates. A new study in mice suggests that one substance could help address this problem: cannabidiol, a naturally occurring cannabis compound.

According to data from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), in the United States, there will be an estimated 55,440 new cases of pancreatic cancer by the end of this year.

Treatments for this type of cancer include surgical resection (the removal of tissue affected by the cancer), as well as chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the prognosis tends to be poor, with only an 8.5 percent survival rate within 5 years from diagnosis, as per the NCI.

Full story at Medical News Today

Major study finds ‘no evidence’ that cannabis relieves chronic pain

A large study stretching over a 4-year period challenges popular beliefs, as it finds “no evidence” that cannabis use improves the symptoms of chronic pain.

More and more people are taking prescription opioids for pain management, making the phenomenon “an emerging public health concern globally.”

Of all the countries in the world, North America has the “proportionally highest” use of prescription opioids.

Full story at Medical News Today

Depression among young teens linked to cannabis use at 18

A study looking at the cumulative effects of depression in youth, found that young people with chronic or severe forms of depression were at elevated risk for developing a problem with cannabis in later adolescence.

The study led by UW Medicine researchers interviewed 521 students recruited from four Seattle public middle schools. Researchers used data from annual assessments when students were ages 12-15 and then again when they were 18. The results were published in the journal Addiction.

“The findings suggest that if we can prevent or reduce chronic depression during early adolescence, we may reduce the prevalence of cannabis use disorder,” said lead author Isaac Rhew, research assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Full story of depression among young teens related to cannabis at Science Daily