Harvard University: Medical Marijuana Improves Executive Functions, Reduces Opiate Use

 

Questions

Does marijuana/cannabis affect executive functioning (the ability to decide and execute)?  Is there a difference in the effects of medicinal and recreational uses of marijuana?  Does marijuana have valid medical applications?

What is Executive Functioning?

Executive functioning is a set of processes that all have to do with managing oneself and one’s resources in order to achieve a goal. It is an umbrella term for the neurologically-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation.

Psychologists have identified the following mental control skills as part of executive functioning.

  1. Inhibition – The ability to stop one’s own behavior at the appropriate time, including stopping actions and thoughts. The flip side of inhibition is impulsivity; if you have weak ability to stop yourself from acting on your impulses, then you are “impulsive.” (When Aunt Sue called, it would have made sense to tell her, “Let me check the calendar first. It sounds great, but I just need to look at everybody’s schedules before I commit the whole family.”)
  2. Shift – The ability to move freely from one situation to another and to think flexibly in order to respond appropriately to the situation. (When the question emerged regarding who would watch the cats, Robin was stymied. Her husband, on the other hand, began generating possible solutions and was able to solve the problem relatively easily.)
  3. Emotional Control – The ability to modulate emotional responses by bringing rational thought to bear on feelings. (The example here is Robin’s anger when confronted with her own impulsive behavior in committing the family before checking out the dates: “Why are you all being so negative?”)
  4. Initiation – The ability to begin a task or activity and to independently generate ideas, responses, or problem-solving strategies. (Robin thought about calling to check on the date of the reunion, but she just didn’t get around to it until her husband initiated the process.)
  5. Working memory – The capacity to hold information in mind for the purpose of completing a task. (Robin could not keep the dates of the reunion in her head long enough to put them on the calendar after her initial phone call from Aunt Sue.)
  6. Planning/Organization – The ability to manage current and future- oriented task demands. (In this case, Robin lacked the ability to systematically think about what the family would need to be ready for the trip and to get to the intended place at the intended time with their needs cared for along the way.)
  7. Organization of Materials – The ability to impose order on work, play, and storage spaces. (It was Robin’s job to organize the things needed for the trip. However, she just piled things into the car rather than systematically making checklists and organizing things so important items would be easily accessible, so the space would be used efficiently, and so that people and “stuff” would be orderly and comfortable in the car.)
  8. Self-Monitoring – The ability to monitor one’s own performance and to measure it against some standard of what is needed or expected. (Despite the fact that they’re off to Missouri without knowing how to get there, with almost no planning for what will happen along the way, and without a map, Robin does not understand why her husband is so upset.)

Harvard University Study Conclusions

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Data from the current investigation provide preliminary evidence that after 3 months of treatment, medical marijuana users did not experience executive functioning deficits, which are often observed in regular, recreational marijuana users.

In fact, medical marijuana patients evidenced improvement in certain aspects of performance on these measures, particularly with regard to time required to complete tasks.

Further, patients reported some improvements on measures of clinical state and general health as well as a decrease in conventional pharmaceuticals, notably opiate use, which was reduced by 42% between the baseline and Visit 2 assessment.


References

Executive Functioning:  pp. 9-14 of Late, Lost, and Unprepared by Joyce Cooper-Kahn, Ph.D. & Laurie Dietzel, Ph.D. Published by Woodbine House, 6510 Bells Mill Road, Bethesda, MD 20817. 800-843-7323 http://www.woodbinehouse.com.  Retrieved 24.5.2017 from http://www.ldonline.org/article/29122/

Medical Marijuana Study:  Gruber SA, Sagar KA, Dahlgren MK, Racine MT, Smith RT and Lukas SE (2016) Splendor in the Grass? A Pilot Study Assessing the Impact of Medical Marijuana on Executive Function. Front. Pharmacol. 7:355. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2016.00355

The War on Medicine

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and the Leaves of the Tree are for the Healing of the Nations…

Although used for centuries as medicine by varied cultures across the world, in the US, medical marijuana became part of mainstream medicine in 1850, when it was added to the US Pharmacopeia. Physicians prescribed the use of cannabis broadly for a range of indications including (but not limited to) pain, emesis, migraine, insomnia, epilepsy, and opium withdrawal (Birch, 1889; Potter, 1917; Grinspoon and Bakalar, 1997; Booth, 2003).

Reefer Madness

It remained widely available until 1937, when the marijuana tax law criminalized use of the substance.  As anti-marijuana sentiments grew across the country, it was removed from the pharmacopeia in 1942 and in 1970, the passage of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) declared marijuana a Schedule I substance and the cultivation, possession, and distribution of marijuana became prohibited.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Schedule I drugs are those

“with no currently accepted medical use, no demonstrated safety profile and a high potential for abuse…[they] are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence” (dea.gov2; Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 19703).

Marijuana > Heroin & Cocaine?

This classification deems marijuana more dangerous than other substances including cocaine, methamphetamine, and opiate-based drugs, which ironically are responsible for approximately 30,000 deaths per year (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). In fact, opioid overdoses are now considered a national epidemic; the rate of opioid overdose deaths, including those related to both prescription pain relievers and heroin, has nearly quadrupled since 1999 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015).

Given its Schedule I classification, research studies exploring both potential risks and benefits of medical marijuana have faced numerous obstacles, forcing policy to outpace science in recent years. As the national climate warms toward marijuana, research is slowly pushing forward. However, much is left to be explored before the gap between science and policy can begin to close.

Excerpted with minor changes from Gruber SA, Sagar KA, Dahlgren MK, Racine MT, Smith RT and Lukas SE (2016) Splendor in the Grass? A Pilot Study Assessing the Impact of Medical Marijuana on Executive Function. Front. Pharmacol. 7:355. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2016.00355

Cannabis Restores Brain Function in Elderly Mice

Researchers believe that cannabis could actually help to sharpen our minds later in life.

In a German lab study of mice, while younger mice suffered a performance drop under the influence of THC, the psychoactive chemical gave older mice a considerable performance boost, even putting them on par with younger mice who’d abstained.

The team plans to explore the potential impact of THC on older human brains with a clinical trial later this year, being one of few to focus on more aged subjects so far.

Previous research with mice by the Universities of Bonn and Mainz also suggested that the brain’s main cannabis receptor and neural pathways are closely related to brain health in later life, and seem to play a role in preventing brain degeneration when active.

 

Full Article:  Burns, Janet. “Daily Dose Of Cannabis May Protect And Heal The Brain From Effects Of Aging.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 11 May 2017. Web. 16 May 2017. <https://www.forbes.com/sites/janetwburns/2017/05/08/daily-dose-of-cannabis-may-protect-and-heal-the-brain-from-effects-of-aging/&gt;.

Study Cited in Article:  A chronic low dose of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) restores cognitive function in old mice.  Andras Bilkei-Gorzo, Onder Albayram, Astrid Draffehn, Kerstin Michel, Anastasia Piyanova, Hannah Oppenheimer, Mona Dvir-Ginzberg, Ildiko Rácz, Thomas Ulas, Sophie Imbeault, Itai Bab, Joachim L Schultze & Andreas Zimmer.  Nature Medicine (2017) doi:10.1038/nm.4311.  Received 27 July 2015. Accepted 07 February 2017. Published online 08 May 2017.  https://www.nature.com/nm/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nm.4311.html

Healing Herb: Marijuana Treats Cancer, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis & More

Live Science has rounded up promising evidence that medical marijuana may help people with certain conditions, including but not limited to:

  1. Cancer Nausea
  2. Cancer Vomiting
  3. Cancer Chronic Pain
  4. Cancer Suppressed Appetite
  5. Multiple Sclerosis Pain
  6. Epilepsy
  7. Nerve Pain

The active ingredient in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has been shown to increases appetite and reduces nausea. Another chemical in marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD), may decrease pain and inflammation and help with muscle-control problems, according to NIDA. Both THC and CBD belong to a group of chemicals called cannabinoids.

Full Article:  Rettner, Rachael. “Healing Herb? Marijuana Could Treat These 5 Conditions.” Live Science. Purch, 12 Aug. 2016. Web. 16 May 2017. <http://www.livescience.com/55750-medical-marijuana-conditions-treat.html&gt;.

Photo Credit:  Credit: Medical marijuana via Shutterstock

 

DUKE UNIVERSITY: Cannabis Smoking is a Safe Habit

Long-term study finds no differences in metabolism, lung function, inflammation

A long-term study of nearly 1,000 New Zealanders from birth to age 38 has found that people who smoked marijuana for up to 20 years have more gum disease, but otherwise do not show worse physical health than non-smokers.

Full Article:  Duke Today Staff. “Pot-Smokers Harm Gums; Other Physical Effects Slight.” Duke Today. Duke University, 31 May 2016. Web. 16 May 2017. <https://today.duke.edu/2016/05/cannhealth&gt;.

Study Cited in Article:  “Associations Between Cannabis Use and Physical Health Problems in Early Midlife: A longitudinal comparison of persistent cannabis versus tobacco users,” Madeline H. Meier, Avshalom Caspi, Magdalena Cerdá, Robert J. Hancox, HonaLee Harrington, Renate Houts, Richie Poulton, Sandhya Ramrakha, W. Murray Thomson, Terrie E. Moffitt. JAMA Psychiatry, online June 1, 2016. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.0637

Vaccines and HIV/AIDS’ British Origins

Here’s a summary of the common “theory” of the origin of AIDS:

A Haitian fled his native Haiti sometime in the 1960s to escape the dictatorship of Duvalier. His destination? “Africa”. Despite the fact that there has never been a direct flight linking Haiti and “Africa”). Then, somewhere in “Africa”, he catches HIV/AIDS and returns to Haiti, which is still under the Duvalier dictatorship he left to escape. Finally, he invades America to spread the virus.

Sounds about wrong.

The first person to die of AIDS was a pale West Asian (a/k/a “white European”). According to scientific records, the first person to die from AIDS was a 25-year-old sailor named David Carr, of Manchester, England.

Carr died on August 31, 1959, and because the disease that killed him was then unknown, his tissue samples were saved for future analysis.

The “unknown disease” that killed David Carr was reported in The Lancet on October 29, 1960. On July 7, 1990, The Lancet retested those old tissue samples taken from David Carr and reconfirmed that he had died of AIDS.

Plenty of evidence confirms;
1) that contaminated polio vaccines made from Chimp tissue and tested on millions of people have resulted in well documented deaths7

2) That the scientists involved have been caught lying and trying to cover up 8the facts

3) that it is clear that there was every opportunity for HIV to be one of the many contaminations of the Polio Vaccines which colonized Africans were forced to receive

4) that all this evidence of a man-made origin of AIDS have been available to the scientific community all along (including video evidence, which you the reader can now consult online in English.

 www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWd4KblpDsc

In Haitian culture we say that “Deceit gallops (ahead) for a hundred years, yet truth catches up to him in a single day”.

 

Source:  http://www.globalresearch.ca/who-says-africans-haitians-gave-aids-to-the-world/7268

These Are The Surprising Jobs You’ll Be Doing By The 2030s (from io9.com)

If you don’t stay abreast of technology, you will become obsolete.

Here are 10 jobs the Careers 2030 job fair and Jayar LaFontaine, a Foresight Strategist at Idea Couture, believe will be in demand in 20 years, compiled by George Dvorsky:

Robot Counselor

Rewilder

Garbage Designer

Neighborhood Watch Specialist

Healthcare Navigator

Simplicity Designer

Nostalgist

Telesurgeon

Solar Technology Specialist

Aquaponic Fish Farmer

Read the amazing job descriptions at These Are The Surprising Jobs You’ll Be Doing By The 2030s – io9.com

These Are The Surprising Jobs You’ll Be Doing By The 2030s

Why You Should Never Eat High Fructose Corn Syrup

In recent history, we’ve gone from 20 teaspoons of sugar per person per year to about 150 pounds of sugar per person per year. That’s a half pound a day for every man, woman, and child in America.

The average 20-ounce soda contains 15 teaspoons of sugar, all of it high fructose corn syrup. And when you eat sugar in those doses, it becomes a toxin.

As part of the chemical process used to make high fructose corn syrup, the glucose and fructose — which are naturally bound together — become separated. This allows the fructose to mainline directly into your liver, which turns on a factory of fat production in your liver called lipogenesis.

This leads to fatty liver, the most common disease in America today, affecting 90 million Americans. This, in turn, leads to diabesity — pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. So, high fructose corn syrup is the real driver of the current epidemic of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, dementia, and of course, Type 2 diabetes.

HFCS contains dangerous chemicals and contaminants

Chemical contaminants used during manufacturing end up in the HFCS and in our food.  What we know, for example, is that chloralkali is used in making high fructose corn syrup. Chloralkai contains mercury. And there are trace amounts of mercury found in high fructose corn syrup-containing beverages.  Over time, these heavy metals can accumulate in the body, causing health problems.

Additionally, when we look at the chemical components of high fructose corn syrup on a spectrograph, we can see that it contains many weird chemicals that we know nothing about.

Look out for the red flag

The main reason you should give up high fructose corn syrup is that it’s a big red flag for very poor quality food. If you see this ingredient on a label, I guarantee you the food is processed junk. So, if high fructose corn syrup is anywhere on the label, put it back on the shelf. You should never eat this food.

If you want to stay healthy, lose weight easily, get rid of chronic disease, and help reduce the obesity epidemic, the single most important thing you can do is eliminate high fructose corn syrup from your diet and from your children’s diet.

Purge your kitchen

I challenge you to go into your kitchen right now, go in the cupboard and refrigerator, and look at every single label. And I want you to count how many products you have right now in your house that contain high fructose corn syrup. Then, I want you to get a big garbage bag and throw them out and find replacements that are free of it.

If you want to have some sugar, that’s fine. Have a little sugar, but add it to your food yourself. Don’t eat food made with added sugar. Cut the high fructose corn syrup from your life forever. You’ll be healthier. Our planet will be healthier. And we’ll have a healthier generation of children.

Mark Hyman, MD is a practicing physician, founder of The UltraWellness Center, a six-time New York Times bestselling author, and an international leader in the field of Functional Medicine. You can follow him on Twitter, connect with him on LinkedIn, watch his videos on YouTube, become a fan on Facebook, and subscribe to hisnewsletter.

For more by Mark Hyman, MD, click here.

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from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/high-fructose-corn-syrup_b_4256220.html?ir=Taste&ref=topbar

College Student Fell To Death After Eating Marijuana Cookie

A Wyoming college student visiting Denver on spring break jumped to his death after eating a marijuana cookie that his friend legally purchased in one of Colorado’s recreational pot shops, authorities said Wednesday.

An autopsy report lists marijuana intoxication as a “significant contributing factor” in the death of 19-year-old Levi Thamba Pongi, a native of the Republic of Congo who fell from a motel balcony on March 11.

Pongi’s friends told investigators he ate the cookie and “exhibited hostile behavior” that included pulling things off walls and speaking erratically, the report said.

Attempts by the three friends to calm Pongi seemed to work until he went outside and jumped over the balcony railing, according to the report.

Read more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/02/student-death-pot-cookie_n_5078397.html?ref=topbar