According to a new study published in the journal, Neuropsychopharmacology, consuming cannabis products for your back pain can considerably decrease your chances of having a stroke.
Even though the application of medicinal marijuana has been legalized in 29 U.S. states, 21 other states including Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, and Kansas do not support the use of cannabis for any purpose. In the legalized areas, specific strains are prescribed to treat chronic pain, anxiety, as well as epilepsy.
So researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas decided to conduct a study to test the effectiveness of cannabinoid products on spasticity — a general neurologic disorder in patients with injured spinal cords in addition to other chronic pain conditions.
Director of Cognitive Neuroscience Research in Addictive Disorders at the Center for BrainHealth, Dr. Francesca Filbey, led her team who studied 175 chronic back pain patients —74 drug users and 101 non-users for a timeframe of 60 days. The patients were asked to refrain from taking any and all drugs 72 hours before the study's commencement in order to have a nonbiased result.
History“Past marijuana research has shown changes in cognitive functions such as memory and executive functioning. Our study seeks to understand the possible neurophysiological mechanisms that may drive these cognitive changes,” Filbey explained, who is also director of the cognitive neuroscience program at the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
THC is a natural component found in the marijuana plant. A science news online resource, Live Science, explains that THC is the chemical responsible for psychological effects produced from consuming marijuana. In a recent article Live published, they explain that the drug can, “induce hallucinations, change thinking and cause delusions. On an average, the effects last about two hours, and kick in 10 to 30 minutes after ingestion."
Nevertheless, THC does exhibit superior positive influences as well, which was proven in this study. For example, dronabinol is an approved Food and Drug Administration (FDA) substance that is deprived of the marijuana plant. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, dronabinol is used to support or prevent nausea and vomiting connected with cancer medications and used to increase patient's appetite who suffer from AIDS.
Specific to this medical study, everyone in the drug group had a history of drug usage — meaning they consumed marijuana at least 5,000 times throughout their lifetime.
PresentIn addition, the analysts also collected written consent from each of the patients to abide by the policies of the institutional review board (IRB) as well as the University of Texas at Dallas. IRB, an independent organization was previously designated to authorize, advise, and examine biomedical and behavioral investigations throughout the U.S. regarding medical studies and clinical trials.
All the patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to produce pictures of organs and structures inside the body. The study also dissected the participants’ THC metabolite levels by means of a urinalysis. The researchers found that those who consumed marijuana on a regular basis had a distinguished improvement in their overall health, and specifically, cannabinoid enhanced their blood and oxygen flow reducing the risk of blood clots and stroke as well as symptoms of their chronic back pain condition.
FutureThe study also proved that the cerebral blood flow (CBF) in the putamen, a circular structure positioned at the base of our forebrain that is linked to learning, was higher in marijuana users than non-users. This proves that the states that legalized marijuana for pain, anxiety, and cognitive functions are correct in their hypotheses.
“Currently, cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug [in the U.S.],” Filbey concludes. “As it becomes more widely legalized, understanding neurophysiological alterations and its effects on the brain's health and performance are becoming increasingly relevant especially when treating chronic back pain.”