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Using Marijuana can Help in the Treatment of Drug Addiction and Depression: Study

Cannabis use might not be recommended for conditions such as bipolar disorder and psychosis

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Marijuana. Pixabay
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Toronto, November 16, 2016: Using marijuana could help some alcoholics and people addicted to opioids kick the habit and may also help people suffering from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety, says a study.

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“Research suggests that people may be using cannabis as an exit drug to reduce the use of substances that are potentially more harmful, such as opioid pain medication,” said the study’s lead investigator Zach Walsh, Associate Professor at University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus in Canada.

The study published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review is based on a systematic review of research on the medical cannabis use and mental health as well as reviews on non-medical cannabis use.

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However, the review concluded that cannabis use might not be recommended for conditions such as bipolar disorder and psychosis.

“In reviewing the limited evidence on medical cannabis, it appears that patients and others who have advocated for cannabis as a tool for harm reduction and mental health have some valid points,” Walsh said.

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It is important to identify ways to help mental health professional move beyond stigma to better understand the risk and benefits of cannabis, Walsh added.

“There is not currently a lot of clear guidance on how mental health professionals can best work with people who are using cannabis for medical purposes,” Walsh said. (IANS)

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Here’s How Cannabis Affect Women

However, the human data so far is consistent with the idea that oestradiol regulates the female response to cannabinoids

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Why cannabis affects women different, Read here. Pixabay

Hormones could be the reason why cannabis affects women differently than men, brain studies on animals and humans suggest.

The studies showed that sex differences in response to cannabis are not just socio-cultural, but biological too.

The findings showed that men are up to four times more likely to try cannabis and use higher doses, more frequently.

“Male sex steroids increase risk-taking behaviour and suppress the brain’s reward system which could explain why males are more likely to try drugs including cannabis,” said Liana Fattore, Senior Researcher at the National Research Council of Italy.

“This is true for both natural male sex steroids like testosterone and synthetic steroids like nandrolone.”

But despite lower average cannabis use, women go from first hit to habit faster than men.

Marijuana, Canada
An employee inspects the leaf of a cannabis plant at a medical marijuana plantation in northern Israel. (VOA)

In fact, men and women differ not only in the prevalence and frequency of cannabis use, pattern and reasons of use, but also in the vulnerability to develop cannabis use disorder.

“Females seem to be more vulnerable, at a neurochemical level, in developing addiction to cannabis,” Fattore explained, in the paper published in the journal Frontiers in behavioural Neuroscience.

“As a result, the interactions between the endocannabinoid system and the brain level of dopamine — the neurotransmitter of “pleasure” and “reward” are sex-dependent.”

The inconsistency of conditions in these studies greatly complicates interpretation of an already complex role of sex hormones in the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid sensitivity.

However, the human data so far is consistent with the idea that oestradiol regulates the female response to cannabinoids.

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As in animals, human males and females are diverse in their genetic and hormonally driven behaviour and they process information differently, perceive emotions in different ways and are differently vulnerable to develop drug addiction.

“Blood levels of enzymes which break down cannabinoids fluctuate across the human menstrual cycle, and imaging studies show that brain levels of cannabinoid receptors increase with ageing in females — mirroring in each case changes in oestradiol levels,” Fattore said. (IANS)