Cannabis decriminalization and racial disparity in arrests for cannabis possession

Social Science & Medicine

“Rationale: Minorities often bear the brunt of unequal enforcement of drug laws. In the U.S., Blacks have been disproportionately more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than Whites despite a similar rate of cannabis use. Decriminalizing cannabis has been argued as a way to reduce racial disparity in cannabis possession arrests. To date, however, the empirical evidence to support this argument is almost non-existent.

Objectives: To examine whether cannabis decriminalization was associated with reduced racial disparity in arrests for cannabis possession between Blacks and Whites in the U.S.

Methods: Using FBI Uniform Crime Report data from 37 U.S. states, cannabis possession arrest rates were calculated separately for Blacks and Whites from 2000 to 2019. A difference-in-differences framework was used to estimate the association between cannabis decriminalization and racial disparity in cannabis possession arrest rates (Blacks/Whites ratio) among adults and youths.

Results: Cannabis possession arrest rates declined over 70% among adults and over 40% among youths after the implementation of cannabis decriminalization in 11 states. Among adults, decriminalization was associated with a roughly 17% decrease in racial disparity in arrest rates between Blacks and Whites. Among youths, arrest rates declined among both Blacks and Whites but there was no evidence for a change in racial disparity between Blacks and Whites following decriminalization.

Conclusions: Cannabis decriminalization was associated with substantially lower cannabis possession arrest rates among both adults and youths and among both Blacks and Whites. It reduced racial disparity between Blacks and Whites among adults but not youths. These findings suggested that cannabis decriminalization had its intended consequence of reducing arrests and may have potential to reduce racial disparity in arrests at least among adults.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34954673/

“Cannabis decriminalization decreased arrests in both adults and youths.•

Cannabis decriminalization decreased arrests in both Blacks and Whites.•

Cannabis decriminalization decreased racial disparity in arrests only in adults.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277953621010042?via%3Dihub

“Cannabis Decriminalization Reduces The Racial Disparity, A New Study Suggests”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dariosabaghi/2021/12/28/cannabis-decriminalization-reduces-the-racial-disparity-a-new-study-suggests/?sh=305b32d91357


Cannabinol inhibits oxytosis/ferroptosis by directly targeting mitochondria independently of cannabinoid receptors

“The oxytosis/ferroptosis regulated cell death pathway recapitulates many features of mitochondrial dysfunction associated with the aging brain and has emerged as a potential key mediator of neurodegeneration. It has thus been proposed that the oxytosis/ferroptosis pathway can be used to identify novel drug candidates for the treatment of age-associated neurodegenerative diseases that act by preserving mitochondrial function. Previously, we identified cannabinol (CBN) as a potent neuroprotector. Here, we demonstrate that not only does CBN protect nerve cells from oxytosis/ferroptosis in a manner that is dependent on mitochondria and it does so independently of cannabinoid receptors. Specifically, CBN directly targets mitochondria and preserves key mitochondrial functions including redox regulation, calcium uptake, membrane potential, bioenergetics, biogenesis, and modulation of fusion/fission dynamics that are disrupted following induction of oxytosis/ferroptosis. These protective effects of CBN are at least partly mediated by the promotion of endogenous antioxidant defenses and the activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling. Together, our data highlight the potential of mitochondrially-targeted compounds such as CBN as novel oxytotic/ferroptotic inhibitors to rescue mitochondrial dysfunction as well as opportunities for the discovery and development of future neurotherapeutics.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34999187/

“ACTIVE INGREDIENT IN CANNABIS PROTECTS AGING BRAIN CELLS”

https://www.salk.edu/news-release/active-ingredient-in-cannabis-protects-aging-brain-cells/

Thromboembolic Outcomes in Tetrahydrocannabinol-Positive Trauma Patients With Traumatic Brain Injury

“Introduction: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a significant source of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Recent shifts in state legislation have increased the use of recreational and medical marijuana. While cannabinoids and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have known anti-inflammatory effects, the impact of preinjury THC use on clinical outcomes in the setting of severe TBI is unknown. We hypothesized that preinjury THC use in trauma patients suffering TBI would be associated with decreased thromboembolic events and adverse outcomes.

Methods: The American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program was used to identify patients aged ≥18 y with TBI and severe injury (Injury Severity Score ≥ 16) in admit year 2017. Patients with smoking or tobacco history or missing or positive toxicology tests for drug and/or alcohol use other than THC were excluded. Propensity score matching was used to compare THC+ patients to similar THC- patients.

Results: A total of 13,266 patients met inclusion criteria, of which 1669 were THC+. A total of 1377 THC+ patients were matched to 1377 THC- patients. No significant differences were found in in-hospital outcomes, including mortality, length of stay, cardiac arrest, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, or acute respiratory distress syndrome. No patients had ischemic stroke, and THC+ patients had significantly decreased rates of hemorrhagic stroke (0.5% versus 1.5%, P = 0.02, odds ratio 0.41 [95% confidence interval 0.18-0.86]).

Conclusions: Preinjury THC use may be associated with decreased hemorrhagic stroke in severely injured patients with TBI, but there was no difference in thromboembolic outcomes. Further research into pathophysiological mechanisms related to THC are needed.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35305485/

“THC linked to lower hemorrhagic stroke risk in people with traumatic brain injury”

https://vancouversun.com/cannabis-news/thc-use-may-be-associated-with-lower-hemorrhagic-stroke-risk-in-people-with-traumatic-brain-injury/wcm/a3ae3f22-2b3f-439f-987d-6364c7425eb8/amp/

Early Studies Suggest CBD May Help Prevent COVID-19

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabis compound with some medicinal properties. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved one CBD-based medication to treat seizure disorders; other medications are in the development and testing pipeline.

Now some early studies show that CBD could help block infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.”

https://covid19.nih.gov/news-and-stories/early-studies-suggest-cbd-may-help-prevent-covid19

Spinal astroglial cannabinoid receptors control pathological tremor

Nature Neuroscience“Cannabinoids reduce tremor associated with motor disorders induced by injuries and neurodegenerative disease. Here we show that this effect is mediated by cannabinoid receptors on astrocytes in the ventral horn of the spinal cord, where alternating limb movements are initiated. We first demonstrate that tremor is reduced in a mouse model of essential tremor after intrathecal injection of the cannabinoid analog WIN55,212-2. We investigate the underlying mechanism using electrophysiological recordings in spinal cord slices and show that endocannabinoids released from depolarized interneurons activate astrocytic cannabinoid receptors, causing an increase in intracellular Ca2+, subsequent release of purines and inhibition of excitatory neurotransmission. Finally, we show that the anti-tremor action of WIN55,212-2 in the spinal cords of mice is suppressed after knocking out CB1 receptors in astrocytes. Our data suggest that cannabinoids reduce tremor via their action on spinal astrocytes.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33737752/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41593-021-00818-4

“Medical cannabis can reduce essential tremor: Turns on overlooked cells in central nervous system”  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210319125519.htm

Antidepressant and Anxiolytic Effects of Medicinal Cannabis Use in an Observational Trial

Archive of "Frontiers in Psychiatry".“Anxiety and depressive disorders are highly prevalent. Patients are increasingly using medicinal cannabis products to treat these disorders, but little is known about the effects of medicinal cannabis use on symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The aim of the present observational study was to assess general health in medicinal cannabis users and non-using controls with anxiety and/or depression. 

Results: Medicinal cannabis use was associated with lower self-reported depression, but not anxiety, at baseline. Medicinal cannabis users also reported superior sleep, quality of life, and less pain on average. Initiation of medicinal cannabis during the follow-up period was associated with significantly decreased anxiety and depressive symptoms, an effect that was not observed in Controls that never initiated cannabis use. 

Conclusions: Medicinal cannabis use may reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms in clinically anxious and depressed populations. Future placebo-controlled studies are necessary to replicate these findings and to determine the route of administration, dose, and product formulation characteristics to optimize clinical outcomes.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34566726/

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.729800/full

“Johns Hopkins: New Study Backs Claims That Cannabis Can Reduce Anxiety And Depression”  https://finance.yahoo.com/news/johns-hopkins-study-backs-claims-145005658.html

“Report Shows Cannabis is Effective in Treating Anxiety, Depression”   https://www.legalreader.com/report-shows-cannabis-is-effective-in-treating-anxiety-depression/

The Pharmacological Effects of Plant-Derived versus Synthetic Cannabidiol in Human Cell Lines

/WebMaterial/ShowPic/1344608“Introduction: Cannabidiol (CBD) can be isolated from Cannabis sativa L. or synthetically produced. The aim of this study was to compare the in vitro effects of purified natural and synthetic CBD to establish any pharmacological differences or superiority between sources. 

Conclusion: Our results suggest that there is no pharmacological difference in vitro in the antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory, or permeability effects of purified natural versus synthetic CBD. The purity and reliability of CBD samples, as well as the ultimate pharmaceutical preparation, should all be considered above the starting source of CBD in the development of new CBD medicines.

This study demonstrates for the first time that the anticancer, neuroprotective, and intestinal barrier protective properties of purified CBD are similar regardless of the source from which CBD is derived. From a pharmacological perspective, where a molecular target is implicated (i.e., 5HT1A in stroke and CB1 in gut permeability), the effects of CBD were similar. This suggests that any beneficial effects that could be achieved in a clinical setting for purified CBD are likely to be similar at a pharmacodynamic level.”

https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/517120

“Study finds no in-vitro pharmacological difference in the antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory, or permeability effects of purified natural versus synthetic CBD”

https://www.streetinsider.com/Globe+Newswire/Artelo+Biosciences+Announces+Publication+of+Study+Results+Comparing+the+Pharmacological+Effects+of+Plant-Derived+Versus+Synthetic+Cannabidiol+in+Human+Cell+Lines/18767297.html

Cannabidiol Inhibits SARS-CoV-2 Replication and Promotes the Host Innate Immune Response

bioRxiv“The rapid spread of COVID-19 underscores the need for new treatments.

Here we report that cannabidiol (CBD), a compound produced by the cannabis plant, inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection. CBD and its metabolite, 7-OH-CBD, but not congeneric cannabinoids, potently block SARS-CoV-2 replication in lung epithelial cells.

CBD acts after cellular infection, inhibiting viral gene expression and reversing many effects of SARS-CoV-2 on host gene transcription. CBD induces interferon expression and up-regulates its antiviral signaling pathway. A cohort of human patients previously taking CBD had significantly lower SARS-CoV-2 infection incidence of up to an order of magnitude relative to matched pairs or the general population.

This study highlights CBD, and its active metabolite, 7-OH-CBD, as potential preventative agents and therapeutic treatments for SARS-CoV-2 at early stages of infection.”

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.03.10.432967v1

“Cannabis compound inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in human lung cells”   https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210314/Cannabis-compound-inhibits-SARS-CoV-2-replication-in-human-lung-cells.aspx

Cannabis use is associated with reduced risk of exposure to fentanyl among people on opioid agonist therapy during a community-wide overdose crisis

Drug and Alcohol Dependence “Background: The ongoing opioid overdose crisis is driven largely by exposure to illicitly-manufactured fentanyl. Preliminary observational and experimental research suggests that cannabis could potentially play a role in reducing use of prescription opioids among individuals with chronic pain. However, there is limited data on the effects of cannabis on illicit opioid consumption, particularly fentanyl, especially among individuals on opioid agonist therapy (OAT). We sought to assess the longitudinal association between cannabis use and exposure to fentanyl among people on OAT.

Results: Among the 819 participants on OAT who contributed 1989 observations over the study period, fentanyl exposure was common. At the baseline interview, fentanyl was detected in a majority of participants (431, 53 %), with lower prevalence among individuals with urine drug tests positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (47 vs. 56 %, p = 0.028). Over all study interviews, cannabis use was independently associated with reduced likelihood of being recently exposed to fentanyl (Adjusted Prevalence Ratio = 0.91, 95 % Confidence Interval: 0.83 – 0.99).

Conclusions: Participants on OAT using cannabis had significantly lower risk of being exposed to fentanyl. Our findings reinforce the need for experimental trials to investigate the potential benefits and risks of controlled cannabinoid administration for people on OAT.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33342591/

“Opioid agonist therapies (OAT) are the primary treatments for opioid use disorder. Exposure to fentanyl is driving mortality risk in the overdose crisis. Among 819 participants on OAT, cannabis was negatively associated with fentanyl. Experimental trials are needed to evaluate cannabis use during OAT.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0376871620305858?via%3Dihub

“Cannabis could reduce fentanyl use, reduce overdose risk: study” https://www.bccsu.ca/blog/news-release/cannabis-could-reduce-fentanyl-use-reduce-overdose-risk-study/

“Cannabis could reduce fentanyl use, reduce overdose risk” https://www.med.ubc.ca/news/cannabis-could-reduce-fentanyl-use-reduce-overdose-risk/

Endocannabinoids Inhibit the Induction of Virulence in Enteric Pathogens

Cell | Publons
“Endocannabinoids are host-derived lipid hormones that fundamentally impact gastrointestinal (GI) biology. The use of cannabis and other exocannabinoids as anecdotal treatments for various GI disorders inspired the search for mechanisms by which these compounds mediate their effects, which led to the discovery of the mammalian endocannabinoid system. Dysregulated endocannabinoid signaling was linked to inflammation and the gut microbiota. However, the effects of endocannabinoids on host susceptibility to infection has not been explored. Here, we show that mice with elevated levels of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) are protected from enteric infection by Enterobacteriaceae pathogens. 2-AG directly modulates pathogen function by inhibiting virulence programs essential for successful infection. Furthermore, 2-AG antagonizes the bacterial receptor QseC, a histidine kinase encoded within the core Enterobacteriaceae genome that promotes the activation of pathogen-associated type three secretion systems. Taken together, our findings establish that endocannabinoids are directly sensed by bacteria and can modulate bacterial function.”
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“Fighting intestinal infections with the body’s own endocannabinoids. By harnessing the power of natural compounds produced in the body and in plants, we may eventually treat infections in a whole new way.”  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201007123119.htm

“Study may explain why cannabis plant can reduce symptoms of various bowel conditions” https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201007/Study-could-help-explain-why-cannabis-plant-can-reduce-symptoms-of-various-bowel-conditions.aspx