Antinociceptive Subjective and Behavioral Effects of Smoked Marijuana in Humans
Smoked marijuana has been shown to have analgesic effects in humans. This is in part due to the fact that marijuana affects neurocognitive processes and has sex-specific effects. However, the antinociceptive effects of smoked marijuana appear to be limited in some studies, mainly due to methodological problems. Most studies have involved only males or included both sexes, with the outcome controlled for variance. Another limitation is the lack of focus on gender.
The objective of this study was to assess sex-specific patterns of antinociceptive subjective and behavioral effects of smoked marijuana in female and male rats. This study investigated the pharmacodynamic-pharmacokinetic relationship between THC and peak VAS scores 15 min after the first dose. Interestingly, blood THC levels were positively associated with subjective “high” and the “good drug effect” as well as feelings of stimulation and relaxation. However, systolic blood pressure and respiratory rate were not significantly affected.
The most common acute psychomotor and cognitive effects of cannabis use include euphoria, bronchopulmonary, cardiovascular, and ocular effects. Smoked marijuana produces the strongest euphoria, while oral administration may result in more prolonged effects. However, some people also experience feelings of anxiety and dysphoria. Among the acute physiological effects, tachycardia is the most consistent.
Susceptibility to cannabis use
The construct of susceptibility to cannabis use has critical implications for the prevention of substance use among adolescents. In this study, we assessed the validity of a composite index of five items that measured susceptibility to cannabis use. The five items measured intention to use, willingness to try, curiosity, and four response categories that measured positive and negative outcome expectancies from cannabis use. The composite index was calculated by averaging the responses from the five items. At each follow-up wave, we assessed whether participants used cannabis products within six months after the baseline survey.
A recent genome-wide association study found that eight SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) were associated with lifetime cannabis use, accounting for 10% of the variance. The strongest association was seen for SNPs in the CADM2 gene, which codes for cell adhesion molecule 2. Genetic variants in this gene have been associated with behavioral and metabolic traits, including the use of marijuana and substance abuse.
The homogeneity of the reports indicated that this association was statistically significant, but the CIs were too narrow to interpret. The relationship between physical abuse and cannabis use was found in four studies, but the 95% CIs were narrow and the difference was barely significant. In contrast, the association between cannabis use and witnessing violence was difficult to interpret, because two studies investigated the relationship. One of them had a small sample, and the other included a high OR, making it difficult to determine the exact significance of the association.
Effects of cannabis on neurocognitive functioning
Studies have shown that cannabis and alcohol can affect neurocognitive functioning in individuals. While it is not yet clear what effects cannabis and alcohol have on the brain, the current body of evidence suggests that these drugs have mixed results on neurocognitive functioning. This review focuses on the negative effects of cannabis and alcohol on cognitive functioning, and reviews existing research on the topic. The effects of cannabis and alcohol on neurocognitive functioning are particularly complex.
The participants in the study provided written informed consent to participate. Study participants downloaded mobile apps to their phones and completed baseline questionnaires. They also completed neuropsychological tests. These included reading tests, IQ tests, and mood ratings. Participants completed three cognitive tasks every day. One of the tasks involved recalling the last time they smoked marijuana. The results of these tests were analyzed and compared with baseline results.
The researchers conclude that cannabis users display a modest amount of neurocognitive impairment after prolonged use. They found that cannabis users showed residual neurocognitive deficits in several domains. Further, cannabis users did not show a significant difference from non-users in simple motor skills and language tasks. Consequently, this study highlights the important role of research on cannabis in neurocognitive functioning. However, future studies should consider a wider range of data before making medical decisions.
Although cannabis use and cognitive function are associated, there are still many conflicting results in the literature. Researchers have undertaken meta-analyses of hundreds of studies to investigate the effects of cannabis on neurocognitive functioning. Although individual studies show that cannabis can impact the cognitive abilities of young people, their results are not consistent across domains and even within individuals. Moreover, the effects of cannabis are most obvious in young people, while the evidence of adverse effects in adult users is not conclusive.
Researchers also concluded that cannabis users’ performance on tests of attention, memory, and executive functioning is impaired, and that these differences remained even after accounting for the effects of other drugs and childhood socioeconomic status. They found that cannabis users also had significantly smaller hippocampi, which are responsible for memory and learning. The results show that cannabis users are vulnerable to neurocognitive decline, which may even lead to neuropsychiatric problems.
Analgesic effects of smoked marijuana on pain processing
The analgesic effects of smoked marijuana were evaluated in humans in a phase II study. In this study, participants were randomly assigned to receive cannabis or a placebo. Cannabis was administered orally to treat pain, and its effects were greater than those of placebo. There were some unwanted systemic and psychoactive side effects, but they were moderate to mild and did not persist over the course of the study. The most common side effects reported included dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, muscle weakness (myalgia) and throat irritation.
In the second study, cannabis cigarettes had a significantly greater analgesic effect than placebos. The higher THC concentration produced a 30% pain reduction, which was associated with an improved quality of life. Generally, the number needed to treat was between 3.5 and 4.5, which is lower than the number achieved with standard non-opioid analgesics. This study used “medium” and “high” doses of cannabis cigarettes to test for analgesia.
In animal models of chronic pain, THC and CBD have shown anti-nociceptive effects. However, withdrawal from opioids leads to serious autonomic and gastrointestinal effects, as well as psychiatric effects. The effects of smoked marijuana have not yet been confirmed in humans, but clinical studies are being conducted to determine the safety and efficacy of this compound. It is worth noting that some synthetic cannabinoids, such as dronabinol, also have significant analgesic effects on chronic pain.
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