The cannabis industry has grown tremendously in recent years as more states legalize both medical and recreational use. Researchers have been studying the effects of cannabis and its potential medical benefits. Here is a cannabis industry roundup of some of the most notable cannabis studies and findings from the past few years.
Cannabis Use Increased During the Pandemic
A study published in JAMA Network Open found that cannabis use in adults increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The increases were seen across most demographic groups and regions in the US. This underscores the need for education around safe cannabis use.
CBD Shows Promise for Anxiety
Multiple studies indicated the benefits of CBD, a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, for anxiety. A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research looked at 27 clinical trials and found CBD reduced symptoms of anxiety. More research is still needed.
Workplace Cannabis Testing is a Moving Target
A study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research showed that effective workplace cannabis policies must fit into a more extensive workplace drug and alcohol policy and should be created in collaboration with addiction professionals, labor attorneys, and human resource professionals.
Cannabis Impacts Brain Development
A longitudinal study published in JAMA Psychiatry looked at brain scans of teenagers over time. Teens who used cannabis showed less cortical thickness in areas involved with cognition. More research on long-term impacts is needed.
Cannabis Use Disorder Rose in Young Adults
Analysis of Canadian survey data from 2008 to 2019 published in JAMA Network Open examined changes in cannabis use frequency and cannabis-related consequences over recreational cannabis legalization in Canada in a longitudinal sample of high-risk young adults. In this study of high-risk young adults, individuals using cannabis frequently pre-legalization showed significant reductions in use and consequences over time, reflecting an aging-out pattern. Small increases in use among participants with no pre-legalization use were observed over time but without parallel changes in cannabis-related consequences.
Medical Cannabis May Reduce Opioid Use
A large prospective study of patients prescribed opioids in Canada found that starting medical cannabis treatment was associated with a 78% mean reduction in opioid use and improved quality of life. The high rate of cannabis use for chronic pain and the subsequent reductions in opioid use suggest that cannabis may play a harm reduction role in the opioid overdose crisis, potentially improving the quality of life of patients and overall public health. More research is warranted.
Cannabis Associated with Increased Heart Risks
Research from the American Heart Association linked recreational cannabis use with an increased risk of heart failure. People who reported daily marijuana use had a 34% increased risk of developing heart failure compared to those who reported never using marijuana. This risk was the same regardless of age, sex at birth, or smoking history. In a secondary analysis, when coronary artery disease was added to the investigation, the risk of heart failure dropped from 34% to 27%, suggesting that coronary artery disease is a pathway through which daily marijuana use may lead to heart failure. More research on cardiovascular effects is needed.
Cannabis Use in Pregnancy Linked to Complications
A meta-analysis published in PLoS One found cannabis use during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and neonatal ICU admission. Providers need to counsel pregnant patients.
Black Americans Face Disparities in Cannabis Arrests
Despite similar usage rates, Black Americans are 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis than white Americans, according to the ACLU. Legalization measures must address these disparities.
Cannabis Research – Get in Qredible
As legalization grows across the globe, scientific research on cannabis and its effects must also continue to grow. Qredible supports more research so everyone has access to safe cannabis.