New York, Aug 18 (IANS) While diabetes, obesity and a history of smoking cigarettes are considered as risk factors for poorer Covid-19 outcomes, a new study claims that people with cannabis use disorder (CUD) may also be at increased risk.The research from the Washington University in St Louis used genetic epidemiological models to determine that genetic predisposition to CUD is related to risk for a severe reaction to Covid-19.Having genetic variants does not mean a person has CUD or that the person has used cannabis.But, comparing people with the variants to their Covid outcomes, the researchers found genetic liability for CUD accounted for up to 40 per cent of genetically influenced risk factors, such as body mass index (BMI) and diabetes, for a severe Covid-19 presentation.This association suggested that heavy and problematic cannabis use may represent a modifiable pathway to minimise severe Covid-19 presentations, the researchers explained, in the journal Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Access.The study point to two possible outcomes: That a predisposition to CUD and severe Covid-19 are due to a common biological mechanism, like inflammatory conditions causing individuals to develop worse symptoms of Covid-19 and/or dependence on cannabis; or that they are associated because of a causal process, said Alexander S. Hatoum, a postdoctoral researcher at the varsity."If we know the genes that predispose individuals to cannabis use disorder, and if cannabis use disorder is a risk factor for Covid-19 hospitalisation, you will see the genes influencing cannabis use disorder as predictors of severe Covid-19 cases," he said."We found that a person's genetic risk for cannabis use disorder is correlated with their risk for Covid-19, without having to ask directly about illegal substance use," he added.For the study, the team combined existing datasets to test whether being at higher genetic risk for cannabis use disorder was correlated to the risk of Covid hospitalisation.One set of data involved 357,806 people, including 14,080 with CUD; the other involved 1,206,629 people, including 9,373 who were hospitalised with Covid. They also looked at 7 million genetic variants to assess the association between CUD and severe Covid.--IANSrvt/vd
New York - After reporting earlier this summer that marijuana ingredient cannabidiol, or CBD, may help reduce cytokine storm and excessive lung inflammation linked to Covid-19 deaths, researchers have now found clues to show how the process works.
One way CBD appears to reduce the cytokine storm that damages the lungs is by enabling an increase in levels of a natural peptide called apelin, says a new study published in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.
Apelin is known to reduce inflammation and its levels are dramatically reduced in the face of cytokine storm.
Apelin levels go way down with the viral infection, which has killed over 1.1 million people worldwide, said the study, adding that CBD quickly helps normalise those levels along with lung function.
"It was dramatic in both directions," said corresponding author of the study Babak Baban from Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University in the US.
Blood levels of the peptide dropped close to zero in their deadly adult respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS model and increased 20 times with CBD, said the new study.
"CBD almost brought it back to a normal level," Jack Yu, Chief of Pediatric Plastic Surgery at Medical College of Georgia.
Apelin is a pervasive peptide made by cells in the heart, lung, brain, fat tissue and blood, and is an important regulator in bringing both blood pressure and inflammation down, said Baban.
As mentioned in the beginning, the researchers reported this summer in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research that treatment with CBD reduced excessive lung inflammation, enabling improvements in lung function, heathier oxygen levels, and repair of some of the structural damage to the lungs that are classic with ARDS.
The investigators said then more work was needed, including finding how CBD produced the significant changes as well as human trials, before it should be included as part of a treatment regimen for COVID-19.
Now they have correlated those improvements with regulation of apelin. While they did not attribute all CBD's benefits to apelin, they said the peptide clearly has an important role in this scenario. (IANS)
Cannabis sativa, otherwise known as marijuana, is one of the most commonly used illicit drugs in the world. Today there is a growing public support for marijuana law reform than ever before; around the globe a lot of countries are in favour of legalizing marijuana.
In India, marijuana use is deeply rooted in popular culture as well as in religious activites. With growing consumptions of weed, pot or joints (as cannabis is known popularly), what is being evaluated is what are the harms and benefits of cannabis.
The AIIMS Delhi study found that in India, there are around 7.2 millions users of marijuana and the prevalence of lifetime marijuana use is very high.
Epidemiologic evidence for an association between cannabis and head and neck cancer (HNC) is limited and conflicting. Few case reports and case series have suggested a causative role for cannabis in cancers at different sites including the lip, tongue, nasopharynx, pyriform fossa, tonsillar fossa, pharynx and larynx.
Some of the cases have been striking due to the patients young age and lack of other risk factors, suggesting that cannabis may be an early initiator of head and neck cancers. There have been 3 case-control studies of cannabis and cancers of the oral cavity and 2 case-control studies of head and neck cancer. In only one of these five case-control studies was there a statistically significant association reported between cannabis use and cancer.
There is a tangible gap within current literature in understanding the role of cannabis in causing cancer. Several studies have shown precancerous histologic and genetic abnormalities in the respiratory tracts of cannabis smokers, and carcinogenic effects of cannabis smoke have been shown in-vitro and in different in vivo animal models.
An increased risk of lung cancer with cannabis smoking has also been reported. Studies have revealed that smoking marijuana has many of the same harmful substances as tobacco, and often more of them. Among them hazardous are: Benzo(a)pyrene, Benz(a)anthracene, Phenols, Vinyl chlorides, Nitrosamines, Reactive oxygen species.
To understand what is going on, we need to distinguish between two elements found in marijuana plants: Tetra Hydro Cannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). CBD presents the benefits of marijuana, without making a person 'high', whereas, THC is the psychoactive ingredient which gives the person a high.
The carcinogenicity of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is not clear, but according to laboratory studies, it appears to have antitumor properties such as apoptosis as well as tumor-promoting properties such as limiting immune function and increasing reactive oxygen species.
Tar that is present in Marijuana is similar carcinogens to that of tar from tobacco cigarettes, However, each marijuana cigarette maybe more harmful than a tobacco cigarette since more tar is inhaled and retained when smoking marijuana. Smoking Marijuana involves inhaling approximately three times the amount of tar and retention of one-third more the amount of tar in the respiratory tract when compared with tobacco smoking.
More molecular alterations have been observed in bronchial mucosa specimens of marijuana smokers compared to nonsmokers. Field cancerization effect may occur on the bronchial epithelium due to marijuana smoking exposure. One study also found cancers at the oropharyngeal subsite is most associated with marijuana.
Entire aero-respiratory mucosal layer field has an increased risk of getting cancer due to this. Several case studies have shown an association of marijuana smoking with head and neck cancers and oral lesions. However, in a cohort study with 8 years of follow-up, marijuana use was not associated with increased risks of all cancers or smoking-related cancers. Molecular mechanism activated by the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the bloodstream, accelerates cancer growth in patients with human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
Unlike smoking and alcohol, marijuana has not been concretely established as a risk factor for Head and Neck Cancer (HNC) and there is no validated clinically significant cut-off for marijuana frequency/use.
Within the setting of HNC, there is data to show marijuana use at a frequency of less than three times per week or at least once monthly is associated with oropharyngeal and HPV-related cancers. Patients were found to have predominantly HPV positive oropharynx cancer and more likely to be single (not married) with statistically significant less tobacco use. When the relationship was assessed for cannabis use up to 5 years before diagnosis, it was found the magnitude of the risk was increased for both head and neck cancers and lung cancer to 8 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
(Dr. Niranjan Naik is Director, Surgical Oncology at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram.)
New York, July 3 (IANS) Marijuana use while pregnant increases the chance of developing childhood sleeping problems as much as a decade later, warn researchers.Published in 'Sleep Health: The Journal of The National Sleep Foundation', the study is the latest to link prenatal cannabis use to developmental problems in children and the first to suggest it may impact sleep cycles long-term."Mothers who said they had used cannabis while pregnant were significantly more likely to report their children having clinical sleep problems," said study researcher Evan Winiger from the University of Colorado Boulder in the US.For the study, the research team analysed baseline data from the landmark Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, which is following 11,875 youth from age 9 or 10 into early adulthood.As part of an exhaustive questionnaire upon intake, participants' mothers were asked if they had ever used marijuana while pregnant and how frequently. The mothers were also asked to fill out a survey regarding their child's sleep patterns, assessing 26 different items ranging from how easily they fell asleep and how long they slept to whether they snored or woke up frequently in the night and how sleepy they were during the day.About 700 moms reported using marijuana while pregnant. Of those, 184 used it daily and 262 used twice or more daily.After controlling for a host of other factors, including the mother's education, parent marital status and family income and race, a clear pattern emerged.Those who used marijuana frequently were more likely to report somnolence symptoms (symptoms of excess sleepiness) in their children, such as trouble waking in the morning and being excessively tired during the day.In other previous work of the same researchers, they found that teenagers who frequently smoked marijuana were more likely to develop insomnia in adulthood.While the current study doesn't prove that using cannabis while pregnant causes sleep problems, it builds on a small but growing body of evidence pointing to a link.Researchers aren't sure exactly how cannabis exposure during vulnerable developmental times might shape future sleep.But studies in animals suggest that THC and other so-called cannabinoids, the active ingredients in pot, attach to CB1 receptors in the developing brain, influencing regions that regulate sleep, the authors noted.--IANSbu/arm
Toronto - Female eggs exposed a psychoactive ingredient in marijuana have an impaired ability to produce viable embryos and are significantly less likely to result in a viable pregnancy, claims a study.
Marijuana, or cannabis, is the most commonly used recreational drug by people of reproductive age.
The rise in marijuana use has occurred at the same time that the percentage of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) ingredient in the drug has increased.
Currently, patients seeking infertility treatments are advised against cannabis use, but the scientific evidence backing this statement is weak.
"This makes it difficult for physicians to properly advise patients undergoing in vitro fertilization," said study researcher Megan Misner from University of Guelph in Canada.
In the study, published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, researchers treated cow oocytes, or female eggs, with concentrations of THC equivalent to therapeutic and recreational doses.
The oocytes were collected and matured into five groups: untreated, control, low THC, mid THC and high THC.
For the findings, the eggs' developmental rates and gene expression were measured.
The researchers evaluated the ability of embryos to reach critical stages of development at specific time points.
( Also Read - Cannabis use rises among the elderly, finds study )
With higher concentrations of THC, they found a significant decrease and delay in the ability of the treated oocytes to reach these checkpoints.
"This is a key indicator in determining the quality and developmental potential of the egg," Misner said.
THC exposure led to a significant decrease in the expression of genes called connexins, which are present at increased levels in higher quality oocytes.
Poorer quality oocytes, with lower connexin expression levels, have been shown to lead to a poorer embryo development. "
This embryo would be less likely to proceed past the first week of development, and thus lead to infertility," Misner said.
According to the researchers, preliminary data also showed THC affected the activity of a total of 62 genes in the treatment groups compared with the non-treated groups.
"This implies lower quality and lower fertilisation capability, therefore lower fertility in the end," she said. --IANS
Read More - Legal marijuana products too strong for pain relief: Study
New York- More than 90 per cent of the legal marijuana products offered in medical dispensaries are much stronger than what clinical studies have shown that doctors recommend for chronic pain relief, according to new research.
"We know that high-potency products should not have a place in the medical realm because of the high risk of developing cannabis-use disorders, which are related to exposure to high THC-content products," said the study's lead author, Alfonso Edgar Romero-Sandoval from Wake Forest School of Medicine in the US.
Several studies showed that levels of up to five per cent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the main psychoactive compound in marijuana that provides pain relief as well as intoxication - were sufficient to reduce chronic pain with minimal side effects.
The goal of the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE was to evaluate the advertised THC and cannabidiol (CBD) content of legal cannabis products to determine their suitability for medicinal use and to compare the potency of the products offered in medical and recreational programmes.
The researchers recorded the concentrations of THC and cannabidiol (CBD) - the non-euphoric compound in marijuana - in all plant cannabis products provided by legal dispensary websites and compared them between or within the states in the study: California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
A total of 8,505 cannabis products across 653 dispensaries were sampled.
The researchers found that most of the products offered in the medical dispensaries in the study had more than 10 per cent THC and that many had 15 per cent or more, the same as what is available in products at recreational dispensaries.
"This is problematic because between 60 per cent and 80 per cent of people who use medical marijuana use it for pain relief," Romero-Sandoval said.
The higher the concentration of THC the greater risk, not only for developing dependency but also for developing tolerance more quickly, which means higher and higher concentrations might be needed to get the same level of pain relief, the study said.
"Better regulation of the potency of medical marijuana products is critical. The FDA regulates the level of over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen that have dose-specific side effects, so why don't we have policies and regulations for cannabis, something that is far more dangerous?," Romero-Sandoval said. (agency)