Over 60 million children in the United States are currently diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, often simply referred to as ADHD or just ADD. This number has been skyrocketing in the last decade with an average classroom in America now holding 1-3 children with the disorder and a growing number of adults, now 11 percent of the country’s population, also exhibiting symptoms of ADHD.
Characterized by an inability to concentrate on and pay attention to even simple tasks without becoming quickly distracted as well as strong impulsive and hyperactive behavior, this modern day malady negatively affects everything from school performance to interpersonal behavior, as ADHD is linked to verbal hostility and angry outbursts as well.
While the debate still rages on about what exactly is causing this massive disruption in cognitive performance and social interaction in modern society – everything from video games to genetic malfunctions (ADHD can be inherited) have been shown to be factors – the disorder just keeps spreading faster every year. What is known is that those with the disorder have concrete physiological impairments including brain abnormalities that underlie their psychological symptoms, much like in other serious mental health epidemics including depression.
Because of this, and the fact that there is no other real treatment for ADHD other than chemical drugs with “scary” and “unsettling” side effects, savvy researchers have finally begun to study how cannabis, with its potent neuroprotective properties and success in treating other cognitive disorders (including depression), might be able to step in and provide some much needed relief.
In fact, the results of the first randomized controlled study on cannabis and ADHD was just published in May 2017, and the outcomes are quite promising. Researchers from King’s College of London gave an oral cannabis spray to half of a group of 30 volunteers with ADHD and a placebo to the other half and then gave them both standardized cognitive and emotional tests.
Amazingly, the researchers found that the group that been given the spray showed “a nominally significant improvement” in both hyperactivity/impulsivity and in important cognitive factors as well as “a trend towards improvement for inattention”. Because of this, the researchers concluded that “this study provides preliminary evidence supporting the self-medication theory of cannabis use in ADHD and the need for further studies of the endocannabinoid system in ADHD.”
As the researchers state, the new study was in part of course sparked by the fact that many people are already self-medicating ADHD with cannabis, and getting fantastic results. A 2008 case report from Heidelberg University in Germany for example documented a 28 year-old male ADHD patient who showed “improper behavior and appeared to be very maladjusted and inattentive while sober” but became “completely inconspicuous while having a very high blood plasma level of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).”
Because ADHD shows no sign of slowing down and is linked to complex social and genetic factors it probably won’t go away until we completely restructure the world. In the meantime, it’s good to know that mama marijuana is always here to provide some relief to the mental suffering of children of all ages.
For decades the War on Drugs and its advocates pushed a false narrative about cannabis that was meant to scare the public by claiming the mighty green herb actually damages the human brain and lowers IQ. While the last decade or so has a seen a feat of poetic justice of epic proportions take place as medical marijuana sweeps the world curing everything from cancer to epilepsy and becoming a multi-billion dollar business (the fastest growing segment of the U.S. economy in fact), the stigma relating to its effect on the brain has been the hardest to shake and claims about its ill cognitive effects still abound.
So let’s settle this once and for all.
Not only has cannabis use actually been associated with enhanced creative function in everyone from Bob Marley to William Shakespeare (if the greatest literary genius in Western history was a toker how much can it really dumb you down?) but there are plenty of studies now that show that not only are all those IQ lowering studies completely bunk, but that marijuana actually does the opposite: it protects the brain, boosts many of its most important functions and can actually stimulate the growth of new brain cells. Sound too good to be true? Read on.
Cannabis is a Powerful Neuroprotector
Scientists have known since at least 1998 that marijuana has profound brain cell protecting properties when an important study published by the National Academy of Sciences tested THC, CBD and other cannabinoids in rats that had been poisoned by the neurotoxin glutamate. All of the cannabis compounds were found to prevent “oxidative damage” caused by the brain toxin and CBD itself was found to have higher antioxidant function than both vitamins C and A.
The authors of the study concluded that CBD “may be a potentially useful therapeutic agent for the treatment of oxidative neurological disorders.”
Since that landmark study, dozens of other investigations into the neuro-protective properties of cannabis have found an amazing array of nearly miraculous results that continue to unravel the more they are put under the microscope. Just last year for example, a study conducted at UC San Diego found that the cannabinoids in marijuana were able to block the age related plaque build-up of the neurotoxin beta amyloid (Aβ), which leads to cell death and all sorts of the brain impairments that we think are a natural product of getting older.
This means that cannabis is such a profound brain protector that it actually is keeping our noodle younger and healthier, the complete opposite of the Drug War era hyped-up claims.
Cannabis Boosts Memory and Cognitive Performance
With such deep brain protective properties associated with cannabis it should come to no surprise that the marvelous green bud is also able to enhance many of our most important cognitive functions. And that is exactly what science has been discovering in study after study that not only put more nails in the coffin of myth of marijuana’s detrimental mental effects a but open up a plethora of new possibilities for the use of cannabis as a powerful natural brain boosting agent.
An important Israeli study in 2013 for example, sent shockwaves through the medical community and the anti-drug movement when it discovered that marijuana actually can be used to improve both learning and memory function. The researchers exposed a group of rats to high levels of stress for two weeks to induce the kind of cognitive deficits that are commonly found in “stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders” like anxiety and depression, including difficulties with short-term memory recall and solving simple spatial tasks.
Incredibly, having already proven in a previous study that marijuana cannabinoids can prevent the onset of these cognitive problems, they found that they could also completely reverse them after they set in as well.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
In a brand new first of its kind study that has anti-drug advocates still scratching their heads, researchers at a Harvard University affiliated hospital found that after three months of cannabis treatment, adult patients were actually able to complete a variety of word and color tests with more speed than before, showing that the herb had actually improved their “executive” cognitive functioning.
“After three months of medical marijuana treatment, patients actually performed better, in terms of their ability to perform certain cognitive tasks, specifically those mediated by the frontal cortex,” explained Stacey Gruber PHD, author of the study and head of the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery (MIND) program. That is nothing short of amazing.
Cannabis Promotes Brain Cell Growth
In what is possibly the most fantastic of all the hundreds of studies that prove the diverse medicinal powers of cannabis, Chinese researchers found back in 2005 that THC was able to stimulate the production of new neural cells in the hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for important cognitive and emotional processing.
Many drugs, including alcohol, cocaine and opiates are known to suppress the production of new brain cells in the hippocampus, meaning that marijuana can possibly reverse the brain damaging effects of drug and alcohol addiction.
The researchers concluded:
“The present study suggests that cannabinoids are the only illicit drug that can promote adult hippocampal neurogenesis following chronic administration.”
But THC is not the only cannabinoid that promotes the growth of new brain cells. A 2013 study that was trying to figure out by what mechanism CBD was able to reverse depression and anxiety discovered that the powerful non-psychoactive cannabinoid was actually stimulating the growth of new cells in the hippocampus as well.
This means that the cannabinoids in cannabis can be used to speed up the emotional and cognitive healing that we as a species need right now by helping us repair and grow important brain structures that support advanced processing.
Your Brain on Pot
A natural plant that not only protects your brain from damage due to toxins and stress but can enhance its cognitive function and even help it to grow new cells is nothing short of a miracle medicine – not a substance that should be villainized. So let’s set the record straight and stop the propaganda about it being harmful to you.
Your brain on pot is a happy, healthy brain that may even be ahead of the pack when it comes to human conscious evolution.
Cannabis researchers have known for a long time that the endocannabinoid system regulates many of the processes involved with the aging process, and that cannabinoids can protect the brain and other organs from age related damage. But there has never been a study done showing outright that marijuana can specifically reverse the effects of aging on the brain after it has taken place.
Until now that is.
In a ground-breaking first of its kind study just published in the academic journal “Nature”, an international team of scientists prove conclusively that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, is able to not only enhance the brain activity of elderly mice but to improve the density of key brain areas, including the hippocampus. In a dramatic turning back of time, these mice then clearly demonstrate an improvement in problem solving and other cognitive functions that normally decline with age.
Remarkably, a single low dose of THC was found to have “lasting effects on learning and memory performance” in the mice tested, regardless of age. Even more miraculously, the THC extract changed the underlying gene expression of 12 month old mice to be identical to that of a 2 month old mouse, meaning that beyond neurological function and even physical structure this powerful natural compound was able to induce “epigenetic” changes in the brain that restore it to its former youthful glory.
For anyone not well versed in evolutionary theory, epigenetics is a fast growing field of discoveries that both challenges and completes Darwin’s theories of natural selection (where fixed genes and traits are passed down through heredity) by showing that gene expression, and therefore actual physical changes (everything from body type to behavior to disease), can be influenced by environmental factors and happen within a single lifetime. In other words, in the nature vs. nurture debate, epigenetics has come forward to show just how powerfully nurturing can override the genetic programming that nature has originally provided.
Yes, we evolve within our lifetime. And now we know that cannabis can advance that evolution.
“These results demonstrate that the cognitive improvements in THC-treated mature mice were associated with a change in gene profiles” the study states, after explaining that the marijuana compound actually upregulated gene transcripts that are known to not only improve cognitive function and protect against age related illnesses like Alzheimer’s Disease but even extend lifespan.
In a time when anti-aging medicine has become a multi-billion dollar industry, despite the risks involved with treatments like Human Growth Hormone and Stem Cell therapy, this new study is completely game-changing. Scientists have been trying to develop epigenetic treatments for age related cognitive impairments for some time but have not been able to come up with anything that does not have serious side effects. Now we know that cannabis can once again do what Big Pharma simply can only dream of.
A natural and abundant plant that has already been proven to have incredible medicinal power across a wide range of therapeutic applications and presents no toxic danger, cannabis is nothing short of a miracle medicine that is here to help us evolve to a healthier and happier future. Playing an important role in human development since the beginning of time, cannabis continues to be a co-evolutionary partner whose relationship to us just gets more and more beautiful as time goes by.
The “Happiest Place on Earth” pulled an Evil Stepmother move last month when it updated its rules and regulations to ban medical marijuana from all of its theme parks and resorts. Of course they did it just as both California and Florida passed recreational and medical use bills, respectively, as an obvious warning to their visitors that the will of the people will not apply on Disney turf.
Nevermind the fact that every ride, from “It’s a Small World” after a quick toke to “Space Mountain” after a space cookie is a hell of a lot more fun, or that Walt Disney himself was known to dabble in everything from cocaine to mescaline (the psychedelic influence in movies like Dumbo and Fantasia is quite obvious). All things considered marijuana should actually be encouraged not prohibited in these giant open air amusement parks when Americans of all walks of life rub shoulders under the hot sun. It keeps the friction down.
In fact, America’s favorite fun zones have often become scenes of violence and madness that mama marijuana would have nipped in the bud, literally. For example, a 50 year old man was filmed going berserk in Disneyland to the point where he had to be pepper sprayed and held down. More recently, video of a young buck going killer Jedi and taking out the whole cast and crew of the Star Wars show. CBD drops anyone? (Only joking!)
Even former Mouseketeer Christina Aguilera flew off the handle and lost it after Mickey Mouse himself tried to take a break when it was her turn for a selfie with him. Poor Mickey had to be escorted to safety by security just to get away from the riled up Diva, showing that sometime a “Genie in Bottle” is really a lot of bottled up rage.
“Do you know who I am?”
she shouted, after calling Mickey an asshole in front of families and children.
Want more? There have even been stabbings in the parking lot of Disneyland that drew bigger audiences than the shows happening inside. And no, these were not staged sword fights between the “Pirates of the Caribbean”. In fact, there have been so many fights at the Disney theme parks that there are now fight compilation tapes circulating around the Internet that showcase the best brawls, although this three woman smack down at the Epcot Center has got to be the best of the bunch.
So what’s really happening here folks? Why are so many people wiling out when they are supposed to be chilling and enjoying themselves on vacation at Disney Theme Parks? How did the epicenter of family fun and the most popular vacation destinations in the country become such obvious examples of the worst of human behavior?
Crowding affects behavior
The answer is simple and is to be found in the effects of crowding on the behavior of not just humans but other animals as well. Studies on monkeys have shown that aggressive behavior is directly linked to crowded conditions, and can sometimes even result in behavior that would be considered psychotic in other situations. Psychologists know that while crowded events, like dance parties and concerts, are actually where humans experience the most joy and social connection, things can quickly take a negative turn if stressful situations arise or if co-operative conditions are replaced by competitive ones. Think of the lines for the rides at Disney World on a sunny summer Sunday afternoon and you see the perfect recipe for things to get out of hand.
People simply get more edgy when they are packed together in one place. The more contact with each other they have the more likely that both positive and negative interactions will happen. When it comes to mega-amusement parks like Disneyland, the possibilities are both highly rewarding and potentially terrifying, which is where nature’s most powerful herbal medicine comes into play with the potential to save the day and round off the edges. Quite simply, marijuana is a powerful social lubricant with the ability to lower aggression and violent behavior drastically, and should be considered as crowd control technique without equal in the world.
A July 2016 study conducted in Holland, for example, exposed three groups of people to tests explicitly designed to irritate, annoy and elicit aggressive behavior among the participants. The first group had been given enough alcohol to be intoxicated, the second group had smoked marijuana and the third was a control group that was perfectly sober.
Remarkably, the researchers found that while alcohol increased aggressive behavior compared to the control group, cannabis actually lowered it. This meaning that those who consumed cannabis were not only more relaxed than the boozers but that they were actually even more tranquilo than the non-smokers as well.
Other studies have shown that marijuana even lowers domestic violence rates among couples, meaning those furious family vacation fights would be toned down with a little cannabis thrown in the mix as well. In fact, we have known for decades that marijuana lowers aggression and violent behavior in a dose dependant manner, meaning that if after hitting the bong there is still some agro behavior going on simply hitting it again and again will eventually do the trick and put even a raging elephant down into couch lock.
So, when it comes to Disney’s new rules regarding marijuana use in its parks, especially since now it is legal in the states where both Disneyland and Disneyworld are located, it would be wise for them to rethink their position. Since both the visitors will have more fun and the staff will have less grief due to aggressive behavior, allowing cannabis use on a Disney vacation would be a win-win situation for everyone.
Characterized by painful, blistering sores, the herpes simplex virus (HSV) is carried for life once infection takes place, although outbreaks may be rare or infrequent. Herpes is broken down into two simplex types: HSV 1 causes outbreaks on the mouth and lips while HSV 2 affects the genital areas.
Those living with herpes — which is actually one in six Americans aged 14 to 49, according to the CDC — have no cure at their fingertips and are limited to treating the outbreaks when they arise with chemical ointments and creams. But several studies over the last couple of decades have shown that cannabis is a potent ally for herpes sufferers and that topical medical marijuana might just be the best treatment available for the disease.
Cannabis Stops Herpes from Spreading
Viruses spread by replicating their DNA into other healthy cells, which can happen so fast we call something “going viral” when it spreads quickly. Back in 1980, a study published in the Journal of General Virology showed that 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was able to stop both types of the herpes virus from replicating and spreading. The researchers stated that THC acts as a potent antiviral against the illness, although the mechanism of action was not understood.
Similar findings were reported in a 1991 study that found that THC was able to suppress the viability of the herpes virus by 80 percent. The researcher claimed THC made the herpes virus much less “infective” and slowed its replication and spreading ability tremendously
In 2004, a study was conducted aimed at finding the mechanism responsible for the profound antiviral properties of THC. The findings revealed that the cannabinoid specifically targets the still not quite understood “viral and/or cellular mechanisms” that the herpes virus uses for replication, meaning cannabis fights herpes specifically at the cellular level.
Treating Herpes Topically with Cannabis
Topical medical marijuana oils are now widely available across the United States and can be used by herpes sufferers to treat their symptoms in a safe and natural way. Because THC and the other powerful cannabinoids in cannabis are extremely fat soluble, extracting them in oil is actually one of the best ways to preserve all of their medicinal properties.
When applied to the skin topically, cannabis oils or other cannabis-oil-infused products, such as lotions, ointments, balms, salves and even sprays, are able to act transdermally, penetrating the skin and taking action at the cellular level – where the herpes virus is active. Using medical marijuana in this way is not psychoactive and will not get you “high.”
Besides the specific action of THC stopping the spread of herpes, there are more great benefits of using cannabis topically to treat herpes. Other cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) present in the product have been shown to have strong pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties. This can help mitigate some of the unpleasant symptoms of herpes outbreaks in terms of both pain and ugly, raised sores while the THC fights the disease at its root.
The Future of Cannabis Medicines for Herpes
Unfortunately, there is still just a small number of quality studies on cannabis and herpes, despite the promising results of the ones we have covered in this article. As medical marijuana continues to be legalized across the country, however, new investigations into its ability to limit the spread of herpes and innovative products designed to be used specifically for that purpose should be on the horizon.