The results of two encouraging cannabis studies were released in late July, with one suggesting that marijuana can be used to curb cocaine addiction while the other reports that pot use is not linked to long-term cognitive dysfunction.
The latter study was conducted by the Centre for Mental Health Research at Australian National University and examined over 2,000 adults aged 20-24 (at the study’s initiation) over an eight-year period. Armed with such comprehensive data, researchers concluded that pot use has little long-term negative effect on cognitive learning and memory, and that any damage that may occur due to marijuana is reversible, which flies in the face of the old argument that pot causes permanent mental impairment.
Four participant categories were studied; “heavy users” (at least once a week), “light users” (once a month), “former users” (not smoked in at least a year) and “non-users” (never smoked). Tests of memory and intelligence were administered three times over the eight-year span of the study. Initial results seemed to indicate a wide disparity between current pot smokers and non-users, but when adjustments were made for variables like education and gender, there was little difference between the cognitive functioning of users and non-users. Details of this tabulation process can be found here.
As we move from cognition to cocaine, a study released last week and published by Nature indicates that activation of the CB2 receptor in the brains of mice drastically reduced their consumption of nose candy. Researchers discovered that by activating the cannabinoid receptor via the synthetic cannabinoid compound JWH133, intravenous cocaine delivery to mice was reduced by 50 to 60 percent. JWH133 is a synthesized form of CBD, cannabinoid compounds that don’t get you high, but do have myriad health benefits, including possible prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
Zheng-Xiong Xi, lead author of the study and researcher at the National Institute on Drug Abuse told Time it is a “significant reduction.” JWH133 is considered a strong candidate with mainstream appeal for anti-addiction treatment because it does not produce a psychoactive high. The next phase of this research will focus on potential side effects of such CBD treatment on cocaine addiction.