The International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) culminated its 27th annual gathering, well-attended by over 400 scientists from 25 countries. The symposium, which was held in Montreal, revealed even more groundbreaking research about CBD, which continues to take the medical community by storm.
Martin Lee of Project CBD shares some interesting scientific developments about CBD from the four-day symposium:
Cardiovascular benefits of CBD: Saoirse O’Sullivan, an associate professor at the University of Nottingham, had a Young Investigator Award Presentation where she discussed how CBD affects the heart. According to her scientific findings, “CBD causes both acute and time dependent vasorelaxation of rat and human arteries… and can improve endothelial function and vasodilator responses in a rat model of type 2 diabetes.” Another interesting finding was that a single CBD dose was shown to reduce “resting blood pressure and the blood pressure response to stress.” O’Sullivan finished her presentation by concluding, “Collectively, these data suggest that CBD is a compound of interest in the cardiovascular system and in cardiovascular disorders, which need to be tested in relevant patient groups.”
Anti-tumor effects: Dr. Paula B. Dall’Stella, a neuro-oncologist who works with the Sirio Libanes Hospital in Brazil, created a poster documenting the antitumor effects of CBD on her two patients who are diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme, a type of brain cancer. Both patients exhibited resistance to conventional therapies. MRI scans conducted before and after CBD treatment revealed “a marked remission… not commonly observed in patients only treated with conventional modalities… that could impact survival.”
Epilepsy: During the ICRS, many doctors and scientists focused on CBD and its impact on treatment-resistant epilepsy. Some of the notable findings included:
Dr. Fabricio A. Pamplona analyzed the effect of pure CBD isolate on epilepsy compared to whole plant CBD-rich oil extract. He found that the whole plant extract was much more effective, had less side effects, and was shown to be more potent as a medicine. “There were more reports of improvements in seizures’ frequency in CBD-enriched extract compared to purified CBD,” which Dr. Pamplona credited to the fact that extracts have more compounds other than CBD in which it was possible synergistically acting with.
Israeli researchers from the Technion Institute discovered that “not all high CBD extracts have the same anticonvulsant ability.” They also found that the terpene content of cannabis extracts play an important role in keeping convulsions at bay. “Not all cannabis extracts will be useful as a treatment for epilepsy,” the Israeli researchers discovered. They concluded, “The exact cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles are needed to evaluate the potential anticonvulsant properties of a cannabis extract.”
Drug-testing: A poster explaining that using CBD-rich oil extracts daily could lead to a false positive THC finding during a drug test. This is a concern for patients who live in CBD-only states where CBD is legal but other plant compounds are not.
Alzheimer’s: Tim Karl of Australia’s Western Sydney University School of Medicine discussed the benefits of CBD for Alzheimer’s, pointing to the presence of amyloid beta plaque as well as tau protein tangles which are the primary defining characteristics of Alzheimer’s dementia. According to Karl, “The phytocannabinoid cannabidiol possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties and prevents amyloid beta-induced neuroinflammation, and tau hyperphosphorylation in vitro. CBD also reverses cognitive deficits of pharmacological amyloid beta models. Thus, CBD may offer therapeutic value for Alzheimer’s disease.”
GPR3 and GPR6: Researchers from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky identified 2 new molecular receptors, GPR3 and GPR6. G refers to G-coupled protein receptor, which is the same family of receptors from which cannabinoid, opioid, and some serotonin receptor subtypes belong to. These 2 new receptors are also known as orphan receptors since the main endogenous compound that binds to these still have to be identified. These findings are crucial because these receptors may hold the key to more therapeutic value for patients suffering from schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
Chronic cannabis use: Carrie Cutler, assistant professor in Washington State University, discussed a popular myth that has been surrounding cannabis use in adolescence. Some researchers claim that using cannabis at an early age leads to cognitive decline and impacts IQ. However, Cutler’s studies show that no “significant effects of cannabis use were detected on… measures of memory or executive functioning”. The problems encountered were moderate and had to deal with verbal free recall, and prospective memory. She also presented findings from a second study where she focused on the stress-reducing properties of cannabis. Cutler stated, “Chronic cannabis use is associated with a blunted stress response and a reduced reliance on top-down attentional control that does not cause overall cognitive performance to suffer.”
Sleep: Gwen Wurm from the University of Miami discussed the use of medical cannabis and how it decreases the need for prescription and over-the-counter drugs to treat sleep problems. Her poster stated, “There is a strong relationship between use of medical cannabis for sleep and for pain.”
These were just some of the notable presentations during the ICRS conference, and we’re looking forward to hearing more developments next year.