It's interesting that companies small and large (some, very big) go with the same playbook.
Yes, big tobacco could hide and dodge for decades as medical advances were needed to see the minute but cumulative damage of smoking directly.
The Bayer purchase of Monsanto, however, was a real turning point.
Having read a few 100's NIH studies on CBD we can see the progression.
The old studies were very general and operated at a summary level.
With every passing decade and then a year, the studies became more and sophisticated.
- First, CBD appears to reduce anxiety-like behavior in animal studies (open maze, etc)
- Next, CBD would modulate serotonin and GABA levels
- Recently, knock-out gene experiments show BDNF neurogenesis via serotonin pathway in hippocampus and prefrontal cortex as the main pathway
See how that ramped up??
They can now tell which bits of DNA are turned on and off from CBD in specific pathways.
The most recent studies get so technical that it is a virtual organic chem test!
Back to Bayer...did they just think that they could purchase the maker of Glyphosate and the science would be sketchy for a few more decades of profit?
That didn't work out so well.
After reading how glyphosate interrupts steroidal hormone production at the very top of the chain (see Pregnenolone review), we wouldn't be surprised if they're forced into bankruptcy eventually.
That's a monster company with shareholders and board members.
How on Earth did they not see this coming?
So back to our march of infamy.
- Big tobacco
- Purdue and opioid marketing (see CBD and addiction here)
- Monsanto and glyphosate
- Big Pharma and SSRI/Benzo fiasco (see CBD versus anti-anxiety medications)
- Next up...Dupont and PFOA - the "forever" chemical. Yes, it's in you right now.
- Juul and vaping companies are soon to follow. Really...cotton candy flavor?
Finally, anyone who sells high THC cannabis products either as the manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer.
This approach is fraught with jeopardy and they're looking away to keep making money now.
At the expense of tomorrow's existence.
We'll get into the multiple issues with high THC product...many of which are outlined in our Why you need CBD to offset THC negatives articles.
That's more in-depth as to the actual pathways but we'll give a summary look here.
If the industry (where legal) doesn't self govern on this front, they deserve the scrutiny and litigation that they receive.
Let's look at why THC by itself or in very high ratios to CBD is a nightmare product.
We'll cover these topics:
- The rise of THC levels in cannabis
- High THC products on the legal market now
- CBD's effect on THC
- Are there benefits to high THC products
- What are the risks for high THC products
Look, we're not anti-cannabis. After all, we've studied CBD for 1000's of hours and some people incorrectly think it's bad for you.
THC by itself is very different as we'll see below.
No agenda other than to show the good and bad so people can make informed decisions.
Just like the FDA dropping the ball on vaping, there's a generation undergoing a giant experiment with high THC products.
Time to take the blinders off and look at the research.
High THC sellers….consider this your notice. You've been served!
The rise of THC levels in cannabis
Even before legalization, there was a steady upward movement in the levels of THC for cannabis.
A study looked at the period from 1995 to 2014, approximately 2 decades.
Overall, the potency of illicit cannabis plant material has consistently risen over time since 1995 from approximately 4% in 1995 to approximately 12% in 2014.
And as for CBD, the opposing force to THC across many pathways (see CBD versus THC):
On the other hand, the CBD content has fallen on average from approximately 0.28% in 2001 to <0.15% in 2014, resulting in a change in the ratio of THC to CBD from 14 times in 1995 to approximately 80 times in 2014.
This ratio of CBD to THC is incredibly important as we'll see below.
It's the reason we researched and wrote the article at 6000+ words on why CBD is a must if you use THC or cannabis products.
That study left off in 2014.
The trajectory has only increased since then at a much faster clip!
An updated study in 2017 showed new levels of THC at 17%
The results showed that the mean Δ9-THC concentration has increased dramatically over the last 10 years, from 8.9% in 2008 to 17.1% in 2017.
Interestingly, the strains and names of cannabis products don't mean much any longer for THC and CBD levels.
In fact, studies are showing pretty comparable levels regardless of different strains, colors, and catchy branding.
The research shows that most strains, regardless of their origin or name, had the same amount of THC and CBD.
So that's mainly the illegal market.
Many people who use cannabis switch to legal options where available to get away from the horrible pesticides and contaminants on the illegal grow side.
Pay attention when they bust an illegal grow if they list the pesticides found along with the grow.
They tend to be things that were outlawed years and even decades ago which just ruin water and land surrounding the grow.
That's a separate article.
There's a whole slew of new products such as dab pen (usually illegal market or available online) which are pretty much-concentrated THC liquid..most of which is made in China with zero oversight.
Ask your high schooler about them. They're everywhere (and were in a so-called high achieving Blue Ribbon district).
We now have concentrated THC products such as oil, shatter, dab, and edibles that have been able to get the THC concentration upwards of 95%.
Simply put...this is to maximize the high effect and addiction can't be too far from the product design as we'll see below.
It's not that different than selling cocaine or meth with the blessing of our Government.
Let's look at the legal products where available.
We'll use California as a benchmark since we've seen it first hand.
High THC products on the legal market now
If you go down to a dispensary in California right now, you'll find a wide range of brands, products, and...THC levels.
There's a ton of product that the salesperson will freely tell you that he/she stays away from because it's way too strong.
In 2017 the most popular strains found in dispensaries in Colorado had a range of THC content from 17–28% such as found in the popular strain named “Girl Scout Cookie.”
Some of these products are all THC. Zero CBD.
Clearly, we're past the point of health concerns and into recreational use of cannabis but high THC has issues.
This is where you'll eventually see snapback when the stories start to come out like we're seeing right now with Juul and vaping.
Invariably, we'll get nasty attacks on articles like this so let's jump right into the pros and cons.
This isn't religion...just because we want something to be true doesn't make it so.
There are negatives to THC only products.
We'll start with many positives.
Are there benefits to high THC products
Let's be frank...the reason for high THC levels is to get high.
THC plugs directly into CB1 receptors in place of Anandamide.
Anandamide is called the "bliss" molecule, named after Anand, the Hindu goddess of bliss.
THC creates a rush of activity in this pathway that generally makes everything taste better, look better, and feel better.
It's called "bliss" after-all.
This is THE primary driver of THC's effect and popularity.
A few side notes on this.
Roughly 24-36 of the population is allergic to THC so the effects will be much less blissful.
We'll look at the negative reactions to THC below but let's assume we're dealing with people who have a pleasurable response from the Anandamide activation.
Beyond feeling euphoric and high, what about other pathways?
First, it's hard to get a straight read on THC by itself.
Almost all the research is on cannabis which has CBD (hopefully) and other cannabinoids.
We looked at research extensively on how CBD offsets many of the negatives of THC in the body.
The biggest health effects on the positive side for THC are:
- To increase appetite (such as for people with AIDs or cancer treatment)
- To reduce vomiting and nausea (such as for people with cancer treatment)
- To reduce the sensation of pain especially neurological
- To reduce spasticity (such as with MS or Tourettes)
- To reduce overactive bladder symptoms
- To reduce seizure activity
Some of this research on these effects are derived from Dronabinol, the FDA approved a synthetic version of THC.
Across all our research, we've never seen a synthetic version that worked better or had a stronger safety profile than the chemical it's intended to copy (i.e. - estrogens, progesterone, CBD, hydrogenated fats, fake sugars, and on and on).
As for its official use:
It is approved by the FDA as safe and effective for HIV/AIDS-induced anorexia and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting only.
Again, if we had to choose, we would rather have THC via the plant (assuming clean) than from synthetic.
We appear to be too complicated to modify chemicals slightly and expect the same result.
Really, pain and increased appetite seem to be the big effects that THC is stronger with.
And of course, the increased temporary euphoria.
Now, we're just looking at THC based on pathways it affects.
Usually, there's CBD to counter the intensity of THC.
As we saw above, that's increasingly not the case.
Let's look at why the sellers of high THC should probably get legal counsel ready.
What are the risks for high THC products
Again, let's separate out CBD from the mix and just have THC since that's increasingly popular.
We'll cover these areas:
- High THC and anandamide issues
- High THC and addiction
- High THC and normalization
- High THC and anxiety (short term) or depression (long term)
- High THC and brain remodeling
- High THC and teenage use
- High THC and psychosis
- High THC and hormones
- High THC and oxidation
- High THC and mitochondria (our energy sources)
- High THC sickness and allergy
- High THC and epigenetic changes passed on to children (brand new)
Let's look at each with more detail.
Now that we're finally able to study THC, we'll likely see more with very high THC strains.
High THC and anandamide issues
THC fits right into the CB1 receptor similarly to our naturally made anandamide (the "bliss" molecule from above).
That's the source of its "high" and euphoria effect up to certain doses.
- There's no free ride in the Universe.
- With very high levels of THC, you'll spike your Anandamide activity.
They discovered compounds produced by our bodies that fit into these receptors which they named anandamides, a Sanskrit word for “supreme joy.”
Two things happen in the brain as a result.
The brain will respond with an offsetting reduction in anandamide afterward and
CB1 receptor (our brain's primary endocannabinoid receptor) activity goes down
Basically, the brain is trying to right the ship from a sudden spike in a given pathway.
It does this by going the other way.
Compared to HCs, [11C]OMAR VT was 15% lower in CDs (effect size Cohen’s d=−1.11) at baseline in almost all brain regions.
HC is healthy control. CD is cannabis disuse subjects. OMAR is a measure of CB1 activity.
This is a very common response in the brain.
In fact, the GABA pathway is the same with Benzos (see CBD versus Benzos for GABA).
The net effect of this is that we're borrowing from tomorrow's bliss for today's high.
No free ride in the Universe.
There's a great explanation of this process in the book Never Enough.
Very high THC will elicit both a higher high and a corresponding lower low.
Research is showing that it can take 28 days for chronic THC users to have CB1 activity and anandamide levels recover.
For one-off use, the rebound is usually 2 days.
There was a robust negative correlation between CB1R availability and withdrawal symptoms after 2 days of abstinence.
This is for adults of course. Teenagers are quite different and we'll discuss that below.
This effect is not found with CBD and most of the other cannabinoids.
It's a function of THC's direct effect on CB1 activity.
This partially figures into the next section with high THC products.
High THC and addiction
We saw how there are new high THC products that are almost all THC with little if any CBD.
Sold legally to 18 years old if they have a medical marijuana card (in California, anyway).
Genetic and environmental differences in CB1 activity naturally may speak to the addiction piece.
Those that self-medicate with cannabis may naturally have lower CB1 activity, # of receptors, and/or anandamide levels.
Meanwhile the stats:
It has been reported that 9% of those who experiment with marijuana will become addicted; 17% of those who start using marijuana as teenagers will become addicted; and 25–50% of those who use daily will become addicted
We'll look at the teenage effect below since there is brand new research there on how even a few instances of THC use will remodel the brain in significant ways.
What about levels of THC?:
This study really points to THC levels driving the addiction piece:
Frequent use of high-potency cannabis predicted a greater severity of dependence [days of skunk use per month: b = 0.254, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.161-0.357, p < 0.001] and this effect became stronger as age decreased
Now contrast that with low THC level cannabis:
By contrast, use of low-potency cannabis was not associated with dependence (days of other grass use per month: b = 0.020, 95% CI -0.029 to 0.070, p = 0.436; days of resin use per month: b = 0.025, 95% CI -0.019 to 0.067, p = 0.245).
The effect was 1/10 (within the margin of error) of the high THC effect on addiction.
You are actively selling a highly addictive product and expecting to get away with it.
This drives many of the concerns below which are made worse by chronic use.
Interestingly, this high THC product is typically the most popular when available:
High-potency cannabis was clearly distinct from low-potency varieties by its marked effects on memory and paranoia. It also produced the best high, was preferred, and most available.
Another study compared high THC skunk, lower level strains, and resin.
Our findings clearly show that the use of high-potency (skunk) but not low-potency (other grass, resin) cannabis is associated with an increased severity of dependence, especially in young people.
The one thing missing from the high THC product is CBD.
CBD has opposing effects on this addiction pathway.
Generally associated with addiction is normalization.
High THC and normalization
Normalization is the process by which more and more of a drug is needed to get the same effect.
Since THC drives the high, it also drives the brain's reaction the other way (lower anandamide and lower CB1 activity).
The higher the THC, the more this effect.
In the short term, that's the "hangover" in terms of mood.
Longer-term, high THC or chronic THC use can increase risk for anxiety and depression.
Both are intimately tied to anandamide levels so that makes sense.
In fact, the woman who can't feel anxiety, depression, or pain has this effect due to anandamide and FAAH levels.
Our brain is anticipating more external THC so it drops anandamide.
Remember, our brain is basically a prediction machine at its core.
The book, Never Enough walks through this so well!
Cannabis was her favorite drug of choice (she's now a neuroscientist).
Eventually, you're using THC not to feel high but to not feel terrible.
This is the classic withdrawal response:
The most common symptoms observed during cannabis withdrawal include irritability, anxiety, decreased appetite, restlessness, and sleep disturbances
They can now pinpoint the withdrawal effect down to individual pathways:
Cannabinoid withdrawal in rodents is associated with an increase in the stress peptide CRF in the central nucleus of the amygdala
CRF is an initiator of our fight or flight response (See CBD and CRF here).
Most of the research on cannabis withdrawal is based on chronic use.
The key is this...high THC product has a higher risk for addiction which then leads to chronic use.
Let's look at some of the effects of high THC on anxiety and depression.
High THC and anxiety (short term) or depression (long term)
THC is interesting in single-use in terms of anxiety.
THC and other CB1 agonists display a dose-dependent biphasic response curve whereby low doses result in anxiolytic effects and high doses in anxiogenic effects
Anxiolytic means anti-anxiety.
Essentially, research is showing that THC at lower doses reduces anxiety while at higher levels, it actually can cause anxiety.
Relative to the placebo condition, delta-9-THC induced anxiety and modulated right amygdala activation while processing fear.
The high THC product doesn't have this offset.
In fact, CBD was shown to blunt this anxiety effect in cannabis depending on the ratio.
As early as 1982, there were indications that the psychosis- and anxiety-inducing effects of THC can be suppressed by CBD
As for depression, it's more a reduction of CB1 activity and anandamide from the brain's reaction to spiking activity with high THC.
When we really drilled down into depression, serotonin and BDNF become powerful players.
In fact, they're the main beneficiaries behind the most common class of medications...SSRI's. (Check out CBD versus SSRIs here).
Research is showing that this is all mediated through the endocannabinoid system.
BDNF is the brain's fertilizer and is key to keeping it integrated and purring (the opposite of depression).
What is THC's effect there?
Interesting results that help us understand THC's effect specifically:
Δ9-THC increased serum BDNF levels in healthy controls but not light users of cannabis. Further, light users of cannabis had lower basal BDNF levels.
So...a one-off use, not a problem. More usage (addiction, chronic, etc) and BDNF levels are reduced.
That's really bad news for anxiety and depression long term.
Check out CBD and BDNF to understand why.
Look...BDNF and the other neurotrophins may be the key to a host of mental health issues.
We believe research will show that sellers of high THC products are creating a wave of future anxiety and depression.
Let's look at how THC itself (since we're looking at high THC products) remodels the brain.
High THC and brain remodeling
We'll save the teenage brain changes below.
Let's look at general effects.
We'll touch on key areas of the brain:
- Hippocampus - memory and mood control
- Prefrontal cortex - seat of rational thought
- Striatum - key to reward pathways
- Amygdala - emotional and fear processing
- White matter - communication links between different brain areas
Let's check these out for THC's effects.
Hippocampus and high THC
We need to introduce a key term - biphasic.
This is really important when discussing high versus low THC strains of cannabis.
Essentially, it means that a chemical can have one effect at a lower down and another effect at a higher dose.
This is definitely at play with THC across a range of pathways.
Hippocampus function is an example.
First, the hippocampus is the seat of memory and it has many other key functions for mood.
It's also very vulnerable to many insults...be inflammation, infection, stress, trauma and more.
THC at lower levels is shown to cause "neurogenesis" or brain repair/growth.
A very good thing in the brain.
At higher levels?
Based on these reports, it is evident that at low concentrations (up to 1 μmol/L), cannabinoids are able to induce neurogenesis, while at higher concentrations, neurogenesis is impaired.
The effect of this was interesting in heavy users versus occasional users:
The majority of memory domains tested in heavy cannabis smokers were not affected by the acute administration of Δ9-THC or were only affected if the dose was high (eg, more than 3.9% Δ9-THC concentration in the smoked cigarette
Essentially, heavy users only showed memory and issues when using high THC products.
The short term effect was present across the board for occasional users.
Good news is that this effect goes away after abstinence!
Worst case, look at high ratios of CBD to THC since CBD is a powerful booster of hippocampus neurogenesis.
Next up...kind of an important brain area.
The prefrontal cortex and high THC products
This is generally tied to "executive functioning"...a fancy way to say higher-level thinking and planning.
There have been studies on "volume" of THC and its effect on this function:
As joints smoked per week increased, performance decreased on tests measuring memory, executive functioning, psychomotor speed, and manual dexterity
This effect can be seen across a range of brain areas:
Similarly, in a PET study, Eldreth et al139 found hypoactivation in the left pregenual ACC and the left lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) and bilateral hyperactivity in the hippocampus.
"Hypoactivation" means less activity.
The real crux for adult use with high levels of THC appears to be the hippocampus.
Again, check out CBD, exercise, and mindful meditation for hippocampus repair.
In fact, researchers were able to block activity in the hippocampus and memory issues tied to THC went away.
Moreover, it was found that microinjection of a CB1 receptor antagonist into the hippocampus blocked spatial memory deficits caused by Δ9-THC administration, indicating that the disruptive effects of Δ9-THC on memory function are mediated through its effects on hippocampal CB1 receptors
High THC and Striatum
This is the key area for reward processing which in turn...can drive addiction!
What does THC do there?
Lower dopamine release in the associative striatum correlated with inattention and negative symptoms in CD, and with poorer working memory and probabilistic category learning performance in both CD and HC.
CD is a cannabis dependence. HC is a healthy control.
This area drives what we focus on.
Dopamine is the key neurotransmitter there.
The scientific word is salience and THC and CBD have very different effects there.
There are fascinating studies finally that can track these effects:
Relative to the placebo condition, delta-9-THC and CBD had opposite effects on the functional connectivity between the dorsal striatum, the prefrontal cortex, and the hippocampus
Delta-9-THC reduced frontostriatal connectivity, which was related to its effect on task performance, whereas this connection was enhanced by CBD.
Quite literally, THC steers the brain to view its effect as being more "important" or salient.
CBD counters this rewiring effect.
Now strip out CBD and have much higher levels of THC.
Together, these pre-clinical and clinical findings reveal that THC administration has reinforcing properties that alter salience processing via increased dopaminergic signaling like other drugs of abuse
Now...the most important piece of this whole article.
New research on THC effects on the teenage brain.
Even at lower levels!
High THC and teenage use
We'll start with the newest research:
Research is the first to find evidence that an increase in gray matter volume in certain parts of the adolescent brain is a likely consequence of low-level marijuana use.
Okay...but cannabis isn't available legally to teenagers, right?
First, the brain doesn't finish remodeling until age 25.
Secondly, cannabis in all forms is the most popular drug by far among high schoolers.
Recent data from the High-Intensity Rocky Mountain Drug Enforcement Agency’s annual report states that Colorado currently has a 74% higher than national average adolescent cannabis use rate
Personally, I think the following stats from 2014 are much higher based on what we see in high schools locally:
According to the Monitoring the Future survey, an annual survey of drug use in America’s middle and high school students, rates of use within one year ranged from approximately 9% in 8 graders to 35% in 12 graders.
Many of the issues associated with THC appear to self-correct after abstinence (the 28-day rule).
There are three that may not as a result of adolescent or teenage use:
- Brain area remodeling
- Prone to anxiety
- IQ drop up to 8 points
The brain goes through a very significant remodeling during puberty.
Part of this process is a sort of pruning to make communication within and between different areas more efficient.
The current thought is that THC interferes with this pruning process at critical times.
We identify synaptic pruning and white matter development as two processes that may be adversely impacted by cannabis exposure during adolescence.
It's like writing your name in wet concrete.
The net result of this interference is found in the long-term potential for anxiety and IQ drop.
The IQ effect may be due to other issues since it didn't bare out in twin studies.
Again, the research is just beginning on this front.
There's reason to be cautious:
Further, cessation of cannabis use did not fully restore neuropsychological functioning among adolescent-onset cannabis users.
Ideally, people don't use cannabis till after age 25 when the brain is pretty well established.
Of course, if you can get an honest answer from high schoolers, it's generally THC vaping, dispensary and illegal weed, or other devices like dab pens with very high THC.
In California, an 18-year-old senior can pretty easily get a medical marijuana card online and purchase legally in a dispensary.
There's about a 10% bump in adolescent use in States that have legalized cannabis:
A 16-year-old isn't exactly after health benefits like reduced inflammation (although, that could really help with puberty!).
As for trends with legalization:
Since legalization in Colorado, marijuana use in adolescents and those 18–25 has steadily climbed, well outpacing the national average. Colorado leads the nation in first-time marijuana use by those aged 12–17, representing a 65% increase in adolescent use since legalization
This trend will only continue:
Daily marijuana use among young people in the U.S. is at the highest rate in 30 years, according to new data.
With very very high THC.
High THC and psychosis
This is tricky since there's a cause-effect direction that has to be established in terms of long term risk for schizophrenia.
Meaning...are people with schizophrenia self-medicating with THC.
After all, there's an important tie between Anandamide (which THC substitutes for) and schizophrenia.
What research does show is that high enough THC content cannabis can lead directly to psychosis.
After adjusting for a variety of confounders, including use of other drugs and alcohol, the researchers found an increased risk of developing psychosis in subjects who used cannabis daily (OR, 3.04; 95% CI = 1.91–7.76) and in subjects who used high-potency cannabis
That's 3x's the risk with high THC cannabis.
This shouldn't be too surprising with very high THC product since we can see the immediate effect even in people with little risk for schizophrenia.
We're seeing lots of different studies showing this effect from different angles:
The study also shows that three European cities — London, Paris, and Amsterdam — where high-potency weed is most commonly available actually have higher rates of new cases of psychosis than the other cities in the study.
What about after legalization in Colorado?:
After marijuana use was legalized in Colorado in 2012, ER visits linked to cannabis use tripled over the next five years at one of the state's largest hospitals, according to a new analysis.
The edibles really appear to be an issue where people misjudge how much THC they are actually taking in.
Interestingly, CBD has a countering effect here (providing it's actually in the product).
Whereas THC produces acute psychotic-like symptoms in healthy volunteers, pretreatment with CBD decreases the THC-induced psychotic symptoms and cognitive impairments
Learn all about CBD and psychosis or schizophrenia here.
Interestingly, mother nature appears to have a response.
High THC sickness and allergy
The current mix of THC products sold even legally reminds us of caffeine or even fast food.
You take a relatively neutral input (caffeine for example) and you bastardize it into oblivion in order to make more money.
- Start with tea. 26 mg of caffeine. Okay...there are actually health benefits.
- Next up coffee. 95 mg of caffeine. Still okay but getting stronger.
- Then came the soft drinks. 32 ounces at about 100 mg on average. Adding sugar and phosphoric acid...not so great long term.
How can we absolutely Frankenstein this cannabis thing?
The "Monster" drinks enter the market with a rush to the bottom (or top in terms of caffeine levels).
Redline Xtreme has 316 mg of caffeine!
There's no reason for that to be on the market.
The next effect from a seemingly safe chemical??
The estimated number of ED visits involving energy drinks doubled from 10,068 visits in 2007 to 20,783 visits in 2011.
That's from 2011...almost 10 years ago before.
This same trend is happening in cannabis, especially on the legal side.
Interestingly, some bodies (and brains) are saying enough is enough similarly to the caffeine results.
There's a new kid in town...
Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome
Essentially, repeated bouts of vomiting (emesis) from cannabis.
Interestingly, this "disease" was first described in 2004 in the medical research world.
That's a curious timing considering the popularity of cannabis in the '60s (not to mention the 1000 BC's).
Higher levels of THC are directly implicated:
Chronically elevated levels of THC can lead to desensitization of CB1 receptors resulting in delayed gastric emptying and hyperemesis
The same CB1 receptors we discussed up above.
The endocannabinoid system controls nausea, vomiting, and many functions in the gut so this all falls in line.
Why do we ruin a good thing?
By jacking up THC levels, we are basically making cannabis off-limits for those individuals...forever!
Just look at this stat (recent, finally):
For the latest study, the Colorado researchers chronicled nearly 10,000 ER visits to the University of Colorado Health's Anschutz campus, a large public hospital in Aurora, roughly 30 minutes from Denver. Of all the visits, about 2,500 were related to marijuana.
¼ of all ER visits were related to cannabis use and the majority of them were for gut-related issues like CHS.
The warning had been that you needed to be a long term user of cannabis to even get to this point.
A retrospective case series of 98 patients found that 32% of patients reported less than 1 year of abuse
As THC levels keep rising to Redline equivalent levels, we wouldn't be surprised to see the total numbers go up and the number of uses required to go down.
It's essentially poisoning.
On to even newer discoveries.
High THC and epigenetic changes passed on to children (brand new)
Research is getting so much more sophisticated which is why these companies are starting to fall.
The Juul CEO just resigned yesterday. Dupont is next on the docket.
As for sellers of high THC products…
What about the new study that shows THC products actually cause epigenetic changes that are passed down to offspring which make them more susceptible to autism, anxiety, and depression.
Okay...that's a mouthful.
Let's decipher because this is the level of sophistication we now see in new research.
Epigenetics is the new hot thing.
We all have DNA that doesn't change much (hopefully) but epigenetics is the layer that sits on top and turns those genes on and off.
It's basically the way environmental effects have their influence.
Not just our environment….
- Our wombs
- Our parents
Look...new studies are showing epigenetic effects going back generations!
For example, generations related to survivors of the Holocaust show epigenetic changes as a result.
This can affect anxiety, mental health, and even metabolism!
Don't despair...we can also affect this "layer" with our own behavior.
Back to THC.
Here's the actual study:
Cannabis use is associated with potentially heritable widespread changes in autism candidate gene DLGAP2 DNA methylation in sperm
Okay, so what does DLGAP2 do?
Discs-Large Associated Protein 2 (DLGAP2), involved in synapse organization, neuronal signaling, and strongly implicated in autism, exhibited significant hypomethylation (p < 0.05) at 17 CpG sites in human sperm.
Good Lord, that's important.
Basically, brain architecture.
Well...was it THC?
Adult male rats exposed to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) showed differential DNA methylation at Dlgap2 in sperm (p < 0.03), as did the nucleus accumbens of rats whose fathers were exposed to THC prior to conception (p < 0.05).
Did you catch the last piece?
The nucleus accumbens is the key to addiction. Almost all addictive substances (including THC) operate at this location.
The babies of fathers exposed to THC had different genes turned on and off in this critical hub.
We wouldn't be surprised if rates of various issues continue to rise as THC levels and use increase...even in prior generations.
Could the rise in autism originate from the swell of THC use in the '60s and '70s?
Let's see...add about 20 years (age of conception) to 1970 and you get 1990.
When did autism rates really start to rise?
In the '70s and '80s, it was about 1 in 2000 children (still too high).
By year 2000...1 in 150.
Obviously, many things could also affect this (better diagnosing, pesticides, estrogenic environmental effect, PFOA's, older age, etc).
As research gets more sophisticated, it will be hard for them to hide as well.
The epigenetic study above is a perfect example of this.
Finally, CBD's effect on THC.
CBD's effect on THC
We've written extensively on this:
- How CBD protects from THC's effects
- The difference between CBD and THC
- Do you need THC to activate CBD
In almost every way, CBD directly counters the effects of THC.
THC directly boosts CB1 activity.
CBD works as a "constraint" on CB1 activity.
Technically, called a negative allosteric modulator.
That's a mouthful!
It's important though.
We can see this effect across many pathways we discussed:
- Anxiety (See CBD versus THC for anxiety)
We'll leave the heavy lifting (and reading) to the article above.
We're very curious to see CBD's effect on cannabis hyperemesis syndrome.
Again...we won't be surprised.
If someone doesn't like their relationship with THC, check out our taper section:
Get specific links for CBD and Perimenopause symptoms and questions here.
Always work with a doctor or naturopath with any supplement!
The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.