Cannabis, marijuana, weed, hemp, pot hashish. The list is endless, but they all mean the same thing. In the U.S., a total of 34 states, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands have legalized marijuana for medical use. They have approved a comprehensive, publicly available medical cannabis program. However, there is a conflict between federal and state law.
Under federal law, cannabis is treated like every other controlled substance. It’s classified as a Schedule I drug because of its high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. The federal government claims that it has the constitutional authority to prohibit it for all purposes. Therefore, a federal law enforcement official has the jurisdiction to prosecute even if a person resides in a state where it is allowed under state law. These laws are generally applied only to people who possess, cultivate, or distribute large quantities of cannabis.
The federal government has strict guidelines on the matter. They are as follows:
- Preventing distribution to minors
- Preventing the use of cannabis revenue for criminal enterprises or gangs
- Prohibiting its transfer from states where it is legal to another
- Forbidding the use of state-authorized activity as a cover for other illegal drugs
- Preventing the use of firearms with any activity related to this drug
- Prohibiting driving under the drug’s influence
- Preventing its cultivation on public land as well as the possession or use of marijuana on federal property
The department reserves the right to challenge state laws at any time. Federal prosecutors can decide how to enforce cannabis laws. This is done by weighing relevant considerations such as the seriousness of the crime and the cumulative impact on the community among others.
Many states have recognized the medical value of marijuana for the health and welfare of their people. They claim to have the right to enforce their own laws and have either passed laws through their legislatures or adopted them by initiative. Regardless of federal law, these states have taken a stand to support, implement, and take responsibility for their residents.
Even though medical cannabis is legal in a growing number of states, there is a varying level of control and regulation. Be up to date with the laws in your state. But when in Michigan, consider the following rules:
- You must be 21 or older to buy marijuana.
- Do not use or smoke weed in public, not even on your front porch? Using it within your house or backyard is fine.
- Don’t drive while smoking or under the influence of cannabis. However, you can have up to 2.5 oz. in your car.
- Hold onto your medical marijuana card. You can save on sales tax.
- Until recently, the only way to get cannabis is as a gift from someone who is growing the plant.
- You’re permitted to grow up to 12 plants inside your house, but the maximum amount is 10 oz. Any quantity above 2.5 oz. must be locked up and stored safely.
- Even though cannabis is legal, employers have the right to set the rules within their company. So you can still get fired for smoking pot on the job.
Cannabis and dementia
Approximately 15% of the U.S. population aged 70 and older has dementia, with numbers expected to rise with the growing aging population. There is no known cure, and with existing treatment options becoming increasingly expensive, people are starting to turn to cannabis as an alternative. There is a considerable amount of interest in cannabinoids products (low THC and high CBD) and whether they may be useful in treating patients who have dementia.
What is dementia?
Dementia refers to a variety of diseases associated with the brain. It can cause various long-term effects through a gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember. Dementia is of various types. You may be not aware but many of its types influence your emotions. There must be a question in your mind, dementia mood swings, what’s the connection? One of its types, known as vascular dementia share a direct relationship with mood swings. The general symptoms of dementia vary depending upon the part of the brain that gets damaged, sometimes so severe that it impacts a person’s quality of life. Dementia patients may have problems with:
- Planning, organizing or concentrating
- Managing emotions
- Following and comprehending conversations
- Inability to judge distances or perceive 3D objects
- Orientation issues such as keeping track of time or location
There are several types of dementia such as Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia. It’s common for patients to have mixed dementia, where more than one type exists in the same person. Unfortunately, neurodegeneration is a common aspect in most forms of the disease.
There have been no new treatments in over 15 years. Drugs can only temporarily improve the symptoms with the hopes that the patient will live a decent life with the condition. Donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine are medications that work by boost levels of a chemical messenger that is responsible for enhancing judgment, motivation, memory, and concentration.
The good news, however, is that an early diagnosis can slow down the disease and maintain mental function. Braintests are simple assessments that you can take to help determine the state of your brain health. Discussing the results of these tests with your doctor is an excellent way to identify any issues.
A closer look at THC and CBD
Over the years, more clinical studies have been carried out. This is to see whether cannabinoids, the active constituents of cannabis, may regulate some of the processes that lead to neurodegeneration. The most researched and well-known ones are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). Both have numerous medicinal benefits. Here is an overview of why cannabinoids may have positive results in treating dementia.
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
THC, the component that gets you high, attaches itself to CB1 receptors in the brain. This releases dopamine, which plays a major role in the motivational component of reward-motivated behavior. When used in moderation, THC can affect memory, movement, concentration, and sensory perception. A study on mice revealed that small doses of THC actually improves memory. Other benefits of THC include:
- Relieves chronic pain and inflammation. The anti-inflammatory is 20 times stronger than aspirin
- Helps with digestive problems and reduces nausea
- Improves appetite
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
CBD has been in the spotlight due to its numerous medicinal benefits for a wide range of disabilities, both physical and mental. With little to no psychoactive effects, it’s ideal for daily use. CBD doesn’t directly activate the CB1 receptors in the brain, so there are no intoxicating effects. Instead, CBD interacts with opioid and dopamine receptors of the brain. It increases levels of naturally produced cannabinoids called endocannabinoids, chemicals that the body produces to activate receptors in the brain and body.
According to a study in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, CBD was found to possess the following properties:
- Alleviates chronic pain
- Antiemetic – Reduces nausea and vomiting
- Anticonvulsant – Suppresses seizure activity, relieving symptoms of epilepsy and Multiple Sclerosis
- Antipsychotic – Helps psychosis disorders
- Anti-inflammatory – Combats inflammatory disorders
- Anti-oxidant – Aids in treating neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s
- Anti-tumoral/Anti-cancer – Combats tumor and cancer cells
- Anxiolytic/Antidepressant – Helps anxiety and depression disorders
Is cannabis effective for dementia?
According to a study at Salk Institute in California, researchers led by David Schubert found evidence that cannabinoids can help remove dangerous dementia proteins from brain cells. Schubert’s team studied the effects of weed extracts on mice. Tiny amounts of synthetically developed cannabinoids helped remove harmful plaque associated with dementia.
In another program, scientists observed that amyloid beta, a protein, forms a plaque that destroys nerve cells in the brain. They believe that amyloid beta appears before the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Studies have shown that low doses of cannabinoids can restore memory and learning in mice. But, there have been no widespread clinical trials to see how marijuana affects dementia in human patients. With the legalization of marijuana, hopefully, additional research will continue in order to provide more conclusive results.
About Ashley Rosa: Ashley Rosa is a freelance writer and blogger. As writing is her passion that why she loves to write articles related to the latest trends in technology and sometimes on health-tech as well. She is crazy about chocolates. You can find her at twitter: @ashrosa2.