Hannah Izer   |   January 25, 2022

How Science Has Changed the Way We Look at Cannabis

From terpenes to industrial hemp, science has the evidence as to why the way we look at cannabis is changing.
Freelance writer with a specialization in the cannabis industry including strains, products, technology, education, and everything else connecting to the green plant. Her work has been featured in Thrillist.

Scientists conducting studies on cannabis are seeing a shift in perspective on the plant and more of a push towards the multiple benefits of the effects in various areas. For example, from certain terpenes being able to fight against various ailments or the critical role industrial hemp plays for the future of sustainability.

Here are five science-backed discoveries in cannabis that everyone should get to know.

#1 The Discovery of the Endocannabinoid System

Incredibly, researchers discovered this previously unknown system while trying to learn how marijuana produces a psychoactive effect.

The legal status of cannabis as a schedule 1 drug slowed research on the effects of the plant on the human body. However, the US government provided funding towards cannabis research producing evidence to support claims of negative impact to the body and mind.

In 1988, Professor Allyn Howlett at St. Louis University Medical School made a breakthrough when she determined that a rat’s brain has receptor sites that THC activates. The discovery of CB1 receptors would significantly impact almost every field of medical science. In addition, the research opened doors for research into cannabinoid biology.

It was identified in 1993 by scientists that there is a second type of cannabinoid receptor named “CB2.” This receptor is present throughout the immune system, metabolic tissue, the nervous system, and several organs. C2 receptors can be found in all immune systems, including microglia and astrocyte, which support immune function in the brain.

#2 DNA Plays a Role in Metabolization

Consumers often wonder why one person can get an intense effect off of a 10mg edible, but another might not feel much of anything at all. The answer is found in our DNA.

In an episode of A Tech Moment, Len May, CEO of EndoCanna Health, shares his fascinating journey following their endocannabinoid genetic testing. May and the team at EndoDNA are using DNA technology to make cannabis a truly personalized experience.

For medical cannabis patients, genetic testing can provide a more personalized approach that is specific to their metabolism and genetic markers. EndoCanna represents a new, innovative way for patients to take control of their treatment by providing individualized wellness reports based on DNA. Then, they combine that data with cannabinoid suggestions, so patients can better understand and control their treatment. A simple saliva test can help patients hone in on ideal formulations and personalize how they consume cannabis.

#3 Phytoremediation – Why Hemp isn’t Always Safe to Consume

No matter how you want to look at it, hemp is an incredible plant. For thousands of years, hemp has been used for food, fiber, and medicine. But, unfortunately, pollution from industrial manufacturing, landfills, and toxic waste sites create toxins that have become out of control. While hemp can help correct these issues through a process known as phytoremediation, it’s essential to evaluate how manufacturers intend to use contaminated biomass.

Hemp is a natural gift for our environment, both to the earth and to consumers, but untested hemp can become a nightmare. Contaminated hemp is the reason for cultivation, processing, and testing regulations and mandates for hemp-derived cannabinoid supplements are essential for consumer safety.

Consumers and patients looking for health and wellness benefits from CBD, beware. Unregulated hemp may cause more harm than good.

#4: Hempcrete’s Role in Energy Efficient Building Materials

A growing amount of people are beginning to explore the potential of hemp building materials. Research studies are focusing on hempcrete’s quality as a construction material. You can create hempcrete by combining pulverized hemp stalks, lime, and water; this mixture can use it for construction in the form of blocks. Hempcrete can also use it to create insulation. Studies are showing the versatility and sustainability of this building material.

Other benefits of this eco-friendly building material include its physical flexibility. In addition, liquid hempcrete can be poured into building molds to support eco-friendly designs. Construction practices and research in fiber hemp production will help define the most effective uses for hempcrete.

#5: Minimal Evidence Cannabis Leads to Laziness

Cannabis consumers are often stigmatized as a tired and lazy group of people. Stereotypes, starting with the cult-classic, “Reefer Madness” from the 1930s and carried on throughout traditional marijuana culture, have always depicted cannabis consumers as unmotivated, apathetic, and degenerate. However, millions of regular cannabis consumers have a much different perspective.

A new study from Florida International University added to the existing research regarding young people and cannabis use. The study enrolled 401 teenagers aged 14 to 17. Researchers concluded that there is no link between cannabis use and demotivation, although cannabis use may lower the perceived value of schooling.

Much More to Come

Although we have much to learn about cannabis, the restrictions on cannabis research are lifting opening new doors for qualified studies and clinical trials. New research continues to provide renewed energy for the cannabis and hemp industries, as well as new insight and perspectives for consumer use and safety.

 

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