As we head now into early 2023, we can reflect on how 2022 was a good year for new cannabis research in the United States.
Once upon a time – and for a LONG time – the only cannabis research permitted in the U.S. was on government-sanctioned cannabis cultivated in Mississippi.
But fewer government research restrictions coupled with improved global legalization efforts created an exciting new shift in cannabis research during 2022.
Interesting New Cannabis Research
While many studies remain focused on the effects of THC and CBD, some researchers are starting to look at cannabis products available commercially. They’re also looking into terpenes and other components outside of THC and CBD.
The following four discoveries were among the more interesting in 2022.
Cannabis Could Protect Against Some Age-Related Brain Decline
As we age, the way different brain regions communicate changes. These shifts can lead to cognitive decline and memory impairment. Curious as to whether cannabis could be a viable treatment for this, scientists in Colorado used neuro-imaging to look at the brains of adults over 60 who used cannabis at least once per week.
Despite all the jokes about memory loss while smoking weed, it turns out that those who used cannabis regularly had stronger communication patterns between those brain regions than adults who didn’t use cannabis. In fact, the regular users had communication that was closer to that of younger non-using adults.
While this specific study wasn’t a controlled or randomized experiment, it does point to the possibility that small amounts of regular cannabis use may help combat cognitive decline.
CBD May Not Buffer Negative Effects From THC
Given the complexity of the cannabis plant, researchers are still trying to get a handle on the entourage effect. Up to this point, the overriding belief was that CBD can counter some of THC’s negative effects. As a result, cannabis products containing ratios of 1:1, 2:1, or 3:1 CBD to 10mg THC ratios have flooded dispensary shelves.
But when researchers performed a double-blind experiment involving 46 cannabis users, they found that the CBD did very little to blunt the THC at these ratios. The researchers measured not just psychological responses, but physiological responses as well including blood pressure and heart rate.
While there’s more research needed on higher CBD:THC ratios to determine if these are more effective, the best practice for those with THC sensitivity is to stick with lower doses rather than try to lessen them by adding CBD.
CBD-Rich Cannabis Helps Those With Autism
Speaking of higher CBD:THC ratios, Israeli scientists experimented with a 20:1 CBD to THC cannabis oil to address secondary symptoms suffered by those with autism. Clinical trials revealed that subjects experienced reductions in anxiety and self-injury behaviors, fewer rate attacks, and improved sleep.
Above and beyond those though, cannabis use improved communication skills and enabled daily-living skills including eating, cleaning, and getting dressed in children and adolescents. All of this gives parents great hope that their children may someday live more independent lives.
4. Terpenes Are More Attractive Than THC Levels
There are many studies addressing cannabis consumer’s preferences. These can be helpful for cannabis marketing experts and business owners.
But one of the more interesting studies in 2022 revealed that it isn’t so much the THC levels that determine the desirability of a vape product or flower. It’s the terpenes; those hundreds of aroma compounds in each plant that give it its unique flavor and odor.
In other words, researchers determined that a product’s smell is the best predictor of enjoyment and highlights the importance of terpenes in a product’s quality.
The World of Cannabis Continues to Bloom
If you’re a cannabis business owner, you know that this industry is forever evolving and changing. You need to work with only the most experienced in the industry to ensure the success of your company.
And to stay on top of new cannabis research and other news, keep checking back with our blog.