Common genetic variations in a particular serotonin receptor could be responsible for the varying effects psychedelic drugs have on different individuals, according to a recently published study from researchers at the University of North Carolina. The study, which comes at a time of reinvigorated research into the potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drugs, could shed light on why the substances seem to have dramatically positive effects for some patients with serious mental health conditions while others find little therapeutic value in the drugs.
Bryan Roth, MD, PhD, led a team of researchers at the University of North Carolina (UNC) to complete the study. The goal of the research was to explore how variations in this one serotonin receptor changes the activity of four psychedelic therapies. The laboratory research in cells showed that seven variants uniquely and differentially impact the receptor’s response to four psychedelic drugs—psilocin, LSD, 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) and mescaline. The researchers believe that the in vitro research could be useful for determining appropriate mental health therapies for patients.
“Based on our study, we expect that patients with different genetic variations will react differently to psychedelic-assisted treatments,” said Roth, who leads the National Institutes of Health Psychotropic Drug Screening Program. “We think physicians should consider the genetics of a patient’s serotonin receptors to identify which psychedelic compound is likely to be the most effective treatment in future clinical trials.”
Psychedelics and Mental Health
Research published in 2020 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry found that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy was a quick-acting and effective treatment for a group of 24 participants with major depressive disorder. A separate study published in 2016 determined that psilocybin treatment produced substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer. And last year, researchers determined that psychedelic users had less stress during lockdowns put in place to control the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior research has also determined that psychedelic drugs stimulate serotonin receptors in the brain. The 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor, also known as 5-HT2A, is responsible for mediating how a person reacts to psychedelic drugs. However, there are several naturally occurring, random genetic variations that can affect the function and structure of the 5-HT2A receptor. Much of the research into the effect that psychedelics have on mental health is inspired by the effect the drugs have on serotonin receptors, which bind the neurotransmitter serotonin and other similar molecules to help regulate mood, emotions and appetite.
Although they show great promise, psychedelic drugs do not seem to be effective as a treatment for everyone. Dustin Hines, PhD, an assistant professor of neuroscience in the department of psychology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who was not involved in the UNC study, said the research could shed light on why psychedelic therapies work well for some patients while others find little therapeutic benefit from the drugs.
“Genetic variation in this receptor has been shown to influence the response of patients to other drugs,” Hines told Healthline. “While psychedelic therapies can provide rapid and sustained therapeutic benefits for multiple mental health concerns, there are a proportion of patients who fail to respond.”
Hines also noted that differences in mental health conditions from person to person could also contribute to how well patients respond to both psychedelic and more traditional treatments.
“Some individuals with depression may have a genetic predisposition that increases the likelihood that they will experience depression in their lives,” Hines said. “Other individuals facing depression may have more situational or environmental contributions.”
The researchers at UNC noted that the study could help provide insight to clinicians considering psychedelics as a treatment for their patients and called for further investigation.
“This is another piece of the puzzle we must know when deciding to prescribe any therapeutic with such dramatic effect aside from the therapeutic effect,” Roth said. “Further research will help us continue to find the best ways to help individual patients.”
Results of the study were published last week in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.
Adults who use cannabis daily do not perceive smoking as harmful, study finds
Questions abound about what impact legalization will have on adult and youth health.
A new study led by Dr. Renee Goodwin, Professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH), shows that increased cigarette use is one possibility. While cigarette use has been declining for decades in the U.S., a new study finds that adults who use cannabis daily do not perceive smoking a pack a day as being as harmful as those who do not use cannabis in the U.S. In the context of recent findings that perception of risk plays a key role in predicting substance use, and that perception of risk associated with cannabis use has declined steadily along with legalization, these findings were somewhat of a surprise.
The researchers used data from adults age 18 and older in the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a representative survey of U.S. individuals. Participants’ responses to a question asking how much people risk harming themselves physically and in other ways by smoking one or more packs of cigarettes per day were compared between those who use cannabis daily and those who did not use cannabis in the past year. Sixty-two percent of adults who use cannabis daily perceived pack a day cigarette use to be of “great” risk to health, compared with 73% of those who did not use cannabis in the past year.
“Tobacco control has done a tremendous job in public education on the physical health risks associated with tobacco use, and cigarette smoking in particular, over the past several decades,” says Goodwin, also an adjunct professor at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. Her prior work shows that cigarette use, however, is much more common among those who use cannabis and findings suggesting that cannabis legalization may lead to increases in cannabis use and cannabis-cigarette co-use among adults.
Dr. Goodwin discussed her work, and in particular that of Canadian colleagues, at a recent public hearing for a law that would ban cannabis packaging that appeals to children in New York’s Suffolk County. Findings from recent studies in Canada, where cannabis is legal on a federal level, show increases in adult cannabis use but as of the most recent study in 2022, no significant increases in cannabis use among adolescents.
“The data suggests that plain packaging is one measure that can maximize the safe and effective rollout of cannabis legalization that ensures and protects the health, safety and wellbeing of all members of our community,” Goodwin said. “Prohibiting product packaging that mimics foods and candies that are traditionally marketed to children may reduce potential unintended harms to the most vulnerable members of our community via accidental ingestion/poisonings, which have exploded in number in recent years in the U.S., and child and adolescent intentional use of these products.”
Goodwin, R.D., et al. (2022) Everything old is new again: Creating and maintaining a population-level ‘shared reality’ of health risks associated with cigarette use toward both reducing the prevalence and eliminating disparities in cigarette use among all Americans. Nicotine & Tobacco Research. doi.org/10.1093/ntr/ntac177.
Chris Webber Launches New Strains With ‘Players Only’
NBA Hall of Famer Chris Webber announced the launch of his cannabis brand Players Only with his business partner, Lavetta Willis—and he’s bringing several familiar faces along for the ride including Quavo, Raekwon, Royce da 5’9″, Matt Barnes, and Jason Williams.
The new all-star brand was first announced on August 11. Players Only will feature an array of strains, cannabis oil cartridges, pre-rolls, vapes, as well as sport recovery and performance products. Players Only will also roll out branded apparel and footwear.
Last March, TerrAscend secured exclusive retail rights for Players Only products in Michigan through the acquisition of Gage Growth Corp, securing the way for the brand to drop.
“Players Only is more than a cannabis brand—it’s a lifestyle brand,” Webber said. “We truly have a unique opportunity to change the narrative around cannabis, empower rising entrepreneurs and set a new standard in this growing industry. We’re thrilled to launch our versatile offerings and begin the process of creating meaningful economic change in communities across Michigan. Shout out to TerrAscend and Gage—our Michigan family. Much love to Cookies and Berner, let’s go!”
In October of last year, Webber unveiled a cannabis facility in Detroit complete with a cultivation facility, dispensary, and private consumption lounge. The 180,000 square foot Players Only facility was named the Webber Wellness Compound.
The first strains to roll out include C4, Time Out, and G.O.A.T.’s Milk, as well as Non-Laters and Whipped Cherries. Later on, the brand will roll out additional strains including Blueberry Hotcakes and Ray Jackson’s Black Sox within weeks. While C4 can give off a hashy, Afghani-like appeal, G.O.A.T.’s Milk leans more sativa with a balanced amount of THC and CBD, according to reviewers. Whipped Cherries, on the other hand, tastes exactly how you’d expect it to.
“We have been working with legacy cultivators and operators seeking to establish their place in the regulated market for quite some time,” said Lavetta Willis, co-founder and President of Players Only. “The opportunity to incorporate legacy strains and expertise into the Players Only platform and menu furthers our goal of uplifting black entrepreneurs who have been building brands and intellectual properties for decades.”
The brand also announced a partnership with Raekwon from Wu-Tang Clan to launch Compliments of the Chef and his partnership with Citizen Grown. Another collaboration involves Hassim Robinson and Winner’s Circle Genetics, to bring the PB&J strain as well as Quavo’s BIRKINZ to Michigan’s cannabis market. Detroit’s legacy brand “Lil Stupid” will also launch for the first time in the adult-use market while Detroit’s own Royce da 5’9″ will roll-out his “Heaven” brand as part of an NFT. Webber’s former Sacramento Kings teammate Jason Williams will also unveil the White Chocolate strain.
Webber recently appointed Matt Barnes, former NBA star and teammate, as Chief Collaborations Officer while launching “The Smoke” with his partner and co-host, Stephen Jackson. The offering’s name is a nod to Barnes’ and Jackson’s award-winning SHOWTIME series, “All The Smoke.”
The “All the Smoke” podcast features “the brash and unapologetic NBA champions, delivers authentic, unfiltered perspective on the most polarizing topics in and around the game of basketball, including culture, social justice, politics, music and more.”
Episodes of “All the Smoke” drop each Thursday.
The launch of the brand will kick off with a limited edition brand collaboration with the Players Only x Packwoods 2.5-gram Blunt, which will be available in select stores. Learn more at the Players Only website.
Cancer sufferer who put cannabis in her food to ease pain fined
Heather Kennedy, aged 60, who has stage four lung cancer, admitted possessing the drug with intent to supply it and being concerned in the supply of it to her husband and son between December 26, 2020 and March 16, 2021.
Mold Crown Court heard she hadn’t realised that supplying it to members of her family was illegal. A judge gave her a six-month community order.Prosecutor Alexandra Carrier said police conducted a search of Kennedy’s home in Cae Mawr in Llandudno on March 25 last year. The defendant was there with her granddaughter.
Ms Carrier said Kennedy told an officer: “I’ve got cannabis. I’m not going to lie.”Police found snap bags with “Bob Marley” logos in a bag down the side of a sofa. The search continued and the officers discovered cannabis worth a total of £370, along with £205 in cash and two mobile phones.Kennedy told police she had Stage 4 lung cancer and had taken cannabis oil, which became too expensive.
She took cannabis in her food instead, the court heard. She also supplied it to her husband and a son but did not realise she was committing a crime by doing so to members of her family.Sarah Yates, defending, said her client is ill and had been “vulnerable to an extent” but regrets her actions.
She has lost her good name and this is “possibly a lesson well-learned”, she said.Ms Yates added: “It’s safe to say I don’t think we will see her back before this court again.”The judge Her Honour Nicola Saffman noted that, when cannabis oil became prohibitively expensive, the defendant put cannabis in her food to ease the pain from her lung cancer.
But in being in possession of a Class B drug and in supplying members of her family, she had broken the law.She said Kennedy had not realised she had committed her offences and had done so out of “sheer naivety”. She added: “You are a lady of previous positive good character.”She imposed the community order, fined her a nominal sum of £10 and ordered the destruction of the drugs and forfeiture of the cash, which will go towards North Wales Police’s fight against drugs crime.
- smoking1 year ago
A look inside Jim Belushi's 93-acre cannabis farm in Southern Oregon
- benefits of thcv1 year ago
BREAKING: MASSIVE FOOD SHORTAGE ACROSS THE USA – GOVERNMENT WARNING ON CROP LOSS AND WATER SHORTAGE
- Cannabinoids12 months ago
Legal Loophole? Everyone is Buying Legal Delta 9 THC Gummies Online…
- Deals11 months ago
Have You Tried The New High-Potency THCP Vape Cartridges?
- CBD11 months ago
North Carolina Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill Approved by Senators in Committee
- food1 year ago
Cannabis Infused MCT Oil Tincture FOR HIGH THC EDIBLES
- Cannabinoids1 year ago
What Is HHC (Hexahydrocannabinol) and Is It Safe To Use?
- CBD1 year ago
Federal Cannabis Legalization Will Happen Before 2022, According to Rohrabacher
- Education1 year ago
6 milestones in the CBD industry
- smoking12 months ago
THESE CARDANO PROJECTS WILL 100X IN 2021 🚀 (Get In ASAP)