Entries by Michelle Smith

Cloudy with a chance of munchies: Assessing the impact of recreational marijuana legalization on obesity

Obesity in the US arguably constitutes the most significant health epidemic over the past century. Recent legislative changes allowing for recreational marijuana use further create a need to better understand the relationship between marijuana use and health choices, leading to obesity. We examine this relationship by using a synthetic control approach to examine the impact of legalized recreational marijuana access on obesity rates by comparing Washington State to a synthetically constructed counterfactual. We find that recreational marijuana’s introduction did not lead to increased obesity rates and may have led to decreases in obesity.

Evaluation of the anti-inflammatory effects of selected cannabinoids and terpenes from Cannabis Sativa L employing human primary leukocytes

Cannabis sativa L. is a medicinal plant with a long history. Phyto-cannabinoids are a class of compounds from C. sativa L. with varieties of structures. Endocannabinoids exist in the human body. This article provides an overview of natural cannabinoids (phyto-cannabinoids and endocannabinoids) with an emphasis on their pharmacology activities.


The non-euphoric phytocannabinoid cannabidivarin counteracts intestinal inflammation in mice and cytokine expression in biopsies from UC pediatric patients

Patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) using marijuana have been reported to experience symptomatic benefit. Cannabidivarin (CBDV) is a safe non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid able to activate and desensitize TRPA1, a member of the TRP channels superfamily, which plays a pivotal role in intestinal inflammation. Here, we have investigated the potential intestinal anti-inflammatory effect of CBDV in mice and in biopsies from pediatric patients with active UC


Systematic literature review of human studies assessing the efficacy of cannabidiol for social anxiety

The current review evaluates the potential of cannabidiol (CBD) as a promising pharmacotherapy for social anxiety disorder (SAD). Although a number of evidence-based treatments for SAD are available, less than a third of affected individuals experience symptom remission after one year of treatment. Therefore, improved treatment options are urgently needed, and CBD is one candidate medication that may have certain benefits over current pharmacotherapies, including the absence of sedating side effects, reduced abuse liability, and rapid course of action. The current review provides a brief overview of CBD’s mechanisms of action, neuroimaging in SAD, and evidence for CBD’s effects on the neural substrates of SAD, as well as systematically reviewing literature directly examining the efficacy of CBD for improving social anxiety among healthy volunteers and individuals with SAD

The role of cannabinoids in neurodevelopmental disorders of children and adolescents

Neurodevelopmental disorders have a multifactorial etiology that results from the interaction between biological and environmental factors. The biological basis of many of these disorders is only partially understood, which makes therapeutic interventions, especially pharmacological ones, particularly difficult. The impact of medical cannabis on neurological and psychiatric disorders has been studied for a long time. This study aimed to review the currently available clinical and pre-clinical studies regarding the use of cannabinoids in pediatric neurodevelopmental disorders and to draw attention to the potential therapeutic role of cannabidiol in this field.

Proapoptotic RECS1: a requisite gateway to lysosomal dysfunction and death

For a long time since their discovery by Christian de Duve in the 1950s, lysosomes have been referred to almost exclusively as passive garbage bags; the endpoint in the degradation of intra- and extracellular cargo. The catabolic function of lysosomes is accomplished by an array of more than 60 acid hydrolases, which together break down a wide variety of biological macromolecules, including proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids, for reutilization in the metabolic processes of the cell. For their optimal function, these enzymes require an acidic intraluminal pH of ~4.5, which is maintained by the joint action of a proton pump, the vacuolar H+-ATPase, and several ion channels embedded in the lysosomal limiting membrane. Nowadays, lysosomes are envisioned as complex signaling hubs, integrating diverse stimuli about the cell’s metabolic status to coordinate different adaptive responses (Ballabio and Bonifacino, 2020). The lysosome can also induce cell death signals in response to certain conditions, such as infections and treatment with lysosomotropic drugs, which leads to lysosomal membrane permeabilization (LMP) and the release of cathepsins, resulting in lysosomal-mediated cell death.

Cannabinol inhibits oxytosis/ferroptosis by directly targeting mitochondria independently of cannabinoid receptors

The oxytosis/ferroptosis regulated cell death pathway recapitulates many features of mitochondrial dysfunction associated with the aging brain and has emerged as a potential key mediator of neurodegeneration. It has thus been proposed that the oxytosis/ferroptosis pathway can be
used to identify novel drug candidates for the treatment of age-associated neurodegenerative diseases that act by preserving mitochondrial function. Previously, we identified cannabinol (CBN) as a potent neuroprotector. Here, we demonstrate that not only does CBN protect nerve cells from oxytosis/ferroptosis in a manner that is dependent on mitochondria and it does so independently of cannabinoid receptors


Cannabidiol in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease – a comprehensive

Dementia is a major public health problem. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) accounts for 60% of dementia cases. However, AD is currently considered as an incurable disorder and the only few drugs available for its treatment are mostly symptomatic. In the quest for novel drugs for this devastating disease, cannabidiol (CBD) has been recently gaining attention due to its multiple properties, such as an ability to interact with various receptors, anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects and many more. The aim of this review article was to summarize findings on the effect of CBD on AD with a focus on molecular mechanisms of CBD’s action and therapeutic effects which it exerts.

The Impact of Cannabis Decriminalization and Legalization on Road Safety Outcomes: A Systematic Review

There is substantial debate concerning the impact of cannabis decriminalization and legalization on road safety outcomes. Seven databases were systematically searched: Embase, MEDLINE, and PsycINFO through Ovid as well as Web of Science Core Collection, SafetyLit, Criminal Justice Database (ProQuest), and Transport Research International Documentation (from inception to June 16, 2021). Eligible primary studies examined group-level cannabis decriminalization or legalization and a road safety outcome in any population