Over the past decade, there has been a substantial increase in scientific research on cannabis, with over 35,000 studies on its therapeutic uses and the impacts of legalization, indicating a growing understanding and interest in the plant within the scientific community. Recent findings highlight the therapeutic potential of cannabis, along with social and economic impacts of legalization.
In the past three years, scientists around the world have published over 14,000 scientific articles and papers concerning cannabis, its active components, and their impact on health. These data come from keyword search results on the National Library of Medicine/PubMed.gov website.
Despite claims by some that cannabis has not been sufficiently studied, scientific interest in researching this plant has significantly increased in recent years. Similarly, our knowledge about cannabis, its active ingredients, mechanisms of action, and impact on users and society has grown. It’s time for policymakers and others to stop judging cannabis through the prism of ‘what we don’t know’ and start conducting discussions based on evidence about cannabis and its reform policy.
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Significant Increase in Scientific Cannabis Research Over the Last Decade
Since the beginning of 2013, scientists have published over 35,000 scientific papers on cannabis. Many of these studies focus on the therapeutic actions of cannabis and the actual effects of legalization.
Overall, over 70 percent of all peer-reviewed scientific papers on cannabis were published in the last ten years, and over 90 percent of this literature appeared since 2002.
As of today, PubMed.gov cites over 60,000 scientific papers on cannabis, dating back to 1840. Available online since 1996, PubMed is a free resource supporting the search and retrieval of literature in the field of medicine and life sciences.
Conclusions From Recent Cannabis Research
1) Understanding of Cannabis Continues to Grow
Scientists are closely examining the active ingredients of cannabis, such as THC and CBD, and their impact on the human body. These substances interact with the endocannabinoid system, affecting a range of physiological processes, including mood, appetite, pain, and memory.
Many studies also indicate the potential anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties of these components. In 2023, researchers at Abstrax Tech discovered additional compounds contributing to cannabis aroma beyond terpenes and terpenoids, known as “flavorants.” These are responsible for cannabis aromas like floral, fruity, creamy, and chemical, leading to a new understanding of the entourage effect.
2) Therapeutic Applications of Cannabis
Clinical studies are increasingly confirming the effectiveness of cannabis in alleviating symptoms of chronic pain, especially in cases where traditional treatment methods are ineffective.
Moreover, cannabis is being researched as a potential treatment for neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and epilepsy, where it has shown the ability to reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures.
3) Impacts of Legalization
Social and economic studies on the legalization of cannabis show varying results. In some regions, a decrease in drug-related crime and an increase in tax revenues have been observed.
On the other hand, there are concerns about increased cannabis consumption among youth and potential health effects associated with long-term use. Studies indicate that after legalization, youth are less likely to use cannabis, alcohol, and cigarettes, and adults switch from alcohol consumption to cannabis.
4) The Importance of Scientific Research
Systematic research on cannabis contributes to demystifying this plant and changing its social perception as a drug. Through a scientific approach to the topic of cannabis, a better understanding of its effects and potential applications is possible, which may lead to more informed and responsible drug policy.
This increase in the number of studies and scientific publications on cannabis demonstrates the growing interest in this topic within the scientific community. It is an important step forward in understanding the potential benefits and risks associated with cannabis, both in a medical and social context.
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