Health effects of eating marijuana is subject of a new study

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Researchers have conducted a study in which mice voluntarily ate a dough containing THC, the primary psychoactive component in marijuana. That opens the door to additional studies that will help shed light on behavioral and physiological effects that occur in people when they eat food infused with marijuana.

The study is among the first to report on voluntary oral THC consumption in animals, a method of consumption that is similar to the way humans take the drug.

In a recently published paper in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers at IUPUI and Indiana University Bloomington said they found the mice were less active, and their body temperatures were lower, after consuming the edible THC.

The researchers also noted that the effects of edible THC varied based on the subject's sex, said Michael Smoker, first author of the paper and an addiction neuroscience Ph.D. candidate in the lab of professor Stephen Boehm in the psychology department at IUPUI. The addiction neuroscience graduate program is a Purdue University program at IUPUI.

The study showed that mice will self-administer—or voluntarily choose to consume—behavioral-effective doses of edible THC, and do so repeatedly, Smoker said. The mice were given gradually increasing doses in a dough made from flour, sugar, salt, glycerol and THC.

Understanding the health effects of eating marijuana edibles is important, given the growing popularity of that method of consumption in states where marijuana has been legalized, Smoker said.

"People can buy cookies, candies and all sorts of things with THC in them. Back in the day, you had to make your own brownies, or something like that, and now they are becoming more widely available and increasing in popularity," he said.

Marijuana edibles can elicit extreme, adverse reactions, Smoker said. Many of the commercially made marijuana-based products have a relatively higher concentration of THC than does marijuana plant material. In some cases, people are unsure how much of a marijuana edible they should eat and end up eating more than they should.

Questions researchers want to answer include the impact of edibles on people's ability to think, whether there are any long-term consequences for someone who has been eating edibles repeatedly and then stops, and what the consequences are, if any, of a child accidentally eating a marijuana edible, Smoker said.

Researchers turned to mice to answer questions about edible forms of THC due to ethical barriers involving use of humans in studies and the lack of control over human subjects' prior exposure to THC and other drugs.

Mice have been used in studies previously to study the effects of , but figuring out a way for them to self-administer the drug, as humans do, has been notoriously difficult, Smoker said.

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More information: Michael P. Smoker et al, Self-administration of edible Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and associated behavioral effects in mice, Drug and Alcohol Dependence (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.02.020
Journal information: Drug and Alcohol Dependence

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User comments

Aug 09, 2019
Here I fixed the sentence for you- "They used mice because they couldn't find anyone who would smoke pot who wasn't already a hardened stoner and they are too ethical to ask someone to try it for the first time cause OMG DRUG PANIC FROM THE 50!" Obviously mice love to get high though.

Aug 10, 2019
So..why publish this? "So, yea, we are gonna do this study and stuff...."

Aug 10, 2019
the real question is why haven't you biotches been testing this for the past 50 years

Aug 10, 2019
the real question is why haven't you biotches been testing this for the past 50 years

It is hard to do studies when the subject of the study is illegal. You run legal risks and cannot get funding. The loosening legal status has finally allowed us to start studying this scientifically.

Aug 10, 2019
India has been using edible marijuana for centuries many recipes can be googled in my country in the past we used a marijuana based drink or asthma, Now the medicine is available in the pharmacy

Aug 10, 2019
Eating pure thc eh?
That is in no way equivalent to "a method of consumption that is similar to the way humans take the drug"
Most people would find a smoke of pure thc edgy and abit scarey, at least, and eating it converts thc to a more psychedelic cannibinol, making for a difficult (or challenging and rewarding) time for anyone on a large dose. Also, while people do eat cannabis, they either do it on special occasions, or are extremely careful about dose. If you are a medical user and accidently double your dose before doing the shopping in town, you can end up not doing the shopping at all. A large eaten dose can make even your most experienced "dope smoker" "freak out".
Marinol (synthetic THC) was found to be abit much for people to take.
Also, are they using a fat, such as dairy fats or cocconut oil, so as to increase absorbtion? Maybe lecithin would help too.
They should use the internet to research their subject, they may then, at least, get "a method of consumption that....."

Aug 10, 2019
Dough is uncooked bread. In order to activate the psychoactive properties of thc it must be heated, cooked. At most the mice were getting cbd which does not get you high.
Bet anything these "researchers" got millions for their "study".

Aug 11, 2019
I've been conducting a study with a human volunteer. I... I mean HE likes pot brownies, and powdered bud blended into a smoothie, or simply mixed into tea.

As a control, sometimes I don't have any. Doods, it works!

Aug 11, 2019
I volunteer! Sign me up, where's the line?

Aug 12, 2019
Worthless drug. Just makes you confused and paranoid. Can't talk, can't think, can't function. What's the point?

Aug 12, 2019
I think they also need to include cbd in the study. They (cannabis researchers) keep doing pure cbd and pure thc studies forgetting that these compounds are synergistic together. Edibles/extracts/vapables that contain both along with other herbal compounds in varying optimal ratios for the desired affect should have the best results. It's almost like sometimes they want a one sided simplistic headline... I'm glad the research is happening still.

Aug 13, 2019
How can they say the mice were selecting marijuana when it was mixed with sugar in a dough?

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