2019 was a big year for cannabis. Here are some of the most important findings that researchers discovered.
Thanks to an evolving perspective on cannabis, every year there’s more we know about the plant. In the short span of time that followed weed’s legalization in several U.S. states, scientists and researchers have found the plant full of potential for a variety of medical conditions and even some ecological concerns.
Here are five of the most important cannabis discoveries researchers made during 2019. Although on paper these studies are very promising, keep in mind that more research is necessary and that the findings are preliminary.
Bees love male hemp flowers
A study published this month in Environmental Entomology says that bees flock towards male hemp flowers due to unknown reasons. The study says that the greater the area covered by hemp, the greater amount of bees it attracted.
Interestingly enough, the cannabis plant does not produce nectar or feature bright colors, traits that are normally what attract bees in the first place. No one knows why bees are so attracted to these plants, but this finding is intriguing because, if understood, it could influence pollination dynamics and the way in which we manage crops.
Flavonoids in cannabis are potent painkillers
Despite the praise thrown at CBD and THC, researchers discovered that cannabis’s most potent painkiller capability lies within its flavonoids, which are the chemicals present in all fruits and veggies and responsible for their color. An August 2019 study, published in the journal Phytochemistry, found that cannflavins A and B, which are only found in cannabis plants, are expected to be 30 times more potent than aspirin. These findings could alter our understanding of cannabis as pain management tool and widen the scope of cannabis research.
Our genes might explain why we experience different highs
Some of the questions that have always plagued marijuana use is why it hits differently depending on the person, why some find it euphoric and motivating and others find it anxiety inducing. A couple of studies from 2019 suggest that our genes have something to do with it.
An April 2019 study, published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, found that some people are born with mutant CB receptors, thus influencing the way in which their bodies interact with THC, CBD and more. While one person might feel a sense of euphoria from a strain of marijuana, another one smoking the same strain might experience couch lock.
CBD for childhood autism
A January 2019 study, published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology, shows that cannabis could provide treatment for pediatric cases of autism. In it, 53 young patients with a median age of 11 showed relief in hyperactivity symptoms, rage attacks, anxiety and self harm behaviors when administered with daily doses of THC and CBD.
Cannabis does not shrink brains
A February 2019 study, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, featuring a sample size of over 700 teens showed that there were no significant differences between the brains of cannabis users and non-users, putting to rest the rumors that cannabis affects brain development and growth.
“There were no significant differences by cannabis group in global or regional brain volumes, cortical thickness, or gray matter density, and no significant group by age interactions were found,” concludes the study.