Condition Watch, June 2024

Pharmacy TimesJune 2024
Volume 90
Issue 6

Medical Marijuana Offers Therapeutic Benefits to Quality of Life

According to a recent study's findings, patients who use medically approved marijuana reported experiencing a significant improvement in their physical, social, and emotional well-being as well as energy levels within the first 30 days of treatment. The findings were published in Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids.

The prospective, observational cohort study enrolled 103 participants who were at least 18 years of age to determine their physical, social, and mental well-being when using medical marijuana. The study had a duration of 90 days, and participants were instructed to take electronic surveys every 30 days to track their medical marijuana use and overall quality of life.

The survey results indicated a significant increase in participants’ overall general health (Wilcoxon z = −2.34; P = .019;r = −0.23), and pain levels significantly declined throughout the 30-to 60-day time period (Wilcoxon z = −2.41; P = .016; r = −0.24). The largest increase in general health was observed in those who consumed medical marijuana once per day compared with twice per day, 3 or 4 times per day, or 5 times per day.

The researchers say their study results could help further destigmatize the use of medical marijuana, noting that the 90-day study data demonstrate the positive impact the substance can have on the lives of patients. Additionally, they urge investigators to conduct further research to showcase the medical efficacy of marijuana while also gaining a stronger understanding of the additional benefits and long-term effects it can have on patients.—Gillian McGovern

Blended Antioxidant Supplement Could Improve Age-Related Health Decline

A blended mix of antioxidant supplements could improve age-related decline in cognitive and muscle function, according to results from a study led by Koji Fukui, PhD, of Shibaura Institute of Technology, and Fukka You, MD, of Gifu University. The study, with findings published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, assessed the supplements in aged mice and found cognitive improvements.

Age-related decline in cognitive and muscle function is an impactful issue in the health care space. Costs associated with treating individuals who have muscle weakness and cognitive decline will increase in the coming years as a significant portion of the population ages. Additionally, cognitive decline such as memory loss is related to conditions such as Alzheimer disease, which commonly affect older populations.

Previous research findings have shown that consuming antioxidant-rich foods could reduce cell damage and provide benefits to slow age-related health decline. When an individual is not getting enough antioxidants in their diet, they often take supplements that offer the same compounds, according to study authors.

Researchers Fukui and You administered a blend of antioxidant supplements, called Twendee X, to aged mice. The study authors noted that the mice displayed improvements in their spatial cognition, short-term memory, and muscle durability.

Despite the positive results, the study authors said that certain types of antioxidant blends could impact the human body differently, and that choosing the correct supplement is essential for consumers. Optimal use of a blend of supplements could significantly reduce age-related heath decline.—Kennedy Ferruggia

Diabetes, Pollution, and Alcohol Intake Are Linked With Onset of Cognitive Decline

Findings from a new study published in Nature Communications indicate that a previously discovered “weak spot” in the brain can show degeneration in old age. This area, which is a network of regions that develop later during adolescence, is also vulnerable to schizophrenia and Alzheimer disease (AD).

Researchers conducted a genome-wide association study of approximately 40,000 participants. The enrolled participants received brain imaging to evaluate any associations between the “last in, first out” (LIFO) brain network and 161 modifiable risk factors that were sorted into 1 of 15 possible categories: blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, weight, alcohol consumption, smoking, depressive mood, inflammation, pollution, hearing, sleep, socialization, diet, physical activity, and education.

The results demonstrated that the LIFO networks that show earlier and accelerated aging are more vulnerable to disease processes such as AD. Furthermore, 7 genetic clusters—of which 2 were in the pseudoautosomal region of the sex chromosomes coding for 2 antigens of the XG blood group system—were found to be significantly connected and replicated throughout the genome.

Additionally, the risk of dementia was predicted to increase because of nitrogen dioxide pollution, which has most profound effects on the LIFO brain regions. The findings also showed that of the 7 genetic clusters examined, 3 were entirely novel.

However, investigators acknowledged that patterns of the brain—both cross-sectional and longitudinal—can differ, and that adult span trajectories of episodic and semantic memory can differ, especially in younger adults.—Gillian McGovern

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