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CBD makes glaucoma worse, researchers find

CBD makes glaucoma worse, researchers find

  • For decades, marijuana has been touted as providing glaucoma relief.
  • A study out of Indiana University shows that while THC reduces eye pressure, CBD does the opposite.
  • Of the 18 mice tested, females were less responsive to marijuana than males.

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Science no stoner wants to hear: marijuana makes glaucoma worse.

Let’s dive into the study out of Indiana University before jumping to conclusions. While glaucoma has been the butt of many well-intentioned, wink-wink weed jokes for decades, the disease is quit serious. In fact, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in people above sixty.

Glaucoma is insidious as well. Abnormally high pressure in your eyes gradually damage the optic nerve. Vision loss is subtle until it reaches advanced stages, by which point there is little chance of slowing damage. By this point prevention is impossible.

It begins with patchy spots in your vision, mostly in the periphery or central vision. By the time glaucoma is in latter stages, tunnel vision results. Deterioration of the optic nerve is irreversible. Some treatments mitigate damage by lowering eye pressure, such as laser treatment and eye drops.

And, of course, marijuana, which does in fact lower eye pressure — specifically, THC lowers it. But there are trade-offs. Unlike other treatments, marijuana’s effects last 3–4 hours, meaning you need to smoke continuously throughout the day. While pressure is reduced, the constant smoke creates other problems.

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The Indiana University study, published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, has found that cannnabidiol (CBD) — one of the hottest and, as I’ve previously written, suspect health trends being shoved into every product imaginable at a premium — actually creates a rise in eye pressure, the exact opposite effect a glaucoma sufferer desires.

Associate scientist Alex Straiker, who led the study, continues:

This study raises important questions about the relationship between the primary ingredients in cannabis and their effect on the eye. It also suggests the need to understand more about the potential undesirable side effects of CBD, especially due to its use in children.

As mentioned, THC indeed lowers eye pressure, which has been the mechanism by which treatment has been administered thus far. The problem is, according to Straiker’s research, CBD blocks the pressure-reducing effects that THC offers.

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Which makes the science even more paradoxical and troubling for patients: CBD is being advertised as the non-psychoactive wunder drug counterpart to THC, which is what makes you high. Those who crave the benefits of marijuana without the fuzzy feeling find relief in CBD oils, tinctures, and creams. These, however, apparently will not help those with glaucoma because its greatest bioavailability comes from smoking.

It should be noted that this study was conducted on 18 mice. Interestingly, female mice were less affected by THC, which also has implications for marijuana’s role in treating glaucoma. More research will have to be conducted on humans, but as Straiker concludes, this research offers new avenues of inquiry.

There were studies over 45 years ago that found evidence that THC lowers pressure inside the eye, but no one’s ever identified the specific neuroreceptors involved in the process until this study. These results could have important implications for future research on the use of cannabis as a therapy for intraocular pressure.

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CBD makes glaucoma worse, researchers find

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Women — not men — are more willing to punish ‘sexually-accessible’ women, researchers find

Women — not men — are more willing to punish ‘sexually-accessible’ women, researchers find

  • It’s commonly thought that the suppression of female sexuality is perpetuated by either men or women.
  • In a new study, researchers used economics games to observe how both genders treat sexually-available women.
  • The results suggests that both sexes punish female promiscuity, though for different reasons and different levels of intensity.

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Researchers from the University of Warwick recently sought to answer the following questions: “Who’s suppressing female sexuality — and why?” They started by noting one double standard between the genders: Men are praised for getting laid, while women are often shamed, or worse.

Some suggest this double standard is imposed by men, and that patriarchal societies seek to suppress female sexuality to maximize paternity certainty, or to monopolize a man’s access to his mate(s). Others propose that women punish promiscuity in order to maintain the value of sex, giving women more power as a group.

“Sex is coveted by men,” Dr. Tracy Vaillancourt, who’s conducted research similar to the new study, told the New York Times. “Accordingly, women limit access as a way of maintaining advantage in the negotiation of this resource. Women who make sex too readily available compromise the power-holding position of the group, which is why many women are particularly intolerant of women who are, or seem to be, promiscuous.”

The Warwick study, which was published in Evolution & Human Behavior, confirms that both men and women suppress female promiscuity. However, they do so for different reasons.

Three experiments

In the study — authored by Naomi K. Muggleton, Sarah R. Tarran, and Corey L. Fincher — participants were told they’d be participating in an online “Economic Decision-Making Game” against a real opponent located anywhere in the world.

In reality, however, their opponents were merely computer responses that were matched up to one of three models, each of whom had posed for photos in both sexually restrictive and sexually provocative contexts. For the sexually provocative photos, the models wore tight-redding red outfits and “copious makeup,” while they wore loose-fitting clothes of neutral colors for the conservative photos.

The participants played one of three games.

In a so-called “Dictator Game,” the participants were given $20 and told they could give any amount of money to the recipient they were matched with online, and that their identities would remain anonymous to the recipient. As predicted, both men and women gave less money to the models who were dressed provocatively.

The researchers also tested how participants judged the trustworthiness of the two sets of models. In a trust game, participants were given a sum of money and matched with a trustee. They were told that any amount they handed over to the trustee would be tripled, but the catch was that the trustee could then choose to give any amount back to the investor, or none at all. Again, as predicted, both men and women were less likely to trust the women wore sexually provocative outfits.

The researchers noted that this is “consistent with our view that sexually-accessible women are perceived as more likely to cheat on mates or poach the mates of others.”

Finally, the “Ultimatum Game” tested whether women are more likely to inflict costly punishments on sexually-available women at their own expense. In the game, one person received a sum of money and could choose to give any amount to the other player. Meanwhile, the recipient could choose to either accept the offer or reject it if it seems unfair. If the recipient rejects, neither player gets anything. The results showed that women were considerably more likely to reject offers they deemed unfair, meaning they were willing to lose out on money just to punish their sexually accessible opponent.

A refined outlook

The researchers wrote that men don’t really have good reasons to suffer the costs of punishing sexually accessible women with whom they’re not romantically involved. However, women do because they have an interest in maintaining the value of sex within the group.

The researchers concluded that explanations that blame one gender for the suppression of female sexuality are incomplete.

Instead, both sexes perpetuate and maintain prejudiced evaluations of sexually-accessible women, but for different reasons. Therefore, we propose a theory of female sexuality that acknowledges that men and women have different routes to reproductive success, and that both men and women can attempt to control a woman’s sexuality simultaneously. This complements previous evidence that men and women are motivated to objectify sexualized women via different mechanisms… If society is to understand and overcome the sexual double standard, interventionists should seek to uncover how men and women vary in their attitudes towards sexualized women.

Women — not men — are more willing to punish ‘sexually-accessible’ women, researchers find

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Dogs help humans with disabilities socialize with others, researchers find

Dogs help humans with disabilities socialize with others, researchers find

  • A pilot study has found that dogs help socialize those with intellectual disabilities at Australian group homes.
  • Previous research finds that pets helps those who use wheelchairs “feel more secure and confident in public.”
  • People are far more likely to interact with someone with an intellectual disability if they were walking with a dog.

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There are an estimated 5,000 people with a range of intellectual disabilities living in 900 places of “shared accommodation” with 24-hour staff support in Victoria, Australia. A pilot study from the Living with Disability Research Centre, in Melbourne, has found that providing regular access to dogs appears to help socialize those living with certain disabilities.

This is important because of already existing literature that says people who live in supported accommodation “have relatively poor outcomes on the quality of life” in terms of social inclusion and interpersonal relationship. Existing literature also notes that, “In an Australian survey, 58 percent of pet owners indicated they had got to know people and made friends through having pets.”But not everyone has the time and resources to devote to owning a dog, so the researchers observed a visiting dog walking program, which was run in collaboration with two qualified and experienced dog handlers from a national non-profit organization. Participants in the study visited cafés, shops, the local park, and made their way around the community. They’d typically pursue the same activity each outing, sometimes varying the location.

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The results strongly suggest that, when dogs are present, people have more social encounters. It’s a finding that’s emphasized all the more by the subjective observations of the animal handlers:

“I am noticing an interesting pattern in the outings where there is no dog present. Only shop attendants initiate conversation. Some say hello to me, but they try not to look at the person with the disability.”

This stands in stark contrast with how someone with an intellectual disability is treated if they do have a dog, say the handlers.

“We have been coming to the same café each week, and we now have a waitress that remembers our orders and how Mark likes things.”

What does this augur? It suggests the social benefits of providing a dog to those with intellectual disabilities, but it also seems to partially indict those who wouldn’t interact with someone with an intellectual disability were it not for the dog: if loneliness has a degree of impact on our health, then it’s incumbent on us to try and take steps to make that better.

Dogs help humans with disabilities socialize with others, researchers find

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College students choose smartphones over food, researchers find

College students choose smartphones over food, researchers find

  • An experiment out of Buffalo shows that students are willing to put off eating in order to look at their phones.
  • The subjects were willing to pay ever increasing amounts of money to use their phones even as the price of food remained the same.
  • The finding doesn’t prove phone addiction is a thing, but it makes it possible.

In a turn of events that should surprise absolutely nobody, researchers at the University of Buffalo recently discovered that college students would rather go hungry than be separated from their phones.

Though the study’s data gives us new evidence that smartphone addiction does, indeed, exist, it doesn’t quite settle the issue.

What does the study
say?

In a series of tests where subjects had to choose to either work or spend pretend money on time with their phone or food, they went with their phones by a shocking margin.

In the experiment, students were separated from their phones for two hours and had no food for three. At the end of the separation period, they were taken to a computer where they could complete a task to earn either time with their phone or a snack. After they chose what they wanted, the cost of their selection was increased the next time they were asked.

The cost of the items was measured in two ways. One test involved fake money, with minutes of cell phone use costing up to a thousand dollars earned by computer tasks. The other test measured the cost in pure work, such as the number of mouse clicks needed to complete the required tasks to gain more phone time.

In almost every case, the amount that the students were willing to pay to use their phones outpaced the amount they would spend on food. The researchers stated they were “very surprised by the results.”

What does that mean?

The press release claims this is the first study to suggest that smartphone use is a reinforcing behavior. That means that it is an activity with a positive consequence that causes an individual to want to do it again.While the researchers are quick to remind us that reinforcement is not identical to addiction, it is a prerequisite. They were also shocked to find that the subjects valued phone time over eating, which is also a reinforcing behavior.

Study lead author Sara O’Donnell explained, “We knew that students would be motivated to gain access to their phones, but we were surprised that despite modest food deprivation, smartphone reinforcement far exceeded food reinforcement across both methodologies.”

So, am I addicted to my phone? I can stop
anytime I want, I promise!

It is too soon to say that. Addiction is a medical term that implies several things. Just because people have a self-feeding drive to use their phones doesn’t mean they are addicted to their phone in the same way they are addicted to nicotine or alcohol. As always, more studies are needed.

This is still a great starting point for learning the answer to that question and even for understanding why some people use their phones much more than others. Sara O’Donnell explained that “While reinforcing value does not equate to addiction, it seems likely that if smartphone addiction becomes a valid diagnosis, those individuals would have high smartphone reinforcement, just as individuals with alcohol use disorders have high alcohol reinforcement.”

Ask yourself, have you ever been willing to give up food in order to check your phone? It seems you aren’t alone if you have. While the jury is still out on if this means we can be addicted to the things, maybe taking a break isn’t a bad thing.

College students choose smartphones over food, researchers find