Marijuana painkiller breakthrough

Marijuana painkiller breakthrough:

Marijuana painkiller breakthrough

Marijuana painkiller breakthrough

What is marijuana without the high? Still a very effective painkiller. And now, scientists believe they can harness the drug’s anesthetic action while doing away with its psychedelic effects. In a new paper published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, Professor Li Zhang and a team of scientists at the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism report that THC can potentially be used as a side-effect-free painkiller. Is a new class of “non-psychotropic cannabinoids” on the way? Here’s a brief guide:

What is this breakthrough exactly?
Zhang and his team discovered that tetrahydrocannabinol (more commonly known as THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, produces different effects by bonding to different receptors in the brain. Scientists have known for years that THC bonds with a certain receptor to produce the classic disorienting marijuana high. But now researchers have identified precisely where THC targets the nervous system to lessen anxiety and dull pain. Hence, the potential to satisfy medical marijuana’s desire for pure pain relief.

How’d they figure this out?
By experimenting on mice, naturally. Scientists blocked the pain-reducing receptors in the stoned rodents’ brains, then subjected them to a “tail-flick test” — hitting mices’ tails with “focused heat” — and counted how long it took for them to respond. The fact that the mice still felt pain, even when they were dosed with THC, “confirms that the drug’s pain-relief and psychotropic effects can be decoupled,” says Andy Coghlan at The New Scientist.

So… THC pain pills?
Quite possibly. “Soon,” says Annalee Newitz at IO9, “people whose stomachs are too tender for aspirin or ibuprofin may be swallowing THC pills to get rid of headaches.”

Could another result be THC pills that do nothing but get you high?
It’s the question recreational users will be pondering: “Is there a way to create a synthetic form of THC that does nothing but get you high, without all those pesky ‘medicinal’ side-effects?”

 

Source:  THEWEEK.Com

High IQ and drug use

People that use drugs, are generally smarter than their counter parts:

High IQ linked to drug use

High IQ linked to drug use

The “Just Say No” generation was often told by parents and teachers that intelligent people didn’t use drugs.   Turns out, the adults may have been wrong.

A new British study finds children with high IQs are more likely to use drugs as adults than people who score low on IQ tests as children.  The data come from the 1970 British Cohort Study, which has been following thousands of people over decades.  The kids’ IQs were tested at the ages of 5, 10 and 16.  The study also asked about drug use and looked at education and other socioeconomic factors.  Then when participants turned 30, they were asked whether they had used drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin in the past year.

Researchers discovered men with high childhood IQs were up to two times more likely to use illegal drugs than their lower-scoring counterparts.  Girls with high IQs were up to three times more likely to use drugs as adults.  A high IQ is defined as a score between 107 and 158.  An average IQ is 100. The study appears in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The lead researcher says he isn’t surprised by the findings.  “Previous research found for the most part people with high IQs lead a healthy life, but that they are more likely to drink to excess as adults,” says James White a psychologist at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom.

It’s not clear why people with high childhood IQs are more likely to use illegal drugs.  “We suspect they may be more open to new experiences and are more sensation seeking,” says White.  In the paper, White and his co-author also mention other studies that find high IQ kids may use drugs because they are bored or to cope with being different.

That seems to ring true for one of my childhood classmates. Tracey Helton Mitchell was one of the smartest kids in my middle school. But, by the time she was in her early 20’s, Tracey was a heroin addict. I found out while flipping channels one sleepless night and stumbled upon the documentary “Black Tar Heroin.”

“I was confident in my abilities but there was a dissonance,” says Tracey, with whom I recently reconnected.  “No matter what I did, what I said, where I went, I was never comfortable with the shell I carried called myself.”

 

Source: CNN.Com

Marijuana and Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology

A Molecular Link Between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology:

A Molecular Link Between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer's Disease Pathology

A Molecular Link Between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia among the elderly, and with the ever-increasing size of this population, cases of Alzheimer’s disease are expected to triple over the next 50 years. Consequently, the development of treatments that slow or halt the disease progression have become imperative to both improve the quality of life for patients as well as reduce the health care costs attributable to Alzheimer’s disease.

Since the characterization of the Cannabis sativa-produced cannabinoid, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in the 1960’s, this natural product has been widely explored as an anti-emetic, anti-convulsive, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic.

The active component of marijuana, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), competitively inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) as well as prevents AChE-induced amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) aggregation, the key pathological marker of Alzheimer’s disease. Computational modeling of the THC-AChE interaction revealed that THC binds in the peripheral anionic site of AChE, the critical region involved in amyloidgenesis.

In these contexts, efficacy results from THC binding to the family of cannabinoid receptors found primarily on central and peripheral neurons (CB1) or immune cells (CB2). More recently, a link between the endocannabinoid system and Alzheimer’s disease has been discoveredwhich has provided a new therapeutic target for the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. New targets for this debilitating disease are critical as Alzheimer’s disease afflicts over 20 million people worldwide, with the number of diagnosed cases continuing to rise at an exponential rate. These studies have demonstrated the ability of cannabinoids to provide neuroprotection against β-amyloid peptide (Aβ) toxicity.Yet, it is important to note that in these reports, cannabinoids serve as signaling molecules which regulate downstream events implicated in Alzheimer’s disease pathology and are not directly implicated as effecting Aβ at a molecular level.

Computational modeling of the THC-AChE interaction revealed that THC binds in the peripheral anionic site of AChE, the critical region involved in amyloidgenesis. Compared to currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, THC is a considerably superior inhibitor of Aβ aggregation, and this provides a previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which cannabinoid molecules may directly impact the progression of this debilitating disease.

DEA Finally Admits Marijuana is Medicine

DEA Finally Admits Marijuana is Medicine:

DEA Finally Admits Marijuana is Medicine

DEA Finally Admits Marijuana is Medicine

If you thought they were going to issue a formal apology after decades of flagrant dishonesty, you would be mistaken. But the DEA is at long last conceding Marijuana’s incredible medical value…by giving pharmaceutical companies exclusive permission to make pills out of it. “Marijuana has no scientifically proven medical value.” So stated the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on page six of a July 2010 agency white paper, titled “DEA Position on Marijuana.” Yet only four months after the agency committed its “no medical pot” stance to print, it announced its intent to allow for the regulation and marketing of pharmaceutical products containing plant-derived THC — the primary psychoactive ingredient in Cannabis. DEA can try to frame this any way they like, but the bottom line remains that authorizing cultivation for pharmaceutical companies is the end of the debate. Over. Done. Whatever nuanced distinctions the enemies of medical marijuana seek to advance from this point forward will be devastated by the simple fact that new medicines are being made out of marijuana with the blessing of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Conspiracy theories will abound, of course, regarding the potential for a widespread campaign to shut down state-level medical marijuana programs and instead shove expensive pills down the throats of patients, while arresting providers and cultivators who refuse to comply. That isn’t going to happen. As much as the DEA and their corporate co-conspirators might fantasize about it, a full-scale assault on the medical cannabis industry is simply impossible from both a practical and political standpoint. These laws were put in place by the people and they won’t be done away with over our objections. On the contrary, the emergence of cannabis-based pharmaceuticals has real potential to vest corporate interests with a stake in the drug’s overall reputation. Rather than distancing themselves from the origins of their products, manufacturers of THC-based medications will recognize that associating their product with marijuana is in fact a shrewd marketing ploy. Marinol has already done exactly that. People love pot and that’s going to be the key to selling these pills. As a result, we could soon be witnessing a seemingly impossible scenario in which pharmaceutical companies actually share our frustration when some drug war idiot comes along claiming THC causes schizophrenia. Obviously, it’s unlikely that our goals will ever align perfectly with those of the pharmaceutical industry, but they’re clearly better at working with the DEA than we’ll ever be. Rather than viewing the situation as a threat to our continued progress, I think we need to recognize that various forms of industrialization will be the inevitable result of our hard work to de-stigmatize the drug. As that process unfolds, we’ll encounter numerous new and interesting opportunities to reframe the conversation about the dangers of marijuana. Even if this latest move by DEA is nothing more than a cynical attempt to thwart our progress somehow, I imagine it will backfire just as surely as every other tactic they’ve deployed in the drug war debate thus far.