Skip to comments.Cannabis may become 'the aspirin of the 21st century'
Posted on 04/19/2003 3:26:12 PM PDT by Sir Gawain
19 April 2003
Cannabis, the third most popular recreational drug after alcohol and tobacco, could win a new role as the aspirin of the 21st century, with growing evidence that its compounds may protect the brain against the damaging effects of ageing.
Although the drug distorts perception and affects short-term memory, it may also help prevent degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntingdon's and motor neurone diseases. Scientists at the Institute of Neurology in Queens Square, London, say the "huge potential" of cannabis compounds is emerging, as understanding of its biological and pharmacological properties improves.
Professor Alan Thompson and his colleagues wrote in Lancet Neurology: "Basic research is discovering interesting members of this family of compounds that have previously unknown qualities, the most notable of which is the capacity for neuroprotection."
The results of two trials in patients with multiple sclerosis are expected this summer and the first cannabis-based medicines are being considered for licensing. None of them will have the psychoactive properties of the raw drug when smoked or ingested.
Professor Thompson's team says: "Even if the results of these studies are not as positive as many expect them to be, that we are only just beginning to appreciate the huge therapeutic potential of this family of compounds is clear."
Cannabis was thought to affect the cells like alcohol by seeping through the cell membrane. But in 1990 the first cannabinoid receptor was found, which revolutionised the study of cannabinoid biology. The discovery revealed an endogenous system of cannabinoid receptors, similar to the opioid system, to which the drug bound when it was ingested. Just as endorphins are the body's natural equivalent of heroin, a fatty acid called anandamide (Sanskrit for "inner bliss") is the natural equivalent of cannabis.
The natural system of cannabinoid receptors plays a role in maintaining the balance of chemicals in the brain which regulate the rate at which neurons fire. By altering this system, scientists believe it may be possible to slow or prevent the process of brain decay. David Baker, lead author of the Lancet review and senior lecturer at the Institute of Neurology, said: "Alzheimer's disease is the result of very slow degeneration caused by the death of nerve cells. We probably don't see symptoms until 30 to 40 per cent of the nerve cells have died. Something regulates this decay and if we could slow it by even a small fraction we might delay by a decade the point where someone loses their memory."
But cannabis is a double-edged sword, with potentially damaging side effects. "It may be possible to develop drugs that allow selective targeting of different areas of the brain and spinal cord and there may be a way of limiting the negative effects," Dr Baker said.
A study by Dr Baker and colleagues, in which the natural system of cannabinoid receptors was removed in mice, showed that the rate of nerve loss was increased, indicating its role in preserving brain function. The study, which has been accepted for publication in a medical journal, "really clinches the argument", Dr Baker said.
He added: "Cannabis has gone from the drawing board into trials in record time, largely because of patient pressure. Hopefully it will work and be acceptably safe."
If the Liberteen docs can only find a way to get past this, they're home free.
Maybe users forget all about the Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntingdon's and motor neurone diseases - eh?
Wouldn't that be four joints?
(Ya see, two and two equals four...)
from personal experience, it may be that if one is constantly stoned, one cannot tell when one develops Alzheimer's...what were we talking about? Who's gonna order the pizza?
More evidence of the ties between the Libertarian Party and pagan forces working together to corrupt our youth.
I shoud be shocked, but I'm not.
Myth. Junk science, exploded completely in four chapters of Marijuana Myths/Marijuana Facts by Lynn Zimmer, Ph.D and John P. Morgan, M.D., including twelve pages of references to studies on that precise point.
I went to re-hab while I was the Navy. The officers on my boat liked me so they offered me re-hab instead of a medical discharge due to the quantity I was found with.
While at re-hab, I had to drive off base to a Hospital to get some work done on a foot. My escort, an E-6 from the re-hab center was a real nice guy...so I thought. After having my foot taken care of, I came out and got back into the van. Since he was black, I thought I would be hip and use his venacular describing the good looking women in the Hospital... 'Man, there is some good lookin' hoes in there...'
Well, the next day, every woman in my group at the "Q" given by my "Therapist", lambasted me for considering women "Hoes". The counselor told me that was the reason I do drugs(weed) is because of my lack of respect for women...
I was 18 years old. I sat back in my chair and said to her, in front of the rest of the class, "You may not understand this, but you just shot this entire month long session's credibilty with that novice diagnosis." She looked at me and forced herself to change the subject.
After class she apologized to me which tore the bottom out of what ever was left of the program's credibilty.
People do not need re-hab. They need focus. Re-hab is a money drain...
Think of what, dude?
THAT explains a lot ...
Anybody want to argue on behalf of un-supervised, non-prescription "self-administration" of such 'compounds'?
I hear it makes you incoherent too..
I know Boot Hill well, and I know he is a WOD/anti-drug kinda guy. I am more or less neutral on this subject for my own reasons. "What do you think of this?" was meant as a trigger to get him going... that's all...
There. Aren't you glad you asked?
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