05w03:2 Popeye Said Dope was for Dopes

by timothy. 1 Comment

Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 3 number 2 (Popeye said dope was for dopes)

Both these readings are from the December 2004 issue of Scientific American. – Timothy


Current restrictions on marijuana research are absurd | Scientific American
“The human brain naturally produces and processes compounds closely related to those found in Cannabis sativa, better known as marijuana. These compounds are called endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoids. As the journal Nature Medicine put it in 2003, ‘the endocannabinoid system has an important role in nearly every paradigm of pain, in memory, in neurodegeneration and in inflammation.’ The journal goes on to note that cannabinoids’ ‘clinical potential is enormous.’ That potential may include treatments for pain, nerve injury, the nausea associated with chemotherapy, the wasting related to AIDS and more. Yet outdated regulations and attitudes thwart legitimate research with marijuana. Indeed, American biomedical researchers can more easily acquire and investigate cocaine.”

The Brain’s Own Marijuana | Roger A. Nicoll and Bradley N. Alger
“Marijuana and its various alter egos, such as bhang and hashish, are among the most widely used psychoactive drugs in the world. How the plant has been used varies by culture […] Marijuana gained a following in the U.S. only relatively recently. […] Its psychoactive power comes from its action in the cerebral cortex. […] Marijuana clearly does so much because it acts everywhere. […] In 1992, 28 years after he identified THC, Mechoulam discovered a small fatty acid produced in the brain that binds to CB1 and that mimics all the activities of marijuana. He named it anandamide, after the Sanskrit word ananda, ‘bliss.’ Subsequently, Daniele Piomelli and Nephi Stella of the University of California at Irvine discovered that another lipid, 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG), is even more abundant in certain brain regions than anandamide is. Together the two compounds are considered the major endogenous cannabinoids, or endocannabinoids. […] The two cannabinoid receptors clearly evolved along with endocannabinoids as part of natural cellular communication systems. Marijuana happens to resemble the endocannabinoids enough to activate cannabinoid receptors. […] The results indicate that endocannabinoids are important in extinguishing the bad feelings and pain triggered by reminders of past experiences. The discoveries raise the possibility that abnormally low numbers of cannabinoid receptors or the faulty release of endogenous cannabinoids are involved in post-traumatic stress syndrome, phobias and certain forms of chronic pain. This suggestion fits with the fact that some people smoke marijuana to decrease their anxiety. It is also conceivable, though far from proved, that chemical mimics of these natural substances could allow us to put the past behind us when signals that we have learned to associate with certain dangers no longer have meaning in the real world.”

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emailed by Timothy on Thursday 20 January 2005 @ 2:43 PM

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