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Study turns pot wisdom on headLab rats given drug 100 times as strong as pot

Chris

Well-Known TRIBEr
Study turns pot wisdom on head Lab rats given drug 100 times as strong as pot
By DAWN WALTON

Friday, October 14, 2005 Posted at 3:57 AM EDT

From Friday's Globe and Mail

Calgary — Forget the stereotype about dopey potheads. It seems marijuana could be good for your brain.

While other studies have shown that periodic use of marijuana can cause memory loss and impair learning and a host of other health problems down the road, new research suggests the drug could have some benefits when administered regularly in a highly potent form.

Most "drugs of abuse" such as alcohol, heroin, cocaine and nicotine suppress growth of new brain cells. However, researchers found that cannabinoids promoted generation of new neurons in rats' hippocampuses.

Hippocampuses are the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory, and the study held true for either plant-derived or the synthetic version of cannabinoids.

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"This is quite a surprise," said Xia Zhang, an associate professor with the Neuropsychiatry Research Unit at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

"Chronic use of marijuana may actually improve learning memory when the new neurons in the hippocampus can mature in two or three months," he added.

The research by Dr. Zhang and a team of international researchers is to be published in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, but their findings are on-line now.

The scientists also noticed that cannabinoids curbed depression and anxiety, which Dr. Zhang says, suggests a correlation between neurogenesis and mood swings. (Or, it at least partly explains the feelings of relaxation and euphoria of a pot-induced high.)

Other scientists have suggested that depression is triggered when too few new brain cells are created in the hippocampus. One researcher of neuropharmacology said he was "puzzled" by the findings.

As enthusiastic as Dr. Zhang is about the potential health benefits, he warns against running out for a toke in a bid to beef up brain power or calm nerves.

The team injected laboratory rats with a synthetic substance called HU-210, which is similar, but 100 times as potent as THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the compound responsible for giving marijuana users a high.

They found that the rats treated regularly with a high dose of HU-210 -- twice a day for 10 days -- showed growth of neurons in the hippocampus. The researchers don't know if pot, which isn't as pure as the lab-produced version, would have the same effect.

"There's a big gap between rats and humans," Dr. Zhang points out.

But there is a lot of interest -- and controversy -- around the use of cannabinoids to improve human health.

Cannabinoids, such as marijuana and hashish, have been used to address pain, nausea, vomiting, seizures caused by epilepsy, ischemic stroke, cerebral trauma, tumours, multiple sclerosis and a host of other maladies.

There are herbal cannabinoids, which come from the cannabis plant, and the bodies of humans and animals produce endogenous cannabinoids. The substance can also be designed in the lab.

Cannabinoids can trigger the body's two cannabinoid receptors, which control the activity of various cells in the body.

One receptor, known as CB1, is found primarily in the brain. The other receptor, CB2, was thought to be found only in the immune system.

However, in a separate study to be published today in the journal Science, a group of international researchers have located the CB2 receptor in the brain stems of rats, mice and ferrets.

The brain stem is responsible for basic body function such as breathing and the gastrointestinal tract. If stimulated in a certain way, CB2 could be harnessed to eliminate the nausea and vomiting associated with post-operative analgesics or cancer and AIDS treatments, according to the researchers.

"Ultimately, new therapies could be developed as a result of these findings," said Keith Sharkey, a gastrointestinal neuroscientist at the University of Calgary, lead author of the study.

(Scientists are trying to find ways to block CB1 as a way to decrease food cravings and limit dependence on tobacco.)

When asked whether his findings explain why some swear by pot as a way to avoid the queasy feeling of a hangover, Dr. Sharkey paused and replied: "It does not explain the effects of smoked or inhaled or ingested substances."
 

The Tesseract

TRIBE Member
Leave it to a scientist to make something enjoyable (smoking pot, opium) and turn it into an extremely disgusting drug (injectable hu-210, heroin)
 

graham

Well-Known TRIBEr
I have a lot of anecdotal evidence to the contrary

but yeah smoking for harmlessness and smarting
 

Subsonic Chronic

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by ChrisD
"Chronic use of marijuana may actually improve learning memory when the new neurons in the hippocampus can mature in two or three months," he added.
This is exactly what I've been trying to say for years now.

:p
 

The Tesseract

TRIBE Member
Re: Re: Study turns pot wisdom on headLab rats given drug 100 times as strong as pot

Originally posted by Subsonic Chronic
This is exactly what I've been trying to say for years now.

:p
Operative word being "trying"
ummmm yeah.

Oooh! look a squirrel!!


 

glych t.anomaly

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by OTIS
Wipe that smegma off your face.

wow, the repetitious nature of your jabs is truly outstanding, im often fascinated at the limited scope you seem to posess in respect to the originality in your attempts to actually get a rise out of me.


* golf clap *


you're the man cool guy.



[jai]
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
The chronic pot smoker speaking critically of mental crutches is the real story in this thread.
 

glych t.anomaly

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by OTIS
The chronic pot smoker speaking critically of mental crutches is the real story in this thread.

hahahahaha, at least my mental crutch isnt limiting, it promotes growth, yours promotes ignorance.


its quite entertaining.


[jai]
 

oddmyth

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by glych t.anomaly
Wow. The repetitiive nature of your jabs is truly outstanding. I'm often fascinated at the limited scope you seem to posess with respect to the originality of your attempts to actually get a rise out of me.
[jai]
Grammar is not your strong suit. In the future when attempting to sound wise, you may wish to consider using smaller words.
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by glych t.anomaly
hahahahaha, at least my mental crutch isnt limiting, it promotes growth, yours promotes ignorance.
uhuh..

what is it about techno again that requires you to hate on every other form of music, oh yeah, it's open mindedness.

*insert idiotic platitudes and facetious laughter*

Anyhow

While I don't doubt there is some validity to the study in the article, any evidence must be considered in relevance to the wealth of other evidence (and common sense) which may prove the contrary. I take it, like any study claiming wine is good for the arteries, and coffee is good for blood functions, with a grain of salt. The only reason it's getting any press is not because it's some breakthrough study, but because of it's novel appeal.
 

Bass-Invader

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by oddmyth
Grammar is not your strong suit. In the future when attempting to sound wise, you may wish to consider using smaller words.
ok i know you want to jump in and be a fighter too but nitpicking capitalization and apostrophe ommision in contractions on the internet is just trying too hard.
 

deep

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Bass-Invader
depression is triggered when too few new cells are generated in the hippocampus?
reduced hippocampal volume is associated with emotive disorders incl. depression

Obviously (I know you understand this, but anytime one of these articles comes out it's clear most don't), matters of neuroscience aren't as simple as articles in popular media make them out to be

Other obvious points that apparently bear mentioning:

Something being "similar" to something else doesn't make it the same thing: cocaine and ritalin are chemically similar, but obviously not the same in their effects, mechanisms of action, where they work in the brain

Something being 100x more potent / concentrated does not make it equivalent in effect: 100 tylenol pills vs. one
 
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