as marijuana is on the verge of legalization for
recreational and medical uses on a state-level across the U.S., its
advocates are struggling with the substance's health effects.
After all, on a base level, smoking marijuana is inhaling a smoky
mixture of organochemicals, many of which are carcinogenic (such as
certain phenolic compounds, i.e. benzo[a]pyrene). While water pipes or oral consumption are
sometimes used, they reportedly give weaker effects.Thus it
is interesting that researchers at the Neurobiology and Behavior
program at the University of Washington (UW) have discovered the
latest in a long string of chemicals your body produces that resemble
those found in marijuana -- chemicals that could eventually be turned
into a smokeless replacement that offers the full efficacy
most useful effects.The class of compounds is known as
"endocannabinoids" -- an amalgamation of "endo",
Latin for inside, and cannabis, the scientific name for the genus of
the marijuana plant. The latest endocannabinoid they discovered
is named 2-AG and binds to receptors on nerve cells and microglia.
Microglia are a specialist cell that cleans up debris like dead cells
and plaque.Together the signal is thought to trigger brain
cell relocation and the reduction of inflammation. This could
explain why similar compounds released from smoking marijuana (likely
binding to the same receptors) can offer relief to the symptoms of
brain-related diseases such as multiple sclerosis, brain tumors,
Huntington's disease and other autoimmune or neurological
disorders.In their most
recent work they discovered that 2-AG binds to a enzyme
called ABHD6. They say that the enzyme, whose purpose was
previously a mystery, "is a bona fide member of the
endocannabinoid signaling system." Further,
they discovered that the enzyme uses water to break down 2-AG,
degrading the signal and reducing its effectiveness.With this
discovery researchers can now devise ways to inhibit the enzyme,
increasing the potency of cannabis chemicals or their synthetic
analogs. They could also try to devise new compounds resistant
to hydrolysis (water-driven splitting). Either way the net
impact would be that the beneficial effects of the pharmochemicals
would be accentuated.The new study is published in
the journal Nature
The lead author is William R. Marrs, while the senior author is Dr.
Nephi Stella, UW professor of pharmacology and psychiatry. The
study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the
National Institute of General Medical Sciences, both part of the
National Institutes of Health. In total 19 other researchers
contributed from the study, including some at the Scripps Research
Institute and Indiana University.
quote: We consume phenolic compounds in fruits, vegetables, teas, flax seed and wine do we not?
quote: ...if they can figure out an alternative way to trigger the same effects as the real thing, that it would be more ideal than having to smoke it.
quote: BTW, the average joint has 3 times the tar in it as the average cigarette
quote: The main excuse given for not wanting to use it is that it is "much more convienent to self-dose than take a predetermined dose" in the form of a pill
quote: BTW, the average joint has 3 times the tar in it as the average cigarette.
quote: Last I read that if you smoke cigarettes and Marijuana then you have a 70% less chance of getting Cancer.
quote: While water pipes or oral consumption are sometimes used, they reportedly give weaker effects.
quote: This post was compiled by third party knowledge, I swear!
quote: HempHemp paper threatened DuPont's monopoly on the necessary chemicals for manufacturing paper from trees and hemp fiber cloth would compete with Nylon, a synthetic fibre, that was patented in 1938, the year hemp was made illegal. It is often asserted in pro-cannabis publications that DuPont actively supported the criminalization of the production of hemp in the US in 1937 through private and government intermediates, and alleged that this was done to eliminate hemp as a source of fiber—one of DuPont's biggest markets at the time. DuPont denies allegations that it influenced hemp regulation.