Marijuana can relieve chemotherapy-induced pain

Another study finds that cannabinoids, like those found in marijuana, suppress the pain resulting from chemotherapy-induced neuropathy. And the Feds continue to claim that there is no medical use for marijuana. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2013 Jun 4. pii: S0885-39241300238-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2013.02.018. [Epub ahead of print]A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Pilot Trial With Extension Using an Oral Mucosal Cannabinoid Extract for Treatment of Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathic Pain.Lynch ME, Cesar-Rittenberg P, Hohmann AG.SourcePain Management Unit, Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; Department of Anesthesia, Psychiatry and Pharmacology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Electronic address: mary.lynch@dal.ca.                                  Abstract: Neuropathic pain caused by chemotherapy limits dosing and duration of potentially life-saving anti-cancer treatment and impairs quality of life. Chemotherapeutic neuropathy responds poorly to conventional treatments, and there is an urgent medical need for new treatments. Recent preclinical studies demonstrate that cannabinoid agonists suppress established chemotherapy-evoked neuropathy.OBJECTIVES:This was a pilot trial to begin to investigate a currently available cannabinoid agent, nabiximols oral mucosal spray containing cannabinoids, in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain.METHODS:A randomized, placebo-controlled crossover pilot study was done in 16 patients with established chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain. A 0-10 point numeric rating scale for pain intensity NRS-PI was used as the primary outcome measure.RESULTS:When examining the whole group, there was no statistically significant difference between the treatment and the placebo groups on the NRS-PI. A responder analysis demonstrated that there were five participants who reported a two-point or greater reduction in pain that trended toward statistical significance and the number needed to treat was five.CONCLUSION:Chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain is particularly resistant to currently available treatments. This pilot trial found a number needed to treat of five and an average decrease of 2.6 on an 11-point NRS-PI in five "responders" as compared with a decrease of 0.6 with placebo and supports that it is worthwhile to study nabiximols in a full randomized, placebo-controlled trial of chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain.

via A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Cr... [J Pain Symptom Manage. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI.

Medical marijuana ingredient prevents brain damage

The words “marijuana” and “brain damage” usually go in that order in medical literature. An Israeli researcher has flipped them around, finding that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, may arrest some forms of brain damage in mice.The loco weed already is favored by those who suffer from chronic diseases, not to mention fans of Cypress Hill, Bob Marley and the Grateful Dead.But pharmacologist Josef Sarne of Tel Aviv University found that a minuscule amount of tetrahydrocannabinol may protect the brain after injuries from seizures, toxic drug exposure or a lack of oxygen. via Medical marijuana ingredient prevents brain damage in mice - latimes.com.

Determination of pesticide residues in cannabis sm... [J Toxicol. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI

I made the point, in my debate with Kevin Sabet, that illegal marijuana puts young people at risk because there are no regulations and testing for black market marijuana as there is with a commercial market. Marijuana prohibition ruins lives and puts young people at risk. J Toxicol. 2013;2013:378168. doi: 10.1155/2013/378168. Epub 2013 May 12.Determination of pesticide residues in cannabis smoke.Sullivan N, Elzinga S, Raber JC.SourceThe Werc Shop, Inc., Pasadena, CA 91107, USA.AbstractThe present study was conducted in order to quantify to what extent cannabis consumers may be exposed to pesticide and other chemical residues through inhaled mainstream cannabis smoke. Three different smoking devices were evaluated in order to provide a generalized data set representative of pesticide exposures possible for medical cannabis users. Three different pesticides, bifenthrin, diazinon, and permethrin, along with the plant growth regulator paclobutrazol, which are readily available to cultivators in commercial products, were investigated in the experiment. Smoke generated from the smoking devices was condensed in tandem chilled gas traps and analyzed with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry GC-MS. Recoveries of residues were as high as 69.5% depending on the device used and the component investigated, suggesting that the potential of pesticide and chemical residue exposures to cannabis users is substantial and may pose a significant toxicological threat in the absence of adequate regulatory frameworks.PMID: 23737769 [PubMed]

via Determination of pesticide residues in cannabis sm... [J Toxicol. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI.

THC from Marijuana Protects the Brain from Injury

Once again we see that using (even very small amounts of) marijuana improves our health by shielding the brain from the damage that follows a head injury. These same actions protect the brain from the age-related changes that lead to Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. We need to recruit more people to use marijuana on a regular basis to lower our national health-care expenditures. Marijuana use is good for you! Tell someone today! Long-term behavioral and biochemical effects of an ultra-low dose of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol THC: neuroprotection and ERK signaling Miriam Fishbein, Sahar Gov, Fadi Assaf, Mikhal Gafni, Ora Keren, Yosef Sarne                                                                              Abstract: We have previously reported that a single injection of an ultra-low dose of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol THC; the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana protected the brain from pentylenentetrazole PTZ-induced cognitive deficits when applied 1–7 days before or 1–3 days after the insult. In the present study we expanded the protective profile of THC by showing that it protected mice from cognitive deficits that were induced by a variety of other neuronal insults, including pentobarbital-induced deep anesthesia, repeated treatment with 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine MDMA; “ecstasy” and exposure to carbon monoxide. The protective effect of THC lasted for at least 7 weeks. The same ultra-low dose of THC 0.002 mg/kg, a dose that is 3–4 orders of magnitude lower than the doses that produce the known acute effects of the drug in mice induced long-lasting 7 weeks modifications of extracellular signal–regulated kinase ERK activity in the hippocampus, frontal cortex and cerebellum of the mice. The alterations in ERK activity paralleled changes in its activating enzyme MEK and its inactivating enzyme MKP-1. Furthermore, a single treatment with the low dose of THC elevated the level of pCREB phosphorylated cAMP response element–binding protein in the hippocampus and the level of BDNF brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the frontal cortex. These long-lasting effects indicate that a single treatment with an ultra-low dose of THC can modify brain plasticity and induce long-term behavioral and developmental effects in the brain.

via Long-term behavioral and biochemical effects of an ultra-low dose of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol THC: neuroprotection and ERK signaling - Springer.

Majority of Doctors Would Recommend Medical Marijuana

Most Docs OK With Medical Marijuana: SurveyMajority would give a prescription to an advanced cancer patient in pain

By Serena Gordon HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 29 (HealthDay News) -- Three-quarters of doctors who responded to a survey about medical marijuana said they would approve the use of the drug to help ease pain in an older woman with advanced breast cancer.

In a February issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors were presented with a case vignette, as well as arguments both for and against the use of medical marijuana. Doctors were then asked to decide whether or not they would approve such a prescription for this patient.

The results now appear in the May 30 edition of the journal.

Seventy-six percent of the 1,446 doctors who responded said they would give the woman a prescription for medical marijuana. Many cited the possibility of alleviating the woman's symptoms as a reason for approving the prescription.

"The point of the vignette was to illustrate the kinds of patients that show up on our doorstep who need help. This issue is not one you can ignore, and some states have already taken matters into their own hands," said Dr. J. Michael Bostwick, a professor of psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Bostwick wrote the "pro" side for the survey, but said he could've written the "con" side as well, because there are valid arguments on both sides of the issue.

"There are no 100 percents in medicine. There's a lot of anecdotal evidence that this is something we should study more. Forgive the pun, but there's probably some fire where there's smoke, and we should investigate the medicinal use of marijuana or its components," Bostwick said.

Marijuana comes from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. It's a dry, shredded mix of the plant's leaves, flowers, stems and seeds. It can be smoked as a cigarette or in a pipe, or it can be added to certain foods, such as brownies.

The case presented to the doctors was Marilyn, a 68-year-old woman with breast cancer that had spread to her lungs, chest cavity and spine. She was undergoing chemotherapy, and said she had no energy, little appetite and a great deal of pain. She had tried various medications to relieve her pain, including the narcotic medication oxycodone. She lives in a state where the use of medical marijuana is legal, and asks her physician for a prescription.

Dr. Bradley Flansbaum, a hospitalist at Lenox Hill Hospital, in New York City, said he sided with the majority for this particular case.

"I think there's some context that needs to be considered," Flansbaum said. "This was a woman with stage 4 cancer who wasn't responding to [anti-nausea medications]. I'm not saying let's legalize marijuana, but this is a woman at the end of her life, so what's the downside, given that there might be a benefit. In a different situation, medical marijuana might not be so well embraced."

For his part, Bostwick said that while he approved the use of medical marijuana in this case, he feels it's important that the prescription of marijuana as medicine only be done within the confines of an already-established doctor-patient relationship.

"My concern is doctors who see someone once and give them a prescription for medical marijuana. That's bad medicine," Bostwick said.

While many physicians felt as if there was no harm in allowing the breast cancer patient to try marijuana to see if it helped, Dr. Gary Reisfield, who co-wrote the "against" side for survey, expressed concern about a patient with lung disease smoking marijuana.

"Marijuana smoke irritates the airways," he said. The smoke can also cause airway inflammation and symptoms of bronchitis, and decreases the ability of the lungs to fight off fungal and bacterial infections, said Reisfield, chief of pain management services at the University of Florida's department of psychiatry.

What's more, marijuana isn't as safe a drug as many believe it to be. "Heavy marijuana use is associated with numerous adverse health and societal outcomes including psychomotor, memory and executive function impairments; marijuana use disorders; other psychiatric conditions such as psychosis; poor school and work performance and impaired driving performance," he said.

Many of the physicians who responded pointed out that drugs already approved and in use also have the potential for addiction, such as narcotics. "Similar arguments could be made against alcohol, opiates and stimulants," Bostwick said.

For his part, Reisfield pointed out that there are two FDA-approved prescription cannabinoid pills -- dronabinol (Marinol) and nabilone (Cesamet) -- that don't begin working as quickly as smoked marijuana, but provide longer symptom relief without the high of marijuana. They also don't appear to have any addictive properties, he said.

What many doctors would like to see, according to the survey, is more evidence on the use of marijuana as medicine, so they could make a better-informed decision one way or the other.

More information

Learn more about marijuana and its potential for medical use from the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

SOURCES: J. Michael Bostwick, M.D., professor, psychiatry, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Bradley Flansbaum, M.D., hospitalist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Gary Reisfield, M.D., chief, pain management services, department of psychiatry, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville; May 30, 2013, New England Journal of Medicine

Marijuana protects the brain from alcohol damage

Here is evidence that using marijuana shields the brain from a significant amount of the damage that alcohol causes. If you are drinking, you should probably be toking. Also recall that a recent study concluded that: "There is no safe threshold for alcohol consumption with regards to cancer," and recall that ample evidence shows that using marijuana causes cancer cells to die off thus lowering the risk for everything from lung to head and neck to bladder cancers as well as lymphoma. Prohibition is carcinogenic. White Matter Integrity in Adolescents with Histories of Marijuana Use and Binge Drinking  J. Jacobus,a,b T. McQueeny,g S. Bava,b,c B. C. Schweinsburg,e,f L.R. Frank,d T. T. Yang,c and S. F. Tapertb,c, Abstract: Structural brain abnormalities have been observed in adolescents with alcohol use disorders but less is known about neuropathological brain characteristics of teens with subdiagnostic binge drinking or the common pattern of binge drinking combined with marijuana use. The goal of this study was to examine white matter integrity in adolescents with histories of binge drinking and marijuana use.Diffusion tensor imaging DTI was conducted with 42 adolescents ages 16−19 classified as controls, binge drinkers, or binge drinkers who are also heavy marijuana users. Tract based spatial analysis identified shared fiber structure across individuals and facilitated voxelwise comparisons of fractional anisotropy FA and mean diffusivity MD between groups.Significant between group differences were found in FA in eight white matter regions ps ≤ .016 between the binge drink-only group and controls, including superior corona radiata, inferior longitudinal fasciculus, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, and superior longitudinal fasciculus. Interestingly, in 4 of these same regions, binge drinkers who are also heavy marijuana users had higher FA than binge drinkers who did not use marijuana ps < .05. MD did not differ between groups. Findings are largely consistent with research suggesting less neuropathology in adolescents without histories of substance use. However, binge drinkers who also use marijuana did not show as consistent a divergence from non-users as did the binge drink-only group. Detection of white matter alterations may have implications in identifying early cognitive dysfunction in substance using adolescents.Keywords: Adolescence, Brain Imaging, Marijuana Abuse, Alcohol Abuse, White Matter, Diffusion Tensor Imaging

via White Matter Integrity in Adolescents with Histories of Marijuana Use and Binge Drinking.

CBD protects pig brains--new hope for politicians

CBD protects pig brains in a model of stroke. Cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, protect the brain. Neuropharmacology. 2013 Aug;71C:282-291. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2013.03.027. Epub 2013 Apr 12.Mechanisms of cannabidiol neuroprotection in hypoxic-ischemic newborn pigs: Role of 5HT1A and CB2 receptors.Pazos MR, Mohammed N, Lafuente H, Santos M, Martínez-Pinilla E, Moreno E, Valdizan E, Romero J, Pazos A, Franco R, Hillard CJ, Alvarez FJ, Martínez-Orgado J.SourceExperimental Unit, Pediatric Department, University Hospital Puerta de Hierro Majadahonda, 28222 Madrid, Spain.AbstractThe mechanisms underlying the neuroprotective effects of cannabidiol CBD were studied in vivo using a hypoxic-ischemic HI brain injury model in newborn pigs. One- to two-day-old piglets were exposed to HI for 30 min by interrupting carotid blood flow and reducing the fraction of inspired oxygen to 10%. Thirty minutes after HI, the piglets were treated with vehicle HV or 1 mg/kg CBD, alone HC or in combination with 1 mg/kg of a CB2 receptor antagonist AM630 or a serotonin 5HT1A receptor antagonist WAY100635. HI decreased the number of viable neurons and affected the amplitude-integrated EEG background activity as well as different prognostic proton-magnetic-resonance-spectroscopy H±-MRS-detectable biomarkers lactate/N-acetylaspartate and N-acetylaspartate/choline ratios. HI brain damage was also associated with increases in excitotoxicity increased glutamate/N-acetylaspartate ratio, oxidative stress decreased glutathione/creatine ratio and increased protein carbonylation and inflammation increased brain IL-1 levels. CBD administration after HI prevented all these alterations, although this CBD-mediated neuroprotection was reversed by co-administration of either WAY100635 or AM630, suggesting the involvement of CB2 and 5HT1A receptors. The involvement of CB2 receptors was not dependent on a CBD-mediated increase in endocannabinoids. Finally, bioluminescence resonance energy transfer studies indicated that CB2 and 5HT1A receptors may form heteromers in living HEK-293T cells. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that CBD exerts robust neuroprotective effects in vivo in HI piglets, modulating excitotoxicity, oxidative stress and inflammation, and that both CB2 and 5HT1A receptors are implicated in these effects.

via Mechanisms of cannabidiol neuroprotection ... [Neuropharmacology. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI.

A Response to “Going to Pot” by Roxanne Khamsi

By Clint Werner, author of “Marijuana Gateway to Health”

In the June 2013 issue of Scientific American, “Science of Health” columnist Roxanne Khamsi wrote a surprisingly unscientific and biased piece on the health ramifications of legalizing marijuana that was sadly tainted with residue from last century’s reefer madness campaign. The title of the piece itself, “Going to Pot” is a loaded term that confers a negative association on the subject via cultural symbolism having nothing to do with the reality of what science is telling us about marijuana and how it affects the human organism and society. First, Ms. Khamsi is mistaken when she writes that doctors “may prescribe marijuana to treat or manage ailments.” In states with medical marijuana provisions, physicians write recommendations for their patients that allow access to dispensaries or cultivation cooperatives. Ms. Khamsi then asserts that “the safety of recreational use is poorly understood” and that “researchers worry that both short- and long-term use of the drug may harm the body and mind.” Researchers who are up-to-date on the science of marijuana have no such concerns regarding adult use. In terms of harming the body, recent research has revealed that regular use of marijuana actually seems to improve physical health. Population studies have shown that regular marijuana users have a reduced risk for developing lung cancer (Hashibe, Cancer Epidemiological, Biomarkers and Prevention, 2006), head and neck cancers (Liang, Cancer Prevention Research, 2009), bladder cancer (Thomas, American Urological Association meeting, 2013), lymphomas (Holly, American Journal of Epidemiology, 1999), as well as diabetes (Rajavashisth, BMJ Open, 2012). The diabetes protection data from the enormous NHANES report also revealed that subjects who smoked marijuana three times per week had a profound (> 50%) reduction in their blood levels of C reactive protein, a inflammation marker for heart disease, indicating that they experienced significant protection from developing cardiac disease. Research also revealed that regular, moderate marijuana smokers have improved lung function compared to non-marijuana smokers with no risk for developing COPD (Pletcher, JAMA, 2012). National Institute of Drug Abuse pulmonary researcher, Dr. Donald Tashkin has said that he now endorses legalization since there is no basis for concern about the substance’s negative effects on lung function. Given the nearly century-long reefer madness campaign waged with untold billions of government dollars, it is hard for people to grasp that a denigrated and criminalized substance could have such positive health effects, especially when smoked, but science trumps myth and superstition with evidence. In terms of mental health, a just-published paper reports that “marijuana use consistently buffered people from the negative consequences associated with loneliness and social exclusion” (Deckman, Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2013), which could be one of the reasons that researchers found a truly startling drop in suicides, especially among young adult men, following the enactment of state medical marijuana laws (Anderson, IDEAS, 2012). Other research has shown that marijuana’s anti-depressant effects could be the result of neurogenesis, the production of healthy and functional new brain cells, which is promoted by the cannabinoids in marijuana (Jiang, Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2005). Another recently-published study found that “mortality risk was lower in cannabis users than in non-cannabis users with psychotic disorders” (Koola, Journal of Psychiatric Research, 2013), indicating that marijuana is a beneficial treatment for mental problems rather than, as increasingly inferred, a causative agent. In attempting to explain the activity of marijuana’s cannabinoid molecules on the endocannabinoid receptors, Ms. Khamsi once again employs loaded language to imply a negative effect, writing that THC “triggers domino chains” which implies a collapse of order and function rather than an alteration in order and function, which is what is truly occurring. Ms. Khamsi then frets that using marijuana impairs “working memory.” Yes marijuana alters mental functioning; it shifts the mind into a blissful euphoria that redirects thought from the ordered and analytical to the relaxed and free-association style of thought that characterizes relaxation and insight. And unlike alcohol, which serves a similar function of quieting the work day mental noise, marijuana is not carcinogenic or lethal. Ms. Khamsi expresses the understandable concern that marijuana users will make our roadways more dangerous but this is not supported by data that shows us what actually happens when legal restrictions are eased. A comprehensive review of data from states with medical marijuana laws found that enactment of the laws led to a significant drop in traffic accident deaths by allowing for marijuana to substitute for alcohol, a far more impairing substance. Traffic accident fatalities dropped by 9 percent in medical marijuana states. (Anderson, pending publication in the Journal of Law and Economics, 2013). That is essentially the same level of protection afforded by the passage of mandatory sea belt laws and by increasing the age for alcohol consumption from 18 to 21 years. According to research conducted by the automobile insurance company 4autoinsurance.com, marijuana users are safe drivers because, unlike alcohol drinkers, they are aware of their level of impairment and either refuse to drive, delay driving or drive more carefully than normal by reducing speed and not changing lanes. Regular marijuana users showed far less evidence of impairment than did novice and occasional users. Impairment testing is the only way to effectively police for marijuana-impaired drivers without ruining the lives of people who pose no threat on the roadways. The cannabinoid CBD steers THC away from the CB1 receptor, thus dulling or nullifying the mind-altering effects, but CBD does not reduce THC levels in the blood. Therefore, a driver using a high CBD strain of marijuana could test over the THC limit while experiencing no psychoactive effects whatsoever. Consequently, effective and fair impairment assessment techniques will need to be developed. Ms. Khamsi then returns to the health effects of marijuana, but ignores the previously cited benefits of reduced risks for developing numerous cancers, diabetes and other inflammation- and oxidation-based degenerative illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis. She then refers to the recent study of data from New Zealand that indicates that teenagers who use marijuana heavily have up to an 8 percent drop in IQ points. Those results were called into question upon review but still indicate a disturbing effect of heavy marijuana use on the developing adolescent brain. Neurologist Dr. Gary Wenk, who has written “a puff is enough” to protect the adult brain from age-related dementia, says that the effect of marijuana on a developing brain, especially in those under 15 years of age, is impairing. Regular use of marijuana by teens may also interfere with social and professional skill development by monopolizing the time and consciousness of teens that enjoy it. Ms. Khamsi correctly notes that black market marijuana is sometimes contaminated with “sand or glass beads” which are far more harmful to the user than cannabis itself. Black market marijuana is also frequently contaminated with insecticides not intended for use on plants that are consumed. Some of these products are neurotoxic and, ironically, may induce neurodegenerative illnesses by interfering with the functions of the endocannabinoid system. (Casida, Annual Review of Entomolgy, 2013) Smuggled marijuana is also stale and often riddled with mold. Given these threats to heavy teenage users, the question needs to be asked: How do we best reduce access to marijuana, especially the most harmful forms of marijuana, by teenagers? One study suggests that multidimensional family therapy (MDFT) is the most effective approach for treating teenagers with what is termed “cannabis use disorder” (Rigter, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2012). MDFT essentially reestablishes parental authority and time management in teens’ lives. If parents remain involved in all aspects of their teenage children’s lives, MDFT would not be necessary to correct a deficit in parenting. The best way to prevent teenage substance abuse is for parents to rigorously monitor and guide their children’s activities. By doing this, parents might not prevent experimentation but they can create an environment where regular access to and use of marijuana is impossible. Shrinking and killing off the black market via legalization and regulation can assist parents in this task, by making marijuana more difficult for teens to obtain. Dealers do not card and taking marijuana away from the illicit drug black market will also protect teens from the multiple drug offerings of those dealers. If teens do obtain marijuana on the sly, at least, having been diverted from legal and tested supplies, it will be less likely to be contaminated with more harmful substances. Commercial medical marijuana venders such as Harborside Health Center, which Khamsi mentioned, contract with growers and test their marijuana for safety and potency. Legalization transforms marijuana cultivators from shady criminals into proud artisans. And despite the possible risk of heavy marijuana use to teenagers’ cognition, a study of adolescent binge drinkers found that those who used marijuana suffered significantly less alcohol-related brain damage than the booze-only drinkers (Jacobus, Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 2009). Consider the irony: Marijuana protects the brains of booze binge drinkers. Ms. Khamsi also mentions increases in emergency room visits and those seeking treatment for marijuana use. The emergency room statistic most frequently cited by opponents of legalization involve the detection of marijuana use via urinalysis, a method that only indicates if marijuana has been used within the last two to four weeks, therefore the data does not indicate that marijuana use caused the emergency room visit. It merely indicates that more people seem to be using marijuana overall (DAWN Drug Abuse Warning Network, HHS, 2008). In fact, two studies have found direct associations between marijuana use and a decrease in emergency room visits (Vinson, Missouri Medicine, 2006 and Gmel, BMC Public Health 9, 2009). The BMC study found that “relative risks decreased with increasing levels of use,” in other words, when more marijuana was used, fewer injuries occurred. This might seem odd until one recalls that a cannabinoid-blocking drug (rimonabant) was rejected for approval by the FDA due to its side-effects, which included an increase in accidents and injuries. Given that smoking marijuana reduces our risks for developing various cancers, diabetes, heart disease, COPD, Alzheimer’s disease, and other inflammation-based illnesses along with depression, suicidal tendencies and alcohol-caused traffic accidents, shouldn’t it’s use by adults be encouraged and safe, legal outlets be established? Science has spoken.

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A Response to “Going to Pot” by Roxanne Khamsi

By Clint Werner, author of “Marijuana Gateway to Health” In the June 2013 issue of Scientific American, “Science of Health” columnist Roxanne Khamsi wrote a surprisingly unscientific and biased piece on the health ramifications of legalizing marijuana that was sadly tainted with residue from last century’s reefer madness campaign. The title of the piece itself, “Going to Pot” is a loaded term that confers a negative association on the subject via cultural symbolism having nothing to do with the reality of what science is telling us about marijuana and how it affects the human organism and society. First, Ms. Khamsi is mistaken when she writes that doctors “may prescribe marijuana to treat or manage ailments.” In states with medical marijuana provisions, physicians write recommendations for their patients that allow access to dispensaries or cultivation cooperatives. Ms. Khamsi then asserts that “the safety of recreational use is poorly understood” and that “researchers worry that both short- and long-term use of the drug may harm the body and mind.” Researchers who are up-to-date on the science of marijuana have no such concerns regarding adult use. In terms of harming the body, recent research has revealed that regular use of marijuana actually seems to improve physical health. Population studies have shown that regular marijuana users have a reduced risk for developing lung cancer (Hashibe, Cancer Epidemiological, Biomarkers and Prevention, 2006), head and neck cancers (Liang, Cancer Prevention Research, 2009), bladder cancer (Thomas, American Urological Association meeting, 2013), lymphomas (Holly, American Journal of Epidemiology, 1999), as well as diabetes (Rajavashisth, BMJ Open, 2012). The diabetes protection data from the enormous NHANES report also revealed that subjects who smoked marijuana three times per week had a profound (> 50%) reduction in their blood levels of C reactive protein, a inflammation marker for heart disease, indicating that they experienced significant protection from developing cardiac disease. Research also revealed that regular, moderate marijuana smokers have improved lung function compared to non-marijuana smokers with no risk for developing COPD (Pletcher, JAMA, 2012). National Institute of Drug Abuse pulmonary researcher, Dr. Donald Tashkin has said that he now endorses legalization since there is no basis for concern about the substance’s negative effects on lung function. Given the nearly century-long reefer madness campaign waged with untold billions of government dollars, it is hard for people to grasp that a denigrated and criminalized substance could have such positive health effects, especially when smoked, but science trumps myth and superstition with evidence. In terms of mental health, a just-published paper reports that “marijuana use consistently buffered people from the negative consequences associated with loneliness and social exclusion” (Deckman, Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2013), which could be one of the reasons that researchers found a truly startling drop in suicides, especially among young adult men, following the enactment of state medical marijuana laws (Anderson, IDEAS, 2012). Other research has shown that marijuana’s anti-depressant effects could be the result of neurogenesis, the production of healthy and functional new brain cells, which is promoted by the cannabinoids in marijuana (Jiang, Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2005). Another recently-published study found that “mortality risk was lower in cannabis users than in non-cannabis users with psychotic disorders” (Koola, Journal of Psychiatric Research, 2013), indicating that marijuana is a beneficial treatment for mental problems rather than, as increasingly inferred, a causative agent. In attempting to explain the activity of marijuana’s cannabinoid molecules on the endocannabinoid receptors, Ms. Khamsi once again employs loaded language to imply a negative effect, writing that THC “triggers domino chains” which implies a collapse of order and function rather than an alteration in order and function, which is what is truly occurring. Ms. Khamsi then frets that using marijuana impairs “working memory.” Yes marijuana alters mental functioning; it shifts the mind into a blissful euphoria that redirects thought from the ordered and analytical to the relaxed and free-association style of thought that characterizes relaxation and insight. And unlike alcohol, which serves a similar function of quieting the work day mental noise, marijuana is not carcinogenic or lethal. Ms. Khamsi expresses the understandable concern that marijuana users will make our roadways more dangerous but this is not supported by data that shows us what actually happens when legal restrictions are eased. A comprehensive review of data from states with medical marijuana laws found that enactment of the laws led to a significant drop in traffic accident deaths by allowing for marijuana to substitute for alcohol, a far more impairing substance. Traffic accident fatalities dropped by 9 percent in medical marijuana states. (Anderson, pending publication in the Journal of Law and Economics, 2013). That is essentially the same level of protection afforded by the passage of mandatory sea belt laws and by increasing the age for alcohol consumption from 18 to 21 years. According to research conducted by the automobile insurance company 4autoinsurance.com, marijuana users are safe drivers because, unlike alcohol drinkers, they are aware of their level of impairment and either refuse to drive, delay driving or drive more carefully than normal by reducing speed and not changing lanes. Regular marijuana users showed far less evidence of impairment than did novice and occasional users. Impairment testing is the only way to effectively police for marijuana-impaired drivers without ruining the lives of people who pose no threat on the roadways. The cannabinoid CBD steers THC away from the CB1 receptor, thus dulling or nullifying the mind-altering effects, but CBD does not reduce THC levels in the blood. Therefore, a driver using a high CBD strain of marijuana could test over the THC limit while experiencing no psychoactive effects whatsoever. Consequently, effective and fair impairment assessment techniques will need to be developed. Ms. Khamsi then returns to the health effects of marijuana, but ignores the previously cited benefits of reduced risks for developing numerous cancers, diabetes and other inflammation- and oxidation-based degenerative illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis. She then refers to the recent study of data from New Zealand that indicates that teenagers who use marijuana heavily have up to an 8 percent drop in IQ points. Those results were called into question upon review but still indicate a disturbing effect of heavy marijuana use on the developing adolescent brain. Neurologist Dr. Gary Wenk, who has written “a puff is enough” to protect the adult brain from age-related dementia, says that the effect of marijuana on a developing brain, especially in those under 15 years of age, is impairing. Regular use of marijuana by teens may also interfere with social and professional skill development by monopolizing the time and consciousness of teens that enjoy it. Ms. Khamsi correctly notes that black market marijuana is sometimes contaminated with “sand or glass beads” which are far more harmful to the user than cannabis itself. Black market marijuana is also frequently contaminated with insecticides not intended for use on plants that are consumed. Some of these products are neurotoxic and, ironically, may induce neurodegenerative illnesses by interfering with the functions of the endocannabinoid system. (Casida, Annual Review of Entomolgy, 2013) Smuggled marijuana is also stale and often riddled with mold. Given these threats to heavy teenage users, the question needs to be asked: How do we best reduce access to marijuana, especially the most harmful forms of marijuana, by teenagers? One study suggests that multidimensional family therapy (MDFT) is the most effective approach for treating teenagers with what is termed “cannabis use disorder” (Rigter, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2012). MDFT essentially reestablishes parental authority and time management in teens’ lives. If parents remain involved in all aspects of their teenage children’s lives, MDFT would not be necessary to correct a deficit in parenting. The best way to prevent teenage substance abuse is for parents to rigorously monitor and guide their children’s activities. By doing this, parents might not prevent experimentation but they can create an environment where regular access to and use of marijuana is impossible. Shrinking and killing off the black market via legalization and regulation can assist parents in this task, by making marijuana more difficult for teens to obtain. Dealers do not card and taking marijuana away from the illicit drug black market will also protect teens from the multiple drug offerings of those dealers. If teens do obtain marijuana on the sly, at least, having been diverted from legal and tested supplies, it will be less likely to be contaminated with more harmful substances. Commercial medical marijuana venders such as Harborside Health Center, which Khamsi mentioned, contract with growers and test their marijuana for safety and potency. Legalization transforms marijuana cultivators from shady criminals into proud artisans. And despite the possible risk of heavy marijuana use to teenagers’ cognition, a study of adolescent binge drinkers found that those who used marijuana suffered significantly less alcohol-related brain damage than the booze-only drinkers (Jacobus, Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 2009). Consider the irony: Marijuana protects the brains of booze binge drinkers. Ms. Khamsi also mentions increases in emergency room visits and those seeking treatment for marijuana use. The emergency room statistic most frequently cited by opponents of legalization involve the detection of marijuana use via urinalysis, a method that only indicates if marijuana has been used within the last two to four weeks, therefore the data does not indicate that marijuana use caused the emergency room visit. It merely indicates that more people seem to be using marijuana overall (DAWN Drug Abuse Warning Network, HHS, 2008). In fact, two studies have found direct associations between marijuana use and a decrease in emergency room visits (Vinson, Missouri Medicine, 2006 and Gmel, BMC Public Health 9, 2009). The BMC study found that “relative risks decreased with increasing levels of use,” in other words, when more marijuana was used, fewer injuries occurred. This might seem odd until one recalls that a cannabinoid-blocking drug (rimonabant) was rejected for approval by the FDA due to its side-effects, which included an increase in accidents and injuries. Given that smoking marijuana reduces our risks for developing various cancers, diabetes, heart disease, COPD, Alzheimer’s disease, and other inflammation-based illnesses along with depression, suicidal tendencies and alcohol-caused traffic accidents, shouldn’t it’s use by adults be encouraged and safe, legal outlets be established? Science has spoken.

Marijuana use fights diabetes and lowers waist fat

The irrational opponents of marijuana legalization are having a harder and harder time of making the case that using it is harmful when we see that marijuana smokers suffer from less obesity and have significant protection from developing diabetes. Therefore, encouraging adult use of marijuana will work to lower our national health-care costs. Am J Med. 2013 May 9. The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among US Adults. Penner EA, Buettner H, Mittleman MA.SourceUniversity of Nebraska College of Medicine, Omaha; Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass.AbstractBACKGROUND:There are limited data regarding the relationship between cannabinoids and metabolic processes. Epidemiologic studies have found lower prevalence rates of obesity and diabetes mellitus in marijuana users compared with people who have never used marijuana, suggesting a relationship between cannabinoids and peripheral metabolic processes. To date, no study has investigated the relationship between marijuana use and fasting insulin, glucose, and insulin resistance.METHODS:We included 4657 adult men and women from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005 to 2010. Marijuana use was assessed by self-report in a private room. Fasting insulin and glucose were measured via blood samples after a 9-hour fast, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance HOMA-IR was calculated to evaluate insulin resistance. Associations were estimated using multiple linear regression, accounting for survey design and adjusting for potential confounders.RESULTS:Of the participants in our study sample, 579 were current marijuana users and 1975 were past users. In multivariable adjusted models, current marijuana use was associated with 16% lower fasting insulin levels 95% confidence interval [CI], -26, -6 and 17% lower HOMA-IR 95% CI, -27, -6. We found significant associations between marijuana use and smaller waist circumferences. Among current users, we found no significant dose-response.CONCLUSIONS:We found that marijuana use was associated with lower levels of fasting insulin and HOMA-IR, and smaller waist circumference.

via The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, an... [Am J Med. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI.

The relationships between sugar-sweetened b... [J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI

Sugar creates pro-disease environments and effects. Why don't the prohibitionists work against the "Big Sugar" industry that is addicting kids into seriously self-destructive life-styles? Although teens should not use marijuana, it is interesting that using the plant regularly reduces obesity and the incidence of diabetes. Maybe obese teens could benefit from a marijuana pill that has less THC than CBD and is therefore not psychoactive. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013 Feb                                                              The relationships between sugar-sweetened beverage intake and cardiometabolic markers in young children.                               Kosova EC, Auinger P, Bremer AA.SourceDepartment of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.               Abstract: BACKGROUND:The consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has been implicated as a major contributor to the development of obesity and cardiometabolic disease.OBJECTIVE:To evaluate the relationships between sugar-sweetened beverage intake and cardiometabolic markers in young children.DESIGN:A cross-sectional analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics.PARTICIPANTS:A total of 4,880 individuals aged 3 to 11 years from nationally representative samples of US children participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey during 1999-2004 were studied.MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:Concentrations of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglyceride, and C-reactive protein as well as waist circumference and body mass index percentile for age-sex.STATISTICAL ANALYSES PERFORMED:Multivariate linear regression analyses were performed to determine independent associations between each outcome variable and the number of serving equivalents of sugar-sweetened beverages consumed after adjusting for age, sex, race, poverty status, physical activity, and energy intake.RESULTS:Increased sugar-sweetened beverage intake was independently associated with increased C-reactive protein concentrations P=0.003, increased waist circumference P=0.04, and decreased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations P<0.001. Subgroup analyses demonstrated differences in the association of sugar-sweetened beverage intake with metabolic markers and anthropometric measurements among age ranges, sex, and racial/ethnic groups.CONCLUSIONS:In this cross-sectional analysis of children's dietary data, sugar-sweetened beverage intake was independently associated with alterations in lipid profiles, increased markers of inflammation, and increased waist circumference in children. Prospective studies are needed, but awareness of these trends is essential in combating the growing metabolic and cardiovascular disease burden in the pediatric population.Copyright © 2013 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.PMID: 23351625 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Publication Types, MeSH Terms, Substances, Grant Support

via The relationships between sugar-sweetened b... [J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI.

Bladder Cancer Risk Lower in Pot Smokers - Renal and Urology News

Stephan ChoMay 06, 2013                                                        Bladder Cancer Risk Lower in Pot Smokers                                  SAN DIEGO—For the first time, a study has found that cannabis use may be associated with a decreased risk of bladder cancer, researchers reported at the American Urological Association 2013 annual meeting.In a study of nearly 82,000 men, bladder cancer developed in 279 over an 11-year period. Subjects who smoked marijuana, but not tobacco, had a significant 45% decreased risk of bladder cancer compared with those who did not, after adjusting for age, body mass index, and race and ethnicity, according to lead investigator Anil A. Thomas, MD, a researcher with Southern California Permanent Medical Group in Los Angeles. Men who smoked tobacco, but not marijuana, had a significant 52% increased risk, a finding that is consistent with numerous previous studies. Men who smoked both had a 28% increased risk.Of the 82,000 men, 41% reported ever using marijuana and 57% reported tobacco use; 27% reported used both tobacco and marijuana.

via Bladder Cancer Risk Lower in Pot Smokers - Renal and Urology News.

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Bladder Cancer Risk Lower in Pot Smokers - Renal and Urology News

Stephan ChoMay 06, 2013                                                        Bladder Cancer Risk Lower in Pot Smokers                                  SAN DIEGO—For the first time, a study has found that cannabis use may be associated with a decreased risk of bladder cancer, researchers reported at the American Urological Association 2013 annual meeting.In a study of nearly 82,000 men, bladder cancer developed in 279 over an 11-year period. Subjects who smoked marijuana, but not tobacco, had a significant 45% decreased risk of bladder cancer compared with those who did not, after adjusting for age, body mass index, and race and ethnicity, according to lead investigator Anil A. Thomas, MD, a researcher with Southern California Permanent Medical Group in Los Angeles. Men who smoked tobacco, but not marijuana, had a significant 52% increased risk, a finding that is consistent with numerous previous studies. Men who smoked both had a 28% increased risk.Of the 82,000 men, 41% reported ever using marijuana and 57% reported tobacco use; 27% reported used both tobacco and marijuana. via Bladder Cancer Risk Lower in Pot Smokers - Renal and Urology News.

Marijuana relieves symptoms of Crohn's disease

Marijuana is effective for relieving the misery that is Crohn's disease as well as other bowel disease symptoms. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013 May 3. pii: S1542-3565(13)00604-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2013.04.034. [Epub ahead of print]

Cannabis Induces a Clinical Response in Patients with Crohn's Disease: a Prospective Placebo-Controlled Study.

Naftali T, Bar Lev L, Dotan I, Lansky EP, Sklerovsky BF, Konikoff FM.

Source

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Meir Medical Center and Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Kfar Saba, Israel. Electronic address: naftali@post.tau.ac.il.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

& Aims: The marijuana plant Cannabis sativa has been reported to produce beneficial effects for patients with inflammatory bowel diseases, but these have not been investigated in controlled trials. We performed a prospective trial to determine whether cannabis can induce remission in patients with Crohn's disease.

METHODS:

We studied 21 patients (mean age 40±14 years, 13 male) with Crohn's Disease and activity index (CDAI) scores >200 who did not respond to therapy with steroids, immunomodulators, or anti-tumor necrosis factor-α agents. Patients were randomly assigned to groups given cannabis, twice daily, in the form of cigarettes containing 11.5 mg of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or placebo containing cannabis flowers from which the THC had been extracted. Disease activity and laboratory tests were assessed during 8 weeks of treatment and 2 weeks thereafter.

RESULTS:

Complete remission (a CDAI score <150) was achieved by 5/11 subjects in the cannabis group (45%) and 1/10 in the placebo group (10%; P=.43). A clinical response (a decrease in CDAI score of >100) was observed in 10/11 subjects in the cannabis group (90%; from 330±105 to 152±109) and 4/10 in the placebo group (40%; from 373±94 to 306±143; P=.028). Three patients in the cannabis group were weaned from steroid dependency. Subjects receiving cannabis reported improved appetite and sleep, with no significant side effects.

CONCLUSION:

Although the primary endpoint of the study (induction of remission) was not achieved, a short course (8 week) of THC-rich cannabis produced significant clinical, steroid-free benefits to 11 patients with active CD, compared to placebo, without side effects. Further studies, with larger patient groups and a non-smoking mode of intake, are warranted. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01040910.

Copyright © 2013 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

via Cannabis Induces a Clinical Respo... [Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI.

Marijuana for psoriasis

When we passed the first medical marijuana laws in CA and AZ, opponents mocked the movement saying that doctors would be writing recommendations for people with psoriasis. Guess what, here is evidence that activating the CB1 receptor, as triggered by THC in marijuana, inhibits the inflammation and cell proliferation that cause the disease's miserable and disfiguring side effects. PeerJ. 2013 Feb 19; .A novel control of human keratin expression: cannabinoid receptor 1-mediated signaling down-regulates the expression of keratins K6 and K16 in human keratinocytes in vitro and in situ.Ramot Y, Sugawara K, Zákány N, Tóth BI, Bíró T, Paus R.SourceDepartment of Dermatology, University of Luebeck , Luebeck , Germany ; Department of Dermatology, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center , Jerusalem , Israel.          Abstract: Cannabinoid receptors CB are expressed throughout human skin epithelium. CB1 activation inhibits human hair growth and decreases proliferation of epidermal keratinocytes. Since psoriasis is a chronic hyperproliferative, inflammatory skin disease, it is conceivable that the therapeutic modulation of CB signaling, which can inhibit both proliferation and inflammation, could win a place in future psoriasis management. Given that psoriasis is characterized by up-regulation of keratins K6 and K16, we have investigated whether CB1 stimulation modulates their expression in human epidermis. Treatment of organ-cultured human skin with the CB1-specific agonist, arachidonoyl-chloro-ethanolamide ACEA, decreased K6 and K16 staining intensity in situ. At the gene and protein levels, ACEA also decreased K6 expression of cultured HaCaT keratinocytes, which show some similarities to psoriatic keratinocytes. These effects were partly antagonized by the CB1-specific antagonist, AM251. While CB1-mediated signaling also significantly inhibited human epidermal keratinocyte proliferation in situ, as shown by K6/Ki-67-double immunofluorescence, the inhibitory effect of ACEA on K6 expression in situ was independent of its anti-proliferative effect. Given recent appreciation of the role of K6 as a functionally important protein that regulates epithelial wound healing in mice, it is conceivable that the novel CB1-mediated regulation of keratin 6/16 revealed here also is relevant to wound healing. Taken together, our results suggest that cannabinoids and their receptors constitute a novel, clinically relevant control element of human K6 and K16 expression.

via A novel control of human keratin expression: cannabino... [PeerJ. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI.

THC/Marijuana fights liver cancer

First we learned that the cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant fight and kill cancer cells now we are beginning to uncover the mechanisms by which cannabinoids target and kill cancer cells. Alcohol promotes cancer while marijuana suppresses cancer, what's wrong with this picture? I could go buy gallons and gallons of booze legally, but the government will destroy your life if you market marijuana. Cell Death Dis. 2013 May 2;4:e618. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2013.141.Involvement of PPARγ in the antitumoral action of cannabinoids on hepatocellular carcinoma.Vara D, Morell C, Rodríguez-Henche N, Diaz-Laviada I.SourceBiochemistry and Molecular Biology Unit, Department of System Biology, School of Medicine, University ofAlcala, 28871 Madrid, Spain.AbstractCannabinoids exert antiproliferative effects in a wide range of tumoral cells, including hepatocellular carcinoma HCC cells. In this study, we examined whether the PPARγ-activated pathway contributed to the antitumor effect of two cannabinoids, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol THC and JWH-015, against HepG2 and HUH-7 HCC cells. Both cannabinoids increased the activity and intracellular level of PPARγ mRNA and protein, which was abolished by the PPARγ inhibitor GW9662. Moreover, genetic ablation with small interfering RNA siRNA, as well as pharmacological inhibition of PPARγ decreased the cannabinoid-induced cell death and apoptosis. Likewise, GW9662 totally blocked the antitumoral action of cannabinoids in xenograft-induced HCC tumors in mice. In addition, PPARγ knockdown with siRNA caused accumulation of the autophagy markers LC3-II and p62, suggesting that PPARγ is necessary for the autophagy flux promoted by cannabinoids. Interestingly, downregulation of the endoplasmic reticulum stress-related protein tribbles homolog 3 TRIB3 markedly reduced PPARγ expression and induced p62 accumulation, which was counteracted by overexpression of PPARγ in TRIB3-knocked down cells. Taken together, we demonstrate for the first time that the antiproliferative action of the cannabinoids THC and JWH-015 on HCC, in vitro and in vivo, are modulated by upregulation of PPARγ-dependent pathways.

via Involvement of PPARγ in the antitumoral actio... [Cell Death Dis. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI.

THC and similar compounds suppress HIV infection and spread

Here is more evidence that using marijuana can improve the health of and increase the long-term survival of people with AIDS. THC and similar synthetic compounds block the ability of HIV to infect cells and to replicate. Recall that the Bush Sr. Administration denied medical marijuana to the numerous AIDS patients who were seeking it and ended the Compassionate Use Act rather than help the suffering. How many people died prematurely because of you old buzzard Bush? Blood drips from your mangled talons you evil vulture. Attenuation of HIV-1 replication in macrophages by cannabinoid receptor 2 agonists Servio H. Ramirez,†,1, Nancy L. Reichenbach, Shongshan Fan, Slava Rom, Steven F. Merkel, Xu Wang, Wen-zhe Ho,† and Yuri Persidsky,†,1+ Author Affiliations Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and †Center for Substance Abuse Research, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA ↵1.Correspondence: Dept. of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Temple University School of Medicine, 3401 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19140, USA. E-mail: yuri.persidsky@tuhs.temple.edu or servio.ramirez@temple.edu                                                     Abstract: Infiltrating monocytes and macrophages play a crucial role in the progression of HIV-1 infection in the CNS. Previous studies showed that activation of the CB2 can attenuate inflammatory responses and affect HIV-1 infectivity in T cells and microglia. Here, we report that CB2 agonists can also act as immunomodulators on HIV-1-infected macrophages. First, our findings indicated the presence of elevated levels of CB2 expression on monocytes/macrophages in perivascular cuffs of postmortem HIV-1 encephalitic cases. In vitro analysis by FACS of primary human monocytes revealed a step-wise increase in CB2 surface expression in monocytes, MDMs, and HIV-1-infected MDMs. We next tested the notion that up-regulation of CB2 may allow for the use of synthetic CB2 agonist to limit HIV-1 infection. Two commercially available CB2 agonists, JWH133 and GP1a, and a resorcinol-based CB2 agonist, O-1966, were evaluated. Results from measurements of HIV-1 RT activity in the culture media of 7 day-infected cells showed a significant decrease in RT activity when the CB2 agonist was present. Furthermore, CB2 activation also partially inhibited the expression of HIV-1 pol. CB2 agonists did not modulate surface expression of CXCR4 or CCR5 detected by FACS. We speculate that these findings indicate that prevention of viral entry is not a central mechanism for CB2-mediated suppression in viral replication. However, CB2 may affect the HIV-1 replication machinery. Results from a single-round infection with the pseudotyped virus revealed a marked decrease in HIV-1 LTR activation by the CB2 ligands. Together, these results indicate that CB2 may offer a means to limit HIV-1 infection in macrophages.

via Attenuation of HIV-1 replication in macrophages by cannabinoid receptor 2 agonists.

Cannabis and THC promote weight loss

Marijuana is a gateway to health! Med Hypotheses. 2013 May;80(5):564-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2013.01.019. Epub 2013 Feb 11.

Cannabis and Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for weight loss?

Le Foll B, Trigo JM, Sharkey KA, Le Strat Y.

Source

Translational Addiction Research Laboratory, Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Addictions Program, CAMH, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Departments of Psychiatry, Pharmacology, Family and Community Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address: bernard.lefoll@camh.ca.

Abstract

Obesity is one of the highest preventable causes of morbidity and mortality in the developed world [1]. It has been well known for a long time that exposure to cannabis produces an increase of appetite (a phenomenon referred to as the 'munchies'). This phenomenon led to an exploration of the role of the endocannabinoid system in the regulation of obesity and associated metabolic syndrome. This effort subsequently led to the development of a successful therapeutic approach for obesity that consisted of blocking the cannabinoid CB1 receptors using ligands such as Rimonabant in order to produce weight loss and improve metabolic profile [2]. Despite being efficacious, Rimonabant was associated with increased rates of depression and anxiety and therefore removed from the market. We recently discovered that the prevalence of obesity is paradoxically much lower in cannabis users as compared to non-users and that this difference is not accounted for by tobacco smoking status and is still present after adjusting for variables such as sex and age. Here, we propose that this effect is directly related to exposure to the Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) present in cannabis smoke. We therefore propose the seemingly paradoxical hypothesis that THC or a THC/cannabidiol combination drug may produce weight loss and may be a useful therapeutic for the treatment of obesity and its complications.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

via Cannabis and Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) ... [Med Hypotheses. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI.

Black Market Marijuana Cut with Silicon Dioxide Causes Lung Injury

Marijuana legalization will eradicate the illegal markets which distribute marijuana that has been cut or weighted with far more harmful compounds than the weed itself. Here is a case of lung damage from marijuana contaminated with silicon dioxide particles which add weight and make low grade cannabis sparkle like high grade product. Talc and ground glass have also been used in this manner. Once again we see how prohibition is far more harmful on all levels than is legalization, unless one is a drug war/treatment industry misery profiteer. Also notice the first line in the abstract report and how it promotes disinformation as accepted fact: "the respiratory toxicity of cannabis is well known today" is a falsehood, in fact the bulk of research on marijuana-only smokers finds that they have superior lung function compared to nonsmokers and a reduction in the likelihood of developing lung cancer, again, compared to nonsmokers! How is this possible? Because the cell-nurturing and protective effects of cannabinoids in marijuana are vastly more beneficial than the by products of combustion are harmful. Cannabinoids reduce inflammation, oxidation and attack and kill cancer cells thereby improving lung health. It is quite amazing.

Arch Pediatr. 2013 Apr 22. pii: S0929-693X1300224-8. doi: 10.1016/j.arcped.2013.03.008. [Epub ahead of print] [Hemoptysis in a young man smoking cannabis.][Article in French]Monfort M, Larakeb A, Gouraud F.SourceService de pédiatrie générale, hôpital de Meaux, 6-8, rue Saint-Fiacre, BP 218, 77104 Meaux cedex, France. Electronic address: m-monfort@ch-meaux.fr.            Abstract: The respiratory toxicity of cannabis is well known today. (Editor note: This assertion is not supported by evidence, it is an unscientific statement of bias not fact) Along with the classic cannabis 'joint', there are other ways of consuming it, which should be known. Smoking cannabis that has been cut with micro-particles of silicon dioxide may cause hemoptysis. We will describe here the case of a young 16-year-old man who was in the hospital because of hemoptic expectoration. The etiologic investigation was negative, in particular a thoracic scan and a bronchial fiberscope. Questioning the patient afterwards allowed us to discover the inhalation of cannabis 2 h before the hemoptysis, cannabis mixed with micro-particles of silicon dioxide. Stopping inhalation stopped the symptoms. Pediatricians should be familiarized with such practices. Silicon dioxide particles cause ENT problems or bronchial ones coughing, spitting, hemoptysis, wheezing. Over the long term, the risk of silicosis cannot be excluded, although a longer and more complete exposure is necessary.Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

via [Hemoptysis in a young man smoking cannabis.] [Arch Pediatr. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI.

zp8497586rq

Black Market Marijuana Cut with Silicon Dioxide Causes Lung Injury

Marijuana legalization will eradicate the illegal markets which distribute marijuana that has been cut or weighted with far more harmful compounds than the weed itself. Here is a case of lung damage from marijuana contaminated with silicon dioxide particles which add weight and make low grade cannabis sparkle like high grade product. Talc and ground glass have also been used in this manner. Once again we see how prohibition is far more harmful on all levels than is legalization, unless one is a drug war/treatment industry misery profiteer. Also notice the first line in the abstract report and how it promotes disinformation as accepted fact: "the respiratory toxicity of cannabis is well known today" is a falsehood, in fact the bulk of research on marijuana-only smokers finds that they have superior lung function compared to nonsmokers and a reduction in the likelihood of developing lung cancer, again, compared to nonsmokers! How is this possible? Because the cell-nurturing and protective effects of cannabinoids in marijuana are vastly more beneficial than the by products of combustion are harmful. Cannabinoids reduce inflammation, oxidation and attack and kill cancer cells thereby improving lung health. It is quite amazing. Arch Pediatr. 2013 Apr 22. pii: S0929-693X1300224-8. doi: 10.1016/j.arcped.2013.03.008. [Epub ahead of print] [Hemoptysis in a young man smoking cannabis.][Article in French]Monfort M, Larakeb A, Gouraud F.SourceService de pédiatrie générale, hôpital de Meaux, 6-8, rue Saint-Fiacre, BP 218, 77104 Meaux cedex, France. Electronic address: m-monfort@ch-meaux.fr.            Abstract: The respiratory toxicity of cannabis is well known today. (Editor note: This assertion is not supported by evidence, it is an unscientific statement of bias not fact) Along with the classic cannabis 'joint', there are other ways of consuming it, which should be known. Smoking cannabis that has been cut with micro-particles of silicon dioxide may cause hemoptysis. We will describe here the case of a young 16-year-old man who was in the hospital because of hemoptic expectoration. The etiologic investigation was negative, in particular a thoracic scan and a bronchial fiberscope. Questioning the patient afterwards allowed us to discover the inhalation of cannabis 2 h before the hemoptysis, cannabis mixed with micro-particles of silicon dioxide. Stopping inhalation stopped the symptoms. Pediatricians should be familiarized with such practices. Silicon dioxide particles cause ENT problems or bronchial ones coughing, spitting, hemoptysis, wheezing. Over the long term, the risk of silicosis cannot be excluded, although a longer and more complete exposure is necessary.Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

via [Hemoptysis in a young man smoking cannabis.] [Arch Pediatr. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI.