Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Pharmacy of Cannabis



  1. may help keep arteries clear
  2. may help 'stave off' Alzheimer's
  3. may improve your memory
  4. shrinks brain tumors
  5. improves night-vision
  6. may prevent BSE
  7. improves road safety

Cannabis may help keep arteries clear
16 April 2005

EATING low doses of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, helps prevent arteries clogging up, at least in mice.

THC binds to two receptors in the body. One is found mostly on brain cells and is responsible for the chemical's psychotropic effects. The other receptor is found mostly on immune cells, and THC has been shown to suppress the immune response to infections and cancer.

François Mach at University Hospital in Geneva, Switzerland, wondered if this effect might also help prevent the build-up of fatty deposits in arteries, or atherosclerosis, by reducing the inflammation associated with this process. Sure enough, when his team fed 1 milligram of THC per kilogram of bodyweight - a low dose that should not have any psychotropic effects - to mice susceptible to atherosclerosis, it greatly slowed the progress of the disease (Nature, vol 434, p 782).

The results are striking, says Michael Roth of the University of California, Los Angeles, who wrote a commentary for Nature. He stresses that the findings do not prove that smoking cannabis will prevent atherosclerosis, pointing out that the mouse study suggests the effect is dose-dependent and too little or too much THC has no protective effect.

Rather than feeding people THC, Roth says, researchers should try to develop drugs that bind only to the cannabinoid receptor found on immune cells.

From issue 2495 of New Scientist magazine, 16 April 2005, page 19

The Register Science >> Biology
Marijuana may help 'stave off' Alzheimer's
Here you go, grandad, have a toke on that
By Lester Haines
Published Friday 6th October 2006 13:53 GMT

New research into Alzheimer's disease suggests the active ingredient of marijuana may help "stave off" the disease, as Reuters puts it.

Specifically, scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in California discovered that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can prevent breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine - a process which leads to progressive "memory loss, impaired decision-making, and diminished language and movement skills".

THC is also, the team found, "more effective at blocking clumps of protein that can inhibit memory and cognition in Alzheimer's patients".

Its report is published in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

[This is the print version of story http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200510/s1483091.htm]

Last Update: Saturday, October 15, 2005. 2:29pm (AEST)
Marijuana could improve your memory: researchers

Canadian researchers have discovered that smoking marijuana could improve a person's memory and mood.

A team at the University of Saskatchewan headed by Xia Zhang found that injections of a potent HU210 synthetic substance that mimics the active ingredients in cannabis increases the production of neurones in the hippocampus area of the brain in rats. The region is associated with learning and memory, as well as anxiety and depression.

Mr Zhang and his colleagues believe that these negative emotions are caused by a lack of cell growth in this region of the brain. Other recent studies showed growth in brain cells in the hippocampus lessened anxiety and depression.

In contrast, other recreational drugs such as alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and heroine suppress growth of new brain cells.

"The implication is that smoking marijuana is a good thing," Mr Zhang told AFP. The discovery may eventually lead to the next blockbuster anti-depressant drug treatment, he says. "It is possible this might overtake Prozac," he said.

Of course, it has only been proven in rats so far. And, HU210 is a purified substance 100 times stronger than the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana. The study will be published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation in November.

© 2008 Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Cannabis extract makes brain tumors shrink, halts growth of blood vessels
Category: Cancer/Oncology News
Article Date: 15 Aug 2004

Researchers in Spain have discovered that a cannabis extract makes brain tumors shrink by halting the growth of blood vessels that supply the tumors with life. Cannabis has chemicals called cannabinoids, these are the chemicals that could effectively starve tumors to death, say the researchers. The study was carried out at the Complutense University, Madrid, Spain. The team used mice to demonstrate that the cannabinoids block vessel growth.

Cannabis Extract - Parke Davis

You can read about this latest research in the journal Cancer Research.

Apparently, the procedure is also effective in humans. The Spanish team, led by Dr Manuel Guzmán, wanted to see whether they could prevent glioblastoma multiforme cancer from growing by cutting off its blood supply. Glioblastoma multiforme is one of the most difficult cancers to treat – it seldom responds to any medical intervention, such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery.

The scientists knew that cannabinoids will block the growth of blood vessels (to tumors) in mice – they wanted to find out whether the same thing would happen with humans. The mice were given a cancer similar to the human brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforme). The mice were then given cannabinoids and the genes examined. The genes associated with blood vessel growth in tumors through the production of a chemical called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) had their activity reduced.

Cannabinoids halt VEGF production by producing Ceramide. Ceramide controls cell death. Dr Guzmán said: "As far as we know, this is the first report showing that ceramide depresses VEGF pathway by interfering with VEGF production." They then wanted to see if this would also happen with humans.

They selected two patients who had glioblastoma multiforme and had not responded to chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery. The scientists took samples from them before and after treating them with a cannabinoids solution – this was administered directly into the tumor. Amazingly, both patients experienced reduced VEGF levels in the tumor as a result of treatment with cannabinoids.

The researchers said that the results were encouraging. In order to be sure about their findings they need to carry out a larger study, they said.

Dr Guzmán said "The present findings provide a novel pharmacological target for cannabinoid-based therapies."
© 2003-2005 MedicalNewsToday

Pot Shrinks Tumors; Government Knew in '74
By Raymond Cushing, AlterNet.
Posted May 31, 2000.

In 1974 researchers learned that THC, the active chemical in marijuana, shrank or destroyed brain tumors in test mice. But the DEA quickly shut down the study and destroyed its results, which were never replicated -- until now.

When spliff gets in your eyes...

Giles Tremlett in Madrid
Wednesday July 7, 2004
The Guardian

We knew it gave people the munchies and made them giggle. Now researchers claim to have found a new property in cannabis - it helps us see in the dark.

Scientists made their discovery after becoming intrigued by Moroccan fishermen who not only failed to lose their sense of direction after smoking generous amounts of local kif, a mixture of cannabis and tobacco, but seemed to navigate better on dark nights. "They attribute their ability to see to the consumption of kif that they spend entire hours smoking before getting into their barques," one of the research team, drawn from the US, Spain and Morocco, reported.

Jamaican fishermen have reportedly shown a similar reaction, suggesting that there may be something medically useful in cannabis apart from the pain-deadening properties already spotted by doctors treating cancer patients.

Equipped with a machine for measuring night vision, the researchers headed for the Rif valley, the centre of Morocco's flourishing cannabis trade. "High-grade sifted cannabis was mixed with tobacco in a 2:1 ratio and smoked as kif by subjects employing a traditional sebsi pipe," the team write in the latest Journal of Ethnopharmacology.

Three "kif-experienced" Moroccan volunteers were then invited to make "numerous inhalations". The volunteers demonstrated "consistent improvements" in tests, leading the researchers to suggest that further studies should be conducted.

The researchers admit that the results have turned the ancient wisdom of Persian and Arab scientists, who suggested that cannabis made vision fuzzier, on its head.

But their results backed up claims by the Observer columnist Sue Arnold, who suffers from retinitis pigmentosa and is officially registered blind. She noticed several years ago that drawing on strong Jamaican skunk suddenly and temporarily enabled her to see things clearly. But Ms Arnold has since warned of side-effects that could impede night-time navigation. "Only trouble was," she said, "I couldn't stand up."

Marijuana Ingredient May Prevent Mad Cow Disease
Sunday, September 16 2007 @ 11:05 AM EDT
Edited by: Michael Hess

Cannabidiol May be Effective in Preventing Bovine Spongiforme Enzephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease)

BBSNews 2007-09-16 -- (IACM) According to basic research of scientists of the National Centre for Scientific Research in Valbonne, France, cannabidiol (CBD) may prevent the development of prion diseases, the most known being BSE (bovine spongiforme enzephalopathy), which is often called mad cow disease. It is believed that the BSE may be transmitted to human beings. In humans, it is known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

The infectious agent in prion diseases is believed to be a specific type of misfolded protein called prion. Misfolded prion proteins carry the disease between individuals and cause deterioration of the brain. The French researchers reported that the non- psychoactive cannabis constituent CBD inhibited the accumulation of prion proteins in both mouse and sheep prion- infected cells, whereas other cannabinoids were either weak or not effective. Moreover, after infection with mouse scrapie, a prion disease, CBD limited accumulation of the prion protein in the brain and significantly increased the survival time of infected mice. CBD inhibited the nerve damaging effects of prions in a concentration-dependent manner. Researchers noted that CBD may be a promising agent for the treatment of prion diseases.

(Source: Dirikoc S, Priola SA, Marella M, Zsuerger N, Chabry J. Nonpsychoactive cannabidiol prevents prion accumulation and protects neurons against prion toxicity. J Neurosci 2007;27(36):9537-44.)


The AGE 21 October 1998 pA5;
CANBERRA TIMES 21 October 1998 p4

THE LARGEST STUDY EVER DONE linking road accidents with drugs and alcohol has found drivers with cannabis in their blood were no more at risk than those who were drug-free. In fact, the findings by a pharmacology team from the University of Adelaide and Transport SA showed drivers who had smoked marijuana were marginally less likely to have an accident than those who were drug-free. A study spokesman, Dr Jason White, said the difference was not great enough to be statistically significant but could be explained by anecdotal evidence that marijuana smokers were more cautious and drove more slowly because of altered time perception. The study of 2,500 accidents, which matched the blood alcohol levels of injured drivers with details from police reports, found drug-free drivers caused the accidents in 53.5 per cent of cases. Injured drivers with a blood-alcohol concentration of more than 0.05 per cent were culpable in nearly 90 per cent of accidents they were involved in. Drivers with cannabis in their blood were less likely to cause an accident, with a culpability rate of 50.6 per cent. The study has policy implications for those who argue drug detection should be a new focus for road safety. Dr White said the study showed the importance of concentrating efforts on alcohol rather than other drugs. This information was posted by the library of The Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA). Requests for copies of newsclips can be directed to the library by phone 02 62811002, fax 02 6282 7364
or e-mail library@adca.org.au.

U.S. Department of Transportation,
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(DOT HS 808 078), Final Report, November 1993:

"This program of research has shown that marijuana, when taken alone, produces a moderate degree of driving impairment which is related to the consumed THC dose. The impairment manifests itself mainly in the ability to maintain a steady lateral position on the road, but its magnitude is not exceptional in comparison with changes produced by many medicinal drugs and alcohol. Drivers under the influence of marijuana retain insight in their performance and will compensate, where they can, for example, by slowing down or increasing effort. As a consequence, THC's adverse effects on driving performance appear relatively small."

"Compared to alcohol, which makes people take more risks on the road, marijuana made drivers slow down and drive more carefully....
Cannabis is good for driving skills, as people tend to overcompensate for a perceived impairment."
-Professor Olaf Drummer, a forensic scientist at the Royal College of Surgeons, Melbourne, 1996