Marijuana's Memory Paradox

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  • #26
Monique
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It's the people smoking it for pleasure and saying recreational use of it should be legal because it could have benefits if the active ingredients could be made into a medcine that I find blowing smoke, so to speak. :wink:
Entirely true, the cannabis you smoke is impure so that's entirely different from making a drug out of the active ingredients. It most likely would require a doctor's prescription, so there would not be a free market anyway.
 
  • #27
turbo
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There is already an extract on the market under the trade-name Marinol. When my brother-in-law was dying of cancer, he got very little relief from nausea, etc with those pills. In Maine, medical use of marijuana is legal when treating a patient with terminal illnesses, intractable pain, and some other conditions, so there are options.
 
  • #28
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Research is being done on the medicinal properties of marijuana (I personally know someone who has a company doing the research), what's so strange about that? We should stick to the scientific data.

Pseudoephedrine (nasal decongestant) is a controlled substance in the Netherlands because it is a precursor for metamphetamine synthesis, in the US it is an over-the-counter drug. Regulations don't always make sense.

fortunately, as i need it for my ear and sinus problems, it is still available here with a signature. i'm not sure i could afford it otherwise.

If there are beneficial health effects, the effective ingredients should be isolated and tested for their health benefits and side effects: that's how you make prescription/over-the-counter drugs.

that's not how it works. first, you must make some derangement to the effective ingredient so that you can patent it. then run some trials, get it approved, and charge ridiculous prices for the next 15 or 20 years.

and of course, you look for antagonists, too, once you realize there's a receptor for it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rimonabant#Side-effects", tho.
 
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  • #29
Alfi
that's not how it works. first, you must make some derangement to the effective ingredient so that you can patent it. then run some trials, get it approved, and charge ridiculous prices for the next 15 or 20 years.
Seems a bit of a shame that the natural plant isn't good enough. Or is it? How would we know, there's not enough money return for all the testing if it turned out that the backyard variety worked just as well.
I worked with Ion Mobility Spectrometry for a few years that could detect trace amounts but it wasn't an effective device to measure quantity of the THC content. One of the development Scientists asked me on the side if I could get some samples of poor, good and best quality cannabis for tests. The government supplied samples weren't good enough it seems. hehehe.
The IMS technology is now used in airports etc. but mostly for the ability to detect trace amounts of explosives.
 
  • #30
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Anyway, issues of legality and recreational use aside...

There are real scientific questions about how this substance works on the brain that are both very interesting and uncontroversial. For example, it is known that cannabinoid receptors mediate a retrograde signal from postsynapse to presynapse. This is very rare in the sense that we've found very few other neurotransmitters that work in this way.

I recall a 2003 paper from the Turrigiano/Nelson lab where they claimed that the cannabinoid receptor CB1 is involved in coincidence detection for LTD. LTD is a prevalent mechanism for updating synaptic strengths and thought to play an important role in behavioral learning and memory. So it makes sense that stimulation of CB1 would affect these behaviors. If someone wanted to pursue this connection it seems that there is a lot of work remaining to be done in order to understand:
1) What the behavioral effects really are
2) How CB1 relates to LTD
3) In what sense "LTD underlies learning and memory"

There are many other interesting questions about cannabinoid signaling in the central nervous system as well...
 
  • #31
Alfi
Are new drugs tested for Psychological effects as well as Physiological effects?
 
  • #32
Pythagorean
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Yes, and I believe that this is being done, as you mentioned.

It's the people smoking it for pleasure and saying recreational use of it should be legal because it could have benefits if the active ingredients could be made into a medcine that I find blowing smoke, so to speak. :wink:

I know alcoholics who rationalize the same way. However, they're legally justified to drink and probably only because they're more violent protesters (for instance, Prohibition was a mess. Do not take the bottle away from Joe the Plumber.)

I agree with most libertarians on this issue. If alcohol is legal, than there's no reason why any other mind altering substances shouldn't be legal simply for their recreational use (as long as they're relatively safe, which marijuana is often considered by society; it's often considered safer than alcohol). If it's legal, then at least it is controlled. This way it can also be separated from organized crime where more dangerous drugs are.

In addition, legalization would result in much less harassment of medical marijuana patients. They'd also be able to find it or grow it themselves. That's not the main argument, but it's a supporting argument for legalization.
 
  • #33
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Are new drugs tested for Psychological effects as well as Physiological effects?

If the drug is meant to be a psychopharmaceutical or if it has a strong binding affinity for brain receptors and is able to cross the blood-brain barrier then yes of course this is done.

If there is no a priori reason to think that a drug is psychoactive then testing is almost certainly more haphazard. I've heard (possibly apocryphal) stories about a certain drug with hallucinogenic properties (supposedly stronger than LSD) making it to stage 3 clinical trials and being described as causing a "behavioral syndrome" without further explanation. This drug was never approved.

The fact is, we know very little about how psychoactive substances produce their effects. This goes for everything from Prozac to LSD. We've made a lot of progress- especially with cocaine (and the DA system in general) but there's a long way to go. The starting place for the field is usually:

"we know this or that drug produces this or that effect and we know that it targets this receptor which is located on these neurons" What we are missing is what happens in between...
 

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