Marijuana as Medicine

Marijuana as Medicine
Posted by CN Staff on April 07, 2005 at 09:51:51 PT
From The Economist Print Edition
Source: Economist UK
The active ingredient of cannabis may protect against heart disease and strokesThere is a certain cognitive dissonance associated with the word “drug”. On the one hand, it can mean “life-saving medicine”. On the other, it can signify “probably illegal and possibly life-threatening recreation”. Some substances fall into both categories.
Heroin, for instance, has legitimate medical uses (though it tends to be branded as the more user-friendly “diamorphine” when administered in hospitals). But for those drugs without established medical track records, such as marijuana, there is a lot of resistance to the idea that they might heal as well as harm.In fact, marijuana's ability to relieve the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and AIDS, among other diseases, is pretty well agreed by patients, if not by the medical establishment. But a paper in this week's Nature, by Sabine Steffens of Geneva University Hospital and her colleagues, suggests the drug (or, at least, its active ingredient) may also have a role in combating heart disease and strokes.Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is an important cause of both of these diseases. Atherosclerosis itself is caused in part by chronic inflammation—an inappropriate accumulation in the arterial walls of cells from the immune system. The active ingredient of marijuana is a molecule called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The activity for which it is prized by most of its users is its ability to stick to receptor molecules on the surface of certain brain cells, and thus change the activity of those cells. But it also sticks to the surface of some immune cells, altering their behaviour, too. Dr Steffens and her colleagues thought that this property might be exploited to reduce inflammation, by discouraging immune cells from accumulating in atherosclerotic plaques.And it worked—at least it worked in Dr Steffens's mice. If these mice, from a strain bred to be particularly susceptible to atherosclerosis, were treated with THC, they showed much lower levels of the condition than did untreated mice from the same strain. If a similar effect can be demonstrated in people, it would bring further ammunition to the camp of those who think that marijuana (or rather its purified derivatives) should be treated seriously as a medicine. Sadly for recreational users, though, the dose of THC required was very specific. Too little or too much and the effect went away. Smoking spliffs is already known to be bad for the heart. The protective effect Dr Steffens has demonstrated is only limited compensation.Source: Economist, The (UK)Published: April 7, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Economist Newspaper LimitedContact: letters economist.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Medical Marijuana Information Links Can Slow Narrowing of Arteries Ingredient Slows Heart Disease
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Comment #16 posted by Dankhank on April 09, 2005 at 08:48:08 PT
Hemp Oil
go to local health food store and get some hemp oil.Omega 3, 6, 9 in perfect ratio, heart healthy without the downside of fish oil ... mercury.Hemp oil contains 57% linoleic (LA) and 19% linolenic (LNA) acids, in the three-to-one ratio that matches our nutritional needs. These are the essential fatty acids (EFAs)-so called because the body cannot make them and must get them from external sources. The best sources are oils from freshly ground grains and whole seeds, but EFAs are fragile and quickly lost in processing. EFAs are the building blocks of longer chain fats, such as eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that occur naturally in the fat of cold-water fish like sardines, mackerel, salmon, bluefish, herring, and, to a lesser extent, tuna.Unlike flax oil, hemp oil also provides 1.7% gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). There is controversy about the value of adding this fatty acid to the diet, but many people take supplements of it in the form of capsules of evening primrose oil, black currant oil, and borage oil. My experience is that it simulates growth of hair and nails, improves the health of the skin, and can reduce inflammation. I like the idea of having one good oil that supplies both omega-3s and GLA, without the need to take more capsules.
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Comment #15 posted by siege on April 08, 2005 at 08:32:27 PT
spelling sorry
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Comment #14 posted by siege on April 08, 2005 at 08:30:42 PT
Hemp food 
It all gos back to Hemp at 0.2-3 % THC. as food there is (Research) from the 1040's that show the food VALUE of Hemp.
the Govt has buried it, so as to keep the food industry and pharmaceutical alive. my Grandfather work on it as a doctor. 
they luarned a lot about it's value's.
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Comment #13 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on April 08, 2005 at 07:58:49 PT
Stoner spirit
I couldn't have said it any better (comment 12). I would also add the healthcare crisis in America did not just happen over night, but did happen over decades. I think the rich have a federal government when it comes to healthcare.
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Comment #12 posted by stoner spirit on April 08, 2005 at 02:51:03 PT:
Herbs? or Poisons. Which do you want?
The reason why the medical corperation doesn't want you to use good old herbs is because, they want you to poison yourself with the junk that they sale. Anything that's grown at your house that you see could help you is illegal in the government or medical corperation's eyes.
"No, you don't have the rights to heal your self, but you could poison your self all you want."
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Comment #11 posted by charmed quark on April 07, 2005 at 18:21:34 PT
Thanks - hope that is the correct info
I have to use Marinol (THC) in small doses for my condition. All the propaganda, even when I know it's probably false, gets to me and I worry about the long-term impact of the Marinol. As you know, there was one study linking cannabis use to triggering heart attacks in middle-age men ( which is what I am). It would be nice to know that the marinol is really somewhat cardio-protective rather than harmful.-CQ
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Comment #10 posted by runderwo on April 07, 2005 at 18:16:34 PT
This article is wrong
They read "no additional benefit with higher doses" in the original press release as "no benefit with higher doses". It's typical selective reading.
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Comment #9 posted by charmed quark on April 07, 2005 at 18:04:19 PT
Confused about protective dose
This article said too much or too little and the protective effect went away. Another article said it was a U-shaped curve, basically the same thing as this article. But another article, which seemed the most complete, said that there was no additional benefit at higher doses, a very different statement.So which is it - the U shape curve or the asymptotic curve? I can't figure it out.-CQ
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on April 07, 2005 at 17:59:34 PT
I miss him.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on April 07, 2005 at 12:15:45 PT
Kapt is a nice person and he deserves a vacation. I know we had quite a few laughs when he came to visit us.
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Comment #6 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on April 07, 2005 at 12:15:13 PT
As long as we have no limit to how long senators and congressmen can hold their seats we will always be stuck with their narrow minded votes. They just close their ears to any new medical studies about cannabis because that's what they've always believed in. Political Action commitiees should also be baned.
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Comment #5 posted by potpal on April 07, 2005 at 12:07:58 PT
fom / kap
Thanks for the down low. He's missed but glad to hear he's well and enjoying life.Give pot a chance.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 07, 2005 at 11:47:54 PT
Kapt told me to tell people if they asked that he is taking a 6 month vacation. He won't be around a computer but he said he'll be back!
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Comment #3 posted by potpal on April 07, 2005 at 11:32:38 PT
Another one bites the dust... >Smoking spliffs is already known to be bad for the heart.
Spliffs contain tobacco...the real killer. A joint does not.Where's Kap?
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Comment #2 posted by Max Flowers on April 07, 2005 at 11:27:49 PT
I agree 100%, in fact I will go further and suggest that this "linguistic conditioning" or "slang programming" as I like to think of it, may be not just random common human behavior. I don't really think there is a concerted conspiracy by all news editors everywhere, but I think it's more than astonishing that the constant and repeated use of such sterotype-perpetuating slang words like dope, pot, stoned, reefer, etc and even their refusal to use the botanical name cannabis while they use the prohibitionist term marijuana. What are they afraid of---that no one will know what plant they're talking about if they refer to cannabis sativa? When did journalism decide not to educate?
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on April 07, 2005 at 10:54:59 PT
oh boy
A great magazine, but they fail to stick to the Libertarian leanings in this one.People are sick and dying, why are we sitting here arguing whether or not a small cohort of specially-bred mice got the right dose of THC, or whether or not they're high, etc. The current state of affairs is RIDICULOUS! Can you imagine if every other drug was subject to this scrutiny? Oh, aspirin is "bad for the stomach". Gee, is the "limited compensation" of it's anti-inflammatory effects worth it? Better send an army of armed thugs out into people's homes to beat down anyone possessing aspirin until we find out.Hire huge numbers of men & send them out in helicopters to destroy all willow trees in this country until we're sure if the compensation is enough! (yes, aspirin is derived from weeping willow trees).Millions of people around the world are using tinctures of Echinecea (Cone flower), Goldenseal, Milk Thistle, and a hundred other herbs. Many are available organically grown. Why must the herb cannabis CONSTANTLY be saddled with the terminology of "smoking spliffs" "smoked marijuana", etc, etc. What a disgrace modern medicine has become. Greedy, egotistical men and their cabal of sycophantic drug-corporation parasites. If you want compassion and truth, better look in the mirror for it. Do your own research, make your own choices, or be forced to used toxic pills while being deprived of gentle, non-toxic cures and treatments that also happen to be "dirt" cheap.Medical MJ is such a fascinating problem. So incredibly, painfully, simple, yet so complicated. It points out incredibly convoluted modern society has become. Experts that are supposed to lead us can't even think straight or make simple conclusions. 
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