Thursday, December 02, 2004

Fear of Marijuana

I was discussing the drug war over at The Captains Quarters and the subject of the B. Lutz study of cannabinoids, mice and fear came up.

I'm going to recap a lot of what I said there here so if you want to continue the discussion I'm available.


If drugs cause addiction it is wise to keep them tightly regulated or even prohibited.

If drugs do not cause addiction (as a DEA pamphlet on pain stated - before the pamphlet was withdrawn at DEA insistance to the chagrin of the team of Doctors who wrote it) then this whole fighting drugs is non-sense.

IWe are gaining knowledge about drugs. That knowledge is pointing to a two factor theory. Chronic drug use is caused by severe trauma and a genetic susceptability. Protiens in the amygdala.

If that is the case we are fighting something that does not exist. If the common explanation that drugs cause addiction is wrong.

Heroin in fact was initially thought to be non-addictive because the first ten people it was tried on had no interest in continued use. People not in pain do not like the effects of pain relievers.

If it is chronic pain locked in the amygdala that causes chronic drug use then the fight against drugs is not only a waste. It is a persecution of people in pain.

I'm probably not Christian enough to understand why persecuting people in pain is a good idea.


Science: Endocannabinoids extinguish bad memories in the brain.

A quote:

"Dr. Pankaj Sah, a neuroscientist at the Australian National University in Canberra said in a comment the latest findings may explain why some people with psychiatric problems try to find relief with marijuana. He suggested that people with certain psychiatric problems perhaps are self-medicating in an attempt to help their brains extinguish some painful or traumatic memory or thought."

OTOH B. Lutz who did the study thought marijuana was not specific enough. Anecdotal evidence suggests that though not specific it does work.


From the same url another bit of news you will not be hearing from the "marijuana is not medicine" crowd.

"(2) The possible role of endocannabinoids in the inhibition of colon cancer growth was examined in healthy and cancer tissue obtained by means of biopsy from humans. Both healthy and cancer colon tissue expressed CB1 and CB2 receptors. Anandamide and 2-AG levels in colon cancer tissues were about twice as high as in healthy colon tissue. Moreover, anandamide dose-dependently inhibited the growth of colon cancer cells, which was blocked by a CB1 receptor antagonist. (Abstract by Vinzenzo di Marzo et al.)"

Think of all the people that prohibition has killed. Because prohibition killed the research into how cannabinoids might be useful in medicine.


I know a Navy man with Crohn's Disease. A very painful ailment.

He smokes pot like a chimney.

This article explains how colon inflamations can be relieved with cannabanoids. It is a .pdf

He is probably helping ease his pain with pot. Not in a general way - although for some it does that. But specifically.

The research was not done in America.


Here is the proper link to the brain study done by B. Lutz on fear, cannanoids, and mice.

He has two different kinds of mice genetically. Those that quickly forget what he calls fear. What I call pain. And another strain that does not forget so quickly.

As I have said a two factor deal. Trauma and genetics.


You know if it wasn't illegal the stuff would be considered a wonder medicine.

And of course our fabulous American drug companies are interested in preventing all research that shows the good pot can do through the government's moral crusade against all drugs. And pot too. (what is called in political economics the Baptists and Bootleggers phenomenon)

And they are supporting this government effort because we have to be able to differentiate between "ethical drugs" which pharmaceutical companies sell and those nasty street drugs (the unethical kind) sold by street dealers and pushers.

They really, really, want to protect you from unethical drugs. Really.

It has nothing to do with rent seeking.

Really. Just ask them.


Short Final has some thoughts on the subject.


DaveG said...

You might be interested in this:

Jen said...

Thank you for this post. Very well written.

My father had cancer for quite some time and the only relief from the pain came from marijuana. My family was very grateful for his freedom from pain, even if just for a few hours. There is nothing unethical about that.


TallDave said...

I think this study has the same two basic flaws as most studies alleging cannabis increases mental illness.

1) People who have mental problems are more likely to use cannabis. If you have a problem, you seek a solution.

2) There is a sort of clinician's bias endemic to these studies. Those participating in the study are more likely (for various reasons, such as the tendency of healthy people to not want to report their use) to have mental problems.

The proof is that you can find similar correlations for Prozac and other "good" drugs.

There was a great article in SciAm this month on the new "reverse" neurologcal pathway discovered through investigation of cannabis' effects.

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