Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Marijuana and Decriminalization


"The illegality of Cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug, which helps produce the serenity and insight, the sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world." - Carl Sagan


        First, I must admit that every vice that humans engage in as they try endlessly to numb the pain of disappointment can be abused. Nicotine, alcohol, aspirin, cough medicine, designer drugs, legal prescription drugs, hallucinogens, and yes even marijuana. For me, marijuana is separated from these other addictions by a very important distinction. It is the flower off of a frigging plant that is grown in the ground! It is that simple. It does not have to be altered chemically to produce the desired effects; unlike heroin and cocaine, who require the use of ether or its substitutes to produced the desired effects. Nicotine is predominantly inhaled, but other mediums like chew and snuff are available. These delivery systems cause lung cancer, throat cancer, mouth cancer, and many other ailments. Alcohol is best known for the damage that it does to the liver. Aspirin has been shown to have negative effects on your ability to think. 
        A great many of these other drugs can do serious damage to the human brain and not just after years of use. Some can be so severe as to kill the user after one use. Marijuana does not have such severe effects, though it has been made out to look like it does through the use of ignorant propaganda campaigns. The only real thing that can be seen as a negative, even by users, is the tendency to exercise a great deal of laziness. It can create an intensely lethargic mood that can make it difficult for a person to attend to their obligations. Even this, however, is not really a broad problem. Stoners are not getting fire from their jobs for being cool and relaxed when they get to work.
        The biggest problem lies more in the ridiculous laws that have been passed to keep people from smoking. Ten year jail sentences, denial of employment, violent arrests, and many other methods are used to keep people from smoking a flower that makes them happy and more willing to get along with new people. The laws should be reversed. Make more people smoke weed so they will stop acting like jackwods. Aside from that, the effects of marijuana can be more difficult for a child to endure, when it comes to the traditional methods of consuming marijuana though implements such as pipes, rolling papers, bongs, and the like. There does need to be some sort of regulation on the actions of minors, and the use of THC for reasons other than medical purposes. I am not advocating what those regulations should be, but I am saying that they should be considered seriously. There should also be very close attention paid to the difference between legalization and decriminalization. A legalized action has zero restrictions on its performance, while a decriminalized action has regulations, whether weak or strong, on its performance. If an action is forbidden, then it is illegal.
         Now, for the kicker, why on Gaia's Green Earth are politicians not jumping on this cash machine? The states that have decriminalized marijuana for recreational purposes have made millions of dollars, and the tax revenue off sales has gone up steadily each year that they have had such laws in effect. How many entire states have a population that is living in near squalor? How many states have cities that are falling apart from disrepair? These revenues could go a long way to resolving these issues. The states of Mississippi and Arkansas could finally afford plumbing for once! This is a slight joke on my part; of course, but consider the cities of Detroit and Flint, Michigan. Revenues from state wide marijuana sales could be put to cleaning up the water supply in the region, be put to use rebuilding their infrastructure, modernizing factory lots, improving their dreadful education system, reopening many, now, unfunded medical clinics, and reclaiming entire neighborhoods that have been to natural reclamation and abandoned by their local governments as non-essential, among countless other possibilities. 
         These are just examples. Every state, and the entire nation, would benefit. Imagine the reduction in the non-violent crime rate that would ensue from the decriminalization of marijuana. The statistics are staggering. I know why it has not happened yet, though. Too many industries are caught in the profits of it being illegal. The Prison Industrial Complex, alone, might very well be crippled by the decriminalization of marijuana. This is not just because fewer people would be getting arrested on pot charges. It is also because any normal person that smokes weed has no desire to get violent or aggressive with another person. Why would they want to screw up their high like that? Fewer ignorant arguments makes fewer fights and fewer arrest charges for domestic or public displays of violence. Leave the poison that is alcohol take up that trade. This is, of course, also a threat to the political establishment. People that smoke weed like to talk, and they do not care who they are talking to. In fact, weed encourages happy people to seek out more happy people. This leads to everyone getting along. It also ends us up in the sack with one another, an added benefit, if you ask me. The government can't play the game of divide and conquer that they love so much with us, if we are all talking to each other, getting along, making babies with one another, and realizing, all together that most of the laws that govern our behavior in the twenty-first century are a load of racist, sexist, and criminal crap. Think on it.

What follows is a medical report released by www.cannabis-med.org, accompanied by another report that discusses the natural THC receptors in the human brain. This was has Harvard to back it up.

General Remarks

There are marked differences in the knowledge on the medical uses of cannabis and cannabinoids in different diseases. For nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy, anorexia and cachexia in HIV/AIDS, chronic, especially neuropathic pain, spasticity in multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury there is strong evidence for medical benefits. For many other indications, such as epilepsy, pruritus and depression there is much less available data. However, the scientific evidence for a specific indication does not necessarily reflect the actual therapeutic potential for a given disease.

Clinical studies with single cannabinoids or whole plant preparations (smoked cannabis, cannabis extract) have often been inspired by positive anecdotal experiences of patients employing crude cannabis products. The anti-emetic, the appetite enhancing, relaxing effects, analgesia, and therapeutic use in Tourette's syndrome were all discovered in this manner. 

Incidental observations have also revealed therapeutically useful effects. This occurred in a study with patients with Alzheimer's disease wherein the primary issue was an examination of the appetite-stimulating effects of THC. Not only appetite and body weight increased, but disturbed behaviour among the patients also decreased. The discovery of decreased intraocular pressure with THC administration in the beginning of the 1970s was also serendipitous. Additional interesting indications that have not been scientifically investigated, but remain common problems in modern medicine may benefit from treatment with cannabis or cannabinoids. For this reason, surveys have been conducted questioning individuals that use cannabis therapeutically. They were conducted either as oral non-standardized interviews in the course of investigations of state or scientific institutions (House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology in the UK, Institute of Medicine in the USA) on the therapeutic potential of cannabis or as anonymous surveys using standardized questionnaires.

Nausea and Vomiting

Treatment of side effects associated with antineoplastic therapy is the indication for cannabinoids which has been most documented, with about 40 studies (THC, nabilone, other THC analogues, cannabis). Most trials were conducted in the 1980s. THC has to be dosed relatively highly, so that resultant side effects may occur comparatively frequently. THC was inferior to high-dose metoclopramide in one study. There are no comparisons of THC to the modern serotonin antagonists. Some recent investigations have shown that THC in low doses improves the efficacy of other antiemetic drugs if given together. In folk medicine cannabinoids are popular and are often used in other causes of nausea including AIDS and hepatitis.

Anorexia and Cachexia

An appetite enhancing effect of THC is observed with daily divided doses totalling 5 mg. When required, the daily dose may be increased to 20 mg. In a long-term study of 94 AIDS patients, the appetite-stimulating effect of THC continued for months, confirming the appetite enhancement noted in a shorter 6 week study. THC doubled appetite on a visual analogue scale in comparison to placebo. Patients tended to retain a stable body weight over the course of seven months. A positive influence on body weight was also reported in 15 patients with Alzheimer's disease who were previously refusing food. 

Spasticity

In many clinical trials of THC, nabilone and cannabis, a beneficial effect on spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury has been observed. Among other positively influenced symptoms were pain, paraesthesia, tremor and ataxia. In some studies improved bladder control was observed. There is also some anecdotal evidence of a benefit of cannabis in spasticity due to lesions of the brain.

Movement Disorders

There are some positive anecdotal reports of therapeutic response to cannabis in Tourette's syndrome, dystonia and tardive dyskinesia. The use in Tourette's syndrome is currently being investigated in clinical studies. Many patients achieve a modest improvement, however some show a considerable response or even complete symptom control. In some MS patients, benefits on ataxia and reduction of tremor have been observed following the administration of THC. Despite occasional positive reports, no objective success has been found in parkinsonism or Huntington disease. However, cannabis products may prove useful in levodopa-induced dyskinesia in Parkinson disease without worsening the primary symptoms.

Pain

Large clinical studies have proven analgesic properties of cannabis products. Among possible indications are neuropathic pain due to multiple sclerosis, damage of the brachial plexus and HIV infection, pain in rheumatoid arthritis, cancer pain, headache, menstrual pain, chronic bowel inflammation and neuralgias. Combination with opioids is possible.

Glaucoma

In 1971, during a systematic investigation of its effects in healthy cannabis users, it was observed that cannabis reduces intraocular pressure. In the following 12 years a number of studies in healthy individuals and glaucoma patients with cannabis and several natural and synthetic cannabinoids were conducted. cannabis decreases intraocular pressure by an average 25-30%, occasionally up to 50%. Some non-psychotropic cannabinoids, and to a lesser extent, some non-cannabinoid constituents of the hemp plant also decrease intraocular pressure. 

Epilepsy

The use in epilepsy is among its historically oldest indications of cannabis. Animal experiments provide evidence of the antiepileptic effects of some cannabinoids. The anticonvulsant activity of phenytoin and diazepam have been potentiated by THC. According to a few case reports from the 20th century, some epileptic patients continue to utililize cannabis to control an otherwise unmanageable seizure disorder. Cannabis use may occasionally precipitate convulsions.

Asthma

Experiments examining the anti-asthmatic effect of THC or cannabis date mainly from the 1970s, and are all acute studies. The effects of a cannabis cigarette (2% THC) or oral THC (15 mg), respectively, approximately correspond to those obtained with therapeutic doses of common bronchodilator drugs (salbutamol, isoprenaline). Since inhalation of cannabis products may irritate the mucous membranes, oral administration or another alternative delivery system would be preferable. Very few patients developed bronchoconstriction after inhalation of THC.

Dependency and Withdrawal

According to historical and modern case reports cannabis is a good remedy to combat withdrawal in dependency on benzodiazepines, opiates and alcohol. For this reason, some have referred to it as a gateway drug back. In this context, both the reduction of physical withdrawal symptoms and stress connected with discontinuance of drug abuse may play a role in its observed benefits.

Psychiatric Symptoms

An improvement of mood in reactive depression has been observed in several clinical studies with THC. There are additional case reports claiming benefit of cannabinoids in other psychiatric symptoms and diseases, such as sleep disorders, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, and dysthymia. Various authors have expressed different viewpoints concerning psychiatric syndromes and cannabis. While some emphasize the problems caused by cannabis, others promote the therapeutic possibilities. Quite possibly cannabis products may be either beneficial or harmful, depending on the particular case. The attending physician and the patient should be open to a critical examination of the topic, and a frankness to both possibilities.

Autoimmune Diseases and Inflammation

In a number of painful syndromes secondary to inflammatory processes (e.g. ulcerative colitis, arthritis), cannabis products may act not only as analgesics but also demonstrate anti-inflammatory potential. For example, some patients employing cannabis report a decrease in their need for steroidal and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Moreover there are some reports of positive effects of cannabis self-medication in allergic conditions. It is as yet unclear whether cannabis products may have a relevant effects on causative processes of autoimmune diseases.

Miscellaneous, Mixed Syndromes

There are a number of positive patient reports on medical conditions that cannot be easily assigned to the above categories, such as pruritus, hiccup, ADS (attention deficit syndrome), high blood pressure, tinnitus, chronic fatigue syndrome, restless leg syndrome, and others. Several hundreds possible indications for cannabis and THC have been described by different authors. For example, 2,5 to 5 mg THC were effective in three patients with pruritus due to liver diseases. Another example is the successful treatment of a chronic hiccup that developed after a surgery. No medication was effective, but smoking of a cannabis cigarette completely abolished the symptoms.

Cannabis products often show very good effects in diseases with multiple symptoms that encompassed within the spectrum of THC effects, for example, in painful conditions that have an inflammatory origin (e.g., arthritis), or are accompanied by increased muscle tone (e.g., menstrual cramps, spinal cord injury), or in diseases with nausea and anorexia accompanied by pain, anxiety and depression, respectively (e.g. AIDS, cancer, hepatitis C). 

THC Receptors in the Brain

Cannabinoid receptors, located in the brain, are part of the Endocannabinoid system which is involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory.

Cannabinoid receptors are of a class of cell membrane receptors under the G protein-coupled receptor superfamily. As is typical of G protein-coupled receptors, the cannabinoid receptors contain seven transmembrane spanning domains. Cannabinoid receptors are activated by three major groups of ligands: endocannabinoids, produced by the mammillary body; plant cannabinoids (such as Cannabidiol, produced by the cannabis plant); and synthetic cannabinoids (such as HU-210). All of the endocannabinoids and plant cannabinoids are lipophilic, such as fat soluble compounds.

There are currently two known subtypes of cannabinoid receptors, termed CB1 and CB2.The CB1 receptor is expressed mainly in the brain (central nervous system or "CNS"), but also in the lungs, liver and kidneys. The CB2 receptor is expressed mainly in the immune system and in hematopoietic cells.Mounting evidence suggests that there are novel cannabinoid receptors that is, non-CB1 and non-CB2, which are expressed in endothelial cells and in the CNS. In 2007, the binding of several cannabinoids to the G protein-coupled receptor GPR55 in the brain was described.

The protein sequences of CB1 and CB2 receptors are about 44% similar. When only the transmembrane regions of the receptors are considered, amino acid similarity between the two receptor subtypes is approximately 68%. In addition, minor variations in each receptor have been identified. Cannabinoids bind reversibly and stereo-selectively to the cannabinoid receptors. Subtype selective cannabinoids have been developed which theoretically may have advantages for treatment of certain diseases such as obesity.

1 comment:

  1. Put 10 heroine, 10 crack and 10 meth addicts in a room...Give them an ounce of Marijuana each. Once the weed is gone I would like to believe that none would ever go back to the hard drugs again. Now to get this type of test approved is another thing. (OH and lot's of healthy snacks would be needed too)

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