It has been believed that marijuana kills brain cells but according to science, there is solid evidence that marijuana overuse can cause significant short term impairment in cognitive function in some individuals. Also conclusive evidence has been discovered that marijuana can enhance cognitive ability. Cannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol and other minor ones have been shown to effectively treat many neurological and psychological disorders. This is what science says.
CAN CANNABIS REALLY DAMAGE IT ? WHAT IS THE TRUTH?
From common observation of man’s knowledge about a subject, the original source is usually not the best. Man’s knowledge is made up from pieces of information around him from movies, the television, a relative or even a newspaper but at the end of the day these sources are unreliable and biased. It usually turns out that the movie script is written by a fantasy artist with little or no real experience while TV shows are orchestrated for fun and entertainment value rather than usable information. There was once a campaign by the federal government led by documented clinical psychopaths called the Reefer Madness Campaign. Various claims which would have been labelled outrageous were made such as marijuana led to devil worship, rape and horrendous violence, insanity but the medical professionals had opposite opinions.
The best sources for information about a subject are:
- Those who have an acumen and high IQ for the concerned subject
- Those who are well educated and with access to good source materials and acclaimed mentors.
- Those who have practiced their craft or profession for years
- Those who update their skill set and cooperate with like minds or the furtherance of knowledge
CANNABIS VS BRAIN. HOW TO SCREEN SCIENTIFIC AND CLINICAL DATA
For a research data or report to be considered various points have to be considered such as:
The pedigree of researcher involved. The ideal researcher should have an excellent educational background and broad experience. Also the researcher should be unbiased and not directly or indirectly tied with those who stand to benefit or lose depending on the results of such studies. Those who stand to benefit or lose could be pharmaceutical companies, the government or even medical agencies. For example, a study sponsored by a pharmaceutical company to study pain killers has to be taken with a little doubt in mind.
Until now, most studies on marijuana have been centred on recreational strain developed to give optimum THC composition. This unique stride was made by operators of the marijuana black market using common logic considered primitive today in the pharmaceutical sector. An Australian monotonic strain example weighed in at an incredible 30% THC.
THE YES/NO BINARY SYSTEM: DOES IT WORK?
In the process of determining the effects and actions of pharmaceutical compounds, they are first isolated and purified but it’s been seen that the actions of these compounds are quite different biologically than during in vitro studies. Biological organisms are quite complex so also the metabolic reactions which are carried out. Simple logic says 2+2=4 which isn’t quite same biologically. In total, extensive quality research run by ethical researchers with outcomes as good, bad, yes or no doesn’t describe anything in nature with any depth.
Studies on marijuana have shown that it contains more than one hundred cannabinoids, eighty terpenes, flavonoids, all the essential amino acids, fatty acids and sterols with each strain differing significantly in its composition. Most medical research have focused on THC because of its psychoactive character and abundance but recently cannabidiol a non-psychoactive has shown outstanding medical effects. Strains with high quantities of terpenes have also shown many medical effects in clinical trials and an example is its ability to antagonise paranoia resulting from an overdose of THC.
LIST OF CANNABINOIDS IN MARIJUANA STRAINS
- 9-Tetrahydrocannabinol d9-THC
- 8-Tetrahydrocannabinol d8-THC
- Cannabichromene CBC
- Cannabicyclol CBL
- Cannabidiol CBD
- Cannabielsoin CBE
- Cannabigerol CBG
- Cannabinidiol CBND
- Cannabinol CBN
- Cannabitriol CBT
LIST OF TERPENES IN MARIJUANA STRAINS
- Alpha Bisabolol
- Delta 3 Carene
- Alpha-Pinene / Beta-Pinene
Another factor is the individual’s biochemistry; Response to a drug is dependent on the individual. The effect of medical marijuana is dependent on a complex chain of biochemical reactions which results in a diversity of receptor- drug reactions and hence effect on the organism. With the above understanding, we can then try to address the above question stated; does Marijuana kill Brain cells?
The top researchers on marijuana have classified the commonly used strains into three categories based on functional groups and they are:
- High THC (20%+), low cannabinoids(<2%), psychoactive
- Balanced THC- CBD (THC 8-12%, CBD 8-12%), moderately psychoactive
- High CBD with other cannabinoids, low in THC (CBD 8-20%, THC <3%), non- psychoactive, medicinal
NEUROPHARMACOLOGY OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA
It is disheartening that the urban myth about marijuana is the common knowledge amongst people of all works of life including politicians and our leaders. When asked in interviews about CB1 receptors, what a cannabinoid is or the effect of marijuana legalisation on suicide rates and DUI stats, the answers received are almost always 100% wrong. Most judgements made are not done facts and such is our culture where people have discussions without the right facts and the listeners don’t bother to check what is right or wrong.
Recent studies by scientists show that brain cells can regenerate even in adulthood and that or brain cells don’t stop growing in actual fact. Neurogenesis or brain cell growth is stimulated by a variety of factors such as chemicals, hormones, nutrients etc. with cannabinoids being a part.
It’s also been shown that cannabinoids promote embryonic and adult brain neurogenesis. The hippocampal dentate gyrus of adult rats upon treatment with HU210 a synthetic cannabinoid showed an increase in neurogenesis i.e. it promoted neurogenesis and also exerted both anxiolytic and antidepressant like actions. This effect was antagonised when the hippocampus was exposed to X-radiation blocking both the neurogenic and behavioural effects of HU210 suggesting that its actions was via promotion of neurogenesis in the hippocampus.
The endocannabinoid system also known as the cannabinoid signalling system is found in both invertebrates and advanced vertebrate organisms and it comprises of four main components:
- G protein-coupled cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors
- Endogenous endocannabinoids that target these receptors, and possibly other receptors
- Enzymes that catalyse endocannabinoid biosynthesis and metabolism
- Mechanisms involved in cell accumulation of specific endocannabinoids
CB1 receptors are found both in the brain and peripheral tissues. It has various functions and is involved in most psychoactive effects of THC while the CB2 receptors which are of considerable interest are involved in the mediating its psychoactive effects solely.
Endocannainoids are essentially involved in thinking and memory, concentration, pleasure regulation, appetite, time consciousness, pain and sensory processing such as taste, touch and smell etc., brain development. The cannabinoid signalling system is crucial to brain development, guidance of the neural stem, cell survival and proliferation, cell fate decisions and in the motility and differentiation of resulting neuronal and glial cells. Cannabinoids also display neuroprotective functions in the brain by decreasing the severity or preventing damage due to blood flow, mechanical or other forms.
In an Italian research, the cannabinoid CBC was found to improve brain functions and also stimulate the growth of brain cells in rodents. It also helped to protect healthy brain tissues
For centuries, marijuana has been used in the therapy of stress and mood disorders especially in women. Earlier psychoactive strains of marijuana were discovered to have a broad cannabinoid profile. They were moderately psychoactive and medicinal. Now, strains with a 50: 50 CBD to THC are used and are most effective for majority of anxiety patients.
During a clinical study in 2012 with cannabinoids that occur naturally in marijuana, it was discovered they had the potential to treat stress induced disorders. A moderate intake of THC was seen to improve short term memory and the learning capacity of participants. Cannabinoids have been found to modulate receptors which control fear and are therefore good in managing chronic stress.
After a number of research and clinical trials carried out on brain tumours in various subjects including mice using THC for treatment, it was observed that it and other cannabinoids had a shrinking effect on these tumours. Those carried out using human subjects involving a 26 day and 30 day treatment with THC respectively showed that the tumour cells were killed in the subjects while the healthy brain tissues were preserved.
This is a degenerative brain disease which affects behaviour pattern, memory and also cognitive abilities. It has no effective treatment, therapy or cure in urban medicine. It’s has been mentioned afore that several research have shown that marijuana helps in the restoration of damaged brain cells and functionality. In cases of marijuana therapy, elderly patients with Alzheimer have been seemingly cured; including patients with Huntington’s and Parkinson’s who were exposed to the same treatment.
The process of action of the cannabinoids is quite complex but it’s known that cannabis has anti-inflammatory effects and can decrease inflammation associated with brain disorders. They are also strong antioxidants and help in cell protection from toxicity. Another advantage is their ability to ‘balance brain receptors’ that are not efficient due to a deficiency in biological neurochemicals.
So, can smoking MMJ every day damage brain cells? Yes or no? Medical Cannabis doesn’t cause lung cancer and is not a consideration unless consumption reaches World Record dosage.
At the same time, there are a lot of cases where chronic users prefer to constantly live in a relaxed, friendly and stoned world, rather than confront today’s realities with its, annoyances, nuisances, stress and challenges. This failure to confront reality can result in financial difficulty and social dysfunction. Patients that use weed regularly, but live excellent lives and are very productive would be foolish to worry, but those that medicate with cannabis constantly should consider using different cannabis strains that afford the medical effects they want without constantly being high.
However, smoke as much as you need to, while being aware that gluttony is listed as one of the seven deadly sins for a reason.
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