We’ve often heard that Marijuana makes you stupid – or it kills brain cells, but what is the real truth, what does science say?
Like PT Barnum said, there’s a sucker born every minute, ready to buy into a scam that “makes sense”.
- There is solid evidence that Marijuana overuse can cause significant short term impairment in cognitive function in some individuals
- There is conclusive evidence that Marijuana use can enhance certain cognitive ability
- Cannabinoids THC, CBD and others have been shown to effectively treat many neurological and psychological disorders
- Different marijuana types have varying quantities of cannabinoids and are effectively as different as apples and avocados.
Where is the truth?
When you look at the common man’s wisdom concerning anything, the original source is usually not the best. It might be the impressions from a movie, TV, perhaps a newspaper or a relative. At the end of the day, these sources usually end up being unreliable and biased.
It turns out that the movie script was written by a fantasy artist with little real experience, the TV show facts are cherry picked or spun for entertainment value rather than contain usable information.
More transparent was (except to those born yesterday) the Reefer Madness campaign of the Federal Government, that was led by documented clinical psychopaths . No claim against Marijuana was too outrageous: marijuana led to devil worship, insanity, rape and horrendous violence, while today’s professional medical opinion is exactly the opposite.
The best source of information – about any topic – comes from those who:
a – have an acumen, a high IQ for the topic of hand
b – are well educated with good source material and acclaimed mentors
c- practice their craft for a number of years
d – regularly update their skill-set and cooperate with piers to further everyone’s knowledge
How to screen scientific and clinical data and reports
- The ideal researcher has a super acumen, excellent education, broad experience – and is unbiased and not threatened -directly or indirectly by those with an agenda or a vested interest in the outcome;, like big pharma, medical, and government agencies
- The researcher or group cannot have known connections (bias) with an obvious competitor. For example, the research findings from a group that is sponsored by big-pharma to study pain killers – must be taken with several grains of salt, if not the whole shaker.
Until recently, most of the research on Marijuana involves recreational strains that have been bred for optimal THC content. Amazingly, these former black market operators were able to get rid of all the cannabinoids while optimizing the THC content at 20% or more. An Australian strain weighed in at an incredible 30% THC. Ironically, these monotonic strains were bred with the primitive logic common to the pharmaceutical industry.
Yes / No binary logic doesn’t really work in analyzing biological systems.
Pharmaceuticals are isolated or synthesized to be pure – so that effect of action can be determined precisely. However, organisms are complex and metabolic action is very complex simple logic. 2+2 = 4, does not produce profound results. It is a binary logic system, black and white, when the world we are describing has thousands of colors and is infinitely more complicated than a game of chess.
In a nutshell, deep quality research comes outstanding ethical individuals who understands that good, bad, yes, no analysis does not describe anything in nature with any depth.
The composition of Marijuana varies significantly in different strains or varieties. Marijuana has been found to contain more than one hundred cannabinoids, eighty terpenes, flavonoids, all the essential amino acids, fatty acids, sterols. Most medical research focuses on THC because it is the most abundant and psychoactive cannabinoid in popular varieties of western street weed.
Recently CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, has been found to deliver outstanding medical effects without being itself psychoactive. Other strains contain various quantities of terpenes that have been shown to have many medicinal effects – in clinical trials. Recently for example, taking terpenes orally have been found to knock out paranoia associated with THC overdose.
List of Cannabinoids in various strains of Marijuana
- 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 various strains of Marijuana
- Alpha Bisabolol
- Delta 3 Carene
- Alpha-Pinene / Beta-Pinene
Today, in California or Colorado for example, a licensed medical marijuana card holder has a choice of hundreds of varieties, everything from mind-numbing 20%+ THC varieties to completely inert high CBD, low THC weed.
Then there is the individual’s biochemistry. Some people hate to drink, others drink a beer here and there, others fill their boots. Some get hangovers, others do not. Of paramount importance is that the understanding that the response to any drug or molecule is somewhat specific to the individual. The effect of medical marijuana depends on a set of complex chain biochemical reactions that lead to a great diversity of effects on the receptors and organism. In light of the above, let’s address the question, does Marijuana kill Brain Cells?
Can Marijuana Kill Your Brain Cells? Weed kills brain cells?
The evidence at this point indicates that marijuana does more good than harm when it comes to its effects on the adult brain.
Smoking too much weed killing brain cells is a rumor many people have heard and is widely feared among the cannabis community. Cannabis users are actually some of the most intellectual people around and are greatly protective of their intellect. They want to know what part of the brain does smoking weed affect and if there is a ‘marijuana kills brain cells study’? There is not. There are no studies that suggest smoking weed will kill brain cells. However, ‘Does weed make you stupid? Does weed kill brain cells?’ is another questions with a different answer.
Top Cannabis Researchers have simplified the basic Medical Marijuana types commonly in use in the Western World.
They have separated marijuana types into three functional groups.
High THC (20%+), low cannabinoids (<2%), psychoactive
Balanced THC – CBD (THC 8-12%, CBD 8-12%), “sanely” psychoactive
High CBD with other cannabinoids, low in THC (CBD 8-20%, THC <3%), non-psychoactive, medicinal
Though the effect and interaction (with cannabinoids) of the various terpenes are very important, we’ll leave them out of the equation at this point.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA NEUROPHARMACOLOGY – THE BASICS
Presidential candidates and assorted VIP bigmouths, have a whole lot to say about marijuana. But if you ask them anything about the topic, they simply don’t know anything except urban myth.
When our phony leader is asked asked, what is a CB1 receptor, what is a cannabinoid, does CBD get you high?, does MMJ legalization lead to lower suicide rades and lover DUI stats – the answers – nearly 100% of the time – come in all wrong. They have no ability to make judgements based on fact. Such is the culture where people talk about things without a basis in reality and the audience doesn’t check to see if they are listening to a charlatan or sociopath.
Does weed kill brain cells? Cannabis and Neurogenesis
Recently, scientists found that our brain cells can grow or regenerate in adulthood. In fact, our brain’s never stop growing. Brain cell growth, or neurogenesis can be stimulated by a variety of nutrients, chemicals, hormones, with cannabinoids being among them.
Cannabinoids promote embryonic and adult brain neurogenesis
“HU210 (a synthetic cannabinoid) treatment promoted neurogenesis in the hippocampal dentate gyrus of adult rats and exerted anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like effects. X-irradiation of the hippocampus blocked both the neurogenic and behavioral effects of chronic HU210 treatment, suggesting that chronic HU210 treatment produces anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like effects likely via promotion of hippocampal neurogenesis.”
Cannabis and its Medical Use – A Kind of Bible
The cannabinoid signaling system is ancient and is found in both invertebrates and advanced vertebrate organisms. The endocannabinoid system has four main components:
- G protein-coupled cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors
- Endogenous endocannabinoids that target these receptors, and possibly other receptors
- Enzymes that catalyze endocannabinoid biosynthesis and metabolism
- Mechanisms involved in cell accumulation of specific endocannabinoids
CB1 receptors are expressed in the brain and peripheral tissues. In both locales, it has multiple functions and mediates most, if not all the psychoactive effects of THC in cannabis.
CB2 receptors are of considerable interest because all the psychoactive effects of THC Endocannabinoids play a fundamental role in regulating pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, body movement, awareness of time, appetite, pain, and sensory processing (taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight), and brain development.
Endocannabinoid signaling is crucial for brain development, and guides neural stem cell survival and proliferation, cell fate decisions and the motility and differentiation of ensuing neuronal and glial cells. Neuroprotection: Cannabinoids and CB1, CB2 receptors display neuroprotective effects in the brain by preventing or decreasing the severity of damage resulting from mechanical, blood flow, or other forms of injury.
Marijuana and the Brain. Does weed kill brain cells? – Italian Research
In an Italian study, The Cannabinoid CBC was found to improve functionality and stimulate growth of brain cells in rodents. In addition CBC helped preserve healthy brain tissue by stimulating the growth of new brain cells.
Marijuana and Stress
Marijuana has been used for centuries for stress and mood disorders, particularly in women. Those older psychoactive strains have been found to have broad cannabinoid profile which means that it was moderately psychoactive and highly medicinal. Today, for stress, strains with a 50:50 ratio of CBD with THC are most effective for the vast majority of anxiety sufferers.
In a 2012 clinical study, cannabinoids that occur naturally in marijuana have the potential to treat or offset stress-induced disorders. THC (in moderation) improved short-term memory and learning capacity within study participants. Cannabinoids have been found to modulate receptors that control fear which is why Marijuana is so effective in treating chronic stress
Cannabis and Brain Cancer
A number of research studies and clinical trials have concluded that THC and other cannabinoids have the power to shrink brain tumors. In one study, mice were administered THC, and the average size of their tumors shrank significantly. In humans, 26- and 30-day treatment, researchers found that THC killed subjects’ cancer cells while leaving healthy brain tissue intact.
Does smoking weed cause Cancer of Brain?
Glaucoma, pain, nausea, loss of appetite, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis; the list of ailments that medical marijuana shows promise in treating seems to be steadily growing. But what about the disease most people seem to be interested in, cancer? Despite an abundance of anecdotal evidence supporting its use, clinical trials are virtually non-existent.
But cell culture and animal studies for one type of brain cancer, glioma, have been so promising that scientists are now crowdfunding for a new human study to investigate its potential therapeutic benefits. And given the overwhelmingly positive public response that this same start-up crowdfunding platform, Walacea, received earlier this year when reaching out for funds for a human LSD brain imaging project, it seems likely that the campaign will be a success.
“Donating to cannabis medical research is essential to highlight the potential of cannabinoids to treat a range of conditions,” Jorge Cervantes, horticulturalist and medical cannabis advocate, said in a statement.
But if these cannabinoids –the biologically active compounds found in cannabis plants – hold so much promise, why is public money needed to fund such important research? Like heroin and LSD, marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it is either deemed as having no accepted medical treatment use or there is a lack of accepted safety for its use. That’s despite the fact that it has been legalized for medicinal or personal use in some US states. Unfortunately, the resulting controls placed on drugs within this category makes scientific research into their therapeutic uses virtually impossible.
“The law is there to protect people,” Natalie Jonk, founder of Walacea, tells IFLScience. “Yet by making cannabis a schedule 1 drug, it makes people who wish to benefit from its medicinal properties criminals.” Cancer patients wishing to use the drug therapeutically are also forced to rely on forums and personal experience, which is dangerous as doses are not based on clinical evidence.
Gliomas are a common type of brain cancer, accounting for around 45% of cases. Because they have a tendency to grow into normal brain tissue, surgical removal is exceedingly difficult and often bits of tumor remain despite a surgeon’s best efforts, offering the opportunity for the cancer to return or spread to other body sites. This, combined with the fact that this organ is inaccessible to many therapeutic agents, thanks to its protective blood-brain barrier (BBB), means that gliomas are notoriously tricky to treat.
Here’s where cannabis comes in: cannabinoids can rapidly cross the BBB, exerting various effects by mimicking natural substances produced by our body, the endocannabinoids, which stick to and activate so-called cannabinoid receptors. One such effect is their apparent antitumor activity, demonstrated in various different cancerous tissues in the lab.
Encouragingly, cannabinoids seem to cause cells that drive glioma progression and recurrence, called glioma-initiating cells, to self-destruct in the lab, a process known as apoptosis. If the substances can do the same things in glioma patients, then scientists are hopeful they may represent a novel way to tackle these cancers. But until scientists conduct proper controlled trials, we won’t know whether this is the case or not.
Cannabis and Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease degenerative brain disease that affects memory, cognitive abilities and behavioral patterns. Modern medicine has not come up with a viable treatment let alone a cure. Several research studies have shown that cannabinoids of marijuana help the brain restore damaged brain cells and functionality. Some elderly Alzheimer’s patients actually spring back to life with MMJ therapy. There are also many testimonials from Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s sufferers; that medical marijuana can help, can help a lot.
The mechanism of action is complicated, but it is well known that Cannabis is an anti-inflammatory, it slows or decreases inflammation that is associated with brain disorders. Cannabinoids are powerful antioxidants which help protect cells from toxicity.
Cannabinoids are known to fill the void and balance brain receptors that are not functioning properly due to a deficiency of natural “neuro-chemicals”
Marijuana and the Brain – At the End of the Day
So, can Medical Marijuana every day damage brain cells? No or it’s extremely unlikely. Marijuana does not cause lung cancer and is not a consideration unless consumption reaches Guinness World Record proportions.
However, there are cases where chronic users prefer to constantly live in a friendly, relaxed stoned world, rather than confront today’s realities with its, challenges, nuisances, stress and annoyances. This failure to confront reality can result in social dysfunction and financial difficulty. People that smoke pot regularly, but live excellent lives and are very productive would be foolish to worry. Those that medicate with marijuana constantly should consider using different strains that afford the medical effects they want without constantly being stoned.
At the end of the day, smoke as much need to, while being aware that gluttony is listed as one of the seven deadly sins for a reason.
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