Monday, October 17, 2005

Much ado about cannabis

Thanks to my sister for sending a link to this recent article in the National Geographic.
Today a team of international researchers announced the discovery of CB2, the second cannabinoid receptor found in mammal brains. Unlike the first receptor, discovered 15 years ago, CB2 activation reduces nausea without producing psychotropic side effects.

The new receptor is activated by endocannabinoids, which are cannabis-like chemicals produced in nerve cells and certain other cells in the body. The team reports the findings in today's issue of the journal Science.
The related stories are interesting as well.

There's a nice archived piece on Bob Marley and the Rastafarian movement and yet another piece about grow-ops on public lands with hopelessly overvalued busts.

This last one, Wonder Drugs Waiting in the Weeds?, is not about marijuana, but it does shore up one of my main warnings on destroying the biodiversity in the Amazon rain basin with herbicidal bombings. And its closing words could sum up the medicinal use of cannabis.

"In Western, industrialized countries, healing is very much a specific act. You are taught to not self-medicate. If you're sick, you go to a doctor, and they'll tell you what's wrong," he said. "That's not true for the vast majority of the world. They do treat themselves."

And they treat themselves with herbs. Our own grandmothers used folk medicines, of which cannabis was just one remedy out of many natural plant products used to treat the common maladies. It's only in the last half century that we traded folk lore for pharmaceuticals. It's been largely to society's loss and coincidentally coincides with the escalation of the war on some drugs.

Interesting triangulation isn't it?


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