Cannabis, marijuana, pot...
Results of an Israeli study
Results of an Israeli study:
A research team at Tel Aviv University in Israel published an article in the
journal Medical Hypotheses during 2004. They stated that:
"Cannabinoids are the most widely used drugs of abuse. In spite of the
many reports on their long-term neurotoxic effects, cannabinoids are still
considered by many as 'safe soft drugs'."
Their beneficial effects have been cited in:
|Fighting some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's
|Stimulate the appetites of persons with AIDS and anorexia, |
|Reducing nausea and vomiting as a side effect of chemotherapy treatments,
|Treating muscle spasms in patients with multiple sclerosis,|
|The treatment of glaucoma. etc. |
These benefits often mentioned in support of their
long-term safety. However, more recent research by the same team promotes the
belief that pot can both help and injure.
The active ingredient of marijuana is delta nine tetrahydrocannabinol (a.k.a.
THC). Yosef Sarne, a member of the university research team, reports that heavy
doses of THC may protect the brain against certain forms of damage, while small
doses actually damage the brain. The lower dangerous levels are much lower than
those absorbed from smoking a single "joint." However, as the liver
metabolizes the THC, the latter's level eventually decreases into this danger zone.
According to a report by World Science, Sarne and colleagues have
argued that THC:
"... and related compounds, in high doses, tend to restrict the release
of a chemical called glutamate from brain cells. ... This effect can be helpful because excess release of glutamate—which
is also an essential chemical messenger in the brain—is implicated in
various disorders, including Alzheimer’s."
"This, the scientists wrote, may explain why THC-like compounds, called
cannabinoids, help protect brain cells in cases such as ischemia, or blocked
blood vessels; excitotoxicity, or over-stimulation of nerve cells; and even
"Studies suggest cannabinoids temper glutamate release by partially blocking
molecular gateways in nerve cells, known as voltage-dependent calcium
channels, Sarne and colleagues wrote."
"But ultra-low doses appear to have the opposite effect, they
"Thus they proposed that 'an acute treatment results in a high concentration
of the drug close to the time of trauma and therefore protects the brain
from the acute insult, while chronic treatment exposes the organism to low
concentrations of cannabinoids for long periods of time.' During that time,
'minor' nerve cell damage accumulates."
"In the study, Sarne and colleagues injected mice with THC doses that they
said were some 1,000 times lower than what humans would get from smoking a
joint, taking into account body weight. The treatment significantly worsened
the rodents’ performance on maze tests three weeks later, compared to
untreated mice. ..."
"Distinguishing these two modes of action may help educate the public as
to pot’s unhealthy consequences, while clarifying the clinical benefits,
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
"Pot may be both good and bad, researchers say," World Science, 2007-AUG-31, at:
- The Tel Aviv University article is to be published in the 2007-NOV-06 issue
of Neuroscience Letters.
Health information provided in this section is intended for
general information only. It should not be construed as medical advice. Consult
your personal health professional for advice relating to a medical problem.
Copyright © 2007 by Ontario Consultants on
Originally written: 2007-SEP-07
Latest update: 2007-SEP-07
Author: B.A. Robinson