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  Scientists Find Way To Block Effects of Marijuana
Posted by FoM on April 12, 2001 at 15:27:20 PT
By Will Dunham 
Source: Reuters 

NIDA Chemically blocking receptors in the brain that respond to a key compound in marijuana squelches the ''high'' caused by the drug, scientists said on Thursday in a finding that could lead to treatment for marijuana abuse and perhaps even for obesity.

Researchers with the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) have confirmed for the first time in people that chemically blocking the brain's cannabinoid receptors -- proteins on the surface of brain cells -- cuts the intoxicating effects of smoked marijuana. The study involved 63 adult men with histories of marijuana use.

Animal tests have found that the major effects of the active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), result from its binding to specific cannabinoid receptors.

In the study, the researchers used a compound called SR141716, which was discovered by French drug maker Sanofi-Synthelabo. The compound binds to the cannabinoid receptor and blocks compounds such as THC from activating it. The findings appear in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.

Cannabinoid receptors are most dense in brain regions involved in thinking and memory, attention and control of movement, the researchers said. Their precise function in people is not well understood, although animal studies have shown compounds that activate the receptor sites impair learning and memory and increase appetite and food intake.

Lead researcher Dr. Marilyn Huestis of NIDA, part of the National Institutes of Health, said the findings help point the way toward possible treatment for people addicted to marijuana.

``It's certainly an issue that is still a little controversial,'' she said of whether marijuana can cause addiction. ``But there's been some beautiful work showing that marijuana is addictive, and that a number of people who utilize the drug on a chronic basis have developed dependence and have a very difficult time stopping taking the drug.''

Obesity Treatment Possible:

Huestis also said the compound, by blocking the brain's cannabinoid receptors, may prove useful in treating obesity and psychotic diseases such as schizophrenia and improving memory.

``One of the most promising aspects is the issue of obesity and the fact that marijuana produces hunger,'' Huestis said in an interview.

Sanofi-Synthelabo has completed one set of clinical trials involving treating obesity with SR141716 and is now in talks with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about a next set of trials, said Dr. Joseph Palumbo, a research official with the firm. ``We're still learning about some of the effects that we may have.''

Subjects in the study were given either SR141716 or a placebo (dummy pill) and two hours later smoked one marijuana cigarette. Those who received the compound showed significantly reduced marijuana effects, while the placebo group showed typical marijuana intoxication, the researchers said.

Subjects given the highest dose of SR141716 (90 mg) reported a 43 percent reduction in how ``high'' they felt compared to the control group, the study found. They also had a 59 percent smaller increase in heart rate, one of the primary physical effects of marijuana.

Source: Reuters
Author: Will Dunham
Published: Thursday, April 12, 2001
Copyright: 2001 Reuters Limited

Related Article:

Medication Can Reduce Effects of Smoked Marijuana
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread9349.shtml


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Comment #21 posted by Kevin Hebert on April 16, 2001 at 10:17:11 PT:

My comments above
Sorry for not checking back on this; I was away for the weekend. I actually was responding to the article itself, not Dr. Russo's comments; I just couldn't believe that they would portray efforts to block the high from cannabis as "beautiful". I can see how certain medical patients would benefit from such an effort, but I wouldn't use "beautiful" to characterize these efforts.

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Comment #20 posted by mrwhizurd on April 15, 2001 at 14:21:17 PT
tryptophan
> Some cynics claim it was because L-tryptophan
> would compete with Prozac.
Other cynics have claimed it was because tryptophan is (easily?) converted to indole, a DEA "watched" precursor.


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Comment #19 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on April 15, 2001 at 12:58:59 PT:

L-Tryptophan
L-tryptophan is an amino acid, component of our diets. Without it, we do not make serotonin and all become depressed. The problem was never with L-tryptophan, it was an impurity in the material made by the Showa-Denko company in Japan that poisoned people and gave them eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. Rather than merely ban importation of their product, the FDA made all L-tryptophan illegal except for veterinary applications. Some cynics claim it was because L-tryptophan would compete with Prozac.

See the chapter on 5-hydroxytryptophan in Handbook of Psychotropic Herbs for more details and references.

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Comment #18 posted by MDG on April 15, 2001 at 11:05:34 PT:

Or like the banning of L-Tryptophan.
Apparently L-Tryptophan is now beneficially used for EMS, when it was banned because of claims that it actually caused EMS.
Maybe Dr. Russo could explain how these things happen.
Mike...


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Comment #17 posted by barney on April 15, 2001 at 06:40:35 PT:

animal experiaments
And what about the experimentation on animals?,
And what about the experimentation on animals?,
And what about the experimentation on animals?,
And what about the experimentation on animals?,
And what about the exper....

I'm going to say it again, and again, and again, and again, and ag...

There's a classic book about the fallacy of animal experimentation; (can give title if memory stimulated ;-)
gives example of an experiment to 'prove' that a baby monkey will
'hug' a heat source other than it's mother (a frame is set up
resembling a mother monkey with a heat source inside). Basicly it
'proves' that a cold monkey will use a given heat source. This is
the kind of level these people work on - animals are their
playthings - _animals_, that includes _YOU_! But you already know
all this, dont' you, oh, insightfull cannabis fan?

While i'm here; news items like the above bring to my mind the
way that marijuana is being used as a clinical medicine. This
is very dangerous. Again, my memory mis-serves me, but I beleive
there was another plant where it's medicinal properties were
extracted in isolation. Of course, with the active ingredient
now being in a completely artificial form, it did'nt work! In
fact a few people got hurt, and guess who got blamed -THE F**CKing PLANT! Please email me to jog my memory on this one if you can :-)

R_o_o_o_o_llllll_ing......


barney


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Comment #16 posted by barney on April 14, 2001 at 08:43:57 PT:

animal _/experiments/_
i only see one comment about the outrage of using animals fot
this.
/Surely/ this should concern us /before/ worrying about a possible
new drug?

barney

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Comment #15 posted by The GCW on April 13, 2001 at 22:18:42 PT
What if...?
What if I do not want to eliminate the europhoricness of the God given herb, And I wish to accept it the way God perfected it?

The Green Collar Worker.

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Comment #14 posted by freedom fighter on April 13, 2001 at 17:35:19 PT
clear and dangerous trend
Not surprised if some nerd would try to pass a bill forcing every living americans to take the pill wither if you do or do not do cannabis..

They already are forcing drugs on people nowdays.. No wonder many only can grow resentful of others!

In the name of freedom please stop this insanity!

ff

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Comment #13 posted by Sudaca on April 13, 2001 at 09:24:03 PT
What's more dangerous ...
than a monkey with a razor? Drug Warriors feeling their back to the wall. Why dangerous? Because they have gradually let the search for the the magical silver bullet to "win the war" mess with
- Soverign rights of other countries
- The Environment
- Civil liberties in the US
- the world market (in spite of what people may like to believe the world shares its economic fate even now. Especially the black market economy)
- Sick people
- TATATATAAAAAAAA the Central Nervous System of Humans

Since you're probably all familiar with detailed examples of all the above cases, we know that all coniderations except the blind obsession of stopping people from enjoying themselves have led to screwing everything beyond the pale.

I'm absolutely positive that this find will totally opaque the reseach in Israel about the function of cannabinoid receptors in our coconuts. Dr. Russo is most probably right, block these and you'll get a dysfunctional body erring towards extremely miserable existence.

This is Fusarium Oxysporum in your head fellows. And you know what? It won't happen to the people of the United States of America, noooooo

Some other third world country led by idiotically conservative leaders *such as my own Chile* will be coopted into trying this out way out of sight of the people who care and could do something, and this extremely sick project will be under way.

Colombia couldn't stop the defoliating of thousands of hectares of Amazonic jungle ; I wonder whose country will be bullied into razing the minds of its people to satisfy the conditions of some "Free Trade" agreement sponsored by this country. All so the fucking godwarriors have a chance to say "NO WE WILL NEVER SURRENDER" on this nightmare lunacy called the war on drugs.


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Comment #12 posted by Darb on April 13, 2001 at 09:04:12 PT
What's it do to endocannabanoids?
Just a thought, wasn't there a study recently showing that endocannabanoids are responsible for storing information from short-term to long-term memory? What's this SR141716 do to that function in the brain? I don't know about you, but I'm a little sketchy messing with natural brain chemistry in people.

What if you take this medicine and don't smoke pot, my guess is that it will actually affect your memory worse than if you were to smoke pot instead.

Here's another idea, how about we spend our time researching a way to reduce alcohol's effect on the brain? I'm sure there are plenty of people who'd like to administer this to someone once their friend starts breaking stuff and hitting people. Oh wait, alcohol has a powerful lobbying group, scratch that plan. Let's pick on the unrepresented stoners instead, that'll be easier.


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Comment #11 posted by Cuzn Buzz on April 13, 2001 at 08:57:42 PT:

PRANKS!
Ok, so why do we not fill urine test cups with nitroglycerine or some other "fun" chemical instead of urine?
I'm tired of being a responsible adult.
Due to my advanced age and senility I am ready to respond with some serious pranking next time somebody asks me to pee in a cup. Of course last time I peed on their shoes.


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Comment #10 posted by FoM on April 13, 2001 at 07:57:28 PT
Kevin
I'm not sure I understand your comment but Dr. Russo was being sarcastic. I thought I'd mention that incase you thought he was happy about this study. If I misunderstood I'm sorry.

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Comment #9 posted by Kevin Hebert on April 13, 2001 at 07:52:15 PT:

Can you believe this?
"But there's been some beautiful work showing that marijuana is addictive, and that a number of people who utilize the drug on a chronic basis have developed dependence and have a very difficult time stopping taking the drug."

"Beautiful" work?!?! Marijuana is not addictive. It is certainly something you can use every day, but it's not like you'll suffer from if you have to stop every now and then. It's sad that someone who is probably an intelligent person otherwise would get that kind of self-satisfaction by perpetuating a lie.

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Comment #8 posted by Alaric on April 13, 2001 at 04:59:12 PT
a quote worth repeating
It is comparatively easy to understand why people take drugs as a means of pleasure seeking, an anesthetic against pain and for reasons of community formation, rebellion, revelation and self-exploration. It is comparatively hard to understand why hatred of other people's forbidden acts becomes an obsession of so many. The punishment-craving personality must be added as explanation for this age of celebrated punitive excess.
Drug Hate, p.143



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Comment #7 posted by i420too on April 13, 2001 at 01:32:21 PT
Indiana has quacks too besides souder
I know what you mean by "every one who drinks is an alcy"
When I got caught on a p test for weed at work i went to their head doctor wacko and i thought i would play it strait with him this was in 1995 .After discusing my marijuana use He asked me if i used alcohol i said "maybe a drink or 2 a yearI hear it cleans the liver if used in moderation"
This quack had the nerve to say i also had an alcohol problem. This quack is still practicing in ALBION INDIANA. GOD HELP US


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Comment #6 posted by FoM on April 12, 2001 at 22:34:47 PT
Cannabis
I don't talk much about Cannabis publically but I want to say that when I was addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol I don't think I would have survived without using Cannabis. It really hurts me to see how some people don't understand what so many of us do. Cannabis can be a life saver. I'm proof.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #5 posted by Dan B on April 12, 2001 at 22:29:15 PT:

NIDA Truly Cares
Cannabinoid receptors are most dense in brain regions involved in thinking and memory, attention and control of movement, the researchers said. Their precise function in people is not well understood, although animal studies have shown compounds that activate the receptor sites impair learning and memory and increase appetite and food intake.

Translation: "Gee, we don't understand how those cannabinoids thingamagigs work, but we're sure excited that we found a way to block them, and to hell with the negative side effects."

I'm sure glad the people at NIDA work hard both to find new ways of wasting our federal tax dollars and to deliberately perform experiments on human subjects when they admit to not knowing or understanding the potential repurcussions of those experiments. To think that I helped pay for this trash against my will through automatic paycheck deductions.

Sickening.

Dan B

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Comment #4 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on April 12, 2001 at 20:02:56 PT:

"Beautiful"
I am having a very hard time restraining myself. One item is irresistible:

"there's been some beautiful work showing that marijuana is addictive"

Beautiful--- That must mean that when you purposely addict a simian to cocaine and then claim that the animal's repetitive dosing with THC in an efffort to make itself feel better is proof that cannabis is addictive.

Life without cannabinoid function will not be pretty. Please see my post of the past in this regard: pain, diarrhea, and dysphoria (unhappiness) will be likely results.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 12, 2001 at 18:44:39 PT
Just a Note
This article gives me the willys because it makes me think of Clockwork Orange. That movie blew me away back in the 70s when I saw it and now it is too close to reality.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #2 posted by observer on April 12, 2001 at 18:39:27 PT
High Hate
Chemically blocking receptors . . . squelches the ''high'' caused by the drug . . . treatment for marijuana abuse . . .chemically blocking the brain's cannabinoid receptors . . . cuts the intoxicating effects of smoked marijuana. . . .men with histories of marijuana use.

Notice how "use" and "abuse" are equated. This is the same as saying everyone who uses alcohol is an alcoholic, everyone who eats dessert is obese, etc.

see:

Themes in Chemical Prohibition, NIDA, 1979 :

Theme # 4: The Concept of "Controlled" Usage is Destroyed . . .

``. . . The destruction of the concept of controlled drug usage implies that everyone who ever uses heroin will be a "dope fiend," everyone who drinks will be an alcoholic, etc. In general this strategy equates the use and abuse of drugs and implies that it is impossible to use the particular drug or drugs in question without physical, mental, and moral deterioration. Such a view holds that there are powers within the drug over which no one can exert control.''

Themes in Chemical Prohibition, NIDA, 1979

http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/History/ticp.html

. . .squelches the ''high'' . . .

Why are so many, so bent on keeping people from this mental state?

p.98 -

Studies suggest insight as to why conservatives have focused so much of their attention on drugs. One scaled 4-year-old children on an index of creativity and adventure seeking to find that such characteristics are the greatest predictor of recreational use of marijuana in subsequent high-school years. Drug users are perhaps by personality disposed to be the least obedient to orthodoxy and convention just as the orthodox are most disposed to believe that social rules must be reinforced with persecution of the non-conformists. . . .

The creative and gregarious side of drug use was exposed in San Francisco's Haight Ashbury neighborhood in the 1960s and in the many subsequent little life-style-free zones that spread across the country. With the LSD-based psychedelic revolution, new music, new visual art, new drama in the form of performance art and an array of other expressions exploded into popular culture. Psychological study of the heavily LSD-using population showed that they had changed in what was labeled the means-to-life index, preferring time for reflection and creative self-expression to traditional acquisition of material goods as a life goal.

David Sadofsky Baggins, Drug Hate and the Corruption of American Justice, 1998 pg. 98

http://info.greenwood.com/books/0275959/0275959562.html

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0275959562/

. . . For some portion of Americans drug hate takes on a personally meaningful moral patriotism that must be considered as a sociological event. Psychologists Terry Bulych and Barry Beyerstein consider the pathology of drug war enthusiasts. They find a high need for dogmatism among persons anxious for drug punishment. They want an ordered world of firm right and wrong in which sin is punished for denunciation value. As a personality type, drug war enthusiasts are the people who would have enthusiastically joined in the brooding hunt for deviance during the McCarthy era. These people turn to the War on Drugs to fill a void lost by the end of the cold war. Bulych and Beyerstein conclude that,

respondents who favored the drug war were particularly apt to construe as factually correct the highly sensationalized cinematic portrayal of the drug scene. With the decline of the worldwide Communist threat that was formerly used to justify gratuitous violence in the movies, the industry has turned, with considerable audience approval, to the drug dealer stereotype when in need of an acceptable villain to dismember in living color.50

Drug Hate, p.142

NIDA. . . said the findings help point the way toward possible treatment for people addicted to marijuana. ``It's certainly an issue that is still a little controversial,'' she said of whether marijuana can cause addiction. ``But there's been some beautiful work showing that marijuana is addictive, and that a number of people who utilize the drug on a chronic basis have developed dependence and have a very difficult time stopping taking the drug.''

see:

the Relative Addictiveness of Drugs According to NIDA's Own Researcher

http://www.marijuananews.com/marijuananews/cowan/relative_addictiveness_of_drugs_.htm

(summary: cannabis is less "addictive" than caffeine, nicotine, heroin, cocaine, and alcohol, according to NIDA)

There has been much psychological study of the "addictive personality." In the end that has not proven a fruitful topic, as all cultures at all times are revealed to engage in intoxication which turns out to be a common factor of the human equation.51 Once alcohol, nicotine and caffeine are added as genuine drugs most Americans turn out to be users. Of far more importance is exploration of the essential psychology of the drug war enthusiast. It is comparatively easy to understand why people take drugs as a means of pleasure seeking, an anesthetic against pain and for reasons of community formation, rebellion, revelation and self-exploration. It is comparatively hard to understand why hatred of other people's forbidden acts becomes an obsession of so many. The punishment-craving personality must be added as explanation for this age of celebrated punitive excess.

Drug Hate, p.143



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Comment #1 posted by MDG on April 12, 2001 at 18:11:41 PT:

This just in...
Scientists have discovered a way blocking the taste buds so Twinkies won't activate the part of the brain responsible for the "yum-sensation". There's some great work showing that Twinkies are addictive, and those who eat them daily have a difficult time stopping.
I know I'm excited. What hooie this is.


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