Cannabis that won't make you stoned

School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
Scientists from Queen Mary, University of London, have discovered a new way to separate the therapeutic benefits of cannabis from its mood-altering side-effects.

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THC binds to and activates proteins in the brain known as 'CB1 cannabinoid receptors'. Activating these receptors can relieve pain and prevent epileptic seizures; but it also causes the mood-altering effect experienced by people who use cannabis as a recreational drug.

Now, SBCS's Professor Maurice Elphick and Dr Michaela Egertová may have found a way of separating out the effects of cannabis – a discovery which could lead to the development of new medicines to treat conditions such as epilepsy, obesity and chronic pain. The research is described in the December 2007 issue of the journal Molecular Pharmacology.

Working in collaboration with scientists from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Medical College of Georgia, USA, they have identified a protein that binds to the CB1 receptors in the brain. But unlike THC, this 'Cannabinoid Receptor Interacting Protein' or CRIP1a, suppresses the activity of CB1 receptors.

Professor Elphick explains: "Because CRIP1a inhibits the activity of the brain’s cannabinoid receptors, it may be possible to develop drugs that block this interaction, and in turn enhance CB1 activity. This may give patients the pain relief associated with CB1 activity, without the 'high' that cannabis users experience."

However, other scientists question the utility of such process, since Schizophrenia risk is not influenced by variations in the cannabinoid receptor, as reported by UK researchers, who have found no evidence for the purported effects of cannabis use on schizophrenia according to variation in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene.

Schizophrenia is associated with an increased use of tobacco and cannabis, with evidence suggesting that patients may use the drug to alleviate neurophysiological symptoms. The benefits of these substances are thought to be mediated through their effects on CHRNA7 and CNR1, respectively, notes the team.

They therefore looked at the effects of variants in the genes encoding CHRNA7 and CNR1 on the risk for schizophrenia and the potential effects of tobacco and cannabis use.

Stanley Zammit, from Cardiff University, and colleagues genotyped 750 patients with schizophrenia and 688 mentally healthy controls for the CHRNA7 promoter polymorphism -86C/T and the CNR1 polymorphism rs1049353. They also gathered information on tobacco and cannabis use via interviews and case-note records.

In addition, the team conducted a case-only study of 493 participants from the schizophrenia group, examining interactions between cannabis use and the Val158Met polymorphism in the COMT gene, as well as the rs737865 and rs165599 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).

The team reports in the British Journal of Psychiatry that there was no evidence of an association between the CHRNA7 -86C/T genotype and schizophrenia. Schizophrenia patients were 4.4 times more likely than controls to smoke, but among the schizophrenia patients, there was no association between tobacco use and the -86C/T genotype.

Similarly, there was no significant association between the CNR1 rs1049353 genotype and schizophrenia. Schizophrenia patients were 2.6 times more likely than controls to use cannabis, but cannabis use was not affected by rs1049353 genotype among schizophrenia patients.

The results also showed that there were no associations between the Val158Met genotype and cannabis use, or between cannabis use and the variations at rs737865 and rs165599.

The only genetic effect on phenotypes of schizophrenia was a weak association between the -86C/T genotype and a younger age at onset of schizophrenia.

“In summary, we failed to find any evidence that variation at the CHRNA7 or CNR1 locus was associated with schizophrenia, or that the effect of variation at these loci was modified by use of tobacco or cannabis, respectively,” the researchers write.

They add: “Cannabis use was not associated with the presence of valine allele at Val158Met with COMT in our sample, therefore our findings do not support a previous report of a putative gene–environment interaction between COMT genotype and cannabis use on risk of schizophrenia.”

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Anónimo dijo...

Possession of larger amounts of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to $500 and six months is jail under Health & Safety Code 11357c. Possession of hashish or concentrated cannabis is an optional misdemeanor or felony ("wobbler") under Health & Safety Code 11357a. However, under Prop. 36 first- and second- time possession-only offenders may demand a treatment program instead of jail. Upon successful completion of the program, their conviction is erased. Possession (and personal use cultivation) offenders can also avoid conviction by making a preguilty plea under Penal Code 1000, in which case their charges are dismissed upon successful completion of a diversion program.
Marijuana defined. "Marijuana means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds, or its resin. It does not include the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the steilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination" (H&SC 11018).
Possession with intent to sell any amount of marijuana is a felony under Health and Safety Code 11359. Police often charge intent to sell if they see such indicia as: scales, cash, multiple packages, "commercial" packaging materials, "excessive" quantity, pay-owe seets, address books, pagers, etc.
Cultivation of any amount of marijuana is a felony under Health and Safety Code 11358. People who grow for personal use are eligible for diversion under Penal Code 1000 so long as there is no evidence of intent to sell. There are no fixed plant number limits to personal use cultivation..
Sale or distribution to minors is a felony under Health and Safety Code 11361.
Driving under the influence: It is unlawful to drive while under the influence of marijuana (or alcohol or any other drug) by Vehicle Code 23152. "Under the influence" is not specifically defined in the statute, but is interpreted to imply some degree of impairment. Therefore the mere fact of having taken a toke of marijuana does not necessarily mean one is DUI. For evidence of impairment, officers may administer a field sobriety test. Arrestees may also be required to submit to their choice of a urine or blood test under Vehicle Code 23612. Since marijuana is detectable for much longer periods in urine than in blood (several days vs. several hours), a positive urine test constitutes much weaker proof of recent use and impairment than a positive blood test. If you haven't smoked marijuana recently and are not under the influence, you are better off to choose a blood test, since you will probably pass it. However, if you are a chronic smoker or have smoked recently, you are better off to choose a urine test; even though you can expect to test positive, the question will at least remain open as to whether you were actually "under the influence" at time of arrest.
Forfeiture: Unlike federal law, California law requires a conviction for forfeiture of property involved in a drug crime. Also unlike federal law, state law does not permit forfeiture of personal real estate for marijuana cultivation. Vehicles may be forfeited only if 10 pounds or more of marijuana is involved. Health and Safety Code 11470
Federal Law: Marijuana is also illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Federal charges are typically brought only in large cases where commercial distribution is suspected (e.g., cultivation of several hundred plants).

Anónimo dijo...

Cannabis is predominantly although many monoecious varieties have been described.Subdioecy (the occurrence of monoecious individuals and dioecious individuals within the same population) is widespread Many populations have been described as sexually labile.

As a result of intensive selection in cultivation, Cannabis exhibits many sexual phenotypes that can be described in terms of the ratio of female to male flowers occurring in the individual, or typical in the cultivar. Dioecious varieties are preferred for drug production, where typically the female flowers are used. Dioecious varieties are also preferred for textile fiber production, whereas monoecious varieties are preferred for pulp and paper production. It has been suggested that the presence of monoecy can be used to differentiate licit crops of monoecious hemp from illicit drug crops. However, the so-called "sativa" drug strains often produce monoecious individuals, probably as a result of inbreeding.
Mechanisms of sex determination
Cannabis has been described as having one of the most complicated mechanisms of sex determination among the dioecious plants. Many models have been proposed to explain sex determination in Cannabis.
Based on studies of sex reversal in hemp, it was first reported by K. Hirata in 1924 that an XY sex-determination system is present. At the time, the XY system was the only known system of sex determination. The X:A system was first described in Drosophila spp in 1925. Soon thereafter, Schaffner disputed Hirata's interpretation, and published results from his own studies of sex reversal in hemp, concluding that an X:A system was in use and that furthermore sex was strongly influenced by environmental conditions.
Since then, many different types of sex determination systems have been discovered, particularly in plants. Dioecy is relatively uncommon in the plant kingdom, and a very low percentage of dioecious plant species have been determined to use the XY system. In most cases where the XY system is found it is believed to have evolved recently and independently.
Since the 1920s, a number of sex determination models have been proposed for Cannabis. Ainsworth describes sex determination in the genus as using "an X/autosome dosage type".