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Researchers May Have Found A Way To Use Marijuana Medically Without The High

By KJ Mullins     Apr 28, 2008 in Health
The days of a legal medical high from marijuana may be numbered. Scientists researching how to get the medical powers from the plant without the memory-robbing properties may have found the way.
It is going to take some time though for the new breed of medical marijuana to hit the drug store.
This has great potential but it's years away from human application," said one expert, Dr. Dennis J. Patin, associate professor of clinical anesthesiology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "I expect that some drug company will research further," he said.
The active ingredient in marijuana, Tetrahydrocannabinol can relieve both pain and anxiety but it can also affect memory. One study of MS patients that smoke the drug found that those patients were more apt to suffer depression and anxiety.
Casida and colleagues at the University of California, Berkley and the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California have found the organophosphorus (OP) nerve agents block the breakdown of certain enzymes. Those enzymes stimulate the cannabinoid receptors in the brain.
Using lab mice the researchers were able to give the rodents the therapeutic effects of THC without the memory problems by using OP compounds.
"We find that that a single organophosphorus compound is capable of eliciting full-blown cannabinoid effects that mirror those of direct cannabinoid receptor stimulators such as THC," said Casida, who is director of the Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology Laboratory at Berkeley. "We believe our compound does not act directly on the cannabinoid receptors, but instead elicits its effects by blocking the enzymes that degrade the endogenous cannabinoids . . . which in turn stimulate the cannabinoid receptors in the brain."
"Blocking these enzymes not only raises endogenous cannabinoid signaling power but also lowers arachidonic acid levels, which may be relevant for pain relief," Casida added. The arachidonic acid pathway is involved in pain and inflammation.
This research may open the door wide for patients who have been denied the benefits of marijuana because of legal issues. There is every likelihood that in time there will be a marijuana product that doesn't get a patient 'stoned' but relieves pain that is caused by medical conditions.
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