One of the complaints many politicians and medical professionals have with treatment of disease with cannabis is the “high” produced by THC. Dr. Peter McCormick at the University of East Anglia School of Pharmacy and colleagues from the University Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona are the first to separate the medically advantageous parts of cannabis from the potentially detrimental side effects. The discovery was reported in the July 9, 2015, edition of the journal Public Library of Science Biology.
THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the substance that provides the beneficial effects of cannabis and produces the undesirable side effects. The receptors in the brain and other parts of the body that THC acts on are different chemically. The researchers found that blocking a particular serotonin receptor in the brain eliminated the unwanted side effects of cannabis while maintaining all of the beneficial and medically useful properties of cannabis. The study was done with mice but the same chemical pathway and the same serotonin receptor exists in humans.
Cannabis has proven useful in treating some cancers by reducing the rate of tumor growth. The unwanted side effect of cannabis therapy that patients reported most frequently was short-term memory impairment. The discovery has the potential of eliminating the high and the detrimental side effects of cannabis therapy. The researchers expect to develop a synthetic equivalent of cannabis that produces all of the benefits with none of the unwanted side effects.
Some people that use cannabis therapy know that they are going to die regardless of any medical intervention. It is reasonable to consider that the buzz from pot has some stress relieving affect in these people. Medical marijuana is not legal in all of the states in the United States. If a synthetic that does not produce a high comes to fruition, people that want the buzz from pot may be forced to move to states where marijuana is legal.
By Paul Hamacker - Examiner/July 9, 2015