Brain Slices, THC and PGE2.

John H. johnh at faraway.hgmp.mrc.ac.uk
Tue Jan 6 18:43:32 EST 2004


"Gnome" <dharma at ashram.new> wrote in message
news:243mvvs9nvgtjp9opbf6309i3m8n61541e at 4ax.com...
> On Tue, 6 Jan 2004 18:25:35 +1000, "John H." <johnh at faraway.> wrote:
>
> >Chong did a lot more than pot! Nonetheless, in some long term smokers I
have
> >known, well I just have to wonder about why they are so scatter brained,
> >have such piss poor memories, and never seem to get anything done ... .
One
> >thing I have noted is that the intelligence of the individual seems to
play
> >some part here. The more intelligent, the less likelihood of these
impacts
> >occurring, though not with respect to getting things done. Additionally,
> >chronic smokers generally have poorer health, come from lower
socio-economic
> >backgrounds, and often don't give a damn about intelligence.
>
>
>  But you've got to take care to avoid the post hoc fallacy of assuming
> that because a person has x negative attributes and smokes lots of
> grass that they have those attributes because they smoke it a lot.
> It's possible that they smoke a lot because they have those attributes
> and not the other way around.

Yes, thanks, am aware of the same. Nonetheless the original poster does make
in point about observed ultrastructural changes from THC and cannabinoids.
The real issue here is whether or not those changes are pathological or
simply a reflection of how the CNS responds to various stimuli. A big
problem is that such isolated analyses can be misleading. Eg. Various
studies now point to a significant immunological component driving age
related cognitive decline. This is not confined to the CNS either, longevity
correlates well with the inflammatory state of the body and heart disease
and stroke show very strong correlations with C reactive protein. So while
cannabinoids may induce ultrastructural changes, their marked ability to
downregulate immunological activity, in the greater scheme of the body, may
confer a benefit in excess of any deleterious effects of pot. Thus it is not
surprising the cannabinoids are now being actively investigated for their
potential therapeutic benefit in a wide range of pathologies. Most people I
have known who smoked pot for long periods were responsible individuals who
worked hard, raised their families well, lived well, and enjoyed good
health. Pot makes people relax, it makes them happy, and as much as some
puritanical souls hate to admit it, happiness is very often the best
medicine. If people don't believe that, they should check out the studies.

>  Since there is a general lack of significant neurological harm found
> in long-term studies as you note, this post hoc tendency has to be
> seriously considered. But even then its also possible that the grass
> plays some supporting role in personal problems, as any drug addiction
> might. Or it might be possible that it could eliminate some negative
> attributes, like being violent and dangerous, making the pot head more
> relaxed and mellow. So it's probably a real mixed bag at best.

A good example of the point you are making is cannabinoid psychosis, some
argue this is evidence that cannabinoids can induce schizophrenia
irrespective of the pre existing potential of an individual to develop the
same. A key study frequently quoted in this regard is from Andreasen et al
1989 on Swedish conscripts. Yet this study has many methodological problems,
but it suits the political agenda of many to ignore these problems and
prevailing hypothesis that schizophrenia is a neurodevelopmental pathology.

As someone who has smoked a great deal of pot, indeed I was renown for my
ability to smoke forests of the stuff while remaining coherent and focussed,
and yet am regarded as very well read and rather intelligent, it is
difficult for me to believe that pot can be that harmful. Yet in others I
have noticed rather deleterious effects. Eg. A few years ago a friend of
mine started a computer science degree and I advised him to give up the pot.
He didn't, he's failing badly, he is an example of a person who let his
habit destroy his chances. A mixed bag for sure, but addressing the question
raised by the original poster can help us to understand the problems
inherent in isolated analyses and serve as a warning sign about relying on
any single methodology for understanding the impact of various agents upon
the CNS.


John H.





More information about the Neur-sci mailing list