No, Pot Researchers Aren’t Smoking Anything

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How refreshing to read a story about medical marijuana that doesn’t contain one lame joke about munchies, forgetfulness, or bongs, and actually gets down to exploring why smart people in lab coats think pot is a fascinating storehouse of compounds. The levelheaded folks at Science News explore “the long march to credibility for cannabis research,” which, Nathan Seppa soberly explains, “has been built on molecular biology.”

Seppa’s article “Not Just a High” is a great reminder that beyond Cypress Hill and Weeds, and behind all the hype and hysteria over loosening state laws and booming dispensaries, there’s a serious and credible body of research making the case for a host of medicinal marijuana uses.

Seppa details how THC mimics the effects of compounds in our bodies, and how both versions–cannabinoids from the plant and endocannabinoids from our bodies–bind to receptor proteins dubbed CB1 and CB2. And that’s where the magic begins:

When a person consumes cannabis, a flood of THC molecules bind to thousands of CB1 and CB2 receptors … . The binding triggers so many internal changes that, decades after the receptors’ discovery, scientists are still sorting out the effects. From a biological standpoint, smoking pot to get high is like starting up a semitruck just to listen to the radio. There’s a lot more going on.

The article covers several promising new avenues of pot study, including fresh research that suggests THC may kill cancer cells. The piece is well worth checking out, especially for anyone who still thinks medical marijuana research is simply a gussied-up front group for stoners. Not to mention that it will totally blow your mind, man.

Source: Science News

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