What Parts of the Brain are Affected From Marijuana Use?
Marijuana (Cannabis sativa, C. indica) is a medicinal herb from the same plant family as hops, the main ingredient in beer. The active ingredients in marijuana are chemicals known as cannabinoids, which also exist naturally in the human body. Cannabinoids attach to receptors in the brain and immune system and can affect bodily functions, including mood, pain, metabolism, muscle control and inflammation. Marijuana contains more than 60 cannabinoids, making it an important medicinal plant for a wide range of diseases.
The cannabinoids in marijuana are potent pain relievers. In a study reported in the 2009 issue of "Neurotherapeutics," Drs. Rahn and Hohmann tested several cannabinoids on nerve pain that is often associated with HIV, nerve damage, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and herpes infections. The researchers found that cannabinoids derived from the smoked plant, from synthetic compounds, and from plant extracts were all effective in treating pain.
Inflammation is at the root of many chronic diseases. A major active ingredient in marijuana is cannabidiol, which has anticonvulsant, anti-
Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Cannabinoids from marijuana can bind to receptors in the body and perform functions similar to the body's own cannabinoids, which are known as endocannabinoids. Marijuana can be a useful treatment if you have a disorder related to an endocannabinoid deficiency. In a study in the 2008 issue of "Neuro Endocrinology Letters," Dr. E. B. Russo examined the possibility that endocannabinoid deficiency could lead to migraine headaches, fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome. Dr. Russo found that cannabinoids can block dopamine and other pathways in the brain and gastrointestinal system and relieve the symptoms associated with those disorders.
Cannabinoids interact with the receptors in the brain that regulate hunger. This is the reason people feel hungry when smoking marijuana. Marijuana's appetite-
Spasms and Tics
Cannabidiol, one of the cannabinoids in marijuana, has anticonvulsant properties. Marijuana may relieve spastic muscle movements and nervous tics in patients with multiple sclerosis and Tourette syndrome.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, and cannabidiol are two of marijuana's most important medicinal ingredients. In a study in the 2006 issue of "The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics," lead author Dr. A Ligresti found that cannabidiol induces apoptosis, or cell death, in malignant breast cancer cells. In another study in the 2010 issue of "Molecular Cancer Therapeutics," lead author Dr. J. P. Marcu found that cannabidiol works synergistically with THC to inhibit the proliferation of glioblastoma cells and may be a useful additive to THC in treating patients with this form of brain cancer.
In the past decade, research has begun to address how cannabinoids affect the retinal system. In a study in the 2006 issue of the "Journal of Glaucoma," lead author Dr. I. Tomida found that THC reduced fluid pressure inside the eye in patients with ocular hypertension and glaucoma.
Neurotherapeutics; "Cannabinoids as Pharmacotherapies for Neuropathic Pain: From the Bench to the Bedside"; Rahn, E.J. and Hohmann, A.G.; October 2009
CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics; "Cannabidiol: A Promising Drug for Neurodegenerative Disorders?"; Iuvone, T. et al; 2009
Neuro Endocrinology Letters; "Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD): Can This Concept Explain Therapeutic Benefits of Cannabis in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Other Treatment-
The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics; "Antitumor Activity of Plant Cannabinoids With Emphasis on the Effect of Cannabidiol on Human Breast Carcinoma"; Ligresti, A. et al; September 2006
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; "Cannabidiol Enhances the Inhibitory Effects of Delta9-