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Cannabinoids Induce Brain Cell Growth? 494

Harlan writes "The Globe and Mail is reporting that researchers at the University of Saskatchewan are claiming that high doses of cannabinoids have induced new brain cell growth in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory, in rat subjects. There are some interesting potential implications in regards to high doses of cannabinoids found in substances like marijuana."
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Cannabinoids Induce Brain Cell Growth?

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  • Math+Cannabis (Score:2, Interesting)

    by deplifer ( 923272 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @06:08AM (#13802271)

    Got this 2 weird dudes @ my university, they smoke weed(in high doses) all day long. They take Advanced Math and Graphics Programming and do it exeptionally well.

    So there sure is some truth in this article(research).

  • by Scarletdown ( 886459 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @06:33AM (#13802326) Journal
    Words of wisdom seen in someone's sig on another forum I frequent...

    "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

  • Re:Now I can say... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by davesag ( 140186 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @06:43AM (#13802361) Homepage
    where I live head-shops are called smart-shops and sell mild magic-mushrooms and all manner of mostly piss-weak hallucinogens and rubbish like gurana power. in coffe shops you buy grass and hash off a weed-cart which is a menu, not a trolley. in cafes you can buy coffee, although most coffee-shops do sell coffee as well as weed and hash and space-cake. some even sell alcohol too. very few sell food. I am not sure why someone doesn't just set up a cafe that sells grass, hash and serves good food, beer, wine, cocktails. they could get rid of all the rubbish stereotyped bob-marley parephenalia too in my humble opinion.
  • by Dolda2000 ( 759023 ) <fredrik@dol d a 2 0 0 0 . c om> on Sunday October 16, 2005 @07:37AM (#13802490) Homepage
    Not that I want to debunk those results or anything, but saying that two similar substances of the same kind have the same effect would also imply that ethanol and methanol would have roughly the same effect. I doubt there is anyone on Slashdot who doesn't know the difference, though.
  • Re:About time. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 16, 2005 @08:38AM (#13802665)
    While we're at it with the anonymous confessions I feel the need to chime in.

    Several years ago I met a man in his early 50's, proper, intelligent, well employed and whatnot. After a good many beers he confided to me that he had been smoking weed since his early 20's, and that his son actually didn't know about it until he had turned 18, when he boldly proclaimed to his father that he had tried smoking and was prepared to stand up for it. Good laugh that.

    Anyways, this got me thinking. I had smoked some in College and figured what the hell, if he can do it then I can. This was at the point when I was starting out my professional career, 7 years ago. Since then I've made a rocket career, earned the respect of my colleagues, cultivated my social network and smoked kg's of weed.
    Nowadays I cut it back due to lung cancer risks, but I still very much appreciate the toke when I come home in the evening, which allows me to completely let go of all the issues at work and actually spend my spare time regenerating.

    So what's the point to all this ranting? I'm not advocating here, and I definately don't think that large doses of stimulative drugs such as THC would be good for the general masses, however I don't think that of alcohol either. No, I rather think that the negative aspects of Cannabis come from the social interpretation of it, in a way creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • by shotgunefx ( 239460 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @08:38AM (#13802667) Journal
    I don't believe grass has any worse effect than any other freely available substance (cigarettes, alcohol).

    God forbid someone smoke a joint to take the edge off. A lot of people on Paxil and similar drugs would probably benefit from a little grass. The difference is that the long-term effects of grass are well understood. Who knows what they'll find out about other antidepressants and anxiety medications in 10 or 20 years, and take about dulling the brain.

    Around my way, it seems everyone is on one of them. I'm not talking about people who can't leave their house or want to kill themselves, I'm talking about people lacking a little direction or a tad bit too much angst.

    The fact that grass is in the same class as heroin is ridiculous.

    I'm going to rant here as this is something that really pisses me off.

    When my mother was dying of cancer, they were trying to keep weight on her. Instead of giving her grass which would have some other beneficial effects, they gave her some drug they give to AIDS patients. I can't recall it's name, but I do recall that it was $300USD for a small jug and that the warning on it stated that the method of action was not known and that long term use could cause cancer. What the fuck?

    My brother also got cancer around the same time. Diagnosed two weeks apart actually, no family history of it either, just one big kick in the balls from life, but I digress...

    My brother was on about as much pain medication as you could be on without it killing you. His cancer was everywhere and I mean everywhere. They misdiagnosed for a long time. They figure it was spreading for at least 5 years.

    He had a pump installed under his skin that constantly pumped painkillers into him, plus a heavy regimen of Oxycontin (100+mg) all day long and some other assorted painkillers. For him, the gave him a THC compound to keep his appetite up. It didn't' work.

    On the other hand, when he started smoking tons of grass, it helped him tremendously. It helped him keep fighting, made him feel better and helped keep the anxiety at bay.

    Horrible enough to be in constant agony, but imagine you're mother going through the same thing, watching her die and seeing your own horrible end.

    My point is to anyone who thinks that grass is evil, is that grass isn't anyworse than anything else that's legal . It's almost certainly better than anything manufactured to play with your brain chemistry and it has lot's of positive effects and the fact that it's illegal, particularry for medical use is a friggin crime.
  • Re:About time. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 16, 2005 @09:02AM (#13802750)
    In my experience, I've found marijuana to be a miracle when it comes to writing/debugging code. If I find I'm driving myself nuts, I'll take a break and a few hits - suddenly, that little problem I couldn't figure out before might as well be waving at me.
  • by sumday ( 888112 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @09:32AM (#13802879)
    currently at university, i have a project where i have to draw 60 pages worth of stuff in 10 days. i find that being stoned, i can draw much, much better from my imagination. i can concentrate harder, and understand the medium a lot better than when i am sober. My drawings suck when i'm sober, but on weed, they are usually somewhat good.

    The only problem with smoking weed for this project, is i tend to just space out and do other stuff instead. so i'm quite a bit behind, but the stuff i've done while stoned is far more interesting than the crap i've done while sober.

    i've also noticed that since i started smoking weed, i've gotten alot better at writing songs and playing guitar.

    tis a good drug.
  • Weird (Score:2, Interesting)

    by thegnu ( 557446 ) <thegnu@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Sunday October 16, 2005 @11:59AM (#13803606) Journal
    I find it weird that people think that pot is bad. No, really. Because people don't seem to have a problem with alcohol, which is more destructive to your body and more likely to cause depression and/or physical aggression.

    Many of the same people don't have a problem with pharmaceutical antidepressants, when they increase the incidence of suicide. Oh, and homicide. And if you try and quit them, you might have seizures. But it's OK, because the people we're paying to kill people so we can drive our H2s tell us it's OK.

    Many of the same people think there's no problem with coffee, which I would say is about as destructive as pot. Coffee also has many positive effects, as does marijuana.

    Marijuana has a tendency to make me give in to what my body is asking for, I've noticed. Sometimes that means I overeat, but then again, I used to overeat all the time before I started smoking. Usually it means after I've been running around all week stressing out, I relax, with no excuses. If I'm repressing energy, when I smoke I start expressing it, with no excuses.

    It's illegal for no good reason, and the only reason prohibition of marijuana works where prohibition of alcohol didn't is that potheads aren't violent like alcoholics.

    Oh, and what's the deal with those people torturing their kids--crushing their fingers, beating them, etc.--who are only getting like 10 years? Carrying one hit of acid in GA gets you 15 years firm. Hmmm.... I'll take the drug user over the child torture artist. Really. Why don't all you start your own tribe somewhere?
  • by elohim ( 512193 ) on Sunday October 16, 2005 @01:03PM (#13803992)
    I don't think it's such a bad analogy. There are plenty of antiestrogrens that are extremely close in structure to estrogen, and in vivo have effects on some types of estrogen receptors that are antiestrogen and proestrogen effects on other estrogen receptor subtypes.
  • Re:Good Grief (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 16, 2005 @01:24PM (#13804135)
    Oh, right.. the one that says it's causing an epidemic of schizophrenia.. Of course, schizophrenia rates have not gone up with the increased cannabis use rates, but lets just ignore that.

    And of course, that study was about kids. Maybe we should actually protect children by regulating "controlled substances", instead of watching kids buy crack from other kids on the street.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 16, 2005 @01:55PM (#13804319)

    Note that the first two hits from the link given above are to papers that support the hypothesis that smoking moderate amounts of marijuana is medically OK. The first study finds improvement in brain function on one test for moderate chronic marijuana users; heavy users had some impairment. (This study has some obvious issues with causality: matching subject by pre-use intelligence scores is probably not a sufficient control.) The second study finds no difference in hormone levels between even heavy chronic marijuana users and non-users.

    My understanding of the medical literature on marijuana is that it is mostly about effects subtle enough to be difficult to detect, punctuated by the occasional study with obvious (usually anti-drug) bias.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky