2-27-19 Engineered yeast can brew up the active ingredients in cannabis plants
Genes from the cannabis plant have been added to yeast strains to enable them to make cannabinoids, key chemicals from the plant that have therapeutic value. The “cannayeasts” should make it possible to turn sugar into pure forms of many different cannabinoids, and to do so more cheaply and with less environmental damage than farming. “It gives us access to all these rare cannabinoids that might even be better therapeutics,” says Jay Keasling at the University of California, Berkeley, who led the team behind the work. Our bodies produce cannabinoids to help regulate everything from memory to appetite. Marijuana plants make more than 100 chemicals that can also bind to the cannabinoid receptors in our nervous system. The main cannabinoid in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is what makes people feel “stoned” when they take cannabis. The next most abundant is cannabidiol (CBD). This helps reduce the symptoms of some forms of epilepsy, and may be useful for treating a few other conditions too. Various forms of CBD, such as e-spliffs, have become fashionable lately, and are claimed to have all kinds of benefits. (CBD is legal in many countries where cannabis remains illegal.) But extracting pure CBD or THC from plants, or making it from scratch, is difficult and expensive. Keasling says the genetically modified yeasts will produce pure cannabinoids more cheaply. “We can beat the economics of growing it on farms,” he says. “In part, it’s because there is a lot of manual labour in clipping the buds and all the things you have to do to grow cannabis.” What’s more, producing chemicals in yeast is less environmentally damaging than growing large amounts of a plant just to extract a chemical that is present in tiny quantities, he says.
1-29-19 Cannabis cookies given to boy, 4, for temper tantrums
A California doctor is fighting for his licence after he prescribed cannabis cookies to a four-year-old boy. Dr William Eidelman, a natural medicine physician, said small doses of marijuana would help control the child's temper tantrums. The doctor misdiagnosed the child as having bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder (ADD). The Medical Board of California ruled to revoke the doctor's licence but he has launched an appeal. The board did not seek to revoke the licence because the doctor had prescribed cannabis to a child, which is legal for medicinal purposes in the state of California. Dr Eidelman was investigated due to being "negligent in his care and treatment" - he had failed to consult a psychiatrist in the case or communicate with the school. The boy's father consulted Dr Eidelman in September 2012 because his son was misbehaving at school. The doctor recommended small amounts of the drug, which was revealed when the school nurse was asked to give the boy his cannabis cookies at lunchtime. As a child, the boy's father had ADHD and bipolar disorder himself and had a negative experience with prescribed medications at the time, saying he felt like a "human guinea pig". He started using marijuana later in life, saying it helped "calm him" and changed his behaviour towards his wife, towards whom he had previously "exhibited anger". The father had previously obtained the drug for his older son, who had also been diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar disorder. He said marijuana had had a "positive effect" on both his children. (Webmaster's comment: Since marijauna is even bad for undeveloped teenage minds this is every risky.)
1-26-19 America's CBD mania
The cannabis extract is being hailed as a miracle drug. Is there any evidence that it works?
- What is it? Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound in the Cannabis sativa plant that doesn't get you high.
- How is it ingested? Some puff it from a vaporizer, but it's mainly produced as an oil concentrate, allowing it to be mixed in juice or other liquids and consumed by drinking.
- So it's legal? It's actually in a gray area.
- How will that help? Without regulation, CBD products are marketed and labeled about as reliably as snake oil.
- Is CBD backed by science? Most findings are preliminary at best, since research on CBD itself began only a few years ago.
- Where do experts stand? Research may be sparse, but unlike, say, crystals and healing bracelets, CBD clearly does have biological effects.
- The GOP's embrace of hemp: The Republican Party's long-standing hostility toward cannabis was captured by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who famously said, "Good people don't smoke marijuana."
1-25-19 Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence
As marijuana continues its “inevitable march to legalization in all 50 states,” Americans have largely accepted the pot lobby’s claim that the drug is relatively harmless, said Reed Tucker in the New York Post. “But what if it’s not?” Alex Berenson, a former New York Times investigative reporter, has pored through decades of weed research and come up with a powerful case for caution. Tell Your Children makes clear the link between cannabis use and psychotic disorders—one study showed that heavy users have a six times greater chance of developing schizophrenia—and unearths scientific evidence that marijuana can be a gateway drug, leading to opiate or cocaine use. Meanwhile, he finds little proof of weed’s supposed medical value, instead discovering that it might worsen anxiety and PTSD and also raise the risk of testicular cancer. The uncertainty of weed researchers is “scarcely more reassuring than Berenson’s alarmism,” said Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker. Right now, we simply don’t know how damaging marijuana is to its millions of users. Most likely, weed sits somewhere in the middle on the drug continuum: far less benign than coffee, not nearly as pernicious as opioids. And so, as Berenson suggests, we might consider treating marijuana as we do alcohol or nicotine: legalizing it, but also passing laws that, however imperfectly, work to limit its use. For now, “the advice that seasoned potheads sometimes give new users—‘start low and go slow’—is probably good advice for society as a whole, at least until we better understand what we are dealing with.”
With doctor's advice and under prescription control legalizing
Medical Marijuana seems like a good idea, but the above scientific
facts will help you decide whether to support it or not.
Medical Marijuana Articles 2019