Marijuana good for your brain

26 06 2009

Forget the stereotype about dopey potheads. It seems marijuana could be good for your brain.

homer brainWhile other studies have shown that periodic use of marijuana can cause memory loss and impair learning and a host of other health problems down the road, new research suggests the drug could have some benefits when administered regularly in a highly potent form.

Most “drugs of abuse” such as alcohol, heroin, cocaine and nicotine suppress growth of new brain cells. However, researchers found that cannabinoids promoted generation of new neurons in rats’ hippocampuses.

Hippocampuses are the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory, and the study held true for either plant-derived or the synthetic version of cannabinoids.

“This is quite a surprise,” said Xia Zhang, an associate professor with the Neuropsychiatry Research Unit at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

Read the rest of this entry »





Cannabis cures Cancer?

31 03 2009




Cannabis Growing Guide 6/6 – Flowering & Harvesting

28 01 2009

The flowering

Indoor your cannabis grow when you give them 18 hours light per day. If you cut this to 12 hours of light per day they will start flowering.  This means 12 hours of light and 12 hours of absolute darkness. This cycle will have to continue, depending on the kind, for 8 to 9 weeks. After that period the marijuana should be ready for harvesting.. Flowering plants should not be sprayed often as this will promote mold and rot. Keep humidity levels down indoors when flowering, as this is the most delicate time for the plants in this regard.
If you are growing your plants outside you will have to wait until the days grow shorter at the end of the summer/ beginning of the fall. September is the harvest month for weed in your garden.
Look for the white hairs to turn red, orange or brown, and the false seed pods ( you did pull the males, right?) to swell with resins. When most of the pistils have turned color (~80%), the flowers are ripe to harvest.

Harvesting

Most new growers want to pick early, because they are impatient. That is OK! Just take buds from the middle of the plant or the top. Allow the rest to keep maturing. Often, the tops of the plants will be ripe first. Harvest them and let the rest of the plant continue to ripen. You will notice the lower buds getting bigger and fuzzier as they come into full maturity. With more light available to the bottom portion of the plant now, the plant yields more this way over time, than taking a single harvest.
Do not touch those buds! Touch only the large fan leaves if you want to inspect the buds, as the THC will come off on your fingers and reduce the overall yield if mishandled.

Drying

Do not cure pot in the sun, it reduces potency. Slow cure hanging buds upside down in a ventilated space. That is all that is needed to have great sensi. Drying in a paper bag works too, and may be much more convenient. Bud tastes great when slow dried over the course of a week or three.

Use a seal-a-meal to hermetically seal the bag with no air inside. Never ever store your buds when they are not 100% dry.  Freezing your buds is the best way to conserve your weed for a long long time.

<< Cannabis Growing Guide 5/6 – Male/Female





2,700-year-old marijuana found in Chinese tomb

10 12 2008

Researchers say they have located the world’s oldest stash of marijuana, in a tomb in a remote part of China.

The cache of cannabis is about 2,700 years old and was clearly “cultivated for psychoactive purposes,” rather than as fibre for clothing or as food, says a research paper in the Journal of Experimental Botany.

The 789 grams of dried cannabis was buried alongside a light-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian man, likely a shaman of the Gushi culture, near Turpan in northwestern China.

The extremely dry conditions and alkaline soil acted as preservatives, allowing a team of scientists to carefully analyze the stash, which still looked green though it had lost its distinctive odour.

“To our knowledge, these investigations provide the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent,” says the newly published paper, whose lead author was American neurologist Dr. Ethan B. Russo.

Remnants of cannabis have been found in ancient Egypt and other sites, and the substance has been referred to by authors such as the Greek historian Herodotus. But the tomb stash is the oldest so far that could be thoroughly tested for its properties.

The 18 researchers, most of them based in China, subjected the cannabis to a battery of tests, including carbon dating and genetic analysis. Scientists also tried to germinate 100 of the seeds found in the cache, without success.

The marijuana was found to have a relatively high content of THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis, but the sample was too old to determine a precise percentage.

Researchers also could not determine whether the cannabis was smoked or ingested, as there were no pipes or other clues in the tomb of the shaman, who was about 45 years old.

The large cache was contained in a leather basket and in a wooden bowl, and was likely meant to be used by the shaman in the afterlife.

“This materially is unequivocally cannabis, and no material has previously had this degree of analysis possible,” Russo said in an interview from Missoula, Mont.

“It was common practice in burials to provide materials needed for the afterlife. No hemp or seeds were provided for fabric or food. Rather, cannabis as medicine or for visionary purposes was supplied.”

The tomb also contained bridles, archery equipment and a harp, confirming the man’s high social standing.

Russo is a full-time consultant with GW Pharmaceuticals, which makes Sativex, a cannabis-based medicine approved in Canada for pain linked to multiple sclerosis and cancer.

The company operates a cannabis-testing laboratory at a secret location in southern England to monitor crop quality for producing Sativex, and allowed Russo use of the facility for tests on 11 grams of the tomb cannabis.

Researchers needed about 10 months to cut red tape barring the transfer of the cannabis to England from China, Russo said.

The inter-disciplinary study was published this week by the British-based botany journal, which uses independent reviewers to ensure the accuracy and objectivity of all submitted papers.

The substance has been found in two of the 500 Gushi tombs excavated so far in northwestern China, indicating that cannabis was either restricted for use by a few individuals or was administered as a medicine to others through shamans, Russo said.

“It certainly does indicate that cannabis has been used by man for a variety of purposes for thousands of years.”

Russo, who had a neurology practice for 20 years, has previously published studies examining the history of cannabis.

“I hope we can avoid some of the political liabilities of the issue,” he said, referring to his latest paper.

The region of China where the tomb is located, Xinjiang, is considered an original source of many cannabis strains worldwide.

Source: thestar.com





Cannabis as an as antibacterial agent?

9 09 2008

Researchers in Italy and Britain have found that the main active ingredient in marijuana — tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — and related compounds show promise as antibacterial agents, particularly against microbial strains that are already resistant to several classes of drugs.

It has been known for decades that Cannabis sativa has antibacterial properties. Experiments in the 1950s tested various marijuana preparations against skin and other infections, but researchers at the time had little understanding of marijuana’s chemical makeup.

The current research, by Giovanni Appendino of the University of the Eastern Piedmont and colleagues and published in The Journal of Natural Products, looked at the antibacterial activity of the five most common cannabinoids. All were effective against several common multiresistant bacterial strains, although, perhaps understandably, the researchers suggested that the nonpsychotropic cannabinoids might prove more promising for eventual use.

The researchers say they do not know how the cannabinoids work or whether they would be effective, as systemic antibiotics would require much more research and trials. But the compounds may prove useful sooner as a topical agent against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, to prevent the microbes from colonizing on the skin.

Source: nytimes.com








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