Cannabis Catch-All?

Researchers in the U.K. are looking to breed marijuana to make medicines for metabolic disorders, epilepsy, and other diseases.

By | June 20, 2012

Wikimedia Commons" > Wikimedia Commons


GW Pharmaceuticals—the United Kingdom’s only legal cannabis production facility—is already developing Sativex, a drug consisting of two principal cannabinoids (THC and CBD). Sativex is currently in Phase III trials for treating muscle spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients. But GW’s researchers are also studying how marijuana derivatives could be used to treat a much wider range of diseases, including metabolic disorders, epilepsy, ulcerative colitis, psychosis, brain injury, and cancer pain.

“As rigorous modern research with cannabinoids comes to fruition, a new era of treatment options may have arrived,” David Potter, director of Botanical Research and Cultivation at GW Pharmaceuticals who wrote about the company’s efforts this week (June 11) in The Biologist, said in a press release.

GW’s strategy is to breed cannabis plants that produce varying levels of natural cannabinoids. Among the plants the team has bred are those with high levels of THCV, a cannabinoid that is structurally similar to THC, but is normally present only in low quantities. There is evidence that THCV regulates a variety of metabolic functions, including lipid deposition, cellular energy expenditure, and insulin resistance, and company researchers are hopeful it will prove an effective treatment against type II diabetes.

Stay tuned for our July feature on alternative medicines to learn more about the potential uses of medical marijuana that are being investigated, as well as the legitimacy of other non-traditional treatments, including acupuncture, probiotics, and psychedelics.

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Avatar of: Norman Gooding

Norman Gooding

Posts: 1457

June 20, 2012

But it isn't medicine unless the pharmaceutical companies make money from it even though the "medicine" G&W is having tested is described in 4000 year old Chinese medical scrolls and dispensaries in states where medical marijuana laws allow it are already producing and selling it.

The corruption and control corporations have in our governments must be stopped!

Avatar of: Edward R. Mikol

Edward R. Mikol

Posts: 1457

June 20, 2012

I have an illustrated medical book from the 1880's that lists the medicinal properties of cannabis.

What goes around...

Avatar of: EllenHunt


Posts: 74

June 21, 2012

Ok. If I accept your argument we should bring back mercury/lead/arsenic cures. Those are written up in ancient texts too, and they work.Not just cures, but the Romans preserved their wine with lead. Those just have this side effect of causing severe, sometimes deadly, neurological problems. Even today, ayurvedic medicines contain problematic quantities and some people make up an ancient "royal tonic" formula that is around 1/3 mercury and hang it in a pouch next to the skin. The active ingredient is mercury. It makes them feel better, quite energetic. And over time they go mad as a hatter, then develop other serious problems.

Sure, cannabis is not as toxic as heavy metals, but we know that why? Because we have done sophisticated work on it. And one thing we have learned is that cannabis is not cannabis - in other words, you imbibe one variety and it does one thing. You imbibe another variety it does something else. There are many chemicals in cannabis. Depending on the balance of chemicals cannabis will tend either to cause severe memory problems or it won't.

The effects also depend on the number of cannabis receptors. People with low numbers of cannabinoid receptors tend to be high-strung and have good memories. For them, smoking cannabis calms them down. People with high levels of cannabinoid receptors in the brain are naturally good at forgetting. The smoke cannabis and it tends to make them excellent at forgetting.

Today, one of the primary problems that psychiatrists and psychologists treat in adolescents on the West Coast is "amotivational syndrome." What this really means is: Kid discovers Humboldt skunk weed. Kid no longer cares to do anything but get stoned and hang out. Grades go in the toilet. Mom and dad get worried. Kid doesn't care.

Also, smoking anything is not a good idea for health.

Avatar of: jway


Posts: 1

June 21, 2012

Cannabis is an evil, deadly DRUG, unless some pharmaceutical company processes it, mass-produces it and pushes it onto doctors - at which point it becomes a respected medicine. What hypocrisy! 

And even more hypocritical in this particular situation is that Ms. Andrea Barthwell crisscrossed the U.S. as Deputy Director of the ONDCP campaigning AGAINST marijuana, and then quit her job to go work for GW Pharmaceuticals developing Sativex - which is straight-up marijuana in liquid form. 

And now GW wants to breed new marijuana strains in order to fatten their bottom line, all the while with Ms. Barthwell's ex-employer keeping marijuana illegal in the U.S. - thus guaranteeing that GW won't have to compete against any pesky patients who might prefer to grow their own medicine?!! Wow! 

Somebody's going to get fat off this monopoly and it ain't gonna be you and me who fund the federal marijuana prohibition!!

Avatar of: EllenHunt


Posts: 74

June 21, 2012

The link I removed.
Lead, mercury, and arsenic in US- and Indian-manufactured Ayurvedic medicines sold via the Internet.  2008

Avatar of: EllenHunt


Posts: 74

June 22, 2012

Can someone tell me why my posts got the axe? I posted scientifically about this.
So where are those "moderators" who are supposed to decide if something is acceptable or not? And why are they sitting on my posts? Yesterday I was locked out of the system, which I suspect was because a post of mine was flagged.

Avatar of: Andrea Uccello

Andrea Uccello

Posts: 1457

June 22, 2012

Great news...
Instead of letting people to breed their own medicine, we keep it illegal for all but for corporations, that can make money as well as all kinds of mafia.
Good idea, really...

Avatar of: Matthew Grossman

Matthew Grossman

Posts: 1

June 23, 2012

Because you are moralizing not talking science!

June 26, 2012

Hilarious! David Potter is the name of director! Nothing to declare

June 26, 2012

Hilarious! The director name is David Potter!!

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