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April 2021
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Senate Majority Leader

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12 comments to Senate Majority Leader

  • Servetus

    Pain relieving effects of CBD studied at Syracuse University:

    “23-APR-2021 — For science and the public at large the question remained, is the pain relief that CBD users claim to experience due to pharmacological effects or placebo effects,” asked Martin De Vita, a researcher in the psychology department at Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences. “That’s a fair question because we know that simply telling someone that a substance has the ability to relieve their pain can actually cause robust changes in their pain sensitivity. These are called expectancy effects.” […]

    …As the first experimental pain trial to examine CBD, their study yielded consistent and noteworthy results. Among other findings, the data showed that CBD and expectancies for receiving CBD do not appear to reduce experimental pain intensity, but do make the pain feel less unpleasant…we found improvements in pain measures caused by the pharmacological effects of CBD and the psychological effects of just expecting that they had gotten CBD. It was pretty remarkable and surprising.”

    “The data is exciting but pretty complex in that different pain measures responded differently to the drug effect, to the expectancy, or both the drug and expectancy combined–so we’re still trying to figure out what is behind the differential data with different kinds of pain measures,” said Maisto. “The next step is studying the mechanisms underlying these findings and figuring out why giving instructions or CBD itself causes certain reactions to a pain stimulus.”

    …we were going into this thinking we were going to primarily detect the expectancy-induced pain relief but what we found out was way more complex than that and that’s exciting.”

    One important note to also consider is the source of the CBD. “What we used in our study was pure CBD isolate oil,” said De Vita. “Commercially available CBD products differ in their content and purity, so results might be different for different CBD products, depending on what other compounds they may or may not contain.” […]

    AAAS Public Research News Release: Research shows pain relieving effects of CBD

    Original Source: De Vita, M. J., Maisto, S. A., Gilmour, C. E., McGuire, L., Tarvin, E., & Moskal, D. (2021). “The effects of cannabidiol and analgesic expectancies on experimental pain reactivity in healthy adults: A balanced placebo design trial.” Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. Advance online publication.

  • Servetus

    E.W. Jackson says marijuana legalization in Virginia is demonic and that it is the result of Democrats who want to control Black people:

    Right-wing pastor and radio host E.W. Jackson used his “Wisdom Awakening” program Tuesday morning to rail against the legalization of marijuana in Virginia, calling it a “demonic” effort by Democrats to control Black people.

    Ignoring statistics that show that Black people are far more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people, despite the fact that usage among the two groups is the same, Jackson declared that Democrats are racists who are only in favor of legalizing marijuana because it makes it easier for them to control and manipulate Black people.

    “The biggest and most destructive racists in America are not the Ku Klux Klan, it’s not the skinheads, it’s not the Proud Boys,” Jackson said. “The biggest and most destructive racist in America today are the Democrat Party and the left and all of those associated with them. They are the biggest racists on the planet today. They are the biggest racists in America, and they are the most destructive.”

    “They are the most destructive force in this country doing damage to these communities [of color],” he continued. “And here’s proof positive of it. They think that somehow Black folks are the primary users of marijuana. … All of this stuff that they’re doing is demonic.” […]

    https://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/e-w-jackson-says-marijuana-legalization-is-demonic-effort-by-democrats-to-control-black-people/

  • Servetus

    If the U.S. government really wanted to do something to encourage young people not to use drugs, instead of arresting or killing them they might try increasing tuition-free educational opportunities, as well as introducing federal and state programs to reduce poverty and despair:

    April 27, 2021 — …Now an associate professor in the University of Missouri School of Health Professions, Majee researches the challenges facing disadvantaged, rural youth. He found in a recent study that young people who are disengaged from their communities are much more likely to participate in risky behaviors such as substance abuse, particularly in rural areas that lack educational opportunities.

    For the study, Majee and his colleague, Lisa Wegner, spoke with youth in rural South Africa…He found that a lack of educational opportunities, combined with other factors – such as a lack of motivation, absent adult role models and few recreational activities – compound to create feelings of hopelessness and despair in young people. These feelings can influence drug use and other risky behaviors.

    “All of these factors the young people mentioned, in addition to poverty, unemployment and a lack of basic resources such as health facilities, libraries, available drinking water and internet access, compound together to limit opportunities for rural youth,” Majee said. […]

    “Rural schools not only lack qualified teachers, but they also often lack a variety of subject choices for students to take, as many rural schools do not offer classes in science, information technology, engineering or math,” Majee said. “Yet we live in a technology-driven world that is fueled by these STEM subjects; so rural youth see no value in going to school if they can’t learn the subjects that will help them get a job.” […]

    University of Missouri News Release: Lack of educational opportunities influence drug use for rural youth:
    MU study identifies compounding challenges that limit advancement opportunities for disengaged youth, offers possible solutions

    Related Journal Article: Rural voices: A social‐ecological perspective on factors influencing youth substance use in rural South africa

  • Servetus

    A new device called a psychLight developed at the University of California, Davis, allows researchers to access the activity of the serotonin 2A receptor (5-HT2AR) to determine the psychedelic activity and healing potential, or not, of different psychedelic compounds:

    28-APR-2021 — Psychedelic drugs have shown promise for treating neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. However, due to their hallucinatory side effects, some researchers are trying to identify drugs that could offer the benefits of psychedelics without causing hallucinations. In the journal Cell on April 28, researchers report they have identified one such drug through the development of a genetically encoded fluorescent sensor–called psychLight–that can screen for hallucinogenic potential by indicating when a compound activates the serotonin 2A receptor . […]

    Experts believe that one of the benefits of using psychedelic drugs over existing drugs is that they appear to promote neural plasticity–essentially allowing the brain to rewire itself. If proven effective, this approach could lead to a drug that works in a single dose or a small number of doses, rather than having to be taken indefinitely. But one thing that researchers don’t know is whether patients would be able to gain the full benefit of neural plasticity without undergoing the “psychedelic trip” part of the treatment. […]

    In the paper, the investigators report that they used psychLight to identify a compound called AAZ-A-154, a previously unstudied molecule that has the potential to act on beneficial pathways in the brain without hallucinogenic effects. “One of the problems with psychedelic therapies is that they require close guidance and supervision from a medical team,” Olson says. “A drug that doesn’t cause hallucinations could be taken at home.” […]

    AAAS Public Science News Release: Researchers identify a psychedelic-like drug without the hallucinogenic side effects

    Related Journal Article (Paywall) “Psychedelic-inspired drug discovery using an engineered biosensor”, Chunyang Dong, Calvin Ly, Lee E. Dunlap, William C. Wetsel, David E. Olson, Lin Tian.

  • Servetus

    Tissue culture micropropagation has been developed for hemp and marijuana production to produce disease-free plants with enhanced vigor:

    MAY 4, 2021 — Researchers from UConn – including Associate Professor Jessica Lubell-Brand, Ph.D. student Lauren Kurtz, and Professor Mark Brand, in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture – have worked through some of the challenges of cannabis micropropagation of hemp. Their method was recently published in HortTechnology.

    Currently, the commercial cannabis industry relies on other propagation techniques, such as collecting seeds or taking carefully timed cuttings from stock “mother” plants. These methods require a lot of space and maintenance, since multiple specimens of each line of stock plants must be kept in the event of disease outbreak or plant death.

    “Micropropagation produces many more clones than other methods. Since it is not relying on seed, the clones are uniform, and they will perform similarly to the parent plant. Plants that come out of tissue culture also have the benefit of being disease-free, they frequently show enhanced vigor, and you can grow a lot more in less space,” says Lubell-Brand.

    …For some plants, micropropagation is easy to accomplish, where explants placed in the growing medium will multiply readily. For others, like cannabis, the process requires quite a bit of refining to ensure the production of a large number of healthy plants.

    “Cannabis does not really want to be in tissue culture. This research is a lot of trying to figure out what more does the plant need?” says Lubell-Brand. […]

    UConn Today News Release: One Step Closer to Efficient Cannabis Production: Bringing a technique that has been a boon to other plants to the budding cannabis industry

    Related Journal Article: An In Vitro – Ex Vitro Micropropagation System for Hemp

  • Servetus

    Regarding the long sought question of whether cannabis use leads to psychosis in adolescents, an international study has exonerted cannabis by linking brain thinning to psychosis that can be detected in 12-to-16 year olds months before they develop disease symptoms:

    5 May 2021 — …Jalbrzikowsi and Dennis Hernaus, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Mental Health and Neuroscience at Maastricht University, are co-chairs of the Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics Through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA) Clinical High Risk for Psychosis Working Group. This group pooled structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans from 3,169 volunteer participants at an average age of 21 who were recruited at 31 different institutions. About half–1,792 of the participants–had been determined to be at “clinical high risk for developing psychosis.” Of those high-risk participants, 253 went on to develop psychosis within two years. The co-chairs emphasized that this study would not be possible without the collaborative efforts of the 100-plus researchers involved.

    When looking at all the scans together, the team found that those at high risk for psychosis had widespread lower cortical thickness, a measure of the thickness of the brain’s gray matter. In high-risk youth who later developed psychosis, a thinner cortex was most pronounced in several temporal and frontal regions.

    Everyone goes through a cortical thinning process as they develop into an adult, but the team found that in younger participants between 12 and 16 years old who developed psychosis the thinning was already present. These high-risk youth who developed psychosis also progressed at a slower rate than in the control group.

    “We don’t yet know exactly what this means, but adolescence is a critical time in a child’s life–it’s a time of opportunity to take risks and explore, but also a period of vulnerability,” Jalbrzikowski said. “We could be seeing the result of something that happened even earlier in brain development but only begins to influence behavior during this developmental stage.” […]

    University of Pittsburgh: International Study Links Brain Thinning to Psychosis

    Related Journal Article: Association of Structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging Measures With Psychosis Onset in Individuals at Clinical High Risk for Developing Psychosis

  • Servetus

    Bioavailability is limited in CBD therapies. Researchers find it to be greater in KLS-13019:

    May 5, 2021 — …Studies have shown that while CBD reduces pain sensation in animals, its ability to do so in humans is limited by low bioavailability, the extent to which the drug successfully reaches its site of action. Now, new work by scientists at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University suggests this obstacle may be overcome by a novel CBD analog known as KLS-13019.

    “In a mouse model of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), we’ve been able to show for the first time that KLS-13019 works as well as, if not better than, CBD in preventing the development of neuropathy and reversing pain sensitivity after pain has been established,” said Sara Jane Ward, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at the Katz School of Medicine and senior investigator on the new study. The findings were published online April 6 in the British Journal of Pharmacology.

    KLS-13019, developed by the Pennsylvania-based bio-pharmaceutical and phyto-medical company Neuropathix, Inc., is among the most promising neuroprotective CBD analogs currently under investigation. In previous work in cell models, it was found to be more potent than CBD, and studies in animals suggested it had improved bioavailability.

    Encouraged by those initial studies, Dr. Ward and colleagues set out to better understand the pain-relieving capabilities of KLS-13019, relative to CBD, in animals with CIPN. CIPN is a common side effect of certain cancer treatments that damage peripheral nerves, which carry sensory information to the arms, legs, and brain. The severe pain, or peripheral neuropathy, caused by CIPN manifests in different ways in human patients but frequently involves tingling or burning sensations and numbness, weakness, or discomfort in the limbs.

    In a series of experiments designed to gauge animals’ pain responses, the researchers found that pain sensitivity was greatly reduced in animals with CIPN that were treated with KLS-13019 or CBD. KLS-13019 further reversed sensitivity to painful stimuli in animals in which peripheral neuropathy was already established, an effect that was not observed in CBD-treated animals. […]

    While Dr. Ward and colleagues did not find evidence supporting a role for CBD in reducing opioid craving, they did observe significantly reduced opioid-seeking behavior in KLS-13019-treated animals. […]

    Temple Health News Release: Analog Drug Derived from Cannabis Shows Promising Pain-Halting Effects in Mice, Temple Scientists Report

    British Journal of Pharmacology: “Behavioral and pharmacological effects of cannabidiol (CBD) and the CBD analogue KLS‐13019 in mouse models of pain and reinforcement”, Jeffery D. Foss, Daniel J. Farkas, Lana M. Huynh, William A. Kinney, Douglas E. Brenneman, Sara Jane Ward

  • Servetus

    Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad predict the U.S. will not leave Afghanistan:

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/05/07/united-states-withdraws-from-afghanistan-not-really/

  • Servetus

    Some people might prefer the pain relieving effects of marijuana without its various side effects, people with chronic pain, for example:

    12 May 2021–Many people live with chronic pain, and in some cases, cannabis can provide relief. But the drug also can significantly impact memory and other cognitive functions. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Journal of Medicinal Chemistry have developed a peptide that, in mice, allowed Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main component of Cannabis sativa, to fight pain without the side effects […]

    …researchers identified two peptides that disrupt an interaction between a receptor that’s the target of THC and another receptor that binds serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates learning, memory and other cognitive functions. When the researchers injected the peptides into the brains of mice, the mice had fewer memory problems caused by THC. Now, this team, led by Rafael Maldonado, David Andreu and colleagues, wanted to improve these peptides to make them smaller, more stable, orally active and able to cross the blood-brain barrier. […]

    AAAS Public Research News Release: Peptide could allow medical marijuana to relieve pain without side effects

  • Servetus

    A new drug similar in chemical structure to ibogaine does not create hallucinations or possess toxicity and acts to counter the effects of stress in the brains of mice:

    25-MAY-2021 — Researchers found that a single dose of tabernanthalog (TBG) can correct stress-induced behavioral deficits, including anxiety and cognitive inflexibility, and also promotes the regrowth of neuronal connections and restores neural circuits in the brain that are disrupted by stress. The study was published May 25 in Molecular Psychiatry.

    “It was very surprising that a single treatment with a low dose had such dramatic effects within a day,” said corresponding author Yi Zuo, professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology at UC Santa Cruz. “I had a hard time believing it even when I saw the initial data.” […]

    In recent years, there has been renewed interest in the use of psychedelic substances for treating illnesses such as addiction, depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder. The hallucinogenic effects of these drugs remain a concern, however, and scientists have been unsure whether the hallucinations are therapeutically important or just a side effect.

    Ibogaine has shown promise for treating addiction, but it causes dangerous heart arrhythmias in addition to being a powerful hallucinogen. TBG has not yet been tested in humans, but it lacks ibogaine’s toxicity in animal tests, and it doesn’t induce the head-twitch behavior in mice caused by known hallucinogens. […]

    AAAS Public News Release: Non-hallucinogenic psychedelic analog reverses effects of stress in mouse study: Free of toxic and hallucinogenic side effects, ibogaine-inspired tabernanthalog shows promise as a potential treatment for the detrimental effects of stress on the brain

    Related Journal Article: “An analog of psychedelics restores functional neural circuits disrupted by unpredictable stress,”Ju Lu, Michelle Tjia, Brian Mullen, Bing Cao, Kacper Lukasiewicz, Sajita Shah-Morales, Sydney Weiser, Lindsay P. Cameron, David E. Olson, Lu Chen & Yi Zuo

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