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> Why teenagers should steer clear of cannabis
Cassox
post Dec 18, 2007, 08:28 PM
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QUOTE(Orbz @ Feb 19, 2007, 06:21 PM) *

A possible mechanism for the rat study on THC and heroin...

Most drugs of abuse and rewarding situations raise dopamine levels either directly or indirectly (through incentive motivational effects). As cannabis has numerous interactions with the dopaminergic system, it is possible then that this system has become sensitised towards incentive stimuli through the administration of THC. This would manifest later on as increased consumption of other rewarding stimuli and in this study they used heroin which could be easily replaced with alcohol, methamphetamine, cocaine and probably even sucrose consumption. I would also think that administration of the aforementioned substances (possibly including sucrose) would also lead to the increased consumption of heroin.

So my understanding of the situation is that administration of one rewarding substance will increase consumption of a second seemingly unrelated substance. And looking at some animal data this will increase until a set point is reached well above a natural rewarding threshold. This fits with the fact that many users who prefer heroin will use methamphetamine during heroin droughts to stave of craving.

Although this only takes into account the dopaminergic system...


I'm curious as to why lowering the sensitivity to dopamines would neccesarilly be bad. Lets hypothesize that I'm a pot smoking 12 year old. As I age, my "reward system" prevents me from feeling complete or satisfied with a state that satiates most. Perhaps I push myself further in order to gain the dopamine rewards I seek. Couldn't this just as easily act as a factor towards me being an "overacheiver?"

Does having a lowered dopamine sensitivity mean that I neccesarilly must have a chemical high to be satisfied, or does it mean that I need higher stimulation to achieve it?
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Orbz
post Dec 19, 2007, 12:48 AM
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QUOTE(Cassox @ Dec 19, 2007, 12:28 PM) *

I'm curious as to why lowering the sensitivity to dopamines would neccesarilly be bad. Lets hypothesize that I'm a pot smoking 12 year old. As I age, my "reward system" prevents me from feeling complete or satisfied with a state that satiates most. Perhaps I push myself further in order to gain the dopamine rewards I seek. Couldn't this just as easily act as a factor towards me being an "overacheiver?"

Does having a lowered dopamine sensitivity mean that I neccesarilly must have a chemical high to be satisfied, or does it mean that I need higher stimulation to achieve it?

Lowering dopamine sensitivity would probably lead somebody into depression. Dopamine insensitivity, as related to motivation and incentives, would mean that somebody finds less things appealing, has less motivation and less drive towards doing things.
Increasing dopamine sensitivity would probably make a person more impulsive. Dopamine supersensitivity, can lead a person to compulsively approach (or even avoid) whatever has been associated with previous reward.

These probably both happen in dependence situations, so - an abstinent drug dependent person is presumably in a chronically lowered state of dopamine activity (amongst other things), manifesting as depression/amotivation, until drug related stimuli appear. These stimuli then overactivate the dopamine system leading to compulsive approach behaviours. It doesn't happen with other objects/activities because these things haven't been associated with intense reinforcement like drugs have.

There is a bit of research on some of the questions you ask, maybe not directly answering them, but close. I'll have a look.


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trojan_libido
post Dec 19, 2007, 04:11 AM
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Some quotes from New Scientist 2002 which I find insanely stupid (http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn3039):

QUOTE
Smoking pure marijuana is at least as harmful to lungs as smoking tobacco, a report from the British Lung Foundation concludes. And in some key ways, it may be more dangerous.

For example, the BLF's review of previous research highlights that just three marijuana joints a day causes the same damage to the lung's airways as 20 cigarettes, mainly because of the way joints are smoked.
Blaming the substance when its really the delivery method causing damage. Just like injecting vodka can cause death, as can setting it on fire whilst you drink it. STUPID.

QUOTE
...But when cannabis and tobacco are smoked together, the health effects are worse.
If 'Smoking pure marijuana is at least as harmful to lungs as smoking tobacco' then how can smoking it with tobacco, thus diluting it, be worse? STUPID.

QUOTE
• Tar from cannabis cigarettes contains up to 50 per cent higher concentrations of carcinogens benzathracenes and benzpyrenes than tobacco smoke
Again I believe this is mixing the problem of the delivery method with the actual substance. What about eating it or the hot air delivery system (cant remember the name) that doesn't even burn the buds?

QUOTE
• THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient of cannabis, decreases the function of immune system cells that help protect the lungs from infection


QUOTE
• The average cannabis cigarette smoked in the 1960s contained about 10 milligrams of tetrahydrocanabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient. Today, it may contain 150 mg.
15x stronger pot than the 60's? No way. More THC content yes, but I'm certain that does not equal 15x the buzz. So clearly theres more than THC at work in the cannabis buzz. If it really was 15x stronger then you would probably instantly vomit. The problems with 15x THC content I can't address though, simple experience suggests this is a sensationalized statistic.

QUOTE
"This means that the modern cannabis smoker may be exposed to greater doses of THC than in the 1960s or 1970s," says the report. "This in turn means that studies investigating the long-term effects of smoking cannabis have to be interpreted cautiously."
May be... enough said.
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Discordia
post Dec 19, 2007, 08:02 AM
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QUOTE(Joesus @ Dec 18, 2007, 08:50 PM) *

QUOTE
People try marijuana for different reasons, usually it is to fit in to a crowd, and although it does alter ones perception of reality I do not think thats why most people try it initially.

You don't think trying it to fit in is an attempt at the alteration of the perceptions of ones reality, sense of self, sense of relationship with the world in an altered state of mind and body?


Well here is the Wikipedia definition of "reality"

"Reality, in everyday usage, means "the state of things as they actually exist." [1] [2] The term reality, in its widest sense, includes everything that is, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible. Reality in this sense may include both being and nothingness, whereas existence is often restricted to being (compare with nature)."

Based on the definition of reality I can see why you would have asked that. More and more I am discovering that I need to think more before I make a post:)
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Last Click
post Jan 07, 2008, 08:23 PM
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Okay people, back to the, uh, so called study. (Excuse me if someone else has made these same comments, but i sort of rushed through the long list of posts. I think Born A Dreamer actually touched on this as well, but in a more articulate manner.)

First of all, i would have to read the actual study rather than the "facts" extrapolated from the scientific study. The study may or may not show (needs to be replicated) that the use of THC during a rats "teenage years" causes them to reach a higher threshold of heroine use, and that such THC use also alters the opioid receptors in a way that does not happen to the group of THC abstinent rats.

To now say that this study is hard evidence that marijuana is a gateway drug is nonsense and going far beyond the findings of the study, mere conjecture by those just wishing to find scientific evidence for our draconian drug laws.

I dont approve of our teenagers being tokers, but i think as long as it is not used in excessive amounts then there should be no (or little) long term health risks.


And, Trojan Libido, if the below is true (which i doubt), then one doesnt need to smoke nearly as much marijuana to get the same effects as one did in the 1960s, hence less intake of smoke into the lungs and less risk of lung cancer.



QUOTE
• The average cannabis cigarette smoked in the 1960s contained about 10 milligrams of tetrahydrocanabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient. Today, it may contain 150 mg.

[/quote]
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dutch84
post Jan 27, 2008, 07:34 PM
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QUOTE(trojan_libido @ Sep 28, 2006, 07:16 AM) *

To be honest, calling cannabis an hallucinogen is stretching it quite a way. Cannabis is addictive and causes grumpy-ass behaviour on withdrawal of higher THC levels, however you wont hallucinate from the withdrawal.


What about cannabis tea? Is that bad too?
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trojan_libido
post Jan 28, 2008, 12:34 AM
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Eating it will cause a more extreme experience, and I can understand calling it an auditory hallucinogen. But even LSD isn't a real hallucinogen, so categorising cannabis as one is just silly. But your right Dutch, and its what I've been trying to point out, most studies focus on the negative health impact of smoking cannabis. That delivery method is not the fault of cannabis! But even the most carefully planned research always gets this wrong.

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LifeMirage
post Mar 16, 2008, 01:54 PM
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QUOTE(trojan_libido @ Jan 28, 2008, 03:34 AM) *
Eating it will cause a more extreme experience, and I can understand calling it an auditory hallucinogen. But even LSD isn't a real hallucinogen, so categorising cannabis as one is just silly. But your right Dutch, and its what I've been trying to point out, most studies focus on the negative health impact of smoking cannabis. That delivery method is not the fault of cannabis! But even the most carefully planned research always gets this wrong.



If you have hallucinations from thc you probably have a neurological disorder. LSD as well unless you take very high doses.
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Shaun
post Jul 17, 2008, 11:49 AM
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QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Sep 18, 2006, 07:07 PM) *

QUOTE(Darksanity @ Sep 18, 2006, 06:46 PM) *

So much propaganda bullshit. Alcohol and Nicotine are way harder drugs...

what are you talking about? Alcohol and nicotine don't cause you to hallucinate in the way that cannabis can. I know some ppl just get stoned and chill out, especially for chronic users, but for others when they're first experimenting, it's very hallucinogenic.


N and A harder drugs? I think so:
I heard of people that drink alcohol and beat their wives, kill people driving, and get run over by trains. I also know a lot of people that die from smoking. The worst ive ever seen from weed is binge eating, but i guess that should be US's biggest concern...

New theory: The US maintains cannabis illegality to help the country stay fit!
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Shaun
post Jul 17, 2008, 11:57 AM
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QUOTE(Darksanity @ Sep 21, 2006, 05:32 AM) *

Actually "gateway drug" like u said is probably tobacco and alcohol...

Ive witnessed multiple people buy mushrooms and ecstasy from friends just because they were drunk and had lost their inhibitions. If they were high they would've probably freaked out at the idea of taking another drug.
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boots
post Jul 18, 2008, 06:26 AM
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I think that the biggest danger to teenagers these days comes in the form of prescription pills. Oxycontin, vicodin, adderall, concerta, etc..

I have heard of kids breaking these pills up and snorting them. It seems like taking a couple rips of pot would be much less harmful than taking a pill up the nose.

QUOTE
Ive witnessed multiple people buy mushrooms and ecstasy from friends just because they were drunk and had lost their inhibitions. If they were high they would've probably freaked out at the idea of taking another drug.


Yup, and I've heard of plenty of people buying more drugs because they were drunk. When a person is drunk, their ability to reason is slowed down. They don't think things through. When stoned, I think a person maintains some sense of reason. Imagine a game of chess where one player was stoned and the other drunk. Who do you think would win, assuming they had equal experience?
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Rick
post Jul 18, 2008, 07:47 AM
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The stoned player, of course.
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boots
post Jul 18, 2008, 10:45 AM
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Of course, which proves that alcohol is more dangerous to one's sense of reason than cannabis.

But what if a stoned person was playing chess against a completely sober person?
Assuming that the sober person would have a better chance of winning, is there a greater difference in ability to reason between the players in the first match (stoned vs drunk), or the players in the second (stoned vs sober)?
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Rick
post Jul 18, 2008, 11:25 AM
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I don't think there would be much difference and in some cases, the stoned person might do better due to more patience and focus.
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boots
post Jul 18, 2008, 11:38 AM
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Interesting
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boots
post Jul 18, 2008, 12:00 PM
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Here is an excerpt from a book I read for a class on Environmental Ethics......

(Hunting wild pig)
"I found a shaded spot overlooking the wallow and crouched down in the leaves, steadying my back against the smooth trunk of a madrone. I rested my gun across my thighs and got quite. The whoosh of air through my nostrils suddenly sounded calamitous, so I began inhaling and exhaling through my mouth, silencing my breath. So much sensory information was coming into my head that it seemed to push out the normal buzz of consciousness. The state felt very much like meditation, though it took no mental effort or exercise to achieve that kind of head-emptying presence. The simple act of looking and listening, tuning my senses to the forest frequencies of Pig, occupied every quadrant of mental space and anchored me to the present. I must have lost track of time because the twenty minutes flashed by. Ordinarily my body would have rebelled at being asked to hold a crouch that long, but I felt no need to change position or even to shift my weight.

Later it occurred to me that this mental state, which I quite liked, in many ways resembled the one induced by smoking marijuana: the way one's senses feel especially acute and the mind seems to forget everything outside the scope of its present focus, including physical discomfort and the passing of time. One of the more interesting areas of research in the neurosciences today is the study of the brain's 'cannabinoid network,' a set of receptors in the nervous system that are activated by a group of unusual compounds called cannabinoids. One of these compounds is THC, the active ingredient in marijuana; another is anandamide, a recently discovered neurotransmitter manufactured in the brain (and named by its discoverer for the Sanskrit word for bliss). Whether made by the plant or the brain, cannabinoids have the effect of intensifying sensory experience, disabling short-term memory, and stimulating appetite. Scientists still aren't certain what the evolutionary utility of such a system might be. Some researchers hypothesize that the cannabinoids, like the opiates, play a role in the brain's pain relief and reward system; others that they help regulate appetite, or emotion.

The experience of hunting suggests another theory. Could it be that the cannabinoid network is precisely the sort of adaptation that natural selection would favor in the evolution of a creature who survives by hunting? A brain chemical that sharpens the senses, narrows your mental focus, allows you to forget everything extraneous to the task at hand (including physical discomfort and the passage of time), and makes you hungry would seem to be the perfect pharmacological tool for man the hunter. All at once it provides the motive, the reward, and the optimal mind-set for hunting. I would not be the least bit surprised to discover that what I was feeling in the woods that morning, crouching against a tree avidly surveying that forest grove was a tide of anandamide washing over my brain."

Michael Pollan
The Omnivore's Dilemma



I don't know where he got his sources, but it is interesting that the brain naturally produces anandamide, a cannabinoid. Maybe THC is less harmful than many people believe, because the brain already produces something closely resembling it.
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cybergenesis
post Dec 15, 2013, 08:36 AM
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Heavy alcohol intoxication cause hallucinatory effects (single bouts of intoxication). I thought this was well known? It also effects NMDA receptors in higher doses.

Anything that alters your perception of reality, is to some degree a hallucinogen.

And if you want to get philosophical, perception and consciousness are hallucinations.
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Anthony E.
post Jan 25, 2016, 10:25 AM
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Using marijuana reduces future sensitivity to opioids, which makes people more vulnerable to heroin addiction later in life. It does so by altering the brain chemistry of marijuana users.
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