Jun 02, 2010 Does marijuana send signals to a nerve cell and back out again?
Image from public domain.
Thanks to a listserv member for providing this June 1, 2010, Washington Post link about an assertion that marijuana send signals to a nerve cell and back out again:
Five years ago, while still a regular physician, [William] Courtney[, M.D.,] was as spooked as most doctors about pot. Then he came across an article in the December 2004 issue of Scientific American. It changed his life. The article highlighted a molecule in cannabis that could do something he had never seen before: send signals not only into a nerve cell, but also back out again.
The finding reversed 20 years of his understanding of how neurotransmitters work. One-way traffic was the basis for inflammation: Immune cells receive endless messages to get cracking, none to calm down. Continuous attacking can inflame otherwise healthy tissue. Two-way communication makes possible a feedback loop, encouraging a modulation, the promise of which swept over the Michigan-born microbiology major with the force of religion. "My God," he said. "It’s the basis of health."
Courtney keeps a framed graphic from the article on his desk. It stands beside copies of "Non-psychotropic plant cannabinoids: new therapeutic opportunities from an ancient herb," from Trends in Pharmacological Sciences…
Dr. Courtney has more medical marijuana links here.