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Does marijuana send signals to a nerve cell and back out again?

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.

Jon Katz – Criminal defense and DWI defense lawyer practicing in Fairfax County, Virginia, Montgomery County, Maryland and beyond. 301-495-7755. http://katzjustice.com

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