This is the third in our series on medical marijuana for bipolar. In the first piece , we made a conditional case for marijuana to treat bipolar, with some major provisos. The second piece compared the risk/benefits of medical marijuana with prescription drugs.
In this installment, we look at the endocannabis system that marijuana acts upon.
Endocannabinoids (ECs) are naturally occurring compounds throughout the brain and body that regulate cellular signaling and cellular maintenance. They function in a similar fashion to neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, except they travel backward, against the flow, from the postsynaptic cell to the presynaptic cell.
At the presynaptic cell, the ECs dock to CR1 and CR2 cannabinoid receptors and release their chemical messages. One of the effects may be to inhibit the release of certain neurotransmitters from the presynaptic cell back to the postsynaptic cell.
In effect, the postsynaptic cell restricts the f...
Tremor, or uncontrolled shaking, is a highly disabling symptom of multiple sclerosis which is often associated with a more advanced disease course. Tremor, an involuntary, rhythmic, muscle movement caused by repetitive contraction and relaxation of paired muscle groups, has long been recognized as a feature of MS. The French neurologist Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893) categorized it with nystagmus and scanning speech (Rascol, 1982).
A study published in the open-access journal Tremor and Other Hyperkinetic Movements reviewed recent advancements in the understanding of tremors in MS. The review explores the prevalence and clinical features of tremors in MS, including physical cause of tremors, and treatment methods, including surgery and/or prescription medications.
Reviewers searched MEDLINE with the terms “multiple sclerosis” and “tremor,” published between January 1966 and May 2012. My own search revealed articles dati...
Tailoring medication to the needs of the individual has always been something of a hit-and-miss affair when it comes to anxiety. The prescribing doctor has no way of predicting whether a patient will respond positively to the prescription they are about to write. Almost inevitably this leads to a series of repeat visits where the patient attempts to describe the effects of their medication and the doctor tries to modify their prescription or dosage accordingly.
A team of researchers have now focused their attention on mechanisms of the brain that may one day help doctors prescribe medication with a lot more certainty. Dr Luan Phan and colleagues, have recently reported some interesting findings in the Journal of Neuroscience, using a combination of brain scans and marijuana.
Marijuana contains the active ingredient delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is known to help reduce the brain's response to threats in a region of the brain known as the amygdala. The amygdala i...
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