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It's lack of balance that makes skunk cannabis do harm

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"THE effects of cannabis on mental health have attracted much attention over the years. As far back as the 19th century it was recognised that cannabis could induce a transient psychosis which mimics the symptoms of schizophrenia. Despite this, until the last decade or so, most psychiatrists regarded cannabis as essentially benign.

This, however, is at odds with recent research which concludes that in a susceptible minority, cannabis use can push the brain towards long-term psychosis requiring mental health treatment. Susceptible young people who use cannabis increase their risk of developing a chronic psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia, and the more cannabis they consume, the higher the risk.

Additionally, people with schizophrenia who have a history of cannabis use tend to go through their first breakdown up to five years earlier in life than those who do not use the drug. Psychotic patients who fail to give up cannabis experience more symptoms, more relapses and end up in hospital more often.

These discoveries about the link between cannabis and psychosis have been widely reported in the media, often accompanied by warnings that street cannabis has risen in strength in recent years and therefore poses a major health risk to the susceptible minority.

This, however, is too simplistic: the type of cannabis taken is an important factor. Street cannabis has indeed changed over the years. So-called "skunk" does contain higher than normal concentrations of the main psychoactive compound, a molecule called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). What is less well known is that another constituent, cannabidiol (CBD), has been eliminated from skunk through selective breeding to increase the THC content.

The elimination of CBD may play a key role in the development of psychosis. Laboratory studies have shown that pure, synthetic THC causes transient psychosis in 40 to 50 per cent of healthy people. In stark contrast to THC, CBD appears to have an anti-psychotic effect, at least in animals. Studies in humans, though few in number, have produced similar findings.

The elimination of cannabidiol from skunk may play a key role in the development of psychosis In one human study, published in Neuropsychopharmacology (DOI: 10.1038/npp.2009.184), Sagnik Bhattacharya and colleagues at the Institute of Psychiatry in London used functional MRI brain scanning to study the effects of THC and CBD on the brains of healthy volunteers. They found that THC and CBD acted in opposition; in brain regions where THC increased neural activity from a baseline, CBD decreased it, and vice-versa.

In a further experiment, a group including one of us (Morrison), in collaboration with the Beckley Foundation, compared the effects of a mixture of synthetic THC and CBD, (to mimic traditional cannabis) with THC on its own (to mimic skunk). The aim was to find out if CBD offered protection against the psychotic effects of THC.

Healthy volunteers were given the molecules intravenously for two sessions. They received the same amount of THC during each session; the only difference was whether they received CBD as well. Thirty minutes after injection a consultant psychiatrist interviewed the volunteers and rated their experiences. Overall, volunteers were rated as being significantly less psychotic after being given THC and CBD compared to THC on its own. The implication is that the presence of CBD in cannabis counteracts THC's tendency to trigger transient psychosis.

Another study from the Institute of Psychiatry by Marta DiForti and colleagues reached similar conclusions for chronic psychosis. They compared the cannabis habits of 280 newly diagnosed psychotic patients with those of 174 healthy volunteers who were matched for age, sex, educational attainment and socio-economic status. Both groups were equally likely to have tried cannabis, but, strikingly, psychotic patients were seven times more likely to have been skunk users. So in real life, as well as in the lab, THC unopposed by CBD appears to be particularly hazardous for mental health (British Journal of Psychiatry, vol 195, p 488).

This research has important implications for both street and medical marijuana. On the medical side, the question is whether CBD will be a useful antipsychotic in its own right.

To help find out, the Beckley Foundation is setting up a research project in collaboration with University College London and a leading medical marijuana dispensary in California which supplies over 30,000 patients. The study will analyse different strains of cannabis for their THC and CBD content. Patients will be asked which strains they find most effective, how they compare with conventional drugs, and to rate other effects, both beneficial and negative.

As for street cannabis, the Beckley Foundation hopes that this research will be used to make it safer. Skunk, with a typical THC content of 15 to 19 per cent and a CBD content of zero, has come to dominate the street market. Ironically, many consider skunk's market dominance to be a consequence of prohibition, as illegal drug markets have always tended towards higher potencies.

The Beckley Foundation sees this as yet another argument for regulating the recreational cannabis market. Only in a regulated market can the knowledge from this research be used to create strains which are less hazardous for users.

The evidence supports the idea that nature knows best, and that the reintroduction of CBD would be beneficial. Two molecules are better than one.

Amanda Feilding is director of the www.beckleyfoundation.org Beckley Foundation, a charitable trust based in Oxford, UK, that promotes the investigation of consciousness and its modulation.

Paul Morrison is at the Institute of Psychiatry in London"

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527446.100-its-lack-of-balance-that-makes-skunk-cannabis-do-harm.html

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thanks for that read... i too have been thinking this for years!

the best bud i've ever smoked was 100% organic outdoor... stronger does not mean better!

i've heard some very dodgy things about people using colchicine to create super strains aswell

check this out for a read:

http://www.skunkskool.com/showthread.php?6614-What-is-colchicine-and-how-is-it-used

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very interesting.

i too have been wondering exactly why smoking Moroccan/Indian hash didn't seem to cause me as many "problems" as smoking 'skunk'. Here we have at least part ov the answer.

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Wonder wat they are calling skunk? I've never had a skunk strain that was without CBD's. Maybe the street weed is picked so early that the plant doesn't have enough time to produce significant CBD. But that is the grower's fault, not the strain. Amazing how they keep parroting this skunks BS.

On that note, Eropean skunk strains are shit IMO and the American and Canadian bred skunk varieties far superior. Taste, flavour, vigour and potency wise.

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we touched the same subject, when i claimed that "shamanic dope" is my prefered type of smoke.

i find the effects of very mature buds, not as desireable as, earlier harverested buds.

i have my own experiences with the cannabis & shizo thing, and i claim that paradoxicly aswell the early buds can help you more to heal ones mental illness.

maybe some of the weed, which is getting around get's adulterated, at times,

but what ever is the case, the type of smoke which is more hash like, is at times producing a type of body load and a slight sickish feeling, not what i am looking for...

the low CBD smoke, gives you an uplifting buzz where you feel like jumping out of your chair and

"doing all sort of things", whils the high CBD smoke makes you a "couch potatoe",

i know which i prefere.

i doubt strongly that one can grow herb without containig CBD.

i guess the best is to, have a variety of smoke, so one can blend the smokemixture in an appropiate fashon.

towards bedtime most people prefer though a downer type of a smoke.

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Yep, most long time smokers I know will say that they prefer a smoke with higher CBD/CBN profile and that a lot of the bush Sativa particularly when harvested early will make them feel uncomfortable, anxious and depressed.

There are medical strains like 'Big Bang' available that have a much higher CBD/THC ratio, its a shame they are risky to import or hard to find locally.

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I wonder what kind of results would be obtained if synthetic CBD was used to treat people suffering schizophrenia.

That would be an interesting research project, there is probably a PhD in that.

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I can't believe it is taking so long for this to become 'common knowledge'.

From what I have gathered watching some recently made documentaries I don't think the low CBD issue applies to variously bred overseas 'skunk' strains as so much as the generic 'hydro' strains that are grown by profiteers which are supposedly almost devoid of CBD compunds.

The medical mj industry wouldn't/couldn't exist if it was a simple case of "mj causes schizophrenia".

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I thought this was obvious too,as the fast fat one sells quicker and is on the street....Skunk!

Allowable personal growing including importation licensing for medicinal strains and use with harsh penalties for selling or transiting more than a "Sessions worth" would eliminate sooooo many problems.

But there's big bucks to be made on both sides of the law as it stands :wink:

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thanks for that read... i too have been thinking this for years!

the best bud i've ever smoked was 100% organic outdoor... stronger does not mean better!

i've heard some very dodgy things about people using colchicine to create super strains aswell

check this out for a read:

http://www.skunkskool.com/showthread.php?6614-What-is-colchicine-and-how-is-it-used

Scary stuff, but id still like to smoke some :bong:

My friend here has been smoking for over 10 years and prefers to mix and match strains. He says that yes to much thc not enough cbd can be bad, but can also be really good. Depends on time of day mood and what you will be doing on it. He reckons feeling skitzo is something he likes when he smokes sometimes. But other times he wants to wind down and finds a nice long lasting bush strain to be just what the doctor ordered.....

Edited by Slybacon

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Related, but different.

Abstract

The cannabinoid 1 (CB(1)) and cannabinoid 2 (CB(2)) receptor agonist Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been shown to be a broad-range inhibitor of cancer in culture and in vivo, and is currently being used in a clinical trial for the treatment of glioblastoma. It has been suggested that other plant-derived cannabinoids, which do not interact efficiently with CB(1) and CB(2) receptors, can modulate the actions of Delta(9)-THC. There are conflicting reports, however, as to what extent other cannabinoids can modulate Delta(9)-THC activity, and most importantly, it is not clear whether other cannabinoid compounds can either potentiate or inhibit the actions of Delta(9)-THC. We therefore tested cannabidiol, the second most abundant plant-derived cannabinoid, in combination with Delta(9)-THC. In the U251 and SF126 glioblastoma cell lines, Delta(9)-THC and cannabidiol acted synergistically to inhibit cell proliferation. The treatment of glioblastoma cells with both compounds led to significant modulations of the cell cycle and induction of reactive oxygen species and apoptosis as well as specific modulations of extracellular signal-regulated kinase and caspase activities. These specific changes were not observed with either compound individually, indicating that the signal transduction pathways affected by the combination treatment were unique. Our results suggest that the addition of cannabidiol to Delta(9)-THC may improve the overall effectiveness of Delta(9)-THC in the treatment of glioblastoma in cancer patients.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20053780

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There is a pharma THC/CBD extract available called Sativex used for MS etc., IIRC its 51% THC and 49% CBD.

I wonder how quickly one would become tollerant to it though as I imagine it would be made with the same strains each time.

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very interesting.

i too have been wondering exactly why smoking Moroccan/Indian hash didn't seem to cause me as many "problems" as smoking 'skunk'. Here we have at least part ov the answer.

heh...no shit...I can smoke hash all day everyday but weed sends me bonkers and paranoid....there's never enough food in the house if I smoke green.. :blink: ...but coffee and hash is all ya need.

good article.. :)

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pretty much all of the commercial stuff going round these day's is stuff which is late harverest and high in CBD.

once more i bring forward though that, early haverest, so in fact your dangerous cannabis, does much better for my mental wellbeing.

i know exactly, what the difference is, it's a bit like high CBD is like opium,

and let's say just the fresh pistills of skunk, can give you an experience allmost like an hallucigenic.

i think the hallucigenic properties can harm, but aswell heal.

and i know that, hash can serve you aswell psychosis.

a downside to this type of smoke is though, that it's action is much shorter, than the hash or hash type smoke.

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Maybe the plant is just sick of being ab used by people and sends them off the rails. How therapeutic is waking up for brekkie bongs? Just my opinion of course... maybe playing devils advocate a bit here but my personal exp with this one is the whole plant just told me to fuck off. Stop bullshitting around with me and it got scary. I guess we might be heading back toward the plant spirit arguement/discussion again but this is still something that I am toying with.

I want to add here that in some ways the corrob' can base alot of discussion around science a v. little about other aspects of living life on the mortal coil. being a member here must suggest that at some stage I have experienced a reality different to that which is before me right now i.e. unaffected by 'psychedelics. Therefore I put forward that those states I have experienced have opened me up to wider thought and moments where I wouldn't care to even bother with explaining the molecule out of something. Science is a convenient story line at the moment but looking at it's limited history perhaps not the strongest to base so much research from.

Just a thought hey

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^You make an interesting point, but science provides an exploratory model of such precision and predictive force for which myth is simply no match. That's not to say that science shouldn't be (or isn't) influenced by myth, but myth is simply too open to interpretation to be regarded as a precise science.

As you point out though, the world of myth holds a lot of sway in regards to how we interact with the world on a personal level. Discussion of CBD/THC content and receptor agonism doesn't pack the same punch as a plant telling you to bugger off.

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Great to finally see some research towards the real situation around cannabis use! Thanks

IMO 'skunk' cannabis, f.e. what gets sold in Amsterdam cofeeshops [short, bushy fast growers which might give yeild in even 4-5 months] is more 'psychedelic' in nature, and therefore has certainly not the warmth and/or clearminded creativity trademark of other strains that can be casually used without so many risks, as the research implies.

I have also found what planthelper says about earlier picked buds [greenywhitish, not yet brownish] is propably right - less potency , more creativity and positive energy. PH posts on the matter actually have been a revelation for me, I have been thinking about these and they according with my own experience...

Sad/disappointment in all this is that these facts are largely ignored by almost everyone, even heavy users that mostly seem to stick to "stronger is better" stereotype. Hopefully this new wave of papers and reports will make some change?

Edited by mutant

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