Latest Studies Imply That Cannabinoids Are Protective Against Alcohol-Induced Brain Damage

[Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s media alerts and legislative advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up here. To watch NORML’s weekly video summary of the week’s top stories, click here.] The administration of the synthetic cannabinoid agonist HU-211 decreases nerve cell death in an in vitro model of ethanol withdrawal, according to data published online in the journal of the Public Library of Science (PLoS ONE).
An international team of researchers from France and Spain assessed the anti-excitotoxic effects of the synthetic cannabinoid HU-211 in culture. Researchers demonstrated that cannabinoid administration protected neurons from cell death in an experimental model of ethanol withdrawal. By contrast, the administration of a cannabinoid antagonist (rimonabant) during ethanol withdrawal greatly increased cell death.
β€œ[T]hese observations show, for the first time, that the stimulation of the endocannabinoid system could be protective against the hyper-excitability developed during alcohol withdrawal,” investigators concluded. β€œBy contrast, the blockade of the endocannabinoid system seems to be counterproductive during alcohol withdrawal.”
In humans, the abrupt cessation of alcohol in dependent subjects may be associated with tremor, delirium, brain damage, and death.
Separate pre-clinical studies have previously documented that administration of the non-psychotropic organic cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) in animals is neuroprotective against cerebral infarction and ethanol-induced neurotoxicity (alcohol poisoning).
In 2009 and 2010, a pair of studies conducted by investigators at the University of California at San Diego reported that the consumption of cannabis may offset certain alcohol-induced brain abnormalities, including the loss of white matter integrity and impaired memory, in human subjects with a history of both alcohol and marijuana use.
Full text of the study appears online in PLoS ONE here.

43 thoughts

  1. What does one need to control to exploit perceptions?
    What does weed alter/enhance/expand?
    This is why weed remains illegal. It introduces a wildcard in the populace that rivals the internet in undermining control of perceptions

  2. No Medicinal value?
    I would love to ask Obama, what medical study changed his mind about marijuana. From what I can see, there is overwhelming evidence that this is the most valuable plant for medical purposes, and the only reason it’s a felony to utilize it is because that would put hundreds of thousands of police out of work.
    Well, let’s retrain the cops to do something useful, like growing medicinal marijuana!

  3. It appears that, at least according to studies, CB1/CB2 agonists — such as tetrahydrocannabinol — act pharmacologically to increase the initiation of ethanol [alcohol] use. While these claims could be negligible, compared to say tobacco which correlates as a substantial indicator of illegal drug usage (i.e. “gateway”), I would wholeheartedly agree that the neuro-protective benefits of cannabis would greatly outweigh most negatives. One positive, THC is a partial agonist to the CB1 and CB2 receptors so there is a significant difference between the potency and side-effects related to the synthetic cannabinoids used in studies (e.g. it’s like comparing a wrist slap to a spanking).

  4. The DEA insists that there is no clinical proof that cannabis has efficacy. Well! what the fuck do you call this.
    Never in my 73 years of life, as an American citizen, have I been so grossly offended by my own government. I regurgitate anything the DEA feeds me. It’s nothing but rotten, vile, poison. Personally I feel compelled to make them an offer they can’t refuse – send them a message they can’t afford to ignore. This all falls on the shoulders of the Director – Michelle Leonhart – and her Abusive Governmental Authority, not to mention her violation of the Constitution of the United States of America. And she calls herself an American and a law abiding citizen – “Get fuckin’ real!”

  5. One can get drunk and then sober up a great deal by smoking a joint. Marijuana blocks the receptors/effects of alcohol. Known this forever.

  6. Isn’t this HU-211 stuff in some spice/incense mixes? Anyhow, very interesting. Would be willing to bet THC has similar effects.

  7. Why do i feel like i’m repeatedly being kicked in the nuts when i read stuff like this. I’m surrounded people who laugh at the idea of legal marijuana and real medical users are all secretly druggies in it only to get high . I feel like i have to hide in the shadows when all i simply want to do is explore harmlessly the (continuously discovered) benefits of a certain weed that grows out of the soil and not some laboratory.

  8. #8. Maybe because we don’t kick back?
    We need to deprogram these brainwashed IGNORANT prohibitionists. Next time someone says something rhetorical or stereotypical about pot, don’t just stand there and let them talk. Correct them. Inform them. Educate them. Then if they don’t listen, you have my permission………..

  9. Was’nt prohibition crushed when alcohol became legal? Cannabis in the 1930’s was’nt used very much or even thought about until prohibition came about. Then is when all the crap started. Prohibition is deadly not marijuana, duh! They need to do their real job if they can remember what that job is after being dooped for so long. They have no idea how much they have been fooled because their too busy being foolish and corrupt.

  10. I liken these things to, Jesus a man who lived 2,000 years ago . He performed miracles and saved lives . He was a good man and because of the many good things he did he was persecuted & imprisoned and killed at the cross . Marijuana is too a miracle, it saves lives, those who use it are persecuted, many are imprisoned for it and some of us are killed for it .

  11. Obama has his [overwhelming] public majority support on the medical and decriminalization issue, why isn’t he obliging?

  12. Congress will have to be shamed into ever so slightly changing the mission of the DEA so that it is allowed/must allow and may not disapprove studies whose intent and/or outcomes may show the positive effects and positive medicinal value of cannabis.
    Until then, the DEA is going to continue to cherry-pick only the negative.
    You know how they are.
    And Congress will defer to the ONDCP and DEA for advice, unless you can get Congress shamed into accepting other professional studies and compilations of science, fact and data, you know.
    Whatever works. Please keep up the good work, and see what you can do.

  13. 16. Owen
    “One of these days – I won’t have to listen to their gut wrenching lies – and – I’ll be free from their contemptuous mindless bull shit. If you can’t relate to how I feel – lose a child – or – lose your freedom.”

  14. 15. Christians against prohibition.
    You’re a good Christian Genesist. Keep the Faith baby.

  15. In humans, the abrupt cessation of alcohol in dependent subjects may be associated with tremor, delirium, brain damage, and death.
    I am for the regulation of all drugs but this is the one they chose to be legal? This sounds just as bad as heroin withdrawals but marijuana has no dangerous withdrawal symptoms and it’s the boogey man. Marijuana it made out to be the monster hiding in your closet and people are just like children. They get eaten up with fear and refuse to even go near the closet. It’s fear that is dangerous not a plant or a powder. People are dangerous not objects and fear of getting caught or fear of the substance itself is more dangerous than the drug. If drugs could be purchased legally there would be no reason for someone to shoot a cop when they just got pulled over with a bag of drugs. This applies to things other than drugs as well such as prostitution. In Holland you don’t see the violence and widespread disease associated with prostitution like you do here. Above all it’s your body and who am I or anyone else to tell you what to do with it. I don’t own you if you like sell your body for sex, ingest dangerous substances, or take out a kidney and sell it who am I to say “I don’t think that is right so you can’t do it.”? I can tell you not to hurt anyone else but I can’t save you from yourself.

  16. Is it possible that cannabis in it’s rawest form is too powerfully healing that the Government and/or pharmaceutical companies couldn’t possibly allow the public to have legitimate access?

  17. Research, please: do I hear commenters saying cannabis can help with a hangover? But what of the time-honoured mythology about “a $igarette or two” used to selfmedicate the selfsame problem?
    Is there a danger that cannabis could substitute for tobacco, and a kid could get through a drinking binge and its consequences without getting caught in nicotine addiction? The Companies would lose a lot of value– at $10 a pack, a pack-a-day New York City smoker spends $100,000 on $igarettes in less than 30 years.
    Binge drinking ceremonies (in order to avoid being picked on you have to join the gang; to be accepted in the gang you must appear at some party and show you can drink as many beers as the other guys do, etc.) have always been a neat sneaky way to get a youngster hooked on nicotine; and now cannabis threatens to derail that profitable recruitment system. Soon it will be time to BAIL OUT PHILIP MORRIS.

  18. # 23: BINGO! No side effects, unlike EVERY DRUG MADE BY BIG PHARMA designed to keep you coming thru a revolving door.

  19. Needed,,the strain developed for cbd production,,,made into brownies and administered to congress,,,they must need them to get drunk enough to claim success on anything they have done so far….

  20. I’ve said everything I could possibly say. Redundancy is not one of my better traits. Those who are for Cannabis are correct. Those who are against cannabis are incorrect. How does it feel to be incorrect – much like a single cell I imagine.

  21. “Don’t hold onto anything too long.” The DEA should keep that firmly in mind – because frankly – we’re sick and fuckin’ tired of their mumbo jumbo. They’ve become a disgrace and a laughing stock. Another piece of America shot to shit.

  22. It’s a Malthusian agenda to assassinate 5.5 billion of the world’s population. I think that’s a wonderful idea with only one flaw in their plan. They ought to turn the gun on themselves [and then] they won’t have to worry about the other 5.5 anymore. There ain’t no son of a bitch gonna tell me how I’m gonna die – or – what I’m gonna put in my body while I’m alive.

  23. FYI, Dr. Mechoulam’s interview in the June 2011 High Times, states that CBD improves the conditions of lab mice with hepatic encephalopathy (brain damage from being drunk).
    “We give them CBD, and it improves their conditions tremendously.”
    Perhaps humans too.

  24. 32. txpeloton
    Being that Mechoulam discovered cannabinoid receptors – I’d pretty much go by whatever he says. If you don’t have enough gray matter to do that – you might as well go howl at the moon and hide from Animal Control. BTW – cannibidol is not psycho-active – so – what’s their excuse now? Ya! and neither are the other 63 cannabinoids.

  25. Protection against alcohol brain damage, now who would fight against that but brain damaged politicians. Namely Republicans.

  26. To clear up something in comment #7. HU-211 is a CB2 agonist (activator)- it can’t get you high like its “Spice” cousin HU210, a CB1 and 2 agonist! Unless the CB1 receptors are activated, you don’t get high.
    For more information about the medical uses of cannabis, including more studies on how it protects the brain from alcohol damage, run a search for “Granny Storm Crow’s MMJ Reference List”! It’s just my collection of MMJ studies and news articles that I share with everyone who’s interested.

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