The Frontal Cortex

Is Pot the New Prozac?

If anxiety is the new depression, then weed might be our next miracle drug. And no, this isn’t the same seedy crap you get from your local delivery service. I’m talking about medically targeted spliffs, designed to only affect your amygdala (the neural source of fear and anxiety). Over at the new NY Inquirer, I make a case for the future of medical marijuana:

Despite the fact marijuana was first cultivated almost 10,000 years ago, modern medicine has yet to find a pharmaceutical equal. No other substance melts away our fears with such slick efficiency. But that may soon change. A cadre of neuroscientists is now using the natural potency of pot–its active ingredient is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)–as the possible basis for a next generation anti-anxiety pill.

Comments

  1. #1 Dan R.
    September 25, 2006

    Pot maybe the next miracle drug — but we’ll never know.

    The DEA’s continued refusal to make the drug available for research has stymed almost all research in this area.

    Unless things have changed significantly in the last year, even the medicinal chemists at The University of Mississippi (Olemiss) can’t do any research with it — and their department runs the only legal farm in the US.

    FYI… my former roomate is a post-doctoral fellow there…

  2. #2 sam
    September 25, 2006

    In my opinion, the plant comes out of the ground pretty much ready to use, and beyond some drying time, it doesn’t need anything else done with it. Why we need big pharm messing with it, beyond the money, is beyond me. We will only get to use pot legally in a distorted form that assures some large well connected company makes a huge profit off of it. As usual, it’s all about the money.

  3. #3 Franklin Sayre
    September 26, 2006

    As for the above comment, the idea would be to use THC to target specific anxiety producing brain mechanisms and produce a product capable of doing so in a standardized way with a standardized dose, without the other ‘side effects’ such as perceptual and cognitive imparements. There will always be a street market for regular pot and the decriminalization debate is a completely different issue.

  4. #4 Colin
    September 29, 2006

    While I’m all supportive of medical marijuana and have my qualms with big pharma, I don’t see why anyone should have any problems with people researching the chemical more. There might be more effective analogs with less side effects. Plus in the very least it would be nice to not force patients to inhale carcinogens as part of their treatment.

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