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Marijuana May Stimulate Brain Cell Growth

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Dudes, neuropsychologist Xia Zhang and a team of researchers based at the University of Saskatchewan have found that a synthetic marijuana-like drug stimulated the generation of brain cells and exerted an antidepressant-like effect in rats.

The hippocampus area of the adult brain is unusual in that it contains neural stem/progenitor cells capable of generating new neurons throughout a person’s life. Researchers believe that these new cells help to improve memory and combat depression and mood disorders.

Most drugs of abuse studied thus far — including opiates, alcohol, nocotine, and cocaine — decrease adult hippocampal neurogenesis, but when the Zhang team injected rats with HU210, a synthetic drug that is about one-hundred times as powerful as natural THC, they found it appeared to induce new brain cell growth, just as some antidepressant drugs do.

“I think it’s a very exciting study,” Amelia Eisch, an addiction researcher at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, told Nature.com. “It makes marijuana look more like an antidepressant and less like a drug of abuse.”

But Eisch said more work has to be done to establish that naturally occurring THC has the same positive effects as the synthetic HU210, and that more sophisticated experiments need to be developed to “firm up the correlation between neuron growth in the hippocampus and emotional balance.”

Not wishing to be the alibi for a new wave of pot puffing, Zhang cautions that while cannabinoids appear to be able to modulate pain, nausea, vomiting, epilepsy, ischemic stroke, cerebral trauma, multiple sclerosis, and tumors in addition to his new findings of brain cell generation, “marijuana has been the most commonly used illicit drug in developed countries, producing acute memory impairment and dependence/withdrawal symptoms in chronic users.”

He’s looking into the latter stuff next.

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About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted, Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.
  • Alethinos

    Ok boys… Let’s fire up a fatty…


    PS… Maybe we SHOULD be drinking Absinthe afterall – by the way – there are places that sell it for cheaper than the ad shown on BC…

  • Eric Olsen

    I’m wondering where these guys get the HU210, “a synthetic drug that is about one-hundred times as powerful as natural THC” for their little experiments

  • I’m wondering where these guys get the HU210, “a synthetic drug that is about one-hundred times as powerful as natural THC” for their little experiments

    They probably invented it when they were stoned.

    “Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan, you know what we need, man? This drug that would–like, it would like, be like pot, except, like, you’d totally be even MORE high!”

    “Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude! That’s AWESOME!!!

    …Wait, what did you just say?”

  • Darn. We need to make weed legal. How can we outlaw that which Mother Nature has made for our enjoyment? The plant is completely versatile and would be a great cash crop.

  • Eric Olsen

    I would think this is yet another proof that it should at least be legally available for medical reasons

  • That’s it, I’m buying some gro-lights and telling my husband that it is for important scientific research. He can’t argue then, eh?

  • “I would think this is yet another proof that if should at least be legally available for medical reasons”

    At least. : )

  • Eric Olsen

    there aren’t many words that sound cooler than “cannabinoids”

  • Gloryhallastoopid?

  • Eric Olsen

    that is a fine word;

    and speaking of medical marijuana, Melissa Etheridge says in an interview to air Sunday on “Dateline NBC”: “Instead of taking five or six of the prescriptions, I decided to go a natural route and smoke marijuana.”

  • Bennett

    I like this woman more with everything I hear or read about her. Not to mention being blown away by her rendition of “Piece Of My Heart” a la Joplin earlier in the year.

    She truly rocks.

  • Joey

    Screw the medical application. If we can poison our systems with alcohol and tobacco; why not MJ?

    It’s has to be because it’s a weed and can not be harnessed thereby thwarting attempts to license growth and effectively tax sales.

    Follow the money trail.

  • Eric Olsen

    none o that is different from tobacco – it could be taxed and regulated fairly easily

  • uao

    Well, if this turns out to be true, then it’d be pretty ironic.

    After all, marijuana remains illegal. But alcohol, which has been wee documented to kill brain cells is not just legal, it’s encouraged.

    Some other ironies:

    Alcohol is known to be physically addictive. Marijuana isn’t.

    An overdose of alcohol is fatal. An overdose of marijuana isn’t.

    Alcohol damages liver and kidneys, marijuana doesn’t (it damages lungs, but if it is ingested by means other than smoke, it doesn’t)

    Alcohol can make the user aggressive and violent; marijuana makes the user docile and peaceful.

    Alcohol can make you fat; marijuana doesn’t (unless you get the munchies).

    Alcohol in excess makes the user blotto, which causes car accidents, house accidents, and other mishaps. The very act of walking becomes impossible. Marijuana messes with your motor and brain function too, but the user maintains a greater degree of functionality and recovers faster (still shouldn’t drive, though).

    Alcohol can have lethal reactions with other drugs in your system; marijuna’s effects are minimal.

    Alcohol reduces consciousness, marijuana expands it.

    Alcohol can be a very expensive high (especially in a bar); marijuana will usually do the job with a single joint.

    Alcohol withdrawal by an addict can be fatal if done cold turkey, and the addict becomes physically ill. Marijuana withdrawal is non-fatal, and rarely manifests itself in symptoms worse than caffeine withdrawal.

    I don’t bring all this up to advocate its usage; the wises course of action is to not get hooked on anything.

    But it seems strange that alcohol use can be promoted on TV and billboards, but smoking a joint can land you in jail. A person with .15 blood alcohol level is a greater menace to society than someone who just smoked a couple of doobies.

    If I had a 15 year old kid, as a parent, I’d be a lot more worried if I learned they were getting drunk on a daily basis than if they were smoking weed. I wouldn’t permit either, but alcohol would be tougher to stop, and tougher to avoid.

    In the 80’s, anti-drug ads on TV were rediculously simplistic (the egg frying and the caption “this is your brain on drugs”). The only effective anti-marijuana public service announcement I ever saw for pot went like this:

    Two guys, past high school age, are smoking in a darkened room. The mom of one calls up from downstairs “Mikey?”

    “Yeah mom?” the guy calls down, choking on the smoke.

    “Did you look for a job today?”

    “Yeah ma” he shouts back, both of them choking on smoke. “Hey, crack a window!” he tells his bud.

    The voice over said: “When you smoke pot, nothing happens”

    I liked that one because it rang true. But that’s about the worst of it.

  • phil

    Thats why i am so very smart and proud to say a founding father of the IBA…

  • TassieToker

    Finally some scientific proof that agreees with me. I have been studying IT for 2 years and I am a daily smoker. I have always claimed that dope does not make you stupid. If you sit down smoking and watching cartoons all day then sure, your going to get into that rythm of “dumbing down”, but if you are actually using and stimulating your brain then the results are completely different.

  • bob

    yea….well there is only one way i may say it the the only way to get the best thc and is extracting….or rubing it from a plant…..calling it hash…from a pure organic hydoponic marijuana…are brain cells regenerat because they are opening pathways from are brain. so we could only feed it infromation

  • Da Azn Thriller

    “lifes a bitch and then you die
    so fuck the world and lets get high”
    thats the motto i live by/day by day this is how i choose to ride/understand that this is a choice/made by some1 who has a voice/everything use to be so sad/and every other day i would get hella mad/but then i took a puff of this miracle thing called weed/ and right away knew this is the shit i need/ and now i am a pot head/and all i need to say is fuck this shit people said/ and how “this is bad and call kill you” /fuck that shit if you dont smoke you is a poor ass fool/and right now its being proven/this will make you smarter in the end/so take it from me/ this is the only thing you need/ sorry if this made you annoyed/im out team CANNABINOID!

  • Joe


  • colleen

    hehe…drugs. yea..i just wanted to feel spacial about leaveing something on here. but now i’m done.

  • mr.T

    Weed doesnt hurt it shpuld be used to relax after a lpng day of work it doesnt affect you like crack or meth it grows naturally unlike meth which is made in a lab the gov. Made a prpduct called k2 which was legal pot whoch turned out to b worse than meth idk y they did just sell the real pot tax it fairly and it would relieve americas debt over time

  • Phil E. Drifter

    OBVIOUSLY, if weed were legal it would be a boon to the market and generate lots of income. BUT it’s illegal and is generating LOTS OF INCOME on the black market already.