United States government-funded studies at St. Louis Medical University in 1989 and th eU.S. governments National Institute of Mental Health in 1990 moved cannabis research into a new realm by confirming that the human brain has receptor sites for THC and its natural cannabis cousins to which no other compounds known thus far will bind.
In order for a chemical to affect the brain it must bind to a receptor site capable of receiving it.
(Omni, August 1989; Washington Post, Aug 9, 1990; See Appendix in the paper version of this book, which is summarized in the F.Y.I. tour at the end of this chapter)
Although morphine fits the receptor sites of beta-endorphin roughly, and amphetamines correspond loosely to dopamine, these drugs as well as tricyclics and other mood altering drugs present grave danger to the subtle balance of the nerves vital fluids. Omni and the Washington Post cited no physical dangers in natural cannabis.
One reason cannabis is so safe to use is that it does not affect any of the involuntary muscles of breathing and life support. Rather, it affects its own specific receptor cites for motion (movement strategy) and memory (mental strategies).
On the molecular level, THC fits into receptor sites in the upper brain that seem to be uniquely designed to accommodate THC. This points to an ancient symbiosis between the plant and people.
Perhaps these neuronal pathways are the product of a pre-cultural relationship between humans and cannabis. Carl Sagan proposes evidence using the Bushmen of Africa to show hemp to have been the first plant cultivated by humanity dating to when he was a hunter-gatherer. Some scientist assume that these receptor sites did not evolve for the purpose of getting high: There must be some kind of neuronal pathway in the brain that developed, whether there were cannabis plants or not, speculated mystified St. Louis University pharmacology professor Allyn Howlett in 1989.
But, maybe not. In his book Intoxication: Life in Pursuit of Artificial Paradise, Dr. Ronald K. Siegel, psycho-pharmacologist at UCLA indicates the motivation to achieve altered states of consciousness or moods is a fourth drive akin to hunger, thirst, and sex. And humans arent the only ones to get high. Siegel recorded numerous observations of animal intentionally getting intoxicated during his experiments.
Cannabis hemp is part of our cultural, spiritual, and physiological heritage, and was the backbone of our most stable and long surviving cultures. So, if you want to know the long term effects of marijuana use look in the mirror!
the authorized on-line version of Jack Herers The Emperor Wears No Clothes
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