The Role of Chemistry in History

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History of THC

April 28th, 2008 · Comments Off

Introduction to THCHistory of THCTHC in the New- Cancer and THC

Effects of THC - Chemistry of THC

Discovery THC :

  • The actual discovery of the molecule THC is very anti-climatic, the story is very similar to the discovery of opiates and other drugs
  • After realizing that morphine would attach to specific receptors in the brain, causing the sensation of being “high,” American and British organic chemists in the 1940s and the 1950s and found that there were specific receptors for THC in the brain and that the body produces a chemical similar to it, but there was little interest at this time so the research came to a halt.
  • In 1963 Mechoulam and Yehiel Gaoni were the first to isolate THC and reported the first synthesis of THC
  • From there, other organic chemists were able to to figure out the absolute configurations, which there are four of for THC.
  • In 1968 Mechoulam made book that talked all about his discovery and the Cannabinods found in the brain, he was able to make synthetic cannabinoid that was 100 times more potent then THC and was the key to finding the receptors in the brain
  • Today THC is used to help people with Cancer deal with pain and in now believed to help Alzeitmers

History of THC/Weed

  • 10,000 BC- Traces of hemp rope have been found in China, these findings are the earliest use of cannabis
  • Chinese also used hemp cloth in burial rituals for the deceased and in medicine to help heal and take away pain
  • The Greeks began to use hemp in the around 600 BC
  • Egyptians in the Middle Ages, gardens of Cannabis were present through out the city of Cairo. Then the Egyptian government tried to ban the drug but was unable to do so because the use was reinforced by the Koran. The Koran explicitly banned the use of alcohol, but did not mention Cannabis
  • When Napoleon invade Egypt, he was amazed at the use of Cannabis and tried to uphold the ban. But when his soilders went back to France they told many stories of the amazing “hash” and its wonderful effects.
  • In the early 19th century Cannabis came to the United States, but was soon ban by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics because Harry J. Anslinger had a personal vendetta against the drug
  • But in the 1920s THC became a major product in medical research, then money ran out and laws were passed to stop the use of THC
  • After this the interest in THC research declined and the use of Marijuana declined, but in the early 20th century there was a rebirth, as immigrants moved into the US. There was a sudden surge in major cities, but Anslinger was determined to give THC a bad name by saying it corrupted the youth and provoked violent crimes.
  • In 1937 Marijuana was banned for good from further use in the United States
  • Now some states have made Marijuana legal or just legal for those who use it for medicine (see THC in the News)

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Cancer and THC

April 28th, 2008 · Comments Off

Introduction to THCHistory of THCTHC in the NewsCancer and THC

Effects of THC Chemistry of THC

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Connection with Cancer:

  • THC and Marijuana do not cause lung cancer, this is a common misconception because many people tie it in with tabacco products
  • THC is not a cure for cancer either, but it does help many people with the pain of chemotherapy
  • Although it is not a cure for cancer, there has been instances where THC as cut the growth of lung cancer by half. The study has only been done on mice at this point, but is in the process of injecting THC into humans.
  • Research as shown that THC can block the production of malformed cells that are the hallmark for Alzheimer’s Disease better then any other drug that is being prescribed now
  • It is believed that 4.5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease in America
  • Other investigations have shown that years of heavy marijuana use, four or more joints a week, can impair memory, decision-making and the ability to pay attention to more than one thing at a time.

THC is now being able to treat the following:

  1. As an antiemetic to control nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy.
  2. As an antiemetic to control nausea and vomiting associated with the use of drugs for controlling the spread of the AIDS virus; without which patients could regurgitate the nausea inducing drugs before being properly absorbed by the body.
  3. To retard or reverse the weight reduction syndrome of AIDS.
  4. To control seizures in patients suffering from epilepsy.
  5. To reduce pressure within the eyes associated with glaucoma.
  6. To alleviate muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis.
  7. To alleviate pain and muscle spasms for paraplegics and quadriplegics. (Karl Harrison)

 

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Chemistry of THC

April 28th, 2008 · 8 Comments

Introduction to THCHistory of THCTHC in the NewsCancer and THC

Effects of THC - Chemistry of THC

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Structure of THC:

  • Boiling Point 200 degrees C
  • Chemical formula: C 21 H 30 O2
  • The structure of THC is classified by where the double bonds occur. The molecule is classified by delta and then a number
  • The molecule as two chiral carbons allowing for four stereo-isomers to form
  • The double bonds in the molecule lock the atoms in place creating cis and trans isomers
  • The place in which the double bond is causes one molecule of THC to be more potent then other.
  • The top ring contributes to the cannabinoid activity in the receptors
  • But the most important part of the molecule is the side chain, potency can be increased by adding more carbons on to it. It can be increased by 7 carbon chains
  • The orientation of the side chain on the lower part of the chain plays an important role on how the receptor receives the molecule
  • The configuration of the hydroxy group is critical to determining the potency
  • When the receptors receive the molecule, the exact line up of the bonds and side chains determine how “high” one will get when smoking or ingesting the molecule

 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/77/Thc.pdb.gif

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Introduction to THC

April 28th, 2008 · 10 Comments

Introduction to THCHistory of THCTHC in the NewsCancer and THC

Effects of THC - Chemistry of THC

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

 

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Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active ingredient in Cannabis Sativa or Marijuana.

  • It is a mind altering drug, known as a hallucinogen but rarely ever causes hallusinations by itself.
  • Marijuana was used by drug companies to help decrease pain in the body in the early 1900′s,
  • By 1937 the drug was banned from the United States
  • But it was not widely known or used by the general public until the 1960′s.
  • There are over 200 different names for Marijuana, such as pot, weed, herb, Mary Jane, Gangster, Chronic ect.
  • Marijuana is usually smoked through a pipes or bongs
  • In recent years, a popular way of smoking weed is by emptying a cigar and packing it with Marijuana

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THC in the News

April 28th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Introduction to THCHistory of THCTHC in the NewsCancer and THC

Effects of THC

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Above is a map of the United States, the highlighted states are states that have made new laws for Marijuana

  • ██ State with legal medical cannabis.

    ██ State with decriminalized cannabis possession laws.

    ██ State with both medical and decriminalization laws.

  • The gray states are states that completely outlaw any use of Marijuana

Below is a world map that displays countries individual laws pertaining to the use of Marijuana:

worldmap1.jpg

  • Dark Blue: Legal/Essentially Legal
  • Light Blue: Decriminalization
  • Orange: Illegal, but mostly unenforced
  • Red: Confirmed Illegal
  • Pink: Probably varies by region
  • Gray: No information

This map above show that the use of THC in Marijuana, is not just an American debate, but a world wide one. The rules vary for each country, depending on their tolerance of the drug.
THC on 60 minutes and the stores in California

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Effects of THC

April 28th, 2008 · 9 Comments

Introduction to THCHistory of THCTHC in the NewsCancer and THC

Effects of THC - Chemistry of THC

Effects:

  • Marijuana’s effect on the user depends on the strength or potency of the THC it contains. THC potency has increased since the 1970s but has been about the same since the mid-1980s. The strength of the drug is measured by the average amount of THC in test samples.
  • Most ordinary marijuana contains an average of 3% of THC
  • The more THC in the Marijuana the greater the effect of the brain will be
  • Within a few minutes of inhaling marijuana smoke, the user will likely feel, along with intoxication, a dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, some loss of coordination and poor sense of balance, and slower reaction time. Blood vessels in the eye expand, so the user’s eyes look red
  • The feeling of being “high” lasts for 2 to 3 hours and then makes the smoker tired and sometimes extremely hungry. This is known in slang terms as the “munchies”

How it works in the Body:

  • Marijuana can be inhaled or ingested into the body by either smoking or eating, some common ways to eat it is to make “magic” brownies or mix it with peanut butter and make a sandwich
  • The THC from the Marijuana goes to the brain and stays in the Synapse Clef until a special receiver, known as the Cannabinoid recpetor, receives the THC and creates the feeling of being high
  • Dopamine, the chemical in the brain that sends a message of feeling good to the body, is released.
  • thc-in-the-brain.jpg

  • Dopamine production is not increased nor decreased when using THC. This quality in itself make is one of the major reasons that Marijuana is not an addictive

Staying in the Body

  • THC is abosorbed by fatty tissue, for less frequent users THC can be traced in the body by a simple urine test for several days
  • For those chronic or heavy smokers, THC can be traced in the body for up to several weeks
  • People have now designed special drinks and concoctions to try and beat a drug test.

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  • These drinks can cost anywhere from $24 to $124 and they all are said to work for a simple urine test, but is not guaranteed for a blood test.
  • Most kits are designed to be taken over a three week time period for best results
  • These Kits include ingredients such as:
    • Herbs such as milk thistle, barberry, dandelion or schizandra – traditionally used to ‘detoxify’ the liver and aid normal liver function
    • Digestive aids such as ginger, globe artichoke and peppermint for treating indigestion
    • Laxatives like fennel, psyllium and senna
    • Diuretics like birch, dandelion, golden rod and spiny restharrow – these are supposed to increase bowel movements and urine elimination.
  • Scientist say that taking these drinks and pills is harmful to the body
  • Many believe that these so called “detox-kits” promote body abuse because you are able to find a quick fix in a bottle.

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Categories: THC