Back to Map

MAPTalk-Digest Tuesday, December 27 2005 Volume 05 : Number 156

001 Integration of endocannabinoid and leptin signaling regulates the excit
    From: Allan Erickson <>
002 New study of peyote contradicts DEA website
    From: Allan Erickson <>
003 US WY: Couple to be held in jail
    From: Allan Erickson <>
004 LEAP's Howard Wooldridge on the radio in Texas
    From: "SHeath(DPF Florida)" <>
005 US CO: Grass Roots
    From: Richard Lake <>


Subj: 001 Integration of endocannabinoid and leptin signaling regulates the excitability of neurons on appetite-related circuits
From: Allan Erickson <>
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 2005 12:38:14 -0800

Integration of endocannabinoid and leptin signaling regulates the 
excitability of neurons on appetite-related circuits

Integration of endocannabinoid and leptin signaling regulates the 
excitability of neurons on appetite-related circuits

Marijuana, or more specifically its active ingredient, 
tetrahydrocannabinol, has a well-documented tendency to stimulate 
And while researchers have traced this property to cannabinoid 
receptors in the brain, they have had little understanding of the 
neural circuitry underlying this effect.

Understanding this circuitry has important practical implications 
because blocking the cannabinoid receptor, CB1, offers a promising 
approach to treating obesity.
One such compound, Rimonabant (Acomplia) is already undergoing 
clinical testing.

In an article in the journal Neuron, Young-Hwan Jo and colleagues 
report how the circuitry of CB1 is integrated with signaling by the 
appetite-suppressing hormone leptin. The CB1 receptor is normally 
triggered by natural regulatory molecules, called endocannabinoids.

In their studies, the researchers concentrated on the lateral 
hypothalamus of the brain, known to be a center of control of food 
intake. Their studies involved detailed electrophysiological 
measurements of the effects of specific neurons that they had 
identified in previous studies as being important in endocannabinoid 

Their studies revealed that activation of CB1 receptors, as by 
endocannabinoid molecules, induced these neurons to be rendered more 
excitable by a mechanism called " depolarization-induced suppression of 

inhibition " (DSI).

They found that leptin inhibits DSI. However, leptin did not appear to 

interfere with the CB1 receptors themselves. Rather, leptin 
"short-circuits" the endocannabinoid effects by inhibiting pore-like 
channels in the neurons that regulate the flow of calcium into the 
neurons. Such calcium is necessary for the synthesis of 

In further studies of mice genetically altered to be leptin deficient, 

the researchers found the DSI to be more prolonged than in normal mice. 

Thus, they said, the findings "implicate this mechanism for leptin 
receptor/endocannabinoid signaling in contributing to the maintenance 

of weight balance=85." The researchers also included that "upregulation 

of endocannabinoid signaling in the lateral hypothalamus may explain, 

at least in part, the increased body weight consistent with a prior 
report of elevated endocannabinoids" in such leptin-deficient mice.

The researchers concluded that their findings "are consistent with the 

hypothesis that the integration of endocannabinoid and leptin signaling 

regulates the excitability of neurons on appetite-related circuits."

They also wrote that "the cellular mechanisms of recently developed 
antiobesity drugs, such as Rimonabant, may include decreased 
endocannabinoid signaling and hence decreased excitability of lateral 

hypothalamus circuits related to appetite, even in the context of 
leptin insufficiency or resistance."

Source: Neuron, 2005



Subj: 002 New study of peyote contradicts DEA website
From: Allan Erickson <>
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 2005 17:05:26 -0800

New study of peyote contradicts DEA website 


A Nov. 4 study by researchers at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital  
contradicted the DEA, finding that peyote use by Native Americans in  
religious ceremonies is not cognitively harmful, and may even have  
psychological benefits.

Indigenous peoples have long used natural substances as medicines and  
religious sacraments.

Some of these substances -- such as coffee and chocolate -- have been  
embraced by Western societies, while others, such as coca and peyote,  
have been condemned.

What native peoples say empowers them has too often been labeled as  
hazardous, while what enriches Western societies is branded as  

In the last century, U.S. authorities' efforts to make peyote illegal  
focused on the supposed harmful effects, saying that ignorant  
indigenous people couldn't be trusted to act in their own behalf.

Ironically, peyote is considered by native peoples to be a treatment  
for alcoholism and drug abuse.

- -snip-


Subj: 003 US WY: Couple to be held in jail
From: Allan Erickson <>
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 2005 19:04:17 -0800

Couple to be held in jail 

Star-Tribune staff writer

- -snip-

The affidavit filed with the complaint against the Houts describes a  
pattern of purchasing Hydrocodone on the Internet and swapping the  
drug, at times, for methamphetamine, hallucinogenic mushrooms and other  

The Houts were then arrested for conspiring to import Ibogaine, a drug  
some claim to be a sort of panacea for all manner of addictions.

The charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

Rankin said during Thursday's hearing that he believed the Houts were  
trying to buy Ibogaine "to ease their drug issues."

Ibogaine, which is derived from an African plant, is legal in some  
countries. While there is some ongoing research on its use in treating  
addiction, it is classified a Schedule One controlled substance in the  
United States.

Dana Beal, who has co-authored a book on Ibogaine and who advocates for  
its legalization, said he believes the arrest of the Houts may be the  
first to be associated with the drug.

- -snip-


Subj: 004 LEAP's Howard Wooldridge on the radio in Texas
From: "SHeath(DPF Florida)" <>
Date: Tue, 27 Dec 2005 03:32:37 -0500

Board Member Howard Wooldridge is a phone in guest to "4:20 News" on 
Pacifica Radio: KPFT, 90.1 FM, Houston, Texas. Howard will be giving a 
report from his Washington, DC headquarters as he begins his new effort as 
Drug Policy Educator to elected officials in the US Capital.

This recording will be archived at the DTN website for listening anytime, 
anywhere. So please pass the word.

See the listing for Dec 27 at MAP OnAir for more details.  If you read this 
after Dec 27, just go to the MAP OnAir archives.

Steve in Clearwater

Media Activism Facilitator for DrugSense and 


Subj: 005 US CO: Grass Roots
From: Richard Lake <>
Date: Tue, 27 Dec 2005 19:09:03 -0500


Pubdate: Tue, 27 Dec 2005
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2005 The Denver Post Corp
Author: Douglas Brown
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Women)
Bookmark: (Denver)


58,866 Denver Residents Voted To Legalize Pot

Among Them, These Moms

They car pool in Crestmoor, read bedtime stories in Washington Park, 
and when they're away from the kids, these Denver moms sometimes 
retrieve the hidden baggie, pack a pipe or roll a joint, and smoke a 
little weed.

"It slows me down," says a Washington Park 40-something mother of a 
10-year-old daughter. "It's a nice, relaxing, low-key thing."

One Denver psychologist, the 46-year-old mother of a young child, 
smokes because it helps her find "that space that is so about me and 
not about being a parent."

"It helps you stop thinking," says a 37-year-old Crestmoor mother of 
two, a mildly conservative Republican who, like most of the women 
interviewed, smokes once or twice a week. "I either can't sleep at 
night because I'm restless, or I can't get in the mood with my 
husband because my mind is spinning."

Her favorite pot-delivery method? Homemade brownies.

It wasn't just the stereotypical pot smoker - the 22-year-old 
skateboarding slacker who measures his days in bong hits, or the 
hippie sucking back joints from the back of her 1968 VW Bus - who was 
among the 58,866 Denver residents the city's election commission says 
voted in November to pass the Alcohol-Marijuana Equalization Initiative.

These marijuana-loving mamas helped make Denver the first city to 
legalize small amounts of pot for private adult use. Under state and 
federal law, however, possession of marijuana remains illegal, and 
that is why the women were unwilling to have their names printed.

Pundits galore characterized the yes vote on the initiative as merely 
symbolic. But it didn't lack meaning to these moms. Marijuana, they 
say, should be legalized, and the vote is an important first step.

Among other things, the vote "shows just how many pot smokers there 
are in this city," says a 37-year-old Park Hill publicist, the mother 
of two young children.

The moms trumpet pot as a safe, healthy alternative to alcohol. 
Marijuana critics say they're fooling themselves.

"They are sending those kids a message that it's OK to get high, and 
they intend to send that message," says Dr. Mary Holley, the director 
of Mothers Against Meth-Amphetamine, in Alabama. The physician works 
to organize mothers against all illegal drugs. "That's an extremely 
destructive message." Through their habits, the moms tell their kids 
that "if he has a problem, he can just go out and get high."

Pot is not harmless, says Christian Hopfer, a psychiatry professor at 
the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

Smoking pot can cause lung cancer, he says, and lead to addiction. 
(About 8 percent of people who try it become addicted.) Some studies 
show it can precipitate mental illness, although the incidence is 
rare. And it does affect judgment and motor skills, he says.

"You could have trouble driving" while stoned. "You're not going to 
be sharp as you would be otherwise."

But Hopfer is not surprised by pot-smoking among moms.

"Marijuana use is widely distributed throughout the population," he 
says. "It's not just limited to certain classes."

The moms say they smoked grass more frequently when they were 
younger. Now, most of them puff away occasionally at a party or at 
home on a Saturday night.

Many people are capable of smoking pot the same way many drink booze 
- - - in small doses, in certain settings and not to excess, says Hopfer.

But just as alcohol breeds desperate alcoholics, those who smoke pot 
range from sporadic users to addicts. With both substances, Hopfer 
says, some users are capable of indulging without unraveling their lives.

The Park Hill publicist says she gets "very introspective and very 
thoughtful" when she smokes from her pipe.

"You smoke some weed, you are laughing," she says. "It brings me back 
to the times when I was so much more carefree. I'd much rather do 
that than sit in a smoky bar and drink liquor with my friends."

The Washington Park mother says she doesn't know anybody in her age 
bracket with children who doesn't smoke pot. In fact, she says, "I 
know very few people who don't" smoke marijuana, including chief 
executives and lawyers.

The Park Hill mother says she sometimes goes to parties "with moms 
and pot brownies. There are babysitters for the kids. It's OK to 
laugh and carry on with your girlfriends."

At the parties the Crestmoor mother attends, full of middle- aged 
professional parents, a pot contingent usually thrives somewhere in 
the house, if not all over the place.

Many of the moms have not disclosed their grass-inhaling secrets to 
their kids. The kids are too young, they say, and might not absorb 
the main message the moms want to send when they do get around to 
some frank talking: that smoking marijuana is for adults.

Young brains, the moms say, can't handle marijuana. Like sex and 
alcohol, the decision about whether to take a toke should be reserved 
for people with proper seasoning: old enough to vote, finished with 
high school, stepping into adulthood.

A 36-year-old, laid-off information technology professional wants her 
12-year-old daughter to wait until she's 25 to even think about smoking pot.

But that hasn't stopped the north Denver mom from inhaling in front 
of the girl. She first got stoned around her daughter when the girl 
was 9 at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert, an annual 
bacchanal that attracts thousands of artists, oddballs and thrill-seekers.

"I don't really care because it's her decision," says the woman's 
daughter, sitting on a couch, knitting, in her home.

The girl says she has no interest in trying the drug herself, in part 
because, "I'm not supposed to."

Her mom says she has been routinely smoking pot since she turned 19. 
Her own father, she says, gave her an ounce of pot for Christmas; he 
had quit smoking the stuff and thought she would like it.

"I think it was a bad decision on his part," she says.

Still, she loves her weed. Pot, she says, is "a part of who I am. 
It's fun. It's a way to connect. It's like having a beer with 
someone. It's less harmful than alcohol, it's not fattening, it's 
ultimately cheaper. Alcohol is so bad for your body."

If her daughter ever chooses to try a mind-altering drug, the mom 
hopes she elects marijuana over alcohol, a sentiment echoed by the other moms.

"I'd much rather have her smoke pot than drink because she'll be much 
less likely to get into bad situations," says the Crestmoor mother, 
who does a lot of smoking with her husband while in their outdoor hot tub.

As the pot-smoking moms' kids get older, how - and when - do the moms 
plan to broach the subject of their weaknesses for weed?

"That's going to be a hard one," says the psychologist. "I hope what 
I'll do is not lie, but talk about safety and age. I'm sorry that I 
started (smoking) so early (she took her first puff in seventh 
grade). I think I missed some important developmental stages."

The Washington Park mother also believes she started too young, at age 13.

"You need to have wisdom," she says. "It's like you shouldn't be out 
there having sex when you are 13."

The psychologist says she'll probably wait until her daughter reaches 
a not-yet-determined age to break the joint-puffing news. Once she's 
at the appropriate age, the psychologist says she'll either wait 
until her daughter asks her about it or her daughter starts showing 
signs she may be interested in trying the drug herself.

None of the moms is too bothered by the specter of the police. While 
they all understand that smoking grass remains illegal in Denver, 
they also agree that the vote on Initiative 100 illustrates Denver's 
laissez-faire attitude toward weed.

"Now that it's passed," says the Crestmoor mom, "I'm more comfortable 
talking about it because so many people voted for it."

- - ---
MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman 


End of MAPTalk-Digest V05 #156

Mark Greer ()         ___ ___     _ _  _ _
Media Awareness Project              /' _ ` _ `\ /'_`)('_`\
P. O. Box 651                        | ( ) ( ) |( (_| || (_) )
Porterville, CA 93258                (_) (_) (_) \__,_)| ,__/
(800) 266-5759                                         | |
URL:                      (_)

HomeBulletin BoardChat RoomsDrug LinksDrug NewsFeedback
Guest BookMailing ListsMedia EmailMedia LinksLettersSearch