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Monday, January 28, 2002

Interesting piece in the NYT on the effects of marijuana. This part of the piece is very troubling.

Dr. Rachel Wilson, a researcher at Caltech, discovered when she was at the University of California at San Francisco that endocannabinoids played an important role in the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in learning and memory, according to a report published this spring in Nature. No one has figured out exactly how endocannabinoids are used in the hippocampus, but based on the abundance of cannabinoid receptors in this part of the brain and on the experiences of marijuana users, Dr. Wilson suspects that these molecules help lay down new memories by strengthening the connections between nerve cells. But when the brain is flooded with cannabinoids through marijuana use, forgetfulness results, Dr. Wilson said. It is probably a case of too much of a good thing, she added. When cannabinoids are abundant, every experience becomes strongly linked in our minds, she believes. But when everything is marked for memory, the system is overwhelmed and nothing is remembered.

Could this confirm the stereotype of the spacey pothead? I was leaning towards allowing medicinal pot in tightly controlled settings as an anti-nausea drug, but this leans me away.

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