Question about pot

Dana Beal dana at
Mon Jun 18 13:03:01 EDT 2007

On Jun 17, 2007, at 11:03 PM, Aimee Forrester wrote:
> Also has anyone had any success in treating people for pot smoking.  
> There are
> a few stories around about treating people for smoking pot however  
> I can not see
> how the success rate for treating people for smoking pot would be  
> very high.
> I am sure there are successes although I would doubt it would be  
> any more than 30% as
> pot almost seems related to Iboga in some way.
> What do you think?
> love, Jasen

People have tried it, with uneven results.

Pharmacologically, the problem is that both ibo and cannabis are in  
some way glutamate antagonists. Ibo blocks the NMDA receptor, which  
is a glutamate receptor. Cannabis is involved in back-signaling  
glutamate-firing neurons telling them to stop firing. So the effects  
are related, but not identical. Also cannabis doesn't produce much  
of  a dopamine spike,  so quitting doesn't mean you have the same  
chronic dopamine deficit requiring GDNF to rebuild dendrites in the VTA.

Ibogaine might be good for other, psychological reasons. Anyway, I'm  
including an article that just came out on the failure of SANOFI's  
pot blocker, cause it may elucidate some of what I'm saying.


So Much for Big Pharma's 'Anti-Pot' Pill
By Paul Armentano, AlterNet
Posted on June 15, 2007, Printed on June 16, 2007

An independent U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory committee  
determined yesterday that the controversial "anti-pot" pill  
Rimonabant is unsafe for human consumption in the United States.  
Sanofi-Aventis' would-be diet aid -- which has been linked to  
suicidal thoughts, depression and even multiple sclerosis --  
counteracts the effects of marijuana and similar naturally occurring  
chemicals in the body (so-called endocannabinoids), causing users to  
lose their appetites and, according to the warnings of experts, a  
host of other unwanted and dangerous side effects.

Rimonabant does not possess a "favorable risk-benefit profile" to  
warrant U.S. market approval, members of the FDA's Endocrinologic and  
Metabolic Drug advisory panel determined in a 14-0 vote. Panelists  
reported that patients prescribed Rimonabant experienced increased  
incidences of depression, nausea, vomiting, and suicidal tendencies.  
Adverse neurological symptoms in some patients were also reported.

The expert panel's rejection sent shares of Sanofi stock plummeting  
and may have worldwide implications. Last summer European regulators  
gave preliminary approval to the pill, which has now been prescribed  
to some 100,000 patients under the trade name Acomplia. However,  
following Wednesday's unanimous decision, representatives of the  
European Medicines Agency immediately announced that they will begin  
hearings to consider recalling the drug.

For Sanofi stockholders and analysts, who had predicted that  
pharmaceutical giant's "anti-pot" pill could one day rake in some $3  
billion in annual profits, the news is a disappointing financial  
setback. But to health experts familiar with the workings of  
Rimonabant and similar drugs, the FDA panel's decision comes as  
little surprise and is long overdue.

The dark side of Acomplia

As a weight loss drug, Rimonabant is far from a miracle cure. In  
controlled studies, patients who ceased taking Rimonabant typically  
gained their weight back -- implying that the drug may have to be  
prescribed indefinitely. It's that likelihood, coupled with the  
drug's reported and potential side effects, that have raised eyebrows  
among the scientific community.

Because the endocannabinoid system is involved in the regulation of a  
broad range of primary biological functions -- including appetite,  
mood regulation, blood pressure, bone density, reproduction, learning  
capacity, and motor coordination -- some experts are concerned that  
the long-term use of Rimonabant and/or similar drugs to counteract it  
could contribute to a host of significant adverse health effects.  
Animal data appears to substantiate this concern. Newborn mice  
injected with Rimonabant refuse feeding and often die days after  
birth. Mice genetically bred to lack certain cannabinoid receptors  
also suffer from numerous health defects such as cognitive decline,  
hypoalgesia, decreased locomotor activity and increased mortality  
compared to healthy controls. Could similar risks await long-term  
users of Rimonabant?

Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen, director of the Association for Cannabis as  
Medicine (ACM) in Germany, states, "One of the major functions of the  
endocannabinoid system is the protection of nerve cells from damage  
by overactivation of neurotransmitters," Grotenhermen says. "The long- 
term use of [endocannabinoid] receptor antagonists may impair this  
neuroprotective effect with an accelerated loss of nerve cells and  
negative consequences on brain functions such as memory."

Investigators at Amsterdam's Vrije University (the Netherlands)  
express a similar viewpoint. Writing recently in the journal Multiple  
Sclerosis, they report of a 46-year-old woman who was diagnosed with  
the disease after taking Rimonabant daily for seven months. They note  
that the woman had no prior history of neurological symptoms before  
taking the drug and that the patient recovered to "near normal"  
several weeks after discontinuing the medication. "It does not seem  
implausible that [endocannabinoid] antagonism may cause [central  
nervous system damage] in susceptible subjects," they concluded.

Among patients administered Rimonabant in clinical trials, many  
report experiencing adverse effects such as nausea, anxiety and  
depression. According to published data, more than 15 percent of  
subjects who try the drug discontinue its use because of intolerable  
side effects. In addition, at least one study of the drug reported a  
2.7-fold increased risk of psychiatric disorders in Acomplia users.  
Dr. Mitch Earleywine, author of Understanding Marijuana: A New Look  
at the Scientific Evidence (Oxford University Press, 2002), isn't  
surprised. "Given what we are now learning about the endocannabinoid  
system, one would think that any blocking of its receptors,  
especially long-term, would be an invitation for a host of negative  
health consequences involving pain, brain function, and mood --  
particularly depression," he says.

At yesterday's hearing, FDA experts voiced similar concerns and  
recommended the agency shelve the drug when it makes its official  
determination next month. If so, it will be the second time the FDA  
has refused to grant market approval to Rimonabant, which Sanofi  
initially tried to sell in the United States as a prescription  
smoking-cessation agent. Ultimately, in the eyes of the FDA, a  
healthy body needs all the "pot" it can get.

Paul Armentano is the senior policy analyst for the NORML Foundation  
in Washington, D.C.

” 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
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