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Proteins change as pot plants clean up soil

[April 1, 2007]

When cannabis hits the headlines it is often in response to the latest cannabis farm that has been unearthed, be it in a remote field in the country or in someone’s roof in the city. Bad press all round for a plant known for its psychoactive properties and misuse, even though it is finding support from individuals and doctors for alleviating the symptoms of many illnesses. But what many people fail to appreciate is that there are other, safer, varieties of Cannabis sativa that bring different qualities to society.

The pot-smoking species is C. sativa subsp. indica, characterised by relatively large amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component. However, another cultivar, C. sativa subsp. sativa, produces only trace amounts of THC and grows long and tall, with little branching. This form is cultivated for its fibres and is more often known as industrial hemp. It is easy to grow, typically taking 4 months to rise to heights of 3-10 feet, its fast growth negating the need for herbicides.

It has been estimated that hemp is used in more than 25,000 products, including paper, fibreboard, textiles, biodegradable composites, plastics, rope, sails and furniture. Compared with wood chippings, hemp produces at least double the amount of fibre and does not require bleaching or other toxic chemicals.

But Cannabis sativa has one further property that can get careless industrialists and farmers off the hook. It can help to clean up soil that has been contaminated with toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, nickel and copper. Plants grown in soil that has been fouled by industrial effluent, metal-enriched fertilisers or herbicides can absorb metals into their root systems. So, ideally, crops could be grown on contaminated soil, then the fibres harvested for industrial use.

Little is known about how the Cannabis plant reacts when it takes up excess copper, especially within the proteome. How does it manage this, while still maintaining growth and its normal protein functions? This question has now been addressed by scientists from the University of Piemonte Orientale in Alessandria who have studied the proteome of Cannabis sativa var. Felina 34 grown under copper stress.

Seedlings were planted in a quartz sand-loam-gravel mix that was dosed with 150 ppm copper sulphate. This level is well above the mean world soil copper concentration of 20 ppm, while remaining below that at which serious plant toxicity is observed. After 6 weeks, the copper-treated plants were smaller than control plants, with shorter leaf areas, root lengths and root volumes.

The copper content, determined by ICPMS, doubled in the shoots, but increased 8-fold in the roots compared with controls. This distribution confirmed that copper intake was preferentially localised in the root system in agreement with published work which declared the copper gradient in hemp to be roots > stems > leaves > seeds.

Proteins in the roots were extracted by standard methods and separated by 2D gel electrophoresis. The protein spots that had statistically significant intensity differences from the control gel were selected for in-gel digestion with trypsin for tandem mass spectrometry analysis. Seven proteins were down-regulated, five were up-regulated and two disappeared altogether.

Subsequent identification was not straightforward, since the C. sativa genome has not yet been sequenced. So the researchers, led by senior reporter Maria Cavaletto, used de novo sequencing from the MS/MS spectra then aligned the proteins to database sequences of related organisms. This cross-species protocol was able to identify some of the protein with altered abundances.

Since no new proteins were observed under copper stress, the team concluded that the plant does not evolve a copper-specific mechanism to incorporate the excess metal ions. They proposed a copper-coping mechanism in which the first protein to interact with the copper ions, present as copper(II), was aldo/keto reductase. It acts as a scavenger, reducing copper(II) to copper(I), a process which makes it available for interactions with other proteins such as phytochelatins that bind copper(I). This reductase is an auxin-induced protein, confirming the involvement of auxin as a plant growth regulator handling the excess metal.

Other implicated proteins include the stress proteins formate dehydrogenase, a protein that increases in response to other stresses such as dark, cold and drought, as well as enolase and elicitor-inducible protein. Other implicated proteins are those which confer greater copper resistance and provide an efficient reducing system (thioredoxin peroxidase, peroxidase and cyclophilin) and those which regulate root growth (actin, ribosomal proteins and glycine-rich protein.

This preliminary work will mark a useful basis for future phytoremediation studies, perhaps being used to develop plants for biomonitoring or for the remediation of heavily metal-polluted soil.

Related links:

* Department of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Piemonte Orientale

http://www.disav.unipmn.it/


* Proteomics 2007, 7, 1121: “Proteomic characterization of copper stress response in Cannabis sativa roots”

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/user/accessdenied?ID=114182347&Act=2138&Code=4717&Page=/cgi-bin/fulltext/114182347/PDFSTART


http://www.spectroscopynow.com/coi/cda/detail.cda;jsessionid=B9527441DE1FE87DF66C0D19CA250C2E?id=16011&type=Feature&chId=10&page=1

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Round One of Obama’s “Open for Questions” Reveals Clamor for Drug Policy Reform

By Al Giordano

President-elect Obama – fulfilling multiple campaign promises to more deeply involve the public in setting priorities for his administration – opened up his Change.Gov website to questions from citizens, and asked the people to then rate the questions up or down.

The first round of questions closed at midnight last night, and it should come as no surprise that many of the top questions involve issues that millions of Americans care deeply about but for which commercial media coverage doesn’t do justice in reporting or prioritizing.

The number one question for the first round was:

“Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?”

A total of 2,521 7,947 participants recommended that question to only 102 634 that thought it inappropriate (the latter figure is particularly revealing, demonstrating that the “conventional wisdom” that drug policy reform is too controversial to touch is simply not reflected in public opinion, certainly not among Obama’s base supporters).

I have a suggestion for one of the ways the President-elect – who having promised it, now owes a serious response to that question beyond the usual sloganeering and grandstanding by politicians regarding matters of drug policy – can answer it consistent with his own stated positions while also advancing on those parts of it that he has not spoken out about clearly. I’ll get to that in a moment.

But first, it is interesting to note that other drug policy reform questions finished quite high up the list, too.

The seventh most popular question – out of many thousands submitted – was:

“13 states have compassionate use programs for medial Marijuana, yet the federal gov’t continues to prosecute sick and dying people. Isn’t it time for the federal gov’t to step out of the way and let doctors and families decide what is appropriate?”

The thirteenth:

“How will you fix the current war on drugs in America? and will there be any chance of decriminalizing marijuana?”

The fifteeth most popular question was:

“What kind of progress can be expected on the decriminalization and legalization for medicinal purposes of marijuana and will you re-prioritize the “War On Drugs” to reflect the need for drug treatment instead of incarceration?”

The eighteenth most popular question:

“The U.S. has the world’s highest incarceration rate, largely due to the War on Drugs. Our prisons are festering pits of rape, racism, and gang violence, and divert a lot of tax money to the corrupt prison industry. How can we fix this?”

And the ninteenth, on another area of drug policy:

“What will be done about the FDA and its cozy relationship with the Pharmaceutical industry? Will the protective legislation for the Pharm be reversed? Will the FDA pre-emption policy protecting the Pharm from liability be addressed?”

In other words, six of the top twenty questions – that’s 30 percent of them – are on drug policy and matters related to it.

If the President-elect and his advisors were to ask “how should we respond to those questions” I would answer in two parts:

1. Reiterate those campaign promises (to stop federal medical marijuana raids in states that have decided to allow patients access to that medicine, to end mandatory minimum sentencing for nonviolent offenders, and adequately fund drug treatment among them, prioritizing the latter over incarceration), implementing those that only require an executive order immediately upon taking office on January 20.

2. Appoint a National Commission of highly qualified and respected scientists, medical investigators, doctors, patients, civil libertarians and civil rights advocates, law enforcement professionals and experts, defense attorneys, prosecutors, economists, prison reform advocates, and some retired gray eminences from those fields to report back within sixth months with detailed answers to all of those questions and more. Charge the National Commission with making detailed recommendations for reforming US drug policy in ways that cease its counter-productive impacts on public safety, federal and state budgets, civil rights and liberties.

And then, when the report comes back, act upon it: implement changes that can be made through executive order immediately (including resetting priorities for US Attorneys and law enforcement agencies across the country) and propose legislation to Congress to deal with the rest.

And mobilize the grassroots supporters – Micah Sifry at TechPresident has published an Obama organization memo confirming that the field organization will be utilized for lobbying the House and Senate – to pressure Congress to comply.

The President-elect asked for public input and, lo’ and behold, he got it.

Now the ball is in his court to act on it in a meaningful way, a very important early test for whether he’ll walk his talk.

Posted by TheMaji on

stats on marijuana and teens

Aaron Houston, AlterNet – Buried in the latest Monitoring the Future survey — the major annual, federally funded survey of teen drug use — is an astonishing finding: More 10th-graders now smoke marijuana than smoke cigarettes. . . In the just-released survey, 13.8 percent of 10th-graders reported smoking marijuana in the past 30 days (considered “current use” by researchers), while just 12.3 percent smoked cigarettes. For eighth and 12th grades, cigarette use still exceeded marijuana, but the gap narrowed to insignificance. This year, current and past-year marijuana use increased for eighth- and 12th-graders and declined for 10th-graders, but none of the changes were large or statistically significant. In contrast, current cigarette smoking did drop significantly for 10th-graders. Changes for most other drugs were marginal, except for a significant increase in methamphetamine use among 10th-graders.

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Best Xmas Tune? Willie and Colbert’s Ode to Weed

By Scott Thill EmailDecember 02, 2008 | 9:36:52 PM

A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All has redefined the holiday special for the new millennium. But it may also have redefined holiday songs for the 21st century as well, especially Willie Nelson and Stephen Colbert’s “Little Dealer Boy.” Think “Little Drummer Boy” 2.0, substitute the phrase “finest gifts” for marijuana, and you’re there.

Or better yet, just check out the video of the entire song at right. It’s a double-exposure romp that might make Jesus blush, if he wasn’t already rumored to have used cannabis himself. After all, as Willie sings in the duet, cannabis is a “plant that smokes more sweetly than either frankincense or myrrh.”

If you like the tune, you’re probably going to love the rest of the bizarro standards found A Colbert Christmas, out now as an iTunes-only digital EP. Heck, you might even dig Toby Keith’s War-On-Christmas shocker “Have I Got a Present For You,” the very track that had me worried that Colbert’s holiday special might suck.

Boy, was I wrong about that.

Meanwhile, “Little Dealer Boy” has caught some flak on Colbert Nation, but I think it is one of the finest Christmas tunes ever laid down. Am I high? Post a comment below and let me know.

Posted by TheMaji on

Jesus ‘healed using cannabis’

Jesus was almost certainly a cannabis user and an early proponent of the medicinal properties
of the drug, according to a study of scriptural texts published this month. The study suggests
that Jesus and his disciples used the drug to carry out miraculous healings.The anointing oil
used by Jesus and his disciples contained an ingredient called kaneh-bosem which has since
been identified as cannabis extract, according to an article by Chris Bennett in the drugs magazine,
High Times, entitled Was Jesus a Stoner? The incense used by Jesus in ceremonies also contained
a cannabis extract, suggests Mr Bennett, who quotes scholars to back his claims.
“There can be little doubt about a role for cannabis in Judaic religion,” Carl Ruck, professor
of classical mythology at Boston University said. Referring to the existence of cannabis in anointing
oils used in ceremonies, he added: “Obviously the easy availability and long-established tradition of
cannabis in early Judaism _ would inevitably have included it in the [Christian] mixtures.”

Mr Bennett suggests those anointed with the oils used by Jesus were “literally drenched
in this potent mixture _ Although most modern people choose to smoke or eat pot, when

its active ingredients are transferred into an oil-based carrier, it can also be absorbed through
the skin”. Quoting the New Testament, Mr Bennett argues that Jesus anointed his disciples
with the oil and encouraged them to do the same with other followers. This could have been
responsible for healing eye and skin diseases referred to in the Gospels.

“If cannabis was one of the main ingredients of the ancient anointing oil _ and receiving
this oil is what made Jesus the Christ and his followers Christians, then persecuting those
who use cannabis could be considered anti-Christ,” Mr Bennett concludes.

Posted by TheMaji on

The Truth about Marijuana

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This information about MARIJUANA and HUMANS will astound you!

Hypothesis on the symbiosis of humans and the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis.

11/5/2002     Stephen H. Saunders

This paper is dedicated to two of the greatest farmers I know- My Father Stephen G. Saunders and my Grandfather, James Levi Evans.

This paper points to several key physiological correlations between the chemical components found in the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis, and the chemical components required for the biological functioning of the mammalian species, Homo Sapiens.

The first correllary which bears scrutiny is the correllation between the nutritional requirement for Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) for proper maintenance of brain tissue, skin, and hair, and the chemical composition of the fruit produced by the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis. The essential fatty acid profile of the fruit of the Cannabis Sativa plant contains the full spectrum of essential fatty acids required by humans on a daily basis, perfectly balanced nutritionally down to the tenth of a percent, with nothing added, and nothing left out. This corrollary, when combined with the historical and cultural fact that the fruit of the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis has been consumed for food for thousands of years by humans suggests that the consumption of this fruit has played a major role in the formation of the current chemical and physiological structure of the brain, skin and other physiology of humans.

The second correllary can be found by examining the structure and composition of neuro-receptor sites which exist on the surface of the brain of the species Homo Sapiens. The surface of the human brain contains minute areas which are called neuro-receptor sites which function to allow chemical compunds to interact with and have an influence in creating and maintaining all of the various chemical states of the brain. These receptor sites vary in size and shape, and thus allow various compounds to lock in to them, causing various changes in the chemical composition of the brain. Some of these receptor sites are substance-specific, which means that they will only allow specific compunds to lock in to them. Some receptor sites are susceptable to a phenomenon called blocking, which is created by compounds which, when locked in to certain receptor sites, create changes in the chemical composition of the human brain by preventing other compounds from locking in.

The chemical compound manufactured by the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis that sometimes has a psychoactive effect on the brain chemistry of humans called TetraHydraCannabinol (THC) consists of a particular formation of a compound called Cannabinol which is also manufactured naturally by the body to aid in the proper functioning of the cornea of the human eye, and support the ability of the human eye to discern the difference between lines and shapes. This compound has a neuro-receptor site in the network of neuro-receptor sites found on the surface of the brain of humans which is substance specific which is to say that no other chemical compounds are able to lock in to these receptor sites.

The surface of the brain of humans  contains more of these substance specific neuro-receptor sites THAN  RECEPTORS FOR ALL OTHER CHEMICAL COMPOUNDS PUT TOGETHER.

The arrangement of these substance specific neuro-receptor sites for Cannibinoids across the surface of the human brain has been scientifically described as ubiquitous.

Ubiquitous is defined scientifically as the state of being everywhere at the same time.

A symbiosis between the two species which would influence this level of chemical integration would require many tens of thousands of years of consumption of the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis by humans  to create such an enormous influence on the physiological structure of the brain of the species.

While virtually every creature on the planet has substance specific neuro-receptor sites for TetraHydraCannabinol (THC), the mammalian species  Homo Sapiens has the unique condition of being capable of ingesting and utilizing TetraHydraCannabinol (THC) in such enormous capacities over all other chemical substances which influence the functioning of the brain of the species.

The Cannabinoids are found on the leaves and flowers of the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis, as well as inside the fruit or seeds. The Cannabinoids are ingested by humans and delivered to the brain by consumption of the seeds/fruit as food. The Cannabinoids are also delivered to the brain by consumption of the leaves and flowers of the plant by burning and breathing the resultant smoke, or eating the leaves and flowers. The latter methods, which use the leaves and flowers create a psychotropic/psychoactive effect on the brain.

In examining the use for the Cannibinoids in the physiology of the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis, we find that the plant manufactures the compound for use as a filter that blocks the upper end of the spectrum of light of the sun known as ultraviolet or UV light.

The TetraHydraCannabinol (THC) is a protective shield for the plant against UV radiation.

In light of these empirical facts, this paper demonstrates proof of species symbiosis between humans  and the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis, predicated upon scientific proof which answers the following questions:

a) Does the deprivation of the full and balanced spectrum of Essential Fatty Acids delivered by the fruit/seeds of the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis from the nutritional diet of humans create adverse effects on the health of the species?

Correllations between the historical date of the political prohibition of the fruit/seeds for use as a food source in the United States, and the ensuing decline in the use of the fruit/seeds as a food source throughout the rest of the world due to martial enforcement, AND the rise of aberrative forms of disease and illness cannot be overlooked.

b) Does the effect of filling the ubiquitous numbers of substance specific neuro-receptor sites for TetraHydraCannabinol (THC) located on the surface of the brain of humans create for this brain, as it does for the leaves and flowers of the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis the effect of blocking or screening the brain and its brainwave activity from the effects of the radiation of Ultraviolet (UV) light?

Current commercial research and development into the use of THC as an effective ingredient in the manufacture of sunscreen for human skin suggests that its function  in the  substance-specific neuro-receptor sites on the surface of the human brain, acts for the brainwave activity of the human brain in a similar capacity.

c) While the consumption of the leaves and flowers of the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis by humans through oral ingestion and smoking has been a part of human culture as far back as recorded history, is the sudden and sharp rise in the chronic smoking of the leaves and flowers of the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis by humans  a symptom of malnutrition due to insufficient consumption of the seeds/fruit of the same plant, which would, as a staple in the diet of humans provide enough quantities of non-psychoactive/psychotropic cannabinoids to the brain, in addition to the vital, balanced profile of Essential Fatty Acids delivered by the seeds/fruit of the plant?

Closing comments

While there are many, many additional corrollaries which support the hypothesis of symbiosis between humans and the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis, this paper focuses on physiological and biological data and ensuing questions and call for research outlined above.

Stephen H. Saunders is a researcher and media developer who can be contacted at majik@majik.org

2002 Stephen H. Saunders