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CHEM 1004 (13)
Chapter 11

Chapter 11

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Carleton University
CHEM 1004
Gerald Buchanan

Chapter 11 - Marijuana ● The most commonly used illicit drug in North America ● 3rd most widely used ‘recreational’ drug after alcohol and tobacco ● Often considered a gateway drug (try this one 1st and progress to ‘harder’ drugs) ● Cannabis Sativa is the botanical name ● Weed plants are easy to grow and can grow up to ~4 meters in height ● Both male and female plants will grow in any waste or fertile area ● Major active euphoric principle is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),but 11 other THC’s also present ● fibres in the stalk of the plant (known as hemp) can be used to make rope, fabric, paper and oil ● ~50% of the seeds are male and ~50% of the seeds are female ● Female plants are more valuable, they last longer and produce a higher % of THC’s ● Hashish (more commonly known as hash) is a potent form of cannabis by collecting the trichomes of female marijuana plants ○ Press trichomes into a collective mass ○ Colour depends on particle size. Produces lighter colour in Morocco and Lebanon ● Trichomes - are the fine outgrowths that produce a sticky resin. They are a rich source of THC ● Sinsemilla (Without Seed) - Flowering portion of the cannabis plant. Higher THC than leaves. Can have 10-14% THC and still increasing. Sometimes differentiated from marijuana ● Active Ingredients ○ THC in Hashish and marijuana (more potent) ○ Leaves/stems/seeds etc, contain lower amounts ● Marijuana has been used for ~5000 years. Used by Chinese in pre-Christian era ● Medicinally, the marijuana was important to the people of ancient China and India, and its use spread to Europe and the USA in late 19th and early 20th centuries ● Marijuana was officially listed in the US Pharmacopia (USP) in the early 1930’s ● A fluid extract of cannabis sativa was made and sold by Eli Lilly, Bristol Myers and Parke Davis (3 of the world’s largest companies!)Used to treat neuralgia, depression, rheumatism and gout. ● Concurrent with the licit use of Marijuana in the early 1930’s and earlier was the illicit consumption of the drug for its euphoric and intoxicant effects. Finally outlawed in 1937 in USA and 1941 it was removed from the US Pharmacopia ● Large variations in plant characteristics, sizes, and concentrations of THC’s suggests that cannabis sativa has of more than 100 species ● Potency has increased over time. Originally difference in THC varied from 0.7% to 3.7% but, now there are varieties with THC contents from 15% to 25% ● Highest THC content record is 27.5% grown hydroponically! (BC Bud) ● In North America there are ~$60 billion of marijuana sales a year ● Canada is the #3 supplier of marijuana to the US after Mexico and Columbia Marijuana Effects ● LD50THC, mg/kg): 1200 oral, 100 i.v., 42 inhaled ● High doses - moderate addiction, intense anxiety ● Moderate but long term use - damages lungs, hampers immune system, lowers 'mental' functions (about same as alcohol/tobacco) ● Benefits - glaucoma treatment (reduces eye pressure); heightens enjoyment of food; relieves nausea; reduces perception of pain(used to comfort cancer patients or those with advanced HIV on chemotherapy or radiation); (?) treatment of muscle spasms/epilepsy. ● Human brain has 2 cannabinoid receptor sites THC can combine with and activate the these receptors. Accordingly, there is a broad range of effects of marijuana ● Effects on The Brain ○ Even moderate doses cause short term memory loss, poor attention span, ○ 5-10 mg into bloodstream is sufficient to give a “high” ○ Hunger (“the munchies”), thirst, laughter, nausea, dizziness (all are possible) ● For Adolescents ○ Prolonged use leads to impaired concentration and memory deficits ○ Cognitive skills (math and reasoning) slowed ○ Coping skills –handling pressures of social adjustment and peer relationships can be impaired ● Effects on Cardiovascular System ○ Increase in heart rate occurs
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