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Addiction treatment

Nature wins the war on drugs: Low-cost, super-potent plants prevent addiction and treat withdrawal safely

Tuesday, October 01, 2013 by: Cody L
Tags: addiction treatment, plant medicine, war on drugs

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(NaturalNews) Addiction is a rampant problem in the United States, and in 1995 it was shown in the National Comorbidity Survey that 51% of individuals used drugs at some time in their lives, and 15.4% did so in the last 12 months. These drugs included the list 'marijuana/hashish, cocaine/crack, heroin, hallucinogens), nonmedical prescription psychotropic drugs (sedatives, tranquilizers, stimulants, analgesics), and inhalants'. Certainly there must be enough research to halt the impact of illicit drugs on American people. This would be one advisable path to restore the budget deficits across the 50 states as well as reducing the risk of the mentally ill affecting personal and national security. If nothing else, consuming alternative compounds would reduce the morbidity experienced by family members dealing with the progression of the addiction in loved ones.

Chinese herbs treat addiction to opioids, nicotine, and stimulants

Berberine, a component of the Chinese herb Coptis Chinensis root, as well as the American plants Oregon Grape root and barberry root, was shown to alleviate complex withdrawal symptoms of morphine and the depressive conditions associated with relapse. Berberine is highly recommended in replacement of methadone which has it's own addictive potential. Panax quinquefolius (wild ginseng) was also found to contribute to the same protective mechanisms against opioid withdrawal.

Berberine also prevents nicotine from sensitizing the brain for addiction. It was also found that addition of berberine to cigarette filters completely prevented the sharp drop in oral peroxidase levels from cigarette consumption, halting the progression of oral cancer. Ginseng saponins, or saps, were found to inhibit the development of addiction to cocaine and block behavioral changes from high doses. Berberine from Coptis Chinensis likewise was proven in a Chinese lab in 2007 to completely prevent dopamine changes from cocaine administration. Berberine also prevents cigarette smoke induced lung injury.

Addiction and dependency do not take clinics and large scale spending to defeat

A mutation in a fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) gene called 'C385A' was positively associated with incidences of extreme addiction, suggesting that endocannabinoid system dysregulation in a minority of individuals accounts for the particularly bad cases. These individuals may become addicted to cannabis, and for them it was found that palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) could reduce cravings entirely. It remains to be shown whether ginseng or coptis prevent cannabis dependency in addiction-prone or normal individuals.

Upon morphine dependence, cannabinoid receptor 1(CB1R) is elevated, and injection of THC derived from Cannabis sativa significantly attenuated forepaw tremor, a standard laboratory index of opioid dependence, balancing the CB1R. Further, it was found that 2-AG, an endocannabinoid, given externally, also treated the withdrawal from dependency, suggesting it's internal synthesis and regulation is disturbed and not reaching the CB1R. It was also found that inhibiting FAAH and another endocannabinoid-degrading enzyme, MAGL, by raising anandamide and 2-AG, also entirely prevented susceptibility to cannabis dependence. FAAH inhibition with URB597 also prevented addiction to nicotine and alcohol.

Obesity has been found to be lower in cannabis users, and this is suggested to be from exposure to THC, indicating that it triggers direct weight loss. 22-25% of non-users were obese and 14% and 17% in cannabis users of more than three times per week, in a test sample combining two surveys for a total of 50,000 respondents. This could be effective for preventing nicotine-withdrawal associated weight gain. Transgenic mice overexpressing cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2R) prevented cocaine self-administration and it's effects on dopamine signals in the nucleus accumbens and ventral tagmentum, which are the key regions in brain reward pathways.

Growth of new neurons in the hippocampus help us learn our way out of addiction and depression and can be triggered by ambient air concentrations of 'GRAS' plant saps

Importantly, it was found that cannabinoids are the only safe compound considered among Schedule 1 drugs of abuse. 'In summary, since adult hippocampal neurogenesis is suppressed following chronic administration of opiates, alcohol, nicotine, and cocaine, the present study suggests that cannabinoids are the only illicit drug that can promote adult hippocampal neurogenesis following chronic administration. Increased hippocampal neurogenesis appears to underlie the mechanism of anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like effects.' Cannabis sativa plant has an essential oil component which coordinates with it's cannabinoids for combined additive effects in a large number of conditions as stated in the paper 'Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects'. It states clearly the benefits of even being around the aroma of the plant.

'This review will explore another echelon of phytotherapeutic agents, the cannabis terpenoids: limonene, myrcene, a-pinene, linalool, s-caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, nerolidol and phytol. Terpenoids share a precursor with phytocannabinoids, and are all flavour and fragrance components common to human diets that have been designated Generally Recognized as Safe by the US Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies. Terpenoids are quite potent, and affect animal and even human behaviour when inhaled from ambient air at serum levels in the single digits ng/mL^-1. They display unique therapeutic effects that may contribute meaningfully to the entourage effects of cannabis-based medicinal extracts. Particular focus will be placed on phytocannabinoid-terpenoid interactions that could produce synergy with respect to treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections (including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).'

A new medical cannabis strain called 'Avidekel' has been cultivated in Israel which has tamed THC down to 0.1%, while raising cannabidiol (CBD) to 16.3%, as well as retaining the terpenoids. A video from Reuters contains an interview from the creators, Tikun Olam: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoM8cQX1cj4. Prof. Yosef Sarne published Behavioural Brain Research and Experimental Brain Research that 'even extremely low doses of THC - around 1,000 to 10,000 times less than that in a conventional marijuana cigarette - administered over a wide window of of to a week before or one to three days after injury can "jumpstart" biochemical processes that protect brain cells and preserve cognitive function over time.'

Sources for this article include:

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About the author:
Cody Lakeland is a freelance writer in fields such as nutrition, phytomedicine, neurology, gerontology, epigenetics, and toxicology. He currently helps to coordinate the formulas for a internet/home-based community business specializing in customized alternative therapies.

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