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Marijuana Might Really Make You Cool

Fred Gardner, CounterPunch.org, 9th September 2005

Marijuana use may confer health benefits by lowering overall body temperature, according to Tod Mikuriya, MD. It has been observed by his office staff -and confirmed anecdotally by colleagues- that people seeking physician approval to medicate with cannabis usually register body temperatures markedly below 98.6. Just as lower calorie consumption is associated with greater longevity, lower temperature could confer an advantage by slowing down metabolism! (Sometimes "great ideas" are simple and obvious. For example, all history is the story of class struggle, and, in addition to the thoughts we're aware of, we have unconscious thoughts that can be glimpsed in dreams.) Mikuriya writes in the new O'Shaughnessy's:

Hypothermia in the mouse is one of the "classic tetrad" of symptoms indicating activation of the cannabinoid system. The genesis of hypothermia requires further study. The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission observed that one of the reputed benefits was to help laborers tolerate the heat. Cannabis was described as used to cool the passions -in contrast with alcohol, which heated them.

Clinically, cannabis appears to actually lower temperature and a couple of patients have described a sense of cold with transient shivering. The question could be answered readily by comparing temperatures of persons who have THC metabolites in their urine and people who don't. If there turns out to be a significantly lower temperature in the cannabis-using population, one might posit a slower metabolic rate which, over time, might have implications for longevity. Temperature has a significant effect on metabolic rate. We have to understand the mechanism of hypothermogenesis.

If there is a hypothermia, what influence is there on the HPA (Hypothalamus Pituitary Adrenal networks) and all of the interactions affecting levels of circulating cortisol and epinephrine, etc.? With management of diabetes, cannabis decreases blood sugar by diminishing gluconeogenesis, which plays out in decreased insulin requirement and improved stability.

This hypothermogenic effect appears to be dose-related and could contribute to a neuroprotective effect after trauma. The optimum delivery method will require study. Hopefully, we will see a vaporizer on ambulances for treatment of head injury and seizures, and at the bedside of pre- and post-neurosurgery patients.

In addition to external cooling, cannabis quiets the irritable CNS. A combination of inhaled and oral cannabis would be appropriate for acute CNS trauma from internal or external etiology. I predict this will become accepted and mainstream in the future.

Raphael Mechoulam's lab published a paper in 2003 showing that hypothermia appears to be an important factor as to why the synthetic THC analog HU-210 was protective in an animal model of stroke. [Leker, R.R., Gai, N., Mechoulam, R. and Ovadia, H. (2003) Drug-induced hypothermia reduces ischemic damage: effects of the cannabinoid HU-210. Stroke 34, 2000-2006]... If a patient presents to an ER with a stroke, the first thing they will do is put the patient's head in a cooler and pump them full of antioxidants (vitamin E).


There's many a pothead thinks their drug of choice makes them cooler than the general population. Wait till they find out how much cooler! O'Shaughnessy's is the journal of sorts that I produce for California's small but growing group of pro-cannabis doctors. It is not available by subscription, but a contribution of any amount to the CCRMG (California Cannabis Research Medical Group) will get you on the mailing list for Fall '05 and future issues. The CCRMG is a 501(c)3 non-profit; contributions are tax deductible. It was founded in 1999 by Mikuriya, whose pioneering clinical research has been rewarded by the Medical Board of California with a $75,000 fine (to pay for the cost of his own prosecution; the liberal equivalent of being made to dig your own grave). The CCRMG is not supported by a generous grant from MPP, Green Aid, DPA and other reform bureaucracies. It is BY FAR the best way to support the medical marijuana movement (as opposed to the medical marijuana industry, which does not really need external support). Please send what you can to CCRMG, po box 9143, Berkeley CA 94709 But wait, there's more! If you order now, you'll also receive a never-before published transcript of the 1937 Congressional Hearing that led to the Prohibition of Marijuana, with commentary by your correspondent.

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