Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Pot and stroke research and rats

This blog has seen postings about various research on preventing or treating strokes. I always try not to make rash promises about how something - coffee or chocolate or tea or bat spit (honest!) or snake venom - will prevent a stroke or treat a stroke.

So I was fascinated to read the many articles about how "stroke survivors" could be given cannabis to reduce brain damage:
The “exciting” research has been compiled by researchers at the University of Nottingham, who have pulled together research from around the world to suggest that ‘cannabinoids’ – chemicals related to those found in cannabis, some of which also occur naturally in the body – could reduce the size of stroke and improve neurological function.
The research – so far which has only been done on rats – indicates that all three classes of cannabinoid could be effective in shrinking the area of the brain affected by stroke and in recovering neurological function.
I put "stroke survivors" in quotes because of the second paragraph's note that the research was done on rats - not people. So the "stroke survivors" so far have been rats.

Always watch out for stories that call research "exciting" when it's done on rats. Would cannabinoids work the same on humans? Nobody knows. Keep that in mind when you read about the weed. It'll be time to be excited when it works on people.

(Photo from the National Institutes of Health)

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