Photo: Vida Optima
As marijuana use proliferates, so does the science behind it. But unlike single psychotropic drugs such as oxycodone, Prozac, or LSD, the pharmacology of cannabis is far more complex. Why? Because more than 400 chemicals, many of which are psychotropic, have been identified in the plant. Many of these belong to the widely known cannabinoid class, but the plant also contains hundreds of naturally occurring volatile chemicals called terpenes (see below), which are partly responsible for the scent, flavor, and pharmacological properties of cannabis.
One of the more interesting members of this class is a structurally simple hydrocarbon called myrcene and it’s thought to be partially responsible for the sedating effects of cannabis. But myrcene has multiple functions; it is found in minute quantities in a variety of herbs and spices (beer too) and has alleged biological properties that include:
Then there’s this
Huh? How can myrcene have both anticancer properties and also be a known carcinogen (1)? It’s not an isolated instance once you enter
Crazyfornia California’s Prop 65 list of random carcinogenic chemicals. After all, only in CA can coffee both cause and cure cancer. (Also see Should California Put A Warning Label On Your Penis?) I don’t want to dwell on the insanity of Prop 65, so the following photo should do the trick.
Death in Disney. Some Mickey Mouse science. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
What are terpenes?
I am reluctant to recruit Steve and Irving for another Dreaded Chemistry Lesson From Hell,® because they’d need to be paid overtime (Hell has a powerful teamster’s union) – something that the cheapskates at ACSH simply refuse to do. This is an example of unethical behavior if you ask me because according to reliable sources like Andy Kolodny and Adriane Fugh-Berman, members of PROP (a different kind of Hell), ACSH is bursting at the seams with all that corporate money that pours into our filthy coffers. So, why not pay the poor guys?
Published: September 29, 2022
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