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November 1, 2014 / 8 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘drugs’

Tel Aviv U Researcher Says Marijuana Can Halt Brain Damage

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Extremely low doses of marijuana’s psychoactive component can protect the brain before and after injury, according to Tel Aviv University Prof. Yosef Sarne.

Medical cannabis is often used by sufferers of chronic ailments, including cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder, to combat pain, insomnia, lack of appetite, and other symptoms but has not been  identified as being able to prevent damage to the body.

Prof. Sarne of the Adelson Center for the Biology of Addictive Diseases says that the drug has neuroprotective qualities and that extremely low doses of THC –  the psychoactive component of marijuana – protects the brain from long-term cognitive damage in the wake of injury from lack of oxygen, seizures, or toxic drugs. Brain damage can have consequences ranging from mild cognitive deficits to severe neurological damage.

Previous studies focused on injecting high doses of THC within a very short time frame of approximately 30 minutes  before or after injury. Prof. Sarne’s current research, published in the journals Behavioural Brain Research and Experimental Brain Research, demonstrates that even extremely low doses of THC around 1,000 to 10,000 times less than that in a conventional marijuana cigarette and administered over a wide window of up to seven days before or one to three days after injury can jumpstart biochemical processes which protect brain cells and preserve cognitive function over time.

This treatment, especially in light of the long time frame for administration and the low dosage, could be applicable to many cases of brain injury and be safer over time, Prof. Sarne says.

In the lab, the researchers injected mice with a single low dose of THC either before or after exposing them to brain trauma. A control group of mice sustained brain injury but did not receive the THC treatment. When the mice were examined three to seven weeks after initial injury, recipients of the THC treatment performed better in behavioral tests measuring learning and memory. Additionally, biochemical studies showed heightened amounts of neuroprotective chemicals in the treatment group compared to the control group.

The use of THC can prevent long-term cognitive damage that results from brain injury, the researchers conclude. One explanation for this effect is pre- and post-conditioning, whereby the drug causes minute damage to the brain to build resistance and trigger protective measures in the face of much more severe injury, explains Prof. Sarne. The low dosage of THC is crucial to initiating this process without causing too much initial damage.

According to Prof. Sarne, there are several practical benefits to this treatment plan.

Due to the long therapeutic time window, this treatment can be used not only to treat injury after the fact, but also to prevent injury that might occur in the future.

For example, cardiopulmonary heart-lung machines used in open heart surgery carry the risk of interrupting the blood supply to the brain, and the drug can be delivered beforehand as a preventive measure. In addition, the low dosage makes it safe for regular use in patients at constant risk of brain injury, such as epileptics or people at a high risk of heart attack.

Prof. Sarne is now working in collaboration with Prof. Edith Hochhauser of the Rabin Medical Center to test the ability of low doses of THC to prevent damage to the heart.

Preliminary results indicate that they will find the same protective phenomenon in relation to cardiac ischemia, in which the heart muscle receives insufficient blood flow.

Hamas’ Drug Lords

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Since Hamas took over the Gaza strip in 2006, Gazans have been subjected to corruption and oppression at the hands of their Islamist rulers. Recently, several reports and testimonies have confirmed that Hamas rule has also meant Hamas involvement and control in a drug trade in Gaza.

Let’s examine the facts.

The Palestinian News Agency, WAFA, reported that Hamas leaders’ involvement in the drug trade and corruption has turned 680 Hamas leaders into Millionaires (that is 80 millionaires more than the 600 reported by the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat) newspaper.

WAFA reported that the wealth came from controlling the smuggling of good through the tunnels with Egypt, including “alcohol and drugs,” describing Hamas leaders as “Gaza’s drug lords”.

In addition, the prominent Egyptian newspaper, al-Mesryoon, quoted Egyptian writer and academic Abdul Munim Saeed as saying that Hamas was the main importer and exporter of drugs into Gaza.

Egyptian security sources told the Al-Dostory Al-Asly newspaper that Hamas was charging tunnel smugglers ten percent of their proceedings, including those coming from drug trafficking.

The Islamic News Agency also published a report on Hamas’s drug trade in Gaza. In the report, Gazan public figures and intellectuals complained that Hamas let drug dealers out of jail within two or three days of their arrest, as Hamas’s judges “were very lenient on drug dealers” at the same time they were jailing Hamas’s political opponents.

A doctor who visited Gaza recently and who agreed to speak to me on the condition of anonymity, said he believed that Hamas controlled the drug trade in Gaza through importing and selling mood-altering drugs, particularly Tramadol, a drug used to treat pain, similar to codeine.  The doctor said he witnessed wide-spread use of the drug by Hamas fighters and that many Gazans use the drug to comfort themselves from their daily suffering under Hamas. “Only a government can import such huge amount of Tramadol,” he said. “Hamas must be directly involved in this matter.”

Even pro-Hamas writer Fayez Abu Shamaleh admitted that Tramadol has become a common-use drug in Gaza under Hamas.  He noted average street prices for drugs have dropped 80 percent in the last few years, making drugs accessible even by Gaza’s school children.

A Palestinian news website, Yabous Press reported that the drug trade in Gaza was controlled by Hamas’s Police Counter-Drug Unit, which is supposed to fight drugs. Yabous Press reported Hamas police would arrest drug dealers who don’t work for them, confiscating their drug supplies, and then selling it in the market for themselves.

In October 2012, several Palestinian news websites have been circulating the names of 66 Hamas government members known in Gaza for controlling the drug trade in Gaza including a son of a Hamas government minister.  As of now, Hamas has not commented or denied these reports.

Hamas has brought misery, pain and destruction to Gaza, so Hamas’s alleged involvement in narcotics trafficking should not come as a shock to anyone.

British Jewish Crime Boss Sues Prison for Kosher Meals

Monday, April 15th, 2013

An orthodox British Jew serving time in jail for trying to smuggle millions of dollars worth of cocaine is suing prison officials for discrimination by denying him kosher food, the London Sun reported.

Simon Price, 68, complained of “institutionalized anti-Semitism” and charged that although inmates are allowed to cook their own meals, he was given pots and pans that are used by non-Jewish inmates and come in contact with non-kosher food.

He also alleged that there are no Jewish texts in the prison library.

Price was sentenced to 35 years in jail in 2005 for the cocaine smuggling plot, and previously has served a prison term for a multi-million dollar robbery.

PA Stats Reveals 3% of Arabs Are Drug Addicts

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Approximately one of every 30 Arabs in areas claimed by the Palestinian Authority is a drug addict, according to statistics reported by the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency Monday.

The Arab population of Judea and Samaria, along with those living in eastern, southern and northern Jerusalem, is estimated by Israeli demographers at slightly more than 1.5 million.

Maan reported that the PA health ministry stated that its population includes 50,000 drug addicts.

Anti-drugs campaigner Abdul Jabbar Yaraqan told Ma’an last year that Israel is to blame for part of the drug addiction problem in Jerusalem because it allegedly has intentionally abandoned dealing with the problem.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/pa-stats-reveals-3-of-arabs-are-drug-addicts/2013/03/11/

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