Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cannabinoids and Uterine Contractions

     I find myself ever amazed at the scientific research results of cannabinoids.  For most of my life, I was led to believe that cannabis offered NO medicinal benefits and only caused harm to one's body and mind.  Once again, I come across a study that puts the fables to rest.
     In 2004, The National University of Ireland's  Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology reported that, contrary to popular belief, cannabinoids do not cause premature labor.  Here is a *link* if you would like to see the abstract.  In the study, scientists took human pregnant myometrial (middle layer of the uterus) tissue and exposed it to anandamide (a cannabinoid found naturally present within our bodies) and delta 9-THC (the main cannabinoid in marijuana).  These cannabinoids bind to the endocannabinoid receptor CB1 found in the tissue and cause a relaxant effect! The scientists concluded that cannabinoids do NOT directly induce contractions in the pregnant uterus and that anandamide may actually play an important role in pregnancy and childbirth.
     If only more research could be done, we could possibly find that cannabis may help prevent early labor and premature births. Unfortunately, as long as the DEA keeps cannabis listed as a Schedule 1 drug, further research will be very limited and it may be many years before we get a clue as to how great this plant actually is.
P.S.- I do not encourage pregnant women smoking cannabis or any other product for that matter...  There are other ways to receive the benefits of cannabis without smoking - expecting Jamaican women have for years been known to drink a tea made with cannabis!

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