Monday, January 18, 2010

IL-2? Cannabis? '(THC) decreases the number of high and intermediate affinity IL-2 receptors of the IL-2 dependent cell line NKB61A2 '? WTF?

This study has me confused. You see, I'm not an immunopharmacologist. I'm just a half smart medicinal smoker who is learning more and more every day about research into cannabinoids via the Interweb.

I've read this abstract and, due to my inexperience in this field, I had to search for what an 'IL-2' is.

An IL-2 is, according to the knowledgeable folk who contribute to Wikipedia:

Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is an interleukin, a type of cytokine immune system signaling molecule, which is a leukocytotrophic hormone that is instrumental in the body's natural response to microbial infection and in discriminating between foreign (non-self) and self. IL-2 mediates its effects by binding to IL-2 receptors, which are expressed by lymphocytes, the cells that are responsible for immunity.

 In English (I'm getting good at deciphering medical speak), it means:

IL-2 is produced by the body to help fight infections or foreign bodies in OUR bodies. It induces the immune response in humans (if I'm wrong, some medico will set me straight I'm sure).

OK, now the study (in laymans terms) says that THC reduces the effectiveness of these IL-2s.

Now, in terms of fighting infections etc, one would think that this could be a bad thing. However, anti-rejection drugs do the same thing. They are 'immunosuppressives'. That is, they weaken the immune system so that a transplant recipient's body doesn't attack the new organ. THC (according to this study) has the potential to do the same thing, as well as acting against the common side-effects of other immunosuppressives. For example, THC does not damage vital organs and acts as a cancer fighting agent (see earlier posts). Modern Immunosuppressive drugs are indiscriminate. They reduce the bodies ability to fight ANY attack (including cancerous cells). Cannabis could potentially reduce transplant rejection with minimal side-effects due to its broad spectrum medicinal qualities.

In my experience, I've found that if I maintain a relatively healthy lifestyle (ie, get some sun and don't become a couch potato), it doesn't matter how much pot I smoke, I remain healthy. I don't get flu or colds (even though I work in an industry that is exposed to wide and varied contact with many people), and I don't get infections.
As I said, I smoke for medicinal reasons at a dose that is 'right' for me.

I'll be following this study to find out what the boffins are saying.