Medical Marijuana: Good or Bad?
Published: Monday, October 31, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 12:11
Did you know that when a woman gives birth her breast milk contains a marijuana-like substance that activates the baby's appetite and helps him grow, or that the most abundant chemical-binding receptors in the human brain are for marijuana?
Although medical marijuana raises a lot of concerns, it is now legal in 16 states. Still, there are so many things left to discover and William Paterson University's Dr. Emmanuel Onaivi sets out to break the stigma and discover all there is to know about the biology of marijuana as it pertains to the human body.
Onaivi is a biology professor and he specializes in the molecular biology of drug abuse.
"I don't like to talk about the politics," stated Onaivi in a recent interview. "I like to the talk about the science."
Onaivi says that there is so much to know about this substance that is often times one dimensionally judge based on the negative drug that has been concocted using the natural marijuana and ultimately changing it from its natural and proven medical potential. Medical marijuana is not the illegal substance sold outside of medicinal purposes.
It is the pure bud without any foreign toxin or added narcotics such as PCP. The scientific term for marijuana is cannabis. This cannabis in its natural untouched state is what has been studied and even used in some cases in special doses and for special medicinal purposes.
Onaivi finds that the most interesting fact about cannabis is that it is not a substance limited to the plant from which it is derived. In fact cannabis is found in its own form in the human body. The cannabis we produce within our bodies is called endocannabinoid. These endocannabinoids are important when it comes to human growth and reproduction and without its chemical presence in breast milk babies could even become malnourished.
The question that is still under research and that ultimately drives Onaivi is why the human body is most receptive to cannabis of all the compounds it comes in contact with.
"There must be a reason for this," exclaimed Onaivi in a recent interview. "There must be a reason why our bodies are so open to it."
Onaivi is responsible for the discovery of the cannabis receptor in our genes that is most receptive to marijuana. This receptor is called CB2 and thanks to Onaivi it has become a huge lead in the studies on medical marijuana.
" If we are most receptive to cannabis just imagine what medical marijuana could do if taken appropriately," declared Onaivi.
Of course like a lot all medicines medical marijuana is not exempt from side effects. Onaivi's discovery is still very new and that is exciting for the world of medicine as it is believed by many researchers that the future of medicine would ultimately be to customize medicine to the needs of the person in detail and medical marijuana, if further approved, could be part of that advancement. It is already being used to treat people suffering from cancer, fibromyalgia, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and many more.
Onaivi has done so much for the advancement and the studies of cannabis, but his accomplishments do not end there. He has written four books and has been featured in countless medical volumes but he insists that his proudest moment came when he and two other William Paterson University students were selected, because of his discovery of CB2, to represent the whole state of New Jersey at a biology convention in Washington D.C., Capital Hill.
"Research was not chosen from Rutgers or Princ-eton they were chosen from William Paterson University," exclaimed Onaivi, reminiscing proudly.
Through his accomplishment he want remains a down to earth, amiable and approachable man. It is said that behind every successful man there is a powerful woman and Onaivi is the first acknowledge and praise his wife for her help, as she herself is a biologist whom he proudly dedicated his recent publication to.
If this is not your first time hearing about Onaivi you may have seen him on campus or taken one of the courses he has taught. Along with his studies enjoys listening to jazz music and aspires to one day learn to play the saxophone.