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Autumn 2005
O'Shaughnessy's
Journal of the California Cannabis Research Medical Group

Goldberg's Monkeys Bat Last

Steven Goldberg (right) in conversation with John McPartland, maintains a colony of monkeys in Baltimore, Maryland that have been trained to self-administer THC (by injection).

Goldberg and Zuzana Justinova presented a poster on “The Abuse Potential of the Endocannbinoid Transport Inhibitor AM404: Self-Administration by Squirrel Monkeys.” AM404 is one of the many compounds that corporate- and government-funded scientists have developing in hopes of achieving higher cannabinoid levels by means than the illegal herb. Goldberg’s monkeys liked AM404 enough to self-administer it, which means, in NIDA’s terms, that AM404 is a drug with potential for abuse. After all their effort to create an alternative to smoked marijuana, the drug companies will have to run their products by Goldberg’s monkeys!

The Goldberg-Justinova poster concluded “AM404 functioned as an effective reinforcer (comparable to THC, anadamide and cocaine under identical conditions) in non-human primates under a fixed-ratio schedule of drug injection. Our findings suggest that medications which promote the actions of endocan-nabinoids throughout the brain by inhibiting their membrane transport have a potential for abuse. It remains to be seen whether medications such as FAAH inhibitors, which augment CB1 signaling only in certain regions of the nervous system, would be self-administered in a similar manner.”

Your correspondent had always heard that monkeys couldn’t be trained to self-administer THC. When this was mentioned to Goldberg, he said other researchers had used “Old World monkeys,” whereas he used squirrel monkeys from South America. But the real key to his success, he added, was the very low doses with which he rewarded the monkeys. This made sense —most of the primates I know prefer a slight alteration of mood to getting knocked-out-loaded. It also resonated with a talk on neuro-protection by Italian investigators in which they found that a synthetic cannabinoid was beneficial only at the lowest concentrations tested, and detrimental at high concentrations. When the name of the game is cannabinoids, less can be more.

O'Shaughnessy's
O'Shaughnessy's is the journal of the CCRMG/SCC. Our primary goals are the same as the stated goals of any reputable scientific publication: to bring out findings that are accurate, duplicable, and useful to the community at large. But in order to do this, we have to pursue parallel goals such as removing the impediments to clinical research created by Prohibition, and educating our colleagues, co-workers and patients as we educate ourselves about the medical uses of cannabis.
 
SCC
The Society of Cannabis Clinicians (SCC) was formed in the Autumn of 2004 by the member physicians of CCRMG to aid in the promulgation of voluntary standards for clinicians engaged in the recommendation and approval of cannabis under California law (HSC §11362.5).

As the collaborative effort continues to move closer to issueing guidelines, this site serves as a public venue for airing and discussing these guidelines.

Visit the SCC Site for more information.