Is N.J. Going to Pot? Part Two

Have you ever read an elite liberal blog about how some revered liberal writer or politician (even Obama himself) entered the room, sucking up all the oxygen in the room? Did you know what they were talking about? Of course not, because you’re not an elite liberal and didn’t study biology while you were still in private school, and neurology in college.

The synapses need oxygen in order to fire up. When a signaling neuron comes along with a message, it trips a switch in the synapse with an electrical charge, much like a cigarette lighter, consuming oxygen from the molecules in the neuron. What the elites are saying is that revered Liberal has more synapses firing than the average Liberal snob, and certainly more than a Conservative, and far more than the average Conservative, or even Liberal, voter.

Marijuana eats up oxygen in the brain, to no good use – and that’s what Liberals want. They want to destroy our brains. Bwaa-ha-ha-ha-haaaa!

Seriously. They do. They want to limit our ability to learn and make decisions (like who to vote for).  It’s welfare for young adults.   Slowing down the brain’s activity through sedation makes it difficult for people under 23, whose myelin sheaths have not fully developed, to remember what they’ve learned. Today, the N.J. Senate intends to join the vanguard of states that have made pot, like homosexual marriage, legal. They’ve successfully diverted our attention with the latest anti-gun legislation, which will be voted on today, according to reports.

But pot is on the agenda as well. Yesterday, we described the real effects of marijuana on the brain. Some people haven’t a clue what a brain really is, what it does, or how it does it. That’s why they vote for anti-gun legislation, Common Core, Obama, and legalization of marijuana.

The brain serves as the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate and most invertebrate animals. It is located in the head, usually close to the primary sensory organs for such senses as vision, hearing, balance, taste, and smell. The brain is the most complex organ in a vertebrate’s body. In a typical human the cerebral cortex (the largest part) is estimated to contain 15–33 billion neurons (nerve cells), each connected by synapses (junction boxes) to several thousand other neurons. These neurons communicate with one another by means of long protoplasmic (a Star Trekish word for the living contents of a cell surrounded by a plasma membrane or cytoplasm, a membrane, or covering) fibers called axons (transmission wires), covered by a myelin sheath (a fatty insulation wire, composed chiefly of choline which prevents leakage of the electrical signal) which carry trains of signal pulses called action potentials, or more commonly, spikes (a short-lasting event in which the electrical membrane potential of a cell rapidly rises and falls, following a consistent trajectory) to distant parts of the brain or body targeting specific recipient cells.

The brains of all species are composed primarily of two broad classes of cells: neurons and glial cells. Glial cells (also known as glia or neuroglia) come in several types, and perform a number of critical functions, including structural support, metabolic support, insulation, and guidance of development. Neurons, however, are usually considered the most important cells in the brain. The property that makes neurons unique is their ability to send signals to specific target cells over long distances. They send these signals by means of an axon, which is a thin protoplasmic fiber that extends from the cell body and projects, usually with numerous branches (called dendrites), to other areas, sometimes nearby, sometimes in distant parts of the brain or body.

Axons transmit signals to other neurons by means of specialized junctions called synapses. A single axon may make as many as several thousand synaptic connections with other cells. When an action potential, traveling along an axon, arrives at a synapse, it causes a chemical called a neurotransmitter (endogenous, or organic, chemicals) that transmit signals across a synapse from one neuron (brain cell) to another ‘target’ neuron to be released. The neurotransmitter binds to receptor molecules in the membrane of the target cell.

Synapses are the key functional elements of the brain. The essential function of the brain is cell-to-cell communication, and synapses are the points at which communication occurs. The human brain has been estimated to contain approximately 100 trillion synapses; even the brain of a fruit fly contains several million. The functions of these synapses are very diverse: some are excitatory (exciting the target cell); others are inhibitory; others work by activating second messenger systems that change the internal chemistry of their target cells in complex ways (like flipping a switch on and off). A large number of synapses are dynamically modifiable; that is, they are capable of changing strength in a way that is controlled by the patterns of signals that pass through them. It is widely believed that activity-dependent modification of synapses is the brain’s primary mechanism for learning and memory.

Most of the space in the brain is taken up by axons, which are often bundled together in what are called nerve fiber tracts. A myelinated axon is wrapped in a fatty insulating sheath of myelin, which serves to greatly increase the speed of signal propagation. (There are also unmyelinated axons). Myelin is white, making parts of the brain filled exclusively with nerve fibers appear as light-colored white matter, in contrast to the darker-colored grey matter that marks areas with high densities of neuron cell bodies (the storage houses for the neurons).

Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are released at synapses when an action potential activates them—neurotransmitters attach themselves to receptor molecules on the membrane of the synapse’s target cell, and thereby alter the electrical or chemical properties of the receptor molecules. With few exceptions, each neuron in the brain releases the same chemical neurotransmitter, or combination of neurotransmitters, at all the synaptic connections it makes with other neurons; this rule is known as Dale’s Principle (a rule attributed to the English neuroscientist Henry Hallett Dale that states that a neuron performs the same chemical action at all of its synaptic connections to other cells, regardless of the identity of the target cell. However, there has been disagreement about the precise wording.

Thus, a neuron can be characterized by the neurotransmitters that it releases. The great majority of psychoactive drugs exert their effects by altering specific neurotransmitter systems. This applies to drugs such as marijuana, nicotine, heroin, cocaine, alcohol, fluoxetine (Prozac), chorpromazine (Thorazine – used for psychiatric patients), and many others.

The two neurotransmitters that are used most widely in the vertebrate brain are glutamate, which almost always exerts excitatory effects on target neurons, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is almost always inhibitory. Neurons using these transmitters can be found in nearly every part of the brain. Because of their ubiquity, drugs that act on glutamate or GABA tend to have broad and powerful effects. Some general anesthetics act by reducing the effects of glutamate; most tranquilizers exert their sedative effects by enhancing the effects of GABA.

There are dozens of other chemical neurotransmitters that are used in more limited areas of the brain, often areas dedicated to a particular function. Serotonin, for example—the primary target of antidepressant drugs and many dietary aids—comes exclusively from a small brainstem area called the Raphe nuclei. Norepinephrine, which is involved in arousal, comes exclusively from a nearby small area called the locus coeruleus. Other neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine and dopamine have multiple sources in the brain, but are not as ubiquitously distributed as glutamate and GABA.

So basically, we come to it. Marijuana and its bigger brothers, heroin and cocaine, have a sedative effect on the brain. Some increase excitement in neurons; others depress them, causing extreme highs and lows. Marijuana makes its way more quickly to the brain, via the lungs, causing a virtually instant high, whereas alcohol is absorbed into the system more slowly (depending on how much you drink; the higher the alcohol content, the more potent you drink. One hundred percent alcohol will pretty much kill you).

Adults over the age of 23 are said not to be affected by marijuana the same way as young people. That is to say, their IQs are unaffected. Someone should do more research on that. After all, most neuroscientists still don’t know why we know things.

We know what happens when people who smoke pot get behind the wheel of car, though. Accidents happen. People and property are injured. Old ladies wind up with 32 broken bones and a metal plate in their heads. Worse though, are children, particularly teenagers are transformed into idiots.

Call your New Jersey senator as soon as possible and tell them you oppose this bill, S1896. Scutari called the existing legislation on marijuana possession, use and sale “archaic.” How many potheads could even spell that word, much less know what it means? Pot has the same effect on people that it had back in the 19th Century.

In fact, its effect is more potent thanks to the marvels of biological science and plantology. Let the New Jersey Senate know we’re not idiots. Oppose this bill.

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Published in: on March 27, 2014 at 12:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

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