An Autonomous Agent

exploring the noosphere

Category: biology (Page 1 of 17)

Endocannabinoid System

Posted here are three great lectures on cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System in the human body. The first lecture, by Dr. Robert Melamede is my favorite. Melamede frequently references Ilya Prigogine’s work and provides an understanding of the Endocannabinoid system based on a “far from equilibrium” perspective. For the more physics and math inclined readers, this is a wonderful connection.

Dr. Robert Melamede – Endocannabinoid System

The Endocannabinoid System in Health and Disease – Dr. Ethan Russo

Quick summary:

  • Endocannabinoid System composed of three components: 1) endocannabinoids, 2) CB1, CB2 and TRPV1 receptors, and 3) regulatory enzymes
  • CB1 is the most abundant G-protein-coupled receptor in the brain
  • Cannabinoids modulate how fast things move through the gut!
  • CB1 is the “psychoactive receptor” and CB2 is the immunomodulatory receptor
  • CBs 10-fold more potent than morphine in WDR neurons mediating pain
  • All humans have a baseline Endocannabinoid System, influenced by genetics or some life event; in some people the system becomes deficient – disease and other issues arise in the body
  • Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CED)
  • THC notoriously increases appetite, why aren’t users more often obese? THC alters the microfloral balance in gut, prevents weight gain
  • Cannabis very effective in Fibromyalgia
  • Migraine info at 41 min
  • Migraine related to CED

Cannabis and Cannabinoids – Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather

Quick summary:

  • Compared to the flower: oils, edibles and other extracts lose many of the cannabinoids and terpenes
  • Cannabis is an adaptogen – can give you whatever your body needs to regain its homeostasis
  • CBDs with THC works optimally, together it gives a greater than additive effect, i.e. better than consuming each individually; plant flower and all it contains is overall better than the extracts
  • At 1 hour and 2 min in the lecture, entire list of cancers which exhibit cannabinoid sensitivity and in many cases the tumor goes away with cannabinoid treatment

New Theories on the Origin of Life with Dr. Eric Smith

Dr. Eric Smith’s lecture on the origin of life really challenged everything I thought I understood regarding how life functions and possibly originated on Earth. Make sure to watch the question and answer at the end for some good points regarding panspermia and Miller’s experiments.

Paul Stamets Videos

Paul Stamets speaks about the power and importance of mushrooms:

Younger Stamets talking about Psilocybin Mushrooms:

Great Lecture about Fungi:

Mushrooms as medicine for humans (and bees!):

The Cannabis Evolution Project

The Cannabis Evolution Project did an amazing job sequencing thousands of strains of cannabis and displaying the resulting genetic data. Take a look at the results:

The Phylos Galaxy

And I recommend watching some of the Cannabis Science Pub – Feb 2016

Panspermia and Messages Encoded in DNA?

Scientists, while studying the non-coding regions of DNA found that:

… the non-coding sequences have certain statistical features in common with natural and artificial languages. Specifically, we adapt to DNA the Zipf approach to analyzing linguistic texts. These statistical properties of non-coding sequences support the possibility that non-coding regions of DNA may carry biological information.

With that quote in mind, consider that Francis Crick suggested in 1975 that life on Earth could have been the result of “Directed Panspermia.”

Also, check out Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge for Jeremy Narby’s thoughts on this subject.

Messages in DNA? Directed Panspermia? Great ideas for a science fiction movie, yes! But unless scientists find evidence that life definitely arose on Earth through natural processes, then these ideas can and should be considered legitimate hypotheses — they both can be refuted by evidence showing that they are false.

Let’s entertain the rather wild possibility that the information contained in these non-coding regions may in fact be information encoded in the DNA by an advanced “thing” which purposely sent life to Earth. This would suggest the question: “At what level of development did cells and bacteria arrive on Earth?” Fully developed with DNA, ribosomes, and protein synthesis? Or, perhaps just DNA contained in a capsule?

If an advanced intelligence wanted to send a message to be received by an organism which eventually developed enough ability to discover this message, how would it do this? What would the message be? What would be the context of the message?

Would it be possible to encode a message as “form” in matter. By form, I mean something like studying the processes and relationships of molecular biology, for instance see: The Molecular Basis of Life. The incredible form of the DNA transcription; the fascinating ability of the kinesin protein to travel microtubules; could these forms and relationships be the message? If the context is biological travel in space, might these cellular forms and relationships be teaching us how to expand and develop in space?

But a message based on form seems to be invalid because it is the non-coding regions of DNA which are not expressed in protein structures that contain the statistical properties of Zipf. However, I think we still have much to learn about DNA and its interactions with the rest of the cell which may change the way we view DNA. It just seems hard for me to understand how 1,000,000 specially crafted objects (proteins) of various shapes thrown in a zero gravity room together could somehow bounce and collide to eventually create an organized dynamic transport mechanism across that same room — not to mention the dozens of other cellular processes. So, where does the form of cellular processes arise?

These thoughts came as I was watching 3D animations of kinesin protein travel along microtubules. Perhaps we could design a sort of kinesin vehicle which would travel along a microtubule connection from the Earth to Moon? Or, they could serve as connections between asteroid space bases suspended in the Lagrangian points. No need for rocket fuel, it would be similar to magnetic trains. What would it imply if an idea for space travel and transport could be found inside the cell?

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