OBSERVATIONAL PRESENTATION OF INTOXICATION DUE TO THE CONSUMPTION OF MARIJUANA IN ALBINO RATS (AN EXPERIMENTAL STUDY)

OBSERVATIONAL PRESENTATION OF INTOXICATION DUE TO THE CONSUMPTION OF MARIJUANA IN ALBINO RATS (AN EXPERIMENTAL STUDY)

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title                                                                                                                                           Page

Title page                      -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           i

Certification page          -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           ii

Dedication                     -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           iii

Acknowledgement        -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           iv

Table of contents          -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           v

List of tables                  -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           vii

Abstract -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -        viii

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study    -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           1

1.2 Statement of the problem    -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           7

1.3 Purpose of the study           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           8

1.4 Significance of the study    -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           8

CHAPTER TWO: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

2.1 Research Hypotheses          -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           19

2.2 Operational Definition of Terms -  -           -           -           -           -           -           -           19

CHAPTER THREE: METHODS

3.1 Research Design     -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           23

3.2 Participants              -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           23

3.3 Instruments             -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           24

3.4 Procedures               -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           25

3.5 Statistical Analysis -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           42

CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS

4.1 Observations before and after drug administration            -           -           -           -           43       

CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION

5.1 Implications of the study    -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           57

5.2 Recommendations               -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           58

5.3 Limitations                          -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           58

References                        -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           60

Appendices-           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           64


LIST OF TABLES

Table 3:             Sampling procedure table       -           -           -           -           -           -           25

Table 3.1:          Dosage according to body weight of the experimental rats  -           -           32

Table 3.2:          Simple animal-human dose conversion for experimental rats           -           33

Table 3.3:          Animal-human dose conversion for a Nigerian with constant average

body weight                            -           -           -           -           -           -           36

Table 3.4:          Simple animal-human dose conversion with BMI of experimental rats -      37

Table 3.5:          Animal-human dose conversions for an average male and female Nigerian

 with constant average body weight               -           -           -           -           39

Table 4:             Maze performance test table before drug administration       -           -           44

Table 4.1:Maze performance test table after drug administration          -           -           44

ABSTRACT

This experimental study seeks to investigate the domain of marijuana intoxication in humans, using rats as subjects. Ten Wistar rats (5 females and 5 males) were observed before and after varying dosage of marijuana extract were administered to them, considering their body weights and following LD50. The dose administered to the rats was extrapolated to a Nigerian with an average body weight of 60.745kg, and, for an average adult male and female Nigerian with body weight of 35.84kg and 37.76kg respectively. Such parameters as cognition (memory), anxiety, sleep/wake behaviour, eating behaviour, social interaction, and motor skills of the rats were looked out for and recorded.  The drug was hypothesised to cause physiological, psychological and physical changes in the rats and this would vary between female and male rats. Also, onset of intoxication was hypothesised to occur within two hours after the drug had been ingested orally .Marijuana, among other findings, was found to reduce anxiety, cause ataxia and impaired judgment. Further related experiments are encouraged to be carried out longitudinally with individual proportion of cannabinoids present in marijuana extract accounted for.



CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

The issue of drug abuse has been of much concern to the scientific community and general public due to the seemingly ever increasing rate at which individuals still engage in obtaining and using these drugs, not minding its effects on their health. Yearly, hundreds of thousands of people either lose their lives, or, are sent to psychiatrists, rehabilitation centres, or away from family and loved ones as a result of complications associated with drug dependence and/or addiction. As common in drug addiction, this has led to dwindling in academic performance in students, reduced productivity in workers, marital problems within and between couples, and a distortion in general social interaction with the world and things therein (including animate and inanimate things).

At the apex of drug abuse is cannabis, also known as marijuana, pot, ganja, weed or hemp. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA, 2016), marijuana is regarded the most abused commonly used illicit drug in the world. Marijuana is a genus of a flowering plant of the family of cannabaceae, existing in three recognised types, including cannabis sativa, cannabis indica and cannabis ruderalis. Research shows that over a hundred chemical constituents can be found in marijuana, with some of these constituents psychoactive and others, non-psychoactive. These chemical constituents are called cannabinoids and are naturally produced by the endocannabinoid system of the body for regulation of memory, appetite, pain, awareness, movement, concentration, pleasure and control of the five senses.

The major chemical constituent and most psychoactive ingredient in marijuana has been identified as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9 THC), also known as marinol or by the trade name dronabinol. Delta-9 THC in pill form could be medically prescribed for persons suffering from nausea associated with chemotherapy, AIDS wasting, vomiting, cases of anorexia, migraine headaches and other medical purposes (Glass, 2001, Panikashvili et al., 2001). Dr. Donald Tashkin, professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles in a study, demonstrated that delta-9 THC has well defined anti-tummoral effects that have shown to inhibit the growth of variety of cancers in animal models and tissue culture systems. Delta-9 THC is usually used by other persons, including athletes for recreational purposes as it is responsible for the euphoric, ‘feel-good’ sensation derived when the drug is used.

Cannabidiol (CBD), the second major chemical ingredient in marijuana has been widely used in the treatment of childhood epilepsy and does not seem to have psychoactive properties as those present in delta-9 THC (NIH, 2017). Other uses of CBD are as an anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant and anti-emetic drug. Other cannabinoids of marijuana include cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabigerol (CBG) and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) (Izzo, Borrell, Capasso, Di Marzo, and Mechoulum, 2009).

Several numbers of studies have been conducted in order to investigate and understand both the short-term and long-term effects of using marijuana medically or recreationally. Literature on the short-term effects of marijuana use seems to have garnered a unanimous agreement on its effects on the user. Across these studies, the researchers are equivocal in what they regard as the immediate experiences a drug user encounters shortly after using marijuana with time taken to experience the effects differential, depending on the route of administration. In an analysis published in the journal of the American Medical Association examining 80 trials involving 6,500 people, found that most of these studies suggested that marijuana use was associated with relief of some symptoms. Rhyne, Anderson and Gedde (2016) in an experimental study using medical marijuana (the use of the whole unprocessed marijuana plant or its extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions), used 120 adults with primary diagnosis of migraine headache who were recommended medical marijuana by a physician. Changes in the adults were measured by the number of migraine headaches per month. After the experiment, the result showed that the frequency of migraine decreased from 10.4 to 4.6 headaches per month (P < .01) with the use of medical marijuana. Other short-term effects identified include such features as euphoria, altered perception, sense of well-being, and feeling of calm. Other effects of marijuana use include pain relief, reduced intraocular pressure in glaucoma, increased introspection, increased sociability and agreeableness. Side effects in the short-term include anxiety, paranoia, depersonalisation, derealisation, difficulty moving, etc.

Existing literature on the long-term effects of marijuana on the brain have been inconsistent over the past years possibly as a result of the differences in methodological approach in these studies, or, the fact that the effect of marijuana is greatly influenced by age, sex and body weight of the drug user. In a study conducted under the supervision of the National Institute of Health (NIH) and documented in the United States National Library of Medicine, a total of 110 participants consisting of 62 non-users and 48 users of marijuana were tested for the effects of the drug on brain structures. Results from the study showed that the intelligence quotient (IQ) of the marijuana users was significantly lower than the control group (P> .05). It was also discovered that there was a significantly lower grey matter volume in marijuana users in the right orbito-frontal and left superior orbito-frontal gyri but it was not stated for how long these users have been using marijuana. In a longitudinal study in New Zealand, marijuana use that started from adolescence was associated with a loss of an average of 6-8 IQ points measured in mid-adulthood. Those who used marijuana heavily as teenagers and quit using it as adults did not recover the lost IQ points and those who only started using marijuana heavily as adults did not lose IQ points.

However, few literature can be found on marijuana intoxication. Measuring intoxication by marijuana could be a daunting process due to the fact that unlike other substances of abuse such as alcohol with only one intoxicant (ethanol or ethyl alcohol), marijuana contains well over a 100 possible intoxicants that can lead to physiological, psychological or physical changes in the drug user. Perhaps, the numerous chemical ingredients in it provide the difficulty in particularly classifying the drug either as a stimulant, opiate drug or truly just only a hallucinogen. This accounts for why the drug when being discussed about by several researchers, is set apart from any class of drugs. Still, the variability in the quantity of a particular cannabinoid of marijuana can greatly influence intoxication. Research has shown that the geographical location which the plant was planted and obtained could be used to some extent in determining the predominant cannabinoid in the marijuana strain. Cannabivarin (CBDV) is of higher quantity in cannabis obtained in the Northwest Himalayas and in the hashish from Nepal. Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), another cannabinoid is of higher concentration in cannabis of certain Asian and South African marijuana strains. A non-psychoactive chemical constituent as cannabichrome is more common in tropical cannabis species. Nigerian haze, marijuana strain grown and predominant in Nigeria has been discovered to have high THC content, ranging from 18-21% of THC, depending on the acidity of the soil on which it was cultivated.

In addition, after ingestion of marijuana orally, the body’s fats absorbs the cannabinoids since cannabinoids are only fat soluble (lipophilic) and insoluble in water (Gieringer, Rosenthal and Carter, 2008). As a result of this, the cannabinoids are released slowly; traces remaining in the body for upto three or more weeks after the drug was used. In a finding published in a journal of psychiatry, “ systematic absorption (of marijuana into the body) is relatively slow resulting in maximum delta-9 THC plasma concentration within 1-2 hours which could be delayed by few hours in certain cases...extensive liver metabolism probably reduces the oral bio-availability of delta-9 THC” (Sharma, Murthy and Bharath, 2012). This slow process of secretion is seen as non-contributory to intoxication (Lee, 2016).

In places such as Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, Washington, marijuana has been legalised for both medical and recreational purposes. Other parts of the world yet to legalise the drug have not critically focused on measuring marijuana intoxication since the drug is not supposed to be found or used in that region in the first place. Several techniques such as urinalysis, blood sample test abound in testing and measuring the magnitude of intoxication and/or impairment of an individual suspected to be under the influence of cannabis. In critically accessing the efficacy of using urinalysis, it is quickly discovered that problems associated with this technique include the quantity of marijuana consumed, time elapsed since ingestion, and, water consumption after ingestion. Increased water consumption may illicit a false negative result. In urinalysis, marijuana use could only be detected 3-5days for infrequent users, 1-15days for heavy users and 1-30days for chronic users. Physical observation is suggested as the best measure to determine extent of intoxication through behavioural correlates observed.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Despite numerous studies, researches, articles, journals, direct or indirect physical experience with a drug user, drug use and abuse continues to be on the rise. More and more students, workers, individuals become dependent on drugs, going to any extent to obtain and use these drugs likewise. This has made the society not safe anymore as the number and/or percentage of substance related mentally ill persons increases. Most mental hospitals are no more adequate in accommodating the increasing number of mentally ill persons.  The most saddening fact about drug use and abuse is the never-tiring drug pushers who continue in their merchandise unrelentingly; and they seem to make huge amount from drug pushing with the news on TV, newspaper and over the radio of the whooping estimated amount of confiscated drugs. Steps are made to legalise marijuana in more parts of the world but it is paramount to ask: “what is the future of the Nigerian society and society at large in the presence of excessive, indiscriminate drug use and abuse? How really promising or bright is the tomorrow of the young Nigerian adult or youth if they are drug addicts/drug dependents?  What would be the hope of the general society if drug use and abuse is not reduced to the nearest minimum and mental hospitals can no longer admit more mentally ill persons? Marijuana possesses medicinal qualities but available literature has shown that its negative effects outweigh its positive effects.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to provide a quantitative and literary perspective on intoxication due to marijuana in the following ways:

1.      The physical, observable changes in cognition (memory), motor skills, sleep/wake behaviour, eating behaviour, anxiety and social interaction of individuals under the influence of marijuana.

2.      Determine variations in and extent of intoxication amongst/between the female and male sexes, if at all there will be variations in the extent of intoxication.

3.      Ascertain time of onset of intoxication, and, determine duration of intoxication before effects of the drug wears out.

1.4 Significance of the Study

1.      This study is expected to inspire and encourage further researches on marijuana and attract criticisms to help the researcher learn more.

2.      To the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), this study will assist with more practical means and methods to detect persons suspected to be under the influence of marijuana to prevent the wrong person being arrested for symptoms similar to marijuana intoxication.

To the general Nigerian public who may have been misled on the workings of marijuana, countless times as the researcher has been told, this study is to serve as an eye opener to the “sidedness” of “kush”. To these persons, this work was borne out of an unbiased, clear mind (in partial fulfilment of a final year bachelor of science academic research work, and, as a result of great passion) to seek rather than prove the actual effects of marijuana consumption


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