Study On Weed Smoking Cavemen

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From The DailyMail.com

Did hunter-gatherers smoke cannabis to stay healthy?

Ancient Humans developed a taste for medical marijuana, claims study

By Ellie Zolfagharifard For Dailymail.com

Published: 12:33 EST, 1 June 2015 | Updated: 12:39 EST, 1 June 2015

Just like we use medical marijuana today, cavemen smoked cannabis to stay healthy.
This is according to a new study on cannabis use among the Aka foragers, a 'pygmy' people of the Congo basin.
US researchers have found that the more the hunter-gatherers smoke cannabis, the less likely they are infected by intestinal worms.



Higher cannabis use among the Aka was linked to less intestinal worms.
As one of the world's last groups of hunter-gatherers, they offer anthropologists a window into a way of life accounting for some 99 per cent of human history.

Washington State University researcher Ed Hagen wanted to see if people away from the cultural and media influences of Western civilisation might use plant toxins medicinally.
'In the same way we have a taste for salt, we might have a taste for psychoactive plant toxins, because these things kill parasites,' he said.

In an earlier study, Hagen found that the heavier tobacco smokers among the Aka also had fewer helminths, parasitic intestinal worms.
He cautions, however, that the studies have their limits.
Cannabis kills worms in a petri dish, but researchers have not shown it killing worms in animals, Hagen said.


But Hagen says the study offers an alternative explanation of human drug use.
The prevailing explanation is that recreational drugs 'hijack the pleasure centers of the brain,' making people feel good.
But they also trigger mechanisms that tell us we're consuming something toxic, tasting bitter and making us feel sick.
'So we thought, 'Why would so many people around the world be using plant toxins in this very 'recreational' way?' said Hagen.
'If you look at non-human animals, they do the same thing, and what a lot of biologists think is they're doing it to kill parasites.'
Researchers are unsure when the Aka might have first smoked cannabis or when it arrived on the continent.
It may have come with traders from the Indian subcontinent around the first century A.D.
But Hagen and his colleagues say it might not have been smoked until European colonization in the 17th Century.
Hagen surveyed almost all of the nearly 400 adult Aka along the Lobaye River in the Central African Republic and found roughly 70 per cent of the men and 6 per cent of the women used cannabis.
The polling was supported by bioassays of the men that found high enough levels of THCA - a metabolic byproduct of cannabis's active ingredient - to indicate that 68 per cent of them had recently smoked.
Stool samples collected from the men to gauge their worm burden found some 95 perc ent of them were infected with helminths.
But those who consumed cannabis had a significantly lower rate of infection.
A year after being treated with a commercial antihelmintic, the cannabis users were reinfected with fewer worms.
While the Aka deliberately consume a tea of a local plant, motunga, to fight parasitic infections, they do not think of cannabis or tobacco as medicine, Hagen said.
This suggests they are unconsciously using medical marijuana to ward off parasites, he said.




Hagen surveyed almost all of the nearly 400 adult Aka along the Lobaye River in the Central African Republic and found roughly 70 per cent of the men and 6 per cent of the women used cannabis.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencet...ill-parasites-claims-study.html#ixzz3bqPEwGjW
 
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