MINI-DICTIONARY

In July, 2014, Granny wrote; “Our government [United States] has lied to us about the effects of Cannabis for over seven decades. They have blocked virtually all research into Cannabis and how it heals. They have ranked a never fatal herbal medicine with the most deadly kinds of drugs, against all scientific evidence! Yet, somehow, that inconvenient truth keeps coming out – Cannabis heals! It is time that we, as a nation, demand that the truth be openly acknowledged and research into this amazing plant begun! As my Grandfather said, If the truth won’t do, then something is wrong”!

Granny made a few suggestions for dealing with The List as a pdf; here are those hints adapted for online use:

  • Try reading the news articles first, then move on to the studies,
  • Open the Mini-dictionary in a new window or tab to refer to while reading the studies,
  • Open another window or tab in your preferred search engine for those ‘weird words’ – usually you won’t even need to open a link – the definition is often visible in the excerpts shown.

Granny further noted that as studies age, they are often freed up for public use. PubMed (‘ncbi’ in the URL), in the time it takes for Granny to collect the abstract and you clicking the link, sometimes will make the study ‘open access’. So Granny’s link may take you to the abstract, but in the top, right-hand corner will sometimes be a link to the free full study either at PubMed, or another site. Always check for the full study.

“Also, don’t be afraid of going to PubMed – they don’t bite, and the site is free, simple and user-friendly. Older studies often have the basic information on Cannabis that many people will find helpful, and they are usually easier to read! Don’t pass them up just because they are not the latest! Remember that studying the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is brand-new science. There are bound to be contradicting studies and studies with mixed results! Scientists or ‘just regular folks’, all of us are figuring out and learning about the ECS as we go along!”

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Sci-Speak to English

Just a Few Definitions to Help You Along

Acetylcholine – a common neurotransmitter

Achalasia – a disease of the esophagus, a failure of smooth muscle fibers to relax

Acute – sharp or severe in effect; intense

Adenosine – a compound that makes you tired

Adipose tissue – fat

Adipocyte – a fat cell

Adipogenesis – formation of fat cells

Adjunct – a medication used in conjunction with another to help it work better

Adjuvant – a substance that acts to prolong, or enhance antigen-specific immune response

2-AG – A “messenger chemical” made by your body – similar to THC

Afferent – conveying impulses toward the central nervous system / brain

Ageusia -a complete lack of the sense of taste

Agonist – a chemical that activates a receptor

Allodynia – pain due to a stimulus which does not normally cause pain, (i.e., a light touch)

Allostasis – maintaining homeostasis by using hormones such as adrenalin, cortisol etc

Allostatic load – the physical/ mental cost of chronic exposure to elevated or fluctuating stress hormones

Allosteric- works through a “back door” mechanism, not the usual binding site

Amygdala – an area of the brain that plays a key role in the processing of emotions

Analgesic – pain relieving

Analogue – a synthetic version

Anandamide/AEA – a “messenger chemical” made by your body – similar to THC

Anaplasia – normal cells de-evolving and degrading into cancer cells

Anapyrexia – body temp dropping below normal

Angiogenesis – making new blood vessels, often to feed a tumor

Anorectic – pertaining to anorexia, a lack of appetite

Antagonist – a chemical that blocks the action of an agonist

Antigen – a substance which causes an immune response

Anti-nociception – pain relieving

Anxiolytic – calming, anti-anxiety

Apoptosis – a process that leads to the normally programmed death of a cell

Aqueous humor – the liquid between the coloured iris and the clear cornea of your eye

Arachidonic acid – an Omega 6

Astrocytes – Glial cells that link the vascular system to its neighboring neurons

Ataxia – lack of muscle coordination during movements like walking, or picking up objects

Atherogenesis – the formation of arterial plaques, as in atherosclerosis

Autapse – a synapse formed by the axon of a neuron on its own dendrites

Autocatalysis – when a single chemical reaction happens

Autocrine – when a cell secretes a compound that binds to receptors on the same type of cell

Autopathic – relating to the structure and characteristics of a diseased organism. Idiopathic.

Autophagy – the cell self-destructs, literally “eats itself”

Baroreflex – the way your body uses your heart rate to control blood pressure
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Beta amyloid plaque / β-amyloid/ Aβ – the stuff that gums up your brain in Alzheimer’s

Biphasic – different results for different doses, THC stops or causes nausea depending on dose

Bronchodilator – opens up the lungs

Cachexia – severe wasting away due to illness

Cannabinoids – they activate CB receptors and are made in your body, Cannabis or labs

Cannabinomimetic – acts like a cannabinoid, gets you high

Capacitation- chemical changes in a sperm that let it fertilize an egg

Carcinoma – cancer

Cartilage – the soft bone-like stuff in your nose, ears and joints

Caveolae – little caves or pits in the cell membrane that trap fluids

CCK – an intestinal hormone that tell you that you are full and satisfied

Cell oncosis – the cells fill with water and calcium, their proteins denature, and they die

Central nervous system/CNS – the brain and spinal cord

Chemotaxis – the movement of a cell or bacteria toward, or from a stimulus (food or a poison)

Cholestasis – a condition where bile cannot flow from the liver to the duodenum

Cholinergics – drugs that inhibit, enhance, or mimic the action of acetylcholine

Chondrocytes – the only kind of cells found in healthy cartilage

Chondrogenesis- formation of cartilage

Chronic – long term

Cirrhosis – scarring (usually) of the liver, impairing function

Claustrum – a thin, irregular, sheet of neurons attached to the bottom of the brain’s neocortex

Cogeners – related chemicals

Colocalize- to occur together in the same cell

Corticolimbic circuits- brain circuits that control cognitive and emotional behavioral processes

COX-2 – a key enzyme that oxidizes Anandamide and promotes inflammation

Cross tolerance – tolerance to a drug causes tolerance to another, similar, drug

Cryofixed – frozen with liquid nitrogen for electron microscopic examination

Cutaneous – pertaining to the skin

Cypin – A protein that regulates neuron branching

Cytotoxic – poisonous to living cells

Decidualization- changes in cells of the endometrium of the uterus in preparation for pregnancy

Demyelinating diseases – diseases in which the myelin on nerves is destroyed, as in MS

Dimer – a molecule composed of two identical, simpler molecules

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) – an Omega 3

Dopamine – a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres

Dose-dependent manner – the more they got, the more effectively it worked

Downregulation – a decrease in number

Dysautonomic Syndrome – an umbrella term used to describe multiple system atrophy, autonomic failure, and autonomic neuropathy

Dysgeusia – a distortion of the sense of taste

Dysregulation – malfunctioning, out of kilter

Efferosytosis- the removal of dead or dying cells

Eicosanoids – a group of bioactive compounds that include the endocannabinoids

Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) – an Omega 3

Emesis – vomiting

Endocannabinoid – a chemical messenger made by your body- anandamide and 2-AG

Endocannabinoid System/ECS – a system of chemical receptors on and between your cells

Endogenous – made in your own body, opposite of exogeneous

Epidermal – pertaining to the skin
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Epigenetic – genes being turned on, or off, by chemical reactions, but with no change to the DNA

Epithelial cells – cells lining of your gut and surfaces of structures throughout the body

Excitotoxic – when nerve cells are damaged or killed by over-stimulation

Exogenous – from outside the body, opposite of endogenous

Exostasis – A bump or growth on a bone which is not normal

Extracellular – outside of the cells

FAAH/Fatty acid amide hydrolase – an enzyme that breaks down anandamide

Fascia – connective tissues

Focal brain ischemia when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel, cutting blood flow to the brain

Follicle – sac or cavity having excretory, secretory, or protective function: a hair follicle

GABA Glycine – it keeps nerves from firing too often

Galenic – making medicines in a way that optimizes their absorption

Ganglia/ganglion – a bunch of nerves outside the CNS, or some grey matter bits in the brain

Gene expression – the body reads a gene’s info and translates it into a product (protein, etc)

Gene isoforms – different kinds of mRNAs that are produced from the same site

Genotype – all the genetic traits of an organism, both visible and hidden

Glial cells – they form myelin, and provide support and protection for neurons

Glomerulus – a kidney cell involved in the first stages of filtering blood

Glutamate – a compound that many nerves use to “talk to each other”

Gut microbiota – micro-organisms that live in the digestive tract

Haploid – having half the number of chromosomes of a normal cell, as in sperm and eggs

Hebbian theory – a neuroscience theory about the adaptation of brain neurons during learning

Hemp – Cannabis sativa, usually referring to strains with a low level of THC

Hedgehog pathway- a signaling pathway that sends info about differentiation to embryonic cells

Hemoptysis – coughing up blood

Hematopoiesis – the making of new blood cells in bone marrow

Haematopoietic Stem Cells / HSC – bone marrow stem cells that can give rise to blood cells

Hemopressin – a haemoglobin fragment that dilates blood vessels using nitric oxide

Hemostasis- the process of blood clotting

Hepatic – pertaining to the liver

Heterologous – from one species to another

Heteromer – a group containing two or more different types of things

Hippocampus – part of the brain, controls mood and memory

Histones- proteins that take DNA and package it into bundles called nucleosomes

Homologous – having the same or a similar relation, as in relative position or structure

Homeostasis – your body keeping everything in balance and working right

Hormesis – where a tiny bit of a harmful substance has a beneficial effect

Hydrolysis – breaking down a compound using enzymes

Hyper – over, above, extreme

Hyperalgesia – severe pain

Hypercapnia – too much CO2 in the blood

Hyperemesis – severe vomiting

Hyperemic – an abnormally large amount of blood accumulating in any part of the body

Hyperphagic – over-eating

Hyperthermia – a fever

Hyperplasia- an increase in the number of normal cells in a tissue or an organ

Hypo – under, or below

Hypocretin (aka orexin)- a neuropeptide that regulates arousal, wakefulness, and appetite

Hypogeusia – a decrease in taste sensitivity, having a lowered ability to taste

Hypokinesia – A condition characterized by decreased bodily movement

Hypophagic – under-eating

Hypothermia – lowered body temperature

Hypoxaemia – low oxygen levels in blood

Hypoxia – not getting enough oxygen

Ictal – refers to a physiologic state or event such as a seizure, stroke, or headache

Ictus – an epileptic seizure, or alternatively, a stroke

Idiopathic – of unknown cause

Incretins – hormones that stimulate a decrease in blood glucose. Incretins are released after eating

Indica – short plants, broad leaves, solid buds; “heavy” body high, good pain relief, some CBD
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Inflammasome – immune system receptors and sensors that regulate inflammation

In silico – done on a computer

Insula – it’s in the cerebral cortex, involved in bodily homeostasis, self-awareness and emotions

Interoception – being aware of your body, knowing if you’re hot, hungry, ill, etc

Inverse agonist – it reduces the activity of a receptor to less than its base-line normal

In vivo – in a live animal

In vitro – in a test tube

Infarction – damage from a lack of blood due to a blood vessel blockage

Intraocular – inside the eye

Intrathecal injection – injected under the arachnoid membrane of the brain or spinal cord

Intrauterine – inside the uterus

Inverse agonist – binds to a receptor like an agonist, but causes the opposite effect

Involution -the shrinking or return of an organ to a former size, as in a post-pregnancy uterus

Ischemia – damage from lack of blood to an area

Jejunum – the middle section of the small intestine in most higher animals

Koro – a fear that one’s genitals are retracting and will disappear, “genital retraction syndrome”

Lactating – producing breast milk, nursing

Leptin – a hormone that turns on hunger

Leukocytospermia – too many white blood cells in the semen causing serious fertility problems

Leukotrienes – compounds that promote asthma and allergic reactions

Ligand – a chemical that binds to a receptor – THC is a ligand of CB1 and CB2 receptors

Linoleic acid (LA) – is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid

Lipids – fats and oils

LOAEL – Lowest dose at which there was an observed toxic or adverse effect

Lordosis – where the back is arched excessively, inward in humans, or downward in animals

Lysis – the destruction or decomposition of a cell

Macrophages – specialised cells that attack foreign substances, disease, germs and cancer cells

MAGL – an enzyme that breaks down 2-AG

MAPK-JNK signal pathway – the way the receptor’s message gets into the nucleus’ DNA

Meiosis – cell division that results in a sex cell (sperm or egg)

Mesenteric Ischemia – a lack of blood flow to the intestines that can result in death

Messenger RNA (mRNA) – a group of RNA molecules that take genetic information from
DNA to the ribosome

Metabolites – what’s left over after your body breaks down a compound

Metastasis – spreading through the body

Microglial cells – they destroy germs and remove dying cells, but can “go crazy” and do damage

Microphage – a white blood cell capable of ingesting bacteria, etc

Micro RNA – short, single-stranded RNA molecules that regulate gene expression

Micturation – urination, peeing

Mitosis – one cell divides into two identical “carbon copies” of itself

Modulate – control or regulate something

Monocytes- big white blood cells that can change into macrophages or dendritic cells

Murine – mouse or a related rodent

Mydriasis – a disorder in which the pupil of the eye dilates abnormally, and stays dilated

Myelin – a protective covering on the axion part of a nerve cell

Myocardial – pertaining to the heart muscle

Myopericarditis – Inflammation of the heart wall and the sac around it, the pericardium

Nanomolar – a very, very tiny amount

Necrotic – dead or dying
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Negative affect – negative emotions and poor self-concept (i.e., anger, guilt, fear or nervousness)

Nephritis – an inflammation of the kidneys

Nephro – referring to the kidneys

Neurogenesis – new brain cells are being formed

Neurological soft signs/ (NSS) – Minor problems in coordination, complex motor tasks, and integrative functions

Neuroma – a growth or tumor of nerve tissue. Neuromas tend to be benign (non-cancerous)

Neuropathic Pain – pain due to nerve injury

Neuropeptide – compounds used by neurons to “talk” with each other

Neurophatogenic – causing disease of nervous system

Neuroprotective – protects nerves and brain cells

Neurotransmitter – a chemical messenger that carries messages between neurons and other cells

Neutral antagonist -it returns the receptor activity to base-line normal, a “re-set button”

Neutrophil – the most common type of white blood cell

Nocebo – a harmless substance that creates harmful effects in a patient. Opposite of placebo

NOAEL — Highest dose at which there was no observable toxic or adverse effect

Nociceptive – experiencing pain from a stimulus such as heat or tissue damage

Nociceptor – pain nerve

Non-canonical – not conforming to the general rule

Nonpsychoactive – won’t get you high

Nonpsychotropic – won’t get you high

Nootropic drug – a mind enhancing drug

Nucleus Accumbens – part of the brain involved in reward / addiction

Obtundation- less than fully alert, an altered level of consciousness

Occluded – blocked up, as in an occluded artery

Ocular – referring to the eye

Olfactory – pertaining to smell, odour detection

Oligodendrocytes – cells that make the myelin sheath that protects CNS nerves

Oocyte – egg / ova

Orexin (aka hypocretin)- a neuropeptide that regulates arousal, wakefulness, and appetite

Oromucosal – pertaining to the lining inside of the mouth

Ortholog – the same gene in different species doing the same job, traceable to a common ancestor

Osteoblast – a cell that makes new bone

Osteoclast – cell that eats away and breaks down bone causing bone resorption

Oviduct – a tube that connects the ovary to the uterus

Palliative – healthcare focused on relieving and preventing suffering

Paracrine – describing a hormone that has effect only in the vicinity of the gland that secrets it

Partial agonist – doesn’t activate receptor fully, may “hog” receptors, blocking full agonists

Pathogenesis – the origin and development of a disease

Peptide – string a bunch of peptides together, and you get a protein

Periaqueductal gray – the brain’s the primary control center for reducing pain

Peripheral nervous system ( PNS) – the nerves and ganglia outside of the brain and spinal cord

Peritoneal – pertaining to the peritoneum that lines the walls of the abdominal cavity

Phagocyte – a “clean-up crew” cell that “eats” harmful foreign particles, bacteria, and dead cells

Phagocytosis – When a phagocyte “eats” a bacteria or other object by engulfing it

Phenotype – the genetic traits that you can see

Photothrombosis – a procedure to cause a stroke (focal ischemia) in lab animals

Phytocannabinoid – a cannabinoid produced by a plant – THC and CBD are examples

Phyto – referring to plants

Phytochemical – a compound produced by a plant
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Placentation – the process of forming a placenta

Pleiotropic- producing many effects, especially when referring to genes

Pluripotent – (describing a stem cell) able to give rise to several different cell types

Podocyte – a kidney cell that filters blood

Polymorphism – having more than one form, different phenotypes in genes

Porcine – pertaining to pigs

Prions – they cause Mad Cow Disease

Prostacyclins – prostanoids that are active in the resolution phase of inflammation

Prostanoids- a group of eicosanoids – prostaglandins, thromboxanes and prostacyclins

Prostaglandins – prostanoids that mediate inflammatory and allergic reactions

Proteolysis – the breakdown of proteins into smaller polypeptides or amino acids

Proteomics – the study of the all the kinds of proteins in a certain kind of organism

Proteotoxicity – toxicity caused by proteins, usually by misfolded proteins

Pruritus – chronic itchiness

Psychoactive – will get you high

Psychotropic – will get you high

Pterygium / Surfer’s Eye – a growth on the eye that can occur in people who are in the sun a lot

Pulmonary – pertaining to the lungs

Receptors – These receive the chemical messages and send them into our cells

Redox – (reduction–oxidation reaction) is a chemical reaction where oxidation states of atoms are changed. If an electron is stripped away is said to have been “oxidized”. If an electron is added is said to have been “reduced”

Refractory – non-reversible, difficult to treat

Refractory pain – pain not responding to the usual treatments, stubborn pain

Renal – pertaining to the kidneys

Reperfusion damage – damage caused when blood returns to an area

Reuptake – reabsorption of a substance by the cells that originally produced it

Rhabdomyolysis – the rapid destruction of skeletal muscle

RNA – ribonucleic acid, a long, single-stranded chain of cells that processes protein

ROS / Reactive Oxygen Species – production of this can cause a cancer cell to self-destruct

Ruderalis – small, short-season, auto-flowering strains, potency varies

Sativa – tall plant, long skinny leaves, slow maturing; a mental / party high, occasional paranoia

Sclerosis – a stiffening of an organ with connective tissue

Sebaceous glands – oil glands in the skin

Seronegative – testing negative for a disease

Seropositive – testing positive for a disease

SiRNA – used to inactivate or “silence” a gene to validate the gene’s function

Spermatogenesis – the process of making sperm

Substance P – it sends pain info through the spinal cord

Synapse – a structure that lets a neuron pass an electrical or chemical signal to another neuron

Systemic mastocytosis – a systemic mast cell disease (SMCD) resulting the building up of too many mast cells

Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy – “Broken Heart Syndrome” where stress causes a heart attack

Teratologic – causing birth defects

Terpenoids – gives Cannabis its odor, may help cannabinoids to enter cells more easily

Thiophilic – having an affinity with ligands that contain sulphur

Thrombocytopenia – a loss of platelets in the blood

Thromboxanes – prostanoids that mediate the vasoconstriction reaction

Transgenic – genetically modified, a GMO

Trichome – in Cannabis, it usually refers to tiny mushroom-shaped structures that hold THC

Trigeminal nerve – responsible for sensation in the face, and biting and chewing

Tween 80 – another name for Polysorbate 80, a thickening agent in foods and medicines

Ubiquitination – The “kiss of death” for proteins. The protein is inactivated by ubiquitin

Ubiquitin – a regulatory protein that inactivates other proteins

Upregulation – increase in number

Uveitis – infection of the middle layer of the eye involving the iris, ciliary body and/or choroid

Vascular – referring to blood vessels

Vasodilator – expands the blood vessels

Vasoconstrictor – contracts the blood vessels

Vasopressin – constricts blood vessels and is an anti-diuretic

Ventral tegmental area – works with the nucleus accumbens in reward and addiction

Vesicants – compounds that cause blistering

Visceral – pertaining to internal organs, guts

Xenograft – transplanting living cells, tissues or organs from one species into another

Xerostomia – dry mouth resulting from reduced or absent saliva flow

Zeitgeber – something (such as the occurrence of light or dark) that sets, or re-sets, circadian rhythm
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*Kindly note that North American English (for the most part) is used across this site, thank you

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