By: Cecil King
Jamaican and Moroccan Fishermen Have Tips For Missouri Anglers
Missouri anglers who like to fish at night could benefit from a few tips from Jamaican and Moroccan fishermen.
It’s been known for some time, documented by scientific reports, Jamaican fishermen have much improved night vision after ingestion of a traditional herbal cannabis tincture.
Researchers also discovered Moroccan fishermen and mountain dwellers acquire higher nighttime visual acuity after smoking cannabis flower. Known as “kif” in Morocco, it is an ancestral Cannabis Sativa mixed with tobacco (Nicotiana Rustica).
Field-testing was conducted on these native people’s folk vision remedies with a portable Scotopic Sensitivity Tester-1 from LKC Technologies in 2004. Dr. Ethan Russo headed a research team (Merzouki A, Mesa JM, Frey KA, Bach PJ) which performed the studies on subjects with a placebo and cannabis to confirm the increased visual acuity. Link: Fishermen Study.
We now know that cannabis can help your eyesight, but how does it work? The answer to that question lies in a new research study by a multidisciplinary team at the Montreal Neurological Institute in Canada.
They found cannabinoids from the cannabis plant activated neurotransmitter signaling in tadpoles. Cannabis increased the activity in their retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), which are responsible for transmitting information about light detection from the eye to the brain. Previous studies found that cannabinoids typically work to reduce neurotransmission, not increase it.
Using elevated levels of cannabinoids found in cannabis or using higher levels of the body’s own naturally occurring cannabinoids had the same effect.
“Initially you distrust yourself when you see something that goes against widely held ideas, but we tried the experiment so many times, using diverse techniques, and it was a consistent result,” says Ed Ruthazer, a professor of neurology and neurosurgery at the Montreal Neurological Institute of McGill University, and the paper’s senior author.
What the researchers found is that one class of cannabinoid receptor, known as CB1, suppresses chloride transport into the RGCs. Receptor activation reduces chloride levels which hyperpolarized the cell enabling it to fire at higher frequencies.
“So then we knew we had to figure out what was going on. The first tendency is to want to ignore it. But it was such a strong effect, we knew there was something important here.”
What’s more interesting however, according to Ruthazer, is that they have discovered a previously unknown role for cannabinoids in brain signaling. Therapeutic use of the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant is becoming accepted by the medical community.
The need for an exact and thorough understanding of these chemicals’ role in the brain is greater than ever. “Our work provides an exciting potential mechanism for cannabinoid regulation of neuronal firing, but it will obviously be important to confirm that similar mechanisms are also at play in the eyes of mammals,” says Ruthazer.
Meanwhile, Moroccan and Jamaican fishermen don’t have time to wait for researchers to tell them what they’ve known for centuries. When they venture out into the night on a fishing expedition their motto is “more cannabis equals more fish.”