Of all the known ways to stimulate melatonin production, none is more dramatic than smoking Cannabis. Cannabis stimulates production of a prostaglandin called PGE2, which may relate to its ability to stimulate melatonin production. Italian researchers discovered that testgroups smoking pot had dramatically higher melatonin levels twenty minutes later. After two hours, their melatonin levels were 4,000 % higher than before.
The fact that smoking marijuana is accompanied by a dramatic increase in melatonin production may explain some of the drug's positive effects. A 1995 article in The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the hallucinogen is being used to counteract the toxicity of chemotherapy, treat migraines, reduce intraocular pressure, minimize pain, treat menstrual cramps, and moderate wasting syndrome in AIDS patients. Melatonin has been shown to ameliorate each and every one of these conditions.
You can imagine my amusement when I came across a recent announcement from the French Research Institute CNRS, showing a direct connection between melatonin and longer life. The Press Release reads as follows:
"Paris, June 15, 2009
Melatonin - the fountain of youth ?
Melatonin can slow down the effects of aging. A team at laboratoire Arago in Banyuls sur Mer (CNRS / Université Pierre et Marie Curie) has found that a treatment based on melatonin can delay the first signs of aging in a small mammal.
These results appeared in the journal PLoS ONE on 15 June 2009.
Better known as the 'time-keeping' hormone, melatonin is naturally secreted by the body during the night. It is therefore a kind of biological signal for nightfall, allowing an organism to synchronize itself with the day/night rhythm.
At Laboratoire Arago, Elodie Magnanou and her co-workers studied the long-term effects of melatonin on the Greater White-toothed shrew, a small nocturnal insectivorous mammal. Under normal conditions, this animal shows the first signs of aging after reaching 12 months, mainly through the loss of circadian rhythm in its activities. By continuously administering melatonin, starting a little before 12 months, the appearance of these first signs was delayed by at least 3 months, which is a considerable period in relation to the lifespan of this shrew.
Melatonin is now known to play several beneficial roles. These include being an antioxidant, an anti-depressant, and helping to remediate sleep problems. The next step will be to understand the mode of action of the hormone on aging, so we can perhaps envisage its use on humans."
Researchers see a risk in such a dramatic change in hormone levels though, and they aren't likely to recommend smoking pot for better health and longer life, since the connection is not clearly established in man. Yet.
Lissoni, P., Resentini, M., and Fraschini, F. "Effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol on Melatonin Secretion in Man." Hormone and Metabolic Research 1986; 77-78. At baseline, the mean value of their melatonin levels was 21.3 pg/ml. Two hours later, it was 904 pg/ml.
Grinspoon, L., and Bakaler, J.B. "Marihuana as Medicine." Joural of the American Medical Association 1995; 273(23): 1875-76.
This was taken from http://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread.php?t=133343