They allege the cannon was used to shoot packets of marijuana across the border into California from Mexico.
Police in the Mexican border city of Mexicali said they found a homemade cannon made of plastic tubes and driven by compressed air from an old automobile engine. Pot cylinders as heavy as 30 pounds might be fired using the mechanism.
After reporting to Mexican authorities that they had found a high number of drug shipments that looked like they had been fired across the border, U.S. officials found the cannon on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Cannons have been used in the past by drug traffickers to convey marijuana across the Mexican border.
More than 30 cans of marijuana were found scattered in Yuma, Ariz., near the Colorado River in December by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.
The cans were launched from 500 feet away with a pneumatic-powered cannon, and a “carbon-dioxide tank” was found nearby, according to an investigation by NBC.
There was no cannon to be found in this situation. However, Mexican border police stated on Tuesday that they’ve seized identical devices in the past.
History of The Cannabis Plant’s Biochemistry
Since the late 19th century, we’ve only learned about the medicinal benefits of cannabis, despite the fact that it has been used and grown by humans for at least 6,000 years [Li, 1973].
Cannabinol was the first component to be isolated in pure form from the plant. When it was first discovered, it was thought to be the plant’s primary psychoactive ingredient [Mechoulam and Hanus, 2000].
Mechoulam and Shvo [Mechoulam and Shvo, 1963] discovered cannabidiol (CBD) as the second chemical.
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Figure 1) was isolated by Gaoni and Mechoulam the next year in 1964 [Gaoni and Mechoulam, 1964].
System of Receptors for Cannabinoids
The discovery of the precise brain binding sites for d-9-THC [Devane et al. 1988] and subsequent cloning of the cannabinoid 1 receptor (CB1R) [Matsuda et al. 1990] were important milestones in cannabinoid research.
The ‘cannabinoid receptor system’ was coined because of the affinity of d-9-THC to these receptors as a partial agonist. Almost immediately afterward, a second receptor, CB2R, was found [Munro et al 1993].
As a result of the extraction of an ethanolamine of arachidonic acid (AEA), which is bound to these receptors, the presence of the endocannabinoid system was verified [Devane et al. 1992].
Anandamide, a Sanskrit word for “bliss,” is the name given to this endocannabinoid agonist.
The second endocannabinoid neurotransmitter, 2-arachidonic glycerol (2-AG), was discovered by Mechoulam and colleagues three years later [Mechoulam et al. 1995].
Researchers have found that d-9-THC, like anandamide, has a CB1 affinity similar to anandamide, with less efficacy than anandamide, while showing even less efficacy at CB2Rs than at CB1Rs in vitro.
Receptors for Cannabinoids One and Two
In the brain, CB1Rs are found in the substantia nigra, the basal ganglia, limbic system, hippocampus, and cerebellum, but also in the peripheral nervous system, liver, thyroid, uterine, bones, and testicular tissue [Russo and Guy, 2006].
Cells of the immune system, the spleen, and digestive tract, as well as parts of the brain and the peripheral nervous system, express CB2Rs to varying degrees. [Izzo, 2004; Pertwee, 2006].
Serotonin transporter activity has been demonstrated to be regulated by CB1 and CB2Rs in the human placenta [Kenney et al. 1999]. The endocannabinoid system appears to play an important role in human reproduction as well, according to new studies [Taylor et al. 2010].
There are CB1Rs located at central and peripheral neuronal terminals in the brain, where they primarily mediate inhibitory action on the ongoing release of a number of excitatory and inhibitory dopaminergic, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), glutamatergic, serotoninergic, noradrenalin and acetylcholinergic neurotransmitter systems (Figure 1).
These systems are involved in functions such as cognition, memory, locomotion, and pain perception [Howlett et al. 2002].
To maintain homeostasis and avoid overactive neurons, the release of endocannabinoids, such as AEA and 2-AG, from the postsynaptic locations to the synaptic cleft occurs when intracellular calcium levels rise [Howlett et al. 2002.
Terry et al. 2009]. Once inside the cell, cannabinoid transporters are known as anandamide membrane transporters assist their breakdown by allowing fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) access to the cannabis molecules.
Despite the importance of cannabinoid transporters in the endocannabinoid system, little is known about them.
Partial agonist d-9-THC, found in cannabis, binds to the CB1R and inhibits the release of neurotransmitters that are normally regulated by endocannabinoids such as AEA and 2-AG less selectively.
Dopamine, glutamate, and acetylcholine release in some brain regions may be increased by preventing the release of an inhibitory neurotransmitter like GABA onto dopamine, glutamate, or acetylcholine-releasing neurons, according to some speculation [Bhattacharyya et al. 2009a] (Figure 2).