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Does marijuana make sweet taste sweeter?

December 21, 2009 | 10:02 pm

Marijuana No, we're not endorsing use of the weed, just noting an interesting piece of science published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia and Kyushu University in Japan.

The active ingredients in cannabis "act directly on taste receptors on the tongue to enhance sweet taste," according to a release from Monell -- at least that's what happens in mice. One of the authors, Dr. Robert Margolskee of Monell, noted that this phenom may be related to the famed "munchies" marijuana users report. (I'd send you to the research paper but it's not accessible online.)

Talking of marijuana and food, this from an Associated Press article: "Gourmet chefs are taking the art of cooking with marijuana to a higher level. In Denver, a new medical-marijuana shop called Ganja Gourmet serves cannabis-infused specialties such as pizza, hummus and lasagna. Across town in the Mile-High City, a Caribbean restaurant plans to offer classes on how to make multi-course meals with pot in every dish." You have to present a medical card to get served those items at Ganja Gourmet, apparently.

On L.A.'s ongoing medical marijuana dispensary debate, meanwhile, the LA Times' Tim Rutten had this to say on the topic in a Wednesday column:

"There are about 120 Starbucks coffee outlets within the Los Angeles city limits. According to the most reliable estimates, there are somewhere between 900 and 1,000 medical marijuana dispensaries. Mull over the implications of that comparison and you're on the way to understanding why the City Council seems enmeshed in an endless wrangle over how to regulate the number and sites of the nonprofit cooperatives allowed by local ordinance to distribute cannabis to individuals with doctors' prescriptions." His take, in part: The medical necessity is "really rather limited," and "we'd be best regulating the facilities like bars and liquor stores." (But read the whole column here.)

The City Council still hasn't decided how close the dispensaries can be to schools and residential areas and will be taking the matter up again on Jan. 13.

--Rosie Mestel

Photo Credit: Rick Bowmer / Associated Press