Fake Norma Hellas Deca and anti-androgenic cannabis
Cannabis products contain anti-androgenic compounds, and fake Norma Hellas vials contain testosterone. Analysts at the Istituto Nazionale di Biostrutture e Biosistemi in Italy encountered this when they used their new toy – a genetically modified yeast cell with an androgen receptor – to study a batch of illegal substances that the police had impounded.
That the active substances in cannabis hamper the male sex hormone testosterone has long been known. As far back as the 1970s researchers discovered that cannabis reduces the effect of testosterone administration in lab animals. [Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1975 Apr-Jun; 19(2): 98-100.] Compounds in cannabis, such as delta-9-THC [structural formula shown above] and cannabinol, make it difficult for androgenic substances to attach themselves to the androgen receptor. [Endocrinology. 1980 Sep;107(3):848-50.]
The Italians are about to publish the results of a study in which they analysed the 17 preparations listed below using their genetically manipulated yeast cell. The cell has an androgen receptor and produces a fluorescent protein when androgenic compounds interact with it. That means the cell can detect anabolic steroids.
In the case of the preparations numbers 14 and 15 – testosterone propionate and methandrostenolone – an androgenic effect was observed, according to the test. The methandrostenolone was found in purple pentagonal shaped tablets. The testosterone propionate was contained in fake Norma Hellas' Nandrolone Decanoate. Below are photos of the preparations that were examined.
When the researchers put one of the preparations to be tested, the androgenic testosterone metabolite DHT, into a test tube together with cells they also detected substances with anti-androgenic properties. When the Italians screened their preparations in the same way, they noticed that four of them had a strong anti-androgenic effect: the cannabis products.
Athletes who use cannabis product containing THC are therefore undermining the effect of their own testosterone or the synthetic testosterone they take.
According to reviews this isn't the whole story either. Cannabis not only reduces the natural synthesis of testosterone, it also reduces synthesis of thyroid hormone and growth hormone. [NIDA Res Monogr. 1984; 44:46-64.]
Anal Bioanal Chem. 2013 Jan;405(2-3):1035-45.
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