Marijuana is a recreational drug well known, but not that …; Besides extensive scientific research has been conducted on the therapeutic properties of marijuana in the past decade. Similarly, the findings of some patients and doctors on the improvement of symptoms associated to certain diseases, also tend to show that the medical cannabis is a valuable aid for people with chronic diseases, including cancer, as well on post-traumatic stress disorder, the fight against pain, insomnia, lack of appetite and other symptoms of varying severity and troublesome.
Cannabis & THC: bad for the brain?
Is marijuana bad for the brain? Not at all: according to a study from the University of Tel Aviv, recently published in the journal Behavioural Brain Research and Experimental Brain Research; extremely low doses of this substance could protect the brain before and after brain trauma.
At the origin of this study, Sarne Yosef and his team of Tel Aviv University’s Adelson Center for the Biology of Addictive Diseases at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, argue that marijuana has neuroprotective qualities. The experiments show that extremely low doses of THC – the psychoactive component of marijuana – protects the brain against long-term cognitive damage as a result of trauma caused by hypoxia (lack of oxygen), seizures or toxic drugs. Brain injuries can have consequences ranging from mild cognitive impairment to severe neurological damage.
Studies THC in question
But how do these researchers discovered these properties of cannabis, or rather of THC content in it? To test their theory, Professor Yosef Sarne of Tel Aviv University and his team injected very low doses of THC in laboratory mice, both before and after they were subjected to traumatic brain injury.
The studies thus consisted of the injection of doses of THC, higher or lower, in a very short period of time – about 30 minutes – before or after the trauma. Research Professor Sarne, published in the journal Behavioural Brain Research and Experimental Brain Research, show that even very low doses of THC – about 1,000 to 10,000 times lower than those of conventional marijuana cigarette – administered over a wide span of time of 1 to 7 days before or 1 to 3 days after injury, can boost the biochemical processes protecting brain cells and preserve cognitive functions in time.
Results of this research on THC
The results of this research show that the mice that received a low dose of THC were doing much better than mice that did not receive treatment with THC. In addition, the group of mice that received THC also increased neuroprotective chemicals, this evidence, the researchers said, that this treatment would be almost as immunization brain damage.
This treatment, in particular, administered over a long period and at low doses, could apply to many cases of brain injury and without deleterious effects over time, according to Professor Sarne.
Conditioning Brain & THC: explanations
According to the experiments on the biology of cannabis, Sarne professor and his fellow researchers found that low doses of the drug had a great impact on cell signaling, preventing cell death and promote its growth factors. This finding thus led to a series of experiments designed to test the neuroprotective ability of THC in response to various brain injuries.
The researchers after injected mice low dose of THC, before or after brain trauma exposure, concluded when the mice were 3-7 weeks after the initial injury, the beneficiaries of THC treatment performed better in behavioral tests measuring learning and memory. In addition, biochemical studies showed increased amounts of neuroprotective in the group treated with THC compared to the control group.
The use of THC can prevent long-term cognitive damage resulting from brain damage, the researchers conclude. An explanation of this effect is pre- and post-conditioning, so this treatment causes mild brain damage, able to build resistance and fire protection measures face much more serious injuries, says Prof. Sarne. The administration of a low dose of THC would be beneficial to initiate this process without causing too much initial damage.
Preventive and long-term use of THC
According to Professor Sarne, there are several practical benefits to this treatment based on THC. Due to the long treatment time window, this treatment can be used not only to treat trauma after the event, but also to avoid any trauma that may occur over time. For example, during cardiac surgery and specifically open heart, with the risk of interruption of blood supply to the brain; THC could be issued in advance as a preventive measure. In addition, a low dose of THC would be safe for regular use in patients at constant risk of brain damage, such as epilepsy or those at high risk of heart attack.
Prof. Sarne has also worked with Professor Edith Hochhauser of Rabin Medical Center to test the ability of low doses of THC to avoid heart damage. The results of this research indicate the same phenomenon of protection from ischemic heart disease in which the heart muscle receives insufficient blood flow.
A study questioned by Claude Reiss
Despite the assertion of pro-vivisection and animal experimentation researchers in relation to the validity of their methods for researchers certainly against vivisection and all other research involving animal experiments, this research is still another opportunity to grasp, to remember how no species can be taken as an experimental model in relation to another. “Animal testing is unnecessary and harmful method. 90% of the drugs tested on animals are rejected before clinical trials in humans, because the results are not transferable to humans. Each animal species has its own unique genome, “said in an interview, Claude Reiss, director of research in molecular biology at the CNRS for 35 years and president of Antidote Europe and author of hundreds of scientific articles the subject …
This means that a rat, mouse, dog or a man react quite differently to the same event. It would have been much more useful and profitable, therefore, to perform these experiments on the human model … But it is true, cause trauma on the brain of a man, in order to study the effect of THC would not be “ethical” …