Study: Cannabis Rescues Brain from Alcohol-Induced Neural Damage

neural damageA new study published in the most recent issue of the journal Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, and published online by the National Institute of Health, has found that activation of the body’s CB2 receptors – something done naturally by the consumption of cannabis – can rescue the brain from alcohol-induced neural damage.

“Chronic alcohol exposure reduces endocannabinoid activity and disrupts adult neurogenesis in rodents, which results in structural and functional alterations”, claims the study’s abstract. “Cannabinoid receptor agonists [such as cannabis] promote adult neural progenitor cell (NPC) proliferation.”

For the study, researchers “evaluated the protective effects of the selective CB1 receptor agonist ACEA, the selective CB2 receptor agonist JWH133 and the fatty-acid amide-hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitor URB597, which enhances endocannabinoid receptor activity, on NPC proliferation in rats with forced consumption of ethanol (10%) or sucrose liquid diets for 2 weeks.”

After conducting the study, researchers found that; “These results indicated that the specific activation of CB2 receptors rescued alcohol-induced impaired NPC proliferation, which is a potential clinical interest for the risk of neural damage in alcohol dependence”

The full study can be found by clicking here.

The full abstract for the study can be found below:

Chronic alcohol exposure reduces endocannabinoid activity and disrupts adult neurogenesis in rodents, which results in structural and functional alterations. Cannabinoid receptor agonists promote adult neural progenitor cell (NPC) proliferation. We evaluated the protective effects of the selective CB1 receptor agonist ACEA, the selective CB2 receptor agonist JWH133 and the fatty-acid amide-hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitor URB597, which enhances endocannabinoid receptor activity, on NPC proliferation in rats with forced consumption of ethanol (10%) or sucrose liquid diets for 2 weeks. We performed immunohistochemical and stereological analyses of cells expressing the mitotic phosphorylation of histone-3 (phospho-H3+) and the replicating cell DNA marker 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU+) in the main neurogenic zones of adult brain: subgranular zone of dentate gyrus (SGZ), subventricular zone of lateral ventricles (SVZ) and hypothalamus. Animals were allowed ad libitum ethanol intake (7.3 ± 1.1 g/kg/day) after a controlled isocaloric pair-feeding period of sucrose and alcoholic diets. Alcohol intake reduced the number of BrdU+ cells in SGZ, SVZ, and hypothalamus. The treatments (URB597, ACEA, JWH133) exerted a differential increase in alcohol consumption over time, but JWH133 specifically counteracted the deleterious effect of ethanol on NPC proliferation in the SVZ and SGZ, and ACEA reversed this effect in the SGZ only. JWH133 also induced an increased number of BrdU+ cells expressing neuron-specific β3-tubulin in the SVZ and SGZ. These results indicated that the specific activation of CB2 receptors rescued alcohol-induced impaired NPC proliferation, which is a potential clinical interest for the risk of neural damage in alcohol dependence.

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