Cannabis compound can help cells

Feb 19, 2009
Neurones which have been labelled with a fluorescent marker.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Cannabis has been used recreationally and for medicinal purposes for centuries, yet its 60 plus active components are only partly understood. Now scientists have discovered how a compound in cannabis can help cells to function in our bodies, and aid recovery after a damaging event.

In a paper published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the researchers report on their studies into cannabidiol - a naturally occurring molecule found in cannabis.

Also known as CBD, it is not the constituent that gives the high - that compound is called tetrahydrocannabinol or THC - and so may be more acceptable as a drug treatment.

Both compounds are currently used in a pharmaceutical medicine to help patients relieve pain and other symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.

Now researchers have discovered how CBD actually works within brain cells.

By interacting with mitochondria - which are the power generators of all cells - it can help maintain normal levels of calcium allowing cells to function properly and providing a greater resistance to damage.

Disturbance of calcium levels has long been associated with a number of brain disorders. So the finding could have implications for the development of new treatments for disorders related to malfunctioning mitochondria.

Dr Bettina Platt, from the University's School of Medical Sciences, said: "Scientists have known for a long time that cannabidiol can help with pain relief but we never really knew how it worked.

"However we have discovered what it actually does at the cellular level.

"We are hoping that our findings can instruct the development of cannabidiol based treatments for disorders related to mitochondrial dysfunction such as Parkinson's disease or Huntington's disease."

Nevertheless, Dr Platt warned that smoking cannabis would not necessarily have the same effect.

"There are different strains of cannabis out there and many no longer contain cannabidiol. In fact, these have been deliberately bred out to enhance the THC content," she said.

"As a result, smoking cannabis would not necessarily have the same beneficial effect, and could even exacerbate neuronal damage."

Provided by University of Aberdeen

Explore further: Researchers discover key driver of human aging

Related Stories

California's low-wage workers now earn less than in 1979

11 minutes ago

Over the past 35 years, California's high-wage workers have seen steady increases in their paychecks. But low-wage workers, 4.8 million strong and about one-third of the state's workforce, earned less in ...

Recommended for you

Researchers discover key driver of human aging

Apr 30, 2015

A study tying the aging process to the deterioration of tightly packaged bundles of cellular DNA could lead to methods of preventing and treating age-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's ...

Long-sought biomarker for chronic stress in fish discovered

Apr 30, 2015

Johan Aerts (ILVO/Ghent University), under supervision of Prof. Dr. Sarah De Saeger (Ghent University), has discovered the long-sought biomarker for chronic stress in fish. Fish faced with stressful stimuli launch an endocrine ...

User comments : 6

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

WolfAtTheDoor
not rated yet Feb 19, 2009
...on the other hand... It's far out, man.
Mercury_01
not rated yet Feb 19, 2009
Cbd DOES get you high. Its the part of weed that causes whats known in the industry as "couch lock".
El_Nose
not rated yet Feb 20, 2009
no the article is correct CDB does not induce the effect of high -- that is THC -- but many people claim that while THC makes you high CDB makes it last. THC gets you there CDB keeps you there.
rubberman
1 / 5 (1) Feb 20, 2009
So....good weed is good for you, bad weed is bad for you....naaaahhh all weed is still good.
Quik98
not rated yet Feb 21, 2009
I have been doing intense Cannabis research for 2 years now and I have found; CBD is psychoactive but is not psychedelic, CBD produces that couchlock effect, releaves pain, reduces anxiety, reduces nausea. High levels of CBD are found in Cannabis Indica plants and Cannabis Sativa plants contain less CBDs and more THC. Sativa = High THC Low THC Indica = Low THC High CBD. Indica plants on the contrary are VERY common due to their ability to grow and mature faster than sativas. Most dealers deal indica strains but Sativas arent hard to find.
jhoeh77
not rated yet Feb 23, 2009
I knew it all the time.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.