September 24, 2023
Cannabis may help treat neurological diseases

Cannabis may help treat neurological diseases

A study conducted by the State University of Campinas (Unicamp) showed that cannabis, a substance that can be found in plants of the genus cannabisIt can help treat neurological and psychiatric diseases. The discovery was made by researchers from the Laboratory of Neuroproteins, Institute of Biology (IB), and was published today (27) in the journal. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences.

“We know a lot about the effect of cannabinoids, cannabinoids or synthetics on neurons. We are now learning that these substances also act on glial cells,” says Daniel Martins de Souza, one of the researchers. He explains that the glial name means glue in Greek, because, in In the past, researchers believed that these cells connect neurons together, acting only as support cells.

However, studies over the past two decades have shown that they perform important functions in the brain. The research looked at the interaction of one of these glial cells, called oligodendrocytes, with cannabinoids. Oligodendrocytes are responsible for the production of the myelin sheath, which makes the “cover” of axons, the means of communication between neurons. Comparing it to the wires of an electrical power pole, the researcher explains, “In order for a neuron to be able to talk to another neuron through electrical impulses, it needs a cap on the wire, so to speak.”

Defects in glial cells can cause disease. “The myelin sheath is destroyed, for example, in multiple sclerosis and eventually even in Alzheimer’s disease. So the myelin sheath is very important for neurons to function. We’ve always had a nerve-centric view, that is, of great importance for neurons in the brain, But it won’t work well if the cells attached to it don’t work as well, as in oligodendrocytes,” adds Martins-de Souza.

with analysis in the laboratoryThe researchers saw that cannabis enhances the proliferation of oligodendrocytes. “All diseases that may lead to loss of oligodendrocytes can benefit,” says the specialist. He points out that studies in animals and humans should confirm these data. Research has also shown that with the cannabis plant, oligodendrocytes mature better. “This opens up new avenues for us to investigate potential disease treatments.”

Depression and schizophrenia are other diseases that could benefit from this discovery.

What are cannabinoids?

In addition to cannabis extracted from plants of the genus cannabisCannabidiol The human organism itself produces a substance called the endocannabinoid. “It was found that the compounds of cannabis They bind to receptors in the brain, which have come to be known as cannabinoid receptors. What we later discovered is that our organism produces substances that interact with these same receptors. All this is called cannabis,” explains the researcher.

Therefore, the study used both compounds extracted from plants of the genus cannabissuch as cannabidiol, the endocannabinoid, and synthetics.