There is huge debate on what medicinal properties, if any, marijuana possesses, and researchers are working to uncover the effects of this substance. For example, a team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark has discovered that medical marijuana has the ability to reduce involuntary shaking or essential tremor. Their research used a mouse model.
The team’s work focused on a synthetic cannabinoid WIN55.212-2. The scientists found that when the mice were injected with this cannabinoid, astrocytes or support cells found within the brain and spinal cord of the mice were activated. When those support cells are activated, they trigger the release of adenosine, which has the effect of tamping down nerve activity and, consequently, the undesirable shaking reduces.
This study took a different approach since previous studies had focused on the neurons within the brain or spinal cord. In this study, the Copenhagen team opted to devote its attention to the astrocytes. In this way, the team has introduced a whole new perspective for other researchers who would like to investigate how medical marijuana affects its users.
Under normal circumstances, both voluntary and involuntary movements occur when the motor neurons within the spinal cord are activated. This is because the muscles are linked to the spinal cord via the motor neurons. Each time a motor neuron fires, an impulse is sent to the muscle in question, and the muscle contracts, thereby resulting in movement.
From the above, it follows that involuntary movements happen when motor neurons send impulses that conflict, thereby causing conditions such as essential tremor. This mechanism of action is what prompted the research team to study the spinal cord in relation to essential tremor.
Eva Carlsen, a postdoc student at the university who conducted all the tests during the research, explains that their work opens the door to the possibility of making medical marijuana products that target conditions that cause shaking. These include injuries to the spinal cord as well as sclerosis. Such treatments would target astrocytes or the spinal cord.
In this way, the patient would receive an effective treatment while being shielded from the side effects of the medical marijuana since the treatment isn’t being directed at the brain. For example, the cognition and memory of the patient would not be affected by the treatment administered to manage involuntary shaking.
For now, these promising research findings are only valid in mouse models, although the team hopes to embark on human tests in order to establish whether the findings observed in mice can also be replicated in humans who receive an injection of this synthetic cannabinoid.
Other researchers, such as the team at XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (OTCQB: XPHYF) (FSE: 4XT), are looking for other ways through which neurological conditions can be addressed using cannabinoids, including cannabidiol.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (OTCQB: XPHYF) (FSE: 4XT) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/XPHYF
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