Editor’s note: Welcome to Room 420, where your instructor is Mr. Ron Marczyk and your subjects are wellness, disease prevention, self actualization, and chillin’. ~ Steve Elliott
Phytocannabinoids from the cannabis plant are a potent botanical medicine that prevent and heal diseases of the brain.
… Scientifically speaking, marijuana is good for your brain.
This claim that cannabinoids are “neuroprotectants” was the central point of the medical patent the U.S. government granted itself in 2003; cannabinoids are potent agents against brain inflammation. This patent totally negates marijuana as Schedule 1 and don’t forget: we, the American people, own this patent–and this plant.
Now, using groundbreaking technology that wasn’t available in 2003, this experiment from Israel in 2013 drills down to find the evidence that proves cannabis extracts have the ability to regulate gene expression that can control and stop brain inflammation central to most neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis.
“Microarray and Pathway Analysis Reveal Distinct Mechanisms Underlying Cannabinoid-Mediated Modulation of LPS-Induced Activation of BV-2 Microglial Cells”
PloS ONE April/2013
The evidence from this study overwhelmingly shows that cannabinoids protect brain cells (microglia) by down regulating pro-inflammation protein synthesis while at the same time up regulating anti-inflammation proteins that shut off inflammation.
All of this happens inside the cell at the RNA level, which is where the brain inflammation process starts. “These observations indicate that CBD, and less so THC, induce a cellular stress response and that this response underlies their high immunosuppressant activities.”
“Many of the beneficial effects of cannabinoids have been attributed to their potent immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, cannabinoids are known to possess pro-apoptotic, neuroprotective and anti-tumor properties”
A cytokine is a protein regulator made by RNA, a chemical message to turn something on or off inside the cell. Inflammation is a two-step process: pro-inflammation proteins (cytokines) are activated when the RNA inside the white blood cells senses a foreign invading protein. After the white blood cells destroy the invader, anti-inflammatory cytokines are then released by the RNA, telling the white blood cells to stand down and reset to normal.
Although microglial activation is considered a protective mechanism involved in the clearance of pathogen infection and in regulating tissue repair and recovery, excessive or chronic activation can lead to neurological diseases.
“Enhancing the microglial-mediated innate immunity in the CNS and/or preventing the harmful effects associated with their chronic activation may offer new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of brain injury and neurodegenerative diseases”
Microglia are resident macrophages, and the first line of defense of the brain and spinal cord, actively scanning their environment they act as the first and main form of active immune defense in the central nervous system.
These cells have important roles in the brain’s innate immunity and neuronal homeostasis as well as in neuroinflammatory conditions.
Purpose of this experiment: “Cannabinoids are known to exert immunosuppressive activities. However, the exact mechanisms which contribute to these effects were unknown.”
Methodology: One of the most potent stimuli for microglial activation is the bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which is a part of the outer cell wall of harmful E.Coli bacteria.
“Using lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to activate (attack) microglial cells (the brain white blood cells) we examined how Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major psychoactive component of marijuana, and cannabidiol (CBD) the non-psychoactive component, modulate the inflammatory response.”
Microglial cultures in this lab experiment were pretreated with CBD/THC and then attacked by E.Coli bacteria endotoxins, which are known to cause a large number of known pro-inflammation proteins within the cell to spike.
These proteins are assembled by RNA in the cell, and are the starting point of brain inflammation. After THC/CBD treatment, both pro-inflammation and anti-inflammation cytokines were measured.
HOW THE PRO-/ANTI-INFLAMMATION CYTOKINES WERE MEASURED AFTER THC/CBD
The pro-/anti-inflammation cytokines after THC/CBD treatment were measured using gene sequencing.
Microarray analysis of genome-wide mRNA levels was performed using Illumina platform, and the resulting expression patterns analyzed using the Ingenuity Pathway Analysis to identify functional subsets of genes.
Conclusions: “We found that CBD induces robust responses related to oxidative stress and inflammation and that CBD, and to a lesser extent THC, have immunosuppressive and protective activities. The anti-inflammatory effects are mediated by mainly down regulating the expression of pro-inflammatory genes but also by up regulating anti-inflammatory mediators.”
“These observations indicate that CBD, and less so THC, induce a cellular stress response, and that this response underlies their high immunosuppressant activities.”
The study reported that CBD, but less so THC, affects the expression of genes involved in zinc homeostasis, suggesting that the regulation of zinc levels could have an important role through which CBD may exert its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
“All together, our results show that CBD, and to a lesser extent THC, are potent modulators of microglial activation and affect several signaling pathways and related networks, including induction of cellular stress responses, that underlie their high immunosuppressant activity.”
Please note the asterisks explaining pro-/anti-inflammation responses. The two right-hand columns show the percentage of down regulation. These are the hard numbers that prove that THC and CBD are anti-inflammatory medicines: cause and effect.
The results reveal that from the 5,338 transcripts found to be differentially regulated by the various treatments (p ≤ 0.005), 680 gene probe sets were found to be up regulated by CBD alone and 58 gene products by THC alone. CBD had also a much larger effect compared to THC on the number of down regulated genes: 524 gene products were down regulated by CBD and 36 by THC.
“Results clearly link the effects of CBD and THC to inflammatory signaling pathways and identify new cannabinoid targets in the MAPK pathway.”
WARNING: Serious untoward side effects of cannabis may include red eyes, lightheadedness, intense bouts of uncontrollable enlightened laughter, intense hunger followed by periods of deep mystical introspection, followed by deep, sound sleep. Call your doctor immediately if you become, hungry, happy and sleepy.
BRAIN INFLAMMATION FOOTNOTES
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Editor’s note: Ron Marczyk is a retired high school health education teacher who taught Wellness and Disease Prevention, Drug and Sex Education, and AIDS Education to teens aged 13-17.
He also taught a high school International Baccalaureate psychology course. He taught in a New York City public school as a Drug Prevention Specialist.
He is a Registered Nurse with six years of ER/Critical Care experience in NYC hospitals, earned an M.S. in cardiac rehabilitation and exercise physiology, and worked as a New York City police officer for two years.
Currently he is focused on how evolutionary psychology explains human behavior.
To see all of Ron Marczyk’s “Worth Repeating” articles for Toke Signals, click here.