MMJ Medicinal Marijuana vs Organ Transplant Rejection


 According to results of an animal study published in Journal of Leukocyte Biology in June 2015, the cannabinoid delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may be a safe and effective alternative or add-on therapy in the prevention of organ and tissue transplant rejection.

By injecting donor spleen and skin cells into recipient mice (thereby using them as models for humans undergoing organ transplantation), the researchers found that recipient mice treated with THC were less likely to reject the new tissue than those who were left untreated. According to the study, mainly through activation of CB1 receptors, THC helped to prevent rejection through several mechanisms:
  • prevention of increases in the number of recipient T-cells in the recipient’s lymph nodes (i.e. lower chance of rejection of donor tissue)
  • decrease in inflammatory response signals
  • stimulation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (which act to decrease the recipient T-cell response and prevent rejection)
  • increased length of survival of donor skin cells
This study adds to a growing body of evidence that cannabinoids are useful in modulating/reducing inflammatory processes, which are implicated not only in transplant rejection, but also in autoimmune disorders, cancer, and other debilitating diseases.
“Together, our research shows, for the first time to our knowledge, that targeting cannabinoid receptors may provide a novel treatment modality to attenuate host-versus-graft disease and prevent [transplant] rejection” says the team of researchers who lead the study.

Given the serious side effects associated with the current treatments used to prevent transplant rejection, along with the highly favorable safety profile of THC, further exploration of THC’s utility in prevention of this process has the potential to lengthen millions of lives and protect the unique, altruistic, and essential gift that organ donors leave to new recipients every day.

Much More at: Medical Jane

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