According to a medical research by University of Saskatchewan that was published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, a synthetic substance similar to ones found in marijuana stimulates cell growth in regions of the brain associated with anxiety and depression. The finding indicates the way for new treatments for these diseases.
A team led by Xia Zhang, an associate professor in the University of Saskatchewan neuropsychiatry research unit, tested the effects of a potent synthetic cannabinoid (HU-210) similar to a group of compounds found in marijuana. The synthetic version is approximately 100 times as powerful as the compound, THC, responsible for the high experienced by recreational users.
The team was able to found that rats regularly treated with HU-210 showed neurogenesis – the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus, which is the region of the brain linked with learning and memory, as well as anxiety and depression.
“Most ‘drugs of abuse’ suppress neurogenesis,” Zhang says. “Only marijuana promotes neurogenesis.” “This is a very potent cannabinoid oil,” Zhang says. “It’s not something that would be available on the street.”
Zhang’s work is the latest product of the U of S Neural Systems and Plasticity Research Group (http://www.usask.ca/neuralsystems/group.htm), a multidisciplinary effort by researchers from the Colleges of Arts and Science, Engineering, Kinesiology, Medicine, Pharmacy and Nutrition, and Veterinary Medicine. The research of Zhang is supported by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), as well as a CIHR New Investigator Award.
University Of Saskatchewan (2005, October 16). University Of Saskatchewan Research