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A new study published in the Journal of Neurochemistry, and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health, has found that cannabis may protect neurons and greatly improve motor recovery during an ischemic stroke. An ischemic stroke is caused by damage to the brain due to an interruption of its blood supply.
“Brain ischemia produces neuronal cell death and the recruitment of pro-inflammatory cells”, states the study’s abstract. “In turn, the search for neuroprotection against this type of insult has rendered results involving a beneficial role of endocannabinoid receptor agonists in the Central Nervous System.”
For the study, researchers administered a cannabinoid receptor agonist (ACEA) – meant to mimic the effects of cannabinoids – to mice experience brain ischemia. To assess motor activity, neural deficit scores and motor tests were performed 1 day before and 3, 7, 14, 21 and 28 days after the incident. At 7 and 28 days post-lesion, cytoskeleton structure, astroglial and microglial reaction and alterations in synapsis were studied in the cerebral cortex.
Researchers found that ACEA treatment “reduced astrocytic reaction, neuronal death and dendritic loss.” In addition. “motor tests showed a progressive deterioration in motor activity in ischemic animals, which only ACEA treatment was able to counteract.”
The study concludes; “Our results suggest that CB1R may be involved in neuronal survival and in the regulation of neuroprotection during focal cerebral ischemia in mice.”
The study was conducted by researches at the Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina; it can be found in full by clicking here.