There are many different kinds of neurological disorders from Parkinson’s disease to epilepsy. While the vast range of these disorders vary considerably in both causes and symptoms, they all have one thing in common; the brain.
Treatment for neurological disorders also varies considerably. However, very few of the current treatments are effective across the board and all come with a long list of severe side effects which can just add to the patients misery.
Because of this, medical researchers have, for some time, been investigating alternative treatments for neurological disorders. Perhaps surprisingly, one which is showing particular promise is cannabis.
In a recent study, researchers analyzed the anterior cingulate gyrus of controls and patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression using immunohistochemistry for potentially existing differences in CB1 expression.
This study investigated the postmortem immunohistochemical demonstration of CB1 receptors in the ACC of subjects with specific psychiatric diseases.
This is the first study investigating CB1 receptors in bipolar disorder and major depression, while for schizophrenia three studies examining CB1 receptor changes using radioligand binding and quantitative autoradiography in postmortem human CNS tissue were published.
Researchers observed no change in schizophrenic patients. However, in bipolar patients they recorded a decrease in CB1 receptor-ir-glial cells following antipsychotic medication of the first generation.
While chronic cannabinoid administration produces region-dependent CB1 receptor desensitization and down-regulation, little is known about the modalities of CB1 receptor regulations in response to defined pharmacological or physiological stimuli.
They also reported that sub-chronic treatment with the first generation neuroleptic haloperidol increases CB1 receptor binding and G-protein receptor coupling in discrete regions of the basal ganglia; the increased binding levels were normalized at 1-4 weeks after termination of haloperidol treatment.
Regarding CB1 receptor ligands, the study reported significantly reduced endocannabinoid levels in CSF of schizophrenic patients following antipsychotic medication, which was strongest after treatment with first-generation-neuroleptics.
These findings will shed some light on previously mysterious aspects of the relationship between cannabis, its constituents and the brain. While there remains much more research to be done, this is yet another positive step in the right direction for the future of neurological treatment and the patients that need it.
Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.