Can marijuana help transplant patients? New research says maybe

September 01, 2015

Here's another discovery to bolster the case for medical marijuana: New research in mice suggests that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, may delay the rejection of incompatible organs. Although more research is necessary to determine if there are benefits to humans, this suggests that THC, or a derivative, might prove to be a useful antirejection therapy, particularly in situations where transplanted organs may not be a perfect match. These findings were published in the September 2015 issue of The Journal of Leukocyte Biology.

"We are excited to demonstrate for the first time that cannabinoid receptors play an important role in the prolongation of rejection of a foreign graft by suppressing immune response in the recipient, said Mitzi Nagarkatti, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. "This opens up a new area of research that would lead to better approaches to prevent transplant rejection as well as to treat other inflammatory diseases."

To make this discovery, Nagarkatti and colleagues used two groups of mice that were genetically different, and transplanted skin from one group to the other. All of the mice received incompatible skin, but one group was treated with vehicle (placebo) and the other was treated with THC. The scientists observed that the rejection of the skin graft in mice that received THC was delayed when compared to the control group that only received a placebo.

Please note: Transplant patients should not use marijuana as a therapy without the consent of their physician and should only do so in compliance with any and all local, state and federal laws.

"More and more research is identifying potential beneficial effects of substances contained in marijuana, but a major challenge has been identifying the molecular pathways involved," said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. "These new studies point to important roles for the cannabinoid receptors as targets that might be exploited using approaches that refine how we think about substances derived from marijuana."
-end-
The Journal of Leukocyte Biology publishes peer-reviewed manuscripts on original investigations focusing on the cellular and molecular biology of leukocytes and on the origins, the developmental biology, biochemistry and functions of granulocytes, lymphocytes, mononuclear phagocytes and other cells involved in host defense and inflammation. The Journal of Leukocyte Biology is published by the Society for Leukocyte Biology.

Details: Jessica M. Sido, Prakash S. Nagarkatti, and Mitzi Nagarkatti. Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol attenuates allogeneic host-versus-graft response and delays skin graft rejection through activation of cannabinoid receptor 1 and induction of myeloid-derived suppressor cells. J. Leukoc. Biol. September 2015 98:435-447; doi:10.1189/jlb.3A0115-030RR ; http://www.jleukbio.org/content/98/3/435.abstract

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Related Marijuana Articles from Brightsurf:

Teen boys link marijuana use with more, better sex
Teen-age boys exposed to pro-cannabis advertising and social media posts are more likely than female peers to associate marijuana use with improving sexual activity, new research from Washington State University suggests.

Legal marijuana may be slowing reductions in teen marijuana use, study says
A longitudinal study of more than 230 teens and young adults in Washington state finds that teens may be more likely to use marijuana following legalization - with the proliferation of stores and increasing adult use of the drug -- than they otherwise would have been.

Does using marijuana affect a person's risk of stroke?
The jury's still out on whether the use of marijuana may increase the risk of stroke.

Marijuana use among older adults in US
Cannabis use apparently continues to increase among older adults in the U.S. based on findings reported in this research letter.

Is it hemp or marijuana? New scanner gives instant answer
Hemp is technically legal in Texas, but proving that hemp is not marijuana can be a hurdle, requiring testing in a licensed laboratory.

Recreational marijuana availability in Oregon and use among adolescents
New research from the Prevention Research Center of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation suggests that legalization and greater retail availability of recreational marijuana is positively associated with marijuana use among adolescents.

Marijuana detected in homicide victims nearly doubles
Researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health assessed the time trends in alcohol and marijuana detected in homicide victims and found that the prevalence of marijuana almost doubled, increasing from 22 percent in 2004 to 42 percent in 2016.

Vaping of marijuana on the rise among teens
Findings from the 2019 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey demonstrate the appeal of vaping to teens, as seen in the increased prevalence of marijuana use as well as nicotine vaping.

Use changes after recreational marijuana legalization
How the legalization of recreational marijuana in some states was associated with changes inĀ marijuana use and cannabis use disorder compared to other states from 2008 to 2016 was the focus of this study.

Teen marijuana use may have next-generation effects
A new study by the University of Washington's Social Development Research Group shows how a parent's use of marijuana, past or present, can influence their child's substance use and well-being.

Read More: Marijuana News and Marijuana Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.