Cannabis and Cirrhosis
Cannabis and cirrhosis are more linked than you’d think; cannabis is unveiling more properties and uses than ever, especially when it comes to receptors in our brain that act on our body. Today we’re going to talk about the CB2 receptor in relation with steatosis. Cirrhosis is a high risk factor that can be fatal and it’s been around for centuries, and it’s identified through alterations in tissue structure where nodes can appear or hepatic fibrosis. It tends to be due to circulation and blood pressure issues, which can be caused by a lacking diet or alcohol abuse.
We’ve already talked about CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties, although this particular cannabinoid doesn’t tend to directly stimulate the CB1 and CB2 receptors, rather it acts indirectly meaning that how it works is a bit of a mystery. It has a more direct effect on the 5-HT1A receptor, which has a pain relief effect, reducing pain signals that come from the receptors and increase alertness. CBD turns into Quinone in basic environments with oxygen, and in acidic environments with oxygen, CBD turns back into THC!
The CB2 receptor is related to the immune system, having been proven in various studies that if this receptor is stimulated, effects can be noticed in the liver, inhibiting inflammation caused due to alcohol use and steatosis (an accumulation of abnormal fat), stimulating Kupffer cells (macrophages in the liver that form sinusoidal walls). Apart from all of that, CBD also has antiprofibrotic properties that inhibit cell growth. This study was accompanied by experiments done on rats, which had their CB2 receptor inhibited and were given high quantities of ethanol; they began showing symptoms of steatosis and inflammation caused by alcohol. Once the theory had been confirmed, the rats’ CB2 receptors were stimulated using JWH-33 (a potent synthetic cannabin receptor stimulator) stimulating autophagy through hemo-oxygenase, an enzyme that limits the speed of the catabolism, reducing inflammation through lipopolysaccharides but not in all cells, those that have a deficiency of the ATG5 protein can’t be improved.
Hepatic encephalopathy is one of the final stages of cirrhosis, a manifestation of mental illnesses in patients that have this disorder. To study the issue more, rats were given thioacetamide, and their CB1 and CB2 receptors were stimulated, increasing neurological processes in the cognitive faculties, as well as regulating the brain’s kinase proteins, an enzyme that catalizes the production of phosphocreatine.
With this study it has been proven that CB2 is an efficient and powerful receptor, and when correctly stimulated it limits the progression of hepatic fibrosis and it inhibits any sort of inflammatory effects. This study, carried out by INSERM and the University of Paris, shows the link between stimulating the CB2 receptor and hepatic illnesses, underlining the anti-inflammatory effects and the hepato-protectors. During this study the effect of hemo-oxygenase was observed, a fundamental ingredient in getting rid of damaged cells. All of this should be considered quite an important step towards treating this illness using cannabinoids, and in fact cannabis users that suffer from chronic hepatitis C have proven to control the progression of hepatic fibrosis, confirming once again the amazing powers that this incredible plant has.
Author: Fabio Inga
Translation: Ciara Murphy