It looks like scientists from the University of California have discovered that THC could help prevent organ rejection in transplant patients. According to the September issue of The Journal of Leukocyte Biology, THC could provide a useful anti-rejection remedy, especially for those patients whose transplanted organs are not a perfect match.
A new area of research opens up
As the battle for legalization of medical marijuana continues, the medical benefits associated with it keep popping out and each new one is more surprising than the previous. Scientists believe that THC could one day be a useful anti-rejection therapy for transplant patients as it appears to have “decreased early stage rejection” of transplanted organs. “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,” noted Mitzi Nagarkatti, PhD., from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. The team used two groups of genetically different mice and transplanted skin from one group to the other – meaning all of the mice received incompatible skin so rejection was inevitable. One group was given a placebo while the other was given THC. The scientists then observed the mice and found that the mice that received THC rejected the skin graft after a longer while than those that received a placebo.
Still a long way ahead
Even though the study results seem promising, the researchers are not sure about the molecular pathways involved in the mechanism by which the delay in organ rejection takes place. The researchers further say that a lot of research is being carried out to identify the benefits of each and every ingredient contained in cannabis, however, the most fascinating challenge is to identify the molecular pathways involved. “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, PhD, who is Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.
We need studies in human subjects
As the researchers have pointed out, this study was specifically tested on mice, which means it has to be taken with a grain of salt. We need more studies that test the efficacy of THC in prolonging organ rejection in humans. While their experiment strongly suggests that THC might be useful for the antirejection therapy, more precisely in patients whose transplanted organs are not a perfect match, the history has thought us that animal experiments sometimes have nothing to do with the outcome of human ones. However, as one of the researchers pointed out, this study could “lead to new areas of research that in turn may result in better approaches in preventing the rejection of organ transplants and treatment of other inflammatory diseases.” A couple of months ago there have been news about medical marijuana patients being denied of organ transplant because of their cannabis use. And look what’s happening now! Karma is a b****.