- Research finds that higher levels of the brain chemical GABA can reverse negative effects such as schizophrenia and depression
- Professor Steven Laviolette, who spearheaded the study, hopes that GABA-increasing cannabinoid compounds developed with industrial partners from this research could lead to clinical trials “in the next few years”
- Algae Dynamics Corp. has signed a collaborative agreement with the University of Western Ontario, giving the company the patent rights to any drugs developed as a result of research
Algae Dynamics Corp. (OTCQB: ADYNF) is in a collaboration agreement with the University of Western Ontario (now rebranded as Western University), which is making international news with its recent study in Nature Scientific Reports (http://dtn.fm/rDG0A). The study found that the negative effects on the adolescent brain from chronic use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-rich marijuana can be reversed by using compounds which increase the amounts of GABA, a chemical and neurotransmitter in the brain.
The article in Nature Scientific Reports is titled “Adolescent THC Exposure Causes Enduring Prefrontal Cortical Disruption of GABAergic Inhibition and Dysregulation of Sub-Cortical Dopamine Function.” The results have been globally reported by Global News, CBC of London, CTV News and UPI.
“What this could mean is that if you are going to be using marijuana, in a recreational or medicinal way, you can potentially combine it with compounds that boost GABA to block the negative effects of THC,” Professor Steven Laviolette of Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry told UPI (http://dtn.fm/Aju1z). Laviolette spearheaded the research study.
Laviolette has focused on the impact of nicotine and opiates and the neurobiology of addiction. He is studying the interface of neurobiology, psychology and emotion by using an integrative combination of behavioral neuropharmacology and vivo neuronal electrophysiology.
THC exposure reduced the GABA in the brain, the study found. GABA regulates hyperactivity in the brain and has been associated with disorders such as schizophrenia. Negative effects developed later in adulthood from use of marijuana with THC include anxiety, depression and schizophrenia. Drugs that increase the amount of GABA could then reverse the impact of THC and eliminate the schizophrenia-linked symptoms, the research found.
“We actually went in, and tried to restore the GABA system by activating GABA receptors directly in the prefrontal cortex,” Laviolette said on the Andrew Lawton radio show in Canada (http://dtn.fm/cImw7). “To our amazement, we found that this reversed those schizophrenia-like symptoms,” he added in an interview with CBC London. He explained that the reversal process can still remain effective many years after the exposure.
“What is important about this study is that not only have we developed a specific mechanism in the prefrontal mechanism for some of the mental health risks associated with adolescent marijuana use,” Laviolette told UPI. “But we have also identified a mechanism to reverse those risks.”
More research is needed to learn if boosting GABA levels would have the same results in humans as in rats, but Laviolette said that, to those people with mental health problems, there may be new hope. Laviolette told CTV News, “I think this is really a promising lead in terms of the potential of developing much safer versions of cannabinoid type drugs.”
Global News added that the next step is combining cannabinoid chemicals with compounds to boost the GABA system. The goal would be to determine better treatments for a range of other mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression and addiction.
Laviolette, interviewed on the Lawton Show, explained that there is a need now to “dig further” into this research. The result could be more molecular pathways in the future to formulate pharmaceutical compounds with industrial partners, including the process of conducting clinical trials within the next few years. Compounds using cannabinoids may be developed in the future, he said. Cannabidiol can actually have the opposite effect of THC — negating the impact of THC.
He told Lawton that some ‘black market’ marijuana may contain up to 70% THC. THC can also increase dependency levels, he said. The reversal process may suggest larger treatment issues for schizophrenia, regardless of marijuana or THC use.
Forbes reported (http://dtn.fm/Jk7xH) that another study found that chronic cannabis use can result in blunted stress reactivity. That study observed 40 cannabis users and 42 non-users to complete the stress or no-stress conditions of the Maastricht Acute Stress Test (MAST). Saliva samples and cannabis cravings and withdrawal were measured, as part of the study. Results indicated a link between higher stress ratings in non-users. In contrast, chronic cannabis users exhibited blunted stress reactivity, it said. Forbes inferred that marijuana compounds can reduce stress without the dependency of prescription medications.
While preliminary, Forbes explained, the study suggests that marijuana compounds may eventually be used to provide anxiety relief with decreased dependency, fewer side effects and reduced overdose potential.
ADYNF is engaged in the development of products and pharmaceuticals that use cannabis, hemp and algae oils. The development stage company is based in Canada and publicly traded in the U.S. The company has signed a collaboration agreement with the University of Western Ontario, enabling the firm to retain the rights to patents developed in conjunction with the school. Western University is focused on the areas of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and schizophrenia.
According to an ADYNF corporate presentation (http://dtn.fm/1Pd8H), the company is building its intellectual property portfolio in the pharmaceutical field. Its goal is to develop value-added products, supported by strong science and clinical trials, combining the benefits of algae and cannabis oils to enhance efficacy in a unique and patented way.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.AlgaeDynamics.com
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