Posted on Mar 12, 2014, 6 a.m.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may protect immune tissue in the gut from HIV infection damage.
The primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has been explored as a therapeutic agent for a number of medical conditions that have remained difficult to treat. Patricia Molina, from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (Louisiana, USA), and colleagues report that chronic THC administration associates with greater survival of T cell populations and reduced overall cell death in the gut in monkeys, which is known to be a key target for simian immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replication and infection-related inflammation. Observing that: “Our results indicate that chronic THC administration modulated duodenal T cell populations, favored a pro-Th2 cytokine balance, and decreased intestinal apoptosis,” the study authors submit that: “These findings reveal novel mechanisms that may potentially contribute to cannabinoid-mediated disease modulation.”
Molina Patricia E., Amedee Angela M., LeCapitaine Nicole J., Zabaleta Jovanny, Mohan Mahesh, Winsauer Peter J., et al. “Modulation of Gut-Specific Mechanisms by Chronic [Delta]9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Administration in Male Rhesus Macaques Infected with Simian Immunodeficiency Virus: A Systems Biology Analysis.” AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, February 7, 2014.