THC apparently prevents transplant organs from being rejected
Posted on June 17 2016
Organ transplants save thousands of lives all over the world every year. As you can imagine, it’s not super simple to transplant an organ from one human into the body of another. There are several problems, the biggest of which is organ rejection. Organ rejection is when the recipient’s body has its immune system recognise the organ as a foreign body and the body fights it. This can involve the cell attacking it as if it was a cancer, stopping it from working the way as intended and sometimes leading to the loss of the organ altogether.
To stop this rejection by the immune system, organ transplant recipients are often given a long term prescription for immuno-suppressants. These stop the body’s immune system from working in its normal way, effectively stopping your natural ability to fight infection. This stops the body from rejecting the organ but can cause other problems, such as susceptibility to infection, making things like a regular cold something that could be potentially life threatening.
Sciencetists have been aiming for years to find ways to help the body stop rejecting organs without having to dampen the vital aspects of someone’s immune system against actual threats. A recent study in the journal ‘Journal of Leukocyte Biology’ has shown that THC helps delay the rejection of transplanted tissues and organs in rodents.
According to a study titled “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” the THC helps to activate CB1 receptors (which are also the receptors hit in your brain when you get high) in the recipients immune cells which can stop the attacking response from the body against the organ.
This response is also part of the reason you may have felt a little bit run down after a particularly long week of getting stoned, it’s because your body’s immune system isn’t working at the capacity it would usually be working at.
The study injected donor spleens and skin cells in recipient mice with THC, they found that mice injected with the THC were less likely to reject their organs over time than those not injected with THC.
Just another reason that we need to keep researching cannabis and how it can help people, and that restrictions on research need to be lifted as soon as possible.