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CBD could be used to deliver drugs into the brain, research shows

Published on 18/04/19 at 10:31am

Cannabidiol (CBD), one of 113 cannabinoids in cannabis plants, could be used to deliver medicines into the brain, according to research published in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

The non-psychoactive cannabinoid could act as a Trojan horse in helping drugs slip through the blood brain barrier (BBB) in the brains of mice, the research says.

The BBB consists of a layer of tightly linked cells that line capillaries in the brain thus preventing substances from entering or exiting the brain.

However some molecules, such as glucose and certain amino acids and neurotransmitters, are able to slip through.

CBD resembles a class of neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids which bind to cannabinoid receptors in the BBB and pass through into the brain.

The international team of researchers from institutions in Britain and Spain sought to take advantage of this in order to sneak drugs into the brains of mice.

In testing this, the researchers, led by Ana Torres-Suárez, attached CBD to the outside surfaces of lipid nanocapsules, which were packaged together with a fluorescent molecule which could then be tracked.

The researchers showed that the CBD-displaying nanocarriers caused more of the fluorescent molecule to pass through the cells than nanocarriers of equal size that lacked CBD.  

Similarly, when injected into healthy mice, the CBD-nanocapsules targeted about 2.5 times more of the fluorescent molecule to the animals' brains.

Louis Goss

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