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News | 01.29.2022

Study Shows Minor Cannabinoid CBN Helps Protect Brain Cells From Age-Related Conditions

Dosing CBN might keep your brain sharp in the long run.

We’re always pleased to spread the word of new and influential studies that shed light on the many therapeutic uses of cannabis. While there’s an abundance of research regarding the two prominent cannabinoids, THC and CBD, there’s recently been an influx of research on minor cannabinoids and how they interact with the body, more specifically, the brain

Thanks to a new study by Salk Scientists published online in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, we’re now beginning to peel back the first layers of what cannabinol (CBN) can do for us. The study found that CBN offers protective effects to nerve cells from oxidation damage. The oxidation of nerve cells is the leading cause of cell death, resulting in various neurological disorders. 

Photo courtesy of Chicago Cannabis Company

The Salk Scientists found that CBN could potentially help treat age-related neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Senior author Pamela Maher, research professor and head of Salk’s Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, noted that her team dissected how cannabinol “protects neurons from oxidative stress and cell death, two of the major contributors to Alzheimer’s,” reports Neuroscience News.

She and her accompanying team hope this discovery could potentially result in developing new therapeutics and medicine to not only treat Alzheimer’s but other neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s.

This isn’t the first time Maher’s lab has studied the use of CBN and how it offers protective properties to the brain. However, their recent findings are the first time they’ve discovered why and how this works. Salk Scientists kept in mind the process of oxytocin or ferroptosis, which is not only evident in aging brains but is allegedly a core contributor to Alzheimer’s disease.

Photo by Healthline

They proceeded to administer CBN to help protect nerve cells from oxidation, then offered a separate mechanism to activate oxidative damage. In addition to protecting nerve cells, the scientists discovered that CBN also shielded the mitochondria, the cell’s “powerhouse,” if you will.

They compared the mitochondria in healthy cells vs. damaged ones and found that the powerhouse within damaged cells curled up into a ball to protect itself. These curled mitochondria are often seen within aging cells in those with Alzheimer’s. When they began administering CBN, the team found that cannabinol helped the mitochondria function properly while reminding in its stable, non-curled form.

Maher concluded in the study that her team was able to “directly show that maintenance of mitochondrial function was specifically required for the protective effects of the compound,” reports Neuroscience News.

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