Western University researchers might have found a way to reverse the negative effects of the psycho-active ingredient in marijuana on the adolescent brain.
Chronic cannabis use during adolescence has been linked to the development of psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression and schizophrenia later in adulthood.
But, according to a new study published in Nature’s Scientific Reports journal on Tuesday, there might be a way to reverse this.
The study exposed adolescent rats to high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), once they reached adulthood the researchers studied the rats’ prefrontal cortex.
The researchers found that THC exposure reduced a chemical in the brain called GABA, which regulates hyperactivity in the brain and has been associated with schizophrenia.
“We found a series of molecular changes in the prefrontal cortex that were very comparable to what we observe in the brains of people who have disorders like schizophrenia,” lead researcher Steve Laviolette told CTV London.
Laviolette and his team then used drugs to increase the amount of GABA in the rats’ brains. According to the study, this reversed chemical and behavioural effects of the THC and eliminated schizophrenia-like symptoms.