Marijuana chemical and synthetic cannabinoid could trigger seizures



Several studies suggested that marijuana may effective for reducing seizures. However, a new research cautions that potent and synthetic forms of the drug have the opposite effect.

Japanese scientists found that natural tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, and the synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 caused seizures in mice.

Researchers findings should serve as a “public alert” to the potential harms caused by high-potency and synthetic marijuana. The new study suggests that general use of high-potency marijuana contains high amounts of THC may trigger seizures.

The research also found that the seizures could prompt JWH-018, which is a man-made cannabinoid that is the primary component of the synthetic marijuana known as “spice.” Their findings analyzing the brain activity of male mice after they received THC or JWH-018.

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seizure-related electrical activity

The team implanted electroencephalography (EEG) and electromyogram electrodes into the brains of the mice, which allowed them to monitor any seizure-related electrical activity in response to the drug compounds. The movement and behavior of the rodents monitored through video recording.

The study revealed that the mice experienced seizures shortly after administration with both THC and JWH-018. Though seizure frequency significantly higher with JWH-018. Seizure-related brain activity continues 4 hours after the administration of each drug. But, brain activity had returned to normal by the next day.

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Interestingly, the researchers found that pre-treating mice prevented seizures in response to THC and JWH-018.

The team suggests that cannabinoid receptor antagonists could be useful for preventing seizures in the case of marijuana overdose. Their results provide strong evidence that both plant-derived and synthetic cannabinoids have the potential to trigger seizures.

Also, a substantial body of literature on cannabinoids in animal models shows mostly anti-convulsive effects.

In the study, the doses of THC and JWH-018 may not represent the doses normally seen with medicinal or recreational use in humans. It would interesting in the future to test lower doses, typically used medicinally or recreationally to determine whether the effect lost or diminished.

The research findings viewed as a warning of the potential dangers of cannabinoids, particularly synthetic marijuana.

More information: [Scientific Reports]