In a joint effort between the University Institute of Industrial Pharmacy in Madrid, Spain, and The Open University in the UK, researchers studied the possibility of using CBD as a kind of brain “Trojan horse”.
As a cannabinoid, CBD has the power of being able to connect with the receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which exists in the nervous system of both humans and some animals like rats or dogs. This connection allows CBD to exert its beneficial health effects, but it may also allow other substances to be attached to CBD and delivered into the nervous system.
The brain is protected by a very tight layer of cells called Blood Brain Barrier (BBB), which prevents most substances from exiting the blood and entering the brain tissue. This is necessary to prevent damaging substances from reaching the brain, the most important and fragile organ, but it also poses a few problems.
The fact that this barrier is so efficient makes it very hard for scientists to deliver certain medications to the brain in case of need. In fact, one of the major challenges of brain medicine is figuring out which substances can go through the BBB, and how the medicines can pass this barrier to exert their effects in the brain. Even if some of the medicinal substances can pass (and they need to be extremely small and have certain chemical characteristics to achieve this), usually it’s only a very small percentage.
Interestingly, the BBB has endocannabinoid receptors, and so researchers decided to take a different approach.
In this study, they were searching for a way to improve the efficiency of delivery methods across the BBB. They found that, by attaching nano-capsules to CBD and releasing them into the blood to the brain, the nano-capsules contents were able to pass the BBB and reach the inside of rats’ brains.
In fact, attaching the nano-capsules to CBD made the delivery of its contents 2.5 times more efficient than just sending the nano-capsules without CBD.
CBD is already known for its medicinal properties in many different conditions. Its unique anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and anti-pain features make it a very efficient treatment and co-treatment for conditions such as anxiety, schizophrenia, alcohol and drug abuse, psychosis, or chronic pain.
Moreover, this recent study may have uncovered yet another use for CBD: a vehicle for delivering medicine. This discovery can improve the currently existing methods for treating brain conditions, by radically increasing their efficiency. Scientists feel confident in these results, and more studies are required to further study this topic.