Early Exposure to Cannabinoids Leads to Decreased Neural Activity in Fish

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Riding on the recent wave of cannabis legalization around the world, people tend to overemphasize the positive effects of the former drug. Certain cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, such as CBD, THC, and others, can have legitimate medical applications in pain relief, inflammation reduction, coping with seizures, and many others. It will be wrong, however, to say that cannabis and its compounds are harmless without any side effects. Findings of the recent study of researchers from the University of Alberta suggest that cannabis exposure during embryo development may lead to diminished neural activity later in life.

A group led by Dr. Richard Kanyo looked at the effects of exposure to THC and CBD by zebrafish embryos on neural activity later in the life cycle. For that, they kept embryos incubate for 10 hours in solutions of just THC and CDB, as well as a mixture of the two. They then measured neural activity on the fourth and fifth days from incubation using fluorescing calcium censors. On the fourth day, a decrease of neural activity, compared to the control group, was measured at around 70 percent for embryos exposed to singular solutions and even more for ones kept in the mixture. At the time when larvae first begin to swim on the fifth day, the reduction in activity was around 20 percent for THC and CBD alone and more than 80 percent for the mixture.

Group findings fall in line with other studies of the effects of cannabis consumption on the underdeveloped brain, showing negative consequences for the neural development of the younger generation.

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