Medical cannabis is a subject of much debate. There is still a lot we do not know about cannabis, but researchers from the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Neuroscience at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences have made a new discovery that may prove vital to future research into, and treatment with, medical cannabis. The discovery was reported online on March 18, 2021 in Nature Neuroscience. The article is titled “Spinal Astroglial Cannabinoid Receptors Control Pathological Tremor” (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41593-021-00818-4). Cannabinoids are compounds found in cannabis and in the central nervous system. Using a mouse model, the researchers have demonstrated that a specific synthetic cannabinoid (cannabinoid WIN55,212-2) reduces essential tremor by activating the support cells of the spinal cord and brain, known as astrocytes. Previous research into medical cannabis has focused on the nerve cells themselves, the so-called neurons. “We have focused on the disease essential tremor. It causes involuntary shaking, which can be extremely inhibitory and seriously reduce the patient's quality of life. However, the cannabinoid might also have a beneficial effect on sclerosis and spinal cord injuries, for example, which also cause involuntary shaking,” says Associate Professor Jean-François Perrier, PhD, from the Department of Neuroscience, who has headed the research project.
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