Date: 2022/5/18

Antioxidant Compound from Soybeans May Prevent Marijuana-Induced Blood Vessel Damage

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the world, and its legal status is increasingly being relaxed for recreational use. Epidemiological studies indicate that marijuana increases the risk of coronary artery disease. There can also be cardiovascular side effects, including changes in heart rate and blood pressure, when people take FDA-approved medications containing a synthetic version of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the main ingredient in marijuana that causes the sensation of being high. These results suggest that cardiovascular side effects exist in both recreational and medical use of marijuana.

A team of researchers from NTU, NTU Hospital, Academia Sinica, Stanford University, University of California, and University of Colorado, have identified a compound in soybeans that may help to prevent the adverse cardiovascular effects of both recreational and medical marijuana use. In this study, the researchers found vascular endothelial cells were more sensitive to THC than cardiac cells. To study the mechanism of THC pathological effects on the vasculature, they generated human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived endothelial cells (hiPSC-ECs) from healthy individuals. THC induced inflammation and oxidative stress via cannabinod receptor type 1 (CB1)-mediated pathways in hiPSC-ECs. The inflammation and atherosclerosis can be blocked by a small molecule compound called genistein that occurs naturally in soybeans. Because genistein has limited brain penetration, it doesn’t inhibit THC’s ability to stimulate appetite, dull pain and tamp down nausea — characteristics vital to medicinal marijuana users. Information from a database in the United Kingdom called UK Biobank further found that cannabis use was a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The researchers also recruited volunteer subjects and found marijuana smoking causes endothelial damage and activation of inflammatory cytokines implicated in cardiovascular disease.

The research has been published in the journal Cell. “We began this project since I was a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University. After going back to Taiwan and starting my own laboratory at NTU, we took more than three years for a total of nearly six years to complete the project,” said Dr. Tzu-Tang Wei, the study’s lead author and assistant professor of pharmacology in the College of Medicine at NTU. “I greatly appreciate the support of NTU and the Ministry of Science and Technology (Taiwan) for this study. We are going on a series of studies on marijuana in different body systems.”

Clink on the link below to read the journal article.

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    Antioxidant Compound from Soybeans May Prevent Marijuana-Induced Blood Vessel Damage.

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