Quick hit: Negative Synergy

Some recent highlights and curiosities from the amazing world of cannabis science and therapeutics.
By Adrian Devitt-Lee On April 22, 2019

There is little evidence to show a directly harmful effect of cannabis in pregnancy. However, cannabinoids consistently amplify the toxic effects of nicotine and alcohol on the fetus. Preclinical research suggests one possible reason: activating the CB2 receptor with anandamide can decrease the expression of a transporter gene in the placenta. This gene encodes a protein which pumps a variety of chemicals out of the placenta, so its inhibition allows toxins to accumulate. It is also common in cancers where it protects the cancer from chemo. Other studies have suggested that cannabinoids may synergize with chemotherapies by interacting with this same chemical transporter. Previous research has highlighted that anandamide, in particular, may worsen fetal alcohol syndrome.

Short description: 
Adrian Devfitt-Lee, Project CBD's chef science writer, is employed as a research chemist by the University College of London.