I’ve devoted most of this issue to singing the praises of CBD. And I’m not about to stop now. Because brand-new research has unveiled yet another potential benefit for CBD—and this one could have some really far-reaching implications.
As part of a study recently featured in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics, researchers attached CBD to the outside surface of nanocapsules. But instead of containing medication, these capsules contained fluorescent molecules—allowing scientists to track their journey throughout the body.
The goal: To see whether CBD—which mimics your body’s own endocannabinoids—can sneak substances across the blood-brain barrier.
As I mentioned on page 5, the blood-brain barrier is the layer of tightly linked cells that lines your brain’s capillaries. It’s responsible for keeping harmful substances safely locked out. But it does allow some substances to pass—namely glucose, for energy, as well as certain amino acids and neurotransmitters.
CBD helps to direct endocannabinoids, which bind with cannabinoid receptors (like CB1 and CB2) and act as a taxi to transport substances across the blood-brain barrier.
And preliminary lab experiments on human brain cells showed that that CBD-coated nanocarriers allowed more contents to cross over.
Sure enough, when scientists tested out the same strategy on healthy, living mice, it worked just as well—allowing more than twice as much of the fluorescent molecule to break through.1
Here’s why that’s such a big deal: One of the main stumbling blocks to finding effective Alzheimer’s disease (AD) treatments is the relative impenetrability of the blood-brain barrier.
AD patients’ brains are just leaky enough to invite toxins in. (See page 4 for more details about that.) But they’re not accessible enough to allow entry to potential therapeutic substances that might help undo—or at least minimize—the damage.
That’s exactly what makes this early research so exciting. True, we’re only talking about mice—for now. But if CBD works the same way in human patients, it could crack open a whole new world of possibilities for fighting (and possibly even curing) AD. And if that’s not something to rave about… I don’t know what is.
Obviously, we’re a long way from that pie in the sky. But in the meantime, there are countless other reasons to make CBD a staple in your medicine cabinet—the sooner, the better, in my opinion.
- Aparicio-Blanco J, et al. “Cannabidiol Enhances the Passage of Lipid Nanocapsules across the Blood-Brain Barrier Both in Vitro and in Vivo.” Mol Pharm. 2019 May 6;16(5):1999-2010.