NOV 07, 2019 11:31 AM PST

Zebrafish Development Thwarted by Blocked Cannabinoids

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

Cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) are vital pieces of the puzzle for the ECS to function correctly; the ECS needs cannabinoid receptors like the immune system needs T cells, B cells, and antibodies. In this new study, researchers show in a zebrafish model of the ECS the consequences of cannabinoid receptor dysfunction in early development.

A female specimen of a zebrafish (Danio rerio) breed with fantails.

The zebrafish has been a popular model organism in scientific research since the 1960s, particularly for studies of muscular dystrophy and cancer. Scientists like them because they are affordable (more so than mice), small, mate in the daytime, grow quickly, and share genetic similarities with humans.

The zebrafish ECS is not dissimilar from the human ECS, playing important roles in maintaining homeostasis with a motley crew of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), endocannabinoids, and metabolic enzymes. The ECS also interacts with external factors, such as phytocannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) found in cannabis, but the current study simply looked at the effects of blocking CB1 and CB2 activity in developing zebrafish.

In the study, researchers blocked cannabinoid receptor activity in zebrafish during early development - the first or second day. As a result, researchers observed abnormal development with specific effects associated with blocking of CB1 versus CB2.

When CB2 was blocked, researchers observed large-scale dysfunction in the growth and development of the zebrafish, particularly via visible reductions in heart rate. When CB1 was blocked, researchers observed swim bladders fail to properly inflate. Overall, disruption of cannabinoid receptor activity resulted in abnormal development of motor neurons, effects made increasingly evident as the fish grew into adulthood.

“The changes are not major on their own, but when we consider the combined effects, we begin to see some more significant implications,” explained co-author Declan Ali, PhD.

Sources: YourGenome.org, University of Alberta, Journal of Experimental Biology

About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
NOV 21, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
NOV 21, 2019
The Use of Cannabis in Treating Fibromyalgia
It has been found that 90% of patients that are diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women, and only a decade ago doctors thought this condition wasn't real...
NOV 21, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
NOV 21, 2019
A Role for the Endocannabinoid System in Down Syndrome
Scientists out of Spain led by Dr. Andrés Ozaita revealed last month in their publication in the journal Neurology of Disease last mo...
NOV 21, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
NOV 21, 2019
CBD Oil for Dogs May Ameliorate Seizures, Study Finds
A recently published study suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) oil may help treat or prevent seizures in dogs. The study was published by Chie Mogi and Takaaki...
NOV 21, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
NOV 21, 2019
More Lenient Marijuana Laws on the Colorado Horizon?
It appears that Colorado's great pot experiment has had positive results. A series of bills have been passed by the Colorado General Assembly before th...
NOV 21, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
NOV 21, 2019
Arthritis Foundation Gives Cautious Thumbs Up for CBD Use
After a national survey in July confirmed that the vast majority of arthritis patients were either interested in using CBD for symptom relief or already us...
NOV 21, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
NOV 21, 2019
THC Found in Almost Half of Popular Hemp-CBD Products
Many cannabidiol (CBD) products are assumed or advertised to be free, or mostly free, of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). A new study finds this is not always t...
Loading Comments...