Could CANNABIS help transplant patients? Drug 'delays rejection of organs by slowing the immune system's attack'

Daily Mail | Lizzie Parry

Scientists at the University of South Carolina have found, for what they believe is the first time, that the active ingredient in cannabis - THC - can help delay the body's rejection of organs following a transplant

Cannabis could help the body accept foreign organs during transplant operations, scientists have discovered.

The active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, may help delay the rejection of incompatible organs.

It may, therefore, prove useful as an anti-rejection therapy, particularly in situations where transplanted organs may not be a perfect match.

However, researchers at the University of South Carolina, School of Medicine, do not advise transplant patients self-medicate with cannabis, and added people should only take the drug in compliance with all local, state and federal laws.

Nagarkatti, one of the researchers on the study, said: 'We are excited to demonstrate for the first time, that cannabinoid receptors play an important role in the prolongation of rejection of a foreign graft by suppressing immune response in the recipient.

'This opens up a new area of research that would lead to better approaches to prevent transplant rejection, as well as to treat other inflammatory diseases.'

To arrive at their findings, Dr Nagarkatti and her colleagues studied two groups of mice that were genetically different, and transplanted skin from one group to the other. Continue reading