By Miranda Hitti
A drug modeled on marijuana’s active ingredient increased brain cells and appeared to cut anxious, depressed behavior in rats, researchers report.
The drug is called HU210. It’s a synthetic drug that is chemically similar to pot’s active ingredient and activates cannabinoid receptors in the brain.
But HU210 isn’t pot. Pot contains a mix of chemicals, and the body may handle marijuana smoke differently than the administration of HU210.
The researchers included Xia Zhang of the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. They didn’t study people and don’t make any recommendations about pot use.
The findings suggest that cannabinoids are the only illicit drug that can promote the creation of new hippocampal brain cells in adults after chronic administration, write Zhang and colleagues.
They point out that other drugs (such as opiates, alcohol, nicotine, and cocaine) have been shown to block the creation of new brain cells in the hippocampus.