Cannabidiol (CBD) could aid to deliver medications to the mouse brain bypassing blood-brain barrier (BBB), according to new study published in the ACS journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.
CBD is a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, being touted as beneficial for many health conditions, ranging from anxiety to epilepsy. Although much more research is needed to verify these claims, scientists have now shown that CBD could have a different use as a "Trojan horse": helping slip medications across the BBB.
The BBB consists of a layer of tightly linked cells that line capillaries in the brain, preventing substances from exiting the blood and entering the brain. However, the BBB does permit some molecules to pass, such as glucose and certain amino acids and neurotransmitters.
To do so, the researchers attached CBD, which resembles endocannabinoids made by both mice and humans, to the outside surfaces of lipid nanocapsules. Instead of loading the nanocapsules with a medication, the researchers packaged them with a fluorescent molecule so they could track the particles.
In experiments with human brain cells that mimic the BBB, the researchers showed that the CBD-displaying nanocarriers caused more of the fluorescent molecule to pass through the cells than nanocarriers of equal size that lacked CBD. Similarly, when injected into healthy mice, the CBD-nanocapsules targeted about 2.5 times more of the fluorescent molecule to the animals' brains.