Understanding the contribution of ??-tetrahydrocanabinol and cannabidiol isomers and related compounds to the therapeutic effects and safety of cannabinoids using zebrafish larvae
Most of the medicines available today are either purified from plants or derived from compounds produced by plants. The Cannabis (marijuana) plant in particular produces an enormous variety of molecules that have valuable pharmaceutical potential – in addition to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the primary psychoactive molecule in the pant, the cannabis plant produces dozens of other molecules with poorly understood effects on animal cells. The variety of different molecules and the large number of possible combinations in which they may be present makes it challenging to test these compounds for potentially beneficial properties. Zebrafish share most of the molecular and cellular mechanisms that are affected by cannabinoids with humans. This project will use zebrafish larvae to try to find cannabinoids that have reduced behavioural effects while maintaining useful properties that will be valuable in treating diseases such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and cancer.