Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have found that spinal injections of the synthetic cannabinoid WIN55,212-2 can reduce tremors by activating CB1 receptors in astrocytes located in the anterior grey column. Activation of these receptors leads to an increase in cellular Ca2+ and release of adenosine, which reduces nerve activity and inhibits neural messaging, thereby preventing involuntary muscle movements. The treatment, which relied on a murine model, failed to suppress tremors after knocking out CB1 receptors in spinal astrocytes.
The intrathecal treatment does not appear to affect cannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system, thereby avoiding acute tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) intoxication.
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The study was published in Nature Neuroscience:
Carlsen EMM, Falk S, Skupio U, Robin L, Zottola ACP, Marsicano G, Perrier JF. Spinal astroglial cannabinoid receptors control pathological tremor. Nat Neurosci. 2021 Mar 18. doi: 10.1038/s41593-021-00818-4. Online ahead of print.