Scythian to treat the secondary effects of traumatic brain injuries with cannabinoids
Scythian BioSciences Corp. (TSXV: SCYB), which began trading on the TSXV last week under the symbol SCYB, is developing cannabinoid-based drugs to treat the secondary effects of traumatic brain injuries based on the theory that cannabinoids can reduce inflammation and immune responses triggered by traumatic brain injuries.
Imagine Sydney Crosby getting pummeled head first into the boards for the umpteenth time. His brain gets smooshed against the cranium, he gets wheeled out of the rink on a stretcher. As he gets into the locker room his brain starts swelling (inflammation), which then triggers an immune response, which may last for weeks depending on the force of the initial trauma.
Sydney Crosby would most likely be taken to an emergency room when he wouldn’t be alone: according to the Center for Diseases Control, there are over 2.8 million annual visits to emergency rooms related to brain injuries in the US. Traumatic brain injury is a major cause of death and disability in the United States, contributing 50,000 deaths which is about 30% of all injury deaths. Every day, 153 people in the United States die from injuries that include traumatic brain injury.
Scythian is developing drugs to address these issues to prevent permanent brain damage and speed recovery. Scythian seeks to patent a new combination of cannabinoid-based drugs to offer a proprietary treatment of traumatic brain injuries.
The focus of the treatment is to prevent the acute inflammatory and immune response that follows a head injury, which causes extensive secondary damage after the initial head impact.
Each of the two individual drugs in Scythian’s combination therapy has been tested separately for safety in prior studies giving the research a strong head start.
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Pre-clinical and clinical trials are being conducted at the University of Miami, a global leader in traumatic brain injury research with a world-class team of neuro-injury specialists.
I’m excited about this approach as it feeds into a building body of knowledge that the myriad of cannabinoids, perhaps as many at 140, found in the cannabis plant may be beneficial at reducing noxious brain inflammation and immune responses after traumatic brain injury.
Although inflammation serves as a protective function in controlling infections and promoting tissue repair, it can also cause tissue damage and disease.
Inflammation is not unique to traumatic brain injury. It is at the root of many illnesses, including Alzheimer’s. Although it still remains unclear whether inflammation is a by-product or a direct contributing factor, bringing an excessive inflammatory response into balance again, is generally believed to be of benefit.
Different cannabinoids interact with different cellular receptor. We know that the psychoactive THC interacts with CB1 receptors but Scythian’s drugs are to target the CB2 cellular receptors based on the established understanding that the psychoactive effects of Cannabis sativa are primarily mediated through neuronal CB1 receptors, whereas its therapeutic immune properties are primarily mediated through CB2 receptors.
It is now accepted that it is also present in limited amounts and distinct locations in the brain of several animal species, including humans. Furthermore, the inducible nature of these receptors under neuroinflammatory conditions, in contrast to CB1, makes them attractive targets for the development of novel therapeutic approaches. In fact, the undesired psychoactive effects caused by CB1 activation have largely limited the clinical use of cannabinoid-related compounds that act on these receptors.
Cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid often referred as CBD, is one of the pharmaceutical ingredients investigated by Scythian.
Cannabidiol shows no signs of toxicity or serious side effects have been observed following chronic administration of cannabidiol to healthy volunteers even in large acute doses of 700 mg/day. For clarity, 700 mg per day would be similar to smoking over 70 cannabis cigarettes of a high cannabidiol-low THC strain like Charlotte’s Web.
Dr. Luc C. Duchesne is a Speaker and Author with a PhD in Biochemistry. With three decades of scientific and business experience, he has published ... <Read more about Dr. Luc Duchesne>