Effects of long-term cannabis use on neuroimmune signaling

Takeaway

  • Higher brain 18-kDa translocator protein (TSPO) levels were found in cannabis users compared with non-using individuals, with a more prominent implication for cannabis users with cannabis-use disorder (CUD).

  • Increased neuroimmune activation in cannabis-users was associated with chronic stress, anxiety, and higher C-reactive protein (CRP) measures.

Why this matters

  • Cannabinoids have been shown to modulate immune responses, but before this study the association between cannabis and neuroimmune function had never been investigated in vivo in the human brain.

  • This study found increased brain TSPO levels/neuroimmune activation in cannabis users compared with non-users, and that these were associated with chronic stress, anxiety, and higher circulating CRP levels.

  • The finding of increased TSPO in cannabis users is an important step forward in understanding the effect of cannabis in the brain.