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.