Immunological Changes in Cannabinoid (Bango) Users
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Bango, Cannabis sativa, with its major psychoactive component Delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), elicits a variety of effects in experimental animals and humans. Although, cannabinoids have a neuroprotective, anti-nauseating and anti-emetic, anti-arrhythmic properties, enhance the anti-proliferative effect in human breast cancer and increase nerve growth factor production yet they have been shown to be immunosuppressive and to decrease host resistance to bacterial, protozoan, and viral infections. Macrophages, T lymphocytes, and natural killer (NIC) cells appear to be major targets of the immunosuppressive effects of cannabinoid inhalation . Definitive data which directly link bango abuse to increased susceptibility to infection in humans currently is unavailable. However, cumulative reports indicating that cannabinoid inhalation alters resistance to infection in vitro and in a variety of experimental animals support the hypothesis that a similar effect occurs in humans. In this study, in order to clarify the effects of acute and chronic cannabinoid (bango) inhalation on different immunlogic parameters, macrophages phagocytic power and index and uptake of Candida albicans in bango exposed rats, serum interleukin (IL) IL-2 and IL-6 concentrations and splenic weight and splenocytes were determined . Acute bango inhalation resulted in a statistically significant reduction in phagocytic index ( p < 0.05 ) as well as IL-2 and IL-6 concentrations ( p <0.001 and p< 0.001 respectively). There was no change in splenic weight and splenocytes histologically. Chronic bango inhalation resulted in statistically significant reduction in phagocytic index of macrophages (p <0.01) and it was still diminished in recovered rats. IL-2 and IL-6 concentrations were also significantly highly reduced (p < 0.001 and p< 0.001 respectively) in chronic smoking , yet it showed sudden increase in recovered rats, but it did not reach the control levels. As regards splenic lymphocytes, chronic bango inhalation induced suppressions of lymphocytic mass and splenic weights, which did not recover to normal control levels. In conclusion, the results of this study showed that, bango inhalation has an immuno-modulatory effect on different parameters of the immune system which differs with the duration of intake and the type of immune cell or parameter affected . Where the phagocytic power of macrophages, the levels of IL-2 and IL-6 were decreased, the overall immunological capacity were lowered to the level that permit mild and severe bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases prevail among bango abusers. Immunological recovery after cessation of the inhalation may occur.