In parasitic worm infection both the host and the worm produce cannabis-like molecules

The research, done on a mouse model, identifies cell signaling pathways associated with the endocannabinoid system that could be targeted to develop therapeutic treatments aimed at eliminating worm infection or improving infection outcomes.

Endocannabinoids are cannabis-like molecules made naturally by our own body to regulate several processes: immune, behavioral, and neuronal. As with cannabis, endocannabinoids can enhance feeding behavior and reduce pain and inflammation.

“Upon worm infection, the host’s intestines produce these cannabis-like molecules maybe as a safety net to dampen pain response,” said Nicholas V. DiPatrizio, an assistant professor of biomedical sciences at the UCR School of Medicine and co-leader of the research project. “What we now have found is that the worms, too, are producing these natural cannabinoids throughout the infection process and especially when the worms penetrate the skin, further dampening the host’s pain response.”

Study results appear in the journal Infection and Immunity.

“Until now, no one had investigated endocannabinoids

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