Can Marijuana Help You See In The Dark?

We’ve all heard that smoking marijuana helps mitigate the effects of individuals suffering from glaucoma. While interesting, and dated, a new study shows a direct correlation between cannabinoids, our CB1 receptors, and increased night vision.

The study published on elifsciences.org proposes that marijuana could cultivate your super-human capabilities, such as improved nighttime vision.

After noticing fishermen on the island of Jamaica were inexplicably capable of seeing in the dark, and aware of their daily ritual of getting high, astute scientists at Canada’s McGill University, UCSF, and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine decided to investigate.

By applying a synthetic cannabinoid to an African toad’s eye tissue, the inquisitive scientists found, much to their astonishment, that synthetic cannabinoids seem to help the tailless amphibian see better in the dark.

By attaching tiny electrodes to quantify how this influenced the activity of the toad’s retinal neurons, better known as RGC (retinal ganglion cells), analyses signified a noteworthy spike in the toad’s retinal ganglion cells activity in the presence of cannabinoids. The findings lead researchers to believe that activating the CB1 receptors increases the sensitivity of these light-detecting cells.

“Extracellular multi-unit recordings in isolated eye preparations (Figure 2a) revealed that application of the CB1R agonist WIN 55,212-2 (1 µM) increased spiking rates of RGCs in response to both full field light-ON (before: 34.2 ± 3.1 Hz, after: 43.3 ± 4.6 Hz, n = 10, p=0.010, two-way RM ANOVA) and light-OFF (before: 37.2 ± 3.1 Hz, after: 45.2 ± 4.2 Hz, n = 10, p=0.011) stimuli (Figure 2b,c; Figure 2—figure supplement 1a,d). This cannabinoid-mediated enhancement of evoked RGC responses was confirmed using a different CB1R agonist arachidonyl-2′-chloroethylamide (ACEA, 1 µM) which gave a similar enhancement of spiking to light-OFF stimuli (Figure 2d; Figure 2—figure supplement 1b,e; before: 30.5 ± 4.1 Hz, after: 40.0 ± 6.0 Hz, n = 10, p=0.033).”

While additional studies are essential to corroborate that cannabis can yield the same effect in humans, the findings definitely planted the seed of inspiration as the scientific community looks to investigate the plant’s cannabinoids and their medicinal properties further.

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