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Study: Cannabinoids May Serve A Role In Bladder Function

Research Suggests CB1 Receptor Involvement In Bladder Function

As we know, multiple sclerosis (MS) patients have reported success using cannabis to battle the symptoms. Usually, medical cannabis is credited simply with reducing the number of spasms; however, recent reports suggest that it could also help improve bladder function.

A 2004 uro-neurology case study from London suggested, “cannabis-based medicinal extracts are a safe and effective treatment for urinary and other problems in patients with advanced MS.” The study opened the door to a world of questions, and new research may offer some answers.

Activation Of The CB1 Receptor May Improve Bladder Function

BJU International recently published a German study that investigated the relationship between the CB1 receptor and bladder function. The team of researchers, led by Claudius Fullhase, compared the bladder function of 20 wild mice to that of 20 mice born without CB1 receptors.

“Mice without CB1 receptors had a higher frequency of urination and a lower bladder capacity, which correlated to a lower urination volume.”

First, they compared bladder tissue from each set of mice for its ability to contract. The results suggested just one difference. Tissue from the mice without CB1 receptors responded poorly to electric stimulation, indicating that they respond to neuronal signals differently.

The next step was to test the functioning of the entire bladder. Researchers used catheters to test a number of variables. Their results showed that mice without CB1 receptors had a higher frequency of urination and a lower bladder capacity, which correlated to a lower urination volume. The study also suggests that a lack of CB1 receptors was associated with “a lower bladder compliance and a higher spontaneous bladder activity.”

Cannabinoids May Improve Bladder Function In MS Patients

As the results of the German Study show, there was just one difference in the bladders of each type of mouse: only half of the mice had CB1 receptors. With that said, there was an obvious difference between the two groups. As the study suggests, the reduced responsiveness is likely due to the lack of CB1 receptors in the nervous system.

We know that activation of the CB1 receptor often occurs naturally by the means of anandamide, an endocannabinoid known to mimic the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis. Also, there is a growing amount of evidence in favor of medical cannabis for treating the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. The study from Germany offers some insight about the role of CB1 receptors in bladder function. However, more research should be done to investigate the role of cannabis in particular.