The benefits of Cannabis can’t stop growing, and the latest from scientist is that it could enhance night vision.
Cannabis is popularly known to have some pretty strange effects on our bodies. We recently wrote an article on Cultivation of Medical Marijuana been Legalized in Australia, a new research has proved the decision a good step after it suggests there’s a potential benefit of the drug – better night vision.
A study conducted by some group of scientists has proved that cannabis can make cells in the retina more sensitive to light and could also treat degenerative eye conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa. This can sound crazy at first but the truth is that it not the first time that we are hearing such.
25 years ago, pharmacologist M. E. West from the University of the West Indies in Jamaica reported that local fisherman who smoked weed or drank rum made from the leaves and stems of cannabis plants had “an uncanny ability to see in the dark”.
A very similar situation was experienced in Morocco where fishermen and mountain dwellers smoked a kind of cannabis called -hashish experienced similar situations . After the news broke some group of researchers from Europe set out to study this weird phenomenon.
During the process of the research, they gave a volunteer a placebo and three others hashish, and it was discovered that all the subjects experienced better night vision after using the drug. They published their results in 2004 in the Journal of Ethno-Pharmacology. But since then nobody could explain the process behind the improved night vision.
To investigate the process, a team of scientist led by Lois Miraucourt from the Montreal Neurological Institute in Canada decided to study the transparent tadpoles of the African clawed toad, Xenopus laevis.
They applied synthetic cannabinoids to the eye tissue of tadpoles of the African clawed toad, Tadpoles are used because like humans their eyes also contain CB1 receptors. After the tadpoles were given the drug it reveal heightened activity in the presence of the cannabinoids.
They were able to prove that the cannabinoids had made the cells more sensitive, and made them fire more rapidly in response to both bright and dim light.
During the test on whether the drug was actually affecting the tadpoles’ sight, they then placed the tadpoles in a Petri dish under different light conditions, and monitored how they responded to dark dots when they’d been exposed to cannabinoid or untreated.
Note: Normally the tadpoles are supposed to move away from the dark dots because of incoming predators.
The team then proved that under normal light condition there was no difference between the tadpole who has taken the drug and those that hadn’t
But when presented with very low light conditions, the tadpoles significantly avoided more dark dots than untreated ones, which only responded to the dots by chance.
This suggests that the tadpoles treated with cannabinoid were more sensitive to light, and were able to see these dots better in the dark.