International Collaborative Study Reveals The Neuroprotective Properties of Phytocannabinoid Δ9-THCA

A recent Δ9-THCA (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol acid) study, initiated by three leading companies active in the field of medicinal cannabis research, has demonstrated its ability as a promising treatment modality for Huntington's disease (HD) and other metabolic, neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases.

CORDOBA, Spain, Sept. 12, 2017 -- Advanced medical research conducted at Instituto Maimónides de Investigación Biomédica de Córdoba (IMIBIC) as a collaborative effort between Phytoplant Research SL, VivaCell Biotechnology España SL, and Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals has unveiled the potent neuroprotective ability of Δ9-THCA, a phytocannabinoid produced in Cannabis sativa L. The research paper was accepted and published in the British Journal of Pharmacology.

The findings suggest that Δ9-THCA can potentially protect brain cells from degenerative diseases, such as Huntington's disease, and could be a viable treatment option for patients suffering from debilitating neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

"We demonstrated that Δ9-THCA, the main non psychoactive phytocannabinoid biosynthesized by the Cannabis sativa L. plant, exerts neuroprotective action in its raw form without acting on the endocannabinoid system, but by activating the PPARγ receptors, thereby avoiding the undesired psychotropic effects. This finding will open a new range of cannabinoid neuroprotective applications," said Dr. Xavier Nadal, Manager, Extraction R&D Department, Phytoplant Research SL.

Δ9-THCA is not only the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana but also an acidic phytocannabinoid. PPARγ is the nuclear receptor for some cannabinoids and PPARγ signalling has a role in neuroinflammation and epilepsy. As a potent PPARγ agonist, this effectual neuroprotectant exhibited neuroprotective and neuroinflammatory activity in an animal model of Huntington's disease (HD).

Δ9-THCA upregulated the expression of PGC-1α, a dysregulated gene in HD, and prevented mHtt-induced (mutant huntingtin) cell death by attenuating its cytotoxicity in STHdhQ7/Q7 and STHdhQ111/Q111, two different cellular models. The study also investigated the in vivo neuroprotective activity of Δ9-THCA in mice injected with the mitochondrial toxin 3-nitropropionic acid (3-NP).

Through a PPARγ-dependent pathway, Δ9-THCA improved motor deficits and prevented striatal degeneration. It also increased mitochondrial mass in neuroblastoma N2a cells, and prevented cytotoxicity induced by serum deprivation in STHdhQ111/Q111 cells, mHtt-q94 and in N2a cells. In addition, Δ9-THCA attenuated microgliosis and astrogliosis, and downregulated the expression of proinflammatory mediators and markers commonly associated with HD.

The study also concluded that non-decarboxylated botanical preparations of medicinal marijuana (MMJ) may also contain high levels of other non-psychotropic cannabinoid acids such as CBDA and CBGA that also target PPARγ. Studies like these provide evidence that compounds like these hold significant pharmacological potential. Medical cannabis can potentially be an effective treatment for patients who do not have any other treatment options.

About Phytoplant Research SL:

Phytoplant Research SL is a privately owned Spanish company founded in 2008 and active in the field of phytotherapy research. It specializes in developing the industrial chain of medicinal plants, from selection and breeding to registration, cultivation of registered varieties and obtaining derived products. The company focuses on R&D products that contain plant material and extracts, as well as essential and seed oils. These products represent significant economic potential for the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and dermocosmetic industries. They also ensure the industrial supply of phyto-pharmaceutical quality raw materials through the cultivation of medicinal plants and extraction of plant material, with the objective of isolating, purifying and manufacturing naturally active ingredients (psychotropic and non psychotropic), semi-synthetic, biotransformed, pharmaceutically acceptable salts and derivatives. More information about the company is available here.

About VivaCell Biotechnology España SL:

VivaCell Biotechnology España SL is a privately held preclinical stage drug development company focused on new non-psychotropic cannabinoids for the treatment of inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases. It is a worldwide pioneer in the development of cannabidiol and cannabigerol chemical derivatives that improve the therapeutic properties of the natural hit compounds. More information about the company is available here.

About Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals:

Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals seeks to achieve the potential medical benefits of its proprietary, synthetic cannabinoid-derivative drug candidates. The company has two families of new chemical entities based on CBD and CBG cannabinoids that are modified to affect additional validated receptors pertinent to targeted diseases. The first drug candidate is focused on treating multiple sclerosis and scleroderma, the other Huntington's disease and Parkinson's disease. Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals is progressing on preclinical work with the intent to launch clinical studies and undertake an IPO in 2018. For more information, visit

Emerald is part of the Emerald Health group of companies, which is seeking to enhance health and well being through diverse investments that advance the development of cannabis for pharmaceutical, botanical and bioceutical applications.

Media Contact: Name: Stefan Martin Meyer, CEO Phytoplant Research S.L.

Phone: +34 957 10 16 29