New findings, showing that cannabinoids may interfere with peanut allergies, could pave the way for new treatments.
Researchers say a new study, examining the effects of cannabinoids on peanut sensitivity, could pave the way for the development of new treatments targeting the allergy.
They investigated whether a synthetic cannabinoid, designed to mimic the effects of THC – known as WIN55212-2 – could actually prevent peanut allergy, as well as reducing the effects of anaphylactic reactions.
In an animal model, researchers studied the effects of peanut alone and peanut administered alongside the synthetic cannabinoid.
The compound was shown to reduce the effects of peanut-specific antibodies and reduce symptoms of an allergic reaction, as well as preventing the spread of affected cells to the lymph nodes.
Peanut allergy is thought to affect around 1 in 50 children in the UK, with this number increasing in recent decades.
Nut allergies can be severe, in some cases causing an anaphylactic shock which can obstruct airways and cause blood pressure to drop. Without early treatment, it can cause brain damage, severe complications and even fatalities. In the UK there are an average of 10 deaths per year from food-related anaphylaxis.
These findings set the stage for more research, and could offer new hope to peanut allergy sufferers across the globe.
Researchers concluded: “The synthetic cannabinoid WIN55212-2 interferes with peanut sensitization and promotes tolerogenic responses [capable of producing immunological tolerance], which might well pave the way for the development of novel prophylactic and therapeutic strategies for peanut allergy.”