Oral Ingestion of Cannabis sativa: Risks, Benefits, and Effects on Malaria-Infected Hosts.

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“The emergence of a multidrug-resistant strain of Plasmodium falciparum (Pf Pailin) raises concern about malaria control strategies. Unfortunately, the role(s) of natural plants/remedies in curtailing malaria catastrophe remains uncertain. The claims of potential antimalarial activity of Cannabis sativa in vivo have not been well established nor the consequences defined. This study was, therefore, designed to evaluate the effects of whole cannabis consumption on malaria-infected host.

Methods: Thirty mice were inoculated with dose of 1×107 chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium berghei ANKA-infected erythrocyte and divided into six treatment groups. Cannabis diet formulations were prepared based on weighted percentages of dried cannabis and standard mice diet and the study animals were fed ad libitum. Chemosuppression of parasitemia, survival rates, parasite clearance, and recrudescence time were evaluated. Histopathological studies were performed on the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and hippocampus of the animals after 14 days’ consumption of cannabis diet formulation by naive mice.

Results: There was a significant difference (p<0.05) in the day-4 chemosuppression of parasitemia between the animals that were fed C. sativa and chloroquine relative to the untreated controls. There was also a significant difference in the survival rate (p<0.05) of animals fed C. sativa diet (40%, 20%, 10%, and 1%) in contrast to control animals on standard mice diet. A parasite clearance time of 2.18±0.4 was recorded in the chloroquine treatment group, whereas recrudescence in chloroquine group occurred on day 7. There were slight histomorphological changes in the PFC and cell densities of the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus of animals that were fed C. sativa.

Conclusions: C. sativa displayed mild antimalarial activity in vivo. There was evident reduction in symptomatic manifestation of malaria disease, though unrelated to levels of parasitemia. This disease tolerance status may be beneficial, but may also constitute a transmission burden through asymptomatic carriage of parasites by habitual cannabis users.”



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