Weed tea, or cannabis-infused tea, has been touted as a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant supplement.
But research published this week suggests that the leaves may actually benefit the immune system, as well as help regulate blood sugar levels.
“I think the most important thing that we need to focus on is that the immune response is not just the most obvious thing, it’s also a major driver of the symptoms of disease,” said Timothy McVeigh, a medical doctor who specializes in inflammatory bowel disease.
“It’s one of the big reasons we have chronic inflammatory bowel diseases.”
A new study published in the journal Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition examined the effects of the leaves on the blood and urine of mice, as part of a larger study to investigate the effects on inflammation.
Researchers tested four different types of leaves: black tea, green tea, black tea-infusion, and white tea-fusion.
All of the tea-related compounds were tested in the blood of mice for markers of inflammation, including antibodies that can signal inflammation, red blood cells, platelets, and other cells.
Black tea-induced increases in platelets were also significantly higher than green tea-derived increases in blood cells and platelets.
The black tea also helped regulate blood glucose levels, suggesting that it may improve insulin sensitivity and help regulate the immune-system response.
“We don’t have a good picture yet on how this works,” said McVeig.
“The idea that there are a bunch of things that are going to be happening in the body, that are directly related to inflammation, and that’s a huge leap of faith.
We don’t know the exact mechanisms.”
The researchers are currently testing whether the tea also improves the blood pressure of mice.
And the next step is to determine if the tea’s ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy is also linked to inflammation.
If that’s the case, the researchers say the study could have important implications for cancer treatment.
“If it’s beneficial for cancer, then maybe you should be looking at different treatments that are specifically targeting inflammation,” McVeaugh said.
“Or maybe you could take some of these other inflammatory compounds and use them in other cancers.
We’re not sure, but there’s a lot of potential there.”
(Reporting by Stephanie Pappas; Editing by Paul Simao) This article is available under a Creative Commons license.
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