The LSU AgCenter will begin studying to effects of cannabis-based compounds on epileptic seizures, using the common zebrafish as a lab rat.
AgCenter researcher Chris Green developed the “zebrafish model”, and says the test starts by filming and measuring the movements of the seizing fish…

“We can take zebrafish, these small fish that you can get in a fish store, and we can actually induce them to have seizures. You can add a chemical to the water, which will cause a seizure.”

Then, he’ll introduce purified extracts of compounds found in marijuana and hemp into fish tanks to see how it reacts in the seizing fish.

When most people think of animal clinical trials, they think of the iconic white rat, a fellow mammal. But Green says even though we’re millions of years of evolution removed from the pet store staple, it’s still a valid test subject.

“Anything with a backbone and fish are one of those earliest vertebrates that we have on our planet, have the same kind of neurons and neurochemical messengers that we do.”

The funding for the research comes courtesy of a yearly 500,000 dollar cannabis research grant from the AgCenter’s medicinal pot partner GB Sciences to help further cannabis related research. Now that testing is legal, Green says scientists are looking forward to seeing what the plant has to offer.

“We might find that sometimes these plants, or these compounds, are not a cure-all, but until we do direct science, we don’t really know.”

The AgCenter will also receive 10 percent of the gross revenue from medical pot sales, or 3.4 million dollars a year, whichever is greater, for five years as part of an agreement.