Histological changes in the vital organs of male rats following short term exposure to smoke extract of Cannabis sativa
Introduction: Beneficial effects of cannabis intake by any route of administration has since ages been trailed with controversial reports of scientific studies. This study was designed to evaluate the effects of short term exposure to smoke of Cannabis sativa on the vital organs (heart, lungs, liver, kidney and testes) of male rats.
Methods: Ten (10) male Sprague Dawley (SD) rats with average weight of 140 g were randomly divided into two (2) groups (A and B). Animals in group A (experimental group) were exposed to smoke from a completely burnt 0.74g leaves of Cannabis sativa, wrapped in 0.5g of sterilized cotton wool for 5 minutes three times daily (7am, 10am, and 1pm) while animals in group B (control group) were exposed to smoke from completely burnt 0.5g of sterilized cotton wool. All animals vg.had 5 day exposure to smoke of Cannabis and were sacrificed at least three hours after the last smoke exposure by cervical dislocation. In essence, all animals in the control and treatment groups were exposed to normal air in-between treatments. The rationale behind exposing animals in the control group to cotton wool smoke is to show that sterile cotton wool used as the vehicle for cannabis in the treatment group did not have any extra cytological/histological effect. The vital organs were carefully excised, rinsed, blotted dry and were transferred into (bouin's fluid and 10% formol saline) for at least 72 hours before further histological protocol and analysis.
Discussion: different histological changes observed in these vital organs include mild edema and destruction of myocardial fibers, degeneration of the hepatocytes, slugging off of the germ cells, enlargement of the alveoli and distortion of the renal cortex.
Conclusion: We inferred that short term exposure to smoke of Cannabis sativa may be associated with damage to some vital organs in SD rats.
Keywords: Cannabis, vital organs, histological changes