The Endocannabinoid System and Space Exploration

The Endocannabinoid System and NASA

NASA is the sponsoring agency of endocannabinoid research and its implications on modulating bone health in astronauts via conducting research at the
ISS with the help of the Italian Space Agency (Sponsor Organization).

The endocannabinoid system is the body’s homeostatic regulatory system. It regulates every physiological process—from the womb to the grave.

Astronauts face the potential of bone loss and damage on extended space missions. The ECS modulates bone development and growth, disease, healing, and
health. Cannabinoids also inhibit and diminish biofilm formation which can hinder bone development. Cannabinoids also facilitate bone repair and
growth in fractures and prevents and treats infections. This NASA sponsored research is geared towards stem cells. Well, the ECS plays an important
and vital role with stem cells not only in the body but in regenerative medicine that utilizes stem cell therapy. This bodily system is of utmost
importance to the health of humanity. I’m not surprised we are so ignorant we are forced to literally blast off into space to realize how important it

I have hope that this small research endeavor, lead by one of the leading endocannabinoid scientists today, Mauro Maccarrone, could potentially
catapult a revelation of awareness and understanding within the closed minds that run this country, and have deprived Americans of a vital nutrient
that is essential for our health and well-being.

So, I am not a space expert but I am space ignorant. I love this particular forum on ATS though and find space fascinating and inspiring. For the more
space savvy folks here, you tell me what you think of this, and what other areas of research could be of importance for human health and disease
concerning long-term space flight, living and exploration with humans and even animals. Do astronauts endure long-term health consequences from
spending a long time at ISS? To what order of magnitude is Health effected at that altitude? Do they have to constantly exercise etc?
I’m not suggesting astronauts go terraform Mars with Cannabis plants.
But, I am suggesting that certain chemovars could be grown on a spaceship or at ISS to complement whatever synthetic and/or semi-synthetic drugs are
used for maintaining their health and that stuff they consider food. I would imagine it could become an invaluable resource while in space, for so
many reasons it is essentially an essential nutrient. Not to mention, it would certainly be something useful to give as a peace offering on the chance
an alien encounter happened

Anyways, what do y’all think—could the fact that NASA is endorsing/funding endocannabinoid research be what could wake up the minds of all the Jeff
Sessions or maybe even facilitate an executive order or maybe just Congress ending Prohibition?

So, enough of me ranting—let’s blast off and discuss.

Role of the Edocannabinoid System in Pluripotent Human Stem Cell Reprogramming under Microgravity Conditions (SERISM) — 07.26.17

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Two previous missions documented the involvement of lipid signaling molecules called endocannabinoids in production of human immune cells. This
Italian Space Agency investigation, Role of the Endocannabinoid System in Pluripotent Human Stem Cell Reprogramming under Microgravity Conditions
(SERISM), evaluates the role of this system in bone metabolism changes seen in microgravity. Astronauts experience bone loss on extended missions and
the identification of novel biomarkers that are involved during osteogenic differentiation in microgravity of an innovative stem cell model could
contribute to ways of countering that loss.

Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Mauro Maccarrone, Ph.D., M.S., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Experiment Details

OpNom: Reprogramming Stem Cells

Principal Investigator(s) 
Mauro Maccarrone, Ph.D., M.S., University of Rome Biomedical Campus, Rome, Italy

Information Pending

 Kayser Italia Srl., Livorno, Italy 

Sponsoring Space Agency
 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Sponsoring Organization
 Italian Space Agency (ASI)
Research Benefits
 Scientific Discovery 

ISS Expedition Duration
 April 2017 – September 2017; September 2017 – February 2018 

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions 
Information Pending

Experiment Description

Research Overview
The goals of the Role of the Endocannabinoid System in Pluripotent Human Stem Cell Reprogramming under Microgravity Conditions (SERISM) investigation
• Identification of biomarkers to be exploited in contrasting bone loss in space using an innovative stem cell model. Indeed, bone loss is a major
thread to astronauts’ health during (extended) space missions.
• Evaluation of the role of the endocannabinoid system in the alterations of bone metabolism in microgravity.
• Identification of a novel therapeutic target for bone regeneration under microgravity conditions.

 Information Pending


Space Applications 
This investigation, by helping to identify biomarkers involved in microgravity induced bone loss in an innovative stem
cell model, contributes to development of therapies for bone regeneration in space.

Earth Applications 
The abnormal physiology seen in otherwise healthy astronauts during their adaptation to space has many similarities with
accelerated aging, including bone loss. On Earth, older people experience bone loss and fractures: both representing a serious health concern. This
investigation could contribute to better treatment for this and other disabling conditions caused by aging.


Operational Requirements and Protocols
 Information Pending

Decadal Survey Recommendations Information Pending

Results/More Information Information Pending

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