The relationship between cannabis use and taurine: A MRS and metabolomics study

Academic Article


  • Taurine is an essential amino acid. It has been shown to be neuroprotective including protecting against the neurotoxic effects of glutamate. The goal of the current study was to examine the relationship between CB use and taurine measured in brain using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), and peripherally from a urine sample. Two experiments are presented. The first is a reanalysis of published data that examined taurine and glutamate in the dorsal anterior cingulate of a CB user group and non-user group using MRS. The second experiment, in a separate CB user group, used metabolomics analysis to measure taurine levels in urine. Because body composition has been associated with the pharmacokinetics of cannabis and taurine levels, a moderation model was examined with body composition included as the covariate. The MRS study found taurine levels were correlated with glutamate in both groups and taurine was correlated with frequency of CB use in the CB user group. The moderation model demonstrated significant effects of CB use and BMI; the interaction was marginally significant with lower BMI individuals showing a positive relationship between CB use and taurine. A similar finding was observed for the urine analysis. Both CB use and weight, as well as the interaction were significant. In this case, individuals with higher weight showed an association between CB use and taurine levels. This study shows the feasibility and potential importance of examining the relationship between taurine and CB use as it may shed light on a mechanism that underlies the neuroprotective effects of CB.
  • Published In

  • PLoS One  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Newman SD; Schnakenberg Martin AM; Raymond D; Cheng H; Wilson L; Barnes S; O’Donnell BF
  • Volume

  • 17
  • Issue

  • 6 June