THE EFFECT OF CANNABIDIOL (CBD) ON THE PHYSIOLOGY AND IMMUNOLOGY OF NILE TILAPIA (OREOCHROMIS NILOTICUS) IN-VITRO AND IN-VIVO
As the human population increases and the demand for aquaculture increases, aquaculturists are coming up with new ways to mitigate stress in fish to increase their production. Cannabidiol (CBD) is an up and coming nutraceutical that may have potential to reduce stress in not only humans but also other vertebrates such as fish. In this project the effect of CBD on the stress physiology and immunology of Nile tilapia was evaluated both in-vitro and in-vivo. In the in-vitro study, spleen cell proliferation was conducted to observe the effect of CBD on fish T and B cells and were compared to mouse T and B cell proliferation. In the in-vivo study, the fish were reared in a recirculating aquaculture system. The effect of CBD on the stress physiology of the fish in short term and long term were evaluated. Based on the short-term acute study, a longer chronic study was designed where tilapia were fed with and without CBD (0.001% of feed weight) and with and without hydrocortisone stress hormone (0.01% of body weight) every day for four weeks. This experiment compared the various growth and feed utilization parameters as well as physiological and immunological parameters such as, plasma cortisol, blood glucose and protein levels, liver and spleen somatic indices (HSI and SSI, respectively), and lysozyme activity of the fish. From our current research, CBD shows potential in stress modulation and in immune modulation. It may have different effects based on the species, whether they need to enhance their immune response or reduce inflammation to be healthy. It also seems to have had different effect on different parts of the immune system. Hematological parameters were not significantly affected by acute stress. CBD did not make any substantial difference in growth. However, in the presence of stress, CBD was able to lower lysozyme activity down to the normal control levels. By administering the proper dosage of CBD on a case by case basis, health benefits can be achieved. Further investigation into the matter may not just be useful in stress mediation in aquatic organisms but may also have implications in human medicine as well.