Navigation Links
Discovery sheds new light on marijuana's anxiety relief effects

An international group led by Vanderbilt University researchers has found cannabinoid receptors, through which marijuana exerts its effects, in a key emotional hub in the brain involved in regulating anxiety and the flight-or-fight response.

This is the first time cannabinoid receptors have been identified in the central nucleus of the amygdala in a mouse model, they report in the current issue of the journal Neuron.

The discovery may help explain why marijuana users say they take the drug mainly to reduce anxiety, said Sachin Patel, M.D., Ph.D., the paper's senior author and professor of Psychiatry and of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics.

Led by first author Teniel Ramikie, a graduate student in Patel's lab, the researchers also showed for the first time how nerve cells in this part of the brain make and release their own natural "endocannabinoids."

The study "could be highly important for understanding how cannabis exerts its behavioral effects," Patel said. As the legalization of marijuana spreads across the country, more people and especially young people whose brains are still developing are being exposed to the drug.

Previous studies at Vanderbilt and elsewhere, Patel said, have suggested the following:

  • The natural endocannabinoid system regulates anxiety and the response to stress by dampening excitatory signals that involve the neurotransmitter glutamate.

  • Chronic stress or acute, severe emotional trauma can cause a reduction in both the production of endocannabinoids and the responsiveness of the receptors. Without their "buffering" effect, anxiety goes up.

  • While marijuana's "exogenous" cannabinoids also can reduce anxiety, chronic use of the drug down-regulates the receptors, paradoxically increasing anxiety. This can trigger "a vicious cycle" of increasing marijuana use that in some cases leads to addiction.

In the current study, the researchers used high-affinity antibodies to "label" the cannabinoid receptors so they could be seen using various microscopy techniques, including electron microscopy, which allowed very detailed visualization at individual synapses, or gaps between nerve cells.

"We know where the receptors are, we know their function, we know how these neurons make their own cannabinoids," Patel said. "Now can we see how that system is affected by stress and chronic (marijuana) use? It might fundamentally change our understanding of cellular communication in the amygdala."

Contact: Craig Boerner
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Related medicine news :

1. Zebrafish discovery may shed light on human kidney function
2. NUS researchers make new discovery of protein as a promising target for treatment of ATC
3. Drug discovery potential of natural microbial genomes
4. Prion discovery could help keep deadly brain diseases in check
5. Autism Learning Games: Camp Discovery App Utilizes Technology to Revolutionize Learning for Children with Autism
6. Discovery to Facilitate Eradication of Polio Worldwide
7. Cell division discovery could offer fresh insight into cancer
8. Expert Project Manager Joins TERIS, a National Leader in eDiscovery, Information Governance, Computer Forensics and Relativity
9. Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuit News: Bernstein Liebhard LLP Notes Issuance of New Order Pertaining to Discovery in Federal Boston Scientific Litigation
10. Judge Overseeing Federal Biomet Hip Lawsuits Won't Name Special Discovery Master, Bernstein Liebhard LLP Reports
11. Ovarian cancer discovery deepens knowledge of survival outcomes
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ePAY ... partnership with Connance, a healthcare industry leader providing predictive analytics to optimize ... combine to provide health systems, hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers with dramatic ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... recently awarded their ... Eyeglasses . , Millions of individuals in the United States and Canada wear eyeglasses. ... way to both correct vision and make a fashion statement. Even celebrities use glasses ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... On June 10-11, 2016, A ... 2016 Cereal Festival and World’s Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, MI, where the ... history as home to some of the world’s leading providers of cereal and other ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... , ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand ... new product that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The formula is ... The two main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Many women ... diagnosed with endometriosis. These women need a treatment plan to not only alleviate ... that can help for preservation of fertility and ultimately achieving a pregnancy. The ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition ... to their offering. The ... commercial environment for MedImmune to enter. The US ageing population ... to drive considerable growth for effective anti-influenza medications. The introduction ... considerably, but development is still in its infancy. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- , , , WHEN: , ... , , , LOCATION: , , , Online, with free ... EXPERT PANELISTS:  , , , Frost & Sullivan,s Global Vice President ... Industry Analyst, Divyaa Ravishankar and Unmesh Lal, Program Manager , ... is witnessing an exceptional era. Several new demand spaces, such as ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Colombia , June 23, 2016  Astellas today announced the establishment of Astellas Farma Colombia (AFC), a new ... affiliate in Latin America . ... ... ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: