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:11/25/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... gatherings where preparing the perfect dish and pleasing the palates of attendees is ... or bringing a dish to a seasonal get-together, give these recipes a try ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Vegas, NV (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... invites patients to learn more about hair loss treatment with the Capillus272™ Pro laser ... an effective solution for thicker and fuller hair, without the need for surgery, prescription ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... According to an ... robot is being more and more widely heralded as a breakthrough for performing hernia ... method has over traditional laparoscopic surgery is that it can greatly reduce the pain ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... and athletic programs, launches new Wimbledon Athletics Facebook page to educate ... athletes for unsuspected cardiac abnormalities. About 2,000 people under the age of 25 ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 25, 2015 , ... SCOTTSDALE, AZ) - Today, Dr. ... both surgical and non-surgical treatments, announced the expansion of his private practice capabilities ... , Highly trained and nationally recognized for his natural approach, Dr. Todd ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... DIEGO , Nov. 25, 2015  Trovagene, Inc. ... diagnostics, today announced that Chief Executive Officer Antonius Schuh, ... the 27 th Annual Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference. ... at the New York Palace Hotel in ... at 1:30 p.m. EST. Mr. Schuh will be available ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 Endo International plc (NASDAQ: ENDP ... , President and CEO, will discuss corporate updates at the ... New York on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 ... on Investor Relations, and then the link to the event. ... start time to visit the site and download any streaming ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 25, 2015 ... Investors"), pursuant to which BioLight and the New Investors ... Ltd. subsidiary ("IOPtima") via a private placement. The financing ... its innovative IOPtimate™ system used in the treatment of ... pathway process for the IOPtimate™ system with the U.S. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: