Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Natural 'high' could avoid chronic marijuana use

01.12.2014

Replenishing the supply of a molecule that normally activates cannabinoid receptors in the brain could relieve mood and anxiety disorders and enable some people to quit using marijuana, a Vanderbilt University study suggests.

Cannabinoid receptors are normally activated by compounds in the brain called endocannabinoids, the most abundant of which is 2-AG. They also are "turned on" by the active ingredient in marijuana.

Sachin Patel, M.D., Ph.D., and his colleagues developed a genetically modified mouse with impaired ability to produce 2-AG in the brain. The mice exhibited anxiety-like behaviors, and female mice also displayed behaviors suggestive of depression.

When an enzyme that normally breaks down 2-AG was blocked, and the supply of the endocannabinoid was restored to normal levels, these behaviors were reversed, the researchers reported on Nov. 26 in the online edition of the journal Cell Reports.

If further research confirms that some people who are anxious and depressed have low levels of 2-AG, this method of "normalizing 2-AG deficiency could represent a viable ... therapeutic strategy for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders," they concluded.

However, this approach has not been tested in humans, they cautioned.

Relief of tension and anxiety is the most common reason cited for chronic marijuana use. Thus, restoring depleted levels of 2-AG also "could be a way to help people using marijuana," added Patel, the paper's senior author and professor of Psychiatry and of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics.

Chronic use of marijuana down-regulates cannabinoid receptors, and thus paradoxically increases anxiety. This can lead to a "vicious cycle" of increasing marijuana use that in some cases leads to addiction.

Patel and his colleagues previously have found cannabinoid receptors in the central nucleus of the amygdala of the mouse. The amygdala is a key emotional hub in the brain involved in regulating anxiety and the flight-or-fight response.

They also have found that chemically modified inhibitors of the COX-2 enzyme they developed relieve anxiety behaviors in mice by activating natural "endocannabinoids" without gastrointestinal side effects. Clinical trials of some of these potential drugs could begin in the next several years.

Cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes produce pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and are the target of aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), used to relieve pain and inflammation. It has been known for several years that COX-2 inhibition also activates endocannabinoids.

The current study was led by first authors Brian Shonesy, Ph.D., research fellow in the lab of Roger Colbran, Ph.D., professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, and Rebecca Bluett, a graduate student in Patel's lab.

The research was supported in part by National Institutes of Health grants MH065215, NS078291, MH0903412, MH100096, GM015431 and DA031572.

Craig Boerner | Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Further information:
http://www.vanderbilt.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>