Natural 'high' could avoid chronic marijuana use

Posted on December 2, 2014

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.


Source material from Vanderbilt University Medical Center

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