The Endocannabinoid System May Play a Role in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Title: CB1 receptor antagonism in capuchin monkeys alters social interaction and aversive memory extinction

A recent study has revealed that the dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system may play a role in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Using non-human primates, researchers were able to mimic some of the social impairment seen in autism models by antagonizing cannabinoid 1 receptors with synthetic cannabinoids. Future research may continue to show links between ASD and the endocannabinoid system, suggesting that cannabinoids may be used to treat the social impairments characteristic in ASD. 

This research highlights how the endocannabinoid system may provide novel targets for developing therapies for what have seemed, previously, to be treatment-resistant disorders. Autism is still not well-understood and has many false beliefs associated with it. By studying the possible role of the endocannabinoid systems in ASD, researchers may be able to shed light on the mechanism(s) underlining the disorders and develop targeted treatments that allow patients a degree of greater control over the symptoms.

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Benjamin Caplan, MDThe Endocannabinoid System May Play a Role in Autism Spectrum Disorders

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