Genetic susceptibility to posttraumatic stress disorder: analyses of the oxytocin receptor, retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor A and cannabinoid receptor 1 genes
A recent study has found that the dysregulation of cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) does not increase the likelihood of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Researchers analyzed genetics to determine if there was any correlation between single nucleotide polymorphisms within the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene, the RAR-related orphan receptor A (RORA) gene, and the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) gene and PTSD. It was found that only a genetic variance concerning OXTR was correlated with an increased likelihood of developing PTSD when exposed to shocking traumatic events. Further research may allow for the development of targeted therapies to better prevent PTSD in those at high risk of developing the disorder like soldiers sent out for active duty.
Although the dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system was not found to be correlated with an increased likelihood of developing PTSD cannabis is sometimes recommended to treat PTSD. Cannabis can be relaxing for many users and minimize the feelings of anxiety for those suffering from any psychiatric disorder characterized by anxiety but it is important to note that some cannabinoids can exacerbate anxiety. Specifically, tetrahydrocannabinol (THCO, the most abundant psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis plants, can cause some people’s anxiety to worsen, highlighting the importance of developing a standard screening technique to warn those away from THC and towards a non-psychoactive cannabinoid to manage their symptoms, such as cannabidiol (CBD).
The study is available for review or download here
A cannabinoid receptor-mediated mechanism participates in the neuroprotective effects of oleamide against excitotoxic damage in rat brain synaptosomes and cortical slices
Oleamide, an endocannabinoid-like compound, has been found to work with the endocannabinoid receptors to protect against excitotoxic damage. Utilizing tryptophan metabolite quinolinic acid to induces the overactivations of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDAr), eliciting excitotoxic effects. Various doses of oleamide were given to excitotoxic rats, revealing that oleamide did provide protective effects. Further examination confirmed that oleamide served a protective role by working through the endocannabinoid system. Future research should examine other compounds that could enact neuroprotective effects through the endocannabinoid system.
Researchers continue to find novel targets for treatment within the endocannabinoid system. Although cannabis is not currently supported for medical use by the federal government the endocannabinoid system has far-reaching possibilities that can still be studied in the meantime. By using compounds like oleamide or other others that work on the endocannabinoid system researchers can determine new targets and therapeutic benefits of the endocannabinoid system. Researchers should continue to push for federally funded projects revolved around the endocannabinoid system as the underlying mechanism is still poorly understood considering the potential it holds.
The study is available for review or download here
Opioid-Sparing Effects of Cannabinoids on Morphine Analgesia- Participation of CB1 and CB2 Receptors
Researchers have recently provided evidence that synthetic cannabinoids are able to work synergistically with morphine to provide maximum pain relief while limiting opioid doses. In an effort to control the current opioid epidemic researchers have been looking into the possible benefits of cannabinoids due to the interaction of the opioid and endocannabinoid systems. The results of this study showed that various synthetic cannabinoids (WIN and GP1a) were able to work synergistically with morphine in two separate pain models to maximize analgesic effects. Further evidence is still needed to validate these claims before patient use but this paper provides further evidence that medical cannabis may help put an end to the opioid crisis.
Highlighted in this paper is the lingering uncertainty of exact mechanisms within the endocannabinoid system. The authors of this article are left without definite answers as to whether or not the analgesic effect is mediated completely through cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) or if cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) is also involved. Research into cannabinoids is slow within the United States as there are currently only privately funded studies which is severely hindering the medical community from taking full advantage of all it has to offer. The better a system is understood the more definite answers can be found. Critics may never support the rescheduling of cannabis but without moving cannabis to Schedule II or III it remains impossible to back even their claims.
The study is available for review or download here:
A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review Across Species
A recent review has exposed the contrasting information found in human and mouse model studies that study cannabis-based medicines. Acute THC use impairs non-spatial memory in humans and monkeys but not in rodents. Previous research has shown that chronic cannabis use is correlated with lower cognitive function but a mechanism of action for the decline in cognitive function has yet to be identified, and several studies have pointed that the decline is short-lived, perhaps caused by acute intoxication. This study provides evidence for cannabis-based clinical trials due to THC’s species-specific effects on memory. More information is needed to examine the full effect of cannabis on human memory as animal models have now been proven to be inaccurate.