Dysregulation of the Endocannabinoid System and Psychosis

Peripheral endocannabinoid system dysregulation in first-episode psychosis

In summary

A recent study has found a pattern of dysregulation within the endocannabinoid system in first-episode psychosis patients. Researchers found that the protein expression of cannabinoid receptor 2 and the protein levels of the main synthesizing and degradation enzymes within first-episode psychosis patients was markedly lower than in controls. This research provides further supports the hypothesis that the dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system is a central factor that contributes to the pathophysiology of psychosis disorders. By determining the exact role of the endocannabinoid system in psychosis disorders researchers will be able to determine novel targets for antipsychotic therapies and possible screen for biomarkers in patients before they develop psychosis symptoms. 

Being able to screen for dysregulation within the endocannabinoid system may serve as a possible biomarker for psychotic disorders but other screening techniques may allow physicians to recommend cannabis more efficiently. Some patients experience feelings of anxiety when consuming a cannabis-based product containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most abundant psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis plants. If physicians were able to screen for individuals who would experience negative effects when consuming a product containing THC then they would be able to recommend other products for their patients, ensuring safer cannabis use. 

The study is available for review or download here

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Benjamin Caplan, MDDysregulation of the Endocannabinoid System and Psychosis

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