Given recent discussions on this blog on the neuroscience of marijuana, I thought this brand new paper on stress and the cannabinoid receptor was extremely interesting. The Israeli scientists demonstrated that microinjecting an agonist of the CB1 receptor (a primary binding site of THC, the active ingredient in pot) significantly reduced the elevation of stress hormones in response to scary stressors. They researchers argue that their evidence “supports a wide therapeutic application for cannabinoids in the treatment of conditions associated with the inappropriate retention of aversive memories and stress-related disorders.” Like I said before, pot just might be the next Prozac. Are you listening Eli Lilly?
On a side note, I’d love to see some further research into one of the main unintended side-effects of pot: paranoia. Why does a drug that ordinarily erases anxiety sometimes lead to the opposite mental state? This is part of larger pattern, of course, in which many psychoactive drugs tend to trigger the precise symptom that they’re trying to cure. So Prozac increases the risk of suicide, anti-psychotics can cause psychosis, etc. Just another reminder that the brain is a profound mystery, dense with redundancies and feedback loops.
Thanks for the tip Tanya!