Study: Marijuana may affect neuron firing

Nov 29, 2006

U.S. scientists have discovered the active ingredient in marijuana interferes with synchronized activity between neurons in the hippocampus of rats.

The authors suggest action of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, might explain why marijuana impairs memory.

Gyorgy Buzsaki and colleagues at Rutgers University recorded the activity of multiple neurons in the hippocampus of rats. Normally neurons in that region form groups that fire action potentials, or nerve impulses, together at about 4-10 times per second. But when the authors injected THC, or a related synthetic drug, into the hippocampus, that synchrony was disrupted.

The researchers said the drugs did not change the total number of action potentials produced, just their tendency to occur at the same time. Animals with less synchronized neural activity under the drug performed less well in a standard test of memory, suggesting synchronized neural firing is important for normal hippocampal function.

The study appears in the December issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: A high-fat diet may alleviate mitochondrial disease

Related Stories

Study overturns decade-old findings in neurobiology

May 12, 2010

In findings that should finally put to rest a decade of controversy in the field of neurobiology, a team at The Scripps Research Institute has found decisive evidence that a specific neurotransmitter system -- the endocannabinoid ...

Marijuana increases alcohol toxicity in young rats

Apr 08, 2008

Marijuana is among the most frequently used illicit drugs by women during their childbearing years and there is growing concern that marijuana abuse during pregnancy, either alone or in combination with other drugs, may have ...

Study: cannabis a double-edged sword

Oct 23, 2007

A new neurobiological study has found that a synthetic form of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, is an effective anti-depressant at low doses. However, at higher doses, the effect reverses itself and can actually worsen ...

How do cannabinoids make us feel that way?

Oct 09, 2007

Marijuana and its main psychoactive component, THC, exert a plethora of behavioral and autonomic effects on humans and animals. Some of these effects are the cause of the widespread illicit use of marijuana, while others ...

Recommended for you

A high-fat diet may alleviate mitochondrial disease

Jun 30, 2015

Mice that have a genetic version of mitochondrial disease can easily be mistaken for much older animals by the time they are nine months old: they have thinning grey hair, osteoporosis, poor hearing, infertility, ...

Cheek muscles hold up better than leg muscles in space

Jun 30, 2015

It is well known that muscles need resistance (gravity) to maintain optimal health, and when they do not have this resistance, they deteriorate. A new report published in the July 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal, however, sugges ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.