New Study Examines 'Brain's Own Marijuana'

May 16, 2007

A researcher at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) is investigating the "brain's own marijuana" -- called endocannabinoid -- in the regulation of stress, stress-related behavior and anxiety.

A five-year, $1.7 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health is supporting this investigation.

"It is widely accepted that one of the major reasons that people use and abuse marijuana is to relieve stress," according to Samir Haj-Dahmane, Ph.D., neuroscientist and principal investigator on the RIA study. "However, because marijuana can be addictive, it cannot be used to treat stress-related mood disorders such as anxiety. An alternative strategy may be to directly target the 'brain's own marijuana.'"

The success of such a strategy requires a better understanding of how endocannabinoid moderates stress-related behaviors and how stress and stress hormones activate the endocannabinoid system.

Haj-Dahmane and his co-investigator, Troy Wood, Ph.D., will examine the relationships between stress, stress-related behavior and addiction using a combination of electrophysiological, pharmacological and neurochemical approaches. They believe this study also may lay the foundation for better pharmacotherapy for stress-related mood disorders. Wood is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry in UB's College of Arts and Sciences.

Source: University at Buffalo

Explore further: Vegetable oil ingredient key to destroying gastric disease bacteria

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How the hummingbird achieves its aerobatic feats

2 hours ago

(Phys.org) —The sight of a tiny hummingbird hovering in front of a flower and then darting to another with lightning speed amazes and delights. But it also leaves watchers with a persistent question: How ...

'Mind the gap' between atomically thin materials

3 hours ago

In subway stations around London, the warning to "Mind the Gap" helps commuters keep from stepping into empty space as they leave the train. When it comes to engineering single-layer atomic structures, minding ...

Seychelles poachers go nutty for erotic shaped seed

3 hours ago

Under cover of darkness in the steamy jungles of the Seychelles thieves creep out to harvest the sizeable and valuable nuts of the famous coco de mer palm, and their activities are threatening its long-term ...

Recommended for you

A hybrid vehicle that delivers DNA

16 hours ago

A new hybrid vehicle is under development. Its performance isn't measured by the distance it travels, but rather the delivery of its cargo: vaccines that contain genetically engineered DNA to fight HIV, cancer, ...

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.