Effects of Cannabis Therapy on Endogenous Cannabinoids

May 18, 2011

This study assessed the effect of acute and chronic treat­ment of rats with the cannabi­noid ago­nist, WIN-55212–2, on the lev­els of anan­damide in blood and brain tis­sue. No change was observed in plasma anan­damide con­cen­tra­tion after either acute or chronic treat­ment. Like­wise, there was no sig­nif­i­cant change in anan­damide lev­els in three brain regions: cere­bel­lum, nucleus accum­bens, and brain­stem. Chronic, but not acute, treat­ment with WIN-55212–2 caused a marked increase in anan­damide lev­els in the brain hip­pocam­pus, a region that is cru­cially involved in learn­ing and memory.

In order to com­pare the actions of cannabi­noids with those of other abused sub­stances, the effects of acute admin­is­tra­tion of amphet­a­mine and alco­hol on brain anan­damide lev­els in the rat were mea­sured. It was found that amphet­a­mine (2 mg/kg ip) sig­nif­i­cantly increases anan­damide lev­els in the nucleus accum­bens, but not in the hip­pocam­pus and cere­bel­lum. Fur­ther­more, it was found that acute alco­hol admin­is­tra­tion (4 g/kg ip) decreased anan­damide lev­els in the hip­pocam­pus, cere­bel­lum, and nucleus accum­bens. These find­ing sug­gest that the endoge­nous cannabi­noid sys­tem may respond in selec­tive ways to dif­fer­ent drugs of abuse.

These exper­i­ments con­tributed pre­lim­i­nary data to work that was later pub­lished in the jour­nal Neu­ropsy­chophar­ma­col­ogy.

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