MAY 16, 2020 8:31 AM PDT

Body's Own Cannabis Helps Us Forget Traumatic Events

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Researchers have found that anandamide, often referred to as the body’s own cannabis, may help us forget traumatic memories. 

Anandamide is an endogenous cannabinoid- a cannabinoid that is produced in the body, unlike cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabiniol (THC) which are produced outside and then consumed. This means that the body is able to create the compound whenever it needs to. Used to regulate inflammation and neuron signals, it primarily binds with cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, just like THC. 

Having observed its THC-like behavior, research into how it impacts the body began when Mario Van der Stelt, Professor of Molecular Physiology at Leiden University, asked whether it has the same relaxing effects too. 

To begin, researchers isolated a protein called NAPE-PLD that is responsible for the production of anandamide in the brain. Next, during a painstaking process lasting over two years, they synthesized a molecule capable of stopping NAPE-PLD from working so they could then decipher how the compound functions in the body.

"In animal models, LEI-401 (the synthesized molecule that inhibits anandamide production) meant that traumatic memories were no longer erased. In addition, the corticosteroid level was elevated and a brain region was activated that is responsible for the coordination of the stress response. From this, you can infer that anandamide is involved in reducing anxiety and stress." says Van der Stelt. 

The researchers think that their findings may open the door for new methods to treat anxiety and other mental health disorders such as PTSD. Having shown anandamine’s ability to help people forget anxiety-inducing memories, they think that pharmaceutical companies may be able to target it to create new treatments. In particular, they suggest looking for molecules that increase the production of the compound or for molecules that reduce the speed at which it metabolizes in the body. 

 

Sources: Leafly, Neuroscience News, Medical Xpress

 

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
DEC 20, 2019
Health & Medicine
DEC 20, 2019
A Natural Approach to Pain Management
In many instances, pain can be a rather useful tool. It informs individuals that something is amiss with their body and ...
JAN 21, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
JAN 21, 2020
Medical Marijuana Ineffective for Long Term Pain Management
Medicinal cannabis may not as effective as once thought as a solution for sleep problems for those with chronic pain in ...
FEB 11, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
FEB 11, 2020
Traffic Light System Best Way to Label Cannabis Edibles
Cannabis products have become increasingly popular. Yet, as they are still relatively new to the market, research has fo ...
APR 05, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
APR 05, 2020
Rats Develop Drug-Seeking Behavior After Cannabis Withdrawal
A recent study from Washington State University has found that rats with regular access to cannabis tend to show drug-se ...
APR 11, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
APR 11, 2020
Over 50% Cannabis Users Experience Anxiety and Paranoia
Medicinal cannabis is now legal in 33 states across the US, as well as the District of Columbia (D.C.). Meanwhile, 11 st ...
MAY 12, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
MAY 12, 2020
Cannabis Use Not Linked to Low IQ
While 12% of adults in the US claim to have smoked cannabis, the same figure stands at 22% for those aged between 18 and ...
Loading Comments...