Antidepressant-like effect of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa L.
- Pharmacology Department, School of Pharmacy, University of Mississippi, University, MS 38677, USA. email@example.com
The antidepressant action of cannabis as well as the interaction between antidepressants and the endocannabinoid system has been reported. This study was conducted to assess the antidepressant-like activity of Delta(9)-THC and other cannabinoids. Cannabinoids were initially evaluated in the mouse tetrad assay to determine doses that do not induce hypothermia or catalepsy. The automated mouse forced swim (FST) and tail suspension (TST) tests were used to determine antidepressant action. At doses lacking hypothermic and cataleptic effects (1.25, 2.5, and 5 mg/kg, i.p.), both Delta(9)-THC and Delta(8)-THC showed a U-shaped dose response with only Delta(9)-THC showing significant antidepressant-like effects at 2.5 mg/kg (p<0.05) in the FST. The cannabinoids cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN) did not produce antidepressant-like actions up to 80 mg/kg in the mouse FST, while cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabidiol (CBD) exhibited significant effect at 20 and 200mg/kg, respectively (p<0.01). The antidepressant-like action of Delta(9)-THC and CBC was further confirmed in the TST. Delta(9)-THC exhibited the same U-shaped dose response with significant antidepressant-like action at 2.5 mg/kg (p<0.05) while CBC resulted in a significant dose-dependent decrease in immobility at 40 and 80 mg/kg doses (p<0.01). Results of this study show that Delta(9)-THC and other cannabinoids exert antidepressant-like actions, and thus may contribute to the overall mood-elevating properties of cannabis.
Circulating endocannabinoids and N-acyl ethanolamines are differentially regulated in major depression and following exposure to social stress.
- Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
Central endocannabinoid signaling is known to be responsive to stressful stimuli; however, there is no research to date characterizing the effects of stress on peripheral endocannabinoid content. The current study examined serum content of the endocannabinoid ligands N-arachidonylethanolamide (anandamide; AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), and the non-cannabinoid N-acyl ethanolamine (NAE) molecules palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) and oleoylethanolamide (OEA) under basal conditions, immediately following the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST), and 30 min thereafter, in 15 medication-free women diagnosed with major depression, and 15 healthy matched controls. Basal serum concentrations of AEA and 2-AG, but not PEA or OEA, were significantly reduced in women with major depression relative to matched controls, indicating a deficit in peripheral endocannabinoid activity. Immediately following the TSST, serum 2-AG concentrations were increased compared to baseline; serum AEA concentration was unchanged at this time point. Serum concentrations of PEA and OEA were significantly lower than baseline 30 min following the cessation of the TSST. The magnitude of these responses did not differ between depressed and control subjects. These are the first data to demonstrate that the peripheral endocannabinoid/NAE system is responsive to exposure to stress.
The therapeutic potential of the endocannabinoid system for the development of a novel class of antidepressants.
- Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA.
The endocannabinoid system is a neuromodulatory system which is known to regulate emotional, cognitive, neurovegetative and motivational processes. Substantial evidence has accumulated implicating a deficit in endocannabinoid in the etiology of depression; accordingly, pharmacological augmentation of endocannabinoid signaling could be a novel target for the pharmacotherapy of depression. Within preclinical models, facilitation of endocannabinoid neurotransmission evokes both antidepressant and anxiolytic effects. Similar to the actions of conventional antidepressants, enhancement of endocannabinoid signaling can enhance serotonergic and noradrenergic transmission; increase cellular plasticity and neurotrophin expression within the hippocampus; and dampen activity within the neuroendocrine stress axis. Furthermore, limbic endocannabinoid activity is increased by both pharmacological and somatic treatments for depression, and, in turn, appears to contribute to some of the neuroadaptive alterations elicited by these treatments. These preclinical findings support the rationale for the clinical development of agents which inhibit the cellular uptake and/or metabolism of endocannabinoids in the treatment of mood disorders.