While the controversy on the effects of cannabis can be confusing at times, more and more research is showing the potential benefits of the drug.
A recent study has shown another way that this widely available drug could be helpful to users. Early on in cannabis research, scientists learned that some molecules of cannabis are actually naturally produced by the brain, specifically by the endocannabinoid system. This system is present all over the human body and helps regulate our immune and nervous systems. Recent studies have suggested that this endocannabinoid system even plays a key role in the body's regulation of anxiety.
Investigating anxiety and other mental disorders in a neurobiological view, researchers tested laboratory mice to examine the effect of endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol or 2-AG in stress resilience or the brain’s capability to adapt to the adverse effects of stress.
Results showed that increasing the supply of 2-AG links with a stress-resilient phenotype which increases stress resilience in previously vulnerable mice. Conversely, depriving the stress resilient mice of the chemical or merely blocking its receptors made them more susceptible to stress. “The study suggests that deficiencies in natural cannabinoids could result in a predisposition to developing PTSD and depression. Boosting this signaling system could represent a new treatment approach for these stress-linked disorders,” said the lead researcher, Dr. Sachin Patel.
In addition to that, results showed that the reduction of 2-AG specifically in the amygdala hinders the process of adjusting to repeated stress. They also found that a small dose of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC can also promote stress resilience and reduce anxiety-like symptoms in mice. While this is just a part of the sea of research on cannabis, it's good to know that we are now having more balanced and fair results in terms of the previously taboo topic.
So, I guess you can now light up and smoke the stress away!