Endocannabinoid system dysfunction in mood and related disorders
Article first published online: 9 MAR 2011
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Volume 124, Issue 4, pages 250–261, October 2011
How to Cite
Ashton, C. H. and Moore, P. B. (2011), Endocannabinoid system dysfunction in mood and related disorders. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 124: 250–261. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2011.01687.x
- Issue published online: 14 SEP 2011
- Article first published online: 9 MAR 2011
- Accepted for publication 26 January 2011
- endocannabinoid system;
- mood and related disorders
Ashton CH, Moore PB. Endocannabinoid system dysfunction in mood and related disorders.
Objective: The endocannabinoid (EC) system is widely distributed throughout the brain and modulates many functions. It is involved in mood and related disorders, and its activity may be modified by exogenous cannabinoids. This article examines the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in psychiatric disorders.
Method: An overview is presented of the literature focussed on the functions of the EC system, its dysfunction in mood disorders and the therapeutic potential of exogenous cannabinoids.
Results: We propose (hypothesize) that the EC system, which is homoeostatic in cortical excitation and inhibition, is dysfunctional in mood and related disorders. Anandamide, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) variously combine antidepressant, antipsychotic, anxiolytic, analgesic, anticonvulsant actions, suggesting a therapeutic potential in mood and related disorders. Currently, cannabinoids find a role in pain control. Post mortem and other studies report EC system abnormalities in depression, schizophrenia and suicide. Abnormalities in the cannabinoid-1 receptor (CNR1) gene that codes for cannabinoid-1(CB1) receptors are reported in psychiatric disorders. However, efficacy trials of cannabinoids in psychiatric disorders are limited but offer some encouragement.
Conclusion: Research is needed to elucidate the role of the EC system in psychiatric disorders and for clinical trials with THC, CBD and synthetic cannabinoids to assess their therapeutic potential.