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The fear from coronavirus: is there a link between cannabis, stress and anxiety?
THE FEAR of the coronavirus? Or simply too much work, family pressures, trauma: are all sources of stress, which can cause real and own anxiety disorders . But what are the mechanisms, at the level of the brain that lead from stress to these pathologies? To answer, today, is a group of neuroscientists from the Vanderbilt University, in the United States, which has discovered an important link between the stress and the anxiety that comes with it. The key is a molecule, the abbreviation “2-AG”, which in the brain is activate the same receptors put into action by some of the compounds found in cannabis. For this, the result may help to explain why some people use marijuana when they are anxious or under stress, the authors write on the page of the university. In general, the research can open new roads to identify specific compounds that act on this mechanism to combat the anxiety. The results, for now, on animal model, are published in the journal Neuron.
the results of The study in Spite of the advances of the research, by about two decades, there are new molecules for the treatment of anxiety, as reported by a recent study. For this reason, the researchers wanted to learn more how it works the anxiety, in the brain, with the purpose of seek in the future new therapies.

scientists have analyzed the brain response of mice subjected to sources of stress. And they observed that, in the presence of a strong solicitation of this type, two areas of the brain, the amygdala and the frontal cortex, connect. The amygdala is an area involved in various emotional processes and, in particular, in fear, while the frontal cortex is central in the decisions and in regulating thoughts and actions in response to the stimuli.

“The circuit that connects the amygdala and the frontal cortex was stronger in people who have certain types of anxiety disorders,” explained the author with Sachin Patel, “and when people or animals are exposed to stress and become more anxious, these two areas of the brain bind, and their collaboration increases”. In this process the molecule 2-AG has a role, given that it is a sort of connecting link between the two areas. The connection – and, therefore, the process that leads to anxiety and associated pathologies – is strengthened when the action of the molecule decreases. For this, explain the authors, it may be useful to search for new drug treatments that increase the levels of the molecule “2-AG” for lowering the anxiety. This opportunity is very important today, because in spite of the advances of the research, from the past two decades, there are new molecules
The thesis The idea is that in these cases there is a kind collapse of the endocannabinoid system, the authors write, which is part of the molecule 2-AG in the brain stimulate the same cannabinoid receptors activated by marijuana: here the potential link between cannabis and this mechanism.

“The study is very interesting,” says Guido Mannaioni , professor of pharmacology and member of the Italian Society of Pharmacology (Sif) and of the Italian Toxicology Society (Sitox), “because it identifies and describes a new endogenous mechanism linked to anxiety, acute stress, to explore, to find new therapeutic approaches”. For example, some studies, continues the expert, have suggested that cannabidiol (Cbd), a compound contained in cannabis, may be effective short-term social anxiety disorder. “However,” explains Mannaioni, “from here to say that cannabis can do well against anxiety, the pass is very wide.” Also because, as he explains a recent study in the Lancet Psychiatry, the efficacy of cannabis in mental disorders has still to be demonstrated.

“The cannabis – adds the pharmacologist – is a set of compounds, such as a minestrone soup full of ingredients, which you do not yet know very well what will be helpful and which may have other effects, very negative, on mental health”. What is certain, concludes the expert, is that, even if the path is still long, this research could open the way to the study of various treatments for these disorders and direct on the mechanism you have just discovered.

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