Researchers find how marijuana reduces anxiety
A research team led by Vanderbilt University scientists has found cannabinoid receptors--receptors through which marijuana exerts its effects--in a part of the brain involved in regulating anxiety and the flight-or-fight response. The mouse study, published in the journal Neuron, says this is the first time cannabinoid receptors have been identified in the central nucleus of the amygdala.
That could help explain why some marijuana users say the drug helps relieve anxiety. Senior author Sachim Patel said the study "could be highly important for understanding how cannabis exerts its behavioral effects."
Scientists are particularly interested now in how pot interacts with and affects the development of the brain. With the legalization of marijuana spreading across the U.S., more people, especially young ones whose brains are still developing, are being exposed to the drug.