Antidepressant-like effect of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa L

“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 Δ9-THC and other cannabinoids… Results of this study show that Δ9-THC and other cannabinoids exert antidepressant-like actions, and thus may contribute to the overall mood-elevating properties of cannabis.”

“Cannabis sativa L. is one of the most widely used plants for both recreational and medicinal purposes. To date a total of 525 natural constituents covering several chemical classes have been isolated and identified from C. sativa. The cannabinoids belong to the chemical class of terpenophenolics, of which 85 have been uniquely identified in cannabis, including the most psychoactive cannabinoid, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC). The most common natural plant cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) are: Δ9-THC, cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabinol (CBN). Several of the identified cannabinoids are both chemically and pharmacologically poorly characterized due to insufficient isolated amounts; however, the pharmacology of Δ9-THC has been widely studied, and it is regarded as the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis.”

“The psychological and physiological effects of cannabis have been extensively characterized, including euphoria, analgesia, sedation, memory and cognitive impairment, appetite stimulation, and anti-emesis. Most of these effects have been primarily attributed to Δ9-THC. Major advances in the field of cannabinoid research were achieved following the unraveling of the molecular mechanism underlying the actions of Δ9-THC and the discovery of the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is regarded as a neuromodulator, and is comprised of cannabinoid receptors (primarily CB1 and CB2 receptors), their endogenous ligands, and enzymes responsible for the synthesis and metabolism of these ligands.”

“In addition to the established effects of cannabis, it is well recognized that mood elevation is one of the components of the complex experience elicited by cannabis. Much of our knowledge regarding cannabis effect on mood and anxiety is based on individual reports following cannabis use for medicinal or recreational purposes. Several anecdotal reports describe the antidepressant effect of cannabis, with patients confirming beneficial outcomes from its use in primary or secondary depressive disorders…”

“In conclusion, our results show that phytocannabinoids, including Δ9-THC, CBD, and CBC, exert antidepressant-like actions in animal models of behavioral despair. The exact mechanism underlying such activity is still unclear and confounded by the fact that these compounds have varying binding profiles to the established cannabinoid CB1 as well as to non CB1 receptors. The results support the effect of phytocannabinoids on mood disorders and provide potential leads for further studies.”

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