Brain levels of FAAH, an enzyme that degrades a neurotransmitter that activates the cannabinoid 1 receptor, may contribute to the maintenance of excessive drinking and susceptibility to alcohol use disorder.
Researchers have identified two gut bacterial species that produce fatty acid amides, stimulating CB1 endocannabinoid receptors in the gut which causes an increase in dopamine in the ventral striatum during exercise.
For people with arthritis, exercise reduces pain and lowers levels of inflammatory cytokines. Exercise also increases the production of natural endocannabinoids. Researchers found the way exercise promotes these changes was due to altered gut microbes.
The release of 2-AG, a natural endocannabinoid that is suggested to be the brain's equivalent to THC, dampens down seizure activity but increases post-seizure oxygen deprivation in the brain.
GABA accelerates the breakdown of endocannabinoids in the brain. Endocannabinoids are critical for emotional processing. The findings could lead to the development of new treatments for emotional behavioral disorders.
An imbalance in gut bacteria can cause the reduction of some metabolites, resulting in depression-like symptoms. The findings contribute to the growing body of evidence for the role the microbiome plays in brain function and mental health.
Anandamide, an endogenous compound produced in the body, plays a role in reversing memories of traumatic events. The findings could lead to new treatments for PTSD.
When pregnant women consume diets high in polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids, an excess of endocannabinoids is produced which overloads the fetus, and impairs healthy brain development.
Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitors, a form of medication that boosts endocannabinoids, may be helpful in the treatment of PTSD. FAAH inhibition can improve the recall of fear extinction memories. The drugs could also help treat stress and other psychological disorders.