News from DCEXS-UPF
A new study conducted on laboratory animals shows that exposure to cannabis and stress during adolescence may lead to long-term anxiety disorders characterized by the presence of pathological fear. The work carried out by the Neuropharmacology Laboratory-NeuroPhar at Pompeu Fabra University, was led by the researchers Fernando Berrendero, now at Francisco de Vitoria University, and Rafael Maldonado, and has been published in the journal Neuropharmacology.
Cannabis remains the most commonly consumed illegal drug worldwide. Its regular use often begins during adolescence, which is especially troubling because this period is crucial for the brain to mature properly through the reorganization of the neuronal synapses.
Numerous preclinical and epidemiological data suggest that exposure to cannabinoids in adolescents may increase the risk of the onset of psychiatric illnesses in adulthood. The results of the National Drugs Plan show an increase in the consumption of cannabis and a recent review highlights that in recent years the perception of the risk of its consumption has diminished among the young population, from 12 to 17 years of age, the age group discussed in this article.
“In this study we have investigated the effects of simultaneous exposure to Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is primarily responsible for the psychoactive properties of cannabis, and to stress during adolescence”, explain Rocio Saravia and Marc Ten-Blanco, first authors of the article. Specifically, they have studied how this exposure during adolescence affects the extinction of the memory of fear in adult mice.
Saravia R, Ten-Blanco M, Julià-Hernández M, Gagliano H, Andero R, Armario A, Maldonado R, Berrendero F. Concomitant THC and stress adolescent exposure induces impaired fear extinction and related neurobiological changes in adulthood. Neuropharmacology, November, 2018.