A National Directory of Drug Treatment Centers and Alcohol Treatment Centers, Therapists and Specialists. A free, simple directory providing assistance and guidance for those seeking help regarding alcohol addiction, drug addiction, dependency and many other conditions that affect the mind, body and soul.
Call 800-580-9104 to speak with an alcohol or drug abuse counselor.

Schizophrenia Linked To Dysfunction In Molecular Brain Pathway Activated By Marijuana

Alterations in a molecular brain pathway activated by marijuana may contribute to the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia, according to a report in the July issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Expression of the cannabinoid 1 receptor (CB1R), the site of action of the main chemical ingredient of marijuana, is significantly reduced in the brains of individuals with schizophrenia. Activation of CB1R impairs signaling by gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an important neurotransmitter essential for core cognitive processes such as working memory. The use of marijuana in individuals with schizophrenia appears to worsen this deficit in GABA synthesis.

Since reduced GABA is known to be present in schizophrenia, these findings suggest possible new drug targets that could help to improve function in people with the mental illness, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers report.

Heavy marijuana use, particularly in adolescence, appears to be associated with an increased risk for the later development of schizophrenia, and the course of illness is worse for people with schizophrenia who use marijuana,” said David A. Lewis, M.D., corresponding author of the study and UPMC Endowed Professor in Translational Neuroscience, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “We wanted to understand the biological mechanisms that could explain these observations, and with this study, I believe that we can narrow down at least part of the ‘why’ to CB1R, the receptor for both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and the brains own cannabinoid chemical messengers.”

Dr. Lewis and his colleagues examined specimens of brain tissue collected after death from 23 people with schizophrenia and 23 normal comparison subjects matched for a number of factors, including age and sex. The researchers evaluated levels of CB1R messenger RNA and protein, and also measured levels of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD-67), an enzyme that makes GABA, and cholecystokinin (CCK), a neuropeptide released from GABA neurons that, among other actions, regulates the production of the brain’s own cannabinoids.

“CB1R levels were significantly 15 percent lower in the subjects with schizophrenia,” Dr. Lewis said. “We measured these biochemical messengers using three techniques, and each time got the same answer – less CB1R in people with schizophrenia.” This reduction, he noted, appears to be the brain’s way of compensating for lower levels of GABA, and the use of marijuana defeats this compensation.

“These findings may provide insight into the biological basis of why cannabis use worsens schizophrenia, and, as a result, identify a novel target for new drug development that could improve treatments available for schizophrenia,” said Dr. Lewis.

Other authors include Stephen M. Eggan, Ph.D., and Takanori Hashimoto, M.D., Ph.D., both of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health. Additional funding support for Dr. Eggan came from the University of Pittsburgh’s Andrew Mellon Predoctoral and Scottish Rite fellowships.

source: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

More Treatment & Detox Articles

Recognizing the Need for Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program

It’s never too late to seek help for an addiction to alcohol but there are some ways that we can learn to recognize the need for alcohol addiction treatment long before the severe consequences and physical illness begin to fully set in. If you or someone you love drinks alcohol regularly, there’s a chance that….

Continue reading

Binge drinking danger of giving your child a glass of wine

Just the one: Allowing children a glass of wine with dinner could turn them into binge drinkers in later life Parents who give their child the occasional glass of wine with their meal could be turning them into binge drinkers, scientists have warned. Growing numbers of middle class parents are following the example of French….

Continue reading

Neural Processing Differences in ADHD in Individuals With and Without Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

The adverse effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on behavioral, cognitive, and social development can lead to a range of symptoms referred to as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Attention and cognition problems seen in individuals with a history of prenatal alcohol exposure often resemble those linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). An assessment of….

Continue reading

Impulsivity Linked to Cocaine Addiction

Call it the chicken-and-egg debate of the addiction world: Cocaine addicts are known for being frenetic, but which came first, the behavior or the habit? New research indicates that, at least in rats, it’s the behavior that begets addiction. What’s more, the study has pinpointed the character trait–impulsiveness–that is responsible for developing true drug dependence…..

Continue reading