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Scientific progress

13 - 09 - 2017

Marijuana in adolescents and schizophrenia: a link and a possible treatment

Researchers may have discovered in rats a link between adolescent marijuana use and schizophrenia in adults that could possibly inspire a new treatment.

Chronic use of marijuana in adolescents appears to promote the development of schizophrenia on the long run.

Using the rat model of schizophrenia based on exposure to THC *, researchers demonstrated that this substance alters the expression of the GABA neurotransmitter in the prefrontal cortex. The development of schizophrenia in adolescents is related to a dysfunction of GABA activity in this part of the brain.

 

 


Refering to these results, the researchers administered in the prefrontal cortex of these same rats a GABA receptor activator. As a result, the neuronal and behavioral effects associated with schizophrenia (memory and social interactions deficits, anxiety) decreased or disapeared.

This discovery could lead to the use of GABA activators not only to counteract the negative effects of THC, but also to treat mental disorders such as addiction, depression or anxiety.

 
* psychoactive chemical contained in marijuana