JUL 10, 2020 7:27 AM PDT

How Cannabis Compound THC Makes You Less Sociable

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Although previous research found that cannabis use may lead to social withdrawal, until now, the mechanisms behind the phenomenon were unknown. Now, from studying mice, researchers may have found how regular cannabis use may impact sociability. 

The study comes after previous results in which the researchers found that cannabinoid receptors exist on the membranes of mitochondria (the so-called ‘powerhouses’ of the cell) that lie within astrocytes. Playing an important role in energy metabolism in the brain, these cells work by capturing glucose from the blood and metabolizing it into lactate to then ‘feed’ neurons. 

To see how cannabis compounds may impact their function, the researchers exposed mice to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in cannabis. In doing so, they found that the activation of the astrocytes’ cannabinoid receptors by THC reduced their ability to metabolize glucose.

This meant that the astrocytes were less able to convert glucose into ‘food’, and ultimately compromised the function of surrounding neurons. The researchers suspect that this compromise then led to a reduction in social interactions between the mice for up to 24 hours. 

“Our study is the first to show that the decline in sociability sometimes associated with cannabis use is the result of altered glucose metabolism in the brain. It also opens up new avenues of research to find therapeutic solutions to alleviate some of the behavioral problems resulting from exposure to cannabis. In addition, it reveals the direct impact of astrocyte energy metabolism on behavior,” says Giovanni Marsicano, lead author of the study. 

Given the rising popularity of cannabis-based products, the researchers believe that their findings can help generate a better understanding of how the body’s cannabinoid receptors react to cannabis compounds. In particular, they hope their research will inform better management of patients who may need to use cannabis for therapeutic reasons.

Sources: Neuroscience NewsNature

 

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
MAR 05, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
How the Ancients Used Cannabis- 8000 Years Ago
MAR 05, 2020
How the Ancients Used Cannabis- 8000 Years Ago
Cannabis is one of the oldest known psychoactive drugs. Used in cultures around the world for thousands of years for var ...
APR 03, 2020
Health & Medicine
Cannabis Could Have Adverse Effects on Fertility
APR 03, 2020
Cannabis Could Have Adverse Effects on Fertility
New research proves that female eggs exposed to THC may affect their ability to produce embryos that will result in a vi ...
APR 15, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Physical Withdrawal Symptoms in 47% Who Quit Cannabis
APR 15, 2020
Physical Withdrawal Symptoms in 47% Who Quit Cannabis
As cannabis has become more and more popular for both medical and recreational use, researchers are increasingly able to ...
APR 15, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Marijuana May or May Not Actually Help with Pain
APR 15, 2020
Marijuana May or May Not Actually Help with Pain
Cannabis use is often associated with pain relief, but a recent study of medical marijuana use suggests that scientists ...
JUL 17, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Does Cannabis Really Make Sex Better?
JUL 17, 2020
Does Cannabis Really Make Sex Better?
Cannabis is legal in 39 states. While it is entirely legal in 11 states and the District of Columbia, in another 28, it ...
JUL 29, 2020
Health & Medicine
The Carrier Oil Matters When it Comes to CBD Products
JUL 29, 2020
The Carrier Oil Matters When it Comes to CBD Products
The type of oil that is used to extract and carry the medicinally active ingredients (cannabinoids and terpenes) in cann ...
Loading Comments...