endocannabinoid   6

The Feel-Good Gene - NYTimes.com
So it seems that nature has designed us all to be on high alert for danger: We all learn to be afraid of new threats with equal facility. But some of us, like those with this cannabinoid mutation, forget about previous dangers more easily and move around in the world with less anxiety. This seems like a good deal for the species: We’re protected by those who are anxious and vigilant and enriched by those who are more carefree and exploratory.

Aside from insight into anxiety, these findings also suggest intriguing new therapeutic targets for drug abuse in general. That’s because the cannabinoid circuit directly influences the dopamine reward pathway, which is the shared target of commonly abused drugs, like cocaine, opiates and alcohol. Thus, it is possible that a medication that targets the endocannabinoid system could be beneficial in treating addiction to cannabis, and other drugs, too.

In a broader sense, Dr. Lee’s study has important implications for personalized medicine. Imagine you are a soldier returning from war with PTSD. With a simple blood test looking at gene variants, we could discover whether you were biologically adept at fear extinction, which is essentially the basis of exposure therapy for PTSD. If you had a mutation that reduced your ability to extinguish fear, your therapist would know you might just need more exposure — more treatment sessions — to recover. Or, perhaps a different therapy altogether that doesn’t rely on exposure, like interpersonal therapy, or medication.
cannabis  endocannabinoid  opioid  receptor  brain  anxiety  human  genetics  research  in  vivo  animal  PTSD  treatment  clinical  trial 
march 2015 by Michael.Massing

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