Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Antidepressant Drug Increases 'Brain's Own Cannabis'

Date:
December 13, 2005
Source:
McGill University
Summary:
Researchers have discovered a new drug that raises the level of endocannabinoids--the 'brain's own cannabis'--providing anti-depressant effects. The new research published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), suggests the new drug, called URB597, could represent a safer alternative to cannabis for the treatment of pain and depression, and open the door to new and improved treatments for clinical depression--a condition that affects around 20% of Canadians.

Researchers have discovered a new drug that raises the level of endocannabinoids -- the 'brain's own cannabis' -- providing anti-depressant effects. The new research published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), suggests the new drug, called URB597, could represent a safer alternative to cannabis for the treatment of pain and depression, and open the door to new and improved treatments for clinical depression--a condition that affects around 20% of Canadians.

In preclinical laboratory tests researchers found that URB597 increased the production of endocannabinoids by blocking their degradation, resulting in measurable antidepressant effects. "This is the first time it has been shown that a drug that increases endocannabinoids in the brain can improve your mood," says the lead investigator Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, an MUHC and Université de Montréal researcher.

Endocannabinoids are chemicals released by the brain under certain conditions, like exercise; they stimulate specific brain receptors that can trigger feelings of well-being. The researchers, which included scientists from the University of California at Irvine, were able to measure serotonin and noradrenaline activity as a result of the increased endocannabinoids, and also conducted standard experiments to gauge the 'mood' of their subjects and confirm their findings.

"The results were similar to the effect we might expect from the use of commonly prescribed antidepressants, which are effective on only around 30% of the population," explains Dr. Gobbi. "Our discovery strengthens the case for URB597 as a safer, non-addictive, non-psychotropic alternative to cannabis for the treatment of pain and depression and provides hope for the development of an alternate line of antidepressants, with a wider range of effectiveness."

Cannabis has been known for its anti-depressant and pain-relief effects for many years, but the addictive nature and general health concerns of cannabis use make this drug far from ideal as a medical treatment. The active ingredient in cannabis--THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)--stimulates cannabinoid receptors.

Funding for this study was provided by the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec (FRSQ), the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation (CPRF), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and an MUHC fellowship.

###

About the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC)

The MUHC is a comprehensive academic health institution with an international reputation for excellence in clinical programs, research and teaching. The MUHC is a merger of five teaching hospitals affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University––the Montreal Children's, Montreal General, Royal Victoria, and Montreal Neurological Hospitals, as well as the Montreal Chest Institute. Building on the tradition of medical leadership of the founding hospitals, the goal of the MUHC is to provide patient care based on the most advanced knowledge in the health care field, and to contribute to the development of new knowledge. www.muhc.ca

About the Université de Montréal

Founded in 1878, the Université de Montréal today has 13 faculties and together with its two affiliated schools, HEC Montréal and École Polytechnique, constitutes the largest centre of higher education and research in Québec, the second largest in Canada, and one of the major centres in North America. It brings together 2,400 professors and researchers, accommodates nearly 55,000 students, offers some 650 programs at all academic levels, and awards about 3,000 masters and doctorate diplomas each year.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

McGill University. "New Antidepressant Drug Increases 'Brain's Own Cannabis'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 December 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051213172852.htm>.
McGill University. (2005, December 13). New Antidepressant Drug Increases 'Brain's Own Cannabis'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051213172852.htm
McGill University. "New Antidepressant Drug Increases 'Brain's Own Cannabis'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051213172852.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

App Teaches Kindergarteners to Code

App Teaches Kindergarteners to Code

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — They can't all read yet, but soon kindergarteners may be able to create basic computer code. Researchers in Massachusetts developed an app that teaches young kids a simple computer programming language. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) — Research from Washington University suggest people with conscientious spouses have greater career success. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) — Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins