Anandamide is the internal "marijuana" of the body that blocks negative memories

Anandamide is a neurotransmitter that was discovered in the 90s. It affects the cannabinoid receptors that are activated when marijuana is used. Until recently, the mechanism of anandamide’s effects on brain function remained unclear. Scientists at the University of Leiden (Netherlands) have found that anandamide suppresses traumatic memories and increases stress resistance. 

In the first phase of the trial, the specialists searched for a substance that activates anandamide synthesis in the brain. It turned out to be a NAPE-PLD protein. Further the task of experts was detection of blockers of this protein formation. Having tested more than 350 thousand substances, scientists found LEI-401 molecule - when injected into the body it was able to reach brain and suppress NAPE-PLD action, thus blocking anandamide synthesis. 

The researchers injected LEI-401 into the body of mice and observed how the physiology and mental reactions of animals change. It turned out that rodents without anandamide kept the memory of traumatic events for a long time. In addition, lack of this neurotransmitter led to a stable increase in stress hormone levels in the body, primarily cortisol. Stable activity was also detected in the areas of the brain responsible for stress.

Summarizing the obtained data, the experts concluded: anandamide plays the most important role in blocking negative, traumatic memories, and also coordinates the work of the brain, providing an adequate response to stress. According to the authors of the work, the results of the study open the way to creating new drugs for the treatment of anxiety disorders, including PTSD (PTSD). 

May 15, 2020, 9:50 a.m.

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