By LeeWEpstein

November 13, 2019


One study showed that the use of cannabidiol reduced aggressive reactions after episodes of social isolation. The work performed on mice by researchers from the University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto Medical School. The results published in the journal Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. Scientists who have studied mouse behavior have come to this conclusion.

Our study shows that cannabidiol has an effect on aggression reduction and that the substance acts as an aggression inhibitor because it facilitates the activation of two receptors: 5-HT1A receptor, responsible for the effects of the serotonin neurotransmitter and CB1 receptor, responsible for the effects of endocannabinoids,” said Francisco Silveira Guimarães, FMRP-USP professor and study leader.

The research belongs to a protocol called “resident intruders”. Which consists of isolating mice for several days and then, placing another subject in their space to evaluate their reaction.

“Over the past 20 years, cannabidiol has been studied in many settings, but few studies have examined its effects on aggressive behavior,” said Guimarães.

The Experiment

At first,the researchers divided the rodents into five groups of six to eight male individuals each. Mice in the first four groups received different doses of cannabidiol. The latter group did not receive CBD and used as a control group. As expected, mice in the cannabidiol-free group reacted almost immediately to the presence of the intruder by noticing it. The reaction took on average 2 minutes after the invader placed in their space.

The rodents in the first group received less CBD and reacted 4 minutes after the introduction of the “invader”.

While,those in the second group, where the amount of substance was slightly higher, responded within 11 minutes. In the third and fourth groups, with higher doses, there was no significant inhibition of animal aggressiveness.

“This result in the reduced effect of CBD at higher doses was already expected. In other experiments, such as the cannabidiol antidepressant potential test, higher doses resulted in moderate effects, he said.

The new study was a part of the thematic project “New Perspectives on the Use of Drugs Modifying Atypical Neurotransmitters in the Treatment of Neuropsychiatric Disorders”, supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation.

Professor Guimarães says that isolation-induced aggression is a classic behavioral model in experiments. “The aggression induced by isolation can be mitigated by the administration of anxiolytic, antidepressant or antipsychotic drugs. With preclinical and clinical results indicating that cannabidiol has such properties, we decided to test its effect on induced aggressiveness,” he said.


The body’s central nervous system,the endocannabinoid system, which researchers believe controls appetite, mood, pain, memory, and other important functions.
The endocannabinoid system includes several different receptors, including the CB1 receptor. When the CB1 receptor comes into contact with THC, it causes the psychoactive effects associated with “becoming elevated”; however, when the CB1 receptor comes into contact with CBD, not only does it not cause psychoactive effects, but it prevents THC from interacting with the CB1 receptor.

This allows CBD to inhibit some of the negative effects caused by THC, such as anxiety and memory loss, including aggression.

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