THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, affects women differently than men, according to a new study.
The study, conducted by Weill Cornell Medical College on adolescent mice. Reveals that due to a common variation in the human genome, adolescent girls are increasingly sensitive to cannabis.
Our study shows that a variant of the FAAH gene, found in about one-third of people, increases vulnerability to THC in women and has a large-scale impact on brain regions and reward processing pathways. Our results suggest that genetics may be a factor contributing to an increased susceptibility to cannabis dependence in certain populations. said Dr. Caitlin Burgdorf, a recent Ph.D. graduate of the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and lead author of the study. Genetic variation in endocannabinoids increases vulnerability to THC reward in adolescent girls.
The endocannabinoid system regulates the activity of cannabinoids in the body and manages the balance of many vital functions. The endocannabinoid system is sensitive to the effects of cannabis . Because it was originally designed to accommodate natural cannabinoids produced by the human body.
Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) thus regulates the effect of natural cannabinoids such as anandamide. The study found that in adolescent female mice, due to a genetic variation. FAAH breaks down more easily, increasing anandamide levels in the brain. The mice then prefer an environment with THC to a neutral environment. The study also reveals that women are more sensitive to the effects of cannabis, which can lead to dependence.
According to the researchers, genetic variations also lead to increased connections between reward-processing areas of the brain.
We are one step closer to understanding exactly how neurodevelopmental and genetic factors play interdependent roles in increasing susceptibility to cannabis dependence. Said Dr. Francis Lee, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine.
The authors also said that further research could reveal the genetic factors responsible for cannabis dependence.