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Impairment of Synaptic Plasticity by Cannabis, Δ9-THC, and Synthetic Cannabinoids.

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2020 Apr 27;:

Authors: Hoffman AF, Hwang EK, Lupica CR

The ability of neurons to dynamically and flexibly encode synaptic inputs via short- and long-term plasticity is critical to an organism’s ability to learn and adapt to the environment. Whereas synaptic plasticity may be encoded by pre- or postsynaptic mechanisms, current evidence suggests that optimization of learning requires both forms of plasticity. Endogenous cannabinoids (eCBs) play critical roles in modulating synaptic transmission via activation of cannabinoid CB1 receptors (CB1Rs) in many central nervous system (CNS) regions, and the eCB system has been implicated, either directly or indirectly, in several forms of synaptic plasticity. Because of this, perturbations within the eCB signaling system can lead to impairments in a variety of learned behaviors. One agent of altered eCB signaling is exposure to « exogenous cannabinoids » such as the primary psychoactive constituent of cannabis, Δ9-THC, or illicit synthetic cannabinoids that in many cases have higher potency and efficacy than Δ9-THC. Thus, by targeting the eCB system, these agonists can produce widespread impairment of synaptic plasticity by disrupting ongoing eCB function. Here, we review studies in which Δ9-THC and synthetic cannabinoids impair synaptic plasticity in a variety of neuronal circuits and examine evidence that this contributes to their well-documented ability to disrupt cognition and behavior.

PMID: 32341064 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Source: ncbi 2

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Categories: Medical

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