Deciphering the link between cannabis and psychotic disorders

Juan Pedro Bolaños

  • PROJECT LEADER

    Juan Pedro Bolaños

  • HOST ORGANIZATION,
    COUNTRY

    Institute of Functional Biology and Genomics (IBFG), Salamanca, Spain

  • DESCRIPTION

    Cannabis is the most widely consumed drug in the world. According to the latest United Nations report on drugs, some 209 million people used cannabis in 2020, which represents 4 % of the global population. Its use, particularly during vulnerable periods when the brain is still developing, for example during adolescence, can have serious adverse psychiatric consequences, such as the onset of psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia.

    However, cannabinoid-derived drugs have been shown to have therapeutic potential for treating various pathologies. For this reason, it is necessary to understand what happens in the brain for cannabis to induce negative effects such as psychosis, as this will help make the use of cannabinoid derivatives safer.

    It is known that in the brain, the main psychoactive component of Cannabis sativa is THC, which works by activating a specific type of receptor. In recent studies, researchers in the project have found that when THC is administered to mice, it stimulates cannabinoid receptors specifically located in astrocytes, a type of cell in the central nervous system, and that this alters the animals' social behaviour. In this project, researchers will use genetic, biochemical and behavioural approaches to identify the molecular pathways that explain the psychotic effects of cannabis in the brain, and will determine whether a specific mitochondrial protein phosphatase can be considered a new therapeutic target to counteract the psychotic effects induced by cannabinoids.

  • PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS

    • Arnau Busquets-Garcia, Hospital del Mar Research Institute, Barcelona, Spain

    • Giovanni Marsicano, Neurocentre Magendie, Université de Bordeaux, Burdeos, France

  • PROJECT TITLE

    Cannabis and psychoses: decoding the link

  • BUDGET

    994,100.00 €