Impulsive Behavior Regulated by Cannabinoid 2 Receptors
The Neuroscience Institute of Alicante has revealed that through manipulating the endocannabinoid system, a person’s level of impulsivity can be regulated—a helpful discovery for patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and substance abuse, psychiatric disorders in which impulsivity is an issue. A personality trait characterized by actions that lack forethought, impulsivity does not allow for the consideration of consequences. While some impulsivity is normal, as it allows humans to adapt to new surroundings, more frequent and severe impulsivity can be destructive.1
The Endocannabinoid System consists of two receptors (CB1 and CB2), two endogenous ligands, and two metabolism enzymes.1 The System regulates aspects of embryonic development and affects many homeostatic mechanisms. Originally, the CB2 receptor was thought to only regulate immune response; however, many scientists have now linked the CB2 receptor to regulating emotional behavior and cognitive functions.1 This includes regulating feelings of anxiety and depression. Scientists also believe that altering the receptor’s role will directly relate to a person’s chance of becoming anxious, depressed, or a substance user.1
The original study was conducted on mice; however, it is now possible that researchers will conduct impulsivity-testing trials on humans using drugs that act upon the CB2 receptor of the brain, being careful not to regulate the CB1 receptor which is already a proven impulsivity manipulator.1 The study analyzed the action of two cannabinoid drugs that both stimulate and block CB2 in mice.1 Next, researchers examined whether or not the drugs were capable of regulating impulsive behavior and looked to see what the cerebral modifications with such a behavior change were.1 It was found that the CB2 receptor activity was regulated and impulsive behavior in the mice was reduced.1 Currently, the study is still ongoing, and researchers are developing their results more fully before taking the next step.
 FECYT – Spanish Foundation for Science and Technol. (2012, March 11). “Impulsive Behavior Regulated By Cannabinoid 2 Receptors.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/242700.php.