A protein linked to anxiety and stress found in cannabis users

Scientists have found a link between regular cannabis use and the presence of biological markers in the brain related to stress and anxiety in young people.

This discovery would go against the popular belief that cannabis can be used as a relaxant.

By analyzing the brains of 24 young regular users of cannabis using positron emission tomography (PET), Dr. Romina Mizrahi of the Toronto Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) noted a strong presence of a protein called TSPO. The brains of 27 youth who do not use cannabis were also analyzed.

This protein is linked to inflammation of the brain.

According to a 2015 study by Dr. Jeffrey Meyer also from the CAMH , brain inflammation is one of the causes of anxiety and stress in individuals.

The 2015 study used the same technology and found the presence of TSPO protein in the brain.

The scientist Romina Mizrahi says she wants to continue to perfect her knowledge of the subject. If she gets the funding she needs, her next study will try to find out if stopping cannabis use for a long time reduces TSPO levels.

Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in the world, but we know very little about its impact on the brain, especially among younger users whose brains are still developing up to 25 years of age.

Dr. Romina Mizrahi Researcher at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

If rates fluctuate with consumption, she believes she can establish a more direct link between cannabis use, stress and anxiety.

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