Cannabis Exposure in Adolescence Impacts on Molecular and Epigenetic Brain Responses to Cocaine

April 30, 2020 | Biotechnology

Reading time: 6-7 minutes

Lab.Equipment has found a new article from the Biotechnology industry for you. This one is published by Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN):

Studies in rodents by scientists at Columbia University and the University of Cagliari in Italy have shown how cannabis use during adolescence can make the brain more sensitive to subsequent first exposure to cocaine. By monitoring changes in the brains of both adolescent and adult rats after the administration of synthetic psychoactive cannabinoids followed by cocaine, the research team identified molecular and epigenetic changes that occurred in the brains of the adolescent, but not the adult animals.

The findings reveal an interplay between the two drugs that had never previously been observed directly at molecular level detail, giving scientists new neurobiological insights into how the abuse of cannabis during teenage years may enhance the first experience with cocaine and lead to addiction among vulnerable individuals.

“Our study in rats is the first to map the detailed molecular and epigenetic mechanisms by which cocaine interacts with brains already exposed to cannabinoids, providing much-needed clarity to the biological mechanisms that may increase the risk for drug abuse and addiction,” stated Nobel laureate Eric Kandel, MD, co-director of Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and senior investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Kandel is co-author of the researchers’ published paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), which is titled, “Cannabinoid exposure in rat adolescence reprograms the initial behavioral, molecular, and epigenetic response to cocaine.”

It’s already known that humans and animals vary in how they respond to the first use of drugs, and this can predict future drug use. “Positive first experiences with cocaine, for example, are associated with future cocaine use, shorter latency to second use, and the development of cocaine depe... More of this in the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN) Blog.

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