Acute Stress Increases Circulating A... [Neuropsychopharmacology. 2012] - PubMed - NCBI

Detractors of the medical marijuana movement mock the access to cannabis dispensaries by patients due to "stress" ailments but as we once again see, science has proven them wrong. There is a growing body of evidence to prove that using marijuana not only relieves the feelings of stress that we often endure, it actually neutralizes or inhibits the production of damaging chemicals the result from stress. This study found that stress causes a rise in the blood levels of endocannabinoids in order to protect the body from the harm caused by stress-related compounds. So it logically follows that supplementing the activity of the endocannabinoids with phytocannabinoids from marijuana can increase this type of biochemical protection. But those of us who use it have known this for years and regret deeply that the stigma associated with marijuana has deprived millions of people from this safe, inexpensive and enjoyable stress-relieving remedy. Acute Stress Increases Circulating Anandamide and Other N-Acylethanolamines in Healthy Humans.

Dlugos A, Childs E, Stuhr KL, Hillard CJ, de Wit H.


1] Department of Psychiatry, University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany [2] Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.


Stress plays an important role in psychiatric disorders, and preclinical evidence indicates that the central endocannabinoid system modulates endocrine and neuronal responses to stress. This study aimed to investigate the effect of acute stress on circulating concentrations of endocannabinoids (eCBs) in healthy humans. A total of 71 adults participated in two sessions in which they were exposed to either a standardized psychosocial stress procedure (Trier Social Stress Test) or a control task. Blood samples for eCB and cortisol assays and cardiovascular and subjective measures were obtained before and at regular intervals after the tasks. Serum concentrations of the eCBs, N-arachidonylethanolamine (anandamide, AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), as well as of the N-acylethanolamides (NAEs), N-palmitoylethanolamine (PEA) and N-oleoylethanolamine (OEA), and of the O-acylglycerol, 2-oleoylglycerol (2-OG), were determined. Compared with the control condition, stress increased serum concentrations of AEA and the other NAEs immediately after the stress period. Increases in PEA were positively correlated with increases in serum cortisol after stress. Furthermore, anxiety ratings at baseline were negatively correlated with baseline concentrations of AEA. The sex and menstrual cycle status of the subject affected the NAE responses to stress. Interestingly, subjects of Asian and African-American races exhibited different patterns of stress responses compared with the Caucasian subjects. These results indicate that stress increases circulating NAEs in healthy human volunteers. This finding supports a protective role for eCBs in anxiety. Further research is needed to elucidate the function of these lipid mediators, and to determine the mechanisms that regulate their appearance in the circulation.Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication, 4 July 2012; doi:10.1038/npp.2012.100.

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