Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the chemical components found in marijuana, may have fast-acting antidepressant effects, according to a study published in Neuropharmacology.
Marijuana has long been valued in many cultures for its mood-altering effects. Neuroscientists have identified several ways CBD influences neurochemical processes, especially by affecting production of the neurotransmitters serotonin and glutamate. Because the same brain systems are known to be related to depression, it has been suggested that CBD has the potential to impact depression through these pathways.
In a study led by Raquel Linge, of the Universidad de Cantabria, neuroscientists examined the action of CBD in the brains of 40 mice to determine whether the chemical was effective at reducing depression, and the neural pathways by which it operates. Researchers performed surgery on some of the mice to remove a region of the brain called the olfactory bulb.
Removing this part of the brain causes symptoms including hyperactivity, memory impairment, and decreased interest in being rewarded with sugar, which can be effectively treated using compounds that act as antidepressants in humans. Because of this, the “olfactory bulbectomy mouse model of depression” (OBX) is widely used to perform research related to the biological causes of depression and potential treatments.