BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A researcher at the University at Buffalo's
Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) is investigating the
"brain's own marijuana" -- called endocannabinoid -- in the
regulation of stress, stress-related behavior and anxiety.
A five-year, $1.7 million grant from the National Institute of
Mental Health is supporting this investigation.
"It is widely accepted that one of the major reasons that people
use and abuse marijuana is to relieve stress," according to Samir
Haj-Dahmane, Ph.D., neuroscientist and principal investigator on
the RIA study. "However, because marijuana can be addictive, it
cannot be used to treat stress-related mood disorders such as
anxiety. An alternative strategy may be to directly target the
'brain's own marijuana.'"
The success of such a strategy requires a better understanding
of how endocannabinoid moderates stress-related behaviors and how
stress and stress hormones activate the endocannabinoid system.
Haj-Dahmane and his co-investigator, Troy Wood, Ph.D., will
examine the relationships between stress, stress-related behavior
and addiction using a combination of electrophysiological,
pharmacological and neurochemical approaches. They believe this
study also may lay the foundation for better pharmacotherapy for
stress-related mood disorders. Wood is an associate professor in
the Department of Chemistry in UB's College of Arts and
The Research Institute on Addictions has been a leader in the
study of addictions since 1970 and a research center of the
University at Buffalo since 1999.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive
public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the
State University of New York. UB's more than 27,000 students pursue
their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate,
graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the
University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American