Study: Cannabis May Help Reduce Aggressive Behavior in Autism Patients

Cannabis may help reduce the aggressive behavior experienced by some autism patients, according to a study published by the journal Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience.

“Understanding neuronal mechanisms underlying aggression in patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) could lead to better treatments and prognosis”, begins the study’s abstract. “The Neuroligin-3 (NL3)R451C mouse model of ASD has a heightened aggressive phenotype, however the biological mechanisms underlying this behavior are unknown.”

Given that “[e]ndocannabinoids influence social interaction and aggressive behavior”, researchers “studied the effects of cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) agonist on NL3R451C mice.”

Following “non-sedating doses (0.3 and 1.0 mg/kg) of the CB1 receptor agonist WIN55,212-2 (WIN)”, which is meant to mimic the effects of natural, cannabis-based cannabinoids, researchers “observed a significant reduction in aggressive behavior in NL3R451C mice.”

These findings “demonstrate altered synaptic activity in the basolateral amygdala and suggest that the NL3R451C mouse model is a useful preclinical tool to understand the role of CB1 receptor function in aggressive behavior.”

More information on this study, conducted by researchers at RMIT University, Monash University, the University of Auckland and the University of Melbourne (all in Australia), can be found by clicking here.

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