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Cannabis Use and Stress

Cannabis

CAN CANNABIS REALLY REDUCE STRESS?

Cannabis has long been used for stress reduction, and its anxiolytic and anti-depressive abilities are generally well accepted. However, acute THC administration has also been shown to increase concentrations of stress glucocorticoids like cortisol and to diminish cortisol reactivity to stress1,2. Even sober chronic cannabis users display dampened adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and lower cortisol release in response to stress. To better understand the effect of chronic cannabis use on stress, a recent study in Neurobiology of Stress by Glodosky, et al. set out to determine the extent to which cannabis use alters the response by measuring stress reactivity before and after use in a rat model of acute stress and cannabis self-administration. The magnitude of the stress response was determined by measuring plasma corticosterone levels using the DetectX® Corticosterone ELISA kit from Arbor Assays.

The authors observed increasing basal corticosterone levels following cannabis self-administration and chronic use significantly dampened stress reactivity in female—but not male—rats. The blunted stress reactivity at baseline did not predict cannabis self-administration, contradicting the hypothesis that lower stress reactivity is a risk factor for cannabis use. The results imply that cannabis-induced reductions in corticosterone reactivity could protect against the detrimental effects of chronic stress by preventing excessive glucocorticoid activity.  However, research also indicates that using cannabis to cope with stress is associated with several negative outcomes and despite the acute antidepressant effects of cannabis, repeated use may actually exacerbate depression over time.

OUR DetectX® CORTICOSTERONE ELISA Kit (K014-H1/H5)

  • Highly cited – 300+ publications
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  • Sensitive – 20.9 pg/mL (50 μL format),17.5 pg/mL (100 μL format)
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