Stress, Drug Dependence, and Emotion

mouse movement is tracked in real time

One line of federally funded research investigates how endocannabinoids affect emotionality, that is, stress, anxiety, and depression.  Cannabis has been used for millenia to decrease stress, reduce anxiety and depression, and bring about feelings of euphoria.  Endocannabinoids are released on demand in response to stress, and appear to have anxiety-reducing effects in animals.  Thus, the overall goal of this line of research is to develop novel endocannabinoid-based treatments for disorders involving anxiety and depression.

In addition, we are investigating how drug dependence represents a stressor, and how the endocannabinoid system affects the development of axiety-like and depressive-like behaviors over the lifespan of the animal.

We use an array of automated behavioral systems to investigate the effects of cannabinoids on anxiety-like and depressive-like behaviors in a range of rodent models.