Are Cannabinoids A Possible Treatment For Aggressive Behavior?

By John Lavitt 11/17/15

The study produced results that seemed to confirm what many intuitively believed.

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According to a 2015 study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the cannabinoids in marijuana significantly mitigate aggressive behavior in animal studies. The main objective of the Spanish study was, “To examine the role of cannabinoid CB2r in social and aggressive behavior.”

Using mice as test subjects, scientists from the University of Valencia in Spain examined the effects of the activation of the CB2r cannabinoid receptors in their animal models. The study found that such activation played a critical role in the management of antagonistic conduct. By demonstrating a significant reduction in aggression, the results of the study provide a big step in proving what many already intuitively believed.

In their research, the scientists discovered that lab mice deficient in CB2r, “Exhibited higher levels of aggression in their social interaction test and displayed more aggression than the study’s resident wild mice ... Acute administration of the CB2r agonist significantly reduced the level of aggression in hostile mice.”

When a social interaction test was performed on mice lacking the cannabinoid receptors, the effects of the CB2r selective agonist was shown to significantly reduce aggression in those lab mice, particularly when compared to their “wild-type littermates.” The study’s overall conclusion is encouraging. “Our results suggest that CB2r is implicated in social interaction and aggressive behavior and deserves further consideration,” researchers said.

As such studies continue to produce positive results, the push for cannabinoids to be rescheduled within the controlled substance act will gain in momentum. While all healthy mammals have a tendency to act out aggressively from time-to-time, the authors hope their findings will lead to further research on CB2r receptors as a “potential target in the management of aggression-related psychiatric disorders.”

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles with his beautiful wife, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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