CBD – a powerful substance in cannabis – can make you less aggressive, a study suggests.
Scientists discovered that giving angry mice cannabidiol made them slower to attack intruders in their cages.
And the rodents that received CBD – a supplement available in the main street – attacked less often.
The Brazilian researchers behind the study believe that the compound activates two receptors in the brain that calm you down.
It is currently unclear how activating the receptors calmed the mice, but it can be caused by the flood of a feel-good chemical.
CBD makes you less aggressive because it activates two important calming receptors in the brain, scientists claim after tests on mice
The Ribeirão Preto Medical School study at the University of São Paulo is one of the first to test the effect of CBD on aggressiveness.
Cannabidiol is derived from cannabis but is not psychoactive, which means that it is not a & # 39; high & # 39; when it is taken.
It is the component of CBD oil that is available in the UK because advisers say it is a & # 39; repairing, correcting or modifying & # 39; effect on people.
Scientists behind the study isolated mice for a few days, which would make them aggressive if confronted with an intruder.
Normally, aggression caused by isolation would be treated with antidepressants or anti-psychotic drugs.
But early studies have shown that CBD can also work, so the team, led by professor Francisco Silveira Guimarães, decided to test this.
The scientists injected four groups, each consisting of six to eight male mice, with different doses of CBD. A fifth group did not receive a CBD.
The mice in the fifth group attacked a mouse invader two minutes after they entered their cage, and attacked between 20 and 25.
The mice received the smallest dose of CBD, equal to 5 milligrams per kilo, started to attack after about four minutes.
The number of attacks also decreased by half, according to the findings published in the journal Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry.
The mice that received 15 mg / kg behaved the least aggressively. Attacks started on average 11 minutes after the intruder's arrival and the number of attacks was on average only around five per cage.
But for the mice receiving the highest doses of CBD, 30 mg / kg and 60 mg / kg, the attacks were more frequent.
Professor Guimaraes said: & # 39; This reduction in the effect of cannabidiol at higher doses was expected based on the results of other studies.
& # 39; In experiments to investigate the potential as an antidepressant, for example, higher doses led to lower effects after an initial gain.
& # 39; If we had tested 120 mg / kg on a group of mice in our experiment, we might not have achieved any inhibition of resident aggressiveness. & # 39;
The scientists wanted to find out how the CBD calms the mice and re-conducted their experiments, but this time they blocked receptors in the brain that they thought played a crucial role.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THC AND CBD
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are both derived from the cannabis plant.
Together they are part of the cannabinoid group of compounds found in hashish, hash oil and most types of marijuana.
THC is the psychoactive substance responsible for the euphoric, & # 39; high & # 39; feeling that is often associated with marijuana.
THC works together with CB1 receptors in the central nervous system and the brain and creates the feeling of euphoria and anxiety.
CBD does not fit well in these receptors and actually reduces the effects of THC and is not psychoactive.
CBD is thought to help reduce anxiety and inflammation.
These were the 5-HT1A receptor, which increases serotonin production – the & # 39; feel-good & # 39; hormone, and a cannabinoid receptor called type 1 (CB1), which has previously been shown to help control rodent behavior.
Cannabinoid receptors are produced in the body and are involved in body processes such as appetite, pain, mood and memory.
When mice received doses of WAY100635, which is an antagonist of the 5-HT1A receptor, and AM251, an antagonist of the CB1 receptor, the CBD no longer worked.
Regardless of the dose, the mice attacked intruders almost as often as the mice that did not receive CBD, and almost as soon after the intruder entered.
Professor Guimarães said: & # 39; We do not yet know how the 5-HT1A and CB1 receptors influence the aggressiveness in mice, but the activation mechanisms involved seem to be different in each case.
& # 39; Cannabidiol has been studied in different contexts over the past 20 years, but very little research has been done on the effects on aggressive behavior. & # 39;
Ian Hamilton, lecturer in mental health and addiction at the University of York, told MailOnline the findings that build on early science at CBD.
He said: & # 39; Nobody has done this type of experiment before, but by and large we know it has a dampening effect on the brain that has CBD, especially in things like psychosis.
& # 39; You can see that CBD has a calming effect on people with psychological problems. It seems that it has potential to help impulsive control, and that can be seen in many things such as autism, depression and anxiety. & # 39;
Hamilton said that given what scientists know about CBD, it would not surprise him if the findings were the same in human studies.
However, the mice received much stronger and measured doses of CBD than what a human could receive from products sold in the main street.
Hamilton said: & # 39; It's probably a lot higher than you can buy in the Netherlands and Barrett. The researchers use different mg per kilo and the mice weigh 30 to 40 g.
& # 39; It could help manufacturers to be clearer about what is in their CBD product and whether it is sufficient to have any effect.
& # 39; There is very little regulation and consumers are not very clear that the doses are so small that it would not do much. It is almost homeopathic. & # 39;
WHAT IS CBD OIL AND IS IT LEGAL IN THE UK?
Government advisers made it legal to buy CBD supplements in 2016
MHRA government advisers made it legal to buy cannabidiol (CBD) oil in 2016 after admitting it has a "healing, correcting, or modifying" effect on people.
Suppliers in England and Wales must obtain a license to sell it as medicine after the decision in October two years ago.
Manufacturers can avoid strict regulations by selling it as a dietary supplement – ignoring the lengthy process of obtaining a medical license.
CBD products come in many forms, the most popular being an oil – which users spray under their tongues – or gel tablets that melt slowly in the mouth.
Cannabis oil, which is different from CBD oil because it contains THC – the compound that users have a & # 39; high & # 39; gives – is illegal under UK law.
Billy Caldwell, from Castlederg, Northern Ireland, made headlines in April when he became the first Briton to be prescribed it on the NHS.
Cannabis oil, which is said to have no side effects, influences the release and uptake of "feel good" chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin.
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