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Review

Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety and Mood Disorders: Molecular Targets and Epigenetic Insights from Preclinical Research

1
Center for Psychiatry Research, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet & Stockholm Health Care Services, 11364 Stockholm, Sweden
2
Center for Molecular Medicine, L8:00, Karolinska University Hospital, 17176 Stockholm, Sweden
3
Division of Neuroscience and Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cagliari, 09042 Cagliari, Italy
4
Pharmacology Unit, School of Pharmacy, University of Camerino, 62032 Camerino, Italy
5
CNR Institute of Neuroscience-Cagliari, National Research Council, 09042 Cagliari, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to the paper.
Academic Editors: Barbara Malinowska, Eberhard Schlicker and Roger G Pertwee
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(4), 1863; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22041863
Received: 27 January 2021 / Revised: 8 February 2021 / Accepted: 9 February 2021 / Published: 13 February 2021
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most abundant non-psychoactive component of cannabis; it displays a very low affinity for cannabinoid receptors, facilitates endocannabinoid signaling by inhibiting the hydrolysis of anandamide, and stimulates both transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 and 2 and serotonin type 1A receptors. Since CBD interacts with a wide variety of molecular targets in the brain, its therapeutic potential has been investigated in a number of neuropsychiatric diseases, including anxiety and mood disorders. Specifically, CBD has received growing attention due to its anxiolytic and antidepressant properties. As a consequence, and given its safety profile, CBD is considered a promising new agent in the treatment of anxiety and mood disorders. However, the exact molecular mechanism of action of CBD still remains unknown. In the present preclinical review, we provide a summary of animal-based studies that support the use of CBD as an anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like compound. Next, we describe neuropharmacological evidence that links the molecular pharmacology of CBD to its behavioral effects. Finally, by taking into consideration the effects of CBD on DNA methylation, histone modifications, and microRNAs, we elaborate on the putative role of epigenetic mechanisms in mediating CBD’s therapeutic outcomes. View Full-Text
Keywords: cannabidiol; anxiety; depression; 5-HT1A receptors; TRPV1 receptors; CB1 receptors; DNA methylation; histone modifications; miRNA; epigenetics cannabidiol; anxiety; depression; 5-HT1A receptors; TRPV1 receptors; CB1 receptors; DNA methylation; histone modifications; miRNA; epigenetics
MDPI and ACS Style

Melas, P.A.; Scherma, M.; Fratta, W.; Cifani, C.; Fadda, P. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety and Mood Disorders: Molecular Targets and Epigenetic Insights from Preclinical Research. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22, 1863. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22041863

AMA Style

Melas PA, Scherma M, Fratta W, Cifani C, Fadda P. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety and Mood Disorders: Molecular Targets and Epigenetic Insights from Preclinical Research. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2021; 22(4):1863. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22041863

Chicago/Turabian Style

Melas, Philippe A., Maria Scherma, Walter Fratta, Carlo Cifani, and Paola Fadda. 2021. "Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety and Mood Disorders: Molecular Targets and Epigenetic Insights from Preclinical Research" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22, no. 4: 1863. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22041863

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