Panic, as a mental health disorder, results from overactive stress hormones, hypersensitivity to certain neurotransmitters, and a desensitization to the parasympathetic system — which is supposed to quell the fight-or-flight reaction after a threat has disappeared. New research from Brazilian scientsts in São Paulo examined how endocannabinoids, specifically anandamide, plays a role in panic-like reactions in mice.
Most everyone has had the experience of biting into a spicy pepper and feeling heat permeate their mouth. This feeling comes from the activation of TRPV (pronounced trip-vee) receptors. These are ion channels that sense stimuli like heat, pressure, light, acidity, herbs, and toxins. TRPV receptors exist on many kinds of cells — from taste buds to neurons.
Systemic lupus erythomatosus, often simply called lupus, is a severe autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the nucleus of cells — their genetic control center. Problems can be expressed anywhere in the body, though rashes in the skin, joints, and vital organs are most common. Treatment of lupus generally requires intense immunosuppresive drugs, often targeting inflammatory molecules called interferons. But these drugs make a person more susceptible to other diseases.
Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are one of the most common classes of painkillers, which includes aspirin, ibuprofen, celecoxib, and other pharmaceuticals. Their primary target is an enzyme called cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), which metabolizes many lipids (including endocannabinoids!) into a class of inflammatory molecules called prostaglandins.
The entourage effect was a term first used to describe the various endocannabinoids that work together. Recent research emphasizes how two of these chemicals (OEA and PEA) exert subtle anti-inflammatory and antidepressant effects through a receptor called PPAR-alpha.