The body’s own endocannabinoid system (ECS) is not yet understood completely in its pysiological and pathophysiological importance. However, it is possible to derive its importance concerning disease processes of mental health disorders from our experimental studies in healthy volunteers and psychiatric patients.
Therefore we have investigated the role of endogenous cannabinoids (eCBs) in psychiatric disorders in recent years. It became apparent that the concentrations of eCBs anandamide are significantly increased in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with schizophrenic psychoses compared with healthy controls. Anandamide thus represents a natural counter-regulation against other neurotransmitter systems that are particularly activated in diseases of that kind.
This enables us to gain insight in the underlying neurobiological processes of endocannabinoid functions in psychiatric disorders. Moreover it renders possible to develop therapeutic strategies that target the endocannabinoid system.
This research was and is supported by the Stanley Medical Research Institute of the Theodore and Vada Stanley Foundation, USA (Grant IDs 01-315 and 03-NV-003 to FML), the Cologne Fortune Program, the European Commission (GxE Experimental EU FP7 HEALTH-F2-2010-241909), and special grant from the Deputy Vice-Chancler Research of the University of Sydney.
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