Serotonin is a neurotransmitter able to regulate various functions like mood, emotion, appetite, and sleep, and it is found within the brain, GI tract, and blood platelets. It may be closely linked to the endocannabinoid system, which may explain why cannabis is able to benefit those suffering from anxiety and depression. Studies have shown cannabinoids can increase the activity levels of serotonin neurons, and cannabis increases the release of serotonin. In 2007, one study found 20% of the serotonin neurons in mice contained cannabinoid receptors, and endocannabinoids like anandamide were found in areas of the brain where serotonin is usually found. Another study from 2004 found THC increased serotonin levels in mice. Additionally, when their CB1 receptors were blocked, serotonin levels decreased. CBD could also indirectly activate serotonin receptors, and researchers suspect many of CBD’s therapeutic effects, like its ability to benefit anxiety, depression, epilepsy, and provide neuroprotection, pain relief, and nausea relief, could be linked to its activation of a subtype of serotonin receptor.
So now that we know the different ways cannabis interacts with serotonin, what does this mean for its effects on the body? You’ll found out in our next post! This information has been provided by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.