Research Topic

The Endocannabinoid System: Filling the Translational Gap between Neuroscience and Psychiatry

About this Research Topic

Over the last decades, we have seen a huge growth in our understanding of the endocannabinoid system, such as the discovery of the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and 2 (CB2) and their endogenous ligands, with implications for health and disease. More recently, we have witnessed the discovery that drugs exerting agonist or antagonist properties at cannabinoid receptors may have a range of actions, from accelerating pathological processes to being therapeutic and possibly halting disease progression. These findings have led to a tremendous expansion of animal and human models investigating the endocannabinoid system in the etiology, brain processes and behavioral abnormalities associated with neuropsychiatric disorders. Emerging preclinical and clinical evidence now suggests that cannabinoid-dependent mechanisms may contribute to the pathogenesis and phenotypic complexity observed in such diseases.

Despite the remarkable advancements in the field of cannabinoid research, the translation of promising preclinical disease models and therapies to the clinic has thus far been limited, possibly because of the inability of current models to completely explain the complex neurobiological mechanisms and multifaceted behavioral phenotypes of neuropsychiatric disorders. New analytical techniques, chemogenetic and mechanistic studies as well as multimodal approaches are needed to overcome the limitations that stand between preclinical and clinical research. By investigating the role of the endocannabinoid system in neuropsychiatric disorders, such studies may advance (i) the understanding of the pathophysiological pathways leading to their onset, (ii) their prediction and early detection in clinical settings, (iii) the discovery of biological markers of clinical outcome, and (iv) the development of new therapeutic strategies including disease-modifying pharmacotherapies, depending on the stage of illness. By promoting crosstalk between preclinical and clinical cannabinoid research, this Research Topic aims to advance the cross-link between the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying neuropsychiatric disorders on one hand and their heterogenous symptomatic manifestation on the other.

We welcome contributions in the form of original research papers, review articles, technical reports and commentaries focusing on the role of the endocannabinoid system in neuropsychiatric disorders in both humans and animals. Experimental approaches trying to bridge the gap between the neurobiological and behavioral features of neuropsychiatric disorders are of particular interest to this Research Topic. Concerning the human studies, close attention will be paid to multimodal studies integrating neurocognitive, genetic, and clinical data as well as longitudinal studies aimed at defining trajectories of illness. Researchers involved in developing preclinical models of neuropsychiatric disorders through the investigation of the role of cannabinoids (both phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids) are also encouraged to submit their contributions.

In particular, the aims of this Research Topic will be:

• to dissect the ability of cannabinoids to modulate cognitive processes, affective behavior, sociability, and addiction
• to unveil the ability of cannabinoids to regulate biochemical and signaling cascades as well as inflammatory biomarkers (i.e. interleukins and TNFα involved in neuropsychiatric disorders including autism, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), psychosis, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
• to highlight the electrophysiological effects of cannabinoids on the neuronal circuits and brain regions involved in neuropsychiatric disorders, employing cutting edge techniques including optogenetic and chemogenetic approaches
• to assess the impact of cannabinoid exposure during adolescence on the behavioral, morphological, biochemical and neurophysiological responses in animals

The Topic Editors would like to acknowledge Venere Rotelli for creating the cover image "The beauty between nature and humanity."


Keywords: Cannabis, Drug-induced Model, Neurocognition, Bio-behavior Approach, Multifactorial Model


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Over the last decades, we have seen a huge growth in our understanding of the endocannabinoid system, such as the discovery of the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and 2 (CB2) and their endogenous ligands, with implications for health and disease. More recently, we have witnessed the discovery that drugs exerting agonist or antagonist properties at cannabinoid receptors may have a range of actions, from accelerating pathological processes to being therapeutic and possibly halting disease progression. These findings have led to a tremendous expansion of animal and human models investigating the endocannabinoid system in the etiology, brain processes and behavioral abnormalities associated with neuropsychiatric disorders. Emerging preclinical and clinical evidence now suggests that cannabinoid-dependent mechanisms may contribute to the pathogenesis and phenotypic complexity observed in such diseases.

Despite the remarkable advancements in the field of cannabinoid research, the translation of promising preclinical disease models and therapies to the clinic has thus far been limited, possibly because of the inability of current models to completely explain the complex neurobiological mechanisms and multifaceted behavioral phenotypes of neuropsychiatric disorders. New analytical techniques, chemogenetic and mechanistic studies as well as multimodal approaches are needed to overcome the limitations that stand between preclinical and clinical research. By investigating the role of the endocannabinoid system in neuropsychiatric disorders, such studies may advance (i) the understanding of the pathophysiological pathways leading to their onset, (ii) their prediction and early detection in clinical settings, (iii) the discovery of biological markers of clinical outcome, and (iv) the development of new therapeutic strategies including disease-modifying pharmacotherapies, depending on the stage of illness. By promoting crosstalk between preclinical and clinical cannabinoid research, this Research Topic aims to advance the cross-link between the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying neuropsychiatric disorders on one hand and their heterogenous symptomatic manifestation on the other.

We welcome contributions in the form of original research papers, review articles, technical reports and commentaries focusing on the role of the endocannabinoid system in neuropsychiatric disorders in both humans and animals. Experimental approaches trying to bridge the gap between the neurobiological and behavioral features of neuropsychiatric disorders are of particular interest to this Research Topic. Concerning the human studies, close attention will be paid to multimodal studies integrating neurocognitive, genetic, and clinical data as well as longitudinal studies aimed at defining trajectories of illness. Researchers involved in developing preclinical models of neuropsychiatric disorders through the investigation of the role of cannabinoids (both phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids) are also encouraged to submit their contributions.

In particular, the aims of this Research Topic will be:

• to dissect the ability of cannabinoids to modulate cognitive processes, affective behavior, sociability, and addiction
• to unveil the ability of cannabinoids to regulate biochemical and signaling cascades as well as inflammatory biomarkers (i.e. interleukins and TNFα involved in neuropsychiatric disorders including autism, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), psychosis, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
• to highlight the electrophysiological effects of cannabinoids on the neuronal circuits and brain regions involved in neuropsychiatric disorders, employing cutting edge techniques including optogenetic and chemogenetic approaches
• to assess the impact of cannabinoid exposure during adolescence on the behavioral, morphological, biochemical and neurophysiological responses in animals

The Topic Editors would like to acknowledge Venere Rotelli for creating the cover image "The beauty between nature and humanity."


Keywords: Cannabis, Drug-induced Model, Neurocognition, Bio-behavior Approach, Multifactorial Model


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

21 August 2020 Abstract
30 October 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

21 August 2020 Abstract
30 October 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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