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The endocannabinoid system in modulating fear, anxiety, and stress

Authors
  • Martín-García, Elena
Type
Published Article
Journal
Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience
Publisher
Les Laboratoires Servier
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2020
Volume
22
Issue
3
Pages
229–239
Identifiers
DOI: 10.31887/DCNS.2020.22.3/rmaldonado
PMID: 33162766
PMCID: PMC7605023
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Original Article
License
Green

Abstract

The endocannabinoid system is widely expressed in the limbic system, prefrontal cortical areas, and brain structures regulating neuroendocrine stress responses, which explains the key role of this system in the control of emotions. In this review, we update recent advances on the function of the endocannabinoid system in determining the value of fear-evoking stimuli and promoting appropriate behavioral responses for stress resilience. We also review the alterations in the activity of the endocannabinoid system during fear, stress, and anxiety, and the pathophysiological role of each component of this system in the control of these protective emotional responses that also trigger pathological emotional disorders. In spite of all the evidence, we have not yet taken advantage of the therapeutic implications of this important role of the endocannabinoid system, and possible future strategies to improve the treatment of these emotional disorders are discussed.

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