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Journal Article

Citation

Heinbockel T, Csoka AB. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018; 15(10): e15102098.

Affiliation

Department of Anatomy, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, DC 20059, USA. antonei.csoka@Howard.edu.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2018, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)

DOI

10.3390/ijerph15102098

PMID

30257440

Abstract

Drug addiction affects a large extent of young people and disadvantaged populations. Drugs of abuse impede brain circuits or affect the functionality of brain circuits and interfere with bodily functions. Cannabinoids (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol) form key constituents of marijuana derived from the cannabis plant. Marijuana is a frequently used illegal drug in the USA. Here, we review the effects of cannabinoids at the epigenetic level and the potential role of these epigenetic effects in health and disease. Epigenetics is the study of alterations in gene expression that are transmitted across generations and take place without an alteration in DNA sequence, but are due to modulation of chromatin associated factors by environmental effects. Epigenetics is now known to offer an extra mechanism of control over transcription and how genes are expressed. Insights from research at the genetic and epigenetic level potentially provide venues that allow the translation of the biology of abused drugs to new means of how to treat marijuana substance use disorder or other addictions using pharmacotherapeutic tools.


Language: en

Keywords

brain; cannabinoid; central nervous system; drug addiction; gene expression; gene-environment interaction; health disparity; marijuana; neuroscience

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