Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal bioactive component in the Cannabis plant, is truly a captivating drug. Acute and chronic THC intake produces a spectrum of biological effects ranging from transient psychotropic effects to prolonged medicinal benefits, many of which have been fostered for centuries by our society. In the July 2013 issue of the JCI, Cutando et al. combined mouse genetics with classic mouse behavioral analysis to deepen our understanding of the physiological consequence of subchronic THC intake on eyeblink reflexes, a fundamental neuronal adaptive response, revealing that this regimen leads to downregulation of the cannabinoid CB1 receptor (referred to as CB1 in the Cutando et al. article) in cerebellar stress fibers and the activation of microglia, raising provocative new questions about the safety profile of regimented THC intake.
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