Marijuana smoking is recognised to impair human cognition and learning, but the mechanisms by which this occurs are not well characterised. This article focuses exclusively on the hippocampus to review the effects of cannabinoids on hippocampal function and evaluate the evidence that hippocampal cannabinoid receptors play a role in learning and formation of memory. Activation of cannabinoid receptors inhibits release of a variety of neurotransmitters, and modulates a number of intrinsic membrane conductances. Suppression of inhibitory GABAergic synaptic transmission has been repeatedly described, but whether there is also control of excitatory glutamatergic transmission is more controversial. The recognition that the commonly used WIN55,212-2 also acts via non-cannabinoid receptors may help resolve this issue. The involvement of endocannabinoids in depolarisation induced suppression of inhibition (DSI) and the demonstration that activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors can stimulate endocannabinoid release have provided the first insights into the physiological roles of the cannabinoids. Cannabinoids have consistently been reported to inhibit high frequency stimulation induced synaptic long-term potentiation but the experimental design of most behavioural experiments have meant it is not possible to categorically demonstrate a role for hippocampal cannabinoid receptors in learning and memory.
Neuropharmacology – Elsevier
Published: Jun 1, 2002
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