AmirMohammad Sharafi, Sina Pakkhesal, Ali Fakhari, Nazli Khajehnasiri, Ali Ahmadalipour


July 08, 2022


Current first-line treatments for major depressive disorder (MDD), i.e., antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy, show delayed onset of therapeutic effect as late as 2–3 weeks or more. In the clinic, the speed of beginning of the actions of antidepressant drugs or other interventions is vital for many reasons. Late-onset means that depression, its related disability, and the potential danger of suicide remain a threat for some patients. There are some rapid-acting antidepressant interventions, such as sleep deprivation, ketamine, acute exercise, which induce a significant response, ranging from a few hours to maximally one week, and most of them share a common characteristic that is the activation of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system. Activation of this system, i.e., augmentation of eCB signaling, appears to have anti-depressant-like actions. This article puts the idea forward that the activation of eCB signaling represents a critical mechanism of rapid-acting therapeutic interventions in MDD, and this system might contribute to the development of novel rapid-acting treatments for MDD.

DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2022.104635


AmirMohammad Sharafi, Sina Pakkhesal, Ali Fakhari, Nazli Khajehnasiri, Ali Ahmadalipour,
Rapid treatments for depression: Endocannabinoid system as a therapeutic target,
Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews,
Volume 137,
ISSN 0149-7634,