Cannabinoids and glucocorticoids modulate emotional memory after stress

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Bidirectional and functional relationships between glucocorticoids and the endocannabinoid system have been demonstrated. Here, I review the interaction between the endocannabinoid and glucocorticoid/stress systems. Specifically, stress is known to produce rapid changes in endocannabinoid signaling in stress-responsive brain regions. In turn, the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in the downregulation and habituation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis activity in response to stress. Glucocorticoids also recruit the endocannabinoid system to exert rapid negative feedback control of the HPA axis during stress.It became increasingly clear, however, that cannabinoid CB1 receptors are also abundantly expressed in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and other limbic regions where they modulate emotional arousal effects on memory. Enhancing cannabinoids signaling using exogenous CB1 receptor agonists prevent the effects of acute stress on emotional memory. I propose a model suggesting that the ameliorating effects of exogenously administered cannabinoids on emotional learning after acute stress are mediated by the decrease in the activity of the HPA axis via GABAergic mechanisms in the amygdala.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2554-2563
Number of pages10
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by THE ISRAEL SCIENCE FOUNDATION (grant No. 222/08 to I.A.) (URL:


  • Emotional memory
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Glucocorticoids
  • HPA axis
  • Stress
  • WIN55,212-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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