Imaging MAO-B in Cannabis Use and Cannabis Use Disorder with Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

Cannabis is the most commonly used drug worldwide. However, there is limited understanding of factors supporting cannabis use (CU) and the development of cannabis use disorder (CUD). There is also a clear association between mood disorders and CUD, but the mechanism underlying this relationship is unclear. There is evidence that major depression is associated with elevated monoamine oxidases (MAO). Tobacco use is also associated with an inhibition of MAOs (both subtype A and B). Our hypothesis is that the same inhibition is happening in the brain of people exposed to cannabis. However, no data is currently available on MAO-B activity in subjects with CUD. We aim to investigate this question by measuring MAO-B in the brain of participants with CUD, cannabis users without CUD and non-cannabis users using Positron Emission Tomography (PET). Results of this investigation may potentially drive the development of novel pharmacological treatments for CUD.

Faculty Supervisor:

Bernard Le Foll


Christine Ibrahim


Aphria Inc


Pharmacy / Pharmacology



University of Toronto



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