Patel, professor of psychiatry and molecular physiology and biophysics at Vanderbilt University and his research team say they have found a way to replenish levels of an endocannabinoid called 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in the brain, which may reduce the reliance on marijuana to treat mood and anxiety disorders. Replenishing 2-AG levels reduced anxiety- and depressive-like behaviors in mice To reach their findings, Dr. Patel and his team deleted an enzyme in adult male and female mice – called diacylglycerol lipase ? (DAGL?) – that usually breaks down 2-AG, creating 2-AG-deficient mouse models. The researchers say all mice displayed anxiety-like behaviors, while female mice displayed behaviors related to depression. “We were expecting that endocannabinoid deficiency would produce anxiety and depressive-like behaviors, but the female-specific depressive behavior took us by surprise,” Patel told Medical News Today. However, the team found that replenishing 2-AG levels in the brains of the mice appeared to reverse anxiety- and depressive-like behaviors. The researchers say their findings indicate that “normalizing 2-AG deficiency could represent a viable […] therapeutic strategy for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders.” Patel said although the technique has not yet been tested in humans, it has the potential to wean some heavy marijuana users off the drug.