There is no argument with regard to the physical and psychological stress-related nature of neuropsychiatric disorders. Yet, the mechanisms that facilitate disease onset starting from molecular stress responses are elusive. Environmental stress challenges individuals’ equilibrium, enhancing homeostatic request in the attempt to steer down arousal-instrumental molecular pathways that underlie hypervigilance and anxiety. A relevant homeostatic pathway is the endocannabinoid system (ECS). In this review, we summarize recent discoveries unambiguously listing ECS as a stress coping mechanism. As stress evokes huge excitatory responses in emotional-relevant limbic areas, the ECS limits glutamate release via 2-arachydonilglycerol (2-AG) stress-induced synthesis and retrograde cannabinoid 1 (CB1)-receptor activation at the synapse. However, ECS shows intrinsic vulnerability as 2-AG overstimulation by chronic stress rapidly leads to CB1-receptor desensitization. In this review, we emphasize the protective role of 2-AG in stress-response termination and stress resiliency. Interestingly, we discuss ECS regulation with a further nuclear homeostatic system whose nature is exquisitely epigenetic, orchestrated by Lysine Specific Demethylase 1. We here emphasize a remarkable example of stress-coping network where transcriptional homeostasis subserves synaptic and behavioral adaptation, aiming at reducing psychiatric effects of traumatic experiences.
Keywords: 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenocortical (HPA), Lysine Specific Demethylase 1, endocannabinoid system, epigenetics, homeostasis, psychiatric disorders