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Chapter 4

PSYA01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Cannabinoid, Acetylcholine

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Steve Joordens

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Drugs and Behaviour
most synaptic communication is accomplished by Glutamate (excitatory most important in brain + spinal) &
GABA (inhibitory) neurotransmitters
neurotransmitters other than Glutamate & GABA activate or inhibit entire circuits of neurons that are involved in
particular brain functions: facilitation of learning, control of wakefulness, vigilance, suppression of impulsive behaviour,
& suppression or enhancement of anxiety
all sensory organs transmit info to brain through release of glutamate, EXCEPT for neurons that detect pain stimuli
NMDA receptor: critical role in effects of environmental stimulation on developing brain & responsible for many
changes in synaptic connections for learning
NMDA deactivated by alcohol, thus binge drinkers have no memory
some drugs depress behaviour, causing relaxation, sedation, or loss of consciousness
these drugs act on GABA receptor, incr sensitivy to neurotransmitter
Barbiturates: causes sedation; derivative of barbituric acid
-low doses=calming effect, higher doses=difficulty in walking & talking, unconsioucness, coma & death
most common depressant drug: ethyl alcohol
Anti-anxiety drug: members of benzodiazepines, A tranquilizer, which reduces anxiety
Benzodiazepine: a class of drug having anxiolytic (tranquilizing) effects, such as diazepam (valium)
act on GABA receptor, regions in brain including fear & anxiety
benzodiazepines are safer than barbiturates
some serve as sleep meds
Acetylcholine (Ach): neurotransmitter found in brain, spinal cord, & pts of peripheral nervous system; responsible for
muscular contraction
ppl with myasthenia gravis have immune systems that attack Ach receptors
axons & terminal buttons of Ach neurons are distributed widely throughout the brain
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