Preprint Hypothesis Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Deep Cerebellar Transcranial Electrical Stimulation: Hypothesis and Theory for Cannabis Use Disorder

Version 1 : Received: 7 December 2020 / Approved: 8 December 2020 / Online: 8 December 2020 (06:46:27 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Journal reference: Brain Sci. 2022
DOI: 10.3390/brainsci12040445


Cannabis is the most widely cultivated, trafficked and abused illicit drug (“WHO | Cannabis,” n.d.; “World Drug Report 2020,” n.d.). In 2018, an estimated 192 million people aged 15-64 years used cannabis for nonmedical purposes globally (Degenhardt et al., 2013). The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2016 estimated that, across the globe, there were more than 22·1 million people with cannabis dependence (Degenhardt et al., 2018). Moreover, the same study calculated that cannabis dependence could be accounted for 646 thousand Disability Adjusted Life Years, globally. Importantly, cannabis dependence mostly affects young adults (20-24 years), and thus has significant negative impact on the growth and productivity of not only these individuals but also to the societies and nations (Degenhardt et al., 2013). In addition to the dependence syndrome, cannabis use is associated with increased risk of psychosis, cognitive dysfunction, academic problems, and road side accidents (Volkow et al., 2014). A review showed a fairly consistent associations between cannabis use and both lower educational attainment and increased reported use of other illicit drugs (Macleod et al., 2004). In the United States, Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD) is an escalating problem in young adults by legalization (Cerdá et al., 2020) where National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported increased prevalence from 5.1% in 2015 to 5.9% in 2018 in 18-25 year olds (“2019 NSDUH Detailed Tables | CBHSQ Data,” n.d.). The psychoactive effects are due to type 1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1), the cannabinoid binding protein, that are highly expressed in the cerebellar cortex (Marcaggi, 2015). CB1 is primarily found in the molecular layer at the most abundant synapse type in the cerebellum (Marcaggi, 2015) that can shape the spike activity of cerebellar Purkinje cell (Brown et al., 2019). Moreover, granule cell to Purkinje cell synaptic transmission can trigger endocannabinoid release (Alger and Kim, 2011), which may be important for information processing by cerebellar molecular layer interneurons (Dorgans et al., 2019). This suggests that endocannabinoids could be essential to neurocognitive aspects of cerebellar function (Di Marzo et al., 2015),(Marcaggi, 2015),(Alger and Kim, 2011). Accumulating evidence also suggests cerebellar modulation of the reward circuitry and social behaviour, via direct cerebellar innervation of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) including dopamine cell bodies (A1) in the VTA (Carta et al., 2019). The VTA-dopamine (DA) signalling in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) (Lohani et al., 2019) play a key role in motivatedbehaviours and cognition. Cerebellar neuropathological changes can result in aberrant dopaminergic activity in the NAc and mPFC (ROGERS et al., 2011),(Lohani et al., 2019). Therefore, there is a critical need to determine how cerebellum modulate limbic VTA-DA signalling. Cerebellar Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation (NIBS) is postulated to be most relevant in CUD since endocannabinoids are essential to cerebellar function that includes reward-related behaviours, information processing, and cognitive control. (Di Marzo et al., 2015),(Marcaggi, 2015),(Alger and Kim, 2011). Furthermore, cerebellar NIBS can facilitate training of cognitive control in CUD during a during visual cue reactivity paradigm using a mobile virtual reality (VR) interface that can also allow remote delivery of cerebellar NIBS in conjunction with VR-based cognitive training for home-based intervention. Specifically, transcranial electrical stimulation (tES) can be translatable to low-cost (<$150) mobile devices that can be used in a low resource home-based setting (Carvalho et al., 2018).


fNIRS; EEG; tDCS; rTMS; tACS; CUD; Cerebellum



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