Aron H. Lichtman


Welcome to the Lichtman cannabinoid lab

Our research program focuses on four general areas: 1) elucidating the physiological functions of the endocannabinoid system; 2) determining the mechanisms of action underlying cannabinoid-induced behaviors; 3) investigating the consequences of chronic cannabinoid administration (i.e., dependence); and 4) exploring medicinal uses of cannabinoids.  Much of this research utilizes a collaborative multidisciplinary approach examining the relationship between the pharmacological effects of cannabinoids on behavior and the underlying biochemical/molecular processes.  

In general, we use a variety of behavioral pharmacological techniques in both wild type and genetically altered animals, along with the evaluation of cannabinoid binding and G protein activity, as well as quantification of drugs and endogenous cannabinoids in various tissues.  Our findings suggest that the endocannabinoid system, consisting of the endogenous ligands anandamide and 2-AG that bind to CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, serves several physiological functions including the modulation of pain and inflammation, cognition, drug dependence, emotional behavior, and excitotoxicity.  

Another one of our key findings is that that the enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) is a critical regulator of anandamide and other fatty acids (FAAs) in vivo, setting an endogenous cannabinoid tone that modulates pain and inflammation. The results of other studies in our lab indicate that the endocannabinoid system plays specific roles in learning and memory.  In addition, we have found that there is cross talk between cannabinoid and opioid dependence.  The results of this work may ultimately contribute to the development cannabinoid or fatty acid amide based therapeutic agents for the treatment of pain, cognitive disorders, and addiction.

For more information on our research, resources, and how students can get involved with our work, please follow the links in the above toolbar.


Recent alumnus Dr. Lamont Bookers receives departmental honors

Postdoctoral research fellow Dr. Laura Wise receives Young Investigator Award from NARSAD

Dr. Lichtman elected President of the International Cannabinoid Research Society

Aron H. Lichtman, Ph.D.
Pharmacology & Toxicology
PO Box 980613
Richmond, Virginia 23298-0613
Phone: (804)828-8480

Copyright 2007-2011  Aron H. Lichtman, Ph.D.   All Rights Reserved.
This page does not reflect an official position of Virginia Commonwealth University.