John AshtonAssociate Professor Ashton's lab focuses on the endocannabinoid system. Discovered less than two decades ago, this system of receptors, messengers, and enzymes regulates a number of physiological processes. Cannabinoid drugs act on this system with a variety of effects, some of therapeutic benefit, and some potentially harmful. His research interests include cannabinoid drugs, neurodegeneration, neuroinflammation, hyperalgesia and pain, interactions of cannabinoids with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, cannabinoid CB2 receptors as drug targets, and endocannabinoid signaling.

Associate Professor Ashton is looking at the endocannabinoid system to better understand how it functions and to tease out the beneficial effects from the side effects of new cannabinoid drugs. He and other research groups have recently found the CB2 receptor to be involved in a number of pathological processes in the central nervous system. He is focusing on ischemic brain damage (stroke) and chronic, neuropathic pain; two major medical problems that cause enormous social costs and carry a huge burden of individual suffering.

Along with collaborating labs in Auckland and the USA, he has found exciting preliminary data that shows that drugs that can activate the CB2 receptor can reduce brain damage from stroke and relieve chronic pain from nerve injuries.

Find out more about Associate Professor Ashton's research


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