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Cannabinoids block PTSD

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Use of cannabinoids (in this case synthetic marijuana) after experiencing a traumatic event may block development of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is according to a new study published in Neuropsychopharmacology.

“We found that there is a ‘window of opportunity’ during which administering synthetic marijuana helps deal with symptoms simulating PTSD in rats,” said Dr. Irit Akirav of the University of Haifa’s Department of Psychology, study leader. Researchers started out looking to study the effect of administering cannabinoids on the development of PTSD-like symptoms on rats. Rats have a similar reaction to traumatic and stressful events as humans.

The researchers exposed a group of rats to a stressful situation and observed PTSD symptoms. They dived the rats in to four groups. The first group was given no marijuana at all. A second group was given a marijuana injection two hours after exposure to stress. A third group received the same injection 24 hours after exposure. And the fourth group got its does 48 hours after exposure.

A week later, they examined the rats for PTSD. Group one and group four displayed PTSD symptoms: enhanced startle reflex, impaired extinction learning and disruption of negative feedback cycle of the stress-influenced HPA axis.

Symptoms were completely gone from groups two and three. “This indicates that the marijuana did not erase the experience of the trauma, but that it specifically prevented the development of post-trauma symptoms in the rat model,“ explained Dr. Akirav. It suggests there is a window for maximum effect. More research is needed to determine what the window is for humans, but these test results are encouraging enough to see those results in the future.

Source: Neuropsychopharmacology, ScienceDaily

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