One recent study from the University of Haifa, Israel, found cannabinoids prevented the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in rats. Those who suffer from PTSD experience their symptoms upon encountering common triggers, or trauma reminders, whatever they may be. PTSD is generally treated after the symptoms appear, but this research team, led by Dr. Irit Akirav from the Department of Psychology, found that dosing rats with cannabinoids after the traumatic event made them immune to future triggers. Rats treated with cannabis showed no symptoms of PTSD, while those who ere not treated experienced impairments in memory extinctions, altered pain sensation, and increased panicking. The researchers suggested cannabinoids were able to do so by rewiring circuits in the brain associated with the traumatic event.
The research team hopes this rodent trial paves the way for future trials on humans studying the effects of cannabis on PTSD. Dr. Irit Akirav said, “The importance of this study is that it contributes to the understanding of the brain basis of the positive effect cannabis has on PTSD, and thus supports the necessity to perform human trials to examine potential ways to prevent the development of PTSD and anxiety disorders in response to a traumatic event.”
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