Marijuana May Hold Promise As Treatment For PTSD

More than 5 million people suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) annually, and new research suggests that cannabis may help them find relief and may even offer better care than the current class of drugs commonly used to treat the disorder.

According to research published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, the administering of synthetic cannabinoids to rats after a traumatic event can prevent behavioral and physiological symptoms of PTSD by triggering changes in brain centers associated with the formation and holding of traumatic memories.

The study adds to a growing body of research that “contributes to the understanding of the brain basis of the positive effect cannabis has on PTSD,” the researchers note.

While cannabinoids occur naturally in the cannabis plant, this research was done with WIN 55,212-2, a synthetic cannabinoid that produces a similar, effect to that of THC, marijuana’s main psychoactive compound. The researchers specifically looked at the effect of this synthetic cannabinoid on exposure to trauma reminders. Among individuals who suffer from trauma, it is common for non-traumatic events (for instance, sirens going off) to evoke the memory of the traumatic event, thus amplifying the negative effects of the trauma.

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