Cannabinoids Beats Antidepressants in Treating PTSD
September 11th, 2014
Policy, Top News
Cannabinoid use soon after a traumatic event may prevent post-traumatic stress disorder-like (“PTSD”) symptoms in rats, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Haifa in Israel. Nachshon Korem and Irit Akirav of the university’s Department of Psychology compared the use of cannabinoids with other alternatives, like opioids, in preventing the symptoms.
“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 PTST and anxiety disorders in response to traumatic events,” said the researchers in a recent press release discussing the study and its findings.
In previous studies, Dr. Irit Akirav discovered that cannabinoid use within a specific timeframe after a traumatic event reduces PTSD symptoms in rats. The current study was designed to determine whether cannabinoid use may also moderate the effects of trauma in cases of exposure to trauma reminders. The findings showed that the rats injected with cannabinoids showed no PTSD symptoms.
Moreover, the rats injected with cannabinoids responded better than a different population of rats injected with antidepressants in the SSRI group. Whereas SSRIs have limited effectiveness and many side-effects, the researchers noted that cannabinoids appeared to “erase” the PTSD symptoms with fewer side-effects, suggesting that it may be a better treatment option for those affected.
“The findings of our study suggest that the connectivity within the brain’s fear circuit changes following trauma, and the administration of cannabinoids prevents this change from happening,” added the researchers. “This study can lead to future trials in humans regarding possible ways to prevent the development of PTSD and anxiety disorders in response to a traumatic event.”
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