According to a study carried out at the Learning and Memory Lab in the University of Haifa’s Department of Psychology, the use of cannabinoids (marijuana) could assist in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder patients.
The study, which was carried out by research student Eti Ganon-Elazar under the supervision of Dr. Irit Akirav, was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
The result of experiencing a traumatic event, in most cases, is the appearance of medical and psychological symptoms that affect various functions, but which pass. However, some 10 to 30 percent of people experiencing a traumatic event develop post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition in which the patient continues to suffer stress symptoms for months and even years after the traumatic event.
The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) include reawakened trauma, avoidance of anything that could recall the trauma, and psychological and physiological disturbances.
The study carried out by Dr. Akirav and research student Eti Ganon-Elazar was aimed to examine the efficiency of cannabinoids as a medical treatment for coping with post-traumatic stress. A synthetic form of marijuana that has similar properties to the natural plant was used by researchers a rat model was chosen that represents similar physiological responses to stress to that of humans.
It was revealed that marijuana cancelled out the symptoms of stress in rats and surfacing of stress symptoms was prevented, regardless of when exactly the injection was administered.
“The results of our research should encourage psychiatric investigation into the use of cannabinoids in post-traumatic stress patients,” said Dr. Akirav and added the study results how that cannabinoids can play an important role in stress-related disorders.
University of Haifa (2009, November 4). Use Of Cannabinoids Could Help Post-traumatic Stress