PTSD Symptoms in Rats, Lessened by Marijuana

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A study from the Haifa University has found out that a timely administration of marijuana could potentially block the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in rats. The said study was carried out by researchers from the psychology department of the said University and was also published in a journal called Neuropsychopharmacology. The research has discovered that rats which were administered with marijuana within a span of 24 hours after a traumatic experience were able to successfully curb any signs or symptoms of PTSD.

In the information from the National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Mental Health, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a real illness. You can get PTSD after living through or seeing a traumatic event, such as war, a hurricane, rapephysical abuseor a bad accident. PTSD makes you feel stressed and afraid after the danger is over. It affects your life and the people around you.

PTSD can cause problems like flashbacks, or feeling like the event is happening again, trouble sleeping or nightmares, feeling alone, angry outbursts, and feeling worried, guilty or sad.

PTSD starts at different times for different people. Signs of PTSD may start soon after a frightening event and then continue. Other people develop new or more severe signs months or even years later. PTSD can happen to anyone, even children.

According to the research, after experiencing a stressful and traumatic situation, there is a critical “window of time” wherein administering synthetic marijuana can prevent the occurrence of signs and symptoms of the disease. This was also reported by Dr. Irit Akirav, the principal lead of the study.

The subject rats were divided into four clusters. The first group of rats was not given marijuana, the second group was given two hours after the traumatic experience, the third group was given after 24 hours, while the fourth group was given 48 hours after. A week later, the researchers studied the effects it had on the rat groups. They were able to find out that those who were not given any marijuana and those given marijuana 48 hours after the traumatic situation manifested PTSD signs and symptoms, and became highly anxious. In the other two groups, the rats were also able to show anxiety signs and symptoms however, PTSD signs and symptoms had disappeared.

According to Dr. Akirav, “This shows that the marijuana administered in the proper ‘window of time’ does not erase the experience, but can help prevent the development of PTSD symptoms in rats.” She also noted that “We also found that the effects of the cannabinoids were mediated by receptors in the amygdala area of the brain, known to be responsible for mediation of stress, fear and trauma.”

Although the emotional states of humans and animals do not have the same wavelengths, Akirav said that psychiatrists will take her research and consider their findings to arrive at a cure which can be implemented among humans.

 

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