Dude, Where’s my Trauma? Marijuana Could Treat PTSD

Many millions have been made in Hollywood by lampooning the acute effects of marijuana on memory—but Israeli researchers suggest that they might one day be harnessed to prevent or treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

And today’s election results bringing medical marijuana dispensaries to yet another state suggest that day might be sooner than ever.

A new study—published in the Journal of Neuroscience—found that a synthetic drug that acts like one of the active components in marijuana (THC) can prevent stress-induced enhancement of fear memories in rats. PTSD is basically a syndrome in which fear-filled memories intrude on daily life and sleep—so preventing stress from strengthening memories of fear could potentially prevent or treat it.

In the study, the rats were trained to fear a dark region of a cage where they received electric shocks. Though rats normally prefer dark places, they learned to stay in the light and avoid the now-scary dark area. When researchers stopped giving shocks in the dark region, rats slowly learned that it was safe again and began to return to it. The researchers measured how long this took.

During the next experiment on a new group of rats, the experience was made more stressful. Now, rats were placed on an elevated grid after receiving the shock. Rats– and most other animals, including many humans–tend to avoid walking over elevated grids if they can, and find being forced to do so distressing. As expected, the researchers found that it took longer for these rats to learn that the dark region was safe again.

Here’s where the marijuana comes in. Researchers trained another group of rats with the grid and the shock. But when they injected the synthetic THC-like compound into a brain region associated with fear, these rats learned as quickly to return to their preferred dark spot as those which had only experienced the more minor stress.

In other words, the marijuana-like compound had made extreme stress more like ordinary stress—and this could also be seen in terms of reductions in a key stress hormone in their brains.

Importantly, it didn’t matter if the rats were given the drug before or after they experienced the stress. This suggests that this drug might work either before or after someone has suffered a traumatic event. It also shows that the drug doesn’t erase memory—instead, it softens it and makes traumatic memory more like ordinary memory.

Of course, we can’t inject drugs into the brains of humans and it is not known if ordinary marijuana or the FDA-approved pill that contains THC would have this effect. But this research suggests that it should be studied, because there are currently very few effective treatments for PTSD and research shows that between 10 and 30% of people exposed to trauma will develop PTSD without intervention.

– Article from TIME Magazine.

Comments

7 Comments

  1. Mr Democracy on

    Cannabis does 100% treat PTSD, being a Gulf war survivor I had PSTD for 12 years now and i smoke ans smoke and never stop and it does relieve the side effects, but i have come to learn that the CIA inject micro chips deep into the back of the eyeball and when turned on in high frequencies the lazy eye happens, I think they do this for if you captured they you close your eyes and they send you images for saftey and entertainment because I do!!!…and now on top of the micro chips they use enriched uranium oxided!!!Everything is related to the CIA!!!The CIA must PAY…

  2. Anonymous on

    Destroy every DEA agent –they fuel the corruption of Afghanistan that keeps the place burning with human lives, which include my fellow American and Coalition brothers and sisters in arms. Once we destroy their operations and agents, they will be forced to retreat from Afghanistan. Why they are screwing up the War on Terror: A. The illegal drug (illegal) allows some of the so ‘good tribal leaders’ and ‘politicians’ to be corrupt, which undermines efforts of establishing peaceful tribes whom don’t need to be warring with each other or us –and it keeps some of the radical –forceful leaders and ways of their Taliban corrupted lives in place; B. The sale of the illegal drug gives the war its funding for the Taliban –that means more Train Bombs in Europe, Bombs in India, Bombs in Indonesia, Bombs in Afghanistan (did I already mention that), Bombs in My HOME Country, Planes colliding into the ground or buildings, Disrupted travel (That’s not a bomb right? –hmm. What’s with me and bombs [hint hint] –I’ve experienced bombs in war that wanted to destroy my fellow GI Joes –Bombs are totally scary, loud, bowl moving, hot, earth shaking and make me want to hold my childhood bunny rabbit and blanky) –while at the same time keeping it on the streets for my children to be offered or have slipped into their drinks or food by junky pervert whackos –Destroy them and Win the War on Terror and keep drug money out of bombs which cause bowl movements in the baddest of ass Joes (but please –if any DEA have VETERAN status –a real VET that is –please just capture them and lock them up in say a whole or cage so they can be re-educated –they risked the possibility of death to stop the Taliban doing that voodoo they do so well –they are just loss and really simply and stupidly believe that they are making a difference in keeping it away from the kids –but other than that –Any means necessary should be sufficient to protect the world from anybody whom is willing to arrest a man for drugs -which as if we would learn from history –is the same man whom would (not so militant of a uniform though) arrest a man for being a Jew or a gay, or a Christian, or a Muslim, or a Republican etc. They are few in number and should not offer much resistance. They violate the roots of my American Constitution (British Red Coats anyone?) and therefore are enemy troops whom had landed on mine and others soil and this is a war right –THE WAR ON TERROR –Destroy them and the ones whom allow them (they may have weapons so numbers should work) –this is simple self defense –the defense of not allowing a man kill American soldiers and arresting political or religious people. Repeat-destroy them –they have burrowed into America from other Dictator and Communist countries and are not American –they are like moles since they appear to have come from within –don’t believe if they are someone’s husband or son or daughter or aunt or nephew or grandson (if they are VETS the real vet that is –they were captured by enemy forces and need to be freed with reeducation) –that is all apart of the disguise so a Dictatorship can possibly happen in the FREE WORLD by implementing the same structure of law to subdue society –the drug law is the skeletal structure –just a different beast.

  3. ZachB on

    they feature several patients of different medical backgrounds one of which is a man that suffers from PTSD after witnessing a brutal family murder and serving in the Marine Corp. during the Panama invasion. He smokes weed and it helps him cope and he runs a successful labour business. I guess it just depends on the person and the severity of their disorder.

  4. Anonymous on

    I’ve heard it was because using weed induced a slight beta brain state, in which we dream, while we are “high,” and still awake. This is why the ideal state is described as dreamlike. Could also be why we tend to become paranoid and delusional when we spend a disproportionate of time this way.
    Still, that only happens to people who are totally dependent… most people stop enjoying that, and thus cease to enjoy weed until they are back in touch with reality. Those who would rather not stop at that point are usually the same people being prescribed Valium.

  5. Anonymous on

    If you smoke a certain amount of pot every day, you don’t remember dreams (or nightmares). Its like you don’t dream at all. It must be that dreams use the short term memory.

    Anyway for a person who suffers from bad nightmares, smoking several joints per day may be worth a try.

  6. Anonymous on

    after all, he got five other prescriptions for it…. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5! you KNOW he didn’t get them all at once, they turn it into a game of jenga and stack pills on top of each other until something falls over. But he couldn’t get ONE for pot. He had to deal with me, and I am not a doctor.

  7. Anonymous on

    I have even more compelling evidence. I accidentally conducted this experiment on a human subject. He is dead.

    His behaviour was so crazy and he was on so many meds… I’m sorry but I refused to keep selling him pot or be near him. He was a man who received assistance for PTSD because he could not work after surviving an attempted murder (I don’t know how long ago.)
    He -looked- like someone you wouldn’t feel bad for skirting but he wouldn’t hurt a fly, I’ve heard that from people who knew him better but he scared the crap out of me after a while. After I forgave his debt and stopped answering his calls, he called me about one or two hundred times in a row each day for a week before he hung himself. This man literally could not live with PTSD unless someone was bringing him pot or selling it to him. I didn’t want him to die, but he did. He was prescribed five psychoactive medications and still couldn’t live without marijuana. I am really sorry I wouldn’t sell pot to him but there was one incident after where I just said, don’t pay me back (and he was going to,) and just thought, peace out. Well, he did “peace”, at least I hope that’s the right word. But fuck shocking rats, he took his own life, if that isn’t proof then don’t even try to prove anything. And don’t wait until you can prove something to admit you believe it, either, if he could get a prescription for medical pot he wouldn’t have needed me to trust him.