Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cannabinoids after a traumatic experience may prevent post-traumatic stress symptoms, rat study suggests

Date:
September 23, 2011
Source:
University of Haifa
Summary:
Administration of cannabinoids (in the form of synthetic marijuana) after experiencing a traumatic event blocks the development of post-traumatic stress disorder-like symptoms in rats, according to a rat study conducted by researchers in Israel.

Administration of cannabinoids (in the form of synthetic marijuana) after experiencing a traumatic event blocks the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-like symptoms in rats, according to a new study conducted at the University of Haifa and published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

Related Articles


"We found that there is a 'window of opportunity' during which administering synthetic marijuana helps deal with symptoms simulating PTSD in rats," said Dr. Irit Akirav of the University of Haifa's Department of Psychology, who led the study.

In the study, which Dr. Akirav conducted with research student Eti Ganon-Elazar, the researchers set out to examine how administering cannabinoids (synthetic marijuana) affects the development of PTSD-like symptoms in rats, whose physiological reactions to traumatic and stressful events is similar to human reactions.

In the first part of the study, the researchers exposed a group of rats to extreme stress, and observed that the rats did indeed display symptoms resembling PTSD in humans, such as an enhanced startle reflex, impaired extinction learning, and disruption of the negative feedback cycle of the stress-influenced HPA axis. The rats were then divided into four groups. One was given no marijuana at all; the second was given a marijuana injection two hours after being exposed to a traumatic event; the third group after 24 hours and the fourth group after 48 hours.

A week later, the researchers examined the rats and found that the group that had not been administered marijuana and the group that got the injection 48 hours after experiencing trauma continued to display PTSD symptoms as well as a high level of anxiety.

By contrast, the PTSD symptoms disappeared in the rats that were given marijuana 2 or 24 hours after experiencing trauma, even though these rats had also developed a high level of anxiety.

"This indicates that the marijuana did not erase the experience of the trauma, but that it specifically prevented the development of post-trauma symptoms in the rat model," said Dr. Akirav, who added that the results suggest there is a particular window of time during which administering marijuana is effective. Because the human life span is significantly longer than that of rats, Dr. Akirav explained, one could assume that this window of time would be longer for humans.

The second stage of the study sought to understand the brain mechanism that is put into operation during the administering of marijuana. To do this, they repeated stage one of the experiment, but after the trauma they injected the synthetic marijuana directly into the amygdala area of the brain, the area known to be responsible for response to trauma. The researchers found that the marijuana blocked development of PTSD symptoms in these cases as well. From this the researchers were able to conclude that the effect of the marijuana is mediated by a CB1 receptor in the amygdala.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Haifa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Eti Ganon-Elazar, Irit Akirav. Cannabinoids Prevent the Development of Behavioral and Endocrine Alterations in a Rat Model of Intense Stress. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/npp.2011.204

Cite This Page:

University of Haifa. "Cannabinoids after a traumatic experience may prevent post-traumatic stress symptoms, rat study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921120037.htm>.
University of Haifa. (2011, September 23). Cannabinoids after a traumatic experience may prevent post-traumatic stress symptoms, rat study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921120037.htm
University of Haifa. "Cannabinoids after a traumatic experience may prevent post-traumatic stress symptoms, rat study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921120037.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins