Cannabis -vs- PTSD
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25799920: Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the major constituents of the Cannabis sativa plant, which is frequently consumed by subjects exposed to life-threatening situations to relief their symptomatology. It is still unknown, however, whether THC could also affect the maintenance of an aversive memory formed at that time when taken separately and/or in conjunction with CBD. The present study sought to investigate this matter at a preclinical level. We report that THC (0.3-10mg/kg, i.p.) was able to disrupt the reconsolidation of a contextual fear memory, resulting in reduced conditioned freezing expression for over 22 days. This effect was dependent on activation of cannabinoid type-1 receptors located in prelimbic subregion of the medial prefrontal cortex and on memory retrieval/reactivation. Since CBD may counteract the negative psychotropic effects induced by THC and has been shown to be a reconsolidation blocker, we then investigated and demonstrated that associating sub-effective doses of these two compounds was equally effective in attenuating fear memory maintenance in an additive fashion and in a dose ratio of 10 to 1, which contrasts with that commonly found in C. sativa recreational samples. Of note, neither THC alone nor CBD plus THC interfered with anxiety-related behaviors and locomotor activity, as assessed in the elevated plus-maze test, at a time point coinciding with that used to evaluate their effects on memory reconsolidation. Altogether, present findings suggest a potential therapeutic value of using THC and/or CBD to mitigate a dysfunctional aversive memory through reconsolidation disruption in post-traumatic stress disorder patients.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24830188: New Mexico was the first state to list post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a condition for the use of medical cannabis. There are no published studies, other than case reports, of the effects of cannabis on PTSD symptoms. The purpose of the study was to report and statistically analyze psychometric data on PTSD symptoms collected during 80 psychiatric evaluations of patients applying to the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program from 2009 to 2011.
Greater than 75% reduction in CAPS symptom scores were reported when patients were using cannabis compared to when they were not. Cannabis is associated with reductions in PTSD symptoms in some patients, and prospective, placebo-controlled study is needed to determine efficacy of cannabis and its constituents in treating PTSD.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22736575: It is known from clinical studies that some patients attempt to cope with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by using recreational drugs. This review presents a case report of a 19-year-old male patient with a spectrum of severe PTSD symptoms, such as intense flashbacks, panic attacks, and self-mutilation, who discovered that some of his major symptoms were dramatically reduced by smoking cannabis resin. The major part of this review is concerned with the clinical and preclinical neurobiological evidence in order to offer a potential explanation of these effects on symptom reduction in PTSD. This review shows that recent studies provided supporting evidence that PTSD patients may be able to cope with their symptoms by using cannabis products. Cannabis may dampen the strength or emotional impact of traumatic memories through synergistic mechanisms that might make it easier for people with PTSD to rest or sleep and to feel less anxious and less involved with flashback memories. The presence of endocannabinoid signalling systems within stress-sensitive nuclei of the hypothalamus, as well as upstream limbic structures (amygdala), point to the significance of this system for the regulation of neuroendocrine and behavioural responses to stress. Evidence is increasingly accumulating that cannabinoids might play a role in fear extinction and antidepressive effects. It is concluded that further studies are warranted in order to evaluate the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in PTSD.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26195653: Published evidence regarding the use of cannabis and cannabis derivatives by military veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is reviewed. When inhaled or delivered orally or transdermally, cannabinoids (the psychoactive components of unrefined marijuana and various derivative products) activate endogenous cannabinoid receptors, modulating neurotransmitter release and producing a wide range of central nervous system effects, including increased pleasure and alteration of memory processes. Those effects provide a pharmacologic rationale for the use of cannabinoids to manage the three core PTSD symptom clusters: reexperiencing, avoidance and numbing, and hyperarousal. A literature search identified 11 articles pertaining to cannabis use by military veterans who met standard diagnostic criteria for PTSD. Cross-sectional studies have found a direct correlation between more severe PTSD symptomatology and increased motivation to use cannabis for coping purposes, especially among patients with difficulties in emotional regulation or stress tolerance. Data from 4 small studies suggested that cannabinoid use was associated with global improvements in PTSD symptoms or amelioration of specific PTSD symptoms such as insomnia and nightmares. Large well-designed controlled trials are needed in order to better delineate the potential role of cannabinoids as an adjunct or alternative to conventional approaches to PTSD management.
While further research into cannabinoid treatment effects on PTSD symptoms is required, the evaluated evidence indicates that substantial numbers of military veterans with PTSD use cannabis or derivative products to control PTSD symptoms, with some patients reporting benefits in terms of reduced anxiety and insomnia and improved coping ability.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171: Cannabidiol (CBD), a Cannabis sativa constituent, is a pharmacologically broad-spectrum drug that in recent years has drawn increasing interest as a treatment for a range of neuropsychiatric disorders. The purpose of the current review is to determine CBD’s potential as a treatment for anxiety-related disorders, by assessing evidence from preclinical, human experimental, clinical, and epidemiological studies. We found that existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder when administered acutely; however, few studies have investigated chronic CBD dosing. Likewise, evidence from human studies supports an anxiolytic role of CBD, but is currently limited to acute dosing, also with few studies in clinical populations. Overall, current evidence indicates CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders, with need for further study of chronic and therapeutic effects in relevant clinical populations.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23178193: Several studies have suggested that changes in hippocampal, prefrontal cortex and amygdaloid complex function are associated with the main symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Predator exposure can mimic some aspects of PSTD such as hyperarousal and chronic anxiety. However, little is known about the neural substrate involved in this model. Synaptophysin (SYP) expression has been used to evaluate synaptic plastic changes while cannabinoids have emerged as a therapeutic target for the treatment of stress- and anxiety-related disorders. The present work evaluated whether the long lasting behavioral effects evoked by predator exposure are associated to long-term changes in the expression of the Cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and the synaptic protein SYP in brain areas related to the genesis of PTSD symptoms (frontal cortex, hippocampus and amygdaloid complex). Male Wistar rats were exposed to a live or a dummy cat and seven days later submitted to the elevated plus maze test. To explore possible neurobiological mechanisms involved in these effects, CB1 receptor and SYP mRNA expression were measured in the hippocampus, frontal cortex and amygdaloid complex. Single predator exposure promoted long-lasting anxiogenic effects. Seven days after predator threat CB1 mRNA expression was down regulated in the frontal cortex and amygdaloid complex while SYP gene was up regulated in the amygdaloid complex. Our results suggested that predator exposure causes long-lasting anxiogenic effects associated with hyperactivation of amygdaloid complex and modulation of CB1 receptor in brain areas related to PTSD symptoms.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3752332: Endocannabinoids and their attending cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1) have been implicated in animal models of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, their specific role has not been studied in people with PTSD. Herein, we present an in vivo imaging study using positron emission tomography (PET) and the CB1-selective radioligand [11C]OMAR in individuals with PTSD, and healthy controls with lifetime histories of trauma (trauma controls [TC]) and those without such histories (healthy controls [HC]). Untreated individuals with PTSD (N=25) with non-combat trauma histories, and TC (N=12) and HC (N=23) participated in a magnetic resonance (MR) imaging scan and a resting PET scan with the CB1 receptor antagonist radiotracer [11C]OMAR, which measures volume of distribution (VT) linearly related to CB1 receptor availability. Peripheral levels of anandamide, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), oleoylethanolamide (OEA), palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), and cortisol were also assessed. In the PTSD group, relative to the HC and TC groups, we found elevated brain-wide [11C]OMAR VT values (F(2,53)=7.96, p=.001; 19.5% and 14.5% higher, respectively) which were most pronounced in women (F(1,53)=5.52, p=.023). Anandamide concentrations were reduced in the PTSD relative to the TC (53.1% lower) and HC (58.2% lower) groups. Cortisol levels were lower in the PTSD and TC groups relative to the HC group. Three biomarkers examined collectively—OMAR VT, anandamide, and cortisol—correctly classified nearly 85% of PTSD cases. These results suggest that abnormal CB1 receptor-mediated anandamide signaling is implicated in the etiology of PTSD, and provide a promising neurobiological model to develop novel, evidence-based pharmacotherapies for this disorder.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3101637: Overall, the current study presents novel results regarding the associations between PTS, DT, and marijuana use coping motives among a sample of trauma-exposed individuals. Results suggest that DT may partially mediate the replicated association between PTS symptom severity and marijuana use coping motives. This preliminary investigation is intended to stimulate future work examining the cognitive-affective mechanisms underlying the clinically important relations between PTS and coping-oriented marijuana use.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3739026: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder of significant prevalence and morbidity, whose pathogenesis relies on paradoxical changes of emotional memory processing. An ideal treatment would be a drug able to block the pathological over-consolidation and continuous retrieval of the traumatic event, while enhancing its extinction and reducing the anxiety symptoms. While the latter benefit from antidepressant medications, no drug is available to control the cognitive symptomatology. Endocannabinoids regulate affective states and participate in memory consolidation, retrieval, and extinction. Clinical findings showing a relationship between Cannabis use and PTSD, as well as changes in endocannabinoid activity in PTSD patients, further suggest the existence of a link between endocannabinoids and maladaptive brain changes after trauma exposure. Along these lines, we suggest that endocannabinoid degradation inhibitors may be an ideal therapeutic approach to simultaneously treat the emotional and cognitive features of PTSD, avoiding the unwanted psychotropic effects of compounds directly binding cannabinoid receptors.