Study: Cannabinoids May Prevent Depressive and PTSD-Like Symptoms Following Severe Stress

Cannabinoids may prevent both depressive and PTSD-like symptoms following exposure to severe stress, according to a new study being published by the journal Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry.

“Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition highly comorbid with depression”, begins the abstract of the study, which was also published by the U.S. National Institute of Health. “The endocannabinoid (eCB) system and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are suggestively involved in both disorders.” For the study, researchers “examined whether cannabinoids can prevent the long-term depressive-like symptoms induced by exposure to the shock and situational reminders (SRs) model of PTSD.”

Researchers administered a compound meant to mimic the effects of natural cannabinoids in rats two hours after a severe shock. “Cannabinoids prevented the shock/SRs-induced alterations in social recognition memory, locomotion, passive coping, anxiety-like behavior, anhedonia, fear retrieval, fear extinction and startle response as well as the decrease in BDNF levels in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex (PFC)”, states the study. “Furthermore, significant correlations were found between depressive-like behaviors and BDNF levels in the brain.”

The study concludes; “The findings suggest that cannabinoids may prevent both depressive- and PTSD-like symptoms following exposure to severe stress and that alterations in BDNF levels in the brains’ fear circuit are involved in these effects.”

The full study, conducted by researchers at The Academic College Tel-Aviv-Yaffo and the University of Haifa (both in Israel), can be found by clicking here.

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